Month: September 2017

cats-javits.jpg

Paw and Order: Scientists team to catch cat serial killer…


It’s “Paw and Order: SVU.”

British authorities have enlisted dogged scientists to help them catch the “Croydon cat killer” — a sadistic fiend suspected of slaughtering over 250 felines.

Frozen kitty corpses will soon be re-examined by ArroGen Veterinary Forensics, and could yield new clues about the cruel killer who began hacking up and mutilating felines in London 2014, according to the UK Times.

Researchers will use DNA to help track down the killer, and also figure out how many cats he is responsible for sending to the litter box in the sky, and how many were done-in by wild animals.

The first of its kind lab — a partnership between the University of Surrey’s Veterinary School and Oxfordshire-based ArroGen — will function as a “one-stop shop” for crimes involving animals — and it may also help catch budding sadists and psychopaths, said lead veterinary pathologist Alexander Stoll.

“It is becoming well documented that animal cruelty can be used as a component part of domestic violence and there is evidence to indicate that people who harm animals are more likely to abuse humans,” Stoll said. “We want to work to address the progression of animal to human criminal behavior.”

The creep — also known as the ‘”M25 cat killer” when kitty corpses began turning up in other areas of London, and beyond — is described as a 40-something white man, who might be wearing a headlamp or carrying a torch, according to the Times.

He last struck on Sept. 7, mutilating a 15-year-old cat named Topsy and leaving the body outside a family’s front door, the Irish Times reported.

Topsy “bore wounds indicative of the UK animal killer, South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty said, the site reported.



Source link

9024_nws_ocr-l-schoolfood-01-1.jpg

College food pantries spread to assist starving students…


Steve Hoang had more than schoolwork to fret about his first year of college. He went hungry.

“I lost 25 pounds,” said the UC Irvine sophomore. “It was one of my biggest worries, that I wouldn’t have enough to eat.”

The tall, thin 18-year-old was among hundreds of students who lined up this past week to take a peek at UCI’s newly expanded food pantry, intended to help students like him.

Across Southern California and the nation, colleges and universities no longer view the concept of the starving student as an inevitable joke, but a serious issue. To address what’s become known as “food insecurity,” campuses are opening up free pantries.

Some are as small as closets. In fact, UCLA’s pantry is called the Food Closet.

Others began small and grew.

Cal State San Bernardino on Thursday dedicated their renamed Obershaw DEN pantry, which was remodeled and has added refrigeration for perishables.

A day earlier, the UCI campus celebrated the opening of a remodeled pantry touted as the biggest in the UC system. At more than 1,800 square feet, it features not only free food and toiletries but sitting areas, a “kitchenette” with small appliances and a space for weekly food demonstrations and nutrition talks.

There are more than 540 campus food pantries across the U.S. registered with the College and University Food Bank Alliance, which is tracking the trend.

All UC campuses – and all but one of the California state universities – now have food pantries, as do many community colleges.

Even some pricey private colleges, including Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and Chapman University in Orange, say they have students who simply can’t afford to cover the cost of tuition, books, labs, transportation and food.

“Some LMU students were surprised to see that kind of need at LMU,” said Lorena Chavez, the university’s assistant director for community engagement. Then, they began inquiring about it for research papers and to offer donations.

“For me, it was that ‘aha’ moment,” Chavez said. Need isn’t restricted to any one campus, she said, “especially when it comes to food insecurity.”

Going Hungry

For some students who visit local campus pantries, the free food is more than a supplement. It’s a necessity.

Studies indicate a significant percentage of college students are experiencing various levels of food insecurity, ranging from going hungry to poor diets: 

  • A 2016 UC survey of nearly 9,000 students found that 42 percent experienced food insecurity; 23 percent had diets of reduced quality, variety or desirability; and 19 percent weren’t getting enough food because they couldn’t afford it.
  • A 2017 Community College report found that about 12.2 percent of students experienced food insecurity.
  • A 2016 Cal State University system study reporting preliminary data based on Cal State Long Beach respondents suggested 24 percent of students were experiencing food insecurity. A second phase of the survey of all the system’s 23 campuses is expected to be released next year.

“The narrative of the starving student is part of the problem,” said Rashida Crutchfield, a Cal State Long Beach assistant professor and lead investigator on the CSU report.

“A lot of people believe that struggle and eating a cup of noodles is just part of the college experience,” she said.

For many of the students, it’s not easy navigating the new terrain of college life. Some don’t want to burden their parents by asking for more financial help. Others know their parents, perhaps struggling themselves, can’t give more.

Today’s students don’t all fit the stereotype of an 18-year-old, single person. Many are returning to school as older students, some with families to support.

Whether there are more students today going hungry or awareness of a long-existing problem is growing is unclear.  But officials cite factors that could be contributing to an increased need, including changing campus demographics and more students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as while higher costs for tuition and housing.

“Because no one has been doing this research, we don’t have comparable data to know whether it has changed over time,” Crutchfield said.

Studies and educators note that those who go hungry may also not have a place to sleep. They can find themselves crashing on a friend’s couch or sleeping in their cars.

Cal State Northridge is among Southern California’s colleges that have developed partnerships with community organizations to address food insecurity. And the statewide university system is looking to work with more partners to address housing insecurity, said Denise Bevly, director of the CSU system’s Student Wellness and Basic Needs Initiative.

Campus partners include the West L.A. Food Bank, Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County and the Orange County Food Bank. Campus food pantries are “an idea whose time has come,” said Mark Lowry, executive director of the Orange County Food Bank.

What they offer and how they work

How the pantries operate and what they offer varies.

Some, like the Beach Pantry at Cal State Long Beach, which launched last year in what used to be a janitorial closet, are open daily. Others have fewer hours, including the new Hawk’s Nest Food Pantry at Santiago Canyon College, which recently dedicated a program open every other Thursday.

All of the food banks offer nonperishable items, like canned goods, granola bars and the perennial college staple, mac ’n’ cheese in a box.  But some also offer fresh produce.

“My daughter would like this. She loves strawberries,” said Ivon Fuerte, 24, a mom who splits her time between two community colleges and raising her two young daughters. She picked up juices, soup, tuna and some vegetables and fresh fruit at the Hawk’s Nest pantry grand opening Sept. 14.

Santiago Canyon College stores its non-perishables in a donated shipping container, but sets up the food, including fresh fruits and vegetables stacked inside baskets, on tables that are lined up under tents to resemble an open-air farmer’s market.

Some campus food pantries have paid staff and a budget, while others rely mostly or solely on donations and volunteers

Fullerton College, possibly the first in Orange County to create a pantry, relies on donations and volunteers to serve some 63 to 70 students every Tuesday, said Adela Lopez, a retired professor emeritus who helped start the program.

“For a lot of these students, it’s been generational poverty. A lot of them are eligible for help and they don’t know about Cal Fresh,” Lopez said, referring to a government program that provides monthly food benefits to those who qualify.

In the UC system, President Janet Napolitano last year approved $3.3 million in new funding over two years to expand food pantry storage and access and expand student support services, among other things. Each campus received $151,000, in addition to $75,000 allocated in 2015.

Colleges and universities said they want to remove any stigma attached to asking for help.

Most local schools contacted said they protect students’ privacy but also ask students to swipe their student identification to ensure the benefactors are indeed registered students.

Loyola Marymount is one of the few that doesn’t staff its pantry and doesn’t ask for ID. To learn how often it was used, the school installed a system to count access. Last year, the door was opened almost 2,000 times.

UCLA also doesn’t require identification. And the school doesn’t know how many students use the program, said Antonio Sandoval, director of UCLA’s Community Programs Office, which oversees the food pantry.

UCLA was one of the first in the nation to open a food pantry, in 2009, after Michigan State and Oregon State universities, Sandoval said.

Since then, UCLA has been contacted by hundreds of colleges considering starting programs, he said.

Campuses also have different rules about how much they allow students to pick up. Cal State Long Beach, for example, limits students to five items per day. UCI tells students they can fill up to a couple of bags with groceries and sanitary products. Cal State San Bernardino has no limit.

Many campuses offer students other food help, including meal plan swipe credits donated by fellow students. At Cal State San Bernardino, students can also receive gift cards to grocery stores. Cal State Fullerton, the only Cal State that has yet to open a food pantry, is working on one. In the meantime, they offer students other help, including access to phone app alerts that notify students of left-over food following school events.

For students like Hoang, of UCI, who didn’t learn about his campus pantry until this year and lost weight as a freshman, the new campus facility is a welcome addition. As he toured it Wednesday, he pointed excitedly to inviting sandwiches in the refrigerated area.

“I lived on bread and ham last year,” he said.

On another shelf, sat something he said he hadn’t tasted in ages: boxed mashed potatoes with gravy.



Source link

ct-biz-homeowners-leaving-illinois-20170919

Illinois Exodus? Tax Killer…


Even after watching Hurricane Irma wreak havoc on Florida, Rik Mallin is sticking to his plan.

Mallin is fixing up his Villa Park home so that he can sell it, move to the Florida Panhandle and escape Illinois’ rising taxes.

“I’m getting out,” said Mallin, 67. “It’s not just the property taxes on my home; it’s all of them.” He figures his taxes in Florida, where there is no personal income tax, will be about a quarter of what he’s paying now.

Mallin’s not the only one leaving the state. In 2016, Illinois lost 37,508 people, putting the state’s population at its lowest level in nearly a decade, according to U.S. census data. It was the third consecutive year the state lost more residents than any other state. The state’s population count for 2017 won’t be released until December.

Some of those who are leaving Illinois say they’re frustrated with their tax burden and the state’s financial situation. After going more than two years without a budget, Illinois lawmakers passed a spending plan over the summer, one that involved a 32 percent income tax hike for residents. The state is still digging itself out of the financial disarray that accumulated during the budget impasse. A Forbes listing of the best and worst states for taxes in 2016, before the tax hike, ranked Illinois 46th, signifying a heavier tax burden.

But demographers aren’t ready to chalk the outmigration up to tax pressures entirely.

Brookings Institution demographer William Frey said that when people move, it’s usually for employment, and not necessarily because of taxes. Most of the people moving are in their 20s and 30s, are establishing themselves in careers, and are relocating for job opportunities.

“When you have more people moving out than in, it means the employment is somewhere else,” Frey said.

Regardless of whether or not they are the primary factor behind relocations, high tax rates still affect the housing market by cutting into the amount of money residents have to spend.

