Christian CompanyOrdered To Print Gay Pride T-Shirts

Christian Newsreported that a Kentucky Human Rights Commission examiner has ordered a Christian owned screen-printing company to print pro-homosexual T-shirts and undergo diversity training for refusing to make shirts for a gay pride celebration two years ago.

Back in 2012, the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington (GLSO) filed a complaint with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission (HRC) after Hands On Originals manager Blaine Adamson refused to print T-shirts for the Lexington Gay Pride Festival due to religious convictions.

On Tuesday, the HRC examiner determined that Blaine Adamson’s refusal to violate his religious convictions violated the Lexington Fairness Ordinance, ruling that Adamson had “discriminated against GLO because of its members’ actual or imputed sexual orientation.”

When the complaint was originally filed, Adamson cited his biblical convictions that a man should not partake of another man’s sins (1 Timothy 5:22, Ephesians 5:7).and rejected the notion that he discriminated against anyone:

It’s not that we have a sign on the front door that says, “No Gays Allowed.” We’ll work with anybody. But if there’s a specific message that conflicts with my convictions, then I can’t promote that.

Aaron Baker, representative for the GLSO, did recognize the ruling effectively meant that homosexual owned companies would have to print T-shirts for organizations like the Westboro Baptist Church, notorious for their anti-gay messages, a consequence he accepted.

I believe that a gay printer would have to print a t-shirt for the Westboro Baptist Church. And if the Westboro Baptist Church were to say, “Look, we’re a church; we’re promoting our church values by having our name on a T-shirt,” I don’t see how you could refuse that.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Christian legal group assisting Hands On Originals, strongly disagreed with Baker’s conclusions, ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jim Campbell writing that citizens should not be forced to promote anything with which they disagree:

No one should be forced by the government—or by another citizen—to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree. Blaine declined the request to print the shirts not because of any characteristic of the people who asked for them, but because of the message that the shirts would communicate.

In his decision, Munson ruled that Hands On Originals must accept orders to print t-shirts or other products that bear messages advocating for homosexuality, and mandated the company to undergo diversity training.

The respondent is permanently enjoined from discriminating against individuals because of their actual or imputed sexual orientation or gender identity. The respondent is ordered to participate in diversity training to be conducted by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission within 12 months of the issuance of this order.

From truthrevolt.com

Nurturing children: Why “early learning” doesn’t help

Nurturing children: Why “early learning” doesn’t help

Children should start attending school later, not earlier, Canadian development psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld reveals. “Early learning” programs for young children have no benefits for kids, he adds. So why are governments running down the opposite track?

AUGUST 30, 2012  |  by ANDREA MROZEK, Manager of Research and Communications, Institute of Marriage and Family Canada

“I want to make sure that my son learns how to get along with others,” one parent will say. Another will add, “My daughter is shy. I want her to be with other children, to help her come out of her shell.” A third might enthusiastically report that her child loves all her friends at daycare: “She can’t wait to go and spend time with them!”

These are just some of the things parents say when it comes to the benefits they see in the social settings that pre-schools, daycares and all-day kindergarten provide. Parents are rightly concerned about whether their children get along well with others.

However, is it true that early interaction with peers improves socialization for young children? Canadian developmental psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld says this is not the case, particularly in sending young children into “social” environments before they are ready. [1]

Defining socialization

The word socialization can mean different things to different people.

With regards to small children, Dr. Neufeld clarifies one thing that socialization is not:“Probably the greatest myth that has evolved is this idea that socializing with one’s equals leads to socialization.”

Developmental psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner also clarifies what socialization is not: “It should be clear that being socialized is not necessarily the same as being civilized. Nazi youth were also products of a socialization process.” [2]

Socialization in childrearing means rendering children fit for society so that children can grow and mature into becoming contributing adults, who can respectfully interact with others in community, be it at work or home, with colleagues, family and friends.

Successful socialization is of particular interest where reports of bullying hit the media with some regularity. [3]

For Dr. Neufeld and his colleagues at The Neufeld Institute, socialization is more complex than simply being able to get along well with peers. [4] Socialization involves being able to get along with others while at the same time being true to oneself.

