How Things Actually Work In Washington

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article about the confirmation vote that will eventually take place to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court Judge. The article explains exactly how things work in Washington. If Judge Kavanaugh has enough Republican votes to be confirmed, he will probably receive a few votes from Democrats in favor of his confirmation. This has nothing to do with his qualifications or what those Democrats believe about his willingness to uphold the Constitution–it has to do with their election prospects in 2018. If there are enough Republican votes to confirm Judge Kavanaugh (and the votes of Democrats will not change the outcome), Democrat Senators from states that voted for President Trump will probably vote to confirm. If there are not enough Republican votes to confirm Judge Kavanuagh, all of the Democrat Senators will vote against him. The good of the country or the man’s qualifications have nothing to do with the way they will be voting. That should give all of us pause.

The article includes a quote from Senator Joe Manchin on the vote:

“I think he seems to be a very fine person of high moral standards, a family person who’s very involved in his community, has all the right qualities. He’s well-educated. And with that, you know, we have to just look at making sure that the rule of law and the Constitution is going to be followed, and that’s going to basically preempt anything else he does.

“Most importantly. . .I intend to hear from West Virginians. And during that period of time, I just announced, I’ll be hearing from West Virginians and their opinion. And I think they have, also, a right. And that’s who I work for. They’re my boss. And we want to hear from them, too, during this process. .”

The article notes:

A new poll released on Tuesday by Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) found that 59 percent of West Virginia voters want Manchin to vote to confirm Kavanaugh.

I looks to me like Manchin will do so unless something is discovered that causes one or two Republican Senators to defect.

The same poll finds that 56 percent of Indiana voters want their Senator, Joe Donnelly, to vote to confirm the Kavanaugh. Sen. Donnelly has not, to my knowledge, praised the nominee the way Sen. Manchin has. But Donnelly echoed Manchin when he said, “I work for the people of Indiana and I want them to have a voice in this.”

The article concludes:

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see whether Sen. Heidi Heitkamp begins to make mildly pro-Kavanaugh statements. The poll I cited above found that 68 percent of North Dakota voters want Heitkamp to vote to confirm Kavanaugh. If that number holds, the pressure on her to comply will be enormous.

Stay tuned.

Get out the popcorn!

Why Abortion Laws Matter

The American Center for Law and Justice posted an article today about Indiana’s new law about abortion. I am going to post most of the article because it is so beautifully stated.

The article states:

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky joined with the ACLU to sue the state of Indiana over a recent law passed to prohibit abortions based only on the unborn child’s sex, race, color, national origin, ancestry, or disability, including Down Syndrome.

Claiming that the bill places an undue burden on women seeking an abortion and violates patients’ privacy rights, Planned Parenthood is once again challenging a common sense state law intended to protect the health and safety of women and children. Why? Because abortion is how Planned Parenthood makes money, even if that means standing up for the targeted and systematic elimination of innocent children with disabilities like Down Syndrome.

Governor Pence released the following statement:

I believe that a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable—the aged, the infirm, the disabled and the unborn. HEA 1337 will ensure the dignified final treatment of the unborn and prohibits abortions that are based only on the unborn child’s sex, race, color, national origin, ancestry, or disability, including Down syndrome.

Some of my most precious moments as Governor have been with families of children with disabilities, especially those raising children with Down syndrome. These Hoosiers never fail to inspire me with their compassion and these special children never fail to move me with their love and joy.

By enacting this legislation, we take an important step in protecting the unborn, while still providing an exception for the life of the mother. I sign this legislation with a prayer that God would continue to bless these precious children, mothers and families.

The article includes the following story:

I’m proud of Governor Pence and the representatives in Indiana. When he talks about families of children with disabilities, he’s talking about families like mine.

My sister, Mary Rose, was born in the late summer of 1989, exactly six weeks before I turned three. Months after she was born, it became clear that Mary was special – different from normal babies. While the diagnoses, tests, and many in the world would assess that Mary is ‘mildly to moderately retarded,’ ‘developmentally delayed/disabled,’ or ‘slower than normal kids,’ it is clear to anyone who encounters Mary that she was a gift from God, placed on earth to teach us all the true definition of unconditional love.

