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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Idle End Year Thoughts

With two and a half hours left in 2013, here are some stream of consciousness thoughts:

Sports
The things people complain about are still rampant: HUGE salaries, PEDS (the substances formerly known as steroids), bad behavior, lackadaisical play, scandals - 15 minutes listening to sports talk radio will complete the list.  Yet, the people keep showing up to games.  Attendance is high, franchise values are skyrocketing (especially in the NBA), and the sports money machine keeps rolling along.  For something that people are fed up with, they sure have a weird way of showing it.

The NY basketball franchises are a laughingstock.  The Carmelo Anthony trade ruined the Knicks, as did deviating from the Donnie Walsh, D'Antoni, Stoudemire, Gallinari plan.  The plan was working.  It took a year and a half, but now the team is ruined - again.  The Brooklyn Nets gutted the future and blow up the payroll for a bunch of old guys (they called it 'leadership') past their prime.  I guess having Kevin Garnett scream and pound his chest every two weeks (about the rate he dunks nowadays) was worth it.  Their salary cap situation is horrible, they gave away all of their draft picks, and the future is grim.  When the Celtics are great in two years, you'll know it is because of the Nets lack of vision.

Politics
The political scene hasn't altered at all.  Government gets bigger, debt and deficits expand without any kind of brake, and the people seem to like it.  Congress, which seems to always have an approval rating of 9%, keeps getting reelected.  We're watching a slow motion train wreck called 'Obamacare' get implemented.  It is simply a transfer of wealth from the middle class to corporations and those on welfare.  As it is probably the last large government program to get implemented before the Great Default, it might be worth watching.  Jon Stewart has been having a field day with the cloddish incompetence with the Obamacare rollout…

A few people have recognized the the "Republican vs. Democrat" Show is a sham and a farce, but not the numbers to affect any change.  Only the bankruptcy of the Federal Gov't will truly show people how badly they've been duped.  I predict it happens sometime in the next 8 yrs or so.

Social Media
A big story for 2013 - the raging digital universe that is social media - Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Tumblr…  Facebook is the big one on this list, but I think that social media is going to be very faddish.  MySpace, which was huge few years ago, collapsed quickly.  I think the same will happen with Facebook - already the young people are veering away from it and going with other venues.  The Facebook app on my students phones is just one of many.  I think FB's dominance is over.

Education
School, where I work, is on life support.  The culture of the building was bad, now it's just nonexistent. The trends never work - the latest one is Common Core.  The shame of Common Core is fourfold: 1 - it funnels tax dollars into for profit education corporations, who are more than happy to feed from the taxpayer trough.  2- It is borderline incoherent, and teachers are told what to teach, when and for how long.  The required literature (at the HS level anyway) is incongruous and bereft of any relationship to classical learning or literacy.  3 - It is another example of one size fits all.  The organizations who destroyed public education now have the answer, and you have to follow their plan.  Teacher freedom?  Gone.  4 - Establishment Hacks are jumping right on board with common core.  They expose themselves with long winded blog posts about student skills and literacy and then - - wait for it - - they say that this is why we must adopt common core!  It's certainly getting easier to spot those who don't, or can't think for themselves.

At least some things have gotten better...

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Marva Collins Story

Marva Collins is one of the educators you've never heard of.  The Establishment knows it would be politically incorrect to criticize her (she's a black woman), so it chooses to ignore her.  In my Education School classes, Collins was mentioned zero times, while hacks and frauds like Freire and Kozol were brought up repeatedly.  Collins should have been held up as a model, instead she was invisible.  She didn't exist.

What did Collins do in inner city Chicago?  She provided first rate education - superior to that of the Public Schools - for half the price.  She showed that a quality education is neither expensive or out of reach, and she did it where supposedly the public schools are the best and only option.

How did she do it?  With traditional methods that have been known for millennia (from Wikipedia): 

"Marva Collins uses the Socratic method, modified for use in primary school. The first step is to select material with abstract content to challenge students' logic, and that will therefore have different meaning to different students, in order to aid discussion. This is done specifically to teach children to reason.

Next, the teacher should read the material, because unknown material cannot be taught. New words, the words to watch, should be listed, and taught, for pronunciation, use and spelling before the material is read. Without this step, the reading is meaningless.

Next, one begins a series of pertinent questions as the reading progresses, starting with a reference to the title, and a question about what the material is about. Predictions should use logic, reasoning and evidence without fallacy. The reading must be out loud, so the teacher can ask questions at pertinent points. Students are taught to test their reasoning. Afterward, they write daily letters to the author or characters, and write a critical review. Why is the work important to them? The child must be taught to refer to what was previously learned to support their opinions."

This method is related to the Trivium - resources are online or in libraries for free.  In contrast to the fads that come and go in the Public School arena, Collins realized what John Taylor Gatto and Adam Robinson and Jaime Escalante did; that a quality education is inexpensive and the public system is both overpriced and ineffective, especially in areas where it is needed the most. 

In another parallel to my experience, and Gatto's, Collins has written:  "I have discovered few learning disabled students in my three decades of teaching. I have, however, discovered many, many victims of teaching inabilities."[2] I make this comment frequently.  I have never met 'special ed' student, nor have a met an 'honors' student.  In the slow motion train wreck where I work, hundreds of thousands of dollars are being poured into 'Common Core' (the latest fad), and 'Special Education' (a monumental and spectacularly inefficient and ineffective bureacracy).  

Collins was in the same predicament 30 years ago: "During the 2006-2007 school year, Collins' school charged $5,500 for tuition, and parents said the school did a much better job than the Chicago public school system.[1]
Meanwhile, during the 2007-2008 year, Chicago public school officials claimed that their budget of $11,300 per student was not enough."

Collins' story is one that you are supposed know nothing about.  Mentioning her, Escalante, Gatto or, (God forbid) homeschooling, warrants shock and outrage from those limiting themselves to the 3x5 card of Established Opinion - regardless of facts or outcomes.

For years, "The Marva Collins Story" was difficult to find.  Now it is available for everyone for free.  Watch it.


Monday, December 23, 2013

George Will Explains the Political Situation Today

For many years, Will was what I called a "beltway conservative."  He wrote and spoke about things from the acceptable others side of the political debate.  He wouldn't go against things too much, he'd carry the torch for the Establishment Right and stay 'safe'.

Apparently those days are over.

Will was a 'Hamiltonian', meaning he was OK with a group of Overlords controlling and managing the people - as they were obviously unfit to do it themselves, and anyway, shouldn't they be saved from themselves?

Now he seems to be more libertarian - more Jeffersonian - more critical of the Federal Government.  Actually, he obliterates what has become a dangerous and rapacious Federal bird of prey.

You'll see why the key number when it comes to Medicare is 12.  "We are weaving a network of dependency".  I can't think of a better way of describing what is going on.

Notice: no notes, no teleprompter, no wasted words, no deviation from the message.

I recommend you watch the whole thing.  As a high school student, you'll never have something like this put in front of you.  Never.


Good Advice from Mike "Dirty Jobs" Rowe on College, Jobs, and Meaningful Work

This interview is worth watching.  Mike Rowe's saying "work harder and smarter" is one that you should adopt.  With $1 trillion in student loan debt out there, he sees a problem.  You, however, are not supposed to see a problem with that.  You're supposed to take out a huge loan, get a degree you don't need, or want, that has no useful purpose.

I have a BA in English and I wouldn't recommend that someone go into debt to get one.  Notice the wording.  People misinterpret my message all the time.  I'm not saying don't get a college degree.  I'm saying don't go into debt to get one, especially if the job market in that field is saturated.  Be careful.  Count the cost.

What are classically called "blue collar jobs" are going unfilled in the US - perhaps your change of thinking and going against the grain - going in the other direction than the rest of the herd will be your salvation.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The School Revolution - Book Review

"I have been working on a curriculum for high school student that is designed to help them understand the freedom philosophy, and will enable them to articulate it.  This involves the ability to read carefully, analyze arguments, write clearly, and defend their position verbally."

"What I doubted (about the Obama appeal in 2008) was the practicality of a philosophy of government that presented the state as an agency of healing."
 - - Ron Paul, pages 34 and 35 of The School Revolution

Ron Paul's The School Revolution, A New Answer for Our Broken Education System is a calm, methodical case for parents who want two things: freedom to oversee their children's education, and adherence to the freedom philosophy within that education.

