Archive for March 2016

Why I’m For Ted Cruz   16 comments

CruzFamilyAnnouncment2

 

I’m with Ted.

To see the real contest between Ted and Trump, compare something other than what the news outlets permit you to see.  Start with the Cruz and Trump official websites.  Note the way that they speak about (or if they even mention at all) education, family, the Constitution, and religious liberty.  Compare the clarity and substance of their points.  Compare their histories of real action versus talk.

To me, there is no real contest after you do this.

The only thing I sincerely like about Trump is his slogan:  “Make America Great Again”.

I wonder: how, precisely, would Trump do that –without having outlined steps to actively uphold religious freedom, educational freedom, the First Amendment, religious liberty, and the family as the central unit of society, traditionally defined?  On these issues –my issues– Trump seems stumped.

Cruz has real, defined solutions based on foundational principles, but Trump has not.  What Trump has is hot air, angry bravado, a memorable slogan, and a nifty hat.

In researching which candidate upholds my priorities, I first took a look at Cruz’s and Trump’s official websites:

On Trump’s site, you see a lot of stuff for sale and you see narcissistic campaign articles about the Trump movement itself.  You don’t learn anything substantive.  There’s no mention of my priorities on his site.  That scares me.  Trump’s “issues” page only lists:

 

ted

On Cruz’ site, however, the “issues” page mentions all three of my top issues.  His list is:

The Cruz website focuses on principles and gives information about how Cruz has taken action on those principles, such as the vital detail of why religious freedom is so important.  The site says:

  • “America was founded on a revolutionary idea. Our rights do not come from government. They come from God. 
  • Ted has spent his career defending religious liberty. He has fought to protect our First Amendment rights in a number of Supreme Court cases, and as U.S. Senator, he has been a tireless fighter for the right to freely live according to our faith.
  • As a presidential candidate, Ted Cruz has hosted two national religious liberties rallies and has brought together Christians who have been persecuted for their beliefs so that people across the country can listen to their stories and stand united for our first freedom.
  • On day one, a President Cruz will instruct the Department of Justice, the IRS, and every other federal agency that the persecution of religious liberty ends today.”

Aside from the websites, think about their histories.  I especially like the story of Cruz, as Texas Solicitor General in 2005, who stood up to and beat the combined forces of murderer-rapist Jose Medellin plus the U.S. federal government plus the U.N. “International Court”. The U.S. and U.N. courts attempted to side with Medellin, who had raped and killed two Texas teenagers as part of a gang initiation.  The U.S./U.N. courts argued that although Medellin was guilty, Medellin should not be tried by Texas, but by Mexico.  Cruz won the case for Texas.  The murderer-rapist, Medellin, was executed.

Trump has what history?  He has made money, despite a lot of bankruptcies, and he had a reality show that a lot of people watched.  And?

This is not a high school popularity contest.  Choosing the wrong candidate can have devastating, even deadly, consequences.

As Mitt Romney pointed out this week,  “Trump’s bombast is already alarming our allies and fueling the enmity of our enemies… What he said on “60 Minutes,” about Syria and ISIS, has to go down as the most ridiculous and dangerous idea of the campaign season… This is recklessness in the extreme. Donald Trump lacks the temperament to be president. …[He] mocked a disabled reporter… attributed a reporter’s questions to her menstrual cycle… mocked a brilliant rival who happened to be a woman, due to her appearance… bragged about his marital affairs, and who laces his public speeches with vulgarity…. Mr. Trump is directing our anger for less than noble purposes… He calls for the use of torture and for killing the innocent children and family members of terrorists. He cheers assaults on protesters. He applauds the prospect of twisting the Constitution to limit first amendment freedom of the press. This is the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss.”

trump mad

The anger that Trump displays, which so many Americans feel, does not suddenly translate into a reversal of those things that make us mad.  Anger is not enough.  We need a president with substantive, defined plans; with honest, noble character; with a proven track record of dedication to honorable and Constitutional principles.  That is not Donald Trump, nor Hillary Clinton, nor Bernie Sanders.  The best available embodiment of noble aims and history is Ted Cruz.

Finally, what about Common Core?

