Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Abortion undermines the very principle of inalienable rights

original article: Why All Libertarians Should Be Pro-Life
January 26, by James Silberman

To justify their support for abortion, many small-government advocates cite their desire to see the state’s influence in our lives decrease. For example, the Libertarian Party platform on abortion says “government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.” However, this position is irreconcilable with the philosophy of liberty. To begin deriving why, we first must understand the ideological foundation for our rights.

There are two, and only two, possible sources of our freedoms. Either they come from the state’s generosity, in which case the state can rightfully confiscate them, or they are naturally assigned to each of us through being human, in which case they are inalienable and cannot rightfully be confiscated by the state. America’s founders were among the first in human history to acknowledge the latter as the source of our freedoms and implement that revolutionary idea into law.

It Starts with Unalienable Rights

The implications of this philosophical development are far-reaching. It not only means that government cannot rightfully deprive us of certain liberties, but also that it cannot treat individuals differently. Because we are equal in the eyes of our Creator, we must then be equal in the eyes of the law. The rights to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, those rights listed in the Bill of Rights, and the rest of the unenumerated rights are guaranteed to all of us equally. The government does not have the authority to give these rights to some while withholding them from others.

If our rights are inalienable, that means the role of government is to protect those rights. Once the concept of inalienable rights is accepted, government becomes a project we all share to ensure each person’s rights and freedoms are upheld. If any of these rights are withheld from any of us, government is obliged to step in and restore those rights to that individual.

However, abortion supporters uphold a different foundation for the endowment of rights. They used to argue that a preborn child was not a human person, but science has proven that objectively false, so they have been forced to apply a different argument. To them, the rights to life and liberty aren’t inalienable. These rights are assigned to each of us by our mother, father, grandparents, abortionist, or anyone else who has influence in the decision to abort or not abort us. Because those people assign those rights to us, they can rightfully deprive us of the right to life and liberty.

This fundamental difference is a direct threat to liberty because it is attempting to shift the foundation of where our rights come from. Abortion undermines the very principle of inalienable rights, which should scare all lovers of liberty, along with anyone who claims to be an advocate of human rights.

Each Individual Has Rights

No one owns anyone else. Not if you conquered them, not if you bought them, and not if they currently reside in your body. None of us are God. None of us gets to assign or withhold the inalienable rights to life and liberty from anyone else who is scientifically human. This aspect of libertarianism is crucial to the consistency of all libertarian thought. (The only exception to the absolute nature of these rights is self-defense. One can take a life if it is for the purpose of protecting oneself or someone else from imminent danger.)

It’s no secret that libertarians, conservatives, and all kinds of small-government advocates are losing the battle for the soul of the country. The expansion of government seems unstoppable, and those who speak out against progressives are mercilessly harassed. If we’re going to regain ground, we can’t be content to fight petty battles as the entire rug is swept out beneath us. We must restore the foundation of the concept of inalienable rights. If a government dictates who gets the right to life and who doesn’t, it does so from an ideological foundation of state-assigned rights. This ideology is an existential threat to liberty.

Conservatism, and especially libertarianism, comes from the idea that rights are natural consequences of human existence. As Ron Paul put it, “Everybody has an absolute equal right as an individual, and it comes to them naturally.” If we cede to the Left, including left-leaning “libertarians,” the idea that our rights aren’t naturally endowed, that rights are assigned to us from the generosity of our rulers, we will have lost the philosophical foundation for the entire spectrum of limited government ideology.

If we don’t fight to restore this foundation of our rights, government growth is inevitable and, detached from any philosophical anchor, puts us squarely on the road to serfdom. Whether libertarians like it or not, fighting for the philosophical foundation of liberty necessarily includes fighting for the right to life of the unborn.

abortion, culture, freedom, government, ideology, philosophy, unintended consequences

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Filed under: abortion, culture, freedom, government, ideology, philosophy, unintended consequences

If voter fraud isn’t real, please explain this

original article: Voter Fraud Is Real. Here’s The Proof
October 13, 2016 by John Gibbs

Data suggests millions of voter registrations are fraudulent or invalid. That’s enough to tip an election, easily.

This week, liberals have been repeating their frequent claim that voter fraud doesn’t exist. A recent Salon article argues that “voter fraud just isn’t a problem in Pennsylvania,” despite evidence to the contrary. Another article argues that voter fraud is entirely in the imagination of those who use voter ID laws to deny minorities the right to vote.

Yet as the election approaches, more and more cases of voter fraud are beginning to surface. In Colorado, multiple instances were found of dead people attempting to vote. Stunningly, “a woman named Sara Sosa who died in 2009 cast ballots in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.” In Virginia, it was found that nearly 20 voter applications were turned in under the names of dead people.

