Monday, January 21, 2019

Still Dreaming


The other day Mr. Spherical Model was commenting on how much he enjoys working with a particular client. The main person who brings him in on projects is especially pleasant. She’s high energy, has a good sense of humor, works well with others—on top of being good in her field of expertise.

They had an exchange over the weekend about postponing a scheduled meeting because of a family emergency, and Mr. Spherical Model said he’d be praying for her. And she thanked him and said that, because he’s such an angel, she’s sure the prayers would be answered.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
image found on Facebook
Other people at that company are also great to work with. They’re kind of our favorites right now.
For whatever reason, the company appears to be a majority black, plus a fair amount of Hispanic, at least here at the office we’ve worked with. But color doesn’t seem to be an issue. It has never come up in any of our discussions. Since we are the minority there—one that the media would tell you is privileged and all kinds of negatives—it’s nice to be treated as though we’re just additional great people to work with.


In other words, it’s about content of character, not color of skin.

Politics have never come up. Family values may have come up at times. Respect for co-workers and customers comes up frequently as part of the job. Part of the company’s ability to prosper depends on workers treating customers with respect—even when, or especially when, they have complaints.
Everybody prospers when people treat one another as valuable human beings.

Skin color is so irrelevant that we never talked about it, except looking at the situation around the time of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. Our experience is that his dream is reality, which is worth saying.

The irrelevance of race is our experience, in general. We encounter a pretty wide array of races and ethnicities in the very cosmopolitan salad bowl that is Houston, Texas. In church. In Scouting. In community organizations related to politics or service. In business.

That’s why it’s so puzzling when the media story is that the country is so hateful and racist. I don’t believe it. It’s not that the evil of racism is non-existent; it’s just that it is anathema to civilization, so you don’t find it except where savagery wins.

We saw an example this past weekend, at the March for Life. A group of Catholic students from Kentucky was gathering near the Lincoln Memorial after the march, and after some sight-seeing, to wait for their bus.

screenshot image found here


A group of adults came at them, shouted vile epithets at them, tried to provoke them (unsuccessfully). A Native American man, playing a drum, walked into the group, banged the drum in the face of a young man, whose personal space was invaded, but the boy was respectful.

This is all on video. But the media attacked the boys, falsely telling the story, editing video to create the negative story about them they wanted, claiming the chant was done as they surrounded and attacked the Native American man to taunt him. (There’s a good retelling of the entire story here.) 

There were two racist elements in this kerfuffle involving Catholic boys who favored ending abortion. One was that the adult group attacking the boys was black. Not a typical black group, but what some have referred to as a cult of black supremacists called Black Hebrew Israelites. They are a known group; they do this kind of attack frequently. Any journalist who has spent time in New York or Washington, DC, has likely encountered these people and knows exactly who they are and what they do, so they would have known without any confusion that they were the ones attacking the boys, not the other way around.

The other racist element was the Native American, Nathan Phillips and those with him. He used his race to lie about being a victim when the boys had done nothing wrong—and in fact were very respectful to him, considering his purposeful entering of their group and playing his drum in their faces. One of his companions shouted at the boys, apparently trying to provoke them, and told them they had stolen the land and should go back to Europe.

I don’t know about the black group’s protest purpose for the day, but it was footage from their video—an unedited hour and a 46 minutes—that shows them shouting vile things at the boys, and records the boys shouting only school cheers in an attempt to cover up the vile words being hurled at them.

The Native Americans were there for a demonstration, completely separate from the March for Life, that just happened to coincide nearby. Whether the man with the drum actually thought the boys were attacking the black men, or was simply lying, is hard to know for certain. But his actions and those around him show no evidence of racism from the boys—only towards them.

Social media attacked the boys. One of their chaperones was on Glenn Beck Radio this morning. If I understood her story, their school website was hacked in an attempt to get the boys’ names and private information to “dox” them (which included boys who hadn’t even been on the trip).

The media, aided and abetted by social media, served as accuser, judge, jury, and executioner for some boys on a school trip. Young boys. Teenagers. Who believe in protecting the unborn. Based on a brief video clip—purposely clipped to prevent showing context—that in itself shows them doing nothing wrong, but is used to foment hate towards them anyway.

This attack happened on the very steps in front of the location where Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.


Two things can be true simultaneously. One is that, for the vast majority of Americans, MLK’s dream has come true. The other is that, for those who want to find racism, they’ll create it where it doesn’t exist and use it for their own racist purposes. What we need is for that second thing to be even more rare.

Maybe we all need to make it a practice to take a step back, from any media story—or any anecdotal story we encounter—and wait. See if more context or detail comes out. In the meantime, give people the benefit of the doubt. Because most of America is made up of people who like each other and don’t even understand what the anger is about. In our civilized lives, racism is not part of our personal experience.


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Worth Standing Up


I’m about a third of the way through a book that I expect to write more about. But I just read a chapter that was kind of overwhelming. So I’m not waiting.

cover image from here
The book is Standing Up to Goliath, by Rebecca Friedrichs. She’s the one from the US Supreme Court case Friedrichs v California Teachers Association. She, along with other plaintiffs, was trying to prevent the teacher’s union from forcing teachers to pay money to the unions that would be used for political purposes against their beliefs.

