By: Trevor Loudon
A little teaser from the upcoming movie The Enemies Within.
Proof that Bernie Sanders is a pro-totalitarian Marxist.
By: Trevor Loudon
A little teaser from the upcoming movie The Enemies Within.
Proof that Bernie Sanders is a pro-totalitarian Marxist.
Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.
Bookworm scored big this week. She was cited and linked once by the one and only Mark Steyn and once by talk radio star Mark Levin’s website, thus proving the intelligence and good taste these gentlemen possess. Council Akbar!
You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.
To bring something to my attention, simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title and a link to the piece you want considered along with an email address (mandatory, but of course it won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out on Wednesday morning.
It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?
So, let’s see what we have for you this week…
By: MICHAEL A. NEEDHAM
In May, Republicans voted for a budget agreement that “affirmed the use of reconciliation for the sole purpose of repealing the President’s job-killing health care law.” It was a position that united an all-too-often fractured party. The promise to repeal Obamacare in its entirety delivered Republicans the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014.
As we explained back in May, the case for full repeal via reconciliation is straightforward.
The process of drafting and passing a reconciliation measure through both chambers would serve as a trial run. And as we’ve seen in recent months, a trial run is certainly needed. There is ample evidence that a one-provision repeal of all of Obamacare would be allowed by Senate rules, but proving that case should not wait until 2017.
Equally as important, the effort would reassure voters of the Republican-controlled Congress’s commitment to sending a bill repealing all of Obamacare to the president’s desk in 2017 — when it would be signed into law.
And it would remind every insurance company, hospital, industry group and boutique lobbying firm with a vested interest in Obamacare that the law remains unsettled. As insurance companies contemplate leaving the Obamacare market, the continued uncertainty surrounding the law would ensure it did not calcify.
Unfortunately, the reconciliation bill passed by the House earlier this year falls far short of Republicans’ promise to their constituents. A new Congressional Research Services memofound the bill would leave 82-percent of Obamacare’s tax burden in place. Obamacare’s main two entitlement expansions – the Medicaid expansion and the exchange subsidies – would remain in place and unchanged. And Obamacare’s new insurance rules and regulations would remain intact.
This bill would NOT repeal major portions of Obamacare, as some suggest. Not even close.
Yet, most Republicans went along with this approach because many in the pro-life community were eager for a way to avoid a fight on the September or December government funding bills. Planned Parenthood is a wretched, immoral organization that should not receive another dime. But the fake fight on reconciliation would not accomplish such a goal.
Republican leaders used this opportunity to turn two important conservative policy priorities into competing agendas and divide the conservative movement. This is leadership-orchestrated conservative sectarianism at its very worst.
Party leaders split the conservative movement, pitting the Obamacare repeal coalition against pro-life activists, by offering a fig leaf. They pretend they could accomplish both goals through reconciliation, and by co-opting some in the pro-life movement eager for victories they were able to undermine the party’s long-held public commitment to fully repealing Obamacare.
As The Hill’s Alexander Bolton observed last week, there is a growing sense that GOP leaders are not “fully committed to a wholesale repeal of the law.” The reconciliation measure passed through the House is exhibit A. Bolton continues:
“It would be embarrassing, to say the least, if most of the Senate GOP conference voted for a repeal package that the party’s future nominee rejected as too weak.”
No conservative can sit on the sidelines as party elites content with managing the status quo divide us, and force us to fight for scraps on our respective issues. Right now, pro-life leaders are attacking the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) for their commitment to “fully repeal[ing] Obamacare pursuant to Senate rules.”The elites eager to avoid fully repealing Obamacare and completely defunding Planned Parenthood are smiling. And laughing.
If pro-life leaders want to “pass strongest [reconciliation] bill possible with 51 Republican votes” they should join, not disparage, the Cruz-Lee-Rubio alliance. They should praise the likes of North Carolina’s Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), not gin up primary threats. If they are genuine, pro-life leaders must tell Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that they will not support any reconciliation bill unless it “fully repeals Obamacare pursuant to Senate rules.” And we will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with leading pro-life groups in demanding the GOP leadership do everything they can to defund Planned Parenthood.This is how conservatives win, by standing firm against leadership’s desire to divide and fragment the conservative base of the Republican Party. If we want 2017 to be as successful for conservatives as 2009 was for Barack Obama, we must get off the sidelines and unite around serious conservative policies.
Reconciliation isn’t a test for President Rubio or President Cruz – it is a test for the conservative movement, and one our nation cannot afford for us to fail.
Michael A. Needham is the chief executive officer of Heritage Action for America (heritageaction.com).
Hat Tip: Dick Manasseri
By: LAWRENCE SELLIN, PHD
Family Security Matters
As Winston Churchill noted in his indictment of appeasement of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, “there is a great danger in refusing to believe things you do not like.”
Barack Hussein Obama is succeeding in his fundamental transformation; that is, dismantling the United States as a capitalist republic, based on Judeo-Christian democratic principles.
Obama is dangerous as a President because his ideologies, Marxism and sympathy for Islam, drive him to pursue policies that run counter to the national interest, the well-being of the American people and, quite frankly, the survival of the country. His mendacity is compounded by his arrogance and narcissism that prevent him from accepting responsibility and learning from his mistakes. He is not on our side.
People ask – How can this be happening to our country? What can we do to stop it?
It can happen because the political-media establishment does not consider the United States “our” country. The political-media establishment considers the United States “their” country, in which ordinary Americans are permitted to live as long as we elect those they want elected and continue to pay taxes to support their lavish life styles and to maintain the corrupt status quo. Welcome to feudal America.
It can happen because, like Obama, the Democrat Party, the liberal media and academia are populated with the same Islamo-Marxists, a totalitarian marriage of convenience, distinguished by the traits they share – their hatred of Western civilization and a belief that the United States is the embodiment of evil on earth. While Islamic radicals seek to purge the world of heresies and of the infidels who practice them, leftist radicals seek to purge society of the vices allegedly spawned by capitalism — those being racism, sexism, imperialism, and greed. Through unregulated immigration, Democrats seek to alter the demographics of the United States to create a permanent one-party state to implement their far-left totalitarian agenda. Islamists have something similar in mind, albeit even more brutal and oppressive.
It can happen because America’s domestic enemies promulgate notions that attack the basis of Western Judeo-Christian civilization, which emphasizes the uniqueness and sacredness of the individual. They also promote policies that weaken our ability to transmit to the next generation the values and traditions upon which the United States was built e.g. the Common Core assault on American education. Anti-American, messianic political movements can only succeed when the individual believes that his or her actions are determined, not by personal freedom endowed by the Creator, but by the destiny of the community, endowed by a ruling elite of commissars or mullahs.
In can happen in any otherwise sophisticated society that loses a sense of its own history, succumbs to a present-tense culture and embraces the false promises of a leftist utopia in order to generate the truly blissed-out and vacant servitude required by the Obama strategy. Using media deception and historical revisionism, the low-information voter will slouch towards Obama’s utopia by a combination of governmental coercion as in George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and the hedonist nihilism of a painless, amusement-sodden, and stress-free consensus managed by the nanny-state found in Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.
It can happen because the Republican establishment and its propaganda arm, Fox News, choose not to expose and oppose Obama to any extent that it might place in jeopardy their position as junior partners in the corrupt political-media status quo. They are funded by and serve the Chamber of Commerce and a broader class of wealthy global financiers, locusts, who view America as just another landmass and people to exploit. Republicans are not in Congress to represent their constituency or solve the nation’s problems, but to perpetuate themselves in office. As the Republican establishment’s grip on power becomes ever more tenuous, they will more aggressively oppose internal political challenges, whether it is from Donald Trump or the Tea Party and they more eagerly work together with Obama and the Democrats.
Case in point is the cynical piece of legislative window dressing, but appropriately-named SAFE ACT (American Security Against Foreign Enemies), recently passed by a bipartisan “veto-proof” 289-137 majority in the Paul Ryan (R-WI)-led House of Representatives. It is being heralded by the political-media establishment as a bill that would “erect high hurdles for Syrian and Iraqi refugees coming to American shores” and “require new FBI background checks and individual sign-offs from three high-ranking U.S. officials before any refugee could come to the U.S. from Iraq or Syria.” Those descriptions are nonsensical at best, outright lies at worst. FBI Director James Comey already testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security that the federal government does not have the ability to conduct thorough background checks for terrorist ties on all Syrian refugees. The legislation does not cover potential terrorists coming from countries other than Iraq and Syria. Finally, the SAFE ACT gives final approval authority for entry solely to the Obama Administration, which has vowed to flood the country with refugees i.e. to facilitate a Muslim invasion of the U.S. similar to that we are witnessing in Europe, all financed by George Soros. The SAFE ACT does not provide physical safety for the American people, but it does provide political safety for the Republican establishment in the form of disinformation and legislative legerdemain.
In essence, the Republican establishment, in choosing to collaborate with Obama and the Democrats, is choosing national suicide. They prefer that option to representative government.
What can we do to stop it?
More than anything else, the political-media establishment does not want the American people to take back our country. The legislation, executive orders and judicial decisions emanating from Washington D.C. are geared to maintain the status quo or enhance the power of the federal government over the American people.
More than any other time in our history has the separation between the rulers and the ruled been as great and it bears comparison to the events leading up to the American Revolution. Whenever the interests of government officials are in such stark conflict with those of the people, tyranny ensues.
Frederick Douglass wrote: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
I think the American people are running out of words.
Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired colonel with 29 years of service in the US Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. Colonel Sellin is the author of “Restoring the Republic: Arguments for a Second American Revolution “. He receives email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Nancy Salvato
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. –Abraham Lincoln
Last evening, we shared a table with a young group of marines en route to SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) training in Maine. I woke up this morning feeling especially thankful to those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect our nation and yet I kept thinking about the Gettysburg Address. This is because I worry whether our soldiers (and their families) deployed after 9/11, many injured or in coffins, sacrificed in vain. Did the soldiers who liberated our country from England, as well die in vain? Did the 620,000 casualties of the Civil War die in vain?
At 10 years of age, I became aware of terrorism. I watched it play out during the television broadcast of the 1972 Olympics when a terrorist group, identifying itself as “Black September”, killed 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team. Why were these athletes arbitrarily murdered on a world stage? I truly didn’t understand the catalyst until I was much older. Black September was a movement to avenge Palestinians’ losses in Jordan. This was one battle in a continuum of battles and part of a larger war.
Based out of Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon, the PLO and the PFLP had been fighting a “War of Attrition” against Israel, but were not necessarily supported by King Hussein in this quest to win back territory lost during the 6 Day War and their refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Jordan’s King tried to, “balance his interests in preserving a peace with Israel,” (Arab terrorists take Israeli hostages at the Olympics) by looking the other way, however, he eventually had to make a stand. The “Palestinians had run a state-within-a-state in Jordan headquartered in Amman. Their militias ruled the streets and imposed brutal and arbitrary discipline with impunity.” (Arab terrorists take Israeli hostages at the Olympics) Displeased with his stance, they were trying to assassinate him and control all of Jordon. King Hussein ended the Palestinians’ reign with a blood bath. It was only by instituting a blood bath that he made his Palestinian problem go away.
Arafat and the PLO went to Lebanon and created a similar state-within-a-state, destabilizing the Lebanese government. Eventually, the PLO was expelled from Lebanon following Israel’s 1982 invasion. Between Neville Chamberlain’s failed policy of appeasing the Nazi’s in WWII and these and many more displays of terror in the Middle East and throughout the world, we should know by now that remaining neutral and hoping others will take care of a problem are never options. One has to either eliminate the problem or make it clear not to mess with the giant. It was President Theodore Roosevelt, an environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, who best understood how to maintain US sovereignty, summing it up with the words, “Walk softly and carry a big stick.” Since this country’s inception, our leaders have understood that to maintain a balance of power, nations like the United States must lead from a position of strength.
In high school, one of my history teacher’s was convinced we would see acts of terrorism played out on our soil, not unlike that which fomented in the Middle East all those years ago.. I was very distraught over that possibility. Though I learned to balance living my life with such existential threats, I never turned a blind eye to this reality. As predicted, in my lifetime, acts of terror have taken place on US soil, the largest being 9/11. Like it or not, we are being called upon to fight a non-conventional war against a group of people who do not believe we have a right to exist. There is no co-existence in their world view. It is our freedom and our lives that are at stake. Civilians are targets and the population needs to prepare for this reality. Our leaders need to admit this truth and take all precautions to maximize freedom and limit casualties.
This Thanksgiving I am thankful to have been born in the United States. I am thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given. And I am thankful to those who put themselves in harm’s way so that I can enjoy these blessings. I am thankful to those who I shared dinner with; en route to SERE during this holiday season. Please let their sacrifices not be in vain.
Copyright ©2015 Nancy Salvato
Nancy Salvato is the Director of Education and the Constitutional Literacy Program for Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan research and educational project whose mission is to re-introduce the American public to the basic elements of our constitutional heritage while providing non-partisan, fact-based information on relevant socio-political issues important to our country. She is a graduate of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ National Academy for Civics and Government. She is the author of “Keeping a Republic: An Argument for Sovereignty.” She also serves as a Senior Editor for NewMediaJourna.usl and a contributing writer to BigGovernment.com and FamilySecurityMatters.org.
Every week on Monday morning, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture or daily living. This week’s question: Does Education Need Reform?
Fausta’s Blog: Yes, education thoroughly needs reform.
All schools must be answerable to the parents, who should have freedom to choose what schools they want for their children.
Elementary schooling is most important in a child’s development. For instance, substantial research on the brain’s neuroplasticity shows the importance of learning cursive handwriting during childhood. My experience is that few elementary school teachers are even aware of such research – and teaching cursive is a long, hard process which is not favored by the “teach for the test” environment.
In today’s society, schools are called to do many functions that parents should. At the same time, most teachers’ colleges favor a politically-correct approach of “everybody gets a trophy” instead of focusing on a sense of the value of virtue, a work ethic, and thorough respect and familiarity with the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights, all of which are American values.
As the mother of a boy, I can attest to the fact that most schools – public and private – are oriented to teaching in a way that does not foster the way male students learn. Luckily we were able to place my son in an all-boy’s school that encouraged hands-on learning, and where recess was never cancelled (in fact, the youngest grades had two brief recesses in the morning). He graduated from college with honors.
Current curricula is affected by the latest trends. I remember when the local school board proposed to change (at great expense to the taxpayer) the math curriculum years ago. My husband asked “were any studies done comparing the new plan’s effectiveness to the current one?” Not one member of the board had even thought of such a study. Now we have Common Core, with murky math exercises that I cannot understand even after having completed nine semesters of college and graduate school statistics, calculus, and economics.
I also believe that one of the most important things a good educator can have is a sense of the value of learning-from-failure, which goes hand-in-hand with understanding the value of healthy competition. It is tragic that the present educational environment can not comprehend either. As ever, it falls to us parents to make sure our children do.
Maggie’s Notebook: We first need the will to change education. To do that we need parents insisting on it and finding a way to sacrifice whatever is necessary to put their children in good schools when their public school is failing. Most importantly, we need teachers willing to stand up for truthful text books and honest methods of teaching, grading and passing pupils. Today’s teachers come out of their own education taught to hate and be victims. We are on a merry-gro-round. When our kids fall off, the merry-go-round continues to spin.
How do we get truth into textbooks? The only answer I have is that educators and parents must insist on it. If we find a way to provide truthful civics and history textbooks, then can our children CANNOT pass the SAT, aligned to Common Core, and testing is not going away anytime soon. For decades, Liberals have tried to bring racism and victimization into everyday life so that every school child is turned into that community’s organizer.
We barely teach English and Math. Neither are considered important today –– nor is it important to know how to balance a checkbook or understand the stability behind a bank account yielding profit. It’s more important to learn how to put a condom on a banana, or create a flier showing support for Islam. History is so obscenely distorted, we may not be able to reconcile the decades of damage already done. After all, many of our schools are staffed with those who themselves were taught to feel victimized.
Spend some time with Fox News’ Jessie Watters on beaches in very influential communities, or on some of the university campuses considered the finest in the country, and you’ll understand how little our children know or care about liberty and freedom.
Some parents believe their efforts have removed Common Core from their schools, but as long as English, History and Mathematics are taught to pass the current testing, Common Core lives.
The crux of all evil in our schools are the two major teacher’s unions, the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). We can’t fire them, even when they molest our children. Such a teacher may be removed from the classroom, but not removed from the payroll and retirement benefits. To be sure, there are excellent teachers, who suffer over this problem every day of the school year, but in our current and common environment, good teachers can do only so much.
Then there are the lawsuits –– dropped on schools on a whim –– costing thousands to defend. It’s easier to give in. Banish the child that chews his pop tart into the shape of a gun. Praise the child bringing a suitcase with the guts of a clock inside that clearly looks like a bomb. That early teenage child has been told that MIT will welcome him.
Does education need reform? Such a disturbing question. I don’t think there’s an answer to fix it. I don’t think there are enough aware parents to shield their children. I don’t think there enough good teachers to fight their unions. I think there are far too many teachers/administrators teaching the poor to continue to be poor, to continue to hate others for their plight.
Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason: Many people today are surprised to discover the U. S. Department of Education was created during the administration of President Carter in 1979. Until then, the control of our public education resided within the states. Our Constitution makes no mention of the federal government having any duties or responsibilities related to education, and as such the DoED is an unconstitutional agency. In the past thirty-five years, the federal government has taken control of the education of our children by enticing states and counties with funding. Unfortunately these funds come with strings that have shaped everything from the curricula to what our children are eating for breakfast, lunch, and even dinner in some districts. School districts compete for these funds and policies enacted in order to receive these funds.
Right now we have the federal government colluding with private corporations, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, taking our tax dollars and turning our education system over to entities not as much interested in providing our children the best education as they are making money and pursuing the social engineering of generations of our youth. Our schools should not be laboratories and our children should not be guinea pigs to untested and unproven standards such as Common Core. The Common Core State Standards is the latest incarnation of the old No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top programs, all promising to improve standards and turn out children who are college or career ready. Charter schools and magnet schools are being sold to parents as an attractive alternative to low performing schools, but again, people must realize this is the taking of public tax money which should be going to public education and putting it in the pockets of private corporations. The states have no oversight over these charter schools and the curricula is proprietary, meaning no one is able to see or review what our children are being taught. An early charter school, International Baccalaureate, has direct ties to the United Nations through UNESCO, and promises to promote “rigorous” study and create young people who embrace multiculturalism and diversity as “global citizens” and where, as they say on their website “These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.” IB started out as a high school diploma programme, but now includes primary and middle year programmes as well as a career related programme. The Common Core State Standards appear in many ways to be fashioned after the International Baccalaureate programme.
In the 2016 presidential election we must get behind a candidate who promises to abolish the DoED and return education to the states and local districts. The future of our country resides in taking back control of our education system at the local and state levels and assuring our children are being taught the basic knowledge and skills that will carry them into being productive, competent and capable citizens into their adult lives and professions.
JoshuaPundit: I think a great many people have finally become aware of how poorly our education system works over the last decade, and that’s been underlined by the nonsense that’s been making headlines lately at our universities.Fixing this is going to involve several steps,and it’s going to be necessary to look at the origin of the problems, break down the root causes and solve them in increments.And since part of the solution is obviously political, a lot is going to depend on the national will.
Let’s look at K-12 first.
School choice is important, even vital but it merely underlines the fact that the enormous amount of money spent on public education has largely been a waste, since parents, given the choice, overwhelmingly choose private schools whom are normally able to educate students for less money per pupil and at a much higher level than majority of the public schools. My own experience is that the average 12th grader in private schools is at least 3 years or more ahead in terms of the work they’re doing.
Private schools usually have these things in common – parents whom care very much about their children’s education and are willing to invest in it, high standards of discipline, work ethic and conduct for the students themselves (frequently including religious and moral education as well as sex segregated classes), non-unionized teaching staffs and a much lower ratio of administrators to teachers than the large public school districts. Teachers also have much more freedom to gear the pace of learning to the classes’ level rather than having to devote set amounts of time to mandatory programs that bore the more intelligent children or overwhelm those whom need more time and help. And teachers are likewise judged by their empirical results rather than tenure or other considerations.
Once public education became unionized and the Left took control of it, most of not all of the above qualities including scholastic ones were degraded over time as education became indoctrination, standards were lowered and bureaucracy became an end in itself. The tool the Left used to accomplish this was federal and state money, which is why the attendance head count in the morning has become the most important part of the day. Ironically, it’s also a tool that can be used to reform the system in the right hands.
To fix K-12, the following steps are necessary in my view: Breaking apart the larger urban school districts into smaller units, de-unionizing teachers by making public employee unions voluntary and regulating the involvement of public employee unions as organizations in political campaigns, getting rid of tenure and enforcing much higher standards in teachers are the first steps.
The Federal Department of Education and the threat of withdrawing federal money can be used to accomplish much of this, and federal school choice legislation would be needed for the rest.
The next steps are more difficult, because they involve changes in attitude. First, the pernicious influence of the Left needs to be curtailed. A good start would be for textbooks to need to be approved by a new Bureau of Standards as a part of the DoE before they could be used in the public schools, and for standardized tests to be administered at different grade levels for tracking purposes of both teacher fitness and individual academic progress. And yes, I’m talking about British-style O-levels. Some children are university material and some are better served by good vocational training. Moral education also needs to be taught again at an early age in the public schools as it once was, and discipline re-established. This unfortunately is vital nowadays.
Public education should not be thought of as a right but as the privilege it is. Children and teenagers who habitually disrupt classrooms, act out in school and show disrespect for teachers should be removed to a single facility in the district more geared to their special needs so that they do not deprive the other children who actually came to be educated.
Dealing with the Universities is an extension of this.
Even private ones receive public money and subsidies as well as student loan funds. This can likewise be used as a lever to effect change.
College has become an overpriced scam particularly in the Social Sciences and Liberal Arts, which these days are anything but liberal. This could be changed with the following policies.
First, any university receiving federal funds of any kind would have to eliminate tenure, base admissions on a race neutral basis, have its curriculum meet certain federal standards as established by standardized yearly testing and allow ROTC training and military recruiters on campus in accordance with the Solomon Amendment.
In addition, the Federal DoE could easily create college curricula for various majors that could be available online at a fraction of the cost of what college costs today, and some universities already offer such programs. My daughter is now working as a special ed teaching assistant in the field she wants to make her career while taking online courses that will give her a BA in a year’s time at a fraction of what even a state university would cost, and minus the indoctrination and ethos that entails nowadays.When she gets ready to start her career, it will be with actual job experience on her resume and zero debt.
Those students who want ‘the college experience’ as a prolonged adolescence, are legacies with wealthy alumni parents who are seeking contacts or want to use college as a talent showcase for the professional sports franchises will still likely want a typical high priced brick and mortar university, but the opportunity to obtain the same degrees at a fraction of the cost is going to appeal to a lot of young Americans.
The DoE could also enable a rebirth of vocational colleges and paid apprenticeships in various trades that would be far more practical, useful and cost less than some of the ridiculous majors many students are currently pursuing while bankrupting themselves or their parents at the same time.
Implementing these changes would take time, but the results would be seen fairly quickly. And they would revolutionize education as it is today.
Well, there you have it.
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.
It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it.
By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
Former CIA director James Woolsey accuses NSA defector Edward Snowden of having a role in the terrorist attacks in Paris. He said, “…I would give him the death sentence, and I would prefer to see him hanged by the neck until he’s dead, rather than merely electrocuted.” He added, “I think the blood of a lot of these French young people is on his hands.”
Defenders of Snowden insist that his critics are jumping to conclusions, and that it hasn’t been officially proven or confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that the terrorists used secret communications.
We know the terrorists got away with the massacre, a reality suggesting that intelligence agencies failed for one reason or another to monitor their communications and stop the attack. That evidence suggests one possibility—that terrorists used encrypted communications apps, such as Telegram, which was developed by a Russian, Pavel Durov, who was mysteriously allowed to leave Putin’s paradise and develop high technology of potential use to terrorists. Since the massacre, Telegram has reportedly been shutting down some channels used by the Islamic State, or ISIS. This constitutes incriminating but circumstantial evidence.
In a piece for Bloomberg View titled, “Don’t Blame Snowden for Terror in Paris,” Eli Lake and Josh Rogin write that the U.S. intelligence community “has never explained what specific leaks from Snowden caused what specific terrorists to go dark.”
That’s quite a demand: specific leaks and the names of specific terrorists.
Such a public explanation would be itself an illegal disclosure. It would confirm the accuracy of Snowden’s leaks to more people. Lake and Rogin add, “Current and former U.S. intelligence officials didn’t provide such information to us either this week either [sic].” Additional confirmation to these two journalists would also constitute an illegal disclosure, perhaps a form of espionage that would tip off more terrorists to forms of communications beyond the current knowledge of intelligence officials.
I don’t think the public wants to know in specific terms how the terrorists planned their carnage. I do think the public wants these massacres to stop.
Why don’t our media agree with this assessment? It’s apparently because they believe that more people have to die before they will give the intelligence agencies any slack. Perhaps the attacks have to take place on the streets of New York or Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, they will give the benefit of the doubt to Snowden, his Russian sponsors and the terrorists.
No wonder the public hates the press.
These journalists are saying to the intelligence agencies: give us specific evidence that Snowden’s disclosures aided the terrorists, and tell us what specific means of communication the terrorists employed in the Paris massacre. Otherwise, they’ll take Snowden off the hook.
Common sense tells you that such disclosures would probably make it impossible for the intelligence agencies to stop the next series of attacks, since the disclosures would alert the terrorists to what the authorities know about their activities, and would therefore prompt the terrorists to use another form of communication.
Our media don’t believe in common sense. They want to expose secrets that would make all of us more vulnerable to terrorist attack.
In a Sunday article, “Why it’s hard to draw a line between Snowden and the Paris attacks,” two Washington Post writers tried to give us their “insights.” Their conclusions were suggested by the headline. The case against Snowden hasn’t been definitively proven, at least to the satisfaction of these reporters.
Nevertheless, the paper noted that “CIA Director John O. Brennan made clear that he blames leaks by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden for enabling terrorists to evade detection.”
In addition, the paper noted:
The Post did not remind its readers that Post reporter Barton Gellman worked with Snowden on some of his disclosures. So the paper may already have the blood of those young people in Paris on its hands.
We noted evidence that a 34-page ISIS manual on how to conceal communications from the NSA and other intelligence agencies used Snowden as a source.
Elsewhere, in an editorial, the Post said, “In the past, the Islamic State has used a heavily encrypted free program known as Telegram for promotion and recruitment. Telegram said it is trying to close down the accounts, but it has not been entirely successful.”
The editorial noted that “The Paris police found an unencrypted smartphone in a trash bin near the Bataclan concert hall that contained the text message ‘Let’s go, we’re starting.’” This fact has been seized upon by Snowden defenders who claim it means that the terrorists did not use encrypted messages. Of course, by that time, there was no need to encrypt messages, since the terrorist operation was underway.
The editorial went on: “We understand the benefit of encryption, including for citizens living under authoritarian regimes. But we also do not underestimate the risks to the public that terrorists and other criminals may pose. It seems obvious that, if there is a terrible attack in the United States, privacy advocates and tech companies instantly will lose this argument.”
Yes, they will lose this argument and people will lose their lives.
“We don’t have a solution,” said the Post, “but it would be in everyone’s interest to keep looking for one, before the next catastrophe.”
How’s that for taking a stand against terrorism?
This is the attitude of the media: let’s wait for the next catastrophe to happen, and then we will run more stories about who’s to blame.
The Post previously noted that the Russian inventor of Telegram, Pavel Durov, had stated publicly that he knew “that terrorists might be using his app to communicate” and had “decided it was something he could live with.”
The paper quoted him as saying, “I think that privacy, ultimately, and our right for privacy is more important than our fear of bad things happening, like terrorism.”
It seems to me that legitimate journalists ought to start asking some tough questions about Snowden and Durov and their links to Russia. We know Snowden fled to Russia, but Durov is reported to have fled from Russia and is typically described as “the Russian-born entrepreneur.” We know enough about Putin’s authoritarian rule to understand you don’t become successful to the extent he did in Russia without the blessings of Putin and his KGB comrades.
A real opponent of Vladimir Putin, such as Bill Browder, fled Russia and lives in fear of being assassinated. Browder’s attorney was taken into custody in Russia by authorities, and was tortured and killed. Browder and those knowledgeable about Putin’s police state know what happened to former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, who disclosed Russian training of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, one of the most closely-held secrets of the KGB. Litvinenko was poisoned in London, sending a signal about what happens when the regime’s links to international terrorism are publicly revealed.
We know Snowden lives in comfort in Russia, a fact that makes Russia’s opposition to ISIS ring hollow. Even if a specific Snowden link to the Paris massacre cannot be revealed or proven, we know enough to say his disclosures have helped terrorist groups. Rep. Schiff admits that much publicly. If Russia were really opposed to ISIS, it would turn Snowden over to U.S. authorities so he could be prosecuted for espionage. Instead, Russia continues to protect the NSA leaker.
Durov left Russia, supposedly because he had disagreements with the Putin regime. But he still runs around the world developing his technology, useful by his own admission to the terrorists targeting the West. If Durov was a real threat to Russia, he would be dead by now.
The Russian connection to ISIS terrorism is what our media need to take a hard look at.
A good place to start is an article by Christian Gomez in The New American titled, “The Russian Roots of ISIS.” Research points to the Russian security services being behind the threat they ostensibly oppose.
This is not to say the Russians control all factions of ISIS, or that “blowback” cannot affect them in the same way that U.S. military interventions have unexpected consequences.
Despite the downing of the Russian plane last month, there is an anti-Western flavor to what ISIS has been doing. The Paris attacks have been followed by threats against New York and Washington, D.C., not Moscow.
Therefore, the attacks on Paris have already served Putin’s purposes, since he’s been embraced by the weak French socialist President François Hollande, taking his NATO country into the Russian camp. Not surprisingly, President Obama lets the plan proceed.
Meanwhile, as if on cue, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the United States, Russia and other countries have to defeat terrorists “in the name of humanity.” UN Wire reports that on Friday the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a French-backed resolution calling for countries to take action against the Islamic State. The “New World Order” has arrived!
The irony, of course, is that the Soviet Union sponsored international terrorism for decades, and the Russian state today is led by a former Soviet KGB official. If Putin were sincere about this grand coalition against terrorism, he would immediately send Snowden back to the U.S. to stand trial. The fact he does not do so demonstrates that he is manipulating terrorism to get his way globally, in this case dividing NATO and diverting attention away from his continuing aggression in Ukraine.
Our media are too busy to notice any of this because they are defending Snowden.
By: Trevor Loudon