DESE: Are correct answers discarded if they are perceived to be Right?

Stressed Schoolboy with Head in Hands
I meant to address this issue last week (MO Education Watchdog has more details) but I let it slip my mind and now it's the last day for you and me to do so. If you agree with this post, please send an email with the subject:
"Principles expressed in the documents shaping the Republican Form of government of the United States.", to DESE's Sharon Helwig, to: [email protected]

This is what I sent today:
A year or two ago, I was asked to provide some research assistance in addressing an error in the MO Social Studies documents, regarding some anachronistic references to our form of government being a "constitutional democracy", when it is properly referred to, as per our government's defining document, as a Republic. See Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution for reference :

"Section 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government..."
It would be legitimate to expand upon that, such as referring to 'Constitutional Republics', or 'Constitutional Representative Republics', but it is not legitimate to formally refer to our form of government, especially in Educational materials, as a 'Democracy'.

It is true that in our founding era, the terms 'Democracy' and 'Republic' were often used almost interchangeably when referring informally to the general spirit of self governance, but when making more formal references, especially when proposing actual measures for government, the term 'Republic' was the term usually used. Obviously, as this was long before the creation of either of our current two political parties, there was no party politics behind the choice (nor should there be today), they made that choice because the actual meanings and failures of each form of government were well understood. It's a simple fact of record.

Even DESE seemed to acknowledge the fact, though perhaps a bit petulantly, as I've found that a number of our social studies curricular documents were in fact updated, though apparently none too carefully, by means of a mass 'Find & Replace', from 'Constitutional Democracy', to 'Republic'. The result of that change was that in our standards, educational standards mind you, our form of government is often currently referred to, ungrammatically, as 'Principles of Republic', or still as 'Constitutional Democracy'.

State Sen. Emery recently took the concern over the misuse of these terms a step further than we had, in a letter to DESE, insisting, properly, that,

"The term "constitutional democracy" is a flagrant misrepresentation of the principles of the constitutional republic in which we live."

He went on to note that:

"The differences between the structures of government are clear. In a constitutional democracy, the majority has complete control through democratic elections without any protection for the minority. Conversely, a constitutional republic consists of the people electing representatives to serve on their behalf ruled by law with checks and balances established to protect the rights of the minority.
In order to provide clarity for educators that teach Missouri children and to ensure Missouri students are taught the proper governmental structure of the United States - a governmental structure that has made our nation exceptional - we urge you to correct this error in the Show-Me Standards."

DESE's response has been to propose making the change like this (the text within the brackets to be replaced by the bold text hat follows them):
"1. Principles expressed in the documents shaping [constitutional democracy in] the
government of the United States
So... while they acknowledge that they had made an error, they want to correct that error in reference to a very specific form of govt, by changing it, from 'constitutional democracy', to -'government'.

From Democracy, to government.

This feels a bit like it might if after pointing out to a printer that they'd made an error in listing your address as, say, "#1 Riverbend Drive", when you actually live on "#1 Riverview Drive", and after pointing that out, they offered to make the following correction:
"Oh, we see our mistake, tell you what, we'll correct your address to show that: "you live in a house".
What would you say to that? 

What sort of correction is this? It is difficult to see this correction as anything other than a rather blatant evasion. Republic is the correct word, please use it.

I had no problem accepting that an error had been made in using 'Democracy', though a careless (and probably ideological) error - it's still a mistake, understandable and forgivable. The fact that some efforts to correct it have been made shows that it has been recognized as an error. But to refuse to correct that error by naming it as it correctly, demonstrably, legally, is, a Republic (if you can keep it), is appalling.

To refer to the government of the United States as 'the government of the United States', as if that adds some educational clarity, is ridiculous. Democracy is the wrong term, Republic is the correct term, please, in the name of Education, use the correct term.

You built that RFRA – and I object!

I object to Indiana's RFRA! Yep, that's right, but hold on, because whether you are for it, or against it, it's highly likely that I'm strongly objecting to what you don't object to.

