THE DAY THE HEARTBEAT DIED

MEME - NEWBORN LIVES MATTER

by Diane Rufino, June 6, 2019

It was a very sad day in North Carolina yesterday at the NC General Assembly… a very tragic day indeed. Yesterday, members of the NC House had the opportunity to over-ride Governor Cooper’s veto of the “Born Alive Abortion Survivor’s Protection Act” (SB-359). The bill has nothing to do with abortion, has nothing to do with a woman’s reproductive rights, nor anything to do with a woman’s health. It has everything to do with the standard of care that a baby deserves who happens to be born as a result of an unsuccessful abortion and who was not wanted. The bill’s title, “Born-Alive Abortion Survivor’s Protection Act” says it all…. The bill is aimed at a baby, born alive and separated completely from the mother who did not want it. It has no ties any longer to the mother because she had made it clear with her decision to abort it that she wants nothing to do with it. It no longer impinges on her health or her reproductive rights because again, it has been separated from her body. This bill, then, focuses on a newborn baby, an individual and independent life, and how we in North Carolina will treat that new life. Will it be treated with the same care as any other newborn baby? Will it even be viewed the same as any other newborn baby? Does it matter that it came into the world not wanted by its mother? On the steel abortion table with an abortion doctor, instead of in a birthing room with an obstetrician, a baby is a baby, plain and simple. God doesn’t see any difference and neither should those who purport to love Him. The purpose of the bill was precisely to ensure that a baby born alive, breathing, and with a heartbeat receives the same standard of care that any other baby receives (including preemies, the result of a miscarriage or even the result of an accident or act of violence); the bill makes sure that a survivor of an abortion receives the standard of care it deserves. In essence, the bill assures equal treatment and equal protection.

The NC Senate was able to over-ride the Governor’s veto, but sadly, NC House Democrats refused to break from their political moorings and voted to sustain the veto. The over-ride failed, by a vote of 67-53, and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivor’s Protection Act was defeated. Every Republican voted for the bill and every Democrat, except two (Rep. Charles Graham and Rep. Garland Pierce) voted against it. After thousands of calls and emails to Democrats appealing to their conscience and asking them to vote in favor of life rather than according to progressive party platform, after the impassioned testimonials of two survivors of botched abortions (Gianna Jessen and Claire Culwell), and after the heartfelt pleas of several Republican lawmakers on the House floor speaking for the helpless survivors (Reps. Larry Pittman, Michael Speciale, Keith Kidwell, and Greg Murphy, and House Speaker Tim Moore), no additional Democrats felt compelled to vote for the over-ride. Instead, if you can believe it, two Democrats who originally voted in favor of the bill switched position to vote against the bill (ie, to support the veto). All that was asked of the democrats was to vote as a human being and not a political prop; all that was asked was for them to do the human thing. But apparently, they caved under the pressure from Cooper and his thugs.

North Carolina had the chance to make a historical and significant decision yesterday, for good; instead, it was a historic day for opposite reasons. We had a chance to stand out for our morality and our human values, but now we join with the rest of the wretched heap of states that are defined by their immorality and inhumanity.

No baby should be punished just because he or she is an inconvenience. We are all an inconvenience on someone else at some point in our lives. And every child, even if unwanted and destined for death because of the mother’s choice per her right to have an abortion, is deserving of healthcare and life-saving medical assistance should he or she survive that horrendous ordeal. How can a person call himself or herself a human being if he or she cannot acknowledge that is simply the right thing to do? Who is next – our elderly? Our infirm? Our crippled?

The NC house democrats who voted to sustain the Governor’s veto are evil and inhuman, and we suspect that those who continue to send them to Raleigh are the same. Do not believe them if they try to tell you they are Christians. As Rep. Larry Pittman said on the house floor: “MY Jesus would never have approved of such a vote.”

Sadly, these democrat legislators ignored and violated the very oaths they took when they agreed to be seated in the NC General Assembly. They swore an oath, promising to God, that they would uphold the state Constitution, the US Constitution, and the law. What is the law?

The Declaration of Independence assures: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness…..

The US Constitution is built on the Declaration and secures all of the individual’s inalienable and liberty rights (the Bill of Rights). The Fourteenth Amendment further assures that all persons cannot be denied these rights. It reads: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

And the NC state constitution provides in Article I (Declaration of Rights) in Section 1 (The Equality and Eights of Persons): “We hold it to be self-evident that all persons are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor, and the pursuit of happiness.”   No legislator can be true to his of her oath and allow babies born alive to be denied inalienable rights.

Again, the very title of the bill acknowledges that a baby that survives an abortion is born “ALIVE.” To be “alive” is to be a LIFE. Every life is a “PERSON.” The fate of a baby born alive is no longer subject to the mother’s so-called “reproductive rights.” It is an independent, new unique life. If the mother doesn’t want it, that is one thing; but she has no right (nor does anyone else, including the doctor or any other healthcare professional) to terminate its life. The healthcare profession is still guided by the Hippocratic Oath (the physician “shall do no harm” which includes withholding care). The newborn baby, although not wanted by its mother, is a person which now has the same rights as you and me and every other person. It has the protections recognized by the US Constitution (including the 14th Amendment), the Bill of Rights, the NC state Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence. It has the right to life and the state cannot interfere or deny that right. To be clear, the NC house democrats violated their oath by voting against SB-359 and denying the survivors of an abortion the affirmative assistance of physicians (albeit abortion providers) and other healthcare professions, knowing the likely expectation that some will allow such babies to expire. These babies, as Reps. Kidwell, Pittman, Murphy, Speciale, and Moore acknowledged, are North Carolinians the moment of birth and are entitled to the protection of life and all equal protections under the law.

Between the recent federal court striking down North Carolina’s long-standing abortion law (no abortion after 20 weeks except if the mother’s life or health is imperiled) and today’s over-ride of SB-359, North Carolina now not only allows a woman to have an abortion at any time in her pregnancy, but if that baby happens to be born alive, they can deny it medical assistance so that it will die. House Democrats have said it’s OK to allow infanticide in our state.  North Carolina is now like New York.

[You can read the March 2019 ruling from US district court Judge William L. Osteen, Jr. here – http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/bryant_ruling_march_25_2019.pdf ]

There is a cancer in our society and it’s called the Democratic Party. If the heartfelt, compelling, tear-filled testimonies of those two wonderful ladies, the abortion survivors Gianna Jessen and Claire Culwell, could not convince even one Democrat to vote in favor of the override and legislatively ensure that survivors of abortion, those scared little babies – traumatized, harmed, in need of assistance, love, compassion, comfort – are given the same treatment as those born alive in any other circumstance, than nothing will touch their cold dark hearts. As human beings they had the chance to do the human thing and they didn’t.

I am reminded of what Thomas Jefferson once wrote: “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever…”

The life and liberties of every newborn are gifts of God. Those gifts are bestowed on us the minute we are conceived (or in the alternative, when life fills our little bodies). Democrats have voted to condemn those not wanted, taking their lives from the promise God has given and putting them instead in the hands of men and woman who are indifferent to the value of life. If we don’t right this wrong, we can’t expect God’s protection. We can expect his wrath however.

