Monday, July 3, 2017

UK Sentences Baby to Death

UK Sentences Baby to Death
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
July 3, 2017

Beware living under the auspices of government-controlled healthcare and medical care. Let the following cautionary tale be your guide, and may the United States government never follow in their linguistic ancestors’ footsteps.

The case in question involves 11-month-old infant Charlie Gard, born in August 2016 and saddled with infantile-onset encephalomyopathy mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome - a rare genetic disorder, according to The Wall Street Journal.

While debates over so-called death panels have mostly been hypothetical or theoretical here in the United States as a part of the failed Obamacare, for British subjects they are all too real, as baby Charlie’s parents are experiencing. Connie Yates, 31, and Chris Gard, 32, Charlie’s parents, are fighting the government’s decision to ultimately cease life support.

Although parents are charged with making medical treatment decisions for their children in Great Britain, so long as “choices don’t contravene a child’s best interests,” the British Supreme Court ruled in favor of the doctors seeking permission to terminate treatment. What happened to the Hippocratic Oath? First do no harm?

The British Supreme Court said in their June ruling that “prolonging Charlie’s life would be not in his best interests.” Charlie has brain damage; he is not brain dead. Adding insult to injury, the parents have been denied the right to bring Charlie to the United States for an experimental therapy - a therapy, that heretofore, has been tested on neither people nor animals in Charlie’s circumstance, according to The Journal. If doctors are willing to let Charlie die, attempting this therapy costs the child nothing.

Remember, it is the parents fighting to keep their child alive, not the government. Why should the government have the power of life and death when parents have the right to make such decisions? Additionally, why should the government sign Charlie’s death warrant when his parents have managed to raise $1.7 million as of last Friday, June 30 via social media. Both President Donald Trump and Pope Francis have weighed in supporting Charlie and his parents’ right to keep him alive and receive the potentially life saving treatment in the United States.

“If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so,” tweeted President Trump.

G-d forbid Trump should offer legitimate assistance to a child in need - where he has nothing to gain - but yet is chided by NBC reporter Matt Bradly for attempting to garner political points out of the suffering of that child.

The British government, in its infinite cruelty, even thwarted Connie Yates and Chris Gard’s right to take Charlie home to die with dignity. They asked the European Court of Human Rights to overturn the British Supreme Court’s ruling, but it denied the request, in spite of the “sensitive moral and ethical issues,” this case is raising. The British Supreme Court is no better than the abortionists’ savage butchery of the unborn at Planned Parenthood.

Charlie Gard, and others like him, are precisely the reasons the United States should not move toward government-run healthcare, as Obamacare dictated - dictating that the American people should be forced to purchase a product it may not want; dictating the places where the American people could actually receive medical care, and how its failings are hurting the American people. We the people should not have the government imposing its will on the populous. Medical decisions must be determined between doctor and patient, not some nameless, faceless death panel, as has been feared.

Far be it for the United States, in spite of Trump’s support of Charlie and his parents, to intervene with the sovereignty of another nation, but where is the humanity? There is a complete loss of humanity in this case and no doubt countless others lacking the notoriety of Charlie Gard. This is not North Korea.

This is Great Britain - a presumably civilized nation seeking to euthanize an 11-month-old infant when a potentially life saving treatment could be available. This smacks of Nazism - to simply sentence this child to death unemotionally and seemingly with no care for the parents and their suffering. Remember, Germany in the 1930s also relished its place amongst civilized society, and yet it perpetrated one of the greatest crimes against humanity. This is not, nor should it be made into, a political issue; it is bigger than that, as it is about the life of not just one little boy, but all future patients who may be denied life, liberty, and happiness by the non-medical, political apparatchik. Something to keep in mind as we the American people celebrate the 241st birthday of the United States on our independence from Great Britain.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Censorship 101 - Crimson Style

“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” -- Evelyn Beatrice Hall, British writer (1868-1956)

Censorship 101 - Crimson Style
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
June 19, 2017

Hate speech, provided it does not incite violence, is still free speech, except at Harvard University. At Harvard, free speech and expression is costly - to the tune of about a dozen rising freshmen being told their First Amendment rights end at the front gates of the ivory towers of the Cambridge, MA campus, as their acceptances were rescinded.

Apparently the First Amendment does not include social media postings that were determined to be offensive by a faceless, nameless committee that Harvard won’t divulge. On what has been called a “private Facebook page,” according to the Wall Street Journal, this particular group of students, posted sexually explicit messages, along with others mocking the Holocaust, joking about pedaphilia, and child abuse.

There is no question that the posts were vile, distasteful, unsavory, and repugnant; yet, no laws were violated. These students, heretofore previously on their way to matriculate at Harvard this fall, find themselves on the outside looking in, whose potential notoriety could prevent them from landing at any campus, should fight the rescinding of their acceptances.

