Jump to content

Musings of a Free Man


Chuck!
 Share

Recommended Posts

Freedom

What does it mean? Freedom to succeed?
Freedom to live your life the way you want to?
Freedom to grow your own food, butcher your own meat, freedom the start your own business?

How about freedom to fail? Because unless you're willing to accept that you might fail, you have no freedom at all.
Your so-called safety net is actually a snare, and will strangle the freedom right out of you.

Take for instance, the argument that medical care from the government is a right. In order to get that right, all you have to do is give the government access to everything in your body. Wanna smoke pot? Wait until the government is the one doing your blood tests. Same with tobacco, alcohol, and trans-fats.

Think you have freedom to travel in America? Try going through a DUI checkpoint and not telling the officers your plans for the evening, as well as where you've been.

Think you have freedom of religion? Try teaching your kids to pray before every meal, and then send them to school. Watch any high school Salutatorian try to open his/her speech with a prayer

Think the arts have freedom of speech? Try publishing a satire of Islam. Or saying certain words in the public arena. Ever hear of hate crimes?

Think you have the right to bear arms? Try shooting a burglar in the leg. OR try to buy a fully automatic rifle.




Innocent until proven guilty

The right to be secure in their own person from unwarranted searches and seizures

These concepts are doomed to the history books. Our children are being taught from an early age that they must prove they're innocent, without even being accused of anything.

Take drug tests for student athletes. Why should ANY student, let alone a student being involved in extracurricular activities, be forced to pee ina bottle? If there is an accusation of drug use, let the accuser come forward. If the accusation is credible, then have the student take a drug test. If it comes back negative, deal with the accuser. And compensate those falsely accused. Stop teaching our children that it's proper for them to prove their innocence, unless someone is willing to put their name and reputation on the line with an actual accusation first.

Like DUI checkpoints.
Can anyone show me exactly where in the US Constitution that government is permitted to close a public road and not permit one to pass until they have proven they are innocent? The cops are not looking for any one person. There is no emergency. They're not looking for escaped prisoners in someones trunk. They're just stopping EVERYONE traveling on that particular road and looking for anything they can find. And refusal to cooperate is considered probable cause for even greater intrusions into one's privacy. This is EXACTLY the type of searches the founding fathers had in mind when the Fourth Amendment was written. And the Fifth.

And red light cameras
Where does it say that if you are accused of a crime, and you are innocent, you must act as a policeman and help them solve it? Proving your innocence isn't enough, you must accuse someone else of committing the crime, even though you weren't there and didn't see it happen. It's like being accused of robbing a bank, proving you were 400 miles away in another state, and unless you solve the crime yourself, being found guilty of it anyway.

How is this Constitutional?

It's common knowledge that both the states and federal governments are building fingerprint and DNA databases. How is this Constitutional?
Example: I taught Industrial Electric and Motor Control, and PLC Programming at the local technical school. Part time, adults, night school. I was strongly recruited, due to my skills and work history.
As part of my yearly teaching certification, I underwent a background check.
Then, last year, the State started requiring teachers such as myself to submit their fingerprints as part of the certification process. This violates the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable searches. How? Every time there's a bank robbery, burglary, murder, or who knows what else committed, and fingerprints are found, they would check to see if anyone in the database has a match.

Why aren't the cops allowed to just go door to door seeing if anybody in the neighborhood has a match to the incriminating prints? Because they must first have probable cause, a reason to suspect that person did it. Fourth Amendment says so. So how can the government check all teachers, lawyers, gun owners, and anybody else's fingerprints they may have happened to collect? By saying that the prints were given to them voluntarily. No one is forcing me to take that job, but taking it means I give up my Fourth Amendment rights.

At least four of my daughter's friends went to college for teaching, child care, and one went to work with the criminally psychological "challenged". All are good kids, smart, and all are already have their prints in the system. None of them were told that they would be checked against any crime ever committed, they thought they were passing a background check. Just what kind of crime to you suppose they were expecting these college freshmen to have committed?

Just a few examples of how our children, and adults, are being taught to submit rather than stand up for themselves.

Think about it

I welcome all replies, will discuss any or all parts of my posts.


This was written in 2007 and it still applies today,,,,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting read.

 

Now let's talk about the obligation of a man to his fellow man. Does "freedom" come without obligation? Without responsibility?

 

 

At the bottom of every philosophical or political question you may first and foremost ask yourself "where is the freedom, where is the liberty, what serves best serves the interest of freedom/liberty" --- I may ask that question too, but it is a secondary question to me. First I ask "Where is the Love? What best serves the interest of Love"

 

Perhaps we are a bit different from each other in that respect?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The more our personal responsibility is replaced with laws and we are arbitrarily checked for compliance, we move further away from morals and integrity.

