Thursday, December 5, 2019

Pearl Harbor Awoke the Heroes

This Saturday is the 78th anniversary of the date that continues to live in infamy, the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

image from here

I’ve written about it a couple of times before, offering some of the history, here and here. I’ll just repeat some of the stats, so we can see how big this attack was.

Nine US ships were sunk, 21 damaged, 3 beyond repair. Some 2,403 were killed, including 68 civilians. An additional 1,178 were injured. (Japan lost 29 out of 350 attacking aircraft, plus their midget sub.) Until 9/11/2001 there was never as large an attack on the United States. The following day, President Roosevelt gave the speech including the phrase, “a date that will live in infamy.” The US declared war on Japan. Four days later Hitler declared war against the US, and from that point on isolationism was out of the question. Instead, the goal was to completely thwart the tyrannists trying to put the world under their control, and to offer freedom as widely as possible. No other outcome was acceptable, and the United States was the special part of the world given the mission.
Following the war, the US did not subsume the losing parties; we helped them recover and live up to their promises to avoid future aggression. Japan and Germany could not have suffered loss to a greater victor. After the war, US generosity helped rebuild the war ravaged areas.
We still need to have the same mission—to thwart tyranny and offer freedom as widely as possible. There’s no room for cynicism in this effort. And I prefer that we wake to the need for heroes to stand against tyranny without yet another existential attack to get our attention.

I was pleased that the new movie Midway is a respectful look at this historical moment. The first quarter of the movie recounts the attack on Pearl Harbor. Then comes the rest of the Midway story—the Doolittle bombing raid of Japan in April 1942, then the Battle of the Coral Sea in May, followed at last by the Battle of Midway in June—which thwarted the tyrannical aims of the Japanese and pushed them back away from our shores.

The guys in our family always like a good war movie. I don’t always feel that way. There are some standouts, but they tend to be about specific people more than overall strategy for me. I’m always pleased if the movie can tell the story in a way that covers the strategy in a way that my non-strategic mind can understand. This one does that (with a couple of minor fails on my part, when I didn’t know why Nimitz was moving certain pieces on the big map table).

scene from the 2019 movie Midway
image found here

I understood the intelligence officers and code breakers, and the way they presented their evidence. I understood the trap they were setting for Admiral Yamamoto. And I understood the essential need to stop the Japanese onslaught.

Much of the story is told through a pilot named Lt. Dick Best, who was cockier before the lives of men were placed in his hands, but resolute in a way that made the difference. We also see Admirals Nimitz and Halsey (Nimitz was portrayed by Woody Harrelson, who not only looked the part, but didn’t look crazed as he often does in the parts he plays).

One difficulty I have with war movies is the quick cutting of scenes without full context. We’re shown the cockpit of one of the characters that has become important to us. Then we see a plane hit and exploding, and we can’t quite tell if that was the hero we just lost—until he shows up again a few scenes later. I have this same problem with Star Wars movies.

But the parts I do understand and see clearly were brilliant. It’s beautifully filmed. The CGI doesn’t call attention to itself. The acting is excellent. And, even knowing the outcome of the basic history of the Battle of Midway, it induced nail biting as we hoped we wouldn’t lose any more heroes.

Luke Evans (L) plays Lt. Wade McClusky; Ed Skrein play Lt. Dick Best,
who were real-life heroes in the Battle of Midway
image from the movie Midway, found here

There is some gore, particularly in the Pearl Harbor section of the film. But it’s at a PG-13 level, not R. I can’t stomach the gore in an R movie, but what is briefly shown in this one helps tell the story; it brings up some of the feelings I imagine 1940s Americans were feeling.

I’m so glad there wasn’t any pandering to an “America is also the bad guy” sophistry that shows up so often these days. In addition, this managed to be respectful to the Japanese as well.

There’s a good review of this movie in last week’s The Epoch Times, here

If you’re looking for a way to honor the Greatest Generation, that responded to Pearl Harbor and helped keep us free from tyranny, treat yourself to the new movie Midway.

Monday, December 2, 2019

No Means No When Parents Speak

Last spring I wrote a couple of posts (here and here) about what we learned from Kelly Litvak about human sex trafficking—and how one of the steps of recruitment was desensitization. That is, introducing things that are gross, ugly, taboo, socially unacceptable, to condition a dulled response, and finally acceptance of the aberrant behavior as normal. 

Courtney and Kelly Litvak
image from Epoch Times

There’s a follow-up story about Litvak’s work and experience from a couple of weeks ago, here

But I’m looking at another story, out of Austin, Texas, where the school district voted unanimously—over the outcry of parents—to instigate a sex-ed curriculum for children in grades 3-8 that looks designed to do what Litvak says sex traffickers do to normalize the unacceptable.

The Texas legislature, earlier this year, passed legislation intended to prevent this type of sex ed. SB 22 made it so that schools could not contract with abortion providers. This thwarted Austin Independent School District’s plans to adopt a Planned Parenthood-provided pro-LGBT sex ed curriculum called Get Real. Not to be deterred, they assigned internal staff to write their own. They did this in a hurry, without expertise in the subject matter. Mostly, it appears they borrowed large portions from a Canadian program.

