Leatherneck Blogger

Archive for April 2013

Right to Work

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***Warning***

The violence shown in this video is 100% factual and may be disturbing for some. Viewer discretion is advised.

Dear Concerned American,

I was shaken.

When I tasked my staff with creating this video, I knew it would be compelling, but actually seeing it was a moving experience.

You see, Big Labor often resorts to despicable acts of violence and intimidation to force their way into the workplace, but it’s never been documented like this before, trust me.

And now that it’s released, Big Labor is scrambling to shut down our video exposing the ugly side of union organizing.

Watch it now before Big Labor shuts it down.

Sincerely,

Mark Mix
President, National Right to Work Committee

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

April 30, 2013 at 06:00

Facts About the Missouri State Board of Education

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http://dese.mo.gov/stateboard/stateboard.html#majorduties

According to the Missouri Constitution, “The supervision of instruction in the public schools shall be vested in a state board of education …” (Article IX, Section 2a). This provision gives the State Board of Education general authority for public education, within limits set by the General Assembly.

The Board is made up of eight citizens appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Members serve staggered, eight-year terms so that one term expires each year. No more than four members of the Board may belong to the same political party. No more than one member of the Board may reside in the same county or Congressional district. When terms expire, members continue to serve until being replaced or reappointed. The Board elects its own officers each year. Members receive $25 for each day of an official meeting.

The Board’s duties and responsibilities range from preschool to the postsecondary and adult levels. The Board does not have direct authority over higher education institutions. However, the Board sets standards for and approves courses and professional programs for teachers and school administrators in Missouri’s public and private higher education institutions.

Under federal law, the Board serves as the state-level governing body for career and technical education programs provided by local school districts, community colleges and four-year institutions.

The Board has no authority to regulate or accredit private, parochial or home schools in the state.

The Board’s major duties include:

MISSOURI STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION

PRESIDENT

  • Peter F. Herschend, Branson, was first appointed to the State Board of Education in December 1991. He was re-appointed for new terms in November 1999 and October 2007. He is founder and co-owner of Herschend Family Entertainment Corp., which owns Silver Dollar City and other entertainment properties. Before his appointment to the State Board, Mr. Herschend served 12 years on the Branson Board of Education.

VICE PRESIDENT

  • Michael W. Jones, St. Louis, was appointed to the Board in March 2011. He is a senior policy adviser to the county executive in St. Louis County. Mr. Jones has more than 30 years of experience specializing in public policy development and implementation. A St. Louis native, he holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

MEMBERS

  • Deborah L. Demien, Wentzville, was appointed to the State Board in March 2006. She is director of marketing for Demien Construction. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and history from Southwest Missouri State University and a master’s degree in education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
  • J. Michael Ponder, Cape Girardeau, was appointed to the State Board in March 2009. Mr. Ponder is a partner in the Cape Girardeau law firm of Cook, Barrett, Maguire and Ponder.  He is a 1990 graduate of the University of Missouri School of Law.
  • Charlie W. Shields, St. Joseph, was appointed to the State Board in August 2012. He is Chief Operating Officer of Truman Medical Center (TMC) Lakewood. Mr. Shields joined TMC in July 2010, after serving 20 years in the Missouri General Assembly as part of the House of Representatives, a Republican member of the Senate and most recently as President Pro Tem. He earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing and his master’s of business administration from the University of Missouri.
  • Russell C. Still, Columbia, was appointed to the State Board in April 2010. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Missouri School of Law. He has been a classroom teacher and a PTA president. Mr. Still also was a member of the Columbia Board of Education (1996-2005). He is a partner in the law firm of Harlan, Harlan & Still.

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

April 29, 2013 at 06:00

How many “Stateless” people are running around America looking for asylum?