Lance Ramella, president of Housing Trends, a Chicago-based housing market consultant, said weak growth in the Chicago economy, unresolved government fiscal issues and high taxes are all tied together, and are resulting in a “stagnant” housing market.

“Entry-level buyers shop based on what they can afford monthly,” Ramella said.

Ultimately, if those shopping for homes can’t afford the mortgage payments plus taxes, they’ll settle for lower-priced residences. They may even skip buying a home altogether if there aren’t enough affordable homes on the market. This could cause a deterioration in housing prices, he said.

Housing construction already is being affected, he said. With construction costs high and demand muted, only 7,511 single-family homes were built in the Chicago metro area during the 12 months ending with July.

Before the recession, 40,000 new homes were being constructed each year. Normal demand is closer to 15,000 to 20,000 new homes a year, Ramella said.

“We really need stability in our government, and I don’t know how that’s going to happen,” he said.

Ramella contrasted most of the Chicago metro area with Lake County, Ind., which has experienced heavy housing growth that Ramella attributes to a flight from Illinois taxes. Housing construction in northwest Indiana increased 18 percent this year over last, and in 2016 the number was up 19 percent over 2015. Meanwhile, Cook County is down 6 percent this year over last, and home construction in many other Illinois counties is flat, he said. DuPage County experienced an upturn of 5.9 percent this year.

Sheila Tracy, a Chicago optician, said the recent income tax hike as well as the sweetened beverage tax implemented by Cook County in August both seem like desperate governmental attempts to deal with unresolved financial problems.

“It was the last straw,” said Tracy, who plans to relocate away from the state once she retires in three years. “They say the soda tax is about my health, but they aren’t fooling people.”

Cook County’s commissioners are expected to vote on repealing the sweetened beverage tax Oct. 10, though it’s unclear at this point if there are enough votes to overturn the measure.

Even though it’s difficult to determine how much of an impact tax concerns are having on real estate, the weakness in the local housing market is clear, said Geoff Smith, executive director of the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University. Home prices in many major metropolitan areas have recovered and hit new highs since the 2008 housing crash, but in the Chicago area only a few suburbs and select city neighborhoods have rebounded, he said.

According to CoreLogic, a global property information firm, the Chicago area is one of the U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of homeowners underwater with their mortgages, meaning they owe more than their homes are worth. During the second quarter of this year, 10.8 percent of residences in the Chicago metro area were underwater, compared with 13.5 percent during the second quarter of 2016, according to CoreLogic.

The day after the Illinois legislature voted to raise the individual income tax rate from 3.75 to 4.95 percent, Northfield-based financial planner Ellen Rogin said she started getting phone calls from clients who are residents of Chicago with second homes in Florida.

The clients, according to Rogin, were saying “I’m worried about Illinois. Should I be moving to Florida?”

Rogin said anyone considering a move has to look at lifestyle, not just taxes.

Chicago certified public accountant Debbie Lessin said that when people consider a move for tax reasons in retirement, they may be missing a crucial element of Illinois’ tax system.

Illinois doesn’t tax retirement income from Social Security, pensions and IRAs, an advantageous provision for retirees living in the state, she said.

BMO Private Bank Chief Investment Officer Jack Ablin is among those with residences in both Chicago and Florida. The seriousness of Illinois’ budget and tax issues became clear to him, he said, when he tried to sell his Highland Park home a couple of years ago. The house was on the market for a year and priced right, he said, but potential buyers kept raising concerns about property taxes.

After struggling to sell the home, he challenged the assessment and was able to substantially lower the taxes. A few months ago, he found a buyer for the home, but the offer was contingent on seeing documentation of the assessment and the lower taxes.

“Taxes are rising so much it’s crowding out the value of homes,” Ablin said. “In many respects a person could argue that housing is cheap in Chicago, and in many respects it is cheap. But it is cheap for a reason.”



Source link

Hannity Beats Maddow Handily in First Four Nights Head-to-Head


The ongoing cable news wars gave renewed life to Fox News as Sean Hannity beat Rachel Maddow in the first four nights that they went head-to-head in prime time last week. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show had emerged as cable news’s #1 program in recent months against Fox’s weak offering at 9 P.M., The Five, which moved back to 5 P.M. to make room for Hannity.

Fox News, which had led the cable TV news ratings for fifteen years until earlier this year, was suffering this spring and summer after schedule upheavals that resulted from the loss of major on-air talent and several of its top executives following published allegations and internal investigations of sexual harassment.

Finally last Monday September 25, after weeks of behind the scenes maneuvering and negotiations, Fox News kicked off its new fall prime time lineup, initially involving Hannity moving his show to 9 P.M. It will be complete on October 30, when Laura Ingraham premieres her new show at 10 P.M. E.T. and a new live news program with Shannon Bream launches at 11 P.M.

Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow

For the moment, though, all eyes have been on the new contest at 9 P.M. pitting Sean Hannity against Rachel Maddow. Hannity took over the hour that had been occupied since May 1 by the ensemble political talk show The Five, featuring the insufferable left-wing propagandist Juan Williams in a prominent role. Hundreds of readers commenting on my articles at American Thinker in recent months have identified The Five and Williams in particular as unworthy of prime time and viewers across the country had apparently agreed, since The Five was a ratings loser against Maddow. Meanwhile, Hannity, a 21-year veteran of prime time on Fox News and the second most popular talk radio host in the country, has already pulled ahead of Maddow.

Hannity assembled a strong lineup of guests in his first week at 9 P.M. and he handily won every night in the ratings so far (Mon-Thurs) except that on Wednesday MSNBC tied Fox News at 9 P.M. in the “demo” (viewers 25-54). As Chris Ariens’ article in TVNewser at Adweek headlined it on Friday September 29, “Hannity Poised to Win the Week in New Timeslot.”

Big bookings by the team from Hannity will almost certainly make that show No. 1 across cable news this week.

In fact, Hannity’s guests this past week all made news for their appearances on his show. Former White House advisor Steve Bannon on Monday in his first live cable news interview since leaving the White House in August. The unprecedented return of fired host Bill O’Reilly for a 25-minute long appearance on Tuesday. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in a conversation in his office at the Capitol with Hannity on Wednesday. And Rush Limbaugh, the nation’s #1 radio talk show host, with Hannity at his studio in Florida on Thursday and Friday.

In addition to the high-powered guests, Hannity is now doing his show live five nights a week, which adds a more immediate, breaking news quality to the program. Both MSNBC and CNN air most of their prime time shows live, as well.

The numbers from this week tell the story. According to Early Nielsen Media Research (the Nielsen company has measured TV ratings since the 1950s), in the 9 P.M. E.T. hour Monday through Thursday this week:

FNC’s Hannity delivered 3,715,000 total viewers and 779,000 in ages 25-54 and 461,685 ages 18-49


CNN’s AC360 [and two nights of special town halls at 9 P.M.] delivered 970,000 total viewers and 341,000 in ages 25-54 and 281,437 ages 18-49


MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show delivered 2,549,000 total viewers and 537,000  in ages 25-54 and 381,998 ages 18-49

Friday night’s ratings – and the final, entire week’s averages – won’t be available until next Monday October 2.

Drudge Report headline Friday Sept. 29, 2017 4 P.M. E.T.

Ultimately, this is one week out of the year. Experienced observers are cautioning that the winners in the battle for supremacy in cable news ratings overall, and the critical 9 P.M. hour in particular, will still probably shift back and forth in the weeks ahead. How the news, and the fate of the Trump Administration, play out will also be a factor. But even the MSM has been forced to admit that Fox News is off to a strong start.

Sean Hannity, suggesting that he is taking the long view and also confirming my impression of him that he is a man of considerable humility, replied to my email on Friday about the ratings success with this comment: “Thanks Peter. Although I know it’s a marathon not a sprint.”

Largely left in the dust, as it has been, is CNN, which has been coming in a poor third lately with its schedule of prime-time programs hosted by Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon. Each night, the two hosts’ shows feature panels largely made up of anti-Trump reporters and Democratic Party activists and serve as a de facto Resist Trump HQ. In August, CNN fired Jeffrey Lord, its most articulate conservative analyst, on the pretext that he had tweeted as satire a comment – a common greeting in Germany during the Nazi era – to a left wing activist at Media Matters with whom he was engaging in a twitter battle.

Stepping back for a moment, the big picture of the current cable news wars is this: The Shadow Government and its minions in the Deep State are targeting the media, both alternative and mainstream, for a take down – and they have had considerable success in turning the MSM into a one-voice echo chamber for 24/7 anti-Trump propaganda. This lack of diverse viewpoints in almost the entire MSM, with the exception of Fox News, is unprecedented in modern times and presents an obvious threat to the future of the Republic. Several recent studies by mainstream institutions have confirmed that the MSM is tilting its coverage of President Trump so that it’s over 9 to 1 negative. Meanwhile, about one half (technically 52 percent negative to 48 percent positive) of the coverage of the Trump Administration by Fox News, true to its long time “fair and balanced” credo, has been negative.

Peter Barry Chowka is a widely published author and journalist. He writes most frequently these days for American Thinker. His website is AltMedNews.net. Follow Peter on Twitter.

The ongoing cable news wars gave renewed life to Fox News as Sean Hannity beat Rachel Maddow in the first four nights that they went head-to-head in prime time last week. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show had emerged as cable news’s #1 program in recent months against Fox’s weak offering at 9 P.M., The Five, which moved back to 5 P.M. to make room for Hannity.

Fox News, which had led the cable TV news ratings for fifteen years until earlier this year, was suffering this spring and summer after schedule upheavals that resulted from the loss of major on-air talent and several of its top executives following published allegations and internal investigations of sexual harassment.

Finally last Monday September 25, after weeks of behind the scenes maneuvering and negotiations, Fox News kicked off its new fall prime time lineup, initially involving Hannity moving his show to 9 P.M. It will be complete on October 30, when Laura Ingraham premieres her new show at 10 P.M. E.T. and a new live news program with Shannon Bream launches at 11 P.M.

Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow

For the moment, though, all eyes have been on the new contest at 9 P.M. pitting Sean Hannity against Rachel Maddow. Hannity took over the hour that had been occupied since May 1 by the ensemble political talk show The Five, featuring the insufferable left-wing propagandist Juan Williams in a prominent role. Hundreds of readers commenting on my articles at American Thinker in recent months have identified The Five and Williams in particular as unworthy of prime time and viewers across the country had apparently agreed, since The Five was a ratings loser against Maddow. Meanwhile, Hannity, a 21-year veteran of prime time on Fox News and the second most popular talk radio host in the country, has already pulled ahead of Maddow.