The writers failed to alter details where laws are different. For example, the Austin ISD program tells 6th graders (who are 11-12 years old) that the age of consent is 16; in Texas, however, it is 17.

The program labels disagreement with the homosexual agenda as simply homophobia, and is categorized “along with other forms of discrimination,” and says such views “should be challenged.” In other words, if you’re a Bible believing religious person who saves sex for within traditional marriage, you are simply a homophobic bigot, and your beliefs should receive public scorn.

The program does spend a large portion, however, on not accepting bullying—toward LGBT-believing people.

But Christians are used to the schools dealing unfairly with us. And we have been able to mostly counter the attacks with good teachings at home. So, can this new sex ed be as radical as all that? Is this just alarmist? You judge.

You can find more commentary on the Austin ISD program here, which includes links to the actual 6th-8th grade curriculum. But I’ll share a few of my impressions.

There’s a graphic aimed at the younger students. You’ll note that there is nothing scientifically accurate about it. It doesn’t clarify; it confuses. According to the program, there are four aspects of sex:

·        Your sexual identity, your woman-ness or man-ness, which is what your brain tells you that you are, which can be male, female, or whatever else.
·        Your attraction, which is what your heart tells you to be attracted to, which can be to women and/or feminine and/or female people; or to men and/or masculine and/or male people.
·        Your anatomical sex, which isn’t necessarily related to your attraction, but can be to women and/or feminine and/or female people; or to men and/or masculine and/or male people.
·        Your expression, which is your femininity or masculinity as you choose to appear to others, regardless of your biology, the gender you identify as, or whatever type(s) you are attracted to.
They say that identity ≠ expression ≠ sex; gender ≠ sexual orientation. And that sex is assigned you at birth based on the appearance of your genitals—which they’ve just told you is not related to your gender, identity, expression, or whatever.

graphic from Austin ISD's sex ed curriculum
image found here

They fail to note that every cell of your body has contained the DNA determining you to be either a male or a female since you were an embryo. They fail to note that 99.98% of humans recognize themselves and others based on these inborn characteristics—so to say there is no correlation is not only confusing; it is a lie.

Lying would be bad enough. But among the evils that they do in this effort to sexualize young people is to expose them to the details of perverted sex, without ever countering with an example of a married couple—as though normal was whatever LGBT people do, but what the students’ parents do would be so abnormal as to not get a mention.

What the overwhelming majority of us actual normal people want our children to know is the basics about how their bodies will change during puberty, and why—so that they can have children when they are grown and ready for that step in their adulthood. They don’t need to be confused. They don’t need to be exposed to what qualifies as pornography in any other setting.

In our Texas Republican Party 2018 platform, we had a plank that would remove the pornography exemption for schools. That means, if it would be ruled as porn in any other setting, it is not exempt in a school setting. This would disallow many of the visuals and demonstrations included in the curriculum—and other versions like it. But that didn’t come out of this legislative session; there were a great many other SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) issues to deal with.

In the Austin ISD 6th grade sex ed, drawings of male genitalia are beyond diagrams to very realistic. 

In the section for this younger age group about abstinence, it goes into what behaviors qualify as abstinent and what doesn’t—including descriptions of vaginal sex, oral sex, and anal sex—because, I guess, they think a pre-adolescent can’t get through the 6th grade sexually abstinent without knowing what those various things mean. Descriptions of which body parts fit where for each were included. But at least I didn’t see them diagrammed.

There’s a section of the Austin ISD 8th grade sex ed that focuses on why women are paid less than men. Not whether they are, but only why. However, the fact is, when you compare apples to apples, women and men are paid virtually equally for equal work. And women at this time are more likely to have college education opportunities for higher paid work. So—why this section?

There’s a section for 8th graders (age 13-14) to help them figure out who/what they are. Because, they tell your child, you might not be what your biology tells you, or what you’ve always thought you were. And you might not be attracted to whichever types you thought, because now you're being introduced to this new array of types.

Can I just say, this is not information that would lead my child to a healthy, happy marriage relationship in which they can bring children into the world. So, no, I would not want it inculcated into my children.

And, by the way, there’s a pretty strong assumption that pregnancy is just one of those bad risks, like STDs. And while abstinence works 100% of the time (the only time I saw this is mentioned in the 8th grade curriculum), there are many many options for contraception to suit you and your teenage lifestyle, because we know you’ll be choosing to have sex (wink, wink).

There’s a section on being able to tell flirting, which is legal in schools, from harassment, which is illegal. It comes down to whether it is two-way. In other words, if a person flirts—which in most generations has meant putting oneself out there in a playful way to encourage a similarly playful reaction—and the person doesn’t respond, then it’s harassment. But you won’t know that until you’ve done it. Not helpful information.