You see, I don't object to Indiana wanting to protect the religious liberties of it's business people - at the very least I applaud the sentiment; and I don't object to it because numerous twitter-heads say it permits the persecution of homosexuals - and if that's not stupid enough of an idea on the face of it, it's unlikely that reading it will help you realize how deeply stupid the assertion is ( but it couldn't hurt) - but I do object to RFRA 's continuing the process of devaluing everyone else's liberties in the process - and by 'everyone' that should be understood to include those who are homosexual, straight, native born or immigrant, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim or Atheist or [please insert your neglected grievance group of record here] - in order to do so.

In short, I object to Indiana's RFRA law, for the same reason that Chuck Schumer and Bill Clinton supported the original Federal RFRA law of 1993 which Indiana's law was derived from - because it implicitly presumes that you lack the right and power to make your own decisions unless you have 'legitimate', approved, 'longstanding religious reasons' for doing so, despite what the the 1st Amendment, and the 9th Amendment, and the 10th Amendment and the Contract clause of Article 1, Section 10, Clause 1, have to say on the matter.

How can people not see the real issue here? Maybe it'll help if you take a look at what a virtual friend of mine had to say when he said this about that:
"In my opinion, a business has a right to refuse service to homosexuals if the particular service they perform (wedding photography or wedding cake makers) would seem to tacitly support an activity that goes against their "legitimate" religious or moral beliefs."
Now, except for the scary scare quotes around "legitimate", that almost seems sensible; the problem is that the sentence before that said:
"It should be patently illegal to refuse service to homosexuals simply because they are homosexual. For example not serving a gay couple at a restaurant. "
, which amounts to holding the primary hostage to the secondary, putting First Principles in the back seat to circumstances and incidentals. Note that this has nothing to do with homosexuals and everything to do with the Individual Rights of every one of us. If that's not clear, maybe another example will help:
"Amendment I - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
"Amendment IX - The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
Amendment X - "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."
"Article 1, Section 10, Clause 1 - No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility."
Suppose you own a printing store, and someone comes in expecting you to print flyers and handouts which you find to be hateful, racist and disgusting. Do you have the right to refuse them? What if they are black? What if they are homosexual? What if they are Muslim? What if they are Nazis? What if they are black, homosexual Muslim Nazis?

Which of those incidentals gives, or withdraws from you, the right to make your own decision about whether or not to serve them?

Walter E. Williams, H/T Stacy on the Right

IOW, by proposing the various RFRA's, you concede that you don't have the liberty to make your own decisions in your own businesses, UNLESS your decisions can claim the backing of what govt considers to be 'legitimate' religious or moral beliefs!

This turns the 1st Amendment on its head, putting freedom of speech, association and religious practices, at the peril of what legislators and judges consider to be 'legitimate' practices. And just how easily even high caliber judges can rationalize away your right to do what they personally disapprove of, can be seen in the earlier SCOTUS case of Reynolds vs U.S. (1878), when a Mormon's fervently held religious belief in polygamy, was struck down by the Judges distaste for it - and the situation is little different today, they just need to show a compelling interest for doing so, as they most surely felt that they had done back then.

And for those of you foolish enough to trust in the wisdom of legislators and judges to look out for a greater good that includes you, rather than them, you need look no further than Senator Chuckie Schumer's position on the law today is - you see, he was not only for it before he was against it... he sponsored the original RFRA twenty two years ago! - and his vehement opposition to it now, is due to his gauging of the politically correct winds of today. Do you get that? Laws like this don't put THE LAW behind your 'liberty' (religious or otherwise), it uses THE LAW to undermine your Liberty - all of it - with one big crocodile tear of a bill that plays to the sympathies of the day.

Where did the power for govt to tell you what you should do for the greater good? The 1st Amendment already tells congress that it "...shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;", why on earth do we now need yet another law to prohibit what that already prohibits? Especially one that says "... well congress can pass laws that prohibit the free exercise thereof... but they have to think it's reallllyyyy important first..."?

What the hell is going on here?

