Happy Constitution Day!

On this day in 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed. (Still a momentous accomplishment!)

However, it’s becoming increasingly alarming how few people truly cherish the freedoms and rights guaranteed to them by this sacred document. Too many people, especially fellow Millennials, complain about “privilege” and being “systematically disadvantaged” by scapegoating this founding document. They bemoan America for being evil, racist, and oppressive all the while ignoring countries actually mired by tyranny or countries that have recovered from tyranny. For example, what other country allows its citizens free speech or the right to keep and bear arms? The right to privacy? The former USSR didn’t. Cuba doesn’t. North Korea doesn’t. Heck, most European countries’ constitutions don’t offer rights comparable to ours. Ours is incomparable to the rest of the world. Why else have so many people come here in search of a better life?

Yes, there are people currently in government who are defiling the Constitution–and sadly, they exist in both parties. Those who seek to control us by means of governmental control are foes, not friends, of liberty. (Be weary of any candidate who fails to discuss how important this document is.)

You hear me say or write this often, but I’m truly grateful and honored to have been the first person in my immediate family born in this country. I couldn’t imagine growing up with or being subjected to the USSR Constitution. Glad my parents afforded my sister and I the opportunity to not be subjected to it, but instead, be born and raised in a country genuinely vested in freedom.

Talk is cheap; let’s hope our political leaders start to respect and/or continue to reaffirm their dedication to this sacred document.

Happy Constitution Day!

College Board Is Lowering Standards for Advanced Placement Classes

I stumbled upon this article from Breitbart yesterday about new College Board standards for its AP U.S. History course. It’s quite troubling:

Beginning in August, such a course will be offered to 500,000 of America’s most talented high-school sophomores and juniors – the College Board’s new AP U.S. History Framework. The new College Board Framework will replace the traditional 5-page topical outline with a 98-page document that dictates how teachers should cover the required topics. George Washington gets one brief mention; other founders, such as Benjamin Franklin and James Madison, none. The Declaration of Independence is referred to in passing in one clause of one sentence.

If the Framework virtually ignores the most important men and documents in American history, what does it find worthy of attention? The answer is, pretty much anything that casts a negative light on our country. The redesigned Framework inculcates a consistently negative view of American history by highlighting oppressors and exploiters while ignoring the dreamers and innovators who built our country.

The Framework asserts that the British-American colonies were characterized by the development of “a rigid racial hierarchy” (page 27) that was in turn derived from “a strong belief in British racial and cultural superiority” (page 29) – and teaches that much of the rest of American history was shaped by those beliefs. There is much emphasis on mistreatment of slaves and native people, but none on truly revolutionary founding principles that laid the groundwork for the freest nation on earth (consent of the governed, development of democratic institutions, religious liberty). World War II was a time of racial discrimination and other inequities, not of massive sacrifice and achievement by soldiers and civilians alike.

For those of you who’ve taken Advanced Placement (AP) courses in high school–I was one of those kids–you’ll recall how time-consuming, challenging, and worthwhile these classes were. I took (and passed) most of my AP tests that resulted in me having a year’s worth of college credit completed. Despite how grueling AP classes were, I learned a lot and felt prepared for college.

I went out of my way to qualify and participate in AP classes during my time at Tesoro High School (’09) in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. The “regular” classes, as we called them, were lax and dull. Teachers who oversaw these classes were generally careless. Students who were enrolled in these classes were generally unmotivated. The coursework of regular classes was mediocre or worse–borderline propaganda. As a smart and capable student–because I’ve benefited from “white privilege” right?–I didn’t want to waste my time taking classes that would stifle my learning potential. Call it elitism, call it arrogance–I made the choice to challenge myself. Most of my leftist peers in AP classes also decided to do the same.

Why is College Board trying to shape AP classes in the mold of regular classes? Why equalize the academic field?

When I graduated from Tesoro High School in June 2009, I felt prepared for college at UCSD (’12) because of our Advanced Placement program. My school had a generally rigorous AP program consisting of 20 AP courses. (The exception was AP Environmental Science because the content was silly and all our class did was watch movies/bake pancakes.) I took 10 courses from 10th-12th grade, graduated with a 4.4. GPA, and received the AP Scholar with Distinction Award from College Board. One of my favorite classes was Mr. Harnett’s AP U.S. History class during sophomore year of HS. For our summer reading, we were required to read Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (which I didn’t realize at the time was quite conservative and pro-America). He was a fair teacher who challenged his students to learn. He kept any bias he held hidden, which was greatly appreciated. Mr. Harnett never used his class to condemn America or complain about the U.S. Constitution. His class was enjoyable and one of the most sought-after classes in the entire school.

