Thursday, August 30, 2012

In U.S., Private Schools Get Top Marks for Educating Children

Public schools score lowest in terms of perceived education quality

by Jeffrey M. Jones - August 29, 2012

Seventy-eight percent of Americans say children educated in private schools receive an excellent or good education, more than say that about four other types of U.S. schooling. At least 6 in 10 say parochial schools or charter schools provide a quality education, while far fewer say that about home schooling or public schools.

These results are based on Gallup's annual Work and Education poll, conducted Aug. 9-12. For the first time Gallup asked Americans to rate -- based on what they have heard or their own experiences -- the quality of education U.S. children receive in various schooling situations.

Public schools get a relatively poor rating, even though the vast majority of American children are educated in public schools. The poll finds 83% of parents with children in grades kindergarten through 12 saying their oldest child attends public school, compared with 9% who say private school, 4% home school, and 2% parochial school. The poll did not assess the percentage of children attending charter schools, a relatively new type of school.

Parents of school-aged children generally rank the various school types in the same order, although they are somewhat more positive about the quality of public school education -- 47% say it is excellent or good -- than the broader adult population (37%).

Democrats More Upbeat About Public Schools

There are political differences in how respondents rate the quality of certain types of schooling, with Republicans much more positive about home schooling and, to a lesser extent, parochial schools, than are Democrats. In turn, Democrats are more positive about public schools than are Republicans.

The net result of these differences is that Democrats are slightly more positive about the educational quality of public schools than of home schooling. However, Democrats still view private, parochial, and charter schools as providing better education than public schools.

Americans' Continue to Be Dissatisfied With K-12 Schooling in U.S.

The relatively low rating for public schools is likely an extension of Americans' broader dissatisfaction with kindergarten through grade 12 education in the United States. The Aug. 9-12 poll finds 44% of Americans saying they are satisfied with the quality of education U.S. students receive; 53% are dissatisfied. Only once in the 13-year history of this question, in 2004, have more Americans been satisfied than dissatisfied.

But American parents are always far more positive when asked to rate their own child's school -- with 75% this year saying they are satisfied. Seventy-five percent of public school parents are also satisfied with their child's schooling.

The percentage satisfied with their own child's education has never been lower than 68% since 1999, compared with a maximum satisfaction level of 53% for U.S. education more generally.


Americans are much more inclined to believe students in private, parochial, or charter schools receive a high-quality education than to say this about students in public schools and those who are home schooled. Americans in general are not highly satisfied with the state of public schooling in the United States, although that is probably not a commentary on their own child's school and schools in their local area because Americans have historically been quite satisfied with each of those. Rather, Americans may just have a general sense that U.S. public education is not where it needs to be, perhaps due to news media reports that American students lag behind students in other countries in basic academic skills.

Survey Methods
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Aug. 9-12, 2012, with a random sample of 1,012 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

For results based on the total sample of 236 parents with children in grades kindergarten through 12, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±8 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2011 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

View methodology, full question results, and trend data.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mutiny Planned at GOP Convention Over Rules Changes

I wonder how many votes this will cost the GOP in November?! What should have been a positive convention that garnered a national spotlight and the opportunity to pick up lots of new votes is turning into anything but. I've been saying for quite some time's time to come together!!! Paul should be speaking for the Ron Paulers, Palin should be speaking for the Tea Party, Herman Cain should be speaking, Col. Allen West should be speaking! Imagine the votes the GOP could have secured. This just doesn't seem very strategic to me. Giving up this election to shield the party from Ron Paulers in the future?

Texas delegates planning floor mutiny over RNC rules changes

By Liz Goodwin - 8/27/2012

TAMPA--On Monday morning, at a meeting of more than 100 Texan delegates and alternates at the Saddlebrook Resort 20 miles north of Tampa, one topic got the crowd more fired up than any other. Delegate Melinda Fredricks read aloud a letter condemning recent changes to the national Republican party's rules that would allow the GOP presidential candidate to veto and replace state delegates.

