Want more educational success? Support charter schools – Guest Opinion by Ari Kaufman

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Self-styled Progressives love to mock America as a “laughingstock” compared to the rest of the world in terms of obesity or gun violence or whatever topic they can obfuscate. 

One area where our great nation truly does lag behind the world is public education, a business solely owned and operated by the Left. And they have zero interest in remedying the failures; only the Right does.

Whereas the USA leads the world in everything from charitable giving, military might and medical innovation to technology, natural gas production and so many more laudable areas, any intellectually honest observer will note we fall far short in K-12 schooling.

In the wealthiest nation on earth, this is rather troubling. But the shortcomings in public education have nothing to do with money or results would have improved long ago. 

American taxpayers pay an absurd $20,000 per student per year from Kindergarten through 12th grade. That ridiculous amount is nearly double the global average of around $11,000. We also pay public school teachers on average more than any country. Yet the average student in Canada, China, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Korea, New Zealand, Norway and other nations that liberals tend to admire, consistently outperform the USA in every subject — despite spending less per pupil!

While no single policy solution can ameliorate these historic pitfalls going back nearly a century, because the issues are so vast, one area achieving grand success are charter schools and voucher programs. These initiatives, which began in 1992 in Minnesota, have long been deemed by scholars and conservative politicians as the “civil rights issue” of our time. The left talks a good game about “civil rights” when they seek votes and power, but on real matters, they balk.

I taught for five years in our country’s second largest school district — with one of the most aggressive and powerful teachers unions — and witnessed public education’s myriad issues firsthand in Los Angeles. I’ve documented them now for nearly two decades with a book and dozens of published articles in various newspapers.

Intense resistance to proven educational successes such as merit pay, tenure extension and any needed reform was intense; charter schools were specifically anathema. While Republicans have long supported charter schools and voucher programs, most Democrats are beholden to corrupt teachers unions and therefore do not. 

When asked about charter schools during their Sept. 12 presidential debate, leading Democrats, including Cory Booker who’s seen their success in his beloved Newark, conveniently tiptoed around the issue. He and the others on stage preferred to change the subject, bash the education secretary or, in the case of Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, angrily shout “pay teachers more” clichés. 

Charter and magnet schools are often based in local townships within a city’s boundaries, and thus, not bound by the bureaucracy and size of sclerotic large districts. Uniforms are frequently donned by diverse populations, discipline is enhanced, while students’ and teachers’ attitudes often change with liberation from outdated guidelines. These schools break the monopoly of “one-size-fits-all” education. Usually located just a few miles from urban decay, it’s a different world. 

Charter schools post higher results across the board than the traditional monopoly we’ve had from time immemorial. Further expansion of school choice options has the potential to liberate children, particularly poorer ones, from a dysfunctional education. The effort is worth it. Most of the country is on board; Democrat powers-that-be, teachers and unions protecting them are not.  They remain adept at perpetuating underachievement.

Evidence also shows more money for schools does not lead to success and often simply ways to waste the funds. In reform circles, there is the infamous Kansas City study, where the large district dramatically increased funding by billions in the 1980s and 1990s. This included increasing teacher salaries, adding glistening swimming pools, fancy computer labs and more. Was there an improvement in test scores and other quantitative results? Of course not. Nor was there more racial integration. Oops. This should be a telling lesson.

In addition to the absurd  “more money for schools” line peddled by vacuous politicians like Harris, a common ignorant retort toward education reformers is that those pushing for change are “anti school” or worse. With urban schools crippling our country’s most vulnerable (minority) children, advocating for experimentation with vouchers is actually “pro child.” It is progress. It is also consistent with America’s free market aspirations.

There were fewer than 2,500 charter schools when George W. Bush came into office. Eight years later, the number had doubled to nearly 5,000, and continues to grow a decade later. 

The former president’s words stand true today:

“These diverse, creative schools are proof that parents from all walks of life are willing to challenge the status quo if it means a better education for their children,” Bush said. “More competition and more choices for parents and students will raise the bar for everyone.”

Between the radical political agendas, insouciance toward students and lack of innovation, I ultimately lost the energy to keep teaching. Attempts to buck the trend and assist students were fought like the Battle of Antietam. I got along well with the parents and loved instructing the kids. But the resistance to change and browbeating of anyone seeking change demoralized me. 

Since leaving the profession and embarking on other careers, I published an entire book and dozens of articles on educational reform in various newspapers. I try so hard. Sadly, I continue to marvel at the preservation of a failed status quo. It clearly does not have to be this way.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

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This may be a first in Leftist Lexicon history. I have stumbled across a topic where they don’t have an opinion, but rest assured I will still mock them anyway.

Recently, Hong Kong experienced a somewhat peaceful uprising against government corruption. Unlike Antifa here, though, the protestors didn’t burn/break stuff, attack bystanders, or demand government give them anything. Well, that last part isn’t strictly true because the protestors are asking the US government to intervene on their behalf. So far, we’ve stayed out of the fray with the Trump Administration agreeing that these protests are an internal matter and, thus, not our problem. Meanwhile, the Left has been quiet, instead focusing on important matters like trans-friendly cartoon characters or handicap accessible eco-friendly stripper poles.

My fear, though, is we aren’t taking a close enough look at the implications of ignoring or turning away from Hong Kong right now and how this could cause problems down the line.

Hong Kong

What the Left thinks it means – let me get back to you on that

What it really means – an economic powerhouse that can make or break our economy depending on what we do

If there was a foreign city that rivals America in sheer economic potential, it would be Hong Kong. With a population of close to 7.5 million people and a history of being a trading capitol even today, Hong Kong is a major global commerce hub. After it was returned to China in 1997, there was bound to be a battle looming on the horizon between the socioeconomic ideals of the city and the nation. It’s like what we’re seeing in America right now between capitalism and Leftist ideology, where one side wants government to keep its hands off as much as possible and the other wants government to be involved in every aspect of life and the economy.

