Paul Revere’s Ride

Today marks the start of Paul Revere’s Ride through the Massachusetts countryside. Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord. Together, they commemorate the start of the American Revolution.

Paul Revere’s Ride

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Listen my children and you shall hearPaul Revere's Ride
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,–
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.”

Then he said “Good-night!” and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,–
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel’s tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, “All is well!”
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,–
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse’s side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry’s height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer’s dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.

It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,—
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

“Concord Hymn” (original title was “Hymn: Sung at the Completion of the Concord Monument, April 19, 1836″) is a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson written for the 1837 dedication of the Obelisk, a monument in Concord, Massachusetts commemorating the Battle of Concord, the second in a series of battles and skirmishes on April 19, 1775 at the outbreak of the American Revolution.

Concord HymnConcord Bridge

Ralph Waldo Emerson

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare,
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

 

Whatever you do today please spare a thought to the brave men who confronted the largest army in the world.

The Trouble with America

The Trouble with AmericaAs we begin to embark on a new Presidential campaign, it’s to take a long, hard look at our country. We have numerous problems that no wants to address. Instead, we have candidates who are speaking in platitudes and sound bites.

Part of the reason why candidates have to do that is the lack of education being provided to our citizens. They’re more interested in “Dancing with the Stars” or their cell phones or episodic television.

When was the last time an American read a book or discussed the political problems in America? Probably never! Instead, they choose to ignore the problems. A small percentage of Americans are the ones who are carrying the country on their backs.

Our education system is an ongoing disaster. High school and college graduates when asked in those man or woman-in-the street interviews can’t even identify the Vice President of the United States. But they can sing the “Frozen” theme.

The study of history, geography, math and science is sadly lacking. Our young people are totally ignorant about the history of this country.

Who founded it? What are the founding documents called? What wars have we fought and when did they take place? Don’t know, don’t care seems to be their answer.

So where does this leave us? We now have a permanent underclass of ignorant peasants that we call workers. Only 65% of Americans vote. And many of that 65% don’t even know who is running or what the issues are.

Instead, we have Washington elites who orchestrate the direction that the country is taking. The Congress has become a haven for career politicians whose slogan seems to be “once in, never out”.

Here is a truth that is even scarier. The Congress has given the unelected bureaucracy the power to make and enforce laws. Agencies like the EPA, the FCC, the FDIC and others are uncontrolled by our elected representatives.

They are in our nation’s capital writing bills that are so long that no one reads them. They collect their salaries, pose for holy pictures for the folks back home and have fund-raisers to pay for the next election.

They can’t even get the bills written properly. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare for those of you in Rio Linda as Rush says) was so badly written that it has become full employment vehicle for lawyers. And who’s paying for this? Why you the taxpayers, of course.

The President with a small coterie of advisers in the White House seem to think that they’re total omnipotent. He actually said that he is going to make law with his pen and phone. When was the last time that he read the Constitution of the United States? It seems never.

If he doesn’t like the Congress’ opinion on his disastrous nuclear treaty with Iran well then he’ll take it to the United Nations to ratify cutting out the Congress entirely. Or he may allow them to exercise their constitutionally-mandated power to advise and consent then simply ignore them.

It seems that his main goal of his foreign policy is to diminish the power of the United States. Leading from the back or not leading at all is not a foreign policy. Its simply the lazy-man’s approach to world affairs.

King Henry of England said of Thomas Becket: “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” He was assassinated in Canterbury Cathedral. On a less bloody basis: When will the Congress rid us of this incompetent President?

Why not here?

coup d'etatMany countries around the world have had overthrown government with coup d’etats, military committees and the like. Interestingly enough, most of the English-speaking countries have never had an overthrown government.

The United States, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa have never had an overthrown government. But in today’s day and age that may be coming soon.

Barack H. Obama has been in power for six years but he and his corrupt regime is long past the time when they should be overthrown and replaced by an honest administration that is willing to change the direction of the country.

Just because it has never happened here doesn’t mean that it can’t happen here. Barack Obama has violated the Constitution on a number of occasions since his inauguration.