This is a classic example of the slippery slope so bone chilling, it makes George Orwell’s 1984, look like Dr. Seuss. This is precisely why the United States has a First Amendment - protecting the right to speak one’s mind. It’s still not against the law to say/post offensive comments, and while Harvard also has the right to deny admission to any applicant it chooses, to do so because of opinions with which a committee does not agree, is disturbing.

Brilliant jurist Alan Dershowitz, who has a 53 year relationship with Harvard, and said as a private institution, Harvard is not “technically bound by the First Amendment.” He then quickly added that the rescinding of acceptances is “over-punishment and Draconian…. Harvard has committed itself to following the First Amendment and I think this violates the spirit, if not the letter of the First Amendment.”

How many students on campus, be it Harvard or anywhere else, think the same thoughts that were posted on this private Facebook page? (Although how a Facebook page is private in and of itself is flummoxing.) Perhaps the admissions committee did not vet these applicants carefully enough; but that’s on Harvard, not the students.

What will be the next set of opinions to keep people from the hallowed ivy of Harvard? Perhaps the committee will deny admission to those making disparaging remarks about Boston or the Kennedy family. And, this isn’t even about denying admission, it’s about rescinding admission from students already deemed “acceptable” for Harvard.

One cannot shield oneself from hurtful, offensive, or even viscerally disturbing images and words unless shuttered within their homes sans print, audio, visual media and even music lyrics. Nor does one have the right not to be offended.

The school claims it denies admission based upon honesty, maturity, and moral character. Wow - talk about a broad based set of criteria; and criteria decided upon by whom? The students in question were certainly honest in their despicable postings.

As for maturity, who defines maturity? Is maturity based upon whether or not the young students agree with the opinions of the older admissions committee? Does age alone define maturity? Is a 60-year-old automatically more mature than an 18-year-old simply based upon the numbers?

With regard to moral character, who is the arbiter of that definition? What if the admissions committee does not support gay marriage. Should students who do, be denied admission? Or should students who are married to a same-sex partner be denied admission? Is it morally acceptable to be anti-gay, but not anti-Semitic? Is it morally acceptable to oppose pedaphilia but not beastiality? By whose morals is Harvard basing their subjectivity?

In the Supreme Court case Matal v. Tam decided on Monday, June 19, the justices ruled unanimously, 8-0, that trademarks cannot be  banned simply because they are offensive. (Rookie Justice Neil Gorsuch, not on the court when the case was heard, did not participate.)

Banning an offensive trademark “offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito.

Alito also wrote that restricting “speech expressing ideas that offend… strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express the thought that we hate.”

“A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all. The First Amendment does not entrust that power to the government’s benevolence. Instead, our reliance must be on the substantial safeguards of free and open discussion in a democratic society,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy.

If the likes of Justices Alito, Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg can agree on anything, let alone a pivotal First Amendment case, Harvard University can see its way clear to readmit those students with whom they disagree and open a dialogue where speech is encouraged and treasured, not thwarted and silenced.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Baseball is America; not a Miracle Worker

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again.” - Terence Mann (James Earl Jones) in Field of Dreams (1989)

Baseball is America; not a Miracle Worker
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
June 17, 2017

Baseball is emblematic of what the United States of America should be. A manager, who earned the right to his position puts the nine best players on the field each day, regardless of background, religion, or ethnicity.

Prior to April 15, 1947 that was certainly not the case, until Jackie Robinson stepped on the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers and broke the color barrier that plagued our national pastime for decades. But baseball righted its own wrong. It was not ordered by the commissioner; nor was it ordered by the federal government.

In fact baseball desegregated itself a year before President Harry Truman ordered the Armed Forces desegregated in 1948.

Baseball is what America should be because it does not acquiesce to a government mandated quota system. Fans don’t care, or at least they shouldn’t care, if a Japanese hurler is pitching to a Dominican catcher, backed up by a Puerto Rican shortstop, a white second baseman, a black first baseman, and throw in a Jewish right fielder for good measure. As long as those are the best players the team has to offer that day. That is what the American workforce should look like - folks legally immigrating to the United States to make it a better country, just as players make a team better and stronger - better able to compete. Competition, after all, is the bellwether of America.

Baseball, however, is not a miracle worker.

Following the tragic shooting during the Republican’s baseball practice on Flag Day, Wednesday, June 14, at Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, VA, members of Congress, led by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House  Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), came together for their ubiquitous kumbaya moments.

This was the last practice prior to the annual Congressional Baseball Game, played on Thursday, June 15 at Nationals Park. During the practice, a deranged shooter fired more than 50 shots hitting GOP Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), Capitol Hill police officers David Bailey and Crystal Griner, as well as Congressional aide Zach Barth, and lobbyist Matt Mika. Fortunately the would-be assassin was killed as police returned fire saving dozens of lives.

