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Frank J. Russo, Jr Connell Friel
Pres., AFA-NY Vice-Pres., AFA-NY
With Betsy DeVos as our new Secretary of Education, the issue of parental choice in education has never had such a good chance of advancement. This issue of using tax credits or school vouchers to enable parents, especially low and middle income parents, to select their child’s school, including private/religious schools, is one of the few ways to both help the poor and help the taxpayer as well. Choice in education improves the quality of education for all students, both those in private/religious schools as well as those in our public schools. Why? Because competition almost always results in better quality. In addition, because all tax credits and vouchers are set at levels well below the average cost of a public school education, the costs of providing education are reduced, and taxpayers therefore win as well as students.
If you don’t read the newspaper
You are uninformed,
If you do read the newspaper
You are misinformed
——– Mark Twain
I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket & trying to lift himself up by the handle.
——- Winston Churchill
A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
—– George Bernard Shaw
Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases:
If it moves, tax it.
If it keeps moving, regulate it.
And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
—– Ronald Reagan (1986)
A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
——- Thomas Jefferson
The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings.
The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.
—— Winston Churchill
Media Bias- a Topic of Growing Importance
The recent election saw a discussion of “media bias” far more than in other recent elections. What is pretty clear is that most of our key networks—CBS, NBC & ABC– are quite liberal and politically favor the Democrat Party. One network—Fox News– is conservative.
A recent study by Media Research Center (MRC) found a clear double standard in terms used to label a nominee for the US Supreme Court. For the 3 recent “liberal” nominees on the Court, these networks used that label of “liberal” only 1/5th as often as they used the term “conservative” to identify the 3 most recent conservative nominees. This study examined morning & evening news programs in the 24 hours following nominations for the Supreme Court. In another MRC study examining NBC, CBS and ABC Evening News programs from 7/29/16 to 10/20/16, it found 63 positive statements about Donald Trump (9%) and 623 negative statements (91% of all statements) about Trump. Are CBS, NBC and ABC “fair & balanced”?
Marriage Rates by Generation
Marriage rates are now at the lowest they have been in 60 years. Following are the marriage rates for 18 to 29 year olds by various generations:
Generation age Marriage Rate
Millennials 18-33 26%
Generation X 34-49 36%
Baby Boomers 50-68 48%
Silent Generation 69-86 65%
(Source: Newsmax 11/16, Pew Research Center)
Should Planned Parenthood Receive Government Funding?
In recent years, Planned Parenthood has received over $400 million/year in federal funds. Planned Parenthood (PP) is also the nation’s number one provider of abortion services. In recent years, we’ve seen PP perform over 300,000 abortions per year, or over 30% of all abortions in our nation.
Pro-abortion advocates argue that Planned Parenthood doesn’t use government money to perform abortions. But the problem with this argument is that money is fungible. That means quite simply that if the government gives PP money for proper health procedures, such as treating breast cancer, PP can then use money it otherwise collected for breast cancer services to instead be used for abortions. Money received to do “X”, which is a good service, frees up money that otherwise would be used for “X” to instead perform “Y” services, such as abortion. When an organization is deeply involved in performing immoral actions, such as taking the lives of unborn children, then it is not moral to provide such organizations with money for any purpose, since all money is usable for any service and is fully interchangeable, or “fungible”. Hopefully, our government will stop providing PP with hundreds of millions of dollars annually, which then obviously allows other money PP raises to be used for more abortions. PP is strongly supported by most Democrat politicians (Newsday, 10/17/2016, pg. 30, “PP hailed by Dem pols”) but is opposed by most Republicans, who favor funding for women’s health service groups that do not do abortions.
New Supreme Court Justice
One of the most important appointments made by a US President is the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice. The Neil Gorsuch appointment to the Supreme Court appears to be a very solid decision in favor of an honest, highly intelligent, legal expert knowledgeable about key foundational principles based on the U.S. Constitution. Justice Gorsuch appears to be an excellent and fair appointment.