I ask you to join me in contacting the state’s Republican lawmakers and asking them to please, please, please don’t give up the fight. There are a lot of good people who can’t fight like they can, who don’t have any political power that they have, who don’t have the words that they have, who don’t have the time and who don’t have the energy, but they put their trust in them and they pray and pray and pray for the right and just outcomes.

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SAVE THE BABIES FIGHTING FOR THEIR LIVES

ABORTION - Born Alive Protection Act

by Diane Rufino, June 4, 2019

Survivors of botched abortions need you today to speak on their behalf !!  The NC House convenes at 3:00 this afternoon to vote to try to over-ride Governor Cooper’s veto of the “Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.” Without an affirmative duty imposed on physicians and other healthcare professionals, helpless, injured, traumatic, scared babies who happen to survive the horrendous ordeal of an abortion procedure and are born alive are likely to be left to die because life-saving attention and treatment will be denied to them.  If we ever want to know why our Founding Fathers advised so strongly that we elect Godly persons as our representatives, this is one very good reason. No Christian, no moral human being could think it’s even an option to abandon a newborn who needs human attention and love.

Mother Teresa once said: “A nation that kills its children in the womb has lost its soul.” Imagine what she would say to learn that now we want to kill them even when they are born alive.

 
So I ask you to do any of four things:
 
(1)  Call any and every Democratic House member that you can. Their contact information is available at:  http://www.ncleg.net  (From the top menu, select “House,” and then from the drop-down menu “Member List”)
 
(2)  Email any and every Democratic House member that you can – individually. This is very important.  Send individual emails (you can simply copy and paste though).  Again, their contact info is available from ncleg.net
 
(3)  Go to the NC General Assembly building today in downtown Raleigh (16 W. Jones St, Raleigh). Again, the House convenes in session at 3:00. We are meeting in the Legislative Chapel at 12:30 and then meeting in the House chambers visitors section at 3:00.  WEAR BLUE in solidarity. Concerned Women for America, NC Values, NC Family Values, and other groups will be there today.
 
(4)  Get on your knees and pray. Pray for those helpless victims that Democrats seem intent on ignoring and disregarding, and sentencing them to death.
 
My friends in the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association made phone calls yesterday to the Democratic House representatives, and here is some feedback they shared with me: 
 
“Representative Charles Graham said he will vote to override and asked for our prayers (which he got and will get). 
Representative Elmer Floyd’s assistant said, “You’re asking him to vote to override.  Is that right?”  I said, “Yes,” and she said, “Alright, I’ll add you to the list.”  That sounded promising to me; sounded like many others were contacting him for the same reason which always adds pressure to do the right thing.
Representative Pricey Harrison’s assistant said she thinks the Rep will vote to sustain the veto.
But other than those three, we didn’t get much feed-back.
 
Rather than make phone calls, I sent a heartfelt email to each Democratic member of the NC House. I got an email this morning from Rep. Brian Turner’s office saying that he is considering voting for the over-ride.
 
Here is what I wrote to each Democrat House member last night:
 
Hello Rep. __________,
My name is Diane Rufino. I live in Greenville (Pitt County) but belong to and participate in various groups all over the state. I am an attorney, writer, molecular biologist, teacher, blogger, and a regular talk radio show panelist.
I am writing to you about the vote tomorrow to over-ride Governor Cooper’s veto of the Born Alive Abortion Survivor’s Protection Act. If you are planning to vote in favor of the over-ride, then I want to thank you sincerely…. gratefully.
If you have not planned to vote in favor of the over-ride, I ask you to please re-consider that vote, or in the alternative (if you are concerned perhaps of retribution by your party), to please not show up for the vote.  I ask you to please, please, please search your conscience and reflect on your relationship with your Maker and show the compassion and mercy that our Father would have us show those who are most vulnerable and who need our voice on their behalf. Think of the love you have for your children and the miracle of their birth and the enrichment they have given your life. Every child, no matter the circumstances of their creation or the burden they happen to put on the mother’s life, is deserving of love and protection and a chance to fulfill a destiny that no one can predict. That baby shouldn’t be punished just because he or she is an inconvenience. We are all an inconvenience on someone else at some point in our lives. And every child, even if unwanted and destined for death because of the mother’s choice per her right to have an abortion, is deserving of healthcare and life-saving medical assistance should he or she survive that horrendous ordeal. How can a person call himself or herself a human being if he or she cannot acknowledge that is simply the right thing to do.
The bill is titled “The BORN ALIVE Abortion Protection Act.”  The very title of the bill acknowledges that a baby that survives an abortion is born “ALIVE.”   To be “alive” is to be a LIFE.  Every life is a “PERSON.”  The fate of a baby born alive is no longer subject to the mother’s so-called “reproductive rights.”  It is an independent, new unique life. It is outside the woman’s body so it no longer poses any concern to her health. If she doesn’t want it, that is one thing; but she has no right (nor does anyone else) to terminate its life. It is a person which now has the same rights as you and me and every other person. It has the protections recognized by the Constitution (including the 14th Amendment), the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. It has the right to life and the state cannot interfere or deny that right.
You swore an oath, promising to God, that you would uphold the Constitution and the laws. You cannot be true to your oath and allow babies born alive to be denied inalienable rights.
I ask you again to please search your conscience and vote in favor of the over-ride. Or, if you feel you can’t do that, to please simply not show up for the vote.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my email. God Bless,
Most Sincerely,
Diane Rufino
attorney

Please, please, please take ACTION NOW!

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Rejection of the Electoral College is the Surest Path to the Destruction of this Country

ELECTORAL COLLEGE - sign

by Traci Griggs (NC Family Policy Matters, April 18, 2019), with an intro by Diane Rufino, May 28, 2019

Rejection of the Electoral College is the Surest Path to the Destruction of this Country.

It seems fewer and fewer Americans understand and appreciate our very unique system of government. For example, how many times have you heard someone refer to our country as a “democracy” ? Our Founders, as I’m sure we Tea Partiers know, intentionally rejected such a system of government in favor of a constitutional republic. And how many times recently have we heard Democrats and Progressives push to abolish the Electoral System, citing that such a system is not democratic? We should recognize this movement for what it truly is – the surest way to wrangle our country from its conservative moorings and to head quickly on the path to overbearing big government and socialism (massive re-distribution of wealth). It is the surest way to put our government in the hands of those who devalue freedom (because only a person who doesn’t value freedom or who doesn’t care to live free wants government to take care of him) and hence to pursue policies to limit it to everyone.

America’s Founding Fathers designed very specific guidelines for our system of government and protected them by placing them in the U.S. Constitution.

Dr. Adam Carrington, an assistant professor of Politics at Hillsdale College Graduate School of Statesmanship, was interviewed by Ms. Traci Griggs, Director of Communications at the NC Family Policy Council, on its show Family Policy Matters to talk about the Electoral College and what will happen if states dare to break from this critical tradition. To be clear, the Electoral College is so very vital to the ideal of our country being a “union” of states premised on the notion that the government serves each state and each state’s interests equally.