The Democrat’s team, practicing at a different field, upon hearing of this vicious attack, were seen huddled in prayer on the steps of one of the dugouts. Hours later, in the House chamber Speaker Ryan said “An attack on one of us, is an attack on all of us,” a sentiment Pelosi echoed in bi-partisan support. Yet, back in Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe (D), never missing an opportunity to be an opportunist, bemoaned the need for more strict gun control.

The next night, the pregame and post-game activities took center stage at Nationals Park. Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre, Major League Baseball’s chief baseball officer brought a special guest out to the mound to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Crutches and all, wounded Capitol Hill police officer David Bailey hobbled to the mound amid a standing ovation from the appreciative crowd. Tossing one crutch aside, Bailey managed to will his pitch reasonably close to home plate where it was received by Roberto Clemente, Jr.

The teams were introduced and lined up across the infield. Also prior to the first pitch the teams met at second base, Scalise’s position, to join in prayer. A video message from President Donald Trump was then played in the stadium. He spoke of the importance of playing the game that night - both in support of our national pastime as well as the charities benefitting from the proceeds of the game. Trump thanked the Capitol police and the Alexandria police for their efforts. “By playing tonight’s game we will not be intimidated by threats or acts of violence and assault… I offer these unifying words - let’s play ball!”

The game itself was anticlimactic as the Democrats took the GOP to the woodshed by a final score of 11-2 in the seven inning affair. Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA), an across the aisle friend of fellow Pelican Stater Scalise, tossed a complete game gem - surrendering two runs in the first inning and yielding nothing the rest of the way. In his MVP performance, Richmond also laced three hits, including a triple, and scored three runs.

Following the game, the teams’ two managers met for the presentation of the trophy, where Democrat skipper Mike Doyle (PA) gave it to GOP manager Joe Barton (TX) to be presented to Scalise’s office.

While it would be nice to see the on field gestures carry over to the House and Senate chambers, let’s not hold our breath. Certainly there is room to reduce the rhetoric and attempt to work for the people who sent them there, but then that would put a lot of political consultants and ad copywriters out of work. Hmm - perhaps there is some good that could come out of this horrific event.

While not played every year, the tradition of the Congressional Baseball game dates back to 1909 and the Democrats currently hold a 40-39 lead, with one tie. A record crowd of 24,959 attended the game (outpacing the attendance of half of the 10 MLB games played that same night) where more than $1 million was raised for the following charities: the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, the Washington Literacy Center, the Capitol Police Memorial Fund, and the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation.

To contribute to any of the charities visit the following sites:

While the people are generously supporting these charities, let’s hope the elected officials will remember why they were sent to Washington in the first place and work generously to ensure a better America.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN

Friday, June 9, 2017

Grounding Greg Gianforte

Grounding Greg Gianforte
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
June 9, 2017

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution grants people freedom of the press. However, body slamming a reporter is in no way an acceptable rewrite of the definition of a free press.

Yet, on Wednesday, May 24, that is precisely what Greg Gianforte, then Republican candidate for the At-Large seat in Congress from Montana, did to Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, knocking him to the ground. The full-on assault occurred in Gianforte’s Bozeman campaign headquarters one day prior to the special election being held to fill the seat vacated by Ryan Zinke upon his Cabinet appointment to become Secretary of the Interior.

The following day, on Thursday, May 25, Gianforte emerged victorious, yet not necessarily unscathed, in winning the special election with 50 percent of the vote, defeating Democrat Rob Quist, who garnered 44 percent of the vote, and Libertarian Mark Wicks with six percent. For his actions, Gianforte is charged with misdemeanor assault.

Gianforte has admitted his guilt via three apologies to Jacobs, who not only accepted, but indicated he has no plans to sue the Representative-elect. Gianforte plans to plead guilty when appearing in a Bozeman court on Monday, June 12. Jacobs has certainly taken the high road; he should have sued Gianforte.

Prior to the assault, Jacobs had been questioning Gianforte about the GOP healthcare plan. Perhaps in lieu of a true plan to repeal and replace Obamacare a physical assault would draw attention away from the GOP’s shortsightedness on this all-important issue. The Republican Party, after all, had seven years to cobble together a brilliant plan to replace the deleterious and destructive Obamacare.

In the weeks following the assault Gianforte has issued several apologies, one in part saying, "My physical response to your legitimate question was unprofessional, unacceptable, and unlawful. As both a candidate for Office and a public official, I should be held to a high standard in my interactions with the press and the public. My treatment of you did not meet that standard. …I made a mistake and humbly ask for your forgiveness," wrote Gianforte.

In addition to his apologies, Gianforte pledged $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists, an organization that promotes freedom of the press.

