Ugly Rumors

A chain e-mail has been making the rounds since 2007 that the United Kingdom has banned teaching about the Holocaust in order to ameliorate the sensitivities of its Muslim population.

The United Kingdom’s Department of Education has worked hard to dispel this urban myth, stating that the Holocaust is an optional selection in its secondary school offerings. One history department in a northern city avoided selecting the Holocaust as a topic for GCSE coursework for fear of confronting anti-Semitic sentiment and Holocaust denial among some Muslim students.

That’s one school out of 4,500 in England. One too many, but not an epidemic, either. I received the e-mail from a cousin and sent it on, not realizing how old this urban legend was.

If I seem to have “taken the bait” too easily, there’s good reason. I’ve met Holocaust deniers, in the flesh. They’re quite vocal and have been around a long time, since even before the end of the war, according to my father’s accounts.

Military personnel had heard rumors but weren’t sure whether to believe them until they actually came to the gates of one of the concentration camps and saw the horror for themselves. Gen. Eisenhower gave orders that the carnage be photographed and that the prisoners be interviewed, lest anyone attempt to rewrite history.

When I was a little girl, my parents brought me to an adult party. The guest of honor was a concentration camp survivor. An elderly-looking man, his haunted eyes burned with the truth. There was no doubting his story or the number printed on his arm.

Our neighborhood was a German-American enclave, second-generation Americans who’d become politicized during the war. One of them approached the survivor and accused him of making up stories to frighten little children like me.

He declared that the Holocaust had never happened, that the Jews invented the myth to explain away German’s financial ruin between World War I and World War II. Or something like that. Quite an argument broke out, with people shouting at one another, while the hostess, in her beribboned apron, served hors d’oeuvres.

My father ordered my mother to get our coats – we were leaving. The old man stomped out ahead of us, escorted by the Dutch immigrant couple who had brought him. The woman had worked for the Dutch resistance. Her family had harbored two Jews during the War.

Who was I going to believe? My father? My mother? Our Dutch friends? The man with the tattooed arm? Or some pot-bellied Neanderthal who embraced the national socialism of Hitler’s Germany?

I believe the Holocaust happened. I also believe there are Holocaust deniers who would try to expunge this history from school curriculums. Their Liberal communist counterparts have done a credible job of rewriting American history. I can well believe that there are factions who would attempt to rewrite the history of World War II. Our own president wants to throw out the U.S. Constitution and make up the rules as we go along. Guess that makes him a Constitution Denier.

This e-mail may have been a hoax, or at least an overreaction to a single incident. But there’s nothing wrong with putting revisionists on notice that we won’t tolerate any further deviations from history and the truth.

One such deviation is being constructed near the World Trade Center. Another revision of history. A columnist in the Washington Times recently pointed out how the Muslims make a point of constructing mosques over religious and even secular sites that they have “conquered”.

One only has to look at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem or look at the archived footage of Muslim’s destroying Buddhist statues in Afghanistan to know the truth.

It’s a history they cannot deny, no matter how hard they try.

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Published in: on June 30, 2010 at 6:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Burn the Constitution!

In the 1970s, feminists exhorted women to burn their brassieres. They even had Burn-the-Bra bonfires. Today, it seems they want us to throw the U.S. Constitution on the bonfire, a document they consider as confining, restrictive, and uncomfortable as that venerable woman’s undergarment.

Although we’ve had female justices on the Supreme Court for years, current Supreme Court judge nominee Elena Kagan, a veritable shoe-in for the position, seems poised to lead us to the Constitutional bonfire.

She is reputed to have stated, echoing the words of her mentor, Thurgood Marshall, “…the Constitution, as originally drafted and conceived was defective. The Constitution today…contains a great deal to be proud of. But the credit does not belong to the Framers. It belongs to those (like Marshall) who refused to acquiesce to ‘outdated’ notions of liberty, justice, and equality.”

Conservative pundits have also accused her of being in favor of banning, or even burning, books, in regard to the campaign finance reform law, where a book advocates a certain political party candidate.

Her defenders say that the opinion came not from Kagan but from Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart. He presided over Citizens United v. FEC, a Supreme Court case dealing with the constitutionality of the Federal Elections Commission’s decision that Citizens United could not air a movie advocating against Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy if that movie was paid for by federal funds.

On March 24, 2009 — after the Senate confirmed Kagan — the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case. Stewart stated during the trial that, in addition to a movie, the federal government could “prohibit the publication of [a] book using the corporate treasury funds” if that book ended by saying “Vote for X.”

In rearguing the case, Kagan asserted that the federal government would not have much of a case – at least not through campaign finance law – for banning books. Any corporation challenging such a ruling would likely win and the book banning would be overturned.

She referred to it as a “good as-applied challenge” to the law. “Nobody in Congress,”

Kagan stated, “ nobody in the administrative apparatus has ever suggested that books pose any kind of corruption problem.” Except for the U.S. Constitution. One book publishers places a warning card insert in the folds of its version of the Constitution.