 

At a time when we had far less oversight in regard to compliance with laws, it was important to teach moral law and self regulation. These teachings are necessary for people to operate in a system without totalitarian control.

 

Laws are static and don't require people to make correct decisions but only to comply or face consequence if caught. In this people are open to act in any manner they choose given they follow law.

 

Now we have a situation where people make decisions based on what they feel they can get away with rather than right and wrong. As people seek holes in the laws to take advantage, others will seek to close these holes and tighten the noose.

 

Personal responsibility is fundamental to freedom and progress. Without it we become individuals that cannot trust one another past the confines of law. We each become obstacles to the next persons personal goals instead of a bonded force.

 

The more we are controlled the more people will be required to be controlled.

 

Everyone is so focused on law these days, we are leaving the path that promotes cooperation and heading for one that promotes seeking advantage.

 

Overall it is a downward spiral eventually leading to revolt or being a police state.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also I'll add that law tends to unfairly favor people with money and influence. This further complicates things as people are rewarded for corruption and will compel those with money and influence to further their personal advantage.

 

Unfortunately people tend to be self serving unless they are trained, and short sighted. We are steadily losing the part of our culture that made us strong so that people can be selfish while claiming righteousness based on laws requirements.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Just a few examples of how our children, and adults, are being taught to submit rather than stand up for themselves.

 

Think about it

 

I welcome all replies, will discuss any or all parts of my posts.

 

 

This was written in 2007 and it still applies today,,,,

This even apply more today. There is no more freedom in America. We are in a Totalitarian/Facsist State now. It's been brooing for some time. Problem: Most people here don't get it; Most are concerned where the truth comes from i.e.if it does not come from one of their "trusted" media voices, they shrug it off. I fear that the masses that are need to reverse this trend will not wake up to change it soon enough.

 

The powers behind government have done a great job twisting and programing the minds of the public into a Stockholm Syndrome like existence. Give them sports and entertainment and they will embrace their captor and love their suvitude. Aldus Huxley.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting read.

 

Now let's talk about the obligation of a man to his fellow man. Does "freedom" come without obligation? Without responsibility?

 

 

At the bottom of every philosophical or political question you may first and foremost ask yourself "where is the freedom, where is the liberty, what serves best serves the interest of freedom/liberty" --- I may ask that question too, but it is a secondary question to me. First I ask "Where is the Love? What best serves the interest of Love"

 

Perhaps we are a bit different from each other in that respect?

 

Perhaps, let's explore,,,

You mention responsibility,

I say that total freedom means totally responsible for your own needs

 

You want to be free of your water bill?

Drill a well and be responsible for your own water

Sounds reasonable to me

The thing is, the more responsibilities one has, the less freedom one enjoys

The more possessions, pets, house, kids, THINGS, one is responsible for, the less freedom he'll have

 

You agree?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Perhaps, let's explore,,,

You mention responsibility,

I say that total freedom means totally responsible for your own needs

 

You want to be free of your water bill?

Drill a well and be responsible for your own water

Sounds reasonable to me

The thing is, the more responsibilities one has, the less freedom one enjoys

The more possessions, pets, house, kids, THINGS, one is responsible for, the less freedom he'll have

 

You agree?

I guess that's one way to define freedom, in your context.

 

Your talking about free time or freedom from having to take care of "things" or responsibilities.

 

I think from a political point of view, it's freedom for a tyrannical government, i.e. the many forms of taxation, liciences, social controls, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's all the same.

Everyone who expects the government to provide them with something is going to give up some freedom for it.

The so-called "safety net" is really a snare designed to entrap you

This free health care everyone wants is going to result in your doctor revealing your inner most secrets to the feds.

 

Tyranny promises security, if you will only give up your freedom,,,,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

there is no freedom from adapt or become extinct accept dead once added to the eternity of now. Specific gravity does specific things randomly, yet so specific nothing exists beyond the moment universally here presently and currently never the same added details twice within self contained locations balancing as usual regardless the means of making reality seem real.

 

Seams of tyranny are coming unstitched. Hem that up to him or her.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Perhaps, let's explore,,,

You mention responsibility,

I say that total freedom means totally responsible for your own needs

 

You want to be free of your water bill?

Drill a well and be responsible for your own water

Sounds reasonable to me

The thing is, the more responsibilities one has, the less freedom one enjoys

The more possessions, pets, house, kids, THINGS, one is responsible for, the less freedom he'll have

 

You agree?

 

And if your well goes dry? If your neighbor's well goes dry? What's the value in that freedom? It's a hollow empty shell. Where is the Love?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

And if your well goes dry? If your neighbor's well goes dry? What's the value in that freedom? It's a hollow empty shell. Where is the Love?

 

 

So you're claiming that a drought is reason to impose tyranny?