Despite his many mea culpas and monetary contribution Gianforte should be denied his seat in the House of Representatives on the grounds of moral turpitude. Not only is there precedence to not seat a member-elect of Congress or eject a sitting member, such actions are supported by the Constitution.

Article I Section 5 of the United States Constitution states: "Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.”

In spite of the Constitution, Gianforte has the Supreme Court case Powell v. McCormack (1969) on his side. The crux of that case determined neither house of Congress has the "power to exclude a member-elect who meets the Constitution's membership requirements," of age and residency. Thus remains the expulsion option which the House should exercise.

In the state of Montana, misdemeanor assault convictions carry a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a $500 fine. Clearly a $500 fine is meaningless considering the $50,000 Gianforte is contributing to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Seating Gianforte based upon Powell, and then expelling him would have a greater impact, not just on Gianforte, but hopefully the body politic as a whole, that actions have repercussions and severe ones at that.

Members of the press, regardless of in how low esteem they are held by the public, especially politicians, should never be put in an intimidating position where they are unable to properly perform their jobs.

From personal experience as a member of the Fourth Estate, not everybody reports biased or fake news. Those who do should be admonished or dismissed from their positions. The American people, hell, all people deserve to know the truth. Make no mistake, the people do not have the right to know everything – state secrets potentially putting national security at risk should neither be leaked nor revealed. I’m an American first and a reporter/commentator second. Information on deep background or expressed off the record should stay there. I’ve managed to eke out a living keeping my word. We need an honest press, but we also need a press free to do its job without the threat of physical violence or intimidation.

Thomas Jefferson said it best: "The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure." (Sadly, the purity of those waters has long passed us by.)

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Opposite Day at UN: Saudis on Women's Rights Commission

Opposite Day at UN: Saudis on Women’s Rights Commission
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
April 27, 2017

Proving itself once again to be irrelevant and pedantic, the United Nations, in its infinite superciliousness, voted to appoint the open minded and tolerant Saudi Arabia to the UN Women’s Rights Commission.

Go ahead, go back and read that again – yes, Saudi Arabia elected to sit on the UN Women’s Rights Commission. (This is the same United Nations that, in 2014, appointed those great bastions of liberal democracy, China, Cuba, and Iran, to serve on a committee overseeing global human rights.)

How is that possible? Has the Klan been charged with running the NAACP? Has ham suddenly been declared kosher? Reminds one of the Seinfeld episode where perennial loser George Costanza became a winner by doing the opposite of his instinctual thoughts.

Saudi Arabia is a country affording women practically no rights short of breathing. Women in Saudi Arabia are neither permitted to obtain a driver’s license or drive a motor vehicle. According to Sharia Law, women in Saudi Arabia must don head coverings in public, and while out in public are required to be chaperoned my a male family member, even one who is younger than the female.

This is the same Saudi Arabia inflicting forced marriages upon girls – children as young as 10 years old. Saudi women require permission from a male to marry, work, travel, garner health care, or gain release from prison. Additionally, Saudi women do not possess the right to file legal claims or even rent an apartment.

In fact, in 2006, a victim of a horrific gang rape was sentenced to 200 lashes for being out in public without a male guardian. So, naturally, Saudi Arabia is qualified to serve on the UN’s Women’s Rights Commission.

Then again, this is the same United Nations that perpetually charges Israel with human rights violations while countries like Angola, China, Cuba, Iran, Mauritania, Sudan, and Syria commit atrocities against their own populations sans condemnation.

At the very least, the United States should stop paying the freight and bearing the brunt of the UN’s expenses while absorbing the traffic tickets on which foreigners with diplomatic immunity are permitted to skate. The United States is on the hook for 22 percent of United Nations’ budgeted expenses – the most of any country. The 192 visiting countries can pack their crap, get out of the United States and head to Paris or The Hague.

For the sake of global progress, the United Nations should be disbanded. Any organization that would condemn the only democracy in the Middle East that provides more rights to Palestinians and Arabs than Arab nations, while permitting a despotic nation to sit on a women’s rights commission, clearly serves no purpose.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Free Speech Not Free for All

Free Speech Not Free for All
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
April 25, 2017

Thank G-d former Vermont Governor Howard Dean did not win the presidential election of 2004 – you know, the candidate made infamous by his blood curdling scream upon his third place finish in the Iowa Caucuses.

It seems the former governor and chair of the DNC is in need of remedial classes on the United States Constitution, particularly the First Amendment. Dean recently condemned the upcoming speech by conservative writer and commentator Ann Coulter saying the University of California-Berkeley had every right to cancel her engagement because “hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment.”

First, Mr. Dean, who defines hate speech? What is hateful to you may not be hateful to me and vice versa. Are you the arbiter of what hate speech is? On the other hand, I am no more the arbiter of what hate speech is any more than Mr. Dean. We are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, and I would ascertain that were our opinions of what hate speech is, the end of free speech would be upon us as a so-called civilization.

