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E. Scott Cracraft - The Paris & Conrad Hilton III spoiled brat trust fund tax

Americans pride ourselves in our education system and we have a lot to be proud of. But, do we really value education when many conservatives bash teachers and professors and view education in terms of the "bottom line"? Or when many retirees who are far from poor do not want to pay taxes for schools since their kids no longer are in school?
Our other problem is that many politicians do not really see education as a priority that the taxpayers ought to pay for. After all, the U.S. House (and the N.H. House) has recently cut funding for public services and while giving tax breaks to the rich. They want to abolish the inheritance tax on the rich and sell this by calling it a "death tax". Would the idea "sell" if we called it "The Paris and Conrad Hilton III Spoiled Brat Trust Fund Tax"?
They also want to give billions to what Eisenhower called "the military industrial complex". Everyone is for better national security but having a poorly-educated population hardly makes us "secure."
There are countries that do things better than we do with education and with impressive results. In Germany, higher education is now free. In Denmark, students get free tuition as well as a government stipend to live on. Our students not only go into debt but often have to work full-time. Perhaps that is why many European students know so much about what is happening in the larger world: they have the time to travel abroad.
Germany also has an education system that fits country's needs. Every German student receives a basic, general eight grade education. Then, based on tests and the student's interests, those college bound are sent to one of two types of public high schools. One is the gymnasium where you go if you are humanities-oriented. If you are more science and math oriented, you attend a Realschul.
If you are going into a skilled trade, you go to still another type of high school that combines general studies with hands-on training. By your last year, you are often working in a PAID apprenticeship. The German government, companies, and the unions all cooperate in these programs. In the U.S.A, there are very few paid internships for students.
While public education has made this country great, many want us to go backwards. The conservative Christians want the taxpayers to subsidize their private schools where they teach Creation "science", revised history, and "abstinence only" sex education. But, they are not satisfied; they want it in public schools too.
Others want to remodel education along neo-liberal lines. They want vouchers for private schools. They see the failures in our education system as an argument for privatization.
Actually, this model has been tried. The first real experiment in neo-liberal economic policies proposed by Milton Friedman was in Chile. But these policies could only be imposed after a U.S.-backed military coup that installed a brutal dictatorship where no one could oppose them. A group of economists trained by Friedman called the "Chicago Boys" were hired to supervise it.
Funding for public services were drastically cut, unions were suppressed, and public enterprises were sold off to private investors. Followers of Dr. Friedman like to talk of a "Chilean Miracle". While it did make some Chileans rich, it was very hard the working classes. The "miracle" fell apart and it was the economic problems it caused that led to a concerted effort to remove dictatorship.
In education, the neo-liberals created an system that conservatives here would approve of. Deep cuts were made to higher education and "subversive" professors were fired. Chile had some of the best universities in South America but the government promoted private "universities" which were for-profit and were of dubious quality. And, as in America, funding of public schools was tied to a community's tax base with poorer areas getting poorer schools. Since then, Chilean students have had to pay higher and higher tuition and take out loans. Sound familiar?
After democracy was restored, Chilean students set about to change it. A series of strikes over the last several years by both high school and college students (supported by parents and educators) finally produced results. Recently, Chile has decided to provide free education at public universities and cut the public funding of private schools and "universities".
It baffles that the wealthiest country in the world cannot follow the example of other democracies.

(Scott Cracraft is an American citizen, taxpayer, veteran, and resident of Gilford.)