Ted Cruz has a simple, excellent plan that moves us in the right direction, called Five for Freedom.  It calls for elimination of unconstitutional agencies, including eliminating the federal Department of Education.  Trump, on the other hand, makes no mention of education on his website.

It was a year ago that Ted Cruz tweeted:  “Federal government has no business sticking its nose in education. We need to repeal every word of Common Core.

ted 2

Nowadays, all the Republican candidates are suddently posturing as if they are opposed to Common Core.  How convenient for them, now that Common Core has become a byword.

About five minutes ago, when Trump seemed to realize that millions of grassroots Americans won’t vote for anyone who admits they’re working with, or cashing in on, the common core/common data alignment monopoly, he started making statements like “We’re cutting Common Core!” That statement elicits cheers.  But Trump does not demonstrate understanding of how deep and  penetrating the unwanted, common alignment of all things educational has grown, nor how sobering and difficult a task it will be to untangle it and retrieve freedom.

Know, too, that paid  Common Core endorsers are top Trump endorsers.)

See through this.   Trump got on the anti-Common Core, #StopFedEd bandwagon recently (in his speeches, but still not on his website).  John Kasich started pretending to have fought against Common Core.  (Look at Kasich’s track record.) And Marco Rubio?  He’s unfortunately been confused or lukewarm on freedom in education, for years.  Cruz has been with us all along.

When Senator Mike Lee endorsed Ted Cruz, he explained in a New York Times interview why Trump was not his pick: “Mr. Lee… said he worried about [Trump’s] policy positions and views on presidential power. ‘I’m still waiting to hear more detail from Donald Trump on where he stands on a whole host of issues,’ Mr. Lee said.”

We are all waiting for that.  Where does Trump stand on common, aligned education standards when they alter their names?  What about the common, aligned data standards?  Where does Trump stand on privacy rights?  Where does he stand on family rights?  The right to life?  Marriage or adoption of children by homosexuals?  The restoration of the Constitution?  Where does he stand on the Federal Reserve?  Where does he stand on religious freedom?  His silence is deafening on vital issues, yet he rants like a drunken sailor about making America great again.  That is not meaningful to me.

Cruz is not perfect.  He has said things that I don’t competely agree with.  But I don’t completely agree with my own dear husband, all of the time.  And that is okay.  Cruz is not a danger to our nation; Trump is.  So are (of course) Hillary and Bernie.

Trump seems almost a typecast for a dictatorship, a drunken one.  I can’t resist sharing a video that uses Trump audio clips with a lip-synching actor; you’ll either laugh or want to cry.   I know it’s immature, but it’s so darn poignant.

 

Please recall that last summer, a report card posted by Pulse 2016 and American Principles Project graded presidential candidates on their actions in getting rid of Common Core.

The only person who had an “A” then, who is still in the campaign, is Ted Cruz.  Take a look at the grades and the criteria.  It’s very telling.

Although I have a Cruz bumper sticker on my minivan and although I cheerlead for Ted Cruz on Facebook, I hadn’t, until recently, felt that making a specific Ted Cruz blog endorsement would be valuable.  It felt like it would be preaching to the choir. I guess I’m naiive enough to have believed that people would see what I have seen, in comparing Trump and Cruz. I thought that the “pro-freedom-in-education” gang all agreed that it’s only been Ted Cruz who has consistently, and with more than a five-minute history, been outspoken against Common Core and the top-down suffocation of local control in every aspect of education.

It seemed like the most obvious thing in the world, to me, that Cruz was the best choice.  But I was wrong about the obvious part.  Some of my friends and family members are “yuge” Trump fans.  They say that he’s strong.  They say that he’s refreshingly blunt and politically incorrect.  They say that he’s so rich that he doesn’t have to be beholden to lobbyists, the way all the other candidates on both left and right supposedly must.  They say that he’ll intimidate our enemies.  Tempting thoughts, all.

But I agree with what Gina Dalfonzo wrote, in an article for First Things entitled “Nikabrik’s Candidate” –that there’s a desperation, similar to the oppressed people in C.S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian– in the desperation of Trump supporters.  Dalfonzo wrote:

“How could… the good guys in this story become corrupt enough to seek help from someone whose greed, brutality, and lust for power were legendary?

