Friday, April 24, 2015

“Sustainability” — Higher Education’s New Fundamentalism

Posted by Jack Kerwick @ FrontpageMagazine.com 

The National Association of Scholars (NAS) is an academic organization devoted to resisting the politicization of higher education that has infected colleges and universities throughout the Western world.

Recently, it released an exhaustive report on but another ideological fetish to have taken academia by storm: the “sustainability” movement.

In “Sustainability: Higher Education’s New Fundamentalism,” authors Peter Wood and Rachelle Peterson caution readers against being misled by the innocuous euphemism of the movement’s moniker. It is by design that the language of “sustainability” invokes in the average person’s mind pleasant associations with responsible stewardship of the “environment.”

But the “sustainability” movement is much more—and much more ominous—than this.

In essence, it “marks out a new and larger ideological territory in which curtailing economic, political, and intellectual liberty is the price that must be paid now to ensure the welfare of future generations.”

The NAS report elaborates:

“As an ideology, sustainability takes aim at economic and political liberty. Sustainability pictures economic liberty as a combination of strip mining, industrial waste, and rampant pollution. It pictures political liberty as people voting to enjoy the present, heedless of what it will cost future generations.”

What this means is that the proponents of “sustainability” envision as an “alternative to economic liberty…a regime of far-reaching regulation that controls virtually every aspect of energy, industry, personal consumption, waste, food, and transportation.” And their “alternative to political liberty is control vested in agencies and panels run by experts insulated from elections or other expressions of popular will.”

The zealotry of the “sustainability” ideologue, then, is not unlike that of any other inasmuch as it is antithetical to liberty. However, the NAS report is painfully clear that the “sustainability” ideologue has been remarkably successful in making his utopian fantasy into a real world dystopia for most of the Western world.

While the NAS report focuses on “the new fundamentalism” of higher education, its authors note from the outset that no one should be deluded into thinking that this phenomenon is confined to the Ivory Tower. This, in fact, is far from the case. “The movement, of course, extends well beyond the college campus. It affects party politics, government bureaucracy, the energy industry, Hollywood, schools, and consumers.”

Still, it is worth turning to the relationship between “sustainability” and higher education, for “the college campus is where the movement gets its voice of authority, and where it molds the views and commands the attention of young people.”

Both intellectually and financially, the harm that the ideology of sustainability has visited upon academia can’t be overestimated.

Intellectually, students have been deprived of the freedom to genuinely think through a topic that, contrary to what “sustainability” zealots would have them believe, deserves to be debated: whole curricula have been restructured to immunize “sustainability” against criticism.

Hence, “sustainability” ideologues have insured that education will give way to indoctrination.

Although its advocates have tried convincing college and university administrators otherwise, “sustainability” has been no less ruinous on the economic front: American institutions of higher learning “spend more than $3.4 billion per year pursuing their dreams of ‘sustainability’ [.]”

Clearly, this harms no one as much as it harms students, for these billions of dollars of expenditures come “at a time when college tuitions are soaring and 7.5 percent of recent college graduates are unemployed and another 46 percent are underemployed.”

At the same time, “sustainability” ideologues in ever-growing numbers are demanding that “colleges and universities divest their holdings in carbon-based energy companies without regard to forgone income or growth in their endowments.”

The relentlessness with which students are brainwashed into accepting the claims of the sustainability movement is rivaled only by the extent to which they are brainwashed.

Students “sign sustainability pledges, learn about sustainability during orientation, absorb sustainability in their courses, take mandatory sustainability training in residence life programs,” and “are barraged by paid student peers (‘eco-reps’) who ask them to alter their behavior [.]”

As a consequence, students are taught to view “the norm for responsible, virtuous human life and political citizenship” in terms of “strict environmentalism, social experimentation, and a managed anti-free-market economic approach [.]”

So, in summary, there are, then, five ways in which the “sustainability” movement is undercutting liberal learning on college campuses.

First, ideologues preempt debate by way of “blatant appeals to authority,” i.e. bogus claims that there is a “consensus” among scientists that favors the position of the true believers.

Second, “sustainability” is now dogma. Hence, it essentially compels both teaching and research to conform to its dictates. Education recedes before indoctrination.

Third, the orthodoxy of “sustainability” requires an aggressive psychological “reprogramming” of students so that they will be always “attuned to the special demands of the ideology.”

Fourth, “sustainability” threatens the traditional ideals of a liberal arts education insofar as it marginalizes, if it doesn’t altogether reject, these ideals. For instance, “many colleges are embracing something called ‘the environmental humanities,’ which pushes aside the traditional humanities curriculum.”

In other words, nothing less than the intellectual and spiritual heritage of Western civilization is threatened by “sustainability.”

Finally, the ideology of “sustainability” encourages students to waste their resources in time and energy engaged in “pointless battles” when they could have been learning how to exercise responsible, meaningful citizenship.

The National Association of Scholars deserves to be commended for their service. This fine organization of academics has made it plain that neither higher learning nor the rest of Western civilization can sustain the “sustainability” movement.

The Free Market is Not a Suicide Pact

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog

Immigration has become the third rail of American politics.  At a time when the labor force participation rate has fallen to 62 percent and the employment growth for the last 15 years has gone to immigrants, opposing the Super-Amnesty of 12 million illegal aliens is still considered an extreme position… in the Republican Party.

So when Scott Walker merely suggested that Congress should make immigration decisions based on “protecting American workers and American wages”, he was denounced for it by… Republicans.

Walker’s belief that immigration should be based on “our economic situation”, rather than an ideological mandate for open borders, has become an “extreme right” position. And yet this scary “extreme” position that foreign workers shouldn’t be brought in to displace American workers is part of our immigration law. It’s just one of those “extreme” parts that, like the illegality of crossing the border, is being ignored. It’s not just being ignored by Obama. It’s also being ignored by the Republican Party.