Liberal feminist adherents of Kagan are relying on the alleged sexism of the original U.S. Constitution to defend the changes they wish to make to it. (Except that you can’t “change” the Constitution –erase whatever offends your modern sensibilities – you can only amend it.) However, while it’s true that women and blacks did not have the right to vote in 1787 – blacks were still in bondage – the Constitution makes no actual stricture for or against their right to vote until the 14th Amendment, which then refers to the sex and age of voters. Otherwise, the document relies on the word “persons” to describe citizen voters.

They would cite legislative activism as the basis for the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th Amendments to the Constitution. Five years after The Civil War, the Reconstruction Amendments were adopted. It took women awhile longer. The 19th Amendment was not ratified until 1919.

Arguments against women’s suffrage were that there should only be one vote per household (the husband’s), that women weren’t sufficiently educated or intelligent enough to understand politics, that they could be “manipulated” and that they simply weren’t interested in politics, that it was a “man’s” game.

Likely, the last was, and still is, the truest. Up until the Tea Parties at least, most women didn’t pay much attention to politics, unless there was some soft issue in the public forum – the environment, social justice, the poor and needy. Liberal feminists, disdainful of anything male, flocked to the call.

Conservative women shrugged and went back to doing the dishes. My ex sister-in-law, back in the 1980s, didn’t realize Ronald Reagan was the president of the United States. She sounded like the character from Back to the Future: “Ronald Reagan? The actor?!”

Thanks to World War II, the ranks of men were sufficiently diminished that women outnumbered men in the United States. Newly-empowered, they lapped up the writings of authors like Betty Friedan (The Feminine Mystique).

Equal pay and opportunities (not a bad thing – it was something my mother fought for, and won, back in the 1940s) gave them a new-found financial standing. They no longer had to depend upon a husband’s income. A good thing, particularly if you were widowed. In fact, they didn’t need a husband at all. Marriages began to founder. Some women didn’t marry at all. They had found “freedom” in the Sexual Revolution.

They could have it all. Careers, kids, husband-less lives. When women agitated for voting rights, is this what they were voting for? The Feminists started running into trouble, though, when it came to child-raising.

Yeah, being able to go to work was a great thing, bringing in money. The husbands certainly didn’t mind the extra cash. But who was going to look after the kids? The duty was devolved to put-upon grandparents and other relatives, dubious daycare centers, and the public school system.

The Latch Key Generation was thus born. They started bossing their parents around about everything from rain forests in South America to green energy cars. Finally, the Moms had enough and started asking themselves, “What the heck is going on here? Where are they getting all this stuff?”

Still, Conservative housewives tended to leave the political battles to their husbands (who’d thrown up their hands). Then came the Tea Parties. There were only a handful of women, but they were listening. The Tea Party was supposed to be about overweaning taxes.

But the Mothers of America wanted to know what was going on with their kids’ education. Their husbands generally did the taxes. But it was up to Mom to start checking the homework. And the Constitution.

Already, mothers are feeling the overreach of the bureaucratic federal government. They can’t bring cupcakes to school, give their children whole milk, white bread, or peanut butter. French fries are out. So is soda (frankly, my mother wouldn’t let us near the stuff – but that was the United States of Mom, not the United States of America, making that decision).

What can American mothers expect from a liberal nominee like Kagan except that she will gleefully legislate from the bench? Liberal pundits, ever mindful of those boiling tea kettles, that she’s actually a fairly moderate choice, albeit with no experience, like her boss, Obama.

Untested though she is, she has pronounced her opinion that the Constitution is a living, malleable document that can be molded to suit the political fortunes of the times, rather than a concrete, dependable set of laws. What house can stand solidly upon such a weak legal foundation, where enemies may remove the bricks that support the house and bring it tumbling down?

Women – mothers – may or may not understand the vagaries of political football. But they understand house and home, security and their children’s future all too well. Reading and interpreting the Constitution with these in mind, they have an adept and discerning understanding of the founding document of our nation.

The Framers were thinking of them when they wrote it, even if voting rights weren’t yet established within its framework. Did they know back in 1787 that it would be destroyed by woman’s hand, who clamored for their rights within it in 1919?

But those were Liberal women who brought about the right to destroy the very Constitution that eventually guaranteed their rights as Americans. Conservative women must rise to the challenge, and for their children’s sake, protect and preserve the U.S. Constitution as the Founding Fathers originally framed it.

Published in: on June 29, 2010 at 6:16 pm  Comments (1)  

Read My Tee Shirt

I bought three tee shirts – and a collection of buttons – from the Morristown Tea Party. One is a bright red number touting the First Amendment in front and declaring that the “Silent Majority” is Silent No More on the back.

While on the check-out line, a woman approached me to tell me she admired my tee shirt. She remembered the “Silent Majority” slogan. She considered herself a member of the Silent Majority.

I immediately went into campaign mode, touting the local tea party, which she said she had attended. Grateful for the opportunity to speak up, I launched into a speech about the importance of average Americans ending their silence.

