Tom Schweich- Rest In Peace

Posted: February 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

The post below is from Ed Martin. There appear to be some anomalies in the passing of Tom Schweich, but the fact is that our thoughts and prayers for comfort for his family and loved ones need to be paramount. I thank Ed for the insights he shares below and for his thoughtfulness in sharing it with us.

From Ed Martin:

Last Friday, I flew from St. Louis to Kansas City for Reagan-Lincoln Days. This event is the Missouri Republican Party’s statewide annual gathering.  Lost in thought at the security line, I heard the familiar voice of Tom Schweich call out from behind me.  He was with his wife lovely wife Kathy. We walked together to the plane, chatting about nothing in particular.

We were not able to sit together on the plane, but we did share a ride from the airport to the hotel that was hosting the event.  Our conversation was light and touched on topics from Bolton (John, not Michael), collectible coins, my new job at Eagle Forum, and a good deal about our families.  Tom sat in the front passenger seat insisting that the back seat was “where the dignitaries sit, Mr. Chairman – for one more day.”  Tom was a thoroughly pleasant man.

***

The hoary saw “Politics is not Beanbags” is every bit as true as it is cynical. I remember clearly the first time someone called me “corrupt.”  I was running for Congress and a man whom I did not know, and could not possibly know me, shook my hand, narrowed his eyes and said “I know you, you’re Ed Martin, and you’re corrupt.”

He spit the words out with such venom that it made me shudder.  I thought fleetingly about slugging the man but just grimaced and turned away. It put me in a foul mood.

Alas, I learned that when you run for office this is what you can expect. You will be terribly dispirited if you complain or dwell on these unprompted and unfair personal assessments.  I learned to take them with some bemused interest while thinking to myself  “Hey, pal, you don’t know me ….”

When you run for office a whole lot of people are very supportive: they know you, love you and they recognize your heart and intent, and give you the benefit of the doubt. Having that kind of support is wonderful, but its antithesis is pretty awful. I understand why politicians develop this thick skin and can seem remote. No matter how many people support you, in your mind you know that there are many who call you everything under the sun but what your mother named you. It’s a strange and disorienting business, politics.

***

We really don’t know people in public life.  But we think we do and we judge them thus, often with a harshness that is hard to fathom. Tom Schweich was a friend of mine.  By that, I mean, I knew him more broadly than just his political persona. I was a young associate at Bryan Cave when Tom worked there as an attorney. The community of Saint Louis is small enough that charitable and social work will bring people together as interests in community service overlap. I obviously know him from politics both as a candidate and policy leader.

Tom and I broke bread together, he’s invited me over for dinner at his home with his family and we’ve been out for lunch or supper together.

I knew he loved his wife and kids; that he collected coins, autographs, and posters; that he loved John Bolton and his tough brand of foreign policy; and on and on.  He was a fearless auditor. Tom was unsparing as he held everyone accountable for the public trust. He loved doing his job.

 

Mostly, I knew Tom as a driven, successful man.  And honest.  To a fault perhaps. Tom wore his heart and his mind on his sleeve.  This morning, when I woke up having slept on the terrible news, I wondered if I was really his friend. The burdens of life can be ominous – Lord knows I’ve felt that groaning weight.  I am blessed with my wife and family and so many friends who will share my burdens and for whom I share my love. I wish I could show that love to Tom. I offered it in my prayers last night and today but it felt very weak.

***

That Tom has died is a mystery to me. It still seems unreal. If the burdens of being a public figure were part of his tragic death, it makes me think about how we as a society treat people we do not know.

The Lord said that we should judge others in the way we would want to be judged. Without plumbing the significant depths of this simple, profound statement, one facet I find is that we should be humble, and not rush to think harshly of someone just because we oppose them, or that they are different. Mercy needs to be the first filter through which our words and thoughts pass.

God created every man and woman in His likeness.  And any loss of His creation is infinitely sad.  I also believe in a God who is generous and merciful that He sent His only Son to save us all.  That God, so merciful and kind, will take up Tom now.

I will lift up my friend Tom Schweich in prayer before the merciful God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will have confidence that he is at peace.

Ed Martin Signature

Here’s an alert I just rec’d about a bill in the current legislature. Considering the flu vaccine is often ineffective and has numerous additives that troublesome at best, this is a bill that needs to go into the circular file. Here’s the alert:

 

The recent outbreak of measles has been all over the news recently, and anyone who believes in the freedom of informed choice on a question of vaccinations is proclaimed an hysterical “anti-vaxxer,” when the science clearly advises caution.

The Missouri legislature is considering a bill, SB 329, that would mandate the flu vaccination for healthcare workers.

This is a direct attack on a patient’s right to decide which treatments make sense for him- or herself. Some flu shots still contain mercury, a known toxin with adverse health effects. Forcing individuals to expose themselves to these dangers is cruel and unethical.

