United We Fall, Divided We Stand, by Robert Gore

Unity is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Everything I said is contained in a single word—collectivism. And isn’t that the god of our century? To act together. To think—together. To feel—together. To unite, to agree, to obey. To obey, to serve, to sacrifice. Divide and conquer—first. But then—unite and rule. We’ve discovered that one at last. Remember the Roman Emperor who said he wished humanity had a single neck so he could cut it? People have laughed at him for centuries. But we’ll have the last laugh. We’ve accomplished what he couldn’t accomplish. We’ve taught men to unite. This makes one neck ready for one leash. We found the magic word. Collectivism.

Ellsworth Toohey to Peter Keating, The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand, 1943

Countless commentators have decried disunity. They fret about our divided nation, warn of impending civil war, and implore us to come together to avert it. Unity’s desirability is taken as given, but what if the longed-for unity is that of passengers on a jet plunging into the ocean? A reappraisal of disunity is in order.

Unity was doomed with the passage of the 16th, or Income Tax, Amendment. It’s hard to feel any goodwill towards a government that forcibly relieves you of what you’ve produced, benefitting itself and those to whom it redistributes. The income tax divides the country into makers and takers, a division that cannot be bridged.

For the productive, “Unite!” is a poisonous bromide, code for: support your own slavery. For a long time they bit their tongues and holstered their weapons as perpetually expanding government and its partner in crime, the Federal Reserve, took an increasing portion of what they produced, made it increasingly difficult to produce, loaded the country with a pile of debt and unfunded liabilities that cannot be paid, and depreciated the unit of exchange. Boxed in, a shrinking minority, the country they and their productive forebears built circling the drain, some are finally realizing they are underwriting their own servitude.

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Has It Been Years Since You Read A Novel You Cherish?

Has It Been Years Since You Read A Novel You Cherish?

Remember the first time you read a favorite novel? Taking it to bed for a chapter…and staying up all night! Wishing it would never end…but knowing before it did that you’d read it again and again. It became yours, a part of you. Wouldn’t you love to find another novel like that?

A great novel journeys to new lands, distant times, and unforgettable characters. The story grabs you on page one and never lets go, ever.

An Age of Giants

Almost every good, service, and technology you enjoy today had its roots in the Industrial Revolution. Long-haul railroads, telephones, electric lights, automobiles, airplanes, oil refining and mass production: a trove of exciting innovations…abundance and wealth the likes of which the world had never seen!

The era produced spellbinding stories, giant epics of larger-than-life men and women. You’ll have a front row seat! The Golden Pinnacle‘s Daniel Durand fights impossible odds and dangerous enemies on his journey from orphaned rags to Wall Street riches.

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He Said That? 11/13/18

From Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) German politician, leader of the Nazi Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei; NSDAP), Chancellor and Führer:

The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.

Language: The Indispensable Fundamental Actuator of False Orthodoxy, by Doug “Uncola” Lynn

Mess with language and you can mess with people’s heads. From Doug Uncola Lynn at theburningplatform.com:

In Ayn Rand’s penultimate magnum opus, “The Fountainhead”, there was a minor antagonist by the name of Ellsworth Toohey whose raison d’etre was to undermine Rand’s ideal man and protagonist, Howard Roark.

Although Toohey considered his parasitical power as having a major stifling effect on capitalistic society, in reality, all his cumulative efforts ended up as a mere minor footnote in the long march of Man; as evidenced in the story’s denouement and ensuing towering city skylines.

Of course, much of Rand’s life consisted of excoriating the parasitical aspect of the Collectivists and their government, as both defined by dependency; in stark contrast to the rugged self-reliance of the men who moved the world.

In The Fountainhead, a discussion took place whereby Toohey said he wanted to make the “ideological soil” infertile to the point where young heads would explode prior to expressing any individuality (or similar to that).  Then, later, near the end, Toohey asked Roark what Roark thought of him, and the egoistic, self-reliant architect replied: “But I don’t think of you.”

