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.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Misdirection from the Larger Story, Part I

Instead of impeachment hearings Wednesday, I watched the third in a series of Glenn Beck specials on the larger background of Ukrainian corruption—and the even larger background of worldwide power mongering. They relate tangentially.

Glenn Beck's interactive chalkboard on Ukraine corruption
image from here
Before I left for the day and tuned out all news until evening, I heard just a bit of the opening statements from the open impeachment hearings. Chairman Adam Schiff’s comments were what you would expect from him by now, if you’re paying attention. He was followed by Republican Devin Nunes, who laid out the Democrats’ pattern of behavior, leading to the conclusion that this is just the next in a long series of attempts to overthrow the vote of the people in electing President Trump.

And then Congressman Jim Jordan asked when we could expect to see scheduled the opportunity to question the whistleblower: 
Reps. Adam Schiff (left) and Jim Jordan
screenshot from here

Jordan: Do you anticipate when we might vote on when we will be able to have the whistleblower in front of us? Something that you— Of the 435 members of Congress, you are the only member who knows who that individual is, and your staff is the only staff of any member of Congress who’s had a chance to talk with that individual. We would like that opportunity. When might that happen in this proceeding today?
Schiff: First, as the gentleman knows, that’s a false statement. I do not know the identity of the whistleblower, and I’m determined to make sure that identity is protected.
As Schiff (not a gentleman) knows, his statement is false. He does know the identity of the whistleblower. 

Back in September, Schiff says, “We have not heard directly from the whistleblower. We would like to.” 

Then, on October 2, the New York Times reveals that Schiff or staff (and are we to believe his staff would handle this entirely without his knowledge?) was apprised of the whistleblower’s story days ahead of the filing of that report. 

In tweets House Minority Whip Steve Scalise points out that Schiff had blatantly lied back in September. And House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says, “Schiff lied. The question is why?” So, to “clarify,” a committee member claims Schiff had supposedly meant the Intelligence Committee members as a whole, including Schiff personally, perhaps, had not heard directly from the whistleblower. Right [sarcastic tone].

Are we to believe that his staff had no other contact with the whistleblower? Didn’t direct him on how to file, where to file, how to word the statement? And also never mentioned it to their boss, Chairman Schiff? They only mentioned that there was a whistleblower, some individual with a second-hand story of a phonecall, and their boss doesn’t say, “What do we know about this person so that we can gauge whether they are credible?” No questions about the whistleblower’s possible motivations or connections? He just directs them, “Go ahead with your work. Don’t tell me anything”?

I’m picturing one of those movie scenes where a high ranking official shows up somewhere to direct a CIA operative, gives instructions, and then says, “And remember, I was never here.” Cliché.

We do know, unofficially, who the whistleblower is. This includes, I presume, Congressman Jordan, who asked the question. It was called an open secret in media circles for weeks. Some sites started using the name in early October. I heard it from The Blaze and The Daily Wire at least three weeks ago.

The name is Eric Ciaramella. He was a holdover in the National Security Council from the Obama administration, kept on because of his expertise on Ukraine issues, but was fired in 2017 for leaks, after which he returned to the CIA. (The NSC leaking sharply decreased, coincidentally.)

And note, for the record, that there’s a complaint that the transcript of the president’s phonecall in question was made classified, which was a supposed extraordinary action, because there was something nefarious to hide, Schiff implies. But such phonecalls were, as a matter of course, made classified—a change in protocol that had already been in place for a long time, in an attempt to prevent leaks. In other words, the protocol was set in place long before the phonecall—because of the behavior of Ciaramella and possibly others.

Ciaramella’s history also included working directly under James Clapper, and working with Joe Biden at the time when the Obama administration made Biden the “point man” on Ukraine (see Ukraine corruption story here). Ciaramella worked with CIA Director (until January 2017) John Brennan, and he was of course a registered Democrat. He worked directly with DNC operative Alexandra Chalupa, who instigated digging up false dirt to put into the dossier used for the faulty FISA application to get permission to wiretap Trump. Remember that?

