Day: December 9, 2017

British Fantasy Novelists for the European Union


In their attempts to reverse the democratic decision that is Brexit, the imaginations of many Remainers have become quite feverish. Yes, Remainers have resorted to fiction/fantasy about “Brexit lies”, the false consciousness of Brexiteers, and all the monumentally disastrous things which will happen once we leave the European Union.

Basically, some of the claims of Remainers are so outlandish that it’s worth discussing some of the reasons why that may be the case.

Remainers are overwhelmingly left-wing or Lib-Dem. They’re also mainly based in London, the Home Counties and British universities. (Students and professors are generously funded by the EU.) This isn’t the same as saying that “the North voted for Brexit” (as it’s been put) because, according to some accounts, slightly more southerners voted this way. However, that doesn’t stop it from being the case that Remainers are mainly from London and the Home Counties; as well as being disproportionately made up of recent immigrants (again, who’re mainly based in London).

On the whole, these Remainers don’t see the dark sides of the EU. And even when they do, they’re quite happy with what they see.

This means that it’s not surprising that most writers and artists are Remainers too.

Particularly, it’s clear that it’s those infamous Brexit lies which have strongly inspired various novelists and writers. In other words, many of them decided to advance the Remain cause through their fiction or fantasy.

So let’s see what various authors and novelists have had to say on the subject.

Novelists for the EU

An early “post-Brexit” novel was Michael Paraskos’s Rabbitman; which was published in March 2017. This book ties together the election of “a right-wing populist” American president with Brexit. The new American president also happens to be a rabbit (which is, I suppose, hilarious).  Both his victory and Brexit were the results of “Faustian pacts” with the Devil.

This book also chimes in with Remainer end-times’ prophesy because shortly after after the UK leaves the EU, society collapses and — wait for it! — the British people then become dependent on EU food aid! (Really? Germany, for example, depends on us: in 2016 it sold about £26 billion more to us than we sold to it.) I’m surprised that Michael Paraskos didn’t also paint a picture of the UK becoming a Nazi state led by a white-supremacist serial killer who was formerly a member of Brits for Trump. However, the EU food aid is almost as good a touch.

In the introduction I mentioned Brexit lies.

This takes us neatly on to Amanda Craig’s novel, The Lie of the Land; published in June 2017. (Yes, note the title of this book.) In The Lie of the Land we find ourselves in 2026. At this future date, a posh couple from Jeremy Corbyn’s Islington is forced to move (because of “austerity”) from London to Devon (which, the Guardian tells us, is full of “casual racists”). The author sees Devon (which is “poorer than Romania”) as a pro-Brexit heartland. Not surprisingly, Amanda Craig gives a more or less Marxist/Corbynite account of Brexit in which it was the case that “the disparities in society that led to June’s result”. (I don’t know, perhaps, being superior and so utterly nonprovincial, this fictional Islington couple could no longer afford three foreign holidays a year and the fees for their kids’ private school — such austerity!)

Now what about Douglas Board’s Time of Lies; published, again, in June 2017?

This is perhaps the most over-the-top of the lot. In 2020, Douglas Board has it that a retired football hooligan wins the election! (He wins it in a “populist power grab”.) Not surprisingly, there then follows an almighty clash with the “pro-European Union metropolitan political elite.” I suppose that all the peaceful and extremely tolerant Remainers were put in concentration camps too; in which they were forced to read Mein Kampf and the Daily Mail.

One piece of fiction which occurred after the Brexit result was that “hate crimes” immediately increased. On close inspection, this was shown to be, at worst, false; or, at best, extremely speculative. That didn’t stop politicians, anti-racists and Remainers going on about this ostensible “spike” in hate crimes. (See this account of these “hate crimes.”)

The novelist Mark Billingham might have picked up on all this Brexit hate when he wrote his book Love Like Blood (published, yet again, in June 2017).

Love Like Blood charts Brexit and the subsequent rise in “xenophobic hate crime”. (The Guardian talks about “Little Englanders” in relation to this book.) What I never understood about this supposed spike in hate crimes is that if Brexit was seen as a positive result when it came to the amount of immigrants coming into the UK from oversees, then why would that cause an increase in racist crimes? Surely if the result had been negative (i.e., in favour of remaining in the EU), then that would have caused rage and then an increase in racist crimes. If British racists found out that there would be fewer immigrants coming into the UK in the future, then why the increase in hate crimes?

However, forget the crimes of those racist Brits (basically, all non-left-wing whites): what about conspiracies about a government quango?

In David Boyle’s The Remains of the Way (yes, published in June 2017), Brexit was brought about not by the votes of 51.89% of British voters; but by an old government quango which, miraculously, still worked within Whitehall. It gets worse. This quango was set up by Thomas Cromwell under King Henry VIII. What did this quango want? It wanted a “Protestant Brexit.” In addition, after Brexit the UK suffers famines and general destitution. However, I’m not sure if the EU then supplied the UK with “food aid”, as with Michael Paraskos’s Rabbitman.

On a very similar theme, we also have Stanley Johnson’s Kompromat.

According to this work of fiction (replicated by some Remainers), Brexit was the responsibility of “Russian influence” on the referendum. (But what about that Protestant quango?). However, thank God that Stanley Johnson believes that his book is “just meant to be fun!”