Getting there from here

Dr. Neufeld describes a teacher who is unable to express her views for fear of causing conflict. Picture a staff meeting, where this teacher chooses to stay silent rather than disagree. This may create the appearance that she is “really nice,” and able to get along well with others—something she may well tell her students to do as well. The reality is she may be unable to hold on to her own identity in face of conflict.

Constantly agreeing and being nice may, in fact, be immaturity in disguise. “You have to be separate enough so you can be with your equals without losing your distinctiveness,” says Dr. Neufeld. 

He adds that someone who always “gets along” may not be able to handle diplomacy without a loss of integrity. If this form of mature self-expression can be hard for adults, how much more difficult is it for children?

“Premature socialization,” says Dr. Neufeld, “was always considered by developmentalists to be the greatest sin in raising children ….[w]hen you put children together prematurely before they can hold on to themselves, then they become like [the others] and it crushes the individuality rather than hones it.” [5]

A is for “attachment”

One of the issues with large numbers of little people in group care settings is the issue of peer orientation. This means having small children attach to their peers, rather than to adults.

The concept of attachment, developed primarily by psychologist John Bowlby, denotes the instinct that causes adults to care for children and children to receive that care. Successful early attachment is necessary for adult emotional development. In Bowlby’s words, attachment is the tendency “of human beings to make strong affectional bonds to particular others.” [6]

As humans, we are highly sociable creatures. But we identify some relationships as being higher priority, and are very particular about who takes that position. [7] It is through these connections that we develop a sense of self. [8]

And importantly, our high priority attachment figures (aka the people we see the most of and really love) are intended to be enduring. These are not people who should disappear from our lives, neither are strong attachments something small children should “grow out of.” [9]

This is one reason why daycare employees can never imitate the potent power of the parent: A job is a job, and employees change cities or jobs with some regularity.

Helen Ward is the president of a non-partisan, grassroots group called Kids First Parents Association. She highlights how attachment and socialization work together. “In order for children to grow up into the mature adults we desire them to be, they have to spend time with adults they are attached to, not their own likewise immature peers.” She goes on: “This means that if we take the attachment figure away—through death, illness, distractions, daycare, or any disruption in attachment relationships—and replace it with peer attachment  – puff – the kid will be a ‘lord of the flies’ type because the seemingly ‘socialized’ behaviour is simply copying, it is not ‘inside’ yet. It is developing, but can just as well ‘undevelop.’” [10]

If parents aren’t aware of this, they may interpret negative developments as positive. The three-year-old who can’t wait to be with his friends in daycare may in fact be on his way to becoming peer rather than parent attached, because being attached makes us want to be with those we are attached to.

The problem is that the more children are peer attached, the less attached they are to adults—and this can result in children becoming very hostile to being parented or taught.

Cultural flatlining

When small children spend too much time with their peers, they will imitate the features of those they see around them. Dr. Neufeld speaks of a “flatlining” of culture as a result. “We have a children’s culture of today. In Europe, there is a crisis, which is that youth are not integrating into mainstream society and people believe it is happening in North America as well.”

The question might also be whether they are integrating into a newly mainstream culture that is not altogether mature. “Children have become fit for a society that does not reproduce itself and does not contribute to the larger society as a whole,” says Dr. Neufeld. [11]

Supporting diversity

Diversity—creating it, respecting it and allowing it to flourish—is one of today’s most popular buzzwords, something to which we pay lip service. However, the early placement of children with as-of-yet undeveloped personalities in group daycare for long hours, when they aren’t able to “hold on to” their own special, unique personalities creates sameness, not individuality.

This is, in many instances, one of the reasons parents might choose to delay entry to school. In fact, for much of Canada’s history, children did not attend so-called “early learning programs;” school started at age six.

Ironically, some who advocate for homeschooling do so in order for proper socialization to occur. InHome Schooling and the Question of Socialization, author Richard G. Medlin highlights how healthy socialization does happen for homeschoolers, writing “home-schooled children are taking part in the daily routines of their communities. They are certainly not isolated; in fact, they associate with—and feel close to—all sorts of people.” [12]

Another researcher, Larry Edward Shyers, compared homeschooled children with those in traditional schooling for his PhD thesis at University of Florida. He found that with regards to self-esteem, there was no difference. [13]

The problem with children socializing at school, Ward says, is that children can be fickle in their friendships. “Kid’s ‘friends’ are not really ‘friends’ in any meaningful sense of the word. They are not mature people who can handle another’s pain or difference of opinion. Peers want you to be the same as them,” says Ward.