The only reason we have a RFRA in the first place, was to quiet a populace that was figuring out (perhaps a few decades too soon?), that something the govt was doing for the greater good, was leaving our liberty in a precarious state. And the precarious state of affairs that we find ourselves in today, is one where the govt has taken upon itself the power to disregard your Individual Right to make your own decisions for your own life and property, so long as they feel that their reasoning comports with either the politically correct reasoning of the day, or some other interest the govt has in disregarding your rights. Which of course ultimately means that We The People have no right to make our own decisions for ourselves, but only the power to exercise approved ones.

What do you suppose could have seemed so important and necessary to Americans, thirty or more years ago, as to make them think that it would the greater good for them to give up the substance of their Individual Right to live their own lives?

Yes... I can see that uncomfortable look in your eye from here, yes, this does mean that I'm not only venturing into that territory that Sen. Rand Paul stuck his toe into and then ran from, but unlike Sen. Liberty, I'm jumping in with both feet: Yes, the Civil Rights Acts which prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin, was detrimental to all of our liberty - both the bigots and the rest of us. While I certainly understand the emotional appeal to put such fools in their places, and to an extent revel in it myself, I must point out that it is by making intellectual decisions on the basis of emotional appeals, that good crisis' are prevented from going to waste.

So long as you don't violate another person's Individual Rights, you have the Individual Right to make your own decisions for your own life and for your own property, which includes your own business - or else you no longer have that Individual Right, or any other, you left only with having the permission of those in power to do what they approve of.

The law, properly, defines the boundaries of our actions, it does not - and it should not - define whether or not our actions are morally acceptable - that is the very meaning of the 1st Amendment! When we err and violate that hard rule 'for the greater good', we then put govt in the position of defining the morality which we then all Must adhere to - which has the affect of eliminating the moral quality from it. Worse, because we've given Govt the Power to make that choice,having made it, it can then, ala Sen. Chuckie Schumer, change its mind as it sees "legitimately" fit, with the spin of the next elections, or more likely, by appointments and regulations.

It's also worth pointing out that in this day of shifting demographics, ensuring that all are equal before the law, is the only sure defense for every demographic, no matter what their numbers might be yesterday, today or tomorrow.

Understand, I'm not denying anyone the right to determine what they consider to be legitimate religious or moral beliefs, I'm denying that govt can or should be in a position to determine what religious or moral beliefs are "Legitimate". The 1st Amendment wasn't written to make you smile and nod politely to your neighbor - that was the province of a decent upbringing and community outrage - the 1st Amendment was to prevent Govt from interfering - 'make NO law - abridging your right to speak your mind, associate with who you chose - or chose NOT to - and to forbid govt from making any laws that might favor - legitimate or otherwise - any one religion over another.

Morals, particularly in the Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian tradition, are what you choose to do, and if that choice somehow ceases to be a choice, then it ceases to be a moral decision. Do you really want to put Govt, or more pointedly, do you really want those people who manage to be elected to political office, to be in charge of what is to be considered a moral 'choice'?

The Rule of Law does not, and cannot, relieve you of the necessity and responsibility of being a decent human being - that's on you!

Freedom is so easy, even a cave man can do it. How so? Freedom means that you have the power to do, what you can get away with doing. It also means that those who have the power to stop you from doing it, can, and that their power gives them the freedom to stop you or take anything they'd like from you - freedom is so easy, that that's what democracy looks like!

Liberty, on the other hand, is Hard. Liberty takes thought, Liberty takes consideration of consequences over the long term. Liberty is the rarest thing in human history because it requires of you that you respect the Individual Rights of other people whom you may despise, to do what they think is best, no matter what you might think of it. And it also requires that you think long and hard about what you believe, and that you speak out for it, and that you stand up to those who'd violate it, even if you detest everything else about them.

For those on the Right (or left) who argue that laws which forbid businesses from refusing service on the basis of race, religion or gender bending, are necessary and good, but then want to also claim that govt cannot tell businesses who they can refuse to bake cakes for, are not simply guilty of not connecting the dots, they have somehow managed to forget that the dots ever existed at all. Egregious violations of our Individual Rights under law, have come about only after imposing 'necessary!' and acceptable violations of our Individual Rights under law, for the 'greater good'.

