This Seems Like a Really Big Win

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I am so embarrassed.

I didn’t even know that Fred Sauer, Gretchen Logue, and Anne Gassel were suing Missouri over Common Core.

Did you know that?

(I probably knew it and forgot. Sorry.)

But here’s the thing: THEY WON!!!!

Wait. YOU won. You won because Fred, Gretchen, and Anne stuck their necks out for you. And for me.

So Thank You! to Fred, Gretchen, and Anne. And this case seems really, really big. Like headed to the US Supreme Court big.

Since I don’t remember the case and know nothing about it, I’ll quote heavily from Fred Sauer’s email:

Jefferson City, Missouri.  On February 24, 2015, the Circuit Court for Cole County, Missouri ruled in favor of Missouri taxpayer plaintiffs Fred N. Sauer, Anne Gassel, and Gretchen Logue in their constitutional challenge to one of two interstate entities charged with implementing Common Core.

The Court blocked the payment of $4.3 million of Missouri taxpayer funds as membership fees to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, an interstate organization that is implementing tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards (“Common Core”).

The Court’s Judgment states: “The Court finds that the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium . . . is an unlawful interstate compact to which the U.S. Congress has never consented, whose existence and operation violate the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article I, § 10, cl. 3, as well as numerous federal statutes; and that Missouri’s participation in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium as a member is unlawful under state and federal law.”

Plaintiff Fred N. Sauer stated: “The Court’s judgment recognizes the reality that the interstate ‘consortia’ charged with writing and implementing the tests aligned with Common Core are, and have always been, unconstitutional interstate compacts.  Missouri should not be a member of such an illegal entity.”

The Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution states that “No State shall, without the consent of Congress … enter into any Agreement or Compact with any other State.”  In their lawsuit, Sauer, Gassel, and Logue contended that the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is an unconstitutional compact because (1) it undermines the authority of the U.S. Congress, which has passed numerous federal statutes forbidding the establishment of a national curriculum; (2) it threatens the sovereignty of member States by forcing them to cede some of their control over educational policy within their borders to an interstate entity; and (3) it threatens the sovereignty of non-member States by seeking to create an educational “cartel” aligned with Common Core.

There’s a joke in there, somewhere, about how many doctorate educators it takes to read the Constitution. But let’s not be petty.

We have a WIN!!! And it’s thanks to three people who give a crap about the country and its children.

I look forward to AG Chris Koster’s appeal. Nothing like a gubernatorial candidate breaking bad on three citizens who simply want their ultimate contract with Washington (and Jefferson City) enforced.

Humble thanks and congratulations to three wonderful people: Anne Gassel, Gretchen Logue, and Fred Sauer. I’m proud to know them, and I’m thrilled their on our side.

The tangled web of net neutrality

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A friend asked my thoughts on net neutrality.

I hemmed and hawed and told her a story she probably didn’t want to hear. The best I could come up with was:

  • I don’t trust the FCC or the Obama Administration to do anything honest
  • I don’t trust the Republican establishment to do anything right

First, the Obama Administration would love to get control of internet content. They can already read every message, every keystroke anyone types anywhere. The next step is to “protect” us from error. And the Gods of Washington believe only they can judge error. The internet is full of error, but it’s also the greatest source of truth-sharing in human history.

Next, the Republican Congress. The GOP establishment does the bidding of huge corporations. If huge corporations have no position on an issue, the GOP will mostly agree with you and me. But on most issue, corporations have a position and the Republican establishment makes the corporate position their own. That means crony capitalism wins out over free markets. Incumbents get to dominate insurgents. Might makes right.

On February 26, the FCC will make a decree. The internet will become a telephone line, subject to massive federal regulation. In Mark Cuban’s words, the FCC “will fuck everything up.”

Here’s what you can expect:

  • All innovation that touches the internet will have be dumb enough for a political appointee to understand. That means the iPhone, the iPad, and most cat videos on YouTube are done evolving. What’s there now is all there ever will be.
  • The incumbents (ATT, Comcast, Verizon, etc) will get federal protection on pricing. The government will also protect the giants from innovation. The way it works is so New Deal. The government will force the incumbents to provide some level of service for some low price. In exchange, the incumbents will be granted monopoly status. So new inventions can’t be sold into existing markets. The incumbents might lose money for a few years, but they can eliminate R&D altogether. (Have you wondered why the big incumbents haven’t been jumping up and down over net neutrality? Who do you think is funding the “grass roots” movement?)

