Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Guilty until Proven Innocent Act

I’d like to propose a new bill for the New Jersey state legislature. Titled the “Guilty until Proven Innocent Act,” my bill would require all public employees (people who receive all or part of their income from tax-payers in the form of a state, county, or municipal salary) to submit an annual audit of their finances to the local media, as well as publish the results of the audit online. Any politician who maintains a campaign fund separate from their private finances must annually submit an audit for their campaign, too. These public employees will also be required to submit an annual letter of intent to continue receiving tax-payer funded salary and benefits, as well as a portfolio of financial records and materials including, but not limited to, an itemized list of financial expenditures, and samples of purchases, investments, stocks and bonds, or other financial transactions.

Maybe Loretta Weinberg will sponsor it.

State Senator Weinberg is the legislator who sponsored S-3105, the bill that would require New Jersey homeschoolers to submit to the local school district an annual letter of intent to homeschool, an extensive portfolio, and proof of an annual physical by a medical doctor for each homeschooled child. The local school district is the eyes of the state, able to peer into the family in ways the US Constitution prohibits police and prosecutors. S-3105 is Senator Weinberg’s second attempt at passing such legislation. The first was eight years ago. Both came in response to horrible situations where parents claiming that they were homeschooling their children were, in fact, physically abusing them. In both cases, children died. The logical conclusion to such situations is that all homeschoolers are potential abusers, and so must prove to the state that they are not if they wish to continue homeschooling. The Guilty until Proven Innocent Act applies that same logic to public employees.

If you Google the terms “New Jersey,” “politics,” “Governor,” and “corruption,” you will find enough reading to fill your time until the second coming. From former Governor Bob Corzine (refused to release his income tax returns during his 2000 election campaign for the US Senate; head of now bankrupt MF Global holdings; gave $441,600 in personal money to convicted Democratic machine Boss Joseph Ferriero) to Assemblymen Daniel Van Pelt (convicted, along with 19 others, in an FBI sting for money laundering and racketeering), and many in between, New Jersey gives both Chicago and Washington, D.C., a genuine challenge for the title of Dirtiest in Politics. It is not my intent to trivialize the tragic deaths of children, but if a couple of abuse cases amongst the thousands of New Jersey homeschooling families justifies the intrusion of the state into all homeschooling families, then the criminal actions of some state employees and politicians, which affects far more lives and occurs far more frequently, justifies the same level of scrutiny. In politics, money is everything.

Guilty until proven innocent.


  1. May I suggest that all parents, no matter where they send their children to school, should be subject to such scrutiny? Given the number of abused children I went to school with who were never protected by teachers, it seems only fair that public school parents be subjected to, at the very least, yearly parenting examinations in the home and lie detector tests to determine whether their children are being properly treated at home.

  2. Uh, NO WAY, GAHCindy! We still live in a country where the Constitution says we are INNOCENT until proven guilty. I really hope you're being facetious. If you really mean what you say, though, I suggest you move to a police state. But God forbid your suggestion ever happen here in the U.S.

  3. Cindy's right, sadly. Teachers and other school workers are required to report child abuse if they know about it or suspect it, but for reasons unknown to me, they often don't do what they are supposed to. I am personally all in favor of a friendly yearly visit from a social worker who could assess the home environment of all children, home-educated and otherwise. Because yes, children being horribly abused away from the scrutiny of public employees is one of the reasons why some folks are against homeschooling. And if there is nothing going on in your home that shouldn't be, you should not fear a little mild scrutiny. I think a little mild scrutiny would go a long way towards reducing child abuse in our society.
    And before anyone asks me, I've always maintained that if someone reports me to the authorities and I get a visit from DSS, I will not be angry about it because if they're looking at me, then they are more than likely also looking at someone who really needs it.

  4. I have a few thoughts. ( yeah...that's a shock, I know!)

    First, I believe that Cindy's comment was facetious. I know her to be one who believes strongly in the rights of the parent...NOT the system decide how children should be parented. I believe (based on some things she has written on her own blog) that she would stand firmly for the rights of parents. Period. I do not believe she was seriously advocating for the need to have social workers visiting the homes of every American family...rather used this argument to point out the inconsistency of the law that is being put forward by this NJ legislator.

    I myself would (and I believe Cindy would as well) strongly oppose the intrusion of any government agency in the life of my family...even when it comes under the guise of "protecting the children." The definition of "safe" is becoming very muddy since what I as a parent deem "safe" and what my local DCFS worker deems "safe" may be VERY different things. Some in our government today believe that it is abusive to "force" religious beliefs or values on children. Some believe it is abusive to "control" a child's activities or relationships. Some believe it is abusive to teach my children what I believe the Bible teaches about sex, marriage, abortion, homosexuality, etc. This is a very disturbing trend. Our freedoms as parents ARE being eroded in our culture today...and unfortunately this erosion of rights is being allowed because it fits nicely under the umbrella of concern for "the best interest of the child." But whose gets to decide what the best interest of the child is? Increasingly it's the government, NOT the parent. That's incredibly troubling.

    Watch this video I posted a week or so ago. It provides a little more insight on this very issue.

  5. Oh, dear. It never occurred to me that anyone would think I was serious. I'm actually in favor of the abolition of "social services". They solve nothing, while creating a vast bureaucracy that punishes children as much as it does their parents--parents who are often not even offered the legal protections afforded by the constitution. In this country, if you're a parent, your 4th amendment rights are null and void just on the say-so of a spiteful neighbor. That is not ok. Not even "for the sake of the children".

    If crimes are committed against children, that's a legal issue and should be handled by police. "Communities" being what they are, of course, we've all decided we'd rather call social services than counsel our neighbors and lend a helping hand ourselves when families have problems, so social(ist) services is what we're stuck with until such time as we resume our spiritual responsibilities toward our families and communities that we laid down in the early 20th century.

    We don't need extra-legal authorities sticking their noses in our lives, regardless of how reasonable people can make said interference sound by citing outrageous offenses committed by one person out of several million.

    If we need that kind of oversight in our childrearing, then we'd better be sending in our bank spreadsheets so they can monitor us for financial wrong-doing. Maybe while we're at it we can let them put devices on our cars to monitor our speed and stop light obedience. Or periodically inspect our bathrooms so they can make sure no one tries to switch to one of those illegal, but fully functional high-flow toilets. Funny how it snowballs once you assume that individuals must be monitored by their betters in the government.

    But what makes the human beings who run government any more capable of making society work correctly than the human beings who are actually living their lives and not bothering anyone? We don't even trust these people to deliver the mail!

    My point was that the state has no business monitoring any family, let alone every family that opts out of public schools. Period. I can't believe that anyone would think that was a serious suggestion.

  6. By the way, Sleepless, your comment has been eating at me a little. You said: "I've always maintained that if someone reports me to the authorities and I get a visit from DSS, I will not be angry about it because if they're looking at me, then they are more than likely also looking at someone who really needs it."

    Actually, what that means is that taxpayers are paying people to intrude on your life, and if they'll do it to you, they'll do it to anybody. It also means that you're getting sucked into a system that operates outside the law and recognized very few of your rights just because somebody got up on the wrong side of the bed and decided to malign your good name that day.

    It worries me to hear Americans with no more understanding of liberty than to think that government should be sending strangers into your home just because they have some idea they don't like the way you do things. I hope you'll grow a sense of outrage about these sorts of things.