Although Mary doesn’t have Down Syndrome, many of her closest friends do. Others, including Mary, have similar genetic abnormalities that cause developmental delays. Although national research isn’t comprehensive, many studies reveal that somewhere between 80 and 95% of unborn babies with a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome are aborted.

More than 4 in 5 unborn babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome are murdered simply because they have an extra chromosome. These children are never given the chance to show the world just how much potential they have.

Some mothers who are pressured to abort their child with Down Syndrome have refused, and the hearts of their communities are forever changed once their child is born.

But more often than not, those lives are lost forever. My heart breaks every time I hear these statistics because I know just how incredible these children are. I’m an example of a life forever changed because of their lives. I know from first hand experience just how much the world is losing every time a child is aborted because they have a disability.

Mary is the perfect example of this. Though not being academically “smart,” she’s more insightful and emotionally intuitive than most people I know. Though Mary may never discover a world-changing innovation, she is never forgotten by all who encounter her. Mary has a zest for life rooted in her ability to appreciate every person and opportunity that comes her way, and her inability to focus on tedious, superfluous details. She reminds us all of the childlike faith we once had.

Mary and her extraordinary friends have shaped the man I am today. Because of Mary, I always speak up for the underdog, squirming when I feel someone is unrightfully judging me or someone else. Because of Mary, I try to look past first judgments and impressions, and empathize with people I meet and situations I encounter. Because of Mary, I thirst for justice and appreciation of all human beings, no matter how diverse or different. Because of Mary, I recognize the incredible ways that the Lord uses His children whom the world labels as “slow”, “useless”, or “not viable” to show us His unfailing and unconditional love.

And because of Mary, I’m thankful for Gov. Pence and other leaders around the country who fight for laws to protect those with disabilities – to give them protection under the law.

When Planned Parenthood and its abortion allies sue to stop these laws, we all must realize they’re suing to end lives like those of Mary and her friends.

They think they’re on the right side of history. I wish they’d meet Mary so they know how very wrong they are.

This is the reason we need to take the profit out of the abortion industry. Abortion is a multi-million dollar industry, and because of the money involved, the industry wields a tremendous amount of political clout. All of us need to back up and think about what the abortion industry is about and whether or not we want the government to support it. It is time for all of us to rethink all of our abortion laws and move to make abortion something that is only done when absolutely necessary. We also need to reach out to those women who have had abortions and help them deal with the scars.

 

Who Gets Hurt In Our Hook-Up Society?

I realize that things have changed since the age of dinosaurs when I was dating. I don’t know how anyone survives the current dating scene unscathed. I assume there are people out there with some sort of moral values, but they don’t seem to be the ones getting the publicity. Even nice kids can make mistakes, though, and sometimes the cost of those mistakes is way out of proportion to the mistake.

RTV6 posted a story about a 19-year old boy from Indiana who is now a registered sex offender because a girl he hooked up with lied about her age. She told him she was 17 when she was 14. I am not condoning the behavior of either teenager, but I am wondering why he is the one who has to pay a very high price.

The story reports:

According to court documents, the girl’s mother told the judge, “I don’t want him to be a sex offender because he really is not.” Her daughter added, “I feel nothing should happen to Zach.”

But the judge condemned what he called a culture of “meet, hook-up, have sex, sayonara, totally inappropriate behavior,” according to court documents.

Zach was sentenced to 90 days in jail and ordered to register as a sex offender.

“The hardest part probably for me was to see him being led away, because he turned and looked at us, and it’s like, we want to give him a hug, and you don’t even have that opportunity,” said his father, Les Anderson.

Zach will be listed on the sex offender registry until 2040. His parents say the label is incredibly unfair.

I have no problem with the judge condemning the behavior and the hook-up culture, but I am not sure what is accomplished by declaring this young man a sex offender.

How To Twist A Story To Fit Your Agenda

The mainstream media is trashing Indiana‘s new law that protects the religious rights of Christians. We can’t have those rights protected, we have to have other rights protected. One of the stories that has repeatedly shown up on Facebook is the story of a pizza place that won’t serve gays. It seems a little odd that a pizza place would even know if a customer was gay, but the story is definitely making the rounds. Well, as usual, the truth is not necessarily what has been posted.

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about the pizza place in question. I hope they sue the reporter who wrote the story for serious money–they were slandered.