After oral arguments, it was clear her side was prevailing. The Court was likely to vote 5-4 in her favor. On the verge of their celebrations, however, Justice Scalia suddenly passed away. So the case went 4-4, which left the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in place. The CTA won by default.

Much of the book talks about tactics used by the teachers’ unions—not just the California state one, but national ones as well. Friedrichs says,

I’d like to point out four psychological manipulations used by those who force power and control over others: fear, intimidation, isolation, and ignorance.
Teachers unions aren’t the only places we see those things. They show up wherever there are power mongers seeking power. It’s one of the evils of mankind.

The challenge is standing up to those power mongers despite the fear, intimidation, isolation, and ignorance they use against us.

The chapter I’m covering today is Chapter 8: “SeXXX Education—Teachers’ Union Style.” I’ve mentioned before that things are worse than we had imagined. (See also here.) But I continue to be shocked.

Friedrichs begins with a friend’s story, from 2013. This young mother had an eleven-year-old daughter in a California fifth grade public school. She had just learned about the school’s sex education program and wanted to spread a warning. She sent a link to an eight-week Planned Parenthood-designed curriculum called Making Proud Choices!

Warning: Please use discretion if you’re reading this around children, since this blog is usually guaranteed safe.

Here’s one of the “fun” “age-appropriate” activities for fifth graders: In the classroom, set up two anatomically correct, fully erect adult penis models. Separate the pre-teens into two lines of boys and girls. Have the two teams of children race to put a condom onto the penis the proper way while verbalizing the steps involved.

That one, while not age-appropriate, is at least about a type of sex the students are likely to encounter in their lifetimes. But they’re taught not to be limited. Friedrichs says,

Vaginal, Anal, and Oral sex (referred to casually as VAO) come up and was normalized in every single lesson, and in one lesson, in which they discuss a thirteen-minute “Hawaii Video,” kids are taught to protect themselves during anal and oral sex by using a “dental dam.” I had no idea what this meant, so I had to look it up. I was so shocked by what I saw in the search results, I couldn’t bring myself to open any of the links, but I was able to understand enough to know dental dams (originally created to help dentists during oral surgery), are now being used between the mouth and anus or vagina during oral sex, and our school leaders feel this is appropriate information for eleven-year-olds.
I don’t have the imagination to make up such a thing.

Another teacher friend, referred to only as Stella, contacted her from Massachusetts, with links to a similar program used there called Teen Talk. This included sixteen birth control methods, “including an ‘insertive condom’ that can be used in the vagina or anus, government approved birth control methods we’d never even heard of or seen, and a large erect penis model.” And she described the “dental dam” as “a big, pink rectangle of vinyl—maybe ten inches long.”

I’ve been in a dentist’s chair when this was used—particularly for removing hazardous mercury-containing fillings. But how is a fifth grader supposed to come by one, after being told it’s the “responsible” thing to do?

Stella said, at this point,

“We were all floored by the content in Teen Talk. It had really extreme and explicit sexual content and graphics, a lot of detailed discussion about intercourse, anal sex, oral sex, and really immature handling of it with games and activities that demonstrated sexual practices. You’re using these inappropriate childish games to teach something that is far beyond age appropriate. This was not family life or teaching kids how to their bodies were changing or what to expect with hormones. This was straight up training them to partake in various sexual acts.”
Friedrichs’ reaction was probably similar to yours:

This is child abuse, and I would resign my position before being forced to teach this deplorable lesson to children. It’s more suitable to a drunken fraternity party than a classroom full of vulnerable kids. I remember vividly what it was like to be eleven years old, and I’ve worked with eleven-year-old children for three decades. I can assert with authority that most eleven-year-olds forced to touch fully erect man-sized penis models and discuss condoms, penises, and sex would be profoundly traumatized.
If you have a teacher who would not resign before teaching such lessons, do you want that either pervert or spineless drone teaching anything to your child? And yet the lessons are being taught by teachers who do give in simply because the union is coercing them to.

Parents were not being warned that this new curriculum was different from what the schools had been teaching. And if the parents didn’t want their child to receive it, they had to “opt out.” Also, the district was sneakily calling it a “pilot program,” to avoid public review, but teachers were told at the training that it was being implemented district-wide for all middle schools that year (2017).

If you think this was about providing the children with needed information to prevent teenage pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases and even AIDS, you would be wrong. That is not the agenda. The agenda is to indoctrinate children to accept any and every form of sexual activity.
Another teacher in California, referred to only as Priscilla, looked further into the Teen Talk curriculum.

Using data from the CDC, Red Cross, FDA, and HIV.gov, Priscilla has been challenging these curriculums because while teaching risky sexual behaviors, they are withholding vital information that would protect students from contracting or transmitting HIV. She told [Friedrichs], “The law says its purpose is to provide pupils with the knowledge and skills necessary to protect their sexual and reproductive health from HIV. However, given the critical knowledge they are withholding from students, it seems the real purpose is to promote various sexual orientations.”
The unions’ idea of “age-appropriate” and “medically accurate” information isn’t going to have the same definitions you, as a sane parent, would have. Why are school unions doing this? I’m expecting that the unions have long been seen as an avenue for forcing ideologies onto the public, because of their power. So anyone with an ideology that can’t win on its merits infiltrates the unions in order to propagandize through the schools.