The program spends a large portion telling the students of the various combinations of gender, identity, expression, and orientation—with an emphasis on “and they’re all OK.” Nevermind that there’s only one combination that leads to procreation, and only one place—within marriage—that it creates a family. The youth are told these various forms are all equally acceptable. Marriage isn’t mentioned.

There’s a small portion of one lesson that talks about values and where they come from, including from family and church. This is followed by an exercise in which the students label various beliefs with Agree, Disagree, or Pass—in front of their peers. So that there is peer pressure to agree with the lessons and beliefs of peers, even after being told pressuring for agreement is unacceptable. That’s not realistic. The school authority tells them what to believe even though it may differ from what the family or church has taught them, and then challenges them to share publicly whether they dare to disagree with what the school authority has told them.

I thought the California version, Teen Talk, was more explicit than what I’m seeing (outside the videos, because I didn’t view them all) in the AISD program. But it’s still definitely not what I would want my children to be taught.

Parents resist in Downey, California
image from here

Everywhere these things are incorporated in schools, the implementers count on parents not being informed. Because informed parents always object. What an inconvenience for these people who claim to know more than you do about what your child should be taught!

Think about this: Whose values on sex do you want to be inculcated in your child? Yours, or LGBT activists? It’s an either/or question. Do you want your child to understand the way abstinence before marriage followed by complete fidelity within marriage is the path to a healthy and happy love life—which has been known for millennia and which social data confirms? Or do you want a radical pro-sex-without-consequences of all types and in all situations.

By the way, the original instigation of sex ed in schools was ostensibly to lower rates of out-of-wedlock births. Those rates were at that time on a downward trajectory. But rates went up from that point on, while abortions rose as well, until plateauing in recent years. When schools say, “Think how bad things would be if we hadn’t acted,” think again.

You need to be willing to remove a child from school to avoid their exposure to the normalization of perverted sex. When parents do that, schools cave to the pressure. But you have to actually stand strong. Be informed. And take action to protect your child.

Besides those I’ve linked above, here are additional places I’ve written about explicit sex ed in schools, as well as a couple of the news stories I mentioned above.

·         Worth Standing Up” 
·        Teachers’ Unions Harm Education” 
·        "Too Much Savagery
·        Worse than We Imagined” 
·        Worse than We Imagined, Part II        
·         Surprise at Old News” 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Count Your Many Blessings

A lot of literature recommends doing a gratitude journal. The idea is to list three things to be grateful every day—and write them down. It helps you recognize the good and feel happier. It’s actually a therapy activity for depression. Making it a daily habit makes a difference.

Some comics have been doing this exercise this week. (I got all these from the Houston Chronicle.)

A few days ago I read a piece about thanks, extending this activity to something bigger—not for every day, but just so you know you can do it. It suggested that it’s pretty easy to come up with a thousand or more things you’re thankful for. You do it by coming up with 10 categories and listing 100 things in each category. Here’s their list: 

100 foods you love (think desserts!)
100 animals or things in nature
100 household/modern conveniences (walk around)
100 benefits from society (use a phonebook)
100 people you love (check your contacts list)
100 body parts or things your body can do
100 books you love (read the bookshelf titles)
100 movies you love (look through the DVDs)
100 songs you love (check the playlist)
100 bad things that have never happened to you
That was just the secular list. They went on to list categories related to our religion, including musical moments from hymns and Primary (children’s) songs; favorite scriptures, people who’ve been living examples to you, and more.
I think I’d like to add a few categories about living in America. Maybe I wouldn’t get a hundred for each category, but I could probably get 20 in almost any category. Then I’d just need more categories to reach 1000 or more things to be thankful for:

·         Places in America where I loved visiting or living.

·         Founding fathers and historical figures that led to our freedom.
·         Beautiful words and phrases in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
·         God-given rights.
·         Blessings of living with freedom.
·         Blessings of living with economic freedom and prosperity.
·         Blessings of living with civilization.

This year the feast and festivities are at our son Political Sphere’s house. We’re just bringing a couple of easy things. And in our part of the country, the weather’s good, so the two-hour drive should be pleasant. I’m thankful for this holiday that brings us together as families.

May your day be full of things to be thankful for as well—and the happiness that comes from noticing those blessings!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Another Education and Homeschooling Post

This will be a part II of an education post. In the last post, I offered the first part of my presentation, on  homeschooling, but making the point that, when you look at the entire 6000 years of the history of education, homeschooling is what has been traditional—because it works. And the public school experiment, using a factory model, has only been underway for about a century. And it’s a failing experiment.

On Saturday we had a presentation on the structure of education first. The presenter, Colleen Vera, a retired teacher, has spent years as a watchdog on school issues. One of her specialties is the HarrisCounty Department of Education (which we agree should not exist), and we count on her to attend their meetings, let us know what’s going on, and let us know when we need to take action.