The topic of the interview (the podcast in available) is “The Dangers of Breaking From Our Constitution.”

TRACI GRIGGS: Let’s start with a topic that seems to be popping up a lot lately. There is somewhat of a groundswell among some to do away with the Electoral College. Before we discuss whether or not that’s a good thing, it might be very helpful if you would give us a quick history lesson on the Electoral College—what is it, how does it work and why did the Founding Fathers think it was so important to include it in our Constitution?

ADAM CARRINGTON: That’s a great place to start. What it is, is simply the way we choose the President of the United States. How it’s set up is that each state in the United States is given electoral votes, which are equal to how many Congressmen it has; if you have 14 House members, two Senators, you’d have 16 electoral votes. We now have 538 of those total distributed through the United States and the District of Columbia. Each state then selects electors who meet together to choose the president. That’s the same as the number of electoral votes they have, and whatever candidate gets a majority of those electoral votes across the country wins the presidency. That’s why people are always talking about 270 now. That’s 50 percent plus one of all of the electoral votes across all the states in the country.

And why was it included? Why didn’t we do another system? In some ways it was a compromise at the Constitutional Convention between legislative selection—having Congress select the president, and popular vote—having the people do it as a whole. And what it was seen as was the best of both of those and avoiding the worst of both of those, that it would include like popular election, the consent of the people, and like Congress, a special body selected by the people with the character and knowledge to make an informed decision. And that’s why they thought it was so important to pick the chief executive of the United States, for those reasons.

TRACI GRIGGS: People complain that the Electoral College undermines the idea of “one person, one vote.” It really does do that, doesn’t it?

ADAM CARRINGTON: It does in the strict sense, but I think if we’re going to take the wisdom of the Founders as a whole, we’ll see many other structures in the Constitution do that too. Ex: the Senate, lifetime appointment of judges. But the Founders thought that there was more to a good and just regime than “one person, one vote.” They wanted consent of the governed, but they wanted consent for the purpose of protecting everyone’s equal natural rights, and they understood that all human beings are fallible and a majority can be tyrannical and bad, just like one or a few people can be. So what they wanted to do was respect consent of the governed, but channel that decision so that it was reasonable, and channel it in such a way so that when the people choose, they choose in the best way possible. Just like we often constrained the way we choose to make our choices better, that’s what they tried to do with this system, because it wasn’t just what choice we made, it’s how we made that choice that mattered to them.

TRACI GRIGGS: Interestingly, about a dozen states have passed laws that would give their Electoral College votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the national popular vote. So that’s regardless of how their particular state voted. Now those laws can’t go into effect unless enough states pass similar laws, but give us some perspective on just how dramatic a change that would be for American elections.

ADAM CARRINGTON: I think it would change fundamentally how we look at the elections for president and how states, or campaigns look at them as well. There’d be a massive change first in campaigning. There’d be less of a focus on states, much more of a focus on population centers or media markets, getting out your kind of voter or wherever they are, and to some degree, ignoring voters that aren’t in your camp and others, and more therefore a focus on those questions. I think from other people looking at these elections, not just the campaigners, there would be the elimination of something we spend so much time looking at, which our state polls, maybe we would have regional polls, but I think the bigger focus would be on where are the big population centers going? What are they doing? It would nationalize the campaign and eliminate the state centric focus of it in a way that we’ve never seen given Electoral College’s focus on the states.

TRACI GRIGGS: Would you consider this to be a good change or bad change?

ADAM CARRINGTON: I think that there are a lot of drawbacks to it because I think that the nature of a more state-centered campaign actually forces candidates much more to appeal to broader arrays of voters. Now, people complain that they only campaign in swing states, but those swing states force them to appeal to voters within those states and other places that are less like them than, I think, they would if they had to just run up vote totals nationally. I think it creates a kind of moderating influence that makes the different candidates less partisan and more conducive to the public good. We often say we’re too partisan now. I think that would be much worse if we had just a pure national popular vote.

TRACI GRIGGS: Okay, let’s switch gears and talk a little bit about our courts. From your understanding of history, do you feel like it is getting tougher for our judicial nominees these days? Are they being more unfairly scrutinized or attacked today than they were in previous years?

ADAM CARRINGTON: I think two things have happened that both result in saying yes to that. One, I think the importance of the courts has skyrocketed as other branches, such as Congress, have abdicated a lot of power as there’ve been more battles between the Executive and the Judiciary. I think that has caused the courts to be seen as much more important than they were in the past. The other is that so much of our lives are now recorded and able to be scrutinized. Much less of our lives are secret and much less of a public person’s life is secret. And when you put those two together, I think yes, judges today—and potential Supreme Court Justices—are under much more scrutiny than in the past.

TRACI GRIGGS: Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell has decided to employ the “nuclear option,” he says, to dramatically reduce the amount of debate time for many judicial nominees. Do you feel this would damage the integrity of this process? What effect would it have?

ADAM CARRINGTON: I think if it was done out of any other context, it would be—the Senate should be a place where there should be extra protections for debate—but it doesn’t come without a context. I think that context really shows that it’s more of a result of a damaged process, not a damaging of the process. Debate is meant to deliberate and refine one’s choice. Really, what it’s being used for now is obstruction and to stop the process. And I think if we could restore the original purpose of having unlimited debate, which is to have good deliberation and a good process for making choices for judges, then we shouldn’t have those limits. But as long as it’s going to be used, by really both sides when they’re in the minority, to obstruct, I think that steps need to be taken to make sure that the debate has an endpoint, so the purpose of a real debate is fulfilled, which is to choose in the end.

TRACI GRIGGS: You mentioned that we put a lot more emphasis on our Supreme Court Justices right now, and some have suggested that the next president of the United States might move to increase the number of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. Many people may not realize that number is not set in stone. So why do we have nine justices?

ADAM CARRINGTON: Really, tradition. We originally only had six and we’ve had nine since 1869. It changed a lot between the founding in 1869, and I think there were a couple reasons we’ve kept that. One is the uneven number allows every case to have a definitive decision. You don’t have ties. I think that number was seen as reasonable, that nine justices is a good amount to divide up the workload of opinion writing and research. Also, that it wasn’t so big that the judges couldn’t deliberate and discuss together how they interpret the law. But I think also it’s where it is now because more and more people came to see changing the court regularly as too nakedly partisan for a court you want to be above partisanship and apply the law in a neutral way, regardless of who the litigants are, regardless of what the judge’s opinions are. The more you move the numbers of the Court around, the more that institution is seen as something much more nakedly political then the Constitution imagined it to be.

TRACI GRIGGS: So how much concern do you have that some of the brightest shining stars in politics seem to have very little understanding of the Constitution, of basic economics, international relations, and yet have a huge following. Is this a concern to you going forward in politics and in our nation?