That's a crock if ever I heard one

A free people will always find a way to get their water

How does enslaving them provide for their needs?

You are presenting the same lesson slave owners used to keep their slaves in line

 

I have plenty of love in my life

Sorry it seems to be missing from yours

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

So you're claiming that a drought is reason to impose tyranny?

That's a crock if ever I heard one

A free people will always find a way to get their water

How does enslaving them provide for their needs?

You are presenting the same lesson slave owners used to keep their slaves in line

 

I have plenty of love in my life

Sorry it seems to be missing from yours

 

I never used the words tyranny or slavery ---- those are yours, so I'll leave it to you to answer those rhetorical questions.

 

A society that makes no attempt as a society to care for all of it's members ---- that does not care for the health and welfare, even the happiness, of the least in society ---- is not "free" at all.

 

(how does that fracking fluid in your well water taste, btw? Kids get sick yet?)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Liberals seldom use plain language or direct honesty to describe what they are advocating, yet that is exactly what you are doing here, under the guise of legislating love.

 

Society has always existed, and men have always yearned to be free

The freest societies are the ones that impose the fewest restrictions, such as we have (had?) in this country.

 

Your implied enjoyment at my children's distress is ugly
Is that your true personality?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the perks of living in a free nation is being able to take part in our own governing.

Our government is of the people, by the people, and for the people, and if we don't like what is happening, we can change it.

I enjoy taking part in our state government, especially in expanding our rights, our freedom.

I often go down to our Statehouse and lobby our legislative committee members to vote for bills that expand our rights and against bills that restrict them

Mostly for gun rights, but not always

 

I was in a pretty lively committee meeting a couple years back about hidden compartments in automobiles

The State Police wanted them outlawed and felonies if you had them

I and several like minded citizens argued in committee hearings against it and the chairman called a recess to "caucus" and we all argued at once all around the room, trying to twist arms and win votes.

We lost the war, but won several exemptions for guns, money and tools in such compartments, and there must be a visible amount of drugs present for an arrest to be made

But the cops still have their law

 

I am a sidewalk activist for gun rights, and often hold open carry events as well as counter rallies whenever the antis get froggy.

Mayor Bloomberg likes running his MAIG bus to Ohio, and we enjoy seeing how many more gun carriers we can get then he can find antis

One rally we did last year they had six anti gunners and we had 95 open carriers

(And one of the antis asked me to teach her to shoot afterwards)

 

As an NRA Certified Instructor, I give the lie to those who claim the NRA doesn't care anything about teaching gun safety any more, we are the largest gun safety training organization in the country.

 

More and more, people are realizing that there is no safety net when it comes to crime, and their only defense is what they provide for themselves

Being free to carry arms is only one of the things that make our country great,,,,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good post.

Freedom, the constitution, liberal or conservative, the constructionist short view is, it's all relative. Many things in reality we do not actually see. It would be very difficult to understand say particle physics in any construct that easy to convey to the common person. Does that mean it isn't real?

We all are to a large degree constructionist. It's prefabbed into our environment after we learn to speak or walk. Free, we all our. The old adage, if you don't believe in constructionism, then empty your wallet and pass all it's contents to the head of the room.

 

On Medicare, we all pay for it all our working life. Now, it seems it's part of this awful entitlement that will cost the young dearly. Is that really a fact or is it a constructionist myth?

If we could find a way to say, understand the cost drivers, and when I say we, I mean you and me, and honestly those who support making sure the richer stay rich by keeping the dollar strong, and allowing pharmaceutical corporations to patent drugs and force, artificially the multitudes to pay the highest price, not to mention the very fact that private insurance is inherently inequitable if you do get sick.

It's not rocket science yet myths they do exist.

 

It's like the statistic. The dread, the missing ingredient is the rate of any disease that might grow if there is no intervention.

Or, Capitalism is the only way. All systems have their constraints.

Or, so called evil doers, versus saints, or patriots versus those that stand up and say, the U.S. Constitution was never meant to be the final word. Why even Jefferson thought it should be re-written, as he prescribed every 19 years, don't know exactly why 19 years, probably he thought it was the separation of one generation onto the next --- you know, the free choice.

 

Or, you might see that there are a lot of talented people who never reach their potential because of the constraints of poverty, lack of good schools, or by virtue of economic condition where they might live.

 

We all can't be exceptional, but in truth there is a lot of talent that does very much go to waste. Human potential is missed in this world, too often.

Most, lets' be real, are construed as average or even worse, it's kind of in the construct or the myth which breeds a whole lot of apathy.

I can't, don't have the talent to build a house, is a lie. You could, if you had a mentor who let you amble your way through figuring out how to apply yourself.