The plain truth is that Govt mandated health care, with all of its violations of our Individual Rights, property and religious freedoms, could not have come to pass, had govt not been enabled to take the first step against our Individual Rights, by forbidding businesses to deny services based upon race, religion, gender, etc.

Govt has expanded through our seeking to shirk our own individual responsibilities as thinking, moral, individuals. The fact is that rather than actually facing up to our friends, neighbors and relatives and telling them, arguing with them and convincing them that such bigotry, racial or otherwise, was ignorant, stupid and harmful to us all, we took the easy way out and got govt to use its power to force them to act as if they had listened and understood that.

But did they? No, they didn't. Look around you, and no, that sort of stupidity isn't limited to skin color. And what that has cost us, has been the substance of all of our rights, and the 'permission' to shirk our responsibilities to say and do what we know to be right. Such a deal, eh? Our seeking to offload our own moral and reasonable responsibilities, to govt, has put us firmly upon the pro-regressive road to losing our ability to make our own moral and reasonable decisions ourselves. From Marriage laws (WTH is Govt involved in those at all for?!), to Education, to Prohibition, to Civil Rights and Health Care - we have sought to rid ourselves of the burdens of making our own decisions for our own lives, and have consequently lost the ability to make our own decisions for our own lives.

I for one am not surprised in the least that we are where we are today. Look around you. It's all ours. Own it. Or do you now really agree with Elizabeth Warren and President Obama, when they say:
"You didn't build that."

Thank You To The Members Who Voted Correctly on H.R. 2


There have been three votes the United States House of Representatives have taken this Congress that have been of grave importance to the conservative movement.

The first was the vote for Speaker of the House, which 25 Republican members opposed the liberal House leadership and voted for someone other than John Boehner.

The second was against the DHS bill, which funded Obama’s unlawful executive amnesty. For this vote 75 Republicans joined with Democrats and voted for the bill.  The conservative vote was a “No” vote.

The third, which happened this past week, was the vote for the “Doc Fix” bill, H.R. 2. This bill broke the hopes of a budget, yet only 33 Republicans voted “No”.


Madison Project would like to thank those 37 members who stood up for conservative principles and voted “No” on HR2.


Rep. Mo Brooks

Rep. Gary Palmer

Rep. David Schweikert

Rep. Tom McClintock

Rep. Darrell Issa

Rep. Ken Buck

Rep. Ron DeSantis

Rep. David Jolly

Rep. Barry Loudermilk

Rep. Tom Graves

Rep. Raul Labrador

Rep. Jan Schakowsky

Rep. Randy Hultgren

Rep. Peter Visclosky

Rep. Rod Blum

Rep. Steve King

Rep. Tim Huelskamp

Rep. Thomas Massie

Rep. Justin Amash

Rep. Scott Garrett

Rep. Jerrold Nadler

Rep. Walter Jones

Rep. Mark Meadows

Rep. Jim Jordan

Rep. Jim Bridenstine

Rep. Mark Sanford

Rep. Mick Mulvaney

Rep. Scott DesJarlais

Rep. Jim Cooper

Rep. Louie Gohmert

Rep. Sam Johnson

Rep. John Ratcliffe

Rep. Kenny Marchant

Rep. Dave Brat

Rep. James Sensenbrenner

Rep. Glenn Grothman

Rep. Cynthia Lummis

This Guy Puts People to Work


Original Post: This Guy Puts People to Work.

Brett wanted to know more about Eric Greitens. Ben deferred to me to tell the Greitens story. I went through the usual, remarkable life of a man, eleven years my […]

The post This Guy Puts People to Work appeared first on Hennessy's View.

Madison Project Policy Memo: The Repeal Of Obamacare


It is a pattern we have witnessed for years, but especially the last four election cycles.

It goes something like this.

The Republican Party messages to the conservative grassroots: if you turn out and vote us into a majority, we will accomplish X, Y and Z.

X, Y and Z happen to be THE issues the grassroots are concerned about.

The conservative grassroots responds and delivers the majority (or in 2000 and 2004, the Presidency) in one or both chambers of Congress under the illusion of a GOP majority advancing conservatism and rolling back rampant government expansion.