ADAM CARRINGTON: Certainly! And it’s not just because it’s my job to hopefully teach people that are better informed on this. But it’s the idea that if we believe that this document is on one hand, our governing document and on the second, that it’s a wise governing document, then for people who are supposed to be elected under it and supposed to follow it, to not do so is doubly bad. It’s bad because it means we are not really following the rule of law of our supreme law of the land. And it also means that we’re not following the wisest path that the Founders set out, and following some lesser path. And I think that it shows a kind of illiteracy, not just among those who are being elected, but sadly among a number of people that are electing, that right standards of the justice and process the Constitution sets up is not front and center and not something that’s disqualifying when our elected officials show ignorance of it.

TRACI GRIGGS: For those of us who are listening and who may think to themselves either: I forgotten a lot of things, or I was never taught very well all these principles from our Constitution and by our Founding Fathers, what kind of suggestions would you have for people listening who might want to—at whatever age they are—learn some things so that they can go forward with this wisdom that you mentioned.

ADAM CARRINGTON: I would make a couple suggestions. One is just read the Constitution for yourself. It was written as a document of the people, by the people, for the people, and so don’t be intimidated by it. You can understand it as an American citizen. Second, I would point to actually there’s lots of resources online for reading what the Founders thought. Read something like the Federalist Papers. They were written to defend the Constitution. They were written as op-eds for newspapers. So they are, again, meant for the people to understand and discuss. And then third, I’d point to where I work, Hillsdale College. We have an array of online courses that are free, where our goal is civic education, including a U.S. Constitution course, where we strive to make available ways that citizens can educate themselves. So I would say, every American should take this very seriously. Whatever else their career path, that they are a citizen all the time. There are these resources out there that would allow us to exercise our sovereignty as the sovereign people in a much more full and informed way.

TRACI GRIGGS: Excellent. I would highly recommend your Constitution 101 online course. That’s a very good resource. I know from personal experience.

Dr. Carrington, thank you so much for being with us on Family Policy Matters today, and for all that you do to educate future generations of American citizens to know and understand the uniqueness of this great country.

ADAM CARRINGTON: Thank you. It’s humbling to do it, and an honor and pleasure too.

 

Referencehttps://www.ncfamily.org/the-dangers-of-breaking-from-our-constitution/

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The Eastern NC Tea Party Endorses and Supports Dr. Joan Perry for the US Congress from the 3rd District

JOAN PERRY - patriotic pic

The Eastern NC Tea Party is Honored to Endorse and Support Dr. Joan Perry for the US Congress from the 3rd District.

The ENC Tea Party was founded back in 2009 when Tea Party events erupted all over the country to oppose Obama’s economic stimulus package and Democrats’ planned tax increases, all of which had essentially no support from Republicans. Groups like the ENC Tea Party continued to meet and to grow as a protest movement against aggressive and unconstitutional government spending, excessive taxation, and unconstitutional regulation. The group continues to exist today to educate the community, to keep an eye on government, to alert the community and state when there is abuse, and to continue always to remind conservatives of the proper role of government, its legitimate powers, and the duty and responsibility we all have to protect and preserve our republic and our individual liberty for “generations to come and millions yet unborn.”

Many of the Tea Party groups across the state no longer meet or even exist, but that isn’t indicative of an abandonment of the tea party mentality. Rather, it is a testament to how strongly such a mentality is because leaders and members of many groups went on to use their principles to take over the GOP groups, to run for office, or to become full-time activists. The election of Donald Trump was a collective embrace of Tea Party principles and a rejection of big abusive government…. a rejection of the notion that government is the answer to all problems and the caretaker of people intended to be free.

Given the principles upon which the Tea Party stands – limited government, constitutional government, fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility, less regulation, lower taxes, robust freedom (the Bill of Rights operates as a ban on government regulation), states’ rights (the Tenth Amendment), national sovereignty (including control of the borders), free markets, and the sanctity of life – there can be no question that Dr. Joan Perry is worthy of its endorsement.

Joan Perry believes in the following, just to emphasis a few important issues:

  • LIFE – A woman’s right to an abortion should never be broad enough to include the murder of an innocent life inside the woman – yes, the baby may still be dependent on its mother, yet it is nonetheless a new and unique life. Every “life” is a person that is entitled to the full protections of our Constitution (including the 14th Amendment) and our laws.
  • THE WALL – Joan considers an impenetrable wall along the southern border an urgent and absolute necessity. She compares the illegal immigration system to a person severely injured in an accident. Before doctors can tend to the wounds and make the individual healthy again, the bleeding must first be stopped. She firmly supports the Presidents Declaration of a National Emergency at the Mexican border and agrees that he indeed has the authority to declare that emergency.
  • IMMIGRATION – The nation’s immigration system is not only broken, but for too long, the federal government, the sovereign which has claimed pre-emption and has asserted sole authority over the matter, has chosen to ignore enforcement of its laws. Add to this willful abdication of authority, the US Congress with complicity from the White House (Obama) has added programs and policies that directly threaten the safety and security of the American people, their communities, and the country in general. Now, after years of willful abdication and years of open borders and chain migration, America’ resources and services are being strained and are hemorrhaging. Joan strongly supports strict E-verify vetting.
  • EDUCATION – Too many of the country’s public schools are failing our young. They are not challenging our students and helping them to be independent leaners and problem-solvers, but rather are encouraging them to memorize and to think exactly as the teachers themselves. As a result, colleges must offer their first-year students remedial courses to teach them to properly read and write, and often to re-teach them math. (These are students that “successfully” completed their high school courses and in many cases, did “well”). Parents need to have options for their child’s education, including more home-school opportunities, charter schools, private schools, and even a vocational track.
  • HEALTHCARE – Joan believes the healthcare system is broken and believes that the soaring cost of healthcare and the rising costs of hospital services, testing, procedures, scans, etc is linked to the fraud that poisons our current healthcare insurance system. [Example: Costs for procedures are much lower for a patient willing to pay out-of-pocket rather than go thru insurance].
  • COURTS – Joan believes strongly that judges must not legislate from the bench, but rather, they must faithfully interpret the Constitution and federal laws without political preconceptions or preferred outcomes. Joan does not believe that the US Constitution is a “living, breathing document” which is quickly becoming another term for a “dead constitution.”
  • GOVERNMENT AGENCIES & REGULATIONS – Joan explains that the more laws and more government programs there are, the less freedom (personal and economic) that the American people have. Individual rights, property rights, and economic opportunities are burdened when government believes it has unconstitutional authority to regulate (everything under the sun), to tax whatever it believes is a profitable source of funds, and to provide endless entitlement programs to those who can, without government programs, take care of themselves.
  • WELFARE & OTHER ENTITLEMENTS – Joan believes there needs to be entitlement reform. The focus of government policy should be to create an environment where companies and businesses flourish and where jobs are plentiful. This way, government helps its people find jobs and employment in order for them to take care of themselves and their families rather than depend on government. Nothing destroys dignity and self-worth more than being dependent on others rather than exercising the freedom and responsibility of pridefully going to work and earning a living.
  • TRUMP’s AGENDA – Joan is looking forward to going to Washington DC to help Trump move his agenda along. She may not always agree with President Trump on how he tweets or insults politicians who frustrate him, but she believes absolutely firmly in what he is doing and trying to do on behalf of this country and on behalf of all its people.
  • SECOND AMENDMENT – Joan is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment. “Shall Not Be Infringed” is self-explanatory.
  • TARIFFS – Joan believes, as President Trump does, that the US can no longer continue to be taken advantage of and have its wealth and ingenuity be distributed around the world without anything in return. Every country must pay its fair share and every country must do its fair part.
  • MILITARY – Joan has a special respect and appreciation for those who serve our country and who are willing to give their lives should their service ask it. She is currently in conversations with the military community in the 3rd district to find out where government has been lacking and what she can help address when she gets to Washington DC.
  • FISHING INDUSTRY – Joan has met with Jerry Schill, the president of the NC Fisheries Association, to understand the concerns of the commercial and recreational fisherman in North Carolina and to be able to represent those interests in DC.
  • AGRICULTURE – Agriculture in North Carolina is a complicated issue because it ties in closely with immigration. Joan wants to make sure NC’s agriculture needs are met without taking a soft approach or soft stand on immigration.
  • OPIOID CRISIS & GANGS – Joan knows that the opioid crisis is a crisis directly tied to our open borders. It is inexcusable that last year North Carolina had the second highest number of deaths in the nation due to opioid overdose and it is an affront to our collective humanitarian conscience that so many parents, siblings, children, friends, and neighbors have lost someone they love dearly. Joan will tackle this plague by attacking the immigration crisis and border emergency.