But she quickly shushed me. She said she just wanted to tell me she admired my tee shirt. Not breach supermarket etiquette by getting onto my soap box. I shrugged and let her go on her way. My bright red tee shirt, after all, spoke volumes.

But doggone it, being quiet is just what we shouldn’t be doing. We should be getting up on our soapboxes and denouncing the wholesale overthrow of our federated republic. People don’t want to get involved, though, and that’s just what’s facilitating this totalitarian takeover of the United States of America.

People forget where we came from, if they ever learned about it. They don’t know about the oppressive European socialist and communist governments where there was no free speech, no organized elections, no free enterprise. They’ve never been forced to pledge allegiance to a dictator, as they have in Cuba.

Slowly, our media has convinced them how much trouble government really is (which is no lie) and how we should leave it to the “professionals.” Look at how corrupt politicians are, how untrustworthy, how dishonest. The little people can do nothing about such corruption. Vote one out, and another takes their place.

Best to do away with the whole system. The corrupt politicians, the corrupt bureaucrats, the corrupt businesses getting rich on our hard work and taxes. Get rid of the U.S. Constitution; it’s just getting in the way.

One, giant centralized government will solve all our problems. Big government will make things so much easier. You won’t even need to go out and vote – which, let’s face, is a huge nuisance and waste of time – because everyone will be on the same page.

The whiners, the complainers, the cranks – the Tea Partiers – will be silenced. You won’t have to hear from them anymore. The government will run like a well-oiled machine. A green machine, environmentally friendly, that will take of you, birth to earth.

Isn’t that a lot easier than trying to do things yourself? You hire someone to clean your house, don’t you? You take your car to a mechanic? You buy your own clothes; you don’t sit there slaving away over a sewing machine. That’s crazy.

Well, government is the same way. Let’s get rid of all these middle-men politicians who are just lying to you. Big government will set all the rules and you’ll follow them. What could be simpler? You don’t like a law? Well, don’t worry about it. The sun will rise tomorrow, in spite of whatever it is you. Get over it.

As long as you have a job, food to eat, and place to live – all of which B.G, will provide – what do you care who’s in charge? Don’t let someone talk you into wearing some bright red tee shirt that says “Silent No More”. That was Richard Nixon, “Tricky Dicky”, a big crook who said it, anyway.

Don’t hold up those silly signs. Even Glenn Beck is telling you not to hold up those home-made signs, for gosh sakes. Don’t read all those books on American history, economics, and constitutional law.

Don’t rock the boat. Don’t make fools of yourselves. Don’t take a stand. Don’t make spectacles of yourselves. Mind your own business.  Don’t stick your necks out.  Just pay for your groceries and go on home.

America just isn’t worth the trouble.

Published in: on June 28, 2010 at 6:24 pm  Comments (1)  

Rocked Out

The town band I play with has performed the annual Fourth of July concert for years.  Of late, we’ve had a lot of competition with the local deejay, pounding out popular, but not particularly patriotic (or unpatriotic), rock hits.

The last few years, Mother Nature has gotten in on the act, producing her own spectacular fireworks that precluded any fireworks from the local fire department or cymbal crashes from our band.  Seeing the “fireworks” approaching, we hastily packed up our metallic instruments and headed for home.

This year, the town has seen fit to engage not one but three rock bands.  They were having trouble finding a place for the traditional town band on the schedule.  Finally, they e-mailed our secretary last night and told him, ‘Just forget about it.’

This event is largely billed as a teenie carnival, catering to roller coaster kids who would roll their eyes at a rollicking march by Sousa or Fillmore.  The venue is at the middle school, with the only field in town big enough for this kind of crowd or a safe fireworks display.

That pretty much explains why the town band is out and three rock bands are in to play music that has nothing at all to do with the Fourth of July.

I must admit to being disappointed, even though I am “concerted out”.  Patriotic concerts are fun to do.  Everyone knows the music, there’s lots of musical fireworks with clarinets whirring, trumpets blaring, and cymbals crashing, and we get to see the fireworks at the end of the show.

One year, the music and the fireworks kind of collided.  We in the percussion section found the fireworks falling among our chairs.

This year, though, we’re out.  According to the weather reports, however, Mother Nature is still planning to show up.  From 4 o’clock on, there are predictions of thunderstorms.  If the rock musicians want to stand out there, with all their electrical equipment, and brave the elements, they and their fans are welcome to it.

The other band is still on for its Fourth of July concert, however, barring equally bad weather.  This year, the program is totally patriotic.  No rock and roll.  Sousa, not Springsteen.  Karl King, not KISS.  Those guys are fine for a summer youth concert, but what do they know about Mom, apple pie, and patriotism (Ted Nuget notwithstanding J)?

If you want to hold an anti-war rally or a big love-in, drug-in, you call in a rock band.  When it comes to patriotic, Fourth of July concerts, we brass (and woodwind) bands are the experts.  The piccolo obbligato in Stars and Stripes just doesn’t sound the same on an electric guitar.