Three of the most important issues of a moral nature facing our nation are (1) the right to life, (2) the right to choose your child’s school, and (3) the right of a state to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
The first two of these key issues involve the matter of “choice”. The “right to life” issue involves the “right of a woman to choose” to kill her unborn baby alive in her womb. The “school choice” issue involves the right of a parent to select a non-government school, including a religious school, that meets the state’s educational requirements, and to receive an amount for tuition less than that spent for the government school.
The third issue is based on whether or not a state can define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and decline to recognize homosexual unions as “married couples” enabling them to unfairly receive certain economic and tax benefits, which then causes taxes for others to increase. Gays are simply “looking for tax breaks” (Newsday, 3/16/17, statement by gay RuPaul) we believe they do not deserve. A 2004 study by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded that extending Social Security benefits to gay couples would cost the government $50 million more in 2005 and as much as $350 million/yr more by 2014.
Both the right–to-life issue (re: abortion) and the definition of marriage as including gay marriages have both already been decided in a questionable, illogical, anti-Constitutional and immoral manner. Whether either of these decisions will ever be challenged again, we do not know. But we surely hope so.
The “school choice” issue involves overturning the anti-Catholic Blaine Amendments present in 37 state constitutions, including New York. These amendments are named after Senator James Blaine who was very hostile to the Catholic schools formed in the 19th century and he did not want to see any education
money spent on children whose parents chose to send them to a Catholic school, even though the school had to meet the educational requirements of the state in Math, English, History, Science, Art & Music. There is now a good chance that the Supreme Court will get to hear a challenge to one of these Blaine Amendments, on the basis of its violating the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which guarantees all citizens that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
No one wants to force any student to attend a religious school, but this choice properly and morally belongs to the parent, so long as the school meets the academic requirements set by the state.
Impact of “Religion” in 2016 Election
The growing power of atheists and agnostics in shaping American elections was a topic discussed in Newsday (10/29/16) in an Opinion piece by Annie Gaylor, co-president of Freedom From Religion Foundation, which dislikes the concept of “God” and supports the beliefs of atheism and agnosticism. One point made by Ms. Gaylor was the growing number of such atheists, agnostics and others who are not religiously affiliated in our nation. She said “30% of Hillary Clinton’s supporters” were in this atheist/agnostic group compared to only “13% of Trump’s supporters”, and that “secular votes in this election could be the determining factor.”
An editorial in the Wall Street Journal (10/13/16) entitled “Anti-Catholics for Clinton” discussed the great contempt that Hillary’s “campaign advisers had shown for people of faith.” What happened in the presidential vote, however, had another interesting change. While a large majority of atheists and agnostics voted for Democrat Hillary, a large majority of Protestants and Evangelical Christians voted for Trump, and for the first time since 2004, a majority of Catholics also voted Republican for Trump.
How Federal Government Can Advance School Choice
Most government spending on K-12 education is done at the state and local level. But our new Secretary of Education. Betsy DeVos is a strong supporter of school choice. One way in which the federal government can help advance parental choice in education in a very simple way would be to make one change in our federal tax law which today awards tax credits for tuition paid at the college level for families with incomes below $180,000. The tax credit is $2000 on the first $2000 of tuition paid and 25% on the next $2000 tuition paid for a student in a given year, with a maximum of 4 years and is somewhat reduced for families with incomes above $160,000. The simple modification would be to include tuition paid by such families for private/religious school educations for grades K-12. This would not only help low and moderate income families, but it would also help keep private/religious schools open and allow families to transfer students from public to private/religious schools. The result of such transfers and keeping schools open would be significant savings for taxpayers funding our public schools, since most private/religious schools would receive tax credit funding at levels well below the costs of our public school education. We have submitted this recommendation to Secretary DeVos and to Congressional leaders. This is a way to help all students through educational competition and help taxpayers at the same time by lowering the cost of education funded by taxpayers.