He believe that as President he has the right and power to arbitrarily make changes as he sees fit. His latest attempt is his belief that he can bypass the Congress and submit his Iran nuclear deal to the United Nations rather than the Congress of the United States as the Constitution requires.

He has attempted to use the power of the Environmental Protection Agency and their use of rules and regulations to fundamentally change the country as he sees fit. There are no consultations with the Congress. Instead, a small cadre of advisers are making all of the decisions in concert with the President.

While the country wallows in indecision the world has seen ISIS, Russia and other dictatorships and terrorist organizations benefit from the United States’ lack of resolve. When this country doesn’t show leadership bad things happen around the world.

Why can’t we have the government overthrown and replaced? Where does it say it’s not possible here? Perhaps, it’s time to remove our incompetent President and Vice President and replace them with leaders who are capable and competent.

Isn’t it time for both political parties to join together and make the necessary changes. Surely, there are politicians on both sides of the aisle who can see the danger that Obama has put our country in.

Why not here? For our country’s survival.

Does Barack Obama present a clear and present danger to America?

Obama as dictatorMost right-thinking Americans have to be concerned that Barack Obama presents a clear and present danger to America. And the more that they know the more that they have become convinced that he is a problem to the security of the country.

Let’s look at some of the external threats that he has not confronted with maximum force. First, we have ISIS or the Islamic State as they prefer. These are the terrorists that have said that they will fly their flag over the White House.

The United States under Obama has confronted them with minimal force. During the Kosovo air campaign there were a total of 38,004 sorties flown over 78 days or 138 per day. Right now the United States is flying 7 sorties per day.

Finally, the daily strike count suggests that the strategy underlying the air campaign may be influenced by a desire to apply the least amount of force possible while still claiming credit for doing something about Islamic State.This rationale would fit with the administration’s claims that degrading and eventually defeating ISIS is likely to take many years.

It may reflect lingering doubts by some policy makers over how serious and far-reaching the threat of an Islamic State caliphate really is to our nation’s vital interests. Or it may be a simple reluctance to begin another open-ended military operation in the Middle East.

We have gradually increased the number of “advisers” with the Iraqi Army, the peshmerga and the Syrian opposition. Meanwhile, Iran is pouring aid, military supplies and troops into the region. Quite simply Iran is beating us to the punch and Barack Obama doesn’t seem to care.

The entire Middle East, North Africa and Central Africa is aflame. Our allied government in Yemen has been quite literally run out of their capital.

Meanwhile, we have implemented a cut-and-run strategy leaving our bases to the rebel Houthis who are supported by Iran. Today, they rolled into our main base. There wasn’t even a whisper of resistance from the Obama administration.

In North Africa ISIS is allied with al Qaeda and Boko Haram. There is news from the region that the three terrorist groups are training together in Mauritania. ISIS, Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda all have links to two camps in the remote sands of the expansive North African country.

While these parts of the globe are undefended by the United States because of Obama’s timidity, Vladimir Putin is pushing both Ukraine and now the northern borders of NATO.

In Ukraine the Russians are assisting Ukrainian separatists both from Crimea and eastern Crimea. Both NATO and the United States are shipping non-lethal aid to the government while Russia is supplying up-to-date heavy weapons and other military supplies.

Meanwhile, the Russian Air Force is testing our air defenses on a daily basis with provocative overflights. The Russians are also approaching the coastal waters of NATO countries with maritime intelligence collection platforms.

In recent days Obama has refused to see the leader of our longtime ally, Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. He was in Washington having been invited to speak to the Congress.

It has now been reported that Obama has turned down a request by NATO’s new secretary general Jens Stoltenberg who had to be satisfied with a meeting with the U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. Either the President is just plain lazy or just disinterested.

The Obama administration seems to believe that we can sit back while the situation develops. They don’t believe that the United States is the policeman of the world. Unfortunately, that is not the case. If we don’t take the lead now we won’t be able to take the lead later.