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Refugee Resettlement Watch

This is another of those questionable sections of  S.744 (the Gang of Eight amnesty bill) we should be concerned about:

Section 3405:

SEC. 210A. PROTECTION OF CERTAIN STATELESS PERSONS IN THE UNITED STATES.
‘(a) Stateless Persons-
‘(1) IN GENERAL- In this section, the term ‘stateless person’ means an individual who is not considered a national under the operation of the laws of any country.
‘(2) DESIGNATION OF SPECIFIC STATELESS GROUPSThe Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, may, in the discretion of the Secretary, designate specific groups of individuals who are considered stateless persons, for purposes of this section.
‘(b) Status of Stateless Persons-
‘(1) RELIEF FOR CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS DETERMINED TO BE STATELESS PERSONS- The Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General may, in his or her discretion, provide conditional lawful status to an alien who is otherwise inadmissible or deportable from…

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Written by Leatherneck Blogger

April 28, 2013 at 14:34

Center for Self-governance Success Story

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As the government, through the inaction or ignorance of its citizenry, enslaves the people with ever mounting debt combined with the complete erosion of personal liberties, a metamorphosis is occurring on the way to the coliseum. For the few who take on the challenges of holding their elected officials accountable for their actions there are few practical application training programs to equip these modern day patriots with the tools to continue the fight. As always in the “darkest hour” of a nation’s struggle emerges a system that empowers the people to successfully triumph over adversity. Such a system is coming together under the supervision of a small hard-core dedicated group from the State known for its volunteerism. These folks are spreading their method throughout the United States on a shoe-string budget but mostly by in-kind donations to the cause of freedom.

So, one has to ask, “Does it work?”

I will answer with an unambiguous, “HECK, YEAH!”

Prior to completing the first three levels of Tennessee Center for Self-governance’s theoretical and practical personal political empowering training, I rarely went to any political sponsored events and if I did go I would sit in the audience waiting for my head to explode from the call to action but unable to articulate a stand in what I felt would be a clear manner. The training provides me with the tools to conquer the fear of speaking. It aids in presenting ideas in a clear concise manner at a public forum devoid of emotions but with great enthusiasm.

The most recent event took place on April 26th, 2013. The Missouri Department of Revenue is scanning and providing to third party privately owned data collections agencies personal information that includes Social Security Numbers, Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, ad nauseam, in a back-door attempt to enforce the federal Real ID Act in violation of Missouri Revised Statues. The State Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee along with two Senators from the local area held a public hearing on this flagrant violation of state law. After short introductions from the three gentlemen, the Chairman stated the purpose of the meeting.

On May 2nd, bureaucrats from the Department of Educational Secondary Education will travel to Cape Girardeau in an attempt to sell an unwitting public on the “goodness” of Common Core State Standards, a privacy invading educational curriculum. As the Senate Appropriations Chairman was speaking, mainly to the invasion of privacy by way of scanning Concealed Carry Weapon information by the Department of Revenue, I was planning how to interject data collection requirements in Common Core State Standards. My tactic was to get it on the public record so perhaps folks in the area might take a second look and attend the meeting for CCSS on the second of May. When the Chairman completed speaking about the purpose of the meeting, he opened the floor to public comment. I leapt from my chair and charged towards the microphone to be the first commenter to speak about not only the infringements on Missourians’ Second Amendments Rights but to bring out the eventuality of Fourth Amendment Rights infringement through the implementation of CCSS in the public schools.

The message, off the top of my head, went something like this:

Good afternoon Senators. My name is David Larson. I am a resident of Jackson. But more importantly, I am a concerned citizen. I applaud your efforts in the State Senate in preventing the infringement of our Second Amendment Rights at the State level. I fully support you in this fight. I would also ask the gentlemen to look into the data collection requirements of Common Core State Standards. The Standards have over four hundred data points to be collected and stored for future use. I am asking you to defund DESE until they stop forcing CCSS onto an unwilling public.

Thank you for traveling to Cape Girardeau, taking the time to hold this meeting and listening to our concerns.

A stunned silence fell across all corners of the assembled crowd as the Chairman shed more light on CCSS and the appropriations process. And he promised to look into the funding requests from DESE.

Overall, the mission was a success.

Would I have done this before the practical political confidence building training offered by TNCSG?

The answer is a resounding, “NO!”

Tennessee Center for Self-governance’s training is helping me reshape the process I go through to research, plan and speak at public forums. It is a noteworthy program and needs to be fully funded to spread the “word.”