But Dean is merely a symptom of a greater problem – that free speech for all on college campuses creates a free-for-all amongst apoplectic liberal anarchists who believe it is their right to prevent conservatives from speaking on their sacred campuses, by any means necessary. Simply see the violence perpetrated by lefty-loons upon the visit of conservative political scientist Charles Murray to Middlebury College in Dean’s home state of Vermont.

See also the violence at Berkeley in February, to the tune of $100,000 in damages when conservative Milo Yiannapolis was slated to speak. Now, with Coulter scheduled for April 27, UC Chancellor Nicholas Dirks took it upon himself to cancel her speaking engagement fearing for her safety. This at the “home of the free speech movement,” said Dirks when suggesting Ms. Coulter would not be safe on campus.

Dirks and his security team have a responsibility to ensure the safety of all who visit the UC-Berkeley campus. By disallowing Coulter, Dirks is surrendering his campus (as if it had not already been) to the far-left, who ironically lead the “be tolerant of everybody and everything unless it is conservative” movement. They are truly hypocritical. Even senators Bernie Sanders (S-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) support Coulter’s right to speak at Berkeley.

Free speech is for all Americans and should be protected. It’s easy to support speech with which we agree, but the real challenge is to support that which we disagree. And boy, are those campus cupcakes challenged. These anarchists will stop at nothing to shut down any conservative voice, again, by any means necessary. Of what are they really afraid? The real hate speech is derived by the anarchists with their threats and acts of violence.

Former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick ruffled a lot of feathers during the 2016 NFL season by opting not to stand during the National Anthem. This spurred many a debate. I thought it was wrong, disrespectful, and offensive of Kaepernick to take a knee, but was his right to do so. The now unemployed football player was recently named one of the 100 most influential people by Time. Does anybody still read that magazine?

After some mild outrage and threats of law suits, Dirks wanted to move Coulter’s speech to May 2, but Coulter rejected that notion. She said that date is unacceptable; the reasons are unimportant, and said she still plans on keeping her original speaking date. I hope she does, and that a huge throng turns out to hear her speech – from both sides of the aisle. Let them agree to disagree and then debate the issues in a civilized, non-violent manner. After all, the answer to objectionable speech is not silence and violence, but more speech. The right must inspire thinking on every campus across the fruited plain by inviting as many conservatives to speak as possible. The intolerant anarchists will continue to out themselves for what they are.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Congress Must Fix Healthcare at its Pace, not Trump's

Congress Must Fix Healthcare at its Pace, not Trump’s
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
March 27, 2017

For once, Democrat Party vindictiveness helped the American people. They wouldn’t vote their own stay of execution if granted by President Donald Trump. Fortunately, they, with the Freedom Caucus of the Republican Party effectively quashed Trump’s milquetoast healthcare legislation.

President Trump is wrong with his all or nothing tactics on healthcare. Trump said with Congressional failure to vote on his legislation, then we the people are stuck with Obamacare and he will move to his next issue.

The Executive Branch does not write legislation, nor does it set the schedule of Congress. Congress is not answerable to the Executive Branch – something Trump seems to forget when attempting to run the government – of three equal, not subservient branches. The government is not his corporation.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) proved herself to be hypocritical once again when making a statement that actually made sense. “The American people and the members [of Congress] have a right to know the full impact of this legislation before any vote in committee or by the whole House.”


Yet on March 9, 2010, the hypocrite from California said, of Obamacare, “But we have to pass the bill to find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.”

The Freedom Caucus must remain strong against this Obamacare-lite pathetic measure. Controlling both houses of Congress and the White House, the GOP must produce the appropriate kind of healthcare legislation opponents of Obamacare have demanded for the past seven years.

Until that time, Pelosi is relishing what she considers not just a victory for the Democrats, but “a victory for all Americans.” Apparently, forced healthcare upon the citizenry, costing more than most can afford, and in some cases in states where there are no actual choices, is considered a victory for the American people by the obviously tone deaf Pelosi. Tone deaf because the American people demand, and have a right to, better than Obamacare and the first attempt at its replacement.

Start anew by not mandating coverage. Keep pre-existing conditions covered. Permit insurance policies to be both procurable across state lines, and portable – thus encouraging lower costs via competition. Increase transparency, and prevent government from injecting itself into the people’s healthcare as much as possible.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

De-Fund My Alma Mater

De-Fund My Alma Mater
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
March 19, 2017

I have stood by and with my alma mater, the University of Maryland, through numerous trials and tribulations – the tragic 1986 drug-induced death of All-American basketball player Len Bias the summer between my sophomore and junior years, sex scandals in recent years involving members of the coaching staffs of more than one team sport, and decades-long drug and alcohol scandals within the Greek system, to name just a few of the more notorious.

