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Archive for May 2013

The Blessing of an Aborted Child

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By Glenn Fairman


It requires a certain quality of moral opacity for our Dear Mr. Obama, who stands in the breach as tribune for all things weak and powerless, to pronounce God’s Blessing on a room filled to the brim with those mighty champions of nascent selective infanticide. If I had not read the speech myself, I probably would never have believed that a President of the United States of America could, in the span of a few days, surround himself — nay, metaphorically smear himself with the blood of dead elementary school children in the service of disemboweling American Constitutional liberties, and then proceed to speak glowingly of clinical murder as “health care” to a crowd at Planned Parenthood.

In the midst of the Kermit Gosnell trial, which reads as ugly and obscene as any teen blood-soaked horror flick, our Nobel Prize-winning Man of the Millennium has decided that the cessation of public funding for clinical butchery is not to be countenanced and has assured the assembled throngs at Murder Incorporated that the House that Eugenicist Margaret Sanger built “is not going anywhere.” To me, it would seem to be beyond the pale of credulity that his parting words of “God Bless You” were not offered as a touch of irony or sarcasm. But heaven forbid! His blessing was meant as a genuine heartfelt appreciation for men and women who most assuredly cast their votes for him and who undoubtedly mirrored his Progressive view that the life or death of human chattel should ultimately be dependent upon the mood or inclination of the slavemaster. Indeed, Obama himself has never criticized late term or partial-birth murder: even if abortion is responsible for the loss of over 1500 black children per day who might in fact have grown up and voted for Progressive causes and candidates. In politics, this is called a calculated trade-off.

The one missing premise in this entire sick story is whether or not God does in fact bless those who engage in sucking his innocent children out into a metal sink or who clinically cut and snip their spinal cords and toss them into a sack labeled “medical waste” while they are still quivering. I am reminded of the scriptures:

For you have formed my inward parts: you have covered me in my mother’s womb.


Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

and finally:

But whoever causes harm to one of these little ones, it would be better if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea.

Strange and irrational man that I am, I am inclined to be skeptical that God grants blessings for the act of aborting children or for those who applaud such actions in the name of some amorphous abstract liberty. It is more likely that God imputes a curse — both naturally and spiritually — to those who feel a smug political justification for parading selective abortion as a civil right. The same curse goes for those physicians who have violated their Hippocratic Oath and have not merely failed to “Do no Harm,” but who have made a good living doing or supporting the unspeakable day-in and day-out: searing their consciences in the bargain while reminding themselves that the quivering mass was the biological equivalent of an abscessed tooth.

For those women who must live with their decisions, perhaps they may catch their breath and one day grieve and repent of their loss. If not, the whole nasty business may all get chalked up to “a lesson learned” or “just one of those bad days when you have a drink and forget.” As for the child, all innocent and beautiful beings proceed back to the Father of Lights in whom no shadow resides. But rest assured all the same: a judgment will be cast, and millstones will be hung.

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Any society that has inverted the natural moral order of the God-ordained universe will pay a hefty price: both in this world and the next. For any president who would participate and applaud an institution responsible for the destruction of millions of little lives and then invoke the Creator’s consecration, we must ask a fundamental question — Is this god Moloch or Ba’al?

Glenn Fairman writes from Highland, Ca. and blogs as The Eloquent Professor at http://www.palookavillepost.com. He can be contacted at arete5000@dslextreme.com.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/04/the_blessing_of_an_aborted_child.html#ixzz2W8B1pNzq
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Written by Leatherneck Blogger

May 31, 2013 at 06:00

Teaching Uniformity and Conformity

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Right Reason

Please watch this video from a teacher burnt out by the rigorous and degrading demands for conformity and uniformity in her classroom.  It is her letter of resignation.  Teachers are losing their love of learning and it is affecting our children.  They are no longer able to make personal connections with their students.  We will continue to lose our best teachers as they are replaced by newly graduated college students who have been indoctrinated with the new education standards and methodology.  This is what federal Common Core standards have brought to our education system.  We must stop it.





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Written by Leatherneck Blogger

May 30, 2013 at 06:00

Posted in Other

Christie Conservatism

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By Jeffrey Folks

Once again, Chris Christie has walked the Jersey Shore with President Obama, and once again he has enunciated what his brand of conservatism means.  It is not, he said, an attempt to gain political advantage or advance one’s ideology.  Nothing so ungenerous as that.  It’s the opportunity to declare that the Jersey shore is “open for business.”  It’s the chance, perhaps, to squeeze a few more dollars out of the federal government for storm relief with a declaration from the president that “we’re not done yet.”

What Christie cares about, or so it would seem, is not the usual roster of conservative values: limited government, tax reduction, personal liberty, and the like.  Rather, it’s making sure that Americans know the beaches are open, the boardwalks are rebuilt, and that New Jerseyans continue to receive their fair share of reconstruction funding, and then some.  Christie’s conservatism seems to stretch from Patterson to Cape May and no farther.

It does not seem to occur to Gov. Christie, or concern him, that the president benefits from this photo-op, just as Obama did, and crucially so, ahead of the 2012 election.  Every time Obama wants to divert attention from a political scandal within his administration, he heads for the Jersey Shore, and Christie is there waiting with open arms.

It is astounding that Republicans once touted the governor as a leading candidate for the presidency, and that some still do.  If the definition of conservatism is lining the pockets of local businessmen by assuring that the boardwalk opens in time, that sort of thinking does not differ that much from that of President Obama.  It’s just that Obama’s cronyism extends all the way to Silicon Valley.  But, of course, before he became a national figure, Obama’s politics was no more far-sighted than Christie’s.  It stretched from one end of Cook County to the other.

What every true conservative knows, and what Gov. Christie apparently does not, is that government resources are limited, that the scope of government action must be constrained, and that politicians are the stewards of precious taxpayer dollars.  Of the $61-billion reconstruction funding approved following Tropical Storm Sandy (it was neither a hurricane in strength nor a “superstorm” by the time it made landfall on the Jersey Shore), billions were earmarked in advance for projects that had nothing to do with storm damage.  By one estimate, in fact, only 21% of that appropriation is going to storm relief.  Repairing the roof on the Smithsonian, which was not in the path of the storm, and a $200-million slush fund for the Department of Health and Human Services do not qualify as disaster relief.