The bullying tactics specifically target people who believe in traditional sexual mores. Priscilla gives this example, which hit home for me, as a Latter-day Saint:

“I used to teach high school. I had a transgender student, gay students, and students of faith in my classes. In the context of a class discussion a Mormon student expressed his personal beliefs about marriage being between a man and woman. He shared his views respectfully.” She then asked the presenter [at a CTA conference] the following question: “As a teacher, how do you think I should have handled that situation in order to respect the diversity of all of my students?”
The CTA lobbyist replied, “You should treat that student as though he said, ‘Black people should be burned at the stake.’”
At first Priscilla thought this might be an aberrant opinion of a particular union representative. So she asked again, at a conference the following year, in a workshop ironically titled, “Creating a Safe Place—Legal Obligation,” led by the LGBT CTA caucus chairman. This person “affirmed that his colleague was right to say the Mormon student should have been treated as though he had said, ‘Black people should be burned at the stake.’” Creating a safe space does not mean for everyone, but only for the ones who agree with the union’s ideology.

Friedrichs added that her son was bullied for his Christian beliefs, from middle school through college. She says, “One of Ben’s teachers even harassed him in front of the class because his political science tests revealed his conservative values.” Teachers who attack students with these ideas are protected. But Friedrichs gives many examples in her book of teachers being bullied for doing what is actually in the best interest of students, their education, and their wellbeing.

Dr. Linda Gonzales verified the experiences of Friedrichs and people like Priscilla. She told Friedrichs,

I believe we can practice tolerance and debate issues and beliefs without mocking, insulting, disparaging, or offending one another. What I found difficult about the CTA position is that it disparages and disrespects divergent ideas by mocking, insulting, and dismissing the speakers of different persuasions, especially Christians, with labels such as “Hate Speech.” My takeaway is that the First Amendment, in their view, applies only to sanitized ideas and beliefs. In my view, this is anti-American and not aligned to the Constitution. I value open debate and religious freedom.”
Is there a way out? There has to be. If we don’t find a way out, we have savagery replacing our civilization.

I haven’t left room to cover the possible ways out today. But, for future review, here are some:

·       Homeschool. The best option, if you can do it.
·       Be vigilant. Be the parent who reviews the curriculum, brings it before the school board, warns the other parents, and pulls your child out of that dangerous pornographic harm that’s being labeled as education.
·       Work toward legislation that prevents pornographic materials from being presented in schools; this idea is to remove the “obscenity exemption,” which has been used to allow certain images and words to be used in schools that would otherwise be prosecutable as pornography. It’s in the Texas Republican Party Platform this year (Plank 93), so I’m hoping we can get this protection passed in the legislature. There’s also a plank (plank 121) to prevent schools from contracting with any third party, such as Planned Parenthood, for sex education or health curriculum.
·       Work toward doing away with the power of the teachers’ unions—who are using teacher pay and tax-free money to lobby for political positions that have nothing to do with a good education and everything to do with propagandizing their versions of savagery.
Painting called "Captain Moroni and
the Title of Liberty" by Arnold Friberg
found here
The only way to win against a bully that uses fear, intimidation, isolation, and ignorance to enforce ideas that are absolutely unacceptable is to stand up to them, regardless of the power differential. If you value freedom and civilization, this is a battle you have to fight. Here we are about to celebrate the contributions of Martin Luther King, Jr. He stood up. Spoke up. And brought about needed change.

There’s a story in the Book of Mormon, during a time of war, when a leader, Captain Moroni, reminds the people what they’re fighting for (Alma 46:12). He writes this on a cloak, to use as a battle flag, which is called the “Title of Liberty”:

In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children

That would be a good battle flag for us now.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Prevent Defense at the Legislature


The Texas Legislature is in session, as of last week. So I’m busy putting together a list of bills to follow. There’s a lot left to do, although I do have a few items so far under the categories of the legislative priorities we developed at the state convention last June.
Texas State Capitol


Usually we follow, and do citizen lobbying for, bills we want to have pass. Most of the time we don’t spend a lot of time on things we’re against. We’ve had Republican leadership, so that means a Democrat agenda doesn’t make a lot of headway.

This year we have a better speaker—which means we have reason to hope more conservative legislation will get on the calendar for a vote. But the minority party is slightly larger than last session. So there’s reason to be cautious.

As I’ve been going through the bills that have been filed, I thought it might be instructive to go over a few things we don’t want to see happen. Like I said, I don’t think these things have much of a chance. But maybe you should be aware of what some legislators think would be “progress” for Texas.

The state Senate has a bill, SB 150, attempting to codify in Texas law a right to abortion. Meanwhile a joint resolution, SJR 3, was filed attempting to guarantee the right to life of unborn children (to the extent authorized under federal constitutional law). That’s the kind of contrast we have between the two parties. Irreconcilable differences.

