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Monday, January 28, 2013

Internet Grappling

The fight for control of the Herd is a serious one.  I think the Superclass will lose.  Here's one of the reasons why.

There has been a battle of sorts going on for thousands of years.  The Elite (aka The Political Class, The Adepts, The Elect, The Powers That Be...) have been trying to maintain control over the masses in every way possible.  In ancient times it was a more rough process - show up with more firepower, enslave the native, and rule.  After a while there had to be a 'reason', and it was usually an economic or a religious one.  Sometimes there was a racial reason, as in 'white man's burden' or 'civilizing the heathen'.  As time has gone on it has become more difficult as the world gets smaller and the speed of information and exposure increases exponentially.  The reasons for control or regulation rarely stand up to scrutiny, and we are seeing some of them crumble before our eyes.

The last decade has seen the somewhat farcical concept of control dressed up as 'keeping you safe'.  Now this is a gov't that cannot do much of anything right, from finances, to education, to health care - thinking it can keep anyone or anything safe is absurd on its face.  The political left balked at this civil rights shredding 'protection' but they have been silenced with the election of one of their own.  Cloddish protocols at the airport attest to this phenomenon.  Blue-clad semi morons groping prospective passengers looking for 'terrorists' will leave the anthropologists of the future baffled.  This leaves the internet as an arena that lacks 'control'.

As the speed of information speeds up, and the proliferation of video expands, the Power Elite are constantly looking for ways to block or slow down the unregulated internet.  The latest power grab was the attempt at the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).  This act was Hollywood and their cronies taking a shot at control over web content under the auspices of 'piracy' and copyright infringement.  Kim Dotcom's site, Mega Upload was taken down unceremoniously, all in the name of stopping something 'bad'.

SOPA flopped as the word of the power grab spread.  Mega Upload was immensely trafficked, and its getting taken down was a public relations disaster.  Apparently, the legality of the maneuver was built on a foundation of sand as well.

Below, Kim Dotcom explains how the name of the game was power and control.  The administration was going to throw Hollywood (read: large donors) a bone with SOPA, and the big proof of the seriousness of it all was the takedown of Dotcom's site.  The problem is, now there is a new site, encrypted, that is legally and technologically near untouchable.  Every day the internet is up and running is a day of more information movement and the quicker spread of information.  This is a good sign for liberty.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Inalienable Rights

There seems to be a lot of chatter recently about "rights".  The Establishment Left, an odious creature, creates rights out of whole cloth, based on legislative ideas that have been pet projects of the Socialist World Controllers for centuries.  A "right to health care" is one of the latest shibboleths of the Establishment Left - seen in its push for 'Obamacare'.  Naturally, the Establishment Left got snookered by big corporate, as the main architect of the legislation was a big shot from Big Insurance / Big Bank.  They never seem to learn that their 'egalitarian' movement got co-opted during the Roosevelt administration.

Now, because of the recent reports of 'gun violence' (rhetorical framing intended to stifle debate) the Establishment Left has been pushing the theme of limiting rights, namely the second amendment. After pushing the idea of a dubious 'right',  it feels now that protection is a right that can be altered, changed, abolished and / or regulated.  As usual, they miss the fact that it is a central tenet of freedom, the ability to protect your private property.  For if you cannot protect it, someday it may not be yours.  The President of the US could make an edict tomorrow limiting or abolishing guns - it would be for nought. This is a natural right - the framers put it there at the last minute, they figured it was ridiculous to even put such material in print it was so obvious.  One does not have his rights because of any gov't edict - including the Bill of Rights.  A person has them because he is a person.

They can get away with such a thing ONLY because of the lifeless husk that is the American Public Education system.  Stating that one of the inalienable rights can be toyed with is pure folly.  The Bill of Rights are the rights that are inherent in human souls, the things that are non-negotiable.  These are the true human and natural rights of people.  Only the most simpering toady or the the scraping sycophant would think to limit basic rights.  Despite ones opinion on guns, it is not only dangerous, but wrong to try to limit a person self protection of his or her property.  I may not like things people say, but we see only cursory (and clumsy) 'free speech zones' intended to curtail free speech.  Political correctness was a spectacular attempt to limit free speech.  It has worked, to a point, but I think it's fading.  The ease with which these people seek to deny certain natural rights - but only the ones they personally don't like - is sad, strange and infuriating.  Why do people advocate for serfdom?

The previous generation would have scoffed at such a thing.  First of all, access to guns was easy - often through Sears catalogues and the like.  This made the specter of 'guns!' a non issue.   American children grew up with them, and they had hours in school teaching them about individual freedom, independent thought and classical education.  Much of this is gone now.  The Public Education system teaches little more than politically correct sound bites, obedience to authority, and empty sloganeering.  This toxic mix makes it necessary to start from the beginning.  Let's begin with the Declaration of Independence.  This is the 2nd paragraph.  Notice what it says about rights.  Analysis of this document should be the focus of the first week of U.S. History and Government class.  It's doubtful the average American has read it.  Read it closely and slowly.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mid Year Report 2013

Midterms

Normally this is not a topic worthy of mention, but this year, with these groups, it is.  I eschewed the classic midterm format long ago.  We all remember the classic midterm / final exam format.  Some multiple choice questions, followed by some reading comprehension, some vocabulary and then a composition or an essay.  As these tasks, all at the same time, were too much for the average American (although it used to not be this way) so exams were dumbed down and made shorter.  The usual 'midterm' at my school is usually a 25 question bunch of multiple choice questions about literature and / or literary terms.  This is followed by an essay - on a dull and unimaginative 'regents based' concept.

My exam is quite simple.  I give seven thematic / reason based questions that have to be answered in a minimum of a paragraph.  There will be ten questions in total and the student must choose seven.  Why no multiple choice?  Because life doesn't provide you with multiple choices at critical junctures.  The top schools don't use much (if any) multiple choice exams because those at the top realize they have no real world usefulness.

The students' reactions were eye opening.  Most were unaware that the exam had started.  Some were thinking that the questions were part of a 'review' and that the test would come the next day.  Even though I had announced in advance the start date of the exam, and I had labeled it thusly on the chalkboard (yes, chalk and slate is the order of the day in my place), and I had announced the beginning of the exam, there was chatter and bafflement at the exam itself.  It was as if it wasn't to be understood.  I even had a student, 20 minutes into class exclaim in surprise "This is the midterm?!"  It wasn't what was expected, it wasn't the norm, and it involved a lot of writing - active literacy.

Not Their Fault

My students are not inherently limited.  They've been taught to be that way.  They've been taught that there really isn't such thing as hard and fast truth.  Relativism rules the day.  Things are what you perceive them to be, and there isn't really any reason or logic to anything.  I routinely (and most public school teachers will tell you the same thing) have students ask me why they failed, and when I tell them they have missed many assignments they retort "but I do all of my work!"  This is the creation of reality on the fly - if the image exists in ones' mind, then it must be so in reality.  How can things not be what I perceive them to be?  Things just happen, and there is no reason for those things, they were just meant to be and they are 'right'.

We are witnessing this philosophic corruption every day.  We have an entity (the State) that has ravaged and disemboweled a once proud public educations system.  We say nothing and accept the "Core Curriculum" it has produced to solve the problems it has created.  The country witnessed a tragedy in CT, and the response is to track behavior through the health care system.  The story behind the tragedy, as presented by the media, is so full of holes that one can't help but suspect that the idea of "you must never let a crisis go to waste" is in full effect.  The cause and effect is ignored, as are discrepancies in the story, yet a "solution", one that doesn't at all fit the problem, is ready - as if it had been written in advance.

Cognitive Dissonance is defined as: "the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, esp. as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change."  This inability to reason, to use the trivium or any logic whatsoever is corrupting society.  We see this most prominently in our political process / dialogue, where there is no reason or analysis - just "my team must win at all costs" and the "other team is bad."  My student who walked out of my class because I "was saying bad things about Obama" is indicative, not of a young mind, but one that is incapable of sound, flexible, reasoned thought.

This podcast, by the folks at Tragedy and Hope Communications, is one of the best sources of this phenomenon.  How do you make an entire nation sick, stupid, broke and afraid?  How do you control the herd and eliminate reason and logic from their lives?  Most of the answers are here.  I found the information fascinating:


Monday, January 7, 2013

You're Crazy!

Two points:
1) Students and friends often ask where there is good, independent and reasonably thorough news that they can trust.  Because the Mainstream Media has completely taken a fall for the Consolidated Wealthy Corporate / Government Complex, there are some sites you should seriously consider.  One of them is the Corbett report.  Mr. Corbett runs his site via donations and sales.  There are no ads, no shills for agendas, and no nonsense.  The information would be ridiculed by Establishment Thinkers and Mainstream Press, which by definition makes it worthwhile.

2) Mr. Corbett had a podcast about 'conspiracy theorists'.  He brought up a great point about how, in order to malign someone, it is necessary to simply call them a 'conspiracy theorist' and ridicule them.  This is intended to stifle discussion and debate.  "Well, that is a conspiracy, and you're a conspiracy theorist, therefore the things you've said are not to be discussed".  This is still relevant today.  There are people in the public eye who would prefer to be called anything except a conspiracy theorist.  It has become the new "crazy".  In the old days, calling someone 'crazy' was a way to defeat them in the battle of ideas.  The new way is conspiracy theory via the internet.  This incites laughter among The Herd and is supposedly a debate stopper.

Corbett takes this absurd, and logically fallacious idea and crushes it in this podcast.  The quote of the podcast is near the end, when, after pointing out all of the things that Mr. Brzezinski says that qualify as 'conspiracy', he notes that one is not considered a 'conspiracy theorist' if one is one of the 'conspirators'. A priceless line and totally appropriate.  Watching the obsequious fawning of the MSM interviewers while listening to material that would qualify anyone else as a conspiracy theorist is particularly funny, and somewhat nauseating.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What's Happening

In School

We have (another) new initiative - this time from the State - a two fold bureaucratic monstrosity that involves hours of useless grading and paperwork.  None of the grading or paperwork will help a single student, nor will it affect positively the time I am able to spend with my students during the day.  Here's the system:

  1. We have to give a diagnostic exam in the Fall, and then another follow up exam in the Spring.  
  2. The SLO, (student learning objective) will be written by the teacher predicting how much better the students will do on the exam in the Spring than they did in the Fall.
  3. The diagnostic exams are simple re-hashed state exams with little to no relevance to anything in the school world or the real world.
  4. Naturally, the grades were crushed during the grading of the Fall exams.  This ensures that the 'grades' for the Spring exams will be WAAYYY better than the Fall exams. 
  5. This will be touted as 'improvement' by the students and proof that the teachers are doing a great job.
Who loses? The students, as usual.  They lose days that could be going toward real information, and are instead inundated with more high stakes exams that do nothing but justify the jobs of highly paid bureaucrats in the state capital and in the district office.  Public education has become a dangerous farce.  The 'State', which has taken a once proud and effective public school system and run it off the rails, is now saying: "here's the new system, and trust us, this time it will work."  This is the crowd that, with the help of the NEA, destroyed whatever credibility they had with their education policies of the late 1960's and early 1970"s.  Here's the worst part.  Our new 'system' uses the Common Core Learning Standards.  This is the government's way of trying to fulfill the dream they've been having for the past 100 years - a one size fits all curriculum that will so totally dumb down the youth of America via a national standard.  As usual it is couched in verbiage like 'literacy' and 'standards' and other fancy eduspeak.  Nowhere will you hear about active literacy  and passive literacy, the trivium or the classic seven liberal arts.  Orwell would be proud, these state documents that dictate our 'system' are Newspeak to the core.  On a positive note, we all had a good laugh while going through the new state 'plan' - it is the little people, us, who understand the joke that all of this is.

Current Affairs 

The mainstream media is having a time with the 'fiscal cliff' chatter on the main networks and newspapers.  There is cognitive dissonance at its finest.  The government has created over $16 trillion in debt.  (The real number is much higher).  Now, it is expected to 'save' the financial straits of the country by - - spending more and cutting nothing.  The US gov't spend $10 billion a day, yet the politicians are bickering about tax levels and the inability to cut anything, at any time.  The problem is spending, yet spending cuts never seem to happen.  The only solution, possibly, is the day of reckoning when the well runs dry, and the government checks bounce, or the dollars are worthless due to reckless money printing by the FED.  The American people are half of the problem, as the huge majority of incumbent representatives were reelected in the House and the Senate - no changes made there.  There is an old quote about democracy - that it is the type of government where the people get the government they deserve.  Well, with the dumbing down of the American electorate, and the resulting charade that is the political scene, that quote seems more appropriate than ever.