Patty Murray and Speaker Ryan: Partners in Crime.  Creation of a National Database | Breitbart

A bill sponsored by Paul Ryan and Patty Murray may increase surveillance of American citizens and create a national database.

Source: Paul Ryan-Patty Murray Bill Will Allow Creation of National Database

The activists – many who have been battling federal control of education for nearly a decade – say the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (FEPA) (H.R. 4174; S. 2046) and the College Transparency Act (CTA) (H.R. 2434; S. 1121) – would create surveillance and tracking systems of American citizens in the name of “transparency” and “program evaluation.”

“Both of these bills would expand and further entrench the administrative swamp that President Trump promised to drain,” says Washington, D.C.-based American Principles Project (APP).

The group, which seeks to protect the constitutional rights of Americans, says the FEPA legislation “would take the first step toward establishing a massive, centralized federal database that would metastasize into a Chinese-style system of government dossiers on citizens.”

APP explains the rationale behind the bill is that data needs to be analyzed in order to determine if government programs are effective.

“But even if we needed a mammoth database to tell us most government programs do not work, there is little likelihood Congress will stop funding useless or damaging programs merely because it has more data,” the organization states, citing the continual funding of the Head Start program.

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Under the guise of helping high school students make more informed choices about higher education, the College Transparency Act (CTA) (H.R. 2434) would allow a federal student unit-record system that would track every American citizen who enrolls in higher education.

CTA – introduced in May by Michigan Rep. Paul Mitchell (R) – is purported to enable students to obtain information that could be helpful in making a decision about higher education. Parent and education activists, however, say under the bill the tracking of students will be done without their consent or knowledge, and their data will be matched with that from other federal agencies – such as Social Security and the U.S. military – to form a dossier on each citizen throughout their lives and careers.

APP senior fellow Emmett McGroarty released the following statement:

It’s difficult to imagine legislation more at odds with America’s founding principles than FEPA and CTA. The very thought of allowing the government to surveil and track citizens throughout their lives should be anathema in a free society. Compiling such intrusive dossiers would vastly expand the power of the administrative state, intimidating citizens into silence and further weakening government accountability that in too many cases is already in tatters. Congress must defeat these bills and protect individual freedom.

Indiana parent education activist Erin Tuttle writes at Hoosiers Against Common Core, “It is striking how Congress is completely dysfunctional when it comes to passing legislation that would fulfill their campaign promises to Republican voters, yet pulls it together to pass legislation which does the opposite.”

Tuttle explains a vote on FEPA may be scheduled as early as Wednesday, November 15, and adds:

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Instead of dismantling the Administrative State, this bill would allow bureaucrats to propose to collect any data on any citizen on any topic they want, to answer their desired policy questions … [M[any Republican members of Congress have been misled to believe HR4174 would allow better transparency in how federal agencies operate. They owe it to their constituents to be informed on the details of this legislation before the vote.

The activists observe the federal government already has significant amounts of data that have not improved its programs. Additionally, they argue in a letter circulated to various groups and obtained by Breitbart News that the federal government “has demonstrated its utter incompetence at protecting the security of individual data,” and cite the following examples:

  • The U.S. Education Department’s recent FAFSA data breach
  • The 2015 data theft of personal information – including Social Security numbers of about 21.5 million Americans – from the Office of Personnel Management computer systems
  • The 2015 IRS data breach of tax information of more than 100,000 taxpayers
  • Concerns about the conduct and security in 2016 of the Chief Information Officer at the U.S. Education Department

“There is no reason to believe an even more enormous trove of data can be secured, or that it will actually change government behavior in any meaningful way,” the activists state.

Murray also teamed up with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) two years ago to engineer the “bipartisan” massive new federal education law known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) – which Obama signed into law almost immediately after its passage through Congress.

 

 

Seattle ‘antifa’ fails.  Low Turnouts at Seattle and  Nationwide ‘Refuse Fascism’ Protests| Breitbart

The much-hyped, nationwide Antifa protests are off to a slow start, with a few hundred demonstrators in NYC and far smaller groups elsewhere.

Refuse Fascism, the group behind this weekend’s multi-city Antifa rallies, claims to be “organizing millions of people to drive out the fascist Trump / Pence regime.” Actual turnout on the first day of their nationwide rallies was far lower.

The group, founded by Revolutionary Communist Party chairman Bob Avakian, took out a full-page ad in the New York Times to promote the rally, and has enjoyed free press in the national media in the past few days.

