Education: Is Help On The Way?

For centuries ivory tower academics controlled education.  They decided what was taught, how it was taught, when it was taught, and to whom it was taught.  As public education evolved, politicians became their allies, and in some cases their masters.  Liberal politicians hand out money “for the kids”, and in return the academics advance their left wing objectives.  Consider some recent changes: reducing teaching civics and history, cutting reading the classics, and turning classrooms into laboratories for “innovative methods”.  How many different ways have academics experimented with to teach basic mathematics in the past 75 years or so?   Can kids figure out 2×2 any better today than they could back then?  Politicians are obsessed with being “fair”, so schools eliminate grades, homework, and give everyone an award for showing up.  Standardized tests are “dumbed down”.  Then parents wonder why colleges need remedial high school courses, employers wonder why young employees lack good communication and math skills, and many wonder why young people can’t handle real life (which is not fair).  Academics and politicians have third partner: textbook publishers.  Every time academics decide that the teaching methodology of a subject like mathematics has to change, those companies reap a windfall.  Likewise when politicians decide that a subject like history needs to be presented with a different slant, e.g., don’t love your country, hate it, because what happened 200 years ago is YOUR fault.  Technology companies have latched on to the “spend-spend-spend” profiteering of textbook publishers.  The kids must have absolutely the latest technology.  Does anyone care what it’s being used for (or isn’t)?  Do local school administrators even know what the latest technology is or are they buying into to sales pitches?  Since the Feds began their takeover of public education in the 1970’s the US has spent over one trillion dollars on education but it’s nowhere near number one in achievement internationally.

There are signs that the winds are shifting.  President Trump selected a businessperson for Secretary of Education.  In the state of New Hampshire, the Republican governor selected a businessperson for Education Commissioner.  Business people know that money is neither free nor unlimited.  They understand “return on investment”.  They know, as academics should, that one size does not fit all, so they’re more supportive of alternatives to public schools like charter schools, magnet school, private schools, and home schooling.  Common Core is a win for liberal politicians who seek to indoctrinate children with “common values” but a loss for states, parents, taxpayers,  and the kids.

 

But… sometimes the winds shift the other way too.  New York state was praised for requiring a literacy test for teaching candidates.  After all, literacy is the foundation of learning.  Well, the liberals are considering abolishing the test because minorities have more difficulty in passing it. One candidate complained about the test being given on a computer.  What does that person expect to see in a modern classroom?  Once again we see the best interests of the students being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness.

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Disabled Lives Matter

Black Americans often say that young black men must be warned about how do deal with police and other authorities, i.e., very carefully.  Evidently disabled people and their caretakers need the same type of warning as we see more violence against the disabled by authorities who are supposed to protect some of our most vulnerable citizens.

A few months ago a disabled teenage girl suffering from brain cancer was beaten until bloody by TSA agents.  She became confused when an alarm went off so they immediately threw her to the floor and arrested her.  TSA agents have also been accused of hassling a 9-year old boy who has a pacemaker after undergoing multiple surgeries for heart defects.  Unfortunately TSA agents are Federal employees so they enjoy substantial protection against being fired for using excessive force.

Recently an unarmed deaf man was shot and killed by a state police officer who pursued him for a traffic violation.  The victim didn’t respond to the officer’s commands because he couldn’t hear them, but the officer must have thought that sign language posed a lethal threat.  There have been no protests, no demonstrations, and little media coverage because this situation doesn’t fit the mold that the liberal media wants to publicize: the officer was black and the victim was white.  If the races were reversed so would be the media coverage.  There would also be protests and maybe even a remark from the President.  This sure looks like a use of excessive force (or is it a hate crime?).  If the victim was unarmed but the officer felt threatened, a Taser would have subdued him.  Will the officer be charged or will filing charges against a black officer be called racism?

We hear how police officers around the country are being trained to be sensitive to Islam so they don’t “offend” anyone.  Instead of indoctrinating officers in the latest manifestation of political correctness they should be teaching them the difference between sign language and Kung Fu fighting.  An unarmed young father didn’t deserve to die for a traffic ticket.