She provided us with this flow chart of the parts of government that make decisions over education. Down at the bottom, with the least influence, are teachers in the classroom and their students.
The summary flowchart of Texas government in education,
from Colleen Vera's presentation
at Cypress Texas Tea Party, November 23, 2019

One fascinating example was her seating chart. Teachers have requirements for seating children based on various rules placed on them. Well under half of the seats are for regular kids. GT (gifted and talented) are used to help the teacher, not the GT student. They’re seated next to the struggling to help them out. Which means the gifted students are placed with the slowest, holding them back, rather than challenging them to move ahead at a rate suited for them.

assigned seating chart based on government requirements
from Colleen Vera's presentation 
at Cypress Texas Tea Party, November 23, 2019 

Note that in middle and high schools, this seating chart is set up for one period; the teacher has to sort through the students like this for every hour of the day. Why? To avoid lawsuits. Not to get better educational outcomes.

As Colleen went through the history of educational initiatives that—as she pointed out before I had a chance—the federal government was not empowered to do by the Constitution, I’m reminded that the federal Department of Education was non-existent until 1979. I went through my entire public school experience without any federal oversight. Somehow we muddled through better than we’ve done since its inception.

SAT scores under Department of Education, begun 1979
from Colleen Vera's presentation
at Cypress Texas Tea Party, November 23, 2019

Colleen offered this chart, showing average SAT scores over the years. The * in 1996 indicates the year they changed the way they scored—in other words, in order to cover the data that showed results were going steadily downward, they cheated. So you can’t measure apples to apples.

Still, there’s a downturn from the beginning of the Department of Education until 1996. And, depending on your state, nothing better than mixed improvement or standing still since 1996.
Why did they institute a federal Department of Education in the first place? Because there was a crisis in education. At first that excuse was for “national defense and social responsibility.” That’s kind of a stretch—past the point of elasticity—of the actual Constitution. But now it’s worse. The new excuse is, “to fix society’s ills.”

She ended her presentation with some suggestions of actions we citizens can take—along with the warning that you can’t single-handedly do it all, so you might want to figure out where your interests lie and focus there. So, here are the actions:

·         Volunteer in public schools (VIPs)
·         Join PTA/PTO
·         Volunteer for Texas Book Review
·         Apply to be on local committees (school growth, bonds, etc.)
·         Apply to local councils (ex: School Health Advisory Council)
·         Start local conservative education PAC
·         Educate yourself on ONE specific area of concern:
o   Research
o   Advocate local school board
o   Advocate State Board of Education
o   Advocate Texas Legislature
o   Advocate Congress
·         Become a Watch Dog
As citizens, we’re in a difficult place. We know the public schools are failing in their mission. We know the federal government has no business involved in education at all. But we’re up against a monopoly. You can’t get out of paying your tax dollars for public schools—even if they do not serve your children, and in fact you have to pay elsewhere for their actual education.

It’s like Canadian health care. You get what you get under the national system. Or you make financial sacrifices to come to America for care. 

We can go to private schools and homeschools—if we’re desperate enough and have the resources over and above what we pay toward schools with our taxes. Education is, by the way, 35% of the Texas budget for 2020.

So the question comes up—and isn’t often answered the way I would prefer—do we leave it alone and let the schools fail, or do we work tirelessly to change any little bit we can affect?

Maybe the answer is, first of all, meet our own children’s needs; then work to have education money spent more wisely. And, if there’s energy left, create a revolution toward free market + philanthrophy solutions.

That isn’t as outlandish as you might think. There’s a portion of my presentation where I compared costs. I toted up what I estimated that we spent. I’m sure I missed some things, but I got most of it. This was our cost breakdown for 3 students for 10 years (only our youngest was homeschooled for the full 10 years):

• Elementary Math: $350
• Secondary Math through Algebra 2 $450
• History and general: about $300
• Lonestar tuition: maybe $1000?
• Kaplan ACT prep (used for progress evaluation): $35
• Museum memberships: $80/year, 7 years = $600
• THSC and homeschool group memberships: $600?
• Driving to homeschool events/activities: unknown
• Books: Who knows? We’d have bought them anyway.
• Loss of income: unknown and unimportant

Estimated total for 10 years, entire family: $3,335
• Average per year: $333.50
Compare that to the average cost for the State of Texas to educate a child. Stats weren’t all consistent. According to the NEA, Texas spent $10,456 per student for the 2017-18 school year—about $2,300 below the national average. The Census Bureau puts the cost at $8,861 per student per year—still $2,531 under the national average. 

The contrast is significant. My results are anecdotal, but it worked out for us. A sacrifice we were willing to make.

It’s actually getting cheaper.

For example, the $350 elementary math we used, CSMP. Our boys had used it in the gifted magnet school they attended before we moved to Texas, so when I started homeschooling, I called up those teachers and got the information to get it. I got a teacher’s edition, which you only need one of per classroom. There’s also a set of consumable booklets for each student, of which I just got one. We’d been told that program was only used for gifted students, because it was so expensive. But you buy the teacher’s book one time per decade or so (math doesn’t really change). So you’re only buying the consumables. And maybe there’s a better way. But it didn't seem to me that costly per student.