  • About every 10 years, the incumbents will release some marginal improvement to the existing internet. Like when the phone company introduced telephones with dials so you didn’t have to ask an operator to patch you through. Or, later, when they introduced the push-button phone (with awesome marketing name “touch-tone”) so you didn’t have to dial. Maybe Ma Bell will give us an iPhone you have to dial. Wouldn’t that be dandy?

  • People my age will go to their graves cursing the day that innovation stopped. Younger folks will be less concerned. They won’t have the innovation history to compare. They don’t remember going from no computers to Apple IIe to Windows 95 to iPhone to . . . whatever. The incremental upgrades of Mountain Lion to Yosemite will seem like the way it’s always been.

  • The biggest hit will happen to innovation centers. St. Louis has been trying to become the Silicon Valley of the Midwest (just like every other city in the Midwest). Missouri’s slave-like non-compete employment laws thwarted St. Louis’s dream for years. Now, net neutrality will kill it for good. But for those who like pain spread evenly, the Silicon Valley of Silicon Valley will die a painful death, too.

    The good news: 40 years from now, you’ll still be able to buy replacement parts for the very device you’re reading this on right now. Because nothing will change ever, ever again.

    Perhaps after Obama’s gone, Congress can reclassify the internet as an information service, not a phone line. Until then, sell your tech stocks.

    It’s Not Pro-Immigrant; It’s Anti-American

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    Let’s be honest with ourselves: President Obama’s unilateral, dictatorial action on immigration is not to benefit illegals. It’s to punish American voters for rejecting him.

    This is personal.

    In two years, the next American president will let this and many other Obama executive orders expire. Executive orders are not law. They expire with the term of the president who signed them. No future president is bound to renew them. And the next president won’t.

    So life for the illegals will get worse. Instead of wrongfully believe they’ve been denied something, they’ll correctly feel they’ve lost something. They’ll feel vulnerable and abandoned. All because Obama needed to “get even” with the American people.

    Increasingly, Obama’s actions are not just wrong; they’re evil.

    Michelle Obama’s Dictates Force Eureka High PTO To Beg

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    When did first ladies become dictators?

    Seriously. The president’s family has no more authority than anyone else. The reason people show contempt for activist spouses of presidents is the same reason history hates Marie Antoinette.

    I know, the all-Democrat Congress passed the school nutrition law in 2010, but Michelle Obama wrote it.

    Michelle Obama has dictated that no tasty foods may enter any school property. That ban includes school bake sales and snack shops which has PTOs scrambling to replace lost income.

    According to the Wall Street Journal:

    The law also required the U.S. Department of Agriculture to set standards for all food and beverages sold during the school day, which includes vending machines, snack carts and daytime fundraisers. 

    That law could cost the Eureka High School PTO half its annual profits according an email to parents sent last week:

    These guidelines directly affect most of the items that we sell in our School Store and we are no longer able to offer them to our student customers.  In the past, our school store has made profits totaling almost $20,000 each year.  This has allowed us to support many programs at the school without having to fundraise.  We anticipate that these new guidelines will reduce our profit from the store by more than $10,000.

    Those “profits” pay for numerous programs and events for students. So the PTO is asking for parents to make up the difference.

    We know that you are asked to fundraise [sic] for the many activities your child participates in so we will not be asking EHS students to fundraise [sic] individually to benefit the PTO.  But we are asking your assistance to help us make up the deficit we are now facing.Please consider purchasing Spirit Wear this fall or ordering a Balloon Bouquet this school year. 

    Now, I’ll be the first to admit that Americans are too fat. We’re also too lazy, too slow, and too afraid of walking a block. Missouri is particularly obese—so much so that people around the country laugh about it.

    On a business trip to California, recently, a waitress paid me the backhanded compliment of, “you’re to thin to be from St. Louis.” Word gets around.

    And schools don’t need to be shoveling Suzy Qs and Mountain Dew at kids all day.

    It’s the school’s job, though, and not the federal government’s, to cut down the carbs available on campus. Twenty years ago, administrators found he money addictive when Pepsi distributors flooded their schools with vending machines. Plus, federal funding allows school cafeterias to serve enormous portions of pizza and burgers at low cost to the students. And elimination of recess, because kids might get hurt, took away the kids’ chance to burn calories and to just be kids.

    The answer to obese kids isn’t a federal nanny state. The answer is to get the federal government out of education and for parents to shut down the video games for a couple of hours a day.