Most people are confused about the libertarian philosophy.  It's very simple - the use of force is never justified, unless in self defense.  This includes education of children.  Parents should not be forced to send their children to schools with which they disagree.  Your local public school is staffed by people who were products of a system that says that government schools are the 'agency of healing' and the people in them are dispassionate unbiased quality educators.  Some of them are.  Most of them are not.

Dr. Paul spends little time ripping the current education system.  What he does spend a lot of time on is explaining, in clear terms, what his philosophy is, why he promotes homeschooling, and what the data shows with regard to student performance.  His program, at Ron Paul Curriculum, is strong on what used to be called 'classical education' (and it also used to be in the public school program).
  1. A curriculum must be integrated and coherent,
  2. There must be a common theme: the freedom philosophy.
  3. The best methodology is self instruction.
  4. Courses should reinforce each other.
  5. Students must learn to write and to speak in public.
A top flight education is not expensive.  School districts spend thousand of dollars per year per child.  The national average is somewhere around $10K a year per student.  The system is churning out barely literate students unable to communicate and helpless on many fronts.  The upper level classes in his program cost $250 for the year.  Not only that, Dr. Paul focuses on the idea that people should be first and foremost - free.  Then his program goes into a low cost (grades K - 5 are free) system of rigor that uses the internet and primary sources that are available on the web.  American History is taught by people like Tom Woods.  Literature and entrepreneurship are taught by people like Gary North.

The content rich program offered by Ron Paul is superior to what the public schools are offering today.  It is offering it for much less.  I think he is one of the early adopters of what will be the next wave of education.  The internet has destroyed the Establishment Media.  Public School is next.  The gatekeepers of Public Education are still standing at the gates, but people are slipping under the wall faster and faster.  Ron Paul's book gives them the roadmap.


Friday, November 22, 2013

JFK killed - 50 Years Ago - Watch the MSM Continue to Push the Absurd 'Official Story'

It's really amazing to watch.

Despite the fact that the web is up and running and information is easily available, the Mainstream Media is pushing the idea that the "official story" perpetrated by the Warren Commission is not only legitimate, but not to be questioned.  JFK's killing is treated by the Establishment in one of two ways: 1) anyone who questions the official story is a 'conspiracy theorist' and a 'kook' or 2) ignore anything else other than the 'lone gunman' Warren Commission story.

There is even a story on how the magic bullet theory, now that we have modern scientific techniques, has been proven true.

There is a story that the sound recording, which has more than 3 shots fired recorded on the audio, was recorded at the wrong time.

The fact that no sniper has been able to replicate Oswald's act is ignored.

The fact that the secret service was pulled off of the limousine before the turn to Dealey Plaza is ignored.

The fact that a fingerprint of LBJ's top assassin was found in the 'sniper's nest' in the book depository is ignored.

The roster of the Warren Commission is never analyzed.

PBS Frontline, which should know better, has dedicated its site to "Who was Lee Harvey Oswald?", a not so deft way to ignore any other possibility and focus attention in the wrong place.

CNN feels that the only relevant question that any 'conspiracy theorist' (the horror!) might have is about Oswald's activity in Mexico.

NBC has a web of interviews to handle the conspiracy section of their page - my favorite is with Dan Rather, who lied about what he saw on the Zapruder film.  The film was in storage and kept from the public for 12 years by Time Life inc.  Rather said it showed Kennedy's head falling violently forward.  Now we know this to be brazenly untrue.  Rather's sentence for lying?  A job in the MSM for life.

As usual, one must go to the real investigative journalists in alternative media for any critical thought or questions with insight.  The absurd freak show that is the MSM is reaching a fever pitch.  I guess it's a good thing that they are clinging to the Official Story, as it not only tips their hand as corporate toadies, it hastens their demise.  Their reliance on fakery, half truths, ad hominem and incredulity has run its course.







Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Just Tell Me I Can't - Book Review

"Good learners risk doing things badly in order to learn how to do things well." -  - Harvey Dorfman

Jaime Moyer always seemed like someone to watch.  As a fan of Major League Baseball, I was intrigued by Moyer's career path.  I had seem him arrive with the Cubs, then disappear, then resurrect and transform himself in Seattle as a top flight pitcher for a decade.  I enjoyed watching Moyer, with guile and smarts, dissect major league hitters by pitching 'backwards', changing speeds and hitting spots.  It is a select audience that enjoys watching an old lefty changeup artist carve up steroid fueled gorillas, and that audience will immensely enjoy Just Tell Me I Can't.

My interest in Moyer was confirmed in the book Moneyball - the smartest sports book of this era.  Moyer is portrayed as an old ghoul in that book - a vampire who will scramble your brain by out thinking you and feasting on your desire to crush his slow offerings.  It turns out there was a method to the psychological madness, and his name was Harvey Dorfman.

The best part of the book was Moyer's introduction to Dorfman.  Moyer had been reduced to being offered a job as a pitching coach.  He was on his way out of the majors - seen as a failure and at the end of the line.  Dorfman was recommended to him and with Dorfman's mental re-working of Moyer's psyche and confidence, turned Moyer around.  Dorfman taught Moyer how to train the mind and ones approach as one would train a muscle.  Dorfman seems to have been a master at getting people to take responsibility for their actions and failures, and use those things as strengths.  The fact that a man who could not top 84mph, by changing his mental approach, was able to not only change his life and career around, but thrive in the major leagues is what makes this sports book different.

Just Tell Me I Can't is really a book about failure and risk.  How to deal with failure, learn from it, control the after affects and become motivated rather than defeated by it.  The lessons learned from failure and taking risks are liberally sprinkled throughout all of the success stories I've know, and Moyer's is no different.

The old adage is "hitting is timing, and good pitching destroys timing.".  Moyer was able to pitch until he was 49 years old in the majors, with stuff that frightened no one, because he was a master technician and his mental approach was fostered by an old asthmatic man from the Bronx who never played baseball.  I found this book motivational and useful - baseball is just the medium used, it is the message within the book that makes it worth it.

"To aspire to great achievement is to risk failure"
"Think and talk the solution - not the problem"
- - Harvey Dorfman

Saturday, November 2, 2013

War Against the Weather - Keeping the 'Climate Change' Drumbeat Going

There is an article in today's NY Times about how Climate Change is seen as affecting the food supply.  The article is filled with quotes like these: "On the food supply, the new report finds that benefits from global warming may be seen in some areas, like northern lands that are now marginal for food production. But it adds that over all, global warming could reduce agricultural production by as much as 2 percent each decade for the rest of this century."

Well, which one is it?  Do we have 'climate change', or do we have 'global warming'?  Didn't climategate happen?  I seem to remember emails from the top people, the same organizations and people quoted in the article, as saying "we must hide the decline."  You can read the code that was used to rig the data.  If you don't understand the computer code, the high numbers of comments by the coder will tip you off.  This was data used to 'support' Global Warming.

The NY Times article naturally assumes that you sit in the first pew of the Progressive Church of Global Warming.  Not only do you get 'climate change' in the title, and then a switch to 'global warming' midway through, you get an increase in agricultural productivity in some northern lands, but overall there will be lessened agricultural production.  Why?  The plains of Canada and Russia will now be able to produce food - how do we get to a reduction in 'agricultural production'?

The most hilarious part of the article is the link to Al Gore's winning the Nobel Peace Prize - this is used as an appeal to authority tactic by the author.  Not only is Al Gore the owner of two huge homes, the latest one being a $9 million monstrosity on the fragile California coast, but he jets around the world preaching Global Warming, blasting CO2 into the air and pollution while waving a Nobel Peace Prize around.  The same "peace" prize that Henry Kissinger, Yasir Arafat and Barack Obama have won - all warcrimes killers.  This is the person the hapless author chose to use as an 'authority'.

Zerohedge and the commenting community did its requisite job on the Executive Order put out by the president to fight the weather.   You have to wonder who still blindly believes this stuff.  Didn't we hate W Bush for all of these executive orders?  Doesn't the massive amount of climate fraud by the IPCC and the Rent Seekers get through to the Climate Crowd?

Someday the NY Times will be the headliner at newspaperdeathwatch.com.  That day can't come soon enough.