There’s a bill in the House, HB 513, attempting to set up a pilot program for distributing “long-acting reversible contraceptives” in public schools. I consulted Wikipedia to know what such contraceptives entailed: “Long-acting reversible contraceptives are methods of birth control that provide effective contraception for an extended period without requiring user action. They include injections, intrauterine devices and subdermal contraceptive implants.” So, either hormones by injection or subdermal implant, or a device requiring minor surgery—provided by a school. Why should a school be involved in this medical business in the first place? The bill says,

the pilot program may not distribute or provide for the distribution of a long-acting reversible contraceptive to a student who is under 18 years of age unless the school district obtains consent from the parent of or person standing in parental relation to the student.
Which is better than no parental approval for minors. Who is a “person standing in parental relation to the student”? It’s a legal term that would disqualify a parent whose custody rights have been discontinued. But it does not necessarily mean that both parents in divorce or separation must be informed.

In the category of Religious Freedom come several things related to privacy versus the LGBT agenda, which uses coercion. In the name of preventing housing discrimination, HB 188, forces landlords or facilities operators to allow transgenders or opposite sex individuals, disregarding the privacy rights of other individuals. It makes sexual orientation and gender identity or expression protected in the same way as race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin.

HB 244, and also HB 254 (they look the same to me), creates a criminal offense for discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression in hiring practices by public, private, or religious entities. Again, this law adds “sexual orientation and gender identity or expression” to the list of protections from discrimination, which are race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin. The additional harm of this legislation is that it allows prosecution for perceived discrimination or perceived possibility of future discrimination—actions that haven’t happened. A defendant is forced to defend themselves based on some person’s guess that they might be about to do something perceived as discrimination. Think Minority Report—prosecution before the crime.

Another one, HB 517, labels it “unprofessional conduct” for health providers to notice, recognize, or treat according to biological sex definitions that, regardless of actual science, run counter to the current LGBT agenda.

Here’s the definition of “gender identity or expression”:

A person’s having or being perceived as having a gender-related identity, appearance, expression, or behavior, whether or not that identity, appearance, expression, or behavior is different from that commonly associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth.
So, healthcare professionals, who presumably studied a lot of biological science to qualify for their professions, must disregard actual biology and notice—and then go along with—a person’s self-perception. There’s a huge science-denial problem there.

Also, people aren’t assigned sex a birth. Every cell in the baby’s body shows the individual’s sex with the presence or absence of a Y chromosome, from conception onward. There are some rare exceptions, with individuals who have a chromosomal anomaly, something extra, such as vestigial organs of the opposite sex; almost all these cases are clearly one sex or the other, so doctors, looking at the obvious evidence, “assign” the sex based on the physical evidence. Doctors making random decisions, or assigning incorrectly in these rare cases, isn’t a thing. And such cases certainly give no support to the transgender movement’s claims against reality.

Who are the healthcare providers to be prosecuted and disciplined for recognizing reality as opposed to a person’s anti-reality perceptions?

·         A licensed behavior analyst
·         A licensed chemical dependency counselor
·         A licensed professional counselor
·         A licensed marriage and family therapist
·         A licensed nurse
·         A licensed physician
·         A licensed psychologist
·         A licensed sex offender treatment provider
·         A licensed social worker
·         A special officer for offenders with mental impairments
·         Another person licensed by the state to provide professional therapy or counseling services
Specifically, the proponents of this law are lashing out against any treatment—whether desired by the patient or not—that could dissuade the patient from the sexual “transition” or sexual orientation that defies their biology.

This bill pertains specifically to the treatment of children, who, according to data, are highly likely to overcome gender dysphoria by adulthood if left untreated. But anyone who might know the research, be aware of the high likelihood of changes in the belief of people with gender dysphoria, the higher incidence of depression and suicide risk following transition, the high probability of regret and desire to de-transition (as in this story)—must not share that data, mention it, whisper under breath, hint at in professional or private settings. And not just mental health counselors, but also nurses and social workers. The law’s coercive intrusion appears totalitarian.

When we say our freedoms are at risk whenever the legislature is in session, this is evidence. So far we still have a majority in the state. But we’ve only had that since about the turn of the century. Prior to that Texas was a Democrat stronghold going back to its founding. We don’t know if the “redness” we have now is just temporary.

Here in Harris County, we’ve been half-and-half for quite a while, but mostly able to get more conservative voters out than the opposition. But the last two county-wide elections, we’ve lost. And now we have an inexperienced 27-year-old in her first job out of college as the county’s top executive, and a new county clerk who wants to spend a couple billion dollars to throw out the tried and true free and fair election practices, prevent precinct chairs—and thereby anyone from a party the clerk doesn’t want to hire—from running polling places, and return to the rampant fraud of the paper ballots that used to work so well for lovers of voter fraud.

at the Texas State Capitol
We have a lot of recovery to do in the county. And a lot of vigilance to do in the state.

Other bills to prevent include registering prisoners to vote, voter registration at the polling place, eliminating photo ID for voting. Plus there are minimum wage laws (outlawing entry-level pay), elimination of capital punishment, and preventing assistance to immigration officers. In other words, there’s a lot of mischief that could be done, if we don’t pay attention.

Prevention is better than repair. And there’s already plenty to repair, if we want freedom, prosperity, and civilization.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Forcing Evil

Counties of Ireland
image from Wikipedia

The first of this year abortion became legal in the highly Catholic country of Ireland. That “victory” is apparently not enough for those who promote the killing of unborn human babies. Right now 95% of Irish doctors refuse to perform abortions. That still leaves 179 doctors willing to perform them (although 30 of these ask that their names not be included on a national government list). There are four counties left without any abortionists.