But the recent announcement that the University of Maryland created a position of “Undocumented Student Coordinator,” villainously flaunting lawlessness, has convinced me to forgo any future financial support of the university and the various programs which I have embraced over the years and decades. A line must be drawn, and while I will continue to root for the Terrapins in their athletic contests, I can no longer, in good conscience, endorse an organization embracing this embarrassingly disastrous decision.

“As part of the university’s ongoing commitment to undocumented students… we are assigning a UMD staff person to serve as a coordinator to address the immediate needs of the undocumented student population,” said Katie Lawson, a University of Maryland spokeswoman in a statement given to The Diamondback.

This position was part of a list of 64 demands made in late November 2016 by ProtectUMD – a coalition of 25 student organizations at Maryland. Ten of the 64 demands pertain to protecting illegal aliens and violating the law. The overwhelming majority of the 64 demands are absurd, poorly written; open ended, lacking definition, patently anti-Israel, and anathema to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Judge for yourselves:

Maryland is not alone in the creation of such an office, as Georgetown University and the University of Illinois are among other campuses overtly protecting illegal aliens.

There is also a webpage as part of the University of Maryland website entitled “Undocumented Student Resources,” which states “The University of Maryland recognizes that undocumented students are a vital part of our campus community. In an effort to better support our UndocuTerps, campus partners have launched this online resource.” The page further indicates it is “funded in part by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.” From where is the rest of the funding coming? Such a blatant thumb in the eye of the rule of law.

“UndocuTerps.” The university has even given them a special name or label to be proudly adorned akin to a red badge of courage. This is beyond insanity.

“The undocumented student office is part of the university’s ongoing commitment to undocumented students and we continue ways to offer support,” was part of a poorly worded university statement.

If the University of Maryland is so committed to the illegals on campus, it can do without the financial support of legal residents, American citizens, and alumni, who, along with government funding, keep the university operating. All alumni objecting to the creation of such an office and the brazen law-breaking should contact the university, its president, Wallace Loh, and any organization which receives personal contributions and explain why they will no longer be the beneficiary of your financial largesse. We will no longer aid, abet, and be complicit with such law-breaking.

Another one of the 64 demands by ProtectUMD and the Student Government Association is to brand the College Park campus a “sanctuary campus.” University President Wallace Loh responded in January that such a designation was “unnecessary, as this university already follows sanctuary campus policies despite not holding a designation,” according to The Diamondback. As with a sanctuary city, a similarly labeled campus will not volunteer information or cooperate with the federal government.

As one who has virulently supported the defunding of sanctuary cities for years, the same loss of funding should befall not just the University of Maryland, but any institution behaving in this manner. All federal funding should be withheld – including grants and scholarships to students. Unconcealed harboring of illegals must not be rewarded. President Loh should be asked to resign or be dismissed for his endorsement and support of people with no legal right to be in the United States.

As a specific message to current Terps, understand that the illegals you support and protect today as classmates and friends, upon graduation will be your competition for jobs and the launching of careers.

How many jobs will be offered to illegals? How much scholarship money goes to illegals instead of deserving Americans and legal residents? How many seats in American institutions of higher education are being filled by illegals instead of deserving Americans and legal residents? The supporters of these illegal aliens are anarchists, socialists, and open border zealots who have little to no allegiance to their own country.

This is not about race, religion, or ethnicity, but instead, the rule of law. What are we teaching our children and future generations with policies such as these that not only exist, but continue to grow and expand? For those who cite compassion to their fellow man, there can be plenty of compassion to those who follow the rules, stand in line as the rest of the legal immigrants like my mother-in-law did and become a part of the American fabric.

Ultimately, creation of Undocumented Student Coordinator positions and adopting policies protecting law-breaking illegals will marginalize American children and students until the point of being called an American citizen loses all meaning in their own country.

This is not what the Founding Fathers envisioned when they fought a war for independence and birthed the greatest nation on G-d’s earth. It is up to we the people to cease acquiescence to those who seek to destroy America from within.

In his Lyceum Address of January 1838, Abraham Lincoln, then a member of the Illinois House of Representatives said, “If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.” Lincoln knew.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN. He is a University of Maryland alumnus, and as of Monday, March 20, 2017 a former member of the Alumni Association.

Monday, March 6, 2017

A Day Without Brains

A Day Without Brains
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
March 6, 2017

With practically no workable notice – less than 48 hours – Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) have inconvenienced parents, possibly costing them a day’s pay while teachers participate in something called “A Day Without Women.”

It should be called “A Day Without Brains.”

