January 08, 2014

Important info about Common Core

A.J. Cameron

One name I don't see on the list, either through oversight on my part, or it not being included, is Jeb Bush. He is working feverishly, as if his brother's election is on the line, to ram Common Core through and upon us.

At this point, I wonder if the 2000 wasn't rigged for Gore, but brother Jeb figured a way to steal it for his brother, with a little help from someone who didn't want Gore to win. When you look at both the 2000 and 2004 elections, Gore and Kerry appear to be the perfect puppets for the puppeteers.

It appears Jeb is positioning himself to be the GOP's presidential candidate in 2016. If so, don't be surprised to see bellicose Christie switching parties and being the puppeteers' Democrat presidential candidate. If this happens, regardless of who is 'elected', the puppeteers will still control the White House.

A. J.

Who are the Power Brokers behind the Common Core State Standards?

Many parents, teachers, educators and concerned citizens do not know who are the "power brokers” behind Common Core State Standards (CCSS). It is important to understand who is pushing this initiative that is top down approach to public school education. United Opt Out National has compiled a comprehensive list of the key power brokers, nonprofit institutions and corporations behind CCSS. It is provided here for your edification ...

READ MORE . .

http://link.fastpitchmail.com/c/443/749583fe61a9c0990342781545dfe5e30c55736decbee05dd5875eed2e8ea66c

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January 07, 2014

Paul Ryan vs. the Military

Jack Kemp

I have to say that I could not believe how good this article is and how it relates to both the national and personal issues of veterans.

Jack


http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/01/paul_ryan_vs_the_military.html

Paul Ryan vs. the Military

By Elise Cooper

Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) have wrongly and outrageously cut the budget on the backs of the U.S. military. On December 26 President Obama signed a new bipartisan bill that includes a $6 billion cut from military members' retirement. These cuts to COLA (cost-of-living adjustments) also affect medically retired veterans, including those wounded in combat. American Thinker interviewed those who are directly affected.

Amongst Congress and the president there is always the talk of how those serving, past and present need to be admired for their sacrifices. Michael Hall, a former Ranger Command Sergeant Major who served thirty-four years, felt that on December 26th President Obama could have "done the right thing" by refusing to sign the bill unless this provision was taken out. He lost a chance to be the supportive commander-in-chief, missing an opportunity to be the hero and protector to those who have served in the military.

Paul Ryan still insists that the cuts are necessary because military compensation growth is out of hand. With this new budget he obviously did not throw grandma off the cliff, but instead has thrown those in the military. The former and current defenders of America were transformed into sacrificial lambs in an attempt to make Republicans more appealing to the left. Ryan did not balance the budget, pay off the debt, or reform entitlements. Instead he, along with Senator Murray, broke a promise when they changed the contract signed by having the annual cost-of-living adjustments cut by one percent for military retirees 62 or younger.

Iraqi and Afghanistan veteran Pete Hegseth is surprised that it was as much Paul Ryan's idea as Patty Murray. "I felt he should have known better. Never has a Paul Ryan budget included these kinds of cuts. I understand that the military personnel part is eating up the DOD budget and we need to figure out how to reform it. However, it must be addressed without slashing the budget of current retirees. There are better ways of coming up with reform instead of this arbitrary manner."

Many wonder, as Jennifer Haefner has, if the politicians really understand the sacrifices made since it appears, "They look at the money side without looking at the sacrifice side. Many military families move around for the different deployments and have to start their careers over again. That means no buildup of a career or a financial cushion. My husband, a Marine officer, has missed birthdays, anniversaries, watching his children grow, and has seen his friends killed. He has had to work in horrible environments sometimes 7 days a week for 24-hour periods. Shame on those politicians for not understanding that military men and women have sacrificed their lives, limbs, and families. These politicians do not understand us because they have never lived our culture."

Army retired Colonel Jack Jacobs noted to American Thinker, "Let's remember this money was paid to people that are doing a job that no one else wants to do. If it is such a great deal how come everyone who is complaining about the military compensation doesn't immediately sign up and put on the uniform? By all means we should be seeing millions and millions of people clawing their way to get this job. People who sign up for the military do it for G-d, country, and family."
Joyce Wessel Raezer, the Executive Director of the National Military Family Association, wants Americans to understand that a number of promises were broken. "They changed the rules in the middle of the game. In 2012 Congress established the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission to examine the entire military-compensation system. At the time the Commission was established it was promised that none of the changes would affect currently serving members and retirees. It would be a proposal only for future military members. Effectively this new budget deal hamstrings the commission before it finished its work and made its recommendations. Other promises broken are that active duty people will be getting smaller pay raises in 2014 then they should have under the law. Congress set the raise to what is the private sector average (ECI), 1.8%; yet, in 2014 military members will only be getting a 1% raise, the lowest since 1962. The military people feel singled out because no one else receiving a government payment is getting hit." She seems to make a good point since CNN reported that any federally funded program that directly serves the needy "could benefit from Murray-Ryan."

Congressman Ryan, who has never served in the military, tries to spin this provision by explaining, "all this reform does is make a small adjustment for those younger retirees." Not true, says those who were interviewed. Americans always hear Ryan quoting numbers -- maybe he should consider these: Joyce cites the Military Officers Association who estimates that the average enlisted retiree will lose about $300 per month; Jennifer, whose husband is an officer, will lose approximately $500 per month; and Michael Hall wants Americans to understand that he only gets $50,000 per year which will be reduced. In addition, former SEAL Jason Redman says Tricare health premiums are rising substantially, as high as 300%, and wonders how a child tax credit of $4.3 billion could be granted to illegal immigrants while "breaking a promise to the one group of Americans who have actually sacrificed and earned the benefits they are receiving as part of a contract signed."
Retired Colonel Jack Jacobs is utterly frustrated since he believes that in the big scheme of things $6 billion is not a lot of money. "This basically has no overall fiscal effect on the budget; yet, has a negative effect on the people that served. The politicians have no interest in saving money regarding their districts because that affects them personally. There are a lot of other places it can be saved including getting rid of a lot of the waste in government. No one should be persuaded by those people who say the reductions are not a lot of money."
 
Ryan also stated in an op-ed that these "younger military retirees [in their] late 30s and early 40s [in their] are prime working years, and most of these younger retirees go on to second careers." A current Army Master Sergeant who has served over twenty-four years, vehemently disagrees. "Many of the soldiers who retire do not have a skill. There are also those who have health issues, such as PTSD, back and knee problems, which put limitations on the type of job they can find. Unemployment is still high so jobs are not readily available. I am fifty and if I retire I will have to fight age discrimination, making it harder to find a job. This means for twelve years I will have to suffer with lower pay. I ask Mr. Ryan how many of those retirees will be able to find a job? This bill was a slap in the face."
 
Why do they think the politicians voted for these proposals? Everyone interviewed agrees with Michael Hall that there is no lobbyist for the soldiers who jumps up and down saying military benefits cannot be cut. He feels that they do not have a voting bloc since the contingency is spread throughout the country. "They cut the military benefits because it is the easy way out. The lawmakers have the notion it does not matter what they do to us. Even though we in the military were taught that a person's word and integrity are really important the politicians do not live by this rule. They refuse to ask other Americans to make the sacrifices, and because we are an easy target we were singled out."

Debbie Lee, a spokesperson on military matters, is frustrated with this "government attack on our troops. They honored their contract and did what was required. If any changes are to be made it should be spelled out for future enlistees. As Americans we should remember that military families live in constant fear of getting that knock on the door as I did when I was informed my Navy SEAL son Marc was killed. Politicians forget the dangers because they work in a safe environment with guaranteed benefits."

Not all politicians are of the attitude that they want to take advantage of the silent warriors. Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) told American Thinker he voted against the 2013 Budget Act for a number of reasons, including "cutting military staff benefits, while not addressing the fraud and waste in the military procurement process, something I find offensive. This budget uses the same old tactics of placing the financial burden on the backs of our brave soldiers and their families. I will continue to focus on eliminating the rampant fraud and abuse in our federal system, so legitimate spending such as military pay is not jeopardized."

One Congresswoman who does understand the military members' plight is Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FLA). Her husband is a combat veteran and her children were Marine officers in Iraq. She is cosponsoring a bill to remove any reduction in COLA and commented, "Our veterans are owed the highest protection, care, and service by our grateful nation, and I will continue to work to ensure that we take care of America's heroes."

Former SEAL Jason Redman summarized it best when he quoted Calvin Coolidge, "The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten." Americans need to remember that these brave men and women already sacrificed for their country and should not be asked to sacrifice anymore. They stepped up to defend Americans because they thought it their obligation to serve. As Colonel Jacobs stated, "Lets hope this broken promise is not a commentary on how this country deals with people who serve because if that is the case the answer is not well."
Read the entire thing at American Thinker.
http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/01/paul_ryan_vs_the_military.html

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TPA Bill

A.J. Cameron

Heads up people!


http://news.yahoo.com/u-congress-could-ok-trade-promotion-bill-early-231116233.html;_ylt=A0oG7kDe6MpSuRoAVBhXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEzcXU0Z2h1BHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMwRjb2xvA2FjMgR2dGlkA1ZJUDM1OF8x
U.S. Congress could OK trade promotion bill in early 2014, lawmaker says
By Elvina Nawaguna
WASHINGTON Tue Dec 10, 2013

 

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman had said previously the United States was aiming to finalize a deal before the end of this year. The negotiations will now move into another year, with the next meeting scheduled for January.