The result is less individual expression and less personal growth, she concludes.

Crushing the spirit of childhood

Back in 1988, child psychologist David Elkind wrote The Hurried Child, saying, “we are going through one of those periods in history, such as the early decades of the Industrial Revolution, when children are the unwilling victims of societal upheaval and change….Today’s child has become the unwilling, unintended victim of overwhelming stress.” [14]

Elkind worried that children are increasingly being treated like mini adults. In childhood as a replica of adulthood, daycares and pre-schools put children under academic pressure. Child sports teams have pro uniforms and poor peewee players are sidelined. Children’s clothes have an adult look about them. If this was Elkind’s problem some twenty years ago, the situation today is not much changed.

More evidence that the smallest of children are being subjected to adult standards is the Early Development Instrument (EDI). [15] Under the auspices of improving child outcomes, the EDI asks teachers to answer a host of entirely subjective questions about a child’s proficiency physically, academically and emotionally and then chronicles how and where children are “behind.”

Activists use this flawed research to lobby for more early learning programs for younger ages. In Ontario, for example, a special advisor to Premier McGuinty desires to create schools as hubs, where children can be dropped off all day, possibly all year, to attain greater “school readiness.” [16]

When Francois Legault, of the Coalition for Quebec’s Future recently proposed that secondary school should follow work schedules, running from 9 am to 5 pm, some found it provocative. [17] The reality is that many grade schoolers in before and after-school care already experience adult working days, and the same could be said of a toddler in daycare. Children’s lives are scheduled down to a T, with little free time to just be kids.

Why the anti-child direction?

The reasons for this are varied. However, a big one is the current trend in public policy which creates pressure for all parents to have full time jobs. As a result, labour force attachment trumps parent-child attachment. Canada’s below-replacement birthrate means we are constantly searching for more employees. Having both parents work full-time is entirely reliant on putting their children in some form of standardized care, hence the reation of subsidized daycares. [18]

This has little to do with child development. The problem is that once centre-based care is preferentially funded and the cost heavily tax-subsidized, it creates an incentive for parents to use it. At that point, parents no longer truly have a real choice. They can’t assess the unique needs of their own children because their lives have been set up around two parents at full time jobs.

When asked what are the gains from early learning for small children, Dr. Neufeld simply replies: “I don’t think there is anything to be gained except parental emancipation. And certainly not parental fulfillment. That’s a totally different issue.” [19]

What to do?

Dr. Neufeld emphasizes that who parents are to their children matters more than what they do. [20]

This research is not intended to panic parents whose young children are in all-day care. However, it is wise to understand why your children are there. Some parents put their children in care for the express purpose of socializing them; this is not a researched reason to do so.

For parents whose children must be in care, it would be wise to confirm that the “early learning” is limited exclusively to playing in an environment of adult attachment. [21]Sometimes it is parents themselves who put pressure on teachers to provide “educational content” to younger and younger ages. When the “report cards” come back and show poor grades, this creates further anxiety in parents who now believe their children are behind.

Parents should eschew the creation of any kind of one-size-fits-all system. This is the sort of system that governments try to create—to “help” each and every family. By definition, these environments are less personal and more distant from parents. Even the local primary school may not, in fact, be the closest thing to the home environment for small children, if for example, a neighbour next door wants to take in additional children on top of her own, and that neighbour is known to the parents and the child.

For far too long, this form of high quality care for kids has been labelled “unregulated,” by those who strive to create school-based daycares with unionized employees. Facing a lack of criticism in the press, “unregulated” has come to be known as “dangerous.” But Helen Ward points out that all parents are “unregulated,” and this alone is not cause for concern. Parents need to inspect all care from top to bottom—whether government-regulated or not.