 

 

 

 

The Circus is coming to town

Hillary Clinton speakingWith the announcements that Donald Trump and Al Gore might quite possibly be joining the presidential field its seems the Republican candidates now number an astonishing total of 21, On the Democrat side of the aisle there are at list ten possible candidates.

With the Presidency being an open seat there was bound to be a big turnout but over 30 hopefuls seems a stunning number of candidates.

The field comes from all occupations: governors, ex-governors, senators, ex-senators, a former Secretary of State and a current Secretary of State.

There are also several business moguls, one of whom was a former Vice President. There is also a sitting Vice President, Joe Biden, and one retired neurosurgeon, Ben Carson. Dr. Carson may have to un-retire in order to determine is several of the candidates need their heads examined for running. Finally, the Republican have one woman.

All of this hullabaloo with the actual campaign starting at least six months away. The only ones who will benefit from such an early start are the media and the pundits who will be writing articles that are repetitive.

Then, of course, various companies that supply candidates with rental cars, hotel rooms, campaign headquarters and other accommodations will also be racking in the big bucks until election day.

We already have candidates who have stumbled before they haven’t even gotten out of the gate. Take for example Hillary Clinton’s email scandal that has threatened to derail her campaign before it even starts.

On the Republican side Chris Christie is still being dogged by Bridgegate. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has been criticized for not having a college degree. Ex-Governor Rick Perry of Texas is under a phony indictment.

Then, we have candidates who you wonder why they’re in the race, like Lindsey Graham, Jim Gilmore, Bob Ehrlich, Rep. Peter King, John Bolton and George Pataki. You have to question their reasoning for putting out the time, effort and money.

Of the Fourth Tier candidates only Carly Fiorina makes any sense being the only woman in the race. She would make an excellent and logical vice-presidential running mate.

Finally, we have Donald Trump who I sometimes wonder if he thinks that the campaign is Political Apprentice. Imagine if the campaign ran that way with candidates dropping out weekly.

On the Democrat side we have Snow White (Hillary Clinton) and the seven dwarfs (actually nine dwarfs if Al Gore enters the lists. He’s the wild card on the Democrat side.

As a former vice-president and business mogul he has credibility, money and he understands the system. Gore can mobilize the environmentalists undercutting Hillary on the left. If he joins the fray she’s in real trouble. The Democrat base will be divided to the Republican’s benefit.

The same thing holds true if Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) joins the campaign. Another darling of the left, she would slice and dice the Democrat base to Clinton’s detriment.

The rest of the Democrat hopefuls are simply one-issue opponents who would sting Hillary in a ‘death-of-a- thousand-cuts’ scenario. As an example, Jim Webb would run to Clinton’s right as a war hero and former Secretary of the Navy.

The current Secretary of State John Kerry has been here before in 2004. He would benefit greatly with a negotiated nuclear treaty with Iran.

Hillary’s best bet is a lack of an Iran Treaty. She would also benefit if neither Elizabeth Warren nor Al Gore enter the race. If one or both do run then she’s in real trouble.

Were Clinton aides double-dipping?

hillary-clinton-blackberry-emailWere Hillary Clinton’s aides double dipping by receiving a government salary at the Department of State and consultancy fees from private sources?

This practice is not prohibited, but State Department officers are required to disclose any income that they make while consulting outside the agency. Huma Abedin, however, was not.

According to the New York Times Abedin did not disclose her outside income.

Ms. Abedin did not disclose the arrangement — or how much income she earned — on her financial report. It requires officials to make public any significant sources of income. An adviser to Mrs. Clinton, Philippe Reines, said that Ms. Abedin was not obligated to do so.

Ms. Abedin declined a request for an interview, but the picture that emerges from interviews and records suggests a situation where the lines were blurred between Ms. Abedin’s work in the high echelons of one of the government’s most sensitive executive departments and her role as a Clinton family insider.

While continuing her work at the State Department, in the latter half of 2012, she also worked for Teneo, a strategic consulting firm, which was founded by Doug Band, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton. Teneo has advised corporate clients like Coca-Cola and MF Global, the collapsed brokerage firm run by Jon S. Corzine, a former governor of New Jersey.