Much of that $61 billion, in other words, was good old-fashioned “waste and abuse” — the same waste and abuse that Obama made a big issue of in his 2008 election campaign.  At that time, he promised to balance the federal budget within five years largely by eliminating “waste and abuse.”  Now here is Gov. Christie, arm in arm with the president, condoning that kind of spending — as long New Jerseyans get their share.

That, at least, is my reading of the series of love-ins that have taken place on the Jersey Shore.  Obama can’t say enough about how great a governor Chris Christie has been throughout the crisis.  And Christie has said nothing remotely critical of the president, even as this same president is embroiled in three major scandals and has demonstrated about as much leadership in office as Jimmy Carter.

“He’s the president of the United States,” Christie was quoted as saying.  “I’ll be here to welcome him.”  Respect for the office of the president is one thing, but toadyism is another.  It is possible to fulfill one’s duties as governor while making it absolutely clear that one does not share the values or vision of a visiting dignitary, even the president of the United States.  One cannot imagine Rick Perry exchanging tender glances with the president over a side of Texas barbeque.  Nor can one imagine Paul Ryan welcoming the president to Janesville, bratwurst and beer in hand, even if that would bring more tourists to town.

In fact, on this week’s Fox News Sunday, Ryan aggressively pressed Obama to provide straight answers on the scandals facing his administration.  By contrast, even as he stood in the national spotlight on Wednesday, Gov. Christie spoke not a word about the real challenges facing this country.  He seemed a lot more interested in promoting tourism on the Jersey Shore.

What Gov. Christie might have done, had he been a true conservative akin to Paul Ryan or Rick Perry, would have been to extend a polite welcome, noting that it was the president’s idea and not his own that the meeting take place, and, perhaps softened by a bit of humor, note that the president must find the Jersey Shore a more comfortable place to hang out at this particular moment than Washington, where he has spent so little time since the IRS and other scandals surfaced.  Then shake the president’s hand, offer up a cheese dog and fries, or whatever sort of dog New Jerseyans favor, and send him back to D.C.

Instead, Christie, who is up for re-election next year in a liberal state, went the appeasement route.  No real conservative will ever forget that Christie’s fawning approval of the president immediately ahead of the 2012 election, just as the Benghazi crisis was reaching a head, may well have cost Romney the election.  It certainly cost the GOP a number of House and Senate seats by discouraging angry voters who would otherwise have shown up.

The governor may have no interest in running for president in 2016, but if he ever hints at doing so, conservatives should not forget that on two occasions now, Christie has agreed to serve as the president’s doormat.  A rather bulky and ungainly doormat, to be sure, but an extremely useful one for the president nonetheless.

Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books on American politics and culture, including Heartland of the Imagination (2013).

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/05/christie_conservatism.html#ixzz2W852wp4A

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Written by Leatherneck Blogger

May 29, 2013 at 06:00

Carbon Sense Coalition media release

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Right Reason

This statement arrived in my email today, from Viv Forbes, who is fighting the carbon taxes killing the Australian economy.  He has done a fantastic job of assembling all of the government expenditures (taxes) being thrown away in the name of climate change regulation and legislation.  Every country that has made “commitments” under the Kyoto Protocol wastes billions, even trillions, of our taxpayer dollars, in this ridiculous quest for a sustainable planet.  This includes the United States of America, who, although the treaty was never ratified by the Senate, has been quietly but through executive order, legislation, and regulation, imposing harsh restrictions on our carbon dioxide emitting industries, utilities, and manufacturing facilities.  Read below the scope of Australian dollars wasted on climate change and realize how much of this is happening here in America.

If the Romans Had the EPA (2)

For Immediate Release

14th May 2013

Fix the Budget by Cutting Climate Waste

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Written by Leatherneck Blogger

May 28, 2013 at 06:00

Heroism, Humility and Leadership The Janitor and the Medal of Honor

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By Mark Alexander

The Patriot Post (www.patriotpost.us/subscribe/ )

“Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them.” –Thomas Jefferson (1775)


This week, I have received numerous “Memorial Day Sale” promotions by post and email from vendors who should know better than dishonor a day of reverence with advertising.

I’ve responded to each vendor with the following message:

To … VP of Marketing,

I know that it is now common to commercialize national holidays celebrating faith or honoring military service, but I ask that you not use Memorial Day for marketing. It is completely inappropriate to promote this day of reverence for anything other than honoring fallen veterans. How fitting it would have been for your company, if you had sent an email promoting the proper observance of Memorial Day, rather than using it as fodder for profiteering. Memorial Day is NOT on sale — millions of Patriots have already paid the full price.

Needless to say, I have never received a response.

We set aside one day each year in deference to American Patriots who pledged and delivered their lives to Support and Defend Liberty, as defined in our Declaration of Independence, and the Rule of Law enshrined in our Constitution.

Since our nation’s founding, more than one million American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have paid the ultimate price in defense of our nation, and it is their final sacrifice that we honor with solemn reverence.

As Memorial Day honors so many American Patriots, it may suffer some dilution for those who have no direct connection to a fallen veteran, or to those who served with them.

Thus, I wanted to focus this essay on just one individual veteran — William Crawford — who survived his combat trials, but whose service and life exemplified the character of so many in his generation who did not return. His story is their story.

With many friends who have served our nation in the air from World War II to the present, and as the proud parent of an Air Force Academy cadet, I invite you to take a moment and read the story of Bill Crawford, a man who went from sweeping combat fields in search of the enemy, to mopping halls and picking up trash for his fellow Americans. He was known only as a squadron floor janitor at the Air Force Academy until his heroic acts were rediscovered by an AFA ’77 cadet and then properly acknowledged by President Ronald Reagan in 1984.


From the Wharton School of Business Leadership Digest come these timeless “Lessons in Leadership from a Janitor“, as recounted by Col. James Moschgat, (Ret):

“William ‘Bill’ Crawford certainly was an unimpressive figure, one you could easily overlook during a hectic day at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Mr. Crawford, as most of us referred to him back in the late 1970s, was our squadron janitor.

“While we cadets busied ourselves preparing for academic exams, athletic events, Saturday morning parades and room inspections, or never-ending leadership classes, Bill quietly moved about the squadron mopping and buffing floors, emptying trash cans, cleaning toilets, or just tidying up the mess 100 college-age kids can leave in a dormitory. Sadly, and for many years, few of us gave him much notice, rendering little more than a passing nod or throwing a curt, ‘G’morning!’ in his direction as we hurried off to our daily duties.