Despite the press attention, turnout was low at many of Refuse Fascism’s rallies, which were scheduled to take place in 20 U.S. cities. The exception appears to have been L.A, where local news reported that close to 2,000 protesters gathered.

There were no reports of violent incidents, although a woman accused of deliberately splashing her drink on a Trump supporter was reportedly arrested at the Refuse Fascism march in New York City.

The Chicago protest later grew to a small crowd.

Boston saw an even smaller crowd of protesters.

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In the Antifa stronghold of Seattle, local observers estimate an attendance of about 50 during the afternoon. Many protest signs can be seen lying on the ground, untouched and unused.

One protester in Seattle turned up with a Soviet flag. I can only assume that the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN, all of which hate murderous totalitarian ideologies, will give it the same kind of coverage they devoted to the swastika at Charlottesville. That’s how it works, right?

There was also a man with an American flag, which is not totalitarian at all. Unless you believe the left.

There was also a man with neither an American flag nor a Soviet flag, but a trombone. Tooooot.

The largest rally appears to have been in New York City, where pictures and footage from the ground indicated a crowd of several hundred people.

Source: ANTIFAIL: Low Turnouts At Nationwide ‘Refuse Fascism’ Protests – Breitbart

Reassessing Orwell to Understand Our Times | Scott Powell, Discovery Institute in Seattle

Source: Reassessing Orwell to Understand Our Times

 

 

Reassessing Orwell to Understand Our Times

Just two or three generations ago, most Americans understood that George Orwell’s classics Animal Farm and 1984 were written to explain how freedom is lost to totalitarianism and the intolerance that accompanies it.  “Big Brother,” a term still casually used to describe an all-knowing governing authority, comes right out of 1984. In the state that Orwell describes, all subjects are continually reminded that “Big Brother is watching you,” by way of constant surveillance through the pervasive use of “telescreens” by the ruling class.

Orwell’s warnings about totalitarianism written in novel form in Animal Farm and 1984 came shortly after Freidrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom was published at the end of World War II.  But it took the shocking revelations from books on Nazism and Soviet Communism, by scholars like William Shirer and Robert Conquest in the 1960s, to really make Orwell relevant for teaching to the masses educated in American public schools.  And it was not just an academic exercise insofar as Stalin’s successors Leonid Brezhnev and Alexei Kosygin were at that time rolling tanks into Czechoslovakia to crush all resistance — enforcing the “Iron Curtain” over eight countries in Eastern Europe — the Soviet model of totalitarian control and subservience to Moscow.

Reading Orwell, it was thought, would help American students appreciate their freedoms and gain perspective and critical faculties so as to understand socialist totalitarianism and its defining features: 1) the institutionalization of propaganda designed to warp and destroy people’s grasp on reality, and 2) the fostering of group think, conformity and collectivism designed to eliminate critical and independent thinking.

Orwell described the scope of the totalitarian enterprise, noting in one section of 1984 that “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, and every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

In 1984, Orwell said, “Who controls the past controls the future.” Orwell’s coining of the concepts and terms of “newspeak, doublethink and thought police” are what we now experience as political correctness. Newspeak is the distorted reality accomplished by manipulating the meaning of language and words, while doublethink is the conditioned mental attitude to ignore reality and common sense and substitute and embrace a distorted or false narrative. The analogs of “thought police” in 1984 are now the enforcers of political correctness seen in the mainstream media and college campuses across the country.

As Orwell notes, “the whole aim of newspeak and doublethink is to narrow the range of thought.” Political correctness has the same goal and that’s why its adherents are so intolerant — seeking to shut down and silence people with whom they disagree on college campuses, clamoring for removal of historic statues and monuments so they can rewrite history and control the future, and demanding that people with opposing views on such subjects as climate change and gay marriage be silenced, fined or arrested.

Many assume that because the press is not state-controlled in the U.S. there is a long way to go before the American government has the power of Orwell’s Big Brother.

But what if the universities and the educational system and the major television and print media institutions embrace the groupthink that ingratiates them with the ruling elite?  What if the culture shapers in Hollywood and the advertising industry on Madison Avenue follow a similar path in participating in and reinforcing the same groupthink norms?

And what if the rise of social media promote a kind of groupthink conformity that effectively marginalizes and silences opposing views? Could it then be that propaganda in a free democratic nation like America might be more effective in shaping thought and attitudes of the masses than the propaganda of totalitarian regimes affects their subjects?