In their attempts to reverse the democratic decision that is Brexit, the imaginations of many Remainers have become quite feverish. Yes, Remainers have resorted to fiction/fantasy about “Brexit lies”, the false consciousness of Brexiteers, and all the monumentally disastrous things which will happen once we leave the European Union.

Basically, some of the claims of Remainers are so outlandish that it’s worth discussing some of the reasons why that may be the case.

Remainers are overwhelmingly left-wing or Lib-Dem. They’re also mainly based in London, the Home Counties and British universities. (Students and professors are generously funded by the EU.) This isn’t the same as saying that “the North voted for Brexit” (as it’s been put) because, according to some accounts, slightly more southerners voted this way. However, that doesn’t stop it from being the case that Remainers are mainly from London and the Home Counties; as well as being disproportionately made up of recent immigrants (again, who’re mainly based in London).

On the whole, these Remainers don’t see the dark sides of the EU. And even when they do, they’re quite happy with what they see.

This means that it’s not surprising that most writers and artists are Remainers too.

Particularly, it’s clear that it’s those infamous Brexit lies which have strongly inspired various novelists and writers. In other words, many of them decided to advance the Remain cause through their fiction or fantasy.

So let’s see what various authors and novelists have had to say on the subject.

Novelists for the EU

An early “post-Brexit” novel was Michael Paraskos’s Rabbitman; which was published in March 2017. This book ties together the election of “a right-wing populist” American president with Brexit. The new American president also happens to be a rabbit (which is, I suppose, hilarious).  Both his victory and Brexit were the results of “Faustian pacts” with the Devil.

This book also chimes in with Remainer end-times’ prophesy because shortly after after the UK leaves the EU, society collapses and — wait for it! — the British people then become dependent on EU food aid! (Really? Germany, for example, depends on us: in 2016 it sold about £26 billion more to us than we sold to it.) I’m surprised that Michael Paraskos didn’t also paint a picture of the UK becoming a Nazi state led by a white-supremacist serial killer who was formerly a member of Brits for Trump. However, the EU food aid is almost as good a touch.

In the introduction I mentioned Brexit lies.

This takes us neatly on to Amanda Craig’s novel, The Lie of the Land; published in June 2017. (Yes, note the title of this book.) In The Lie of the Land we find ourselves in 2026. At this future date, a posh couple from Jeremy Corbyn’s Islington is forced to move (because of “austerity”) from London to Devon (which, the Guardian tells us, is full of “casual racists”). The author sees Devon (which is “poorer than Romania”) as a pro-Brexit heartland. Not surprisingly, Amanda Craig gives a more or less Marxist/Corbynite account of Brexit in which it was the case that “the disparities in society that led to June’s result”. (I don’t know, perhaps, being superior and so utterly nonprovincial, this fictional Islington couple could no longer afford three foreign holidays a year and the fees for their kids’ private school — such austerity!)

Now what about Douglas Board’s Time of Lies; published, again, in June 2017?

This is perhaps the most over-the-top of the lot. In 2020, Douglas Board has it that a retired football hooligan wins the election! (He wins it in a “populist power grab”.) Not surprisingly, there then follows an almighty clash with the “pro-European Union metropolitan political elite.” I suppose that all the peaceful and extremely tolerant Remainers were put in concentration camps too; in which they were forced to read Mein Kampf and the Daily Mail.

One piece of fiction which occurred after the Brexit result was that “hate crimes” immediately increased. On close inspection, this was shown to be, at worst, false; or, at best, extremely speculative. That didn’t stop politicians, anti-racists and Remainers going on about this ostensible “spike” in hate crimes. (See this account of these “hate crimes.”)

The novelist Mark Billingham might have picked up on all this Brexit hate when he wrote his book Love Like Blood (published, yet again, in June 2017).

Love Like Blood charts Brexit and the subsequent rise in “xenophobic hate crime”. (The Guardian talks about “Little Englanders” in relation to this book.) What I never understood about this supposed spike in hate crimes is that if Brexit was seen as a positive result when it came to the amount of immigrants coming into the UK from oversees, then why would that cause an increase in racist crimes? Surely if the result had been negative (i.e., in favour of remaining in the EU), then that would have caused rage and then an increase in racist crimes. If British racists found out that there would be fewer immigrants coming into the UK in the future, then why the increase in hate crimes?

However, forget the crimes of those racist Brits (basically, all non-left-wing whites): what about conspiracies about a government quango?

In David Boyle’s The Remains of the Way (yes, published in June 2017), Brexit was brought about not by the votes of 51.89% of British voters; but by an old government quango which, miraculously, still worked within Whitehall. It gets worse. This quango was set up by Thomas Cromwell under King Henry VIII. What did this quango want? It wanted a “Protestant Brexit.” In addition, after Brexit the UK suffers famines and general destitution. However, I’m not sure if the EU then supplied the UK with “food aid”, as with Michael Paraskos’s Rabbitman.

On a very similar theme, we also have Stanley Johnson’s Kompromat.

According to this work of fiction (replicated by some Remainers), Brexit was the responsibility of “Russian influence” on the referendum. (But what about that Protestant quango?). However, thank God that Stanley Johnson believes that his book is “just meant to be fun!”