The third round of the TTIP negotiations involving the United States and the EU are expected to take place in mid-December.
"Concluding these negotiations, as well as other trade agreements, will require congressional passage of Trade Promotion Authority legislation," Camp said in a statement. "Given the considerable bipartisan and bicameral progress that has been made on that front, I expect we will be in a position to do so early next year if we have the administration's active participation."

A spokeswoman for Camp said the lawmaker has been working with Senator Max Baucus, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Senator Orrin Hatch, the top Republican on the panel, to put together a TPA bill.

But any legislation could face roadblocks from a number of Republicans and Democrats in the House who say the administration has not adequately consulted them on ongoing trade negotiations and that TPA would strip Congress of its constitutional right to vet trade agreements.

Other lawmakers have said they would not grant TPA unless issues like currency manipulation and intellectual property protection are addressed in any TPP deal.
(Editing by Philip Barbara)
**************************************************************************
while no one is paying attention – President Obama will ask Congress to give him even more power.
 
Obama wants the power to make foreign policy unilaterally, without having to consult Congress again.
 
It’s called "Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority” and legislation granting Obama this power will be introduced in Congress on January 8th.
 
Under "Fast Track” …
 
§ President Obama would override Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution and strip Congress of its power to oversee foreign commerce.
 
§ Obama and his corporatist allies would secretly write the job-killing TransPacific Partnership international "trade” deal with no Congressional oversight!

§ Obama would sign and enter the deal before Congress voted on it.
 
§ Congress could not change one word of the deal Obama has written and already signed.
 
§ Congress would only have an up-or-down vote – no amendments - and Obama tells Congress when to vote!
 
§ Congress would have extremely limited time to debate or examine the agreement Obama has written in secret. As Nancy Pelosi said about Obamacare, Congress would have to approve the agreement to find out what’s in it!
 
House Speaker Boehner and his corporatist paymasters want to pass "fast track” in January before we have a chance to organize.
 
 
We must let our Representatives know we oppose giving Obama even more power and they must vote NO on Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority!
 
Click here and we will connect you to your Representative’s office by phone – free of charge.
 
Our voices will make all the difference.
 
Call your Representative today and let them know we expect them to vote NO on Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority.
 
Click here to find your Representative’s phone number - and We will connect you, free of charge.
 

Congress: http://www.house.gov/representatives/

 
 
Read what Allen West says about the unconstitutional, corporatist "fast track” power grab.
 
Grassroots leaders from across Texas oppose Fast Track – read what they say.
 
Read what Senator Rand Paul and others are saying about this unconstitutional corporatist scheme.
 

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January 06, 2014

A good overview of single payer

Wil Wirtanen

A good article but a little short on stats.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/01/03/exposing-world-great-lie-about-obamacare-and-socialized-medicine/

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Article of Diane Kepus -- Orlando CCSSO Common Core Secret Meeting

A.J. Cameron

Elitist Jeb Bush is an enemy to quality education and freedom in America. Don't be surprised when, despite all opposition, he is the GOP Presidential candidate
in 2016.

A. J.

I recommend this (http://www.newswithviews.com) article -- Diane Kepus --
Orlando CCSSO Common Core Secret Meeting. You should check this out at,  http://www.newswithviews.com/Kepus/diane103.htm

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January 05, 2014

Rolling Stoned

Rolling Stone magazine pushes Communism.

Timothy Birdnow

Rolling Stone magazine appears to have rolled down the hill of sanity, calling for full-blown Communism.

http://www.tpnn.com/2014/01/05/rolling-stone-magazine-calls-for-full-blown-communism-in-america/

Their "program" consists of five planks:

1. Guaranteed Work for Everybody
2. Social Security for All
3. Take Back the Land
4. Make Everything Owned by Everybody
5. A Public Bank in Every State

and it includes some real gems, like a call for government to deposit a minimum amount of money into everyone's bank account every month, or to guarantee a government job to people who want to work, or in dispossessing landlords of their property on the theory that they simply grabbed something that was lying around and charge for it.

Here is what they have to say about work:

"But let’s think even bigger. Because as much as unemployment blows, so do jobs. What if people didn’t have to work to survive? Enter the jaw-droppingly simple idea of a universal basic income, in which the government would just add a sum sufficient for subsistence to everyone’s bank account every month. A proposal along these lines has been gaining traction in Switzerland, and it’s starting to get a lot of attention here, too."

End excerpt.

In the old Soviet Union you still had to have a job, and there were quotas that had to be met. This outSoviets the Soviets!

Not having access to the whole article I cannot say if this were intended as an Onion-esque satire; it sure seems like one. If this writer is serious then we are in big trouble on the culture front, because it means the stupidest of people are in positions they ought not occupy.

If this is America's future the end is nigh.

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The United Nations Cesspool


By Alan Caruba

I don’t write much about the United Nations because it is everything that it is not supposed to be. It’s supposed to be devoted to human rights and other noble and global aspirations. Instead it is a cesspool in which the worst of its member nations are sponsors of terror and other sins against mankind.

An article on Fox News reminded me of just how horrible, for the most part, the United Nations is despite its occasional usefulness. Anne Bayefsky writes extensively http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/01/01/what-americans-expect-from-obama-in-2014-commitment-to-democracy-human-rights/ on the subject of human rights. She is a professor at York University, Toronto, Canada and an adjunct professor at Touro College in New York. She has been honored for her work and I rank her as one of the most impressive and important women on the international scene today. Her article took a look back at 2013 and what to expect in 2014.

Lacking any leadership from the United States, a role it has played in international affairs since the end of World War Two, the world is spiraling toward the prospect of a Middle East cataclysm between its secular, moderate population and the insanity of Islamic fascism. As Bayefsky noted, "The U.N. Security Council adopted four legally-binding sanction resolutions on Iran in 2006. American diplomacy managed to extract even Russian and Chinese support for international laws that state ‘Iran shall without further delay…suspend all enrichment related activities.’”

"And yet in 2013 President Obama decided to destroy that hard-won consensus, trash those legal obligations, and authorize Iran to continue enrichment activities.” The U.S. agreement was joined by six world powers, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany, five of whom, other than Germany, are permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. Have they concluded that Iran cannot be stopped? Or should be allowed to join the nuclear club?

Iran has never ceased from regarding itself as at war with the U.S. and Israel. It has never ceased to threaten the existence of Israel. With nuclear arms and long-range missiles, it could destroy or inflict unimaginable damage to the nations who signed onto the deal.

This readiness to ignore the obvious can be seen as well in the composition of the U.N. Human Rights Council. In November, it elected China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Cuba as members. "Half the members of the Council are not even democracies”, noted Bayefsky, "and Islamic states hold the balance of power by controlling the African and Asian blocs.”

"In 2013, the Council criticized Israel more than any other state, almost twice as much as Syria and six times as much as Iran.” That is the very definition of evil and insanity combined. After three years, 130,000 Syrians have been killed in its war and millions have fled to adjacent nations, often having to live in rudimentary camps. It is led by a dictator, Bashar Assad.

U.N. Watch, an independent group, noted that in 2013 the General Assembly "adopted 21 condemnatory resolutions against Israel, compared to 4 on the rest of the world combined.” The U.N. Special Committee on Decolonization, charged with opposing the subjugation of peoples, "elected the murderous Syrian regime to a senior post.”

"The U.N. Conference on Disarmament in May 2013 made Iran its president.”

U.N. Watch noted that "UNESCO, which condemned no other country but Israel, and which was silent as Hamas bulldozed a world heritage site to make a terrorist training came, allowed Syria to sit as a judge on UNESCO’s human rights committee.”

These kinds of decisions and actions are part of a long litany of the United Nations’ behavior that renders its charter a meaningless piece of paper. Recall that the U.N.’s creation began in the United States as World War Two was coming to an end. The secretary general of the conference that organized the U.N. was Alger Hiss, a Russian spy who held high posts in the FDR and Truman administrations.

The United Nations is so entrenched in global diplomatic affairs that its vile actions cannot be lightly dismissed, especially in light of the way it is used by the major powers.

Nothing good can come of this and 2014 may provide testimony to that prediction.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

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The Denaturalization of America

Daren Jonescu

In 2008, America elected a president from a broken home whose mother was sympathetic to communists; who as a youngster had formative relationships with a transgender nanny chosen by his mother and a bisexual communist pornographer "mentor" chosen by his grandfather; whose teenage friends were so devoted to drug use that they gave themselves a nickname derived from this habit, and developed their own vernacular related to methods of pot smoking; and whose chums as a young adult were Marxist professors and activists, a liberation theology preacher, and domestic terrorists. This could have worked out all right -- we all have a few weird associations.