Watch how the co-founder of Greenpeace, MIT scientists and other scientists associated with top schools and organizations destroy the "science is settled on global warming" crowd.  According to the Mainstream Corporate Media, these people don't exist.  See them for the first time:





"Look there, Sancho Panza, my friend, and see those thirty or so wild giants, with whom I intend to do battle and kill each and all of them, so with their stolen booty we can begin to enrich ourselves. This is nobel, righteous warfare, for it is wonderfully useful to God to have such an evil race wiped from the face of the earth."

"What giants?" Asked Sancho Panza.

"The ones you can see over there," answered his master, "with the huge arms, some of which are very nearly two leagues long."
"Now look, your grace," said Sancho, "what you see over there aren't giants, but windmills."
- - - - Don Quixote

Monday, October 28, 2013

Steve Jobs - A Sincere and Detailed Interview

I stumbled across this video interview of Steve Jobs from 2010.  He goes into great detail about how the iPhone and iPad were developed, as well as the competition between his company and others - particularly Google, Adobe, and Microsoft.

Notice how throughout the interview Jobs mentions the 'market' and the 'marketplace'.  He eloquently boils down the free market system into the arbiters of success being the consumer.  Jobs understood that the prime authority in the free market is the consumer.  I'm paraphrasing, but he says at one point that "people vote YES when they buy our product and NO when they don't.  Hopefully enough people vote YES and we can come to work the next morning."   It is impossible to distill the marketplace better than that. 

As a worker in an insuffereable bureacracy, I was intrigued by Jobs' comment on how many committees exist at Apple - - zero.  He talks about how Apple is the "world's biggest startup" and it is run like one.  The areas of the company responsible for certain aspects and products work independently - and they meet once a week to compare notes and during those three hours they share progress metrics and ideas.  Key, trusted people have independent authority delegated to them, and they respond positively.  This was music to my ears, because my workplace, the public school system, there are committees started for everything, and nothing gets done.  The 'consumer' loses where I work.

One area where Jobs is counterintuitive to his own ideas is between the 30 minute and 42 minute mark.  He's talking about the new tools that bloggers have, and his attempted 'resurrection' of the press.  He laments the downfall of the NY Times, Washington Post and the Wall St. Journal and fears that we'll become a "nation of bloggers."  He says he feels it is important that these companies thrive and that a free press is necessary for a functional democracy.  Jobs was keenly aware of the disappearing balance sheet of these companies - he uses the terms "hard times."

What is odd in that line of reasoning is that the Mainstream Media he mentions have been tools of the Elite Establishment for roughly the past 100 years, and have tried to control thought and be the Gatekeepers of opinion for about as long.  For a man who had trip wire sensitivity to the needs of the consumer, the looming bankruptcies of the mainstream media should have been a signal to Jobs that the content was substandard, and the consumer didn't (and doesn't) want what they were offering.  The consumer is smart enough to know about what phone and apps he wants, but oddly deficient when it comes to news content.  I found this opinion of Jobs to be incongruent and the perfect example of cognitive dissonance. 

Here is the entire video - it is information rich and worth your time.  Listen to Jobs if you wish to hone your entrepreneurial skills.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

League of Denial

Jim McMahon can't remember where is.

Ricky Watters memory is slipping, causing arguments at home.

Kevin Turner, Watters lead blocker and fullback, has ALS.  He's 44 years old.

John Mackey lived his last years in an assisted living center, addled and on disability.

These stories and more like them are getting more attention because of the book and the PBS Frontline documentary "League of Denial".  Grantland wrote an honest article about what will become a problem for the NFL, if left unchecked and handled in the same 'protect the shield' mentality that has been the method thus far.   I first heard of "League of Denial" from a snippet of an interview on Mike Francesa's radio show on WFAN.  The NFL had just settled a class action suit involving scores of former NFL players for $765 million - the majority of which will go to disabled players.

The PBS special is worth watching.  The analysis of player's brains, the scientific process uncovering CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) is riveting.  What's more incredible is the NFL's dogged stance of not allowing the findings through its media filters.  You will watch a clinic on leverage - the moneyed behemoth and massively powerful NFL blocking, denying, obfuscating and altering information to delay, deny and hide information that could hurt, or possibly devastate its bottom line.

One wonders if the NFL had simply, in the 1990's, paid restitution to disable players and required players to sign a "play at your own risk" contract.  It would have been a public relations nightmare - for about 6 months.  Then the sports obsessed and intellectually limited average fan (apologies to HL Mencken) would have forgotten about the whole thing and continued to spend money on the NFL product.

Instead, the NFL opted to hide and then deny scientifically sound findings, and now they have a problem.  Eventually, the NFL will be fine, as America is sports crazy and the NFL rakes in billions in profit - it is too powerful to be down too long.  There is a quote, however, that could create a bigger problem than anything else for the NFL.  In the documentary, one of the NFL officials is quoted as saying "if 10 percent of the mothers of America are against football, we're finished."  Ironically, this rings true - it is the concerned mothers of America who could do more damage to soon to be $25 billion dollar industry than anything else.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Facebook Follies - part 27

There is some debate going on about the ACA, also known as "Obamacare".  Of course Obamacare will contribute to the bankruptcy of the United States.  It won't do as much damage as Medicare or Social Security, or Bush's Medicare Part D, but it will simply speed up the train as it barrels toward the burning trestle.

Someone who sits in the 1st pew of the Church of the State took my and someone else's free market (and hence negative) views of the program as sacrilege  - he was OFFENDED.  In the below exchange you'll see how logical fallacies, logical leaps and poor attempts at obfuscation rule the day on Facebook.  Unfortunately for this person, he ran into a buzzsaw - me.

FS and I agree on the moral reprehensibility of the ACA.  NLB loves his masters, God - oops - government will heal all, and it is the beneficent overlord of the economy as well.  I used to be surprised that people thought this way, but I am naive no longer.  Take a look:
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FS -  What I would like, is for the position of "hey, let's not force each other to do things" to be recognized as a legitimate human right and not be chastised as being a crazy extremist position. Especially when I am caught between two factions: one that wants to take my money and throw it TO people they do like and the other which wants to take my money and throw it AT people they don't like.

Mr. M - Mr. S you are correct, but you're going down a thoughtful path that many cannot understand as they've been addled and bamboozled. In order for healthcare to be a 'right', then you make healthcare workers slaves, as they are forced to provide their services as one has a 'right' to those services. The free market works, is has worked, but one must go back (in US history) at least 100 years to see even a facsimile of such a market. Once the AMA and the Rockefeller foundation got its claws in the medical establishment, the downward cycle began.

(side note - I was thinking of this article when I wrote this.  I will add italics to NLB's intellectually limited response)

NLB - I guess we'll all find out soon enough how monumentally the ACA destroys the good and pure market system I suspect we'll be just fine.
And Dcm, Last I checked there were plenty of major crashes pre-1900. Check your history. It's only in the highly market regulated 50s-70s that the boom-bust cycle took a break.
LOL the only country in the world where people talk like this, as though we're all goddamn mercenaries and everyone else can go f*** themselves. It's truly our national religion. "Yeah, screw the greater good." Rah rah, America. *sigh*
And yes, you are aligning yourself with a very common political position, FS, all assertions to the contrary.