Source link

SCOTUS and Wedding Cakes: Don't Celebrate Yet


A few days’ passing and thorough reading of the oral argument transcript for Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission leave me less optimistic than commentators such as Amy Howe at Scotusblog and David French at National Review.  While it was heartening that Justice Kennedy called out one of the Colorado civil rights commissioners for a statement apparently expressing animus toward religion, with the chief justice going so far as to suggest that this necessarily tainted the court’s earlier ruling against Jack Phillips, and Justice Alito cynically pointing out that none of the other commissioners disavowed the commissioner’s unseemly statement then or has since, still, the line-drawing the conservative justices seemed to be searching for remained fuzzy.

Would a ruling in favor of Phillips gut civil rights protections, as opponents relentlessly and hyperbolically argue?  It wouldn’t.  The conservative justices seemed to know that it wouldn’t.  Yet no one could really say how the ruling could be fashioned to prevent it. 

If the court is going to hang Phillips’s protection on free speech, that potentially sweeps with a broad brush.  It lays Phillips’s position open to the repeat attack that bigots can use religion as a pretext to discriminate against protected groups.  It also opens the door to run-of-the-mill craftspeople who wish to avoid compliance with anti-discrimination laws by hiding behind claims of communicative conduct.  But as the Justice Department’s General Francisco pointed out, the solution is not to shun new adaptations in the law; it is to figure out how to make “the cut” that all First Amendment cases must initially make.

To that end, one clear difference here from all the hypotheticals with which Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor besieged Kristen Waggoner, from the Alliance Defense Fund, is this: it’s the combination of deeply held religious beliefs and the specific performance in the creation of unwanted messaging that distinguishes Phillips’s cause.  It is their tandem significance – religion and speech as a conduit for the specifically tailored, creative expression of sincere convictions – that evokes our outrage at the state’s coercion.  That is why the indignation comes from not just religious supporters, but also those vitally attuned to language, visual and literal, in their commercial endeavors.  Such people are most often creatives.

Unfortunately, chaotic attempts at hard line-drawing between the liberal justices and Ms. Waggoner and General Francisco failed to distill these unique characteristics of the case into the abstract rule that Justice Gorsuch was fairly begging for.  The attempts culminated with a question by Justice Alito about architecture, to which Ms. Waggoner, under pressure to answer, said no, buildings would not qualify as implied speech under their theory.  Justice Alito expressed amazement that a cake would be covered, but the “Laurentian Steps” (by Michelangelo) would not be. 

This torturous misdirection compounded the initial wrong turn.  Checklists shouldn’t be the point.  Even copyright law recognizes distinctions between standard functional elements of a building, which cannot be copyrighted, and distinctively individualistic features, which can be.  It isn’t a stretch to say that if the latter are suffused with deeply held values – as, say, in the work of an architect like Tadao Ando – it doesn’t matter what category the work falls into.  Its special commission should be left to the discretion of the creator or speaker.  Expressive conduct of a high order can be a kind of secular religiosity.  

Coming up, then, with an organizing principle should have been both easier and more subtle than Waggoner and Francisco scrambled to suggest.  If intellectual property law (whose foil is the First Amendment) can draw distinctions between mundane originality and the type of work that carries a personal message, work that is even imprinted with the “beingness” of the message’s author, then why not here?  Indeed, it is hard to understand why, beyond an abbreviated mention of Mastrovincenzo v. the City of New York, Waggoner and Francisco didn’t advert more to the Second Circuit’s sophisticated discussion of commercial wares with a “dominant expressive purpose” in the context of their immunity from government regulation in this New York street vendor case.  Instead, the discussion degenerated into jokes about whether food, because of its impermanence, could be “art.”  What about Navajo sand paintings?

Part of this failure to import a more graduated First Amendment approach might have stemmed from a giant stumbling block the respondents put in the way of traditional analysis.  It was uncovered by Waggoner toward the end of her speaking time.  She pointed out that however much the Court might struggle to demarcate the line between conduct and expressive conduct, or art and speech, or communicative and utilitarian objects, when all is said and done – and we know this to be true from their rhetoric – the other side doesn’t care a fig about any of it:

What’s deeply concerning is that [protected expression] is not the theory that Respondents are submitting to this Court today.  They believe that they can compel speech, of filmmakers, oil painters, and graphic designers in all kinds of context.

Forget the niceties.  Forget the unavoidable First Amendment inquiries into what type of speech is at issue.  Entrust the nuances of heartfelt belief to a state agency, which will control everybody, because, of course, everybody (read: religious conservatives) at his core wants solely to act on his basest instincts to discriminate against and harm the dignitary interests of gays.  Sound familiar?

For their part, Colorado solicitor-general Frederick Yaeger, on behalf of the Commission, and ACLU lawyer David Cole for Craig and Mullins maneuvered around the whole sticky business.  They did this by asserting that any message related to a protected group is discriminatory.  It wasn’t a good answer, but it was an answer: the only right the business owner has is to refuse to lend his talents to a message that, in Cole’s words, “is apart from the identity of the customer.” 