In Texas, authorities are investigating criminals who are using the technique of “vote harvesting” to illegally procure votes for their candidates. “Harvesting” is the practice of illegally obtaining the signatures of valid voters in order to vote in their name without their consent for the candidate(s) the criminal supports.

These are just some instances of voter fraud we know about. It would be silly to assume cases that have been discovered are the only cases of fraud. Indeed according to a Pew Charitable Trust report from February 2012, one in eight voter registrations are “significantly inaccurate or no longer valid.” Since there are 146 million Americans registered to vote, this translates to a stunning 18 million invalid voter registrations on the books. Further, “More than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters, and approximately 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state.” Numbers of this scale obviously provide ripe opportunity for fraud.

Don’t Let Data Contradict My Narrative

Yet in spite of all this, a report by the Brennan Center at New York University claims voter fraud is a myth. It argues that North Carolina, which passed comprehensive measures to prevent voter fraud, “failed to identify even a single individual who has ever been charged with committing in-person voter fraud in North Carolina.” However, this faulty reasoning does not point to the lack of in-person voter fraud, but rather to lack of enforcement mechanisms to identify and prosecute in-person voter fraud.

The science of criminal justice tells us that many crimes go unreported, and the more “victimless” the crime, the more this happens. The fact is, a person attempting to commit voter fraud is very unlikely to be caught, which increases the incentive to commit the crime.

The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) is a sophisticated, comprehensive effort to catalog “the number and types of crimes not reported to law enforcement authorities.” However, it tends to deal mostly in violent crimes. As complex as the NCVS is, gathering accurate data for unreported victimless crimes such as voter fraud is even harder, since 1) outside of the criminal, no one may know a crime has taken place, and 2) there is no direct victim to report the crime in the first place. Yet we are expected to believe that, unlike violent crime, voter fraud is limited only to the cases that are actually reported and prosecuted? This is a senseless position.

Further, the Brennan Center report argues that because prosecutor Kris Kobach’s review of 84 million votes cast in 22 states found only 14 instances of fraud referred for prosecution (which amounts to a 0.00000017 percent fraud rate), voter fraud is so statistically small that it’s a non-issue. Let’s follow this logic. Does the fact that 109 people were cited for jaywalking in Seattle in 2009 mean that only 109 people jaywalked in Seattle that year? Does the fact that 103,733 people were cited for driving without a seatbelt in Tennessee in 2015 mean that only that many people were driving without seatbelt in Tennessee in 2015?

Absolutely not. This can be proven easily because in 2014, the previous year, only 29,470 people were cited. The disparity is largely due to increased enforcement efforts in 2015. In other words, increasing enforcement of the crime revealed a much larger number of people committing the crime.

The exact same is true for voter fraud. We have no reason to believe that the low number of prosecutions means only that exact amount of voter fraud is happening. Rather, it could mean a lack of enforcement is failing to reveal the bulk of the violations that are occurring. Thus, as with many types of crimes, especially victimless crimes, the real number of cases is likely significantly higher than the number reported.

How to Effectively Target Voter Fraud

So now that we know voter fraud is a serious issue, what are some solutions to this problem? States like Michigan have Poll Challenger programs, where observers from both parties may be present at voter check-in tables at precincts. They check each voter’s ID against a database of registered voters for that precinct to ensure the person attempting to vote is actually legally qualified to vote in that precinct. If there’s a discrepancy, the poll challenger may officially challenge the ballot. Other states should implement similar programs.

States should sponsor initiatives to remove dead voters and correct the registrations of people registered in multiple states (make them choose just one state). Since many local jurisdictions are reluctant to clean their voter rolls, federal or state oversight with teeth may be necessary.

Further, voter ID laws, such as the one implemented by North Carolina, but (wrongly) struck down by three liberal judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit— one appointed by Bill Clinton and the other two appointed by President Obama—are needed to ensure there’s no cheating with votes. States should continue to press the issue regardless of recent setbacks by liberal activist judges.

Finally, some have claimed that strong voter ID laws are racist, because they disproportionately impact minorities and would prevent minorities from voting. As a black person, I’m naturally interested in this claim. Thankfully, it turns out to be false. The Heritage Foundation has shown that black voter turnout actually increased after North Carolina passed its voter ID law.

Not only was the claimed negative outcome false, but the reasoning was faulty as well. The fact that the law disproportionately impacts minorities does not mean that it is discriminatory. It means, unfortunately, that fewer minorities are in compliance with common-sense safeguards to protect the integrity of our elections (i.e., having a driver’s license or photo ID).

To mitigate this concern, states can offer a service that will take people without valid ID to their local government office to apply for proper ID, free of charge. Users could schedule the pickup with their smartphone or a phone call. That way there will be as few barriers as possible to those who want to vote and are capable of obtaining a valid ID, but cannot due to transportation concerns (a reason often given by those who claim voter ID laws hurt minorities).