Hannity assembled a strong lineup of guests in his first week at 9 P.M. and he handily won every night in the ratings so far (Mon-Thurs) except that on Wednesday MSNBC tied Fox News at 9 P.M. in the “demo” (viewers 25-54). As Chris Ariens’ article in TVNewser at Adweek headlined it on Friday September 29, “Hannity Poised to Win the Week in New Timeslot.”

Big bookings by the team from Hannity will almost certainly make that show No. 1 across cable news this week.

In fact, Hannity’s guests this past week all made news for their appearances on his show. Former White House advisor Steve Bannon on Monday in his first live cable news interview since leaving the White House in August. The unprecedented return of fired host Bill O’Reilly for a 25-minute long appearance on Tuesday. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in a conversation in his office at the Capitol with Hannity on Wednesday. And Rush Limbaugh, the nation’s #1 radio talk show host, with Hannity at his studio in Florida on Thursday and Friday.

In addition to the high-powered guests, Hannity is now doing his show live five nights a week, which adds a more immediate, breaking news quality to the program. Both MSNBC and CNN air most of their prime time shows live, as well.

The numbers from this week tell the story. According to Early Nielsen Media Research (the Nielsen company has measured TV ratings since the 1950s), in the 9 P.M. E.T. hour Monday through Thursday this week:

FNC’s Hannity delivered 3,715,000 total viewers and 779,000 in ages 25-54 and 461,685 ages 18-49


CNN’s AC360 [and two nights of special town halls at 9 P.M.] delivered 970,000 total viewers and 341,000 in ages 25-54 and 281,437 ages 18-49


MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show delivered 2,549,000 total viewers and 537,000  in ages 25-54 and 381,998 ages 18-49

Friday night’s ratings – and the final, entire week’s averages – won’t be available until next Monday October 2.

Drudge Report headline Friday Sept. 29, 2017 4 P.M. E.T.

Ultimately, this is one week out of the year. Experienced observers are cautioning that the winners in the battle for supremacy in cable news ratings overall, and the critical 9 P.M. hour in particular, will still probably shift back and forth in the weeks ahead. How the news, and the fate of the Trump Administration, play out will also be a factor. But even the MSM has been forced to admit that Fox News is off to a strong start.

Sean Hannity, suggesting that he is taking the long view and also confirming my impression of him that he is a man of considerable humility, replied to my email on Friday about the ratings success with this comment: “Thanks Peter. Although I know it’s a marathon not a sprint.”

Largely left in the dust, as it has been, is CNN, which has been coming in a poor third lately with its schedule of prime-time programs hosted by Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon. Each night, the two hosts’ shows feature panels largely made up of anti-Trump reporters and Democratic Party activists and serve as a de facto Resist Trump HQ. In August, CNN fired Jeffrey Lord, its most articulate conservative analyst, on the pretext that he had tweeted as satire a comment – a common greeting in Germany during the Nazi era – to a left wing activist at Media Matters with whom he was engaging in a twitter battle.

Stepping back for a moment, the big picture of the current cable news wars is this: The Shadow Government and its minions in the Deep State are targeting the media, both alternative and mainstream, for a take down – and they have had considerable success in turning the MSM into a one-voice echo chamber for 24/7 anti-Trump propaganda. This lack of diverse viewpoints in almost the entire MSM, with the exception of Fox News, is unprecedented in modern times and presents an obvious threat to the future of the Republic. Several recent studies by mainstream institutions have confirmed that the MSM is tilting its coverage of President Trump so that it’s over 9 to 1 negative. Meanwhile, about one half (technically 52 percent negative to 48 percent positive) of the coverage of the Trump Administration by Fox News, true to its long time “fair and balanced” credo, has been negative.

Peter Barry Chowka is a widely published author and journalist. He writes most frequently these days for American Thinker. His website is AltMedNews.net. Follow Peter on Twitter.



Source link

Is the Argument for Regime Change in Iran Well Founded?


During his first address to the UN General Assembly in September, President Donald Trump offered a perspective on the people and the regime of Iran that starkly differed from that of his predecessors. He accurately attested that “The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want to change.” He described the Iran nuclear deal as “an embarrassment,” called off the Iranian regime for its export of “violence, bloodshed, and chaos,” and underlined that “Iran’s people are what their leaders fear most.”

These remarks from the president of the United States are a positive signal after three decades of failed appeasement toward the mullahs ruling Iran. And the testament to the fact are the reactions of Iranian officials, which betray their fear and consternation.

In a meeting with the Assembly of Experts, Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Iranian regime called Trump’s speech “foolish, extremely ugly and hideous” and “gangster and cowboy language fraught with sheer lies.”

“Mr. Trump said the wrong things in the wrong place to the wrong people,” Rouhani said to the state television.

The question that remains is whether President Trump’s remarks at the UNGA were simply a reaction to the failure of the appeasement policy, or was it the result of the natural course of events and the geopolitical dynamics governing the Middle East? Has the explosion in connectivity and social media services been effective in conveying the message of the Iranian people, who want the world to know about their desire for freedom and human rights?

Without a doubt, all of these parameters have been effective. But what are the real foundations of Washington’s new approach to the desires of the Iranian people for regime change?

Uprisings

The first factor that challenges the power of the ruling regime is the looming threat of uprisings. From an economic and social perspective, there has always been a potential for nationwide uprisings in Iran.

The first big occurrence of widespread protests was in 1981 when more than 500,000 people took to the streets of Tehran and demanded the overthrow of the theocratic regime. The protest was brutally suppressed and ruthless executions of protestors and dissidents ensued.

In the summer of 1988 alone, 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members of the opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), were executed in the span of a few months and were buried in secret graves.

In 1999 and 2009, uprisings erupted again. While the regime smothered both instances with a brutal crackdown, yet the potential for another uprising remains, and the ashes wait to be stirred once again.

Presently, sporadic protests are slowly building up across the country and gaining momentum. An example is the staged protests against the Arman and Caspian foundations, two financial organizations run by the Revolutionary Guards, which have been plundering the people’s wealth at an unprecedented scale. Following the start of Rouhani’s second term as president, social dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs has increased.

Infighting

The second factor that is weakening the regime is the ongoing power struggle between the Supreme Leader and other factions within the regime. So long as the country’s constitution is based on the “guardianship of the jurist,” every key decision will be made by the Supreme Leader. The Supreme Leader is also the commander in chief, which leaves the president with no substantial power.

This religious dictatorship is founded on fundamentalist interpretations of Islam and sees its survival as bound to domestic suppression and foreign terrorism. However, the mullahs’ crimes in the past four decades have intensified the hatred of the Iranian people toward them.

Earlier this year, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation revisited the mass execution of 30,000 Iranian political prisoners in 1988 in her report to the Secretary-General. Moreover, activists and international human rights organizations have called for an independent investigation into this crime against humanity, placing the Iranian regime in another political and social dead end.

A War of Attrition in the Middle East

The Iranian regime is stuck in three long regional wars, involving Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. Some analysts and politicians perceive the Iranian regime’s meddling in these three countries as a sign of power and stability. However, contrary to what Khamenei and other regime officials have insisted on time and again, if they abandon their intervention in the countries of the Middle East, they’ll be fighting their wars in the streets of Tehran. Therefore, the sole purpose of the Iranian regime’s regional forays is to avoid its collapse. The regime’s nuclear and ballistic missile project is for the same purpose.

The Coalition of Arab Countries and U.S. Against Iran’s Regional Ambitions

The coalition of Arab countries and the U.S., the imposition of further sanctions against the Iranian regime’s regional meddling, and the end of the golden era of the Obama administration have faced the regime of Tehran with further challenges. Officials in the new U.S. administration rightly insist that the real threat of Iran comes not only from its nuclear ambitions but also from its ballistic missile program, its chaos mongering in the region and its human rights abuses. The only durable solution to those collective threats is regime change in Iran.

The Existence of a Reliable Alternative to Replace the Regime in Iran

What makes the replacement of a tyrannical regime viable is the presence of a recognized alternative that has a distinct political, social and economic platform for the future, which enjoys the support of the international community. The existence of such a resistance and its international recognition is one of the main parameters that will pave the way for uprisings against the ruling dictatorship.

Iran currently has a democratic alternative, led by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, a Muslim woman who opposes fundamentalism and bases her faith on tolerance. Mrs. Rajavi’s ten-point plan has been praised and acknowledged by many political personalities, jurists, parliamentarians, and human rights activists across the world.

Three decades of appeasement toward Tehran has not moderated the behavior of the Iranian regime — it has made it worse. However, the foundations for change in Iran exist. What makes regime change in Iran unique is the fact that it requires no foreign intervention. The people of Iran and their organized resistance have the potential to bring about change from Inside Iran.

During his first address to the UN General Assembly in September, President Donald Trump offered a perspective on the people and the regime of Iran that starkly differed from that of his predecessors. He accurately attested that “The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want to change.” He described the Iran nuclear deal as “an embarrassment,” called off the Iranian regime for its export of “violence, bloodshed, and chaos,” and underlined that “Iran’s people are what their leaders fear most.”

These remarks from the president of the United States are a positive signal after three decades of failed appeasement toward the mullahs ruling Iran. And the testament to the fact are the reactions of Iranian officials, which betray their fear and consternation.

In a meeting with the Assembly of Experts, Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Iranian regime called Trump’s speech “foolish, extremely ugly and hideous” and “gangster and cowboy language fraught with sheer lies.”

“Mr. Trump said the wrong things in the wrong place to the wrong people,” Rouhani said to the state television.

The question that remains is whether President Trump’s remarks at the UNGA were simply a reaction to the failure of the appeasement policy, or was it the result of the natural course of events and the geopolitical dynamics governing the Middle East? Has the explosion in connectivity and social media services been effective in conveying the message of the Iranian people, who want the world to know about their desire for freedom and human rights?

Without a doubt, all of these parameters have been effective. But what are the real foundations of Washington’s new approach to the desires of the Iranian people for regime change?

Uprisings

The first factor that challenges the power of the ruling regime is the looming threat of uprisings. From an economic and social perspective, there has always been a potential for nationwide uprisings in Iran.