On paper, this seems like the kind of battle America would be talking about or even helping fight, but we’ve stayed above the fray as much as we can. A large portion of this, I feel, is due to the relationship the US has with China and the mess we’ve made in addressing the issues between the two countries. Sherman, set the Wayback Machine for 1989, when Chinese students were standing in front of tanks and attempting to enact similar social and economic reforms in Tiananmen Square. I was a college freshman at the time and seeing people right around my age taking such a bold and dangerous stance against a government not exactly known for playing nice struck a chord with me. (I think it was a G, but I could be wrong.)

At that time, then-President George H. W. Bush threatened the possibility of offering China Most Favored Nation status unless they dealt with their numerous human rights violations. Of course, we walked back the threat. Then, under President Bill Clinton, China was granted Most Favored Nation Status with no human rights strings attached. Heck of a job, Billy.

Since then, China has become a trading contradiction: a testament to capitalism surrounded by a testament to big government, and for the most part, that contradiction has been allowed to remain intact until lately. Also, since then, China has purchased a lot of our debt in the form of redeemable bonds. That means if China thinks we can’t pay back what they paid for the bonds, they can demand payment and we will have to either come up with the money or default. And remember, kids, these are the same folks who think they can do a better job at managing your health care and health insurance better than you can.

This fiscal Sword of Damocles may be staying our hand more than we care to admit, which is sad. There was a time when America could be counted on to fight for freedom around the world, but somewhere along the line we decided to trade in the grit in our bellies for cheap disposable crap made in China by people whose freedoms are being suppressed. But, hey, at least we’re getting cheap disposable crap, right? At least, they’re not deadly to children, pets and oursellll…okay, so they are.

And another fun fact to chew on is China is a hotbed for piracy, and not the Captain Jack Sparrow kind (although it is vastly more entertaining than the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films). Entertainment and computer piracy have been a steady side-hustle, and there are no signs that will slow down anytime soon. Given how left-leaning Hollywood, the gaming, and the computer industries have been or become, you would think the Left would be all over this, but they aren’t. They’d rather protest the President or fight for trans albino Eskimos’ rights to abortions on demand, especially if they’re male-to-female trans people.

The problem is there isn’t a clear and safe option. If we ignore the Hong Kong protestors, the best we can expect is to cut off a major economic port and market. If we engage China, they can call in the bonds, which can put us in dire economic straits. Right now, we need China more than they need us. When realism collides with idealism, the latter usually loses.

In this situation, though, we have more of a responsibility to speak up instead of forever holding our peace because the protestors look to us for inspiration and direction. The longer we stay silent or put off taking a stand, the worse it will be in the long run for everyone involved. I mean, if we can whip out the tariff threat against China more frequently than Joe Biden has a speaking gaffe, we might be able to spare a moment or two to tell China and Hong Kong to knock it off.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

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In response to recent mass shootings, the San Francisco City Council decided to tackle the problem head-on by…naming the National Rifle Association a domestic terrorist organization. Such bravery!

Whenever there’s a mass shooting, there is a renewed call for “common sense gun laws” (which most often include stuff that’s already on the books), as well as a renewed attack on the NRA to be defunded, defunct, and disgraced. Whether it’s alleged ties to Russian money or promoting gun sales over gun safety, the Left will stop at nothing to make NRA stand for Not Relevant Anymore. (Hat tip to Dennis Miller for that one.)

Strap yourselves in, boys and girls, because this one is gonna get messy.

the NRA

What the Left thinks it means – a domestic terrorist organization that promotes laws and lawmakers determined to put guns in the hands of dangerous people, a Russian asset

What it really means – a convenient punching bag for the Left to cover up their own failings

In the interest of transparency, I am not a member of the NRA for numerous personal and political reasons. However, I do support their general purpose and gun safety efforts because they support the spirit of the Second Amendment as written, not as interpreted by Leftists. This will get me branded as a “low-IQ gun nut” by those who want to see guns more regulated than they already are, but believe me, I’ve been insulted worse by better people.

If you listen to what the Left says about the NRA, you would think Wayne LaPierre is lounging in a pool filled with the blood of innocent children killed by gun nuts and counting his ill-gotten gains as the Congressmembers he’s bought hang on his every word. They also simultaneously believe the NRA is going broke and needs money it gets from Russia to keep the doors open. Say what you will about the Left, they are consistent in making no sense whatsoever.

As you might have guessed, this dual-prong attack on the NRA has a purpose: to take out the biggest dog in the fight. Compared with gun control groups like Everytown for Gun Safety, the NRA donates more to further its legislative agenda than they do, and the NRA is more effective with its money. Therefore, the Left has to turn the NRA into public enemy #1 whenever possible, and with mass shootings, the Left has the perfect foil for their attacks.

By appealing emotionally to the audience (who are most likely less informed than the Leftists, which is no small feat), the fact-finding process is truncated into a blip on the cognitive radar and the seemingly simple solutions are advanced. Universal background checks! Ban assault weapons! Close the gun show loophole! Call the NRA a domestic terrorist organization! And so on and so on, ad nauseum.

But the problem is when those simple solutions run into facts, like the tiny little detail that none of the recent mass shootings have been committed by an NRA member. Zip. Zero. Nada. Eric Swalwell’s chances of becoming President in 2020 (as well as the number he was polling at when the dropped out). Furthermore, and this bears repeating as often as possible, the legislation Leftists propose to combat mass shootings has largely been a failure. Out of all the recent mass shootings, only 2 have involved someone who wasn’t subject to a background check.