Notwithstanding its streamlining of the problem, this proposal simply avoids what the First Amendment is designed to protect: unpopular speech.  If the baker would write, “God bless the union of Ruth and Marty” on a cake, he could be compelled to write, “God bless the union of Dave and Craig.”  The only difference, according to Craig and Mullins, is the “identity” of the customer.  Expression in this context can mean only one thing:  discriminatory animus.  Thus do the respondents render moot, on the specious basis that “identity” determines meaning, Phillips’s compelled speech objection. 

But talk about disturbing: the respondents actually go farther.  They not only advocate for compelling speech, but are willing to emasculate the business owner’s power of speech altogether.  The business owner is not just being told what he must say.  He is being told by institutional authority what he in fact did say:

[W]e don’t ask is it expressive from the perspective of the baker or is expressive from the perspective of the – of a customer.  We ask what’s the state’s interest in regulating?  What is the state doing? 

And then, in response to a question by Justice Alito about whether such “regulation” applies to the writing on the cake:

It doesn’t matter whether it’s speech or whether it’s not speech.

As for Hurley v. Irish-American Gay Group of Boston, the Supreme Court case proscribing compelled speech, Mr. Cole is ready there, too, with a solution that would shrink the Hurley ruling’s reach to naught:

[W]here the state is regulating only expression, no conduct at all, just a banner that’s in the parade, the Court takes a different view, but where expressive conduct is involved … the analysis this Court uses with respect – to expressive conduct is is the state regulating the conduct for some reason other than what it expresses or is it regulating what it expresses?

Got that?  If you can prove that you are speaking in a zero-conduct vacuum, you get to choose your words.  (Better not scratch your nose!)

Conventional wisdom says Phillips’s free speech claim is a workaround for a free exercise of religion claim, a way to end-run adverse judicial precedent.  The respondents’ countermoves show just how nearsighted that strategy is.  Uninhibited speech and religious exercise are profoundly intertwined.  The predicted victory for Phillips on narrow fact-based grounds stemming from the Commission’s animus would not only fall short of being a victory for religious liberty, as commentators have noted.  It would be a setback for free speech.

A few days’ passing and thorough reading of the oral argument transcript for Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission leave me less optimistic than commentators such as Amy Howe at Scotusblog and David French at National Review.  While it was heartening that Justice Kennedy called out one of the Colorado civil rights commissioners for a statement apparently expressing animus toward religion, with the chief justice going so far as to suggest that this necessarily tainted the court’s earlier ruling against Jack Phillips, and Justice Alito cynically pointing out that none of the other commissioners disavowed the commissioner’s unseemly statement then or has since, still, the line-drawing the conservative justices seemed to be searching for remained fuzzy.

Would a ruling in favor of Phillips gut civil rights protections, as opponents relentlessly and hyperbolically argue?  It wouldn’t.  The conservative justices seemed to know that it wouldn’t.  Yet no one could really say how the ruling could be fashioned to prevent it. 

If the court is going to hang Phillips’s protection on free speech, that potentially sweeps with a broad brush.  It lays Phillips’s position open to the repeat attack that bigots can use religion as a pretext to discriminate against protected groups.  It also opens the door to run-of-the-mill craftspeople who wish to avoid compliance with anti-discrimination laws by hiding behind claims of communicative conduct.  But as the Justice Department’s General Francisco pointed out, the solution is not to shun new adaptations in the law; it is to figure out how to make “the cut” that all First Amendment cases must initially make.

To that end, one clear difference here from all the hypotheticals with which Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor besieged Kristen Waggoner, from the Alliance Defense Fund, is this: it’s the combination of deeply held religious beliefs and the specific performance in the creation of unwanted messaging that distinguishes Phillips’s cause.  It is their tandem significance – religion and speech as a conduit for the specifically tailored, creative expression of sincere convictions – that evokes our outrage at the state’s coercion.  That is why the indignation comes from not just religious supporters, but also those vitally attuned to language, visual and literal, in their commercial endeavors.  Such people are most often creatives.

Unfortunately, chaotic attempts at hard line-drawing between the liberal justices and Ms. Waggoner and General Francisco failed to distill these unique characteristics of the case into the abstract rule that Justice Gorsuch was fairly begging for.  The attempts culminated with a question by Justice Alito about architecture, to which Ms. Waggoner, under pressure to answer, said no, buildings would not qualify as implied speech under their theory.  Justice Alito expressed amazement that a cake would be covered, but the “Laurentian Steps” (by Michelangelo) would not be. 

This torturous misdirection compounded the initial wrong turn.  Checklists shouldn’t be the point.  Even copyright law recognizes distinctions between standard functional elements of a building, which cannot be copyrighted, and distinctively individualistic features, which can be.  It isn’t a stretch to say that if the latter are suffused with deeply held values – as, say, in the work of an architect like Tadao Ando – it doesn’t matter what category the work falls into.  Its special commission should be left to the discretion of the creator or speaker.  Expressive conduct of a high order can be a kind of secular religiosity.  

Coming up, then, with an organizing principle should have been both easier and more subtle than Waggoner and Francisco scrambled to suggest.  If intellectual property law (whose foil is the First Amendment) can draw distinctions between mundane originality and the type of work that carries a personal message, work that is even imprinted with the “beingness” of the message’s author, then why not here?  Indeed, it is hard to understand why, beyond an abbreviated mention of Mastrovincenzo v. the City of New York, Waggoner and Francisco didn’t advert more to the Second Circuit’s sophisticated discussion of commercial wares with a “dominant expressive purpose” in the context of their immunity from government regulation in this New York street vendor case.  Instead, the discussion degenerated into jokes about whether food, because of its impermanence, could be “art.”  What about Navajo sand paintings?