Published in: on June 25, 2010 at 7:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Keeping His Eye on the Job

N.J. Gov. Chris Christie’s political stock rose considerably yesterday.  When Fox News’ Neil Cavuto questioned him about a bid for the presidency, Christie responded, “Not going to happen.”

No way.  No sale.  If Sarah Palin had refused the same offer, had she remained in her office as governor of Alaska when offered the vice presidency, she might now be a viable candidate for future president of the United States.

Christie is doing a fantastic job, far better than any conservative voters expected when he was still a primary candidate.  But the battle, as he knows well, is far from over.  The unions are strongly entrenched in this state, with a considerable media army willing to do their bidding.

New Jersey is a Big Government, socialized state, with far too many public sector workers willing to vote the Democrat line to keep their cozy bureaucratic jobs and plush pensions.  They’re not just going to go away overnight.  Christie will have to slash their budgets and lower business taxes in order to attract private sector companies back to the state.

It’s a tall order.  He may not be able to do it in one term.  It certainly won’t happen if he lets all this great conservative press go to his head and abandons his responsibility to New Jersey.  Fortunately, he vowed emphatically not to do so.  He will not grab prematurely for the brass ring the way Palin did.  He intends to tough it out.

He cited not only his dedication as governor of the state, but as a family man with roots in the Garden State, a stance that will play well with the many family men and women whose support he needs.  He has children here, friends, activities.  New Jersey is worth fighting for.

Christie needs help in the Assembly to bring New Jersey back from the brink.  Voters are going to have to wake up, stop drinking the communist cool aid, believing that government is the answer to all problems.  We need to elect conservative state legislators to back the governor up.

State politics are important.  Since 1912, the focus has been on federal leaders.  It’s the 17th Amendment that Glenn Beck has complained about – the popular vote of U.S. Senators, as opposed to their selection by their state legislatures.  This effectively cut the input of the states out of the governmental process, expanding the federal government’s powers considerably.

Only now are states like New Jersey, Arizona, and Louisiana fighting back against federal encroachment.  We can see the results in Arizona, with Obama threatening the state with a punitive lawsuit (for wanting to follow federal law, of all things), and in Louisiana, with the president blocking every remedy to the oil spill threatening Louisiana’s shores.

Liberals appeal to populist sentiment, encouraging a broad, but impossible, participatory democracy that the general public has neither the time nor the background to engage in.  When it fails, they assure us that Big Government will handle everything.  They point to individual instances of corruption as a failure of representative government, as though a huge, bureaucratic governing body, accountable to no one, would serve the public better.

My grandfather used to attend every town hall meeting and gave them such a verbal drubbing that the town fathers begged my mother to keep him from attending (there was nothing my grandmother could do with him – she was glad to be rid of him for an evening).

The national tea party organizations encourage members to go to the big venues – their state capitols, the national capitol, where they’ll get the most media exposure.  But Gov. Christie hasn’t had to go beyond the bounds of his own state and his own job to make an impact.

Politics begin in your own backyard.

Published in: on June 25, 2010 at 7:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Knowing When to Fold ‘Em

What were Gen. McChrystal and his staff thinking, inviting a reporter from Rolling Stone magazine to bivouac with them? McChrystal is one of those generals, in the mold of Patton, MacArthur, and Benedict Arnold, who all had problems with authority figures. They’re better at being authority figures than answering to them.

What the RS reporter recorded were off-the-cuff remarks made primarily by McChrystal’s staff during off-hours. Only with reporters, there’s no such thing as off-the-record, off-the-cuff, or off hours, especially reporters from such anti-military publications as RS.

McChrsytal manned up and arrived at the White House with his resignation in hand. What else could he do? He went on record criticizing his commander-in-chief, a big no-no in the armed forces. What else could Obama do but accept it?

Apparently the U.S. Army needs the U.S. Navy’s equivalent of “Loose lips sink ships” to keep their soldiers from shooting themselves in the feet. Or lips.  Shooting from the lip is the way to lose a war.

•  Loose tongues scorch lungs?

• Liberal nerds bend words?

• An elbow bent is trust rent.

• Booze to nooze is the way to lose

When in doubt, shut up. When it comes to reporters, there should be no doubt: they’re the enemy. During the planning stages of the Normandy Invasion, the invasion forces were kept locked up for weeks, in case one of them got into a bar and started blabbing.

No one blames McChrystal for his frustration with Obama’s approach to the war, particularly the ROE – Rules of Engagement – in which civilian casualties must be avoided at all costs, making it virtually impossible to engage the enemy and put a real end to the conflict in Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, it is not McChrystal’s resignation we need, but Obama’s. That, of course, is not going to happen. He cannot be disposed of by force. To rid America of this dangerous, freedom-hating dictator, citizen-soldiers, ala the Tea Party, must take to the streets – where they’re visible, not hiding in library rooms or restaurants, and denounce the policies of Obama and the socialist Liberals in every legal, non-violent way possible.