MR. M - "check your history". Ok. I think I will, but only if you go through the reams of evidence that show that the business cycle is affected only by gov't intrusion. The boom / bust cycle is caused by 3rd party intrusion - it's why the French, when asked by the gov't officials 200 yrs ago said 'laissez faire' - let us be. I suggest von Mises' magnum opus, "Human Action", where he demolishes the views you seem to have adopted. Another good choice is Murray Rothbard's "America's Great Depression", where he showed that the FED and the US Treasury caused the Great Depression by the artificial expansion of credit. It's why you never hear of the Great Depression of 1921, because the federal gov't did....nothing and it was over in 18 months, and the downturn post WWI was worse than the one in 1929. Rothbard's "Man, Economy and State" is if you want the full monty, and not just an isolated American study. You can also go through Isabel Paterson's "Ghost in the Machine" - a great read, written in the WWII era when her views were unpopular. Albert J. Nock's "Our Enemy, the State" will, if you're looking for an analysis of the 17th and 18th centuries, do the job of showing you how government is the enemy of the people. For the 'happy ending' you can go through Carroll Qugley's "Tragedy and Hope" (B Clinton's mentor - mentioned by name in his DNC acceptance speech in 1992) for an insider's view of how the Big Banks have been intruding and, via the Morgans, Rockefeller's et al, taking over what was once a free economy and a free people. He wrote it after having 2 yrs of access to the papers of the CFR. Of course they broke the plates because it caused such a stir, but that's just coincidence.
----------------------------

It was the "check your history" comment and the "It's only in the highly market regulated 50s-70s that the boom-bust cycle took a break." comment that made me write all of that.  Telling me to check my history is one thing, but the 50's - 70's is purely odd, as 2 minutes of analysis blows it away.  Our economy now is multiple times more regulated, and we have no vestiges of a gold standard, and our boom bust cycle is out of control.  The guy makes no sense.  Notice the arrogant *sigh*, as NLB takes the pseudo high road, after making so many unfounded assumptions about freedom and the free market that his response becomes a parody.  FaceBook is usually not worth it to go bananas like that on someone, as he won't read any of those things, but there might be an enterprising person, or a critical thinker who will, and then it is worth it.  In the space below I posted this link, not for NLB, but for one of the Remnant


Monday, October 14, 2013

Right v Left = Fake

One of the first things that happens when a person wakes up from the matrix is that he realizes that the Republican v Democrat 'fight / debate' is a total fraud.  Yes, there are superficial differences but on the whole they are the same.  The differences?  The Establishment Right says that taxes should be around 32% of income, and the Establishment Left would like that rate to be closer to 40%.  Both are beholden to Big Bank and Big Corporation.  When I learned that Pres. Obama's largest corporate donor for his 2008 election campaign was Goldman Sachs, I quickly realized that everything I had been taught about the two parties was wrong - and had been wrong since about 1952, when Robert Taft was defeated in the Republican primary.

We have the same thing today.  Albert J. Nock wrote years ago that American Big Business was deathly afraid of, and did not want a free market.  They didn't want the little guy competing and possibly usurping their hold of the market.  This is why they re-named the Swope plan (Gerard Swope ran General Electric) the New Deal - a cartellization of Big Businesses with regulations keeping out competitors.

Now we have the same thing.  The US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers are going against Tea Party Republicans because they are against the expansion of debt and the raising of the debt ceiling.  From the Washington Post: "And the U.S. Chamber is doing research on key states where it can battle back against tea party candidates willing to use the country’s debt repayments as a bargaining chip."

You're taught that the Republican Party is an unthinking ally of the Tea Party, and they're all for Big Business and moneyed interests.  This is false - they're for government corporate subsidies and an unfree market that stifles the small business entrepreneur in a regulatory thicket that is impenetrable.  That, along with more debt, more FED inflation and cronyism, is the desired result - in other words the status quo is actually what the Republican Party wants - as does the Democrat Party.

Gary North sums it up best: "...the Chamber of Commerce has joined with the National Association of Manufacturers to pressure Congress to accept an increase in the federal debt ceiling. More than this, some businesses are now organizing for the congressional campaigns in 2014 to defeat Tea Party candidates in the Republican Party. This is the old-time Republicanism. This is the eastern Republican establishment. This is what the United States has faced with respect to the Republican Party ever since Lincoln was inaugurated. It is the party of big business. It is the party of intervention. It is the party, or was for decades, of high tariffs. It is the party of Hamiltonianism: Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Hoover, and Nixon."

I am reminded of two sayings.  One from Lew Rockwell: "It isn't Left vs Right, it's the State vs. YOU" and one from Pat Buchanan: "The major parties are two wings of the same bird of prey".


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The First Month 2013

Not My Daughter

Well, for the seventh year in a row it happened.  I work with the 9th graders - my entire schedule is made up of freshmen classes - and for the seventh year at least one mother has taken her child out of my school.  Brittany, Monae, Andina, and others - this year it's Kiara's turn.  The story is the same.  The mother, a concerned parent, actually comes to the building to take care of some business, and sees what is going on, firsthand, in the building.  Kiara's mother told me that her daughter, for the first time, was dreading coming to school.  The mother came in to take a look, and was witness to the usual complement of profanity, noise and recklessness in the hallways.  She saw unprofessionalism on some teachers' parts as well.  She was shocked to hear a person in the main offices say "F this job, this effin' job - I don't care".  She looked at the person as if to say 'hello, there is a parent here' - to no effect.

What the mother failed to realize was that when people can't be fired, and are never held accountable, they will often descend into this kind of behavior.  On the academic side, everyone is now breathing heavily over the Common Core Curriculum - the state's repackaged early 1990's plan for 'reform' and 'literacy' will save the day.  School failure, so easily seen by those on the outside, is wished away by those steering the ship.  This trend of 9th grade girls being taken out by their parents continues.  The academics are in disarray, and the toxic social environment scares away the concerned families.  To add insult to injury, Kiara was in the Honors class, and still hated coming to school.

How (not) To Start A Club

Students came to me to start a club whose purpose will be to analyze mainstream media and the insulting propaganda they spew regularly. Seems like an easy task - fill out a form and let the office know that we'll meet weekly to discuss things and do some projects.

Not where I work.  I have to have a petition with the student names.  Then the form with the names, particularly the officers of the club, and the dates we'll meet has to be filled out.  This has to then be put into a School Board Resolution and approved by the board at one of the monthly meetings.  The resolution has to be aligned to the school 'goal or goals', and signed off by the superintendent.  Then monthly reports have to be filed and sent to the principal, to be forwarded to the Board and the superintendent.

I might actually be forgetting a step.  It was a long list.  The powers that be in our district wonder why there are so few clubs and extracurricular activities - perhaps they should look at the bureaucratic farce that is the 'process'.  Too bad - I was looking forward to Friday afternoon discussions with the intellectually curious students.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Alternatives to Mainstream Media

The mainstream media is a corporate backed disgrace.  As usual a fake debate has been created for the American Sheeple - FOX vs. CNN, NY Times vs. Wall St. Journal - these are silly and artificial constructs.  For those of you who think NPR and PBS are worthy alternatives, the PBS special on drones (you can find it on the Frontline site) was financed by Lockheed Martin.  It is basically a commercial for drones and killing from above.  NPR?  There was a special on the BP oil spill, and the "specialist" being interviewed was on the BP payroll.  Are these things shared by those outlets? No.

So where does one go for news?  It is necessary to go to the web - here are some choices:


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Into Thin Air - Book Review

"Men play at tragedy because they do not believe in the reality of the tragedy which is actually being staged in the civilized world."

- - Jose' Ortega y Gasset

Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air fittingly begins with this quote.  The book tells the story of a group of people who, in May 1996, attempted to climb Mt. Everest.  It unfortunately became the deadliest day in the history of Mt. Everest.

Normally, this would not be news. It is the undercurrents within the book that are more entertaining than the surface news of the tragedy.  People climb mountains often, and there are often accidents and deaths.  What makes this different is that the groups were part of a wave of clients who essentially paid big money to 'get' up the mountain.  Some weren't experienced climbers, some were experienced (as Krakauer was), but none were what any experienced mountaineer would call 'prepared' for a climb such as Mt. Everest.

Krakauer diligently details the parameters of the trip, the high cost in time and money, and his constant doubts about the whole enterprise.  His ability to foreshadow disaster while keeping reader interest is unparalleled.  Each character is introduced in such a way that I wanted to know how it turned out for each one, even though the list of people who didn't make it is in the front of the book.

Krakauer is understandably wary of the whole enterprise of guides, for large sums of money ($15,000 to $75,000), essentially pulling up Regular Joes and Janes up Mt. Everest.  Postal clerks, social butterflies, photographers and airline pilots seem miscast among the sherpas and the tour guides.  Because of the worst storm in years, the inherent weaknesses in the guides, the plans, and the clients were all exposed, all at once.  May 10th 1996 was a day of intense tragedy on Mt. Everest and the story is fascinating.

While reading about the book, I found out that Krakauer took a lot of abuse after writing the book - enough to warrant his issuing a rebuttal in the 1999 version of Into Thin Air.  The criticism is unwarranted.  It seems that people are unwilling to admit mistakes, that no one ever is guilty of overreach, as the guides both were.  No one should tell the truth, or admit that people screw up, or get into situations where they had no business being.  Krakauer actually admits serious wrongdoing on his part in the book.  Yet, he was accused of unfairly attacking one of the assistant guides. I did not see it that way at all nor did I get that impression while reading it.