The article reports:

There were no complaints nor denials of service to anyone ever, but because of their religious beliefs, Memories Pizza stands in ruin and the family who owns it has had their lives threatened countless times. How did the O’Connor family, owners of Memories, find themselves in this situation? They were honest with a reporter in search of a story to fit the media’s narrative.

Alyssa Marino is a reporter with ABC 57 News in South Bend, Indiana. With her state in the center of a hurricane over religious freedom, Marino must’ve thought she’d had a coup – a devout Christian business owner willing to speak on camera about their religious beliefs and how it impacts the operations of that business.

…When owner Crystal O’Connor told Marino, “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” she had to know she’d struck gold.

Marino had her headline, “RFRA: Michiana business wouldn’t cater a gay wedding.” O’Connor’s quote was in paragraph three. The chyron on the screen for the report read, “Restaurant denies some services to same-sex couples.”

And that is how you twist a story to smear someone who holds a belief different than the one you are promoting.

Equal Rights Means Equal Rights

Breitbart.com posted an article yesterday about a religious liberty bill passed by Arkansas this week.

The article reports:

Meanwhile, while everyone was focused on Indiana, Arkansas honored both the founding of our country and the First Amendment by giving legal standing to the conscience of the Religious. In the coming years, as the Left and media ramp up their attacks on Christians, it is going to be important for us to have a place to go if necessary.

The government forcing the Faithful into participating in the sacramentalization of sin (like a same sex marriage) is intolerable to people of many faiths. Now faithful Muslims, Jews, Christians and others have 21 states where they can escape persecution from those trying to tell us that the government forcing you to violate your religious conscience is equality and freedom.

As previously stated, “Everyone has equal rights, or no one does.

The campaign in the mainstream media against the Indiana law giving equal rights to Christians was unsuccessful because the new media exposed the lies. Not all of America actually heard the truth, but enough people did to blunt the anti-Christian lies of the mainstream media.

What Do Equal Rights Mean?

On Sunday the Independent Journal Review posted an article about Indiana‘s ‘Religious Freedom’ Act. There has been an outcry from gay and lesbian groups that say that the law will discriminate against them. I would like to point out that 21 states already have similar laws, and that the goal of the law is to protect EVERYONE’S rights.

When you open a business, you do not give up your First Amendment rights. According to the First Amendment you are guaranteed the right to practice your religion. There is also a right of association–you have the right to choose who you will do business with. Christians who hold a Biblical view on homosexuality have as much right to practice their beliefs as anyone else. The law in Indiana will protect these rights.

This is the map of the states that have passed laws similar to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA):

RFRA Existing graphic

Incidentally, the RFRA was signed into law by former President Bill Clinton–not by a Republican.

The article concludes:

In other words, not only can the Christian owners of a bakery refuse to write an inscription on the wedding cake of a gay couple, but the black owners of a T-shirt business don’t have to print the KKK’s burning crosses on shirts, and Jewish owners of a gift shop don’t have to put Nazi symbols on coffee cups.

Everyone has equal rights, or no one does.

A New Dimension Of Vandalism

WTHR.com in Indiana reported yesterday on three separate acts of vandalism on Columbus, Indiana, churches. Saint Bartholomew‘s Catholic Church, East Columbus Christian Church and Lakeview Church of Christ were vandalized Saturday night.

The churches were spray painted.

The article reports:

“It was just one word. It said ‘Infidels!’” Father Doug Marcotte said of what was spray painted on Saint Bartholomew’s Catholic Church in Columbus overnight Saturday.

Parishioners saw that, along with the word “Qur’an 3:151″ on their way into mass Sunday morning.

“It’s certainly not a warm and fuzzy verse. It talks about the infidels, their refuge being the fire,” explained Father Marcotte.

Specifically, that passage of the Qur’an reads: “We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve for what they have associated with Allah of which He had not sent down [any] authority. And their refuge will be the Fire, and wretched is the residence of the wrongdoers.”

Saint Bartholomew’s wasn’t the only Columbus church vandalized.

“It’s really bizarre and the fact that they hit two other Christian Churches. It’s not like we’re all in a line. So why did they pick the three of us,” asked Father Marcotte.