He’s given us plenty of ammunition.  Health care reform, financial “reform”, nationalization of industries, the attempted shutdown of the Gulf oil fields, illegal immigration, terrorism.  To sum all these policies and more up, he is the worst president the United States has ever had the misfortune to occupy the White House.

We need to send him, and the Liberal Congress, packing, post haste.  He needs to be called on the national carpet and redressed by the American people.  He needs to know that the American people have no confidence in him, his policies, or his leadership, nor Congress’, either.

The sooner he understands that his tenure in the White House is going to be very short, that he’s about to be history himself, the better for the future history of the United States of America.  The sooner America understands that it elected a loser for President, the sooner we can replace him with a winner.

Published in: on June 23, 2010 at 10:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Regents Exams

The Regents Exams are tests required by The Empire State for students to pass the eighth and twelfth grades. My parents had to take them, being New York State residents. We avoided them because our parents moved us to New Jersey.

 But New York State is considering making the history Regents “history”. Here’s a sample of the questions from the January 2010 exam for high school students:

2 The Mayflower Compact and the Virginia House of Burgesses are most closely associated with:

 (1) abuses by absolute monarchs

(2) establishment of religious toleration

(3) steps toward colonial self-government – X

(4) adoption of universal suffrage

 4 In order to win ratification of the United States Constitution, supporters agreed to:

 (1) add a bill of rights – X

(2) admit new states to the Union

(3) establish an electoral college

(4) give the Senate the power to ratify treaties

 5 Which action did Alexander Hamilton support during the 1790s?

 (1) restrictions on trade with England

(2) distribution of free land

(3) creation of the national bank – X

(4) elimination of the whiskey tax 

7 One way in which the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions (1798) and the South Carolina Ordinance of Nullification (1832) are similar is that each:

 (1) claimed that individual states have the right to interpret federal laws – X

(2) formed part of the unwritten constitution

(3) supported the federal government’s power to declare war

(4) provided a way for new states to enter the Union

 13 In 1862, the Homestead Act and the Pacific Railway Act were passed primarily to:

 (1) achieve Northern victory in the Civil War

(2) develop the Midwest and western parts of the Country – X

(3) improve the lives of freed slaves

(4) expand overseas markets to Asia and Europe

 21 Which factor is most closely associated with the decision of the United States to declare war on Spain in 1898?

(1) isolationist policy

(2) labor union pressure

(3) yellow journalism – X

(4) unrestricted submarine warfare

 23 The “clear and present danger” doctrine established in Schenck v. United States (1919) concerned the issue of

 (1) freedom of speech – X

(2) the right to bear arms

(3) the right to an attorney

(4) separation of church and state

 26 Which economic factor contributed most directly to the start of the Great Depression?

 (1) low worker productivity

(2) high income taxes

(3) decreasing tariff rates

(4) buying stocks on margin – X

 28 What was a guiding principle of the New Deal economic policies?

 (1) Pro-business tax breaks would solve the problems associated with urban poverty.

(2) Antitrust legislation would destroy the free market economy of the United States.

(3) Rugged individualism must be allowed to solve social inequality.

(4) Government must assume more responsibility for helping the poor. X

 33 In the 1960s, which issue was the focus of the Supreme Court decisions in Mapp v. Ohio, Gideon v. Wainwright, and Miranda v. Arizona?

 (1) freedom of the press

(2) racial segregation

(3) rights of the accused – X

(4) interstate commerce

 40 The United States Congress can check the executive branch of government by

 (1) appointing ambassadors

(2) overriding vetoes – X

(3) nominating judges

(4) declaring laws unconstitutional

 49 The passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798, the McCarthy hearings in the 1950s, and the passage of the USA Patriot Act in 2001 created controversy because they

(1) required large sums of money to enforce

(2) raised questions about the protection of civil liberties  -X

(3) created alliances with foreign governments

(4) limited the power of the executive branch

For the most part, they’re not too terribly difficult, unless you’re a poor history student. However, examining the examination questions, there’s clearly a creeping Liberal bias within them. Still, the Regents demand enough coherent knowledge of U.S. history and civics in general to make a scholar wonder why New York wants to abandon these rigid tests? Looking over the annual tests, they don’t change substantially from year to year.

Are the questions simply too irrelevant for the little dears? Is it too much work for the instructors to teach the subject? Perhaps soon it will no longer matter that the United States Constitution gives the House of Representatives (not the president, state legislatures or Supreme Court) the power to impeach a federal government official such as the president of the United States.

So many of the later questions are such indoctrinaire questions that, once our socialist government is established, students will no longer need to brainwashed into socialist history. Today’s youth are so willing to go along with whatever their socialist teachers dictate that tests will be superfluous.

In the August 2004 Regents, this was question No. 5:

In 1788 and 1789, a major controversy between the Federalists and the Antifederalists focused on

(1) expansion of slavery into the territories

(2) the wisdom of creating a two-house legislature

(3) division of power among different levels of  Government – X

(4) the issue of allowing women the right to vote

In the 2004 Eight Grade test, students were asked these questions:

11 Which statement best illustrates the principle of federalism?

 (1) The president has the power to veto bills.