Part of this failure to import a more graduated First Amendment approach might have stemmed from a giant stumbling block the respondents put in the way of traditional analysis.  It was uncovered by Waggoner toward the end of her speaking time.  She pointed out that however much the Court might struggle to demarcate the line between conduct and expressive conduct, or art and speech, or communicative and utilitarian objects, when all is said and done – and we know this to be true from their rhetoric – the other side doesn’t care a fig about any of it:

What’s deeply concerning is that [protected expression] is not the theory that Respondents are submitting to this Court today.  They believe that they can compel speech, of filmmakers, oil painters, and graphic designers in all kinds of context.

Forget the niceties.  Forget the unavoidable First Amendment inquiries into what type of speech is at issue.  Entrust the nuances of heartfelt belief to a state agency, which will control everybody, because, of course, everybody (read: religious conservatives) at his core wants solely to act on his basest instincts to discriminate against and harm the dignitary interests of gays.  Sound familiar?

For their part, Colorado solicitor-general Frederick Yaeger, on behalf of the Commission, and ACLU lawyer David Cole for Craig and Mullins maneuvered around the whole sticky business.  They did this by asserting that any message related to a protected group is discriminatory.  It wasn’t a good answer, but it was an answer: the only right the business owner has is to refuse to lend his talents to a message that, in Cole’s words, “is apart from the identity of the customer.” 

Notwithstanding its streamlining of the problem, this proposal simply avoids what the First Amendment is designed to protect: unpopular speech.  If the baker would write, “God bless the union of Ruth and Marty” on a cake, he could be compelled to write, “God bless the union of Dave and Craig.”  The only difference, according to Craig and Mullins, is the “identity” of the customer.  Expression in this context can mean only one thing:  discriminatory animus.  Thus do the respondents render moot, on the specious basis that “identity” determines meaning, Phillips’s compelled speech objection. 

But talk about disturbing: the respondents actually go farther.  They not only advocate for compelling speech, but are willing to emasculate the business owner’s power of speech altogether.  The business owner is not just being told what he must say.  He is being told by institutional authority what he in fact did say:

[W]e don’t ask is it expressive from the perspective of the baker or is expressive from the perspective of the – of a customer.  We ask what’s the state’s interest in regulating?  What is the state doing? 

And then, in response to a question by Justice Alito about whether such “regulation” applies to the writing on the cake:

It doesn’t matter whether it’s speech or whether it’s not speech.

As for Hurley v. Irish-American Gay Group of Boston, the Supreme Court case proscribing compelled speech, Mr. Cole is ready there, too, with a solution that would shrink the Hurley ruling’s reach to naught:

[W]here the state is regulating only expression, no conduct at all, just a banner that’s in the parade, the Court takes a different view, but where expressive conduct is involved … the analysis this Court uses with respect – to expressive conduct is is the state regulating the conduct for some reason other than what it expresses or is it regulating what it expresses?

Got that?  If you can prove that you are speaking in a zero-conduct vacuum, you get to choose your words.  (Better not scratch your nose!)

Conventional wisdom says Phillips’s free speech claim is a workaround for a free exercise of religion claim, a way to end-run adverse judicial precedent.  The respondents’ countermoves show just how nearsighted that strategy is.  Uninhibited speech and religious exercise are profoundly intertwined.  The predicted victory for Phillips on narrow fact-based grounds stemming from the Commission’s animus would not only fall short of being a victory for religious liberty, as commentators have noted.  It would be a setback for free speech.



Source link

K-12: Does Anyone Care That Kids Cry?


In the late winter of 1964, Kitty Genovese was murdered in a residential part of Queens, New York.  Newspapers claimed that 38 witnesses saw or heard the attack but wouldn’t help.  Had people become so indifferent, so cold?  This was the big question debated across the country and around the world.  Experts endlessly discussed the “bystander effect” and the “Genovese syndrome.”

Later research suggested that a much smaller number were witnesses.  It was the middle of the night, there was much confusion, and many people did hear shouts but couldn’t confirm what was happening.  Maybe it was a domestic dispute.

Still, the events were undeniably horrific.  The killer stalked Kitty, stabbed her in the back, and left her to die because someone yelled at him.  The victim shouted, “Oh, my God – he stabbed me!  Help me!”  The attacker returned ten minutes later, systematically searched the places where she might hide, found her, stabbed her some more, raped her, and stole $49.  She died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

Three years ago, a second-grader couldn’t do her math homework.  The mother couldn’t help her; it was Common Core homework, which baffles most adults.  The girl struggled and struggled.  Her mother, a professional photographer preparing her camera for the next day’s work, took the picture seen around the country.


Photo credit: Kelly Poynter.

Here is the mother’s account:

After checking her work, I had found two math problems were incorrect. I tried to help her understand where she went wrong  through her process but I don’t understand it myself. I was not much help.