But we’re supposed to believe the NRA is the problem here?

The truth is the NRA does have some issues to address, but by and large they’re not the problem; they’re just the easiest scapegoat for the Left to blame for their frequent failures on this issue. The NRA does far more than push pro-gun legislation or debate the Second Amendment with people who want nothing more than to make it a memory of a bygone era. They offer gun safety courses, including ones for children. I’ve seen some of their materials and they’re anything but advertisements for owning guns. They are informative, safety-conscious, and dare I say it…responsible and reasonable. How many gun safety courses do the pro-gun control Left offer?

Zero.

This fact calls into question not only what the pro-gun control Left wants, but also why they spend so much time bashing an organization that promotes actual gun safety, helps save lives through supporting people’s right to keep and bear arms, and hasn’t been involved in a mass shooting in recent memory. It’s simple; the Left needs people to be ashamed to be a part of the NRA in order to disarm the population (and, yes, this is their main goal no matter how much the Left protests or scoffs at the idea). They can’t win hearts and minds with their arguments, so they poison the rhetorical well to dissuade people from supporting the NRA.

But that’s where the Left runs into yet another problem. The NRA is only one organization of millions of members, but there are others who serve the same or similar functions, as well as those who don’t belong to the NRA and still support their ultimate mission. As you might have guessed, I’m in this last group because I understand the Constitution and want people to be armed if they so choose and are capable of the responsibilities that go along with the right to bear arms. And, yes, I know this last part is going to disqualify a lot of current gun owners, but it’s necessary to take away the Left’s ammunition when it comes to gun owners.

My issues with the NRA revolve around their inability to avoid Leftist traps in the media and in perception. They have let Leftists dictate the rhetorical battlefield too often instead of coming out and telling the truth before the Left has a chance to spin it. In many ways, they’re too nice to those who would love nothing more than to see them destroyed. They rely on intellectual appeals that work, but aren’t as snappy as a Shannon Watts interview. One well-informed NRA member could dismantle Watts in no time. Granted, that’s not a Herculean task, but to stand toe-to-toe with her and refute her statements while throwing a little intellectual judo into the mix would be a welcome change to the standard approved-by-the-PR-Department fare we’re used to seeing.

Yet, as imperfect as the NRA is, it is far better and more committed to curtailing mass shootings than the ones who have deemed themselves to be the ones with all the right answers. Let me put it this way. One side of the gun issue respects the individual and fights to retain the right of said individual to be armed. The other side thinks anyone who owns a gun is a maniac just waiting to shoot up a school, or an uneducated buffoon who would shoot themselves because they’re holding the gun wrong, or someone who is overcompensating for a small member with guns. (Boy, that small member argument is going to surprise Dana Loesch!) One side will treat you like an adult, while the other will always treat you like a slow child. One side tries to prevent people from being victims, while the other side needs a constant stream of victims to sustain itself.

Choose wisely. The life you save with keeping and bearing arms might be your own.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

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Recently, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell presented what he said was proof of President Donald Trump having loans cosigned by, as he put it, “Russian billionaires close to Vladimir Putin.” And how did O’Donnell prove this? A single anonymous source he claimed was close to Deutsche Bank, the bank that approved President Trump’s loans. Since his show aired, NBC came out and said they could not confirm the identity or the veracity of the claims O’Donnell made. And after a legal threat by the President, O’Donnell tweeted he made “an error in judgement.” Whoopsie!

Great journalism there, Larry. You can expect your Pulitzer for Investigative Reporting on Stories Pulled Out of the Reporter’s Ass any day now.

I know CNN is often slapped with the “Fake News” label (and deservedly so given how many stories they get wrong), but another network may take the crown before too much longer, that being MSNBC. What started out as an alternative to the aforementioned CNN has become the place for Leftists to gather, spread information, and watch like-minded talking heads bring up a laundry list of news stories designed to confirm the biases of its viewers.

As a media observer/critic/mocker, I’ve watched MSNBC’s evolution from news channel to a left-wing InfoWars without Alex Jones’ appeal. And, as you might guess, I have a few opinions on it and the various personalities who inhabit its bubble.

MSNBC

What the Left thinks it means –  one of the only true sources of hard facts and investigative reporting out there

What it really is – what would happen if CNN were run by Millennials

I’ll be the first one to admit I trust MSNBC less than I trust Nancy Pelosi’s plastic surgeon referral, but that’s not without reason. Whatever journalistic practices they had at their inception was removed and replaced with self-important Leftist figure-airheads who can best be called willing mouthpieces for the Left. Whether it’s Rachel Maddow (who I think is Chris Hayes in drag), Chris Hayes (who I think is Rachel Maddow in drag), Lawrence O’Donnell (who I think is a drag, period), or any of the other interchangeable anchors, there are two things that unite them. One, they will advance any and all Leftist viewpoints, regardless of how farfetched they may be. And, two, they suck at real news.

This is going to come as a shock to you Leftists, but some of MSNBC’s critics have an idea or two about what journalistic standards are, or were as the case may be. Take the O’Donnell bombshell mentioned above, for example. Going to press with a single source, let alone a single anonymous source, would get you busted down to reporting on zoning meetings under an editor whose goal is to report news, not rumor. Why? Because newspapers and TV stations can get sued if they get a story wrong and damage a person’s reputation. Yes, even if it’s Donald Trump’s reputation, which is damaged worse than a Ford Pinto gently tapping a wall at Chernobyl.

But that’s not what MSNBC’s editors do. Instead, they allow unfounded and poorly-sourced speculation to go to air without checking the facts first, often with hilarious unintended consequences. Remember when Rachel Maddow hyped a story she had a copy of Donald Trump’s taxes? Turns out she had a portion of the tax forms and it showed…Trump paid taxes. That bastard!