(2) Congress is divided into two houses.

(3) The Supreme Court has the power to review laws.

(4) Power is divided between the states and the national government. – X

 21 Which Civil War event occurred first?

(1) Battle of Gettysburg

(2) Firing on Fort Sumter – X

(3) Assassination of President Lincoln

(4) Emancipation Proclamation

These are the few – very few – actual history and civics question. There aren’t many specific questions about historical figures during the Revolution or even the Civil War (about the only Revolutionary figure mentioned is Alexander Hamilton), but plenty of names are bandied about when they get into 20th Century, progressive history.

Some of the questions are simple. Some are tougher. But on the whole, they tend to go on and on about women’s rights, civil rights, and social justice. Tests mandated by the state government, about government’s role in our lives. I’ve been in many seminars where at the end of the session, the organizers would distribute evaluation sheets to estimate whether their message is being conveyed.

January 2010 H.S. Regents Exam – http://www.nysedregents.org/USHistoryGov/20100127exam.pdf

So the students can pass, marginally, even for a tough test like the Regents. The Supreme Court questions are difficult, i.e., Mapp v. Ohio (unreasonable search and seizure). Marbury v. Madison isn’t explained properly: The Supreme Court, in its very first ruling, gave itself the right to declare a law “unconstitutional.” They don’t need to know who the 19th President was (Rutherford B. Hayes). They don’t need to know the First Continental Congress met in Philaldelphia in 1774. They don’t need to know how Patrck Henry addressed the Virginia Convention in 1775 “Give me liberty or give me death.” There’s nothing about the signing of the Paris Peace Treaty in 1784 between Britain and the U.S., formally recognizing American independence.

There’s nothing personal about the history they’re required to learn. The students don’t need to know any of this, do they? Or if it’s so important, they can read about it on their own, just as long as they know about Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points defending World War I, the failure to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, the demand of costly reparations from Germany which bankrupt the country, and the failure of the League of Nations?

It’s all a piece of American history, to be sure, but only the Progressive piece. The only selections of American history the Liberals want students to know are the negative portions.

Our present president is no expert on history. He’s claimed, among other things, that there are 57 states and that the car was invented in Detroit (it was invented in Germany). The Liberals want to telescope history to a narrow view of the victories of socialism over freedom and liberty.

The surest way to accomplish that goal is to throw away American history books and stop testing Americans on their knowledge of their own country. When Americans fail American history, they fail America.

Published in: on June 23, 2010 at 10:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Father’s Day 2010

This column ought to have been written yesterday, but as I was trying to rest up from my cold before the onslaught of the new workweek, I let it slide.

It’s been many years since I’ve had anyone to say “Happy Father’s Day!” to. My maternal grandfather died in 1985. That’s 25 years, I uess. My father died many years before that.

So I spent yesterday, on the couch, watching a show called “The World’s Strictest Parents,” where misbehaving urban urchins are sent to live with rural families to learn to mind their manners and so forth.

Often from single-family homes, and usually (though not always) only children, these teens learn the penalty for breaking the rules is always noxious and unpleasant. Smoke, swear, or procrastinate on your chores, and you can find yourself digging postholes or cleaning out the chicken coop.

There’s nowhere to run, as these teens find out, being far out in the country and, in one case, out in the cold. One young lady who refuses to clean her bathroom finds herself in a stand-off with her foster father out on the porch one cold, cold night. He, in his down jacket, is prepared for the long-haul. She, in pedal-pushes and a hoodie, is not.

She has a choice – clean out the horse paddock, to fulfill her punishment, and be at last allowed to use the indoor plumbing – or freeze her pedal pushers off and trudge out to the outhouse.

Some teens are more incorrigible than others. Miss Pedal Pusher soon sees the light but the young fellow, unrelated to her, also staying with the family, is immovable in his bad relationship with his mother. The foster father admits there are some teens who are just in need of more professional help.

My brothers and I were indeed fortunate in our choice of fathers. Or I should say, my mother’s choice. He had us rather late in life – he was already in his forties when my older brother was born. He wasn’t a cool or fun dad.

But he was a good man and father. That was never more evident than one hot, steamy summer night in – I guess the year was 1966 or 1967. We were too poor for air-conditioning. We’d been sent to bed but being too warm, I couldn’t sleep.

My window faced the street and I climbed up to look out my window at the neighborhood. Our house was on the crest of a knoll, overlooking all the other houses on the street. The sun had gone down; it was twilight, but the houses were still visible.

From each house, I could hear a distinctive thwack, thwack, thwack, followed by a piteous, infantine weeping. The sound made a circle round the neighborhood. In one house, the thwacking was followed by an audible whump! – something being thrown against a wall.

I shrank down from the window. My own house was quiet. What tumult usually came from my brothers’ shared room, where they held nightly fights. Bing-bang-boff! until my father’s heavy tread was heard in the hall, come to put a stop to the battle.