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

April 27, 2013 at 06:00

The Truth Isn’t Mean, It’s The Truth

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Right Reason

Excellent video from Pat Condell! Defines the difference between liberals and progressives, and how this is playing out across the globe.          As Andrew Breitbart said – “The truth isn’t mean, it’s the truth.”

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Written by Leatherneck Blogger

April 26, 2013 at 12:19

Facts About the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

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http://dese.mo.gov/overview.html

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is the administrative arm of the State Board of Education. It is primarily a service agency that works with educators, legislators, government agencies, community leaders and citizens to maintain a strong public education system. Through its statewide school-improvement activities and regulatory functions, the Department strives to assure that all citizens have access to high-quality public education.  DESE does not regulate, monitor or accredit private, parochial or home schools.

The Department’s responsibilities range from early childhood to adult education services. The Department employs about 1,700 people throughout the state and has a total budget of about $5.4 billion. About 96 percent of the budget consists of state and federal funds that are distributed to local school districts and other agencies.

Duties of the Commissioner

The Commissioner of Education directs the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and fulfills other duties as prescribed by law (Section 161.122, RSMo). The law states that the Commissioner shall “seek in every way to elevate the standards and efficiency of the instruction given in the public schools of the state.”

In addition to the Commissioner of Education, the Department organization reflects functions under two divisions, Financial and Administrative Services and Learning Services.

Division of Financial and Administrative Services

This division is responsible for distributing all federal and state funds to local school districts and other agencies that provide education-related services.  The division assists local school officials with budgeting, audits, and the reporting of financial statistics, both state and federal.  The division also provides assistance with school administrative and governance issues.  Other personnel in this division administer the federally-funded school lunch and breakfast programs.  This division also manages the department’s internal business operations, such as accounting and procurement, budget, and human resources.

Division of Learning Services

This division is responsible for all of the department’s activities related to educational success of students, educators, and schools. The division includes offices which manage quality schools, college- and career-readiness, special education, educator quality, early and extended learning, adult learning and rehabilitative services, and the data system management.

A primary function of the Office of Quality Schools is to manage the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP), the state’s accreditation system for public school districts. This office also administers a wide range of state- and federally-funded programs that assist local schools (Title I, Title III and other federal programs), charter and other innovative schools, as well as developing a statewide system of support for schools, communities and families. Schools also are provided assistance on federal and state-developed improvement initiatives which are coordinated with other state and regional services.

The Office of College and Career Readiness provides technical assistance to local school personnel in the adoption and adaptation of the state’s performance standards, and curriculum development/adoption of all content areas — math, science, social studies, English/communication arts, health/physical education, fine arts; as well as the career and technical content areas of agriculture, food and natural resources; business, marketing and information technology; family consumer sciences and human services; and technology, health and skilled technical sciences; and guidance and counseling. This office also assists schools and career centers with the administration of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and Missouri career and technical student organizations.  In addition, this office is responsible for the development and oversight of the Missouri Assessment Program, consisting of the annual, grade-level assessments for grades 3 – 8 and the end-of-course high school assessments, as well as the administration of NAEP (National Assessment on Educational Progress).

The Office of Special Education administers state and federal funds to support services for students and adults with disabilities. This office works with other state and local agencies to coordinate the Missouri First Steps program, which provides early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. The office works with local school districts in developing and improving special education services for students (ages 3-21) with disabilities. It also provides financial and technical support for all approved sheltered workshops in the state. Sheltered workshops provide employment for adults with disabilities.  This office also oversees the operation of three school systems administered by the State Board of Education. These are the Missouri School for the Blind, the Missouri School for the Deaf and the Missouri Schools for Severely Disabled. Through their outreach programs and consulting services, these school systems assist local school personnel and families throughout the state in meeting the needs of children with disabilities.

The Office of Educator Quality is responsible for evaluating educator preparation programs offered by Missouri’s higher education institutions. The Office of Educator Quality also issues certificates (licenses) to all professional personnel who work in the state’s public school systems, as well as assisting with the review of certificate-holders who are charged with misconduct.  This office is responsible for development of innovative professional development programs for educators (teachers and administrators) at the state level.  It also assists in the development of teacher, principal and administrator standards, as well as development of evaluation models for school personnel.