There are some elements of public policy being discussed that would help undo the damage of current trends. Family income splitting allows parents to share their income and pay a lower tax burden. More money in parents’ pockets always means more choices. While the federal Conservatives made this a policy plank in the last election, they watered it down by saying they’d only institute family taxation when the books were balanced, possibly in 2015. Ending the preferential treatment of non-parental care by funding families themselves would make a dramatic difference.

For Dr. Neufeld, the capacity for healthy relationships is meant to unfold in the first six years of life. “It’s a very basic agenda,” he says. “By the fifth year of life if everything is continuous and safe then emotional intimacy begins. A child gives his heart to whomever he is attached to and that is an incredibly important part….The first issue is always to establish strong, deep emotional connections with those who are raising you. And that should be our emphasis in society. If we did this, we would send our children to school late, not early.” [22]

Download PDF: 

Nurturing children: Why “early learning” doesn’t help

ENDNOTES: 

This article is based on an interview with Dr. Gordon Neufeld on May 18, 2012. Dr. Neufeld is a developmental psychologist and the co-author of the 2004 national bestseller Hold on to your kids: Why parents need to matter more than peers.Bronfenbrenner, U. (1970). Two worlds of childhood: U.S. and U.S.S.R. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, p. 2.For greater understanding of how to stem the bullying tide, see Simon, L. (2012, July 18). Empathy: An antidote to bullying. Ottawa: Institute of Marriage and Family Canada. Retrieved fromhttp://www.imfcanada.org/issues/empathy-antidote-bullyingThe Neufeld Institute can be found online herehttp://www.gordonneufeld.com/Personal communication with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, May 18, 2012.Green, M. and Scholes, M. (eds.) (2004). Attachment and human survival. London: Karnac, p. 7.Ibid, p. 8.Ibid, p. 37.Ibid, p. 8.Personal communication with Helen Ward, August 21, 2012.Personal communication with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, May 18, 2012.Medlin, R. G. (2000). The home education movement in context, practice, and theory.Peabody Journal of Education, Vol. 75, No. 1/2, pp. 107-123.Bunday, K.M. (2006). Socialization: A great reason not to go to school. Retrieved fromhttp://learninfreedom.org/socialization.htmlElkind, D. (1988). The Hurried Child. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc, pp. xiv, 3.The EDI questionnaire can be viewed online athttp://earlylearning.ubc.ca/media/uploads/publications/edi_bc-yukon_2012.pdfPascal, C. (2009, June). With our best future in mind. Implementing early learning in Ontario. Report to the Premier, Government of Ontario.  Retrieved fromhttp://www.ontario.ca/en/initiatives/early_learning/ONT06_018865Quebec’s Francois Legault wants schools open from 9 to 5. (2012, August 9). The Canadian Press. Retrieved fromhttp://www.timescolonist.com/technology/Quebecs+Francois+Legault+wants+kids+stay+school+until/7063972/story.htmlFor more on concept of schools as community hubs, see Pascal, C. (2009, June). With our best future in mind. Implementing early learning in Ontario.Report to the Premier, Government of Ontario. Retrieved fromhttp://www.ontario.ca/en/initiatives/early_learning/ONT06_018865Personal communication with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, May 18, 2012.Denis Friske, D. (2012, January 16). Moments of connection with our children. The Neufeld Institute blog. Retrieved fromhttp://www.neufeldinstitute.com/blog/2012/01/moments-of-connection-with-our-children/Laucius, J. (2012, February 4). All work and no play is not good for the developing brain, says psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld. Ottawa Citizen,p. J3. (Helen Ward also points out that “child led” or “free play” can in fact mean even less interaction for children with adults, as staff will simply provide toys and ensure that no child is physically hurt.)Personal communication with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, May 18, 2012.

Permission is granted to reprint or broadcast this information with appropriate attribution to the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.

Heritage: 10 Ways the GOP Can Appeal to Hispanics

COMMENTARY BY
Mike Gonzalez@Gundisalvus

Mike Gonzalez, a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation, is a widely experienced international correspondent, commentator and editor who has reported from Asia, Europe and Latin America. He served in the George W. Bush Administration first at the Securities and Exchange Commission and then at the State Department. His book, “A Race for the Future: How Conservatives Can Break the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans,” was published in September. Read his research.