Our house was a castle in the air, a fortress of relative peace (and this was the suburbs, not some gritty, blue collar city) amidst a sea of chaotic ignorance. My parents never hit us. They yelled, but never struck us. My father taught us to read, taught the boys to be play chess and to be men. He taught us to love our country and play by the rules.

My mother said that any parent who had to hit their child to teach them, who couldn’t outthink a child, was a pathetic excuse for parenthood. My father agreed. We tried them severely, but they never faltered in their duty towards us, teaching us the right way.

We frequently went on vacations to the Adirondack Mountains. In 1969, we were on our way up the New York State Thruway to Saranac Lake. We noticed the traffic heading for Woodstock. My older brother was 13. He wanted to know why we couldn’t go to Woodstock.

My parents were in the front seat. I remember how they sat ramrod straight, not turning to answer him even when they told him we were going to Fairy Tale Forest instead and our family vacation. They kept their eyes straight ahead, focused on the right road ahead of them, as good parents should, and our destination, moaning, sulking, and pleas not withstanding. Not even the merry sight of hippies in a Volkswagen van beside us deviated them.

My mother would later tell me it was a matter of trust. Whom did I trust? A mother and father who had cared for me all my life, or people I didn’t even know who were trying to mislead me into things I knew were wrong? Did I think they would care what happened to me? Or did I trust people who loved me enough to tell me things I didn’t want to hear?

Well, the answer was obvious to me. My father is long since gone, but I’ve upheld his principles as best I can, led on in the fight for freedom he carefully taught me, trusted his wisdom about America. Road to Serfdom, which Glenn Beck has advertised, was one of those books my father had wanted me to read someday along with Atlas Shrugged, though at the time he and my mother mentioned it, he felt I was too young to comprehend it, except to remember that my mother said it was a book people had risked their lives to read.

So I treated myself to the two books for Father’s Day, as a testament to my Dad and his belief in freedom and the values he taught us.

Published in: on June 21, 2010 at 10:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ahead of His Time

Having a summer cold is awful. But if there’s one advantage, it’s that you get to catch up on your reading. Currently, I’m working on White House Ghosts: The Presidents and Their Speechwriters.”

It’s a pretty left-handed book, being that the author, Robert Schlesinger, is the son of JFKspeechwriter, Arthur Schlesinger. Still, I was surprised at the fair treatment he gives Richard Nixon. Every other chapter applauds the Democrats and laughs at the Republicans.

However, Schlesinger writes his chapters on Nixon with a twinge of sadness. When it came to speechwriting and keeping on top of his speechwriters, Nixon knew his stuff. He and Lyndon Johnson had the misfortune to follow in the considerable speechwriting footsteps of Kennedy.

Kennedy and Ted Sorenson were practically roommates, so that Sorenson knew what Kennedy was thinking before Kennedy knew what Kennedy was thinking. The first rule of thumb among presidential speechwriters is that the writer must give the president all the credit for the speech.

The book is full of contrasting presidential styles, backbiting and sniping among the speechwriters, and plenty of good tips for anyone who finds themselves in the position of writing speeches. Above all, the person giving the speech must have buy-in or the speech won’t work.

Every president after FDR found themselves fumbling for the Big Idea, that phrase that would serve as the president’s signature policy. Obviously, FDR’s was the New Deal. Presidents since then had struggled for that signature. Some wore well with the press – The Great Society. And others, with the American Public.

Nixon didn’t like the idea of talking down to the American people. In spite of being, or maybe because he was, a lawyer, he strove for concepts that average people would understand. “Joe Six-Pack” he liked to call them.

He was preparing a speech in 1969 about a proposed build-up in Vietnam. He would have to ask for the support of Americans already tired of the war. During the 1968 campaign, he had spoke about “quiet Americans” and the “quiet majority.” Vice Presidential candidate Spiro Agnew declared that it was “time for America’s silent majority to stand up for its rights.”

Nixon would use the phrase in his Nov. 3 Vietnam War speech. He would talk about ending the war and winning the peace. But it was his reference – in lower case letters in his notes – to the “silent majority” that elicited 50,000 telegrams and 30,000 letters.

The reaction came as a surprise to Nixon. “It was one thing to make a rhetorical appeal to the Silent Majority – it was another actually to hear from them.” If he’d known it was going to catch on that way, he would have put the phrase in capital letters, he said.

He was predicted to win the 1972 presidential election, which he did, by a landslide, only making the whole business of Watergate even more incomprehensible to the Silent Majority he had championed.

The burglars, or “plumbers”, had broken into the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters allegedly in search of proof of foreign contributors to the Democrat presidential campaign. All America really heard was that these guys had broken in and that the President tried to cover up for them (his only actual crime) when, in the opinion of the Silent Majority, he ought to have burned the tapes and let the whole lot of them swing. They’d been trying to blackmail him for more money to keep silent.

