Sad, but true

Many students from other nations come to study in the United States — a robust tradition that helps bridge cultural divides.  One would hope that coming here would leave a good impression.  Sadly, that’s far from the case.  When comparing their experience here to the expectations they face back home, the U.S. frequently comes up short:

Students from abroad are even more likely today to describe U.S. classes as easier than they were in 2001. The combined “much easier” and “a little easier” responses grew from 85.2% in 2001 to 90.0% in 2016. The change in the “much easier” rating, increasing from 55.9% to 66.4%, is statistically significant.

I currently teach in a private high school.  This year, I have two Vietnamese exchange students (one male, one female).  Not only are they consistently at or near the top of their class standings, they sometimes visibly react to their fellow students’ occasional whine (my words, not theirs) about things being “too hard.”  Frankly, it’s embarrassing. Whereas these guests don’t hesitate to ask well-thought questions or double-check their understanding, my local students’ questions are often a variation of “is this something we have to know for the test?”  (My standard answer is to ask them: “is it in the reading?”  After they respond “yes,” I remind them any such material is fair game.  No, I’m not the most popular teacher among the seniors.)

Surprisingly, as my US History class recently began the Vietnam War era, the exchange student in that class seemed reluctant when I approached him privately to encourage him to share his nation’s perspective on that time.   Only after communicating with his host family did I learn that not much at all is taught about that period in Vietnam.  Perhaps they’re consciously putting it behind them.  Regardless, it’s somewhat interesting to know my exchange student is learning about that era for the first time, alongside his American classmates.

That said, I have no doubt he’ll ace the exam, or come close to it.

The main difference I can see between public and private schools is that discipline is much better maintained in the latter.  But while there are some standout exceptions, most students aren’t interested in doing any more than the bare minimum, the same as their public school counterparts.  Like many teachers, I try to use gimmicks and games to increase interest, but the sad fact is that we simply don’t expect as much of ourselves as we once did.  When I look at what was expected of eighth graders just over a century ago, I marvel at how far we, as a nation, have fallen.

And I wonder sometimes if our current public educational systems are designed to produce historically illiterate, logically challenged graduates who’ll take the word of “experts” at face value because they don’t know any better.

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” – Thomas Jefferson

The world needs the U.S.

…more than the U.S. needs the world.  And it’s about time we started acting that way:

Approximately 30 countries are refusing to accept the deportations of illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes in the U.S., according to Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar.

While these countries are refusing to accept the deportations of these criminals, the U.S. government is still issuing visas and student visas to citizens of those countries, according to the Texan congressman. There is already a law on the books which allows the U.S. to hold visas from a country that is not taking back its criminals, but according to Cuellar, the U.S. is not enforcing it.

“We’re not enforcing it, which is amazing. So now my intent is to go back to our committee on appropriations and affect their funding until they do that,” Cuellar told Sharyl Attkisson, host of Full Measure, in an interview.

Cuellar, a Democratic member of the House Committee on Appropriations, told Attkisson that the Supreme Court has ruled that illegal immigrants arrested for criminal activity can only be held for a certain period of time before they must be released.

And releasing illegal criminal immigrants puts the U.S. population at risk.

As others have already noted, our response to this intransigence should go beyond refusing to issue any kind of visas to countries that won’t take back their criminals.  We should also halt any foreign aid that goes their way (which we shouldn’t be in the business of anyway), as well as putting a 100% tariff on any goods imported from that country.

The United States has the largest economy in the world and its third-largest population (after China and India).  We have a wealth of natural resources, and technology such as fracking is allowing us to access even more of this potential.  Simply put, the world needs access to our market and economy far more than we need anything from overseas.  Were it not for the debt we’ve recklessly assumed over the last half century (much of it from playing GloboCop), we could stand utterly independent of the world.

Want to make America great again?  Send all known illegal immigrants to Guantanamo Bay (which our last president unwisely all but emptied) until their home nation agrees to receive them.  Let’s stop pretending foreigners enjoy the same Constitutional rights as citizens.  They are endowed with the protection of life, liberty (as long as they are law-abiding) and the pursuit of happiness (subject to being in America’s interest to accept them).  As long as there is a foreign national being held because of their country’s refusal to take back deportees, cut off all access to the United States and its markets.

And while we’re on the subject, killing the H1-B visa is long overdue.

It’s time the American government (all branches of it) put America first.  We don’t need “citizens of the world” running our country.  We need patriotic, hard-headed realists.