Five years later, aside from irredeemable debt, the tyrannical micromanagement of individual lives, and the bureaucratic obliteration of the last vestiges of private property, perhaps the most conspicuous aspect of America's fundamental transformation is the speed with which a latent emasculation, achieved over generations, has spiralled into an open assault on the very idea of "traditional gender roles." The sheer unreflective suddenness of this plummet into chaos would be alarming were it not so predictable.

A generation ago, fans were surprised to learn that Rock Hudson, a Hollywood heartthrob for thirty years, had been living a homosexual life all along. For the sake of a career based on his romantic leading man persona, Hudson had kept his proclivities private, presumably judging that his preferences would have been upsetting to his audience, and therefore to the businessmen who signed his contracts. His choice was not uncommon. Traditionally, artists and performers -- whose vocation is to tease the psychological boundaries between reality and unfettered fantasy -- have been understood to be living on the fringes of ordinary mores. For the most part this has been tolerated by even the most ordered communities as a fair price to pay for the benefits these artists provide to society, on the unspoken condition that they keep the "bohemianism" to themselves.

Today, by contrast, there is a veritable log-jam of American celebrities rushing to the cameras to announce their "alternative lifestyles." Meanwhile, a TV network knee-jerkingly suspends its most profitable star for merely expressing the biblical moral view of Western history regarding the sexual behavior Rock Hudson tried to conceal, behavior that was still against the law in many American states ten years ago. One wonders whether A&E would fire a homosexual celebrity for saying heterosexuality was distasteful to him. Consider all the feminist academics that pursue acclaim and professional advancement defending the view that heterosexual relations are inherently, "systemically," oppressive.

Homosexual marriage, a passing joke at parties until a few years ago, is now legal in much of the U.S., as in many other Western progressive countries. Meanwhile, in decisions soon to be upheld by the Supreme Court no doubt, various U.S. jurisdictions have declared that schoolboys who decide they feel more like schoolgirls will be permitted by law to use the girls' locker room, while the actual girls, unprotected by any new laws of their own, will apparently just have to get used to undressing in the company of boys.

The denaturing of the normal, and the naturalization of the abnormal -- twin processes that have slowly eaten up most of the Western heritage -- are now, under the supervision of the Obama administration, making a quick dessert of the erstwhile land of courageous frontiersmen and rugged individualists.

"Wait right there!" progressive transgression-hunters will object. "Are you saying that homosexuality, transgenderism, and other alternative lifestyles are unnatural?"

In a word, maybe. And what does it mean to say they are unnatural? For that matter, what would it mean to say that inversion and cross-dressing are natural?

Here, as with other elements of our moral lexicon, we have too long allowed political subversives to define the terms of discussion. As a result, rational adult conversation is no longer possible in most company, since even to raise certain questions is inadvertently to frame the topic in a manner sure to arouse politically correct indignation.

But philosopher Allan Bloom, one of America's greatest and most admirable homosexuals (not least because he was not asking to be admired for his sexual preferences) taught that indignation is the very opposite of a rational argument, and that recognizing indignation for what it is -- the soul's emotional defense against a disturbingly challenging idea -- is the first step toward a more honest moral inquiry.

Following Aristotle and common sense, we may say that the "nature" of any object is, broadly speaking, the proper configuration and functioning of that object when it is in its developed state. Thus it is the "nature" of a knife to cut things, of a cup to hold liquid, and so on. The "nature" of artificial things, then, is determined by the purpose for which they were designed.

The nature of living things, however, is not determined by any human intention. (Men may make a jacket of cowhide, but this does not make "clothing" the proper nature of a cow.) Rather, their nature is that set of properties or propensities which outline how they preserve and perpetuate themselves as living things. The nature of a human animal, then, stated most generally, is the set of properties and propensities typical of our species which contribute to our successful functioning as the kind of animal we are, i.e., to our self-preservation and perpetuation. As for which properties and propensities these are, experience and observation -- the raw data collected over millennia of universal history -- suffice to give us a general picture.

And one of the most obvious parts of that picture is heterosexual behavior, the only means of propagating the species, a means available to every healthy adult, and one utilized without compulsion by humans of every race, language group, or geographical location throughout the history of the species. Indeed, to emphasize the obvious, we may say that heterosexual behavior, and secondarily the inclination towards it, is sanctified by the fact that we have a "history of the species" to talk about in the first place.

If, then, we begin our pursuit of human nature with the evidence of experience and common sense, and on the understanding that the "nature" of a species comprises its innate and most fruitful means of preserving and perpetuating itself, we must conclude that heterosexuality is natural to humans. Homosexuality would, on this reasoning, seem to be unnatural at the species level. Note that this is not in itself a moral judgment -- it does not necessarily follow that homosexuality is "evil." It does, however, follow that just as individuals are normally inclined to perpetuate themselves by means of the reproductive act -- the most common instantiation of what Socrates, in Plato's Symposium, calls the desire for immortality -- so societies which hope to survive and thrive will naturally develop social norms on the ground of heterosexual inclinations.

In other words, communities naturally (i.e., if not thwarted by coercive artifice) develop moral precepts and practices consistent with the human behavior most likely to foster the growth, continuity, and long-term health of the community. Hence marriage as both a social sanction for, and a means of moderating, the most natural (i.e., normal) sexual inclination. Hence the consistent appearance, in our species' many and varied ethical systems, of some core principle of the complementarity of male and female, masculine and feminine, yin and yang, with their different but equally indispensable roles and tendencies. Throughout history, heterosexuality has invariably asserted itself in the birth and evolution of political communities, by means of the ethical principles influenced by its undeniable centrality to normal human experience.

That last sentence holds the key to what has changed. The pervasiveness and necessity of the heterosexual inclination for the survival of the species -- the inescapable naturalness of that inclination -- is undeniably central to normal human life. To deny this centrality would be to deny the evidence of history -- to deny humanity itself, as it has hitherto existed.

And this leads us directly to the heart of "progressivism," the first comprehensive philosophy of oppression. That is to say, while there have been plenty of philosophical arguments for state authority, these had previously been offered as genuine efforts to improve the human condition, however misguidedly. Modern progressivism is history's first deliberate and knowing attempt to mask bloodthirsty power lust and hateful envy as a theory of the common good; that is, as I have explained previously, it is history's first comprehensive fake philosophy.

As a mask for power lust, progressivism begins with a quandary unknown to genuine political philosophies, namely an inability to ground itself in human nature as observed through the ages. It must therefore refute history and inherited experience in order to remain tenable.

This is why the first step in progressive theory is always an attempt to disprove or debunk the premises of all prior civilization. Communism, fascism and socialism all justify themselves with the proclamation that humanity has hitherto lived under a net of delusion and systemic injustice, whereas now, through collective submission to unlimited state authority, we may finally create an authentically human way of life.

And this is why the first step in progressive practice is the re-education camp. Human nature is stubborn and recalcitrant to brute force. It must be subdued through a carefully administered program of indoctrination aimed at countering the inevitable lessons of normal experience, within the mind-stunting machinery of an artificially restrictive and pre-packaged pseudo-world. In the more subtle, developmental instantiations of the totalitarian state, these re-education camps have a prettified name: public schools.

In theory and in practice, then, progressivism is at base an effort to trick men into distrusting their own experience and resisting the persuasive force of our common inheritance, by denying the authenticity of the former and the reality of the latter. In the former case, this means denying the primacy of individual minds. In the latter, it means bracketing off the entire human heritage as an oppressive psychological "superstructure," or as "false consciousness." These are the Big Lies at the heart of a pseudo-philosophy that is comprised of nothing but big lies.

The inversion to end all inversions begins here. For while all communities develop out of presuppositions imposed by human nature, one key difference among communities is how they respond to the unnatural or abnormal in their midst. In the modern world, the distinction is clear: while societies rooted in notions of liberty and reason have tended towards tolerance of the abnormal or "different," totalitarian societies have typically sought to crush it. The totalitarian society is intolerant almost by definition. Meanwhile, a semi-free nation's collapse into despotism is indicated by its increasing intolerance. (See Roger Kimball's excellent discussion of this issue in relation to current events.)

But a contradiction in modern totalitarianism creates a unique problem. On the one hand, the would-be oppressors can brook no minority opinion or alternative perspectives; this is why they tend to foster dreams of racial and ideological purity, mythologies of "the fatherland," and the persecution of "transgressors" of all kinds. On the other hand, as we have seen, human nature itself is their feared enemy, as it presents millennia of counterarguments to the progressive state.

Today's advanced progressives are as intolerant as their more violent precursors, but they have come to realize that the proper target of their intolerance is not the "unnatural," but rather nature itself, which must be eliminated if progressivism is to find a secure foothold in men's souls. Thus the pogroms and purges of earlier totalitarianism become the political correctness thought police of today.