The first big occurrence of widespread protests was in 1981 when more than 500,000 people took to the streets of Tehran and demanded the overthrow of the theocratic regime. The protest was brutally suppressed and ruthless executions of protestors and dissidents ensued.

In the summer of 1988 alone, 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members of the opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), were executed in the span of a few months and were buried in secret graves.

In 1999 and 2009, uprisings erupted again. While the regime smothered both instances with a brutal crackdown, yet the potential for another uprising remains, and the ashes wait to be stirred once again.

Presently, sporadic protests are slowly building up across the country and gaining momentum. An example is the staged protests against the Arman and Caspian foundations, two financial organizations run by the Revolutionary Guards, which have been plundering the people’s wealth at an unprecedented scale. Following the start of Rouhani’s second term as president, social dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs has increased.

Infighting

The second factor that is weakening the regime is the ongoing power struggle between the Supreme Leader and other factions within the regime. So long as the country’s constitution is based on the “guardianship of the jurist,” every key decision will be made by the Supreme Leader. The Supreme Leader is also the commander in chief, which leaves the president with no substantial power.

This religious dictatorship is founded on fundamentalist interpretations of Islam and sees its survival as bound to domestic suppression and foreign terrorism. However, the mullahs’ crimes in the past four decades have intensified the hatred of the Iranian people toward them.

Earlier this year, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation revisited the mass execution of 30,000 Iranian political prisoners in 1988 in her report to the Secretary-General. Moreover, activists and international human rights organizations have called for an independent investigation into this crime against humanity, placing the Iranian regime in another political and social dead end.

A War of Attrition in the Middle East

The Iranian regime is stuck in three long regional wars, involving Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. Some analysts and politicians perceive the Iranian regime’s meddling in these three countries as a sign of power and stability. However, contrary to what Khamenei and other regime officials have insisted on time and again, if they abandon their intervention in the countries of the Middle East, they’ll be fighting their wars in the streets of Tehran. Therefore, the sole purpose of the Iranian regime’s regional forays is to avoid its collapse. The regime’s nuclear and ballistic missile project is for the same purpose.

The Coalition of Arab Countries and U.S. Against Iran’s Regional Ambitions

The coalition of Arab countries and the U.S., the imposition of further sanctions against the Iranian regime’s regional meddling, and the end of the golden era of the Obama administration have faced the regime of Tehran with further challenges. Officials in the new U.S. administration rightly insist that the real threat of Iran comes not only from its nuclear ambitions but also from its ballistic missile program, its chaos mongering in the region and its human rights abuses. The only durable solution to those collective threats is regime change in Iran.

The Existence of a Reliable Alternative to Replace the Regime in Iran

What makes the replacement of a tyrannical regime viable is the presence of a recognized alternative that has a distinct political, social and economic platform for the future, which enjoys the support of the international community. The existence of such a resistance and its international recognition is one of the main parameters that will pave the way for uprisings against the ruling dictatorship.

Iran currently has a democratic alternative, led by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, a Muslim woman who opposes fundamentalism and bases her faith on tolerance. Mrs. Rajavi’s ten-point plan has been praised and acknowledged by many political personalities, jurists, parliamentarians, and human rights activists across the world.

Three decades of appeasement toward Tehran has not moderated the behavior of the Iranian regime — it has made it worse. However, the foundations for change in Iran exist. What makes regime change in Iran unique is the fact that it requires no foreign intervention. The people of Iran and their organized resistance have the potential to bring about change from Inside Iran.



Source link

Hir Majesty Mix Bressack, the New American Royalty


There is a longstanding but probably apocryphal story about the time a rash equerry told an off-color joke in the presence of Queen Victoria of England. She drew herself up and invoking the royal lingual prerogative said in a chilly tone, “We are not amused.”

The queen’s use of the royal plural pronoun indicated her aristocratic rank and authority over the people of England. The sovereign was “We,” whereas the commoner was something else — something lower. Throughout the height of aristocratic rule, we find the regular use of the plural term by people holding very high position. Czar Nicholas II still used the royal “we” in his abdication speech, saying, “In agreement with the Imperial Duma, We have thought it well to renounce the Throne of the Russian Empire and to lay down the supreme power.”

The last czar’s brutal death was accompanied by the demise of aristocratic nomenclature. “We” was dead. The Bolshevik revolutionists who finished off the 400-year-old Romanoff dynasty ushered in a new way of speaking. A new socialist language indicating the “equality” of all human beings rose up. From about 1917 onward, everyone was to be called “comrade,” much as men and women were to be called “citizen” during the time of the French Revolution.

But as the Communist Soviet Union was to discover, aristocratic tendencies linger on. As it always turns out during and after revolutions based on the ideal of absolute equality, no matter what the ideological system advocating the leveling of a hierarchical class system, some will declare themselves to be more equal than others.

Perhaps the rise of a new aristocracy is increasingly evidencing itself in the USA even as the demands for equality increase.

In an apparent resurrection of hierarchical aristocratic nosism, a teacher here in the Republic of America recently commanded her subjects to call her Mix Bressack. The hapless fifth graders were to use gender neutral pronouns when referring to zi hirself, queen of the classroom.

According to USA Today:

“A new fifth grade teacher at Canopy Oaks Elementary is asking students to use gender-neutral pronouns in the classroom. 


Math and science teacher Chloe Bressack sent the request home in a letter to parents headlined “About Mx. Bressack.”


“… my pronouns are ‘they, them, their’ instead of ‘he, his, she, hers.’ I know it takes some practice for it to feel natural,” the letter reads, “but students catch on pretty quickly.”


The letter also asks that students use “Mx.,” (pronounced ‘Mix’) when addressing the teacher rather than Mr. or Ms.”

Mx. Bessack, who doubtless was teaching the new, tedious, and ultimately incomprehensible mathematics utilizing labyrinth mental procedures to determine 2+2=4, later noted it would take time for the fifth graders to learn how to address her as she preferred to be addressed. But she would forgive errant pupils, who would receive a special dispensation of grace for the first few sins against her.

Mx. Bressack has since been transferred to adult education — aren’t her new students fortunate in that they get to learn a new language! — but we of the lower case “we” still are not amused.

There will be more Mx. Bressacks. Her number is legion.

The fact is that her and others’ attempts to establish gender neutral terminology go way beyond mere amusement to a deadly serious reconstruction of language and consequently thinking, as language is inextricably linked to thought. The danger is worse when the new lingo is backed by state power.

The case of Professor Jordan Peterson of the University of Toronto is illustrative of the dangers involved in allowing the new aristocracy to demand the non-royal use their new language of self-identity.

As he puts it, the Canadian legislation that ostensibly “extends protection against hate propaganda in regard to gender identity or expression” actually is stating, “Be it resolved that people should have the legal right to insist upon by force pronouns by which they will be addressed.”

What the new laws mean in reality is that the rest of us commoners must use the language demanded by the new aristocracy or face the wrath of the almighty state, which now puts its power behind the ideology and language of the new upper classes.

The new one percenters believe what few of the rest of us believe. They think the definition of a human being is a matter of personal choice, not a scientific or metaphysical reality. For them, biological differences are totally subjective; in fact, reality itself is subjective, a mere matter of personal choice.

The problem is that any person who believes in the subjectivity of reality now has the backing of state power, the use of which leads to persecution of dissenters like Peterson.

Professor Peterson, who has been warned by the university administration and who has refused to undergo re-education, asks a simple question to those who believe their subjective choice of identity is infallible: “What if your identity is wrong?”

He adds he retains the right to disagree: “No one has the right to impose their interpretation of identity on someone else…You can’t force me to respect you.”

Apparently, for the gender-neutral crowd, idolatry of one’s self is not enough. Everyone else must idolize them, too. We of the lower case “we” must worship them, too, especially since they belong to the new state religion.

To put it another way, state coercion amounts to forced conversion to transgenderism and its accompanying doctrines eliminating any differentiation between male and female.

To be forced to acknowledge the latest chosen identity as reality and to be forced to speak the language of a sex cult is as persecutory as being ordered to make sign of the cross or die; or to be forced to say I acknowledge Allah is the one true God or be decapitated. It is to be placed in the position of Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego, who were told by King Nebuchadnezzar that when they faced the music of the sackbuts and the trumpets, they were to bow down and worship the god or be thrown into the fire. The fire these days takes forms of being sued for hate speech, being forced into bankruptcy, or being fired from your job.

What we are looking at is essentially a religious war, with the power of the state on the side of a leftist cult which, if undeterred, will continually seek to crush opposition to its views of reality. The most targeted are and will continue to be Christians.

As many have pointed out in the case of the Soviet Union and other countries seized by leftist ideologies, putting the power of the state behind an ideology inevitably involves brainwashing resistors.

Brainwashing involves training the mind so it cannot think in the old ways, but only in the new, approved way. While Ms./Mix Bressack probably would not put it this way, the ultimate purpose of her decrees is to get the students to think in terms of her view of reality. She and others of her world view are targeting the young in order to remold young minds to accept unreality as reality; good as bad and bad as good; to cease thinking in terms of things as they are in themselves vs. things as they are in fantasy. Ultimately the goal is the erasure of the old identity in order to create a new one, as Robert Jay Lifton pointed out in his study of brainwashing in the late 1950s.

Ms./Mix Bressack and her ilk were brilliantly portrayed in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, in which the newest generation were taught by the World Director to regard words like Mother and Father as pornographic; to embrace sexual promiscuity as normal and fidelity as outrageous perversion — in short, to assume the identity the New World Order approved and made use of.

But Ms./Mix and those who are the new royalty are the equivalent of fake Anastasias or Louis XVII’s. Impersonator Anna Anderson tried to convince the masses she was the Grand Duchess Anastasia, claiming to have miraculously escaped the Bolsheviks’ hail of bullets. Mathurin Bruneau and others claimed to be the real son of the decapitated Louis XVI. Oh yes, they were the great pretenders; and were they not thoroughly discredited as being charlatans and nut cases, they may well have been entitled to all the perks of royalty.

The new pretenders to royalty belonging to the latest permutation of the ideological cult that is the American Left are fake persona as surely as Anderson and Bruneau were pretenders to thrones.

Americans are usually good at spotting nonsense and pretense; and equally good at rejecting it. Most are inclined to say “Nuts to you,” to those who aspire to be the new royalty deserving to be addressed by the new equivalent of the royal “We.”

Hopefully, even Ms./Mix Bressack’s fifth graders will have seen the new empress is an imposter who has no clothes.