Ortega y Gasset was right.  It is the 'civilized' world where the tragedy is.  At least one can see why people will go into the mountains and play at tragedy to escape it all.

Ken Kamler, who was on Everest that day, recounts some of the horrors:

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fred Reed Explains The Old Days - Part I

Recently, Fred Reed wrote a nice piece describing America prior to 1964. It was a different world.

"At age eight I walked every morning the perhaps six blocks to Robert E. Lee Elementary School, alone. Why not? There was nothing to be afraid of. My friends and I rode to Westover, the shopping center on Washington Boulevard, and left our bikes on the sidewalk for hours while we read comic books in the drug store. Why not? Nobody stole bikes. My family never locked the doors of the house. Why should we? There weren't any burglars."

"A virtue of a dominant culture is that it doesn’t have to be imposed. It polices itself. During my five years in rural Virginia, we all had guns. The substantial number of blacks in the county had guns. Nobody ever shot anybody else, either on purpose or accidentally. It wasn´t something we did. It wasn't in the culture. White or black."

While reading this I thought of a conversation I had with one of my colleagues yesterday.  The premise of that conversation was that most, if not all of what we were taught / told in school and by the 'cultural elite' was wrong.  This American Culture of yesteryear was mocked and laughed at when I was a young boy.  I clearly remember hearing that the America that Fred Reed speaks of never existed.  I never caught the inconsistency - if the culture of the '50's "didn't exist", then why laugh at it?

The problem with this constant belittling of this American past is that there is ample proof that it did exist.  Even though I was in New York City, my brother and I walked to elementary school by ourselves every after I was in 1st or 2nd grade.  Manhattan in the 1970's would hardly be considered old rural America, but there we were, two children walking.  Even earlier, when we lived in Staten Island, a more suburban part of NYC, we would play with the other children outside, unsupervised.  The pack of children we were a part of ranged in ages from 3 - 7.  When we heard our mothers calling for us to come back home, we did.  

Reed is succinct and solid (and refreshingly politically incorrect) when talking about culture and what it means.  One of the problems of multiculturalism is that when you get taught that all cultures are equal, then all behavior becomes equal and acceptable.  The culture of the American past, which certainly did exist, is mostly gone, as far as I can tell.  I saw the old way in Iowa, where my mother was from.  Was it perfect?  In a word, no.  But as late as the 1990's the town I would visit in northern Iowa had unlocked homes and cars.  It would be nice to live in a place like that.

This constant attack on "rugged individualism" (never heard anymore), respect for civil liberties (gone), and the understanding that actions have consequences (now you blame someone or something else) means that we have wrought schools with metal detectors, young adults who are not only unable to exercise self control but also eschew the opportunity to educate themselves.  Anyone doubting this can come and look at my 8th period class.

It's going to take a while to climb out of the hole we've dug for ourselves.




Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"You Don't Have to Stay Poor" - Walter Williams speaks

"No one can blame you if you start out in life poor, because how you start is not your fault. If you stay poor, you’re to blame because it is your fault. Nowhere has this been made clearer than in Dennis Kimbro’s new book, “The Wealth Choice: Success Secrets of Black Millionaires.”"

- - Walter Williams, John M. Olin distinguished professor of economics at George Mason University, and a nationally syndicated columnist.

Walter Williams wrote a great article on Lew Rockwell's site about success.  Williams points to Dennis Kimbro's book and message about how lifestyle choices reflect success.  

This may seem obvious to many, but it isn't a preferred message from our society's Elite, nor is it the focus of what teachers are told to explain to students.  It is a politically incorrect message.  Why?  Because it doesn't let you blame some outside force.  

"“The Wealth Choice” argues that wealth (millionaireship) is not a function of circumstance, luck, environment or the cards you were dealt. Instead, wealth is the result of a conscious choice, action, faith, innovation, effort, preparation and discipline. Or, in the words of billionaire W. Clement Stone, founder of Combined Insurance, whom Kimbro met with and mentions early in the book, “Try, try, try, and keep on trying is the rule that must be followed to become an expert in anything.” He also said, “If you cannot save money, the seeds of greatness are not in you.” Saving is necessary for investment and wealth accumulation."

I think I will use this with my 11th graders as part of my college preparedness / entrepreneurship unit.  Kimbro's video, even though it really is an ad for his book, is worthwhile as well.




Thomas Sowell goes into much of the same message here.  Both men are worth listening to and reading.  Both provide excellent examples of how to deliver a message in print and orally.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The 2013 - 2014 School Year Begins

There are a few strange things among the many run of the mill events this September school beginning.  

The Routine

- Every year the district begins with a 'convocation' - all the schools come to the high school for speeches and a song or two.  The speeches are dry, some are borderline embarrassing and some are halfway decent.

- This year we have a new plan!  This has been the way of schools since the 1980's with the release of  'A Nation at Risk'.  Actually, it predates that as the Soviet Sputnik launch launched the USA into the space race, and the nation produced innovators and math / science gurus.  Apparently that intelligent a populace created a problem, so now we study critical lens essays, diversity, global warming (climate change - which one?), social justice and other non subjects that demand no rigor whatsoever.

- The 'culture of poverty' is back.  Despite being wealthier and having accoutrements that would make the sultans of the past drool, we have been re-inroduced to poverty being an excuse for lack of academic rigor and performance.  This old saw has been trotted back out despite the higher ups admitting that all of our students have smartphones (these are the cheapest I could find), and the irrefutable evidence of high dollar sneakers protecting the feet of our downtrodden charges.

Odd Things

- A public school is a progressive, Democrat / Liberal place.  Despite the Left's classic hatred for church and religion, our district thanks God often during these convocations, and speeches abound with faith based sayings and speeches.  I like it because I think communities should have control over their schools, and ours has many churches, but mainly because none of the political Liberals have the guts to take on the black pastors and churchgoers.  These (usually white) Liberals go bananas about separation of church and state when it comes to the (almost exclusively white) religious right, but are mute in a district like mine.  It is enjoyable to watch as the citizens of the district are speaking freely about God - and no one says anything.

- As one goes through teacher training in Education School and hours of teacher training, we learn that top down strategies are bad and student driven strategies are good.  If this is the case, why is the State, the same institution that has run the Education Train off the rails, coming up with a one size fits all top down solution?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"Folks, this ain't normal" - Book Review

I first saw Joel Salatin in the latter half of the eye opening documentary called Food Inc.  He was taking chickens in for processing - killing them one at a time and then plucking and packaging them outdoors in the fresh air of his small farm.  Big Agra / Food sees his method, one that's been used for millennia, as 'unclean', and their method in a secretive, filthy industrialized feedlot as 'safe'.  Folks, this ain't normal.

Situation #1) Monsanto grows a GMO (genetically modified organisms) crop, and the GMO crop blows its seeds onto your property.  Monsanto sues YOU for patent infringement - and wins.  This is normal (and true).

Situation #2) A food sickness outbreak is traced to a factory egg farm.  The Food Industrial Complex, combined with its enforcement arm (USDA / FDA) decide that chlorine will sterilize the eggs and kill the bacteria, therefore USDA approved eggs must be bathed in chlorine.  The American Public now sees USDA chlorine soaked eggs as 'safe' and non USDA approved eggs as 'unsafe'.  This is normal.

Situation #3)  Joel Salatin makes quiche, and it is very popular and people want to buy it from him - by choice, uncoerced.  Government regulations state that if he wishes to sell quiche, he has to build a commercial kitchen ($50,000) on his property and have it inspected regularly.  However, if he wishes to give it away to people, church groups, schools - neither the kitchen nor regulations are necessary.  This, too, is considered normal.

Folks, this ain't normal is a look at our warped society through the lens of a man who runs a small family farm.  He speaks about our country in general, but focuses on the food system and explains, in great detail, how the Big Industrialized Food Giants, aided and abetted by the Federal Government have destroyed the legitimacy and value of our national diet, and to some degree, culture.

Salatin's book is a treatise on how government regulations hurt small and midsize organic farms.  Through personal examples and painstaking explanations, Salatin shows how the regulations imposed on farmers are really about limiting market access for small and midsize farms, and increasing market share for the large food corporations.  Under the aegis of 'protecting the consumer', the enforcement arms of the large food companies, the USDA and the FDA work hand in glove with lobbyists and create rules and regulations that small players cannot afford.