    Who Will Be America’s Clothing Czar

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    Are you ready for America’s first Clothing Czar?

    According to RightQuestion.org, this person, “will decide what you will wear every day for the
    next four years.

    If you’re a Goth, what if the Czar disallows Goth? What if he’s an 80s fan and orders collars up?

    What other questions do you have for the new Clothing Czar?

    The good news: you can vote for the Clothing Czar of your choice.

    What questions would you ask?


    In the Right Question Institute’s exercise to get young people to vote, the facilitator lets them know there is no Clothing Czar.

    But there is a President. And Congress. And, together, they appoint judges.

    And in Missouri, there’s a governor and legislature and judges on the ballot.

    And these real offices make decisions about your life every day. Maybe they’re not as personal and immediate as What Not To Wear. But the decisions government makes for you are far more important.

    The government is about to decide very personal things:

    • Healthcare
    • Housing
    • Taxes
    • Security
    • Schools
    • Jobs

    And the NSA listens to your phone calls, reads your emails, and, potentially, spies into your bathroom window with a drone.

    So, while the Right Question Institutes wants to you write down as many questions as you can about the fictitious Clothing Czar, I want you to consider just one question:

    Why would you let anyone make those decisions for you?

    I understand that in our representative system, we elect people to handle some details we don’t want to bother with. But the list above includes personal life decisions, not general, boring government activity.

    Why wouldn’t you want to own your own life instead of renting the one some bureaucrat chooses for you?

    In the end, that’s the only reason I dabble in politics and self-governance. I want to own my own life, and I want everyone else to be free to own theirs, too.

    If you want to own your own life, say so in the comments. It’s an important question. Your life, literally, depends on your answer.

    How Ann Wagner Should Commit to Defunding Obamacare

    The House GOP leadership has a problem.

    The conservative base wants Boehner to use the continuing resolution to force a showdown over Obamacare. Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, and millions of grassroots activists want the GOP to block passage of a continuing resolution because it funds the unpopular healthcare law.

    Boehner doesn’t want to. He’s afraid that shutting down the government will hurt Republicans in the 2014 election.

    Boehner could be right. If the House blocked the continuing resolution and later caved, voters would likely punish the GOP. But by committing now to defunding Obamacare, and following through on their commitment, the House would force Obama and the Democrats to negotiate.

    Obama knows that politicians are fickle. They want the easy way out. We all do. Obama believes that the Republicans would cave before he’d be forced to negotiate. But Republicans like Representative Ann Wagner (R-MO) could change Obama’s mind simply by signing the Mark Meadows letter vowing to vote against any bill that funds Obamacare.

    By committing now, in writing, to blocking funding for Obamacare, the Democrats would know that reneging on an oath would be career suicide for Republicans. Sure, Wagner could sign the letter and later vote for funding bill. But she’d destroy her credibility. Voters would know even her sworn oath is meaningless. I know Ann. I like her. And I’m confident she wouldn’t do that. She wouldn’t renege on a signed commitment. I don’t believe she’d renege on a verbal commitment, but words are flexible. Signatures aren’t.

    If a majority of House Republicans swear to stop Obamacare now, once they act on their promise, Obama will have to negotiate. Republicans can list 5 demands before funding the government. They can negotiate away two or three of them, so long as Obamacare isn’t one.

    Yes, it’s brinkmanship. It’s hardball. It’s tough. Forcing a rival to negotiate always is.

    It’s also noble and courageous.

    In 2014, voters will punish the loser. If the GOP caves in the face of danger, it will be the loser by default. If conservative voters believe the GOP House majority squandered its mandate, 2014 primaries could be difficult on incumbents.

    Visit Rep. Wagner’s Ballwin, MO office and politely ask her to sign the Meadows letter. Ask her to commit to forcing a negotiation and defunding Obamacare now. By taking your time to actually visit her office, you’ll demonstrate your commitment.

    Her office:

    301 Sovereign Ct.
    Suite 201
    Ballwin, MO 63011

    hours: M-F 9-5:00pm

    The GOP Is Losing Its Base

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    Nearly 3 million Americans will die before the next Congress is seated in 2015. How dare Republican elites ask them to die waiting for their freedom.