The chief obstacle to "progress" is normal sexuality's normal result: the family, nature's buffer between the child and the state, which weakens the state's moral authority and therefore dilutes the devotion to the collective that progressive authoritarianism requires. Some conservatives wonder why leftists should care about gaining for homosexuals the "right" to participate in marriage, an institution they have hitherto belittled. The reason is that homosexual marriage is a compromise solution for progressives who know they cannot banish marriage outright. Institutions of civilization which create a natural counterweight to the collectivist state, but which cannot immediately be destroyed, must be infiltrated and undermined from within.

The general solution for America, promoted with varying degrees of openness from the heights of the Frankfurt School to the depths of the Obama administration, is to "denature" society with regard to sex, i.e., to overwhelm the normal inclination and its historically sanctioned relationships by normalizing the abnormal. This means blowing out the educational firewall between the nature-rooted norms (i.e., species-promoting behavior) and the abnormal and atypical, making the latter a part of the popular mainstream, and an omnipresent temptation for children. This relentless relativistic moral overload is intended to make the natural inclinations which lead to family and the continuity of the human tradition seem trivial and boring, and the people who "cling" to these norms laughable, old-fashioned, and "regressive." Conversely, behavior traditionally tolerated as "what people do in the privacy of their own homes" is now to be trumpeted in the public square as "enlightened," "superior," and universally desirable. Plain old homosexuality, as is now obvious, is merely a transitional step. Soon, even monogamous homosexuality will be as passé as Rock Hudson.

The knowledge that nature is the source of social norms and the traditions they support is the reason progressive intellectuals are dedicated to persuading the young that "alternative lifestyle" preferences are natural, widespread, and even latent in everyone, if only we would overcome our moral hang-ups and self-denial. The purpose, to reiterate, is this: progressivism must snip the cord connecting nature to history, because nature asserts itself everywhere as collectivist totalitarianism's counterargument. The progressive faith therefore demands that men believe the absurd, namely that the entire history of mankind, including the basic motivation that makes the perpetuation of the species possible, is part of a great and universal fraud. The effort to denature civilization begins with burning the evidence.

Then comes the substitution of the abnormal as a "new nature" to replace the old in the artificially emptied souls of the new, unnatural man. This explains the rush to force children into "alternative lifestyle" education in the schools, and into questioning and doubting their own "gender," as though the peculiarities of sexual non-conformity just cannot wait until adulthood. It explains the desperate need to convince us that not only homosexuality, but every possible inclination, from pedophilia to cross-dressing, is "natural," in the sense of being biologically determined.

But nature redefined as "biological determinism" is a perfect iteration of materialistic nihilism. By chance, I was born with fairly serious birth defects. I was also lucky enough to be born in one of the first generations in which these defects were largely reparable, and in a place in which children with physical abnormalities were not left to die in a tree, or tossed in the river. These defects were of course "natural" in the sense (also used by Aristotle) that they were not produced by human artifice or habit; but no one would claim they were natural in the sense related to species desirability or normalcy. Am I saying abnormal sexuality is like a birth defect? No, I am merely pointing out the folly of chasing progressive activists down this pseudo-scientific "nature vs. nurture" rabbit hole. Equivocation is not an argument.

In fact, apart from the deliberate attempt to destroy the family, refute history, and unravel civilization, what is really most aggravating about the progressive politics of moral inversion is the petty, degraded materialism of it all. Transgender nannies, communist pornographers, and trashy political exhibitionism of the "LGBT" sort tick me off, as they should tick you off, for their deliberate trivialization of life's most powerful mystery, the golden key to a lock mankind has been searching for since the beginning, and will likely continue seeking until the end.

The best antidote to this modern trivialization of life's essence -- and therefore my favorite book to teach to undergraduates -- remains Plato's Symposium. Here, Plato's dream team of important men from the society most commonly associated with something akin to our modern "homosexuality" discuss the meaning of Eros in their lives. And one of the lessons of this extraordinary discussion is this: much of this topic necessarily and properly falls outside the mainstream of civil discourse. In fact, Pausanias, the one speaker at Plato's fictionalized banquet who tries to make the case for the social and legal "normalization" of his pursuit of boys, is treated with amused forbearance by the other speakers, and appears as a rationalizing, somewhat high-minded version of what people used to call a "dirty old man." The aforementioned Allan Bloom, in his deeply personal interpretation of the Symposium, draws a similar conclusion; Pausanias is, in effect, advocating the weakening of the Athenian family structure for the sake of his own pleasure, and is therefore a soft, immoderate man.

Today, Pausanias' crass, halfwit descendants have taken his self-interested rationalizations to their logical extreme, proposing to overturn humanity itself in the name of childish power lust.

Americans, a question if you will: when your entire nation is living an Aristophanean satire, or perhaps merely a Monty Python skit, should you be laughing or crying? As for the rest of us, for whom you had long been our glimmer of hope that rationality and civilization just might survive late modern nihilism after all, the alternating laughter and tears evoked by America's precipitous collapse into moral absurdity is enough to cause severe spiritual nausea, of the sort one feels when one senses the bottom falling out of life.

A great society deserves a nobler end than the dreams of Frank Marshall Davis, Bill Ayers, and their protégé.

(This first appeared at American Thinker http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/01/the_denaturalization_of_america.html)

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The Power of Boredom

Jack Kemp sent the following interesting anecdote regarding my recent piece at Tea Party Nation.
http://www.teapartynation.com/profiles/blogs/herostratus-nation


Concerning bored people, you remember me telling of that bored American girl on the kibbutz dressing up like a terrorist and...terrorizing me one night in a situation vaguely like the George Zimmerman situation. There was another incident that happened on that same kibbutz in 1971.

Another American Jewess, who looked like a movie starlet - also around 5' 11'' - somehow decided she liked me. I saw this as too good to be true, based on general appearances, her family wealth, etc. Months later she actually flew home to the West Coast and came back to Israel in last minute tickets that must have cost her dad a lot of cash. One day in the dining room of that kibbutz, way in the back where no one could see us, she snuck up behind me and tried to strangle me with her forearm while I sat. Fortunately, my lat muscles had been built up by lifting weights in high school and I was able to wear her arm muscles down. I just broke her hold and let her walk away (who was there to talk to about in an attempted assault with no witnesses?). Weeks later, just before she left the kibbutz, she came into the coffee club at night and told me (I swear this is true) that she loved me and that she had taken amphetamines to build up her courage and that "proved she loved me." I rather thought it proved she was an amphetamine addict and she would be up all night - and since I lived in a shack with no lock in this "socialist utopia paradise" - I would best play it coy and say nothing to her as she gave her home phone and address in the US.

She is still waiting for me to call her to this day - and maybe ask her if she would "promise" not to choke or knife me in my sleep some night when she was high.

Years later, it came out in the press that some kibbutz had developed a program for troubled teens, often from North America. It was proposed the Jewish American kid who keyed those cars in Malaysia would be sent to Israel instead of getting caned. The idea was rejected by the Malaysian government - and I totally agreed with them.

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Deep Global Warming

Dana Mathewson

From Power Line:

First we had the global warming expedition to Antarctica that got stuck in ice and had to be rescued via helicopter. (The rescue ship then got stuck in the ice, too.) Next we had a blizzard across much of the northeastern United States. Now it’s Minnesota, a place where cold weather in January isn’t usually newsworthy. But today Governor Mark Dayton announced that all Minnesota public schools will be closed on Monday due to extreme cold. Normally school closings are determined by local districts, but the governor has statutory authority to close public schools in case of emergency.

What’s the emergency? Extreme cold: the high temperature on Monday in the Twin Cities suburb where I (Power Line's John Hinderaker) live is forecast to be 17 degrees below zero.

Etc., etc. Entire article here: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/01/annals-of-global-warming.php

Wonder what it'll be up in Ely, couple hundred miles north, where a cousin of mine lives?

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January 04, 2014

More on Sugihara

Jack Kemp

{This is a follow up to an earlier post. See part one here. http://tbirdnow.mee.nu/another_film_to_rentbuy_about_jews_japan_in_wwii)

http://responsibility-project.libertymutual.com/articles/what-responsibility-comes-with-being-saved?src=keyword_s=ggl_k=chiune%20sugihara_c=Altruism_g=ResponsibilitySaved_ChiuneSugihara_m=b&mkwid=sYPAIgard|pcrid|9509365123|pkw|chiune%20sugihara|pmt|b|