The Office of Early and Extended Learning is responsible for the overseeing the department’s efforts to expand and improve early learning opportunities for children and providing supports for teachers, programs, parents and families of young children. Staff administers the Missouri Preschool Program and the Child Care Development Fund Grant. The office is also responsible for the development of early learning standards.
Extended learning (afterschool) programs provide a safe, caring and nurturing place for extended learning, social, recreational and personal life skills development for students during non-school hours (before- and/or after-school). Grant programs administered by this office include the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants, School Age Community grants, and the Afterschool Retreat Reading and Assessment Grant program. The programs foster partnerships among the schools, parents/families and communities.

The Office of Adult Learning and Rehabilitation Services administers statewide adult education services, including adult education and literacy, the high school equivalency-testing program (GED®) and veterans education.
Rehabilitation Services provides specialized services to adult citizens with disabilities to help them achieve employment and independence. Offices are maintained across the state to provide convenient services to clients. Rehabilitation Services personnel provide individualized counseling, training and other services to help clients achieve gainful employment or independent living. Rehabilitation Services is supported primarily with federal funds.  The office currently funds Independent Living Centers across the state. These centers provide counseling, advocacy, personal care, and training in independent living skills for adults with disabilities.  The Disability Determinations program is part of this office and operates under regulations of the Social Security Administration. Located in offices across the state, Disability Determinations personnel adjudicate claims from Missouri residents seeking federal disability benefits.

The Office of Data System Management is responsible for the development and implementation of the Missouri Comprehensive Data System (MCDS) which will include the student-level record system, Missouri Student Information System (MOSIS); Core Data, a web-based data collection system of education-related statistics; and the Electronic Plan and Electronic Grants System (ePeGs) , an instrument provided to schools to assist with federal grant applications and program planning. The MCDS also maintains the P-20 longitudinal data system utilized for tracking and research of student progress and achievement, postsecondary and workforce preparation, adult learning and GED completers, etc. The Office of Data System Management also coordinates school district data team training and certification regarding the use of data to improve classroom instruction. In addition, the office collects and generates data to meet federal reporting requirements and compliance, as well as provide data utilized in research and analysis that impacts policy decision-making.

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

April 26, 2013 at 05:00

Common Core’s Political Agenda

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http://www.eagleforum.org/publications/educate/apr13/common-cores-political-agenda.html

The Common Core State Standards are standardizing student learning and performance nationwide and will gauge achievement using national tests. The standards were called for and created at the behest of the federal government. Although the word “state” is commonly used in the program description, no state produced the standards. Rather, committees created them for all states. Governors were enticed to sign on before the standards were even completed. Forty-six states are teaching to the English Language standards and 45 have adopted the math standards. Common Core national standards are currently being developed for science and social studies. National testing will begin in 2014.

The standards are available online. Many have called them confusing and complicated. Detailed goals for each grade level are offered, as well as means of measuring achievements. Books, poems and informational reading are suggested in “text exemplar” sections of Appendices.

Critics and some English teachers object to the emphasis on “informational texts” and the move away from literature that is necessitated to include those assignments.

Although there are no hard and fast rules for using the texts suggested in the Appendices of the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts, it would make sense for teachers to adopt those suggested rather than choosing other readings. They will be teaching to a test so why would they deviate from what the testers suggest?

Examination of two of the English Language “text exemplars” for high school students shows they have definite political agendas. “The Cost Conundrum: Health Care Costs in McAllen, Texas,” written by Atul Gawande and first appearing June 2009 in the New Yorker magazine, is at its heart a call for universal, government-run health care. “Executive Order 13423” is a presidential mandate that all government agencies become “sustainable” entities. It promotes controversial scientific ideas and purports them as factually accurate in a way that could unduly influence students.