So let us not believe false claims that voter fraud doesn’t exist. It’s real, and we must work to stop it, while making sure those who are eligible to vote but without proper ID are accommodated fairly.


When voter fraud doesn’t count as fraud (because the perpetrators say so)

corruption, cover up, criminal, elections, ethics, fraud, ideology, pandering, political correctness, politics, scandal, voter fraud

Filed under: corruption, cover up, criminal, elections, ethics, fraud, ideology, pandering, political correctness, politics, scandal, voter fraud

Two recent incidents of violence against women

We are supposed to believe progressives/liberals fight for equality, women’s rights, and oppose violence against women. Consider this.

At the recent women’s march in Washington, D.C. The Rebel Media recorded a video of a male member of the march assaulting a conservative woman.

Rebel reporter assaulted at Women’s March — $1,000 reward to find him

You’ll see in the video the perp is male, the assault happens against a women, and the assault occurs in the midst of the protest (plenty of progressives/liberals present as witnesses). And how do the perp’s fellow protesters respond? By protecting HIM! Watch the video for yourself.

At West Virginia University we have another video of another leftist assaulting another woman.

Leftist student physically attacks conservatives after botched debate meeting

The hate this guy harbors is painfully obvious. Watch the video.

And what should we expect from the progressives/liberals who learn of these two incidents of violence against women? Nothing other than the same reaction we saw in the 1990’s when a certain president was sexually harassing and abusing women all over the place – total hypocrisy. Feminism looks like a fraud when it protects men who do the very things these women claim they oppose.

Political correctness and social justice are not about justice or fairness or equality. They are about the anti-diversity left wing agenda of sameness, driven and defined by powerful agenda makers. The common folk do indeed have power but not the kind of power they think they have. They are being led down a road I suspect many of them would reject if only they could see where it takes them.

The ultra left (which now seems to be the mainstream left) only selectively cares about women and violence against women and women’s rights. Reasonable leftists (if there are any) need to know about this stuff. If anyone has a chance of pulling the leftwing of the political spectrum from its extremes back toward the center it is reasonable leftists. Please spread the word whenever anything like this happens.

abuse, bias, bigotry, bullies, culture, ethics, extremism, feminism, fraud, hate crime, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, political correctness, progressive, scandal, victimization, video

Filed under: abuse, bias, bigotry, bullies, culture, ethics, extremism, feminism, fraud, hate crime, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, political correctness, progressive, scandal, victimization, video

If Black Genocide were shown on BET, Black Lives Matter would be attacking abortion clinics

original article: One of Margaret Sanger’s Pals Ran a Concentration Camp That Killed Black People
October 14, 2016 by JASON JONES & JOHN ZMIRAK

It’s a pro-life commonplace that The American Birth Control League, founded by Margaret Sanger 100 years ago and later rechristened Planned Parenthood, had ties to eugenicists and racists. This is not quite right. It’s like saying that the NBA has ties to professional sports. The birth control movement and the eugenics movement were the same movement — to the point where Margaret Sanger twice tried to merge her organization with major eugenics groups.

One eugenics expert, Eugen Fischer, whom Sanger featured as a speaker at a population conference she organized, had already run a concentration camp — in German-ruled Southwest Africa, before World War I, where he murdered, starved and experimented on helpless native Africans. It was Fischer’s book on eugenics, which Hitler had read in prison, that convinced Hitler of its central importance. Another longtime official of Planned Parenthood, Garrett Hardin, had a decades-long track record of serving in eugenics organizations, and as late as the 1980s was calling for mass forced sterilization of Americans as a necessary solution to the “population problem.”

The same people served on the boards of the American Eugenics Society and Sanger’s organizations for decades, and they worked closely together on countless projects — ranging from researching the birth control pill as a means of diminishing the African-American birth rate (they tested the early, hazardous versions of the Pill on impoverished rural women in Puerto Rico), to passing forced sterilization or castration laws in more than a dozen states that targeted blacks and other poor people accused of “feeble mindedness” or “shiftlessness” and diagnosed as “unfit” parents. Today, Planned Parenthood sets up its centers in America’s poorest neighborhoods, and continues to target the same populations via abortion.

Maafa 21: Black Genocide

That’s the appalling truth uncovered in a neglected 2014 documentary which we feature here at The Stream as part of our #100forLife campaign. Maafa 21: Black Genocide gets its odd title from the Swahili word for slavery, and it is this film’s contention that the eugenics movement in America began in the panic which white racists felt at the end of slavery over what should be done to solve what some called the “Negro problem.” It’s a long, harrowing film, which you should watch in small doses — treating it as a miniseries. And keep a box of Kleenex handy, because you will weep.