    I was part of twitter conversation Saturday. I retweeted @DanStlMo’s tweet:

    I am no longer a member or supporter of the Republican party. #toct

    — DanStlMo (@DanStlMo) August 24, 2013

    To which @5is4grace replied:

    @whennessy @DanStlMo NO! What they want & welcome! Form new narrative for conserv.’s within and cont. fight for the “Renewed Republic Party”

    — 5is4grace (@5is4grace) August 24, 2013

    and

    @whennessy @DanStlMo We are our own worst enemy in this! Jees! Get us through 2014! Leaving a party does not improve anything.

    — 5is4grace (@5is4grace) August 24, 2013

    I understand @5is4grace’s concern. Defections will help Democrats and hurt conservatives and lower-case libertarians in the short run. But defections of the base are a really bad sign for the Republicans. People like @DanStlMo are the energy of the GOP. They’re the Tea Partiers who got the GOP through 2010. They gave the House back to the Republicans, along with a ton of state legislatures. Without that base, the GOP is done.

    The problem is, though, the GOP elites don’t want to be “renewed.” Not by people like Dan and me, anyway. They want to be renewed by big government wealth re-allocators like Chris Christie. For us on the right, well, they’d like us to shut up, campaign, donate, and vote.

     

    As Rush Limbaugh points out in this video, the Republicans are embarrassed by their base.


    And Dan’s not alone in defecting. Sean Hannity warned he’ll leave the Republican party if the House caves on Obamacare.

    The GOP Can’t Win Without Us

    We also “renewed” the GOP in 2000. And again in 2004. What did they do with it?  They grew the government, grew domestic spying programs, created a leviathan DHS. They did everything but return power to the people.

    The House has the power to force the president to negotiate. It can block the continuing resolution to fund the government. It can put the heat on Obama and force defunding of Obamacare.

    But the House leadership is squishy. Boehner wants to put off the Obamacare battle until the debt ceiling debate. Then he’ll put it off until after the election. He’s instructed Republicans to avoid town halls. In 2009, at least the Democrats had the balls to show up and face the music. But the Republicans run from their own base.

    Republicans Still Have Time and Weapons to Fight Obamacare

    I’m not yet with Dan. I still have hope that people will bring enough pressure on House Republicans that they will renew themselves.  They have the power, and they always did.

    The GOP can’t tell its base, though, to wait any longer. Waiting is over. Every minute that ticks by is a minute of a short life lived as a subject to a despotic government and not as a free man living out our founding creed.

     

    How I Would Vote on Gay Marriage Cases

    I’m not a lawyer. And I’m not particularly smart. But that doesn’t stop me from writing my opinion.

    Rather, I’m a libertarian-ish conservative. I like a small central government that protects us from evil people in other countries and delivers mail. And prosecutes people who do great harm across state lines.

    The Supreme Court has two big gay marriage cases pending. At issue:

    1.  Do the people of California have the right to define marriage in their state?

    2.  Does the federal government have the power to define marriage in every state?

    If I were a Supreme Court justice (stop laughing), here’s how I’d rule:

    1. Yes, the people of California have the right to define marriage in their state. Prop 8 upheld

    2. No, the people never gave the federal government the power to define marriage. DOMA unconstitutional.

    Now, let’s scale back entitlements and reform the tax code so federal tax burdens apply equally to everyone regardless of marital status, sexual preference, or eye color.

    Sandy Exposes Limits Of Government

    Barack Obama ridiculed George W. Bush for Katrina.

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    As people starve and beg for water in Rockaways, Obama’s promises to create heaven on earth through government look foolish and born of ignorance.

    Obama believes that government can solve any problem, large or small. But his FEMA can’t get water to people in New York City.

    With election two days away, remember this, you Obama voters: the most activist president of all time was unable to feed, clothe, and house hurricane victims despite having a week of warning.

    Government has its limits, but it will never limit its own thirst for power. You have to do that. And if you don’t put down the monster at the ballot box, it will put you down in a pine box.

    Socialism Sucks. Here’s How to Avoid It In America

    Some of the “cool” kids say they like socialism. Of course they have no emotional clue what socialism is.

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    Maybe they’ve read about socialism, seen the movies, and heard about it from their college professors—ya know, like the one who actually visited the old Soviet Union.

    But those sources give only an intellectual view of socialism. You can’t actually feel it. And life, in the end, is about feelings. 

    Don’t believe me? Everything you do is an attempt to feel pleasure or avoid feeling pain. But that’s fodder for another blog. This one’s about the evil of socialism.

    Here’s what life is like in a socialist country, told by someone who lived it, Thomas  Peterffy. He escaped Hungary during the Cold War. And he’s spending his money to make sure it doesn’t happen in America.