Scott Walker’s common sense immigration populism was met with two sets of attacks. The first set came from senators like McCain and Portman playing the old song about all those “jobs Americans won’t do.” (Not that they’re given the chance to do them.) Senator Hatch claimed that, “We know that when we graduate PhDs and master’s degrees and engineers, we don’t have enough of any of those.”

America has no shortage of engineers. Companies aren’t bringing in Third World engineers on H-1B visas because of a shortage, but because they want to fire their American workers and replace them with cheaper foreigners. American IT workers are forced to train their H-1B replacements before being fired.

And that’s when the free market argument kicks in.

Walker was denounced for betraying “free market principles” and for “immigration protectionism”. But if lowering the rate of one million immigrants already arriving each year while Americans can’t find jobs is a violation of free market principles, then why have any limitations on immigration at all?

A poll showed that 13% of the world’s adults or 150 million people would move to the United States if they were allowed to. If 1 million immigrants can’t fill all those jobs that Americans won’t do, let’s try 150 million immigrants.

It would be a violation of free market principles to prevent the 37% of Liberians (genocide in the 80s and 90s), 26% of Dominicans (their last reported unemployment rate in the US was double that of Americans) and 24% of Haitians (Cholera, 14% of the country’s households had a rape in two years) from moving to your town or your city.

Just think of all the cholera, unemployment, rape, welfare and genocide that could be enriching the fabric of our country and your neighborhood right now if it weren’t for all that pesky protectionism.

Clearly we do believe in some form of protectionism. Even Obama hasn’t welcomed in a quarter of Haiti, yet, but the year is still young. The free market isn’t a top-down ideology whose principles require open borders and when it acts as a rigid ideology insisting that its pure application will lead to positive results while ignoring the problems, then it becomes no different than the ideological centrally planned economies destroying themselves.
 
If freedom is to mean anything, it has to mean the freedom of individuals, not of systems. Like Freedom of Speech or Freedom of Religion, the American free market is nothing if it is not the right of Americans to freely do business with each other.

That right unfortunately no longer exists. Americans are less free to do business in their own country than foreign countries are to dump subsidized products or surplus populations in the United States.

What does exist is a mantra of free trade that obligates the United States to accept products dumped from subsidized economies such as China and Japan in the name of free trade, to accede to the outsourcing of American jobs to foreign countries that aggressively develop and protect their industries and to the Third World immigrants displacing American workers to labor at extremely low wages while their real salaries are paid for by American workers in the form of food stamps and other social benefits.

None of this promotes free market principles. Instead free market principles are exploited to undermine our own free market. The right of Americans to freely trade is under attack from mass migration.

Not only are the new immigrants much more likely to vote to the left, but the mass destruction of American jobs is expanding the ranks of the poor who become much less likely to vote Republican.

In the last presidential election, the under $30K group was a wall of Obama voters. This group is twice as likely to identify as Democrat rather than Republican. It’s had the sharpest drop off in Republican identification. In Pennsylvania, Bush won 39% of these voters while Romney took 24% of their votes.

Does electing Democrats promote free market principles? Does reshaping the electorate so that a Republican in the White House becomes an impossible phenomenon serve free trade?

Free market principles, like any others, must be reducible to the individual. Can importing millions of people who reject free market principles individually be in accordance with free market principles?

Only collectively, and collectivist free market principles are a contradiction in terms and a suicide pact. This collectivist version of free market principles destroys our ability to implement any form of free market in the future. The perversion comes from viewing the free market as an abstract idea expressed through our entanglement in a global network. The free market isn’t a global policy. It’s how we live. It’s our freedom to engage in commerce as we choose. It exists only as long as we are free. Scott Walker hasn’t abandoned free market principles. His critics have.

True free market principles derive from the individual, not from national policies that import millions who collectively reject those principles. Protecting American workers who believe in the free market also protects a free market which, along with our other freedoms, would cease to exist without them.

Freedom is a covenant that comes with rights and responsibilities. Our fundamental responsibility to any freedom is to support and protect it. Those who reject a freedom should not be able to benefit from it.

Europe is in a state of growing civil war with Muslim immigrants because European leaders refused to understand that extending rights to those who do not accept them and do not reciprocate creates rights without responsibilities. A right extended to those who reject it is a failed effort at appeasement.

Freedom isn’t global, it’s local. It does not come from policies, it comes from people. It can’t be implemented internationally by creating hollow organizations and pretending that its member nations are free. International organizations of the left, such as the UN, have already proven it through their failures, but international economic organizations, such as the WTO, have proven it as well.

We can sacrifice the American free market to a non-existent global free market, or we can protect the American free market while letting it serve as a model of domestic economic freedom for other nations.

Immigration has an important place in American life, but it can never become more important than American life. It is not an unlimited good and its implementation must flow from what is best for Americans, not from warping the freedoms that we believe in until they become an abstract ideology that destroys the people who practice them.

Scott Walker is not betraying free market principles when he contends that immigration should be based around the needs of Americans, he is practicing and protecting them.

Senator McCain warned that anything but open borders will end all hope of Republicans winning the Latino vote. Republicans won’t win the Latino vote by recreating the conditions of cheap labor and cheap votes that made Mexico what it is, but through an economy where workers have the opportunity to earn a dependable living so that they don’t turn to the left for their economic salvation.

Our economy should not be a machine for importing cheap votes and cheap labor, because cheap labor feeds even cheaper votes. Republican senators trying to help their donors fill those “jobs Americans won’t do” are turning red states blue. They’ve already cost the Republican Party, California. Now they’re working on the rest of the West.

Republicans who are still uncertain should ask themselves who has a better vision for the future of the party; Scott Walker or John McCain.
 

Consciously Sidelining Ourselves

Erick Erickson | Apr 24, 2015

Though Wal-Mart remains fixed in the American conscience as Sam Walton's business, it is less and less that. Walton was folksy and relatable to the Americans who shopped at Wal-Mart. Everyone could imagine Sam Walton shopping there, too. But over the years, Wal-Mart's management has passed out of the direct hands of Walton's family.