Salatin's book will educate you about how the farm system works, how things used to be done, and how much of our modern system has become horribly abnormal.  The USDA approval process has become a boon to the large corporate players - at the expense of the small organic farmers and the health of the American public.  Salatin craves for a more educated, connected population with regard to their farms and their food.  Here Salatin sounds naive - even though he is a worldly and versatile man.  He doesn't seem to understand that the average American (HL Mencken called them the booboisie) believes what he is told.  If something is USDA approved - it is safe.  If something is not approved - it is unsafe.  Our government regulators are looking out for our best interests and are fighting the good fight - I know people who actually think this.  Salatin requests that people research who runs these government regulators - a ridiculous task for most indoctrinated Americans who have spent at least 12 years in the Church of the Religion of Government.  Basically, Big Food and Government Regulations are not helping you.

Folks, this ain't normal, combined with Food Inc. and Food Matters have changed the way my family and I eat.  It is imminently readable, filled with interesting history and independent ideas for solving the problems we have in the United States today.  His solutions are clear, common sensical and place the power over your life and health in your hands.  If I believed in required reading, this book would be on the list.

Helpful links:  The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund.

The Cornucopia Institute.








Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bums, An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers - Book Review

I used to cut class in high school - but only when there was a substitute teacher of course.  What I used to do is go to the back corner of the library and read the sports books during this unexpectedly free period.  One of the books that I remembered even after all of these years was Peter Golenbock's Bums.

The oral history format is a difficult one to do well.  Oral histories often sound campy and rehearsed, or they are all hyperbole and serve as platforms for stating the obvious (Jackie Robinson was great, Duke Snider swatted lots of homers).  Bums is different and wonderful because it shows, in the words of the people involved, what happened in the Dodger years from about 1900 to their last season in Brooklyn, 1957.

Golenbock has the players words interspersed with commentary on the information presented.  It is a good mix of prose and interview material on a topic any serious baseball fan would find appealing.  Bums originally came out in 1984, when many of the players on the 40's and 50's Dodgers were still alive.  He also includes the men who wrote for the local papers as well as a few people who were around the team - executives, employees and fans.

Naturally one of the most interesting parts of the book is the section on the breaking of the color barrier spurred by Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson.  The behind the scenes information told by Jackie Robinson's widow Rachel Robinson, and Happy Chandler (former MLB commissioner - whose actions supporting Rickey cost him his job) is unique and not widely known.  Jackie Robinson's first season was the one with the 'no fighting back' policy and the pressure to conform to this Rickey rule had to have been astronomical.  The back office pressure provided by the other owners on Commissioner Chandler was intense.  They voted to not allow Robinson to break the barrier, and when Chandler gave Rickey the green light to allow Robinson to play, the owners didn't renew Chandler's contract and he was out.  The owners never had more than a puppet commissioner after that.

Jackie aslo had a prickly personality, and was not loved by the other players.  Apparently he was aloof and difficult to get along with.  Later on he became intensely political, supporting Republican Richard Nixon, and this turned off many of his former teammates - not because of his allegiance, but because he was unwilling to talk about anything else.  It is this type of non mainstream information that is the gold that is sprinkled throughout the book.  Also lost in the Robinson mystique is how fantastic an athlete Jackie was, and how skilled a second baseman he was.  Bill James gives him due credit in his Historical Baseball Abstract, but rarely does one see in print quality analysis of Robison's skill as a player.  Even the players who were not Robinson fans per se recognized his hall of fame ability on the field.  Bums provides much of the heretofore unseen backstory.

The Dodgers have had a rich history.  Their tenure in Brooklyn sounds like it was one of the aspects of an older, non corporate New York City that was even more rabid for baseball.  Bums covers a lot of ground:  What happened to Karl Spooner - comes up as a left handed 23 year old and pitches two games, both complete game shutouts with 27 strikeouts in 18 innings?  What did Sandy Koufax do in Brooklyn - and why was he so invisible during his time there?  Who were the Daffiness Boys and Uncle Robbie?  Why is Walter O'Malley vilified when his actions are justifiably those of a smart businessman?  Why are they called the Dodgers in the first place?

These questions get answers, the history gets an honest look (this is not hagiography) and the prose is smooth and detailed.  I understand, 23 years later, why Bums stayed in my memory.


The heart of the 1957 Dodger lineup, the final year in Brooklyn.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

We Are Witnessing The End Of the Mainstream Media - More Bad News For Our Overlords

On June 5 the New York Times Company sold the Boston Globe for a paltry $70 million. It had paid $1.1 billion in 1993, which was worth $1.76 billion in today’s money.  Think about that last sentence.  You spend $1.1 billion on something, then sell it off at a 90% loss.  It gets worse.

On August 5th, the bombshell hit: the Graham family is selling The Washington Post for a paltry $250 million to Amazon owner Jeff Bezos. If the peripheral Boston Globe was worth $1.76 billion in 1993, and $70 million today, think of what the Post was worth in 1993.  Billionaire Jeff Bezos, the founder of the largest mail order web based company in the world, figured it would be fun to own a paper.  He certainly paid the right price.

This bodes ill for the Thought Controllers in the media, and it is great news.  For decades, the artificial Left vs. Right 'debate' in the country was purely Kabuki theater.  On the Left, the NY Times and the Washington Post led the way, and on the Right, the Wall St. Journal was the standard bearer.  The rhetorical battles were decent, but even a cursory analysis of those newspapers and their editorial boards shows that they were both in the first pew of the Church of the State.  In a nutshell, the Times would explain how we needed more gov't in our lives to solve our problems, and the Journal would argue that we needed more gov't in our lives to solve our problems, but not quite as much as the Times would want.

The best example of this fake debate was the Reagan administration.  The "Democrats" hated Reagan, and the "Conservatives" loved him.  Yet, Reagan vetoed no spending bills, opened the borders, and government spending and debt skyrocketed during his term.  One would think "liberals" would have loved the guy.  You can read about what actually happened during the Reagan administration here, but you'd never know it by the rhetoric from the 2 'sides' of the Mainstream Media.

These two papers controlled the terms of the debate.  There was no internet, there was no outlet, other than newsletters, for any honest debate outside of the 3x5 index card of 'established' opinion.  The World Wide Web has decimated the major media outlets, and you have to wonder why anyone would either care, or still read such nonsense.  The NY Times, still seen by many in the NY area as a legitimate paper, sat on the W Bush warrantless wiretapping scandal for a year before it pretended to be angry about it.  They fired a real journalist (and real leftist), Chris Hedges when he started to actually report what US troops were doing in the Middle East.

On the right, neoconservative shill outlets like National Review, Pajamas Media and most of conservative talk radio are openly hostile to someone like Ron Paul, who presented a plan to eliminate 5 Federal Gov't departments, and reduce spending by $1 billion his first year.  Why would they hate this man - I thought conservatives were against government spending?

Perhaps people are starting to see that the emperor has no clothes.  Newsweek was sold for $1 to an octogenarian zillionaire, who promptly died.  It exists today as something called 'The Daily Beast'.  Remember, Newsweek was going to spike the story about Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton.  After all, Clinton was a "Democrat"and couldn't possibly get negative press, and the rabble should't have their images shattered - they are unfit for such things.  Unfortunately, in a sign of things to come, Matt Drudge had the story, published it, forced Newsweek's hand, and the rest is history.  Drudge's site is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and Newsweek is gone.

Next comes cable television.  After that, the public school system.  You have a front row seat to all of this.

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Different Kind of Teacher, by John Taylor Gatto - Book Review

A Different Kind of Teacher, despite its being 12 years old, reads like an analysis of present day schools.  Gatto does what most educators refuse to do - look at schools for what they are and parallel that to what the creators of government forced schooling said they wanted schools to become.  If you are a fan of real world analysis and unsanctioned thoughts, Gatto and his works are for you.

Unsanctioned Thought, from page 52: "Between 1896 and 1920, a small group of industrialists and financiers, together with their private charitable foundations, subsidized university chairs and researchers, and school administrators, spent more money on schooling than the government itself did, with the aim of bending schooling to the service of business and the political state.  Carnegie and Rockefeller alone, as late as 1915, were spending more than the state.  In this laissez-faire fashion, a system of modern schooling was constructed without public participation."