 

Money is a construct. It's just paper. You could, and the odds to this are impossible, but let's say you pay a dollar for the mega lotto, and suddenly there you are, half way towards becoming a billionaire overnight. And yes, it would buy you a lot of things. Things, constructs. Material stuff, you still never knew what they were.

 

Nathan Hale, he was a smart fellow, a real patriot they say. Washington used him, he was soon found out as being a spy by the Brits. In truth, he probably never said, "give me liberty or give me death".

 

All the same, we should come together and share our own personal stories. If you ever taught well, it means you struggled once yourself. And struggling, is how the very best do learn.

 

Anyway, la tee da. Nobody, nor any construct, is neither perfect or complete.

 

Peace!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All the same, we should come together and share our own personal stories. If you ever taught well, it means you struggled once yourself. And struggling, is how the very best do learn.

 

Anyway, la tee da. Nobody, nor any construct, is neither perfect or complete.

 

Peace!

 

Freedom isn't supposed to be easy

It takes work

 

Great men are created by overcoming great hardship

Without hardships, where will our great men come from?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 years later...
On 12/15/2013 at 12:43 AM, Chuck! said:

 

Freedom isn't supposed to be easy

It takes work

 

Great men are created by overcoming great hardship

Without hardships, where will our great men come from?

 

 

This is why the younger generation is failing
They have never known hardship
Someday, people who have will known it will conquer them, I'm afraid

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
On 12/15/2013 at 12:18 AM, TheOldBarn said:

Good post.

Freedom, the constitution, liberal or conservative, the constructionist short view is, it's all relative. Many things in reality we do not actually see. It would be very difficult to understand say particle physics in any construct that easy to convey to the common person. Does that mean it isn't real?

We all are to a large degree constructionist. It's prefabbed into our environment after we learn to speak or walk. Free, we all our. The old adage, if you don't believe in constructionism, then empty your wallet and pass all it's contents to the head of the room.

 

On Medicare, we all pay for it all our working life. Now, it seems it's part of this awful entitlement that will cost the young dearly. Is that really a fact or is it a constructionist myth?

If we could find a way to say, understand the cost drivers, and when I say we, I mean you and me, and honestly those who support making sure the richer stay rich by keeping the dollar strong, and allowing pharmaceutical corporations to patent drugs and force, artificially the multitudes to pay the highest price, not to mention the very fact that private insurance is inherently inequitable if you do get sick.

It's not rocket science yet myths they do exist.

 

It's like the statistic. The dread, the missing ingredient is the rate of any disease that might grow if there is no intervention.

Or, Capitalism is the only way. All systems have their constraints.

Or, so called evil doers, versus saints, or patriots versus those that stand up and say, the U.S. Constitution was never meant to be the final word. Why even Jefferson thought it should be re-written, as he prescribed every 19 years, don't know exactly why 19 years, probably he thought it was the separation of one generation onto the next --- you know, the free choice.

 

Or, you might see that there are a lot of talented people who never reach their potential because of the constraints of poverty, lack of good schools, or by virtue of economic condition where they might live.

 

We all can't be exceptional, but in truth there is a lot of talent that does very much go to waste. Human potential is missed in this world, too often.

Most, lets' be real, are construed as average or even worse, it's kind of in the construct or the myth which breeds a whole lot of apathy.

I can't, don't have the talent to build a house, is a lie. You could, if you had a mentor who let you amble your way through figuring out how to apply yourself.

 

Money is a construct. It's just paper. You could, and the odds to this are impossible, but let's say you pay a dollar for the mega lotto, and suddenly there you are, half way towards becoming a billionaire overnight. And yes, it would buy you a lot of things. Things, constructs. Material stuff, you still never knew what they were.

 

Nathan Hale, he was a smart fellow, a real patriot they say. Washington used him, he was soon found out as being a spy by the Brits. In truth, he probably never said, "give me liberty or give me death".

 

All the same, we should come together and share our own personal stories. If you ever taught well, it means you struggled once yourself. And struggling, is how the very best do learn.

 

Anyway, la tee da. Nobody, nor any construct, is neither perfect or complete.

 

Peace!

 

I was rereading this thread and noticed this, that I highlighted above.

I feel compelled to say that was Patrick Henry and his remarks are a matter of historical record in Virginia. On March 23, 1775, he gave a speech to the Second Virginia Convention in Richmond, which contained that phrase.
The whole speech can be found here:
http://www.history.org/almanack/life/politics/giveme.cfm

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

America doesn’t actually lead the world in mass shootings

 

https://nypost.com/2018/08/30/america-doesnt-actually-lead-the-world-in-mass-shootings/

 

Quote

The claim that the US has by far the most mass public shootings in the world drives much of the gun-control debate. Many argue that America’s high rate of gun possession explains the high rate of mass shootings.