Members of the Muslim community have offered to help clean up the mess. The fact remains that the Qur’an calls for the killing or forced conversion of ‘infidels.’ This may have been the actions of a fringe group, but they were acting within the beliefs of their religion. We need to recognize that there are people living in this country that do not love America and the freedom of religion that exists here. Any Muslim who believes the Qur’an also believes in the killing or conversion by force of non-Muslims. I hope that if the people who did this are caught, they will face a long jail sentence.

Have We Lost The Tenth Amendment?

The Tenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

In today’s language that simply means that if a power is not specifically stated in the Constitution as belonging to the federal government, that power is to be exercised by the states. So how in the world did we ever get a Department of Education? We did, and now we are beginning to see the dangers of the fact that we did.

The State of Oklahoma has chosen to opt out of the Common Core education program. Because of that decision, the U.S. Department of Education has rescinded Oklahoma’s waiver from No Child Left Behind (NCLB). So what does this mean?

On Thursday, Breitbart.com posted an article explaining what is going on:

The loss of the waiver means that 100 percent of Oklahoma students must be performing math and reading at grade level at most schools by this school year. The USED expects the state to use student test results from last school year to determine which schools are meeting the requirement. Those schools that fall short will have to take steps toward improvement, which could include a total reconfiguration of the staff or a private or state takeover of the school.

Oklahoma will also have to set aside about $29 million in federal Title I dollars to pay for tutoring, school choice, and professional development.

I don’t have a problem with setting high standards for students. I do have a problem with the government strong arming a state to allow the federal government to take over the state’s educational system.

The article reminds us:

The fact that Oklahoma’s waiver was denied while Indiana was granted an extension makes it clear that, despite the protests of Common Core supporters that the standards are “voluntary” and “state-led,” the federal government is, in fact, determining which states will receive reprieves from federal restrictions based on their choices of academic standards.

The Oklahoma congressional delegation released the following statement regarding the issue:

“The Obama Administration doesn’t like when Oklahomans buck big government regulations, and today the Administration responded by penalizing our children with failing to grant the one-year extension of the ESEA flexibility,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R).

“Oklahomans want education reform that sets standards created and certified by Oklahoma’s institutions, community leaders, and parents,” Inhofe added. “Instead of supporting these values, the Obama Administration has chosen to make it more expensive and difficult to achieve the state’s education goals that, once met, will exceed the requirements set by the U.S. Department of Education.”

“As seen with ObamaCare taxes or the Endangered Species Act rulings, today’s decision continues the trend of this Administration punishing Oklahoma for making decisions that represent the goals and interests of its constituents,” the senator said.

“Our state stood firm against further federal intrusion into the education of our children by rejecting the Common Core curriculum and determining that local educational leaders could best develop the appropriate curriculum for Oklahoma students,” said Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R). “Instead of applauding this constitutional decision and leadership, the Obama Administration decided today to reject the requested one year extension of flexibility previously granted to Oklahoma under ESEA.”

“This politically motivated decision is the perfect example of how the unconstitutional federalization of education has effectively taken away the power reserved for the states and the people by our founders,” Bridenstine continued. “It’s time to abolish the federal Department of Education and return power to the states consistent with the 10th Amendment.”

Pay attention. This is coming to your state in the very near future.

What Our Children Are Learning In College

Anyone who is a parent knows that children learn a whole lot more from what they see than what you tell them.  That continues regardless of how old they are.  Some parents might be upset about the lesson their college-age children recently learned at Notre Dame University.

The Daily Caller reported today that a pro-traditional marriage group that had set up an information table on the Notre Dame campus was shut down by police called by the school.

The article reports:

The cops rushed to the scene after they got the call from school officials at the Roman Catholic school and quickly slapped a “cease and desist” order on the conservative group, Tradition Family Property Student Action (TFP), reports Campus Reform.

TFP Student Action members say they were told by the University of Notre Dame Security Police Department — “fully authorized as a police agency by the State of Indiana” — that there is a distinction between having permission to set up a table and having permission to sit at the table.

Actually sitting at a table seems to require a totally different and higher level of bureaucratic authorization.

If Americans who support the values that have served as the foundation of our country do not stand up for those values and teach those values, those values will disappear. Obviously Notre Dame is not interested in teaching those values.