In reality, is it possible today to ignore the Collective? Or, has it propagated sufficiently to where it can be ignored no longer?

Acceptance of reality requires honesty.  And the author Ayn Rand identified reason as the means for Man’s thriving existence on this blue marble. Therefore, if we are to examine reality with honesty, then we must by all means factor logic and time as follows:

 If (this), then (that)

Stated another way, either the decisions we make now will improve our reality in the days ahead –  or, we will be worse off than we are at present.

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Red Flag Gun Laws: Yet Another Government Weapon for Compliance and Control, by John W. Whitehead

It used to be dystopian fiction, but now pre-crime scenarios are coming true. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”—George Santayana

We never learn.

In the right (or wrong) hands, benevolent plans can easily be put to malevolent purposes.

Even the most well-intentioned government law or program can be—and has been—perverted, corrupted and used to advance illegitimate purposes once profit and power are added to the equation.

The war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on illegal immigration, asset forfeiture schemes, road safety schemes, school safety schemes, eminent domain: all of these programs started out as legitimate responses to pressing concerns and have since become weapons of compliance and control in the police state’s hands.

Mark my words: red flag gun laws, which allow the police to remove guns from people suspected of being threats, will only add to the government’s power.

These laws, growing in popularity as a legislative means by which to seize guns from individuals viewed as a danger to themselves or others, are yet another Trojan Horse, a stealth maneuver by the police state to gain greater power over an unsuspecting and largely gullible populace.

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9 Years Into Common Core, Test Scores Are Down, Indoctrination Up, by Joy Pullmann

If Common Core was supposed to improve student performance, it’s been an abysmal failure. From Joy Pullman at thefederalist.com:

Common Core sucked all the energy, money, and motivation right out of desperately needed potential reforms to U.S. public schools for a decade, and for nothing.

It’s been about nine years since the Obama administration lured states into adopting Common Core sight unseen, with promises it would improve student achievement. Like President Obama’s other big promises — “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” — this one’s been proven a scam.

“If you set and enforce rigorous and challenging standards and assessments; if you put outstanding teachers at the front of the classroom; if you turn around failing schools — your state can win a Race to the Top grant that will not only help students outcompete workers around the world, but let them fulfill their God-given potential,” President Obama said in July 2009.

He went on to state his faith that Common Core — at that point unwritten — would “not only make America’s entire education system the envy of the world, but we will launch a Race to the Top that will prepare every child, everywhere in America, for the challenges of the 21st century.” Race to the Top was a $4 billion money pot inside the 2009 stimulus that helped bribe states into Common Core.

So here we are, nine years later. Common Core has been officially rolled out into U.S. public and even many private schools for at least three to five years now. Are American children increasingly prepared for the “the challenges of the 21st century”? We’re actually seeing the opposite. They’re increasingly less prepared. And there’s mounting evidence that Common Core deserves some of the blame.

Student Achievement Largely Down or Flat

ACT scores released earlier this month show that students’ math achievement is at a 20-year low. The latest English ACT scores are slightly down since 2007, and students’ readiness for college-level English was at its lowest level since ACT’s creators began measuring that item, in 2002. Students’ preparedness for college-level math is at its lowest point since 2004.

SAT scores also dropped post-Common Core until it fully implemented a new version tailored for Common Core. How convenient. Even after the test was overhauled to match Common Core, average test scores increased by 0.7 percent in the most recent results. It represents almost no difference to pre-Common Core results, and the public can’t know exactly how the scores were recentered and altered, either.

In all the previous SAT overhauls, average scores technically went up but statistical analyses show they’ve actually been steadily losing ground over the past 60 years. In other words, the SAT has a history of score inflation, and Common Core is doing nothing to reverse that.