Anyway, that whole thing, 3rd grade through 5th grade, cost me $350 in 2000. It’s now free online. The distributor decided not to continue printing and selling the program, so some enterprising parent asked permission to post everything online and combined with Buffalo State to preserve it. It’s all there now, for free—all years, not just those I had needed.

I compiled a list some years ago on free and very low cost online learning, which I’ve added to a bit here. I’m sure there are many opportunities I’m missing. You could easily accomplish a high school and possibly college education online, where the only thing you’re not getting is the social experience and the debt—oh, and the diploma. So, if we let go of the diploma and other locked doors into the middle and upper class, we’d have much cheaper—and often better by every measure—advanced education. Here’s the list:

       PragerU videos 
       MIT (MIT OpenCourseware)
       Harvard (Harvard@home)
       Berkeley (webcastBerkeley) 
       ITunes U 
       YouTube EDU
       BBC video language (about $100 per college level course)

One thing the free market does really well is bring more and better products and services at lower prices. In technology there’s a formula, called Moore’s Law, relevant mainly to transistor size and power, for how technology keeps getting better and cheaper. There’s something like that going on with information. It’s getting more widely available at less cost.

In short, when we’re dealing with the public school system, we need to stand firm on the knowledge that the system is not indispensable. There are alternatives. And when we truly want good educational outcomes for our children, we’ll do what it takes to use those alternatives. 

The more we go to the alternatives, the more the market will follow with even better—and less expensive—solutions.

We'll be doing another Tea Party meeting on education next month, hearing from a couple of conservative members of the State Board of Education. I expect we'll learn even more.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Purpose of Education

I’ve been putting together a presentation for this coming Saturday. At our Tea Party, we’re spending two consecutive meetings on education issues. My part will be on homeschooling. The beginning segment is about the purpose of education, and some history of education. Since that’s where my thoughts are today, I might as well give a preview here.

The purpose of education, according to Aristotle, is to produce a great soul.

Joe Harless, in his book The Eden Conspiracy, says education should be about producing an accomplished citizen. It should teach the knowledge, skills, and information relevant to becoming accomplished members of society.

What should an accomplished member of society be accomplished at doing—regardless of how the person makes a living?

·         Obedience to the law.
·         Informed voting decisions.
·         Contributions to stability.
·         Resolution of interpersonal conflict.
·         Contributions to community improvement.
The Northwest Ordinance, one of our lesser known founding documents, written in 1787, the same year as our Constitution, says “Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall ever be encouraged.”

So the purpose of education, then, is to teach religion, morality, and knowledge so that we can have good government and happiness.

Note that encouraging schools and the means of education did not mean government provided it, only that it would offer a gift of land—after surveying, one 16th of the land would be sold to private owners, and the proceeds would be used “within that township” to help with the building of schools. No state or national oversight. No ongoing support. Simply a one-time grant to encourage building schools.

So far we’re using different words, but we’re pretty much in agreement about what we want schools to do.

According to Oliver Van DeMille, in A Thomas Jefferson Education, there are three types of
education, each with its particular purpose:

·         Public education
·         Professional education
·         Leadership education
We’ll take these in turn.

First, public education. It’s intended to prepare a person for a job, or for servant labor. It teaches what to think. It is implemented in cultures to give opportunities to the poor, to lift them from being a burden on society. The downside—everywhere it had previously been tried—is the deterioration of other education, which can’t complete with “free.”

Second, profession education. It’s intended to prepare for trade, often through apprenticeship, for skilled artisan work, and for law, medical, MBA, or other professional training. It teaches when to think, or under what circumstances to use their specialized training. So, the purpose is to create expertise. It meets this goal, but it is not a substitute for leadership training.

Third, leadership education. It’s intended to produce leaders in home and communities, entrepreneurs in business, statesmen in government. It teaches how to think. So it trains thinkers. It develops character, competence, and capacity to do the right thing—and to do it well—in business, government, church, school, family, and other organizations. It perpetuates freedom.

Historically, for thousands of years, those with resources provided home tutoring, often followed by trade apprenticeship and professional training. Meanwhile the poor got whatever minimum was necessary to make them useful—usually emphasizing physical labor over brain labor.

Public education—that first type, for preparing the poor for service labor—was first tried in America during a time when many immigrants were working in factories, and their children were left to wander the streets. This coincided with the industrial revolution.

In comes Horace Mann, an atheist “progressive.” He said,

What the church has been for medieval man, the public school must become for democratic and rational man. God will be replaced by the concept of the public good…. The common schools… shall create a more far-seeing intelligence and a pure morality than has ever existed among communities of men (quoted in Christopher Klicka, The Right Choice—Home Schooling, p. 32).
Within two generations, Mann's ideas flooded the nation. There was the problem of large numbers of poor students from uneducated families. He offered the factory model. Subjects were separated, rather than integrated. Timing was determined by ringing bells, just like in the factories. Schools were top-down authoritarian. Uniformity was paramount.