The article concludes:

TFP Student Action members were handing out a flier entitled “10 Reasons Why Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ is Harmful and Must Be Opposed.” Ritchie said the response from students and faculty members ranged from respectful to supportive.

Then, a group of leftist students who support gay marriage arrived. They allegedly began ripping up the fliers, shouting a flurry of obscenities and suggesting that the message of religious conservatives does not deserve to be heard.

“It seems like the more you hear about inclusion and diversity in higher education, the less you hear about the truth, the more the truth is shut out of the conversation” Ritchie said.

It seems as if the concept of free speech at Notre Dame only applies to ideas approved by the left end of the political spectrum.

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Voter Fraud In The Very Early Stages Of The 2008 Election

On Thursday, Fox News posted a story about voter fraud during the primary election season in Indiana. Four Democrats have been charged with forging the presidential primary petitions needed to get candidates on the ballot.

The article reports:

Among those charged is the former long-time chairman of the St. Joseph County Democratic Party, Butch Morgan, who allegedly ordered the forgeries. He was forced to resign when the allegations were first made public last October, even though his lawyer, Shaw Friedman, told Fox News at the time that Morgan did not do anything wrong.

The St. Joseph County Board of Voter Registration‘s Democratic board member, Pam Brunette, Board of Voter Registration worker Beverly Shelton and Democratic volunteer and former board worker Dustin Blythe also face charges.

According to affidavits, St. Joseph County Voter Registration Office worker Lucas Burkett told investigators that he was part of the plan that started in January 2008 “to forge signatures on presidential candidate petitions instead of collecting actual signatures from citizens.”

I have no doubt that campaign workers for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards could have collected enough signatures to put their candidates on the ballot. Why then did they find it necessary to forge the signatures? I have worked on election campaigns. Gathering signatures is time-intensive, but it is a necessary part of the process. I might also add that when campaign workers are gathering signatures, they have a chance to hand out information on their candidates and encourage voters to support their candidates. This fraud actually represents a missed opportunity.

What inspired these Democrats to think they could avoid the process? I am more concerned with the thinking behind the actions than the actual actions. To me, this illustrates that these people have no respect for the electoral process in their state and in America. It is my hope that the people who forged these petitions will not only go to jail, but that they will be denied voting privileges for the rest of their lives. They obviously do not respect the voting process.

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When Citizens Speak Out

A lot of Americans don’t pay attention to exactly what their government is doing, but occasionally something comes along that wakes everyone up. Common Core is an example of that. The Common Core standards were developed to provide national standards for students as they progressed through school. Aside from the one-size-fits-all aspect of the program, there were serious questions as to the age-appropriateness of what was being taught and the political slant. As people, particularly parents, become more aware of what Common Core is, the opposition to the program is growing.

The Daily Caller reported yesterday that Indiana has passed Senate Bill 91, a law ordering public K-12 schools across the state to stop using Common Core standards. Some other states (Iowa, Florida and Arizona) have tried to get around the opposition by renaming the program–Indiana simply threw out the program.

The article reports the Governor’s statement on Common Core:

“I believe our students are best served when decisions about education are made at the state and local level,” Pence said in a statement.

“By signing this legislation, Indiana has taken an important step forward in developing academic standards that are written by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers, and are uncommonly high, and I commend members of the General Assembly for their support,” the Republican governor added, according to the Star.

Massachusetts proved in the 1990’s that states can write their own standards and improve education in their individual states. It is a mistake to allow the federal government to control local education–parents and school boards should do that.

One aspect of Common Core that I think is often overlooked by its supporters is the amount of data collection on the students. I do not believe that this amount of data collection is necessary, nor am I sure that once the data is collected it will be kept sufficiently secure so as not to be a violation of the students’ and parents’ privacy. It is up to parents and grandparents of students to insure that American students get the best education possible. High standards are a good thing–federal standards dictated by Common Core are not.

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Learning From Indiana

In most states, Common Core is coming to a school near you. I have been involved in movements trying to stop Common Core in two states. I believe the program is not good for America–it doesn’t allow individual communities, schools, and teachers the flexibility to teach the children in the communities effectively. I strongly object to the idea of curriculum and testing being controlled by Washington rather than individual communities.