It was a sad and foolish end to an otherwise decent presidency, from a president who had a good sense of speechwriting and of the mood of the average American. The Democrats and their propaganda machine – with a good deal of help from Nixon himself – got rid of Nixon.

They didn’t find it quite so easy to get rid of the Silent Majority, though. Seven years later, we would elect a popular, Conservative president. A transition in radio broadcasting from the AM band to the FM left a void which conservative talk radio quickly filled, led by the mighty Rush Limbaugh.

Then cable television began to mature, new enough and underestimated enough for at least one conservative news outlet to take hold. Finally, the Internet was born. The Liberals smugly assumed this was completely their territory, that “older” Americans would never catch on.

Now they’re trying to play catch-up, using their current bureaucratic powers to restrict the content on cable and on the Internet. Kind of like closing the door after the horse gets out of the barn.

I remember when Spiro Agnew used the phrase “silent majority’. I was about nine years old. I was 13 when the Watergate break-in occurred. I remembered Nixon’s words about a New American Revolution, too. I kept them in mind when I stood up with some other students to protest a communist history teacher’s hijacking of our American History course.

Watergate put an end to what might otherwise have been an admirable political career. It didn’t silence the Silent Majority Nixon envisioned, though, or the New American Revolution they would lead.

Published in: on June 18, 2010 at 2:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

EPA – Environmental Politics Agency

Thanks to Michelle Malkin’s column and her reader for revealing the details about the Dutch plan to contain the oil spill.

I knew it. I just knew the EPA was somehow involved in the delay, that they had some idiotic objection to the containment. Billions of gallons of oil are flooding into the Gulf of Mexico and they’re worried about some minor seepage.

Well, guess what? There was an another oil spill from another Gulf rig about a month before this one. They capped it with a dome. However, there is some minor seepage coming from that cap, as tight as they were able to make it.

As I’ve said earlier, oil companies have been at this business for years. The last thing they want is to lose billions of gallons of liquid gold. Forget about oil-drenched sea lions and pelicans. Let’s assume they’re heartless, capitalist monsters. They still don’t want to lose all those profits and they’re going to do whatever it takes to preserve it.

The government on the other hand, not so much. For them the ends justifies the means. While they’re pitchmen are showing us helpless water fowl, the sharks are circling the hapless – or not so hapless, remember the Goldman Sachs executives during the financial “crisis” – oil company executives. My former employer, Exxon, for its part, is not taking this lying down, and good for them.

What are a few water fowl when you’re planning on conquering the entire planet and transforming it to your socially-engineered agenda? What better way to conquer than to claim that capitalist monsters are “exploiting” its resources and polluting its atmosphere?

Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show yesterday that he didn’t think there was any sabotage involved. Certainly, there’s no evidence of it. Sabotage would be pretty difficult to prove that far down in the ocean. But there was plenty of sabotage going on in South America. Saboteurs were openly blowing up oil pipelines and refineries down there, all in the name of social justice. Nigeria was another hotbed of sabotage.

There was a report from some pre-Homeland Security Department that showed a bar graph of terrorist activity around the world, by continent. North America was low. Europe was low. Asia (the Middle East), well it was up there. And then there was South America. It was the Mount Everest of terrorist activity, towering above the other continents and the activity centered around two issues – drugs and oil.

Then ask yourself what other continent shares the Gulf of Mexico with North America.

Transportation is one of the key control factors the Communists/Socialists/Progressives want to dominate. They know oil is the pivotal ingredient in transportation. They know perfectly well that, for the time being, the internal combustion engine is the prime mover of society, particularly its commercial component.

The market will switch to an “alternative” energy source when it’s good and ready and not before. That won’t happen until the energy source can be proven efficient, plentiful, viable, and reliable.

Someday some future scientists may find a way to harness the power of the wind and the sun, in an efficient manner, invent a way to store it, and manufacture an engine that can be powered by it, and deliver it to homes and businesses to use as heat and electricity.

Only the government wants to be in control of that power source, and there’s the real problem. The government shouldn’t be in control of anything. The only fair way to distribute energy is through the free market. The minute the government becomes involved, politics, corruption, and bureaucracy follow, limiting the very progressive they’ve charged the scientists with inventing. Look again at wow many days it took before the EPA finally allowed the Dutch to come in with their container ships.

Obama has virtually shut down the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. We have to feed the poor first, he says. That’s the job of charities, not the government. If NASA were a free market entity, not only would we have factories on the moon by now, but in a few generations, we’d probably be examining shuttle schedules to the nearest star.

Obama is determined that America will no longer be the greatest nation on the earth. It’s time we threw this albatross overboard. There’s nothing we can do about him right now of course. Impeachment isn’t really a viable course. But we can get rid of his Congressional enablers in November. That should clip his socialist wings until we can throw him overboard in 2012.

Once we can disencumber ourselves of all these big government bureaucracies (and if you want a definition of Big Government, that’s what it means – bureaucracies) holding us back, like the EPA, America can get back to work being the greatest nation on earth.

Published in: on June 17, 2010 at 11:41 am  Leave a Comment