Some 15,200 students, attending 16 Alexandria, VA schools, lose a day of instruction as all ACPS will be closed to satisfy the whims of irresponsible adults. ACPS claims it did not make this decision lightly, but they certainly did not take working parents into consideration. “This was not a political decision,” said ACPS spokeswoman Helen Lloyd. “This is about the safety of our students and our ability to deliver instruction to them,” she added.

Safety? ACPS is turning 15,200 children loose on the city streets of Alexandria with this irresponsibly last minute decision affecting the schedules of many more thousands of people – working parents, siblings attending non-ACPS schools.

Nor is the decision egalitarian with regard to all ACPS staff, as six city schools will be open for two hours – one each for breakfast and lunch. Clearly not all women can participate in this silliness.

How will students with working parents get to school? Are the school busses running back and forth for both meal services? Will ACPS reimburse working parents’ lost wages for those who do not have appropriate care for their children and end up missing work on Wednesday?

Elsewhere in the region, sensibility rules the day. DC schools, Prince George’s County in Maryland, as well as Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia will operate business as usual.

Every teacher without a doctor’s notice for March 8th should lose a day’s pay. The residents of Alexandria should not have their property taxes wasted on the foolishness of people who put themselves first and not the children for which they have a responsibility to educate. The students of Alexandria have learned a valuable lesson while out of school – who’s not looking out for them.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN. He was a one-time candidate for the Alexandria School Board.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

And the Winner Isn't...

And the Winner Isn’t…
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
March 1, 2017

La La Land a.k.a. Hollywood, a.k.a. the land of gentrified hypocrisy.

In the category of “Most deliciously ironic moment of the entire Oscars,” the winner is – oh, wait, it’s a tie: the moment when the so-called Hollywood elites realized nobody cared until the botching of the Best Picture award, and the moment when the film representing the entire movie industry, La La Land, like the industry itself, was the big loser on Sunday night.

I probably had not watched an Oscars program in at least 10 years, but my wife Vicky wanted me to watch with her, and instead of complaining about it, and there were no decent college basketball games on that night, I remembered an oft-quoted line from one my favorite movies: “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” (OK, I compromised and watched the big award categories.)

Nothing spectacular occurred for the first 12 hours of the program – the usual trite and hackneyed anti-Trump comments here, liberal barbs there, hypocritical speeches everywhere, until the tail end of show when, and apparently Price Waterhouse is falling on this sword, the Best Picture fiasco allowed all previous statements to become as forgettable and innocuous as the average American would know them to be.

However, lost in the mix of the Best Picture’s stupidly mind-boggling flub for the ages, was a speech of epic hypocritical proportions that must see the light of day. Amidst the traditional cantankerous comments spewing forth from the mouths of the vapid and the vengeful, came the winner for Best Foreign Language Film. The Salesman, brainchild of screenplay writer and director Asghar Farhadi, was the second film for which Farhadi took home this award. His film A Separation won in 2012.

Farhadi, 44, and a native of Khomeyni Shahr, Iran, declined to attend the awards ceremony due to, according to his message, the disrespect the United States is showing his country and the other six countries under the travel ban by the Trump administration. Another example of selective outrage, as did anyone hear Farhadi’s objections about the same seven countries under the same ban during the Obama administration? Nope – just crickets.

Farhadi’s prepared message was read by Anousheh Ansari, an Iranian-American and the first Iranian in space.

"I'm sorry I'm not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of the other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S. Dividing the world into the us and our enemies categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which themselves have been victims of aggression.”

Dripping with hypocrisy, where to begin with Farhadi’s message? He calls American law barring immigrants’ entry into the US “inhumane.” Is it inhumane of a country, any country, to put itself first and protect its own citizens before opening the doors to legal immigrants? Is it inhumane to ensure that those people migrating to a new country have the best interest of their new country at heart?

As for real inhumanity, Mr. Farhadi, see your own country, the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran, the country whose repeated mantra is “Death to America and death to Israel.” Iran, the country, who, according to Human Rights Watch, punishes its own citizens with death for same-sex relations, adultery, and blasphemy against Mohammad – none of which are criminal offenses in the inhumane United States. This is the same Iran that requires athletes and even chess players to forfeit rather than vie against an Israeli.

The United States is not dividing the world; the Islamic Republic of Iran is certainly trying to do so. It is the worst state sponsor of terror worldwide. If anything, Iran is bringing countries together to fight the Mullahs. Iran, in violating the anti-nuclear deal with the United States, is creating strange bedfellows of countries in the Middle East – countries not typically allied with Israel, for example, see the benefit of siding with the globe’s lone Jewish state in opposing a nuclear Iran.

In fact, in 2011, Farhadi himself was punished by his Iranian government for speaking critically of that very government. After casting aspersions, Farhadi apologized.