Health Care Text Exemplar

“The Cost Conundrum” consists of attacks on both medical doctors and hospitals as greedy profiteers. The heroes of the analysis are doctors who accept salaries from hospitals, rather than determining their own fees. Doctors are accused of ordering too many tests and doing unnecessary surgeries to line their own pockets. Gawande describes one physician CEO he met with as aloof and having a “let’s-get-this-over-with” attitude, and then dismisses as ludicrous the doctor’s suggestion that the government’s involvement in health care has caused some of the problems in health care.

I asked him why McAllen’s health care costs were so high. What he gave me was a disquisition on the theory and history of American health care financing going back to Lyndon Johnson and the creation of Medicare, the upshot of which was: (1) Government is the problem in health care. “The people in charge of the purse strings don’t know what they’re doing.” (2) If anything, government insurance programs like Medicare don’t pay enough. “I, as an anesthesiologist, know that they pay me ten percent of what a private insurer pays.” (3) Government programs are full of waste. “Every person in this room could easily go through the expenditures of Medicare and Medicaid and see all kinds of waste.”

Many knowledgeable critics of the current health care “crisis” make the link, as the McAllen doctor did, to decades of government interference. It cannot be easily dismissed. In fact, many would say his analysis is quite astute. Plus there are predictions that ObamaCare is further interference that will affect “the health care market in many new and profoundly destructive ways.” (Reason, 03-13-2013)

Promises to “make health care coverage more affordable” fall flat in the face of evidence. The Associated Press reports:

Some Americans could see their insurance bills double next year as the health care overhaul law expands coverage to millions of people. The nation’s big health insurers say they expect premiums — or the cost for insurance coverage — to rise from 20 to 100 percent for millions of people due to changes that will occur when key provisions of the Affordable Care Act roll out in January 2014. Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna Inc., one of the nation’s largest insurers, calls the price hikes “premium rate shock.” “We’ve done all the math, we’ve shared it with all the regulators, we’ve shared it with all the people in Washington that need to see it, and I think it’s a big concern,” Bertolini said during the company’s annual meeting with investors in December. (03-13-13)

Will high school teachers submitting Common Core’s slanted informational texts to students be qualified to dissect the politicized text assigned? Opposing viewpoints are easy to find, but will a high school teacher select and present other views to students? If not, this article is indoctrination.

Gawande goes on to say in this text exemplar:

Advocates of a public option say government financing would save the most money by having leaner administrative costs and forcing doctors and hospitals to take lower payments than they get from private insurance. Opponents say doctors would skimp, quit, or game the system, and make us wait in line for our care; they maintain that private insurers are better at policing doctors. No, the skeptics say: all insurance companies do is reject applicants who need health care and stall on paying their bills. Then we have the economists who say that the people who should pay the doctors are the ones who use them. Have consumers pay with their own dollars, make sure that they have some “skin in the game,” and then they’ll get the care they deserve. These arguments miss the main issue. When it comes to making care better and cheaper, changing who pays the doctor will make no more difference than changing who pays the electrician. The lesson of the high-quality, low-cost communities is that someone has to be accountable for the totality of care. Otherwise, you get a system that has no brakes.

Gawande’s article is an assertion that there is no one better to be “accountable” for the “totality of care” than the federal government. But the truth is that it is far from clear that a taxpayer-funded system in which decisions are removed from patients, doctors, and the people actually footing the bill has the “brakes” he points out that we need. Who is putting the brakes on our runaway federal budget and our many other bloated and ineffective federal programs?

Sustainability Text Exemplar

Another informational text suggested by Common Core is “Executive Order 13423 of January 24, 2007: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management.” This document, signed by President George Bush in 2007, is a sweeping call for sustainability, greenhouse gas control, use of renewable resources, and recycling at all federal agencies. It incorporates green standards, such as renewable energy generation projects on agency property for agency use, meaning wind and solar.

The Executive Order states that ‘‘‘sustainable’ means to create and maintain conditions, under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans.” Sustainability
is also a leftist buzzword and rooted in the United Nations Agenda 21, which calls for developed nations to decrease energy usage. It aims to control the West, especially the United States, economically and politically. Another interpretation of Agenda 21 would be, “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need,” as stated by Karl Marx.

