Wilson County Tea Party

April 2013 Newsletter

Dr. Carol Swain, Professor of Political Science and Law at Vanderbilt University and host of the conservative talk show, "Be The People", and will be our guest speaker on April 22. She will talk on 10 ways we can be the people.

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Be The People Set

Our Next Meeting is April 22

Please plan to join us at our next WCTP meeting at 7:00 PM on Monday, April 22 in the Schoolhouse building at the Ward Ag Center in Lebanon. Dr. Carol Swain, Professor of Political Science and Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University Law School and host of the conservative talk show host, "Be The People", will be our guest speaker.

She will be speaking on 10 Ways to "Be the People". Based on her recent book, "Be The People", her talk will focus on the ways that we, as citizens, can take a more active role in civic affairs and influencing the legislative process at the local, state and federal level. Click here to learn more about Dr. Carol Swain's remarkable story and please plan to join us on April 22.

Lessons on Liberty

Menda Holmes, Chairman

Why is that almost every time there's a tragedy, the left tries to exploit it for political gain, rather than supporting solutions based on a serious study of all the evidence?

Almost immediately after the Newtown, CT tragedy leftists began ramping up their attempts to assault the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens. None of the legislation they are proposing would have prevented this horrific event since the weapons were stolen from the killer's mother. There are many factors to be considered when determining the cause of this tragedy and proposing effective solutions.

A major piece of evidence to consider is the fact that gun control laws don't correlate with decreased violence. According to FBI statistics, the U.S. murder rate has fallen by over one half since 1980 and gun homicide decreased along with it. In the late 20th century, gun ownership doubled while at the same time Americans are safer today from, "violent crime, including gun homicide, than they have been at any time since the mid-1960's." [1] The rate of gun ownership is higher in rural areas but the murder rate is higher in urban areas. [2]

In addition, John Lott in the Third Edition of "More Guns, Less Crime," writes, "There are large drops in overall violent crime, murder, rape, and aggravated assault that begin right after the right to carry laws have gone into effect. In all those crime categories, the crime rates consistently stay much lower than they were before the law. The murder rate for these right to carry states fell consistently every year relative to non-right-to-carry states."

Lott goes on to add:

"All the results indicate that violent crime falls after right-to-carry laws are passed....There is a large, statistically significant drop in murder rates across all specifications. The before-and-after average comparison implies that right-to-carry laws reduce murder by roughly 20 percent. In all cases, right-to-carry laws cause the trends in murder, rape, and robbery rates to fall."

A Wall Street Journal article by David Kopel explains. "The media rarely mention the mass murders that were thwarted by armed citizens at the Shoney's Restaurant in Anniston, Ala. (1991), the high school in Pearl, Miss. (1997), the middle-school dance in Edinboro, Penn. (1998), and the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo. (2007), among others. At the Clackamas Mall in Oregon last week, an active shooter murdered two people and then saw that a shopper, who had a handgun carry permit, had drawn a gun and was aiming at him. The murderer's next shot was to kill himself."

Washington DC, Oakland and Chicago are some of the most dangerous places to live in America. These cities also have very strict gun control laws. This is further evidence that banning guns creates vulnerabilities by disarming law abiding people.

Cultural issues are also an integral component of this debate. The Newtown shooter played violent video games for hours at a time. The Columbine killers were immersed in violent video games and music. A mass murderer in Norway, who killed 77 people (mostly teenagers) said he played a video game to practice hand eye coordination.

The bottom line is that you cannot apply collective solutions to individual issues. Guns don't commit murder, people do. So, if the left wants to further restrict gun rights of law abiding citizens with more intrusive background checks and restrictions, consistency would dictate these same rules be applied to pressure cookers, ball bearings and nails which were used in the Boston Marathon bombings.

[1] Fed. Bureau of investigation, Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics, http://www.ucrdatatool.gov/index.cfm. See also, David Kopel, Guns, Mental Illness and Newtown, Wall Street Journal Dec 17, 2012

[2] Thomas Sowell, "Gun Control Ignorance," National Review Online, Dec. 18, 2012
David B. Kopel, "Crime: The Inner=City Crisis." davekopel.com, 2001, http://www.davekopel.com/CJ/Mags/InnerCityCrisis.htm.

What is the Core Behind Common Core Curriculum?

Howard Holmes, Media Editor

The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) more commonly referred to as Common Core Curriculum is a set national K-12 standards developed by a nonprofit organization called Achieve, Inc. in Washington D.C. It has been developed without state legislative authority under the auspices of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Race-to-the-top grant funds and No Child Left Behind waivers were used to lure states into committing to Common Core Curriculum before the content was even finalized. Now, 45 states including Tennessee, are adopting the "one-size-fits-all" program into math and English curriculum. Additional subjects such as science and social studies will follow as teachers and administrators become trained on the new system.

A nationalized educational curriculum is in violation with the U.S. Constitution and the Tennessee State Constitution because educational powers are reserved for the states and their citizens. Once in place, Common Core cannot be changed by state legistatures or State School Boards. Even though taxpayers pump hundreds of billions in taxes each year to fund K-12 education, parents will no longer have a voice on what is taught to their children with regard to math and English. Think of it as education without representation.

States will be required to build high-tech tracking systems that will not only monitor student performance but track personal data about them and their families as well. "Hopefully, some day, we can track children from pre-school to high school and from high school to college and college to career," stated Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, in a June 8, 2009 speech.

Private school and home school programs will be forced to comply with Common Core, as well. Standards for the SAT and ACT tests will adopt the new curriculum. These tests are required for students to obtain admission to accredited universities. Students not taught Common Core will be at a disadvantage.