Following Ansari’s reading of Farhadi’s message, the lemmings in the audience, those obsequious, fawning, sycophants mindlessly applauded the Iranian director for criticizing the United States. These Hollywood denizens would never survive in Iran – consider the aforementioned crimes for which violators would be executed. The Ayatollah would behead Hollywood one by one. Were this country remotely like the Islamic Republic of Iran those critical of President Trump could find themselves on the sharp end of the executioner’s sword.

But this is the United States of America, thank G-d. We can agree to disagree. We can exercise our First Amendment right of free speech. People are free to speak ill of President Trump, but they should not be surprised when such castigation is returned. The world of Hollywood is in the minority. It is the silent majority, the so-called fly-over states, which spoke vociferously in November at the ballot boxes, and now is the time for them to be heard.

To the singers and actors on stage, your gal lost, so suck it up, buttercups. You are certainly welcome to continue bloviating, but know that those of us who shell out our hard-earned money are tuning you out, turning you off, and dropping you from our list of movies and concerts to see and hear. Hollywood has become tone deaf and we the people are making them pay. In the grand scheme of what is meaningful, Hollywood is full of the self-important, self-indulgent, self-congratulatory, and self-aggrandizing. What they should be is self-effacing while hiding in their gated neighborhoods, demanding guns be taken from honest Americans while they have armed security at the ready. They epitomize hypocrisy at its very worst.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Town Hall or Town Brawl?

Town Hall or Town Brawl?
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
February 24, 2017

Has the Earth begun spinning in the opposite direction? It must, as I agree with something Senator Bernie Sanders (S-VT) said. “If you don’t have the guts to face your constituents, you shouldn’t be in the United States Congress.”

As a strong First Amendment advocate, more speech, not less speech is advantageous – it is transparent – it sheds light on what people and groups are about. I have been fervent in my support of more speech on college campuses, and I affirm as much where Congressional town hall meetings are concerned – provided there is no inciting to violence, or shouting down others to the point where holding such a gathering becomes counterproductive. (

From coast to coast (Arizona, California, Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Utah) members of Congress have scheduled town hall meetings where hundreds of protesters, either esoterically manufactured or legitimately concerned about the new administration, have attempted to disrupt or prevent such meetings from occurring, are responsible for displaced criticism some members have received.

Protesters attend Republican members’ meetings, en masse, shouting “do your job,” and “you work for us.” While the second part of their mantra is absolutely true, GOP members are largely unable to do their jobs due to Democrats’ obstructionism in both houses of Congress. The protesters should express their rage at jobs not being done toward the Democrats.

All the bluster aside, it is wrong for members of Congress, and this has been heard from some GOP members, that in order to avoid the chaos, they will simply not hold town hall meetings for their constituents. That is just patently wrong. It only feeds into the media’s increased criticism of the congressional members and support of the protesters, the complete antithesis of what happened during the Obama administration upon the advent of the TEA Party.

The TEA Party crusade was branded as racist, sexist, homophobic, and any other -ist and –ic the media could heap upon them in an effort to excoriate them as a fringe effort. But the TEA Party movement disavowed those labels with their actions and behavior. Quite the opposite is true of the current protest movement in its attempt to vilify the Trump administration as its behavior and actions are malevolent. If they want to be taken seriously, and there are plenty of protesters who should be heard, here are a few suggestions on how the protesters and members of Congress can coexist during the town hall meetings.

First, members of both major parties should host town hall meetings in their home districts – preferably in a centrally located school big enough to hold a crowd attending a basketball game at a good school.

For all the pickets, signs, bullhorns, and agitation, there is a way to control the crowd on the inside of the building. Do not allow any of those items into the building. Security should maintain one entrance to the building to control who enters. Priority seating should be given to residents of that specific congressional district. They will be required to provide photo identification and sign in. Once inside, attendees should behave respectfully, in a calm manner, and avoid ad homonym attacks against the congressman holding the meeting. While the members do, in fact, work for us, they also deserve a modicum of respect.

And that respect should swing both ways. Members of congress should LISTEN to what their constituents say and ask before responding. The elected officials should give answers that match the question asked. If a member does not have a legitimate answer, have an aide take the resident’s contact information and respond with an actual answer within one week. Remain at the meeting until all questions have been answered. You sought out the office, hold it responsibility, and with respect for both the office and those you represent – even those who did not cast a ballot for you.

Every member of Congress should hold a town hall meeting under the above conditions. In spite of the rowdy environment, Congressman Leonard Lance (R-7th), representing my long time home district in New Jersey, said he will hold another town hall meeting. Bravo to Rep. Lance. Sadly, my member of Congress has not held a town hall meeting. Regardless of the tenor of the atmosphere, I would be there, were I a member of Congress. Hmm – maybe I should…

This should not be a partisan issue. All members of Congress should do the job they asked for. If that becomes too cumbersome for them, step aside for those who will. Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN – in the state’s 5th Congressional District.