At the same time, Ms. Abedin served as a consultant to the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation and worked in a personal capacity for Mrs. Clinton as she prepared to transition out of her job as secretary of state.

In 2013, Politico revealed that Abedin had consulted with the Clinton-linked consulting firm Teneo while she served in an official capacity with the State Department, but the revelation regarding her unique disclosure requirements was previously unknown.

Along with other Clinton aides like 2008 campaign manager Maggie Williams, pollster Jeremy Rosner, speechwriter Jonathan Price, adviser Cheryl Mills, and Democratic operative Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Abedin was also allowed access to Clinton’s private email network.

According to The Wall Street Journal’s reporting, the State Department’s information security specialists were concerned that the number of people accessing the secretary’s special “homebrew” server would be too much for it to handle.

When Mrs. Clinton’s aide, Huma Abedin, approached Mr. Clinton’s staff about piggybacking on the server, they were initially skeptical that it technically could handle the additional load. But requests from Mrs. Clinton were nothing they took lightly and they complied, people familiar with the matter said.

There doesn’t seem to be anything untoward about Abedin’s special circumstances, but it’s easy to get the impression that virtually everyone associated with Clinton, including the secretary herself, had some form of special dispensation made. It is no wonder then that America is witness to Clinton’s display of contempt for the public’s galling effrontery as so many dare to question her privileges.

Waiting to pounce on Mrs. Clinton was Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the House committee on Benghazi. As soon as she walked away from the microphone at the United Nations Gowdy responded.

Gowdy’s office released a statement, chiding the insufficiency of her answers, demanding Clinton turn over the personal computer server and promising to require her to “appear at least twice” before Gowdy’s committee.

Contrary to all rumor and innuendo, Gowdy says he is completely open to the idea that Clinton may have done nothing wrong while secretary of state. But he has publicly pointed out “gaps” that go for “months” in the materials she has provided on Benghazi. But he insists he’s not accusing her of anything; he just doesn’t know yet, he says.

Right now, Gowdy wants an independent arbitrator to decide whether those 30,000 or so emails contain anything significant material to his probe, and he says he’d even accept a respected Democratic professional like Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz for that task.

But when its pointed out to him that another committee he serves on recently accepted a high-level witness’s mere “certification” or a personal oath that his submitted emails were complete, Gowdy says a similar compromise might be possible with Clinton.

 

 

Hillary’s Lack of Transparency

hillary-clinton-blackberry-emailBill and Hillary Clinton seem to be able to make up rules as they go along. Contrary to government rules Hillary Clinton set up her own server in her Chappaqua, New York, according to Internet records reviewed by The Associated Press.

How do we know this? The AP has waited more than a year under the open records law for the State Department to turn over some emails covering Clinton’s tenure as the nation’s top diplomat, although the agency has never suggested that it didn’t possess all her emails.

She turned over 55,000 emails after her staff had sanitized them when the special House committee investigating the Benghazi attacks asked for them. It was then that it was revealed that Mrs. Clinton was using her own personal email account rather than the required government account.

Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.

“It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario — short of nuclear winter — where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business,” said Jason R. Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle & Reath who is a former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration.

A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, Nick Merrill, defended her use of the personal email account and said she has been complying with the “letter and spirit of the rules.”

Mr. Merrill, the spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, declined to detail why she had chosen to conduct State Department business from her personal account. He said that because Mrs. Clinton had been sending emails to other State Department officials at their government accounts, she had “every expectation they would be retained.”

He did not address emails that Mrs. Clinton may have sent to foreign leaders, people in the private sector or government officials outside the State Department.

Her aides have used the excuse that former Secretary of State Colin Powell did the same thing. Except the federal law governing emails was not in force during Powell’s tenure.

The revelation about the private email account echoes longstanding criticisms directed at both the former secretary and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, for a lack of transparency and inclination toward secrecy.

The new email scandal is just one of a series of scandals that have plagued her stealth campaign. During tenure at the State Department she claimed that the attack in Benghazi was caused by a video when she knew full well that it was a planned terrorist attack.