“…Nikabrik’s fears are legitimate. His enemies are real and powerful… He is right to recognize the need for help. He is wrong to decide that help must come from a force equally merciless—wrong when he tells Caspian, ‘I’ll believe in anyone or anything . . . that’ll batter these cursed Telmarine barbarians to pieces or drive them out of Narnia. Anyone or anything, Aslan or the White Witch, do you understand?’

“This is how good people with strong, ingrained values—people who have invested time and money in the sanctity of life, religious liberty, and similarly noble causes— …end up flocking to a reality-show star who spends his days on Twitter calling people ‘dumb’ and ‘loser.’ This is how some who have professed faith in Jesus Christ are lured by a man who openly puts all his faith in power and money, the very things Christ warned us against prizing too highly. As one wag on Twitter pointed out, “If elected, Donald Trump will be the first US president to own a strip club,” and yet he has the support of Christians who fervently believe that this country needs to clean up its morals.

“…Tired of waiting for Aslan—who may be nearer than we think—we turn elsewhere. It doesn’t matter if our candidate hates, bullies, and exploits other people, the reasoning goes… Hatred is a perfectly acceptable weapon, as long as it’s ‘on our side.’”

Are Trump supporters like Nikabrik in Prince Caspian, desperate for anything and anyone to defend them, even if that defender is evil?  Have Americans forsaken the principles that really did make America great?  Do Americans want Trump– regardless of his character, and regardless of the intended or unintended results that will come from unfettered rage and mannerlessness?  Is something as transitory as anger the prerequisite to good leadership?  Does blunt anger “trump” all other qualities?  What lasting good can come from following such a man?

My church teaches that “honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold” because “when the wicked rule the people mourn”; also, that we must “befriend” the “constitutional law of the land”(Doctrine and Covenants 98: 6-10).  It doesn’t say to seek or uphold perfect candidates; there aren’t any.  It says to find the most honest, the most good, the one most seeming to befriend the Constitution.

By that, I choose Cruz.

 

Advertisements

Updated: Protect Children’s Privacy: UT Legislature MUST Support HB0358   4 comments

Update 3/10/16:  Utah’s legislative session has passed, but HB 358, the student privacy bill, has not been funded.  And so we are stuck, at least for another year, without proper protections for our children.  (If you don’t know why that’s bad, begin by reading a recent article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, by Jane Robbins, on why Georgia is considering a student privacy bill):

Robbins explains,  “…parents have heard glowing claims that ‘digital’ or ‘personalized’ learning will transform education, but they may not understand exactly what this means…[I]nteractive programs, marketed by private ventors, frequently use sophisticated software that collects massive amounts of highly personal information about the student’s behaviors, mindsets and attitudes”. She mentions the fact that the U.S. Department of Education is gung-ho on slurping up that personal, psychological information about beliefs and attitudes, as evidenced in its own published draft  reports.  (Must-reads!)  Robbins makes the real point when she writes,  “The issue here goes far beyond data security.  It is whether the government and private companies have any right to collect this highly sensitive data in the first place.”

Not passing/funding the Utah HB 358 privacy bill, while passing and funding HB 277, the digital education bill, was crazy.  It was the worst mistake of this entire legislative year.

Does the legislature not know that data is the new gold rush, and that education vendors are behaving as if this is the old wild west, without solid laws to govern student data sharing and partnering and selling?  Does the legislature not know that to the federal government, also, data is the new gold rush as well, and that our own Congressman Jason Chaffetz held recent hearings against the Department of Education for its data insecure practices– and gave the Dept. an “F”?

Think of it this way:  legislators just barely bought the children and teachers of Utah the trendiest, shiniest $15 million vehicle (HB 277) while saying, “We are unable –or unwilling — to pay for seat belts and air bags” –though the safety features would have cost a tiny, tiny fraction (one-sixteenth) of what the vehicle cost.

Where are their brains?

That digital vehicle, HB277 is worthless, at least to this mom, without the seat belts for the kids.  I, for one, will not allow my own children to get into that wild, glittering ride.

 

—————————————————————————————–

Original post:

——————————————————————————————

HB 358 is here.  It is no small miracle.

If it does not pass (and get funded) tomorrow, the Utah legislature is silently informing us that privacy protections for children’s data do not really matter, and that citizens should not have rights to personal ownership over their personal data.

