Monday, April 27, 2015

April, 2015, Part 2, Will The Center Hold?

On a regular basis we discuss a continuing theme in this post. “Will the center hold?” Never in my life have I seen such a pushback against an overreaching Federal government and Washington political class at all levels of government and at the individual citizen level. From Obama Care to gun control to education to Common Core to spying on innocent civilians, across the country people are finally saying enough and have started to rebel against Washington dictates and laws.

Which brings to two very interesting questions:
  1. What if Washington passed a law and everyone the country simply ignored it?
  2. Would the center hold or would the Republic splinter apart?
Don’t believe that the center is possibly in danger? Insert the phrase “will the center hold” into the search box above or read on today and yesterday to see where the rebellion has spread to.

1) Yesterday we briefly discussed the Convention of States movement and how that movement was trying hard to get a Constitutional Convention of States together to help get the Federal government under control to protect both the country’s financial future and our freedoms. 

In late March, North Dakota became the 27th state to legally call for a meeting of the states to propose an amendment to the Constitution requiring an annual balanced Federal budget. This is a critical push back on the overspending by Washington, particularly the Obama administration, which inherited a national debt at around $10 TRILLION and which will leave with a national debt of around $20 TRILLION. At that time, the average debt burden for every American household will be close to a mind boggling $170,000.

But the states are pushing back, as the following map shows:

This map shows the 26 states in blue that have called for a convention to push for a balanced budget amendment. North Dakota, still in red, became the 27th state to make that call this week. 

Article V of the Constitution allows a Convention of States to be called, which would let states propose changes to the Constitution that three-fourths of the states would then have to ratify. As you can see, we are getting very close to the 34 states that are needed to establish a convention for a Constitutional amendment: “If we want fiscal discipline in Washington, D.C., it has to come from the states. We have to be bold in our approach to them,” according to North Dakota Republican state Sen. Dick Dever.

It is my recollection that this is the first time that the center, i.e. Washington DC, has gotten so much resistance from the states, raising the question: will the center hold in the face of growing opposition to its ruinous financial and political practices?

2) But North Dakota has also been busy in other areas relative to Federal government overreach. In mid-March, 2015, the North Dakota house passed legislation that would create processes in the state constitution “restricting state and local government personnel and financial resources [only] to purposes that are consistent with the Constitution of the United States.” It would bar North Dakota “from using any personnel or financial resources to enforce, administer, or cooperate with [a] designated federal action” that is deemed unconstitutional through “passage of an initiative or referendum pursuant to section 1 of article III [of the state constitution]; a law enacted by the legislative assembly; or pursuing any other available legal remedy.”

According to news reports, the legislation is specifically aimed at enforcement of Obama Care, Federal gun control efforts, and Obama’s executive orders. If the legislation is passed by the state senate, it will be voted on by the citizens of North Dakota next fall and become law if approved by the voters, bypassing the need for the governor’s signature.

3) Recently, the Arkansas state house of representatives passed a Convention of States resolution on its second try to reign in Federal government overreach. Do to citizen pressure, the second try passed with flying colors by a vote of 52 to 33.

4) Now while much, but not all, of the state pushback against onerous and bad Federal programs and laws has been done in Republican controlled states, it is still rare when a major Democratic organization comes out fully against a Federal dictate. Such was the case earlier this year when the Washington State Democratic Party became the first Democratic State Party in the nation to pass a resolution against Common Core.