Orwell’s Big Brother has become a reality in the NSA’s tracking and recording all email, text and telephone communication in the United States.  But Big Brother has a new dimension with social media and consumer giants, Google, Facebook, and Amazon, knowing almost everything about people’s preferences through their artificial intelligence peering into peoples’ “telescreen” computers and smartphones.

Social media have great power to narrow the range of acceptable thought. On Facebook, those who openly support a politically correct view — what appears to be the popular majority view — are frequently lauded with thumbs up, while dissenters often remain silent to avoid being criticized or denounced. All of which leads to what is called “the spiral of silence,” which reinforces the groupthink of what seems to be the social and cultural majority.

What comfortable and disengaged Americans have forgotten is that there are determined enemies within and there is an internal war being waged against the values and institutions that made America a great nation.

The left is the vanguard leading this war, following a course laid out by cultural Marxists such as Antonio Gramsci and members of the Frankfurt School. Becoming influential in the 1930s and beyond, they believed the “long march through the institutions” was the best route to taking power in developed, industrialized societies such as the United States and Europe. This “march” would be a gradual process of radicalization of social and cultural institutions — “the superstructure” — of bourgeois society, which would transform the values and morals of society.  In retrospect, there is a high correlation between the softening of morals over the last two or three generations and the corruption of our family, political, legal and, economic foundation.

There are three measures of the establishment’s venality.  First there is a high incidence of denial, manifest for instance in little to no discussion of the doubling of national debt in just 9 years to over $20 trillion, and unfunded entitlement liabilities now five times greater than that — conditions inviting financial collapse of the U.S. A second measure of corruption is the establishment’s reluctance to prosecute fellow establishment law breakers in government, which has effectively created a two-tiered justice system. A third measure of establishment corruption is its accommodation of extremist anti-American groups as though they have a legitimate role to play in reform and influence on policy-making — whether in taking down historic monuments, creating sanctuary cities and controlling the nation’s borders, establishing police protocols in law enforcement, fighting wars overseas, or restructuring the economy at home.

The hostility to the Trump Presidency by the establishment elite in both political parties, the media, the teachers’ unions, the university faculties, and Hollywood is probably a contrary indicator. It likely tells us more about the real state of corruption in government, the establishment media, and popular culture than it does about Trump and his peccadillos.

A society committed to maintaining liberty, prosperity, and opportunity for all needs to focus on real threats, a key one of which is now the loss of freedom of speech and the assault on the First Amendment.

One of our nation’s founders, Patrick Henry of Richmond, Virginia, was a gifted and passionate orator best known for his declaration, “Give me liberty or give me death.”  But his most important, substantive and lasting contribution to the legacy of freedom was his tenacious and ultimately successful fight to have the Bill of Rights amended to the Constitution because of his conviction that the First Amendment and nine others were absolutely necessary to protect individual liberty against the power and abuse of centralized government.

Orwell reminds us today of the critical importance of the First Amendment, noting “if liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” Exactly the opposite of the current trajectory and what the politically correct crowd wants.

Scott Powell is senior fellow at Discovery Institute in Seattle. Reach him at scottp@discovery.org  

Evergreen State College faces $2.1M budget shortfall, cites enrollment drop, issues layoff notices | The College Fix

Administrators at The Evergreen State College have announced that the embattled school faces a massive $2.1 million budget shortfall due in part to a drop in enrollment, and the institution has already handed out some temporary layoff notices as officials grapple with balancing the books.

Source: Evergreen State College faces $2.1M budget shortfall, cites enrollment drop, issues layoff notices – The College Fix

The Evergreen State College Implosion: Are There Lessons to be Learned? | HuffPost

In recent months, The Evergreen State College has been promoted as the archetypal example of the problems associated with political correctness run amok.

Source: The Evergreen State College Implosion: Are There Lessons to be Learned? | HuffPost

[Ed.: Blind Squirrel, meet Mr. Nut… Over here, yeah, that one…]

Professor says he’s relocated his family and is unsure of his future at The Evergreen State College in Olympia | The Olympian

Bret Weinstein, the professor at the heart of a heated controversy over alleged racism at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, said he’s relocated his family for their safety and he’s unsure about his future at the public liberal arts college.

Source: Professor says he’s relocated his family and is unsure of his future at The Evergreen State College in Olympia | The Olympian

[Ed.: If the college’s president had any stones, he would never have let this come to this. The First Amendment does protect speech, but it does not protect unlawful speech such as incitement, threats, or slander. This professor is at least a principled lefty who believes in the Constitution and would not be cowed by these student bullies who want to tell others what to do.]

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