What is also showed was MSNBC wasn’t interested in finding the truth, but was interested in finding a way to get people to talk about their reporting. And after Maddow’s bombshell bombed, it was quickly “memory holed” and her credibility was untouched in Leftist circles. The same will happen with O’Donnell, and the same has happened with other MSNBC hosts like Joy Reid, Al Sharpton, and the late Ed Schultz. No matter what insanely stupid things they said or did, Leftists pretended like those were minor mistakes that didn’t reflect badly on their credibility. Of course, they don’t extend the same courtesy to anyone on the Right…

The problem Leftists face without knowing it is by relying on poorly-sourced information without doing a bit of fact checking on their own because it fits what they believe, they are becoming less informed and more vulnerable to “fake news.” And when it pertains to the President, they will jump on any accusation if it sounds plausible. Granted, the Right does this, too, so it’s not just a problem with the Left. Even so, the Right has relatively few outlets for potential misinformation when compared to the Left. It doesn’t make it right, but it does make it harder to find the truth.

Broadcasting 24/7 isn’t a right; it’s a privilege, one that comes with an awesome responsibility to not cause harm to its viewers or listeners. For the second-highest rated cable news network to be so cavalier with the truth as frequently as it does is frightening because it violates the implied contract between the maker and the consumer. We still put our trust (as misguided as that may be) in media outlets from talk radio to cable news to newspapers to give us the facts. Yet, as recent polling data shows, the public’s trust in the media is lower than an earthworm’s belt buckle. That hasn’t come because the media have done their jobs. It’s because they haven’t, and MSNBC is a prime example of what happens when a member of the media get something wrong.

I don’t want MSNBC taken off the air, and the same goes with CNN, Fox News, and other news media. (Although, I do think Hallmark Movie Channel needs to seriously cut back on the Christmas movies. At this rate they could run them every day of the year and never repeat one.) What I want is for the media to get back into the news business. And, yes, that requires a bit more effort than asking a Republican when he stopped beating his wife while asking a known Democrat wife-beater what his favorite color is. It means asking tough questions on both sides, not dismissing one side of an issue because it doesn’t line up with yours, and above all else have a poker face better than the ones on Mount Rushmore. We shouldn’t put up with alleged news anchors rolling their eyes, literally or figuratively, when a guest says something that doesn’t square up with the narrative. As we’ve seen, the narrative can be wrong, and when coupled with ideological fervor that makes the Spanish Inquisition look indecisive create an uninformed populous ready to pick up torches and pitchforks at a moment’s notice because Orange Man Bad.

But you do you, MSNBC.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

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By the time you read this, the news of David Koch’s passing will have been circulating for at least 24-48 hours. Whether you agree or disagree with his politics, the fact that David and his brother Charles have impacted society and politics with their charitable and political contributions.

But most Leftists don’t focus on the Koch Brothers’ advancement of science, social issues, and medicine. Instead, they focus on their political activities. And by “focus” I mean “loathe and attack.” I know politics is personal, but the way many Leftists rejoiced at Mr. Koch’s passing was, in a word, orgasmic. They were celebrating as though they won the Lotto, enacted “real socialism”, and impeached President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence at the same time.

The Koch Brothers are a sore spot for Leftists, which makes them the perfect addition to this edition of the Leftist Lexicon.

the Koch Brothers

What the Left thins it means – two brothers who epitomize evil and have used their wealth to endanger the planet, corrupt government, and further divide this country

What it really means – two brothers who lived and acted in accordance with their beliefs

If the Koch Brothers didn’t exist, it’s a good bet the Left would have to create them because they need a stereotypical right wing foil on which to foist all of their conspiratorial delusions. In the 1990s, it was the “vast right wing conspiracy” headed up by Richard Mellon Scaife. After Bill and Hillary Clinton left the White House, the Left bopped along from George W. Bush (who according to them was both the dumbest President ever and a criminal mastermind) to Dick Cheney to Halliburton. Then, when the Koch Brothers entered the scene, the Left finally had a brand new pair of Mellon Scaifes and the key to go along with them. (With all apologies to Melanie for a reference so tortured it might be against the Geneva Convention.)

So, why all the hatred? Part of it is political. The Koch Brothers skewed libertarian in their beliefs, which means they wanted big government out of our lives as much as possible. Not coincidentally, it also meant they pissed off Leftists by wanting big government out of our lives as much as possible. And since the Right tends to align better with what the Kochs wanted, the brothers sided with the Right instead of the Left. (There is more to come on this point later, so stay tuned.)

One of the great injustices the Left found with the Kochs was they funded research…to reject the pseudo-science of global warming/climate change/catastrophes/whatever name they’re using this week. Oh, horror of horrors! How dare they fund research that isn’t funded and controlled by Leftists! Seriously, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to Leftists, considering the Koch Brothers have funded scientific research in many areas and even helps fund “NOVA” on PBS. Now, what is one publicly funded network the Left wants to protect again? It’s right on the tip of my tongue, but I just can’t think of it right now. I’m sure it will come to me. Probably Before Sunset?

Another part of the hatred towards the Koch Brothers is wealth and the Left’s jealousy of it. As I’ve mentioned previously, the Left is conflicted over wealth. On the one hand, they hate it because it creates haves and have-nots (and three guesses as to who tends to fall into the latter category). On the other hand, they want personal wealth so they can live well and live by a different set of rules than the rest of us have. For all of their talk about equality, the Left doesn’t really want it. They want everyone else to live equally, but they want to live above everyone else.