"Our delegates are in shock that such an amendment even would be presented before the Rules Committee much less passed into rule," Fredricks said. "Please know from the Texas delegation standpoint that the only way a floor fight can be avoided is for this rule to be stricken."

At that point, the entire Texas delegation stood up and applauded.

Texans don't necessarily want to have an ugly floor fight on the same day the party officially nominates Mitt Romney. But they're willing to do it if their concerns about the rule aren't satisfied. The changes, which Mitt Romney's top lawyer put forward last week and Gov. Haley Barbour along with some other Romney supporters have embraced, are seen by opponents as intended to significantly weaken the power of grassroots politics and insurgent candidates such as Ron Paul. Many against the move worry that it would give national candidates the power to replace delegates--often grassroots party faithfuls--with big-time donors or friends.

"We truly consider that an infringement on our rights," Fredricks, a member of the rules committee, told Yahoo News of the changes. Today, states generally choose their delegates at state conventions, and then those individuals travel to the national convention to cast their vote for a candidate based on the share the candidate won of the primary or caucus vote of each state. But, the changes could allow a candidate such as Mitt Romney to boot out any delegates who are assigned to vote for him and replace them.

While opposition to the rules began with Ron Paul supporters, it has spread to the entire Texas delegation and significant portions of those from South Carolina, Colorado, Virginia and Louisiana too. Mitt Romney's campaign lawyer Ben Ginsberg proposed the rule last week, but even some Romney supporters are staunchly opposed to the changes. Indiana delegate and Romney supporter James Bopp wrote in an email to RNC members that it's "the biggest power grab in the history of the Republican Party." Fredricks, a Romney supporter, says only 30 people of the more than 300 Texan alternates and delegates support Ron Paul, yet the delegation is "united" in its opposition to the rule.

At 2pm on Tuesday, the Rules Committee members will debate whether the new rule should be struck down. Fredericks thinks she has the 29 members necessary to start a debate about the change, and is hopeful she can resolve the issue before the committee adjourns and joins the larger convention floor.

"We like to fight behind closed doors...Most of us are reluctant to do a floor flight," Fredricks said.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus told Salon Monday that he does not expect a floor fight, though he did not explain why.

Paulites are among the staunchest opponents of the new rule. It would prevent insurgent candidates such as Paul from raking up delegate votes in caucus states where party conventions instead of the statewide vote determine how many delegates are awarded. ABC's Chris Good points out that Paul would not have won a plurality of delegates in four states if this rule had been in effect during this primary.

Paul supporter Karen Skrill, an alternate delegate from Vermont, said she and her husband Stewart, a delegate, are upset about the changed rules.

"If this is how it's going to be, I don't want to be a Republican," Skrill told Yahoo News in a discussion on the floor Monday. The Skrills are retired farmers.

"Texas in general doesn't believe the national level should be picking delegates," added Jon Burgin, an alternate delegate from San Antonio who supports Paul. "It's pretty egregious." 

The following is a copy of the statement that was read in regard to the rule changes:

"We strongly oppose recently proposed changes to the party rules which would give the Republican National Committee unprecedented centralized authority over the presidential nomination process, overriding the autonomy of the states and their long established electoral traditions. We also object strenuously to new rules which would empower the Republican National Committee to change the rules under which it operates between conventions without approval of the body of delegates representing the party membership. These proposed rule changes are tyrannical, contrary to the principles of republican governance and hostile to the interests of the grassroots of the party. Together they constitute an attempt to shift the power in the party from the state parties and their members to an elite establishment which answers primarily to special interests and powerful politicians, a corruption of our party which we believe all true Republicans will find unacceptable."

Issued 8/27/2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Catholicism and the Poor

Acts coerced by government, no matter how beneficial or well-intentioned, cannot be moral.

Someone is twisting the Catholic Church's teachings on caring for the poor, but it isn't Paul Ryan. His controversial budgetary ideas demonstrate that he has a better grasp of Catholic social thought than do many of the American Catholic bishops.