The Heritage Foundation posted an article on what is happening with Common Core in Indiana. The article states:

Common Core began as a broad reform, dreamed up by the bipartisan National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, to provide a high-quality base of academic standards that any state in the country could choose to use. In 2010, Indiana became one of the first states to adopt the standards. By June 2012, 45 states, plus the District of Columbia, also began the implementation process.

Common Core already is woven into the fabric of American education. And where the words “Common Core” appear, protests are not far behind.

The article quotes one parent’s response to Common Core. This response totally sums up the problem:

“When parents still weren’t buying what [the publisher’s representative] was selling, our principal in frustration threw up his hands and said, ‘Look, I know parents don’t like this type of math because none of us were taught this way, but we have to teach it this way because this is how it’s going to be on the new [standardized] assessment. And that was the moment when I realized control of what was being taught in my child’s classroom  —  in a parochial Catholic school  —  had not only left the building, it had left the state of Indiana. And to me, that was a frightening thought.”

The complexity of the way mathematics is taught to first, second and third graders is unnecessary and confusing to many of the students. Problems that parents can easily do in two or three steps now take as many as fifty steps.

The article at Heritage reports that Indiana has put Common Core on hold until further investigation is completed:

“By pausing implementation, Indiana wanted to assess the cost to taxpayers and the quality of the standards – something every state that adopted the standards should have done prior to adoption,” says Lindsey M. Burke, The Heritage Foundation’s Will Skillman fellow in education. “While it’s still unclear exactly what the long-term outcome will be in Indiana, the Hoosier State provided a blueprint for other states that are interested in putting implementation on hold.”

The article reports some of the efforts to stop Common Core:

Angela Davidson Weinzinger founded the Facebook group Parents and Educators Against Common Core Standards in early 2013 and saw membership jump to thousands by that summer. She was taken by surprise by the Common Core standards in California, where she is a school board member in the Travis Unified District.

“When people first join the [Facebook] group, it’s usually because they’ve noticed the homework coming home with their kids,” Weinzinger says. She encourages new members to read information shared on the Facebook page, then contact their local representatives. “Common Core can’t be fought on a national level at this point. It has to be done in your states,” she tells people.

There will be a hearing in Raleigh on March 20 on Common Core. If you have children in school in North Carolina, you need to be there to fight for your children’s education.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. When you know what is in Common Core, you will want to stop it.

 

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Our Legal System Turned Upside Down

CBN News reported yesterday that 7th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in Chicago has struck down an Indiana law that bars sex offenders from using social networking websites.

The article reports:

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the suit on behalf of sex offenders, including a man who served three years for child exploitation.

Supporters of the law have stated that they will work to put together a new law that will get past the Court of Appeals. It should be noted that the law did not forbid sex offenders from using the Internet–the restriction was only only on the use of social networking websites. The question here is, “Are we willing to protect our children from people who have already shown that they prey on children?”

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Numbers Can Be So Inconvenient

Yesterday Investors.com posted the chart below:

President Obama has stated,

“These so-called right to work laws, they don’t have anything to do with economics, they have everything to do with politics. What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money,”

That is simply not true. The numbers on earnings in right-to-work states simply don’t agree with what the President and labor leaders are saying.

The article reports:

According to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, right-to-work states (excluding Indiana, which passed a RTW law in early 2012) “were responsible for 72% of all net household job growth across the U.S. from June 2009 through September 2012.”

…The president who fought Boeing’s expansion in RTW South Carolina knows it’s all about his keeping union dues flowing into Democratic coffers and maintaining the plush lifestyles of the union leaders who support him.

The article concludes:

If unions satisfied workers, one would expect their membership to at least remain constant. But between 2000 and 2010, union membership declined by 9.5% in non-RTW states and 9.2% in RTW states. The only growth was in government unions.

Michigan‘s right-to-work law is a positive blow for worker freedom and economic growth and an example, as in Wisconsin and Indiana, of how conservatives can win and are winning in states led by GOP governors.

At its core, this is about campaign money. When the Supreme Court ruled in the  Citizens United case that corporations could make campaign donations, the unions had a problem–someone else was throwing tons of money into political campaigns. When the Democrats were not successful in changing that ruling, they desperately needed to hang on to union money. The ruling in Michigan is a direct threat to the Democrat party’s major source of funds–union money. Workers will no longer be forced to join a union or contribute dues to a union they are not a member of. That is a step forward for workers.