The Responsibility Project
Ethics
What Responsibility Comes with Being Saved?
Beneath the delicate chandeliers of the Japanese ambassador’s residence, a queue of the saved and their descendants shuffled toward an elderly Japanese woman and her family. I had known about the woman’s late husband, Chiune Sugihara, since childhood – there could be no relationship more intimate than that between his family and mine. If not for his actions, I wouldn’t be alive. Now, for the first time, I was about to meet his relatives.
The hall was packed with dignitaries and reporters; Sugihara’s family was on display. So, too, were those of us on the line of the saved, our bodies hieroglyphs for what someone at a podium would soon refer to as Sugihara’s "undying moral stature.” A self-consciousness deeper than mere formality pervaded the hall. How, I wondered, is a person supposed to look or dress or walk as the living representative of someone else’s goodness?
In 1940, Chiune Sugihara scuttled his career and his family’s social standing in order to save the lives of strangers. Working as Japanese vice-consul in Lithuania shortly after Germany’s invasion of Poland, Sugihara was greeted at his gate one day by a throng so loud that he feared a mob had come to storm the consulate. In fact the crowd was made up of Polish-Jewish refugees who were desperate to escape the reaches of Hitler and Stalin, and they were there to plead for help.
What would become an enormous rescue had been catalyzed by Jan Zwartendijk, a Dutch official in the Lithuanian city of Kovno, who had distributed paperwork declaring that no visa was necessary to enter the Dutch colony of Curacao in the West Indies. Zwartendijk’s paperwork was a bureaucratic sleight of hand, intended to create the impression that these refugees had authorization to enter a country outside Europe. While it was true that Curacao required no visa, none could enter Curacao without the governor’s personal – and rarely granted – permission. But first and foremost the refugees needed to get out of Europe; being turned away from Curacao later was a risk they were willing to take.
The next step was to get themselves on a boat headed toward Curacao. Such a boat could be boarded in Japan – but only if one had a transit visa authorizing passage through that country. The Jews thronging the gate of the Japanese consulate – my grandparents and great-grandparents among them – were there to beg assistance.
Repeatedly Chiune Sugihara contacted the Japanese foreign ministry for permission to issue transit visas to Jews bound for Curacao. His requests were denied. He consulted his family and his religious faith. And he made a decision to defy his government. He signed dozens of transit visas, each allowing a family passage through Japan en route to Curacao. Then hundreds. His hand cramped, he ran out of visas, he improvised new forms and kept signing. An old photograph shows Sugihara leaving Lithuania when the Japanese consulate closed. A man’s arm reaches down from the train window, pen in hand; a crowd presses alongside the train holding papers aloft, pleading for one last signature.
By the time the train left that station, Sugihara had signed as many as 5,500 visas. With theirs, my relatives took the Trans-Siberian Railway across Russia, then a boat to Japan, then crossed the Pacific on a Japanese vessel. In Mexico City, a bribe to a ship’s doctor got them quarantined on land, where they found refuge until the Curacao-bound ship sailed on. At last, in 1942, they were able to enter the United States.
Home in post-war Japan, Sugihara lost his job and good name. He sold light bulbs, taught Russian, labored to feed his family. Only after his death in 1986 did the Japanese government, in a series of cautious gestures, acknowledge he’d been in the right.
Now, 60 years after the events in Kovno, the Japanese embassy was sponsoring a reception in his honor, and my mother’s family was among the many invited.
As we approached Mrs. Yukiko Sugihara, a diminutive gray-haired woman in a pale pink kimono, I realized to my horror that in my preparations for this event – plane tickets, hotel, carefully chosen outfit – I’d neglected the most important thing of all: finding the right words. The phrases available to me were insipid, each more inadequate than the last: Thank you. We think of you often. Whatever made me think I could improvise words to honor the debts I’d inherited along with my existence?
At the head of the line, my great-aunt delicately explained that she had been saved, at age 16, by Mrs. Sugihara’s late husband. A pause for translation. Mrs. Sugihara smiled. In skirt and heels I stepped forward mutely to line up beside a cousin, as my great-aunt pointed us out one by one: Here is a daughter. Here a niece. Here a great-niece. I stood on display. I tried to look simultaneously respectful, thankful and friendly. Like something other than a nodding doll.
Mrs. Sugihara smiled graciously and bowed her head. And our audience was finished.
Beyond Mrs. Sugihara stood a lovely-looking woman roughly my age with two young children. She was Sugihara’s granddaughter, and she spoke English.
I introduced myself and said I was happy to meet her. Rushing lest I miss the chance, I said something about gratitude or respect – awkward phrases I can’t now recall, too ordinary to support the meaning I wanted them to convey.
We stood there, her children watching me wearily – another in a forest of strangers. What started as a polite interval grew uncomfortable. What I really wanted to know was too personal to ask: What it was like, for better and for worse, to stand on her side of this story that united us? What had the years of isolated conviction wrought in her elders? Did she ever find the public vocabulary of good and evil difficult to reconcile with life’s daily blend of success and failure, ambivalence and distraction? I wanted to know what she and I had in common, or what separated us.
I asked her, instead, what it meant to the Sugiharas, this resurrection of her grandfather’s reputation after so many years.
She replied softly: "He is my elder. I respect him.”
Silence. I’d overstepped. I felt like an idiot. Then it occurred to me to wonder whether she, like me, was made shy by this meeting. This script of virtue and victimhood had been written by our grandparents, not by us. What roles did we play in it?
"He lives in my heart every day,” she said.
Only later, long after the crowd had separated us, did I realize what I ought to have said. The simplest part came first: If you and your husband and these children ever need safe haven, I – born in the United States, knowing almost nothing of your culture or country – will turn my life upside down to provide it for you.
But since the granddaughter of Chiune Sugihara would in all likelihood never need my help, I left the residence of the Japanese ambassador that day hoping hard that I’d have the wisdom to recognize the person who did.
I’m now close to the age Chiune Sugihara was when he signed those visas. I haven’t saved anyone. I give blood; I make donations of various sorts; I try to teach my kids about doing good in the world; every now and then I bring a meal to a community member who’s sick. When the Japanese earthquake hit, I rushed to make a donation in honor of Sugihara. Still, it feels paltry. There’s no denying that I live a selfish life.
There’s redemption, of course, in living a selfish life. That’s what Sugihara sacrificed to provide for strangers: a secure existence, a life of tending one’s own garden, a definitive answer to the wrenching uncertainties of war.
Still. By some estimates, there are now 60,000 people alive today due to Sugihara’s actions. What if each of us descendants of visa-holders went looking for ways to repay that debt, each in his own way?
I suspect most of us do, and that most of us feel inadequate to the task. Perhaps that’s one definition of survivor guilt – the sense that there’s a moral equation that never can be balanced, though that doesn’t excuse you from trying. If I could go back to that reception now, I would turn to each person on that line and ask: What responsibility comes with being saved?
I struggle with it. And the struggle, perhaps, means that Sugihara’s granddaughter and I have at least this in common: He lives in our hearts every day.
Rachel Kadish is the author of the novels From a Sealed Room and Tolstoy Lied: a Love Story. She lives outside Boston with her family.

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Islam and converts being most fanatical

Jack Kemp

From Tea Party Nation...
http://www.teapartynation.com/profiles/blog/show?id=3355873%3ABlogPost%3A2744775&xgs=1&xg_source=msg_share_post
For Islam, the convert is a terrible thing to waste.

* Posted by Wolfy Ghalkhani on January 3, 2014 at 11:56am

In her frightening historical work, The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam, Bat Ye'or wrote, the convert to Islam is the most vicious of the Muslims and kill without hesitation. Unlike Muslims who are born into Islam and have no clue what Islam is about, the convert does know and willingly submits to its perverse ideology. So what is it that attracts a non-believer to forgo the religious tenets of his forefathers for those of Islam? Most often the reasons are attention, polygamy, feelings of superiority and privilege or just plain hate. Those who did convert had scores to settle and Islam gave them the incentive to even those scores, real or imaginary, through acts of carnage and death. This is not a new phenomenon. It’s happened throughout the history of Islam, its happened all over the east and it will happen here. The killers of the defenseless officer Rigby were converts. The killers in the recent terror attacks in Russia were converts. While we hold our breaths and pray for those killed overseas keep in mind that we have converts here and they are being indoctrinated into the same ideology of hate.

Islam makes it obligatory to kill non-believers even if the non-believers are the Muslim’s own parents. The Muslim convert can no longer view his or her parents as flesh and blood. They must be viewed in the same way all non-believers are viewed -as sub human and game for human sacrifice just like those who died in the bus explosion last week.
The question that all of us should be asking is why is this happening? Why is Islam whose core foundations are submission without question, death and hate gaining ground so rapidly? Is it because it’s a religion that focuses without shame on the primal instincts of humanity? The lust for rape and theft and murder certainly has a great appeal to the mentally deficient found on all levels of society- neither wealth, fame or education has no bearing. But that’s an explanation for Islam’s appeal on an individual level. Something else is happening. Something much more immense, more profound, more sinister and its happening right before your eyes.

Despite what the secularists, humanists and Atheists say, humans need religion. They crave it. The left knows that but they pretend that all religions are bad and have no place in society. They say all religions so that they don’t blow their cover. In reality, they could care less about religions with the exception of Christianity. You see, Christianity has always been the bane of the left. Its ideology of individuality and liberty has been a detriment to the left’s quest for domination for a very long time and must be destroyed. Without Christianity, America is nothing. Europe is nothing. Western Civilization is nothing. With Christianity gone, the left can assume their position as rulers under the New World order with their Muslim army ready to back them. So, for the past several decades the left has been working overtime to bash, mock and humiliate Christianity. They can’t remove it but they can dissolve it. Look at our society now. So, ridiculously scared we have become that we are afraid to say "Merry Christmas,” or sing Christmas carols in schools that mostly Christian taxpayers support. Christianity in America is being dissolved without so much a squeak of protest from Christians. Yep, my fellow conservatives, Christianity is dying in America. It is weak. It is cowardly. But people aren’t forgoing Christianity and becoming secular. They continue to thirst for religion. They need some kind of guidance from a supernatural power. So in comes Islam. It doesn’t matter how diabolical Islam is, it gives what humans require- guidance on virtually all aspects of life from how to clean yourself after elimination to how to gut an unbeliever.

It was the collusion and collaboration of convert renegades and traitors that the Middle East, central Asia, Anatolia, the Levant, parts of the Balkans and North Africa were Islamized. Hundreds of millions of people were murdered by the very people who they once called brother or sister. And they did not die easy- many were tortured then hung, others were burnt at the stake. Sadly, once prosperous literate lands turned into graveyards-wastelands of which can never be redeemed.

In the early part of the last century, the Bolsheviks took control of the Russias. A small cadre of Christian hating bandits took control of Russia’s vast lands and slaughtered unarmed people without the least bit of remorse and regret. Over 100,000 churches, cathedrals and monasteries were destroyed. Priceless artworks and bibles were burned. Bishops, priests and nuns were executed by the tens of thousands. Guns were taken. Landowner Kulaks and business owners were then slaughtered and peasants starved. Christianity was outlawed but never Islam. You see, Islam and communism go hand in hand. Pay attention to this because the reds are now in possession of our gov’t under a different banner- leftists or progressives- your call.

After communism fell, Christianity came back but it was debilitated. Islam never suffered and now is proselyting those who have no knowledge of what Christianity is because there aren’t enough priests or nuns to preach the faith. A similar phenomenon happened in Europe. The Nazi destroyed Christianity. The same murderous scheme practiced by the Bolsheviks was practiced by the Nazis. After the fall of the third Reich, the Bolsheviks saw an opportunity to disengage Christianity from the European continent. They promoted Christianity as the evil doer behind the Nazi war machine. It was Christians who created the holocaust. It was Christians who killed tens of millions in Europe. Christianity was bad. The Crusaders were evil. Blah, blah, blah. So Europeans- not much for critical thinking- kicked the faith that elevated their continent to a status the world has never witnessed to the curb. In today’s Europe, Christianity cowers under the onslaught of propaganda, lies and guilt while Islam does not. It’s only a matter of time, when Europe falls to evils of Sharia and collapses into inertia and abject poverty.

We’re heading down that same road toward Islamization but we still have a chance to save ourselves. At the end of the day, it will be the ordinary people who can save our once great land and restore its position as the beacon of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. All we have to do is let our history and our God be our guide. Political correctness, guilt and the push for multiculturalism have weakened us because we have forgotten who we are and what made this country great. Most Americans don’t understand what the ramifications of de-Christianization will mean for future generations and that’s a shame. Generations from now our children will curse us for not taking a stand against evil. The Muslims are here thanks to our government which may done so unwittingly but that’s no excuse. They should have known better. Muslims are our sworn enemy. They don’t view us as their equal and never will. To co-exist is nonsense as far as the Muslim is concerned. Co-existence is nothing but a myth perpetrated by the left to intimidate us. To the Muslim, we are Dhimmis, people who have no place in their world unless we submit and pay Jizyah. I’m not making that up. It’s in their Koran. They want to destroy us and so do the Bolsheviks.

Now, we are in the New Year. Let’s make a resolution to stop being pansies and fight the Muslim like a Muslim. Today, we are not in a position to waver. We have in our hands very powerful weapons- our resolve and tenacity inherited by our forefathers, our bible and our constitution. Sun Tzu wrote, in order to beat the enemy you not only have to know your enemy but you also have to KNOW YOURSELF- and don’t apologize. Muslims don’t apologize and herein lies one of their strengths.

I know it says in the bible to love "one another” but believe me the Muslim and his brother Bolshevik is not our "one another”! We don’t have to love evil and they are evil and growing more and more powerful. So that we don’t come off as the bad guys, we have allowed our faith to be defanged and declawed. That’s why it’s failing. It’s time to get the fangs and claws back in place. If we don’t then we face the annihilation of all that we hold dear. We have to take up the same mindset as the crusaders of the middle ages. They had no problems with beating the hell out of Muslims and their collaborators. They were fearless and strong, and that’s why the Muslims scream about them to this very day.
In the meantime, while we complain about Obama care, the Muslims are laying stakes for conquest. They have a powerful weapon- not just their Koran but those who so easily convert and are so eager to please their Muslim masters. Keep that in mind when another mosque goes up in your neighborhood.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 07:57 AM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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Alpha and Omega Authority

A.J. Cameron forwards this:

"I can sum it up this way. Any land in which parents, singly or in groups, do not have first and last authority over what and how their children learn is not free."
Peonage for the Twenty-First Century
http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/12/11651/

by Anthony Esolen
within Culture, Education

December 6th, 2013


The Common Core exists only because we have forgotten that parents have a right to educate their children. The state has no educational authority of its own apart from what parents delegate to it.
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A young man and woman arrive at the office of the town clerk to procure a marriage license. They're all smiles, until the secretary hands them a document to sign, wherein they read this remarkable sentence: "The State, conceding to the parents the making of their children's bodies, asserts its primacy in the making of their minds.”

So bald a proclamation of totalitarian power might cost the party that made it a percentage point or two at the polls. Thus, it will never actually grace a marriage license. Yet there is no need to make that proclamation when the arrogation of that power is an accomplished fact. An underling who does not realize his subservient position is more tractable than one who does.

I've lately been involved in the fight against the latest move to nationalize public education, this one called the Common Core. It is a bag of rotten old ideas doused with disinfectant; its assumptions are hostile to classical and Christian approaches to education; it is starkly utilitarian; its self-promotion is sludged up with edu-lingo, thick with verbiage and thin in thought; its drafters have forgotten, if they ever knew, what it is to be a child.

But my point here is not that the Common Core is dreadful. It is this: that there should even be a Common Core proves how far we have fallen into peonage to the State.

I have said many hard things about the poor preparation of many of our public school teachers, about English teachers who do not know grammar and who cannot write, about history teachers who settle down into current events, requiring no broad reading or knowledge, about math teachers who have no facility with numbers, and about foreign language teachers who hold their students in bonds for four years and yet do not manage to teach them how to read a newspaper, much less Don Quixote or Les Miserables.

In a farming village or a small town in 1889—I am choosing the year advisedly—the most learned person in the congregation on a Sunday was the parson, and the second most, the lawyer, the doctor, or the schoolteacher. That is no longer the case.

Critics of the public schools since James Koerner's The Miseducation of American Teachers (1963) have noticed that the willingness to submit oneself to an empty bachelor's degree in education is nearly a negative intelligence test. The best students do not put up with it. It is why private schools succeed best when they hire teachers from outside the accrediting apparatus of the state. A private school can hire me to teach poetry to seniors, as I have been teaching poetry for almost three decades to their slightly older siblings in college. A public school cannot.

Yet long before the advent of departments of education, the Christian progressive William Chauncy Langdon, defending the family against the encroachment of the state, wrote in The Century (November 1889) that education "is not, certainly in its earlier stages, any part of the immediate responsibility of the political community,” for the totalitarian "Sparta presents to us no illustration of an educational philosophy for a Christian people.” That is because "real education is the development of distinct personalities,” and therefore cannot "be effected by contract or in the aggregate.”

Whoever actually imparts the education, said Langdon, even if it is, partially, the State, "can be regarded only as the representative deputy or the substitute for the family.” The family delegates some of its educational task to the schoolteacher, who is, as it were, a general governess or tutor hired by the parents through the intermediary of the town or county. The school is a deputy of the family, or, in the case of the death or debility of the parents, a substitute. It has no authority of its own apart from what the employers, the parents, delegate to it.

Let's pause to think about that. A rich man hires a tutor to instruct his son in arts and letters. The father has the classics in mind; he wants his son to read Virgil, to converse with Matthew Arnold, and to sit at the feet of Pascal and Kierkegaard. But the tutor has other things in mind. He has the boy read Toni Morrison, "graphic novels,” and op-ed pieces from contemporary newspapers. That shine you see on the seat of the tutor's trousers has been imparted, successively, by the father's boot and the three concrete stairs down which the worthy teacher bounced on his way out of the manor.

Now why should parents who are not so wealthy not exercise, in common, the same authority? Especially now, when the teachers are, as a group, no great beacons of either intellectual or moral virtue?

Yet the promoters of the Common Core do not consider that the parents are their employers. The parents have had and are to have nothing to say about it. They are "good” if they submit, and "problematic” if they don't. No one has asked them their opinions about a decent education. No one ever does. Imagine if the leaders of our public schools were to say, "We will no longer be instructing your children in sex.” A few parents would complain, mainly on account of other and (supposedly) irresponsible people, but in the main we would hear great sighs of relief. Imagine if the same principals were to say,

We will assign readings to your children based upon high literary merit, proved by the test of time. We will cease our mercurial experimentation upon your children. We will depend upon things that have worked for generations, across many cultures. We will teach geography again. We will teach grammar again. We will teach history, not current events. We will keep partisan politics out of the building. We will cease our hostilities against all things religious. We will abjure the foolish pride that led us to believe that we were the progenitors of a new world or a new nation or a new anything. We are your delegates, and we welcome your direction.

Parents might well glance to the skies to see whether the sun had darkened and the moon turned as red as blood, with hosts of angels descending to herald the world's last day.

It would be unfair, though, to suppose that all teachers welcome the Common Core. There are brush fires kindling all over the country in opposition to the edicts from above. I assume that good teachers—and there are many good teachers scattered across the plains—are wise enough to know who they are and who they are not. Such teachers are likely not to tailor their instruction to meet the demands of a standardized test. They don't want their textbooks dictated to them by the state. They don't want to reduce history to current events. They don't want to replace Milton with Miley Cyrus, or Homer with The Hunger Games.

These teachers too have been bypassed. No one has asked their opinions about the Common Core, either. They can protest all they want about grindingly dull methods of instruction—for example, teaching "text” divorced from all human considerations, so that students look at the Gettysburg Address but are not supposed to think either of the Civil War or of any memorial celebration. They can protest all they want about intrusive "assessments” that have involved, in some schools, not just the standardized exam, but cameras and recorders. Welcome to the land of the peons, o teachers. Know that your erstwhile employers, the parents, were here before you.

I can sum it up this way. Any land in which parents, singly or in groups, do not have first and last authority over what and how their children learn is not free. The fact that we might countenance national authority over the mind of a child shows our abjection. It is as if we were to accept educational instructions from managers in Brussels, or from a federation of experts hailing from Alpha Centauri, and then were to comfort ourselves with the assurance that we were still free, because we could exercise one vote in a hundred million, or three billion, or seventeen trillion, or whatever number you like that reduces our actual influence to that of a speck of dust on an anvil, a proton against a planet, or one parent's cry against the massive deafness of money, power, and arrogance.

Anthony Esolen is Professor of English at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island, and the author of Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child and Ironies of Faith. He has translated Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata and Dante's The Divine Comedy.

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Attend Mass or Mass Shootings?

Timothy Birdnow

Here is an article by Dr. Joseph Frascino about the rise in numbers of mass shootings that have occured in recent years - particularly during the Obama era. Frascino rightly attributes it to cultural changes. According to Frascino:

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/01/mass_shootings_and_the_left.html

"In the wake of the "New Left" movement of the 60s we have evolved from a nation of social commitment to nuclear family, community, and faith to one of self-immersion, anonymity, and unaccountability. Behavioral restraints once provided by strong civil institutions have been weakened. Shared value sets of the past have given way to personal gratification and self-indulgence. These changes are embraced by progressive elements which seek to destablize civilsociety in favor of statism and government dependency

End Excerpt.

And right he is; we have systematically dismantled the bonds of society in favor of the isolation of unrestricted behavior, what the Left thinks is freedom. Freedom to the Left is the right to act in any way one chooses within the guardrails of their power. Social services and law enforcement exist to provide those guardrails, and within that parameter the individual is as a god unto himself, choosing what to be, how to live, etc. Want to be a girl today? Fine, dress up and you can use the girls' restrooms. Want to marry another man? Fine. Want to indulge your anger? Go on, play the knockout game, and we'll ignore it.

The liberal vision of freedom inevitably leads to isolation for the individual, who is trapped inside of a cold steel collective.

See the Left does not offer freedom. The goal of the Progressives was and is the creation of gestalt, a society that works like a machine, with the individual parts (and those parts are viewed with contempt by the intelligentsia) having no freedom to think, to question, to develop as individuals. Instead, conformity to new social conventions is obligatory, and the individual is straitjacketed into this glittering plastic paradise. They are free to behave in whatever fashion they choose, be it indulging in whatever animalistic whim they wish, but they cannot indulge their higher, God given freedoms.

And so the animal nature is the only aspect the young can express. Animals kill other animals in a state of pure nature....

Dr. Frascino also points out that the new technology - immersion video games and the like - blur the lines between reality and fantasy, and he has a point there as well. The younger generation has a hard time dealing with reality because so few of them have ever really faced it. This was a common problem for the very rich in times gone by; a broken fingernail was a real crisis to an uber-rich heiress in the olden days. Now, because everyone is essentially filthy rich in America, the affluent problem has expanded to the general public. And affluence has always led to a certain amount of anomie, to a dulling of the spirit. Life to the rich is dull, because there is no sense of accomplishment. The video game society can be seen as virtual wealth, a chance to experience things you would never have the opportunity to experience otherwise. And like the very wealthy who often play so hard they kill themselves (how many from the Kennedy family have died in leisure activity?) so too the virtual world is dulling the ability of the young to experience reality. Too much of a good thing and you become numbed, needing ever more.

Why not seek the thrill of actual killing? The virtual kind grows pale after a while.

I do think Dr. Frascino misses one very important element here; the 24 hour news cycle, coupled with Facebook and other social media, has created a culture obsessed with fame and celebrity. So many of our youths today are desperate for attention, because they see a person's worth being intimately entwined with fame. Before the Left went to work on our culture a person's self worth was measured against how pleasing he or she was to God, how well he or she served their fellow citizens, how true they were to themselves, their families, and their God. Now it is all about fame and celebrity - and it does not matter why one is famous or celebrated (or, the flip side, notorious). In fact, the hip-hop culture has made notoriety even "cooler" than fame in many ways. How many young people dream of being gang-bangers because it's "cool"?

So endless media reporting on every shooting leads others to copycat.

In 356 B.C. a Greek named Herostratus burned down the temple of Artemis in Ephesus solely for the fame it would bring him (and people remember his name to this day.) This at a time without television, without the internet, without radio, or even newspapers. Fame has a powerful allure.

And let us not forget the over-prescribing of drugs to our children. Too many young people have been on some sort of mind-altering medication for most of their lives; is it any wonder if some (like Adam Lanza) lose all touch with reality?

Sadly, the mass shootings represent a troubling falling away from reality by the American People themselves. The rise in such shootings is no coincidence in the era of Barack Obama.

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January 03, 2014

Justice Roberts Obamacare "Trap" catches GOP more than the Democrats

Jack Kemp

On Thursday, Bill Dunne wrote at American Thinker a wishful thinking explanation of Justice Roberts' decision to not vote against Obamacare. Dunne backed it up with the finest Beltway think tank rationalizers...err...minds in Washington, claiming that Justice Roberts has somehow outsmarted the Democrats by letting a majority of Obamacare go into law so that angry people will vote Republican in 2014 and 2016. Specifically, he stated:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/01/the_roberts_trap_is_sprung.html#ixzz2pNQeBz29


BEGIN QUOTE

One of the most overlooked aspects of the year just ended is the vindication of Chief Justice John Roberts -- a vindication that showed up as the national catastrophe known as ObamaCare got rolling.  Roberts may have also doomed Hillary Clinton's chance to live in the White House again.

The chief justice, an appointee of President George W. Bush and reputedly a constitutionalist in his jurisprudence, set his diabolical trap (diabolical to Democrats) on June 28, 2012, when he joined with the four liberal justices on the Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of ObamaCare.  Conservatives and Republicans across the land were apoplectic.  But in hindsight, it appears that Roberts actually saved the Republican Party from going into a death spiral and imperiled the Democrats instead.  This suggests amazing foresight, but it wouldn't be the only instance.


END QUOTE

The trouble is, there is no consideration here for lost careers and lost lives and despair among those who now live in fear of their children and themselves getting ill. It is only "clever" as a chess strategy where you sacrifice a pawn to capture a knight or bishop. But the "pawns" sacrificed here are real people, not pieces of polished wood. One finds it hard to believe that this elitist pap made it into American Thinker.

The comments - a large part of over 600 comments - written about this piece were a slap to the face of the author. I include three of them (I wrote the last one):


Traps are generally thought far better of if they catch the guilty party, not millions of innocent bystanders. And as Barry Goldwater said about the end justifies the means, "If ever there was a philosophy totally at war with that of the Founding Fathers, it is this one".

"The thing is, however, that the decision has spawned another Great Awakening, because ObamaCare is a civics lesson from hell, with vast implications for America's future. This would not be happening if the law had been squelched in the cradle. "

So let me see now, using this logic, if a grand amnesty for invaders passes and goes before the Supreme Court, we should all hope that Roberts is the deciding vote for it so we can get another, and even bigger, one of these Great Awakening thingies. Where am I anyway? Is this the Onion? Oh no! This is Oz, isn't it?

"But consider the alternative scenario. Howls of outrage would have erupted from every Democrat/leftist stronghold -- from the White House to Congress, from Hollywood to academia, and of course from the establishment media. The din would have been relentless. The smearing of small-government Republicans as selfish meanies would be easy as pie and more effective than ever. "

So I quess (sic) we sure better pressure Republicans to pass amnesty for invaders, plus many rewards for them too, so we won't be called selfish meanies. Does anyone have an Excedrin?

END

334 readers approved the words of "FeralCat."



This twisted logic only makes sense if the GOP was a Constitutional Party and opposed ObamaCare in substance instead of procedurally when the votes don't count. We saw this as only 19 Republican Senators voted to deny cloture on the Budget that would fund OligarchyCare. Once the cloture vote passed, the GOP knew that they would not have the votes to stop OligarchyCare but could vote in unison against the final Bill. This is cowardice at best and collusion at worst.

Roberts Decision is established in Law. It was based on a 1937 Supreme Court Case that upheld Social Security as a tax. The FDR regime argued that the FICA taxes and the Social Security Benefits were in no way connected. And we know what a lover of liberty and the Constitution FDR was who threatened to destroy the Court with his Court packing scheme.

"If history does not repeat itself, it rhymes." - Twain

"All this has happened before and it will happen again." Santayana

END

78 readers approved the words of "VonMissesJr."



Feral Cat is right in his analysis, particularly in his first paragraph. As the Wayans brothers once said in a different situation, I don't know what Mr. Dunne is smoking, but I want some of that because it is a powerful high (away from reality). 

To a political strategist, Judge Roberts decision is a victory. To millions of Average Joes and Average Janes - and not so average Joes and Janes - this is a catastrophe which has often cost them hours of work and often seen their medical coverage disappear.

END

58 reader approved of my words.

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Global Cooling Alarmist Deniers

Timothy Birdnow

Over at American Thinker an argument has erupted over the old 1970's Ice Age hype. A troll is trying to claim that Global Cooling was simply a media speculation. He is wrong.

See here http://www.climatedepot.com/2009/10/06/dont-miss-it-climate-depots-factsheet-on-1970s-coming-ice-age-claims-2/ and here. http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/1970s-ice-age-scare/

This is the latest trick by the Gang Green; deny that they ever pushed Global Cooling. They know it proved an embarassment, and so they are going to simply deny reality with a big "nu-uh!"

Hubert Lamb from the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit was one of the principle supporters of the theory, and the Natioanl Academy of Science issued a report, as did the CIA. http://icecap.us/images/uploads/Excerpts_from_the_August_1977_book.pdf

Dr. Murray Mitchell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was also on board, as was George Kukla of Columbia. S.I. Rasool at NASA warned about this too as did Stephan Schneider http://www.climatedepot.com/2009/10/06/dont-miss-it-climate-depots-factsheet-on-1970s-coming-ice-age-claims-2/a/3212/Inconvenient-Questions-Stanford-U-Bans-Climate-Film-from-Airing-Interview-with-Cooling-turned-Warming-Prof-Stephen-Schneider--You-are-prohibited. And let us not forget John Holdren, Obama's current science czar. http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/29/dr-holdrens-ice-age-tidal-wave/

And the World Meteorological Organization.
http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/wcc-1979.html

Stephen Schneider had this to say:

"In the early 1970s, the northern hemisphere appeared to have been cooling at an alarming rate. There was frequent talk of a new ice age. Books and documentaries appeared, hypothesizing a snowblitz or sporting titles such as The Cooling. Even the CIA got into the act, sponsoring several meetings and writing a controversial report warning of threats to American security from the potential collapse of Third World Governments in the wake of climate change.”
- Stephen Schneider, Global Warming: Are We Entering the Greenhouse Century? (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1989), p. 199.
- See more at: http://www.masterresource.org/2009/09/the-global-cooling-scare-revisited/#sthash.JFynusnR.dpuf

Media hype my foot!

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The AGW Crowd Just Can't Catch a Break

Timothy Birdnow

More bad news for the Gang Green; the Pine Island glacier in Antarctica isn't melting away, and the reason for ice loss has now been explained.

According to The Register:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/01/03/antarctic_ice_shelf_melt_lowest_ever_recorded_just_not_much_affected_by_global_warming/

"Many researchers had suggested that this was due to human-driven global warming, which appeared to be taking place rapidly at that time (though it has since gone on hold for 15 years or so, a circumstance which science is still assimilating).

However back in 2009 the British Antarctic Survey sent its Autosub robot probe under the shelf (famously powered by some 5,000 ordinary alkaline D-cell batteries on each trip beneath the ice, getting through no less than four tonnes of them during the research). The Autosub survey revealed that a previously unknown marine ridge lay below the shelf, over which the icepack had for millennia been forced to grind its way en route to the ocean. However in relatively recent times the ice had finally so ground down the ridge that the sea could flow in between shelf and ridge, freeing the ice to move much faster and warming it too.

As we reported at the time, this caused BAS boffins to suggest that the observed accelerating ice flow and melt seen since the '90s was actually a result of the ridge's erosion and sea ingress, rather than global warming.

Now, the latest BAS research has revealed that rather than accelerating, "oceanic melting of the ice shelf into which the glacier flows decreased by 50 per cent between 2010 and 2012"

End excerpt.

Couple this with the discovery of a volcanic chain under WAIS and the fact that the increasing ice mass in East Antarctica is moving the more plastic land in the West (and the ice shelves - something I pointed out several years back) and claims of a melting Antarctic become increasingly untenable.

And sea ice is at a record high.
http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/december-31-global-sea-ice-area-was-the-largest-ever-recorded/

Oh, and they have FINALLY rescued the trapped Global Warming tourists.

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Duck Dynasty family now selling Mossberg shotguns

Jack Kemp

And A&E doesn't get a cent from this deal.

From the Huffpo, who seems to be in a huff about this...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/02/duck-dynasty-guns_n_4531003.html?icid=maing-grid7|main5|dl10|sec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D425950

Duck Commander, the duck-hunting company founded by the reality show's stars, has partnered with Mossberg & Sons, Inc to produce a line of shotguns and semi-automatic rifles. Mossberg has begun shipping some of the shotguns to wholesalers, according to Linda Powell, a Mossberg spokesperson told The Huffington Post. Cabela's, an outdoor recreation chain, has already begun to sell the weapons, Powell said. Several other "major retailers" would begin sales soon, she added.

These branded weapons feature a waterfowl pattern camouflage design, even though not all of the guns are intended for duck hunting, according to CNN Money. Sticking to the show's conservative mantra, the words "Faith. Family. Ducks." are etched in to the sides of the guns.

Watch the commercial:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1xw63eSHyY&list=PLbseTHRyg6oblxY0p4nKEX6v3UVlAuzfh

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January 02, 2014

Once a liberal, always a liberal?

Dana Mathewson

Well, maybe that's the case if you're one of the worst kinds, a Minnesota liberal. Irving Kristol famously described a neoconservative as a liberal mugged by reality. But sometimes reality is not enough. From Power Line:

"Mark Andrew is a prominent Minneapolis Democrat. He served as long as he wanted to as a Hennepin County (Minneapolis and inner-ring suburbs) Commissioner, from 1982 until he resigned from the Hennepin County Board in 1999. He served a term as chairman of Minnesota’s Democratic Farmer Labor Party in the mid 1990s. Last month he came in a distant second in a crowded field running for Minneapolis mayor, though it wasn’t for lack of trying. There might be a left-wing cause or canard that Andrew hasn’t supported in the course of a long public career, but I doubt it. He’s a liberals’ liberal.

Andrew is back in the news this month because he was assaulted last week in public at the Mall of America by two teenage girls, one 17 and one — Letaija Shapree Cutler-Cain — 18. They were protecting a teenage boy who had stolen Andrew’s iPhone off a table at the MOA Starbucks. The trio had been casing the Starbucks all afternoon to assess the potential for a robbery.

Andrew gave chase to the teenage boy who lifted his phone. As he followed, the girls jumped him and pulled out a baton with which to pummel him. "I’m going to kill you! Let me go or I’m going to kill you!” Cutler-Cain yelled as she dug her fingernails into his face. Andrew took nine stitches in his head as a result of the beating."

[...]

"Irving Kristol famously described a neoconservative as a liberal mugged by reality. In Minnesota, however, the liberal’s not for turning. In the immediate aftermath of last week’s events, Andrew reverted to type. Andrew told the Star Tribune he would remain involved in the case and try to help his attackers.

"They’re damaged kids, and maybe they’re too far gone, but I think there’s redemption for everybody,” he said. "So we’ll try to find a way for them to get in a place where they can turn their lives around.” Prison would be perfect."

End excerpt.

Entire article, complete with photo of the bloodied Mr. Andrew, is here: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/12/a-liberal-mugged-by-reality.php

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Myths about Income Inequality

Wil Wirtanen forwards this:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/johngoodman/2014/01/02/the-five-biggest-myths-about-income-inequality/

From the Forbes Article:

"Inequality is the defining challenge of our time,” according toPresident Obama. It’s certainly the topic of the day forPaul Krugman,Joe Stiglitzand a whole raft of liberal pundits.

But have you noticed that hardly anyone else is talking about it? When is the last time you heard a shoeshine person or a taxi cab driver complain about inequality? For most people, having a lot of rich people around is good for business. But if average folks are not complaining should they be?

End excerpt.

Be sure to read it all.

 

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