Leaving religion for good 6

We dearly love an article we can enjoy examining critically. Best of all we like an opinion that we partly agree with and partly do not.

This article is by Star Parker, whose columns at Townhall on political issues we generally like. And here  again we have no quarrel with her political views. It is her conviction that religion is necessary and good that sparks our opposition.

A new Pew Research Center survey of opinion about the importance of religion in American life shows an interesting picture.

Over the last 12 years, the percentage of Americans that think religion is losing influence in American life has increased dramatically. In 2002, 52 percent of those surveyed said religion is losing influence. In 2014, 72 percent of Americans said religion is losing influence.

To us, of course, that’s good news.

However, while increasing numbers of Americans feel religion is losing influence, most feel this is a bad thing.

Fifty-six percent say that the waning influence of religion is a bad thing compared to 12 percent that say it is a good thing.

In a survey done by Pew in 2012, 58 percent of Americans said religion is “very important” and only 18 percent said it is not “too important” or “not important at all”.

This raises some interesting questions.

One clear one is why, when Americans think religion is very important, has the percentage of Americans who think religion is losing influence in American life increased almost 40 percent over the last 14 years?

Another one is what are the political implications? Certainly, in the Republican Party, there is an increasingly vocal libertarian leaning faction that sees religion as costly political baggage.

Yes – and that is one of the libertarian views with which we are in strong sympathy.

I attribute why almost three fourths of Americans feel that religion is losing influence in American life, while most feel this is a bad thing, to the law of unintended consequences.

She goes on to describe the disaster of welfare policies. We too think they have been – and continue to be – disastrous.

Many Americans have been unwittingly supporting policies for more than a half-century that they thought were good ideas and consistent with their values which have been neither. Now more Americans are beginning to appreciate the damage that has been done and how far the nation has strayed from their own sense of right and wrong.

Take the example of welfare.

When Aid to Families with Dependent Children program was dramatically expanded in the 1960s, it seemed morally correct for government to get more aggressive in the lives of the poor, particularly poor black women. … Massive increases of government in the lives of low-income black families were accompanied by a tripling of single parent households and out-of wedlock births, laying the groundwork for intergenerational poverty.

Right. Those have been and are the causes of “intergenerational poverty”.

But we omitted a sentence. It was this:

Who appreciated that the program would undermine the very religious, traditional values that keep families intact, essential for the work ethic that leads people out poverty?

It may well have been the case that Church-taught values contributed to a belief that children should be born to married parents. Many held that belief also because it is plainly best for children to be raised by a mother and a father. The principle is good whether endorsed or not by a religion.

We contend that it is because the state took over the responsibility of providing for children that men could so easily opt out of the traditional role of bread-winner to their families. It was government incursion into private life that did the damage to believers and non-believers alike. Their religion or lack of it had nothing to do with the “unintended consequences” of welfarism.

Now it’s happening in the whole country. As we’ve gotten more government telling Americans how to save for retirement, how to deal with their health care, how to educate their children – American families have been damaged and out-of-wedlock births have increased six-fold from 1960 to 42 percent today. Government has displaced family.

Right.

Some say today we have competing views about the role of government.

Conservatives and progressives do have different views about the role of government. That is not a matter of opinion, but a fact.

I would say we have competing views about what life is about.

Yes. We think life can be “about” anything that free individuals want to make it. Star Parker thinks that life was created, and the creator had a purpose, and that purpose, though impossible to define, is somehow helped along by this or that set of religious doctrines. About which set of doctrines in particular, there are “competing views” among the multitude of religions, each of which claims to teach “the truth”.

One view – a decidedly secular, materialistic view – sees no mystery in life.

We have a decidedly secular view – materialistic too in that we see the need to sustain our physical existence as well and as pleasantly as we possibly can. But we do not think there is no mystery.  On the contrary, we are aware that humankind knows very little. To learn more, to explore what we do not know about our universe and ourselves is the most exciting adventure of our conscious lives, and discovery is the engine of all progress.

Pretending to know that there is a purpose to life known only to a supernatural being who created it but chooses to keep his purpose secret, is to opt out of the great adventure.

The left wing version, which dominates the Democratic Party, says government can solve all of life’s problems.

Or most of them. And it’s a wrong and dangerous belief.

The hard-core libertarian version, found among some Republicans — says just leave everybody alone — you don’t bother me and I won’t bother you — and everything will work out for the best.