“Why? Perhaps it was because of the way he did his job — he always kept the squadron area spotlessly clean, even the toilets and showers gleamed. Frankly, he did his job so well, none of us had to notice or get involved. After all, cleaning toilets was his job, not ours. Maybe it was his physical appearance that made him disappear into the background. Bill didn’t move very quickly and, in fact, you could say he even shuffled a bit, as if he suffered from some sort of injury. His gray hair and wrinkled face made him appear ancient to a group of young cadets. And his crooked smile, well, it looked a little funny. Face it; Bill was an old man working in a young person’s world. What did he have to offer us on a personal level?

“Finally, maybe it was Mr. Crawford’s personality that rendered him almost invisible to the young people around him. Bill was shy, almost painfully so. He seldom spoke to a cadet unless they addressed him first, and that didn’t happen very often. Our janitor always buried himself in his work, moving about with stooped shoulders, a quiet gait, and an averted gaze. If he noticed the hustle and bustle of cadet life around him, it was hard to tell. So, for whatever reason, Bill blended into the woodwork and became just another fixture around the squadron. The Academy, one of our nation’s premier leadership laboratories, kept us busy from dawn till dusk. And Mr. Crawford … well, he was just a janitor.

“That changed one fall Saturday afternoon in 1976. I was reading a book about World War II and the tough Allied ground campaign in Italy, when I stumbled across an incredible story. On September 13, 1943, a Private William Crawford from Colorado, assigned to the 36th Infantry Division, had been involved in some bloody fighting on Hill 424 near Altavilla, Italy. The words on the page leapt out at me: ‘in the face of intense and overwhelming hostile fire … with no regard for personal safety … on his own initiative, Private Crawford single-handedly attacked fortified enemy positions.’ It continued, ‘for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, the President of the United States…’

“‘Holy cow,’ I said to my roommate, ‘you’re not going to believe this, but I think our janitor is a Medal of Honor winner.’ We all knew Mr. Crawford was a WWII Army vet, but that didn’t keep my friend from looking at me as if I was some sort of alien being. Nonetheless, we couldn’t wait to ask Bill about the story on Monday.

“We met Mr. Crawford bright and early Monday and showed him the page in question from the book, anticipation and doubt in our faces. He starred at it for a few silent moments and then quietly uttered something like, ‘Yep, that’s me.’ Mouths agape, my roommate and I looked at one another, then at the book, and quickly back at our janitor. Almost at once we both stuttered, ‘Why didn’t you ever tell us about it?’ He slowly replied after some thought, ‘That was one day in my life and it happened a long time ago.’

“I guess we were all at a loss for words after that. We had to hurry off to class and Bill, well; he had chores to attend to. However, after that brief exchange, things were never again the same around our squadron. Word spread like wildfire among the cadets that we had a hero in our midst — Mr. Crawford, our janitor, had won the Medal! Cadets who had once passed by Bill with hardly a glance, now greeted him with a smile and a respectful, ‘Good morning, Mr. Crawford.’

“Those who had before left a mess for the ‘janitor’ to clean up started taking it upon themselves to put things in order. Most cadets routinely stopped to talk to Bill throughout the day and we began inviting him to our formal squadron functions. He’d show up dressed in a conservative dark suit and quietly talk to those who approached him, the only sign of his heroics being a simple blue, star-spangled lapel pin.

“Almost overnight, Bill went from being a simple fixture in our squadron to one of our teammates. Mr. Crawford changed too, but you had to look closely to notice the difference. After that fall day in 1976, he seemed to move with more purpose, his shoulders didn’t seem to be as stooped, he met our greetings with a direct gaze and a stronger ‘good morning’ in return, and he flashed his crooked smile more often. The squadron gleamed as always, but everyone now seemed to notice it more. Bill even got to know most of us by our first names, something that didn’t happen often at the Academy. While no one ever formally acknowledged the change, I think we became Bill’s cadets and his squadron.

“As often happens in life, events sweep us away from those in our past. The last time I saw Bill was on graduation day in June 1977. As I walked out of the squadron for the last time, he shook my hand and simply said, ‘Good luck, young man.’ With that, I embarked on a career that has been truly lucky and blessed. Mr. Crawford continued to work at the Academy and eventually retired in his native Colorado [town of Pueblo, one of four other Medal of Honor recipients from that small town].

“A wise person once said, ‘It’s not life that’s important, but those you meet along the way that make the difference.’ Bill was one who made a difference for me. While I haven’t seen Mr. Crawford in over twenty years, he’d probably be surprised to know I think of him often. Bill Crawford, our janitor, taught me many valuable, unforgettable leadership lessons.”

William J. Crawford

And the rest of the story…

Mr. Crawford never had an official recognition event for his Medal of Honor award, because at the time the award was delivered to his family, he was listed as killed in action. But that was rectified in 1984, when President Ronald Reagan addressed the AFA graduating class. In a special ceremony before the cadets, their families and dignitaries, President Reagan formally presented the Medal of Honor to Master Sergeant Crawford.

In his remarks, President Reagan cited some of the leadership lessons that all of us should take away from this humble janitor. Col. Moschgat adapted those lessons in his article:

“Be Cautious of Labels. Labels you place on people may define your relationship to them and bound their potential. Sadly, and for a long time, we labeled Bill as just a janitor, but he was so much more. Therefore, be cautious of a leader who callously says, ‘Hey, he’s just an Airman.’ Likewise, don’t tolerate the O-1, who says, ‘I can’t do that, I’m just a lieutenant.’

“Everyone Deserves Respect. Because we hung the ‘janitor’ label on Mr. Crawford, we often wrongly treated him with less respect than others around us. He deserved much more, and not just because he was a Medal of Honor winner. Bill deserved respect because he was a janitor, walked among us, and was a part of our team.

“Courtesy Makes a Difference. Be courteous to all around you, regardless of rank or position. Military customs, as well as common courtesies, help bond a team. When our daily words to Mr. Crawford turned from perfunctory ‘hellos’ to heartfelt greetings, his demeanor and personality outwardly changed. It made a difference for all of us.

“Take Time to Know Your People. Life in the military is hectic, but that’s no excuse for not knowing the people you work for and with. For years a hero walked among us at the Academy and we never knew it. Who are the heroes that walk in your midst?

“Anyone Can Be a Hero. Mr. Crawford certainly didn’t fit anyone’s standard definition of a hero. Moreover, he was just a private on the day he won his Medal. Don’t sell your people short, for any one of them may be the hero who rises to the occasion when duty calls. On the other hand, it’s easy to turn to your proven performers when the chips are down, but don’t ignore the rest of the team. Today’s rookie could and should be tomorrow’s superstar.