Produced by the pro-life apostolate Life Dynamics with a mostly black cast of narrators and commentators, this film claims that Planned Parenthood and other organizations and government programs that target the poor and try to block their reproduction are the 21st century’s answer to the Ku Klux Klan — which was founded by white Southern elites to keep down the “unruly” ranks of freed black slaves.

It’s a shocking assertion, but one that the filmmakers prove beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt, citing name after name, giving racist quote after racist quote, showing that Sanger personally approved the publication of outrageous and cruel claims of the genetic inferiority of millions of Americans, especially blacks, and calling for their forced sterilization, and the cut-off of welfare benefits and even private charity, to stop the “unfit” from reproducing themselves. Then she took part in promoting policies that turned this evil, utopian program of social engineering into binding American laws. One of the leading advocates for the legalization of abortion in the 1960s and 70s was Planned Parenthood, run by her appointees and later by her grandson, Alexander Sanger.

Margaret Sanger Worked with White Supremacists for Decades

The board of Margaret Sanger’s organization and others where she served as an officer, the authors she published in The Birth Control Review, the conferences she sponsored, and the people to whom Planned Parenthood gave awards well into the 1960s and 70s, are a Who’s Who of the ugliest, most paranoid misanthropic elitists and white racists of the 20th century — apart from those who were thankfully hanged at Nuremburg. After those trials, when “eugenics” had acquired a well-deserved taint, these same American elitists used the exaggerated threat of “overpopulation” to peddle the desperate need to control other people’s fertility, if need be by forced sterilization — a policy which Sanger had advocated since 1934.

The eugenicists, self-appointed experts on human quality of life, had peddled their theories not just in Britain and America but in Germany, where they helped to directly inspire Nazi sterilization and extermination programs aimed at the handicapped, Jews, and the small population of black or mixed race Germans — children of French colonial troops whom Hitler considered a grave menace to “Aryan” racial “hygiene.” One of Sanger’s regular authors in The Birth Control Review wrote in a U.S. newspaper in the 1930s defending the forced sterilization of such mixed-race children, for the sake of Germany’s “health.”

Hitler’s Bible, by Sanger’s Friend

Friends and associates of Sanger (such as Harry Laughlin) accepted awards from Nazi-controlled universities, visited with Hitler and Himmler, and boasted that the forced sterilization programs which they had instituted in America were used as models by the Germans. One author who served on Sanger’s board and published regularly in The Birth Control Review was Lothrop Stoddard, a high official of the Massachusetts Ku Klux Klan, whose book The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy, Adolf Hitler cited in Mein Kampf as “my bible.”

Ota_Benga_at_Bronx_Zoo

Nor were the eugenicists isolated cranks. Their ranks include Harvard professors, mainline Protestant clergymen, prominent conservationists for whom entire animal species are named, and Gilded Age plutocrats. Much of the funding for eugenics organizations came from the Carnegie Corporation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, writing his opinion that the forced sterilization of a supposedly “feeble-minded” woman in Virginia was constitutional, infamously said that “three generations of imbeciles are enough.” His views were echoed by President Teddy Roosevelt, as the film proves with quotations. It also recounts how a Sanger ally Madison Grant, a prominent Darwin apostle and eugenicist, helped to exhibit Ota Benga, an African pygmy, in a cage with an orangutan for ten days at New York City’s Bronx Zoo, to “illustrate evolution.” Mr. Benga took his own life ten years later.

The eugenicists’ arrogant certainty that, because they had inherited money and power, they were genetically superior to the rest of the human race, found in Charles Darwin’s theories an ideal pretext and a program: to take the survival of the fittest and make it happen faster, by stopping the “unfit” from breeding. The goal, in Margaret Sanger’s own words, was “More Children from the Fit, Fewer from the Unfit.” Instead of seeing the poor as victims of injustice or targets for Christian charity, the materialism these elitists took from Darwin assured them that the poor were themselves the problem — that they were inferior, deficient and dangerous down to the marrow of their bones.

“Feeble-Minded” and “Shiftless” Blacks

The targets of this campaign in America were poor people, the unemployed, non-English-speaking immigrants, but most of all African-Americans. This vulnerable population, composed largely of ex-slaves and their children, was identified in the 1880s as a “threat” to the “racial health” and progress of the United States, by followers of Francis Galton — first cousin of Charles Darwin, heir to a slave-trading fortune, and inventor of the “science” of eugenics. These people had been exploited for centuries as free labor, denied education for fear of fomenting rebellion, and excluded from most of the economy. Now the eugenicists blamed the victims, black Americans, for their desperate social conditions, claiming that they were the natural result of blacks’ “defective germ plasm,” which posed a threat to America akin to a deadly virus.