The GOP doesn’t seem to have many of those.  Making America Great Again will require action in the 2018 election, too.  Do you know how your representatives are voting?  You should.  Don’t count on Trump to change the direction all by himself.  Even if he did, that way lies future problems with executive overreach.  Punish the globalists in Congress, and give Trump a legislature he can work with.

Then let’s let the world tend to itself for a while.  We’ve been bailing it out since 1917.  After a century, we deserve to shed the role.

Well… who’da thunk?

Note: this is a lengthy post in part because I’m refuting secularists who misuse scripture to justify the ongoing invasion of the West.  If you arrived on this site’s main page be sure to click on “Continue reading” below.

Both a judge in Washington and an appeals panel of the 9th Circus Circuit Court of Appeals have stayed President Trump’s executive order banning entry to the country by people from seven nations considered to be high risk (incidentally, it was Obama who first flagged these nations as problematic).  Both courts claimed there was no evidence to support such a ban.

Truth is, they just didn’t look for any.  After all, pesky facts would get in the way of their legislating AND presiding from the bench:

A review of information compiled by a Senate committee in 2016 reveals that 72 individuals from the seven countries covered in President Trump’s vetting executive order have been convicted in terror cases since the 9/11 attacks. These facts stand in stark contrast to the assertions by the Ninth Circuit judges who have blocked the president’s order on the basis that there is no evidence showing a risk to the United States in allowing aliens from these seven terror-associated countries to come in.

Let me repeat that: 72 people from the countries on Trump’s list arrived in the United States since 9/11, and were later convicted of terror-related actions.

This is why I can’t stand the Transportation Security Agency — it’s security theater, not real security.  Real security comes from keeping terrorists out of the country, not from harassing citizens at airports.

This is why I can’t stand the open borders crowd.  Either we are a sovereign nation or we’re not.  Sovereign nations have every right to control who is allowed to enter and under what circumstances.

Continue reading

This-n-that

A few scattered thoughts prompted by recent reading…

1)  Seen online: “Next time we have a peaceful transfer of power, can there be less of it to transfer, please?”  Hear, hear!

2)  God continues to have fun with the Goreacle:

Park City is bracing for a slew of snow at Sundance Film Festival.

The festival locale sank to below-freezing temperatures ahead of Thursday’s opening-night film An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Al Gore’s climate-change follow-up to 2006’s An Inconvenient Truth.

It’s sure “inconvenient” to keep having all those cold-weather events show up every time he tries to peddle global warming (oh, wait: now it’s just called “climate change.” How… convenient.)

3)  The corporate media, led by CNN, continues its increasingly brazen lying in order to imply Trump has less support than he does.  Click this link, then this one.  This is just another petty and underhanded way to try to make Trump’s administration seem illegitimate.  So for the record:

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Hey, CNN: do you want to keep getting ignored at presidential news conferences?  Because this is how you keep getting ignored.  Here’s hoping this administration holds all press outlets accountable for every propaganda twist they try to pull.  This goes for Fox News as well, whose own narrative-pushing I have direct experience with.

4)  Remember when hundreds of protestors were arrested at Obama’s first inaugural, and how conservative activists smashed storefronts and generally made a destructive nuisance of themselves?  Yeah, me neither.  It occurs to me that if these people are so violently unhappy with the country they live in, it would be a simple matter after arresting them to revoke their citizenship and give them a one-way ticket to wherever they believe things are better.  Might be a rude wakeup.  These people are so stupid they don’t realize their antics are pushing many Americans (including me) to farther political extremes than they’d ordinarily go.  Polite society has tolerated this sort of thing for so long that I fear it will take a sustained, violent crackdown to re-establish civic norms.

These antics are a symptom of what got Trump elected.  If they continue, they’re simply helping his reelection campaign from Day One.

If all men are equal…

…then all bear close watching when given authority.  I say this because I see in some Trump supporters the same “man-on-a-white-horse” aspirations as Obama’s believers in the “Lightbringer” showed eight years ago.

That’s not to say there isn’t reason for optimism.  There have been some interesting aspects to this transition period, and it’s entirely possible Trump may meet or exceed some of the expectations people have for him to disrupt what has clearly become a government run by globalists with little concern for their own constituents.

But to be successful in the change many Americans voted for, they must make sure we don’t trade the cult of Obama for the cult of Trump.  In some respects, they are mirror images of each other.  Both have serious character flaws.  Both promised a lot of things in their campaigns.  Obama delivered on the “transformation” he promised, but many people now realize the changes were not in a positive direction.  We’ve yet to see how successful Trump will be in undoing his predecessor’s damage.

The bottom line, however, is this: a healthy republic does not run on the whims of any single person.  It requires the constant engagement of the citizenry… which is why it’s so hard to maintain.  As the quip goes: “most people don’t really want to be free… they just hope for a good master who takes care of them.”

These thoughts were already running through my head when I read this article:

The idea that a large, complex society enjoying English liberty could long endure without the guiding hand of a priest-king was, in 1776, radical. A few decades later, it became ordinary — Americans could not imagine living any other way. …

As American society grows less literate and the state of its moral education declines, the American people grow less able to engage their government as intellectually and morally prepared citizens. We are in the process — late in the process, I’m afraid — of reverting from citizens to subjects. Subjects are led by their emotions, mainly terror and greed…

For more than two centuries, we Americans have been working to make government subject to us rather than the other way around, to make it our instrument rather than our master. But that requires a republican culture, which is necessarily a culture of responsibility. Citizenship, which means a great deal more than showing up at the polls every two years to pull a lever for Team R or Team D, is exhausting. On the other hand, monarchy is amusing, a splendid spectacle and a wonderful form of public theater.

But the price of admission is submission.

We’ll know we’re succeeding in returning to the Founders’ vision of a limited federal government when it doesn’t matter as much who occupies the White House or Congress.  For now, though, the Executive has become quite monarchical (“I have a pen and a phone” sounds a lot like something George III would have said, had he access to either).  Congress, meanwhile, dutifully plays the roles of courtiers, many of whom have aspirations of eventually occupying the Cherry Blossom Throne themselves (HT: Vox).

I sincerely hope our people didn’t go through two centuries of hard work fighting for, debating, pushing, shoving and reforming representative government just so it could devolve back into an authoritarian regime.  Expect and hope for improvement under Trump, yes.  But let’s also redevelop that culture of responsibility that recognizes “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

That goes no matter whether Team Elephant or Team Donkey is at the levers of power.  Remember that, in the end, “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  The more  powerful Uncle Sam has grown, the more corrupt his institutions.

Return  power to the States and the people!

Treasures should be guarded

I’ve noted before that we have greatly cheapened the value of U.S. citizenship.  If anyone from anywhere can sneak into our country with a reasonable expectation that if they “hide in the shadows” long enough for another amnesty, then our birthright citizenship means nothing — or nada, if you must.  That should be completely unacceptable to any citizen already here.

One particular aspect of that citizenship that is clearly neglected is our voting process.  There should be absolutely no opposition to requiring photo I.D. to cast a vote — but the soft bigotry of low expectations (plus a desire for a fraud-conducive system) in the Democratic Party keeps claiming there’s no need, and that it’s an undue burden on minorities.

That’s a load of Donkey manure.  One already needs a photo ID to do all sorts of everyday things.  But the Left says there’s no indication enough fraud exists to require such documentation.

Well, how about this:

Voting machines in more than one-third of all Detroit precincts registered more votes than they should have during last month’s presidential election, according to Wayne County records prepared at the request of The Detroit News…

“There’s always going to be small problems to some degree, but we didn’t expect the degree of problem we saw in Detroit. This isn’t normal,” said Krista Haroutunian, chairwoman of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers…  (emphasis added)

Republican state senators last week called for an investigation in Wayne County, including one precinct where a Detroit ballot box contained only 50 of the 306 ballots listed in a poll book, according to an observer for Trump.

Detroit has not had a Republican mayor since 1962.  It’s safe to say there’s a well-oiled Democratic political machine in that city now, and that the Democrats have run everything as Detroit went from being a high-flying manufacturing center to a broken shell of its former self.  As for the comment above “this isn’t normal,” I’d say it applies more to getting caught than to having such irregularities.  What’s amusing is that this came to light because Jill Stein and her Green Party demanded a recount that spent a boatload of money in Michigan and Wisconsin only to find Trump had 131 more votes in Wisconsin than originally recorded on election day.

Everything today revolves around convenience, which is why the arguments against voter I.D. have traction.  Simply put, a lot of people don’t care if a lot of their neighbors are too lazy to take the few required steps to participate in what should be a secure voting process.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: in order to vote, you should have to pass a basic civics exam on how the Constitution sets up our government, you should have to have photo I.D. to vote, and your finger should be dipped in a Red, White or Blue ink (your choice) that doesn’t wash/rub out for a couple days. (I also believe that if you’re on public assistance, your voting rights should be temporarily suspended.  Make sure you can take care of yourself before you start impacting others.)