Almost a year ago I wrote about the latest round of international tests that publish every five years. They showed U.S. fourth graders declining on reading achievement. The 2015 results on the most reliable nationwide U.S. test showed the “first ever significant decline of 2-3 points – about a quarter of a grade-level worth – in mathematics at both grades 4 and 8, and in grade 4 reading.” The next iteration of that test showed no gains again.

During the Obama administration, writes Harvard professor Paul Peterson, “No substantively significant nationwide gains were registered for any of the three racial and ethnic groupings in math or reading at either 4th or 8th grade.”

They Told Us Common Core Would Fix This Problem

We were promised that Common Core would reverse these trends. Think tankers Michael Petrilli and Robert Pondiscio wrote to West Virginians in 2015 that “The Common Core should help to boost college readiness — and college completion — by significantly raising expectations.” Jeb Bush wrote in National Review in 2013, “To compete with the rest of the world, we must produce competitive high-school graduates. That means we have to make sure that the skills they are learning are aligned with what employers and colleges expect high-school graduates to know…the Common Core State Standards, set an ambitious and voluntary goal line.”

“If young people today are to be productive adults in the knowledge economy, they need standards that truly prepare them for college and careers,” Obama education secretary Arne Duncan said in a 2010 speech touting Common Core. “We will end what has become a race to the bottom in our schools and instead spur a race to the top by encouraging better standards and assessments,” President Obama said in 2009. “Standards” is jargon for Common Core.

In fact, Common Core supporters used the same fail rates we still have almost a decade post-Common Core as a key argument to justify adopting, then keeping, Common Core. For example, Bush and former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein argued in the Wall Street Journal in 2011 that Common Core would help address ACT data showing “three-fourths of the young men and women entering colleges ‘were not adequately prepared academically for first-year college courses.’”

Learning Hasn’t Improved, But Indoctrination Is Amped

So if U.S. taxpayers spent billions of dollars and countless public employees’ man-hours switching schools to Common Core, what are we getting out of it? Certainly not academic achievement growth. What we do seem to be getting is plenty of political indoctrination.

Just recently, Rick Hess and Grant Addison wrote about what’s happened to people who have worked for and led organizations that received millions from Obama’s Common Core grants and from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which also bankrolled Common Core. At its annual Standards Institute, a prominent conference to teach teachers how to teach Common Core, the organization UnboundEd “slathers its Common Core workshops with race-based rancor and junk science,” providing a “snapshot…into the ongoing transformation of ‘school reform.’”

To keep their teaching licenses, many teachers have to regularly attend conferences like these for usually taxpayer-sponsored “professional development.” Nowadays teacher licensing mandates often specifically require teachers to learn Common Core-themed things. So basically, to keep their jobs, teachers have to learn more about Common Core.

The Standards Institute helps them fulfill that job requirement. It did so this year by using Common Core as a Trojan horse to insert wildly leftist, arguably racist, indoctrination. Here’s Hess and Addison describing some of their materials:

UnboundEd’s training in reading and math instruction is ‘grounded in conversations about the roles that race, bias and prejudice play in our schools and classrooms.’ Its Standards Institute prepares educators to be ‘Equity Change-Agents.’ To become one, participants are told, they must first acknowledge that ‘we are part of a systematically racist system of education.’

“If you are under the impression that there are good white people and bad white people, you’re wrong,” UnboundEd CEO Kate Gerson told the teachers this year, according to Hess and Addison. “Gerson informed her charges that racial biases are pervasive, universal, and something ‘you cannot be cured from.’”

Gerson used to be directly employed by New York taxpayers within the New York Department of Education’s project to create Common Core-compliant curriculum, EngageNY. The curricula she helped create didn’t stay in New York, however. It’s reached across the country because the Obama administration funded it to create one of the few earliest available and widely endorsed set of Common Core-compliant materials. So if you’re a taxpayer, you funded this under the guise of Common Core.