It’s a shame that the College Board has mandated AP teachers to teach students to revile and despise this country. AP U.S. History should celebrate America’s greatness and our unique political system.

Shame on you, College Board. 

Smells Like Tyranny: Obama’s Directive Targets Second Amendment With 23 Executive Orders


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably heard President Obama unveil a detailed plan-23 executive orders, mind you- yesterday detailing how his administration will “properly address gun violence” in response to the Sandy Hook massacre.

It’s no secret that this administration and many on the Left disparage law-biding gun owners. This president claims to respect the Second Amendment and our Constitution, but his actions and abuses of power as President of the United States point to the opposite.

The question beckons: Why must the few yet tragic criminal acts of violence define how guns should be viewed in our society? What about all the unreported stories of women and men using guns to defend themselves and their families against attack from burglars and other criminals? Why can’t this administration shed light on these positive stories rather than vilify the Second Amendment? Simple: they don’t care about the Second Amendment or what we think.

Below is an outline of the 23 executive orders you must make yourselves aware of:

The following is a list, provided by the White House, of executive actions President Obama plans to take to address gun violence.

1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.

3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.

11. Nominate an ATF director.

12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.

13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.

16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.

17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.

18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.

19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.

20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.

21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.

22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.

23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.

(Source: Fox News Politics)

No universal background check, no ban on high-capacity magazines, and certainly no ban on “assault” weapons will deter criminals from committing gun crimes. It comes from education and parenting.

Renowned conservative thinker Walter Williams expounded on this subject in this column titled, “Erosion of Traditional Values, Not Guns, to Blame for Senseless Violence” on January 15, 2013:

Today’s level of civility can’t match yesteryear’s. Many of today’s youngsters begin the school day passing through metal detectors. Guards patrol school hallways, and police cars patrol outside. Despite these measures, assaults, knifings and shootings occur. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010 there were 828,000 nonfatal criminal incidents in schools. There were 470,000 thefts and 359,000 violent attacks, of which 91,400 were serious. In the same year, 145,100 public-school teachers were physically attacked, and 276,700 were threatened.

What explains today’s behavior versus yesteryear’s? For well over a half-century, the nation’s liberals and progressives — along with the education establishment, pseudo-intellectuals and the courts — have waged war on traditions, customs and moral values. These people taught their vision, that there are no moral absolutes, to our young people. To them, what’s moral or immoral is a matter of convenience, personal opinion or a consensus.

During the ’50s and ’60s, the education establishment launched its agenda to undermine lessons children learned from their parents and the church with fads such as “values clarification.” So-called sex education classes are simply indoctrination that sought to undermine family and church strictures against premarital sex. Lessons of abstinence were ridiculed and considered passé and replaced with lessons about condoms, birth control pills and abortions. Further undermining of parental authority came with legal and extralegal measures to assist teenage abortions with neither parental knowledge nor consent.

Customs, traditions, moral values and rules of etiquette, not laws and government regulations, are what make for a civilized society. These behavioral norms — transmitted by example, word of mouth and religious teachings — represent a body of wisdom distilled through ages of experience, trial and error, and looking at what works. The importance of customs, traditions and moral values as a means of regulating behavior is that people behave themselves even if nobody’s watching. Police and laws can never replace these restraints on personal conduct so as to produce a civilized society. At best, the police and criminal justice system are the last desperate line of defense for a civilized society. The more uncivilized we become the more laws that are needed to regulate behavior.

Parents, not the government, should teach their kids right from wrong with respect to handling guns. It is also parents, not the government, that should reinforce values and raise their children to be productive members of society. Teaching children about proper gun use will not be a detriment to a child’s upbringing; it’ll prove to be a benefit.
The Second Amendment is not simply about hunting, fishing, or shooting. It’s there as a reminder to protect ourselves against any threat of tyranny. It reads, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
Learn more about “assault” weapons at The Truth About Assault Weapons.
Voice your opposition to Obama’s gun control agenda and hold your elected officials accountable. Take control of gun control!

New Republican Congress Must Uphold Its ‘Pledge to America’

Featured on SFPA and in The California Review December 30th, 2010.