The culmination of centuries of theological and philosophical thought, the church's teachings cannot simply be satisfied by a government edict to "feed the poor." Commanding "Let there be light!" works fine for God, but for mortal beings, edicts don't carry the same punch.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has long supported government interference in the economy as a means to help the poor. But we suspect the bishops haven't fully thought this through: If God really did favor a top-down approach to poverty reduction, why wouldn't He establish a government with the power to wipe away poverty on demand instead of leaving things to chance and the possibility that someone like Mr. Ryan would come along and mess up His plans?

Perhaps we dehumanize the poor when we treat them as nothing more than problems to be solved, and we dehumanize the rich when we treat them as wallets to be picked.

Wealth and poverty are catalysts for bringing the rich and the poor together in community, and community is the hallmark of the church's mission on Earth. Government is not community. Government is one of community's tools, a coercive one we use when it is necessary to force people to behave in ways they would not otherwise behave voluntarily.

But that word—voluntarily—is key, and it's where Mr. Ryan's religious detractors go awry: Charity can only be charity when it is voluntary. Coerced acts, no matter how beneficial or well-intentioned, cannot be moral. If we force people to give to the poor, we have stripped away the moral component, reducing charity to mere income redistribution. And if one really is as good as the other, the Soviets demonstrated long ago that it can be done far more efficiently without the trappings of church and religion.

All people have the moral obligation to care for those who are less fortunate. But replacing morality with legality is the first step in replacing church, religion and conscience with government, politics and majority vote. Coercing people to feed the poor simply substitutes moral poverty for material poverty.

The bishops dance with the devil when they invite government to use its coercive power on their behalf, and there's no clearer example than the Affordable Care Act. They happily joined their moral authority to the government's legal authority by supporting mandatory health insurance. They should not have been surprised when the government used its reinforced power to require Catholic institutions to pay for insurance plans that cover abortions and birth control.

To paraphrase J.R.R. Tolkien (a devoted Catholic), the government does not share power. Paul Ryan knows this. The bishops would be wise to listen to him.

Mr. Davies is professor of economics at Duquesne University. Ms. Antolin is a Catholic theologian. 

The Role of Government

The following is my post on The Political Insiders Report today:

“Sometimes you fall off of the ladder…there is a safety net there…liberals tend to believe that the safety net is a hammock, so you can stay there the rest of your life,” Rep. Allen West

It’s hard for me to find fault with the folks taking advantage of the government hammock. Whether it’s the generations of families living off of welfare, capable persons drawing unemployment longer than they need, or the wealthy taking advantage of tax loopholes; it is entirely legal, and human nature after all. The true fault lies with those who make it possible to live at other’s expense. Those who savor the “slavery” of making voters completely dependent for their basic needs because it equates to guaranteed votes.

What is the proper role of government? 

Objectivists believe the only role of government is to protect its citizens. A police to protect from criminals, an army to protect from foreign invasion, and courts to protect property and contracts from breach or fraud. However, altruists believe the role extends to caring for those citizens who aren’t capable of caring for themselves. This noble view pervades most of American politics today.

The structure of philanthropy in government.

Two primary beliefs exist on how to go about helpingAmerica’s needy. One side believes in charity while the other in a redistribution of wealth often to fund entitlement programs. The two contrast each other.

As Davies and Antolin state in Friday’s Wall Street Journal, “Charity can only be charity when it is voluntary. Coerced acts, no matter how beneficial or well-intentioned, cannot be moral. If we force people to give to the poor, we have stripped away the moral component, reducing charity to mere income redistribution.”

Certainly, redistributing wealth to the needy in the form of entitlements is an effective form of philanthropy, but what happens when the government runs out of wealth to redistribute?  This belief system eventually leads to a nation of poverty.  There is an inherit danger in viewing wealth as a finite resource that must be shared.  The “trickle down” philosophy is accurate.  Just as wealth can be and is created, so too can it be destroyed.  Progressive taxation aimed at redistributing wealth to the needy is well intentioned, but eventually succeeds only in destroying wealth and creating poverty.

The private sector does not flourish under high taxation.  As Sen. Marco Rubio stated, “I have never met a job creator who told me that they were waiting for the next tax increase before they started growing their business.” And as goes the private sector, so goes the economy. As is evident, the needy suffer more under a poor economy. Unemployment is up, and with it the need for more welfare. Food stamp rolls have met record highs as has “real unemployment”.

The creation of wealth is vital to caring for our needy. As former Omaha Mayor Hal Daub stated, “You need wealth to have charity.” Economic policies that lead to wealth creation, combined with social policies encouraging charitable giving through tax credits not only lead to more effective social assistance, but guarantee the sustainability of that assistance. They do so while respecting the potential of the individual and encouraging the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

While entitlement programs destroy personal accountability and breed generations of dependence, charities encourage and motivate the individual to strive to reach their full potential rather than enabling dependence. They provide a true safety net for America’s needy.

To Read more on the topic, visit my post here.  
"Only 30% of government “welfare” spending goes to the needy. Private charity is the opposite, with over 70% going to the needy. That means private charity is 150% more efficient than the welfare state.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

CBO Releases Findings: Obamacare Will Lead to Increased Costs and Decreased Access.

 by Sally Pipes -8/6/2012

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just rendered its latest opinion on the cost of Obamacare following the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold most of the law back in June.

The numbers aren’t pretty. Despite breathless media reports of additional “savings,” the government’s bean counters actually exposed several flaws in the law that will, in the long term, lead to higher costs and reduced access to insurance coverage.

The High Court upheld the contentious individual mandate on the grounds that it is constitutional under Congress’s power to tax but allowed states to opt out of Obamacare’s order that they expand Medicaid, the joint federal-state health insurance program for low-income Americans.

The law requires states to offer Medicaid to everyone making less than 138 percent of the poverty line — just over $30,000 for a family of four. In exchange, the federal government covers the cost of the expansion for the first three years — and 90 percent thereafter.

Sounds like a great deal for the states. But the administrative expenses involved in expanding the program will increase Medicaid costs for most states — even during the period when the government foots the bill, according to a new survey conducted by the Government Accountability Office.

Further, the federal “gifts” are only for the “newly eligible.” States would still have to pay for their share of the cost of coverage for those who were eligible for Medicaid before the passage of Obamacare but hadn’t enrolled. An estimated 14 million people fall into this category.

Thanks to the individual mandate, many of these previously eligible people will come “out of the woodwork” to sign up for Medicaid and comply with the law. That would add billions of dollars to already strained state budgets.

It’s this “woodwork effect” that scares states most. And it’s why several states have opted out of the expansion.

Texas Governor Rick Perry says he won’t be party to “bankrupting my state in direct contradiction to our Constitution.” Indeed, Texas would face $27 billion in additional costs through 2023.

Even a number of Democratic governors — in Delaware, North Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky, Montana, and West Virginia — have not yet decided whether to expand Medicaid in line with Obamcare’s dictates.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has said that his state “simply cannot afford this expansion.” The Old Dominion would have to add 400,000 people to its Medicaid rolls.

If Virginia — which recently announced a $129 million surplus — can’t afford it, then how can states with huge deficits, like New York ($982 million) or Illinois ($43.8 billion)?

The rising number of states saying, “Thanks, but no thanks,” to Obamacare’s Medicaid money led the CBO to revise its estimate of the law’s costs. The agency estimates that the opt-outs will reduce federal spending by $289 billion.

Some of the folks that would have been eligible for Medicaid will seek coverage in the exchanges — where it’s 50 percent more expensive than under Medicaid. As a result, federal spending on subsidies for the exchanges will rise by $215 billion.

But only a third of those eligible for Medicaid under Obamacare’s intended expansion of the program will qualify for subsidies on the exchanges. The remaining two-thirds have incomes that are too low, according to the law.

That puts the Obama Administration in the uncomfortable position of subsidizing health coverage for the middle class — while leaving those with lower incomes to fend for themselves.

All told, the Supreme Court decision makes Obamacare $84 billion cheaper — a paltry 7 percent of the law’s total cost. Six million fewer people will be enrolled in Medicaid, and three million more will hit the exchanges. The three million remaining will be added to the uninsured rolls.

Obamacare’s champions have touted its efforts to expand access to health coverage, particularly for those at the bottom of the economic ladder.

The CBO report shows instead that the law subsidizes the health care of the middle class at the expense of those who are poorer — and spends a trillion dollars to do so. That sure doesn’t sound like the answer to our nation’s healthcare woes. 

Monday, August 06, 2012

Obama Seeking To Oust 2nd Amendement - with GOP's Help

20 Republicans Vote In Favor of UN Gun Ban Treaty

The UN Arms Trade Treaty seeks to set up an international agency that will control the availability of arms and ammunition around the world. This new international body will have the authority to tell signing nations what they can and cannot sell within their own borders. In addition, the international body will have the authority to ban existing guns within countries.

The treaty has been in the works since 2006. Abandoning the Bush administration opposition, the Obama administration supported an assembly resolution to hold this year's four-week conference on the treaty.
In April, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, Thomas Countryman, reiterated U.S. support for a treaty.

"We want any treaty to make it more difficult and expensive to conduct illicit, illegal and destabilizing transfers of arms," he said. "But we do not want something that would make legitimate international arms trade more cumbersome than the hurdles United States exporters already face."

The U.N. General Assembly voted in December 2006 to work toward a treaty regulating the growing arms trade, now valued at about $60 billion, with the U.S. casting a "no" vote. In October 2009, the Obama administration reversed the Bush administration's position and supported an assembly resolution to hold four preparatory meetings and a four-week U.N. conference in 2012 to draft an arms trade treaty.

Adoption of a treaty requires consensus among the 193 U.N. member states — a requirement the United States insisted on in 2009 — and diplomats said reaching agreement will be difficult.

 Though talks stalled the the treaty did not go forward on July 29th, according to obama's State Department, it will be dusted off and talks renewed after the November elections.

After the election finale in November and the installation of Romney or the re-installation of Obama as chief teleprompter reader in January, not only will there be a push for a new round of restrictive gun laws in America, but the stalled United Nations treaty will be dusted off and the bickering between nations will finally end with a gun-grabbing consensus.

As Al Benson, Jr., notes, careerist politicians are reluctant to press forward on legislation for fear of their cushy jobs. “As for the Senators, this is, after all, an election year and if they antagonize their gun-owning constituency many of them will be in big trouble, so they have to try to placate us, at least for now, until they get back into office. Then all bets are off, especially if Comrade Obama gets a second term (notice I didn’t say “wins” a second term),” he writes.
“For decades, apostles of one-world government have endeavored to convince the American people that treaties, rather than the Constitution, embody the supreme law of the land. In 1952, Secretary of State and Council on Foreign Relations member John Foster Dulles told the American Bar Association that ‘Treaty law can override the Constitution…Treaties, for example…can cut across the rights given the people by the constitutional Bill of Rights,” writes Doug Book.

Book notes that even if the courts decide against the treaty after it is ratified in the Senate, Obama will undoubtedly move to ignore any such decision as he has done with Fast and Furious and other laws enacted by Congress, in particular his decision to ignore a law to deport illegal aliens.

“If the president says we’re not going to enforce the law, there’s really nothing anyone can do about it,” University of Pennsylvania constitutional law professor Kermit Roosevelt told Politico in June. “It’s clearly a political calculation.”

Disarming America is undoubtedly a front and center “political calculation” for the globalists.

Republicans voting in favor of the UN Gun Ban Treaty:

Alexander, Lamar - (R – TN)Class II
(202) 224-4944
Email Him!
Tweet Him!!/senalexander

Ayotte, Kelly - (R – NH)Class III
(202) 224-3324
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Tweet Her!!/kellyayotte

Brown, Scott P. – (R – MA)Class I
(202) 224-4543
Email Him!
Tweet Him!!/ussenscottbrown

Cochran, Thad - (R – MS)Class II
(202) 224-5054
Email Him!
Tweet Him!!/SenThadCochran

Collins, Susan M. - (R – ME)Class II
(202) 224-2523
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Tweet Her!!/senatorcollins

Corker, Bob - (R – TN)Class I
(202) 224-3344
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Tweet Him!!/senbobcorker

Enzi, Michael B. - (R – WY)Class II
(202) 224-3424
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Not on Twitter

Graham, Lindsey - (R – SC)Class II
(202) 224-5972
Email Him!
Tweet Him!!/grahamblog

Grassley, Chuck - (R – IA)Class III
(202) 224-3744
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Hutchison, Kay Bailey - (R – TX)Class I
(202) 224-5922
Email Her!
Tweet Her!!/kaybaileyhutch

Isakson, Johnny - (R – GA)Class III
(202) 224-3643
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Tweet Him!!/senatorisakson

Johanns, Mike - (R – NE)Class II
(202) 224-4224
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Tweet Him!!/mike_johanns

Kirk, Mark - (R – IL)Class III
(202) 224-2854
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Lugar, Richard G. - (R – IN)Class I
(202) 224-4814
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Tweet Him!!/dicklugar
Tweet his Staff!!/senatorlugar

McCain, John - (R – AZ)Class III
(202) 224-2235
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Tweet Him!!/senjohnmccain

McConnell, Mitch - (R – KY)Class II
(202) 224-2541
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Tweet Him!!/mcconnellpress

Murkowski, Lisa - (R – AK)Class III
(202) 224-6665
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Tweet Her!!/lisamurkowski

Portman, Rob - (R – OH)Class III
(202) 224-3353
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Tweet Him!!/robportman

Snowe, Olympia J. - (R – ME)Class I
(202) 224-5344
Email Her!
Tweet Her!!/senatorsnowe

Toomey, Patrick J. - (R – PA)Class III
(202) 224-4254
Email Him!
Tweet Him!!/sentoomey

Saturday, August 04, 2012

GOP Suckered Into Surrendering Checks and Balances in Constitution

August 4, 2012 - by: Michael Patomson

On Tuesday, Congress voted to suspend the rules and pass legislation that removes checks and balances from the Constitution. The separate branches of government were designed to protect us from outright Tyranny and Dictatorship that the rest of the world lives under. Tuesday, those protections were surrendered by those occupying our own Congress.

This treasonous act known by the deceptive title, "the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011", was quietly passed and given no media coverage or attention. This legislation now allows the president to appoint most key positions in the federal government without the Advice and Consent of the Senate as required under Article 2 Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. Among those positions are;

  • The Treasurer of the United States,
  • The Rural Utilities Service Administrator,
  • The Chief Scientist at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration,
  • The Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration,
  • Members of the National Security Education Board,
  • The Director of Selective Service,
  • Four key officers in the Department of Homeland Security, and
  • Five high-level Directors in the Department of Justice.
This bill is all the more dangerous because some of the officers that it exempts from Senate scrutiny are highly sensitive. The Rural Utilities Services Administrator would likely serve on the Rural Council. Obama formed that Council to carry out UN Agenda 21.

Among the Co-Sponsors of this bill were Senators Mike Johanns (R-NE), Harry Ried (D-NV), Jon Kyl (AZ), and Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Congressmen Tom Latham from Iowa and Paul Ryan from wisconsin were among the representatives to vote for this abomination. In the name of "streamlining" the executive branch, all they have done is made it easier for a Tyrannical Dictatorship to grow and the national government to become more powerful. HOW THEY VOTED

Maybe they should have taken it as a clear indication that the national government has become massively unwieldy and out of control. Perhaps those charged with defending our liberties and freedom that the Constitution was designed to protect should have been trying to streamline the size of this massive overhanging government instead of widening the door so they can get through it.