“The one thing we do know is that we have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world,” President Barack Obama warned us. To justify this claim and many other similar quotes, Obama’s administration cited a then-unpublished paper by criminologist Adam Lankford.

Lankford’s claim received coverage in hundreds of news stories all over the world. It still gets regular coverage. Purporting to cover all mass public shootings around the world from 1966 to 2012, Lankford claimed that the United States had 31 percent of public mass shooters despite having less than 5 percent of the population.

But this isn’t nearly correct. The whole episode should provide a cautionary tale of academic malpractice and how evidence is often cherry-picked and not questioned when it fits preconceived ideas.

Lankford’s study reported that over the 47 years there were 90 public mass shooters in the United States and 202 in the rest of world. Lankford hasn’t released his list of shootings or even the number of cases by country or year. We and others, both in academia and the media, have asked Lankford for his list, only to be declined. He has also declined to provide lists of the news sources and languages he used to compile his list of cases.

These omissions are important because Lankford’s entire conclusion would fall apart if he undercounted foreign cases due to lack of news coverage and language barriers.

Lankford cites a 2012 New York Police Department report which he claims is “nearly comprehensive in its coverage of recent decades.” He also says he supplemented the data and followed “the same data collection methodology employed by the NYPD.” But the NYPD report warns that its own researchers “limited [their] Internet searches to English-language sites, creating a strong sampling bias against international incidents,” and thus under-count foreign mass shootings.

Does Lankford’s paper also have that problem?

A new report from the Crime Prevention Research Center, which one of us heads, has just finished collecting cases using the same definition of mass public shootings used by Lankford.

We know of no way to discover most of the cases where four people have been shot to death in an incident in Africa or many other parts of the world during the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s or even 1990s, and that is the reason the new study just looked at the last 15 years from 1998 to 2012 of the 47 years he examined.

Lankford’s data grossly undercount foreign attacks. We found 1,423 attacks outside the United States. Looking at just a third of the time Lankford studied, we still found 15 times as many shooters.

Even when we use coding choices that are most charitable to Lankford, such as excluding any cases of insurgencies or battles over territory, his estimate of the US share of shooters falls from 31 percent to 1.43 percent. It also accounts for 2.1 percent murders, and 2.88 percent of their attacks. All these are much less than the United States’ 4.6 percent share of the population.

Of the 86 countries where we have identified mass public shootings, the US ranks 56th per capita in its rate of attacks and 61st in mass public shooting murder rate. Norway, Finland, Switzerland and Russia all have at least 45 percent higher rates of murder from mass public shootings than the United States.

When Lankford’s data is revised, the relationship between gun ownership rates and mass public shooters disappears.

How could that be? One possibility is that guns don’t just enable mass shooters; gun owners can also deter and prevent such shootings. Another is that culture — not gun ownership — is a bigger factor in shootings.

The media should be wary of any researchers who fail to let others look at their data. At least on this point, the intellectual base for liberal thunder about mass public shootings is wrong.

John Lott is president of the Crime Prevention Research Center. Michael Weisser was a professor of history at Columbia University.

 

 

Leftists lying about stats
What's new about that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The School Shootings That Weren't

August 27, 20189:26 PM ET
Heard on Morning Edition

 

The school shootings that weren't.
 
 
LA Johnson/NPR

How many times per year does a gun go off in an American school?

We should know. But we don't.

This spring the U.S. Education Department reported that in the 2015-2016 school year, "nearly 240 schools ... reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting." The number is far higher than most other estimates.

But NPR reached out to every one of those schools repeatedly over the course of three months and found that more than two-thirds of these reported incidents never happened. Child Trends, a nonpartisan nonprofit research organization, assisted NPR in analyzing data from the government's Civil Rights Data Collection.

We were able to confirm just 11 reported incidents, either directly with schools or through media reports.

In 161 cases, schools or districts attested that no incident took place or couldn't confirm one. In at least four cases, we found, something did happen, but it didn't meet the government's parameters for a shooting. About a quarter of schools didn't respond to our inquiries.

"When we're talking about such an important and rare event, [this] amount of data error could be very meaningful," says Deborah Temkin, a researcher and program director at Child Trends.

 

The Education Department, asked for comment on our reporting, noted that it relies on school districts to provide accurate information in the survey responses and says it will update some of these data later this fall. But, officials added, the department has no plans to republish the existing publication.

 

This confusion comes at a time when the need for clear data on school violence has never been more pressing. Students around the country are heading back to school this month under a cloud of fear stemming from the most recent mass shootings in Parkland, Fla., and Santa Fe, Texas.

At least 53 new school safety laws were passed in states in 2018. Districts are spending millions of dollars to "harden" schools with new security measures and equipment. A blue-ribbon federal school safety commission led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is holding public events around the country, including one in Alabama Tuesday. Children are spending class time on active-shooter drills and their parents are buying bulletproof backpacks.