This begs the question of why Leftists don’t go after wealthy Leftists like Tom Steyer, Bill Gates, and George Soros while demonizing the Koch Brothers. Simple. They’re hypocrites. Oh, and they’re big advocates of punishing people for what George Orwell called wrongthink. Soros alone has had more of an influence on elections than the Koch Brothers ever have (and did so without becoming a wanted criminal in two countries for currency manipulation to boot), but he funds the “right” causes (like Media Matters), so his wealth is okay. But fund something like gun rights and you’re slightly less evil than Hitler, but you’re within spitting distance!

The funny thing about the Left’s hatred of the Koch Brothers is how misguided it is. Once you look at what issues they promoted and funded, including same sex marriage and marijuana decriminalization, the Venn Diagram of where the Left and the Kochs agreed covers a lot of ground. And did I mention they are/were also pro choice?

Now do you feel like idiots, Leftists? Judging from the Twitter accounts from Leftists cheering David’s death and hoping for Charles’ demise to come sooner rather than later, I’m guessing you don’t.

In either case, the Left have maligned people who actually agree with them on important issues, which isn’t that unusual in today’s political climate. Even so, cutting off your nose to spite your face only leaves you looking like Lord Voldemort in a pink knit hat and an “I’m Still With Her” t-shirt stained with overpriced Chipotle food and Starbucks coffee. And while you maintain your self-righteous indignation and amoral superiority over the Koch Brothers, remember this: they put their money where their mouths are, and Charles will continue to do so for no other reason than to piss you off even more. For all the venomous hatred and slander thrown their way, the Koch Brothers continued to do what they wanted on their own terms, and your impotent rage didn’t change that even one micron.

And the world is infinitely better for it.

And that’s what burns Leftists the most. David and Charles Koch acted of their own accord and with their own money while Leftists flapped their gums to try to coerce people to get government government to spend other peoples’ money to make their hot air reality. While the latter approach may tick off the right boxes on the Leftist Ideological Bingo Card, the Koch Brothers actually made things happen.

So much for Leftists being in favor of progress…

Guerrillas in the Midst

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If you’ve taken a look at the political climate lately, you know it’s uglier than Rosie O’Donnell’s leaked nudes. We’ve gotten to the point where expressing an opposing opinion on any topic can be a dangerous proposition with what political opponents are advocating and/or condoning. We’re not talking about tearing down yard signs or TPing a house. We’re talking doxing, death threats, and even physical violence. Put another way, we’ve entered the period of guerrilla politics.

To be fair, politics isn’t a subject for the weak at heart, but in the past there was always an underlying assumption the two sides only wanted the best for the country, just differed on the way to get there, and could respect the other side’s position even if it countered their own. It’s safe to say that assumption is no longer in play, as political operatives are more concerned with otherizing their opponents than finding common ground.

Although both sides participate in guerrilla politics from time to time, the Left has mastered it. Take Joaquin Castro’s recent decision to post the names and workplaces of businessowners who donated to President Donald Trump on Twitter. Yes, this information was public knowledge as required by election law, but Castro’s purpose for posting it had only a little do to with informing the public of where businessowners stood on the President. The intent was to call out these people for “supporting a racist” (in Castro’s opinion) and trying to shame these people into rethinking their support.

After a few death threats, cases of mistaken identity, and bad news coverage, Castro’s idea backfired on him, making him look like he deserved to be one of the back of the pack contenders for the 2020 Democrat nomination for President. Good thing for him he was already there or it might have been even more embarrassing. Even though the information is public, it was combined with an unspoken accusation: the people and businesses on this list are racists because they support Donald Trump, who is a racist. If the Left would have stopped with a boycott of these establishments, that’s one thing, but it didn’t stop there. The minute death threats started to be uttered, the minute the employees of these establishments started fearing for their lives, that’s when it went from being acceptable to unacceptable behavior.

Of course, try telling Castro and the Left that. They are all about “name and shame” when it comes to Trump supporters. Of course, when it’s Antifa, name and shame goes the way of Castro’s chances of seeing the inside of the White House on anything but a guided tour. As much of a double standard this appears to be, it’s not quite one because being a Trump supporter in and of itself isn’t illegal, but assault is. But if the Left gets their way, being a Trump supporter would be grounds for expulsion from society. And soon, their sights may be on anyone else who disagrees with them, all in the name of ideological purity.

This kind of thinking is folly at best, dangerous at worse. The natural instinct is to give as good as we receive, but that’s not going to work here. In its current state, the Left is wiling to do anything to ruin people who don’t tow the line. If they can’t intimidate you emotionally, they’ll do it physically. They are acting out of pure emotion, which means they may not respond to reason. That limits what we can do in response. If we push back, it escalates the situation and forces the Left to push back harder. If we don’t say or do anything, the Left wins by default and they continue to run roughshod. There has to be something in between these two undesirable results.

And there is, but it will require a little bit of strategic thinking. Comedian Dennis Miller came up with a solution in 2014: keep your politics close to your vest, especially these days. Don’t engage the Left, don’t stick your neck out in political discussions unless you’re ready to deal with the worst possible responses, and think about what you say and do on social media, in public, and in private discussions. But there are two things you can do that will strike a blow for freedom.

Vote, and encourage others to vote.