“Leaders Should Be Humble. Most modern day heroes and some leaders are anything but humble, especially if you calibrate your ‘hero meter’ on today’s athletic fields. End zone celebrations and self-aggrandizement are what we’ve come to expect from sports greats. Not Mr. Crawford — he was too busy working to celebrate his past heroics. Leaders would be well-served to do the same.

“Life Won’t Always Hand You What You Think You Deserve. We in the military work hard and, dang it, we deserve recognition, right? However, sometimes you just have to persevere, even when accolades don’t come your way. Perhaps you weren’t nominated for junior officer or airman of the quarter as you thought you should — don’t let that stop you.

“Don’t Pursue Glory; Pursue Excellence. Private Bill Crawford didn’t pursue glory; he did his duty and then swept floors for a living. No job is beneath a Leader. If Bill Crawford, a Medal of Honor winner, could clean latrines and smile, is there a job beneath your dignity? Think about it. No matter what task life hands you, do it well.

“Life is a Leadership Laboratory. All too often we look to some school or PME class to teach us about leadership when, in fact, life is a leadership laboratory. Those you meet everyday will teach you enduring lessons if you just take time to stop, look and listen. I spent four years at the Air Force Academy, took dozens of classes, read hundreds of books, and met thousands of great people. I gleaned leadership skills from all of them, but one of the people I remember most is Mr. Bill Crawford and the lessons he unknowingly taught. Don’t miss your opportunity to learn.”

Col. Moschgat concluded, “Bill Crawford was a janitor. However, he was also a teacher, friend, role model and one great American hero. Thanks, Mr. Crawford, for some valuable leadership lessons.”

Mr. Crawford joined the Army in 1942 and retired in 1967 with the rank of Master Sergeant. He died in March of 2000 at age 81, but his legacy is, as with all his Patriot brethren, eternal. He is buried at the United States Air Force Academy Cemetery — the only U.S. Army enlisted man buried there.


Crawford, William J., Medal of Honor Citation:

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Altavilla, Italy, 13 September 1943. When Company I attacked an enemy-held position on Hill 424, the 3d Platoon, in which Pvt. Crawford was a squad scout, attacked as base platoon for the company. After reaching the crest of the hill, the platoon was pinned down by intense enemy machinegun and small-arms fire. Locating 1 of these guns, which was dug in on a terrace on his immediate front, Pvt. Crawford, without orders and on his own initiative, moved over the hill under enemy fire to a point within a few yards of the gun emplacement and single-handedly destroyed the machinegun and killed 3 of the crew with a hand grenade, thus enabling his platoon to continue its advance. When the platoon, after reaching the crest, was once more delayed by enemy fire, Pvt. Crawford again, in the face of intense fire, advanced directly to the front midway between 2 hostile machinegun nests located on a higher terrace and emplaced in a small ravine. Moving first to the left, with a hand grenade he destroyed 1 gun emplacement and killed the crew; he then worked his way, under continuous fire, to the other and with 1 grenade and the use of his rifle, killed 1 enemy and forced the remainder to flee. Seizing the enemy machinegun, he fired on the withdrawing Germans and facilitated his company’s advance.”

There were 16 million Patriots who served in World War II but fewer than 500 of them were awarded the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest military decoration for those who distinguish themselves “conspicuously by gallantry at the risk of [their] life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States.” Most of those awards were made posthumously.

But every MoH recipient I have met or read about over the years, as was the case with Bill Crawford, has been strikingly humble and quick to credit all those with whom they served.

Our Founders clearly understood that the burden of sustaining Essential Liberty would be calculated in human sacrifice. As John Adams noted, “I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States.”

So, on this last Monday in May, please join millions of American Patriots as we honor the service and the ultimate sacrifice of those uniformed Patriots by participating in respectful commemorations across the nation.

We owe a great debt of gratitude to all those generations who have passed the Torch of Liberty to succeeding generations. And we owe a debt to the fallen that can never be repaid.

To prepare hearts and minds for Memorial Day, take a moment and read about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. You might also join with other Patriots across the nation who will be placing flags at headstones in your local military cemetery (generally the Saturday prior to Memorial Day).


I invite you to view these tributes to our Armed Forces and to God and Country at the Patriot Post YouTube Channel.

In honor of American Patriots who have died in defense of our great nation, lower your flag to half-staff from sunrise to 1200 on Monday. (Read about proper flag etiquette and protocol.) Join us by observing a time of silence at 1500 (your local time), for remembrance and prayer. Offer a personal word of gratitude and comfort to any surviving family members you know who are grieving for a beloved warrior fallen in battle.

On this and every day, please pray for our Patriot Armed Forces now standing in harm’s way around the world in defense of our liberty, and for the families awaiting their safe return.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” –John 15:12-14

Pro Deo et Constitutione — Libertas aut Mors
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis

Mark Alexander
Publisher, The Patriot Post


Written by Leatherneck Blogger

May 27, 2013 at 06:00

Posted in Liberal, Politics

A Deadlier Disaster for the Third World: Unemployment

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Mises Daily: Thursday, May 23, 2013

The recent collapse of a garment factory building in Bangladesh, resulting in the death, at latest count, of more than 1,100 workers who were employed there, has led to international outrage not only against the building’s owner but also against the various retailers in the United States and Europe, many of them prominent, that have sold clothing produced in that building. It is demanded that they assume responsibility for working conditions in the factories that supply them and not deal with factories that do not provide safe and humane conditions and pay fair wages.

Such demands rest on the belief that, if left free of government interference, the profit motive of businessmen or capitalists leads them to pay subsistence wages to workers compelled to work intolerable hours in sub-human conditions. And, more, that the profits wrung from the workers in this way exist in the hands of the capitalists as a kind of disposable slush fund as it were, at least some more or less substantial portion of which can be given back to the workers from whom they were taken, or used on behalf of those workers, with no negative effect except to deprive the capitalists of some of their ill-gotten gains. It is generally taken for granted that the reason the kind of conditions that prevail in Bangladesh and the rest of the Third World do not exist in the United States and Western Europe is the enactment of labor and social legislation, and that what is needed is to extend such legislation to the countries that do not yet have it.