Fay Voshell is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. Her thoughts have appeared in many online magazines, including CNS, Fox News, National Review, Barbwire and Russia Insider. She may be reached at fvoshell@yahoo.com

There is a longstanding but probably apocryphal story about the time a rash equerry told an off-color joke in the presence of Queen Victoria of England. She drew herself up and invoking the royal lingual prerogative said in a chilly tone, “We are not amused.”

The queen’s use of the royal plural pronoun indicated her aristocratic rank and authority over the people of England. The sovereign was “We,” whereas the commoner was something else — something lower. Throughout the height of aristocratic rule, we find the regular use of the plural term by people holding very high position. Czar Nicholas II still used the royal “we” in his abdication speech, saying, “In agreement with the Imperial Duma, We have thought it well to renounce the Throne of the Russian Empire and to lay down the supreme power.”

The last czar’s brutal death was accompanied by the demise of aristocratic nomenclature. “We” was dead. The Bolshevik revolutionists who finished off the 400-year-old Romanoff dynasty ushered in a new way of speaking. A new socialist language indicating the “equality” of all human beings rose up. From about 1917 onward, everyone was to be called “comrade,” much as men and women were to be called “citizen” during the time of the French Revolution.

But as the Communist Soviet Union was to discover, aristocratic tendencies linger on. As it always turns out during and after revolutions based on the ideal of absolute equality, no matter what the ideological system advocating the leveling of a hierarchical class system, some will declare themselves to be more equal than others.

Perhaps the rise of a new aristocracy is increasingly evidencing itself in the USA even as the demands for equality increase.

In an apparent resurrection of hierarchical aristocratic nosism, a teacher here in the Republic of America recently commanded her subjects to call her Mix Bressack. The hapless fifth graders were to use gender neutral pronouns when referring to zi hirself, queen of the classroom.

According to USA Today:

“A new fifth grade teacher at Canopy Oaks Elementary is asking students to use gender-neutral pronouns in the classroom. 


Math and science teacher Chloe Bressack sent the request home in a letter to parents headlined “About Mx. Bressack.”


“… my pronouns are ‘they, them, their’ instead of ‘he, his, she, hers.’ I know it takes some practice for it to feel natural,” the letter reads, “but students catch on pretty quickly.”


The letter also asks that students use “Mx.,” (pronounced ‘Mix’) when addressing the teacher rather than Mr. or Ms.”

Mx. Bessack, who doubtless was teaching the new, tedious, and ultimately incomprehensible mathematics utilizing labyrinth mental procedures to determine 2+2=4, later noted it would take time for the fifth graders to learn how to address her as she preferred to be addressed. But she would forgive errant pupils, who would receive a special dispensation of grace for the first few sins against her.

Mx. Bressack has since been transferred to adult education — aren’t her new students fortunate in that they get to learn a new language! — but we of the lower case “we” still are not amused.

There will be more Mx. Bressacks. Her number is legion.

The fact is that her and others’ attempts to establish gender neutral terminology go way beyond mere amusement to a deadly serious reconstruction of language and consequently thinking, as language is inextricably linked to thought. The danger is worse when the new lingo is backed by state power.

The case of Professor Jordan Peterson of the University of Toronto is illustrative of the dangers involved in allowing the new aristocracy to demand the non-royal use their new language of self-identity.

As he puts it, the Canadian legislation that ostensibly “extends protection against hate propaganda in regard to gender identity or expression” actually is stating, “Be it resolved that people should have the legal right to insist upon by force pronouns by which they will be addressed.”

What the new laws mean in reality is that the rest of us commoners must use the language demanded by the new aristocracy or face the wrath of the almighty state, which now puts its power behind the ideology and language of the new upper classes.

The new one percenters believe what few of the rest of us believe. They think the definition of a human being is a matter of personal choice, not a scientific or metaphysical reality. For them, biological differences are totally subjective; in fact, reality itself is subjective, a mere matter of personal choice.

The problem is that any person who believes in the subjectivity of reality now has the backing of state power, the use of which leads to persecution of dissenters like Peterson.

Professor Peterson, who has been warned by the university administration and who has refused to undergo re-education, asks a simple question to those who believe their subjective choice of identity is infallible: “What if your identity is wrong?”

He adds he retains the right to disagree: “No one has the right to impose their interpretation of identity on someone else…You can’t force me to respect you.”

Apparently, for the gender-neutral crowd, idolatry of one’s self is not enough. Everyone else must idolize them, too. We of the lower case “we” must worship them, too, especially since they belong to the new state religion.

To put it another way, state coercion amounts to forced conversion to transgenderism and its accompanying doctrines eliminating any differentiation between male and female.

To be forced to acknowledge the latest chosen identity as reality and to be forced to speak the language of a sex cult is as persecutory as being ordered to make sign of the cross or die; or to be forced to say I acknowledge Allah is the one true God or be decapitated. It is to be placed in the position of Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego, who were told by King Nebuchadnezzar that when they faced the music of the sackbuts and the trumpets, they were to bow down and worship the god or be thrown into the fire. The fire these days takes forms of being sued for hate speech, being forced into bankruptcy, or being fired from your job.

What we are looking at is essentially a religious war, with the power of the state on the side of a leftist cult which, if undeterred, will continually seek to crush opposition to its views of reality. The most targeted are and will continue to be Christians.

As many have pointed out in the case of the Soviet Union and other countries seized by leftist ideologies, putting the power of the state behind an ideology inevitably involves brainwashing resistors.

Brainwashing involves training the mind so it cannot think in the old ways, but only in the new, approved way. While Ms./Mix Bressack probably would not put it this way, the ultimate purpose of her decrees is to get the students to think in terms of her view of reality. She and others of her world view are targeting the young in order to remold young minds to accept unreality as reality; good as bad and bad as good; to cease thinking in terms of things as they are in themselves vs. things as they are in fantasy. Ultimately the goal is the erasure of the old identity in order to create a new one, as Robert Jay Lifton pointed out in his study of brainwashing in the late 1950s.

Ms./Mix Bressack and her ilk were brilliantly portrayed in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, in which the newest generation were taught by the World Director to regard words like Mother and Father as pornographic; to embrace sexual promiscuity as normal and fidelity as outrageous perversion — in short, to assume the identity the New World Order approved and made use of.

But Ms./Mix and those who are the new royalty are the equivalent of fake Anastasias or Louis XVII’s. Impersonator Anna Anderson tried to convince the masses she was the Grand Duchess Anastasia, claiming to have miraculously escaped the Bolsheviks’ hail of bullets. Mathurin Bruneau and others claimed to be the real son of the decapitated Louis XVI. Oh yes, they were the great pretenders; and were they not thoroughly discredited as being charlatans and nut cases, they may well have been entitled to all the perks of royalty.

The new pretenders to royalty belonging to the latest permutation of the ideological cult that is the American Left are fake persona as surely as Anderson and Bruneau were pretenders to thrones.

Americans are usually good at spotting nonsense and pretense; and equally good at rejecting it. Most are inclined to say “Nuts to you,” to those who aspire to be the new royalty deserving to be addressed by the new equivalent of the royal “We.”

Hopefully, even Ms./Mix Bressack’s fifth graders will have seen the new empress is an imposter who has no clothes.

Fay Voshell is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. Her thoughts have appeared in many online magazines, including CNS, Fox News, National Review, Barbwire and Russia Insider. She may be reached at fvoshell@yahoo.com



Source link

Hugh Hefner and Leftist Hypocrisy


The left has no values.  Indeed, the left abhors values.  It loves only power and the pain it can inflict upon those who embrace morality, honesty, and faith.  Hugh Hefner is a perfect example of macabre perversion.

Hefner made pornography popular among middle class America.  Young men have always been sexually attracted to pretty young women.  There is nothing wrong with that at all.  The fulfillment of that love has been through a process of courtship, marriage, and that wonderful romantic love between two newlyweds.  Of course, the passions of the young often shortcut the process, and quick weddings have always been with us.

Hefner and Playboy short-circuited that process by giving young men images of female beauty in the most sexually desirable poses so that the expectations of these young men rose to unrealistic heights, and young women found themselves competing with the centerfold showing graphically what beautiful bodies taken by expert photographers and make-up artists could do.

The lives of many of these former playmates have been traumatic.  Some have committed suicide; some have found out that Playboy treats these young women as high-class prostitutes; some have clung desperately onto their transitory beauty in lieu of a normal, happy marriage.

Leftists who disingenuously profess to champion the exploited conspicuously ignore these pornographers, who savage young lives and watch without caring as Playmates kill themselves and as wholesome romantic love is replaced by “hooking up” and other forms of casual, indifferent, loveless sex, which leads the wretched young who embrace this pathological behavior into different realms of Hell.

So how has the left reacted to the explosion of pornography?  It has produced and celebrated a film defending the most revolting of pornographers, Larry Flynt, as if he were a hero.  The left has defended the right to produce pornography every time conservatives have tried to control it, to reject the left’s description of prostitution as a “victimless crime” and to urge abstinence for young people until they are married.

The left does not care that these women and men who utterly disconnect domestic love from sexual relations are condemning these young people to a live of emptiness and despair.  Indeed, that is precisely what the left wants:  hopeless, lonely lives that can find solace only in all the horrid and hateful “causes” of the left.

Orwell saw this well.  Make everyone a pathetic, helpless atom bound desperately to the false love of Big Brother.  Chop the connection between love and sexual relations so that every act of sex is drained of all real meaning and replaced by some hideous sense of duty to the state or society or the movement.  Orwell’s nightmare has become a grim fact of modern life.  Young people do not, of course, yet have sex simply as a duty to the state, but that will surely come.

Children are being born more and more into fatherless homes in which the children are damned to poverty; valueless lives; and, most of all, the absence of the indispensable father.  These children will become psychically deformed monsters, hunting desperately with crime, drugs, and sex those missing parts of their crippled lives. 

Hugh Hefner helped this by making loveless sex, unbridled lust, and valueless lives a part of mainstream life in America.  It should be no surprise that Hefner himself was a leftist.  Indeed, virtually all the grand pornographers of our time are leftists, thoughtlessly destroying the lives of their models and pornographic film stars.  They are leftists defended by other leftists.

The hypocrisy of the left sometimes rises to levels almost surreal.  So the left protests efforts to resist the nightmare that is Islam despite the fact that Islam exploits, mutilates, and oppresses women much worse than the Christians and Jews of America.  So the left encourages the most casual sex conceivable on campuses, though the left itself claims there is an epidemic of rape on campuses – probably another leftist lie.  So the left supported Hugh Hefner’s empire of explicit lust, with all the physical details there for the whole world to view. 