Our reporting highlights just how difficult it can be to track school-related shootings and how researchers, educators and policymakers are hindered by a lack of data on gun violence.

"I think someone pushed the wrong button"

The Civil Rights Data Collection for 2018 required every public school — more than 96,000 — to answer questions on a wide range of issues.

It asked what sounded like a simple question:

In the 2015-2016 school year, "Has there been at least one incident at your school that involved a shooting (regardless of whether anyone was hurt)?"

The answer — "nearly 240 schools (0.2 percent of all schools)" — was published this spring.

The government's definition included any discharge of a weapon at school-sponsored events or on school buses. Even so, that would be a rate of shootings, and a level of violence, much higher than anyone else had ever found.

For comparison, the Everytown for Gun Safety database, citing media reports, listed just 29 shootings at K-12 schools between mid-August 2015 and June 2016. There is little overlap between this list and the government's, with only eight schools appearing on both.

A separate investigation by the ACLU of Southern California also was able to confirm fewer than a dozen of the incidents in the government's report, while 59 percent were confirmed errors.

The Civil Rights Data Collection dates to 1968. The Education Department's Office for Civil Rights administers the survey every two years. Every public school is required by law to complete it. These findings often drive public conversations.

For example, the CRDC was the source of recent reports that black students were suspended from school at rates much higher than whites — information that inspired changes in discipline policy across the country.

The survey has dozens of items, ranging from how many middle schoolers passed algebra I to how many students with disabilities were restrained or secluded. It can be completed by filling out an online form or uploading data.

One item, about "Firearm Use," was required for the first time for all schools in the most recent data collection.

Most of the school leaders NPR reached had little idea of how shootings got recorded for their schools.

For example, the CRDC reports 26 shootings within the Ventura Unified School District in Southern California.

"I think someone pushed the wrong button," said Jeff Davis, an assistant superintendent there. The outgoing superintendent, Joe Richards, "has been here for almost 30 years and he doesn't remember any shooting," Davis added. "We are in this weird vortex of what's on this screen and what reality is."

"We got wind of it and nipped it in the bud"

In other cases, something may have happened, but not the firearm discharge the survey asked about.

The biggest discrepancy in sheer numbers was the 37 incidents listed in the CRDC for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Roseann Canfora, the district's chief communications officer, told us that, in fact, 37 schools reported "possession of a knife or a firearm," which is the previous question on the form.

The number 37, then, was apparently entered on the wrong line.

Similarly, the CRDC lists four shootings among the 16 schools of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District in California. Gail Pinsker, spokeswoman for the district, says that "going back 20-plus years," no one can remember any incident involving a firearm. Their best guess, she says, is that there was some kind of mistake in coding, where an incident involving something like a pair of scissors (California Education Code 48915[c][2]), for example, got inflated into one involving a firearm (48915[c][1]).

Ray Poole, the chief of legal services for the Nassau County School District in Florida, told us that at one school where a shooting was reported, Callahan Middle School, on Nov. 21, 2015, a Saturday, a student took a picture of himself at home holding a gun and posted it to social media. "We got wind of it and nipped it in the bud." No shooting.

The CRDC shows seven shootings in DeKalb County, Ga. Police reports provided to us by that district give a sense of more of the many, many ways the data collection may have gone wrong.

At Redan Middle School, there is a report of a toy cap gun fired on a school bus — not a shooting.

The CRDC shows a shooting at Stone Mountain Middle School, but a police report shows an incident at Stone Mountain High School instead.

And district officials provided a police report showing that there was a shooting after a McNair High School football game — in August 2016, after the time period covered in the survey.

Unacceptable burden

The Education Department's Office for Civil Rights received complaints about the wording and administration of this survey even before it went out.

A June 2014 research report commissioned to improve the CRDC as a whole noted that in previous data collections, districts had experienced "unacceptable levels of reporting burden." They complained that the CRDC asks them to report information that is similar to what states already collect, but in a different format, or at a level of specificity that they don't currently track.

Also at issue, the internal report says, was a "lack of clarity in the definitions of key terms." When it came to "Offenses," the group of questions including firearm use, districts "indicated dissatisfaction with the categories provided, specifically that the CRDC categories did not align with the categories used in state reporting, other federal reporting, and/or their own district databases."

As an example of this lack of alignment, the federal Gun-Free Schools Act requires schools in states that receive federal funds to expel students who bring a gun to school and requires districts in those states to report the circumstances of such expulsions to the state — regardless of whether a gun goes off.

The state of Florida asks schools to report "weapons possession," excluding pocketknives. California asks schools to report suspensions and expulsions resulting from "possession, sale, furnishing of a firearm" or "imitation firearm."

And so on.