Every aspect of this set of beliefs is wrong and its consequences are highly destructive, above all to the masses of workers in the Third World who already live close to starvation and who are in danger of being driven into it by needlessly increasing the cost of employing them either by arbitrarily raising their wages or by requiring that they be provided with improved working conditions that must be at their expense and which they cannot afford.

One of the most elementary propositions of the science of economics is that the higher the price of anything, the smaller is the quantity of it that will be purchased. This applies to labor no less than to goods. If wage rates in Bangladesh are arbitrarily increased, fewer workers will be employed in Bangladesh. In that case, workers who would have earned low wages will earn no wages. They will starve. If employers in Bangladesh are compelled to make improvements in working conditions of a kind that do not pay for themselves, the cost of those improvements represents the equivalent of a rise in wage rates. Again, there will be unemployment. The unemployment could be avoided only if workers’ take-home wages could fall sufficiently to offset the cost of the improvements. In that case, the situation would be comparable to making the workers use their already meager wages to pay for improvements that they simply cannot afford.

These are not outcomes that the advocates of imposing labor standards want. What they want is higher wages and better working conditions. Their problem is that they do not realize what is actually necessary to achieve these results.

What will achieve these results is leaving business firms in Bangladesh and throughout the Third World alone, to be as profitable as they can be. (It should be obvious that the loss of a factory building and its machinery was not profitable and that while it may be legitimate to denounce the building’s owner for criminal recklessness and negligence, it is simply absurd to denounce him for seeking profit, when what he actually achieved, and could only achieve through such conduct, was total loss.)

The high profits that can be earned in a Third World country, if not prevented by too many obstacles, will be heavily saved and invested, mainly in that Third World country. As the experience of Taiwan, South Korea, and now even mainland China shows, a generation or more of such a process results in a vast accumulation of means of production in the country—i.e., numerous new factories, with better and better equipment. This results in an intensified competition for labor and thus rising wage rates. As wage rates rise, workers can more and more afford to accept lesser increases along with improved working conditions of a kind that must be at their expense.

Economic freedom, not government interference, is the road that the wealth of nations travels.

View Author Archive

George Reisman, Ph.D., is Pepperdine University Professor Emeritus of Economics and the author of Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics (Ottawa, Illinois: Jameson Books, 1996; Kindle Edition, 2012). See his Amazon.com author’s central page for additional titles by him. His website is www.capitalism.net and his blog is www.georgereismansblog.blogspot.com.

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

May 24, 2013 at 06:00

Restrain the Abusive Administative State

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Few Americans dread anything more than receiving a letter from the IRS. But imagine a full field audit, with intrusive questions about your activities and spending habits. From suspicious agents convinced that you’ve violated the law. That’s essentially what political activists on the Right have been enjoying recently, courtesy the Obama administration.

Who knew what when is the question du jour, but political abuse by the IRS is not new. As investigative journalist Jim Bovard has detailed, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy did not let their public-spirited rhetoric interfere with their use of public institutions for partisan benefit. Richard Nixon more recently directed the agency to target his enemies. As White House Counsel John Dean explained, the objective was to “use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies.”

President Barack Obama undoubtedly remembers the latter example — as well as Nixon’s fate — and is not so stupid to similarly set himself up for criminal charges. The scandal likely will claim a few mid-level scalps and divert the administration’s attention from some of its more harmful initiatives. But the crisis will be wasted, to paraphrase Rahm Emanuel, if it is not used to advance the cause of liberty.

Far more than partisan politics is at stake in the latest scandal. The real issue is the expansive, expensive bureaucratic state and its inherent threat to any system of limited government, rule of law, and individual liberty. Obama adviser David Axelrod blamed big government for the controversy, but in order to absolve the president of responsibility: “Part of being president is that there’s so much beneath you that you can’t know because the government is so vast.”

That’s true, but it also was true ten and 50 and probably 100 years ago. More relevant is the fact that the broader the government’s authority, the greater its need for revenue, the wider its enforcement power, the more expansive the bureaucracy’s discretion, the increasingly important the battle for political control, and the more bitter the partisan fight, the more likely government officials will abuse their positions, violate rules, laws, and Constitution, and sacrifice people’s liberties.

The blame falls squarely on Congress, not the IRS. Legislators have tasked the tax agency with pulling $2.52 trillion out of Americans’ wallets. With Uncle Sam a prodigious and very public wastrel, there aren’t many people stepping forward to voluntarily turn more of their incomes over to the Treasury. Even those who most cheerfully insist that taxes should be raised themselves don’t give extra cash. Thus, raising that much more requires squeezing taxpayers with intrusive and painful enforcement measures.

This reality means that the IRS always will deliver what acting tax Commissioner Steven Miller called “horrible customer service” when he attempted to excuse the agency’s partisan targeting. No matter how polite and objective IRS employees may be, taxpayers always will be “customers” of the tax authorities in the same way that inmates are “customers” of prison guards. Paying taxes is not a form of consumption most of us will voluntarily choose.

At the same time, the denizens of Capitol Hill also have created a tax code marked by outrageous complexity, special interest electioneering, and systematic social engineering. Legislators have intentionally created avenues for tax avoidance to win votes, and then complained about widespread tax avoidance to win votes. Taxpayers are foolish if they do not take advantage of tax “loopholes,” but agency employees feel tasked to deny any claim that is not clear, even certain. What’s a dedicated employee to do?

Exemptions can result in as much work as enforcement. But, no surprise, the agency places greater emphasis on collecting money from people than on exempting people from paying money. Noted Nancy Cook of the National Journal, “Fewer than 200 employees work to screen more than 70,000 applications for exemption that the Cincinnati office receives each year.” Shortchanging personnel in this way encourages the agency to take “shortcuts that undermine fundamental taxpayer rights and harm taxpayers,” warned the IRS’s independent National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson.

Worse, legislators and presidents increasingly have used tax provisions to control people’s behavior. Explained Cook: “The agency also implements much of the country’s social policy through the tax code. The Earned Income Tax Credit encourages poor people to work, and other incentives encourage us to buy homes and give money to charity. In the coming year, the IRS will be responsible for implementing much of the Affordable Care Act.”

Under Obamacare the IRS collects increased revenue, certifies which Americans are eligible for insurance subsidies, and acts as the primary enforcer of the administration’s insurance mandate, upon which the entire new regulatory structure rests. If healthy people don’t buy the more costly policies, medical insurance companies face a death spiral. So if you fail to purchase insurance, you must pay a tax penalty. The IRS is in charge.