Far too many conservatives have grown pessimistic about the prospect of Hispanics ever agreeing with their policy prescriptions. Others have erred in the opposite direction, suggesting that only shifts in tone or even engaging in a pandering competition with liberals could fix the problem.

These approaches are wrong and self-defeating. If conservatives allow liberals to have a monopoly on Hispanic aspirations and dreams, they will find it increasingly difficult to enact their policies. At the same time, conservatives must understand that some of their problems with this demographic have structural aspects that require long-term solutions.

Hispanics had a higher margin of support for vouchers (+47 percentage points) than Republicans (+42 percentage points)

Here are 10 suggestions for how conservatives can start the arduous work of convincing Hispanics that conservative policies are better. They are found in my recently published book, “A Race for The Future: How Conservatives Can Break the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans,” which I will discuss with National Review’s Jim Geraghty tomorrow at 11 a.m., at The Heritage Foundation in a program introduced by Heritage President Jim DeMint.

1. School choice. School choice is the lowest of hanging fruits. Hispanics already like school choice, and they like it a lot. Whether it’s vouchers, charters schools, education savings accounts or tax-credit scholarships, the intensity of their support is even higher than those of non-Hispanic whites or Republicans. In June, the Friedman Foundation reported Hispanics had a higher margin of support for vouchers (+47 percentage points) than Republicans (+42 percentage points) and also higher intensity. School choice also is a classic “wedge issue.” It is the job of conservatives to explain that it is teachers’ unions, the cash cow of liberal politicies, which stand in their way.

2. Family formation. The ongoing breakdown of the Hispanic family is the big news that is never in the news. Although we hear much about the 72 percent out-of-wedlock rate among African-Americans, Hispanics’ 53 percent rate hardly ever makes headlines. But a rate that high militates against any hope of Hispanics ever supporting conservative causes in large numbers. Illegitimacy stands upstream from nearly all the societal pathologies that lead people to fall prey to dependency on government. Conservatives must make it their job to help Hispanics get that rate down.

3. Get them to become savers. Education and family have to do with what social scientists refer to as human and social capital, respectively. Financial capital is the stuff in the bank. Hispanics in this country are famously underbanked or even unbanked, which means they don’t use banks enough or even at all. Sending remittances home often prevents capital formation here. Studies show the habit of saving by itself, regardless of how much is saved, is a great predictor of the ability to become upwardly mobile. Policies that will make Hispanics save more will make them more independent of government and thus more likely to be conservative.

EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

4. Show them how liberal policies have put them in a hole. It’s important for conservatives to not only offer a positive policy agenda that gets Hispanics out of a hole, but also to explain how liberal policies have put them there. Dependency on government helps undermines the family, and liberals’ aggressive marketing of food stamps, Obamacare and other government services to Hispanics should be blamed for contributing to family breakdown. Multiculturalism, another liberal policy, has only balkanized Hispanics and prevented them from joining the mainstream.

Affirmative action is unjust, hinders meritocracy and seeds resentment against immigration.

5. Give them their proper stake in the culture Without Mexico’s cultural imprint, the Southwest would be a scorching version of the Midwest, which for all its allure simply lacks the legendary nature of the Wild West. Mexican-Americans should take great pride in this country and its history, as they helped chisel out the culture of one of its iconic regions. There were Mexicans at the Alamo—fighting on the Texans’ side against Santa Ana—and the first provisional vice president of the Texan Republic was a Mexican-American. This history doesn’t get taught as much as it should because the liberals in charge of our education prefer to emphasize divisiveness, a history of discrimination (which all immigrants have suffered from) or such synthetic PC-ness as “Cinco de Mayo.” Conservatives should emphasize the cultural importance of Mexican-Americans to the making of the American spirit. You give a man a stake in something and he will want to conserve it, which is after all how you make conservatives.

6. Sever the perceptive link between success and government intervention; end affirmative action. Progressives knew what they were doing when they concocted the current affirmative action structure back in the 1970s. Right away, immigrants and their descendants were conditioned to perceive a link between government intervention and success in life. But affirmative action is unjust, hinders meritocracy and seeds resentment against immigration. There’s no reason to accept the affirmative action arrangement we were bequeathed.