These are just a few issues that Joan has articulated her position on. She is looking forward to talking more about what she stands for and what she plans to do for the various sectors of the 3rd district when she gets to DC in the coming days and weeks.

Again, because of the Tea Party principles stated above and because of the positions articulated by candidate Joan Perry (summed up above), the Eastern NC Tea Party is proud and honored to endorse her for the US Congress. We believe she has the right leanings, has strong religious and conservative foundations (which she was raised with and which she shares with her husband and 5 sons), and has the moral convictions to stand strong and true when she encounters the Swamp in our nation’s capital.

We hope those in the community and in the state will continue to have faith in the ENC Tea Party, and in the North Carolina Tea Party movement in general, that it stands for strong and strict conservatism and that it does its homework in a very disciplined and diligent manner. We hope those in the community will trust the ENC Tea Party when it characterizes a candidate as being “the true conservative.”

A QUICK TEA PARTY SUMMARY:

The Tea Party movement opposes government spending, taxation, and regulation because it believes that these are how the government infringes on Americans’ personal liberties as outlined in the Constitution. We must never forget that The Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are the three most revolutionary and inspiring documents in the world for they articulate and memorialize individual liberty and create a limited government (ideally). As such they provide hope and inspire free people around the world.

The Tea Party movement understands, as our Founding Fathers did and as did the drafters of our founding documents, that only when government is properly limited (such as by a written, clearly-articulated Constitution), can individuals robustly exercise their God-given rights and the other liberties associated with being free in a free society.

Now, not every person in the United States wants to be free, and we see this over and over again. Not every person is suited to preserve our system of freedom; their conduct in fact, is a very threat to it. But that doesn’t mean that our republic and all it stands for should not be defended and fought for. After all, should our system fail, there just may never be another opportunity for such an existence, such a mighty existence, of freedom on this planet.

And so the Tea Party must be extra vigilante and its members need to be strong activists, each offering their talents in their own ways. Sixty-five percent of Tea Party members are middle-class. This percentage is higher than the nation’s middle-class composition of 50 percent. More than a third or 37 percent are college graduates or have advanced education. Only 25 percent of the country’s population possesses a college or advanced degree. Almost half or 47 percent are members of the Christian right. Many of them are small business people, who must stay profitable despite narrow margins. They see taxes, regulations, and Obamacare as direct threats to their livelihood.

Although Tea Party members consider themselves full members of the Republican Party, they want to move it back to a more pure form of conservatism. They believe that Republicans in general have sold their souls (mostly to lobbyist groups and big money) and betrayed the party platform, thus not standing up for true conservative principles. Members of the Tea Party feel threatened by the new demographics in America, as exemplified by the radical progressives on the left. They sense they are becoming a minority regarding their religion, values, and way of life.

 

Reference for the Figures Representing the Composition of the Tea Party:  Kimberly Amadeo, “The Tea Party Movement, its Economic Platform, and History,” The Balance, December 19, 2018. Referenced at: https://www.thebalance.com/tea-party-movement-economic-platform-3305571

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Jason Pye: Explaining the Pending Lawsuit Against Obamacare

5th Circuit Court

An article written by Jason Pye, March 28, 2019 [https://www.freedomworks.org/content/explaining-pending-lawsuit-against-Obamacare]
This past December, a federal district court judge struck down the Affordable Care Act (aka, “Obamacare”) as unconstitutional. Judge O’Connor reasoned that since the Individual Mandate was invalidated by President Trump and Congress, the ACA no longer has any constitutional foundation under the federal Tax and Spend powers and therefore cannot be supported as legitimate federal law.
 
An appeal has been filed and will be heard by the 5th Circuit in July.
 
For a good and thorough explanation of this lawsuit, check out Jason Pye’s article below. Jason is an excellent policy analyst with FreedomWorks.
EXPLAINING THE PENDING LAWSUIT AGAINST OBAMACARE
In December, Judge Reed O’Connor released an opinion in Texas v. United States that struck down the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more commonly known as “ObamaCare,” because the individual mandate had been gutted by Congress in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The rest of the law, he wrote, is “inseverable and therefore invalid.” The opinion represents the biggest legal threat to ObamaCare in nearly seven years.
Since Judge O’Connor’s opinion was released and the subsequent stay was issued, the House approved a rules package that includes language allowing the chamber to defend the law in federal courts. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which currently has the case on appeal, has granted the House’s request to join the case in defense of the law over the objection of the Trump administration. On Monday, the Trump administration’s Department of Justice wrote in support of Judge O’Connor’s opinion, marking the first time it has taken a formal position in the case.
 
So, what’s this case about? In February 2018, the attorneys general from several states — including Texas, Georgia, and Arizona — filed a lawsuit arguing that two aspects of the ACA, guaranteed issue and community rating, are unconstitutional based on the congressional action to eliminate the penalty levied against an individual who failed to purchase a government-approved health insurance plan. The provision is known as the “individual mandate,” or the “individual shared responsibility payment.”
 
The Supreme Court, in NFIB v. Sebelius (2012), determined that the penalty associated with the individual mandate was a tax. But Court’s opinion also noted the importance of the individual mandate because of the guaranteed issue and community rating requirements. In King v. Burwell (2015), the opinion of the Court noted, “Congress found that the guaranteed issue and community rating requirements would not work without the coverage requirement.”
 
For those unfamiliar with the ACA, Section 1201 guaranteed the issuance of a health insurance policy to any individual who applies, regardless of that individual’s health status. This includes individuals with preexisting conditions. The section also included restrictions on community rating, prohibiting health insurers from using certain information about the individual, including health status and gender, to determine risk and premiums.
 