The resolution, Resolution Opposing Common Core State Standards, calls for the Washington state legislature and the superintendent of public instruction to withdraw from the Common Core tenets and requirements. Specifically the resolution calls for:

Resolution Opposing Common Core State Standards

WHEREAS the copyrighted (and therefore unchangeable) Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a set of controversial top-down K-12 academic standards that were promulgated by wealthy private interests without research-based evidence of validity and are developmentally inappropriate in the lowest grades; and

WHEREAS, as a means of avoiding the U.S. Constitution’s 10th Amendment prohibition against federal meddling in state education policy, two unaccountable private trade associations–the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)–have received millions of dollars in funding from the Gates Foundation and others to create the CCSS; and

WHEREAS the U.S. Department of Education improperly pressured state legislatures into adopting the Common Core State Standards and high-stakes standardized testing based on them as a condition of competing for federal Race to the Top (RTTT) stimulus funds that should have been based on need; and

WHEREAS as a result of Washington State Senate Bill 6669, which passed the State legislature on March 11, 2010, the Office of the Superintendent of Instruction (OSPI) adopted Common Core State Standards (CCSS) on July 20, 2011; and

WHEREAS this adoption effectively transfers control over public school standardized testing from locally elected school boards to the unaccountable corporate interests that control the CCSS and who stand to profit substantially; and

WHEREAS the Washington State Constitution also calls for public education to be controlled by the State of Washington through our elected State legislature, our elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction and our elected local school boards; and

WHEREAS implementation of CCSS will cost local school districts hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for standardized computer-based tests, new technology, new curricula and teacher training at a time when Washington is already insufficiently funding K-12 Basic Education without proven benefit to students; and WHEREAS some states have already withdrawn from CCSS;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we call upon the Washington State legislature and the Superintendent of Public Instruction to withdraw from the CCSS and keep K-12 education student-centered and accountable to the people of Washington State.

Keeping accountability local and within their control, telling the Feds to pound sand in the process. Sounds like a call for freedom against the tyranny of Washington politicians.

5) One area that we have not talked about a lot in this series is the failure of Washington to dictate a nutritious and effective food program for school kids, a pet project of Michelle Obama. This is another centrally controlled and failing program from Washington that failed to understand the real world. Obesity and poor eating habits in this country are a public health problems, it cannot be resolved by simply dictating lunch menus to tens of thousands of school districts how to feed tens of millions of kids.

As a result of not understanding the root causes, schools all across the country have seen mountains of wasted food being tossed in the garbage on a daily basis, as kids are opting to either bring a lunch or not eat at all. This is causing severe budget problems for school districts who were relying on school lunch revenue in their budgets.

A solution to the Washington imposed problem or wasted food is being implemented in Nebraska. In school districts around Lincoln, the schools are partnering with the Nebraska Farmers union to take the school lunch refuse and use it for compost for the Union’s worm farm.

One Lincoln area school, Culler Middle School, averages about 11,600 pounds of food refuse per month and is considering joining the program: “Composting gives them more hands-on experience. They can see how their waste is going to be turned into a useful product rather than going into a landfill,” says Brittney Albin, interim recycling coordinator at Lincoln Public Schools.

This is the kind of thing that happens when the Washington political class tries to resolve problems that they have neither the authority or expertise to do: we end up feeding their mistakes and overreach to the worms.

But it is not just Nebraska where the locals are pushing back on this failed Washington program. In Rhode Island, school lunch leftovers are feeding some 3,000 pigs on a Rhode Island farm. The pigs are enjoying “half-eaten tuna sandwiches and other food scraps students discard during their lunch periods” as part of a new recycling program established by the town of Cumberland, according to

Washington programs that end up feeding worms and pigs. No wonder the disgust and resistance to the Federal government is growing.

6) But it is not just state governments that are rebelling and pushing back. In Washington state earlier this year over 1,000 gun owners showed up at a rally in the Washington state capital of Olympia to protest a recently passed gun control law in that state. And not only did they show up, they showed up with their guns openly visible on their sides, in clear violation of the new law.

In addition, many in attendance exchanged guns with other attendees or sold guns to others, in direct violation of the new law. Police officers on duty made no effort to enforce the new law.

Wow, rebellions brewing across the country in state legislatures and on the streets by ordinary citizens. Washington has stirred up a hornets nest across a wide spectrum of illegal and immoral actions and those living in America outside of the Beltway are having no part of it. Which raises the central question: if the rest of America stops listening to and stops obeying Washington laws and dictates, will the center hold?

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