7. End Bilingual Education. Bilingual education often ends up being a sad misnomer—many of the “bilingual” education programs und up being monolingual, meaning only in Spanish. This prevents Hispanic kids from getting one of the tools that will lead to success: proficiency in English. Bilingual ed also separates Hispanics kids from their future compatriots at a key time in their development.

8. Ask them if they want to replicate conditions that made them abandon their homeland. This should be a no-brainer. Why would someone from Cuba or Venezuela want to see here the big-government policies that have ruined their lands, or a Mexican the statist and pro-union policies that has prevented Mexico from enjoying its oil wealth. Indeed, why would anyone who emigrated here from anywhere between the Rio Grande and Patagonia want the absence of the rule of law or of strong property rights that haunts part of the region? As for volunteerism, former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castaneda wrote in his masterpiece “Mañana Forever:” “In the United States, there are approximately 2 million civil society organizations, or one for every 150 inhabitants; in Chile there are 35,000, or one for every 428 Chileans; in Mexico there are only 8,500, or one for every 12,000.” Why would any Hispanic want that here?

9. Return to assimilationist policies. I am often asked whether today’s immigrants share American values, and the questioners almost always assume the answer is no. As the point above makes clear, sometimes no doubt it is. But America has been a country of immigrants for four centuries. And not all of those who arrived from County Cork, Eastern Europe or Sicily came believing in a strong work ethic, the creed that many societal problems can be solved by civil society through volunteerism and an abiding trust in the superiority of rule of law over rule of man. Assimilation is what made people the world over understand the American system. It is self-defeating that we have stopped encouraging it.

10. Explain to them that it’s not a question of being dependent or not, but of depending on someone in your family, in your community or circle of friends, or on a government bureaucrat.Liberals have done a good job at depicting conservatives as uncaring individualists with a devil-take-the-hindmost philosophy—so good that even some conservatives bought the stereotype. Not even libertarians can be reduced to such tropes, and definitely not conservatives, who understand dependency is part of the human condition. The only question is whether we depend on relatives, friends or others in our community or whether we turn to an impersonal bureaucracy that simply doles out help without any understanding of need or responsibility. Hispanics get human interdependency and will respond well to policies that help relatives and neighbors set up mutual-aid networks.

Originally posted at: http://dailysignal.com/2014/09/25/10-ways-conservatives-can-appeal-hispanics-without-becoming-liberal-2/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

Letter by Mike McFadden: Franken asleep at the switch

The recent National Surface Transportation Board hearing in Fargo regarding the ongoing railcar shortage highlighted two things: 1) The railcar shortage is costing our farmers millions of dollars and, 2) Sen. Al Franken’s, D-Minn., engagement is limited to meetings and letters rather than the development of real solutions.

Our farmers, local elevators and agricultural cooperatives are very concerned that the 2013 crop will not be moved prior to the fall harvest due to a lack of railcars. I agree that the Canadian Pacific and the BNSF railroads must do everything within their power to fulfill agreements in a timely and cost-effective manner so that last year’s crop can be moved to market. However, much more needs to be done to address the railcar shortage issue in the long-term.

Unfortunately, Franken has been asleep at the switch when it comes to actually working toward a viable solution. The railcar shortage issue is, in large part, an energy infrastructure issue. The shortage of pipelines has forced oil from North Dakota onto the rails. This has resulted in distribution bottlenecks because there are now not enough railcars available to carry farmers’ crops to market.

It is unclear to me how  Franken can tout his support for agriculture yet not be supportive of enhancing our energy infrastructure. How can we grow our agricultural sector if our farmers can’t transport their products because of rail shortages?

The reality is that Franken has been a willing partner in stifling growth and opportunity due to his energy policy. Time and time again, he has voted against energy infrastructure projects, including the Keystone XL pipeline. If he is serious about keeping Minnesota competitive in the global marketplace, he should have been proactive in finding infrastructure solutions.

Franken’s news releases claiming that he has been fighting to fix the “especially poor rail service” ring hollow when farmers are wondering what to do with this year’s projected record crop. They cannot afford empty promises when they are preparing for harvest.