Even though HB 358 is scheduled for a hearing today at the Capitol:  Tuesday, March 8th, at 5:00 p.m., the bill is in trouble because the executive appropriations committee did not fund it.  That’s almost the same thing as killing the bill.   (The appropriations committee needs to hear from MANY of us, as fast as possible.  See below for contact information.)

I have been head-bangingly furious about the lack of proper privacy protections for my children since 2012, when I found out that there was such a thing as a State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS)– here and in every other state–and when I then asked to opt out of SLDS tracking, I just received the State School Board’s official “no” letter.

In America, land of the free!  In Utah, land of family-friendly liberty.  Here, I was told that I was not allowed to opt my child out of  SLDS, so that being tagged, tracked, and longitudinally stalked, from day one in school until my child was a working adult and beyond, was a mandate.

I also found out that:

1-  Although it starts with the word “State,” the SLDS is federally paid-for and is aligned to federal data standards and is federally interoperable;

2.  Those who house Utah’s SLDS have zero legislative oversight.  Incredibly, when SLDS began in 2009, there was zero vote-taking; SLDS came because of a grant application filled out by a clerk at the state office of education simply asking for a federal SLDS grant, and then it was implemented without voter approval.  Yet SLDS is 100% applied to all school children, non-consensually.

4.  FERPA (federal privacy law) was altered in 2009 by the Department of Education to become almost meaningless.  Despite a huge law suit, FERPA stayed in its altered, privacy-harming state.   So:  in-state or beyond, proper privacy protections do not exist.  (For more on that, see the recent hearings of Rep. Jason Chaffetz against the U.S. Dept. of Education)

5.  SLDS interfaces with many other state agencies in the Utah Data Alliance, so there is no guarantee that a student’s private data, collected by a school, won’t end up in the data silo of another agency totally unrelated to education.  SLDS has the ability, if state policy allows, to also interface with federal agencies’ data, other states’ and even other nations’ data collections.

 

This situation has literally kept me up at night, many nights, including tonight.

Along with countless other moms and dads, lawyers, think tanks, and legislators, I’ve done a lot of research and writing and speaking and pleading on this subject.  See some of what I learned and shared in the past four years, here or here or here or here or here or here or here or here.

I tell you all this in case you are new to this issue so that you’ll understand how INCREDIBLY important passing  HB 358 is.

House Bill 358 ought to be treated as one of the very most, if not the most, important bill at the Capitol this year.  But the legislature is saying that there isn’t enough money to pass the privacy bill, which has an implementation price tag of $800,000.  Oddly, the legislature has agreed to fund the FIFTEEN MILLION DOLLAR technology grant program, HB 277, but that technology bill is meaningless without privacy protections for students’ data.

Is the “no funding for HB 358” decision truly a budgeting pinch decision, or is it a matter of the legislators not caring enough about the rights of students to have privacy?

Here are a few of the lines in the bill that I really appreciate:

Line 463 says:   “A student owns the student’s personally identifiable student data”.

Lines 494-503 say that schools have to give disclosure statements to parents, promising not to share certain types of data with out a data authorization.

Lines 775-792 prohibit psychiatric or psychological tests or analysis without prior written consent of parents, and specifically protect data collection about sexual orientation and behavior, mental problems, religious beliefs, self-incriminating behavior, appraisals of individuals with whom the student has a close family relationship; income, etc, and that written consent is required in all grades, kindergarten through 12th.

The bill designates three different types of data that schools may collect:  necessary, optional, and prohibited.

Even though the “necessary” list seems too long, at least it limits data collection.  It will collect data “required by state statute or federal law to conduct the regular activities of an education entity” such as name, date of birth, sex, parent contact information, student i.d., test results or exceptions from taking tests, transcript information, immunization record or exception from an immunization record, drop out data, race, etc.

Line 346-351    The “optional” list includes IEP information, biometric information, and information that is required for a student to participate in federal data gathering programs.