How far does someone have to go, then? The maximum length of the country is just over 300 miles, and width is 170 miles. The whole length is about what we would drive to Baton Rouge, just outside Texas, into Louisiana. Or a tad further than from Houston to Dallas. But you’d never have to go that far. The four counties are spread out, all of them near counties with an abortionist. So the furthest drive is probably an hour (depending on road conditions).

But that isn’t good enough for the promoters of baby killing. The new law (through their Parliament in December and almost immediately enacted)

·         Forces taxpayers to pay for abortions.
·         Forces Catholic hospitals to provide abortions.
·         Limits conscience protections for doctors and nurses.
·         Allows girls 15 and under to have abortions without parental consent or notification.



Also, because there have been peaceful pro-life protests, the promoters of abortions are calling for government to censor pro-life speech and set up no-protest buffer zones around abortion facilities.
All this is in a faraway country. We would certainly find protection of life and liberty (including free speech) here in America, right?

Convincing black women that killing their babies
is self-care, which would have delighted PP founder
Margaret Sanger intended; billboard image found here
Next story. In New York City, more black babies are aborted than are born, 42% of all abortions in the city. Including all races, one in every three pregnancies is aborted. That’s not enough for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Earlier this week he promised to veto a budget that doesn’t make getting an abortion easier. Abortion is already legal in that state up to 24 weeks. [My first child was born alive at 23 ½ weeks. I wrote about that story here. And there's another sad story of a 24-week birth here.] Cuomo wants that expanded. He—along with pal Hillary Clinton—wants abortion legal up to birth for casually undefined “health of the mother” reasons, and to guarantee “abortion on demand” if there should come a time that Roe v. Wade were overturned, returning abortion decisions to the states. Pro-life groups, such as the New York State Catholic Conference, are already admitting that fighting this bill in New York is fruitless.

They’re making sure common-sense limitations, such as parental consent or limits on taxpayer funding of abortions, are squelched. Limit the opposition; allow no limits to killing babies—their tacit motto.

Here are the latest stats, which they wish to “improve”:

In 2016, 82,189 unborn babies were aborted in New York, with about half being taxpayer-funded, according to the local news. Of those babies, 1,763 were at least 20 weeks, meaning they may have been viable outside the womb.
Earlier this week, the new Planned Parenthood president clarified their mission, in a rare moment of candor, on Twitter: 

image of tweet found here

First, our core mission is providing, protecting and expanding access to abortion and reproductive health care. We will never back down from that fight—it’s a fundamental human right and women’s lives are at stake.
What is a mission? A special quest, or core purpose, often carried out to propagate the faith. The core purpose of Planned Parenthood is not to plan parenthood, but to prevent it—even after parenthood is underway, with a new person alive and growing.

Meanwhile, Facebook—a supposedly nonpartisan platform—has been censoring pro-life messages for being “hateful, threatening or obscene.” The Warriors for Christ page was one such target. While they do not promote anything hateful, threatening, or obscene, they have received death threats for their pro-life and pro-purity messages. Facebook hadn’t, at the time the story was written, explained what their specific violation was. Meanwhile, the group tried using their former youth ministry page, but when that also became inaccessible, it wasn’t clear whether that was a technical or censorship problem.

As with other conservative messages, pro-life advocates are noticing more online censorship on various social media platforms—which only have platform status because they do not censor based on political or religious views, but only speech that would be illegal, such as defamation or calls for violence.

Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn was prevented from placing an ad on Twitter in October, because she mentioned Planned Parenthood’s sales of aborted baby body parts—a decision Twitter had to reverse when news outlets reported on that issue.

Live Action, a youth-centered pro-life organization that has done undercover investigations of Planned Parenthood, found in September that Twitter had been censoring its ads. Founder Lila Rose said they were told to change information on their website before they could get their ads accepted—not content of the ads or on the platform where advertising was being placed, but content they supported in greater detail on their website, which Twitter workers apparently had time to comb through before accepting ad money. Hmm.

The Susan B. Anthony List used the phrase “killing babies,” not of course in favor of such a heinous crime, but against it. But Twitter objected and refused to run their ad.

It’s hard to prove that a platform is actively suppressing certain viewpoints, because they don’t always tell the person or group what they supposedly did wrong. But Facebook employees in 2016 admitted that they were suppressing conservative messages and favoring liberal ones. 

There’s a new movement to “shout your abortion,” to praise yourself for killing your offspring—killing the living being growing inside you. This is a movement started by Amelia Bonow. There’s a book, aimed at children, I believe. And a video, in which she tells children (with children sitting in her presence being told this) that abortion is just a doctor appointment, “like a crappy dentist appointment”—sort of uncomfortable but not that bad, in other words: “You go to the doctor, and they put this little straw inside of your cervix, and then inside of your uterus, and then they just suck the pregnancy out,” she explains. Easy peasy. This ghastly page is easy to find on Facebook.   Now that I’ve checked that fact, I’m a bit concerned Facebook’s algorithm will start marketing pro-abortion messages to me. What is most disgusting is the propagandizing of children in service of, ironically, killing children.