A few of the Walton clan remain on the Wal-Mart board of directors, but now its board also includes Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo!, and Kevin Systrom, the CEO of Instagram. One would be hard pressed to imagine either as regular shoppers at Wal-Mart. For that matter, former counselor to President George W. Bush, Dan Bartlett, is now the executive vice president of corporate affairs for Wal-Mart. It may be hard to imagine many of Wal-Mart's executive leaders being regular shoppers at Wal-Mart.....To Read More.....

My Take - First - I hate shopping, but I stopped shopping at Wal-Mart the minute they came out in favor of all things "green" and "organic" produce. They've done nothing to make me change my mind since. These companies that make all these Corporate Social Responsibility mewing sounds trying to appease those who hate them and all they stand for make me gag. There's one thing to take heart to about Wal-Mart. They are now what Sears was fifty years ago.  Someone else will be what Wal-Mart is today....but hopefully not as corporate collaborators with those who hate and despise capitalism and individual freedom and responsibility.

12 Questions Obama's Science Advisor Refuses To Answer

Alex Epstein
 
Several months ago John Holdren, President Obama’s chief science advisor, offered to answer the public’s questions, particularly about the science behind the administration’s call to make the vast majority of fossil fuel use illegal over the next several decades. From the Press Release:

Dr. John P. Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, wants to answer any questions that you have about climate change — what it means, how bad it actually is, and what we can do to fight it.

I was glad to see this. John Holdren and other climate catastrophists—those who believe not in some man-made climate impact but catastrophic climate impact that justifies fossil fuel famine—certainly have a lot of questions they need to answer. As I document in The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, they’ve been making breathtakingly bogus predictions of catastrophe for over 30 years. In 1985 Holdren predicted a billion deaths from climate-related famine by the end of this decade. Since then, famine has plummeted and billions have longer life expectancy thanks to fossil fuel-powered industrialization and agriculture.

So I like many others submitted questions on Twitter, following the White House’s instructions to tag them#AskDrH. (I guess the title is supposed to turn Holdren from doomsday Luddite who demanded we embark on a ‘massive campaign’ to ‘de-develop the United States,’ into Dr. H the accessible oracle.)

But Dr. H has not answered any of our questions. Instead, he continues to use his position to make statements like this one on Letterman: .....To Read More....

Observations From the Back Row


Hillary summoned to May 18 public hearing - A House investigatory panel has summoned Hillary Clinton to testify at a May 18 public hearing about her use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state, and a second public hearing one month later, on June 18, to grill Clinton about Benghazi.....


Hillary's Vietnam - Headless bodies lie in the sand. Above those corpses stand the black-clad minions of ISIS, outlined against the coastline of Libya. This is the second video in three months depicting Islamic terrorists cutting the heads off of Christian captives.  Bodies float in the Mediterranean Sea, face down. Twelve Christian bodies, thrown from a rubber boat by 15 Muslims. Their launch point: Libya…..

To Protect Religious Freedom, Republicans Attempt Historic Move Against D.C. - A powerful congressional committee passed a measure to kill one of two controversial pieces of legislation from taking effect in the District of Columbia….

What You Need to Know About Gay Marriage and the Supreme Court - Whatever people may think about marriage as a policy matter, everyone should be able to recognize the Constitution does not settle this question…..

Rep. Steve King Announces Bill to 'Restrain the Judges on Marriage'– Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has introduced a bill that would block the federal courts, including the U.S Supreme Court, from hearing or deciding cases involving the definition of marriage…..

House Conservatives Want More Power Over Iran Nuclear Deal - House conservatives expressed skepticism over a bipartisan Senate plan for Congress to review a nuclear deal with Iran, fearing the measure would give lawmakers little power to actually stop an agreement they don't like…..

Obama Puts Heat On India Over Climate Commitments

Benny Peiser's Global Warming Policy Foundation Reports That
India Wants No Climate Deal Without Western Climate Finance

Contrary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent observation that India was under “no pressure” for climate commitments, a US envoy said on Monday that India is being “closely watched” for its contribution to climate change. US envoy Richard Verma said the country was being “closely watched” for its intended contribution towards the global response to climate change. “I don’t think it’s an understatement to say the world is watching very closely what India will do,” he said. --The Times of India, 20 April 2015
 

The developed world would have to "walk the talk" on climate change and provide a green climate fund to the developing world, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has said, ahead of a crucial UN meet on the issue in Paris later this year.  "Prime Minster (Narendra Modi) has put up an ambitious target of generating 175,000 megawatts of renewable energy. That is a huge contribution of India, because it will save 350 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year and would require 150 billion of investment. So the developed world would also have to put their best foot forward,” he said. --Press Trust of India, 20 April 2015

Ahead of the UN climate talks in Paris later this year, the US today said there is no divide between developed and developing nations on the issue of climate change and emphasised the need to work together to confront challenges of global warming. US Ambassador to India Richard R Verma said: “I think we are moving out and we need to move out of early 1990s world, which was divided into two camps. We are not in two camps anymore.” --The Indian Tribune, 21 April 2015

President Obama said, “Today, there is no greater threat to our planet than climate change.” I say “incredibly” because that just isn’t true – and if President Obama really believes it is, then it is time to panic. Given the state of the world and the urgent problems facing us that directly affect our prospects for peace and prosperity, global warming shouldn’t even be in the top five on the list of problems our president should be worrying about. President Obama is living in a world of denial. He uses global warming as a distraction to dodge the real problems we face and avoid critiques of his performance. --Ed Rogers, The Washington Post, 20 April 2015