When two young Latinos at Senator Tom Harkin’s annual steak fry asked her tough questions about immigration policy, Ms. Clinton seemed a little taken aback and replied cryptically that “we need to keep working.” After further questioning, Clinton added “I think we need to elect more Democrats.” Perplexingly Mrs. Clinton seemed somewhat flustered by the interaction.

Mrs. Clinton has never been the superb campaigner that her husband is and has been able to benefit from her association with him.

Obama’s desire for a legacy will pose a danger to America

Obama Head in HandsIn the last two years of his administration Barack Obama is frantic to preserve and leave a legacy of his eight years in the White House. But things have gradually changed in the Congress.

In 2010 his party lost 63 seats in the House and the majority,making it the largest seat change since 1948 and the largest for any midterm election since the 1938 midterm elections.

The Republicans gained six seats in the Senate increasing their minority. More importantly, the Republicans gained 680 seats in state legislative races. This left Republicans in control of 26 state legislatures, compared to the 15 still controlled by Democrats. After the election, Republicans took control of 29 of the 50 State Governorships.

Despite Obama’s reelection to the Presidency the Republicans won another 33 seats to strengthen their majority. Despite their House victory the Republicans lost two seats.

In 2014 Things continued to move the Republican’s way. The Republicans gained firm control of the Senate by picking up nine seats. In the House they picked up a net gain of 13 seats.

Obama realized that he was in trouble in terms of creating a legacy with both houses of the Congress in Republican hands. He announced that he meant to govern with his pen and his phone using executive orders

Many Republicans announced that they would fight him in the federal courts deeming his approach unconstitutional. He signed an executive order on immigration that would have allowed some 4 to 5 million illegals to remain in this country. A federal judge in Brownsville, Texas issued a restraining order against it.

He also precipitated a nasty fight in the Congress for the funding of the DEpartment of Homeland Security. Whichever side wins this initial fight will have poisoned the well for future actions.

Let’s look at the issues that are the President';s agenda and there is a full agenda.

Perhaps the most dangerous issue is the Iranian Nuclear Treaty. This contest of wills has gone on for at least ten years. With postponements of talks called for by one side or the other, the Iranians have played the U.S. and our allies for time. They have gotten us to soften the sanctions on their exports which has enabled them to gain much-needed currency.

If they do get a bomb it will precipitate a nuclear arms race in the Gulf. The oil-rich Gulf states will simply buy nuclear technology and face-off against the Iranians. If Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry aren’t successful we may see World War III.

Then we ISIS who are spreading all over the Middle East. There is ferocious fighting in Iraq and Syria with ISIS committing war crimes on a daily basis. They have now moved in to Yemen and Libya. The Obama administration seems unable to summon the will to fight them.

Instead of sending in our full force of combined arms, the administration has chosen to use pin-prick air attacks that have had little effect on ISIS. Where we had over 500 air sorties a day in Kosovo we only have 50 in the Iraq/Syria campaign. It took the administration months to supply the Kurds who are the best ground fighters in the theater.

Then we have the administration’s weak response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Using proxy Ukrainian troops the Russians have taken first Crimea and then eastern Ukraine.

The proxy fighters have been supplied with a huge amount of modern weaponry: tanks, self -propelled artillery and infantry fighting vehicles. The Ukrainians have been unable to counter this flow of weapons. Neither the Europeans nor the Americans have supplied the Ukrainians with substantial aid.

Obama seems unable to use the military power of the United States for the benefit of us and our allies. Will he defend our ally Israel or Saudi Arabia and the gulf states? He’s shown that he won’t defend Iraq. Will he defend our Eastern European NATO allies? He’s shown that he won’t aid Ukraine.

At home his signature program, the Affordable Care Act, is in jeopardy of being seriously damaged by the Supreme Court in the case of King v Burwell. Arguments will be heard tomorrow.

His executive order on immigration will be argued in the Brownsville Federal Court at the end of the February. If the government loses in the lower court the case will then move to the Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

If the government loses there the case moves to the Supreme Court. All of this will take time. If the case moves to the Supreme Court it probably will be heard in the fall.