How do you know which side to be on?

One side is about life, perpetuating the species, civilization, persuasion, helping people who are in the position of taking accountability for their actions, and affirming the miraculous life-giving power of women.

One side is about killing, coercing, censoring, savage disregard for human life, refusing to take responsibility for their actions, and denigrating women for their feminine power of life.

It’s a stark difference.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Citizen Lobbying


Tomorrow is the day legislators take their oaths of office, and then the biannual legislative session can get underway here in Texas. It seems early to me. I was aiming to think about that later in the month. But I’ve gotten underway.

I was asked to speak at our local Tea Party meeting this past Saturday on how to do citizen lobbying, and specifically how to follow bills during the legislative session. So I thought maybe I’d share some of that here. Even though the specifics apply to us here in Texas, the ideas can be true anywhere.

There are essentially four ways citizens can participate in government:

·         Voting
·         Political parties
·         Campaigning
·         Legislative lobbying

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve been voting ever since you had the chance. Another step up is to participate with a party—by voting in a primary, attending a precinct meeting (usually on the day of a primary election, held afterward), becoming a delegate at a convention, or maybe even becoming a precinct chair. I’ve done all these. Campaigning is fairly new to me. But you may have done that if you knew a good candidate, or if you got inspired by one. Maybe you’ve just put out yard signs, or put a bumper sticker on your car; that’s part of campaigning.

Today we’ll mostly talk about lobbying our representatives. Lobbying simply means seeking to influence or persuade. You’re entitled to do that with your elected officials; they represent you, and they can only do that effectively if they know what your views are.

Citizen lobbying is different from paid lobbying. You don’t have to do any reporting to government about what you do. You’re just doing your civic duty by expressing your opinions to your elected lawmakers.

As they say, “When the legislature is in session, your freedoms are at risk.” You’d better let them know you’re watching, and you have certain expectations of them.

Even though it’s your right—and obligation—not everybody does it. There’s sort of a formula for figuring out how many constituents hold a view, based on how many express their opinion. It used to be that a letter had a greater impact than a phonecall, but after the powdered poison in the mail scare of the early 2000s, they’d prefer something other than a letter, although you’re still entitled to send one. Anyway, a letter, phonecall, or email is estimated to represent somewhere between four and ten constituents with that opinion.

If you do a phone, email, or letter contact, you’ll want it to be brief and focused:

·         Cover a single specific issue (with bill number, if there is one).

·         Make a specific request (support this bill or issue, oppose this bill, amend this bill).
·         Give 1-3 brief, clear reasons supporting your opinion.
Your request and opinion will be logged in a system and counted, so the elected official will have it as a reference.

There’s one more way to make contact, and that’s what we’re mostly talking about today: an in-person visit.

An in-person visit represents about a hundred constituents with that opinion. If you are willing to show up at your legislator’s office, he’s going to assume you take the issue seriously. And if you feel that strongly about it, so will many others who didn’t have the time or resources to make the trip to the legislator’s office.

There’s going to be an office at the capitol, and also in the local area. That’s true for US Congressman and Senators as well as for state representatives and senators (or whatever those positions are in your state). A capitol visit is bolder—and therefore maybe more persuasive—than a local office visit. But if you can’t make that trip, the local office visit still has about a ten-fold impact over an email. Also, you can visit about just a single issue, or about multiple bills or issues at the same time, since it’s obvious you’ll want to make the most of your time during the visit.

About four legislative sessions ago (Texas legislature is in session for about half a year every odd year), I was talking at a Tea Party meeting about contacting legislators with your opinions, mostly referring to what to do if you visit the capitol. And someone said, “But couldn’t we visit their local offices?” And then somehow I got assigned to set up those visits, and have a bill list we were following. And I’ve been the de facto legislative liaison for our Tea Party group ever since.

I was surprised that interest in these visits is even bigger this year than in the past. I feel anxious to do my part well. So far I’ve listed what I think will be our legislative priorities—based on what we’ve worked for in the past, and what we settled on last year at the district and state conventions. Platforms are a good source of possible legislation, which is why they tend to be longer and more detailed than most of us would prefer. But legislators do actually refer to them.

We’ve had a couple of innovations in the Republican Party of Texas. One is that we hold an up or down vote on each plank of the platform. (After discussion and acceptance of the platform language, we fill out a scantron sheet saying yes or no to each plank. Pretty much no plank gets removed at this point, but you can see varied strength of support.) We’ve done this for two conventions now.

This year another innovation was to organize the platform according to the state senate committees, making it easier to identify legislative possibilities. Also, we had a new committee for Legislative Priorities. They went through the platform and the ideas from the various local conventions around the state, and then determined what they thought were the top priorities for the upcoming legislative session, which the whole body at the convention discussed and approved. So we’ve got those to go by as well.

I’m looking at the priorities, and then identifying bill numbers. Many bills have already been filed, but it’s a matter of identifying the ones we think will do the job we hope for—or are at least a good starting point from which amendments can be added. So I’m building our bill list.

I expect to start scheduling visits with legislative offices by late January or early February. And then we’ll be making a visit about every other week. For most of those we’ll meet with the local staffer, rather than the legislator. But occasionally a legislator will be in town. Even visits to the capitol, unless you’ve made a specific appointment, you will probably meet with staffers rather than legislators.