Then, Lucy-like, the GOP majority pulls the ball just as the conservative movement goes for the extra point. As the grassroots conservatives dust themselves off wondering what just happened, the GOP spin machine kicks into high gear. “We are with you, but the timing isn’t right.” Or, “The work isn’t done. We have the majorities in both the House and Senate, but we need the White House to REALLY get things done.”

Then stories like this one from The Hill crop up, an obvious attempt by the GOP leadership to set the stage for further abdication on critical issues, this one being the repeal of Obamacare. First comes the above messaging, then the leaked stories to bolster the GOP Establishment’s messaging: We are trying, but there isn’t anything we can do right now on your issues.

Except for one problem.

The GOP is lying to the conservative base in hopes that no one will challenge their messaging.

As we have noted many times, this is why the Madison Project exists. To challenge the GOP Establishment’s progressive, big government tendencies. We do it on all fronts, from recruiting full spectrum conservatives to run against middling incumbents to prosecuting the case against a GOP gone awry.

This is why we are launching, today, our new series of Policy Memos. From bullet points to in-depth analysis of the issues, our memos will be brief and powerful, the perfect tool for challenging the GOP messaging machine.

As the Mitch McConnell and Co. attempt to set the stage for the inability to repeal Obamacare through budget reconciliation, we make the case in our first Policy Memo for why this is absolutely wrong and, point by point, lay out exactly how the GOP can accomplish one of its stated policy goals: the full repeal of Obamacare (dare we say, ripping it out root and branch).

It is time for the conservative movement to be discontent with the milquetoast leadership of the Republican Party that not only refuses to fight for them in Washington, DC, but more often than not works against them.

To read our first Policy Memo, click the following link:

Press Release: Steve Russell should have Opposed Boehner for Speaker


Fort Worth, TX – The Madison Project PAC made the following statement regarding the passage of Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), also known as Doc Fix, a bill that adds $141 billion to the deficit:

“The House GOP leadership’s “Doc Fix” is bad policy,” said Drew Ryun of the Madison Project.  “It increases the deficit and forces our nation’s taxpayers to foot the bill. While we’re in favor of replacing the SGR this could have been done responsibly without forcing our nation further into debt.

“If Rep. Steve Russell had kept his campaign pledge to the conservative grassroots and opposed Rep. John Boehner for Speaker we might not be in this current situation.  A more conservative House leadership would not be pushing legislation as destructive as this Doc Fix.”

Press Release: Alex Mooney should have Opposed Boehner for Speaker


Fort Worth, TX – The Madison Project PAC made the following statement regarding the passage of Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), also known as Doc Fix, a bill that adds $141 billion to the deficit:

“The House GOP leadership’s “Doc Fix” is bad policy,” said Drew Ryun of the Madison Project.  “It increases the deficit and forces our nation’s taxpayers to foot the bill. While we’re in favor of replacing the SGR this could have been done responsibly without forcing our nation further into debt.

“If Rep. Alex Mooney had kept his campaign pledge to the conservative grassroots and opposed Rep. John Boehner for Speaker we might not be in this current situation.  A more conservative House leadership would not be pushing legislation as destructive as this Doc Fix.”

Heritage Action Opposes Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Bill


Washington – The Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency legislation may be voted on at the end of the Senate vote-a-rama. This is an inappropriate program of federal mandates and subsidies that is duplicative of existing federal and state efforts.

The free market is the best mechanism for decreasing costs and increasing efficiency in energy production.  The Shaheen-Portman legislation would have the federal government overstep its appropriate role.

Heritage Action opposes this legislation as laid out in our May 02, 2014 key vote. A vote on this legislation will be included in our scorecard.

I Am a Coward (but I’m trying to get better)


Original Post: I Am a Coward (but I’m trying to get better).

A critic is someone who enters the battlefield after the war is over and shoots the wounded. ― Murray Kempton Great leaders inspire thought and action. But their real value? Great […]

The post I Am a Coward (but I’m trying to get better) appeared first on Hennessy's View.