The executive order also mandated creation of a new job at each federal agency: a senior civilian officer to be responsible for implementation of environmentalist requirements. These government employees at the CIA, the FBI, the Department of Education, and every other federal agency, are paid at level IV of the Executive Schedule, which was $155,500 in January 2012. These individuals obviously require a sizeable staff to implement the changes, oversee their success, and file the required reports to multiple other agencies. The order requires compliance at each agency, by all contractors outside the government with which the agency does business, by tenants or concessionaires, and even makes provision for standards to be met in foreign locations.

If educators or parents object to students being indoctrinated at school in the leftist environmentalism and sustainability represented by this reading, it will surely be pointed out that it was a Republican president who signed this order.

A better decision in this time of economic uncertainty, the massive burden on taxpayers, and our unprecedented national debt to foreign countries such as China, would have been to appoint an overseer of cost effectiveness at each department. This person could approve “sustainable” activities only when feasible and cost-effective.

A critical reading of this executive order could lead more astute students to realize the federal government’s propensity for wasting money and complicating everything. Since it was precisely this disregard for cost that allowed government interference in health care to create the inflated system we had before ObamaCare, it is questionable whether the massive and definitive takeover of healthcare by the federal government is the right direction for America — but students given scanty information from a skewed perspective are very unlikely to question it.

As Ronald Reagan said in 1964, “outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.” Will students, parents, and citizens also question whether the massive and definitive federal takeover of education that Common Core represents is the right direction for America?

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

April 25, 2013 at 06:00

Three on Three Common Core Debate

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April 17, 2013

Shane Vander Hart

The post Three on Three Common Core Debate appeared first on Truth in American Education.

Choice Media put together a “debate” of six education policy experts yesterday.

Here’s the video:

Rotherham doesn’t, in my opinion, seem to grasp the depth of the opposition’s complaint.  He also doesn’t grasp the concept of federalism.  Also state-led would mean state legislatures would be involved which wasn’t the case.  Since he admits the Obama Administration’s involvement it would be better for him to say that the Common Core is special interest/trade organization-led and Federally-endorsed.

He also says that they stopped with math and ELA standards.  Is he so out-of-touch with the news that he doesn’t realize social studies standards and science standards are being put together much the same way?

He talks a lot about teachers, teachers, teachers…. parents?  Where do parents and taxpayers have any type of say?

At least admit the process stunk even if you like the standards.

Neal McCluskey… where’s the research?  Exactly.  Common Standards for people who are different?  Does that make sense?  Nope.

Checker Finn has “come to favor” the Common Core State Standards…. was this before or after Fordham received money from Bill Gates?

Sorry can’t take you seriously.

According to Finn, most states “dreamed” up standards.  That has to be one of the most arrogant statements I’ve heard in this debate.  I’m speechless.

Rick Hess points out the assertion that some make that things in education can’t get worse as a fallacy.  He said “I think the world teaches us things can always get worse; given what I see as some of the hubris and the tone deafness on the part of the Common Core advocates I think if I was absolutely forced to say I’m more skeptical or more optimistic at this point, I’d have to say I’m more skeptical.

He’s believes most states will self-correct and states won’t implement anything like what the advocates originally hoped.  “I believe this will be much more modest in scale in 2017 than what most will anticipate today.”

He sees a lot of “intellectual dishonesty” among the champions of the Common Core.

Patricia Levesque supports the Common Core because she’s a mom.  “I have a 2-and-a-half year-old and a four-and-a-half year old.”  We have plenty of moms who are against.  The effort in Indiana to root out the Common Core has been led by two moms.  As a mom she believes that the Common Core State Standards are “better and higher” than many state standards were in the past.

Her four-year-old has autism… so we are going to want Common Core Math Standards in kindergarten to be in line with an autistic child who already knows how to count to 100?  While certainly not all autistic children excellent at math, some really do to the point of being a genius.

So no, we shouldn’t set standards around Levesque’s child.  If he needs to be pushed a gifted learners class or program should be offered.