These kinds of statements turn everything you learned in school on its head.  We get taught that the Big Bad Businessmen are to be reviled, and want to systematically crush the little guy in their lust for money and power.  The irony is that your State loving, Left leaning teacher was right - they just had the methods incorrect.  It isn't the 'free market' or 'capitalism' that is your enemy.  These are red herrings.  The school and the school system that you are forced to go to was created for the purpose of keeping the little guys in their place.  The radically independent, free thinking entrepreneurial American had to be shaped and molded into a time serving drone whose allegiance was to the State (wholly controlled by the Moneyed Powers).  Your independent family might teach you the things of the world, you might learn by doing.  Even worse, you might become a competitor to the large corporate interests, like Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Ingvar Kamprad, Madame CJ Walker, SB Fuller, Richard Branson.  The aforementioned were all exceedingly educated, but unschooled.  What the State / Corporate Alliance had to try to do was break apart the dynamic, flexible and most importantly, independent family unit.  School was the bludgeon to do that.

Proof:  Here is where the garden variety unthinking American, who has been schooled into oblivion, will meet you with silence.  "In our dreams...people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands.  The present education conventions fade from their minds, and unhampered by tradition we work our own goodwill upon a grateful and responsive folk.  We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning of men of science.  We have not to raise up from them authors, educators, poets, or men of letters.  We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters musicians nor lawyers, doctors preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have an ample supply.  The task is simple.  We will organize children and teach them in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way."  You can read the whole thing here.  You should be angered at the paternalistic 'we' constantly used.  Who is the 'we' that is to mold the children of America?  They certainly weren't talking about the average, free, independent American parents doing the molding.

I was taught by well meaning people who believed in the system.  Chances are so were you.  However, what Gatto does in this book, which is really a series of essays, is show you that the illogical failing system that is foisting illiterate and incapable parasites into the American Electorate, isn't failing at all.  It was engineered to be that way.  I cannot think of any person more qualified to show you that you live in a house of mirrors.  Gatto is careful in A Different Kind of Teacher to explain that the teachers and administrators are almost always nice, caring people who believe that they are looking out for your best interests.  What they don't know, and from my experience, don't care to know, is that they are part of a system that was engineered to create a mass of unthinking spenders, never able to think for themselves or understand the world around them.  In short, they are used to simply doing as their told, which after 12 years of compulsory, authoritarian indoctrination, is what they do.  A Different Kind of Teacher explains this point thoroughly through Gatto's research and 30 years experience as a middle school English teacher in the NYC Public School system.

In case you think that school is supposed to provide a way out, instead of keep you in your place, I'll leave you with this quote, by Woodrow Wilson, hero of the Progressives, from a day when the elites were much more forthright about their intent:

“We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class of necessity in every society, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.”
― Woodrow Wilson


Saturday, August 3, 2013

How to Build an MLB Team and Ignore Conventional Wisdom

The three teams to watch this season are the Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland A's.  These teams rank 26th, 25th and 29th in payroll.  Conventional Wisdom says this is impossible.

These teams are all among the leaders in wins in their respective divisions.  The Rays are particularly fun to watch as they have been putting on a clinic the past 8 years in how to run a franchise.  The Rays play in one of the worst parks in MLB, have horrible attendance, yet they are able to compete at the highest level every year.  What they seem able to do better than any team in baseball is find, groom and display the best starting pitchers in the game.  They are so good, that while teams are picking up retreads and scrap heap starters, the Rays traded James Shields last year because they had too many starters, and they knew they had young guys in the farm system ready and able to compete.

Think about that for a minute.  The Rays had a 30 year old pitcher who had won 87 games for the franchise, was coming off a 15-10 season, and they trade him to the Royals.  Shields had pitched 6 shutouts in the past two seasons (Andy Pettite, who some seem to think is a Hall of Fame pitcher, has 4 shutouts - in his entire career), and the Rays saw fit to move him and allow Matt Moore to continue his development and Chris Archer to slide into Shields' spot.  This is something to watch, especially in the NYC market.  I hear Yankee fans on sports talk radio talking about who to pick up in order to get better.  The Yankee fans of today have been watching a $200 million payroll franchise paper over mistakes for 15 years.  If the Yankees (or Dodgers or Mets or Red Sox) make an error, they can throw money at free agents or make a trade for a big money player.  The Rays cannot do this.  Neither can the A's.  The Pirates, who have been a poorly run team for last 10 years, have finally figured it out.  We'll see if it lasts.

I've always been a fan of Bill James, who was an outsider for 20 years.  As the Fallacy of Authority was able to keep out independent thinkers like James who prove the "experts" wrong (and in some cases, it still does), we're seeing smart people turn the Establishment on its head via the Rays franchise. Billy Beane, the subject of the book Moneyball, was the beginning, and now we see how winning can take place by bucking the trend and ignoring the Established Authorities, who for years have ridiculed people like Bill James and the number crunchers who run the Tampa Bay franchise.

Maybe some day one of the moneyed franchises will imitate the truly outside the box thinkers and not only win, but make money in a more efficient manner and more profitable result.  Surely if you enjoy baseball and enjoy watching the independent minded, watch the A's, Rays and Pirates this season.





Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sacred Number, by Richard Heath - Book Review

Intentionally or not, we are predisposed and taught that the Ancient World was a place of simplicity and ignorance.  The imagery is usually one of people so unfortunate as to live lives hand to mouth,  gathering fruits and berries, handling simple farming and doing little to no analysis of the world.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Sacred Number and The Origins of Civilization, The Unfolding of History through the Mystery of Number, by Richard Heath sends the above premise into the trash.  Think of measuring the following measurements of the Earth in the modern age, gotten via GPS and satellite tracking, in addition to using advanced math:  Equatorial Radius, Equatorial Circumference, Mean Radius, Mean Circumference, Meridian Circumference and Polar Radius.  All of these were measured by the ancient peoples of the earth, and were known thousands of years ago.  Not only did they know, but the accuracy of the measurements is astounding.  The LEAST accurate measurement by the ancients was the Meridian Circumference of the Earth, and it was 99.906% accurate to the modern measurement.  All of the others were closer, from 99.962% accurate (Mean Circumference), to 99.998% accurate (Mean Radius). (p.55) 

Stated further, not only was the Equatorial Bulge of the planet known, it was measured correctly by people who did not have modern methods, electricity, manned flight or rapid travel.  While reading I kept thinking of the Isaac Newton quote "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."  Perhaps these were the people about whom he spoke.

Sacred Number not only shows what these people knew, but how they represented their knowledge of the Earth and the Heavens.  The Great Pyramids of Egypt show the mathematical relationship of the Earth to the Moon, as well as serving as a solar calendar.



"Squaring the Circle", or having a circle with the same perimeter as the square (see above) inscribed by the mean Earth.  The Great Pyramid of Giza has the exact shape to demonstrate the 3:11 relationship of the Moon to Earth.  The difference between the perimeters of the two circles above (the perimeter of the Earth and the circle that passes through the center of the Moon) equals in length exactly the circle that is the Moon.  The Moon is exactly in this proportion to the mean Earth.  The Egyptians had figured this out thousands of years ago, and Heath goes further, noting that the difference in height between the uncapped pyramid and the capped pyramid is the ratio between the mean and polar radii of the Earth.

Sacred Number is more than simply letting on what the Ancients knew.  Heath's premise is a philosophical one.  The idea of God, God's works and the representation of God(s) can all be found in the monuments, temples and placement of these representations.  He gives a wonderful summation of this premise in the chapter called "Life, the Universe, and Everything".  The 'prehistoric' way was God and the Works of God, and it became, during the 'historic' era, The Idea of God and the Works of the Idea of God.  We know this now as the Word of God, or Logos, or scripture.

Sacred Number effectively shows the role of Number in nature, and the recognition of this knowledge by the Ancient People in the ancient monuments.  Heath is open about the lack of recognition by The Establishment of this knowledge, and in doing so, shows a genuine respect to the societies of yesteryear, as opposed to the trendy snark that passes for modern analysis.  The chapter "Ancient Theme Parks" is worth the price of the book, as you'll be amazed at the deft accuracy of monuments throughout the world and the celestial and solar relationships they mirror.  