Passed by Congress and signed into in December 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, in Section 11081, eliminated the penalty for failing to comply with the individual mandate effective beginning tax year 2019. Now, the individual mandate remains in statute, in 26 U.S.C. 5000A, but it will have no penalty associated with noncompliance.
 
One of the problems with the ACA is that it didn’t have a severability clause. Such language is inserted into the legislative text of a bill to protect against a future challenge in which a court may determine that a law is unworkable without some key feature that the court itself has struck down. Even the Obama administration recognized this problem.
 
Although the Obama administration argued in a brief submitted in NFIB v. Sebelius, that the Supreme Court “need not consider the issue of severability,” an argument was made to limit the impact of finding that the individual mandate was unconstitutional that two specific Title I provisions, guaranteed issue and community rating, were inseverable. Of course, this argument was rendered moot when the Court upheld the mandate.
 
Judge O’Connor rested on a few different points to come to his decision. He writes that the individual mandate was “keystone” of the ACA. He points to different aspects of 42 U.S.C. 18091, which states the importance of the individual mandate — or “requirement,” as it’s called in the statute — in three ways:
(2)(A): “In the absence of the requirement, some individuals would make an economic and financial decision to forego health insurance coverage and attempt to self-insure, which increases financial risks to households and medical provider.”
 
(2)(F): “By significantly reducing the number of the uninsured, the requirement, together with the other provisions of this Act, will lower health insurance premiums.”
 
(2)(H): “The requirement is an essential part of this larger regulation of economic activity, and the absence of the requirement would undercut Federal regulation of the health insurance market.”
 
“All told, Congress stated three separate times that the Individual Mandate is essential to the ACA. That is once, twice, three times and plainly. It also stated the absence of the Individual Mandate would ‘undercut’ its ‘regulation of the health insurance market,’” Judge O’Connor writes. “Thirteen different times, Congress explained how the Individual Mandate stood as the keystone of the ACA. And six times, Congress explained it was not just the Individual Mandate, but the Individual Mandate ‘together with the other provisions’ that allowed the ACA to function as Congress intended.”
 
Judge O’Connor also points to the Supreme Court’s decision in NFIB v. Sebelius. The Court recognized that the individual mandate was central to the ACA’s Title I regulations, specifically guaranteed issue and community rating. “The guaranteed-issue and community-rating reforms do not, however, address the issue of healthy individuals who choose not to purchase insurance to cover potential health care needs. In fact, the reforms sharply exacerbate that problem, by providing an incentive for individuals to delay purchasing health insurance until they become sick, relying on the promise of guaranteed and affordable coverage,” Chief Justice Roberts explained.
 
“The reforms also threaten to impose massive new costs on insurers, who are required to accept unhealthy individuals but prohibited from charging them rates necessary to pay for their coverage. This will lead insurers to significantly increase premiums on everyone,” he added. The other eight justices on the Court agreed, in separate concurrences and dissents, that the individual mandate was essential to make these two provisions work.
 
But Judge O’Connor takes it further by finding that the entire law is inseverable because the various provisions work together in a manner that is reliant on the individual mandate. This includes major provisions like the health insurance subsidies and Medicaid expansion, as well as minor provisions.
 
When it comes to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Judge O’Connor explains that Congress didn’t outright repeal the individual mandate, although it eliminated the penalty, or 42 U.S.C. 18091, which noted the importance of the individual mandate. The defendant, which is the State of California, argued that severability was intended by Congress by not repealing those statutes.
 
Of course, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed in a way that would prohibit the repeal of statutes that didn’t have a direct spending or revenue impact. A finding, which is what 42 U.S.C. 18091 is, couldn’t have been repealed in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Similarly, the individual mandate couldn’t have been repealed through this process. The revenue provision — the actual part of the statute with the specified penalty — could be changed, however.
 
“In some ways, the question before the Court involves the intent of both the 2010 and 2017 Congresses. The former enacted the ACA. The latter sawed off the last leg it stood on,” Judge O’Connor explains. “But however one slices it, the following is clear: The 2010 Congress memorialized that it knew the Individual Mandate was the ACA keystone; the Supreme Court stated repeatedly that it knew Congress knew that; and knowing the Supreme Court knew what the 2010 Congress had known, the 2017 Congress did not repeal the Individual Mandate and did not repeal § 18091.”
 
There’s some doubt among even ObamaCare opponents that Judge O’Connor’s decision will be upheld because it’s so broad. A more narrow order wouldn’t have completely eliminated ObamaCare, but it would have unraveled it to the point at which it would have been unworkable and caused major disruption in the individual market.
 
The Fifth Circuit has Texas v. United States on appeal. We’re not sure when arguments will take place, but with the administration now actively involved and supporting the opinion issued by Judge O’Connor, we’re betting that whatever the decision is in the Fifth Circuit, there will be an appeal and the Supreme Court will eventually consider the case.
 
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There is a Public School Crisis Alright – But it Has Nothing to Do with Unacceptable Teacher Pay

TEACHER PROTEST DAY in RALEIGH - Pic

by Diane Rufino, May 3, 2019

On Wednesday, May 1 (“May Day”), teachers all across the state ignored their responsibility to educate our children and met in Raleigh at the state legislature buildings to pressure the General Assembly for a list of demands. Under the guise of addressing a crisis in education or wanting to provide a better education for North Carolina children, the teachers, dressed in red shirts, descended on the legislative buildings to speak with legislators, to walk around simply to make their presence known, and to congregate outside on the commons to listen to speakers convince them that they continue to be neglected and mistreated.

In an article he wrote in Real Clear Education, Terry Stoops wrote:

For a second year, those aligned with the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) insist on creating school-day hardship for hundreds of thousands of parents and kids. They’re taking delight in their disruption, keeping a tally of closed public school districts for the aptly named “All Out for Public Education” demonstration. Each new addition is cheered. “So why shut down the schools?” asks an activist in an April 21 letter to the editor of the Raleigh News & Observer. “To tell the state and the nation that there is a public school crisis right now in our state.”

That’s true. But our crisis has little to do with the list of demands union officials have published in advance of the walkout. Those who think so have sadly missed the point of being an educator. Look into the eyes of a child who can’t read her book or solve her math equation, and you will come face to face with North Carolina’s education crisis. Student achievement is dismal and has been for years. NCAE/NEA demands for money and power will do little to improve the achievement prospects for these fragile kids.   [Terry Stoops, “Teacher Walkout Ignores North Carolina’s Crisis of Student Achievement,” April 29, 2019]

Mr. Stoops is correct. The North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE), the state affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA) which is the country’s largest teacher union, together with Progress North Carolina, organized the Teacher Rally Day to push for a set of issues, including their progressive socialist agenda. Note that May 1 (again “May Day”) was the date chosen in the late 19th century for International Workers’ Day by the Socialists and Communists, and then chosen as Workers’ Day in the US.