We should be supporting our agricultural sector and our rural communities with tangible actions, not endless meetings. We need certainty so our farmers and local elevators can continue to thrive rather than confront transportation bottlenecks that are not of their making.

All the letters and news releases in the world won’t move one bushel of corn or soybeans, deliver one ounce of fertilizer for spring planting, or lower the cost of energy. The railcar shortage points to a larger problem with our nation’s energy policy.

Not only has Franken been invisible on the railcar issue, he has actually played a pivotal role in creating the problems that have led to the distribution bottleneck now facing Minnesota’s farmers. It’s time for a change. Minnesota deserves a senator who will go to Washington to solve problems, not create them. We can do better, and it starts with better leadership in Washington.

McFadden is Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Minnesota.

Article originally posted at: http://www.inforum.com/content/letter-franken-asleep-switch

Insurance Company with Lowest Rates, Most Customers Pulls Out of MNsure

eated: 09/16/2014 10:49 AM KSTP.com 
By: Jennie Olson

It’s a major blow to the MNsure health insurance exchange – the insurance company with the lowest rates and the most customers signed up through MNsure will not be back in 2015.

The decision is expected to have a major impact on health insurance customers and the governor’s race.

Golden Valley-based PreferredOne Health Insurance just notified MNsure and the Minnesota Department of Commerce of their decision through a letter. Sources tell KSTP’s Tom Hauser that MNsure CEO Scott Leitz was notified by phone Tuesday morning.

Leitz and PreferredOne CEO Marcus Merz released a joint statement about the decision:

“Today PreferredOne made the decision to not offer health plans through the health insurance exchange in 2015. Simply put, both organizations understand that MNsure is still an evolving partnership.  This decision impacts 2015 enrollment. Consumers still have at least four, well-known, Minnesota based carriers who are committed to providing important health coverage to Minnesotans through MNsure, including people who qualify for tax credits and public programs. MNsure and PreferredOne will work closely to minimize impact to current enrollees in a PreferredOne Plan through MNsure.”  

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Leitz said he is disappointed with the decision but Minnesotans will still have other options for health insurance through MNsure.

“We level the playing field for consumers. We provide options so Minnesotans can make wise choices,” he said. “We anticipated some bumps along the way, and we’re still seeing some of those bumps.”

As of Aug. 6, Preferred One had 59 percent of the individual market MNsure enrollees. Blue Cross Blue Shield was a distant second at 23 percent, with HealthPartners, Medica and UCare much further back.

Preferred One got such a large share, because they had the lowest rates of the five insurance companies in the program.

MNsure board chair Brian Beutner says this doesn’t change what MNsure is doing for Minnesotans.

“What’s important to keep in mind … this is a long-term solution, and what happened today is just one step along that journey,” Beutner explained.

It’s possible this could signal big rate increases to be unveiled in early October, and that could have a significant impact on the elections.

“One of the big land mines looking out over the campaign will be when MNsure announces its new rates for health insurance premiums,” University of Minnesota political expert Larry Jacobs said. “If those go up by 10 percent, some have even suggested 15 percent, then that could really shake up this election.”

Minnesota House Republicans and the MN GOP have already released statements about the news.

“MNsure is such a debacle that PreferredOne is now pulling out for ‘financial and administrative reason,'” Chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota Keith Downey said. “This tells Minnesotans what they already know, MNsure is a failure.”

Minnesota Democrats, including Governor Dayton, have not commented at this time.

The change won’t affect coverage for 2014, but it will affect new sales and renewals for 2015.

Anyone who has PreferredOne through MNsure can still directly renew through the company, but they won’t get the government subsidy. To get the subsidy, they will have to choose a different insurance plan starting Nov. 15.

U.S. Ranks 32 out of 34 Countries In New Global Tax Index “At least we beat France!

.S. Ranks 32 out of 34 Countries In New Global Tax Index

“At least we beat France!”

By: alanjoelny (Diary)  |  September 17th, 2014 at 06:52 AM  

The Tax Foundationreleased its first global stat called the “International Tax Competitiveness Index”. This index aims to measure two criteria, competitiveness and neutrality, by examining “the extent to which a country’s tax system adheres to”, these “two important principles of tax policy”.