Until the Left figures out how to spy on how you vote (and don’t take this as a challenge, Leftists), you still retain the privacy at the polling place. When it’s you and your ballot, you still have the power to think for yourselves and act in whatever way you feel will make the country better. Even if you don’t agree with Trump, this constant bullying by the Left won’t get better until they realize the power they think they hold is through force and not persuasion or reason. They are motivated by greed, hatred, envy, and any number of other negative emotions that will lead either to another not-so-civil war or to them eventually burning themselves out. The former will be a bloody end that will not be a happy ending for this country. The latter is the long game, but it is the one that will ensure we can still hold onto the tatters our country has become and maybe, just maybe, we can mend it.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

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To put it mildly, the Left hates President Donald Trump with the fire of a thousand suns. To be fair, they also hate non-GMO free products with the same fire, so it’s not that big of a deal. However, among political figures, Trump is number one, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell coming in at number two. Whether it’s blocking House bills that have more riders than a horse at a kid’s party working straight commission or filling judicial posts, the hatred towards McConnell is visceral and real.

Recently, Leftists have decided to try to go after McConnell after the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. Some have congregated outside of his house and shouted vulgar and violent comments (all in the name of stopping gun violence, of course). Others, like Tim Ryan (one of the clowns in the current 2020 Democrat Presidential clown car…yeah, I don’t know who he is either), are organizing a march from Ohio to Kentucky to protest McConnell’s reluctance to pass House bills designed to make gun laws tougher.

Before the aforementioned horse gets exhausted, let’s take a look at Senator McConnell.

Mitch McConnell

What the Left thinks it means – the epitome of Republican/fascist evil and inaction, a Russian asset who refused to hold Donald Trump accountable

What it really means – the personification of karma

When I first started paying attention to McConnell, I have to say I wasn’t impressed. Based on what I saw of his actions on behalf of his ideology, it seemed he would dive to the left faster than Rickey Henderson trying to avoid a pickoff attempt at first base. As time went on, however, he’s proven himself to be a long range strategist and a thorn in the Left’s side because he plays by the rules they set up.

Remember Merrick Garland? Using a Senate tradition going back decades, McConnell said the Senate would not take up his nomination to the Supreme Court in 2016 because it was an election year. From then on, McConnell was in the Leftist crosshairs. From that point on, McConnell did little to endear himself to the Left, including reprimanding Senator Elizabeth “Chief Running Mouth” Warren after she violated Senate rules by attacking the character of a fellow Senator at a confirmation hearing. Nevertheless, she persisted to make an ass of herself, but that’s a story for another time.

Then, there was the use of the “nuclear option” that former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used to try to fill judicial vacancies during President Barack Obama’s tenure. McConnell advised it would backfire on the Left, and once the Senate went back into Republican hands, it did. And the Left got mad…der.

I think that’s one of the main drivers behind the Left’s hatred of McConnell: he’s holding the Left to their words and actions, which exposes their short-sightedness and hypocrisy. It’s not hard to do, but high profile Republicans who do it are few and far between. And McConnell is the king of comebacks. Over the past 2 years, McConnell has been given any number of nicknames (Cocaine Mitch, The Grim Reaper of the Senate, Moscow Mitch), all of which designed to denigrate him, but his team and him roll with the punches using the one thing Leftists can’t stand when responding to their rhetoric.

Humor.

Although Leftists claim they have a better sense of humor than the Right, they don’t take it very well when their ideas get mocked. (And apparently they’ve never seen Amy Schumer’s recent stand-up specials, which were as well-received as a pig roast in Tel Aviv during Hanukkah). Leftists count on an emotional response to their rhetoric, but they don’t expect that response to be laughter. To put it another way, they can dish it out, but they can’t take it. Using a little mental and comedic jujitsu, McConnell has been able to not just get legislative and judicial victories, but drive Leftists crazy…well, crazier at least, in the process. So, win-win.

This is not to say McConnell is perfect, but to deny his effectiveness as a leader is folly. Where past Republican leaders were wishy-washy and willing to meet the Left halfway on issues (while never getting the same consideration from the Left, by the way), McConnell at least has some idea of how to draw a line in the sand and stick to it. Whether it’s advancing President Trump’s agenda or stymieing the Left’s agenda, he has learned the value of strategizing towards achieving a goal and finding the best possible path to make it a reality.

Mitch McConnell’s job description is a lot like hot dogs: you don’t want to know how you get to the end result. That, and both go really well with mustard, ketchup, and relish. The results are what matter most, along with Leftists’ heads exploding along the way. For that, Cocaine Mitch and his Mitchettes deserve our respect and support.


More Shootings, Less Security

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Over the weekend, we heard of two mass shootings, one in El Paso and the other in Dayton, and people on both sides of the gun control issue are up in arms, if you’ll pardon the expression. And even if you don’t pardon it, I’m using it, so there. Pro-gun control advocates scream about needing tougher gun laws, up to and including confiscation. Pro-gun advocates scream about the Second Amendment and Leftists wanting to take away their guns.

And neither side is looking to change a thing.

To be quite clear on this, I am a Second Amendment supporter even though I don’t own nor should I own firearms. I do not advocate violence under most cases, and I definitely condemn any and all mass shootings. The fact I have to make this statement in the first place is indicative of the stupidity of the current political environment where an absence to condemn is “evidence” of support. But that’s neither here nor there.

There is something that has connected the clear majority of mass shootings over the past few years, but very few people have recognized it. Contrary to current sentiments, they weren’t all white nationalists, Republicans, Democrats, Leftists, Islamists, atheists, and most of the other descriptors being thrown about like candy at a parade. The connection is obvious, even stated, but not even considered when devising “solutions.”

The clear majority of recent mass shooters obtained their guns legally.

Think about that for a moment. The shooters all beat the system government put in place to protect us. And no one else sees this?

Right now, we have tens of thousands of gun laws on the books at every level from city to federal, so any gun owner who wants to legally own a gun have to run a gauntlet of regulations, background checks, and monetary investments just to get the government’s blessing. And yet, in spite of (or perhaps because of) this, people who perhaps shouldn’t be able to get own guns are getting and using them for nefarious purposes. And that’s not even taking into consideration those who circumvent the system altogether and obtain their guns illegally. For now, though, let’s deal with the legal path because that’s where the failure is more evident.

After so many recent public failures, one would think the first place people would look for answers is the system responsible for the failures. That’s where people familiar with the private sector (i.e. not Congresscritters) or common sense (i.e. not Congresscritters) would start, but that doesn’t work for pro-gun control folks. The system isn’t the problem; it’s the lax gun laws! And the solution? More gun laws! In other words, strengthening the system that continues to fail with deadly results.

The irony is the pro-gun control side says we can’t keep doing things the way we have been while being absolutely inflexible when it comes to what needs to be done. They aren’t willing to look at the system they’ve created and promoted as the solution to the gun violence problem as the problem that adds to the gun violence problem they’re allegedly trying to resolve. When you dig down into gun control, you see a lot of ideas, but not a lot of depth to them. It’s mainly catchy slogans, like “sensible gun control” with only occasional references to actual confiscation or making it harder/more expensive to get bullets or some other nonsensical options.

On the other side of the equation, anti-gun control folks don’t do the movement any favors by becoming live action examples of the caricatures gun control folks paint of all gun owners. Just because you can pack heat in public doesn’t mean it’s appropriate in every situation. Yes, I know shootings are happening in unlikely places, but most of the time you won’t need to draw and fire. And as much complaining as you do about what the hoops you have to jump through in order to get a firearm legally, I would think you would be the first ones to look at the system and want to do something about it.

Unfortunately, neither side wants to address the system. Gun control advocates want to keep their power and gun advocates want to keep their bone of contention against gun control. And of these two groups, I have more faith in the latter group to come to its senses sooner than the former. However, I will be glad to be proven wrong.

So, who wants to be the first person in power willing to take on the failed system in place? The lives you save from pushing for reform in this area will be more than worth the heat you’ll take by those who will reject it. 

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

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I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. I refuse to get on Twitter, mainly because there are too many twits out there. However, it cannot be denied it has revolutionized activism. Now, instead of going out and marching for a cause, you can just type up a hashtag and people know what kind of person you are. It’s the digital equivalent of the ribbons celebrities wear or used to wear to awards ceremonies to show they cared about a particular cause.

This week we saw the emergence of another hashtag ribbon: #WhitePeopleAgainstRacism. The Left has jumped all over this as a means to try to show President Donald Trump they won’t stand for his evil racist no-good policies, like…well…okay, so they’re still working on inventing these reasons. In the meantime, the hashtag will have to do because, dammit, they CARE!

See what I mean about too many twits?

On the plus side, though, we have a new addition to the Leftist Lexicon.

#WhitePeopleAgainstRacism

What the Left thinks it means – a hashtag designed to show the world they, and in particular whites,  don’t condone racism

What it really means – a way for Leftists to show the world they’re better people and, in doing so, failing miserably

Don’t get me wrong here. I am a white person against racism, and I agree with the basic sentiment. Being a racist is pretty much a non-starter for most professions outside of the Ku Klux Klan or Congressmember, but the sentiment goes a lot deeper than the surface. When you take a look at what the Left considers racism, the simple statement gets murky.

The Left’s definition of racism is race plus power. That way, a white man who called a black man the n-word is racist, but a black man who calls a white man the h-word (Honkey) isn’t because the white man has power over the black man. But it’s not just overt racism, folks. It’s any structure that holds whites to a different standard than people of color. To oversimplify while retaining the core of the idea, anything and everything can be racist at some point when it involves white people.

However, this isn’t the dictionary definition of racism (though I’m sure some Leftists are already hard at work trying to get their definition into the actual lexicon of the English language, if they haven’t succeeded yet). The definition of racism I use is being hateful towards someone due solely to their race. That’s it. And for most of my adult life, it’s worked out pretty well. The difference between the Left’s definition and my definition is it eliminates a crutch for the Left. If they admit racism isn’t about power or power structures, it opens up the meaning to include everyone, not just whites. And it’s hard to keep promoting victimhood for people of color if they have to admit they have the power to choose not to be racist.

This can be seen in a recent controversy over West Baltimore. President Trump tweeted out how bad conditions were in West Baltimore and calling out Representative Elijah Cummings for a lack of leadership in his home district, and the Left started calling him racist for the first time in, oh, a microsecond. Now, here’s the funny part. There was another gentleman who expressed similar concerns about the conditions in West Baltimore who isn’t being called out as a racist. His name?

Bernie Sanders.

While Bernie and his Bernouts are trying to spin the narrative to avoid comparisons to Trump’s tweet, it’s hard to separate the two, especially considering they expressed the same idea: West Baltimore sucks. Now, before the Left starts accusing me of “whataboutism,” let me point out both Bernie and Trump are exactly right. West Baltimore makes Chernobyl circa 1987 look like Club Med. And also let me point out that pointing that out isn’t racist; it’s a harsh and rat-filled reality.

Of course, the Left can’t seem to keep its own story straight when it comes to race. Remember when Leftists defended the idea of people like Shaun King and Rachel Dolezal being “trans-racial”? Or when they advanced the idea race is a social construct? If you don’t, be glad. It’s so mind-bendingly insane, yet it might explain how these same Leftists thinks West Baltimore is under attack by Trump pointing out how it’s being run by Leftists as well as, well, anything else they run.