The priority issues being pushed by the NCAE, teachers, and Progress North Carolina are as follows (word-for-word from a memo sent to legislators):

  • Provide enough school librarians, psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses, and other health professionals to meet national professional-to-student standards.
  • Provide $15 minimum wage for all school personnel, 5% raise for all ESP’s (non-certified staff), teachers, administrators, and a 5% cost-of-living adjustment for retirees;
  • Expand Medicaid to improve the health of our students and families;
  • Reinstate state retiree health benefits eliminated by the General Assembly in 2017;
  • Restore advanced degree compensation stripped by the General Assembly in 2013.

NOTE: In MY day, when public education was still a huge success, there was one nurse per high school, one librarian, and a few academic/college counselors. That was it! Also, it should be noted that an analyst from the John Locke Society was at the rally and found the Medicaid expansion demand to be disingenuine. He said it is not likely at all that any student or family will benefit from Medicaid expansion.

And let’s look at the demand for increased compensation for a Master’s Degree in Education… I can speak to this with experience for I have such a Master’s Degree. The degree is a joke and what I learned to earn the degree was mostly progressive nonsense, crap, and more crap. There was nothing I learned that would have made me a better teacher or that would have benefitted any student in any of my classes. In fact, often I thought the lessons were intentionally seeking to make me a worse teacher, to dumb down my lessons, and to lessen my expectations from students with respect to academics. I thought it a joke that a teacher with such a useless degree should expect to receive higher pay. Here is what Mr. Stoops wrote about it:

The NCAE also demands the state legislature restore advanced degree compensation discontinued in 2013, a reform supported by decades of empirical research that consistently found teachers with master’s degrees were no more effective than those without. Rather than reward a select group of teachers with the credential, lawmakers in the Republican legislative majority redirected that funding to boost teacher pay for all teachers. After five consecutive years of base salary increases, North Carolina’s average teacher salary reached nearly $54,000 this year, a 20 percent increase over that period. At the same time, state-funded health insurance and pension contributions have surged. A sixth consecutive teacher pay hike is almost guaranteed.  [Ibid]

Republican legislators were prepared for the teachers and for the union demands. Most were not going to take them seriously, and for good reason. First, they disapproved of their tactic. Why would they plan a day of action during the school year, on a school day, when most schools are already behind in calendar school days on account of last fall’s hurricane Florence? Some schools were closed up to a full month. If they were planning a day to pressure the legislature for items that benefit THEM (not a single one would benefit students or improve the education of a single student), why didn’t they pick a day on THEIR time – say in June or July when the legislature would still be in session?

For the luxury of going to Raleigh on Wednesday to pressure the General Assembly for more money, over 1 million children, two-thirds of the public school students in North Carolina, were told to stay home, creating untold hardships for parents that had to forgo hourly wages to care for their children on what SHOULD have been a typical instructional day.

Second of all, the Republican-majority legislature has been very good to the teachers over the years, giving them a pay increase six times. A seventh pay increase is being proposed for this legislative session as well.

And so this was the approach that these Republican legislators took:

(1) On every floor of the legislative buildings, and at every corner and sitting area, there were very large boards propped up on easels, that reminded teachers that the legislature has already given them 6 pay increases (while the Democrat-controlled legislature not only did NOT increase their pay, but reduced their pay three times).

(2) On the tables in every single sitting area, and in the cafeteria, and on the chairs out in the halls, there were colored hand-out sheets titled “TEACHER PAY FACTS” to remind teachers of the TRUTH about North Carolina’s raising of teacher salaries and WHICH PARTY was responsible for it. (the facts, by the way, come from: www.ncteacherraise.com)

(3) Some legislators took the position that if the schools were closed in their district so teachers could travel to Raleigh, thus denying students an opportunity to be in school to learn, then they would absolutely REFUSE to support any of their issues and would vote against a seventh pay increase.

Here is the list of schools (public and charter schools) that closed on Wednesday for the Teacher Rally (aka, “teacher work day”).

▪ Alamance-Burlington Schools: 22,734 students

▪ Asheville City Schools: 4,317 students

▪ Bertie County: 2,104 students

▪ Brunswick County: 12,471 students

▪ Cabarrus County: 33,008 students

▪ Carter Community (charter school): 251 students

▪ Central Park School For Children (charter school): 629 students

▪ Chapel Hill-Carrboro: 12,307 students

▪ Charlotte-Mecklenburg: 147,406 students

▪ Chatham County: 8,833 students

▪ Cumberland County: 50,073 students

▪ Davie County: 6,110 students

▪ Durham County: 32,356 students

▪ Exploris Charter School: 454 students

▪ Franklin County: 8,119 students

▪ Global Scholars Academy (charter school): 215 students

▪ Guilford County: 71,413 students

▪ Hertford County: 2,725 students

▪ Hickory City: 4,077 students

▪ Hoke County: 8,758 students

▪ Iredell-Statesville Schools: 20,236 students

▪ IC imagine (charter school): 1,034 students

▪ Johnston County: 36,360 students

▪ Kannapolis City Schools: 5,438 students

▪ Lee County: 9.855 students

▪ Lexington City Schools: 2,983 students

▪ Maureen Joy Charter: 638 students

▪ Mooresville Graded School District: 5,980 students

▪ Nash Rocky Mount Schools: 14,801 students

▪ New Hanover County: 25,719 students

▪ Orange County Schools: 7,300 students

▪ PAVE Southeast Raleigh (charter school): 380 students

▪ Pitt County: 23,358 students

▪ Raleigh Charter High School: 563 students

▪ Robeson County: 21,673 students

▪ Rolesville Charter Academy: 578 students

▪ Thomasville City Schools: 2,273 students

▪ Vance County: 5,515 students

▪ Wake Forest Charter Academy: 767 students

▪ Wake County: 160,471 students

▪ Wayne County: 18,223 students

▪ Weldon City Schools: 794 students

▪ Wilson County: 9,041 students

▪ Winston Salem/Forsyth: 53,805 students

***  That’s a lot of students being denied a opportunity to learn and denied a rightful expectation of being educated.

Here are some facts about NC Teacher Pay that most people don’t know (including the teachers):

  • The average teacher salary in 2018-2019 is $53,975
  • North Carolina is ranked second highest in teacher pay in the southeast
  • There have been 6 pay increases, but 5 of them were consecutive increases.
  • North Carolina has the third fastest-rising teacher pay raises in the country
  • The average pay raise for teachers since 2013 is $8,600
  • The average percentage pay increase since 2013 is 19%
  • The average pay increase that Governor Cooper vetoed is 9.5%
  • The increase in the lifetime earning potential of a North Carolina teacher since 2013 is $237,200

People would support teachers in their appeals to the General Assembly if those appeals actually had anything to do with the real crisis in education, which is substandard academic performance (probably related to substandard teaching, or poor curriculum standards). The crisis is not in the state’s treatment of teachers or its funding of teachers. Terry Stoops breaks down the problem in clear terms:

Results from state achievement tests administered last year show that only 56% of elementary and middle school students were proficient in math, and just 57% were proficient in reading. Since 2014, math proficiency has increased by just over 5 percentage points, but reading has gained only a single percentage point. And that’s not the worst of it. A mere 42% of economically disadvantaged elementary and middle school students are proficient in reading, and around the same percentage reached math proficiency. Shockingly, only around four of 10 African-American students in elementary and middle school grades are proficient in reading and math. Within both these subgroups, far fewer earn scores that equate to college and career readiness. Think of what’s ahead – and not ahead — for these boys and girls as they become men and women. [Ibid]

The teachers assembled in Raleigh in red shirts and adopted as their rally logo the iconic “clenched fist.” Is there some hidden meaning? Or maybe it’s simply quite clear. They combined the color red (the color of communism) with the favorite symbol of revolution (resistance!) and communism.