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Leftists aren't satisfied that people only tolerate their thinking

To The Daily Sun,
They say, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." Similarly, you can present facts in clear language using small words to make it simple, but if the facts don't coincide with a leftist's fantasy world, then the leftist will refuse to acknowledge the facts and respond with name calling and irrelevant or false charges to try to intimidate people into silence.
Leftists are wrong so often that they have become very creative in their name calling, diversions, and false charges. A good example is Ed Allard's letter of April 15, 2015.
Allard's letter is a response to my letter (April 11) regarding Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). In Allard's fantasy, the Indiana law allows people to frivolously discriminate against others; it doesn't.
The Indiana law is similar to the Federal RFRA which describes (Sec 2A3) the purpose of such laws: "governments should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification".
Allard insists that the words "substantially burden" don't exist in the Indiana law although my letter quoted them directly from the law and provided a link to the Indiana law. So I checked again; there they are, "substantially burden", right in the Indiana law, Chapter 9, IC 34-13-9, Sections 8, 9, and 10.
The RFRAs are not intended to allow discrimination, for examples of their use: http://tiny.cc/tvdfxx.
Since Allard wants to make these laws about discrimination against gays, let's consider it. A business owner couldn't successfully use these laws to deny any normal non-religious service they offer. A business owner without serious evidence of their religious convictions couldn't successfully use the protections of these laws. A business owner who faithfully practices his/her religion which believes gay marriage violates God's Laws and can convince a court how performing a religious related activity "substantially burdens" his/her religious exercise MIGHT succeed in court in using this law as a defense UNLESS the state can show a compelling justification for burdening the person's religious exercise. Allard hasn't presented and I am not aware of any successful use of any of RFRA to defend against discrimination.
This issue is about the rare conflict of two rights that we all want to protect, Religious freedom, the first right protected in the Bill of Rights, and the right to equal treatment. The RFRAs provide reasonable frameworks for resolving those rare conflicts.
Allard also makes the ridiculous suggestion that the RFRAs are the same as the Jim Crow laws which were state laws which enforced discrimination; Jim Crow Laws couldn't be more different from laws that help resolve a conflict between people's legitimate rights.
Allard also seems to think that people can have their religions if they want, but they must confine them to their places of worship. It seems to me that our society would be much better off if more people lived consistently with their religious principles in all aspects of their lives, not just in their places of worship.
Allard charges that the RFRAs are "a smokescreen to impose their dogma" on others, but he presents no (and I am aware of no) evidence of that happening in any case involving a Religious Freedom laws, none of these people tried to prevent the gay wedding. In the cases where a bakery and a flower shop denied serving gay weddings both owners had previously provided the participants with non-religious related services, civilly explained why they couldn't participate in the wedding, considered them friends, and wished them well. Then the businesses were sued.
If we expect to have a free and peaceful society, then everyone should be respectful of everyone else's rights, customs, and beliefs because it is the right thing to do, not because it is required by law. No one should knowingly offend another person or ask them to violate their beliefs or rights. Unintended offenses or (non-harmful) violations should be ignored.
The uproar over the Indiana RFRA is part of a decades' long attack by leftists on America's Judeo-Christian heritage and values. Have you seen the media reporting the real incidents of Muslim bakeries refusing to provide cakes for gay weddings? Probably not. Isn't real discrimination a bigger offense than hypothetical discrimination?
Have you heard of any Indiana businesses which discriminated against gays? I haven't. But, you probably heard of an Indiana pizzeria which responded to a reporter's theoretical question that they wouldn't cater a gay wedding. You probably didn't hear that the media had to search to get the story they wanted, nor that the pizzeria advertised its Christianity, nor that it hadn't ever been asked to cater a wedding. Also, you may not have heard that the diversity advocates closed down the business by threatening to burn down the business and harm the people there.
Why should someone be able to demand a service that the service provider feels is offensive, promotes harmful actions, or violates his religious beliefs? Must a business make "T" shirts saying things like, "Muslims deserve to be killed" or "Gays deserve to be beaten"? I don't think so. The same people who refused to participate in gay weddings because of their religious beliefs probably would also refuse to make "T" shirts sayings those things, and they should be able to do so. A society that wants to be peaceful must allow people to act in according to their beliefs (that don't harm others) of right and wrong.
Unfortunately the leftists who constantly advocate for diversity and demand their "rights" are unwilling to accept the diversity and rights of others. Leftists aren't satisfied that people tolerate their beliefs or actions, leftists demand that everyone endorse and support their beliefs and actions; this is tyranny.
Tyranny does not lead to a peaceful and prosperous society.
Don Ewing
Meredith

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