In any case Barack Obama’s immigration executive orders will probably continue to be caught up in lawsuits while the Congress will attempt to stymie them with legislation.

Obama also has an on-going desire to create new rules and regulations on climate change by the Environmental Protection Agency. Meanwhile, the Congress will try to stymie EPA rule-making with legislation and reviewing them.

All in all Barack Obama will be hard-pressed to accomplish anything substantive without getting the cooperation of Congress. He won’t be able to do that with the current adversarial atmosphere that is prevailing in the Capital.

It’s Time to Take Back Education from the Federal Government

American studentsThe No Child Left Behind law is in the process of being rewritten in order to ‘improve’ it, according to the sponsors of the bill that would replace it. Under consideration is a 620-page proposal called the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), which Republican leadership says will scale back Washington’s involvement in local education.

But conservatives say the measure doesn’t go far enough in doing that. According to Lindsey Burke, The Heritage Foundation’s Will Skillman Fellow in Education:

This proposal spends nearly as much as No Child Left Behind, is nearly as long in page length, and fails to give states an option to opt out of the law. As it stands, it’s a huge missed opportunity to restore state and local control of education.

But one asks a further question: why is Washington even involved in local education? The Federal government’s thirst to permeate every part of American life has distorted the visions of the Founders.

The Founders believed in limited government with an equal balance of powers. In fact the men who wrote the Constitution saw the Congress as the primary driver of policy with the President executing the laws written and passed by them.

Instead, over the past 100 years we have evolved into a country with an imperial that has sprawled across the American landscape unchecked.

The system seems to be that when we have a problem we appoint a committee, create a new commission or set up a new Department. That’s how the Department of Education was founded.

Originally the Department of Education was part of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. During Jimmy Carter’s term the department was split in two with education becoming one department and Health and Welfare renamed the Department of Health and Human Services.

Upgrading Education to cabinet level status in 1979 was opposed by many in the Republican Party, who saw the department as unconstitutional, arguing that the Constitution doesn’t mention education, and deemed it an unnecessary and illegal federal bureaucratic intrusion into local affairs.

However many liberals and Democrats see the department as constitutional under the Commerce Clause, and that the funding role of the Department is constitutional under the Taxing and Spending Clause. The National Education Association supported the bill, while the American Federation of Teachers opposed it.

Like most departments and programs spawned by the Federal government the Department of Education grew like Topsy. In 1979 the predecessor Office of Education had 3,000 employees and a budget of $12 billion. In 1979 the department had a budget of $19.4 billion with $17,000 employees. As of 2011, the discretionary budget was $69.9 billion.

The main driver in the budget growth was the Bush-era No Child Left Behind bill. The Department’s budget increased by $14 billion between 2002 and 2004, from $46 billion to $60 billion.

With the explosive growth in the budget came the Education Department’s programs of unfunded and funded mandates. The liberals in the government see the Education Department as a vehicle to indoctrinate America’s youth to their way of thinking.

And right now they are succeeding. Every day we have new stories about teaching materials and methods being used by liberal teachers. The most inflammatory issue is Common Core. According to the website http://www.corestandards.org/, a site that supports Common Core. Their site says:

Today’s students are preparing to enter a world in which colleges and businesses are demanding more than ever before. To ensure all students are ready for success after high school, the Common Core State Standards establish clear, consistent guidelines for what every student should know and be able to do in math and English language arts from kindergarten through 12th grade.

 

 

The standards were drafted by experts and teachers from across the country and are designed to ensure students are prepared for today’s entry-level careers, freshman-level college courses, and workforce training programs. The Common Core focuses on developing the critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills students will need to be successful. Forty-three states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity have voluntarily adopted and are moving forward with the standards.

Sounds wonderful but education is a local issue. No two states or even districts are alike but Common Core treats every student the same. In addition, some of the teaching methods and materials have been heavily criticized.

But Washington bureaucrats can not resist the opportunity to further control American life. Isn’t it time that citizens spoke out and petitioned their representatives to curb the power and reach of the Department of Education?

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