The index accounted for more than 40 tax positions and policies. In their analysis, two of the most damning reasons for ranking the United States near the very bottom of the list include the highest corporate tax rate (39%), as well as the “rare demand that money earned overseas should be taxed as if it were earned domestically”. As such, the United States outranked out only Portugal and France and was placed 32 out 34 industrialized nations.

The concept of “competitiveness” is described as one that “limits the taxation of businesses and investment”. The Tax Foundation acknowledges that heavy taxation runs the risk of the flight of capital and business location. This is turn drives “investment elsewhere, leading to slower economic growth.” We are seeing this is the growing popularity of business inversions, which is driving President Obama and Sen. Chuck Schumer to create punitive legislation on business that wish to leave. Ironically, if they are successful, the WSJ notes, ” the U.S. could fall to dead last on next year’s ranking. Now there’s a second-term legacy project for the President.”

Not only are corporate taxes the highest on this list of 34 countries, it is pretty much the highest in the entire world:

The accounting firm KPMG maintains a corporate tax table that includes more than 130 countries and only one has a higher overall corporate tax rate than the U.S. The United Arab Emirates’ 55% rate is an exception, however, because it usually applies only to foreign oil companies.

The other major concept besides competitiveness that shaped the overall index rankings is the concept of “neutrality”. Neutrality is characterized as “a tax code that seeks to raise the most revenue with the fewest economic distortions. This means that it doesn’t favor consumption over saving, as happens with capital gains and dividends taxes, estate taxes, and high progressive income taxes. This also means no targeted tax breaks for businesses for specific business activities.” These various forms of taxation, as well as the massive crony capitalism enterprises widely seen in the United States, are found to “misallocate capital and reduce economic growth”. This factored heavily into the low ranking that the United States received.

The United States is falling behind around the world:

“Liberals argue that U.S. tax rates don’t need to come down because they are already well below the level when Ronald Reagan came into office. But unlike the U.S., the world hasn’t stood still. Reagan’s tax-cutting example ignited a worldwide revolution that has seen waves of corporate tax-rate reductions. The U.S. last reduced the top marginal corporate income tax rate in 1986. But the Tax Foundation reports that other countries have reduced “the OECD average corporate tax rate from 47.5 percent in the early 1980s to around 25 percent today.”

This new index ranking should be a wake-up call and a springboard for discussion about much-needed tax reform. Our tax code is byzantine, our businesses are over-taxed, and our economy is continuing to suffer. Our reputation should not be, “At least we beat France!” We can do better. We have done better. We deserve better.

Article originally posted at red state.com

Adult Stem Cells Help Bryan Hinkle Make a Lifesaving Comeback

By David Prentice

Bryan Hinkle was living the American dream. But a disease called CIDP got in the way. CIDP(Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy) is an autoimmune disease that attacks the peripheral nerves. Bryan was diagnosed with CIDP as a teenager, but the disease was masked and controlled with medication and life went on. Then his disease came back with a vengeance, robbing him of virtually all feeling in his legs and feet. He ended up in a wheelchair, depressed and afraid.

“My biggest fear was that I was going to die,” says Bryan of those darkest of days. “This disease was winning and it was going to overtake me. I was just living my days, waiting for the end to come.”

But then Hope made a comeback. Bryan came across news of a doctor in Chicago who had developed a ground-breaking adult stem cell therapy for CIDP. Bryan was accepted into the treatment program, and received a transplant of his own adult stem cells as part of the therapy. Within two days he noticed a difference, and his recovery continued from there.

Today Bryan has his American dream back. He leads a happy, healthy life thanks to adult stem cells, a discovery that’s changing the face of regenerative medicine and giving people real hope in their fight against dozens of diseases and conditions. Bryan says, “I’ve regained my independence. I’m helping take care of my children, I’m being the husband and the father that I dreamt about not too long ago. And for that, I’m just thankful—thankful and amazed.”

You can see Bryan’s amazing comeback at stemcellresearchfacts.org.

Article originally posted at: http://www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2014/09/adult-stem-cells-help-bryan-hinkle-make-a-lifesaving-comeback/#.VB8UonMo7qD