How many lives did he destroy?  How many lives could the left have saved by joining with conservatives to control the filth and scum Hefner slopped upon our land?  We can ask and wonder, but the left never gives it a thought.  The left panders to every vice, corrupts every virtue, and does anything it can to seize and hold power.

The left has no values.  Indeed, the left abhors values.  It loves only power and the pain it can inflict upon those who embrace morality, honesty, and faith.  Hugh Hefner is a perfect example of macabre perversion.

Hefner made pornography popular among middle class America.  Young men have always been sexually attracted to pretty young women.  There is nothing wrong with that at all.  The fulfillment of that love has been through a process of courtship, marriage, and that wonderful romantic love between two newlyweds.  Of course, the passions of the young often shortcut the process, and quick weddings have always been with us.

Hefner and Playboy short-circuited that process by giving young men images of female beauty in the most sexually desirable poses so that the expectations of these young men rose to unrealistic heights, and young women found themselves competing with the centerfold showing graphically what beautiful bodies taken by expert photographers and make-up artists could do.

The lives of many of these former playmates have been traumatic.  Some have committed suicide; some have found out that Playboy treats these young women as high-class prostitutes; some have clung desperately onto their transitory beauty in lieu of a normal, happy marriage.

Leftists who disingenuously profess to champion the exploited conspicuously ignore these pornographers, who savage young lives and watch without caring as Playmates kill themselves and as wholesome romantic love is replaced by “hooking up” and other forms of casual, indifferent, loveless sex, which leads the wretched young who embrace this pathological behavior into different realms of Hell.

So how has the left reacted to the explosion of pornography?  It has produced and celebrated a film defending the most revolting of pornographers, Larry Flynt, as if he were a hero.  The left has defended the right to produce pornography every time conservatives have tried to control it, to reject the left’s description of prostitution as a “victimless crime” and to urge abstinence for young people until they are married.

The left does not care that these women and men who utterly disconnect domestic love from sexual relations are condemning these young people to a live of emptiness and despair.  Indeed, that is precisely what the left wants:  hopeless, lonely lives that can find solace only in all the horrid and hateful “causes” of the left.

Orwell saw this well.  Make everyone a pathetic, helpless atom bound desperately to the false love of Big Brother.  Chop the connection between love and sexual relations so that every act of sex is drained of all real meaning and replaced by some hideous sense of duty to the state or society or the movement.  Orwell’s nightmare has become a grim fact of modern life.  Young people do not, of course, yet have sex simply as a duty to the state, but that will surely come.

Children are being born more and more into fatherless homes in which the children are damned to poverty; valueless lives; and, most of all, the absence of the indispensable father.  These children will become psychically deformed monsters, hunting desperately with crime, drugs, and sex those missing parts of their crippled lives. 

Hugh Hefner helped this by making loveless sex, unbridled lust, and valueless lives a part of mainstream life in America.  It should be no surprise that Hefner himself was a leftist.  Indeed, virtually all the grand pornographers of our time are leftists, thoughtlessly destroying the lives of their models and pornographic film stars.  They are leftists defended by other leftists.

The hypocrisy of the left sometimes rises to levels almost surreal.  So the left protests efforts to resist the nightmare that is Islam despite the fact that Islam exploits, mutilates, and oppresses women much worse than the Christians and Jews of America.  So the left encourages the most casual sex conceivable on campuses, though the left itself claims there is an epidemic of rape on campuses – probably another leftist lie.  So the left supported Hugh Hefner’s empire of explicit lust, with all the physical details there for the whole world to view. 

How many lives did he destroy?  How many lives could the left have saved by joining with conservatives to control the filth and scum Hefner slopped upon our land?  We can ask and wonder, but the left never gives it a thought.  The left panders to every vice, corrupts every virtue, and does anything it can to seize and hold power.



Source link

Why Didn't They Shoot the German?


I was watching a World War II movie in a theater, with an Asian immigrant friend, when I learned a lesson in culture that no university could have taught better. In one battle scene, there is a cease-fire order, and a German soldier approaches the British position, under a white flag of truce. The British commander steps forward, completely vulnerable, but the Germans do not shoot. There is a brief exchange of words, as the Germans demand surrender, and the British commander declines. Both men then return to their positions, and the deadly fighting resumes.

My friend in the theater leaned toward me, and quietly asked, why didn’t they shoot the German?

I was both amused and horrified at the question. It was unthinkable that one would shoot a man under a white flag, so unthinkable that it was literally laughable. I actually did laugh.

My answer was, they can’t shoot him; he’s under a white flag.

My Asian friend was perplexed for a moment, and then got it. So, this is how Western people fight wars.

This incident sticks in my memory all these years later, because it enlightened me to a profound truth. Not all cultures are equal. In that same war, the Japanese, for example, had utterly no regard for our white flags, unless it suited their purposes. Their concept of honor was utterly unlike ours. To them, it was the white flag of surrender that was dishonorable, and anyone who surrendered, friend or enemy, was a pariah. Suicide was preferable.

I will make no pretense of moral equivalency here. The Japanese leaders were evil. They deceived thousands of their own civilians to commit suicide, even causing them to jump from cliffs with their children, because they did not wish their people to see that Americans were merciful and benevolent. Instead, they told their people that the Americans would rape their women and eat their children. So, they jumped.

The American sense of civilized behavior, even in our treatment of brutal enemies, was not only a moral strength, it is part of what persuaded the Japanese emperor, eventually, to agree to surrender. When his emissaries returned to him from signing the surrender, Hirohito asked them whether they had been humiliated by the Americans. When they informed him that they had been treated with respect, it is said that Hirohito wept with relief.

One must assume that Japan today has become very much Westernized in its definitions of honor and morality. I lived there for three years, and had I not known differently, I could never have believed that just a few years before my residence there, those gentle and polite people could ever have committed the horrific acts which their nation did.

The lesson here apples to terrorism, particularly, radical Islamic terrorism. We must not regard Middle-Eastern culture as morally equivalent to ours. To them, the words, “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights,” is utterly unlike our concept of those words. The concept of the sovereign individual is absent from their way of thinking. Free speech is punishable by death.

When Middle-Easterners take up residence in the West, they have no intention of adopting our values and morals. Quite the opposite, they seek to impose their will upon us, by force if necessary, by mass murder if it comes to that.

Is it really that bad? All the Moslem immigrants I have met, seem to be polite, friendly people. I doubt that any of those whom I have met would ever commit murder.

The problem is that while they themselves would not act violently, many of them seem to tolerate, even to condone, those that do. While there are laudable instances of Moslem leaders fully cooperating with American law enforcement, polls have repeatedly shown a disturbingly high number of Moslems who quietly admire terrorists.

I have long wondered why it is that the American left supports unfettered Muslim immigration to America. I am beginning to understand. The American left shares many of the cultural values of the Middle East, including the practice of brutalizing anyone who openly disagrees with them. Antifa is the glaring example of that.

I was watching a World War II movie in a theater, with an Asian immigrant friend, when I learned a lesson in culture that no university could have taught better. In one battle scene, there is a cease-fire order, and a German soldier approaches the British position, under a white flag of truce. The British commander steps forward, completely vulnerable, but the Germans do not shoot. There is a brief exchange of words, as the Germans demand surrender, and the British commander declines. Both men then return to their positions, and the deadly fighting resumes.

My friend in the theater leaned toward me, and quietly asked, why didn’t they shoot the German?

I was both amused and horrified at the question. It was unthinkable that one would shoot a man under a white flag, so unthinkable that it was literally laughable. I actually did laugh.

My answer was, they can’t shoot him; he’s under a white flag.

My Asian friend was perplexed for a moment, and then got it. So, this is how Western people fight wars.

This incident sticks in my memory all these years later, because it enlightened me to a profound truth. Not all cultures are equal. In that same war, the Japanese, for example, had utterly no regard for our white flags, unless it suited their purposes. Their concept of honor was utterly unlike ours. To them, it was the white flag of surrender that was dishonorable, and anyone who surrendered, friend or enemy, was a pariah. Suicide was preferable.

I will make no pretense of moral equivalency here. The Japanese leaders were evil. They deceived thousands of their own civilians to commit suicide, even causing them to jump from cliffs with their children, because they did not wish their people to see that Americans were merciful and benevolent. Instead, they told their people that the Americans would rape their women and eat their children. So, they jumped.

The American sense of civilized behavior, even in our treatment of brutal enemies, was not only a moral strength, it is part of what persuaded the Japanese emperor, eventually, to agree to surrender. When his emissaries returned to him from signing the surrender, Hirohito asked them whether they had been humiliated by the Americans. When they informed him that they had been treated with respect, it is said that Hirohito wept with relief.

One must assume that Japan today has become very much Westernized in its definitions of honor and morality. I lived there for three years, and had I not known differently, I could never have believed that just a few years before my residence there, those gentle and polite people could ever have committed the horrific acts which their nation did.

The lesson here apples to terrorism, particularly, radical Islamic terrorism. We must not regard Middle-Eastern culture as morally equivalent to ours. To them, the words, “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights,” is utterly unlike our concept of those words. The concept of the sovereign individual is absent from their way of thinking. Free speech is punishable by death.

When Middle-Easterners take up residence in the West, they have no intention of adopting our values and morals. Quite the opposite, they seek to impose their will upon us, by force if necessary, by mass murder if it comes to that.

Is it really that bad? All the Moslem immigrants I have met, seem to be polite, friendly people. I doubt that any of those whom I have met would ever commit murder.

The problem is that while they themselves would not act violently, many of them seem to tolerate, even to condone, those that do. While there are laudable instances of Moslem leaders fully cooperating with American law enforcement, polls have repeatedly shown a disturbingly high number of Moslems who quietly admire terrorists.

I have long wondered why it is that the American left supports unfettered Muslim immigration to America. I am beginning to understand. The American left shares many of the cultural values of the Middle East, including the practice of brutalizing anyone who openly disagrees with them. Antifa is the glaring example of that.



Source link

Just One Crisis Away from Cashless


Puerto Ricans presently without cash are in severe straits now that the electronic grid is down. They do not have the cash to buy supplies; and, since the electronic grid is down due to the recent hurricanes, they cannot use electronic options. However, the discerning will realize that this present weakness in electronic currency will not stop the rush to a cashless society. The powers that be will merely fix “the problem.” They will probably use, or engineer, a crisis to impose a cashless dystopia.