Action Alert! We must not lose our freedom to make informed choices about vaccines. Contact your state legislators and tell them to vote NO on SB 329. Please send your message TODAY.

Here is the link to take you to the form to fill out your thoughts on this bill:

https://secure3.convio.net/aahf/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=2143

Running Off Educators With Common Core

Posted: February 19, 2015 in Education

Teacher Wins Teacher of the Year Award then Announces Resignation because of Common Core

By Onan Coca

Stacie Starr has won many accolades as a high school teacher in Elyria, Ohio. She has been nationally recognized as one of our nation’s best teachers, and her career was seemingly on a fast track to success. So it came as a huge surprise when this award winning superstar teacher announced that she would be resigning at the end of the 2014-2015 school year.

Her reason for resigning just when it seemed that she had nothing but success ahead of her? The Common Core…

Gasps of disbelief followed the announcement made during an education forum aimed at unraveling for parents the intricacies of the standardized testing system. Starr was at the podium, delivering a talk on how special education students are suffering under the new system based on Common Core standards and more rigorous assessments. She said as a veteran intervention specialist at Elyria High School, she could no longer watch silently from within the confines of a structured school day.

Yet with a stellar 16-year career under her belt, Starr said the new testing culture is killing education.

“I can’t do it anymore, not in this ‘drill ‘em and kill ‘em’ atmosphere,” she said. “I don’t think anyone understands that in this environment if your child cannot quickly grasp material, study like a robot and pass all of these tests, they will not survive.”

The tests are developmentally inappropriate for typical students and torture for those with special needs, she said. And, even an individual education plan is not enough to shield students from the rigors of state expectations.

 

common_core_protestAs a former public school teacher who had to deal with the horrible mess that No Child Left Behind and then retired as the state began shifting to new Common Core compliant standards – I can attest to the fact that many teachers feel this same burden that Ms. Starr does. Even those of us who deal with general ed and advanced courses are overwhelmed by the amount and specificity of information that must be “known” by our students in order for them to do well on their tests.

But it’s more than that – this drive to conform our national education to a single standard will irrevocably lead to more testing. Why? Because testing is the only way to measure that the students are learning what the central government (or in the case of Common Core the central education planners) wants them to know. There just is no other way to judge them.

The Common Core (and any other system that would seek to nationally integrate every public school student) is doomed to failure because it will necessarily continue to drive teachers to teach to a test. That’s not education, that’s indoctrination. Our current public school model is not designed to teach, but to manipulate, and that is at the core of our current national education crisis.

Over at the Daily Caller News Foundation, Blake Neff writes that conservatives and teachers are uniting over our current education crisis, mostly because both groups agree that the government is making our kids take too many standardized tests!


Long at odds, America’s largest teachers union and one of its leading conservative advocacy groups have come to agree on one thing: The federal government is making children take too many standardized tests.

Under No Child Left Behind, each state is required to test students in reading and mathematics every year from grades 3-8, as well as once in high school. Both houses of Congress are working to update the law, and one of the issues in play is whether this mandate should remain. President Barack Obama, civil rights groups and business organizations support keeping the mandate, but teachers unions and small-government conservatives are forming an unusual alliance to oppose it.

The National Education Association, which has almost three million members, is launching an ad blitz in several states over the congressional recess in order to pressure lawmakers to eliminate federal testing requirements. The group is pumping $500,000 into a series of television and radio ads urging parents to contact lawmakers and tell them to scale back standardized testing.

In its TV ad, the NEA complains that “rather than learning the skills they need, students are learning to fill in bubbles,” and it claims students are spending as much a one-third of class time on either taking or preparing for tests.

“Now is the time… to fight for the opportunity for all students to receive a quality public education, more time for students to learn and more time for teachers to teach,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García in a statement.

Meanwhile, on the right, Heritage Action, an influential public advocacy group related to The Heritage Foundation, is bashing the current Republican proposal in the House, dubbed the Student Success Act, which would update NCLB while keeping annual tests. The group recently sent a brief to thousands of donors attacking the bill by attempting to expose the “misleading claims” of its proponents.

In the brief, Heritage Action argues that annual testing reduces local control by “direct[ing] the state to establish a single uniform assessment, limiting the ability of local schools to determine their own curriculum.” While supports of the Student Success Act claim it will free states from federal interference, Heritage says that will not be true as long as testing mandates remain in place.

testsThe campaigns seek to resurrect a push against annual testing that appears on the verge of petering out. In January, Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander introduced a proposal that would have allowed states to eliminate annual tests, but the proposal was withdrawn in the face of sharp criticism from Democrats and the implied threat of a veto from Obama. If teachers and conservatives can’t quickly revive that proposal or encourage lawmakers to adopt a similar one, they may see one of their best ever chances to roll back federal control of education slip away.