If you were looking for a Deep State operative—not a head guy, just a functionary in such a meta-organization—this is the guy.

Schiff had insisted the whistleblower’s story was necessary and important—until just five days after Glenn Beck’s first chalkboard special on Ukrainian corruption. Then suddenly we didn’t need to hear from him, and his identity must be protected at all costs. Odd timing. Unless they suddenly realized someone was onto them.

Tween from Turning Point USA's Benny Johnson
from page 236 of the transcript of US Ambassador
to Ukraine's testimony. Image found here.
And then there were the transcripts of the closed-door impeachment hearings a couple of weeks ago. Schiff’s staff accidentally failed to redact the name of the whistleblower when a witness was questioned about knowing him. Oops. 

The point here is that, if you’re starting off the hearings with someone who blatantly lies to the American people, and the truth shows that there are nefarious reasons for lying about something as simple as having had contact with the whistleblower whose testimony the whole circus is supposedly based on—well, then, you know there’s no truth to be gotten from these hearings.

The Babylon Bee, the parody news site that accidentally becomes
your best source of news, illustrates the impeachment circus.
image from here
While we’re talking the hearings, let’s add a dash of humor. A friend made a link to the REO Speedwagon song “Take It on the Run,” which starts out “I heard it from a friend who / heard it from a friend who / heard it from another …” and suggested this should be the theme song for these hearings.

And then today, in the satirical news parody Andrew Klavan does at the beginning of his podcast, he says,

Eager to get off to a powerful start that would bring forward their best anti-Trump testimony, Democrats introduced their star witness: Alexa, the electronic information assistant from Amazon. Committee Chairman Adam Googly-eyes Schiff started the questioning saying, (quote) “Alexa, did the President demand a quid pro quo from Ukraine?” (unquote).
Alexa answered, (quote) “A man passing the White House Tuesday overheard a guard in the sidewalk booth speaking on the phone to his mother and saying he had met a janitor who said he was cleaning an office in the West Wing when he saw an assistant to an aide in the press department texting a disgruntled former employee of the State Department who said he was willing to bet that old meany Trump would do anything to bring down Joe Biden, who will be a terrific threat to him in the 2020 election, if he can ever complete an English sentence without his teeth falling out and his eye exploding. That text was recorded by Facebook, who was spying on everyone and recorded by myself, who’s spying on Facebook, which is how I know Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself” (unquote).
Regarding the sources of information—all supposedly better than the actual transcript of the phonecall in question, which President Trump made public the day after the whistleblower’s report made news—that isn’t too much of an exaggeration.

We haven’t even gotten to the actual meat, the bigger background. And we are still learning about that, even though the media is conveniently—what’s the term magician’s use?—misdirecting by pretending the impeachment hearings are about protecting the American people from Trump’s supposed wrongdoing. Even though the media is doing their part in Schiff’s show, there’s a plausible reason for Deep State actors to want to hide what Ukraine corruption was really about. The Biden scandal was only a small speck in the overall picture.

But, just so I get it said, even if President Trump had asked for investigation into the Bidens’ possible corruption, wasn’t that in both the interest of Ukraine and the US to know? Would we want to have people possibly voting for a former VP, who was up to the wazoo in corruption, without knowing the facts? 

There’s never been an accusation that Trump asked for made-up information about Biden, only that he wanted an investigation into things that Biden himself had bragged about doing. Was he supposed to say, “Investigate all the corruption you can, because we want Ukraine to go forward with your new presidency having rooted that all out—except, you know, it would have bad optics if you stumbled across corruption by former VP Joe Biden, since he’s currently a candidate; so don’t follow any of those leads”? No. Even if Trump’s inquiries had been only about Biden’s actual corruption, there was nothing there that wouldn’t be in the interest of the US voting public to know.

And it wasn’t only about that relatively minor part of the overall corruption.

The larger Ukrainian corruption—and the even larger worldwide power-mongering—are what interest me much more than the impeachment hearings. But it took this much just to get past the preliminaries of the hearing, so this will require a part II.