The forced sterilization laws which Sanger and her allies passed were used to sterilize at least 60,000 Americans, but perhaps as many as 200,000, on the pretext that young women who became pregnant out of wedlock were “feeble-minded,” “immoral” or “socially useless” parasites — all rhetoric that Sanger personally used in her books, articles, and at least one speech before a Ku Klux Klan rally, as she recounts in her memoir.

tony-riddick-150x150

Maafa 21 interviews Elaine Riddick, who was raped at age 13 and became pregnant. As she lay in the hospital waiting to deliver the baby, welfare officials from the state of North Carolina warned her illiterate grandparents that if they didn’t sign the consent form to have her irreversibly sterilized, the state would cut off their welfare benefits. They scrawled an “X” on the government form, and Elaine was sterilized without her knowledge. She only learned what had been done to her five years later, when welfare officials explained that she was too “feeble-minded” to care for a child “or even tie my own shoes,” as she recounts. Elaine was sterilized in 1968. The last such “eugenic” forced sterilization in the U.S. took place in 1983.

While Elaine never went to high school, she went on and finished college, and the one child which the United States government had permitted her to have — Tony Riddick, a child of rape — now runs his own successful company. Harry Laughlin, the eugenicist who helped pass the law that sterilized Elaine, died without any children.

abortion, abuse, bullies, elitism, ethics, eugenics, extremism, feminism, government, hate crime, history, ideology, left wing, nanny state, oppression, progressive, public policy, racism, racist, scandal, tragedy, victimization, video

Filed under: abortion, abuse, bullies, elitism, ethics, eugenics, extremism, feminism, government, hate crime, history, ideology, left wing, nanny state, oppression, progressive, public policy, racism, racist, scandal, tragedy, victimization, video

Permit required to exercise constitutional rights

In all the voter ID objections I’ve heard the most prominent is the idea that no permit or ID should be required to exercise our constitutional right to vote – because it’s a constitutional right.

Keep in mind, our right to keep and bear arms is blatantly spelled out in the constitution but for some reason requiring permits for that meets little objection from the voter ID opponents. If being a constitutional right is in and of itself reason enough to oppose the requirement of a permit shouldn’t that apply to the second amendment as well as the right to vote? Most voter ID opponents have weak reasons for their objection but I actually like the argument that constitutional rights ought not require permits. Of course, when abuse occurs an intervention seems almost inevitable.

There are certainly reasonable limits to all our rights. For example, felons do not have the right to keep or bear firearms nor do they have the right to vote. The right to vote has an age limit, where one must be at least 18 years old before it becomes one’s right. But free speech is an entirely different matter. There seems to be two different standards on speech.

If you ever wondered what the next step would be after limiting the constitutional right of free speech to “speech zones” Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, MI has the answer: free speech permits. Yes, in the name of diversity and inclusion, institutions of higher education are pushing the oppressive absurdities even further without recognizing the irony of their own actions. Not only are college students often limited as to where they can express their opinions but apparently they must also have obtained official approval from the institution. KCC is not the only one.

So the next time someone complains about voter ID laws (supposedly an example of right wing extremism), ask them about gun rights and free speech rights, both of which are highly regulated and limited by left wing extremism.

abuse, bureaucracy, corruption, culture, diversity, education, extremism, free speech, freedom, hypocrisy, ideology, left wing, liberalism, oppression, political correctness, progressive, public policy, relativism, scandal

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How to be anti-science while pretending to be pro-science – a look at abortion rights

For years you’ve believed telescopes helped us learn those white fuzzy lights in the night sky are stars and galaxies. You’ve believed math showed us the universe is intelligible. And you thought ultrasounds showed a heartbeat of the child growing in the womb.

Well, surprise, all that might just be anti-science! The Atlantic has a new article written by Moira Weigel telling us ultrasounds in fact don’t show us a heartbeat, that such an idea is just an illusion. Keep in mind she is not a scientist, but she’s a woman so she can comment as if she were a scientific expert. According to Weigel, you shouldn’t believe your eyes when you see an ultrasound of a pregnancy (which is real time imagery of what’s going on inside the womb).

Contrast Weigel’s article with a recent scientific study in Nature showing the autonomous nature of the embryo from its inception. The study reveals new knowledge on the nature of the human condition, with implications on questions of human life and reproductive rights. Another woman, Ana Maria Dumitru, writing for Public Discourse, wrote a piece on this study. If Weigel, a woman getting a doctoral degree in comparative literature is qualified to write on the scientific nature of the subject of abortion, surely Dumitru (a fifth-year MD/PhD candidate at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College) is qualified to do the same.