I told her to forget about it and we’d try again tomorrow but she became very upset that she could not get the answer and kept trying and trying to fix it. She is hard on herself as she very much wants to excel in school and not be pulled for extra help all the time. I was talking to her and clicking my camera as I changed settings… It’s something that is very common in our household… And that is when I caught this image.


My daughter is incredibly strong. My daughter is a four-year cancer survivor. She is a fighter with a resilient spirit. It crushes me to see her cry; to see her struggle.

Certainly a trivial incident compared to the murder of Kitty Genovese.  On the other hand, instead of 38 witnesses, there were probably a million, as the photograph went viral for months.  All who saw the photographs felt their hearts twisted – all, apparently, except the people who control our educational system.  They would seem to be like the passive witnesses of Kitty’s ordeal.  All that those 1964 witnesses had to do, to save Kitty Genovese, was to become more involved, to make a little more noise.  Same with all the people who witnessed the second-grader’s tragic expression.  Her suffering is clearly genuine.  There have been many similar Common Core stories so people knew it could happen.  But here was the ultimate example.  No kid can fake that pathos.  Why do we tolerate this?  Why don’t we call for help?

And so we have to confront the “bystander effect” in modern education.  How do we explain the “Common Core syndrome”?  All those bureaucrats in the Department of Education, all those professors at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, all those people in our media and foundations – they seem to have hearts made of stone.  Likewise all the politicians who saw this evidence, all the community leaders, all the pundits on CNN.  The decline and fall of our public schools is happening before our eyes.  When you look at this little girl’s expression, you are witnessing that decline.  Why don’t people demand that the Education Establishment stop encouraging this abuse?

According to the Independent Journal Review, “When asked to address these concerns, National Education Association secretary Arne Duncan dismissed the objections as coming from ‘white suburban moms.’ What does race have to do with education? We would hope nothing. Jeb Bush, who was also an advocate of Common Core, characterized opposition to the specific set of vocational standards as ‘purely political.'”

Clearly, these people are as tone-deaf as they are incompetent.  On the good side, Duncan didn’t last much longer.  Jeb’s campaign for president was doomed from the start.

But guess who didn’t flinch.  That would be the professors of education who devise this malarkey.  The order apparently went out: Don’t let up.  Keep the pressure on these yokels we have to deal with. We know from plenty of experience that nobody will complain.

There’s an education war going on.  It’s directed at the parents, keeping them off balance and powerless.  It’s directed at the children, keeping them academically enfeebled.

Do they have to be rendered innumerate and illiterate on the streets near your house?  Two thirds of fourth-graders and eighth-graders are below proficient in math.  We know that the country has more than 40 million functional illiterates.  Isn’t that enough?  It’s happening all around you, every day.  It will go on happening until Americans make a lot more noise.

Common Core’s central gimmick is to make children struggle with complex problems before they are ready.  Force them to run before they can crawl – that’s the ticket.  Some smart kids will survive.  The not so smart kids will not learn arithmetic.  They will learn to hate it. 

That’s worth screaming about.

Bruce Deitrick Price’s new book is Saving K-12 – What happened to our public schools? How do we fix them?  He deconstructs educational theories and methods on Improve-Education.org.

In the late winter of 1964, Kitty Genovese was murdered in a residential part of Queens, New York.  Newspapers claimed that 38 witnesses saw or heard the attack but wouldn’t help.  Had people become so indifferent, so cold?  This was the big question debated across the country and around the world.  Experts endlessly discussed the “bystander effect” and the “Genovese syndrome.”

Later research suggested that a much smaller number were witnesses.  It was the middle of the night, there was much confusion, and many people did hear shouts but couldn’t confirm what was happening.  Maybe it was a domestic dispute.

Still, the events were undeniably horrific.  The killer stalked Kitty, stabbed her in the back, and left her to die because someone yelled at him.  The victim shouted, “Oh, my God – he stabbed me!  Help me!”  The attacker returned ten minutes later, systematically searched the places where she might hide, found her, stabbed her some more, raped her, and stole $49.  She died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

Three years ago, a second-grader couldn’t do her math homework.  The mother couldn’t help her; it was Common Core homework, which baffles most adults.  The girl struggled and struggled.  Her mother, a professional photographer preparing her camera for the next day’s work, took the picture seen around the country.


Photo credit: Kelly Poynter.

Here is the mother’s account:

After checking her work, I had found two math problems were incorrect. I tried to help her understand where she went wrong  through her process but I don’t understand it myself. I was not much help.


I told her to forget about it and we’d try again tomorrow but she became very upset that she could not get the answer and kept trying and trying to fix it. She is hard on herself as she very much wants to excel in school and not be pulled for extra help all the time. I was talking to her and clicking my camera as I changed settings… It’s something that is very common in our household… And that is when I caught this image.


My daughter is incredibly strong. My daughter is a four-year cancer survivor. She is a fighter with a resilient spirit. It crushes me to see her cry; to see her struggle.