Countries around the world are racing to go cashless. India, South Korea, Sweden. Governments have myriad reasons to want to do so. Cashless paradigms can stop crime. Drug dealing would become harder.  Tax evasion would become difficult. Terrorism would be stifled. Without untraceable cash, trafficking in illegal weaponry would become extraordinarily difficult.

“We wanted to minimise the risk of robberies and it’s quicker with the customers when they pay by card,” says Victoria Nilsson [in Sweden], who manages two of the bakery chain’s 16 stores across the city. — BBC

So why would the Swedes be rushing to give banking institutions control of one of the last areas of total autonomy available to modern man, fungible cash? Apparently, naivete is a Swedish trait.

“Swedes tend to trust banks, we trust institutions… people are not afraid of the sort-of ‘Big Brother’ issues or fraud connected to electronic payment.”

Somewhat paradoxically, Sweden’s decision to update its coins and banknotes, a move announced by the Riksbank in 2010 and fully implemented this year, actually boosted cashless transactions, explains Prof Arvidsson. — BBC

One could not imagine Americans having such an ingrained trust of banks or institutions. Don’t worry! For the recalcitrant, a good crisis can be imposed or engineered.

India had a barely modern system of records just a few years ago.

Before 2009, half of all Indians didn’t have any form of identification, not even a birth certificate.


Without a form of identification, citizens couldn’t access services like banking, insurance, or even get a driver’s license. As such, many opportunities like starting a business were not available to them. — Business Insider

Yet, India may be poised to become the first cashless country on the planet. Prime Minister Modi’s administration acted “to ban 85% of the currency in circulation” in 2016. Indians were given an Aadhaar number.

Aadhaar is a biometric database based on a 12-digit digital identity, authenticated by finger prints and retina scans.


It became the largest and most successful IT project ever. As of 2016, 1.1 billion people (95% of the population) had a digital proof of identity. — Business Insider

That is an amazing — no, actually, a frightening — turnaround.  From backward technology to leader of the pack, almost overnight. The system is total and complete in scope. India added another system using Aadhaar, called India Stack:

India Stack allows citizens to open a bank account or brokerage account, buy a mutual fund, or share medical records anywhere in India with just a fingerprint or retinal scan from Aadhaar.


Put simply, India Stack could be the framework for a new digital society. — Business Insider

As Business Insider pointed out, if this could happen to India in just a few years, this process can be replicated anywhere in the planet.

A Cashless Future Is The Real Goal Of India’s Demonetization Move — Forbes

The Swedes seem to be in a race with India.

Puerto Rico’s example does pose a problem, though. What do people do when the grid comes down, due to hurricane or disaster? Do all transactions have to stop until the grid is back up? 

The answer is to decentralize the data. Instead of having all transactions go through a central bank’s computer, the data can be stored locally in the individual smart phone. This is already being used with the Bitcoin currency using a blockchain algorithm. In such a case, all that would be needed is to have two smartphones or devices, connected via bluetooth or card reader, for a transaction to be affected.

If the decentralized Bitcoin currency has not been adopted fully by nation-states yet, it is because the powers-that-be do not control it. Right now, Bitcoin transactions can be anonymous — or at least as anonymous as any transaction on the internet can be. Since the blockchain hides identity, the government has to trace ISP records to see where the transaction came from. If this sounds impossibly difficult, one should remember that Hollywood has used ISP records to trace down people accused of file sharing copyrighted media; and in Europe internet providers used to keep logs of IP addresses vs individual accounts. It can be done, even if difficult.  If not by governments, then by companies like Google or Facebook.

That will change, however.  Already the Bank of England, the Ur central bank, is testing blockchain protocols.

Bank of England trials artificial intelligence and blockchain in bid to stay ahead of the pack — Telegraph

And, this is truly foreboding:

[Former Fed Chairman] Bernanke to Give Keynote Speech at October [2017] Cryptocurrency Event  — Bloomberg

The powers-that-be see the potential of blockchain technologies, and want to hijack it to their own ends. Of course, they will improve the convenience of it as it becomes universally accepted. It will offer the appearance of fungible transactions — individuals can transact when the grid is down. So it will seem like cash. However, identity will not be kept anonymous. In cases like Puerto Rico, once the grid is back up, the authorities will have a record of every transaction made in the interim; and by whom it was made. The last aspect will not be touted to the public.

The state/banks will have almost total control of the individual’s life when that occurs. Of course, someone will say that smart devices can be stolen. Yes, they can; and that will occur, mind you. But the authorities already have a solution to prevent such theft.

And he [the final dictator] causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. — Rev 13:16-17

Even now, people are already lining up to be chipped.

At first blush, it sounds like the talk of a conspiracy theorist: a company [Three Square Market] implanting microchips under employees’ skin. But it’s not a conspiracy, and employees are lining up for the opportunity. — NY Times, July 25 2017

Using India as our example, this transition can be effected rather rapidly. Using Sweden as an example, much of the population will actually welcome it.

The only opposition to this will be common sense — always in short supply — and the Christian religion, which made a point of warning against such a tyranny. But, Christianity has been attacked for decades.

We are only one crisis away; and the public has been prepared to accept what is coming. They will welcome it.  And, thanks to companies like, Three Square Market above, the authorities will be able to boast that the technology has already been tested, and that it is safe and user-friendly.

Who but knows? Maybe the crisis of the cashless in Puerto Rico will be the impetus for official adoption of blockchain technologies. If not, another crisis will present itself. Then the authorities will offer a complete “solution.” And, the leader who imposes it will be heralded as the savior of mankind.

As India and Sweden show, we may be only a year or two away.

Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who writes on various topics. He also just started a website about small computers at http://thetinydesktop.com.

Puerto Ricans presently without cash are in severe straits now that the electronic grid is down. They do not have the cash to buy supplies; and, since the electronic grid is down due to the recent hurricanes, they cannot use electronic options. However, the discerning will realize that this present weakness in electronic currency will not stop the rush to a cashless society. The powers that be will merely fix “the problem.” They will probably use, or engineer, a crisis to impose a cashless dystopia.

Countries around the world are racing to go cashless. India, South Korea, Sweden. Governments have myriad reasons to want to do so. Cashless paradigms can stop crime. Drug dealing would become harder.  Tax evasion would become difficult. Terrorism would be stifled. Without untraceable cash, trafficking in illegal weaponry would become extraordinarily difficult.

“We wanted to minimise the risk of robberies and it’s quicker with the customers when they pay by card,” says Victoria Nilsson [in Sweden], who manages two of the bakery chain’s 16 stores across the city. — BBC

So why would the Swedes be rushing to give banking institutions control of one of the last areas of total autonomy available to modern man, fungible cash? Apparently, naivete is a Swedish trait.

“Swedes tend to trust banks, we trust institutions… people are not afraid of the sort-of ‘Big Brother’ issues or fraud connected to electronic payment.”

Somewhat paradoxically, Sweden’s decision to update its coins and banknotes, a move announced by the Riksbank in 2010 and fully implemented this year, actually boosted cashless transactions, explains Prof Arvidsson. — BBC

One could not imagine Americans having such an ingrained trust of banks or institutions. Don’t worry! For the recalcitrant, a good crisis can be imposed or engineered.

India had a barely modern system of records just a few years ago.

Before 2009, half of all Indians didn’t have any form of identification, not even a birth certificate.


Without a form of identification, citizens couldn’t access services like banking, insurance, or even get a driver’s license. As such, many opportunities like starting a business were not available to them. — Business Insider

Yet, India may be poised to become the first cashless country on the planet. Prime Minister Modi’s administration acted “to ban 85% of the currency in circulation” in 2016. Indians were given an Aadhaar number.

Aadhaar is a biometric database based on a 12-digit digital identity, authenticated by finger prints and retina scans.


It became the largest and most successful IT project ever. As of 2016, 1.1 billion people (95% of the population) had a digital proof of identity. — Business Insider

That is an amazing — no, actually, a frightening — turnaround.  From backward technology to leader of the pack, almost overnight. The system is total and complete in scope. India added another system using Aadhaar, called India Stack:

India Stack allows citizens to open a bank account or brokerage account, buy a mutual fund, or share medical records anywhere in India with just a fingerprint or retinal scan from Aadhaar.


Put simply, India Stack could be the framework for a new digital society. — Business Insider

As Business Insider pointed out, if this could happen to India in just a few years, this process can be replicated anywhere in the planet.

A Cashless Future Is The Real Goal Of India’s Demonetization Move — Forbes

The Swedes seem to be in a race with India.

Puerto Rico’s example does pose a problem, though. What do people do when the grid comes down, due to hurricane or disaster? Do all transactions have to stop until the grid is back up? 

The answer is to decentralize the data. Instead of having all transactions go through a central bank’s computer, the data can be stored locally in the individual smart phone. This is already being used with the Bitcoin currency using a blockchain algorithm. In such a case, all that would be needed is to have two smartphones or devices, connected via bluetooth or card reader, for a transaction to be affected.

If the decentralized Bitcoin currency has not been adopted fully by nation-states yet, it is because the powers-that-be do not control it. Right now, Bitcoin transactions can be anonymous — or at least as anonymous as any transaction on the internet can be. Since the blockchain hides identity, the government has to trace ISP records to see where the transaction came from. If this sounds impossibly difficult, one should remember that Hollywood has used ISP records to trace down people accused of file sharing copyrighted media; and in Europe internet providers used to keep logs of IP addresses vs individual accounts. It can be done, even if difficult.  If not by governments, then by companies like Google or Facebook.

That will change, however.  Already the Bank of England, the Ur central bank, is testing blockchain protocols.

Bank of England trials artificial intelligence and blockchain in bid to stay ahead of the pack — Telegraph

And, this is truly foreboding:

[Former Fed Chairman] Bernanke to Give Keynote Speech at October [2017] Cryptocurrency Event  — Bloomberg

The powers-that-be see the potential of blockchain technologies, and want to hijack it to their own ends. Of course, they will improve the convenience of it as it becomes universally accepted. It will offer the appearance of fungible transactions — individuals can transact when the grid is down. So it will seem like cash. However, identity will not be kept anonymous. In cases like Puerto Rico, once the grid is back up, the authorities will have a record of every transaction made in the interim; and by whom it was made. The last aspect will not be touted to the public.

