Posts Tagged justice

Fixing America


Once again America is grieving.  The deaths of five Dallas police officers and two young men who died elsewhere having been shot by police have rocked the nation.  Set aside for a moment the politics and circumstances of these events and reflect on the fact that as a result today there are children without fathers, mothers without sons, wives without husbands, sisters without brothers.

The shootings, and the protests than inevitably follow, are becoming ever more common.  What has become abundantly clear is there are inequities in our criminal justice system. The growing violence stemming from those inequities has made the already difficult job of law enforcement even tougher, which in turn has yielded more violence.

This being a presidential election year the powder keg upon which we sit will become even more volatile.  President Obama is calling for more federal control over local police departments.  Donald Trump struck a traditional tough on crime posture.

The solution is none of the above. More federal regulation only hamstrings local police and social services agencies, and filling our prisons even further does nothing to address the root cause of the problem.  It is time to admit that, while government has a role, government alone cannot fix what is wrong.

What can government do?

Criminal justice reform is in fact one of the few areas of public policy where the Left and the Right have found some common ground.  Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, speaking to the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference (http://www.paleadershipconference.org/2015-videos/205-ken-cuccinelli-2015) last year explained it well:  “Ninety-five percent of the people in our jails are coming back out.  So we can ignore that, or we can make the criminal justice system be what it was supposed to be and that is an opportunity for rehabilitation, for correction and for improvement.”

Some conservatives might recoil at that suggestion, but Cuccinelli explains: “I believe nobody is beyond redemption.  That doesn’t mean they don’t deserve punishment for doing wrong. But when you talk about literally or figuratively throwing away the key are you abandoning perhaps more important beliefs in your life?”

Those “more important beliefs” get to the heart of the ultimate solution, for our goal must be to prevent people from ending up in the criminal justice system in the first place.  The root cause of the current crisis is as much societal than it is governmental.

I served for four years as a Dauphin County Commissioner with oversight of human services.  During that time I watched many dedicated folks dealing with the result of what was a breakdown of family and community.  Simply put, government does not and cannot have the resources necessary to supplant the many individual support networks that family, church, and community provide.

While we must work with law enforcement and improve our criminal justice system, the ultimate solution comes down to three things: faith, family and education.  Until and unless we strengthen those institutions we cannot expect the situation to improve.

The removal of religion from the public square is not just some right wing talking point.  Religion – Christian or other – has throughout history provided the moral underpinning of our society.  It is through religion we learn not only rules of conduct, but find the most important of human yearnings including unconditional love, forgiveness and hope.  In the absence of these vital intangibles people, particularly the young, fill the void with drugs and crime.

There has never been born that person who did not need the guidance and discipline of strong family ties.  Define family in whatever way you will, but at the end of the day children and youth need someone who cares about them, provides for them, and nurtures them.  In particular, the absence of fathers has contributed to a breakdown of the family unit.  All of our institutions – government, school, church – must place an emphasis on responsible parenting.

The third fundamental building block of society is education.  Rather than endless debates over the minimum wage we should be focused on educating people for jobs that pay a living wage. And that includes preparing students for the hundreds of thousands of high paying jobs in manufacturing that go unfilled. Our education system must bring everyone up to the starting gate of their work life fully equipped.

Rather than looking at government, or the police, or around the room at others, repairing what is wrong with America begins with each of us.  We must strengthen our churches, our families and our communities.  Then, and only then will what we have witnessed in recent weeks become the exception rather than the rule.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Wolf Loses Big


Radio Program Schedule for the week of October 10, 2015 – October 16, 2015

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from PAIndependent.com
  • Kevin Shivers from the National Federation of Independent Business-PA and Matthew Brouillette of the Commonwealth Foundation are joined by State Representative Jim Christiana (R-Beaver) for a Capitol Watch look at House rejection of Governor Wolf’s tax plan
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on ending corporate welfare

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with former U.S. Navy Seal Chris Heben about Russian aggression in Syria
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on chaos in the race for U.S. House Speaker
  • Eric Boehm talks with Arif Panju of the Institute for Justice about a food truck controversy in San Antonio on this week’s Watchdog Radio Report
  • Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, USA has an American Radio Journal commentary on Carly Fiorina and those Planned Parenthood videos

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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NFIB Takes on Union Dues Collection


Did you know that we the taxpayers pay for our governments (state, county, school board, municipal) to deduct (collect) labor union dues and PAC contributions from public employees, required as a condition of employment to belong to a labor union, and then turns the dues over to the respective labor union?

So basically, government serves as the collection agent for public sector labor unions.

I thought you might be interested in the attached video produced by our friends at the PA Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business on efforts to correct this injustice:

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The Voter ID Race Card: Common sense, not race-baiting should prevail


A few weeks ago my wife and I travelled to Arizona to visit family for holidays. When we arrived at the airport we were required to show a photo ID to check our luggage. We again had to show photo ID to the TSA (Transportation Safety Administration) agents who then performed more invasive procedures. Upon arriving in Phoenix, we were required to again show a photo ID to pick up our rental car.

When my son applied for a job working at a local convenience store, the employer required not just a photo ID, but also a copy of his birth certificate. (Something not required to become President of the United States.) I was with my sister when she made a credit card purchase, the store clerk asked to see her driver’s license, a form of photo ID.

Were any of the folks who asked for our photo identification racists? Likely they were not. They were simply verifying our identity in order to process a transaction. It is a normal, everyday occurrence. Except when we go to a polling place to vote. There, in Pennsylvania as in many other states, no proof of identification is required.

The Pennsylvania Voter Identification Protection Act sponsored by State Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) has passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and is now being considered by the state senate. The new law would require voters to present a photo ID. A driver’s license or other state issued identification card provided free of charge would be accepted.

Voter fraud is a clear and present danger in Pennsylvania. In the last presidential election cycle there were numerous allegations of voter registration abuse and fraud, many involving the radical group known as A.C.O.R.N. The U.S. Department of Justice under President Obama turned a blind eye to the complaints. The system literally lacks competent oversight.

This places the very integrity of our national electoral process in jeopardy. Without appropriate safeguards we cannot be confident that the outcome – especially of close elections – is accurate and fraud-free. Think back to 2000 when a handful of votes in Florida determined who would become President of the United States. We must do everything we can to ensure that the nation would have confidence in the outcome should such a close vote occur in Pennsylvania.

Requiring photo ID to vote makes so much sense it calls into question the motives of those who oppose it. The sad truth is that some benefit from the current lax system of voter verification and believe it to be to their electoral advantage to preserve the status quo. Lacking any valid intellectual argument for their position, they have resorted to playing the race card.

Frankly, it is demeaning to any minority to suggest that they are incompetent to the point of being unable to acquire a simple ID card. Assistance can be rendered through human services agencies for those who are mentally challenged, elderly, or immobile. But it is hardly more racist to require a photo ID to vote than it is to require a photo ID to stay at a motel or use a credit card.

The Obama Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder has gone to court fighting a new photo ID law in South Carolina. But such laws have already been upheld as Constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. The basis for the judicial review was a similar law in the state of Indiana, after which Metcalfe patterned the Pennsylvania statute. Holder is simply trying to delay the implementation of voter fraud prevention efforts already given a stamp of approval from the highest court in the land.

With Pennsylvania’s April primary rapidly approaching and a presidential General Election upcoming in November the time has come for a voter ID law to be put into effect here in Penn’s Woods. Only then can we the people have confidence that our electoral system is free of voter fraud and the winners have been honestly elected.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal. His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

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