Weigel’s article appears to be an anti-science diatribe attempting to get you to dismiss what you see with your own eyes, urging you to dismiss the evidence and focus on the politically correct opinion to hold (that a woman’s right to kill her unborn child is sacred). Dumitru has some interesting and far more reasonable insights on abortion, bioethics, and science (such as the interchangeability of concepts like autonomy and personhood) and attempts to show how a Planned Parenthood type ideology actually corrupts one’s view of the evidence and indoctrinates even scientists. Give her article a read.

Science, Embryonic Autonomy, and the Question of When Life Begins, by Ana Maria Dumitru.

abortion, corruption, culture, ethics, ideology, indoctrination, medicine, political correctness, pro-life, relativism, science, scientists

Filed under: abortion, corruption, culture, ethics, ideology, indoctrination, medicine, political correctness, pro-life, relativism, science, scientists

So you think Planned Parenthood provides prenatal care?

Published on Jan 23, 2017
“Planned Parenthood offers abortions, so they don’t offer prenatal care.” Though Planned Parenthood claims that women depend on them for prenatal care, Live Action investigators had an incredibly hard time finding facilities that offered prenatal care—though they found plenty of facilities offering abortions.

5 Out of 97 Planned Parenthood Facilities Provide Prenatal Care

abortion, babies, ethics, false, fraud, indoctrination, lies, scandal, video

Filed under: abortion, babies, ethics, false, fraud, indoctrination, lies, scandal, video

Scholars warn higher ed seized by leftist indoctrination

original article: Scholars warn higher ed seized by leftist indoctrination – but debate on fixing it unresolved
January 23, 2017 by KATE HARDIMAN

A new report suggests left-leaning professors have transformed the teaching of traditional civics with an emphasis on activism, creating a pipeline of students eager to serve the goals of secular-progressive causes.

But how best to fix the problem is one area that remains unsettled among some scholars.

“Making Citizens: How American Universities Teach Civics” argues that “instead of teaching college students the foundations of law, liberty, and self-government, colleges teach students how to organize protests, occupy buildings, and stage demonstrations.”

Universities in America have redefined civics to mean “progressive political activism,” and the notion of a “good citizen” is now synonymous with “radical activist,” according to the report, recently published by the National Association of Scholars, a right-of-center academic watchdog group.

After surveying curricula at four major universities as a case study the report finds they are teaching fewer traditional civics classes while placing a greater emphasis on directing free student labor to progressive organizations in large part through the rise of “service learning” and “community engagement” courses.

“The New Civics seeks above all to make students into enthusiastic supporters of the New Left’s dream of ‘fundamentally transforming’ America,” the report states, adding pet causes pushed include environmentalism, socialism, identity politics, expanding government bureaucracy, and teaching students to essentially despise America’s founding.

“I was most startled that a number of these service learning professors cited Maoist China as one of their models for instruction,” David Randall, the association’s director of communications and report author, told The College Fix in a phone interview.

Randall said the new way of teaching civics is “grossly politicized,” adding “this is a reason for the public to be alarmed.”

He pointed to a specific example at Pomona College where a service learning course, and its funding, contributed to an anti-Trump rally.

Joy Pullman, an education pundit writing on the report at The Federalist, defines this new civics as “actually anti-civics: it teaches students how to be bad citizens, how to dismantle rather than preserve and improve their country.”

“New Civics teaches young people to revolt against the country that, among other things, educated them, provided for their security against foreign aggressors, and secured liberties most people in the world never had and still don’t have: freedom of speech, freedom of association, the right to a representative government dependent on citizen consent,” according to Pullman.

Reaction to the report has been mixed. Some agree it should sound alarm bells.

“It’s well-known that America’s K-12 schools are mediocre, when compared to the grammar schools of other countries. Less well known is just how mediocre our colleges are. The NAS report helps us understand why that is,” law professor Francis Buckley of George Mason University’s Scalia Law School told The College Fix via email.

But others are concerned about the report’s remedial recommendations, which include a coordinated civic literacy curriculum at the high school and college levels, a required course in traditional American civics, and a mandate that the traditional civics requirement be met only through classroom instruction. The report also suggests cutting all federal and state funding for service-learning and civic engagement at the university level.

Such recommendations pose “a severe threat to academic freedom because government officials would be imposing their judgments on college campuses rather than allowing universities to do what they think is best,” author and co-editor of Academe blog, John Wilson, told The College Fix via email.

“It’s particularly disturbing because the NAS wants the government to destroy purely voluntary programs of civic education that no students are forced to participate in,” Wilson said.

NAS’ Randall said he disagrees such oversight would hurt academic freedom.

“A state government has the right to determine what is being taught in a civics class. The setting of the syllabus is a matter appropriately governed by the state authorities,” he said. “The most basic thing is that I don’t believe the method, service-learning, has educational value. I think it is within the government’s right to provide funding only to those courses and programs that it believes have educational value.”

Another critique of the report came by way of respected law Professor Stanley Fish, who suggests the association’s call for the promotion of virtuous citizenship is akin to a political goal, much like the progressive left’s goals.

“Fostering intellectual freedom? Yes! Search for truth? Yes! Promotion of virtuous citizenship? No! Promoting virtuous citizenship is no doubt a worthy goal, but it is not an academic goal, because, like the programs the report derides, it is a political goal,” Fish argued in a Chronicle of Higher Education piece titled “Citizen Formation is Not Our Job.”

Meanwhile, some university officials have defended themselves in the wake of the report.

For example, a top official at the University of Colorado at Boulder, one of the institutions focused on in the study, has issued a statement calling the NAS report “an opinion piece” and taking issue with the characterization of CU Boulder.

“CU Boulder offers students the chance to choose from a wide variety of classes and community experiences — from courses in Western civilization to working with local K-12 students experiencing poverty and homelessness,” Provost Russell Moore stated. “Our faculty, as required by regent law and academic custom, have developed a high-quality, balanced curriculum that helps us to shape tomorrow’s leaders and positively impact humanity.”

bias, corruption, culture, education, government, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oversight, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, relativism, scandal, study

Filed under: bias, corruption, culture, education, government, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oversight, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, relativism, scandal, study

Billion$ spent to fix failing schools; fail

original article: Obama administration spent billions to fix failing schools, and it didn’t work
January 19, 2017 by Emma Brown

One of the Obama administration’s signature efforts in education, which pumped billions of federal dollars into overhauling the nation’s worst schools, failed to produce meaningful results, according to a federal analysis.

Test scores, graduation rates and college enrollment were no different in schools that received money through the School Improvement Grants program — the largest federal investment ever targeted to failing schools — than in schools that did not.

The Education Department published the findings on the website of its research division on Wednesday, hours before President Obama’s political appointees walked out the door.

“We’re talking about millions of kids who are assigned to these failing schools, and we just spent several billion dollars promising them things were going to get better,” said Andy Smarick, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who has long been skeptical that the Obama administration’s strategy would work. “Think of what all that money could have been spent on instead.”

The School Improvement Grants program has been around since the administration of President George W. Bush, but it received an enormous boost under Obama. The administration funneled $7 billion into the program between 2010 and 2015 — far exceeding the $4 billion it spent on Race to the Top grants.

The money went to states to distribute to their poorest-performing schools — those with exceedingly low graduation rates, or poor math and reading test scores, or both. Individual schools could receive up to $2 million per year for three years, on the condition that they adopt one of the Obama administration’s four preferred measures: replacing the principal and at least half the teachers, converting into a charter school, closing altogether, or undergoing a “transformation,” including hiring a new principal and adopting new instructional strategies, new teacher evaluations and a longer school day.

The Education Department did not track how the money was spent, other than to note which of the four strategies schools chose.

Arne Duncan, Obama’s education secretary from 2009 to 2016, said his aim was to turn around 1,000 schools every year for five years. “We could really move the needle, lift the bottom and change the lives of tens of millions of underserved children,” Duncan said in 2009.

Duncan often said that the administration’s school-improvement efforts did not get the attention they deserved, overshadowed by more-controversial efforts to encourage states to adopt new standards and teacher evaluations tied to tests.

The school turnaround effort, he told The Washington Post days before he left office in 2016, was arguably the administration’s “biggest bet.”

He and other administration officials sought to highlight individual schools that made dramatic improvements after receiving the money. But the new study released this week shows that, as a large-scale effort, School Improvement Grants failed.

Just a tiny fraction of schools chose the most dramatic measures, according to the new study. Three percent became charter schools, and 1 percent closed. Half the schools chose transformation, arguably the least intrusive option available to them.

“This outcome reminds us that turning around our lowest-performing schools is some of the hardest, most complex work in education and that we don’t yet have solid evidence on effective, replicable, comprehensive school improvement strategies,” said Dorie Nolt, an Education Department spokeswoman.

Nolt emphasized that the study focused on schools that received School Improvement Grants money between 2010 and 2013. The administration awarded a total of $3.5 billion to those schools, most of it stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. “Since then,” she said, “the program has evolved toward greater flexibility in the selection of school improvement models and the use of evidence-based interventions.”

“Here in Massachusetts, it actually took several years to see real improvement in some areas,” Duncan said at the time. “Scores were flat or even down in some subjects and grades for a while. Many people questioned whether the state should hit the brakes on change. But you had the courage to stick with it, and the results are clear to all.”

Smarick said he had never seen such a huge investment produce zero results.

That could end up being a gift, he said, from Duncan to Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary and is a prominent proponent of taxpayer-supported vouchers for private and religious schools.

Results from the School Improvement Grants have shored up previous research showing that pouring money into dysfunctional schools and systems does not work, Smarick said: “I can imagine Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump saying this is exactly why kids need school choice.”

bailout, bureaucracy, crisis, education, funding, government, nanny state, politics, public policy, reform, spending, study, unintended consequences

Filed under: bailout, bureaucracy, crisis, education, funding, government, nanny state, politics, public policy, reform, spending, study, unintended consequences

Democrats demand the status quo in education

original article: Public School Is Often The Most Destructive Institution In American Life
January 18, 2017 by David Harsanyi

There’s something perverse about an ideology that views the disposing of a child in the third trimester of pregnancy as an indisputable right but the desire of parents to choose a school for their kids as “zealotry.”  Watching Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, answer an array of frivolous questions was just another reminder of this warped worldview.

Many liberals, for instance, tell us that racism is one of the most pressing problems in America. And yet few things have hurt African Americans more over the past 40 years than the inner-city public school system. If President Obama is correct, and educational attainment is the key to breaking out of a lower economic strata, then no institution is driving inequality quite as effectively as public schools.

Actually, teachers unions are the only organizations in America that openly support segregated schools. In districts across the country — even ones in cities with some form of limited movement for kids — poor parents, most typically black or Hispanic, are forced to enroll their kids in underperforming schools when there are good ones nearby, sometimes just blocks away.

The National Education Association spent $23 million last cycle alone working to elect politicians to keep low-income Americans right where they are. Public service unions use tax dollars to fund politicians who then turn around and vote for more funding. The worse the schools perform, the more money they demand. In the real world we call this racketeering.

Yet according to Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, it is people like DeVos who are “a grave threat” to the public schools “that made America great.”

Well, for starters, studies consistently show that minority groups in America’s largest cities are lagging in proficiency in reading and math. Most of them are at the bottom 5 percent of schools in their own state. There is only so much an education secretary can accomplish, but being accused of being a “grave threat” to this system is a magnificent endorsement.

And what were Democrats on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee most concerned with? Preserving the status quo. Sen. Elizabeth Warren forced DeVos to admit that she has never led an organization quite like the Education Department (with its nearly $70 billion budget, who has?). For some reason, Warren also made DeVos, a billionaire, admit that she’d never filled out financial aid forms. The Daily Caller News Foundation found that six of the 10 Democrats on the committee had attended private or parochial schools, or have children and grandchildren who do. So what?

Sen. Patty Murray, who has absolutely no understanding or regard for the constitutional limitation on the education department, pushed DeVos to promise that she would not personally defund public schools. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a tireless adversary of the first five amendments of the Constitution (at least), asked DeVos if she thought firearms had any place in or around schools. “I think that’s best left to locales and states to decide,” she replied, before offering a specific concern of a local rural district that Sen. Mike Enzi had moments ago mentioned. Cue: mocking left punditry.

In case you were unaware, Democrats on the committee stressed that DeVos was a Republican appointed by a Republican president who had given money to Republican organizations. They further pointed out that DeVos was a Christian who had given money to Christian organizations (often referred to as “antigay groups”) that didn’t meet with their moral approval.

Mostly though, the liberals on the committee attacked DeVos because she has a history of contributing her own money to help private and Christian schools expand their reach. She also supported school vouchers proponents and public charter schools that open doors to poor kids. Those dollars have likely done more to help minority students than all the committee members’ efforts combined.

As many Americans surely know, rich and middle-class Americans already have school choice. In most places, the whiter the neighborhood the better the school system, and the better the school system the higher the prices of homes, making it impossible for those who aren’t wealthy to escape substandard schools (rural school also often suffer.) This is the status quo Warren, Murphy, and Murray hope to preserve.

Yes, school reform is complicated and challenges vary from place to place. Many have shown improvement. But teachers unions and their allies opposed magnets, charters, home schooling, religious schooling, and virtual schools long before data about the effectiveness of these choices was in, and now long after quality research is indicating their improvement on the union-preferred system.

You can visit heavily Hispanic areas in Denver and watch mothers cry when their kids’ numbers don’t come up in a charter-school lottery. Or you can listen to technocrats in editorial board meetings, whose kids live in prosperous districts or attend private schools, telling you why too many of those parents have a choice.

By the parameters we often judge these sort of things, public schools are racist institutions — even if that’s unintentional. They have an even more destructive effect on communities than all the dumb words and racist (real and imagined) comments that upset the public on a regular basis. It’s not surprising that poll after poll shows minority parents support educational choice. Unfortunately, partisanship allows Democrats to take voters for granted and ignore the issue.

bureaucracy, children, culture, Democrats, diversity, education, elitism, government, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, progressive, public policy, reform, tragedy

Filed under: bureaucracy, children, culture, Democrats, diversity, education, elitism, government, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, progressive, public policy, reform, tragedy

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