This video, from Secrets is Plain Sight, got me interested in Ancient knowledge.  It is from the bibliography here that I learned about Sacred Number.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Mainstream Media Shills for The Power Elite - Where Do You Find Good Information?

There are increasing reasons for you to ignore the Mainstream Media (MSM - aka the 'Dead Tree Media', 'Legacy Media', Corporate Media).  The handling of major issues by the MSM has become worse since the advent of the World Wide Web.  It seems that the Statist Propaganda has gotten stupider while the level of crass superficial nonsense intended to incite conflict has increased commensurately.

Where the MSM routinely fails:

Conspiracy theories:  The Big Media scoffs at anything that goes against the state.  It's favorite ad hominem attack is to label all anti government information a 'conspiracy theory'.  As if people would never work together to achieve their own ends.  Despite the word 'conspiracy' all over the place in our legal code, the idea of smiling, wonderful, altruistic, weeping public servants working together, well, that's just impossible.  The MSM expect that you've never read anything other than your high school history textbook, because even a cursory perusal of history shows people working together (conspiring) all the time.  Its favorite whipping boy is the use of the term 'New World Order'. This, despite the fact that Fabian Socialist HG Wells wrote a book with that title, that former Pres. GHW Bush repeatedly used the term during his term, that heads of state are trying to force the idea of World Gov't down people's throats.  You can watch this term that is supposedly used only by "conspiracy theorists" here: (but remember - 'global governance' and the 'new world order' are only things that tinfoil hat wearing oddballs talk about).

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!



Hypocrisy - brazen and blatant:  The 'liberal press' is something of a misnomer.  A better term would be 'corporate press'.  As the American government seems completely on the take to the big corporations, as well as having consolidated itself (conspired?!) into only 6 huge companies, the idea that it is 'liberal' is really not true.  The gov't media complex has grown so powerful and rich, paying attention to massive corporations like NBC, or the NY Times, or MSNBC or FOX seems patently absurd.  It is somewhat sad to see the once proud American Left kowtow to corporate shills like the Times or its www version, the Daily Kos.  Unfortunately, the illusion of an impartial press still works, as the Tenth Amendment Centers's Shane Trejo points out: "However, the liberals at DailyKos are the contemptible, bootlicking, excuse-making cowards that have enabled Obama’s reign of terror. They’re the type of liberals who hated Guantanamo Bay when Bush was around, but are just fine with it now. They’re the type of liberals who hated illegal wars when Bush was around, but are vocal supporters of Obama’s humanitarian kinetic military actions in places like Syria and Libya. They’re the type of liberals who whined about Bush’s illegal snooping, but are A-OK with Obama’s even worse illegal snooping".  Apparently the people at Daily Kos haven't realized that their 'solidarity' with Occupy Wall St. should have included the Corporations that peddle Mainstream Media.

Create Distractions and Discord Among the People:  The Trayvon Martin affair, the Benghazi Affair, Drone attacks here and overseas, warrantless wiretapping, eternal war, big banks run amok courtesy of the Federal Reserve - - these and other issues are cloddishly turned into Left vs. Right or White vs. Black.  Had problems with what happened in Benghazi?  Well then you must be some right wingnut conservative.  How dare you question Hillary Clinton?  You disagree with the NSA spooks reading, watching, storing and listening to everything you do?  What are you some sort of commie liberal?

This is the sort of wholly artificial 'debate' that the MSM attempts to shoehorn the Electorate into.  Fortunately, there are some safety valves available for thinking people:

Zerohedge.com - - Known for its rabidly independent articles, 'Tyler Durden' posts mostly economic news, but includes current affairs and opinion.  The commenters are ferociously independent, and exceedingly funny at times.  Often I get more interesting information and links from the comments, all of it detrimental to the Power Elite.  Interestingly, the foul language is at a minimum.  It's great fun to watch someone (usually a sock puppet) wade into the comments section trying to gin up the fake Left vs. Right stuff, usually with a comment like "well if you constantly push Conservative policy" or "those Libs have ruined a great country!"  It never works and it's great theater watching them get obliterated.

Taki's Magazine - - "Politics, Cultural Caviar, Commerce", Taki's Magazine is an independent online clearinghouse for independent thought.  The old man running the show, Taki Theodoracopulos, is a well traveled writer and thinker who enters the comments section of his own site periodically.  The articles are for those who enjoy contrarian and independent thought, although the comments get bogged down with internecine feuds a little too often.

Lew Rockwell - - "The Best Read Libertarian Website in the World".  Anti-State, Anti-War, Pro-Market, Lew Rockwell's site is the bane of the Establishment.  Its partner, mises.org, confound mainline opinion and thought, mainly because of its anti war stance.  Rockwell and his writers have helped boost the Ron Paul revolution, as well as shown the Left how to actually be anti war.  If you needed a primer on what the libertarian / anarchist philosophy is all about, Rockwell's site is a great place to start.  The LRC blog is particularly good at keeping up with current affairs, as well as showing you that "it isn't Left vs. Right, it's the State vs. you".  I use the LRC blog whenever I want to try to wake up an indoctrinated young person.

Corbett Report - - "Open Source Intelligence News".  James Corbett does what every good journalist should do, provides documentation, analysis and logical thought to today's news.  He provides videos, podcasts and articles that show you all the bad things going on in the world that the MSM cannot because of their corporate puppet strings.  The amount of media is astonishing, and the secondary affiliates (Tragedy and Hope Communications, Global Research, Media Monarchy) provide further useful information.  What can one man do?  James Corbett shows you on his site.




Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Detroit is Bankrupt and the MSM Cannot Handle It

The largest municipal bankruptcy case in American history just happened.  The City of Detroit is bankrupt.  Eventually, facts and math catch up to the happy, statist, government public school drivel that is peddled today.  If you spend more than you take in, constantly tax the population, make promises of free stuff to parasites so they will vote for you - the working person and solid citizen will leave.  Normal people will take only so much before they'll say enough - even in today's America, which is addled by idiotic TV shows and prescription drugs.

The interesting thing in all of this is the Mainstream Media reaction.  Detroit is a city totally controlled by the Democratic party.  As the Mainstream Denialist press is not allowed to criticize Democrats, the blame came is particularly fascinating.  Jim Goad nails it here:

"MSNBC’s Liberal Denial Machine is blaming Republicans for the city’s downfall, despite the fact that Detroit hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1962 and there has been only one Republican on the Detroit City Council during the last four decades. Still, despite such uncomfortable facts, Melissa Harris-Perry blamed the city’s woes on small government and “what Republicans would impose on us.” The jowly sack of flatulence known as Ed Schultz blamed Detroit’s decline on “a lot of Republican policies."


Goad goes a little far by pinning much of the blame on demographics.  I think he's somewhat off base with that, but his grasp of how implausible and downright stupid the Dead Tree Media is is perfect.  I have the same thing in my district.  Where I work there are almost no white folks left, so 'white flight', an easy and sloppy concept to blame for the downfall of the schools can't be used.  Now it is 'bright flight' that is often blamed - although one of the higher ups stated last year that he was 'tired' of hearing it and it was no longer a problem.  This is wholly false, as our bright and well meaning families are running for the border, but facts are simply not to be considered.

Fred Reed explains why the Legacy Media is so out of touch, in an aptly named piece called "MicroBrew Journalism":

"But they (the MSM) have never worked night shift in a gas station on a lonely road in Tennessee, shopped at Walmart, been in the same room with a firearm much less hunted deer, or been more than twenty feet from a flush toilet. - - The dinosaur media lose out to the internet because they not only don´t want to but can´t deal with things that most stir the populace: race, wars, guns, abortion, separation of church and state, evolution, immigration. The velvet noose of political correctness ensures that only Appropriate Thought can be published. Those who deviate will be fired."

Only in a country where the educational system is imploding (see here for proof) could such idiotic nonsense actually pass muster and see the light of day.  I guess we're at the point where mainstream outlets are so hamstrung by political correctness and the mandate from their corporate overlords that they keep the American Masses sniping at each other that material like this comes out of a once proud fourth estate.  The Trayvon Martin tragedy is exhibit A, as they worked overtime to start a race war.  Too bad the MSM narrative was so far removed from reality (look at the trial transcripts vs. what the Media told you) that my feeling is that if it were 1993 instead of 2013 it would have worked: