Gas 5

Did the dictator of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, attack a town with lethal gas (in April 2018)?

President Trump says he did, so it has to be expected that the “Resistance” will deny it. Reuters and the New York Times, however, have both reported it as if, on the whole, they believe it. (See here and here.)

As  for foreign news channels, you cannot get more anti-Trump than the BBC, and they also say it happened – while casting doubt on the trustworthiness of the White Helmets organization which is one of the sources of the report.

At least 70 people have died in a suspected chemical attack in Douma, the last rebel-held town in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta, rescuers and medics say.

Volunteer rescue force the White Helmets tweeted graphic images showing several bodies in basements. It said the deaths were likely to rise.

There has been no independent verification of the reports.

Syria has called the allegations of a chemical attack a “fabrication” – as has its main ally, Russia.

The US state department said Russia – with its “unwavering support” for Syria’s government – “ultimately bears responsibility” for the alleged attacks.

What do we know about the attack?

Several medical, monitoring and activist groups reported details of a chemical attack.

“Seventy people suffocated to death and hundreds are still suffocating,” said Raed al-Saleh, head of the White Helmets. An earlier, now deleted tweet, put the number dead at more than 150.

The pro-opposition Ghouta Media Center tweeted that more than 75 people had “suffocated”, while a further 1,000 people had suffered the effects of the alleged attack.

It blamed a barrel bomb allegedly dropped by a helicopter which it said contained Sarin, a toxic nerve agent.

The Union of Medical Relief Organizations, a US-based charity that works with Syrian hospitals, told the BBC the Damascus Rural Specialty Hospital had confirmed 70 deaths.

A spokeswoman said there were reports of people being treated for symptoms including convulsions and foaming of the mouth, consistent with nerve or mixed nerve and chlorine gas exposure.

Continued shelling overnight and on Sunday was making it impossible to reach victims.

As the allegations emerged, Syria’s state news agency Sana said the reports were invented by the Jaish al-Islam rebels who remain in control in Douma.

“Jaish al-Islam terrorists are in a state of collapse and their media outlets are [making] chemical attack fabrications in an exposed and failed attempt to obstruct advances by the Syrian Arab army,” Sana said.

So Russia and Sana deny there was any such attack. That is not surprising.

But what we find surprising is the resistance to believing the reports to be true by some of our own regular Facebook commenters. There seems to be an unwillingness among a number of our otherwise like-thinkers to believe that Assad would do such a thing. We find that strange. Some say that whether the reports are true or not, America should take no part in the Syrian civil war no matter what Assad does. 

And Tucker Carlson on Fox is deploring the possibility of the US using force against Assad as this is being written. He asks how the US would become safer if there were regime change in Syria.

But Russia and Iran are deeply involved in it, and they both threaten US interests.

President Trump asks:

If they’re innocent, why aren’t they allowing people to go in and prove it? Because as you know, they’re claiming they didn’t make the attack.

Since he believes it happened, the big question now is: What will he do about it?

What do our readers think about all this?

Posted under Arab States, Civil war, Iran, Russia, Syria by Jillian Becker on Monday, April 9, 2018

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A cold civil war 12

If you vote Republican now, you are voting for the USA to continue as the sort of state it was founded to be: a constitutional republic.

If you vote Democratic, you are voting for the USA to become a dictatorship.

There is a cold civil war being waged over whether the USA is to be a free country or a tyranny.

The following article was sent to us by Don L. With the help of our commenter bobbyvon, we have learnt that it is an abridged version of a speech by Daniel Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish).

How do civil wars happen?

Two or more sides disagree on who runs the country. And they can’t settle the question through elections because they don’t even agree that elections are how you decide who’s in charge. That’s the basic issue here. Who decides who runs the country? When you hate each other but accept the election results, you have a country. When you stop accepting election results, you have a countdown to a civil war.

The Mueller investigation is about removing President Trump from office and overturning the results of an election. We all know that. But it’s not the first time they’ve done this. The first time a Republican president was elected this century, they said he didn’t really win. The Supreme Court gave him the election. There’s a pattern here.

What do sure odds of the Democrats rejecting the next Republican president really mean? It means they don’t accept the results of any election that they don’t win. It means they don’t believe that transfers of power in this country are determined by elections.

That’s a civil war.

There’s no shooting. At least not unless you count the attempt to kill a bunch of Republicans at a charity baseball game practice. But the Democrats have rejected our system of government.

This isn’t dissent. It’s not disagreement. You can hate the other party. You can think they’re the worst thing that ever happened to the country. But then you work harder to win the next election. When you consistently reject the results of elections that you don’t win, what you want is a dictatorship. Your very own dictatorship.

The only legitimate exercise of power in this country, according to Democrats, is its own. Whenever Republicans exercise power, it’s inherently illegitimate. The Democrats lost Congress. They lost the White House. So what did they do? They began trying to run the country through Federal judges and bureaucrats. Every time that a Federal judge issues an order saying that the President of the United States can’t scratch his own back without the judge’s say so, that’s the civil war.

Our system of government is based on the constitution, but that’s not the system that runs this country. The Democrats’ system is that any part of government that it runs gets total and unlimited power over the country.

If the Democrats are in the White House, then the president can do anything. And I mean anything. He can have his own amnesty for illegal aliens. He can fine you for not having health insurance. His power is unlimited. He’s a dictator.

But when Republicans get into the White House, suddenly the President can’t do anything. He isn’t even allowed to undo the illegal alien amnesty that his predecessor illegally invented. A Democrat in the White House has ‘discretion’ to completely decide every aspect of immigration policy. A Republican doesn’t even have the ‘discretion’ to reverse him. That’s how the game is played.  That’s how our country is run. Sad but true, although the left hasn’t yet won that particular fight.

When a Democrat is in the White House, states aren’t even allowed to enforce immigration law. But when a Republican is in the White House, states can create their own immigration laws. Under Obama, a state wasn’t allowed to go to the bathroom without asking permission. But under Trump, Jerry Brown can go around saying that California is an independent republic and sign treaties with other countries.

The Constitution has something to say about that.

Whether it’s Federal or State, Executive, Legislative or Judiciary, the left moves power around to run the country. If it controls an institution, then that institution is suddenly the supreme power in the land. This is what I call a moving dictatorship.

Donald Trump has caused the Shadow Government to come out of hiding: Professional government is a guild. Like medieval guilds. You can’t serve in it if you’re not a member. If you haven’t been indoctrinated into its arcane rituals. If you aren’t in the club. And Trump isn’t in the club. He brought in a bunch of people who aren’t in the club with him.

Now we’re seeing what the pros do when amateurs try to walk in on them. They spy on them, they investigate them and they send them to jail. They use the tools of power to bring them down.

That’s not a free country.

It’s not a free country when FBI agents who support Hillary take out an “insurance policy” against Trump winning the election. It’s not a free country when Obama officials engage in massive unmasking of the opposition. It’s not a free country when the media responds to the other guy winning by trying to ban the conservative media that supported him from social media. It’s not a free country when all of the above collude together to overturn an election because the guy who wasn’t supposed to win did.

Have no doubt, we’re in a civil war between conservative volunteer government and a leftist Democrat professional government.

Which is another way of saying it is a war for and against individual freedom.

Posted under Leftism, liberty, tyranny, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, March 29, 2018

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Rebuilding the might of the USA 6

President Trump has explained that he had to sign the outrageous “omnibus” bill because he urgently needs the funds for rebuilding the US military.

Matthew Vadum writes at Front Page:

After eight long years of Barack Obama decimating the military, President Trump is proudly beginning the process of rebuilding the nation’s armed forces and defense  capabilities.

Decimating? Destroying one in ten of whatever? Much as we appreciate the article we are quoting, it was not a “decimation” of the military; it was letting the equipment of national defense, the weapons of war, decay. The very fabric of America’s ships and planes was allowed to rot.

Obama manifestly hated the US military. (Not “the military” in general – he had a soft spot for Iranian missiles and potential nuclear bombs.)

As the president signed the omnibus spending bill Friday that avoided another partial government shutdown and funded the government through the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30, Defense Secretary James Mattis, hailed the measure as “the largest military budget in history, reversing many years of decline and unpredictable funding.”

At the White House Trump explained why such a spending boost was necessary as he reflected on the serious damage that the previous president did to national security and military preparedness.

For the last eight years, deep defense cuts have undermined our national security, hollowed out  — if you look at what’s taken out, they’ve hollowed our readiness as a military unit, and put America at really grave risk. My highest duty is to keep America safe. Nothing more important. The omnibus bill reverses this dangerous defense trend. As crazy as it’s been, as difficult as it’s been, as much opposition to the military as we’ve had from the Democrats –  and it has been tremendous –  I try to explain to them, you know, the military is for Republicans and Democrats and everybody else. It’s for everybody. But we have tremendous opposition to creating, really, what will be by far the strongest military that we’ve ever had.

Trump said at the press conference that he was signing the massive pork-laden spending bill that contains “a lot of things that I’m unhappy about” because of “national security.”

But I say to Congress: I will never sign another bill like this again. I’m not going to do it again. Nobody read it. It’s only hours old. Some people don’t even know what is in it. $1.3 trillion — it’s the second largest ever.

The bill contains an impressive $700 billion in military expenditures, about $3 billion of which will go to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. Trump rattled off a list of other line items, $1.8 billion for 24 FA-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft fighter jets, $1.7 billion for 10 P-8, $1.1 billion for 56 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, $1.1 billion to upgrade 85 Abrams tanks, and $705 million “for the cooperative programs that we’re working with Israel and others on various missile defense systems.”

“We’re spending a lot of money on missile defense,” Trump added. “We have a lot of offense that’s been recently installed. We’re spending tremendous money on missile defense.”

Ramping up spending after Obama’s assaults on the military is critical, defense analysts say.

Obama did lasting damage to the military, according to Thomas C. Donnelly of the American Enterprise Institute who after Obama left office inventoried the damage the 44th president did.

Obama attempted to end U.S. involvement in the Middle East by unilaterally pulling out of Iraq, carrying out a fake surge in Afghanistan, and ignoring the Syrian civil war, Donnelly writes. Obama let Russia annex Crimea, and China artificially create islands in the South China Sea.

Obama told outgoing then-Russian president Dmitry Medvedev in 2012 to pass the message on to Vladimir Putin to ease up on the missile defense issue until after that year’s approaching election when Obama would “have more flexibility”. 

There’s collusion for anyone who is really looking for it and not just inventing it in order to depose the president.

Obama also limited any future president’s ability to use the military overseas by curtailing its resources.

Comparing the five-year defense plan Obama left Trump with, with the plan Obama was left with at the end of George W. Bush’s presidency, the Department of Defense “has lost more than $250 billion in purchasing power”.

In his first year in office, Obama ordered then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates to slice off $300 billion from Pentagon programs, “which had the effect of eliminating several of the major weapons-acquisitions projects that had survived Donald Rumsfeld’s attempt to ‘transform’ the force by ‘skipping a generation of weapons systems’.”

Gates halted the production of the F-22, limiting it to 187 planes instead of the 750 the Air Force originally wanted and scuttled another $80 billion in spending, which Obama transferred to non-defense programs, Donnelly writes.

“Non-defense programs” such as “outreach to Muslims”, wasn’t it?

In 2011 Obama chopped another $400 billion from the DoD budget without even telling Gates in advance, which led to the so-called sequestration or Budget Control Act (BCA) that capped defense spending for years but left entitlement spending intact. The move led to long-term spending on Pentagon programs by almost $1 trillion from fiscal 2009 to 2023, he writes.

President Obama slashed Army and Marines personnel and gutted the ships and airplanes of the Navy and Air Force. The reduced force is not as well prepared as its predecessors.

“During the Cold War, the units of the Army and Air Force were always about 90 percent ready in terms of personnel, equipment, and training,” but nowadays readiness is down to about 60 percent or less, [Donnelly] writes.

This also means that the military’s ability to do anything more challenging than routine operations, such as keeping sea lanes open, is severely limited. It is no coincidence that in his 2012 “defense guidance,” Obama lowered the standard by which we determine the optimal size of our forces. Since the years prior to World War II, and as befits a global power, we have maintained the capacity to conduct two large-scale campaigns at once. Obama lowered the bar to just one war at a time.

Obama’s cockamamie social engineering schemes devastated the military’s morale, something his successor aims to turn around.

Trump’s presser came after his announcement Thursday that U.S. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster (active) would soon be replaced by former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton as national security advisor. Bolton’s appointment is an unalloyed good that will benefit U.S. national security.

McMaster replaced Mike Flynn, also a lieutenant general in the Army (retired) in February 2017 after just 24 days in the post, the briefest such tenure on record. McMaster was a disaster at the National Security Council where he spent his time protecting Obama holdovers and purging competent professionals attuned to the threat that Islamofascism, including the brutal totalitarian theocracy in Iran, poses to the United States.

With Bolton at Trump’s side and ramped up defense spending, America may well be on its way to having its greatness restored.

Yes, and may it be so.

The evil that USAID does 2

Tax payers of the United States protest! You have a world to leave to its own follies, and nothing to lose but your exploitation.

What is it now, among myriad wrongs, that in particular needs protesting about?

Foreign aid.

Foreign aid always does more harm than good. It keeps tyrants in power. If any of it gets into the economy of the targeted country, it distorts the local markets. The only increased happiness it causes is in the minds of the donors themselves, the socialists in the deep state who feel generous and compassionate when they give away other people’s money.

And when the money goes to al-Qaeda … 

Well, to a state that fosters al-Qaeda …

… and to the arch-fiend of international politics, George Soros, to help him achieve his nefarious aims to abolish all borders and so destroy the nation-state, it is not just a misguided idea, it is evil in action. At present he is intent on undermining Hungary, and Macedonia (see below), and the United States itself.

That is what your tax dollars are doing, by the will of the State Department through USAID.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent agency of the U.S. Government that works closely with the State Department and receives overall foreign policy guidance from the Secretary of State. It has  an annual budget of $27 billion.

Judicial Watch reports:

The U.S. government keeps sending an Islamic nation that serves as an Al Qaeda breeding ground hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid. The cash — $768 million since October 2016 — flows through the famously corrupt U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID), which has a monstrous budget and little oversight. The money is reportedly helping to counter a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the headquarters of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). In its Country Reports on Terrorism, the State Department reveals that AQAP militants carried out hundreds of attacks including suicide bombers, vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), ambushes, kidnappings and targeted assassinations. …

Dozens of terrorists freed from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have joined Al Qaeda in Yemen. Among them is an Al Qaeda chief who masterminded a U.S. Embassy bombing after getting released … His name is Said Ali al-Shihri and after leaving Gitmo he became an Al Qaeda deputy chief in Yemen and he organized a deadly bombing of the United States Embassy in Yemen’s capital.The former captive was also involved in car bombings outside the American Embassy that killed 16 people. Remember that the convicted terrorist who planned to blow up an American passenger jet over Detroit on Christmas in 2009 trained in Yemen and the plot was organized by Al Qaeda leaders in the Middle Eastern Arab country. A recent study published by the RAND Corporation concludes that the most significant threat to the United States comes from terrorist groups operating in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

So why does the U.S. government continue giving Yemen huge chunks of taxpayer dollars? Because it is “gravely concerned about a worsening humanitarian situation” in the Islamic nation, according to a statement issued this month by USAID. The document was released to announce a recent $130 million in “emergency food assistance to Yemen”.  The U.S. government has determined that “protracted conflict” has created the “world’s largest food security emergency” in Yemen as well as the “world’s worst cholera outbreak”.  More than 17 million people are at risk of severe hunger or starvation, according to the agency. …

USAID is well known for gushing out cash with no follow up or oversight to assure the money is spent appropriately and the Yemen allocations are probably no exception. A perfect example is that millions of dollars in malaria drugs provided to Africa are stolen each year and sold on the black market. … The U.S. government has spent billions of dollars to combat malaria in Africa in the last few years. One USAID program alone has dedicated north of $72 million since 2011 to give 19 African countries free malaria drugs, $15 million in 2016 alone. The agency has long acknowledged that malaria drugs financed by American taxpayers are regularly stolen in Africa.  …

Earlier this year Judicial Watch obtained records showing that USAID spent millions of taxpayer dollars to destabilize the democratically elected, center-right government in Macedonia by colluding with leftwing billionaire philanthropist George Soros. 

The scheme was masterminded by Barack Obama’s U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia, Jess L. Baily, who worked behind the scenes with Soros’s Open Society Foundation to funnel large sums of American dollars for the cause, constituting an interference of the U.S. Ambassador in domestic political affairs in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Judicial Watch’s ongoing probe has so far revealed that USAID earmarked at least $9.5 million to intervene in the Balkan nation’s governmental affairs, which deviates from its mission of providing humanitarian assistance.

The US is interfering in the domestic political affairs of another country? You mean like it accuses Russia of doing in US domestic political affairs? Say it ain’t so!

Nope. Can’t do that. Judicial Watch knows that the US Department of State is doing just that.

Worse – it is doing it IN COLLUSION with George Soros. 

Has Judicial Watch told the President? Now that Rex Tillerson has gone, and Mike Pompeo is President Trump’s choice for his successor as Secretary of State, will USAID be guided to better practices?

Ideally the agency would be roughly guided out the door, and the door closed on it forever.

When truth is also fun 4

The great Katie Hopkins speaks truth to two dullards – and a largely dullard audience:

Posted under Videos by Jillian Becker on Thursday, March 15, 2018

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White refugees from the dark continent 9

Following on from yesterday’s post immediately below –

Newsweek reports:

More than 12,000 people have signed a petition asking President Donald Trump to let white people in South Africa emigrate to the U.S. amid a vote by the country’s parliament favoring a motion that could see South Africa’s constitution amended to allow for land to be stripped from owners without any compensation.

The motion … has once again stoked fears among the country’s white farmers of a violent and disastrous land redistribution akin to that which crippled Zimbabwe in the 2000s.

The online petition calls on Trump to “take the steps necessary to initiate an emergency immigration plan allowing white Boers to come to the United States.” Boer is the term used to describe South Africans of Dutch, German or Huguenot descent, who are also commonly referred to as Afrikaners.

The petition suggests that Trump should stop admitting refugees from Somalia and the Middle East, claiming they “cannot be properly vetted”,  and allow white South Africans into the country instead.

Other sources add: “White South Africans can be easily vetted and also possess skills that make them compatible with our [Western] culture and civilization.”

A similar petition, calling on European Union President Jean-Claude Juncker, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May to allow white South Africans into EU countries, has gained nearly 17,000 signatures.

If those 17,000 who seek asylum in Europe or Britain are granted it, their doom at the hands of Third World barbarians will only be postponed.

According to another source (change.org):

The white South African population currently faces ethnic cleansing and persecutions at the hands of the ANC government, the EFF [Economic Freedom Fighters, the revolutionary political party led by Julius Malema who has threatened the genocide of white South Africans], and various individual anti-white aggressors. Over 4000 white farmers have been brutally murdered, [with the attacks] often including torture and rape and mutilation. Many white South Africans today live in poverty and squalor as a consequence of the ANC government’s Black Economic Empowerment policy which shuts whites out of the labour pool.

That is what the liberals of the Western world – who all but worshipped Nelson Mandela the Communist terrorist leader – have brought about.

The communist government of South Africa seems now to be following the Zimbabwe model. If so, the resulting economic ruin of the country will have repercussions throughout the world. South Africa is mineral-rich. It is one of the world’s biggest producers and exporters of gold. Stock-markets everywhere – including the US – will be hit. Anyone who is concerned about the state of the US economy will be wise to watch what is happening in South Africa.