I was in Iraq when they held their first post-Saddam election.  From what I saw, they took their process and its security much more seriously than we do.  That should shame us into action.  Iraqis went to polling stations even with the threat of terrorist activity across the country (something that, thankfully, we only know a little about… for now).  And we can’t be bothered to get an I.D.?  Give me a break.

Clean up the voter rolls, pass the photo I.D. requirement nationally, and start making people demonstrate knowledge of the system and its history before letting them participate in it.  Compared to how many have died or been wounded over the decades to give us the space and freedom to even hold elections, is that really too much to ask?  Some things worth having are not convenient to maintain…

“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”

— Thomas Paine, from “The American Crisis,” written when protecting freedom (during the American Revolution) was a lot more inconvenient than it is today.

Meet the new year — same as the old year?

It will be if Americans continue to fail to hold their ‘leaders’ accountable:

This ain’t your grandfather’s Democrat Party; nor is this the party of Tip O’Neill or even Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer of the early ‘90s who supported border security and religious freedom respectively.  This is the party of transgenders, illegal aliens, and the Muslim Brotherhood.  This is the party of licentiousness, totalitarianism, and post-Americanism.

And as the linked article shows, there literally is no difference between the establishment GOP and this radicalized Democratic Party:

Last November, Americans went out and voted for a GOP Congress. Out popped Democrat policies, much like the rigged ballot machines in Maryland that would render Republican votes as Democratic ones.  As Chuck Schumer jubilantly declared following the omnibus bill, “the bills we’re passing reflect Democratic values.”  He boasted that “even though we’re in the minority, we are passing a program that we have been for all along.”

Both parties need to be destroyed: the Democrats because they have become little more than a fifth column of godless, anarchistic anti-Americanism, and the GOP because it has assumed the role of enabler to the other.  Thanks to both elements of the bi-factional ruling party, Obama has had a clear path for “fundamentally transforming” America — and NOT for the better.

Those who love this country must realize the political process is primarily a charade, a means of providing a veneer of “consent” for things our elites plan to do regardless.  But do you really consent to a flood tide of immigration from regions whose culture and religion are so fundamentally different from ours that there is little chance of ‘coexistence?’  Do you consent to the continued collusion of government and big business, leading to bailouts that result in heads they win, tails you foot the losses?  Do you consent to policies that allow businesses to replace Americans with lower-paid foreign “guest” workers?  Do you consent to being told your daughters have no choice but to share restrooms with deranged individuals who can’t accept that God gave them a Y chromosome, and demand everyone else play along with their fantasies?  Do you consent to being forced to affirm every opinion, no matter how fact-challenged, or face the full weight of the State because you ‘offended’ someone (that wasn’t an orthodox Christian, that is–after all, we’re fair game in this current system)?

We have witnessed in this country a revolution by those who would call evil good, and good evil.    It will take no less of a revolution to heal this land.  The battle ultimately is not ours, but at the same time we each have to be willing to participate — and to pay a cost.  To be called names.  To lose opportunities, friendships, even family, because of the willingness to stand up and say “Truth is truth, regardless the wandering ideas of men.”  The individual fear of repercussions is the greatest enabler of the Enemy.  For you see, we outnumber them.  Even if ‘alone.’  The day we truly remember, believe and act on that, the Enemy must flee.

This year’s election will dominate many discussions, but we must remember that our battle is not merely with a corrupted political system.  It is with the nihilistic, self-destructive ideologies promoted by the principalities of this fallen world.  It is with a mindset that will equate climate change heterodoxy with the mass murder of Jews, but will not say a word about the veins of Islamic thought from which spring one mass murder after another.  It is with a pernicious lie that is lodged so deep in the human hope of creating our own version of Heaven that even its consistently bloody track record fails to dislodge it.  What good does it do to defeat Her Hillariness on the ballot, if the ideas and culture that animate her and countless others continue to hold sway?  This cannot be about personalities alone, loathsome or laudible as some of them may be at times.  It must be first and foremost about Truth.

The Truth that while we are created with equal worth in God’s eyes, we are not created the same.
The Truth that not all beliefs are created equal; that some lead to freedom and others to bondage.
The Truth that man is not the measure of all things, and there are moral laws that transcend our personal preferences.
The Truth that the Creator values all human life, and also holds us accountable for what we do with it.
The Truth that when we fail to hold each other accountable — particularly our leaders — the fallen nature of humanity always defaults to a course of self-destruction.

Happy New Year to all.  Remember: you’re only ‘just’ a pawn if you meekly accept the role.  There’s plenty of frustration with the way things are going today.  The question of the year is what are we going to do about it?

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