Conservative organizations are urging teachers to “walk-away” from the union – from the NCAE. Parents just want their kids to be taught successfully and to have teachers who put kids and education first rather than their own agenda.

 

References:

List of schools closed for Teacher Rally in Raleigh – https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article229063454.html#storylink=cpy

Terry Stoops, “Teacher Walkout Ignores North Carolina’s Crisis of Student Achievement,” Real Clear Education, April 29, 2019. Referenced at: https://www.realcleareducation.com/articles/2019/04/29/teacher_walkout_ignores_north_carolinas_crisis_of_student_achievement__110324.html?blm_aid=35853&blm_aid=41423

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BOOK REVIEW: “And the Band Played On” (A Comprehensive Look at the AIDS Epidemic in the 1980’s) by Randy Shilts

BOOK - And The Band Played On, by Randy Shilts (#2)

Review by Diane Rufino, April 28, 2019

I just finished reading a truly wonderful book – AND THE BAND PLAYED ON, by Randy Shilts. The book chronicles the AIDS epidemic of the 1980’s, focusing on the cases, the symptoms, the mystery, the epidemiology, the panic, the politics, and ultimately the scientific breakthrough in identifying the causative agent, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and its mode of infection and spread.

I remember living through that frightening era in North Jersey and watching it unfold on TV and in the news, and seeing the many billboards on the highways into New York City announcing how many lives the yet unknown disease had claimed. As a student thinking of going into the field of science, it presented a most compelling reason why research scientists are so badly needed in this country and around the world. Each week that scientists are unable to unravel the causes of new diseases, or to figure out how individuals are infected or how it is spread, or to understand how to treat those who suffer, the more lives are claimed.

In the case of AIDS, if only officials had listened to scientists rather than pander to politics and especially, identity politics, the lives of many thousands of young men and women, and children too, would have been spared. I hope the story of the AIDS epidemic will enlighten those when the next deadly or potentially-deadly disease hits. In fact, the author opens the book by explaining: “I would not have been able to write this book if I had not been a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, the only daily newspaper in the United States that did not need a movie star to come down with AIDS before it considered the epidemic a legitimate news story deserving thorough coverage.”

The first documented case of a man dying from an opportunistic infection (pneumocystis carinii) due to a diminished immune system was in 1981. Cases followed of gay men presenting with a very rare skin cancer (Kaposi’s sarcoma, which previously only affected elder Italian and Jewish men). They too were found to have a severely diminished immune system. It wasn’t until two years later that the virus that killed off the critical Helper T cells (that mounts a person’s immune response) was isolated and characterized. French scientist Luc Montagne published his findings in May 1983. Due to a rivalry with the American research team, Dr. Robert Gallo of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), treatment in the United States ignored the French discovery, allowing thousands to become infected and die. AIDS was a death sentence back then. Dr. Gallo would isolate and characterize the virus a year later (although he characterized it incorrectly; the French got it right), and with utmost arrogance and an ego unmatched in the field of research, would insist and assert that it was he who identified the AIDS virus. President Ronald Reagan chose to remain silent about the disease for most of his time in the White House, but in 1987, he finally addressed the epidemic. On April 2, he appeared before the College of Physicians in Philadelphia to deliver what would be his first “major speech” on AIDS, calling it “public enemy number one.” And then the following month, on May 31, he agreed to speak at a dinner honoring the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), which was founded by Rock Hudson shortly before he passed away (on Oct. 2, 1985). The president had been invited by actress Elizabeth Taylor, who was named by Hudson to be the chairman, to offer a few remarks.

By the time Reagan finally agreed to address the epidemic at amfAR, 36,058 Americans had been diagnosed that year with the disease and 20,849 had already died.

By 1984, it was estimated that approximately 33-40% of all gay men in San Francisco and New York City were HIV-positive. The virus had a long latency period – approximately 5 years (that is, once infected, full-blown AIDS would set in about 5 years later). Consequently, the chances of contracting the disease, for those who hadn’t already, were increasing rapidly and dangerously. As of 1986, after 5 years of seeing the epidemic unfold and trying to understand it, the cumulative number of AIDS cases in the United States reached 270,000 of which 179,000 died. By the spring of 1987, the disease had been reported in 113 countries (more than doubled the number of countries from just a year prior), with 51,000 persons infected outside the US. Most of those infected had visited the United States – New York City or San Francisco in particular. Others had visited Africa – the equatorial regions, such as Zaire. It was projected (correctly) that there would be over 3 million cases by 1991.

The book makes abundantly clear why the AIDS epidemic claimed so many lives, and needlessly so:

(1) Because it only affected gay men (at least in the first years). The 1980’s was still an era of extreme homophobia. Gay men were considered perverts, freaks, and disease-carriers. The unspoken sentiment was that as long as the disease was contained and limited to the gay community, that was good. It was a good thing, the homophobic community believed, to get rid of the freaks. This sentiment, by the way, clearly drove public policy at the time, resulting in a lack of funding for the epidemic.

(2) Because it predominantly affected gay men. The gay community was fiercely protective of its civil rights and the advances they had made in being able to live their promiscuous, detached, sex-charged lifestyle. Bath houses (centers for mass anonymous sex, orgies, drugs, etc) and other gay sex clubs and bars catered to this promiscuous sex-obsessed lifestyle. When health officials advised first that public notices be posted to reduce the number of partners, refrain from risky gay sex, and to engage in safe-sex, and then that bath houses be shut down, the gay community flew into absolute outrage, threatening to sue officials and to obtain injunctions on any and all such actions. The fierce resistance to plans designed to educate the gay community and to help stem the spread of the deadly disease in order to save lives was the one thing that condemned thousands and thousands (maybe more) to a needless death. The gay community viewed such actions as public notices and closing bath houses as stigmatizing their kind, bringing more unwelcome discrimination upon them, un-doing the progress they had already made, and ultimately paving the way for society to round them up under the guise of being carriers for disease and segregating them from heterosexuals. They refused to allow any of such consequences. If they had to die for their rights, they would. And they did. The ironic thing is that the gay community to an overwhelmingly extent spread the disease as an identity group, through its lifestyle and its sexual practices, yet it didn’t want to be stigmatized as an identity group by the disease when it came time to address its deadly contagion. It was always about saving lives and not about discrimination.

I recommend this book wholeheartedly.

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