Monday, June 27, 2016

The Leftist Education-Media Complex

What was the Obama administration’s rationale behind the ludicrous effort to scrub the partial transcript of Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen’s 911 phone calls to police? Obviously, it was primarily to further Barack Obama’s preferred narrative of his awesomeness in dealing with terrorism, but there’s more. In a column for National Review, Ian Tuttle explains, “If they act like they think we’re idiots, it’s because they do.”

If there is a more fundamental element to progressive ideology than the belief that the overwhelming majority of Americans are not only stupid, but wholly incapable of running their lives without progressive intervention, one is hard-pressed to imagine what it is. Yet despite all their self-professed brilliance, most progressives have blurred the critical distinction between two concepts that make all the difference in the world:

Stupidity — and ignorance.

Webster defines stupidity as “the state of being foolish or unintelligent.” Ignorance, on the other hand, is a “lack of knowledge, understanding, or education.” There is little doubt substantial numbers of Americans lack knowledge, understanding or education. There is even less doubt that progressives like it that way. The left has controlled the public school system for decades, and their handiwork is searingly described by American Thinker columnist Glenn Fairman, who made a startling discovery during a stint as a substitute teacher more than 20 years ago:

“In a dusty corner shelf of the room was a set of thirty-year-old textbooks from the mid-1960s. … I was astonished to find what I would now consider an upper-level college textbook under color of what in the high schools used to be termed ‘civics.’ … I spent the rest of the day in slack-jawed amazement, perusing what a student in a working-class town was expected to know before the mavens of education began tinkering with the curricula of our schools.”

Tinkering? More like the wholesale destruction of standards in favor of leftist indoctrination. Hence, multiple generations of Americans lack basic skills once taken for granted. On the 2014 National Assessment of Educational Progress test, only 25% of students were considered proficient, or above, in history, civics and geography. A 2012 study revealed Americans ages 16-65 rank in the bottom five in math skills compared to their counterparts in 20 other nations. A study released last year revealed 32 million American adults are virtually illiterate, 21% of adults read below a fifth-grade level, and 19% of high school graduates can’t read at all.

How does a functional illiterate earn a diploma? International journalist and educator Alex Newman insists legions of experts and the U.S. Department of Education “want the system to be doing what it’s doing, and that is destroying real education.”

That effort dovetails with a mainstream media more than willing to promote “The Narrative.” The foundation of The Narrative is the idea that any American who disagrees with any part of the leftist agenda can be dismissed with a barrage of derogatory epithets whose common denominator is a lack of intellectual acumen.

Thus, for example, it is completely unsurprising that author Rick Shenkman — whose book, “Just How Stupid Are We? Facing the Truth About the American Voter,” chronicles much of the nation’s dumbing-down — insists the decline explains voter preferences for Republicans. Shenkman’s viewpoint is echoed by a president who ran on Hope and Change™, but still managed to contemptuously dismiss half the nation as “bitter clingers” to guns, religion and xenophobia.

Such intellectual bigotry is nothing new. Following the Republican takeover of Congress in the 1994 mid-terms, the late ABC TV anchor Peter Jennings declared voters had “a temper tantrum,” and that the nation “can’t be run by an angry two-year-old” in reference to that victory’s architect, Newt Gingrich.

The decline in media integrity has been steady ever since. “There is not a finer example of the media ignoring the facts and shaping a message than what we are witnessing regarding Hillary Clinton’s email server, the classified material on that server, as well as the case of the missing emails,” writes Mark Hewitt. Efforts that include burying indisputable realities such as highly classified information on secured closed-end computer systems “migrating” to an open system and appearing in at least 1,340 of Clinton’s home emails; and Clinton herself admitting she wiped 33,000 emails off her server.

The former effort is a clear violation of 18 United States Code Section 1924 punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment. The latter is called “spoliation of evidence,” and America’s legal system grants investigators the right to presume it was done for nefarious reasons.

The media are doing their utmost to frame these potentially catastrophic breaches of national security as inconsequential — when they bother to report on them at all.