Lines 356 – 376  The bill also defines “personally identifiable student data” as data that cannot be legally disaggregated (identified by a particular student)  (See lines 224-227 for disaggregation language):

356          (i) a student’s first and last name;
357          (ii) the name of a student’s family member;
358          (iii) a student’s or a student’s family’s home or physical address;
359          (iv) a student’s email address or online contact information;
360          (v) a student’s telephone number;
361          (vi) a student’s social security number;
362          (vii) a student’s biometric identifier;
363          (viii) a student’s health or disability data;
364          (ix) a student’s education entity student identification number;
365          (x) a student’s social media login or alias;
366          (xi) a student’s persistent identifier, if the identifier is associated with personally


367     identifiable student data, including:
368          (A) a customer number held in a cookie; or
369          (B) a processor serial number;
370          (xii) a combination of a student’s last name or photograph with other information that
371     together permits a person to contact the student online;
372          (xiii) information about a student or a student’s family that a person collects online and
373     combines with other personally identifiable student data to identify the student; and
374          (xiv) other information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific
375     student that would allow a reasonable person in the school community, who does not have
376     first-hand knowledge of the student, to identify the student with reasonable certainty.

We need to protect our kids!  This bill NEEDS to pass!

If you’ve ever read 1984 and remember Big Brother; if good old-fashioned history books have taught you that tyranny has been far more dominant than liberty throughout world history (with the exception of a freedom experienced in the U.S. under the Constitution for a few 200+ years) –or if you’ve been paying attention to the recent struggle between big-data and individual rights–  then you know:  allowing any person or government –unfettered–  to track individuals without their consent, for virtually the duration of their entire lives, is a very bad idea.

We need as many emails and phone calls or texts as we can muster before 5:00 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, March 8,  to the following representatives, and especially to Speaker of the House Greg Hughes and President Niederhauser:

Representative (Speaker) Hughes  greghughes@le.utah.gov

Senator (President) Niederhauser   wniederhauser@le.utah.gov

Senator Sanpei       dsanpei@le.utah.gov

Senator Hillyard  lhillyard@le.utah.gov

Senator Dunnigan  jdunnigan@le.utah.gov

Senator Adams  jsadams@le.utah.gov

Representative Gibson  fgibson@le.utah.gov

Senator Okerlund  rokerlund@le.utah.gov

Here they are, ready to cut and paste into your email:     dsanpei@le.utah.gov lhillyard@le.utah.gov jdunnigan@le.utah.gov jsadams@le.utah.gov  fgibson@le.utah.gov  rokerlund@le.utah.gov  greghughes@le.utah.gov   wniederhauser@le.utah.gov

 

Thank you.

 

http://le.utah.gov/~2016/bills/static/HB0358.html

 

Video: Michelle Malkin Roasts Common Core-Based GOP at CPAC Speech   5 comments

Watch this!

At minute 2:30, Malkin starts in on Common Core.

“It’s not people outside the party that have thrown the conservative, grassroots base under the bus.  It’s the people who have paid lip service to limited government while gorging on it.  It wasn’t any outside candidate that is not a part of our movement… it was not outsiders, who are not familiar with our movement, who conspired with the establishment on Common Core.  That was Republicans– who threw us under the bus.  That was Republicans who are con men.  And it was the heart and soul of conservative, grassroots activists, mostly everyday, ordinary moms, who shamed the Republican Party elites into backing away.

“And now what are they doing?  The same thing that they always do when grassroots conservatives call them out:  they smear the people who fought against them and who call them out.  They sneer at them as hysterical.  They sneer at them as just “fringe movements” on the Internet.  And then they go and campaign on our side, knowing that they’ve stabbed us.  My job is not to tell people what they want to hear, but what they need to hear.

“We just had Governor John Kasich, a nice guy, by all means, who last night, during the debate, pretended that he was on the side of local control.  Ohio grassroots activists and moms know better.  This is a man who smeared home schoolers and teachers for their opposition to Common Core.  I am telling you the truth.  I am asking you to do your homework.  I am asking you to follow the money.  I know it isn’t what you want to hear.  But do you want to hear the same Republicans promise you, as they have been, since 1981, that they’re going to abolish the Federal Department of Education?  It’s an empty talking point. And those empty talking points need to be punctured like helium balloons.”

“There are three reasons why Jeb Bush failed:  his last name, his support for Amnesty, and his cheerleading and cashing in on Common Core.”

 

 

Thank you for speaking the truth, Michelle Malkin.

 

%d bloggers like this: