Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

College level professor bias

original article: Paper: Professor Bias May Deflate Conservative College Students’ Grades
May 9, 2019 by Joy Pullmann

Conservative students enter college with higher SAT scores and GPAs than liberal students, but by the fourth year of college have lower GPAs than liberal peers, which may be a consequence of institutional bias, finds a new working paper from the University of Arkansas.

Self-identified conservative students saw the biggest grade dip when studying in the humanities and social sciences, none when studying in professional fields, and an extra grade advantage when studying in hard-science fields. The bias was more pronounced at higher-ranked colleges and universities.

“Notwithstanding the GPA advantages held by conservative students in high school, students who support banning racist/sexist speech, and who endorse dissent as critical to the political process (positions typically associated with liberalism) enjoy a relative advantage over their peers,” the paper finds.

The authors controlled for students’ family income, SAT scores, and demographics, and repeatedly caution that the GPA effect is comparatively small, although statistically significant, and may have explanations other than professor bias. For example, since other social science has found conservatives tend to follow rules better and score lower on spontaneity and creativity, perhaps those characteristics make them a poorer fit for college or humanities programs.

Statistical analysis on a large database often used by researchers shows that “by the fourth year of college, liberal students tend to have higher grades than conservative peers: ideological self-placement is the only variable in the model changing direction from high school to college” (emphasis original), write paper authors Matthew Woessner of Penn State, Robert Maranto of U-Arkansas, and Amanda Thompson of the University of Georgia. The working paper from U-Arkansas’s Department of Education Reform has not yet been peer-reviewed nor published in an academic journal, but has been released to generate academic input pre-publication, it states.

The paper includes the graph below, showing that conservative students have the highest overall grades in high school, although lower writing and verbal SAT scores than liberal students. This also could reflect conservatives’ higher compliance levels, political biases in the verbal (less objective) portions of tests, neither, or both. Other research has found that high schools highly value compliance and that K-12 teachers award higher grades to more agreeable students and students more similar to them, which lowers boy’s grades compared to girls.

“Rather than political bias, conservatives might earn lower grades if colleges play to the strengths of liberal students,” the paper says. “Prior work shows that liberals more deeply value independence and the creation of original works, while conservatives more deeply value family life, community, and loyalty (Kelly-Woessner and Woessner 2009; Haidt 2012). In short, one could interpret findings here as suggesting that as institutions, high schools fit the strengths of conservatives while colleges fit the strengths of liberals.”

Or perhaps college culture tends to be anti-conservative. The paper notes later that, in the authors’ field experience, students from rich, secular, liberal families adapted better to campus life than did students from conservative, middle-class homes. It suggests that’s because “students from conservative or religious household might face difficulties in the transition to college, losing the structure and community they enjoyed in high school.”

But it also could be that campus cultures can be actively hostile to family, faith, community, and a well-ordered life. A further indication of this comes later, when the paper discusses how students who support same-sex marriage “tend to feel more valued, and believe that faculty see their potential, show concern, and take an interest in their success” when rating their college experience. Students on the opposite side of the issue tend to say the opposite. This, the paper suggests, “opens the possibility that directly or indirectly, opposition to same sex-marriage contributes to alienation among some students.”

If this is just one indicator of the well-known reality that campuses have a culturally leftist bent, it’s no wonder that conservatives would feel less comfortable and have more difficulty adapting. Since conservatives tend to have better self-organization and perform better in the academically more difficult science fields, perhaps a politically leftist culture is a major hindrance to their adjustment to college life.

If we saw these difficulties among liberal students or minorities, we’d no doubt see op-eds in major newspapers and websites about how campus climates are “chilly” and “hostile” to such young people. Don’t expect that to happen when the difficulties apply more to conservative kids.

While all kids’ GPAs dropped in college compared to high school, the conservative students’ grades dropped more than the liberal students’ did. Other research has found that high school GPAs are the best predictor of college achievement, even better than SAT and ACT scores. Conservative students’ high GPAs also dropped more dramatically for some measures of political conservatism than others, as the graph below from the paper shows.

“[H]olding all else constant, the most liberal student would enjoy a 0.16 point advantage over the most conservative student on a 7 point scale. Given our large sample size [of more than 7,000 students], this difference is statistically significant,” says the paper.

Students’ views on abortion had the strongest relationship with conservatives’ high school to college grade drop, partly because pro-life students had the highest average high school GPAs. At medium to low-prestige higher education institutions, pro-life students’ academic achievement actually increased, but at high-prestige schools their advantage was erased. The reverse happened with students who opposed free speech: they saw higher grades in college than their high school performance would have projected.

“Whereas the advantage enjoyed by pro-life students declines, the advantage of those who would ban racist/sexist speech or who value dissent grows,” the paper notes.

Another factor here is that while college professors massively more leftist than the general American population, K-12 teachers are also significantly farther left than most Americans. Fifty percent of K-12 teachers voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, compared to 29 percent voting for Donald Trump. Forty-one percent of teachers identify as Democrats, and only 27 percent as Republicans, according to a 2017 poll by the trade publication Education Week. That’s a 12-point higher percentage of Democrats among K-12 teachers than among the general American public.

By comparison, a recent study found that high-ranked liberal arts colleges employ ten self-described Democrat professors for every one Republican. So if bias unfairly deflates conservative students’ achievements in college, it probably has an effect in high school, also, especially since these biased colleges train K-12 teachers. Bias just may not affect K-12 students as much as it does college students.

This may be one reason that public schools are the top choice for only one-third of American parents, even though eight in ten of those same parents have their kids enrolled in public schools. A recent poll in Wisconsin found that two-thirds of Republican voters are worried about politics in their kids’ public schools, and it’s certain they’re not alone. The question is: Are conservative parents and GOP politicians going to do anything serious about a system stacked against their kids?

bias, diversity, education, ideology, political correctness

Filed under: bias, diversity, education, ideology, political correctness

The left seems to prefer demonizing the right to confronting the facts

original article: Why The Left Smears Conservatives Instead Of Engaging Their Ideas
May 8, 2019 by David Weinberger

Get your facts firstand then you can distort them as much as you please.”—Mark Twain

The left routinely distorts conservative ideas, but it is not always clear whether their misrepresentations are deliberate or simply due to unfamiliarity with conservative thought.

Consider, for example, the left’s characterization of supply-side economics as “trickle-down economics” or “tax cuts for the rich.” Despite having been shown to utterly defy the facts, politicians and media continue arming themselves against these caricatures with invincible ignorance.

Indeed, never has a major marginal income tax rate reduction over the last 100 years slashed tax burdens for merely “the rich.” Every major tax cut—whether during the 1920s, the 1960s, the 1980s, the 2000s, or most recently under President Trump—has benefited all income groups. Furthermore, these cuts have made the tax code more progressive.

Following the tax cuts of the 1920s, for instance, historian John Steele Gordon writesthat: “The distribution of the tax burden became radically more progressive, not less. In 1921 those earning less than $10,000 had paid $155 million in taxes, 21 percent of person income tax revenues. In 1926 they paid only $33 million, or 5 percent. Mellon himself boasted in 1928 that a bachelor with a $4,000 income in 1920—enough to make him comfortably middle class—would have paid $120 in tax that year, but in 1928 would owe only $5.63.”

NBC News has concluded that the same pattern followed the cuts of the 1960s, 80s and 2000s:

The income tax burden is being carried to a greater extent today by upper-income people than it was 30 years ago, according to an analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office which tracks data going back to 1979.

In 1979, the top 10 percent of households, as measured by income, paid 40.6 percent of all federal taxes; other ninety percent paid 59.4 percent.

But by 2005, the top 10 percent accounted for nearly 55 percent of all federal tax revenues, while the rest of the population paid about 45 percent.

Part of the reason for the increased burden at the top is that many lower- and middle-income groups have been removed from the tax rolls entirely. So, how does the left justify its “tax cuts for the rich” canard? Here’s how.

Imagine that under a supply-side tax cut proposal $500,000 earners have their tax burden cut by 10 percent and that $100,000 earners have their tax burden lowered by 20 percent. While the larger cut in fact applies to lower earners, those on the left typically choose to ignore that, twist language, and frame tax cuts in raw dollar terms.

First, the left describes tax cuts as “giving” or “redistributing” money—as if income first belongs to government rather than the income earner. Second, they disregard the steeper percentage cut for lower earners and instead hype that $50,000 is “given” to high earners (10 percent of $500,000). According to this rationale, since less money is “given” to middle-income earners (20 percent of $100,000, or $20,000), tax cuts are for “the rich.”

That this may be the most superficially reasoned argument since the memory of man runneth not to the contrary. First, describing tax cuts as “giving money” is an abuse of language. Income first belongs to the income earner, not government. Tax cuts therefore “give” nothing, but merely allow people to keep more of their own earnings.

Second, a smaller tax cut on higher incomes tends to yield more dollars than a larger tax cut on lower incomes, even though lower earners are in fact benefiting from a deeper cut. Under President George W. Bush, for example, the top income tax rate was lowered from 39.6 percent to 35 percent—a 13 percent reduction—while the lowest rate was reduced from 15 percent to 10 percent—a 33 percent reduction.

Even though a smaller tax cut translated into more dollars for those with higher incomes and tax burdens, in fact the steepest cuts applied to the lowest earners. But to acknowledge these facts would mean confronting supply-side policy on its own terms, not demonizing straw men for political gain.

The same misrepresentation applies to the left’s usual depiction of entitlement reform. One distinguished left-wing politician thundered that conservatives want to “take an axe to public assistance, Medicare and Social Security. We can’t let them get away with this blatant theft from working families,” she railed. Influential left-wing websites have also bemoaned the right’s alleged desire to “gut entitlements,” while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi peevishly warned of the right’s “devastating cuts.”

Here again these characterizations have no basis in reality. No major right-leaning entitlement reform proposal has called for cuts to entitlements, much less for “gutting” them. Reforms put forth from Paul Ryan, the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, and others called for cutting not a single dollar, but for slowing their rate of growth.

But that didn’t prevent New York Times writer Paul Krugman from demagogically writingthat “the usual suspects like Paul Ryan were talking about the need for ‘entitlement reform’ — meaning cuts in Medicare and Medicaid — to reduce deficits” (emphasis added). How could a supposedly well-informed commentator at arguably the most influential left-wing outlet in the country get away with such deceit?

The answer may be provided by Krugman himself, who admitted he doesn’t read conservatives:

Some have asked if there aren’t conservative sites I read regularly. Well, no. I will read anything I’ve been informed about that’s either interesting or revealing; but I don’t know of any economics or politics sites on that side that regularly provide analysis or information I need to take seriously.

When those paid to be well-informed are uninformed, small wonder mischaracterizations of conservative ideas pervade public discourse. But perhaps nowhere is distortion of conservative thought more pronounced than with regard to social issues, where conservatives are routinely disparaged as bigotedhatefulracist, or otherwise morally repugnant human beings.

Take, for instance, the left’s caricature of a rule President Trump recently passed, which empowers the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to protect health care providers from being forced to perform services that may violate their religious convictions, such as abortion or transgender surgery. The Democratic National Committee maligned supporters of the rule as “want[ing] to allow health care workers to discriminate and rip away access to medical care.”

A local left-wing politician fulminated that “this is hateful,” adding that the “rule would protect a doctor who refused to treat a trans person in the ER for appendicitis or a broken leg simply because the patient is trans.” Not to be outdone, Slate depicted it as an “insidious form of bigotry.”

These charges, however, are unsubstantiated by the facts. According to HHS, “Conscience protections apply to health care providers who refuse to perform, accommodate, or assist with certain health care services on religious or moral grounds” (emphasis added). Nowhere does language allow for doctors to refuse to treat “appendicitis” or a “broken leg,” or for health care workers to arbitrarily “discriminate.”

Rather, the issue concerns whether medical professionals who have objections to performing optional procedures like abortions or transgender surgeries must be forcedto do so, as they have been in the past. This rule protects their choice to opt out. But to recognize that fact requires reading and engaging conservative ideas.

The left, however, seems to prefer demonizing the right to confronting the facts. That may be because, as Margaret Thatcher once famously observed, the facts of life are conservative. Little wonder the left is loathe to point them out.

abortion, bias, economics, health care, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, lies, progressive, propaganda, public policy, taxes

Filed under: abortion, bias, economics, health care, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, lies, progressive, propaganda, public policy, taxes

Did Russia feed misinformation for Steele dossier?

original article: Major Report Omission Shows Mueller Was Either Incompetent Or A Political Hack
May 6, 2019 by Margot Cleveland

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s March “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election” contains a glaring omission: Not once in the 448-page tome does Mueller mention an investigation into whether Russia interfered with the U.S. presidential election by feeding dossier author Christopher Steele misinformation.

But Mueller also did not charge Steele with lying to the FBI, or refer a criminal case against Steele to federal prosecutors, as he did when the special counsel uncovered evidence of criminal misconduct unrelated to the 2016 election. Given Mueller’s conclusion that no one connected to the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to interfere with the election, one of those two scenarios must be true—either Russia fed Steele disinformation or Steele lied to the FBI about his Russian sources.

Steele Openly Said He Got Info from Russians

The Steele dossier, which consisted of a series of memorandum authored by the former MI6 spy, detailed intel purportedly provided by a variety of Vladimir Putin-connected sources. For instance, Steele identified Source A as “a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure” who “confided that the Kremlin had been feeding Trump and his team valuable intelligence on his opponents, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.”

Other supposed sources identified in the dossier included: Source B, identified as “a former top-level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin”; Source C, a “Senior Russian Financial Officer”; and Source G, “a Senior Kremlin Official.” Steele also described a smattering of unlettered sources as a FSB Cyber Operative; a former Senior Intelligence Officer; a Senior Government Figure; “well-placed and established Kremlin source 1”; “well-placed and established Kremlin source 2”; a Kremlin official involved in U.S. relations; a Senior Russian leadership figure; and a Kremlin insider with direct access to leadership.

Steele first provided a summary of the Kremlin-supplied “intel” on Trump to the FBI in June or July 2016, when he met with his reputed handler, Rome-based FBI agent Mike Gaeta. In September 2016, Gaeta provided the dossier to agents working on the Russia collusion investigation at the FBI headquarters in Washington D.C.

The following month, the U.S. Department of Justice included details from the dossier in an application submitted to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court and obtained a court order to surveil former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. That FISA court order gave the Obama administration and career DOJ and FBI agents accessto Page’s communications with Trump campaign officials prior to Page’s departure.

Using Leaks to Seed News Stories

Leaks propelled the claimed collusion into the news. Steele shared details from the dossier with Michael Isikoff. Citing a “Western intelligence source,” Isikoff reported at Yahoo! News that “Page met with Igor Sechin, a longtime Putin associate and former Russian deputy prime minister,” and discussed the lifting of sanctions.

Government sources told Isikoff that Page’s activities in Russia had “been discussed with senior members of Congress during recent briefings about suspected efforts by Moscow to influence the presidential election.” “After one of those briefings,” Isikoff wrote, “Senate minority leader Harry Reid wrote FBI Director James Comey, citing reports of meetings between a Trump adviser (a reference to Page) and ‘high ranking sanctioned individuals’ in Moscow over the summer as evidence of ‘significant and disturbing ties’ between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin that needed to be investigated by the bureau.”

The DOJ later cited Isikoff’s article to support its FISA application to surveil Page. The application also detailed some of the impact this news story had on the Trump campaign: “Based on statements in the September 23, [Yahoo!] News Article, as well as in other recent articles published by identified news organizations, Trump’s campaign repeatedly has made public statements in an attempt to create the appearance of distance between Page and [Trump’s] campaign.”

Mueller’s report also acknowledged that the Steele dossier, and leaks about it, affected the Trump campaign. For instance, Mueller noted that “on October 11, 2016, Podesta stated publicly that the FBI was investigating Russia’s hacking and said that candidate Trump might have known in advance that the hacked emails were going to be released.” Additionally, Mueller highlighted the media’s questioning of vice presidential candidate Mike Pence concerning “whether the Trump Campaign was ‘in cahoots’ with WikiLeaks in releasing damaging Clinton-related information.”

Although Pence shot down the suggestion, responding, “nothing could be further from the truth,” the narrative dragged the Trump campaign up to election day—and a rabid portion of the populace continues to believe and peddle the Russian hoax. Yet Trump still solidly defeated Hillary Clinton.

It Appears Russia Used Steele to Meddle in U.S. Elections

But Trump’s victory does not negate the reality that, assuming Steele truthfully relayed to the FBI and the media the intel his Russian sources provided, Russia interfered in the election by feeding Steele false intel about Trump.

Yet in the special counsel report, Mueller identified only two principal ways Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election: “First, a Russian entity carried out a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Second, a Russian intelligence service conducted computer-intrusion operations against entities, employees, and volunteers working on the Clinton Campaign and then released stolen documents.”

Surely, a plot by Kremlin-connected individuals to feed a known FBI source—Steele had helped the FBI uncover an international soccer bribery scandal—false claims that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia would qualify as a “principal way” in which Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. The Russia social media campaign to disparage Hillary Clinton wasn’t a patch on the plot the Kremlin launched to destroy Trump: It resulted not only in bad press, but also an investigation into the Trump campaign and the use of court-approved surveillance exposing campaign communiques.

Even though Mueller was authorized, as he put it in the special counsel report, to investigate “the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” the report is silent of efforts to investigate Russia’s role in feeding Steele misinformation.

Only the Senate Has Raised This Possibility

Little notice was made of Mueller’s apparent failure to investigate whether Russia interfered in the election by peddling phony intel to Steele that Steele relayed to the FBI, until Sen. Chuck Grassley raised the issue with Attorney General William Barr last week.  During questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Grassley pitched the issue as follows:

The Clinton campaign and the Democrat National Committee hired Fusion GPS to do opposition research against candidate Trump. Fusion GPS then hired Christopher Steele, former British intelligence officer, to compile what we all know as the Steele dossier, that reportedly used Russian government sources for information. The Steele dossier was central to the now-debunked collusion narrative.

Now here’s the irony: The Mueller report spent millions investigating and found no collusion between Trump campaign and Russia but the Democrats paid for a document created by a foreign national with reported foreign government sources. Not Trump, but the Democrats. That’s the definition of collusion. Despite the central status of the Steele dossier to the collusion narrative, the Mueller report failed to analyze whether the dossier was filled with disinformation to mislead U.S. intelligence agencies and the FBI.

“My question,” Grassley continued: “Mueller spent over two years and 30 million dollars investigating Russia interference in the election. In order for a full accounting of Russia interference attempts, shouldn’t the special counsel have considered whether the Steele dossier was part of a Russian disinformation and interfere campaign?”

Barr responded that he had “not yet had anyone go through the full scope of [Mueller’s] investigation to determine whether he did address or look at all into those issues,” before adding, “one of the things I’m doing in my review is to try to assemble all the existing information out there about it, not only for the Hill investigations and the OIG, but also to see what the Special Counsel looked into. So I really couldn’t say what he looked into.”

Later during the four-hour hearing, Sen. John Cornyn asked the attorney general, “how do we know that the Steele dossier is not evidence of a Russian disinformation campaign? Knowing what we know now that the allegations are unverified? Can we state with confidence that the Steele dossier was not part of the Russian disinformation campaign?” Barr responded: “No, I can’t state that with confidence, and that is one of the areas that I’m reviewing. I’m concerned about it, and I don’t think it is entirely speculative.”

If Barr is concerned about it, why wasn’t Mueller? Any competent prosecutor would have investigated whether Russia peddled false intel to Steele.

Or Maybe Mueller Investigated and Omitted the Results

Or did Mueller investigate this question? It’s possible, maybe even likely, given this acknowledgement in the special counsel report: “From its inception, the Office recognized that its investigation could identify foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information relevant to the FBI’s broader national security mission.” “During the Special Counsel investigation,” Mueller then explained, the FBI had embedded personnel “whose purpose was to review the results of the investigation and to send-in writing-summaries of foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information to FBIHQ and FBI Field Offices.”

Here’s the clincher: Not all of the intelligence and counterintelligence information derived from the special counsel investigation was included in the report. Rather, as Mueller explained, the report contains only the “information necessary to account for the Special Counsel’s prosecution and declination decisions and to describe the investigation’s main factual results.”

This assertion is laughable given the special counsel’s report unnecessarily opined on whether Trump obstructed justice, but then failed to reach a “prosecution or declination decision,” as required by regulation. The more likely answer? Political expedience. After all, evidence that Russia interfered in the election by feeding the false collusion narrative to Steele would vindicate Trump, who has been screaming “Witch hunt” from day one.

Of course, there is another possibility: Steele could have invented his Russian sources and the “intel” they supposedly provided him. If so, Steele should have been charged with lying to the FBI. Yet Steele remains a free man, showing either Mueller is incompetent or a political hack.

bias, corruption, government, oversight, politics, president, propaganda, scandal

Filed under: bias, corruption, government, oversight, politics, president, propaganda, scandal

Public education and hyper speed sex ed

original article: Sex Ed and Stalinism at the Local School Board
February 13, 2018 by AUSTIN RUSE

I usually avoid really sick, appalling spectacles. I skip movies like Saw. But last Thursday I saw something worse. I went to the sex-education committee meeting of the Fairfax County School Board. I have never seen anything as shocking.

Understand, that I have sat through years of shocking meetings. My day job is monitoring and lobbying the United Nations. But, I have never seen or heard anything like this. This meeting was a horror show. And a Soviet one at that.

The Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee (FLECAC, pronounced flea-cack) advises the Fairfax County School Board for the content of the sex-education lessons taught to students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

This group has come up with over 80 hours of sex-education for these poor kids. And some of it is straight-up pornography.

Rich, Leftist, and Libertine

This school district in Northern Virginia, one of the largest and richest in the country, is among the most leftist in the country. No big surprise there. Twenty-five years ago, they were already promoting “Two Mommies” to the little tots.

But the sexual revolution ideology kicked into hyper speed a few years ago. Fairfax leftists put transgender ideology into schools a full year before Barack Obama’s Department of Education mandated it for the rest of the schools in the country. Last year the Trump administration cancelled the mandate, though Fairfax County is clinging onto it.

This committee has long embraced the rest of the LGBT program. “Oral sex” is introduced to kids as young as 12.  Thirteen year olds are told about “anal sex” 18 separate times in one year’s lessons.

The FLECAC committee is made up of about two dozen people. They’re appointed by the overwhelmingly leftist Fairfax County School Board. Four voting members are students, chosen no doubt because they’re members of student LGBT clubs, and most other members appear to be teachers and administrators.

If the idea behind the committee is to get community input, why stack it with people on the county payroll?

The School Board’s Supreme Soviet

Last Thursday night, two regular citizen members of the committee tried to offer amendments to the curriculum. What happened to them is right out of the Politburo of the Supreme Soviet.

The subject was the phrase “sex assigned at birth,” which appears numerous times in the lessons. This is a politically-charged slogan that teaches that it’s wrong for a delivery room doctor to say a penis means boy or a vagina means girl. A child should be left to his own gender choice later in life.

One citizen member made a motion to remove this phrase from the lessons and to simply use the word “sex” instead. Through parliamentary maneuvers, other members of the committee made sure the amendment was put off indefinitely without debate. The vote to cut off debate and never speak about it again passed 23-3.

The member who offered the amendment asked for a roll call, so that those voting to keep in “sex assigned at birth” would have their names associated with their votes. The motion for a roll call was killed by voice vote.

No debate, no accountability.

Another citizen member made a motion that, somewhere in the numerous lessons about various contraceptive methods taught beginning in eighth grade, there ought to be something about the possible health risks of certain contraceptives.

This, too, was shut down without debate, by a vote of 23-3. A roll call of the vote was shouted down by voice vote.

Hush, Adults Are Listening

The first citizen member made a motion to include a discussion in the lessons about the health risks associated with hormonal and surgical “transitioning.” This, too, was not allowed.

One county employee member asked why there was no lesson on anal sex for the seventh graders. There was oral sex, but why was anal sex missing? The chairman of the committee assured her that the anal sex begins with lessons in the eighth grade.

This revealing moment was followed by another: The chairman actually apologized, with a nervous laugh, for using those graphic terms.

Did it not occur to her, or anyone else on the committee, that she was apologizing to the adults in the room for using words that are scripted into the lessons they have created for children?

It was clear to me that much of the reaction to these motions was a kind of animus toward traditional morality. The glee with which the majority cut off the legitimate concerns of the minority was breathtaking.

Christians as the Taliban

One new member of the committee is a democratic activist named Daniel Press. He was the one who was most vociferous that these motions not only be trashed, but that they not even be discussed. On his Facebook page he calls Christians the Taliban and has an image of Christ on the cross over the mocking words: “Total Winner.”

The other thing that struck me was the sheep-like attitude of most of the members of the committee. There were a few loudmouth ideologues, to be sure.  One student member treated us to an anti-American diatribe ending with the charge that transphobia stems from white supremacy. For the most part the members were silent. But they were lickety-split to raise their hands whenever called upon to vote against debate, discussion, and accountability. That they could not allow.

Finally, it’s remarkable how fast such new and fantastical notions have entered the leftist mindset. The notion of “sex assigned at birth” was itself born just a few years ago. And yet, these people are so certain of its truth, they clap hands on their ears to avoid hearing anything contradictory. Even more, they clap their hands on the mouths of anyone who might want to question this new tenet of faith.

Blind Faith, False Faith

This brings to mind two things: brainwashing, and bad religion. The committee members may not know it, but they have been brainwashed to believe things that are simply not supported by either science or reason. Theirs is faith plain and simple, and the worst kind of faith, the kind that contradicts reason, the kind that can only be imposed. Theirs is a blind faith, taking as gospel whatever the sexual zeitgeist vomits forth.

And so what are parents to do? Opt their kids out of Family Life Education and take over the school board. One is easy, but both are necessary. Sexual Stalinism, of the kind I witnessed a few nights ago, has no place in the education of our children.

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anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bureaucracy, children, corruption, cover up, culture, education, elitism, ethics, extremism, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, scandal

Filed under: anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bureaucracy, children, corruption, cover up, culture, education, elitism, ethics, extremism, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, scandal

Climate change, scientific fraud, and population control work hand in hand

original article:
Climate change is ‘the biggest scientific fraud ever perpetrated’: scientist
October 18, 2017 by Fr. Mark Hodges

Social scientist and author Steven Mosher called the global warming movement an enemy of the sanctity of innocent human life at an international symposium that began online Tuesday to address the anti-Christian nature of population control.

Mosher, long recognized as an expert in China’s domestic policy, started his address by explaining that the earth’s temperature has always fluctuated, sometimes dramatically.

“I did a historical study of climate change in China, which shows that the climate in China 2,000 years ago was several degrees warmer than it is today,” Mosher said, adding, “And of course that was a long time before we started hearing about climate change and global warming.”

The bestselling author, who went through a Ph.D program in Oceanography at the University of Washington, further noted that during the Jurassic period, the earth was 15 degrees warmer on average than it is today.

Criticizing global warming fearmongers, Mosher said not long ago the same “experts” were frantically making the exact opposite claims. “In the 1970s … the climate ‘experts’ were warning about a coming ‘ice age,’” he said. “Now it has flipped over 180 degrees to be global warming.”

“The truth is, nobody really knows what’s going to happen to the climate in the future,” Mosher explained. “We’ve seen extremes of temperatures on the cold side and on the warm side that make any projection of one or two degrees pale in comparison.”

Mosher spoke on “Environmentalism and Climate Change as an Avenue for Population Control.” The International Conference on Population Control is sponsored by the Lepanto Institute. Its theme is “How Radical Enemies of Life are Pushing Their Global Agenda to End Poverty by Eliminating the Poor.”

“We had global warming and ice ages a long time before human beings invented the internal combustion engine, and a long time before there were a million of us running around the planet giving birth to little ‘carbon dioxide emitters,’“ he quipped, quoting how climate change activists refer to children.

Turning to his compromised colleagues, Mosher said too many are swayed by the government dole. “I’m really appalled at how the scientific community has sold out for big research grants and to get their name highlighted in the faculty journal and get invited to U.N. conferences,” Mosher said. “This is the biggest scientific fraud ever perpetrated on the family of man.”

Mosher accused “experts” of jumping on the global warming bandwagon because “they are well paid to do so.” “When you spend billions of dollars subsidizing research, you generally get what you pay for,” he charged. “The climate scientist who gets the million dollar grant and says, ‘After study, there’s really no danger of global warming,’ doesn’t get his grant renewed.”

“But the guy who gets 10 million dollars for ‘finding’ global warming probably gets a hundred million after that,” Mosher illustrated.

Mosher, who received the Blessed Frederic Ozanam award from the Society of Catholic Social Scientists for “exemplifying the ideal of Catholic social action,” mentioned that meteorologist Anthony Watts has tallied government payouts related to global warming.  Watts estimates $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion are “tied up in the climate hoax.” ClimateDepot‘s Marc Morano described the racket as the “Great Climate Hustle.”

But even if the earth’s temperature is rising, Mosher says that does not translate into the doomsday predictions of Al Gore — that the state of Florida sinks into the ocean in a decade.

“In my view, a little bit of warming is not necessarily a bad thing,” Mosher claimed. “Even if the earth does warm in the next hundred years, I argue it will be a good thing for humanity.”

A warming planet will open up land for much needed farming. If temperatures rise, “we will see Canada be able to bring vast areas of land under cultivation.  We will see Siberia bloom. We will see food production go up,” Mosher said.

“More people die in the winter of cold than die of heat in the summer,” he explained.  “We’ll see mortality rates among the very young and the very old go down.  Lives will be saved,” Mosher said. “There will be less hunger in the world.”

Other speakers at the conference include Child Advocacy attorney Lis York, LifeSiteNews’ John-Henry Westen, Human Life International’s Dr. Brian Clowes, HLI president Fr. Shenan Boquet, La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana’s Riccardo Cascioli, Italian economist Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, Sacred Heart Institute’s Raymond De Souza, and Dr. Philip Chidi Njemanze.

Mosher calls the current politically correct environment a billion-dollar a year “giant propaganda effort” against science and common sense. “This is a myth of guilt,” he said. “This is a myth that drives population control. This is a myth that will decrease the use of energy that will literally kill poor people.”

“This is ultimately about radical environmentalists (engineering) their idea of paradise before man,” Mosher charged, saying radicals believe that people “ruined it.” “They have seized upon global warming as an excuse to justify their war on people to promote abortion, sterilization, and contraception around the world.”

Mosher emphasized that the ultimate goal of global warmists is population control. “They cheered China’s one-child policy from the very beginning,” he mentioned.

The Q&A session then turned to Catholic leaders’ part in the anti-life global warming movement.

“Catholic teaching promotes stewardship of the environment,” Mosher reminded listeners, “but some of the participants of recent Vatican conferences have a history of promoting population control (and) abortion. That’s in opposition to Catholic teaching. I’m surprised they were invited to these conferences (and) given a platform by the Vatican itself to propagate views to directly violate Catholic teaching.”

According to Michael Hichborn, president of conference sponsor the Lepanto Institute, pro-abortion population control activists have established a foothold inside the Catholic Church under the pretext of environmental protection. Now they are “actively working to undermine and subvert the Church and her teachings from within” in an “unprecedented attack.”

Mosher agreed. “The radical environmental movement is using the borrowed authority of the Vatican to propagate its false view of humanity (and) its false view of the relationship between man and the environment,” he charged. “Unfortunately, some in the Vatican are allowing themselves and the Catholic Church to be misused in this way.”

The pro-life researcher and social activist questioned the motivations of those in the Vatican who would give pro-abortionists a voice. “I’m afraid there are certain people in the Vatican who are more interested in winning applause from the world than … evangelizing and getting as many people home to heaven as possible,” he said.

Mosher quoted one Vatican guest speaker, former colleague Paul R. Ehrlich, who claims  “the biggest problem that we face is the continuing expansion of the human enterprise.”  Mosher quoted Ehrlich as saying, “Perpetual growth is the creed of the cancer cell.”

Mosher criticized Ehrlich for his extremist view of population growth and for “comparing it to a cancerous growth. I can hardly imagine a more derogatory description of the human family than comparing it to a cancer cell,” Mosher said.

“When my wife and I had nine children, we didn’t think that they resembled cancer cells.  We thought that we were new souls into existence, cooperating with God in populating this world and hopefully in the next,” Mosher commented.

Mosher then took on worldwide abortion promoter Bill Gates. “Bill Gates tried to argue that he was only funding population control programs in countries where the population was increasing at three percent a year,” Mosher quoted, adding that he disagreed that high birth rates are a problem in the first place. “But I said, ‘Bill, there are only a few small islands in the Pacific where the birth rate is still that high.’”

Then Mosher got to his point with Gates. “If you’re worried about high birth rate, cure childhood diseases, reduce the infant mortality rate, and the birth rate will come down naturally,” he told the Microsoft billionaire. “The reason why families in Africa still have four and five children is because they expect to lose one or two children to disease before they reach adulthood.”

Mosher went on in his address to assert that climate changers have the solution all wrong. “This is all done under the false assumption that if you reduce the number of people on the planet you will somehow increase the number of seals and whales and trees and other things that the radical environmentalists seem to value more than human beings,” Mosher revealed. “What we need to have is continued economic growth, because once a country gets above $2,000 per capita, they have the resources to set aside natural parks and nature preserves and national forests and so forth.”

“It’s poverty that’s the enemy of the environment, not people,” he summarized.

“It’s poverty that leads the poor to cut down the last tree, as they have in Haiti, to build a house or cook their food,” Mosher pointed out. “It’s poverty that leads them to pollute the water that they need to drink because they can’t afford to dig a well or build a sewage treatment plant. It’s poverty that leads them to plant the last square foot of land because they … can’t afford fertilizer or they can’t afford proper irrigation.”

“Poverty is the enemy of the environment,” the human rights advocate said. “And we know how to cure poverty: You have the rule of law, you have property rights, you have an open and free economic system. And once you cure poverty, people will take care of the environment.”

But the radical environmentalists’ have it backward, Mosher claimed. Their “more people equals less of everything else” narrative is not true, he said. “More people as good stewards of the environment means more of everything else: more whales, more trees, more land set aside.”

The author described the global warmist movement as “anti-people.” “Here we almost have a demonic hatred of our fellow human beings,” he said. “They cry copious tears over a mistreated dog or cat, but they ignore that 4,000 babies are being brutally killed — torn limb from limb — in wombs across the United States today.”

“The other side of the evangelization coin,” Mosher said, “is allowing the human beings to come into existence in the first place.”

Back on the subject of Catholic response to global warming threats, Mosher said the Christian response cannot be legislated. “The questions of how we should be good stewards of the environment are prudential questions that will never be settled dogmatically,” the Population Research Institute president concluded.

Part of the Catholic solution is the Pontifical Academy of Science should invite as contributors “only people who were Catholic,” Mosher offered.

“If you do not have a Trinitarian worldview,” he explained, “then your position on many of these issues are going to be radically different than what the Catholic Church teaches.”

Global warmists “are people who have radically different views of what humanity is,” Mosher said. “It makes a real difference if I think that mankind is only a little lower than the angels, created in the image and likeness of God. Paul Ehrlich believes that we’re only a little higher than the apes, and it’s necessary now to thin the herd. He believes that we’re only animals, (so) there’s no moral question to be answered; it’s just a simple question of numbers and power.”

“Such a radical reductionist view of what human beings are should not be endorsed by the Vatican,” he opined.

Mosher commented that after listening to some of the non-Catholic Vatican conference speakers, Pope Francis himself has talked about climate change as the cause of world hunger. “That gets the facts exactly backwards,” he said. “I think we need to go to Rome … and talk and educate people.”

Hichborn noted the significance of the issue today. “Population Control is an agenda that ties together nearly every major cause of the anti-family left,” he said. “Homosexuality, environmentalism, poverty reduction, foreign aid, and even mass immigration are connected to the population control agenda.”

“For the sake of souls, lives, and the family, it is vitally important for everyone who calls themselves pro-life to stand up now,” Hichborn added. “If we don’t fight this now, it won’t be long before there won’t be a civilization left to defend.”

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Is your elementary student being instructed with sexualized propaganda?

original article: California elementary schools to use pro-LGBT history textbooks
November 14, 2017 by Dorothy Cummings McLean

 

Children in California will be learning to identify historical personages by their sexuality.

The Advocate reported that the California state board of education approved “10 LGBT-inclusive history textbooks” for elementary school students in grades K-8 last week. It also rejected two textbooks on the grounds that they did not include “LGBT history.” The exclusion of LGBT history violates California’s FAIR Education Act.

The FAIR Education Act, once informally called the LGBT History Bill, was written by Senator Mark Leno. FAIR stands for “Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful.” It ensures that the political, economic and social contributions of people with disabilities as well as those people identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender are included in textbooks of California’s state-funded schools. It also added sexual orientation and religion to a list of characteristics that California schools already could not present in a negative way.

In 2008, Mark Leno became the first openly gay man to be elected to the California State Senate. He introduced the LGBT History Bill in 2011. Fifty-eight other bills penned by Leno were made into law, including the California Universal HealthCare Act and the establishment of Harvey Milk Day in California.

When the LGBT History Bill was presented, there was opposition from traditional family organizations. Candi Cushman of Focus on the Family told LifeSiteNews that the Bill was unnecessary because “California has some of the most pro-active laws in the nation in this regard already on the books.”

Cushman added, “The appropriate emphasis in history books and social science books is to honor people because of their contributions. It just seems kind of crazy to be promoting them based on their political or sexual identity. You wouldn’t want to leave people out based on that, but neither do you want to base the entire reason that they’re included in history on sexual identity. It should be based on their historical contributions.”

However, homosexual rights advocates welcome the new LBGT-inclusive textbooks. Rick Zbur, head of Equality California, told the Advocate that this “is the next step for California students to learn about the contributions of LGBT people.”

“Approval of these textbooks means that California schools will now have access to approved materials that accurately represent LGBTQ people … ”

Renata Moreira, executive director of the pro-homosexuality Our Family Coalition, told the Advocate that “LGBTQ students, and those with LGBTQ families, will finally be able to see themselves and our history accurately reflected in textbooks in California.

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This, above all else, is why Roy Moore has as much support as he does

original article: ‘Reckoning’ Attempts Display A Left Still Unable To Face Bill Clinton’s Alleged Sex Crimes
November 15, 2017 by Daniel Payne

It is fascinating and welcome to see liberals discovering their consciences on Bill Clinton’s alleged rapist tendencies. True, this moral revelation comes about two decades later than it should have, and at precisely the moment the Left can no longer reasonably ignore it and not a moment sooner.

Just the same, it is nice to finally see some honesty on this issue. It is nice to see liberals, having no more use for the Clintons, finally undertaking what MSNBC host Chris Hayes calls “a real reckoning” with the very real possibility that Bill Clinton raped Juanita Broaddrick nearly 40 years ago.

And yet. One is tempted to believe we’re witnessing not a “reckoning” but a quick and guilty kind of moral shrug, a sort of Kansas City shuffle meant to absolve a bunch of deeply culpable people of their own deep and stinking culpability. For a real “reckoning” of American liberalism’s wink-nod approach to Bill Clinton’s alleged sex crimes would implicate American liberalism itself, or at least the last few decades of it. That is understandably not something many liberals are willing to do.

Still Too Scared to Face Themselves In the Mirror

A great example of this evasive genre can be found at The Atlantic, where Caitlin Flanagan has written an article titled, simply, “Bill Clinton: A Reckoning.” The article itself is actually not a reckoning of Bill Clinton or even an overture toward a reckoning.

Indeed, Flanagan only comes to the sexual assault allegations leveled at Clinton only about two-thirds of the way through, after bringing up Clarence Thomas’s alleged sexual harassment of Anita Hill. She places most of the blame for Clinton on “machine feminism” rather than Democratic opportunism, then lamely asserts Democrats need to “come to terms” with how they “abandoned some of [their] central principles” in their unthinking defense of Clinton.

At The New York Times, columnist Michelle Goldberg offers a similar pastiche of self-serving pseudo-reflection. “I Believe Juanita,” her most recent column declares upfront. After that she spends a great deal of time grumbling about Breitbart, “the right’s evident bad faith,” “right-wing propaganda,” “the right-wing press,” “epistemological warfare,” and “various figures in conservative media.” Only after six paragraphs do we get to Broaddrick, after which Goldberg quickly returns to the conservative-led “blizzard of lies” that led progressives to doubt Broaddrick 20 years ago.

Almost as an afterthought, Goldberg writes: “It’s fair to conclude, that because of Broaddrick’s allegations, Bill Clinton no longer has a place in decent society.” Goodness, after two decades this is the best we can manage?

Even Hayes’s own viral tweet is couched in a tired and evasive formula. “As gross and cynical and hypocrtical [sic] as the right’s ‘what about Bill Clinton’ stuff is,” he wrote, “it’s also true that Democrats and the center left are overdue for a real reckoning with the allegations against him.” Got it: so the Right is “gross and cynical and hypocritical” regarding the Left’s steadfast avoidance of Bill Clinton’s alleged sex crimes, but we’re also correct? Are liberals capable of discussing Clinton’s sordid history without having to obsessively refer back to conservatives?

They Let Bill Clinton Keep Legitimacy for 18 More Years

There is a deeper and more cynical politics at work here. “Reckoning” with Bill Clinton’s alleged crimes is not just a matter of the Democratic Party saying sorry for not believing Broaddrick in 1999. Bill Clinton has remained a prominent fixture of the party in the intervening 18 years, including as a major fundraiser during his wife’s two failed campaigns for president and as a stump for other Democrats, including President Obama.

Progressives, meanwhile, adore him. “Bill Clinton couldn’t keep it in his pants, but he was a great president!” one very liberal woman told me years ago. Broaddrick would surely agree with the first part. Summing up the feelings of millions of progressive millennials, comedian John Mulaney described Clinton as a “smooth and fantastic hillbilly who should be declared emperor of the United State of America.” This kind of hero-worship is only possible if one disbelieves Broaddrick’s testimony entirely—testimony that, 20 years on, remains very credible.

A “reckoning” of the accusations against Bill Clinton must thus also function as a reckoning of the last couple of decades of Democratic politics, a politics that has featured Bill Clinton as an ancillary yet still near-permanent fixture. Every Democrat has known of Broaddrick’s accusations for years. Yet Bill Clinton was still eagerly accepted within “decent society,” and his wife—who is quite reasonably seen as both an apologist for her husband’s perverted behavior and possibly a criminal conspirator regarding his crimes—became the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party itself in the last election.

To reckon with all of this means to reckon with the Democratic party in toto—its political instincts, its morals, and its public credibility and future viability. The Left predictably isn’t very keen to do that. So we get what we’ve witnessed in the past week: liberals feigning a kind of come-to-Jesus public confessional over Bill Clinton while ultimately just complaining about conservatives.

It is true that, in the end, we do not know if Bill Clinton raped Broaddrick. It is virtually impossible to prove it one way or the other, as it generally is with these types of claims. It would not be wholly unreasonable for someone to doubt Broaddrick after a careful review of the evidence. Then again, her claim, and the evidence surrounding it, is compelling enough to be believable, more so than many.

So what does it say about the Democratic Party that it has nevertheless allowed Bill Clinton a revered and permanent spot in its ranks? And what does it say about liberals that, even now, after all of this time, they cannot truly come to grips with it?

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Protesting athletes have forgotten what “pastime” means

The recent athletic protests of the U.S. national anthem highlight some important points we all know but are worth reiterating. First, no matter how important some may think they are, professional sports are a pastime. Second, how other people view your actions is not in your control.

Let’s expound on the nature of professional sports. The United States is a country of such opportunity and prosperity that millions of us have enough time and money to watch athletes play a game, and pay them for the pleasure of doing so. This is no chump change. Do you realize how much money we the people pour into professional sports each year? It’s a lot. The professional athletes protesting our national anthem are paid very well to play a game. And why do so many of us have the ability to make those athletes filthy rich to play a game? Because we live in a country based on freedom, and we have people who put on the uniform to protect that freedom. Respect for those who risk their lives to defend the American experiment was built into our sports tradition long ago. Those who make a living (becoming filthy rich) playing a game should respect that.

There are multi-millionaires taking a knee out of protest of the country, not out of respect for it. Professional sports are a pastime. We the people engage in pastimes to get away from things like politics.

And what are these professional athletes protesting? Well that brings us to the second point: we don’t control how other people view our actions.

The infamous Colin Kaepernick, the catalyst for the controversial displays of protest, lays out his reasons at NFL.com:

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color…

Keep in mind there are multi-millionaire athletes who get to play a game for a living who are basically calling America a racist country. That brings us to a problem of intellectual dishonesty.

Kaepernick, and many others, would have us believe the United States is a racist country. And, of course, when I ask where are the Jim Crow laws, where did the poor white unemployed whose kids are stuck in bad schools put their privilege, and how did a racist country let a black guy get elected for the most powerful office in the world not once, but twice, the inevitable lame response is to accuse me of falsely claiming there is no racism here anymore. Which is hogwash.

No one is claiming racism has been eliminated, no one. Accusing people of thinking that doesn’t make it so. But where are the Jim Crow laws? Today Jim Crow HAS BEEN eliminated (except in institutions of higher education, where leftwing extremists are once again demanding racial segregation, renewing a long standing Democrat tradition).

On the contrary, affirmative action is the rule of the day. Historically disadvantaged people groups now have privileges while folks (who invented and implemented Jim Crow) used to enjoy. (Did you notice that? Right here I’ve acknowledged slavery and racism actually happened. No one denies these things happened, so it’s really quite ridiculous to suggest anyone is. And it’s intellectually dishonest to accuse anyone of denying these things.)

But the tables have been turned. The Duke Lacrosse team showed us a glaring example (one of many) of how while folk can now be falsely accused of a crime and deprived of their civil rights, not least of which is the the right to due process. Thankfully the anti-white racism was noticed and refuted, despite getting a jump start by a complicit media and over 80 Duke faculty who had already convicted the accused before the facts were made known and then incredulously tried to deny they jumped the gun, and called for the dismissal of the accused boys by claiming they were “merely” trying to bring greater attention to the abuse of women.

So, yes, racism still exists. But institutional racism does not. Racism still happens but it does not lurk around every corner. Given the scare stories the media has published about white supremacy, it is absurd to think an inherently white supremacist nation would elect a black guy to the most powerful position in the world. It is asinine to suggest white supremacists let Obama win the presidential election as a “token” black guy, yet the same white supremacists were so upset he won that they let it happen a second time.

Besides, do you realize how insulting it is to suggest Obama didn’t actually win the 2008 or 2012 elections, but he was merely allowed to win so white supremacists could have their token black guy? In a slightly “you didn’t build that” way, it is profound partisan blindness to think those elections were merely handed to him. If you think Obama’s critics opposed him because they’re racist, the last thing you should do is act like Obama didn’t win two terms of the presidency because of his own abilities. It sounds racist when you do that.

While those who get paid to find racism even when it isn’t there continually stir up strife and manufacture fear that racism lurks around every corner, filthy rich athletes protest the flag and the national anthem. It doesn’t look like they are protesting oppression, since it is we the supposedly racist middle-America types who spend our hard earned dollars that make them rich. People don’t pay to watch professional sports despite the skin color of the athletes, they watch professional sports because they DON’T CARE about the skin color of those athletes. The only begrudging thing about this is the fact we are paying these athletes and then watching them accuse us of racism.

That’s precisely how millions of Americans feel when professional athletes protest the anthem or the flag. We feel we are being called racist, by the multi-millionaires taking a knee during the anthem. When a white supremacist waves the Confederate flag and says “it’s not about race, it’s about heritage” do you buy that? I don’t. So when the protesters say “I’m not anti-America, I’m protesting oppression of people of color” I don’t buy that either. Protesting against bad cops is one thing, something all reasonable people agree with, but acting like ALL cops are bad is ridiculous. If it’s not okay to think all Muslims are evil, it’s not okay to think all cops are evil (or all Republicans, or all conservatives, or all Christians either).

If rich athletes really want to protest oppression, there are plenty of other venues for doing that, and they will have a much easier time than I would in building an audience simply because they’re famous.

Actual racists don’t care about being called racist. People who are NOT racist are offended by such accusations. Athletes have the right to protest as they wish. And I have the right to respond as I wish. I’m not going to pay for that. And many other people feel the same.

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School choice: let’s be honest enough to remember Rome wasn’t built in a day

original article: Guest column: School choice data doesn’t reflect classroom reality
October 11, 2017 by Robert C. Enlow

Louisiana has become a closely watched laboratory for school choice, and for good reason. The state has several ways families can choose: voucher programs, tax-credit scholarships, a tax credit and deduction program, alongside a system of traditional and charter schools.

The spotlight shone a little brighter recently when a study from the University of Arkansas and Tulane University showed a negative effect on first-year students using private school choice programs to access new schooling options. But by the third year, things had turned around for those students. Unfortunately, much of the attention focused only on the first-year decline. That is simply not fair, nor is it the way we have ever judged traditional public schools.

Adults have trouble adapting to a new routine at the gym, let alone a new job or a relocation. Imagine how a second-grader feels to walk into a new school, meet new teachers and make all new friends — potentially while learning a new set of rules and adapting to a new school culture. Indeed, kids need time to adjust to new school settings, and their future success can depend on the extent of their mobility.

The recent study shows students in private school choice programs actually make gains after that first- and second-year decline — and in some areas wind up ahead of their public school peers within three to four years. Students in Louisiana saw steep declines in both reading and math scores in the first year of the voucher program, a result that may be attributable to the short window students initially had to enroll and the limited number of private schools participating. After the first year, outcomes improved in both areas, with reading scores higher after the third year than when students began the program. The Louisiana Scholarship Program had significant positive effects on reading scores for the lowest-performing students.

Simply put, kids need time to adjust to new circumstances the same way grown-ups do. And interviews with school leaders and staff in other states have found private schools participating in choice programs also needed to make some adjustments to better serve the students who were coming from public schools. School choice programs enable students to leave a school that is not working for them and switch to a school they believe will be a better fit. We know from our original research that families choose for a variety of reasons, but chief among them are better academics, smaller classes, a safer environment and a focus on morals and values.

While private school parents report overwhelming satisfaction with their choices, that doesn’t lessen the literal and figurative learning curve for students who may be coming from district schools with large classes, lower academic standards or less emphasis on character development. They’re not only in a new school; it’s a completely new experience for them. Which brings up a final point as we look at this new Louisiana study and anticipate additional research on the effectiveness of choice programs: Supporters and opponents alike have become far too reliant on standardized test scores — often from only one, state-mandated test — to determine whether a type of school or choice program is successful. As choice programs go, Louisiana’s is one of the most restrictive in the nation when it comes to testing.

Yet when you ask families whether and why they are satisfied with their child’s K-12 experience, test scores are rarely among their top indicators of a quality school. Rather, they tend to focus on safety, class size and college acceptance rates. And there are studies that show choice programs have positive effects on high school graduation rates, college enrollment and persistence in college. As school choice continues to gain support, we must broaden the conversation about effectiveness to include more than scores, and we must seek access to more data that can help us determine not just how students are performing in math and reading, but what effect expanding educational options has on them beyond graduation.

We also must resist the temptation to jump on every short-term data finding as a symbol of the success or failure of a school choice program — or for that matter schools, teachers or students. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and humans don’t adjust to new situations overnight.

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The Harvey Weinstein story goes much deeper than one big creep

original article: The Human Stain: Why the Harvey Weinstein Story Is Worse Than You Think
October 09, 2017 by Lee Smith

The New York Times last week broke the story of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s long record of sexual harassment. Actresses including Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd came forward to detail Weinstein’s depredations, and so did former employees of the man who founded one of the most important independent film companies of the last 30 years, Miramax. The details were so jarring and the trail of abuse so long, that it was impossible to read the story and not come away wondering: How did no one know what he was doing?

But of course people knew about Harvey Weinstein. Like the New York Times, for instance. Sharon Waxman, a former reporter at the Times, writes in The Wrap how she had the story on Weinstein in 2004—and then he bullied the Times into dropping it. Matt Damon and Russell Crowe even called her directly to get her to back off the story. And Miramax was a major advertiser. Her editor at the TimesJonathan Landman, asked her why it mattered. After all, he told Waxman, “he’s not a publicly elected official.”

Manhattan’s district attorney knew, too. In 2015, Weinstein’s lawyer donated $10,000 to the campaign of Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance after he declined to file sexual assault charges against the producer. Given the number of stories that have circulated for so long, Weinstein must have spread millions around New York, Los Angeles, and Europe to pay off lawyers and buy silence, including the silence of his victims. But he had something else going for him, too. He knew his victims would be reluctant to go public because it might suggest that some of their success, their fame even, was a function of their inability to protect themselves from being humiliated by a man who set the bar for humiliating others at the precise level of his own self-loathing.

Hollywood is full of connoisseurs like Weinstein, men whose erotic imaginations are fueled primarily by humiliation, who glut their sensibilities with the most exquisite refinements of shame. A journalist once told me about visiting another very famous Hollywood producer—you’d know the name—who exhibited for my friend his collection of photographs of famous female actresses—you’d know their names, too—performing sexual acts for his private viewing. As with Weinstein, this man’s chief thrill was humiliation, and the more famous the target the more roundly it was savored: Even her, a big star—these people will do anything to land a role; they’re so awful, they’ll even do it for me.

One of the refrains you hear today from media experts and journalists is that they’d known about Weinstein’s transgressions for a long time. The problem, they say, was that no one was able to nail down the story.

Nonsense. Everyone had it, not just Waxman. Sure, reporters hadn’t been able to get any stars to go on the record. But that means the story journalists were pursuing wasn’t really about Weinstein’s sexual depredations. It means that what they wanted was a story about actresses, junior executives, or assistants who had been humiliated, maybe raped, and chose to remain quiet in exchange for money and/or a shot at fame.

Of course no one was going to get that on the record—very few journalists would even want to publish a story like that. But journalists always had the actual story of how a Hollywood producer humiliated and sexually assaulted women. How? Because he victimized journalists.

Fox News reporter Lauren Sivan told Huffington Post that a decade ago, Weinstein masturbated in front of her. She says she didn’t say anything at the time, when she was an anchor on a local cable show, because she was “fearful of the power that Weinstein wielded in the media.” She was right and her fear was understandable.

Writing in New York Magazine, Rebecca Traister remembers the time when she asked Weinstein an interview question at a book party, he screamed at her, spit in her face, called her a “c—t,” and then put her boyfriend in a headlock and dragged him to the street. Traister said nothing at the time because she figured she had little chance against “that kind of force.”

I don’t blame her or Sivan for not saying anything, never mind reporting the story. Weinstein is violent, vindictive, and litigious—as well as sexually abusive—facts that the entertainment and political media knew for years. No one wanted to publish that story. But that’s not the same thing as “not being able to nail it down.” “Nailing it down” would have amounted to nothing more than printing a collection of facts under a byline.

The real issue, as Traister notes, was that “there were so many journalists on his payroll, working as consultants on movie projects, or as screenwriters, or for his magazine.” Traister is referring to Talk, the magazine Weinstein started at Miramax with Tina Brown. The catchword was “synergy”—magazine articles, turned into books, turned into movies, a supply chain of entertainment and information that was going to put these media titans in the middle of everything and make them all richer.

Traister and I worked at Talk together in the late ’90s. There were lots of talented journalists but it was still a mess. Outside of “synergy,” there was no idea driving the magazine, and Tina’s search for a vision was expensive. She spent lavishly on writers, art directors, photographers, and parties. Harvey got angry. Every time Tina went downtown to meet with him he screamed at her the whole time. He humiliated her. At least this was the story that went around the office every time she went down there, a story circulating through, and circulated by, several dozen journalists.

Or, to put it another way: More than 20 people in one magazine office alone all had the story about Harvey Weinstein’s “mistreatment” of women.

So why didn’t anyone write it? Not to take anything away from Jodi Kantor’s excellent New York Times piece, but the reality is that everyone had the story.

The reason no one wrote it is not because the press wanted to get Weinstein, but couldn’t prove the story. No, it’s because the press was protecting Weinstein.

Why wouldn’t they? He made terrific movies and he was a big mover in Democratic party politics, raising millions for local and national campaigns, including the Clintons. (Hillary, some readers will recall, was on the cover of Talk’s first issue.)

John Kennedy, Jr. tried to blend politics and entertainment with the magazine he founded, George. His basic insight was correct; but he misunderstood something crucial. And John John misunderstood it because he was, by all accounts, a good man.

You know the old joke about Washington: That it’s Hollywood for ugly people. Kennedy thought that this was unfair to Washington and that the people in the nation’s capital had the capacity for glamour, too.

But it turns out that the joke works in the opposite direction: Hollywood is for ugly people, too. That was Harvey Weinstein’s essential insight, and how he managed to combine the worlds of politics, entertainment, and media. They’re all repulsive—and I know they’re disgusting or else they wouldn’t be courting, of all people, me.

Thus his fortress was quarried from the misshapen material of human vanity, ambition, and greed. Writers and journalists—the intellectuals, in his mind—were nearly as contemptible as actors. They wouldn’t dream of crossing a guy who could turn them into culture heroes with a phone call. Hey, I just optioned your novel and I already know who’s going to make the movie. And oh yeah, please confirm that you don’t, like I think I may have heard, have a reporter looking into a story about me.

A friend reminds me that there was a period when Miramax bought the rights to every big story published in magazines throughout the city. Why mess with Weinstein when that big new female star you’re trying to wrangle for the June cover is headlining a Miramax release? Do you think that glossy magazine editor who threw the swankiest Oscar party in Hollywood was trying to “nail down” the Weinstein story? Right, just like the hundreds of journalists who were ferried across the river for the big party at the Statue of Liberty to celebrate the premiere of Talk—they were all there sipping champagne and sniffing coke with models in order to “nail down” the story about how their host was a rapist.

That’s why the story about Harvey Weinstein finally broke now. It’s because the media industry that once protected him has collapsed. The magazines that used to publish the stories Miramax optioned can’t afford to pay for the kind of reporting and storytelling that translates into screenplays. They’re broke because Facebook and Google have swallowed all the digital advertising money that was supposed to save the press as print advertising continued to tank.

Look at Vanity Fair, basically the in-house Miramax organ that Tina failed to make Talk: Condé Nast demanded massive staff cuts from Graydon Carter and he quit. He knows they’re going to turn his aspirational bible into a blog, a fate likely shared by most (if not all) of the Condé Nast books.

Si Newhouse, magazine publishing’s last Medici, died last week, and who knows what will happen to Condé now. There are no more journalists; there are just bloggers scrounging for the crumbs Silicon Valley leaves them. Who’s going to make a movie out of a Vox column? So what does anyone in today’s media ecosystem owe Harvey Weinstein? And besides, it’s good story, right? “Downfall of a media Mogul.” Maybe there’s even a movie in it.

Rebecca Traister says the stories are coming out now because “our consciousness has been raised.” Between Bill Cosby and Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and Donald Trump, argues Traister, people are now accustomed to speaking and hearing the truth about famous, sexually abusive men.

This is wrong. It has nothing to do with “raised consciousness”—or else she wouldn’t have left off that list the one name obviously missing. It’s not about raised consciousness or else the Democratic party’s 2016 presidential campaign would not have been a year-long therapy session treating a repressed trauma victim with even its main slogan—“I’m with her”—referencing a muted plea for sympathy for a woman who’d been publicly shamed by a sexual predator.

Which brings us, finally, to the other reason the Weinstein story came out now: Because the court over which Bill Clinton once presided, a court in which Weinstein was one part jester, one part exchequer, and one part executioner, no longer exists.

A thought experiment: Would the Weinstein story have been published if Hillary Clinton had won the presidency? No, and not because he is a big Democratic fundraiser. It’s because if the story was published during the course of a Hillary Clinton presidency, it wouldn’t have really been about Harvey Weinstein. Harvey would have been seen as a proxy for the president’s husband and it would have embarrassed the president, the first female president.

Bill Clinton offered get-out-of-jail-free cards to a whole army of sleazeballs, from Jeffrey Epstein to Harvey Weinstein to the foreign donors to the Clinton Global Initiative. The deal was simple: Pay up, genuflect, and get on with your existence. It was like a papacy selling indulgences, at the same time that everyone knew that the cardinals were up to no good. The 2016 election demolished Clinton world once and for all, to be replaced by the cult of Obama, an austere sect designated by their tailored hair shirts with Nehru collars. “That is not who we are as Americans,” they chant, as Harvey Weinstein’s ashes are scattered in the wind.

abuse, bias, bullies, corruption, cover up, criminal, culture, elitism, ethics, extremism, feminism, political correctness, politics, progressive, scandal, sex, sexism

Filed under: abuse, bias, bullies, corruption, cover up, criminal, culture, elitism, ethics, extremism, feminism, political correctness, politics, progressive, scandal, sex, sexism

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