That is an absurd encapsulation of the libertarian view. No intelligent libertarian thinks that if people are left to make their own choices, if they are self-reliant, “everything will work out for the best”. Every individual will make his own successes and failures – and take responsibility for them. He knows that government cannot solve “all life’s problems” – and, what’s more, does a pretty poor job of solving the one problem it exists to solve: how best to protect liberty.

The other view maintains that you can’t have a free society that is not also a virtuous society.

A free society starts off with the virtue of being a free society. Freedom needs to be protected by law, and, if it is, crime will be punished, foreign enemies will be kept away, and the people can prosper. How good they are in their private lives remains forever dependent on individual character and choice.

It was what George Washington meant when he said in his farewell address that “of all the dispensations and habits that lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports”.

We are sorry we can only partially agree with George Washington on this. Morality, yes. Religion? What religion has a history that can withstand moral criticism? Some – Christianity and Islam in particular – have a history of carnage and cruelty. That Christianity preaches against both make its actual record all the worse.

It is my sense that more Americans are beginning to wake up to the unintended, damaging consequences of the often well-intended government policies they have been supporting for many years.

More Americans are beginning to appreciate that we can’t separate our fiscal and economic problems from our moral problems and that if we want to recapture our freedom and prosperity, we must recapture our virtue.

Certainly. But we won’t do that by returning into the mental darkness of religion. We can do it by limiting the powers of government and recovering the idea of liberty as the highest value. That is political and moral virtue.

Dirty tricks at Hillary Clinton’s State Department 2

An article by Sharyl Attkisson at the Daily Signal uncovers deep and shameless corruption in Hillary Clinton’s State Department.

It is a shocking story. If it is true – and it certainly rings true – it should not merely put Hillary Clinton out of the running for the presidency, but bring her reputation into such disrepute that the best thing she could do is retire permanently from public life. It should also launch a legal investigation if the Obama DOJ under Eric Holder were not equally corrupt.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, a chief officer in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, was one of the four totally innocent people “disciplined” for unspecified wrong-doing over the Benghazi attack. In other words, they were scapegoated, while those guilty of letting four Americans, including the Ambassador – the high representative of the United States of America – be murdered in Benghazi, have been exonerated by a white-washing Accountability Review Board (ARB).

It is Maxwell who reveals what happened.

His department “was charged with collecting emails and documents relevant to the Benghazi probe”.

On a certain week-end, “confidants” of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (how many is not told) gathered in a basement room where documents were stored, and separated some before handing over a batch to the ARB. 

“I was not invited to that after-hours endeavor, but I heard about it and decided to check it out on a Sunday afternoon,” Maxwell says.

When he arrived …  he observed boxes and stacks of documents. A State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. Though technically she worked for him, he hadn’t been consulted about her weekend assignment.

“She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light’.”

“Seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisors.

“I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Those are our orders’.”

A few minutes after he arrived, Maxwell says, in walked two high-ranking State Department officials.

They were two more of Hillary Clinton’s “confidants”: Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff and former White House counsel who defended President Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial; and Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan, who previously worked on Hillary Clinton’s and then Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns.

“When Cheryl saw me, she snapped, ‘Who are you?’” Maxwell says. “Jake explained, ‘That’s Ray Maxwell, an NEA Deputy Assistant Secretary. She conceded, ‘Well, OK’.”

The two Clinton “confidants” (“conspirators” would be a better word for them) “appeared to check in on the operation and soon left”.  

Maxwell “did not feel good” about what was going on, and walked out.

He views the after-hours operation he witnessed in the State Department basement as “an exercise in misdirection”.

In May 2013, when critics questioned the ARB’s investigation as not thorough enough, co-chairmen Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Adm. Mike Mullen responded that “we had unfettered access to everyone and everything including all the documentation we needed.” Maxwell says when he heard that statement, he couldn’t help but wonder if the ARB — perhaps unknowingly — had received from his bureau a scrubbed set of documents with the most damaging material missing.

“Perhaps unknowingly”? Maxwell put that in, but he does not have faith in the ARB.

Maxwell also criticizes the ARB as “anything but independent,” pointing to Mullen’s admission in congressional testimony that he called [Cheryl] Mills to give her inside advice after the ARB interviewed a potential congressional witness.

Smell a rat? The smell of a whole nest of rats is strong enough to bring the exterminators without a call to summon them.

Maxwell also criticizes the ARB for failing to interview key people at the White House, State Department and the CIA, including not only Clinton but Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides, who managed department resources in Libya; Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro; and White House National Security Council Director for Libya Ben Fishman.

Those three officials must have been suspected of being honest.

“The ARB inquiry was, at best, a shoddily executed attempt at damage control, both in Foggy Bottom and on Capitol Hill,” Maxwell says.

Maxwell “spent a year on paid administrative leave with no official charge ever levied against him”. He was eventually “cleared of wrong-doing” and reinstated. Soon after that he retired, in November 2013.

Several weeks after he was placed on leave with no formal accusations, Maxwell made an appointment to address his status with a State Department ombudsman.

“She told me, ‘You are taking this all too personally, Raymond. It is not about you’.”

But his reputation had been besmirched. He was being named by the media as a man who had contributed to the disaster of Benghazi.

“I told her that my name is on TV and I’m on administrative leave, it seems like it’s about me. Then she said, ‘You’re not harmed, you’re still getting paid. Don’t watch TV. Take your wife on a cruise. It’s not about you; it’s about Hillary and 2016′.”

The question now is: will the mainstream media report the story?

You don’t believe so? Neither do we.

Forward to the past 11

What does a conservative in the US most want to conserve? We would say: A commitment to liberty, the founding principle of his country. American conservatives may differ from each other on questions of religion, foreign affairs, entitlements and the economic “safety-net”, homosexual marriage and abortion, even on defense, but if they are not loyal to the Constitution and the idea of individual freedom that it enshrines, they are not true conservatives.

In Britain too, conservatives are dedicated to the defense of the traditional and hard-won liberties of the people.

In Russia, being a conservative means something different. The very opposite. What Russian conservatives want to conserve is their long and almost completely unbroken tradition of tyranny. The quarrel within their ranks would now, in post-Soviet times, be chiefly over whether they want a return to the Red Tyranny of Bolshevism, or the older tradition of Tsarist oppression, where cause for national pride may more confidently be found.

Owen Matthews, author of  Stalin’s Children, writes in the Spectator (UK) about a conservative Russian military leader:

Strange times throw up strange heroes — and in Russia’s proxy war with Ukraine, none is more enigmatic than the Donetsk rebel leader Igor Girkin, better known by his nom de guerre of Igor Strelkov.

In a few short months, Strelkov has gone from being an obscure military re-enactor to the highest-profile rebel leader in eastern Ukraine. But at the same time Strelkov’s fame and outspoken criticism of Vladimir Putin for failing to sufficiently support the rebels has earned him the enmity of the Kremlin. Moreover, Strelkov’s brand of sentimental ultra-nationalism, extreme Orthodoxy and Russian Imperial nostalgia offer a frightening glimpse into one of Russia’s possible futures.

In the West, we are used to seeing Putin cast as a dangerous adventurer and nationalist. But to Strelkov, and to the millions of Russians who have come to admire him, Putin isn’t nearly nationalist enough.

Within weeks of his arrival in eastern Ukraine in May this year, apparently on his own initiative, Strelkov quickly became the highest-profile rebel leader thanks to his discipline and military bearing. A veteran of wars in Bosnia, Transnistria and Chechnya, Strelkov is a reserve colonel in the Russian army and a former (and possibly current) officer in Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU. With his clipped moustache, pressed fatigues and careful charm, Strelkov styles himself on a pre–revolutionary Tsarist officer. In May he mustered a 2,000-strong local defence force in Slavyansk, banned his troops from swearing and ordered two of his own men to be summarily executed for looting.

He wrote a manifesto calling his troops “an Orthodox army who are proud that we serve not the golden calf but our Lord Jesus Christ” and declared that “swearing is blasphemy, and a Russian warrior cannot use the language of the enemy. It demeans us spiritually, and will lead the army to defeat”.

Russian state television built Strelkov up as a hero. The nationalist writer Egor Prosvirnin praised him as the “Russian God of War” who “rinks the blood of foreign mercenaries to the last drop, and then asks for more”. …

And then, in mid-August, Strelkov mysteriously resigned his post as “defence minister” of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic — along with two other Russian citizens who had been the civilian heads of the rebel Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. All three rebel leaders were replaced by Ukrainian citizens.

The most obvious explanation for the reshuffle is that Moscow is preparing a negotiated settlement where the Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine — or Novo-Rossiya, “New Russia”, in Russian nationalist parlance — will be given some degree of autonomy within Ukraine. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary — from young soldiers’ Instagram selfies tagged to locations inside Ukraine to the Russian regular soldiers taken prisoners of war on Monday by Kiev’s troops — Moscow has also continued to insist that it is not a combatant in Ukraine. Clearly, having Russian citizens at the helm of supposedly autonomous rebel republics and their armed forces was a diplomatic inconvenience to the Kremlin which needed to be fixed — and pressure was put on Strelkov and his cronies to quit.

But there’s another, deeper meaning to Strelkov’s fall from favour. Though he’s often portrayed as a stooge of Moscow, Strelkov has in fact been consistently critical of the Kremlin’s failure to act decisively to annex eastern Ukraine as it annexed Crimea in spring. “Having taken Crimea, Putin began a revolution from the top,” Strelkov wrote in June. “But if we do not support [this revolution] now, its failure will sweep aside both him and the country.”

Strelkov’s close associate Igor Ivanov, the head of the rebel army’s political department, has also furiously denounced the “Chekist-oligarchic regime” of Vladimir Putin and has also predicted that Putin will soon fall, leaving only the army and the church to save Russia from chaos.

This mix of militarism, religion and a mystical faith in Holy Russia’s imperial destiny to rule over lesser nations has deep roots. Ivanov was until recently head of the Russian All-Military Union, or ROVS, an organisation originally founded by the White Russian General Baron Pyotr Wrangel in 1924 after the victory of the Bolsheviks in the civil war. Its guiding motive was to preserve the Tsarist ideals of God, Tsar and Fatherland. For much of the 20th century, ROVS was the preserve of elderly emigré fantasists — before a new generation of post-Soviet nationalists like Ivanov breathed new life into the organisation as a home for Russian ultra-nationalists who hate Putin’s brand of crony capitalism.

A similar outfit is the Narodny Sobor, or People’s Assembly, which describes itself as an “Orthodox-Patriotic organisation devoted to fighting ‘liberasts’ and western values, to promoting Orthodoxy, and to preserving the traditional family”, according to a recent study by Professor Paul Robinson of the University of Ottawa. In Russia, the Narodny Sobor has, along with the Russian Orthodox church, successfully campaigned for a tsunami of conservative legislation to be passed by the Duma, from banning swearing on television and in films to prohibiting the spreading of “homosexual propaganda”. The head of the Narodny Sobor’s Ukrainian branch is Igor Druz — a senior political advisor to Strelkov who has denounced the Kiev government as “pederasts and drug addicts”.

On the face of it, Strelkov and his ilk and Putin should be on the same side. They share a nostalgia for a lost Russian greatness — indeed Strelkov has a degree in history and was until recently an enthusiastic military re-enactor, playing White Guard and second world war officers. And this year, in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis, Putin has abandoned years of hard-edged pragmatism and economic prudence and moved towards the kind of mystical, Orthodox nationalism so beloved of the ROVS and Narodny Sobor crowd.

Yet as Putin prepares to sign off on some kind of compromise peace deal with the Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, there will be millions of Russians brainwashed by months of state television’s patriotic propaganda who will agree with Strelkov that Moscow is selling the rebels down the river.

Strelkov himself has little chance of becoming a serious opposition figure to Putin; he is too stiff and too weird for public politics. But Putin’s main challenger, when he comes, will be someone of Strelkov’s stamp.

We tend to think of Vladimir Putin as being most politically vulnerable from the left — from the liberal, western-orientated professionals who came out in their hundreds of thousands on the streets of Moscow and St Petersburg three years ago to protest at Putin’s third term. But in truth Putin’s real vulnerability is from the right — from the racist football fans who rioted unchecked through central Moscow in 2010; from prophets of a Russian-led Eurasian empire such as Alexander Dugin, who was in the radical nationalist opposition to Putin before falling temporarily into step with the Kremlin in the wake of the Crimea campaign; and from militaristic ultra-conservatives on the Russian religious right.

So for the countries of Eastern Europe emancipated from Russian servitude barely a quarter of a century ago, there is not only the growing threat of re-subjugation, but the probability that it will be applied according to the whims of a madman, a religious fanatic living out fantasies of Tsardom and limitless imperial expansion by military means.

Left down, right up 1

A video made by conservative Rod Shelton in strong attack mode. (“God” is mentioned in passing, but is moved along briskly.)

 

(Hat-tip to our Facebook commenter Ramon Homan)

Credo 3

(We took this information from Breitbart, where Ben Shapiro adds his own cogent comments.)

On July 25, 2014, Senator Elizabeth Warren propounded, to an applauding audience, her “11 Progressive Commandments”.

They constitute the CREDO of a contemporary Democrat: “I believe …” (Though as a passionate collectivist, she prefers of course to say “We believe …”.)

Here they are, with our interpretations and comments:

“We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we’re willing to fight for it.” 

Wall Street supports Warren’s Democratic Party more than the Republican Party. So she won’t actually fight it, though she postures as a Joan of Arc leading an army to glory or death. What she means is that, true to her collectivist ideology, she wants government to control the economy.

“We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth.” 

Interpretation: We want you to believe that without government (preferably world government) controlling everything you do in your everyday lives, earth will turn into a raging furnace or the seas will rise to cover the land and then you’ll be sorry.

“We believe that the Internet shouldn’t be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality.” 

We hate the fact that there is currently an area of freedom which government can’t control. We must get control over it somehow or other.

“We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage.” 

We’ll force employers to pay more, whether the labor provided by their employees is worth more or not. If jobs are lost as a result, we’ll blame the employers.

“We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them.”

What an inspiring declaration of human vision and courage! It will surely ring down through all the ages to come. (We make no apology for our sarcasm. It wells up irresistibly when we’re dealing with this shrill, blustering, trivial-minded demogogue.)

“We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt.” 

And if you don’t, you’re a nasty person.

“We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions.”

Ditto last comment.

“We believe —  I can’t believe I have to say this in 2014 — we believe in equal pay for equal work.” 

Ditto again, and you’re also a sexist.

“We believe that equal means equal, and that’s true in marriage, it’s true in the workplace, it’s true in all of America.” 

Well anyway it’s true according to Aristotle’s law of identity, A is A.

“We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform.”

She wants amnesty for all the illegal immigrants now living in the US, and all those likely to cross the southern border from this day forth and even for evermore.

“And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies. We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it. We will fight for it!”

Joan of Arc again! Fighting for the world to recognize that “corporations are not people”. Huge odds against her there! Untold thousands have risen throughout the land to defend the notion that corporations are people.

And as for women having a right to their bodies – whoever heard of such nonsense? Whatever next!

And that’s enough fun for today, folks!

The spreading rot 6

How corrupt the executive branch of the US federal government has become under the rule of the Democratic Party!  Or let’s say – since it’s unlikely that there was no corruption before that – how much more visible its corruption has become.

Taking only one of the scandals (all of them “phony” according to Obama), you can see the size of the rot in the childishly transparent attempt the Internal Revenue Service is making to cover up its abuse of  power.

We quote from an IBD editorial:

An internationally accredited information-technology asset-management firm says the IRS has some explaining to do as our patience is taxed with tales of even more convenient computer crashes.

Private-sector organizations as vast as the Internal Revenue Service typically have redundancy built into their information technology systems, as secure record keeping is the key to managing their businesses and staying in business. Such records … are often required to be kept by law, and often by the IRS itself.

As we have noted, Lois Lerner’s lost emails from the critical period when the IRS was serving as a political arm of the Obama administration and targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups suggest by themselves a conspiracy to obstruct justice as well as being a violation of the Federal Records Act, which requires paper copies of such critical emails to be printed and stored just in case of computer problems.

This conspiracy to obstruct justice is further suggested by some Lerner emails that she and the Obama administration wished had been lost — especially one sent by Lerner to a Maria Hooke.

“I had a question today about OCS,” Lerner stated in the email. “I was cautioning folks about email, how we have had several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails — so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails.”

OCS is the IRS’s Office Communications Server, a form of online chat system that circumvents email.

When she learned that OCS messages were not set to automatically save, Lerner wrote, “Perfect.”

Clearly Lerner had a keen interest in keeping her communications from Congress and the American people.

Lerner’s hard drive allegedly crashed, which cannot be verified because her hard drive has since been destroyed and/or recycled. That questionable hard-drive direction came just 10 days after House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, the Republican from Michigan, first wrote a letter asking if the IRS was targeting nonprofit groups. …

On Monday, the International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers [IAITAM], which deals with such technical questions regarding computer hardware and record retention on a regular basis and which has reacted with the same incredulity as the rest of us, released a list of six basic questions the IRS needs to answer.

1. First, what happened to the IRS’s IT asset managers who seemingly vanished during this critical period? IAITAM , which runs the only worldwide certification program for IT asset managers, says its records show that at least three IRS IT asset managers were moved out of their positions at the time of the May 2013 inspector general’s report that detailed the agency’s targeting practices. What can they tell us?

2. The hard drives in question are federal property and cannot be destroyed or recycled without proper documentation. … Where are these records?

3. IAITAM asks if the drives were destroyed by an outside IT asset destruction unit, a not-unusual practice among federal agencies. If so, it adds an entire second layer of documentation of the destruction of these assets, including who approved it.

4. What are the IRS’ specific policies and procedures on document retention when hard drives are damaged or destroyed? In most large private-sector organizations, hard drives and computers are just not tossed in the dumpster or dropped off at the local recycling center until recovery of the lost data is assured.

5. What is the disaster recovery policy at the IRS, an agency responsible for our most sensitive tax information, particularly in light of its statistically implausible number of hard drive crashes?

6. Where are Lerner’s emails from her BlackBerry device and what is on the enterprise server? Some have even suggested Lerner may have off-loaded her emails to what is known as a USB flash drive and still has them in her possession, another federal offense.

The IRS is counting on the general public’s relative ignorance of computer technology to believe its smoke-and-mirror cover-up.

But in the age of the iPad and iPhone, even a child knows that something does not compute here.

Conspiracies seldom work, because conspirators betray them. This is a huge conspiracy. Surely sooner or later some of those who know about the plot, those shabbily-treated IT asset managers, or the ones who can’t keep a secret, or the ones with a conscience (if they exist), will spill the beans?  Or the ones without a conscience but an ability to perceive and seize a golden opportunity, will sell what they know for a big bag of greenbacks? Hasn’t that idea occurred to any of them? They just might get enough to compensate them for losing their job.

R too D to leave you free 5

When all the news is depressing or fearful, it’s great to have a good laugh. Even if the laugh is a trifle hysterical.

We laughed that sort of laugh at this story from the Washington Free Beacon:

The National Science Foundation has committed $10 million to build robots that will act as “personal trainers” for children, in an effort to influence their behavior and eating habits.

The government has spent $2.15 million so far for the five-year project, which is being led by Yale University. The project, “Robots Helping Kids,” will ultimately “deploy” robots into homes and schools to teach English as a second language, and encourage kids to exercise.

The project will develop a “new breed of sophisticated socially assistive’ robots, designed to help children learn to read, appreciate physical fitness, overcome cognitive disabilities, and perform physical exercises”, according to a news release by Yale University …

“Just like a good personal trainer, we want the robots to be able to guide the child toward a behavior that we desire,” said Brian Scassellati, a computer science professor at Yale and principal investigator for the study. “What we want to do is move these robots out of the laboratory and into schools and homes and clinics, places where we can directly help children on a day-to-day basis,” he said. …

“The need for this technology is driven by critical societal problems that require sustained, personalized support that supplements the efforts of educators, parents, and clinicians,” the [NSA providers of] the grant said.  

Scassellati envisions the robots influencing nearly every aspect of children’s lives.

“We want them to help children learn language, we want to help them learn better eating habits, we want them to learn new social or cognitive skills through their interactions with these robots,” he said. …

Social skills with robots. Interaction with robots who must therefore, presumably, also have social skills. This truly is a brave new world!

Of course kids will probably love having a robot as a pet and companion. Better than a doll or a stuffed bear!

But will the robot be sending info back to a mad professor or the state? We guess so. “He didn’t eat his salad today.” “She quarreled with a classmate.”

The kids will be in the constant presence of a spy. Nurturing a serpent in their little bosoms.

The project is seeking to create robots that could be personal companions to children for up to a year. Scassellati said he wants to “build a healthy relationship of trust and respect between the child and the robot.”

Respectful robots! They may spy on you, but they’ll do it respectfully.

“At the end of five years we’d like to have robots that can guide a child toward long-term educational goals, be customized for the particular needs of that child, and basically grow and develop with the child,” he said. “We want the robot to be the equivalent of a good personal trainer.”

The NSF has allotted $10 million for the study through 2017. The grant is one of the highest amounts the agency dispenses.

The University of Southern California, MIT, Stanford, and Tufts University are listed as partners for the project. Willow Garage, a personal robotics company, is also participating in the research. …

We bet they are. Most lucratively.

Scassellati said the robots would “not replace” humans, but provide additional attention and guidance for children. The research is focusing on both “regularly developing children and those with social or cognitive deficits.” Some of Scassellati’s prior research has focused on how robots can help kids with Autism.

Did you think the do-good factor, the “help” because “we care” factor would be missing? The state always exercises totalitarian control only for your own good.

“If we’re successful in this, we think we can make a real difference in the lives of children,” he said.

We don’t doubt it for a moment. The personal robot scheme will serve the government’s indoctrination purposes much better even than compulsory pre-kindergarten schooling could. Now the state will be with you 24/7. You’ll have no secrets from it. It’ll  be in bed with you, at the table with you, in the bathroom with you, at school with you. And it will be fun!  This is how you’ll come to love Big Brother.

“And we think that we can produce some of the most interesting, the most engaging, and the most competent social robots that we’ve ever seen.”

You could make them pretty too, Brian. The things could have the look of this or that Hollywood star, for instance.

Considering the official prurience of the state these days, they will very likely be programmed to teach the kids practical sex. No holds barred, of course. (Sado-masochism is strongly advised by state-supported institutions right now.)

Loads of fun for the next generation coming up! Who said that the age of American vision ended with the close of its space exploration?

And – parents – note that the interesting, engaging, competent companion of your kid will not need feeding. It won’t consume the teeniest bite of the arugula, kale, broccoli, coarse bread and dandelion tea that it will prescribe for you and yours.

Brace yourselves for its constant (respectful) criticism though. It will be there to keep you in line too. Can’t risk your preferences or bad influence of any sort undoing its good work.

Your tiny home is frozen 1

Believe it! There really is such a thing – and has been for nigh on 20 years – called the Commission on Global Governance. It is of course a bureau within the headquarters of evil, the United Nations.

This is from Canada Free Press, by Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, an authority on the UN’s baleful Agenda 21:

The UN Commission on Global Governance reported in 1995, “The concept of national sovereignty has been immutable, indeed a sacred principle of international relations. It is a principle which will yield slowly and reluctantly to the new imperatives of global environmental cooperation.” (United Nations, Our Global Neighborhood, The Commission on Global Governance, 1995, Oxford University Press).

It seems that our national sovereignty is yielding quite fast on the southern border without Congressional input, under the guise of a socially engineered humanitarian crisis. They could not erase national sovereignty fast enough in the name of “environmental cooperation”.

The progressives’ social engineering projects implemented around the world are not limited to just destroying national sovereignty, language, and cultural identity. Those who grew up under communism are familiar with the Soviet style, mass movement of entire villages to high density urban areas.

Social engineers had decided that land was better used in co-operative farms owned by the communist government. Private homes located on farm land were bulldozed and people were moved into densely populated cities with grey concrete apartments of 400-500 square feet, mushrooming practically overnight. They could not build them fast enough. Often it necessitated moving two families into a 600 square feet apartment, sharing the kitchen and the bathroom. …

In this country, city planners who oppose urban sprawl and begrudge the average 2,300 square foot homes as environmental destroyers of the planet, have designed and built living units of 140-200 square feet, called aPodments in Sammamish, Washington. Resident Judy Green “shares the kitchen with seven other tenants on the second floor.” To get to her loft cubicle, she must climb six flights of stairs. Because of non-existent global warming, cars and elevators are not allowed. The “micro-units” are smaller than a hotel room and rent for $600-900 per month. I checked with my favorite hotel chain – their average hotel room is 375 square feet. The average jail cell is 6 feet by 8 feet.

The “eco-progressives” use local government zoning to impose their ideas of “sustainable urbanism”, “sustainable communities”, and “equitable communities”, by changing the counties’ desired low density character and scale to high-density crime-ridden slums.

In Fairfax County, Virginia, the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission are crafting a plan to place Lilliputian slum dwellings in every area of the county. The Residential Studio Units (RSUs) will have a total surface of 220-320 square feet. Each high-rise will contain 75 such units and one parking space per unit. Locals object to the plan because it will reduce property values, change neighborhoods, increase population density, exacerbate the existing traffic congestion, and increase crime under the guise of “affordable housing” for the poor, low wage workers, and “diversity.” …

Reality television is now indoctrinating Americans into accepting the idea of micro-dwellings with the July 2014 debut of “Tiny House Nation” on the FYI channel. According to their website,  “renovation experts and hosts, John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin, travel across America to show off ingenious small spaces and the inventive people who live in them, as well as help new families design and construct their own mini-dream home in a space no larger than 500 square feet. From a micro-apartment in New York City to a caboose car turned home in Montana to a micro-sized mobile home for road tripping – this is a series that celebrates the exploding movement of tiny homes”.  

Perhaps “extreme downsizing” is the dream of retired people or the reality of young Americans who live with several roommates or in the basement of their parents because they cannot afford to buy a normal home on low wages driven by a mismanaged economy. What I do know for sure, this not an “exploding movement of tiny homes” and it has nothing to do with “financial independence”. Most Americans have never heard of such tiny dwellings, love their spacious homes, and are not remotely aware that they are an intricate part of a larger plan of social engineering [to take] people off the land, out of suburbia, and into inner cities.

It is certainly not the new American dream; it is the new forced reality as envisioned and carefully planned by the elite’s UN Agenda 21.

A book titled Utopias Elsewhere (in America, The Wilder Shores of Marx in Britain), by the wise and witty writer Anthony Daniels, chronicles his travels in five communist countries shortly before the Iron Curtain came down in 1991 – the year the book was published. One chapter is about Romania, the land of Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh’s birth, where she lived under totalitarian oppression. It is a book which should be read by anyone who doubts that life under communism is unimaginably poor and miserable. We guarantee it as a cure for those afflicted with leftist ideology. A decent education in the West would include it as a permanently prescribed text.

In the chapter on Romania, Anthony Daniels notes that in villages that were “systematized” (ie where the villagers had been evicted from their houses and the houses swept away) –

Uniform blocks of apartments – of the same design throughout the country – had been built, in earnest of the Ceausescu dream of a nation living in bugged, ill-lit, cold, waterless yet damp cells, in total dependence on the state for everything they consumed.

As the UN’s Agenda 21 dream for the world continues to be realized, the cells in America will not be quite as bad as that. Though they will be bugged, and not very well-lit or well-heated, they will almost certainly have some (rationed) water and they might not be damp.

But if the dream agenda is fully implemented, the tenants will be dependent on the World Government for everything they consume.   

Arms and the free man 1

Here is some interesting information about the  1775 Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms, which may not be well known. It comes from an article at Townhall by Chuck Norris:

Most everyone knows about America’s 1776 Declaration of Independence. But did you know that on July 6 a year earlier, Congress initiated a Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms?

It’s true. … On July 6, 1775, just a day after our Founding Fathers issued their Olive Branch Petition to King George III, Congress gave just reason for taking up arms against Great Britain. In the declaration, they wrote they would “die freemen rather than live slaves”. …

The lengthier name is A Declaration by the Representatives of the United Colonies of North-America, Now Met in Congress at Philadelphia, Setting Forth the Causes and Necessity of Their Taking Up Arms.

It was primarily the work of Thomas Jefferson and John Dickinson; the former penned the first draft, and the latter produced the final draft. …

Known as the “Penman of the Revolution,” Dickinson was referred to by Jefferson as being “among the first of the advocates for the rights of his country when assailed by Great Britain.” His name, Jefferson said, “will be consecrated in history as one of the great worthies of the revolution.”

Dickinson was a militia officer during the Revolution, a member of the Continental Congress from Pennsylvania and Delaware, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, president of Delaware, and president of Pennsylvania. …

The Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms [asserts]:

The legislature of Great-Britain, stimulated by an inordinate passion for a power not only unjustifiable, but which they know to be peculiarly reprobated by the very constitution of that kingdom, and desperate of success in any mode of contest where regard should be had to truth, law, or right, have at length, deserting those, attempted to effect their cruel and impolitic purpose of enslaving these colonies by violence, and have thereby rendered it necessary for us to close with their last appeal from reason to arms.

Is it any surprise that when creating our Constitution, our founders would include as prominent the need for a free people to bear arms? The Second Amendment reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Chuck Norris is a devout Christian, and his article includes passages about “the Creator” and the Ten Commandments. We have of course cut those out. But we like what we have quoted. The need for Americans to be armed is greater than ever now that a tyrannical and would-be totalitarian administration is hellbent on nudging the entire population of the US into lockstep obedience to its command.

The name of the problem 2

Here is a news video of citizens rising in revolt on “Independence weekend” – a fitting time to choose.

Some residents of Murrieta, California – a small “bedroom” town of 106,000 – protest against 140 illegal immigrants from Central America, some of them sick with infectious diseases, being brought in buses from the border and dumped on them by federal agents.

The problem needs to be fixed at a federal level, says Alan Long, the mayor of Murrieta. “The problem is in Washington, D.C.”

Right. And its name is Obama.

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