They have one reason for optimism: This week marks the beginning of standardized testing season, as Ohio becomes the first state to roll out long-awaited tests aligned with Common Core. If the new tests run into any major glitches, lawmakers could be getting an earful from frustrated parents.

Lindsey Burke, an education analyst with The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that keeping annual tests was one of many ways current Republican proposals on NCLB reform are disappointing.

“This is, in the current environment, a missed opportunity,” she said. “If we haven’t cut spending, if we haven’t cut programs, if we haven’t cut mandates, have we really reduced federal intervention?”

Quota Scheme Verified

Posted: February 19, 2015 in Economic Freedom

Anyone that hasn’t been sleeping for the past couple of decades is well aware of law enforcement and the “quota scheme”. It goes hand in hand with the recent story about Missouri officials suing the citizens for banning red light cameras. Those offended by the ban admitted that these cameras are for revenue collection. No surprise, but damning nonetheless.

 Please read this article below. It should solidify the fact that we absolutely need to change our current police structure so that there is citizen oversight.

St. Louis, MO — A former Bellefontaine Neighbors police officer has come out of the quota closet and is exposing the department’s highly unethical revenue collection scheme.

Ten-year veteran of the force, officer Joe St. Clair was ordered to carry out a policy that he says required cops to issue a certain number of traffic tickets, and even traffic arrests. If the cops failed to do it, they could be fired.

“I believe the chief put an illegal mandate on his officers. I think it’s unfair to the community,” St. Clair told KMOV.

A report conducted by KMOV, with the help of St. Clair, exposed the downright insane requirements for Bellefontaine Neighbors cops.

According to the report:

The mandate was put in writing. It requires officers to take a specific number of “self-initiated activities” each month. St. Clair gave News 4 Investigates copies of spreadsheets used by the Bellefontaine Neighbors Police Department to track those activities. It identifies seven different activities that officers are required to do. Those include writing ordinance violations, traffic arrests, uniform traffic tickets, parking violations and traffic warnings.

St. Clair had to do 50 of them every month. The spreadsheet shows that Traffic Arrests represented up to 15 percent of the required activities for Bellfontaine Neighbors cops, an equivalent of up to 8 arrests per month, and that Uniform Traffic Tickets were up to 60 percent, or about 30 tickets per month.

Just to put that into perspective, 75 percent of all officers’ duties is forced revenue collection.

This department focuses 75 percent of all of its time on the act of revenue collection. This ratio is particularly disturbing.

It means that only 25 percent of the time are they trying to solve murders, prevent crimes, and investigate thefts. But that’s probably too generous of a number as well. If you take into account the immoral War on Drugs; solving murders, preventing crimes and investigating thefts is probably only a tiny fraction of that 25 percent.

St. Clair tells KMOV that he was threatened with “disciplinary action” in September of 2013 after failing to meet the required minimum of 50 citations. The next month he made sure to meet the minimum.

“I wasn’t comfortable doing it, but I had to do it. I have a wife and two children I had to support,” said St. Clair.

It should be noted that St. Clair is no angel. He was named in an excessive force lawsuit six years ago that the city settled for $90,000. The victim claimed that St. Clair and another cop arrested, beat and tased him, then dumped him in Granite City, Illinois.

However, St. Clair’s credibility in this matter was reinforced when Police Chief Robert Pruett confirmed the quota system

Pruett admitted during an off-camera conversation with KMOV that officers have been threatened with discipline and punished for not meeting this quota. Oddly enough, just prior to admitting that officers face consequences for not meeting quotas, Pruett claimed that it “is not a quota system.”

Pruett then passed the buck and informed KMOV that Mayor Robert Doerr had ordered him not to give an interview.

KMOV reporter Craig Cheatham then went to the mayor’s office to have a talk with him. According to KMOV:

Bellefontaine Neighbors Mayor Robert Doerr repeatedly insisted the policy was legal and not a quota. He insisted the policy was needed because officers had been lazy and weren’t doing enough to protect the community. He claimed the policy was his idea.

It is no surprise that the mayor is behind the quota system. After all, he is likely one of the principal benefactors of the revenue generated through this unethical practice. The judges and prosecutors probably have their hand the extortion cookie jar as well.

In typical statist fashion, the mayor then told Cheatham that “if Joe St. Clair is going to drag us through the mud, then we’re going to drag him through the mud, too.”

Boss Hogg….ahem…..Mayor Doerr then forced the news crew to leave.

Mandating that officers issue citations and make arrests is nothing close to “protecting and serving.” In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Requiring a minimum number of citations forces conflict and potentially hostile interactions.

It truly forces police officers to create criminals out of otherwise innocent people in order to generate revenue, or they face losing their jobs.