Then along came John Dewey—of Dewey Decimal System fame. In 1916 he published Democracy in Education. He’s more or less the father of “progressive” education. He had plans to “revolutionize” child training. “Self-realization” became the goal instead of “learning.” He gave no more than a casual nod to teaching English grammar, ancient history, US history, geography, classics of Western civilization, or science.

He looked upon the schools as a wonderful opportunity to indoctrinate America’s youth in the “virtues” of a glorious age where private property, the free market, open competition, and profits would all be eliminated.

What was his background? He got his PhD from Johns Hopkins, studying under G. Stanley Hall—a disciple of German socialist Wilhelm Wundt. Dewey visited the Soviet Union in the 1920s. He failed to recognize the revolutionary desolation and widespread destruction of human values, and instead described it as “a popular culture impregnated with esthetic quality.”

According to W. Cleon Skousen, in The Freeman’s Digest, May 1984, “Today we are reaping the tragic results of the pedagogical misery that America inherited from Dewey’s misadventure in experimental education.” As he explained Dewey’s history before that Soviet visit,

Long before, in 1904, he had joined the faculty of the Teachers College at Columbia University. He had then teamed up with James Earl Russell, the dean of the Teachers College, who was also a student of Wilhelm Wundt, and together they had worked for a quarter of a century diligently building this branch of Columbia University into the largest institution in the world for the training of teachers. By 1953, about one-third of all the presidents and deans of teacher training schools in America were graduates of Columbia’s Teachers College.
One of his contemporaries, Dr. Robert M. Hutchins, saw through the scheme to its logical consequences:

The disappearance of great books from education and from the reading of adults constitutes a calamity. In this view, education in the West has been steadily deteriorating; the rising generation has been deprived of its birthright; the mess of pottage it has received in exchange has not been nutritious; adults have come to lead lives comparatively rich in material comforts and very poor in moral, intellectual, and spiritual tone (Great Western Books, vol. 1, preface; pp. xii-xiii).
I may have told this story elsewhere, but there’s a segment of To Kill a Mockingbird, where the young protagonist, Scout, describes her disappointment with school. Her description of the first day of first grade (no kindergarten back then) is worth retelling.

Scout’s teacher discovers that she not only knew the alphabet, but she could read all the readers and The Mobile Register (newspaper), which she had learned naturally just by sitting with her father and reading together in the evenings. The teacher says,

“You tell him I’ll take over from here and try to undo the damage—”
“Your father does not know how to teach. You can have a seat now.”
I mumbled that I was sorry and retired meditating upon my crime. I never deliberately learned to read, but somehow I had been wallowing illicitly in the daily papers (p. 22 of my copy).
Apparently John Dewey was to blame. She goes on:

The remainder of my schooldays were no more auspicious than the first. Indeed, they were an endless Project that slowly evolved into a Unit, in which miles of construction paper and wax crayon were expended by the State of Alabama in its well-meaning but fruitless efforts to teach me Group Dynamics. What Jem [her brother] called the Dewey Decimal System was school-wide by the end of my first year, so I had no chance to compare it with other teaching techniques. I could only look around me: Atticus [her father] and my uncle, who went to school at home, knew everything—at least, what one didn’t know the other did. Furthermore, I couldn’t help noticing that my father had served for years in the state legislature, elected each time without opposition, innocent of the adjustments my teacher thought essential to the development of Good Citizenship. Jem, educated on a half-Decimal half-Duncecap basis, seemed to function effectively alone or in a group, but Jem was a poor example: no tutorial system devised by man could have stopped him from getting at books. As for me, I knew nothing except what I gathered from Time magazine and reading everything I could lay hands on at home, but as I inched sluggishly along the treadmill of the Maycomb County school system, I could not help receiving the impression that I was being cheated out of something. Out of what I knew not, yet I did not believe that twelve years of unrelieved boredom was exactly what the state had in mind for me (p. 37).
Maybe it’s time we re-think what is normal.

In six thousand years of human history, children have been brought up and taught by their parents. Turning that responsibility over to the state is a social experiment—an undeniably failing experiment—begun only about a century ago.

While we homeschoolers may look radical to the people around us who don’t know anything different from government institutional factory-like schools they grew up with, we are the ones following the traditional pattern.

We homeschoolers are the ones doing leadership education. We’re the ones teaching how to think.

And insofar as we do well in teaching the knowledge, skills, and information relevant to becoming accomplished members of society, we’re producing great souls.

My kids were worth it.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Misdirection from the Larger Story, Part II

This is the second part of Misdirection from the Larger Story. Part I is here.

The impeachment hearings are purportedly about our president’s interest in corruption by Joe Biden and his son in Ukraine from when Joe Biden was the Vice President—interest that is supposedly off limits, regardless of accuracy, because Joe Biden is a presidential candidate.

But that corruption story is only a small piece of the larger Ukraine picture—which, in turn, is a small piece in a larger worldwide picture, which we'll get to today.

Focus on that small piece is not only fruitless, because there was no wrongdoing by President Trump, but also because it misdirects us from the larger stories. So I don’t want to get too distracted, but since former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch testified on Friday, I want to add just a bit of her part.