The estimated cost to deploy Common Core nationwide is expected to exceed $16 billion of which 90 percent will paid by states and local districts, despite the $4.35 billion in Race-To-The-Top grants that brought states into the program in the first place. The largest beneficiaries of these expenses will be software and hardware vendors for testing and tracking as well as firms providing new textbooks, instructional materials and professional development services.

Will the Common Core Curriculum really raise student performance standards? Two members of the Common Core Validation committee do not believe so. Dr. Sandra Stotsky of the University of Arkansas refused to sign off on the English Language Arts Standards citing poor quality, empty skill sets, the de-emphasis on literature and low reading levels such as 8th grade levels for 12th grade students. Dr. James Milgram, a mathematician at Stanford University, also refused to sign off noting, "It's almost a joke to think students [who master the common standards} would be ready for math at a university."

Very few states have refused to accept federal grant money and waivers requiring Common Core. Texas, Nebraska and Alaska have said, "No!" Indiana's Senate Education Committee is considering legislation to withdraw from Common Core and South Carolina has similar legislation pending with the support of the Governor. Virginia has pulled out and Minnesota has refused to sign on to the math portion. Utah and Alabama have withdrawn from the assessment portion and will be holding legislative hearings on withdrawing and South Dakota has passed a bill that requires public hearings around the state.

Tennessee can take similar action but must do it quickly. Time is running out!

As citizens of Tennessee, what can we do? Start by educating yourself. We have posted a 5-part presentation about Common Core on the videos page of our website. It takes about 30 minutes to view all five parts but is well worth watching, especially if you have kids or grandkids in school. You can also visit StopCommonCore.com to learn more.

A Common Core Curriculum Forum will be held on April 30, 2013 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Franklin, TN. Speakers will include a blue ribbon panel of Common Core Curriculum Experts from the Heritage Foundation, the Pioneer Institute and the American Enterprise Institute. Due to the limited size of the venue, admission to the event was cut off several days ago when the total number of people registered to attend reached 750.

Contact your legislators and and ask them where they stand on Common Core. Many are just coming up to speed as they were bypassed during the initial deployment. Petition school boards to hold public hearings to inform everyone how the curriculum will change, how additiional testing will be paid for and what data will be collected from students. Press for details as many officials will seek bland, politically correct answers to avoid any disruption in the flow of federal grant money.

Remember, the education of this generation will have a dramatic effect on their behavior as adults in the next!

Tea Party Holds Constitution Seminar

The Lebanon Democrat ran the following article we submitted in their March 30-31 edition...

Hal Rounds Hal Rounds, a constitutional attorney from Fayette County, delivered a constitutional refresher course to Wilson County Tea Party members recently at the Ward Agricultural Center.

Members said the course proved to be more of an in-depth study of the history behind the Constitution, its content, the Bill of Rights and the Amendments that have shaped the document into U.S. law.

The session opened with the brassy clang of a scale replica Liberty Bell and closed over eight hours later with everyone reciting the Pledge of Allegience in unison before delivering a standing ovation for the speaker's work. The planned lunch break was converted to a working lunch with pizza delivered to provide more time for Rounds to share his insight.

His history lesson started with the fall of Constantinople to the Muslims in 1450. The victors renamed the city Istanbul. This event essentially closed the Silk Road, which was the only known trade route between the Middle East and Asia. Forty-two years later Columbus set sail out of Portugal seeking a western route for the Silk Road and discovered America.

In a wide-ranging look at the past, Rounds discussed how early American settlements such as the Roanoke Colony, Jamestown and Plymouth Rock suffered hardships. The Roanoke Colony disappeared completely after four years and of the 6,000 people that came to Jamestown, only 1,300 were still alive in 1625. The Pilgrims, who had landed further north, faced harsh winters and starvation before celebrating the first Thanksgiving. All met with these hardships after making a perilous journey for weeks in a small, over crowded boat with vile sanitation.

Rounds sites government oppression, lack of religious freedom and judicial tyranny in Europe as what spurred many to venture to the New World.

As a result, Americans have emerged from a distillation of people who rejected the ways of their homeland and started with a clean slate, spurred by philosophers, such as John Locke penned the concept "Government power comes from the consent of the governed" as part of his Second Treatise of Government, published in 1690.

It took another 100 years, the Revolutionary War and the formation of a Continental Congress, before the words "We the People" were ratified in the Constitution of the United States on June 21, 1788. In September of the following year, 10 Amendments were submitted for ratification known as The Bill of Rights. Since that time, another seventeen amendments have been added to the U.S Constitution.

After Rounds unpacked the content of each section of the Constitution and each Amendment in the Bill of Rights he challenged the audience with the question, "What is the difference between freedom and liberty?" Freedom, he explained, is what is left over after your master has made the choices he wants for you. Liberty, on the other hand, defines the powers granted to the government by placing walls around the master's power. Liberty, Rounds maintained, is what the Constitution is all about.

In closing, he addressed various Supreme Court decisions, federal rulings and legislation that have impacted our rights as individuals and challenged the backbone of the Constitution. Rounds said International treaties such as Cap and Trade, the United Nations Conference on Child Rights and the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty were cited as attempts to further diminish our rights and reduce the strength of the United States as a sovereign nation.

The U.S. Constitution is the law of our land to which every public official pledges to "Preserve, protect and defend" when they take the oath of office. However, it is up to us as citizens who grant the consent to be governed, to hold those officials accountable to the oath they have taken.

Encourage others to sign up for the WCTP Newsletter.