The agency Inspector General reported that the legislation made 47 changes in the tax code, “the largest set of tax law changes the IRS has had to implement in more than 20 years.” Olson called the nationalization of health care “the most extensive social benefit program the IRS has been asked to implement in recent history.”

Tax-based social engineering offers policymakers obvious political benefits. Spending money requires taxing or borrowing, and invites public scrutiny. Regulating generates antagonism and opposition. In contrast, offering tax deductions or credits wins public applause and political support. Most people don’t even realize that they are being manipulated — at their expense, since reducing revenue collections through tax “preferences” requires higher overall tax rates or increased federal borrowing.

The most obvious response to the scandal — beyond punishing anyone who violated the law — is tax reform. Implement a flat tax and you’d still have an IRS, but the income tax would be less complex, there would be fewer “preferences” for the agency to police, and rates would be lower, leaving taxpayers with less incentive for aggressive tax avoidance. Replace the income tax with a consumption tax, and much of the IRS would go away — though the application of Social Security levies on Schedule C income would still leave some IRS enforcement to measure the incomes and expenses of the self-employed.

Further, Washington would have to join states in overseeing sales by retail businesses across America, an extraordinary undertaking. Still better than peering into every Americans’ personal wallet, but not necessarily a significant reduction in intrusive state intervention.

Failing to address the broader underlying factors also would merely set the stage for a repeat performance in some form a few years hence. And the cost would continue to spill over into everything which government does. As Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan observed, “This is not about the usual partisan slugfest. This is about the integrity of our system of government and our ability to trust, which is to say our ability to function.” Today government, and especially the federal government, does far too much. But it does have a few duties which are legitimate and important, and which therefore should be done well.

Most obviously, the Obama scandal should derail the Obama administration’s plans for bigger government. Washington is far too meddlesome and costly already. Worse, the more expansive and expensive the state, the more money that has to be raised. The more money that has to be raised, the greater the pressure from taxpayers for exemptions, credits, and deductions. The more complex the tax code, the more discretion IRS agents require. And the more tax-based abuses that will occur.

But the political effort arising from the tax scandal should not be merely defensive. Activists, candidates, and officials supporting individual liberty and limited government — especially prospective presidential aspirants, such as Rand Paul — should push to abolish the IRS as we know it. One step would be to end tax-based social engineering. Taxes should be used to raise money, not reengineer society. Rationalizing the tax code commonly is considered to be “tax reform,” but Washington’s commitment should run deeper. The objective would be not just a simplification of taxes, but a rationalization of regulation. If Washington has an end, it should adopt the most direct and transparent means. Let the public know what Congress is up to and allow it to judge legislators accordingly.

More fundamentally, government, and especially the national government, should do less. Efficient social engineering may be slightly better than inefficient social engineering, but no social engineering would be far better. Government has a difficult enough challenge combating crime, adjudicating disputes, restricting pollutants, and assisting the poor. Politicians have trouble enough controlling their own behavior and acting in a civilized fashion. They are the last people who should attempt to improve the behavior and mold the souls of others.

Ultimately, the question is whether Americans want to live in a truly free society. What the Obama administration has helpfully though inadvertently demonstrated is that state intervention threatens our liberties in multiple ways. When government decides to interfere in our lives, it forces us to act in politically prescribed ways. It seizes our resources to pay for its depredations. And we see yet again that in doing the latter public officials are ever-tempted to use their power to reward friends and punish enemies, and achieve other self-centered ends.

There already is wide-spread agreement that government does too much. Americans should not allow the latest Obama scandals to go to waste. Those who favor a smaller state should make federal “roll-back” the keystone of their political efforts.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

May 23, 2013 at 06:00

CommonCore: The Joke’s On Us: 20 U.S.C. § 3403 : US Code – Section 3403: Relationship with States

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by Gretchen Logue of Missouri Education Watchdog

Neal McCluskey writes how the Federal Government seems to be directing testing in the Common Core consortia.  From Saying Common Core Not Federal a Joke, but Joke’s on Us:

Last week I posted video from an American Enterprise Institute conference featuring supporters of national curriculum standards—the Common Core—dismissing concerns that implementing the standards might cost lots of taxpayer arms and legs, and laughingly brushing aside concerns that the Common Core might lead to federal control of school curricula. The latter emanated largely from Chester “Checker” Finn, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, whose organization is a leading national standards supporter.
Yesterday news came out that made clear just how serious—and unfunny—concerns about a federal takeover are. According to Education Week, the U.S. Department of Education will start a “technical review process” for the Department-selected consortia creating the national tests to go with the standards. And what will that review look at? Not compliance with accounting standards or something administrative, but test “item design and validation.” That means, most likely (in-depth information from the Department was off-line as of this writing) reviewing the specific questions that will go on the tests. And what is tested, of course, ultimately dictates what is taught, at least if the test results are to have any concrete impact, ranging from whether students advance to the next grade, to whether schools gain or lose funding. Since the ultimate point of uniform standards is to have essentially uniform accountability from state to state, they will have to have some concrete impact, rendering this a clear next step in a major Federal incursion into curricula. (MEW bolded)
Now, maybe Finn wasn’t aware of any of this last week when he blew me off with knee-slapping zingers about the U.N. taking over the Common Core, but I doubt it: according to Education Week, one of Fordham’s employees, Kathleen Porter-Magee, will be on the federal review team, as will frequent Fordham collaborator William Schmidt of Michigan State University. So either Finn is an extremely hands-off manager, or as he summoned his inner Don Rickles last week he knew very well that federal tentacles were inching even deeper into America’s schools.
Ha, ha, America. Joke’s on you.

What does the law state about the Federal Government’s involvement in education?  From findlaw.com:

20 U.S.C. § 3403 : US Code – Section 3403: Relationship with States

(a) Rights of local governments and educational institutions
It is the intention of the Congress in the establishment of the
Department to protect the rights of State and local governments and
public and private educational institutions in the areas of
educational policies and administration of programs and to
strengthen and improve the control of such governments and
institutions over their own educational programs and policies. The
establishment of the Department of Education shall not increase the
authority of the Federal Government over education or diminish the
responsibility for education which is reserved to the States and
the local school systems and other instrumentalities of the States.
(b) Curriculum, administration, and personnel; library resources
No provision of a program administered by the Secretary or by any
other officer of the Department shall be construed to authorize the
Secretary or any such officer to exercise any direction,
supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of
instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational
institution, school, or school system, over any accrediting agency
or association, or over the selection or content of library
resources, textbooks, or other instructional materials by any
educational institution or school system, except to the extent
authorized by law.
(c) Funding under pre-existing programs
The Secretary shall not, during the period within eight months
after May 4, 1980, take any action to withhold, suspend, or
terminate funds under any program transferred by this chapter by
reason of the failure of any State to comply with any applicable
law requiring the administration of such a program through a single
organizational unit.