The state/banks will have almost total control of the individual’s life when that occurs. Of course, someone will say that smart devices can be stolen. Yes, they can; and that will occur, mind you. But the authorities already have a solution to prevent such theft.

And he [the final dictator] causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. — Rev 13:16-17

Even now, people are already lining up to be chipped.

At first blush, it sounds like the talk of a conspiracy theorist: a company [Three Square Market] implanting microchips under employees’ skin. But it’s not a conspiracy, and employees are lining up for the opportunity. — NY Times, July 25 2017

Using India as our example, this transition can be effected rather rapidly. Using Sweden as an example, much of the population will actually welcome it.

The only opposition to this will be common sense — always in short supply — and the Christian religion, which made a point of warning against such a tyranny. But, Christianity has been attacked for decades.

We are only one crisis away; and the public has been prepared to accept what is coming. They will welcome it.  And, thanks to companies like, Three Square Market above, the authorities will be able to boast that the technology has already been tested, and that it is safe and user-friendly.

Who but knows? Maybe the crisis of the cashless in Puerto Rico will be the impetus for official adoption of blockchain technologies. If not, another crisis will present itself. Then the authorities will offer a complete “solution.” And, the leader who imposes it will be heralded as the savior of mankind.

As India and Sweden show, we may be only a year or two away.

Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who writes on various topics. He also just started a website about small computers at http://thetinydesktop.com.



Source link

201063.png

The Free Lunch Slide into Socialism


New York City’s Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina recently announced the new “Free School Lunch for All” for the big Apple’s public schools. This means that the entire public-school population, some 1.1 million students, will now be provided with free lunches irrespective of family income.

Prior to this, approximately 75 percent of the city’s students were getting free lunches. Under this “Free Lunch for All” program, an additional 200,000 students will now be eligible. This will save the just included families about $300 a year as the cost of a school lunch is $1.75.

To the precious few in New York City who worry about the cost of public education, officials say not to fret. This added expenditure won’t adversely affect the school’s budget. It’s “cost free” to the city as the tab will be paid out of state and federal funds. That’s me and you. 

Incidentally, NYC is not breaking new ground here. Cities including Boston, Dallas, Chicago, and Detroit are already offer free lunches in all in their respective public school.

It is not surprising to learn that urban public schools can find novel ways to squander taxpayer money. That’s in their DNA. What you might find interesting is the rationale groups like Community Food Advocates https://www.communityfoodadvocatesnyc.org/ use for justifying these free school lunch programs. It’s about shame and equity.

As articulated by NYC’s left-wing mayor, Bill de Blasio, and Chancellor Farina, well-off youngsters need a free lunch in order to keep poor kids from becoming social outcasts. According to that view, kids receiving free lunches will feel shamed if they see others doing the unmentionable — that is, actually paying for their food. And as Ms. Farina put it in a recent press conference, “This is about equity. We’re erasing all the terrible history of the school food program — not just in New York City, but nationally — that has divided children by income.”

ou don’t have to sit and ponder what kind of message this is sending to the school kids. Among other things, it is surely feeding the expectation that things should be free to them, all provided from some abstract entity known as “The Government. As Naomi S. Riley of the Independent Women’s Forum correctly writes: 

‘Free School Lunch for All’ could in fact represent an entirely new approach to inequity. Maybe middle-class families should receive food stamps so that poor families don’t feel stigmatized. Perhaps we should send 1% to eat at soup kitchens, so people in desperate straits won’t feel bad about their situations. Or maybe we should offer public housing to the rich, so no one who is forced to use it will get self-conscious. The left says it wants a safety net, but if everyone falls into it, then the safety net is properly called socialism.

The urban public schools are the exclusive domain of Democrats. In viewing the situation, you can be forgiven if you think the primary purpose of these schools is something other than learning per se. Maybe it is to provide jobs for “community” members; maybe it is a costly form of babysitting and warehousing center for juveniles; maybe it is for general social services. Whatever it is, academics seems a low priority judging from the performance of big city schools.  

Here’s an example of what I mean. In 2012, Barack Obama’s Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, tried to get New York City to push more kids into the free school-breakfast program. That in-and-of itself was a worthy effort. The problem, however, was that to get the free breakfast, students would have to arrive at a set time before class. This was not happening. So what was Mr. Duncan’s solution? Attempt some discipline? Perish the thought. Rather, Secretary Duncan wanted the children fed in class. If you know any teachers, ask them what they think this would do to the ability of kids to learn. 

What is breathtaking about this cockamamie suggestion is that it came from the highest-ranking education official in the country, a man who is ostensibly charged with enhancing the academic performances in the public schools, especially the failed urban schools. (Noticed, I said ‘failed,’ not ‘failing.’) Fortunately, Michael Bloomberg was mayor at the time and not Comrade de Blasio, and he had enough sense to squelch that idea.

The “Free School Lunch for All” is a microcosm of the left’s agenda, and by left, I include liberals, progressives, the Democrat Party establishment, and now the anarchists. When it comes to politics, Democrats, when not wrecking cultural norms and our national cohesion, invariably work to make ever more people dependent on government. Although it does not work, the party’s habitual recipe for economic expansion is ever more government spending and creating government jobs of one sort or another. 

There’s another characteristic of what the leftist coalition is all about. It lowers the standard of everything it sets its sight on. Academic standards have been lowered from grammar school throughout college; college entrance exams are made easier; qualifications for free school lunches are eliminated; affirmative action has lowered the standards for admittance into colleges and hiring for civil service jobs; citizenship is cheapened due not just to a tolerance for illegal aliens, but also for protection of them in sanctuary cities; and voter registration laws are flouted and attacked as racist. The list could go on and on.

The leftist agenda will continue on unabated in areas when Democrats are in firm control, like the big cities and states like New York and wacky California. Fortunately, the prospects for the left to foster its suffocating agenda on the rest of the country has greatly diminished with the defeat of Hillary Clinton and the wisdom of the non-coastal states. 

New York City’s Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina recently announced the new “Free School Lunch for All” for the big Apple’s public schools. This means that the entire public-school population, some 1.1 million students, will now be provided with free lunches irrespective of family income.

Prior to this, approximately 75 percent of the city’s students were getting free lunches. Under this “Free Lunch for All” program, an additional 200,000 students will now be eligible. This will save the just included families about $300 a year as the cost of a school lunch is $1.75.

To the precious few in New York City who worry about the cost of public education, officials say not to fret. This added expenditure won’t adversely affect the school’s budget. It’s “cost free” to the city as the tab will be paid out of state and federal funds. That’s me and you. 

Incidentally, NYC is not breaking new ground here. Cities including Boston, Dallas, Chicago, and Detroit are already offer free lunches in all in their respective public school.

It is not surprising to learn that urban public schools can find novel ways to squander taxpayer money. That’s in their DNA. What you might find interesting is the rationale groups like Community Food Advocates https://www.communityfoodadvocatesnyc.org/ use for justifying these free school lunch programs. It’s about shame and equity.

As articulated by NYC’s left-wing mayor, Bill de Blasio, and Chancellor Farina, well-off youngsters need a free lunch in order to keep poor kids from becoming social outcasts. According to that view, kids receiving free lunches will feel shamed if they see others doing the unmentionable — that is, actually paying for their food. And as Ms. Farina put it in a recent press conference, “This is about equity. We’re erasing all the terrible history of the school food program — not just in New York City, but nationally — that has divided children by income.”

ou don’t have to sit and ponder what kind of message this is sending to the school kids. Among other things, it is surely feeding the expectation that things should be free to them, all provided from some abstract entity known as “The Government. As Naomi S. Riley of the Independent Women’s Forum correctly writes: 

‘Free School Lunch for All’ could in fact represent an entirely new approach to inequity. Maybe middle-class families should receive food stamps so that poor families don’t feel stigmatized. Perhaps we should send 1% to eat at soup kitchens, so people in desperate straits won’t feel bad about their situations. Or maybe we should offer public housing to the rich, so no one who is forced to use it will get self-conscious. The left says it wants a safety net, but if everyone falls into it, then the safety net is properly called socialism.

The urban public schools are the exclusive domain of Democrats. In viewing the situation, you can be forgiven if you think the primary purpose of these schools is something other than learning per se. Maybe it is to provide jobs for “community” members; maybe it is a costly form of babysitting and warehousing center for juveniles; maybe it is for general social services. Whatever it is, academics seems a low priority judging from the performance of big city schools.  

Here’s an example of what I mean. In 2012, Barack Obama’s Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, tried to get New York City to push more kids into the free school-breakfast program. That in-and-of itself was a worthy effort. The problem, however, was that to get the free breakfast, students would have to arrive at a set time before class. This was not happening. So what was Mr. Duncan’s solution? Attempt some discipline? Perish the thought. Rather, Secretary Duncan wanted the children fed in class. If you know any teachers, ask them what they think this would do to the ability of kids to learn. 

What is breathtaking about this cockamamie suggestion is that it came from the highest-ranking education official in the country, a man who is ostensibly charged with enhancing the academic performances in the public schools, especially the failed urban schools. (Noticed, I said ‘failed,’ not ‘failing.’) Fortunately, Michael Bloomberg was mayor at the time and not Comrade de Blasio, and he had enough sense to squelch that idea.

The “Free School Lunch for All” is a microcosm of the left’s agenda, and by left, I include liberals, progressives, the Democrat Party establishment, and now the anarchists. When it comes to politics, Democrats, when not wrecking cultural norms and our national cohesion, invariably work to make ever more people dependent on government. Although it does not work, the party’s habitual recipe for economic expansion is ever more government spending and creating government jobs of one sort or another. 

There’s another characteristic of what the leftist coalition is all about. It lowers the standard of everything it sets its sight on. Academic standards have been lowered from grammar school throughout college; college entrance exams are made easier; qualifications for free school lunches are eliminated; affirmative action has lowered the standards for admittance into colleges and hiring for civil service jobs; citizenship is cheapened due not just to a tolerance for illegal aliens, but also for protection of them in sanctuary cities; and voter registration laws are flouted and attacked as racist. The list could go on and on.

The leftist agenda will continue on unabated in areas when Democrats are in firm control, like the big cities and states like New York and wacky California. Fortunately, the prospects for the left to foster its suffocating agenda on the rest of the country has greatly diminished with the defeat of Hillary Clinton and the wisdom of the non-coastal states. 



Source link