Jay Greene doesn’t pull any punches.  “I believe the Common Core is a big waste of time therefore I oppose it.”  He doesn’t believe standards reform is a promising avenue for improving schools.  He pointed out a Brookings Institution Study that debunked the Fordham study linking state standards with student achievement.  He said, “standards are nothing but a bunch of words … that are aspirations about what we think children ought to learn and they generally are vague statements that are relatively innocuous and have no controlling power over what schools actually do or what teachers actually do when they close their door.  He believes the Common Core Assessments are a “political bridge too far” and believes it is doomed to failure.

Shane Vander Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Caffeinated Thoughts, a popular Christian conservative blog in Iowa. He is also the President of 4:15 Communications, a social media & communications consulting/management firm, along with serving as the communications director for American Principles Project’s Preserve Innocence Initiative.  Prior to this Shane spent 20 years in youth ministry serving in church, parachurch, and school settings.  He has taught Jr. High History along with being the Dean of Students for Christian school in Indiana.  Shane and his wife home school their three teenage children and have done so since the beginning.   He has recently been recognized by Campaigns & Elections Magazine as one of the top political influencers in Iowa. Shane and his family reside near Des Moines, IA.  You can connect with Shane on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Google +.

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

April 24, 2013 at 06:00

Posted in Liberal, Politics

The Bitcoin Money Myth

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Mises Daily:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

by

Many economists and financial commentators believe that in the unregulated market of the internet economy, new forms of money can be created that bypass central-bank and government supervision. The latest development is the emergence of a new electronic means of exchange, Bitcoin (BTC). Bitcoin was launched on January 3 2009 by its inventor, a programmer called Satoshi Nakamote.

The basic idea behind Bitcoin is to create, by means of a mathematical algorithm, a digital good that is scarce and fungible.

Nakamote devised a software system that enabled people to obtain bitcoins as a reward for solving complex mathematical puzzles. The resulting coins are then used for online trading. Nakamote also arranged that the number of bitcoins can never exceed 21 million.

Some experts maintain that Bitcoin will displace the existent fiat money and will usher in a new era of free banking, which will finally put to rest the menace of inflation.

Unfortunately, this is a pipe dream. Electronic money will not replace fiat paper money. The belief that it can stems from a failure to understand the nature and function of money and how it emerges on the market.

To see where this view goes wrong, let’s first see how money comes about. Money emerges out of barter conditions that permit more complex forms of trade and economic calculation. The distinguishing characteristic of money is that it is the general medium of exchange, evolved from private enterprise from the most marketable commodity. On this Mises wrote,

There would be an inevitable tendency for the less marketable of the series of goods used as media of exchange to be one by one rejected until at last only a single commodity remained, which was universally employed as a medium of exchange; in a word, money. (The Theory of Money and Credit, pp. 32-33)

In short, money is the thing for which all other goods and services are traded. Furthermore, money must emerge as a commodity. An object cannot be used as money unless it already possesses an exchange value based on some other use. The object must have a pre-existing price for it to be accepted as money.

Why? Demand for a good arises from its perceived benefit. For instance people demand food because of the nourishment it offers. With regard to money, people demand it not for direct use in consumption, but in order to exchange it for other goods and services. Money is not useful in itself, but because it has an exchange value, it is exchangeable in terms of other goods and services.

The benefit money offers is its purchasing power, i.e. its price in terms of goods and services. Consequently for something to be accepted as money, it must have a pre-existing purchasing power: a price. This price could have only emerged if it had an exchange value established in barter.

Once a thing becomes accepted as the medium of exchange, it will continue to be accepted even if its non-monetary usefulness disappears. The reason for this acceptance is that people now possess previous information about its purchasing power. This in turn enables them to form the demand for money.

In short the key to the acceptance is the knowledge of the previous purchasing power. It is this fact that made it possible for governments to abolish the convertibility of paper money into gold, thereby paving the way for the introduction of the paper standard. Again the crux here is that an object must have an established purchasing power for it to be accepted as general medium of exchange, i.e. money.

In today’s monetary system, the core of the money supply is no longer gold, but coins and notes issued by governments and central banks. Consequently coins and notes constitute the standard money we know as cash that are employed in transactions. Notwithstanding this, it is the historical link to gold that makes paper money acceptable in exchange.