If we recall what we know about her, upon her appointment as Ambassador to Ukraine by the Obama administration, she held a meeting with the new prosecutor general, Lutsenko. Despite her denial that she “handed him a list,” multiple sources verify that she listed for Lutsenko those entities his investigations should not touch—including anything related to a George Soros NGO or Burisma. He pulled out a piece of paper to write the list, and she said, no, he misunderstood. And he answered that, yes, he understood very clearly. It was how Ukraine, in all its corruption, had always worked, but now he could see that the US worked this way as well.

That’s the former ambassador Yovanovich, who testified for five hours on Friday. She was removed from her ambassador post (but remains a State Department employee) months earlier and had no knowledge of the July phonecall at the center of the impeachment inquiry. When asked directly whether she knew anything about the President making a bribe, she had to answer no. When then asked whether she was aware of any illegal act by the President, she again had to answer no.

She not only had no firsthand knowledge surrounding the question, she knew nothing secondhand. But for five hours she was allowed to make the case that the President was interfering with State Department ongoing programs.

That’s pertinent to what we want to talk about. Not her opinions on these things, but that the State Department thinks its duty is to disregard the President’s policies and to enact its own program—and he’s interfering! How dare he! He must be stopped!

The bigger picture in Ukraine goes back some years, to when the then-President of Ukraine decided to side with Russia rather than the European Union. There has always been, and continues to be, a separation between ethnic Russians and Ukrainians within Ukraine. This moment was a catalyst for revolution. And such a moment was what the Obama administration’s State Department was looking for.

It was their policy to support the revolutionaries. Any revolutionaries. Glenn Beck lays it out in four steps:
·         Step One: US State Department identifies, trains, and funds “Civil Society” groups to mobilize.

·         Step Two: When opportunity emerges US trained activists go into action.
·         Step Three: The State Department, and their proxies, actively support the opposition.
·         Step Four: Infiltrate the new government with hand-picked “Civil Society” leaders.

So the revolution—at Step Two in the plan—was the ousting of the previous president Victor Yanukovych. Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, traveled to Ukraine three separate times during that uprising. Glenn Beck shows a photo of her from December 2013 handing out cookies to the revolutionary activists in the streets.

Glenn Beck lays out what he can prove about what he calls the Democrats' Hydra.
screenshot from here

In his Part III of the Ukrainian corruption series, called "The Democrats' Hydra," Glenn Beck mentions a leaked phone conversation, which he has in his possession, in which Nuland was

discussing how to manipulate who would become the next Ukrainian prime minister. And, surprise! Surprise! That man ended up getting the job.
There’s more:

But even though they’d been publicly outed, manipulating the affairs of a sovereign nation, they didn’t stop. They doubled down.
If you’ll recall, from November 2014, the Obama administration and State Department colluded—probably the right word—to form, connect with, and protect a George Soros-funded NGO inaccurately named the Anti-Corruption Action Center. And Glenn Beck’s researchers found further coordination:

Newly released emails obtained by Freedom of Information Act request, shows near weekly communication between Nuland and Soros. This [he’s showing] is an email chain from June 1, 2016, and it shows Soros setting up a call with Nuland for one of their scheduled updates.
Another email chain, between Nuland and George Soros’s Open Society Foundation happens to include the whistleblower, Eric Ciaramella. Interesting the many places he shows up.

If you look at the four steps, you can see that the plan was to disrupt, foment chaos, and then overthrow an existing regime and put in a replacement government with hand-picked leaders. Done and done.

What is the evidence? Glenn Beck holds up documentation—which he has shared online to make sure it doesn’t disappear, written by George Soros personally and signed by him. Glenn Beck explains:

He actually says “a self-appointed advocate of the new Ukraine.” This is his comprehensive strategy for the new Ukraine. In this paper, Soros identifies the institutions that need to be either set up or targeted by his group and the US State Department.
The first one is the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, that needed to be established. Well, they got this one done right away. Right away. They got that done in the beginning. It’s also relevant to point out that this relationship bore fruit for the Obama administration as they pressured the bureau to investigate Manafort. They later hit a home run when they illegally released information implicating Manafort in the Black Ledger. It doesn’t mean Manafort isn’t guilty of something; it just means illegally released that information, which kicks the Russian investigation into overdrive. 
Now why did I say illegally release the information? Because a Ukrainian court convicted the head of the Anti-Corruption Bureau—you know, the first thing that Soros said they had to do. They were convicted for doing it, and interfering in the US 2016 election. 
It’s interesting that the establishment of the bureau was part of Soros’s plan, and they were directly coordinating with the Obama administration. It is the head of this organization that is caught on tape bragging about how he worked to discredit Trump on behalf of Hillary Clinton. [In Episode I of this series, called "Ukraine Scandal Explained."]
By the way, convicted in a court of law for interfering in a US election. But our media has absolutely no interest.
This looks like it’s about Ukraine. But it’s bigger than that. George Soros has a long history of creating chaos, often economic collapse, in order to take out a regime and start anew. He’s done that pattern.