Certainly a trivial incident compared to the murder of Kitty Genovese.  On the other hand, instead of 38 witnesses, there were probably a million, as the photograph went viral for months.  All who saw the photographs felt their hearts twisted – all, apparently, except the people who control our educational system.  They would seem to be like the passive witnesses of Kitty’s ordeal.  All that those 1964 witnesses had to do, to save Kitty Genovese, was to become more involved, to make a little more noise.  Same with all the people who witnessed the second-grader’s tragic expression.  Her suffering is clearly genuine.  There have been many similar Common Core stories so people knew it could happen.  But here was the ultimate example.  No kid can fake that pathos.  Why do we tolerate this?  Why don’t we call for help?

And so we have to confront the “bystander effect” in modern education.  How do we explain the “Common Core syndrome”?  All those bureaucrats in the Department of Education, all those professors at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, all those people in our media and foundations – they seem to have hearts made of stone.  Likewise all the politicians who saw this evidence, all the community leaders, all the pundits on CNN.  The decline and fall of our public schools is happening before our eyes.  When you look at this little girl’s expression, you are witnessing that decline.  Why don’t people demand that the Education Establishment stop encouraging this abuse?

According to the Independent Journal Review, “When asked to address these concerns, National Education Association secretary Arne Duncan dismissed the objections as coming from ‘white suburban moms.’ What does race have to do with education? We would hope nothing. Jeb Bush, who was also an advocate of Common Core, characterized opposition to the specific set of vocational standards as ‘purely political.'”

Clearly, these people are as tone-deaf as they are incompetent.  On the good side, Duncan didn’t last much longer.  Jeb’s campaign for president was doomed from the start.

But guess who didn’t flinch.  That would be the professors of education who devise this malarkey.  The order apparently went out: Don’t let up.  Keep the pressure on these yokels we have to deal with. We know from plenty of experience that nobody will complain.

There’s an education war going on.  It’s directed at the parents, keeping them off balance and powerless.  It’s directed at the children, keeping them academically enfeebled.

Do they have to be rendered innumerate and illiterate on the streets near your house?  Two thirds of fourth-graders and eighth-graders are below proficient in math.  We know that the country has more than 40 million functional illiterates.  Isn’t that enough?  It’s happening all around you, every day.  It will go on happening until Americans make a lot more noise.

Common Core’s central gimmick is to make children struggle with complex problems before they are ready.  Force them to run before they can crawl – that’s the ticket.  Some smart kids will survive.  The not so smart kids will not learn arithmetic.  They will learn to hate it. 

That’s worth screaming about.

Bruce Deitrick Price’s new book is Saving K-12 – What happened to our public schools? How do we fix them?  He deconstructs educational theories and methods on Improve-Education.org.



Source link

Trump Terminates Palestinian Revisionism


“If you repeat a lie often enough people will believe it….”

President Trump has announced Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Is this news? Hardly. Jerusalem has been the official capital of the Israel since its rebirth in 1948. Never mind it has been the eternal capital of the Jewish people throughout all of history.

Yet with Trump’s announcement, most of the world has gone upside down, especially the Arab world. Why is there such an uproar about this announcement? Some think it may be complicated while others see it differently.

For me his announcement is more of a yawn. Why? The simple fact is Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. This is not an opinion, or up for debate. Is London the capital of Britain? Is Paris the capital of France? Clearly the answer is yes to both. So why would anyone have a problem with Jerusalem being called the capital of Israel?

It’s when you ask this question the issue becomes less of a yawn and more complicated.

One must unpack who is saying it and why?

Leading the charge of the naysayers is the Arab world. Virtually every nation, including Jordan and Egypt which have formal peace agreements with Israel have voiced objection to Trump’s announcement.  Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and others have criticized Trump. The UN is scheduling an emergency meeting of the Security Council .To no one’s surprise the Muslim terrorist groups have also decried it.

Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) has declared there will be “wars without end,” while PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said Trump’s move “disqualified the U.S. from any role in any peace process.” It should be noted in October, Erekat was the beneficiary of a lung transplant in the U.S., after being on the waiting list for merely two months. Over 1,300 others in need remain on the waiting list.

For those who see Trump’s move as damaging or killing the peace process, I say what “peace” process are you talking about? The two key players in the “peace” process are the prime minister of Israel and the leader of the Palestinians.  They are the ones who would participate in such a process.

It seems to me if there was an actual “peace” process there would be ongoing negotiations regarding the key issues that divide the parties involved. Yet Mahmoud Abbas has stated and restated he will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state. He’s also said the Jewish people have no connection to Jerusalem. Plus, he’s denied there has ever been a Jewish Temple on Temple Mount. How is Israel supposed to “negotiate” its very right to exist?

As if these statements aren’t enough proof that Abbas is devoid of reality, he actually wrote his college thesis on denying the Holocaust.  Sadly, much of the Arab Muslim world, and indeed many outside the Arab world are in alignment with Abbas’s views.

With such statements it’s clear Mr. Abbas is living in his own world of revisionism. The Bible, historical records  and countless archaeological digs prove his comments to be utterly false and without merit.

Further, as if there isn’t enough reason to confirm that Abbas has no interest in a genuine “peace” process, he is paying large salaries to Muslim terrorists that have been jailed for murdering innocent Israelis. He says he will never stop paying them, even if it costs him is position. Much of the money he pays terrorists with comes from U.S. taxpayers in the form of aid from the U.S. government.

Americans are so outraged that their tax dollars are being used to pay Muslim murderers, Congress is in the process of passing legislation which will strip the PA of U.S. aid.