Observe that a bitcoin is not a thing; it is a unit of a non-material virtual currency. A bitcoin has no material shape; hence from this perspective the notion that it could somehow replace fiat money is not defendable.

Bitcoin can function only as long as individuals know that they can convert it into fiat money, i.e. cash on demand (see, e.g., Lawrence H. White “The Technology Revolution And Monetary Evolution,” Cato Institute‘s 14th annual monetary conference, May 23, 1996).

Without a frame of reference or a yardstick, the introduction of new forms of settling transactions is not possible. On this Rothbard wrote,

Just as in nature there is a great variety of skills and resources, so there is a variety in the marketability of goods. Some goods are more widely demanded than others, some are more divisible into smaller units without loss of value, some more durable over long periods of time, some more transportable over large distances. All of these advantages make for greater marketability. It is clear that in every society, the most marketable goods will be gradually selected as the media for exchange. As they are more and more selected as media, the demand for them increases because of this use, and so they become even more marketable. The result is a reinforcing spiral: more marketability causes wider use as a medium which causes more marketability, etc. Eventually, one or two commodities are used as general media-in almost all exchanges-and these are called money. (Murray N. Rothbard, What Has Government Done to Our Money?)

It was through a prolonged process of selection that people had settled on gold as the most marketable commodity. Gold therefore had become the frame of reference for various forms of payments. Gold formed the basis for the value of today’s fiat money.

Besides, Bitcoin is not a new form of money that replaces previous forms, but rather a new way of employing existent money in transactions. Because Bitcoin is not real money but merely a different way of employing existent fiat money, obviously it cannot replace it.

The fact that the price of bitcoins has jumped massively lately implies that people assign a high value to the services it offers in employing existent money. This is no different from the case when in a country which imposes restrictions on taking money out people will agree to pay a high price for various means to secure their money.

Summary and conclusion

Contrary to the recent hype, we hold that Bitcoin is not money but rather a new way of employing existent money in transactions. The fact that the price of bitcoins has jumped massively lately implies that people assign a high value for the services it offers and nothing more.

Frank Shostak is an adjunct scholar of the Mises Institute and a frequent contributor to Mises.org. His consulting firm, Applied Austrian School Economics, provides in-depth assessments and reports of financial markets and global economies. See Frank Shostak’s article archives.

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Written by Leatherneck Blogger

April 23, 2013 at 06:00

Media lefty admits ideology suppressed Gosnell trial coverage

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Thomas Lifson

The shaming of the mainstream media over suppression of news of the Gosnell trial has achieved another victory. A familiar liberal talking head, Professor Marc Lamont Hill, has ‘fessed up in a segment streamed on HuffPo Live, the internet television operation of the Huffington Post. The entire commentary can be viewed here, but the gist is found here, as highlighted by Erik Wemple of the Washington Post:

“For what it’s worth, I do think that those of us on the left have made a decision not to cover this trial because we worry that it’ll compromise abortion rights. Whether you agree with abortion or not, I do think there’s a direct connection between the media’s failure to cover this and our own political commitments on the left. I think it’s a bad idea, I think it’s dangerous, but I think that’s the way it is.”

I congratulate Professor Hill for his honesty, and hope he will take the role of cajoling fellow progressives to admit they have been filtering the news to advance their ideology.

The Gosnell trial will continue for some time, so there is ample time for redemption for those guilty libs. We will be watching.

The sheer horror of Gosnell’s practices, as revealed in testimony, is compounded by the racial dimension: Gosnell was killing black babies, and the filthy conditions of his office affected primarily black women. Fans of the concept of “disparate impact” should consider that black babies are disproportionately the victims of abortion, too.

Perhaps the Gosnell trial will help break the media taboo over mentioning the racial character of abortion in today’s America. Out of deep evil, sometimes good can grow.

Update for all those lefty journos who can’t recognize a compelling story if it harms their ideological position. Life News reports on the janitor from the clinic’s testimony that toilets backed up with body parts from aborted fetuses.
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/04/media_lefty_admits_ideology_suppressed_gosnell_trial_coverage.html

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

April 22, 2013 at 06:00

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