True WWII Stories of Heroic Faith & Courage
A Noble Treason – Richard Hanser
Catholics Confronting Hitler – Peter Bartley
The Shadow of His Wings – Fr. Gereon Goldmann
The Scarlet & the Black – J.P. Gallagher
When Hitler Took Austria – Kurt von Schuschnigg
(Ignatius Press- 1-800-651-1531)
Bias in Academia ?
Besides bias in the media, another key area about which more is being discussed is the problem of bias in academia. More and more often we find colleges where faculty or students will not allow a “conservative” speaker. Indeed, even among “Catholic” colleges, there are good and bad ones. For info on the quality and character of Catholic Colleges, we recommend the Cardinal Newman Society web site —http://www.CardinalNewmanSociety.org
Growth in Homeschooling
From 1999 to 2012 the number of students being homeschooled grew by an average of 5% every year. In 1999 there were 850,000 students being homeschooled, while in 2012 the number grew to 1,800,000, or 3.4% of all students. (source: US Dept. of Education).
Abortion, Slavery & Life
In 1857, the Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision said, “black people are not legal ‘persons’ according to the US Constitution”. In 1973, the Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision said, “unborn babies are not legal ‘persons’ according to the US Constitution.” Wrong then–wrong again !!
The typical comment of a pro-abortion rights woman is that “I have the right to control what happens to my body. (e.g., letter in Newsday, 11/10/16).” But how do
you answer the question: “Is the baby in your womb part of your body or is it a separate human life?” The answer, of course, is obvious. What’s bizarre is that some people don’t recall the first 9 months of all human lives were spent in our mother’s womb, and that during this period there were always two human lives present, not one!
Growing Student Loan Problem
At the end of 2016, some 8 million people with college loans were in default owing over $137 billion (WSJ, 3/15/17). The prior year it was about 7 million in default. The total amount of student loans now total $1.3 trillion, which is more than the total of all Americans’ credit card debt! The cost of college is also becoming a key issue as the cost has been increasing by 5% a year—far more than most goods and services.
Is Newsday Fair & Balanced?
Early this year we had two huge demonstrations or “marches” in Washington, DC and across the nation as well. One was the Women’s March on Washington on January 21st, which was attended by about 500,000 people. It received 6 pages of coverage in Newsday. The DC March for Life on January 27th also had about 500,000 attendees, but only got about 2 pages in Newsday, in spite of having the Vice President personally address the March for the first time ever. A key statement on signs at the Women’s March stated “Women’s Rights are Human Rights”. And in many ways that is absolutely correct. Addressing women’s health issues and giving women equal job opportunities are fair and just rights. But many in attendance were arguing for the right to abortion. A pro-life woman sent Newsday a letter providing a different view (i.e., “pro-life”) from other letters, but Newsday would not print it. Editorial bias in favor of abortion rights should not affect a fair balance in letters printed.
NOTES & ASIDES
For info on pro-life news, a good web site to visit is www.StopAbortionNow.org…. a good web site providing media research is Media Research Center, run by Brent Bozell, www.MRC.org….. For info on sexual abuse in our public schools, see 2004 report by Dr. Charol Shakeshaft of Hofstra University, done for the US Dept. of Education, entitled Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature. It concluded that nearly 10% of all Public School students, or 4.5 million students, have been the victims of sexual harassment, rape or sexual abuse. The rate she reported of physical sexual abuse of 29,000/year is 13,000% greater (130 times greater) than the amount of abuse per year in the Catholic Church. But this is rarely—if ever—reported on in our major news media……. Pls. keep in your prayers (deceased) Noel Hanlon, Penny D’Antonio & Santo Albano and (ill), Dr. Ed Brennan, Frank Renga, Jane Donlon, Tina Formicelli, Erika Brooks, Betty Clerkin, Tara Sayani, Bill Devlin, Barbara Brown, Jim Bergin, Mike Zenobio, Paul Connolly, Lorraine Garibaldi, Anne McLaughlin, Ray Keenan & Andy McKnight………
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