Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Freedom: you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone

Brandenburg Gate on December 1, 1989. (Photo: Mediawiki)

If the light of freedom in America is extinguished, there is no place left on earth to flee to. —Anna Marie Hirschmann

On November 9, 1989, Ronald Reagan's impossible dream to tear down the Berlin Wall became the inevitable. The East German government announced that its citizens would be free to cross the border into West Germany and West Berlin. In 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed. Suddenly, it seemed that freedom would reign all over the world.

Incredibly, in 2009, twenty years later, freedom is under assault in "the land of the free, and the home of the brave." Statism is now in fashion. Instead of protecting liberty, government is in the process of taking over the private economy and micromanaging private behavior from smoking to the cars we drive to the kind of light bulbs we buy. Wealth is being taxed from productive members of society to an unsustainably growing government and entitlement class. As Reagan said, "As government expands, liberty contracts."

On November 9, 2009, a former Hitler Youth Leader turned United States citizen will speak on the question, "what does it mean to be free?" Czech-born Anna Marie "Hansi" Hirschmann was orphaned as a baby, and grew up in a foster home, experiencing a life of loneliness, hunger, rejection and fear. After Nazi troops "liberated" Czechoslovakia, she was chosen for training to be a Nazi youth leader. Brainwashed, Maria’s god became Adolph Hitler, and when Germany fell, her world shattered. Hirschmann eventually came to the United States, became a naturalized citizen, taught school, wrote her autobiography, and now speaks around the world about her experiences.

Hirschmann will speak at a dinner sponsored by the Citizens Council on Health Care (CCHC). Why is a health care organization hosting Hirschmann? The CCHC quotes Reagan as saying, "One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine."

CCHC Freedom Dinner
featuring Anna Marie Hirschmann
Monday, November 9, 2009
Crowne Plaza Riverfront Hotel
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Tickets: $100, includes tax-deductible donation to the CCHC
See CCHC web site for details.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Paulsen opposes "cap and trade"

I wrote an e-mail to my federal representatives in opposition to the fraudulent United Nations Climate Treaty and the cap-and-trade scam (one of many before Congress). Rep. Erik Paulsen (MN-3) sent me his assurance that he also opposes both:
Thank you for letting me know of your opposition to the American Clean Energy and Security Act, also known as the Waxman/Markey Cap-and-Trade bill.

Like you, I am opposed to this Cap-and-Trade legislation because it would destroy thousands of jobs, redistribute wealth and have an unfair and severe impact on Minnesota's traditionally low energy costs. I voted against this bill when it came before the House.

Studies have shown that the Cap-and-Trade bill would increase gas taxes up to $0.77 per gallon and boost energy costs for small businesses and families by as much as $3,100 per year. With the subsequent loss of global competitiveness from these dramatically higher costs, American companies would be forced to cut an estimated 2.5 million jobs. Our struggling economy cannot afford this huge new energy tax.

A recent analysis of the economic impact of the Waxman/Markey Cap-and-Trade bill projects that by 2035 the bill would:
  • Reduce aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) by $9.6 trillion.
  • Raise electricity rates 90 percent after adjusting for inflation.
  • Increase inflation-adjusted gasoline prices by 74 percent.
  • Boost residential natural gas prices by 55 percent.
I do believe that America needs a comprehensive energy solution to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and jump-start our economy. I am supporting the American Conservation and Clean Energy Independence Act, H.R. 2227, which is comprehensive legislation that invests in both new and reliable sources of energy and recognizes that American energy produces American jobs. Among other provisions, it increases domestic supplies of both oil and natural gas by allowing exploration of the Outer Continental Shelf and expands the use of nuclear energy, which is emission-free.

As you know, the Constitution gives the Senate power to approve, by a two-thirds vote, treaties made by the executive branch. You can be sure that I will be monitoring the actions of the U.S. Senate as the President proceeds on the United Nations Climate Treaty.

I will also continue to oppose any Cap-and-Trade legislation that causes our energy prices to skyrocket or fails to keep jobs in Minnesota.

Thanks again for sharing your concerns, as I appreciate hearing from you. Please let me know whenever I can be of assistance.


Erik Paulsen,
Member of Congress

Please visit to learn more, and to let your Senators and Representative know what you think about these efforts to grow government, restrict freedom, kill our economy, and surrender our national sovereignty.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Our schools are leaving too many minority children behind

By Brian W. Grogan

Republicans and conservatives need to do a better job communicating to the voters that the Republican Party is really the education party. Let's face it: over the last forty years, the Democrat leadership has enacted and steered education policy that has produced a slow decline in academic standards and a steady rise in "social engineering" of behavior. This social engineering has lead to an increase in violence, disrespect and the breakdown of proper conduct within our schools. The Democrats' approach has failed our children! In Minnesota, the DFL opposes meaningful academic accountability standards within the teachers union contracts.

Minnesota has the highest achievement gap in the nation between whites and minorities. In Saint Paul and Minneapolis, 51% and 45% respectively of the African American children entering high school actually attain a high school diploma. The Dropout-Unknown rate for Saint Paul and Minneapolis black students is 41% and 61% respectively*. Who knows where these kids end up — drugs, prostitution and gangs? The graduation rates are worse for Hispanics (45% in Saint Paul and 32% in Minneapolis) and American Indians (42% Saint Paul, 30% Minneapolis) where a majority of the students do not attain a high school degree and over 40% disappear from our schools. Do we really wonder why high crime rates continue unabated in our state, especially within the Twin Cities?

Additionally, among high school graduates who pursue a post-secondary education, over 50% need remedial course work in either math or reading prior to enrolling in college-level courses. Why do voters believe the DFL party is committed to education when, under their leadership for the last forty years, we have this level of failure?

What role do teachers play in these results? Our teachers receive automatic pay increases within the "steps and lanes" system based on years of service (steps) and continuing education (lanes). Even during periods of high unemployment, major budget deficits and slumping economies, when private sector employees are not receiving pay increases or bonuses, what are teachers and their union negotiators demanding? Pay and benefit increases (in the Saint Paul school system in particular) that are over and above the step-and-lane pay increases and without any accountability for testing and graduation results. And the Democrats support this position! Why is this an acceptable use of taxpayer money? Why do we allow our children's academic results to be held captive to the wishes of our teachers and their unions, especially in light of the fact that Minnesota has the highest achievement gap between white and minorities in the nation?

What reform is needed most today? First and foremost, students should know whether they have attained a high school education prior to receiving their diploma. The GRAD legislation needs to be put into law, not deferred indefinitely. Secondly, we should build upon the Q Comp program and begin gradually tying increased pay to performance for all district teachers and administrators on the GRAD test district wide. We must be bold if we are going to turn around Minnesota's education system, which is leaving far too many African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans behind.

*Source: Minnesota Department of Education, 2008 Minnesota Graduation Rates by District.

Brian Grogan, Minnetonka, was the Republican-endorsed candidate in state House District 43B in 2008.