So the question again begs, where is the “peace” process?

Seems there is more than one definition of this. According to the Palestinians and the Israel bashers, the “peace” process consists of Israel agreeing to give away every inch of land beyond the ’67 ceasefire lines. This would include the eastern portion of Jerusalem where the Holy Old City is located. Approximately 400,000 Jews living in Judea/Samaria would have to be relocated.

I recall in 2005 when roughly 8,000 Jews were forcibly removed from the Gaza Strip after a 38 year presence, civil war almost broke out in Israel. Keep in mind this was a unilateral decision made by Israel that land for peace would work. Given what’s happened in the Gaza Strip since then, it’s obvious the land for peace concept does not work.

So why would any clear thinking person believe giving more land away would bring peace? Especially, when Abbas refuses to accept the existence of the Jewish state of Israel no matter what the borders are?

In reality, there is no “peace” process. So Mr. Trump has done nothing to damage it by stating a simple fact that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Unless you happen to be one of those who think if you tell a lie often enough people will believe it.  Seems Abbas has been hedging his bets on this.

Of course we might still discover the moon is made of cheese……

Dan Calic is a writer, history student and speaker. More of his articles are on his Facebook page.

 

“If you repeat a lie often enough people will believe it….”

President Trump has announced Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Is this news? Hardly. Jerusalem has been the official capital of the Israel since its rebirth in 1948. Never mind it has been the eternal capital of the Jewish people throughout all of history.

Yet with Trump’s announcement, most of the world has gone upside down, especially the Arab world. Why is there such an uproar about this announcement? Some think it may be complicated while others see it differently.

For me his announcement is more of a yawn. Why? The simple fact is Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. This is not an opinion, or up for debate. Is London the capital of Britain? Is Paris the capital of France? Clearly the answer is yes to both. So why would anyone have a problem with Jerusalem being called the capital of Israel?

It’s when you ask this question the issue becomes less of a yawn and more complicated.

One must unpack who is saying it and why?

Leading the charge of the naysayers is the Arab world. Virtually every nation, including Jordan and Egypt which have formal peace agreements with Israel have voiced objection to Trump’s announcement.  Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and others have criticized Trump. The UN is scheduling an emergency meeting of the Security Council .To no one’s surprise the Muslim terrorist groups have also decried it.

Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) has declared there will be “wars without end,” while PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said Trump’s move “disqualified the U.S. from any role in any peace process.” It should be noted in October, Erekat was the beneficiary of a lung transplant in the U.S., after being on the waiting list for merely two months. Over 1,300 others in need remain on the waiting list.

For those who see Trump’s move as damaging or killing the peace process, I say what “peace” process are you talking about? The two key players in the “peace” process are the prime minister of Israel and the leader of the Palestinians.  They are the ones who would participate in such a process.

It seems to me if there was an actual “peace” process there would be ongoing negotiations regarding the key issues that divide the parties involved. Yet Mahmoud Abbas has stated and restated he will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state. He’s also said the Jewish people have no connection to Jerusalem. Plus, he’s denied there has ever been a Jewish Temple on Temple Mount. How is Israel supposed to “negotiate” its very right to exist?

As if these statements aren’t enough proof that Abbas is devoid of reality, he actually wrote his college thesis on denying the Holocaust.  Sadly, much of the Arab Muslim world, and indeed many outside the Arab world are in alignment with Abbas’s views.

With such statements it’s clear Mr. Abbas is living in his own world of revisionism. The Bible, historical records  and countless archaeological digs prove his comments to be utterly false and without merit.

Further, as if there isn’t enough reason to confirm that Abbas has no interest in a genuine “peace” process, he is paying large salaries to Muslim terrorists that have been jailed for murdering innocent Israelis. He says he will never stop paying them, even if it costs him is position. Much of the money he pays terrorists with comes from U.S. taxpayers in the form of aid from the U.S. government.

Americans are so outraged that their tax dollars are being used to pay Muslim murderers, Congress is in the process of passing legislation which will strip the PA of U.S. aid.

So the question again begs, where is the “peace” process?

Seems there is more than one definition of this. According to the Palestinians and the Israel bashers, the “peace” process consists of Israel agreeing to give away every inch of land beyond the ’67 ceasefire lines. This would include the eastern portion of Jerusalem where the Holy Old City is located. Approximately 400,000 Jews living in Judea/Samaria would have to be relocated.

I recall in 2005 when roughly 8,000 Jews were forcibly removed from the Gaza Strip after a 38 year presence, civil war almost broke out in Israel. Keep in mind this was a unilateral decision made by Israel that land for peace would work. Given what’s happened in the Gaza Strip since then, it’s obvious the land for peace concept does not work.

So why would any clear thinking person believe giving more land away would bring peace? Especially, when Abbas refuses to accept the existence of the Jewish state of Israel no matter what the borders are?

In reality, there is no “peace” process. So Mr. Trump has done nothing to damage it by stating a simple fact that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Unless you happen to be one of those who think if you tell a lie often enough people will believe it.  Seems Abbas has been hedging his bets on this.

Of course we might still discover the moon is made of cheese……

Dan Calic is a writer, history student and speaker. More of his articles are on his Facebook page.

 



Source link