    Misery Has Company

    Like Peterffy, Friedrich Hayek lived under socialism—National Socialism. His message in The Road to Serfdom is similar:
    Hayek’s warning is clear. He couldn’t be accused of insanity for describing how socialism, once begun, must end with death camps and gas chambers.

    In the democracies at present, many who sincerely hate all of Nazism’s manifestations are working for ideals whose realization would lead straight to the abhorred tyranny,” he wrote.

    In socialist Italy today, six scientists were convicted of a felony for failing to predict an earthquake—which is impossible. Hayek was right. And he predicted such tyranny.

    Socialism Will Make You Evil

    Hayek goes on:

    To be a useful assistant in the running of a totalitarian state, therefore, a man must be prepared to break every moral rule he has ever known if this seems necessary to achieve the end set for him. Neither the Gestapo nor the administration of a concentration camp, neither the Ministry of Propaganda nor the SA or SS (or their Russian counterparts) are suitable places for the exercise of humanitarian feelings. Yet it is through such positions that the road to the highest positions in totalitarian state leads.

    Hayek explains that the need for evil arises from the nature of totalitarianism—socialism, National Socialism, communism.

    Collectivism means an end to the truth. To make a totalitarian system function efficiently it is not enough that everybody should be forced to work for the ends selected by those in control; it is essential that the people should come to regard those ends as their own. This is brought about by propaganda and by complete control of all sources of information.

    Which Explain Benghazi

    The Obama administration attempted to propagandize the Benghazi Massacre because totalitarians can’t be seen as wrong in the eyes of the serfs. Obama wanted you to believe that a YouTube video caused Ambassador Stevens’ death, Obama wanted to blind you to his own incompetence.

    Ask yourself why the Obama administration wants complete control of the internet. Ask yourself why the Obama administration wants complete control of medicine. Ask yourself why we would tolerate such a totalitarian regime in America.

    But before you answer that last question, you must ask yourself this: why did good people in Germany, Italy, Hungary, Spain, Austria, and many other countries tolerate the evils of socialism in the 20th century?

    Perhaps because it was fed to them to bite-sized chunks under the guise of “efficiency” and “fair share.”

    Vote With Your Vote

    Right now, we have a simple prescription: vote.

    Barack Obama’s life and language are festooned—if not infiltrated—with collectivism, socialism, redistribution. He believes the world is owed everyone’s fair share. Barack Obama has accumulated power, not just in Washington, but in his own hands.

    Mitt Romney believes in the America we’ve always believed in. He is a leader who succeeded in business. Romney might not roll back the decades of decline in individual liberty, but he will at least interrupt our trip down the road to serfdom.

    Note: The originally published version of this blog was draft. I forgot to push the Publish button after making some edits.

    The Old Reagan Soviet Jokes Are on US

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    Ronald Reagan loved to tell jokes about the Soviet Union. If Obama’s re-elected, though, these same jokes could be turned on the United States.

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    Some of them already can be.

    It’s hard to get an automobile in the United States. They are owned mainly by elite bureaucrats. It takes an average of 10 years to get a car. 1 out of 7 families owned automobiles. You have to go through a major process and put the money out in advance. So this man did this and the dealer said “okay in 10 years come get your car.” “Morning or afternoon?” The man replied. “Well what difference does it make?” Said the dealer. “The plumber is coming in the morning.”

    Here’s an old Castro joke updated.

    Obama was making a speech to a large assembly. Someone out in the crowd said, “peanuts popcorn cracker jack.” This happened about 4 times. So Obama gets annoyed and says, the next man who says that gets deported to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The entire crowd stands up and yells, “POPCORN! PEANUTS! CRACKER JACK!”

    Obama said in 2008, “Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation.” Which reminded me of another of Reagan’s old Soviet joke:

    The Commissar came to the collective farms to see how the harvest was doing and asked a farmer and the farmer said “Oh comrade commissar! If we took all the potatoes, they would reach the foot of God.” “Comrade farmer, this is the United States. There is no God.” “That’s okay, there are no potatoes.”

    With 111 days until the election, here’s the saddest joke of all.

    Two Americans were walking down the street, one asked the other, “Have we really achieved full communism?” The other said “oh no. Things are about to get worse.”

    How will you answer your grandchild’s question, “Tell me what you were doing when they took away our freedom?” If you’d like help answering, come to The After Party at Yacovelli’s in Florissant, MO, at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 19.

    Note: I borrowed these jokes from this Free Republic page.