And while we’re on the subject of mind-bending insanity, let’s look at how the Left applies its own standards as they pertain to whites. When white guys like your humble correspondent try to voice opinions about the state of black families, Leftists tell us we should stay quiet because we’re not black. So, who is behind the #WhitePeopleAgainstRacism hashtag? If it’s a white person, shouldn’t he or she be told to be quiet because they’re not a person of color? If it’s a person of color, wouldn’t the assumption white people would need to denounce racism be racist itself? After all, the basis for this assumption is whites are inherently racist because of the color of their skins…which meets the literal definition of racism. Not to mention, the idea people of color lacking the agency to be racist is racist in and of itself because it denigrates and denies the power people of color have.

See what I mean about Leftist ideas on this subject being mind-bendingly insane?

The further away we get from Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream in years, the further away we seem to get from realizing that dream. It’s gotten to the point the dream has become a twisted nightmare version where instead of looking at the content of one’s character instead of the color of one’s skin, Leftists are focused solely on the skin color and don’t give a rat’s ass about character. (Sorry, Baltimore, but I had to mention rats.)

Here’s the thing, though. Being against racism, whether you’re white or not, is pretty much our default setting in 2019 with relatively few exceptions. So, saying you’re against racism is like saying you’re against kicking puppies; it’s unremarkable to the point of being mundane. But it makes for some great virtue signaling. Only in a Leftist’s hivemind could something so utterly meaningless become a badge of honor. Then again, these are the same folks who believe everyone should get a participation trophy so nobody’s feelings get hurt, so there’s that.

In the meantime, if you feel you have to announce you’re against racism, seek professional help. You’re clearly not well enough to function as an adult and might need some supervision.



Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

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With all the discussion of tolerance and the number of genders (Spoiler Alert: still 2), there is a relatively new phenomenon: preferred pronouns. Thanks to Chief Running Mouth, Elizabeth Warren, putting her preferred pronouns on her Twitter profile, the Left had a collective joygasm. Finally, the Democrats were talking about a subject that matters to approximately 0.0000000325% of the population!

What started out as a way for people online to describe what they consider themselves (while at the same time increasing the number of times lesser used letters like X, Y, and Z appear in words) has turned into a social and judicial issue due in no small part to the Left’s use of identity politics. As a result, we now have yet another way to enter the twisted, mixed-up world of Leftist thought.

preferred pronouns

What the Left thinks it means – a way for people to express their sexual preferences and identity, an important statement about one’s self

What it really means – creating more division using stupid means

I’ve often said the Left uses language to control the narrative, but in this case, they’ve invented their own language reminiscent of feminists of the 1990s purposely misspelling words so they didn’t have to use the word “man.” Thanks to websites like Reddit, though, the preferred pronoun movement took off like a rocket. At first, it was pretty harmless, but now it’s gotten downright litigious.

In some states and countries, it is now illegal to use the wrong pronouns if a person tells you what he/she/it prefers you use. And people are okay with this? Unfortunately, the answer is yes because in their minds “misgendering” someone by not using preferred pronouns should be illegal. Even if it’s a 6’4” 280 pound linebacker born Hunk Slabchest whose preferred pronouns are zee/zyr (and, yes, these are actual preferred pronouns, ladies and gentlemen), if Hunk asks you to use them and you fail to, there are now legal punishments. Granted, the people who feel this way tend to overlap with the “words are violence” crowd, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they managed to find a way to make pronouns punishable by the Pronoun Police.

Yeah, maybe I’d take this personal pronoun business a little more seriously if their advocates could spell. And, yes, I’ve seen how you spell in your Tweets. Maybe work on mastering actual pronouns before you tackle the preferred ones, okay?

At the heart of the personal pronoun issue is a need for sexual individuality, which isn’t bad in and of itself. When it gets to the level we’ve reached, though, it goes into the land of delusion and scientific illiteracy. Biology, physiology, anatomy, and other life sciences have shown time and time again there are two genders, male and female. It doesn’t matter what you think or how you feel, that’s pretty much a done deal. You are either male or female at the genetic level. Period. Just because you don’t identify as a member of one of the two genders doesn’t mean you’re not one of them.

This is where preferred pronouns undercut science. By allowing the idea of multiple genders outside of the male/female dynamic, any variation on a theme can be seen as a legitimate gender, thus increasing the number of possible preferred pronouns and creating more potential for misunderstandings, division, and even legal penalties. On the plus side, it also creates the potential for a lot of mockery, but overall it’s not a great idea.

There’s also the potential for psychological damage. Just because you want to be called zyr doesn’t require the world to cater to your will, and those who think it should aren’t helping. They are creating an environment where your feelings trump fact, and that isn’t healthy for anyone, especially not the little zyr they’re coddling. Once you allow yourself to define your own reality irrespective of the reality around you, you have bought into the delusion, and it becomes harder to ween yourself off of it.

The main problem I have with preferred pronouns is one of respect. The people who want us to use them expect us to respect their wishes, but they don’t offer respect in return. If you tell me your personal pronouns and I slip up, forget, or just don’t care to use them, it shouldn’t result in legal action against me. That’s more heavy-handed than Iron Man giving you a high five while holding onto a bar of gold, and probably a lot less painful. I live by a simple philosophy: I will show you the respect you show me until something happens to change that dynamic. If you insist I use your pronouns but you don’t give me time for a learning curve, that’s not respect; that’s dominance in search of deferential coercion. Put in Leftist terms, it’s your privilege and agency attempting to subdue mine.

Guess how likely I will be to use your preferred pronouns in that scenario.

Look, if your entire identity is wrapped up in whether people use the right two or three letter combination to describe you, there is a lot more wrong with you than the whole preferred pronoun thing. If you want to be unique and stand out, focus on what makes you special and share that. Don’t create a weird combination of letters that won’t get counted when used in Words With Friends because it’s a false sense of identity. You are actively self-segregating, which means fewer and fewer people may want to try to get to know you. Eventually, you will become the individual you always wanted to be and you will be lonelier for it.