But hey, like St. Clair said, he’s got a family to feed. So he’s “just doing his job” when he throws you in a prison cell over a seat belt “violation.”

It wouldn’t be nearly as disheartening if the Bellefontaine Neighbors police department was some rogue unit and this was an isolated incident. But sadly it is not. There are entirely too many examples.

The most recent happened in November of last year. The Free Thought Project reported the story of police in Normal, IL. Several cops from the Normal police department sued the city claiming that the department’s policy forced them to make arrests without probable cause.

After showing how difficult it can be to blow the whistle on corruption in one’s own unit, it’s safe to assume that there are departments across the nation with equally despicable extortion rackets in place. So much for the land of the free……
Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/olice-department-caught-forcing-cops-arrests-give-tickets-fired/#O7hyZb1mgMgLLdSr.99

The Mountain Grove Property Rights Coalition will be meeting at the Sunnyside Café in Mountain Grove, Missouri on February 26th from 6pm until 8pm.
 The Property Rights Coalition is dedicated to preserving and protecting private property and the property rights of the individual and land owners against any further encroachment by all levels of government or groups that strive to destroy the freedoms we hold dear.
 At the meeting on the 26th, the group will be discussing the recent incident with an active property rights advocate who was tased by a Sparta policeman and hospitalized due  to that tasing. We hope to have a nearby Chief of Police give a short talk on what you should do if you are pulled over by a police officer. Also, Marie Lasseter will share her discoveries regarding cities in our area using fluoride in their water supplies. If time allows, updates will be given on other topics of concern to the preservation of property rights.
 Doreen Hannes, Co Chair of the PRC,  says, “This meeting is sure to be loaded with information.  Everyone is invited to attend and encouraged to also enjoy the buffet before the meeting. but do keep your eye on our website in case the weather causes a cancellation. “
 The group’s site is www.prcnews,org.  Articles and information regarding the group’s interests are posted regularly as well as meeting notices of other  PRC groups throughout southern Missouri.

No Hearing for HB 382

Posted: February 17, 2015 in Uncategorized
From Ron Calzone:
It turns out that there will be no hearing for HB 382 (bad education bill) on Wednesday.
Both the House and Senate were shut down for a “snow day” on Monday, and that complicates scheduling.  They just posted the hearing schedule for the House Elementary and Secondary Education committee this afternoon, and it DOES NOT include HB 382.   The rules require at least 24 hours notice before a public hearing, and sometimes that’s ALL the notice they give, so we sometimes have to get the word out before everything is 100% settled.
The hearing for HB 382 may be next Monday — we will probably know more on Wednesday and will let you know.
In the mean time, we’ll continue to collect witness forms.  Over 300 folks have contributed so far, many leaving insightful testimony.   Please send this link to anyone you think might be interested in this bill: http://www.mofirst.org/emails/HB382-Hearing-1.php

You are invited to meet with the Howell County Campaign for Liberty Group Thursday, February 19. At 6:30p ???, will speak.  We meet at Chen’s Garden, 1705 Gibson, in West Plains.  Come at 5:30pm to eat and visit.

This month’s agenda:

  • 6:30 – report on items of interest around the state
    • 7:00 – ???? will speak

Note: we need to start about 30 minutes early this month. Our meeting date happens to also be the Chinese New Year and the folks at Chen’s want to close early to celebrate that. So we need to be gone by 8:00p.

When I spoke with Billy Sexton, today, he told me he’s working 12 hour days trying to get the county roads cleared of the snow and that he won’t be able to speak to us this Thursday. I’ll try to schedule him some other time.

Josh Cotter and Jonathan Meade are running for the open city Council seat. Their names will be on the April 7 city election ballot. I’m trying to get one or both of them to come and speak to us about why they are running, what their plans are for West Plains, etc. If they can’t make it, I guess we’ll have what someone called an “open mic” meeting, so come prepared with a topic for discussion.

Brad North of the Missouri militia is scheduled to speak to us in March. That date fit his schedule better than our February meeting.

We will have reports to bring us up to date in the following areas:   

-         New ONSR plan

-         COS update

-         Candidates for next election (sheriff, county commissioners, etc.)

-         Current legislative session information

-         Mike Slack – Miscellaneous

–         Other –

I have copies of the General Assembly Roster 2013 which has contact information for our state and federal elected officials. Copies will be available at this meeting.  I also have copies of the current Missouri Roster.  It has contact info for county officials around the state.  Copies of the US and MO constitutions and  Howell County Campaign for Liberty Group business cards will be available as well.  Copies of the 5000 year leap and Agenda 21 material will also be available as will “The Victory for State Sovereignty”, Mack/Prinz vs. USA by Sheriff Richard Mack.

The Missouri Secretary of State’s office should be making the 2015 General Assembly Roster available soon. I’ll get copies when they do.


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