Staffers are trained to take note of what we say, and our reasons, and put the information into the system. They do not, as a rule, express the representative’s opinion—unless that opinion is widely known and very clear, such as if the representative authored the bill. So don’t expect agreement when you make your visit. But that also means, if they’re not of your party or not in agreement with you, they will still listen respectfully and log your views.

Here in Texas we have a pretty good online system for tracking bills, and for finding other information about the legislators and legislative session. So, at our Tea Party meeting on Saturday I shared some of that.

The Texas Legislature Online home page.
Notice the My TLO tab, for following your bill list.
You can go to the Texas Legislature Online (https://capitol.texas.gov/) and set up an account (My TLO), and then set up bill lists and alerts, so you can follow the bills you’re interested in throughout the session. That means you can know when a bill is moving, or when a committee is hearing testimony on a bill, or when a vote has been taken and how that turned out.

You can follow a bill through all the stages—which includes several stages in the House or Senate, wherever it originated, followed by similar stages in the other house when it gets there, and then sometimes reconciliation when changes were made in the second house. The final stage is the governor’s signature.

Most bills die somewhere along the way. (Watch Schoolhouse Rock’s “I’m Just a Bill” for a refresher on that.) Last session there were a few of the bills we watched that made it through. Many more didn’t, so we’ll be working on those issues again this session. We have better leadership in the House this session, so that could help, although the majorities are smaller.

The point is, there is something you as a citizen can do to make a difference. I’m just a regular citizen. Any knowledge I have is just what I’ve gotten along the way, by giving it a try and learning as I go.

A citizen has a role to play in the government. A subject does not. I much prefer being a citizen, rather than a subject. That’s why I do what I do.

This has been a "how to" informational post. Another day (or several separate days) I may cover what the actual issues are this legislative session.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Interrelated Spheres


I started the Spherical Model blog in March 2011, to support and expand on the ideas on the website, which remain there pretty much unchanged since fall 2010. While I still stand by the original ideas, I continue to practice better ways of saying things.

The Spherical Model
Political Sphere

The Spherical Model itself is still pretty obscure. So, I occasionally explain the model. The start of a new year seems like a good time. I’ve been doing this the last several years.

I usually start with links to the model:

Condensed version here: The Political Sphere Is Round 
The whole website here: www.sphericalmodel.com
In that condensed version—which is the last post of 2014—I give this reason:

Next time someone suggests you are (or an idea is) far-right extreme, check to see whether their position is more accurately some level of southern statist tyranny. Missing the possibility of the entire northern hemisphere of freedom is common. Most of world history shows an oscillation between statist tyranny and anarchic tyranny, or from one statist tyranny to another. Change the discussion by changing the terms and then dealing with principles. Then move north to freedom.
In January 2018 I talked more about why the Spherical Model is needed, what misunderstandings it resolves. And then I linked to some of the collections and “best of” posts of the previous year of 2017. I recently did a “best of” list for 2018.

Back in January 2017 I covered the principles that will lead to north on the sphere for political freedom, economic prosperity, and civilization. As I concluded then,

If we can agree that we want freedom, prosperity, and civilization—as opposed to tyranny, poverty, and savagery—that’s a lot of agreement. And then we can move the conversation on to how we get those outcomes.
In January 2016, we defined freedom and some other terms basic to understanding the model. 
In March of that year I did a “Review of the Proper Role of Government,” one of the model’s basic principles.

In other words, I’m not trying to keep this a secret. I really believe people would be better off thinking in terms of the Spherical Model, rather than the more common error-ridden left/right model.
The Political, Economic, and Social Spheres
of the Spherical Model


As I say in the subheading of the blog, the political, economic, and social spheres are interrelated. Evidence for that comes up frequently. Several evenings ago we had dinner with a friend from Uganda, who was visiting Texas during the holidays. (Unfortunately, it was cold while she was here.) She had lived in Venezuela for a while—while things were bad but not as horrendous as they are now. She loves her native Africa, but her country and others, she admits, can’t move forward quickly because of rampant corruption. Even when a new leader comes in and tries to make things better, the same people who were corrupt before go on to get similar jobs, based on their previous experience, and continue their corruption. The social sphere affects the economic sphere.

Another example was a radio broadcast I heard earlier this week on the economic talk show that comes on at noon daily here (STA Money Hour)[i]. The financial planners were talking with a lawyer who offers advice on financial planning for families—wills, trusts, etc. One thing he said was that it was rare to get the various experts hired to help the same family business in a room at the same time: the accountant, the investment banker, the financial planner, the lawyer. Their tasks interrelate, and they could do a better job if they communicated.

But one other point he made was that successful family businesses differ widely in their ability to sustain their wealth. And the difference has more to do with family strength and cohesion than any business/economic ability. Two hypothetical families could grow identical-sized businesses, creating wealth they hope will help the family for generations. This could be true whether or not the next generation actually wants to work in the business. One could go on generation after generation, while the other could lose everything by the second or third generation.