Why was Obama, along with the Clinton-run State Department, and currently the embedded Deep State plan not only supporting Soros’s plans, but taking them on as their own?


Alec Ross, an appointee to the State Department as a senior advisor on innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, spoke to embassy insiders at the Ukrainian Embassy, revealing some truths they wouldn’t normally say openly—at least not to the rest of us. He has three things on the screen behind him showing "infrastructure, mass media, and communication," with the word "INTERNET" underneath. He says,

Ross: And the force and effect of all three of these paradigm shifts taking place at once creates a moment of remarkably disruptive change. And, for those of us that work in foreign policy, the change that I would argue is actually most significant goes to this issue: power.
Alec Ross at the Ukrainian Embassy in 2011.
screenshot from here

People like George Soros have money enough, and experience enough. What he has left to crave is power, which he relishes. There’s a clip Glenn Beck shows from a piece he did on Fox, called “The Puppetmaster.” This is Soros in his own words:

Soros: When you try to, say, improve society, you affect different people and their different interests differently. And they’re not actually commensurate. So you very often have all kinds of unintended adverse consequences. So I had to experiment. And it was a learning process. The first part was this subversive activity, disrupting an oppressive regime. That was a lot of fun, and that’s what actually got me hooked on this whole enterprise.

George Soros clip from "The Puppetmaster" on Fox News
screenshot from here

Collapsing entire countries is fun for him. Compare this to a time, during the Arab Spring, when Gaddafi was beaten and dragged to death in the streets, and Hillary Clinton says, “We came. We saw. He died.” Followed by raucous laughter. Oh what fun it is to wield power! She’s practically giddy.

Did the State Department have a hand in causing the Arab Spring?

We said things were bigger than Ukraine; Ukraine was just an example story of the larger global picture.

Here’s what Alec Ross said about their efforts—in that four-step plan we mentioned above:

Ross: Some of the things that I spoke about when I came to the department—things like leaderless revolution or virtual organizations—might have been really edgy or a little off-center, but after Tunisia and Egypt, nobody is questioning the abstraction of leaderless revolutions, and after Wikileaks, certainly everybody understands the power of virtual, globally distributed organizations.
And which step was taking place when the Ambassador to Libya was in Benghazi in 2012, probably arranging arm sales to Syria? Was it really an "spontaneous, indigenous, popular uprising," or was it yet another trained-by-us, timed-by-us fomented uprising for the purpose of power mongering?

Let me remind you of one more thing: power mongers use chaos as an opportunity to gain power. I wrote this on the Spherical Model website in the article “The Political World is Round”:

People tend to be afraid of the chaos of anarchy. Lenin saw this. One way to gain totalitarian power is to create chaos and then promise to solve the problems of chaos (crime, poverty, lack of safety on all levels) by offering government solutions, until the revolutionaries have managed to get themselves installed as dictators. This was the purpose of Trotsky’s idea of perpetual revolution: Place power in our hands, and we will see that you are fed and housed and protected—that is, if the dictator was so minded once the power was achieved. Everywhere that communism has been tried, it took hold because people gave in to this desire for government to provide protection and food and shelter. It works on a people who do not trust their own ability to provide, and it works especially well when chaos reigns to make it difficult for people to provide for themselves. Revolutionaries therefore cause anarchy so that they can implement their own totalitarian tyranny.
Anywhere that you see revolutionaries using terrorism, they are creating chaos for the purpose of seeking their own power—always. Their claim of doing it for the people and their rights is always a lie—even to themselves.
Here’s one more quote from Alec Ross, so that you see how this relates to Yovanovitch’s testimony on Friday:

Alec Ross quote
screenshot from here
Ross: Instead of trying to create a new bureau, what we wanted to do was build a long-term institutional capacity. I leave feeling that the work has been fully institutionalized and that the programs will live on.”

The proof is long, detailed, and complex. But the trail is there. We’re seeing what was hidden, because that July 25th phonecall set off alarms among the entrenched Deep State; they had to stop investigations, because they would be discovered. And then, because of their explosive reaction, we’re actually seeing what they planned to keep hidden.

That’s a good thing. But only if we Americans take action to root out the corruption.

Let me use a phrase a few of you will recognize: secret combinations. [See Ether 8:18-25.] These are what bring the downfall of any civilization that does not root them out.

Our former president and secretary of state were in a secret combination with George Soros. There are others with them: Alec Ross, Victoria Nuland, Marie Yovanovitch, Eric Ciaramella, Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi—and many names we don’t know. They are imbedded in our State Department, our CIA, our National Security. They will not give up power easily, because power is what they crave most. And once they get it, they wield it tyrannically.

How do we root them out? As a single citizen here, typing at my computer, I don’t know. But I know it’s important for me to know what’s going on, and let that inform my vote, and my voice as I speak with others. 

If there are enough of us who do that, God will make up for our limitations and help us save this, the greatest experiment in freedom, prosperity, and civilization the world has ever known.