Funding Racism In the Name of Common Core

Items from EngageNY’s library of Common Core curricula had been downloaded 45 million times by 2016. Education Week reported “44 percent of elementary math teachers and 30 percent of secondary teachers in common-core states are using materials from EngageNY.” After its $28 million in federal funds dried up (which only took a few years, natch), EngageNY’s curriculum bank was spun off into UnboundEd’s control. So this organization now peddling wildly inflammatory and divisive political views has affected a third to a half of the country’s teachers, all oiled by packs of taxpayer cash.

“Once upon a time, Common Core critics were roundly mocked for fearing that the reading and math standards would somehow serve to promote sweeping ideological agendas; today, Gerson and her team are doing their best to vindicate those concerns,” write Hess and Addison.

To be sure, American education’s mediocrity and politicization predate Common Core, and would be present today if Common Core had never happened. But we were sold Common Core with the promise that it would improve learning for American kids. Just as the few independent analysts predicted, despite costing billions of dollars Common Core has proven to be of no overall benefit to children, teachers, families, or taxpayers.

Common Core sucked all the energy, money, and motivation right out of desperately needed potential reforms to U.S. public schools for a decade, and for nothing. It’s more money right down our nation’s gigantic debt hole, another generation lost to sickening ignorance, another set of corrupt bureaucrats‘ careers and bank accounts built out of the wreckage of American minds.

Yet Obama went on stage last week and yukked it up about how Donald Trump goes around “blatantly, repeatedly, baldly, shamelessly lying.” The man who sold us Common Core, who knew we couldn’t keep our doctors and kept on promising we could, who lied umpteen ways to Sunday about his Iran deal and myriad other policies — he’s sure got a lot of nerve. And obviously not a lick of self-awareness, yet alone shame.

Remember this utter debacle next time somebody comes knocking with the “next big idea” for your kids and wallets. Hide them both, and run the huckster outta town.

Joy Pullmann is executive editor of The Federalist and author of “The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids,” out from Encounter Books in 2017. Get it on Amazon.

 

 

The National Debt Is Coming Due, Just Like We Told You, by Nick Gillespie

The national debt is entering the critical phase, also known as the beyond the point of no return. From Nick Gillespie at reason.com:

What happens when you borrow the equivalent of your annual income and those low, low teaser rates start to increase? Congratulations, America, you’re about to find out.

The Wall Street Journal reports some non-shocking, non-surprising news:

Wisconsinart, Dreamstime.comWisconsinart, Dreamstime.comIn 2017, interest costs on federal debt of $263 billion accounted for 6.6% of all government spending and 1.4% of gross domestic product, well below averages of the previous 50 years. The Congressional Budget Office estimates interest spending will rise to $915 billion by 2028, or 13% of all outlays and 3.1% of gross domestic product….

It will spend more on interest than it spends on Medicaid in 2020; more in 2023 than it spends on national defense; and more in 2025 than it spends on all nondefense discretionary programs combined, from funding for national parks to scientific research, to health care and education, to the court system and infrastructure, according to the CBO.

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One Veteran’s Plea – Get Informed or Ditch the Holiday, by Maj. Danny Sjursen

Most Americans will perform the patriotic rituals, especially those concerning the military and veterans, but have no idea what the government does in foreign lands. From Maj. Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

Today, every public institution will pause and go through the motions of “thanking” America’s veterans; but the whole pretense ignores that the populace hardly cares about foreign policy.

Veterans’ Day – maybe we ought to drop the whole charade. Don’t get me wrong, there will be celebrations a plenty: the NFL will roll out the ubiquitous stadium-sized flags and march uniformed service members in front of the cameras; cities across the nation will hold parades; and millions of Americans will take a moment to go through the motions and “thank” the nation’s soldiers. Sure, the gestures are sometimes genuine and certainly preferable to the alternative. Still, all this martial spectacle misses the salient point hidden just below the surface: the American people are absolutely not engaged with U.S. foreign policy. Most could hardly name the seven countries its military actively bombing, let alone find them on a map.

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