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It Really Is Hard To Tell What Is True When You Read The Newspaper

On Friday Breitbart.com posted a fact-check on an Associated Press story that ran in various newspapers on July 10. The story gave examples of how voter identification requirements disenfranchise people.

Breitbart.com reports:

Baker started off with what seemed like a frustrating story about two elderly Indiana voters approaching 90 years old, Edward and Mary Weidenbener, who were unable to vote in Indiana’s May primary. Why? Supposedly because “they didn’t realize that state law required them to bring government photo IDs such as a driver’s license or passport.”

Then the reporter at Breitbart begins to look into the story. The Indiana law requiring identification had been in effect since 2006. Had they voted since then? It was also determined that both Weidenbeners had valid driver’s licenses and passports–either of which would have served as identification. The Weidenbeners also live within walking distance of their polling place–which means they could easily have gone home to get their identification.

For whatever reason, the Weidenbeners wound up casting a provisional ballot. They then claimed they weren’t told that they needed to show an ID to officials after the election in order for their provisional ballot to be counted.

The article further reports:

But the Indiana state form that is given to all provisional voters specifically informs them that they must appear before county election officials no later than noon on the second Friday after election day either with an ID or to sign an affidavit that they are exempt from the ID requirement because they are “indigent and unable to obtain proof of identification without the payment of a fee, or that you have a religious objection to being photographed.” The AP also neglected to mention that since the Weidenbeners are over 65, they could vote by absentee ballot without an ID.

It seems as if the Associated Press reporter either did not do his homework or chose to ignore the facts. Voter identification laws insure that every person’s vote counts once and that no person’s vote is cancelled out by an illegal vote. Voter identification laws do not prevent honest voters from voting–they prevent dishonest voters from voting.

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Leadership Matters

There are two sources for this article–Inside Indiana Business and nwi.com. Both articles deal with what has happened in Indiana since 2005, when Governor Mitch Daniels took office. When Governor Daniels took office, the state had a deficit of $600 million.  Today, Indiana has a $1.3 billion budget surplus.

As interesting as the surplus is, it is also interesting to see how it will be used. Part of it will be refunded to the taxpayers and part of it will be used to pay for full-day kindergarten in the 2012-13 school year.

The article at nwi.com reports:

Based on the current budget surplus, Daniels said Hoosiers filing their income taxes in 2013 will be able to deduct about $70 from the taxes owed. That’s $140 off for a joint return. Individuals who owe no taxes still will receive the refund.

“At some point when budgets are balanced and reserves are full, the state should stop collecting money and leave it with the people who earned it,” Daniels said.

The article at Inside Indiana Business reports:

Compared to residents in other states, Hoosiers are enjoying relatively strong private-sector job growth, lower property taxes, an improved AAA credit rating and the fewest number of state employees per capita anywhere in the country. These developments are part of what has made Daniels popular among Indiana voters.

If the states are laboratories for the federal government, we need to take a very close look to see if what Mitch Daniels has done in Indiana can be applied to the federal government.

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Taxes Really Do Influence Behavior

Breitbart.com posted an article today about the impact of an upcoming tax increase on cigarettes in Illinois scheduled to take affect later this month. On June 24, the tax on a pack of cigarettes will increase by $1. Some convenience stores are running low on cigarettes because customers who usually come in to buy one carton are currently buying two or three in order to save the $20 or $40 dollars.

The article reports:

As NBC Chicago reports, a Cook County, Illinois, cigarette tax hike earlier this year is to blame for an alleged 15 to 20 percent drop in business at one Illinois tobacco retailer, adding that Indiana sellers could substantially gain from the latest increase:

“After March 1 when Cook County raised their taxes, I lost about–between 15 to 20 percent of my business,” Illinois tobacco shop owner Jawad Muqeet said. “The prices are so high nobody wants to buy cigarettes in downtown”

Indiana tobacco sellers could gain from the this increase. Hammond smoke shop owner Roni Patel says a carton of Marlboro cigarettes costs $56 on average in Indiana, compared to $50 in Will County, Illinois. He says the average price per carton in Will County will raise to $61 following the tax increase, expected to go into effect June 24.

Behavior that is heavily taxed decreases; behavior that is subsidized increases.

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