Do you remember or know of any law passed granting the Federal Government powers pertaining to those programs appearing in bold text?  No? Then why is this “technical review process” allowed to go forward and exist?

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

May 22, 2013 at 06:00

The Future of Private Property

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By Jon N. Hall

It seems to just bug the dickens out of progressives, but we still have “private property” in these here United States. The question is, for how much longer? Private property has come under assault in America, and these assaults are coming mainly from government. But before we look at the barrage of assaults on private property rights here in America, let’s review the underpinnings of those rights in our foundational documents.

The word “property” appears four times in the Constitution. In the original Constitution, “property” appears once, in the Bill of Rights it appears twice, and it appears just once in all the other amendments. The first iteration of “property” is in Article IV, Section 3: “…the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States.” The two mentions in Amendment V: “No person shall be… deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” The final iteration is in Amendment XIV, Section 1: “…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…”

So in all the Constitution there is only one mention of private property. Yet, America’s economic system, capitalism, depends on private property and the rights associated with it. Although the word “property” doesn’t appear in the Declaration of Independence, the Founders took property rights seriously. To see how property was viewed circa 1776, read “The Unalienable Right of Property: Its Foundation, Erosion and Restoration” by Richard A. Huenefeld. “Property” and its plural appear 67 times in The Federalist Papers, with the most mentions in papers No. 10, No. 54, and No. 60.

The Supreme Court dealt a heavy blow to private property rights in its 2005 decision in Kelo v. City of New London., which involved “the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another private owner.” Plaintiffs claimed that confiscation of their properties would violate the Amendment V; specifically the “public use” restriction in the Takings Clause. The implications of this decision were captured on Independence Day 2005 by Carol Saviak, who wrote:

Property rights aren’t imbued by government; they are inherent natural human rights. By holding official title to assets, we gain the ability [to] store the value of our daily labor. The simple economic power derived from property ownership protects us from a primary dependence on government, which would open the door to the subjugation or oppression of our other human rights.

Another growing outrage against private property rights is government confiscation through asset forfeiture. In “Civil Forfeiture Laws And The Continued Assault On Private Property” at Forbes, Chip Mellor writes:

Civil forfeiture laws represent one of the most serious assaults on private property rights in the nation today. Under civil forfeiture, police and prosecutors can seize your car or other property, sell it and use the proceeds to fund agency budgets — all without so much as charging you with a crime. Unlike criminal forfeiture, where property is taken after its owner has been found guilty in a court of law, with civil forfeiture, owners need not be charged with a crime let alone be convicted to lose homes, cars, cash or other property.

In “The Forfeiture Racket” at Reason, Radley Balko writes:

Over the past three decades, it has become routine in the United States for state, local, and federal governments to seize the property of people who were never even charged with, much less convicted of, a crime. Nearly every year, according to Justice Department statistics, the federal government sets new records for asset forfeiture.

In addition to its seizure, government prevents Americans from using their property as they wish. During the New Deal era, the feds wouldn’t allow farmers to cultivate wheat on their own land to feed themselves and their families. That un-American edict was challenged but upheld by Wickard v. Filburn. Nowadays the Agriculture Department takes a back seat to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in interfering with property rights. The EPA’s overreach in its zealous protection of so-called “wetlands” is especially vexing. But with Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency there’s been pushback. At WND, Bob Unruh relates the story of Mike and Chantell Sackett’s run-in with the EPA when building their Idaho dream house. At The Blaze, Becket Adams quotes Justice Alito: “…this kind of thing can’t happen in the United States.”

Another assault against private property is property taxes. One person hit especially hard by such taxes is former Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Charles Wheeler. As reported by the Kansas City Star, Mr. Wheeler, 86, had failed to “pay about $40,000 in back property taxes on [his] house, which is valued at $620,138.”(KC really knows how to treat a former mayor and medical doctor. Watch videos here and here.)

But Dr. Wheeler isn’t the only Jackson County resident to feel the pain of taxes on their property. A May 7 front page story in the Star reports the case of the Ratcliffs and the assessment on their house — it’s gone up by a factor of nearly five in one year.

Folks often say that they don’t own their mortgaged house, the bank does. But in what sense does an American ever own anything, even when paid off, if every year he must pay a tax on it? If he doesn’t pay his property tax, the government seizes his property.

The property tax taxes a fundamental right: property. (Just as certain enlightened jurisdictions don’t tax food, there shouldn’t be any property tax levied on one’s primary dwelling, i.e. one’s shelter.)

Corporate bonds are a type of private property. But in the case of the auto bailouts in 2009, corporate bondholders’ property rights were squashed; their property was seized and awarded to the United Auto Workers union. In an interview at Human Events, Richard Mourdock said: “This is the first time in the history of American bankruptcy law when secured creditors received less than unsecured creditors.”The auto bailouts set theft as a precedent. (Here’s a fine article on the auto bailouts by Amy Payne at Heritage.)

Patents, copyrights, industrial designs, trade secrets and much else are all a type of property: “intellectual property.” The case of Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics may test the limits of ownership. What’s at issue is whether DNA can be patented. But should the stuff of life be “ownable”? The position of LawPundit is that natural DNA is probably not patentable, but re-engineered DNA could be. Oral arguments were heard on April 15. (For more, go here and here.)

Some Americans associate property with materialism. Some, like the anarchist Proudhon, may think “property is theft.” But property can “own” its possessor, as anyone who “owns” an older house can attest. Property provides a means to improve our lives. Do you really want to go back, like Thoreau, to nature?

In the novel The English Patient, the title character is asked what he hates most, and he answers: “Ownership.” Some Americans are conflicted about ownership. That may be due to the fact that there was a time in America when one could own people. About 150 years ago, another human being could be part of one’s private property, part of one’s portfolio. To iron out that wrinkle in American property rights, America suffered her greatest cataclysm, costing about 600,000 military lives.

Nonetheless, property and property rights are a big deal in America. We believe we have a right to own stuff, especially if we have created it. George W. Bush pushed the idea of an “ownership society,” which has a certain appeal for “real” Americans.

Progressives stomp on property rights that have existed for centuries, yet try to convince the American people that they have property rights where they’ve never existed, such as with Social Security. But as confirmed by Flemming v. Nestor in 1960, paying Social Security taxes does not create a property right to Social Security benefits. (You might want to consider owning your retirement.)

The main thing about the American system is “limited government.” Private property is a check against unlimited government, a hedge against Leviathan. The growing outrages against private property are an indication that the real America is fading. We need to hit some giant reset button and return to being a constitutional republic, or we risk losing more than just our damned property.

Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/05/the_future_of_private_property.html#ixzz2T02uJ9SR
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Written by Leatherneck Blogger

May 21, 2013 at 06:00

Miss-Interpretations of The Common Core and Teaching Writing: Dumbing Down with Ridiculous Rules, Mortifying Myths and Loquacious Lies

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by Tomasen M. Carey


I am just home after meeting with some very talented and knowledgeable 6th grade teachers.  Our goal, to discuss the Common Core standards and get a feel for where they were in planning for their upcoming insurgence.

Part of the discussion was that in writing a persuasive piece of writing that the use of “I” is forbidden.  I asked by whom it was forbidden and they both looked at me like, “everyone” knows this.  And in walks the infamous “They” that makes these rules.  Who is the “they” in this arena?  And while you can find that in certain places the use of “I” is frowned upon it is not in others.  What about the fact that some of the best persuasive pieces ever written have a very capital and strong sense of I!! 

ImageFor instance, if you read through my blog entries, how would you classify (for lack of a better word) what kind of writing it is?  What box would you put it in? Persuasive?  Argument?  Narrative? Informational?  Fiction?  Non-Fiction? Opinion?  Or is it a brand new genre called blogging? Or are there strands of each and all of these?

Or is it just ranting from a girl who lives in the grey areas of life navigating through a world of black and white…forever bumping into the boundaries set by others; hard and fast rules that become the letter of the law lacking any theory to back it up.

I envision it as writing my own newspaper column each week.  Where would that fit in?

I see it as a place where I gather my thoughts, opinions, and ideas and then attempt to support them with the thoughts and ideas and opinions of others.  Sometimes they are simply ideas of my own that I attempt to connect to begin to make sense of what I am thinking about. I write for the surprise that Donald Murray always wrote about.   Does this change what “kind” of writing I am writing on each and every attempt?  Or does it even matter what “kind” of writing is if my readers are reading it and it is making them think and wonder and respond?

ImageDonald Murray

And why do we insist on creating “new” kinds of writing that only exist in the world of school?  Have you ever seen or read a book report in the “real” world?  What about the whopper of a 5-paragraph essay?  When is the last time your boss came to you and said you need to write up a 5-paragraph essay, due on my desk by Monday?  NO, you have not because the idea of 5 paragraphs is another myth created in the world of education in an attempt to dumb down the process of writing.


These teachers showed me a template for a persuasive (yes 5 paragraphs in this one too) where the students could essentially fill in the blanks and create a piece of writing that would fulfill the requirements of the Common Core Standards.  I have to SHOUT out here that I really don’t believe these are the intentions behind the CCSS.  This narrow thinking goes back to what Don Graves speaks about as teaching writing in terms of painting by number.  All of the writing in these mythical genres look the same, feels the same, reads the same.  BORING!!!  BUT, as the teachers respond, if we do this then all of the standards will be met and we will be able to point out specifically in different colored pens which parts fulfill which standard.  This leaves teachers in an impossible stance.  They have to choose whether or not to do what they are told or to teach what they know is good writing.  Wouldn’t you think they would be the same thing?

ImageDonald Graves

Our car is making a horrible noise.  (Using a story/narrative strand here to make my point)  There is a screeching sound that just makes your ears quiver when you turn the wheel.  We need to take it to the mechanic to get it fixed.  When it arrives he will listen to it, diagnose it and make the necessary changes.  Imagine another world, say the world where school meets auto repair and instead of relying on the mechanic there is a checklist that says he must add some simile, a bit of metaphor as well as a heave dose of dialogue to fix and complete this engine repair.  When done he can return it to us with all the things he can check off the list, but still with a broken car.


Taking the person OUT of the process only creates nonsensical ridiculous and completely absurd moves.  There is NO sense in it and yet this is exactly the response I am seeing to the CCSS.   It is about coverage and covering one’s ass, if I may be so blunt…but who cares if your ass is covered if you are turning out broken down cars and students?  Taking the writer, the “I” out of the process is not going to create confident writers who know and understand when and where to use a writerly move if they have never had the opportunity as writers to make those decisions.  (Using compare and contrast to drive my point home)

I do not start writing thinking; I will use metaphor, simile and dialogue in this piece.  I start out with an idea and then as I write there are opportunities where these moves may or may not be useful to make my writing what I envision it to be.  I may even remove my car metaphor before this piece is formally posted on my blog.  The point it that these decisions are made my ME, the writer, so that I can create something that makes sense and that will engage my readers (hopefully) and allow them to think about something in a way that maybe they had not thought about it before.

My daughter sent me a link the other day about some middle schoolers involved in inquiry projects and created controlled experiment and then wrote it up and submitted it to various scientific journals to share their findings.  Many of the journals, while they praised the work of the students and it’s originality were not open to accepting the work of these student because their report started with “Once upon a time”, in other words it did not follow the “rules” of the scientific genre.

And yet, you can see here on this link to TED that the work of these students was eventually published and is now one of the most read scientific reports on the Internet.


And here is a link to the actual paper that was published. http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2010/12/18/rsbl.2010.1056.full

So why are so many people reading this and watching this TED talk?  I would argue (making this an argument piece now!) that they are reading it and listening to it because it is original and interesting and shows us what our kids CAN do if given the opportunity.

ImageSo what are we doing?  In our efforts to do what is “right” we are forgetting to think about how kids learn, why kids learn and why they don’t.  Why are kids so totally removed from their own educations, their own thinking, their processes of discovery and wonder and curiosity?  Why?  Why?  Because that is exactly what we are asking of them.  To fill in the blank, not to think about what they are writing, check it off the list and move onto the next genre.  And the beat goes on…

Photo Credits: BLG Consulting Group, communicationissuccess.blogspot.com, http://unhmagazine.unh.edu, UNH Alumni, http://theclimatescepticsparty.blogspot.com/

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

May 20, 2013 at 06:00

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