There's also potential for confusion within the CRDC itself. While this particular item refers clearly to "a shooting," the previous item asks about a long list of incidents, some involving "a firearm or explosive device" and others involving "a weapon."

Temkin at Child Trends, who has long studied bullying and school climate, says this wording "could cause confusion."

"Best practices in data collection are not to include double-barreled items," she says, such as asking about a "firearm or explosive device" in the same question. An explosive device could be something like a pipe bomb or even a firecracker.

NPR submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to learn more about problems with the data collection, and we received emails that schools and districts sent as they grappled with this kind of confusion. For example, the Omro school district in Wisconsin wanted to know whether a consensual paintball-gun fight involving several students should be considered an "attack with a weapon" or a "possession of a firearm."

Another reason the shooting data may show these kinds of problems, Temkin adds, is that the item is so new. "Because this was the first year this was asked of all schools, they may not have been as prepared to respond to this item."

And there's another factor at work as well: the law of really, really big numbers. Temkin notes that "240 schools is less than half of 1 percent," of the schools in the survey. "It's in the margin of error."

Liz Hill, an Education Department spokeswoman, told NPR that "at least five districts have submitted requests to OCR to amend the school-related shootings data that they submitted for the 2015-16 CRDC." The plan is to issue what is called "errata" to update the data, but the original document will not be republished, Hill said.

Hill made the point that any "misreporting" is the schools' responsibility, not the department's: "As always, data reported by recipients is self-reported and self-certified."

After we contacted the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified district about the four reported shootings, the district emailed the Office for Civil Rights to try to correct the information. No shootings happened, officials said.

The Office for Civil Rights responded on July 25:

"The CRDC accepts correction requests for up to one year from the moment the submission period opens. For the 2015-16 collection, the corrections period closed on June 30, 2018, and for this reason your data correction request cannot be accepted. However, a data note will be included on the data file to ensure users are aware of the errors you are reporting."

 

 

 

 

The Obama administration grossly over reported the number of school shootings in order to avocate for more gun control
Does anybody find that surprising?

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/12/michael-cohen-sentencing-campaign-finance-law/

 

 

Quote

Donald Trump’s wayward counsel, Michael Cohen, was sentenced today as part of a plea bargain with the government. As part of that settlement, Cohen has admitted to criminal violations of federal campaign-finance law and has implicated President Trump in those violations. The press is ablaze with headlines trumpeting the president’s possible involvement in two felony campaign-finance violations. The source of these violations are Mr. Cohen’s arranging — allegedly at Trump’s direction — hush-money payments to women alleging long-ago affairs with the 2016 presidential candidate.

 

The Federal Election Campaign Act holds that an “expenditure” is any “purchase, payment, loan, advance, deposit or gift of money, or anything of value, for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office.” According to Cohen and the U.S. Attorney, the hush-money payments were, it appears, made in the hopes of preventing information from becoming public before the election, and hence were “for the purpose of influencing” the election. This means that, at a minimum, they had to be reported to the Federal Election Commission; further, if they were authorized by Mr. Trump, they would become, in the law’s parlance, “coordinated expenditures,” subject to limits on the amounts that could be spent. Since the lawful contribution limit is much lower than the payments made, and the payments were not reported, this looks like an open and shut case, right?

Well, no. Or at least not in the way some might presume. To the contrary, the law — following our common sense — tells us that the hush-money payments outlined by the U.S. Attorney are clearly not campaign expenditures. There is no violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act.

 

 

To reach the opposite conclusion, the U.S. Attorney is placing all his chips on the language “for the purpose of influencing an election.” Intuitively, however, we all know that such language cannot be read literally — if it were, virtually every political candidate of the past 45 years has been in near-constant violation. The candidate who thinks “I need to brush my teeth, shower, and put on a nice suit today in order to campaign effectively” is surely not required to report as campaign expenditures his purchases of toothpaste, soap, and clothing. When he eats his Wheaties — breakfast of champions, and surely one cannot campaign on an empty stomach — his cereal and milk are not campaign expenses. When he drives to his office to start making phone calls to supporters, his gas is not a campaign expense.

So what does it mean to be “for the purpose of influencing an[] election”? To understand this, we read the statutory language in conjunction other parts of the statute. Here the key is the statute’s prohibition on diverting campaign funds to “personal use.” This is a crucial distinction, because one of the primary factors separating campaign funds from personal funds is that the former must be spent on the candidate’s campaign, while the latter can be used to buy expensive vacations, cars, watches, furs, and such. The law defines “personal use” as spending “used to fulfill any commitment, obligation, or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s election campaign.” So a candidate may intend for good toothpaste and soap, a quality suit, and a healthy breakfast to positively influence his election, but none of those are campaign expenditures, because all of those purchases would typically be made irrespective of running for office. And even if the candidate might not have brushed his teeth quite so often or would have bought a cheaper suit absent the campaign, these purchases still address his underlying obligations of maintaining hygiene and dressing himself.

 

To use a more pertinent example, imagine a wealthy entrepreneur who decides to run for office. Like many men and women with substantial business activities, at any one time there are likely several lawsuits pending against him personally, or against those various businesses. The candidate calls in his company attorney: “I want all outstanding lawsuits against our various enterprises settled.” His lawyer protests that the suits are without merit — the company should clearly win at trial, and he should protect his reputation of not settling meritless lawsuits. “I agree that these suits lack merit,” says our candidate, “but I don’t want them as a distraction during the campaign, and I don’t want to take the risk that the papers will use them to portray me as a heartless tycoon. Get them settled.”

 

 

The settlements in this hypothetical are made “for the purpose of influencing the election,” yet they are not “expenditures” under the Federal Election Campaign Act. Indeed, if they were, the candidate would have to pay for them with campaign funds. Thus, an unscrupulous but popular businessman could declare his candidacy, gather contributions from the public, use those contributions to settle various preexisting lawsuits, and then withdraw from the race. A nice trick!

 

But in fact, the contrary rule prevails, because the candidate’s obligation to resolve the business’s lawsuits exists “irrespective” of the campaign. Similarly, any payments made to women by Mr. Trump or his associates are independent of the campaign.

 

To this intuitively obvious fact — very few people would think paying hush money is a legitimate campaign expenditure — those eager to hang a charge on Mr. Trump typically respond that he made the payments when he did because of the looming election. That may be true, but note that the same is true of the entrepreneur, who instructs his counsel to settle the lawsuits pending against him. Further, note that in both cases, while the candidate has no legal obligation to pay at all, the events that give rise to the claim against him are unrelated to the campaign for office. Paying them may help the campaign, but the obligations exist “irrespective” of the run for office. Mr. Trump’s alleged decade-old affairs occurred long before he became a candidate for president and were not caused by his run for president

 

Further clinching the case, in writing its implementing regulations for the statute, the Federal Election Commission specifically rejected a proposal that an expense could be considered a campaign expenditure if it were merely “primarily related to the candidate’s campaign.” This was done specifically to prevent candidates from claiming that things that benefitted them personally were done because they would also benefit the campaign. And with that in mind, it is worth noting Mr. Cohen’s sentencing statement, in which he writes that he “felt obligated to assist [Trump], on [Trump’s] instruction, to attempt to prevent Woman-1 and Woman-2 from disseminating narratives that would adversely affect the Campaign and cause personal embarrassment to Client-1 and his family.” (Emphasis in original.)

 

Certainly Mr. Trump had many valid, non-electoral reasons for trying to keep these allegations quiet, most notably family harmony, protecting family members (especially his young son, Baron), and preserving his future viability as a television personality in case he lost the election. Indeed, it is quite probable that many of those now baying for Trump’s scalp for illegal campaign contributions would be leading a charge to prosecute Trump for illegal “personal use” of campaign funds had he made the payments from his campaign treasury.

Finally, by ignoring these other parts of the statute and its implementing regulations (which carry the force of law), the prosecutors attempt to make the “for the purpose of influencing any election” language a subjective test that would, but for the plea bargain, be decided by a jury. But that is incorrect. The test is intended as an objective test of campaign-related expenditures. Renting campaign office space, printing bumper stickers and yard signs, hiring campaign staff, paying for polling, and buying broadcast ads are all obligations that exist for the purpose of influencing an election. Paying hush money to silence allegations of decade-old affairs is not.

 

When faced with the vague, sweepingly broad “for the purpose of influencing any election” language, the Supreme Court has consistently restricted its reach to brightly defined rules. For example, in determining whether a public message was an “expenditure” made “for the purpose of influencing any election,” it has construed the later phrase to apply only to messages “expressly advocating” the election or defeat of a candidate, such as “vote for,” “vote against,” “defeat,” “re-elect,” and the like, or to other clearly defined messages that are the “functional equivalent” of that express advocacy.

In short, Michael Cohen is pleading guilty to something that isn’t a crime. Of course, people will do that when a zealous prosecutor is threatening them with decades in prison. But his admissions are not binding on President Trump, and Trump should fight these charges ferociously.

Many Americans have convinced themselves that Trump is a uniquely dangerous and bad man, such that any available tool should be used to expel him from office. But in that way lies the bigger threat to our democracy and rule of law.

In A Man for All Seasons, Sir Thomas More’s future son-in-law, Roper, states that he would “cut down every law in England” if it would enable him to catch the devil. To which More responds,

And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

We do ourselves no service by distorting and misapplying our campaign-finance laws in the hope of bagging Donald Trump.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...