This is Earth Day’s 45th anniversary and it’s also – according to Earth Day Network’s somewhat optimistic website – “the year in which world leaders finally pass a binding climate treaty” and “the year in which citizens and organizations divest from fossil fuels and put their money into renewable energy solutions.” To which there is only one sensible answer and it consists of three words: Ain’t. Gonna. Happen. There will be no “binding climate treaty” at the UN climate summit in Paris this year because there has been no ‘global warming’ for 220 months. As the Global Warming Policy Forum’s Benny Peiser notes, this “temperature pause” will lead to a “policy pause.” --James Delingpole, Breitbart News, 22 April 2015

Anyone interested in climate change will have noticed the numerous headlines proclaiming March 2015 to be the warmest month ever and the first three months of 2015 to have broken the record for the warmest start to any year on record.
This year has undoubtedly started off warm, but the claim that it is unprecedented and an obvious example of global warming can only be justified by ignoring contradictory evidence, as many journalists and scientists did. --David Whitehouse,
Global Warming Policy Forum, 21 April 2015

Preliminary forecasts from universities in the UK and the US all point to the Atlantic having below average storm activity this year, with some forecasts suggesting there could be near-record breaking low activity. These early forecasts suggest tropical storm and hurricane activity will be around half of the long-term average and if they are true, 2015 could be the quietest hurricane season for over 30 years. --Chris Burton, The Weather Network, 20 April 2015


Former U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson tells the Wall Street Journals’s Simon Constable that climate change has become something of a “new religion” to such an extent that debating it is seen as blasphemy. He also sees an international treaty on carbon emissions as a “stupid thing. --The Wall Street Journal, 23 April 2015




18 spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970, expect more this year



In the May 2000 issue of Reason Magazine, award-winning science correspondent Ronald Bailey wrote an excellent article titled “Earth Day, Then and Now” to provide some historical perspective on the 30th anniversary of Earth Day. In that article, Bailey noted that around the time of the first Earth Day, and in the years following, there was a “torrent of apocalyptic predictions” and many of those predictions were featured in his Reason article. Well, it’s now the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, and a good time to ask the question again that Bailey asked 15 years ago: How accurate were the predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970? The answer: “The prophets of doom were not simply wrong, but spectacularly wrong,” according to Bailey. Here are 18 examples of the spectacularly wrong predictions made around 1970 when the “green holy day” (aka Earth Day) started......To Read More.....

“Teachers Cannot Teach What They Do Not Know”

Posted by Mary Grabar @ City Journal
 
Sandra Stotsky’s primer for improving American educational standards
 
An Empty Curriculum: The Need to Reform Teacher Licensing Regulations and Tests, by Sandra Stotsky (Rowman & Littlefield, 160 pp., $24)
 
How bad is teacher education today? Consider: all states require that teachers be college graduates, but prospective teachers are passing licensure exams with skills and knowledge ranging from the seventh- to tenth-grade levels. Perhaps this shouldn’t surprise us, as colleges of education draw from the bottom two-thirds of graduating classes (and for those planning to teach at the elementary levels, it’s the bottom one-third). Much time in such schools is wasted on fashionable, politically tendentious, but ineffective pedagogy. Think Bill Ayers and Paulo Freire, among the most frequently assigned authors in education courses. Think elementary-education professors specializing in such things as gender identity and postcolonialism.

In her new book, An Empty Curriculum: The Need to Reform Teacher Licensing Regulations and Tests, Sandra Stotsky, professor emerita of education at the University of Arkansas, offers a tested model of teacher knowledge, explains why it’s not being used, and describes strategies for overcoming the education establishment’s resistance. Stotsky’s credentials for this task are impressive: in her role as senior associate commissioner at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education from 1999 to 2003, she oversaw complete revisions of the state’s pre-K-12 standards as well as its teacher-licensure standards. Until these standards were replaced by the Common Core in 2010, Massachusetts ranked first among the states in educational achievement.

An entrenched education bureaucracy remains a formidable obstacle to meaningful educational reform, particularly in the area of standards. Many state education commissioners and staff “are influenced,” Stotsky says, “by the education schools they attended, teacher unions, school administrators’ needs, the interests of professional education organizations, and the pressure of political groups (especially think tanks, institutes, and policy-oriented organizations that claim expertise on educational matters).” Testing companies, educational entrepreneurs, diversity advocates, accreditation agencies, and political ideologues also have a vested interest in keeping standards low. Teacher-licensure tests, intended to protect children from incompetent teachers, set low passing requirements in order to protect teacher-preparation institutions, most of which, Stotsky points out, enjoy taxpayer funding.

Stotsky reminds readers how rigorous America’s education standards used to be. She cites a Michigan teacher-licensing exam in history from 1900, in which sample essay questions asked future grammar school teachers to, for example, “describe Ireland during the reign of Elizabeth” or “briefly state the result and effect of the Battle of Waterloo, naming the leading general.” States relaxed standards after a post-World War II teacher shortage, however, and relaxed them further after job options expanded for women, and further still after the court challenges of racial discrimination in the 1970s. Additionally, political correctness has corrupted subjects ranging from English and European languages to music and literature.

Stotsky calls on legislators and their constituents to revamp the system. To ensure teacher competency, she proposes raising college-admission standards and abolishing credits for undergraduate education coursework, replacing it with four years of academic coursework for core-subject teachers. Educationally high-achieving countries, such as Finland, South Korea, and Singapore, already take such measures. Extensive studies show that a teacher’s subject-matter knowledge is the best predictor of a student’s achievement, in line with the common-sense notion that “teachers cannot teach what they do not know,” as Stotsky puts it. Graduate-level coursework and professional-development courses should also be in the teacher’s subject areas: coursework for an M.S. or M.A. degree is far more intellectually demanding than for a M.Ed. degree. Stotsky also suggests requiring that directors, department heads, and curriculum specialists at the 5-12 grade level hold a master’s degree in their core subject and at least 18 credits of advanced graduate studies in one of the core academic subjects they supervise.

Such practical measures, however, aren’t in vogue. Much of the rhetoric surrounding the 2009 Race to the Top contest for federal stimulus funds focused on improving teacher quality, but the methods for measuring such quality can be dubious—including having students, beginning as early as kindergarten, evaluate their teachers. Georgia’s eight-year-olds assess teachers on such criteria as “my teacher cares about my learning” and “my teacher shows me how I can use what I learn at home and in the community.” The state then ties teacher bonuses to such ratings.

Stotsky’s compact and data-filled book should serve as a useful resource for pushing back against failed education policies and the bureaucrats who defend them.

Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism, Even in Kids at Higher Risk


"We are able to look at the vaccines and show there is no association with autism"

Alice Park@aliceparkny April 21, 2015

In the latest study on the vaccines, researchers find even more evidence that childhood immunizations aren’t linked to autism.
In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a group led by Dr. Anjali Jain of the Lewin Group, a health care consulting organization, found that brothers and sisters of children with autism were not at any higher risk of developing the disorder if they were vaccinated compared with brothers and sisters of those without autism.
Numerous studies have found an increased risk of autism among those with older siblings with the condition, and some parents who believe that their older child’s autism is connected to vaccinations, specifically the MMR vaccine, have been reluctant to immunize their younger children. Indeed, Jain found that vaccination rates among siblings of autistic children were lower, at about 86% at 5 years, compared with 92% among those without autistic brothers or sisters.But among the 95,000 children with older siblings included in the study, children who received the MMR and had autistic older siblings were no more likely to develop autism than children who were vaccinated and didn’t have any autistic older siblings. In fact, the relative risk of autism among those with older autistic brothers or sisters was lower if they were vaccinated compared with those who were not vaccinated......To Read More....

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Wisconsin’s shame: “I thought it was a home invasion”

David French

Why were the police at Anne’s home? She had no answers. The police were treating them the way they’d seen police treat drug dealers on television.  In fact, TV or movies were their only points of reference, because they weren’t criminals. They were law-abiding. They didn’t buy or sell drugs. They weren’t violent. They weren’t a danger to anyone. Yet there were cops — surrounding their house on the outside, swarming the house on the inside. They even taunted the family as if they were mere “perps.”  As if the home invasion, the appropriation of private property, and the verbal abuse weren’t enough, next came ominous warnings.

Don’t call your lawyer.

Don’t tell anyone about this raid.

Not even your mother, your father, or your closest friends. Sitting there shocked and terrified, this citizen — who is still too intimidated to speak on the record — kept thinking, “Is this America?”.... For select conservative families across five counties, this was the terrifying moment — the moment they felt at the mercy of a truly malevolent state. Speaking both on and off the record, targets reflected on how many layers of Wisconsin government failed their fundamental constitutional dutiesthe prosecutors who launched the rogue investigations, the judge who gave the abuse judicial sanction, investigators who chose to taunt and intimidate during the raids, and those police who ultimately approved and executed aggressive search tactics on law-abiding, peaceful citizens......To Read More......

Who Can Count the Dust of Jacob

Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog 7 Comments

"Who can count the dust of Jacob or number the seed of Israel." Numbers 23:10
The sun sets above the hills. The siren cries out and on the busy highways that wend among the hills,
the traffic stops, the people stop, and a moment of silence comes to a noisy country.

Flags fly at half mast, the torch of remembrance is lit, memorial candles are held in shaking hands and the country's own version of the Flanders Field poppy, the Red Everlasting daisy, dubbed Blood of the Maccabees, adorns lapels. And so begins the Yom Hazikaron, Heroes Remembrance Day, the day of remembrance for fallen soldiers and victims of terror-- Israel's Memorial Day.

What is a memorial day in a country that has always known war and where remembrance means adding the toll of one year's dead and wounded to the scales of history. A country where war never ends, where the sirens may pause but never stop, where each generation grows up knowing that they will have to fight or flee. To stand watch or run away. It is not so much the past that is remembered on this day, but the present and the future. The stillness, a breath in the warm air, before setting out to climb the slopes of tomorrow.

Who can count the dust of Jacob. And yet each memorial day we count the dust. The dust that is a fraction of those who have fallen defending the land for thousands of years. Flesh wears out, blood falls to the earth where the red daisies grow, and bone turns to dust. The dust blows across the graves of soldiers and prophets, the tombs of priests hidden behind brush, the caverns where forefathers rest in sacred silence, laid to rest by their sons, who were laid to rest by their own sons, generations burying the past, standing guard over it, being driven away and returning each time.

On Memorial Day, the hands of memory are dipped in the dust raising it to the blue sky. A prayer, a whisper, a dream of peace. And the wind blows the candles out. War follows. And once again blood flows into the dust. A young lieutenant shading his eyes against the sun. An old man resting with his family on the beach. Children climbing into bed in a village on a hilltop. And more bodies are laid to rest in the dust. Until dust they become.

In this land, the Maker of Stars and Dust vowed to Abraham that his children would be as many as the dust of the earth and the stars of heaven. In their darkest days, they would be as the dust. But there is mercy in the numberless count of the dust. Mercy in not being able to make a full count of the fallen and remaining ignorant of that full measure of woe. Modern technologies permit us terrible estimates. Databanks store the names of millions; digital cemeteries of ghosts. But there is no counting the dust. And when we walk the length and breadth of the land, as the Maker told Abraham to do, it the dust that supports our feet, we walk in the dust of our ancestors.

Some new countries are built to escape from the past, but there is no escaping it in these ancient hills. IDF soldiers patrol over ground once contested by empires, tread over spearheads and the wheels of chariots buried deep in the earth. The Assyrians and the Babylonians came through here in all their glory. Greek and Roman soldiers and mercenaries pitted themselves against the handful of Judeans who came out of the Babylonian exile. The Ottoman and the Arab raged here, and Crusader battering rams and British Enfield rifles still echo in the quiet hills.

Here in the silence of remembrance the present is always the past and the sky hangs like a thin veil fluttering against the future. The believers cast their prayers out of their mouths against the veil. The soldiers cast their lives and their hearts. And still the future flutters above, like the sky near enough to touch, but out of reach. Beneath it, the sky-blue flag, the stripe of the believer's shawls adorned with the interlocked star of the House of David.

Can these bones live, the Lord asks Ezekiel. And generations, after each slaughter, they come again, the descendants of the dead to reclaim the hills of their ancestors. Rising like the red flowers out of the soil. Like the bones out of the earth. They come up as slaves out of Egypt and out of the captivity of empires, their tongues as numberless as the earth. Here they come again to set up kingdoms and nations. And there in shadows on the dust, a handful of men fight off a legion; swords, spears and rifles in hand they face down impossible odds. They fight and die, but they go on.

The calendar itself is a memorial. Israel's Memorial Day, Independence Day and Lag BaOmer; the commemoration of the original Yom Yerushalayim, the brief liberation of Jerusalem from the Romans, still covertly remembered in bonfires and bows shot into the air, all in a season that begins with Passover, the exodus that set over a million people off on a forty-year journey to return to the homeland of their forefathers.

The battles today are new, but they are also very old. The weapons are new, but the struggle is the same. Who will remain and who will be swept away. Some 3,000 years ago, Judge Jephthah and the King of Ammon were exchanging messages not too different from those being passed around as diplomatic communiques today. The King of Ammon demanding land for peace and the Judge laying out the Israeli case for the land in a message that the enemy would hardly trouble to read before going to war.

Take a stray path in these hills and you may find a grinning terrorist with a knife, or the young David pitting his slingshot against a lion or bear. This way the Maccabees rush ahead against the armies of a slave empire and this way a helicopter passes low overhead on the way to Gaza. Time is a fluid thing here. And what you remember; you shall find.

The soldier is not so sacred as he once was. The journalist and the judge have taken his place. The actors sneer from their theaters. The politicians gobble their free food and babble of peace. Musicians sing shrilly of flowers in gun barrels and doves everywhere. But the soldier still stands where he must. The borders have shrunk. The old victories have been exchanged for diplomatic defeats. From the old strongholds come missiles and rockets. And children hide in bomb shelters waiting for the worst to pass. This is the doing of the journalist and the judge, the politician and the actor, the lions of literature who send autographed copies of their books to imprisoned terrorists and the grandchildren of great men who hire themselves on in service to the enemy.

The man who serves is still sacred, but the temple of duty is desecrated more and more each year. Leftist academics dismiss the heroes of the past as myths or murderers. Their wives dress in black and harass soldiers at checkpoints, their children wrap their faces in Keffiyas and throw stones at them. Draft dodging, once a black mark of shame, has become a mark of pride among the left. Some boast about how easy it is, others enlist only to then refuse to serve. They call themselves Refusniks , accepting the Soviet view of Israel as an illegitimate warmongering state, but laying claim to the name of the Zionists who fought to escape the Soviet Union.

Some are only afraid, but some are filled with hate. They have looked into a twisted mirror and drunk of the poisoned wine. They have found their Inner Cain and go now to slay their brothers with words.

How shall I curse whom G-d has not cursed, asks Balaam. But the King of Moab is determined to have his curses anyway. And today it is to the UN that they come for curses. The Arab lands boil with blood, but resolution after resolution follows damning Israel. China squats on the mountains of Tibet, Russian government thugs throw dissidents out of windows and Saudi firefighters push girls back into a burning building. And still the resolutions come like curses.

In a land built on memory, it is possible not to remember, but it is impossible to entirely forget. A war of memories comes. A war for the dust. Is this a day of remembrance or a day of shame. Were those men who fought and died for Judea and Samaria, for the Golan and Jerusalem, for every square inch of land when the armies of Arab dictators came to push them into the sea, heroes or villains. Were Nasser, Hussein, Saddam, Arafat, Gaddafi, Assad and the House of Saud the real heroes all along. The tiny minority of 360 million pitted against the overwhelming majority of 6 million.

Yet though men may forget, the dust remembers. And the men return to it. For some four thousand years they have done it. And they shall do it again. For He who has made men of the dust and made worlds of the dust of stars does not forget. As the stars turn in whirling galaxies and the dust flies across the land, so the people return to the land. And though they forget, they remember again. For the dust is the memory of ages and the children shall always return to the dust of their ancestors.

In the cities, towns and villages-- the dead are remembered. Those who died with weapons in their hands and those who just died. Men, women and children. Drops of blood cast to the dust, reborn as flowers on lapels. Reborn as memory.

All go to one place, said King Solomon, all that lives is of the dust, and all returns to the dust. There is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his works. And so memorial day precedes the day of independence. That we rejoice in that which those who sleep in the dust have died to protect. The skyscrapers and the orchards, the sheep ranches and the highways, the schools and the synagogues. For they who drained the swamps and built the roads, who held guard over the air and built the cities, may not have lived to see their works. But we rejoice in their works for them. And a new generation rises to watch over their dust and tend the works that they have built. Until the day when He that counts the dust of Jacob shall count them all, and the land shall stir, and in the words of Daniel, they that sleep in dust shall arise, and then rejoice with us.

Daniel Greenfield is a New York City based writer and blogger and a Shillman Journalism Fellow of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

Why farmers buy GMO seeds from ‘evil’ corporations

Amanda Zaluckyj | April 20, 2015 | Geneticteracy Project

Around our home, spring is also known as planting season. Starting in a few weeks, and lasting a couple months, we will be planting full time. From early in the morning until late in the evening, our farmers will be in the field planting our corn and soybean crops. You can bet that those seeds are going to be genetically engineered varieties. Some of the seeds may even been varieties developed by Monsanto. Or Monsatan, according to its harshest critics.

 But what you may not realize is that’s exactly how we as farmers want it.

 Surprised? You shouldn’t be! Before farmers can plant their crop, they have to pick out their seeds. I’ve heard this criticism many times: farmers are either forced to choose genetically engineered seed by the big bad biotech companies, or we’re too stupid to make better choices. In other words, we aren’t making an informed and knowledgeable decision to cultivate genetically engineered crops; we’re being told we have to plant them………To Read More…..

My Take – I grew up on a small farm owned and run by my grandparents.  They made some money off the farm, but they primarily raised everything for home use.  My grandmother made all the fruit preserves, canned all the vegetables, made her own mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and I can’t even begin to tell all she was capable of doing.  And she never started school until the third grade, didn’t speak a word of English, didn’t go past grade school, and yet she learned to read and write English and became an American citizen – when you had to take a test to do so, and it was the same for my grandfather.  The problem with the old ones in our families is they die before we grow old enough to fully realize just how great they were.  

We raised chickens, pigs and a cow or two.  My grandmother made our own butter, cheeses, we had fresh milk and the best eggs you ever ate.  My grandfather worked the farm while working in the coal mines full time.  He was amazing, and he could do almost anything!   So it irritates me when I see these activists - who can’t do anything but shoot their mouths off about thing they know nothing about – telling the world farmers aren’t very smart.  A farmer has to be a mechanic, a plumber, a carpenter, an agronomist, an amateur veterinarian and a bit of a biologist.  All of which is usually self taught.  Sounds smart enough to me to believe they know how to make good decisions about GMOs yet they keep touting the idea farmeres are "too stupid to make better choices".   

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bonfire of Insanities: Solar Panels Start Fire at Green Party-Run Hove Town Hall

Editor's Note:  You gotta admit - this is too rich for words.

by Donna Rachel Edmunds
A large fire occurred yesterday at Hove Town Hall caused by a faulty solar panel on the roof of the building. No-one was hurt. Locals have been quick to take aim at the Green party with jibes over their record in office at Brighton and Hove city council, which owns the building.

The fire started in the early afternoon, sending up billowing clouds of thick black smoke which could be seen from miles around. Firemen were in attendance shortly after 1pm, and were able to extinguish the flames within the hour. George Dalmon, who was in Hove Town Hall at the time of the fire told the Brighton Argus: “There was big black smoke billowing out, it looks quite major. Everyone has been evacuated out of the building. Somebody said something about it being a solar panel.” A woman passer-by told reporters: “There’s lots of acrid smoke which is so bad that lots of passers-by are covering their mouths. The smoke seemed to be coming from the back of the building. You can see the smoke from at least half a mile away. It’s thick black smoke, it’s got to be quite a substantial fire.”...... O’Leary said that solar panels present numerous additional challenges to firefighters, with the result that buildings fitted with solar panels are sometimes left to simply burn out rather than be tackled in the event of a fire......To Read More.....

The Prison Called Cuba

Posted By Alan Caruba @ Warning Signs  

We are told we need to feel sympathy for the Cuban people who have suffered from a U.S. embargo and lack of diplomatic recognition. That ignores a long history of oppression in Cuba no matter who was in charge.

Prior to Fidel Castro, Cubans were in the grip of Flugencio Batista who overthrew the existing government in September 1933 and then dominated Cuban politics for the next 25 years until Castro’s revolutionary movement took control of the capitol in January 1959.

Fifty-six years ago in 1959, I was about to graduate from the University of Miami and among my friends were young Cubans sent there to get a degree. I have often wondered which among them returned to Cuba and which, like those who could afford it, were joined by their family who fled Cuba.

The U.S. had been involved with Cuba from the end of the Spanish-American War in 1898 when Spain ceded Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam for $20 million. We stayed in Cuba until it was granted independence in 1902 as the Republic of Cuba. Its first president faced an armed revolt in 1906 so we returned to briefly occupy Cuba to restore some stability, but they never really got the hand of being a democratic self-governing nation.

How much better it would have been for the Cubans if the U.S. had decided to make the island a territory like Puerto Rico. Then we could have let the island prosper without having to end up with becoming a Communist nation closely allied, first with the Soviet Union and after its collapse in 1991, with others like China and Venezuela.

The lesson we might be expected to draw from this is that Communism does not work. It is an utterly failed economic and social system that can only stay in power by jailing or executing anyone who resists. That is exactly what the brothers, Fidel and Raul Castro, have done since seizing power. One consistency of the past five decades has been the anti-America policies they have pursued.

The reason given by Obama was that U.S. policies toward Cuba “have not worked” and that it is time for a change. There is some truth in this and it should be noted that Canada has long had good relations with Cuba as have European and, of course, Latin and South American nations.

Even so, what are we to conclude from the report that Russia plans to join military drills with Cuba and North Korea that may also include Vietnam and Brazil? Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has left it sanctioned and isolated, so the military drills send a message that it still has nations friendly to it, but what nations!

Cuba was caught not long ago when it attempted to ship weapons to North Korea, so we are talking about two dedicated Communist nations. Over the years, it has more than demonstrated its anti-American hostility.

Generally, there is little to be gained by exchanging embassies or relieving Cuba. Lifting our embargo and other sanctions leaves the U.S. with even less leverage, if any.

What has been largely overlooked since Obama’s announcement is the fact that Cuba is still ruled by a Castro and is likely to remain so because Raul’s son, Alejandro Castro Espin, a colonel in Cuba’s intelligence apparatus is likely being groomed to take over after becoming a general and a member of the Communist Party Politburo, Cuba’s ruling body. As noted in an article in The Atlantic, it is the Cuban military not only that plays a major role in the Politburo, it also controls at least sixty percent of the island nation’s economy.

I have no doubt that reaching out to Cuba ranks just below reaching out to Iran as Obama contemplates his “legacy.” Both are notorious enemies of the U.S. Nor would it surprise me if Obama would try to unilaterally shut down Guantanamo. Failing that, he will do everything he can to empty it by the time he leaves office.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Cuba has had to struggle to survive economically. Its earlier behavior got it banned from the Organization of American States that was not lifted until 2009, but which did not confer full membership until it was deemed to be “in conformity with the practices, purposes, and principles of the OAS.” At the time, Fidel said he was not interested in joining.

Not much has changed in terms of the enmity the Castro brothers have expressed toward the U.S. but practical considerations to keep unrest among elements of Cuba’s population under control require them to ease some of the earlier control over being able to travel and likely who Cubans can do business with would improve whatever commerce will be permitted.

At this point, the only “winner” is Cuba.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Editor’s Note:  To really see just how vile Castro and his murderous myrmidons were and still are – Zone of Reality – Castro Notes. 

The Environmental Insane Asylum

Posted By Alan Caruba @ Warning Signs

Earth Day was declared in 1970 and for the past 45 years we have all been living in the Environmental Insane Asylum, being told over and over again to believe things that are the equivalent of Green hallucinations. Now the entire month of April has been declared Earth Month, but in truth not a day goes by when we are not assailed with the bold-faced lies that comprise environmentalism.

Around the globe, the worst part of this is that we are being victimized by people we are told to respect from the President of the United States to the Pope of the Catholic Church. Their environmentalism is pure socialism.

Organizations whom we expect to tell the truth keep telling us that “climate change is one of the biggest global security threats of the 21st century.” This was a recent statement by “world leaders” like the G7, a group of finance ministers and central bank governors of seven advanced economies, the International Monetary Fund, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States. On April 17 they adopted a report about the “threat” put together by think tanks that included the European Union Institute for Security Studies and the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

When I speak of “climate” I am referring to data gathered not just about decades, but centuries of the Earth’s cycles of warming and cooling. When I speak of “weather”, the closest any of us get to it other than today’s, are local predictions no longer than a few days’ time at best. The weather is in a constant state of flux.

Climate change is not a threat and most certainly there is no global warming. As Prof. Bob Carter, a geologist at James Cook College in Queensland, Australia, has written, “For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco.”

The fact that the Earth is now into the nineteenth year of a natural planetary cooling cycle seems to never be acknowledged or reported. “The problem here,” says Prof. Carter, “is not that of climate change per se, but rather that of the sophisticated scientific brainwashing that has been inflicted on the public, bureaucrats and politicians alike.”

In a book I recommend to everyone, “Climate for the Layman” by Anthony Bright-Paul, he draws on the best well-known science about the Earth noting that “Since there is no such thing as a temperature of the whole Earth all talk of global warming is simply illogical, ill thought out, and needs to be discarded for the sake of clarity. The globe is warming and cooling in different locations concurrently every minute of the day and night.”

“Since it is abundantly clear that there is no one temperature of the atmosphere all talk of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is simply an exercise in futility.” A look at the globe from either of its two poles to its equator and everything in between tells us with simple logic that being able to determine its “temperature” is impossible. The Earth, however, has gone through numerous warming and cooling cycles, all of which were the result of more or less solar radiation.

The Sun was and is the determining factor. The assertion that humans have any influence or impact that can determine whether the Earth is warmer or cooler is absurd.

The Earth had passed through warming and cooling cycles for billions of years before humans even existed, yet we are told that the generation of carbon dioxide through the use of machinery in manufacturing, transportation or any other use is causing the build-up of “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere. We are told to give up the use of coal, oil and natural gas. That is a definition of insanity!

Here’s the simple truth that most people are not told: The Sun warms the Earth and the Earth warms the atmosphere.

As for carbon dioxide, the amount generated by human activity represents a miniscule percentage of the 0.04% in the Earth’s atmosphere. There has been more carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere—well before humans existed—contributing to the growth of all manner of vegetation which in turn generated oxygen.

Without carbon dioxide there would be no life on Earth. It feeds the vegetation on which animal life depends directly and indirectly. As Anthony Bright-Paul says, “A slight increase in atmosphere of carbon dioxide will not and cannot produce any warming, but can be hugely beneficial to a green planet.”

The Earth’s atmosphere is approximately 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, 0.9% Argon, 0.04% Carbon Dioxide, and the rest is water vapor and trace gases in very small amounts. They interact to provide an environment in which life, animal and vegetable, exists on Earth.

When you live in a Global Environmental Insane Asylum, you are not likely to hear or read the truth, but you can arrive at it using simple logic. We know instinctively that humans do not control the waves of our huge oceans, nor the vast tectonic plates beneath our feet, the eruptions of volcanoes, the Jetstream, cloud formation, or any of the elements of the weather we experience, such as thunder, lightning, and other acts of Nature.

Why would we blindly assume or agree to the torrent of lies that humans are “causing” climate change? The answer is that on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, we will be deluged with the propaganda of countless organizations worldwide that we are, in fact, endangering a “fragile” planet Earth. We hear and read that every other day of the year as well.

The achievement of the human race and the last 5,000 years of so-called civilization is the way we have learned to adapt to Nature by creating habitats from villages to cities in which to survive and because we have devised a vast global agricultural and ranching system to feed seven billion of us.

As for the weather, John Christy, the director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama, says he cringes “when I hear overstated confidence from those who describe the projected evolution of global weather patterns over the next one hundred years, especially when I consider how difficult it is to accurately predict that system’s behavior over the next five days.”

“Mother Nature,” says Christy, “simply operates at a level of complexity that is, at this point, behind the mastery of mere mortals—such as scientists—and the tools available to us.”

Whether it is the President or the Pope, or the countless politicians and bureaucrats, along with multitudes of “environmental” organizations, as well as self-serving “scientists”, all aided by the media, a virtual Green Army has been deliberately deceiving and misleading the citizens of planet Earth for four and a half decades. It won’t stop any time soon, but it must before the charade of environmentalism leaves us all enslaved by the quest for political control over our lives that hides behind it.

We must escape the Environmental Insane Asylum in which they want us to live.

© Alan Caruba, 2015