 

(Hat-tip for the first information about the petition to our valued commenter, liz)

Posted under Africa, Britain, Europe, Refugees, South Africa, United States by Jillian Becker on Monday, March 12, 2018

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The case for President Trump’s tariffs 23

This post is intended to be read along with the post immediately below, The case for free trade.

“Our Steel and Aluminum industries (and many others) have been decimated by decades of unfair trade and bad policy with countries from around the world. We must not let our country, companies and workers be taken advantage of any longer. We want free, fair and SMART TRADE!” – President Trump

According to Forbes:

While the exact amount of tariffs has not been confirmed, the President has indicated that he favors tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on imported aluminum. Similarly, the specifically affected countries were not called out, but it’s likely the President might exempt some of our closest trading partners.

The imposition of tariffs would, according to the President, level the playing field between the United States and countries like China.

Now we quote Seton Motley, president of Less Government, a DC-based organization “dedicated to reducing the power of government and protecting the First Amendment from governmental assault”. (And so also, it would seem, a libertarian.) He is a leading authority on technology and telecom policy, and a policy adviser to The Heartland Institute.

He makes a case for President Trump’s tariffs not because he is for protection in principle – he says he is not – but because other countries practice it to the detriment of the United States.

He writes at Townhall:

President Donald Trump wants to fix the nightmare mess that is DC’s crony globalist fake “free trade” – and conservatives all across the nation are up in arms.

A lot of really great conservative thinkers are very, very angry with Trump’s tariff threat.

(Please note: They at this point remain threats – not tariffs. Read“The Art of the Deal. Very often you threaten, but never enact – the threat is enough to better the deal.)

And as much as I like and respect so very many of these conservative thinkers – they are all very, very wrong.

A lot of what you get from them is a lot of talking points … “Tariffs are taxes!” “Protectionism is bad!” “Free trade is good!”

The very obvious secret is I agree with all of these points.

The other very obvious secret is none of them apply to what DC pretends is “free trade”. 

Globalist big business robber barons have spent the last half-century-plus lobbying DC for more and more one-sided, America-last trade deals in which America removes all of our government impediments – tariffs, domestic subsidies, import caps, etc. – to our world’s-largest now-$18-trillion-per-year economy. This thereby allows the unfettered flow of goods and services from all round the world.

We have done absolutely nothing about the very many government impediments – tariffs, domestic subsidies, import caps, etc. – that just about every other nation imposes upon us, severely limiting the flow of our goods and services into their relatively paltry markets.

This has been one long, ongoing trade war declared and engaged in by every nation on the planet – except the U.S., and one incessantly long run of titanically stupid trade policy. …

These terrible deals have been a key component in our nation’s loss of millions and millions of jobs. And the loss of who should be key allies in the fight for less government domestically.

Rather than fight for less government domestically – thereby making it more tenable to remain in the States – the globalist big business robber barons flipped the script.

They got DC to emplace ever more America-last trade deals – and then moved their businesses to the countries from which they had just negotiated unfettered access to our economy, costing us millions of gigs and escaping all of our stupid domestic government – and all of the government impediments the other countries emplace upon U.S. exports.

Now their new host nations’ continued protectionism benefits them. Heck, their new host nations often subsidize their companies.

Meanwhile, America’s small businesses – which can’t move overseas – have to stay here and get pummeled by ever-expanding domestic government and the relocated-globalist-big-business-robber-baron subsidized-and-protectionism-protected goods and services – being brought in unfettered to compete against them.

These small domestic businesses very often cannot endure the relentless pummelings – and succumb and go under. Thereby costing us millions of additional gigs. …

All of this has for decades been DC’s definition of “free trade”.  It has absolutely nothing to do with actual free trade, free markets, or freedom of any sort.

And this is what conservatives all across the country are in the midst of defending.

Ok: You don’t like Trump’s proposed tariffs – I get it.

But at least Trump knows there is a HUGE problem that needs to be addressed (and has known it for decades).

So until someone amongst the many contesting conservatives acknowledges there actually is a HUGE problem – I’ll be siding with the guy who knows there is, and is looking to address it.

We invite the opinions of our readers on whether President Trump is justified in imposing – or at least threatening to impose – tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Posted under China, Economics, Trade, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, March 7, 2018

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The case for free trade 10

President Trump is speaking of imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum to boost domestic production.

To explain the case for free trade, we quote from a speech delivered at the (libertarian) Mises Institute a few days ago by Thomas J. DiLorenzo.

It is not an exaggeration to say that trade is the keystone of modern civilization. For as Murray Rothbard wrote:

The market economy is one vast latticework throughout the world, in which each individual, each region, each country, produces what he or it is best at, most relatively efficient in, and exchanges that product for the goods and services of others. Without the division of labor and the trade based upon that division, the entire world would starve. Coerced restraints on trade – such as protectionism – cripple, hobble, and destroy trade, the source of life and prosperity.

Human beings cannot truly be free unless there is a high degree of economic freedom – the freedom to collaborate and coordinate plans with other people from literally all around the world. That is the point of Leonard Read’s famous article, “I Pencil,” which describes how to produce an item as mundane as an ordinary pencil requires the cooperation and collaboration of thousands of people from all around the world, all of whom possess very specific knowledge … that allows them to assist in the production and marketing of pencils. The same is true, of course, for virtually everything else that is produced.

Without economic freedom – the freedom to earn a living for oneself and one’s family – people are destined to become mere wards of the state. Thus, every attempt by the state to interfere with trade is an attempt to deny us our freedom, to impoverish us, and to turn us into modern-day serfs.

[Ludwig von] Mises believed that trade or exchange is “the fundamental social relation” which “weaves the bond which unites men into society”. Man “serves in order to be served” in any trade relationship in the free market. …

Trade involves the exchange of property titles. Restrictions on free trade are therefore an attack on private property itself and not “merely” a matter of “trade policy”. This is why such great classical liberals as Frederic Bastiat spent many years of their lives defending free trade. Bastiat … understood that once one acquiesced in protectionism, then no one’s property will be safe from myriad other governmental acts of theft. To Bastiat, protectionism and communism were essentially the same philosophy.

It has long been recognized by classical liberals that free trade was the most important means of diminishing the likelihood of war. …

[I]t is not democracy that is a safeguard against war but, as the British (classical) Liberals were to recognize, it is free trade. To Richard Cobden and John Bright, the leaders of the British Manchester School, free trade – both domestically and internationally – was a necessary prerequisite for the preservation of peace. …

As Frederic Bastiat often said, if goods can’t cross borders, armies will. This is a quintessentially American philosophy in that it was the position assumed by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine, among others. A foreign policy based on commerce,” wrote Paine in Common Sense, would secure for America “the peace and friendship” of the Continent and allow her to “shake hands with the world – and trade in any market.” Paine – the philosopher of the American Revolution – believed that free trade would “temper the human mind”, and help people to “know and understand each other”,  and have a “civilizing effect” on everyone involved in it. Trade was seen as “a pacific system, operating to unite mankind be rendering nations, as well as individuals, useful to each other. . . . “War can never be in the interest of a trading nation.”

George Washington obviously agreed. “Harmony, liberal intercourse with all Nations, are recommended by policy, humanity and interest,” he stated in his September 19, 1796 Farewell Address. Our commercial policy “should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favours or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; deversifying by gentle means the streams of Commerce, but forcing nothing . . .”

The period of world history from the middle of the fifteenth to the middle of the eighteenth centuries was an era of growth in world trade and invention and of institutions suited to trade. Technological innovations in shipping, such as the three-masted sail, brought the merchants of Europe to the far reaches of America and Asia. This vast expansion of trade greatly facilitated the worldwide division of labor, greater specialization, and the benefits of comparative advantage.

But whenever human freedom advances, as it did with the growth of trade, state power is threatened. So states did all they could then, as now, to restrict trade. It is the system of trade restrictions and other governmental interferences with the free market, known as mercantilism, that Adam Smith railed against in The Wealth of Nations. … [He] was defending trade on moral as well as economic grounds by enunciating his doctrine of how free trade was part of the system of “natural justice”.  One of the ways he did this was to defend smugglers and the act of smuggling as a means of evading mercantilist restrictions on trade. The smuggler, explained Smith, was engaged in “productive labor” that served his fellow man (i.e., consumers) …

For the same reason, black markets are defensible.

Despite powerful arguments in favor of free trade offered by [Dr. Francois] Quesnay, [Adam] Smith, David Ricardo, and others, England (and other countries of Europe) suffered from protectionist trade policies for the first half of the nineteenth century. But this situation was turned around due to the heroic and brilliant efforts of what came to be known as the “Manchester School,” led by two British businessmen, John Bright and Richard Cobden. Thanks to Bright and Cobden Great Britain achieved complete free trade by 1850.

The British public was plundered by the mercantilist “corn laws” which placed strict import quotas on the importation of food. The laws benefited political supporters of the government who were engaged in farming at the expense of much higher food prices, which was especially harmful to the poor. Bright and Cobden formed the Anti-Corn Law League in 1839 and turned it into a well-oiled political machine with mass support, distributing literally millions of leaflets, holding conferences and gatherings all around the country, delivering hundreds of speeches, and publishing their own newspaper, The League. …

From his home in Mugron, France, Frederic Bastiat single handedly created a free-trade movement in his own country that eventually spread throughout Europe. Bastiat was a gentleman farmer who had inherited the family estate. He was a voracious reader, and spent many years educating himself in classical liberalism and in just about any other field that he could attain information about. After some twenty years of intense intellectual preparation, articles and books began to pour out of Bastiat (in the 1840s). His book, Economic Sophisms, is to this day arguably the best defense of free trade ever published. His second book, Economic Harmonies, quickly followed, while Bastiat published magazine and newspapers all over France. His work was so popular and influential that it was immediately translated into English, Spanish, Italian, and German.

Due to Bastiat’s enormous influence, free-trade associations, modeled after one he had created in France and similar to the one created by his friend, Richard Cobden, in England, began to sprout in Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Prussia, and Germany.

To Bastiat, collectivism in all its forms was immoral as well as economically destructive.

Collectivism constituted “legal plunder,” and to argue against the (natural) right to private property would be similar to arguing that theft and slavery were “moral”. The protection of private property is the only legitimate function of government, Bastiat wrote, which is why trade restrictions – and all other mercantilist schemes – should be condemned. Free trade “is a question of right, of justice, of public order, of property. Because privilege, under whatever form it is manifested, implies the denial or the scorn of property rights.” And “the right to property, once weakened in one form, would soon be attacked in a thousand different forms.”

There is no clearer example of how trade restrictions are the enemy of freedom than the American Revolution. In the seventeenth century all European states practiced the policy of mercantilism. England imposed a series of Trade and Navigation Acts on its colonies in America and elsewhere, which embodied three principles: 1) All trade between England and her colonies must be conducted by English (or English-built) vessels owned and manned by English subjects; 2) All European imports into the colonies must “first be laid on the shores of England” before being sent to the colonies so that extra tariffs could be placed on them; and 3) Certain products from the colonies must be exported to England and England only.

In addition, the colonists were prohibited from trading with Asia because of the East India Company’s state-chartered monopoly. There were import duties placed on all colonial imports into England.

After the Seven Years War (known in America as the French-Indian War), England’s massive land holdings (Canada, India, North America to the Mississippi, most of the West Indies) became very expensive to administer and police. Consequently, the Trade and Navigation Acts were made even more oppressive, which imposed severe hardships on the American colonists and helped lead to revolution.

After the American Revolution trade restrictions nearly caused the New England states — which suffered disproportionately from the restrictions — to secede from the Union. In 1807 Thomas Jefferson was president and England was once again at war with France. England declared that it would “secure her seamen wherever found”,  which included U.S. ships. After a British warship captured the USS Chesapeake off Hampton Roads, Virginia, Jefferson imposed a trade embargo that made all international commerce illegal. After Jefferson left office his successor, James Madison, imposed an “Enforcement Act” which allowed war-on-drugs style seizure of goods suspected to be destined for export.

This radicalized the New England secessionists, who had been plotting to secede ever since Jefferson was elected, issued a public declaration reminding the nation that “the U.S. Constitution was a Treaty of Alliance and Confederation” and that the central government was no more than an association of the states. Consequently, “whenever its [i.e., the Constitution’s] provisions were violated, or its original principles departed from by a majority of the states or their people, it is no longer an effective instrument, but that any state is at liberty by the spirit of that contract to withdraw itself from the union.”

The Massachusetts legislature formally condemned the embargo, demanded its repeal by Congress, and declared that it was “not legally binding”. In other words, the Massachusetts legislature “nullified” the law. Madison was forced to end the embargo in March of 1809. …

John Taylor, a noted Anti-Federalist, was a lifelong critic of mercantilism and laid out his criticisms in his 1822 book, Tyranny Unmasked. Like Bastiat, Taylor saw protectionism as an assault on private property that was diametrically opposed to the freedom the American revolutionaries had fought and died for. The tyranny that Taylor sought to “unmask” was the collection of fables and lies that had been devised by mercantilists to promote their system of plunder. If one looks at England’s mercantilist policies, Taylor wrote, “No equal mode of enriching the party of government, and impoverishing the party of people, has ever been discovered.” …

Many of Taylor’s arguments were adopted and expanded upon by the great South Carolinian statesman John C. Calhoun during the struggle over the 1828 “Tariff of Abomination”,  which a South Carolina political convention voted to nullify. The confrontation between South Carolina, which was very heavily import dependent, as was most of the South, and the federal government over the Tariff of Abominations almost led to the state’s secession some thirty years prior to the War for Southern Independence. The federal government backed down and reduced the tariff rate in 1833.

The Northern manufacturers who wanted to impose British-style mercantilism on the U.S. did not give up, however; they formed the American Whig party, which advocated three mercantilist schemes: protectionism, corporate welfare for themselves, and a central bank to pay for it all. From 1832 until 1861 the Whigs, led by Henry Clay and, later, by Abraham Lincoln, fought mightily in the political arena to bring seventeenth-century mercantilism to America.

The Whig party died in 1852, but the Whigs simply began calling themselves Republicans.

We have often praised the Republican Party for its opposition to slavery, but we do not praise it for this:

The tariff was the centerpiece of the Republican party platform of 1860, as it had been when the same collection of Northern economic interests called itself “Whigs” for the previous thirty years.

By 1857 the level of tariffs had been reduced to the lowest level since 1815, according to Frank Taussig in his classic Tariff History of the United States. But when the Republicans controlled the White House and the Southern Democrats left the Congress the Republicans did what, as former Whigs, they had been itching to do for decades: go on a protectionist frenzy. In his First Inaugural Address Lincoln stated that he had no intention to disturb slavery in the Southern states and, even if he did, there would be no constitutional basis for doing so. But when it came to the tariff, he promised a military invasion if tariff revenues were not collected. …

By 1862 the average tariff rate had crept up to 47.06 percent, the highest level ever, even higher than the 1828 Tariff of Abominations. These high rates lasted for decades after the war.

[B]y 1860 England itself had moved to complete free trade; France sharply reduced her tariff rates in that very year; and Bastiat’s free-trade movement was spreading throughout Europe. Only the Northern United States was clinging steadfastly to seventeenth-century mercantilism.

After the war the Northern manufacturing interests who financed and controlled the Republican party (i.e., the old Whigs) were firmly in control and they “ushered in a long period of high tariffs. With the tariff of 1897, protection reached an average level of 57 percent.” This political plunder continued for about fifty years after the war, at which time international competition forced tariff rates down moderately. By 1913 the average tariff rate in the U.S. had declined to 29 percent.

But the same clique of Northern manufacturers was begging for “protection” and persisted until they got it when Herbert Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1929, which increased the average tariff rate on over 800 items back up to 59.1 percent. The Smoot-Hawley tariff spawned an international trade war that resulted in about a 50 percent reduction in total exports from the United States between 1929 and 1932. Poverty and misery was the inevitable result. Even worse, the government responded to these problems of its own creation with a massive increase in government intervention, which only produced even more poverty and misery and deprived Americans of more and more of their freedoms.

The case for President Trump’s tariffs follows immediately in the next post. …

Obama’s great idea: have a Communist Muslim run the CIA 6

The chief US intelligence agencies appear to consider themselves a fourth branch of government. They now deem themselves not answerable to Congress, nor to this president.

This is because their recent, now departed, leaders put them on the side of the enemies of the US.

In the long sad years (2009 – 2017) when America was led by anti-America Barack Obama, who had been a member of the far-left New Party, was a follower of the Communist Saul Alinsky, and manifestly loved (supremacist totalitarian) Islam – particularly as it was represented by the Muslim Brotherhood – the heads of the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA all helped him  implement his anti-America policies. (For Obama’s warm relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, see, for instance, our posts here and here.)

Obama felt it was perfectly okay to choose Muslim Brotherhood personnel to be his advisers in the White House. So James Clapper, head of the NSA, lied to the public about the Muslim Brotherhood, declaring it to be  “largely secular”, peacefully pursuing “social ends, a betterment of the political order in Egypt”, with “no overarching agenda, particularly in pursuit of violence”.

James Comey headed the FBI and apparently considered it his chief duty to shield Obama’s secretary of state, and presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton from the justice she deserves for her numerous crimes, including selling the favor of her office as Obamas’ secretary of state for her personal enrichment.

Bad as Clapper and Comey were for the nation, the  worst of the three was the head of the CIA, John Brennan.

They all hoped and expected that the corrupt candidate Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 presidential election. Since she lost it, they have sprung with fury on the winner, President Trump. John Brennan recently described the president as “unstable, inept, inexperienced, and unethical”.

Joseph Klein writes at Front Page:

The words “unstable, inept, inexperienced, and unethical” more accurately describe Brennan himself.  

Brennan claims to be worried about the Russian threat to U.S. national security, which he accuses President Trump of irresponsibly ignoring. However, Russia is a shadow of the Communist Soviet empire it once was while Brennan was coming of age. What does it say about Brennan’s judgment when, by his own admission, he once “voted for the Communist Party with Gus Hall,” even though Hall by then had been a long-time enthusiastic supporter of  the Communist Soviet Union’s hardline expansionist policies? Brennan got through his first polygraph test to enter the CIA in 1980 by saying simply “I’m not a member of the Communist Party”. But he had no problem with voting for its ardent pro-Soviet Communist cheerleader, a fact he may have obscured during his CIA application process.

Fast forward to 2014, while Brennan was serving as CIA director under former President Barack Obama. Brennan referred then to Russia simply as “a major power,” not as an enemy of the United States or as a significant geopolitical threat. In 2016, as the U.S. presidential election year was getting into high gear, Brennan reminisced that what stood out in his 35-year career in U.S. intelligence was when he [said:

I welcomed the head of the Russian FSB [Russia’s Federal Security Service, the successor to the KGB], Alexander Bortnikov, to the CIA last year. And I walked with him across the lobby, across our infamous CIA seal there. It was rather surreal, that the head of the FSB and the head of the CIA were walking together.

Gus Hall would have been so proud of the man who once voted for him.

He only turned against Russia when he could claim to be outraged by the alleged “collusion” of President Trump with that country. Suddenly Brennan was implying that Russia was an enemy state after all.

As for Russia’s meddling in the U.S. presidential election during 2016, Brennan claims to have told the head of the Russian FSB, with whom he had such a cozy get-to-together at CIA headquarters the year before, that if Russia pursued its efforts to interfere, “it would destroy any near-term prospect for improvement in relations” between the two countries. Brennan’s rhetorical slap, with no immediate follow-up actions to impose severe consequences on Russia for its behavior, was inept at best.

All Brennan really did while in office on the subject of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election was to politicize the issue by pressing for an FBI investigation of alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

Now, in a typical case of psychological projection, Brennan blames President Trump for not dealing effectively with Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election process, when that is precisely what Brennan failed to do himself when he had the chance. And in trying to distance himself from the infamous Steele dossier, which played such a critical role in moving the collusion investigation forward, Brennan may have committed perjury in his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in May 2017. Brennan claimed that he did not know who commissioned the Steele dossier and had “no awareness” whether the FBI ever relied on the Steele dossier as part of any court filing. He also denied that the CIA had relied on the dossier.

According to a report by Paul Sperry, published by RealClear Investigations on February 11, 2018:

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes next plans to investigate the role former CIA Director John Brennan and other Obama intelligence officials played in promoting the salacious and unverified Steele dossier on Donald Trump – including whether Brennan perjured himself in public testimony about it. … Several Capitol Hill sources say Brennan, a fiercely loyal Obama appointee, talked up the dossier to Democratic leaders, as well as the press, during the campaign. They say he also fed allegations about Trump-Russia contacts directly to the FBI, while pressuring the bureau to conduct an investigation of several Trump campaign figures starting in the summer of 2016.

If this turns out to be true, Brennan unethically abused his office as CIA director for partisan purposes to smear candidate Donald Trump and then lied about it to Congress.

As bad as all this is, Brennan was at his worst when it came to the global Islamist threat.

On May 26, 2010, for example, while serving as Obama’s deputy national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism, Brennan delivered a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in which he claimed that Islamists or jihadists were not our enemies. He said that “jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community”. Throughout his tenure as both Obama’s deputy national security adviser and CIA director, Brennan fundamentally misunderstood the ideological underpinnings of ISIS that had its roots in traditional Islam, as embodied in the Koran and in the words and actions of Prophet Muhammad. Islam began in the first place the same way that ISIS developed in carrying out and spreading its literalist dogma during Obama’s presidency – as a religion built on jihadist conquests to kill or subjugate disbelievers and make Islam supreme in the world.

Brennan misunderstood the Islamic nature of ISIS? If that was the case, it would mean that the man was both ignorant and stupid. As he is neither (he is said to have converted to Islam while he was posted in Saudi Arabia, and is obviously too cunning to be plain stupid) the only conclusion to be drawn from the fact of his defense of both Islam and ISIS is that he is on their side.

During a February 13, 2010 address at a meeting at the Islamic Center at New York University, facilitated by the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Brennan, whom some have claimed became a convert to Islam himself, said that Islam “helped to shape my own world view”.  He said Islam was “a faith of peace and tolerance and great diversity”.  He added, “We’re trying to be very careful and precise in our use of language, because I think the language we use and the images we project really do have resonance. It’s the reason why I don’t use the term jihadist to refer to terrorists. It gives them the religious legitimacy they so desperately seek, but I ain’t gonna give it to them.”

Brennan referred in his speech to Jerusalem by its Arabic name, Al-Quds. He blamed overzealous enforcement by the U.S. government for “creating an unhealthy atmosphere around many Muslim charities that made Muslims hesitant to fulfill their sacred obligation of zakat.

Zakat – one of the five obligations of a Muslim, called the “five pillars” of  Islam – is charity that goes to Muslims only, to promote Islam, which is to say the jihad, now being actively fought by the savage method of terrorism.

Apparently, Brennan was blind to the fact that many of these charities were used as fronts to fund terrorism, including the notorious Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. During the same 2010 Islamic Center speech, Brennan expressed satisfaction with the 20 percent recidivism rate among Guantanamo detainees, some of whom he acknowledged had participated in new terrorist attacks. “Twenty percent isn’t that bad,” he exclaimed.

In 2011, Brennan called for the FBI to eliminate its “offensive” curriculum and training materials, which made reference to “jihad” and “radical Islam”. 

Which plainly enough shows that he was, de facto, the Muslim Brotherhood’s man – heading the CIA!  

Both before and after Brennan served in the Obama administration, he has also consistently understated the threat posed by the radical fundamentalist Iranian regime and its terrorist proxy, Hezbollah. In a paper he published in July 2008, Brennan called on U.S. officials to “cease public Iran-bashing”.

As Obama’s deputy national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism, Brennan advocated reaching out to the so-called “moderate” elements of Hezbollah.  As CIA director, Brennan praised the Iranian regime for what he said were the “concessions” its leaders supposedly made to reach agreement on Obama’s disastrous nuclear deal. He claimed the deal was “as solid as you can get”. 

In fact, Obama made all of the concessions, agreeing to a deal full of loopholes exploited by Iran, which in the end allows Iran a pathway to developing nuclear weapons and the missiles capable of delivering them.

On January 2, 2018, Brennan tweeted his displeasure with the Trump administration’s condemnation of both the Iranian regime and the nuclear deal:

With wholesale condemnation of Iran and nuclear deal over past year, Trump Admin squandered opportunity to bolster reformists in Tehran and prospects for peaceful political reform in Iran.

There were no “reformists in Tehran”, and no “prospects for peaceful political reform in Iran”.

In fact, the appeasement policies followed by Obama and Brennan bolstered the Iranian regime and filled its coffers with cash to fund its state sponsorship of terrorism and support for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s brutal war on his own people. Obama and Brennan also turned a blind eye to the Iranian regime’s human rights abuses at home.

John Brennan, who entered the CIA despite his past support for the head of the U.S. Communist Party, rose to the top of the intelligence agency to become perhaps its worst director ever. He is the last person to give anyone advice on national security, let alone to President Trump, who has had to clean up the mess left behind by Obama and Brennan.

Spend less on education for better results 4

Seems that the less tax-payers’ money spent on education, the better. (No – of course not to zero.)

Good teachers are needed. Non-unionized teachers.

And parents that take their children’s education seriously.

Rob Shimshock writes at the Daily Caller:

The Trump administration requested $59.9 billion for 2018 — an amount $7.1 billion smaller than its 2017 budget. Lance Izumi, senior director of education studies at the Pacific Research Institute, explained to The Daily Caller News Foundation why that is a good thing.

The education scholar highlighted the after-school, learning-oriented 21st Century Community Learning Centers (one of the initiatives the Department eliminated) as a particularly wasteful program.

To eliminate those programs is a real plus for taxpayers and a real plus for students,” Izumi said, commenting on the Education Department’s elimination of funding to 17 programs it described as “duplicative” and “ineffective”. 

It “eats up about $2 billion per year, and it’s supposed to provide these after school and other supplemental programs,” Izumi told TheDCNF. “The problem is that virtually all the studies and research that’s been done on the program shows that there’s no connection between participation in this program and improved student performance in reading and mathematics.”

He said the U.S. Government Accountability Office examined 58 different 21st Century Community Learning Centers and discovered no correlation between enrollment in the programs and increased reading scores.

In fact, “Students produced lower reading scores by participating compared to those who did not,” the scholar said. “You have very poor attendance among the student participants in the program…less than 50 percent of the students who attend more than 30 days.”

“Why should we be spending all this money, these billions of dollars on a program that all of the data shows is not achieving its purpose?”

Izumi also commented on the $1.1 billion the Education Department hopes to dedicate to school-choice initiatives. He explained that even if the federal government bolsters charter-school funding, it makes little difference if state laws still impede the schools from opening.

“If a charter can’t get approved under state law, it really doesn’t matter how much money the feds give to charter schools because those charters will never be started in the first place,” the scholar added.

Izumi opined on the special interest groups criticizing the Department’s budget cuts to teacher training programs.

The teachers organizations are crying bloody murder,” the scholar acknowledged. “It may be a perk for the teachers to get a day off or to get professional-development training and it may fund an industry of professional-development trainers, but it’s not doing any good for the students, which is the reason the system exists in the first place.”

But the most important question is what are teachers teaching? What are students learning? What does too-much-money actually buy for the rising generations?

An article at the Mises Institute by Carol A. Vance and Loyd S. Pettegrew, published in September 2016, revealed dismal findings:

Since 1980, during the Carter Administration, America’s K-12 education system has come under increasing control by the dictates of the federal Department of Education (DOE) with failing results, taxing states and filtering the money through Washington to return a portion of it back to the states. In 2002, the Bush Administration approved the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act creating punishing amounts of federal paperwork and bureaucracy for local schools, requiring a $1B grant in special funding to help state and local education systems comply. In 2015 Congress enacted new legislation, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), to allegedly overcome the NCLB federal intervention. The Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey Burke says, “ESSA does not accomplish these critical policy priorities” to reduce the interference and excessive hours of standardized testing time. The 2016 DOE budget is $70.7B excluding a Presidential request for an additional $75B mandatory funding over ten years for Pre-K education.

What is America getting for federally-funded interference in education? The US spends over 23.2% of per capita income on its students each year, 9% more than Singapore while over 26 other countries that spend less outscore US students. Charles Murray says that even after substantial resources were dedicated to assist minorities over a 10 year period, SAT scores have indeed dropped for Amerindians ( -28%), Latinos (-26%), Blacks (-14%) and Whites (-6%) while substantially increasing for Asians (+54).

Of 64 countries in the International Student Assessment, the U.S. ranks 35th in math and 27th in scienceSingapore spends almost half of what the U.S. spends in primary education and about 70% on secondary education while internationally scoring first in math and second in science. Ironically, while more than 1.7M students are now homeschooled, the National Center for Educational Statistics does not produce statistics on the likely difference in achievement between homeschooled students and public education students.

Students in institutional schools are measured repeatedly, however. A typical student takes 112 mandated standardized tests between pre-K classes and 12th grade; by contrast, most countries that outperform the U.S. on international exams test students three times during their entire school careers.

In spite so much testing and measuring, the standards are being manipulated to enhance the illusion of improving student performance. The modern thinking appears to be that “everyone must be a winner”.  A variation of this is “average is over”, a perverse twist on economist Tyler Cowen’s thesis. In K-12, only children with extremely low I.Q.’s, juvenile delinquents or truants receive average grades, and rarely do students receive D’s or F‘sIn most states, students with English as a second language are passed along with C grades regardless of performance. Piereson & Riley note that the Department of Education released data showing that from 1990-2000 high school graduate GPAs rose a third of a point and one public school district in northern California altered student grading so that students scoring above 80% received A’s and students below 20% were given F’s.

In the past 30 years, the Department of Education has exerted an increasing influence on K-12 education. K-12 teachers, overwhelmingly if not exclusively, are the products of schools of education whose influence is largely left-leaning and their teachings politicized. David Labaree, Professor in Stanford’s Graduate School of Education has states that “education schools are solidly in the progressive camp ideologically.” Stotsky concludes that K-12 English classes have increasingly become ersatz social studies classes with biased content taught by moralizing pedagogues who are untrained in either history or social science. Teachers Unions maintain a strangle hold on local school districts and principals’ ability to terminate ineffective teachers.

In 2000 Clinton created the National Education Standards and Improvement Council for teaching American history. None of the 31 standards mentions the U.S. Constitution; the National Standards Advance Placement history exam also politicized American history in a highly progressive manner.

Revisionist history books represent the horrors of the American revolutionists and their colonial oppression. No period of American history is being celebrated; instead the historians have apologetically presented our forefathers as war mongers and racists. We foresee the day when the Constitution will be burned in effigy because so many authors were slave owners.

Science exists in a sustainability vacuum where climate change is presented as gospel in place of the scientific truths of the elective courses in Physics.

States have banned classic literature for its “incendiary” themes including Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby, Moby Dick, Catcher in the Rye; while age appropriateness is certainly a valid concern, an outright ban is unconstitutional. As a by-product of this censorship, Yale freshmen recently petitioned faculty to remove the “nondiverse” English literature of Shakespeare, Dickens and Bronte from the required curriculum.

Notably some of the brightest spots in K-12 education exist in isolated places including New York and California where parents fought the government and union to take charge through organizations like Excellent Educational Solutions and the Harlem Success Academy.

President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address, mandated government controlled pre-school education for millions of young children and represents a new stealth opportunity for left liberal indoctrination. The U.K. adopted Pre-K in 2007 for children age 3-4, with underwhelming results which don’t include educational attainment of the children. While a child’s academic gains were at best marginal in the U.K. (small improvements by age 5 and no improvements by age 11), was free child care for parents. Gerard Robinson argues that with the Pre-K schooling now an educational reality, the government not parents has clearly become the controlling force in early childhood education. We can only imagine that in the U.S., this is another opportunity to create a new entitlement and progressively indoctrinate even younger children without any parental controls.

Then Donald Trump was elected to the presidency. Now, Rob Shimshock tell us, less money is being spent by the federal government on education.

If, in addition, Common Core were to be eliminated, and much more attention paid to what is taught, American children might become better educated.

At least up to 12th. grade. After that, if they enter a university and are forced to study blackness, femaleness, whiteness, Hispanicness, and anthropogenic-global-warmingness, whatever good their school did them will rapidly be undone.

 

(Hat-tip to Don L for the Mises Institute link)

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