Any police officer who can’t recognize a deaf person doesn’t belong in uniform. File charges or admit that disabled lives don’t matter in the USA.

Update:  From New Hampshire comes a news story that proves that it was not necessary for a cop to shoot an unarmed deaf man.  A distraught man who wanted to commit “suicide by cop” approached officers with razor blades.  The officers had the unquestionable authority to shoot an armed assailant, but instead they Tased him.  No officers were harmed and hopefully the suicidal man will get mental health treatment.  So, why did a black cop shoot an unarmed deaf man?  Maybe he hates disabled people.  Maybe he was exacting revenge for the shooting of black motorists by white cops.  Maybe he was just having a bad day.  Regardless, he murdered an unarmed man over a traffic stop.  In the interest of justice for a family that lost their father charges should be filed, and the shooting investigated as a hate crime.

Christmas Update:  Officers in California destroyed a family’s Christmas joy by killing an unarmed 73-year old grandfather who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.  They were primed to shoot by a false report that he was armed.  Of course there were no body cameras, no dash camera, just the word of the cops against a dead grandfather.  Sue the city and the person who lied (that person didn’t recognize their own neighbor so how could they recognize a gun in the dark?).

2017 Update:  Tragically another deaf man was gunned down by cops. He was returning home from a walk.  Unfortunately he routinely carried a walking stick.  When he “refused” to drop this “weapon” (because he couldn’t hear the order) he was murdered. Now if he had been carrying a shotgun the use of deadly force would have been justified, but wouldn’t a Taser have protected the officers from the perceived threat of a stick? Why has deadly force become the standard police response to any “threat” rather than the last resort it used to be? Is the USA becoming a police state?
In 2017 we even saw an unarmed woman shot and killed while trying to report a suspected crime to the police. Of course the shooting officer ( who broke every procedural rule and endangered his partner by firing across his body) is a Black Muslim from the anarchical nation of Somalia, so he’s in a “protected class” and will probably not face any charges for an action that would land any civilian (or white police officer) in prison for a long time. Our ultra-liberal media was as quiet as possible about this shooting, even though it would have advocated days of rage if the races had been reversed.  Political correctness always trumps justice in the USA today.

Repeal the Bill of Rights?

In “The Freedom Triangle” I explained how freedom is defined by three components: democracy, rights, and responsibilities.  Our basic inalienable rights are found in the first ten amendments to the Constitution, commonly known as the Bill of Rights.  Every one of them is important.  Every one was included because the authors of the Constitution, in their wisdom, had seen how authoritarian governments had abused their subjects and sought to protect us.  In fact the Constitution doesn’t talk about “subjects”, it talks about “We the People”.

Now the Constitution can be changed by the deliberately cumbersome process of amendment.  It’s long and tedious and the outcome is uncertain, but in this case that’s a protection, not an inefficiency.  Democrats, socialists, and other progressives, however, have found ways to weaken our rights by DE FACTO means.  That term simply means “that’s how it is”.  If you don’t like a law but can’t easily change it, find ways to circumvent it.  These tactics might be unofficial, like intimidation, or official, through restrictions or taxation.   In this article I’ll look at how several amendments are being attacked.

First Amendment:

Intimidation (aka Bullying):  At this time intimidation is the primary weapon against free speech.  It began with political correctness, a crybaby concept that has grown from a minor nuisance into a state religion.  We see intimidation on college campuses where students complain about “micro-aggression”, demand “safe spaces”, and are even told to call police if they hear something “offensive”.  Now that’s intimidation.  On a larger scale, political correctness stifles communication to a point where serious issues can’t even be discussed.

Intimidation also threatens religious freedom by erasing religious equality.  When Christian churches remove exterior crosses so they don’t “offend” Muslim immigrants they’re not accommodating newcomers, they’re surrendering their right to exist as a public entity; doing exactly what is required in Muslim countries.  From a Christian point of view they’re denying Christ just as Peter did.  When a restaurant owner is bullied into removing a sign advertising bacon for breakfast his free speech is suspended.  Jews don’t eat pork either but they’ve never tried to impose their dietary rules on others.

Legal Action:  Can the USA have laws against free speech beyond the “don’t yell fire in a theater if there isn’t one” and “don’t threaten violence”?  Maybe, because it’s happening in European countries that guarantee free speech.  In Germany a comedian has been arrested for insulting the president of Turkey, and In Sweden people can be arrested for ethnic slurs.  Some in the US are saying that “climate change deniers” should be arrested and oil companies should be sued because they “knew” their products would cause climate change.

Second Amendment:

Propaganda:   No amendment is under heavier public attack than this amendment, even though self defense it a fundamental human right.  It’s in common law because historically only the un-free (prisoners, serfs, slaves) were denied the right to protect themselves and their families.  We hear anti-gun propaganda everywhere, much of it funded by billionaires who are surrounded by armed bodyguards.  Their message: “be rich or be dead”.  They blame the NRA for Chicago violence, not the gang members doing the shooting.  They make their case with bogus logic that anyone who has learned how to think can spot as invalid.  Any criminal act is the act of a person, not an object.

Legal Action:  In addition to funding propaganda campaigns, billionaire Mike Bloomberg spends millions to buy local elections for anti-gun candidates who will then enact restrictive laws.  The result is a confusing patchwork system of laws that turn honest people into criminals while doing nothing to stop crime.  Liberal San Francisco’s laws are so tough that the last legal gun shop had to close, yet they did nothing to stop an illegal immigrant with a stolen gun from murdering an innocent young woman.  Chicago’s tough gun laws can’t stop the endless gang wars that have made it the murder capital of the US. The latest effort to drive gun makers out of business is to attempt to sue them for gun violence.  No company has ever been held liable for criminal use of their products because the company has no control over the consumer.

Taxation:   Everyone has heard Chief Justice Marshall’s statement that “The power to tax is the power to destroy” and liberals know punitive taxes can be used to deny “little people” their rights while preserving “billionaire rights”.  Seattle has a $25 tax on guns, a US territory has a $1000 tax per gun, and Hillary wants a 25% tax on guns (all for more money to squander).  What part of “right” don’t they understand?

Health care:  President Obama and his British-born Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy want to draft doctors into their war on legal gun ownership.  They have decreed that “gun violence” is a public health problem (but gang violence isn’t) so doctors should question patients about gun ownership, presumably to then evaluate their mental fitness to own a firearm while simultaneously creating a national gun registry in those digitized medical records.  Since doctors don’t get “gun violence” training (they don’t get knife or fist violence training either) they’ll be fed the far left agenda and sent out on a mission to declare as many people “mentally unfit” as possible (it’s already happening at the VA).  That won’t work on doctors who are also hunters but it will on many.  The answer is “no”.

Intimidation:  I discuss the DOJ’s “Operation Choke Point” under the Fifth Amendment.

SCOTUS:  In the case “D.C. vs. Heller” the Supreme Court upheld the right of honest people to own a firearm for self defense.  Progressives would love to get this ruling overturned.  That would effectively repeal the Second Amendment.

Fourth and Fifth Amendments:

Legal Action:  The fourth Amendment protects private property from unreasonable search and seizure without due process.  The fifth Amendment protects individuals from being deprived of “life, liberty, and property” without due process.  Government departments are using often dubious tactics to deprive people of their property without adjudication.  Here are two of them.

The IRS can seize bank assets of individuals or businesses if they suspect small deposits are being “structured” to avoid reporting requirements of amounts in excess of $10,000.  They don’t need any evidence of criminal activity, indictment, trial, or conviction to proceed.  Victims are often small businesses that deposit money regularly just to avoid being a robbery target.  Even innocent people must file an expensive lawsuit to get their money released.

Police can seize property under “civil asset forfeiture” if they suspect criminal activity, and that includes “untainted” assets, i.e., those not associated with the suspected activity.  Again the word is “suspected”; no indictment, trial, or conviction required.  Asset seizure can make it difficult for an accused person to hire attorneys and prepare a defense; a right guaranteed by  the Fifth Amendment.

Eminent Domain:  Eminent domain was included in the Constitution to allow governments at all levels to take private land, with compensation, for public projects that would benefit the community.  The intent was to support construction of roads, bridges, schools, and other public facilities.  That concept has unfortunately been expanded to allow taking of private property for private developments under the guise that they will expand the local tax base.  This “public good ” is nothing but a gift for wealthy developers at the expense of the people.

Intimidation:  The DOJ has initiated a process of intimidation not supported by any law called “Choke Point” to cut off “high risk” businesses from having bank accounts and obtaining credit.  Basically banks are threatened with legal action so they cancel the accounts of many honest businesses that pay taxes and wages.,  High risk businesses include firearms dealers, short term lenders, used car dealers, and adult entertainment.  So, what constitutes “high risk” is determined by politically motivated bureaucrats, not the law.  Congress has been urged to outlaw this practice but liberals support it because it furthers their agenda of control of the people.

Ninth Amendment:

Legal Action:  This amendment protects “unenumerated rights” of the people, i.e., those not specifically guaranteed by the other nine amendments in the Bill of Rights.  The most important right that has been asserted under this amendment is the right of privacy.  As the Federal government demands more an more tracking of peoples’ lives privacy is being lost, often in the name of the “common good”.  That is collectivism, the antithesis of what the Constitution stands for.  To make the situation even worse, neither the government nor various private data collection agencies can adequately secure their data against hacking or insider misuse.

Tenth Amendment:

Congress:  This amendment says that all responsibilities not specifically assigned to the Federal government by the Constitution remain with the states or the people.  Congress has been more than happy to de facto repeal this amendment with “one-size-fits-all” programs.  Nothing in the Constitution allows the Federal government to control public schools yet Congress created the Department of Education and has given it unlimited power over the states and parents.  This has allowed billionaire Bill Gates to fund development of Common Core, his vision of an ideal system, and coax the government to enforce it.  Nothing in the Constitution allows the Federal government to use the IRS to enforce health insurance yet it approved the ACA.  All the promises associated with this program were lies: costs will go down, you can keep your doctor, etc.  Even the insurers are losing money on this one.  Rising health care costs are a problem but the ACA does nothing to solve it.

Intimidation:  The Department of Education uses threats of withholding education money from school districts that refuse to comply with it’s directives.  Simply put, it uses our tax dollars against us.

So, that’s the picture, and it isn’t a good one if you value freedom because without rights you are not free.  Can the Bill of Rights be saved?  Yes, but time is running out.  The 2016 elections will pretty much determine whether your children will stand in freedom or kneel in servitude.

 

If you like your rights you can keep them… NOT.

Oh No, I’m Marginalized!

What happened to the days when people went to college to acquire an education and hopefully prepare for a good job?  Now we have campus clowns who are complaining about being “marginalized”.  They want safe spaces, segregated seating, faculty changes, and even free money.  They want buildings renamed and statues torn down to erase all traces of history that “offends” them.  Isn’t ISIS doing that too?

These crybabies don’t get it.  The fact that they’re in college at all means they’re privileged, not marginalized.  There are plenty of capable young people in this country who would love to be in their seats, and would probably take advantage of the opportunity instead of disrupting the campus.

So, crybabies, let’s look at who’s really marginalized.

The thousands of veterans who died waiting for medical care from the dysfunctional VA certainly were marginalized.  So are the thousands of homeless veterans and those still waiting to see a doctor.  Every day 22 heroes who served their nation honorably commit suicide because our government has marginalized them.

Things get worse outside our borders.  Around the world millions of people suffer from oppression, starvation, and illness.  Are they marginalized?

Slavery is still practiced in some parts of the world.  Would you call people in chains marginalized?

Around the world millions of young girls are denied even a basic education and future opportunities because of their gender.  Would you call these girls marginalized?

In India remnants of the caste system still isolate people and sometimes lead to violence.  Are the lower castes marginalized?

No kiddies, you’re not marginalized; you’re spoiled brats; pawns of a president who has divided the nation; and products of a public school system that creates an illusion that the world is “fair” by awarding everyone for showing up, so here’s a reality check:

No one “owes” you anything.  You already have more opportunity than most of your peers.  If you don’t take advantage of it you have no one to blame but yourselves.

You may “owe” if your actions incur costs to the school or it’s students.  If you really believe in your agenda, take responsibility for it’s consequences.

Your right to whine doesn’t suspend the right of serious students to get the education they’re paying for.

If people ignore you it’s because you’re experiencing equality.  As I said in a previous article, the US will have achieved equality when no one talks about it any more.  Special treatment isn’t equality.

College isn’t a prison and no one is forcing you to be there.  If you hate it that much you’re free to leave.  Maybe you should.

Micro-aggression: The Latest Tactic Against Free Speech

Just when you thought political correctness couldn’t get any worse, it has.  Young liberals have coined the term “micro-aggression” to refer to anything that they might find “offensive” or contrary to their hardened socialist beliefs. There’s an underlying evil to this apparent stupidity. By incorporating the word “aggression” they’re implying that any challenge to their beliefs constitutes a real threat.  Once a challenge becomes a threat legal action is possible: action to restrict free speech.  If someone says they’ll “punch you out” it’s a threat and you can report it to the police but if someone disagrees with your opinion it’s not. Let’s look at three examples of how they want to change that.

  1. Students at numerous colleges have sought to block screening of the movie “American Sniper” because it might offend Muslims, pacifists, and those who hate the troops who defend their right to say dumb things.   If students were forced to attend they might have a gripe, but they’re not. The rational action is simple: if you don’t want to see the movie, don’t go. That’s not enough for these tyrants who demand the tolerance they’re unwilling to give . Their view is that if they don’t like it no one should see it, so it’s basically 21st century book burning. What about students who respect our military or who just like good action movies? Curiously enough these same students won’t unite to protest the brutal Islamic State that has murdered and enslaved thousands and destroyed the cultural heritage of a nation.
  2. Students at one college rallied to block Chick-Fil-A from campus on the grounds that it’s micro-aggression against the LGBT community. Again, if you don’t want to eat there, don’t, but respect the rights of many who think that’s the best fast food chicken around. “Choice” isn’t just for abortion, kiddies.
  3. Now for the worst case. Students at a college said they “didn’t feel safe” because a conservative speaker had been invited to talk. This brings the word “aggression” into sharp focus. They’re equating a speaker to a shooter. College is supposed to be an opportunity for exposure to different ideas but these students reject that concept.   Obviously the liberal public school system has provided plenty of indoctrination to turn them into wimps.

There’s a joke that says anything liberals like should be free and anything they don’t like should be banned. To some it’s not a joke.

UPDATE: Our progressive administration has jumped on this bandwagon.  The National Science Foundation (NSF) is spending over a half million tax dollars to film engineering students in college labs to determine if male students are causing “micro-aggressions” to female students.  I guess “shrimp on a treadmill” wasn’t enough.

Wherefore Art Thou, Shakespeare?

Common Core reduces the reading of classics in English classes so students will spend more time reading “factual material”.  Isn’t that what they’re supposed to be reading in science and history classes?  Here are five good reasons to keep reading the classics in school:

  1. They develop critical thinking skills, i.e., how to think, not just what to think. When students have to struggle with “Hamlet” it’s good for their developing brains. Students also learn that “classic” doesn’t have to mean boring. “Moby Dick” is an adventure tale, “Macbeth” is as gruesome as a modern vampire story, and “Wuthering Heights” is a dramatic romance novel.  Young people won’t learn much about life on a sailing ship by watching “Pirates of the Caribbean” but they can read a first-hand account in Dana’s “Two Years Before the Mast”. There’s something for everyone.
  2. Through these books students learn how authors of the past dealt with many of the same problems people face today, and how attitudes have changed. They provide opportunities for assignments on comparisons of different works.
  3. Students learn history while learning about the authors. How did the authors live in classical Greece, Elizabethan England, or pre-revolutionary Russia? The stories themselves yield insight as to what life was like at the time. Mark Twain’s books have been criticized as racist but that’s how society was during his life. Denying the past doesn’t change it, it just makes people unable to understand the present.
  4. The classics can stimulate imagination and imagination is part of a healthy childhood. Imagination also stimulates creativity and creativity has been the foundation of US advancement in fields like technology.
  5. The classics provide a link to our past, our culture, and our heritage.       Progressives like to deny that the USA has a unique cultural heritage, but it does. Extremists throughout the ages have burned books in an effort to erase the past and we’re seeing it happen even today in the Mideast. While the classics can’t be erased by burning they can be marginalized by dismissal.

As for that “factual material”, who determines what it is?  If students are reading about how the Large Hadron Collider is used to research elementary particles they’re studying factual material that belongs in physics class.  If they’re reading about “white privilege” they’re reading a leftist theory about why the world is so “unfair”.  Indoctrination is not education. Some of the new material isn’t factual at all, it’s fiction, specifically science fiction. Schools intend to add reading science fiction novels related to climate change, a genre named “cli-fi”. This doesn’t teach kids meteorology or Earth Science, it prepares them to vote for progressive Democrats as soon as they’re old enough to vote.

Common Core is designed to transform schools so that they will turn out obedient workers.  That’s how school works in China, where students learn to be productive workers but to always think “inside the box”.  So where’s the creativity?  They may make various Apple products but those products were conceived and designed by creative people here in the USA.  An immigrant from China recently remarked that Common Core looks a lot like the Chinese school system.  If you think that J.S. Mill’s warning about public schools is old fashioned you might want to heed the words of this present day immigrant.  Common Core is one more step to subordinating the individual to the collective, that’s all.

Assignment 1: Christopher Marlowe was a contemporary of Shakespeare. If you haven’t read his “Doctor Faustus”, do so.

Because We Can, That’s Why.

Why do wealthy liberal elitists seek to undermine or destroy our way of life?  Because they can!

George Soros is one of the richest men in the world.  He made his fortune under our capitalist system.  He hates this country.  He supports as many liberal and socialist causes that he can find and thinks the US should surrender sovereignty to international agencies.  He is the principal architect of the “New World Order”.  So why does someone who began life as a poor Hungarian and worked his way up as many others have done hate the USA?  Who knows.  Maybe he resents his insider trading conviction.  Maybe it’s his belief that that he’s a “Messiah” of some type.

He’s certainly not the only one who “made it” in capitalism and then decided to help impose socialism on the nation.  Hollywood celebrities routinely donate to far left causes.  Former NYC mayor Bloomberg would deny people the right to defend themselves, even in their own homes, yet he’s surrounded by bodyguards.  He also wants to control what you eat.  Mark Zuckerberg is another anti-gun open-border billionaire who enjoys the protection of 16 bodyguards!  Bill Gates, though his investment in Common Core, has sought to buy the US education system and transform it into a factory to turn out obedient workers.  President Obama wants to raise our taxes, lower our standard of living, and flood the country with illegal immigrants who will eventually be granted citizenship and vote Democratic.

Celebrities who campaign against climate change are also hypocrites.  Someone who owns three mansions, six cars, a yacht, and travels by private jet has no right to criticize anyone else’s carbon footprint.  If they believe the masses should be herded into high rise hovels let them lead by example.

The common theme is that these elitists will never have to suffer under whatever they manage to impose on society.  They will always have their gated communities, bodyguards, and evasion-trained chauffeurs.  They will enjoy fine dinners prepared by personal chefs.  They will always have their concierge doctors and personal trainers.  Their children will enjoy private schools and exclusive colleges.  If a recession wipes out middle class savings they will still have more money than they can spend in a lifetime.  Yes, there are wealthy conservatives too but most of them support the Constitution more than the UN.

The New World Order is not a democracy; it’s actually a return to the Middle Ages when the masses lived in servitude for their wealthy lords.  It’s government of the elite, by the elite, and for the elite.  It’s the antithesis of why this country was born and it is not the way this country should die.

The Rich Elite Will Always Live Above the Messes They Cause for the Masses.

Update:  Billionaire Bloomberg is spending millions on local efforts to impose punitive taxes on sugary sodas.  There’s little difference between a punitive tax and a government official pointing a gun at you.  Notice that Bloomberg never campaigns for higher taxes on billionaires.