The qualities required for long-term success are working together, recognizing one another’s strengths, being honest, and having integrity. Those that don’t have these qualities tend to lose the wealth. It gets squandered with profligate spending or unwise attempts for growth, losing sight of the company’s mission and how that affects the family. Sometimes it gets squandered by spoiled rich kids, who were lavished with the wealth without being taught how to earn it and value it. But, any way you look at it, the main cause of loss of wealth to a successful family-owned or closely held company is weakness in the family.

Family is the basic unit of civilization. And economic prosperity is closely tied with civilization.
Graphic found here


That is also true in the larger world. A nation that ignores the requirements of honoring God, life, family, property, and truth engender corruption rather than wealth. A nation where a critical mass of people do honor those things—which happen to be the basics of the Ten Commandments—are likely to prosper in personal freedom, economic prosperity, and thriving civilization.

I’m not just saying you have to be a social conservative as well as an economic conservative; I’m saying you can’t get north, to freedom, prosperity, and civilization, unless you abide by the principles of all three of those spheres—because they all interrelate.


[i] This was New Year’s Day. I’m guessing it was a “best of” rebroadcast, because that date wasn’t available as a podcast.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Sampling the Spherical Model 2018


For the last post of the year, I thought maybe I ought to do another “best of” collection. When I checked, it looks like I haven’t done one since 2015. I’ve done the occasional “what is the Spherical Model?” type of post—which I’ll probably do for the first post of 2019, if you’re wondering. Anyway, I don’t think I want to go back further than just 2018 for this “best of” post.

Jordan Peterson
screen shot from here
It was January 2018 when I learned who Jordan Peterson was. My studying his speeches and book started with the interview he did with Cathy Newman, which got so much media attention, because she seemed so incapable of understanding what he was saying:


“So, what you’re saying is…”
“No, I didn’t say that at all.”
Several dozen times. Anyway, that got my attention, and I started listening to his talks on YouTube. Eventually I bought and read his recent book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, which I think ranks as my favorite read of the year.

A quick search shows I mentioned him in 19 posts, or about 20%. That’s a lot of influence on my thinking. Thomas Sowell gets more mentions on this blog, but I started referring to him from the beginning. This year I only found seven Thomas Sowell mentions.

There were some themes—ideas that came up multiple times, sometimes with some crossover:

·         Truth, Reality, and Civilization
·         Feminism
·         LGBT Issues
Thomas Sowell
screen shot from here
Other issues pop up as well. So, what I’ll do is list the most-read pieces of the year—plus maybe a couple I thought should be. I’ll organize loosely by subject, and I’ll highlight some of the Jordan Peterson or Thomas Sowell influenced posts, and other bits of information about some of the pieces. There’s more here than you’re like to wade through. But I hope you’ll enjoy sampling some of what was going on in 2018 at the tiny think tank that is the Spherical Model.



Truth, Reality, and Civilization

Telling the Truth   May 24, 2018  (Jordan Peterson; this is also on LGBT issues) 
Who Is Telling the Truth?   September 27, 2018  (on Kavanaugh hearings/Ford accusations) 
Truth before It’s Too Late  October 4, 2018  (Jordan Peterson) 
Speak the Truth and Play Fair  February 12, 2018   (Jordan Peterson) 
Pareto Distribution  January 29, 2018  (Jordan Peterson; most read piece this year) 
Diversity Where It Matters  February 5, 2018  (Thomas Sowell) 
Malevolence   February 15, 2018  (Jordan Peterson is briefly mentioned; Florida shooting) 
Basic Building Material for Civilization   April 16, 2018  (some Spherical Model basics) 
Class, Culture, and Moving Upward   May 3, 2018   (on JD Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy) 
Population, Urban Thinking, and the Vote    May 14, 2018   (on the Electoral College) 


Feminism

Feminism Does Women Wrong  January 18, 2018  (Jordan Peterson) 
Long Bending Arc   January 22, 2018   (abortion) 
Feminism Turns Women into Bad Men   January 25, 2018   (Jordan Peterson)  
Mature Conversation    April 5, 2018    (Jordan Peterson) 


LGBT Issues

Reality Is Kinder    March 15, 2018    (Ryan T. Anderson’s When Harry Became Sally
The Virtue Signaling Religion    March 19, 2018    (Gordon B. Hinckley’s Standing for Something
Normalizing Has Already Crossed a Line  July 30, 2018   (normalization of sexual perversion)        
Normalizing Has Already Crossed a Line, Part II: Heteromorphism   August 2, 2018 
Normalizing Has Already Crossesd a Line, Part III: Change Is Possible   August 6, 2018 
Change Is Possible   September 24, 2018   (Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, Jr. on reintegrative therapy) 
Which Is It?    November 29, 2018   (Jordan Peterson; gender pronouns) 


Other Subjects
Linda Nuttall
Spherical Model writer

Scary Guns   February 19, 2018            
Where They’re Planted     February 1, 2018   (immigration) 
About Me     April 2, 2018    
Scouts and Honor    May 10, 2018   (Girls in Boy Scouts)
Self-Hatred Isn’t Virtuous     August 16, 2018   (love of country) 
Disparate Impacts     May 7, 2018    (Thomas Sowell’s book Discrimination and Disparities
Economic Schools    November 26, 2018 (Thomas Sowell is mentioned, among other economists) 
Sowell Food for Thought    December 6, 2018 (updated version of Discrimination and Disparities