President Ronald Reagan once noted, “[The] government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.” Both the Republicans and Democrats have worked against the American people for too long by endorsing policies and legislation that support Big Government. The government should not dictate every matter in a person’s life, as it fashions dependency, leeching, and lazy tendencies. It is imperative that the newly-elected Republican Congress accord themselves with Reagan’s vision of limited government mentioned above. If Republicans behave like their Democratic compatriots, they will face their untimely undoing unless they return to their conservative roots. That is where the ‘Pledge to America’ comes in.

In comparison to other presidencies, Obama’s has been met with the greatest usurpation of individual rights imaginable. With attacks to free speech, borders, American well-being, and the like, the United States is being attacked by those eager to destroy and pervert it. No prior president opted to radically transform the United States into a third-world nation. No prior president felt inclined to go on a world apology tour and renounce American Exceptionalism.

Unfortunately for Obama, the American people have rejected his socialist agenda and all that emanates from it. Following Obama’s coronation into the White House, the American people formed the Tea Party Movement after seeing err in his policies and conduct as president. Additionally, they grew dismayed with the Democratic Party run by ringleaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid because members of the incumbent party continue to be reluctant when listening to their constituents. The Tea Party Movement burgeoned after continued discontent with Democrats and establishment Republicans continued to ignore their constituents as they clung to ObamaCare, innumerable bailouts, and wasteful spending.

Dismayed with establishment politicians, Tea Party candidates and several Republicans set the precedence for the ‘Pledge to America.’ If elected to office during the 2010 midterm election cycle, successful candidates molded themselves after this pledge and work to restore conservative principles encompassed in limited government, reverence for the Constitution, and respect for the will of the American people.

While many Democrats continue their lackluster ways, Republicans are working to implement the ‘Pledge to America.’ In such, they want to ensure that Obama’s harmful policies are defeated and that the country gets back on the right track. These politicians cannot take America for granted again and be frivolous in their responsibilities. As a result, this pledge vows to uphold the principles mandated by the Founding Fathers to put our elected officials in check.

The Republican ‘Pledge to America’ begins: “America is more than a country. America is an idea – an idea that free people can govern themselves, that government’s powers are derived from the consent of the governed, that each of us is endowed by their Creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. America is the belief that any man or woman can – given economic, political, and religious liberty – advance themselves, their families, and the common good.”

Incoming House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and his colleagues championed this pact to outline their agenda for the 112th Congress. Plans to completely repeal ObamaCare in exchange for lower health costs, as with intent to protect and promote American jobs, comprise this pledge. Since the Democrats have failed to uphold and respect the Constitution, the Republicans must take heed on preserving “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” as explicitly stated in the Declaration of Independence.

“And you’ll find plans to return power in the House back to the hands of the people. No more flagrant disregard for the Constitution; no more kickbacks and backroom deals; no more passing massive bills that no one has had a chance to read.”

Boehner continues by highlighting the need for accountability to the American people. Historically, the House of Representatives has been regarded as the “People’s House.” The passage of ObamaCare, stimulus bills, and other heinous legislation evinced carelessness and complete disrespect for citizens. When the ‘Pledge to America’ goes into effect, congressmen and women will be inclined to listen to their constituents, read every piece of legislation handed to them, and not jam taxes down our throats. The carelessness and downright elitist mentality that has clouted Congress must be suppressed, as politicians have grown too comfortable with being permanent agents in Washington, D.C. These representatives work for us, and not the other way around.

“With this document, we pledge to dedicate ourselves to the task of reconnecting our highest aspirations to the permanent truths of our founding by keeping faith with the values our nation was founded on, the principles we stand for, and the priorities of our people. This is our Pledge to America.”

The Republicans in Congress must uphold the virtues and principles laid out by the Founders. They must return to their conservative roots vested in upholding traditionalist viewpoints, limited government, free-market principles, strong national defense, and accountability to individualism. When politicians stray away from these and neglect upholding the Constitution, we get one of the most unabashed anti-American presidents in American history.

The ‘Pledge to America’ provides confidence that the incoming Congressional class will uphold the Constitution and respect those they serve. If they renege on this pledge, such a failure will be evidence of why Americans cannot trust either party. The Republicans promised change for the better during the midterm elections; let us hope they deliver it.

Gabriella Hoffman is the Advertising Manager at The California Review. She studies at the University of California, San Diego, and is a member of the Student Free Press Association.