Moreover, the media firewall protecting the Clintons is getting thicker. They are now coordinating with Hillary’s campaign to prevent former Clinton White House Secret Service officer Gary Byrne from appearing “on ANY broadcast network,” as Drudge puts it, to inform the public about his new book, “Crisis of Character.” It allegedly details rancid behavior perpetrated by the former First Couple.

Yet even more remarkable is the calculated disinterest that attends the Clinton Foundation. This despite stories about a uranium deal involving major Clinton donors resulting in the sale of one-fifth of all U.S. uranium production capacity to the Russians, or Bill Clinton’s abrupt resignation as honorary chancellor from Laureate Education. That for-profit college company paid Bill a whopping $16.46 million over five years, while the State Dept. doled at least $55 million to a group run by Laureate founder and chairman Douglas Becker during Hillary’s tenure as Secretary.

Neither Clinton has been asked to explain the uranium deal in over a year. And in 10 Democrat debates, not a single question was asked about Bill’s education scam.

And it’s not just the Clintons being insulated. One could make a reasonable argument the biggest story of the week was the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s (FAIR) revelation that criminal aliens released by the Obama administration in 2014 committed nearly 10 times the number of crimes the administration reported to a House Judiciary Committee last July.

“A recent survey found that not a single member of the White House correspondent pool was a Republican,” Hewitt reveals. “Journalists and those correspondents take their orders from senior editors and producers. When it’s 44 [Democrats] to zero Republicans, the numbers are on their side and so is their ability to control and dictate the White House message and Democrat party narrative.”

In 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the nation about the dangers attending the “military industrial complex.” Today, Americans should be far more concerned about a leftist-dominated “education-media complex.” One dedicated to the elimination of critical thinking skills in favor of indoctrination, and the life-long reinforcement of that indoctrination with an ongoing media narrative. “Those who are capable of tyranny are capable of perjury to sustain it,” stated 19th century legal theorist Lysander Spooner. Unlike ignorance and stupidity, the narrative and perjury are interchangeable terms.


Asian-American Students Suspect Discrimination in Ivy League Admissions

It's a reality, as Ron Unz has shown.  Racist Leftists could not accept a sea of Asian faces at Harvard

In May, the Asian American Coalition for Education and 130 other Asian-American groups asked the U.S. Department of Education and the Justice Department to investigate Yale University, Brown University, and Dartmouth College for their use of discriminatory admissions policies, which they claim amount to “race-based quotas” that lock out well-qualified Asian-American applicants.

They point to data from the Department of Education showing that Asian-American enrollment at Brown and Yale has been stagnant since 1995 and at Dartmouth since 2004 despite an increase in highly qualified Asian-American students applying to these schools during that time.

The groups highlight in their complaint that Asian-American applicants with almost perfect SAT scores, GPAs in the top 1 percent, and excellent extracurricular records have been routinely rejected from top schools, while similar candidates of other races are accepted.

In fact, data show that Asian-Americans must score, on average, “approximately 140 point[s] higher than a White student, 270 points higher than a Hispanic student and 450 points higher than a Black student on the SAT, in order to have the same chance of admission.” The groups suspect Yale, Brown, Dartmouth, and other Ivy League schools “impose racial quotas and caps to maintain what they believe are ideal racial balances,” harkening back to the days of the Chinese Exclusion Act and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Like many other schools, Yale, Brown, and Dartmouth use a “holistic” approach to evaluate applicants, which allows race and ethnicity to become a large factor in the admission equation. In their complaint, the Asian-American groups assert that these colleges rely on stereotypes and biases to deny Asian-Americans admission. These include that Asian-Americans are not creative or well-rounded, lack critical thinking skills and leadership experience, and focus on studying instead of extracurricular activities.

Admission board reviewers’ notes track these stereotypes: “He’s quiet and, of course, wants to be a doctor” or her “scores and application seem so typical of other Asian applications I’ve read: Extraordinarily gifted in math with the opposite extreme in English….” Since the admissions policies at these schools are “shrouded in secrecy,” they freely discriminate against Asian-American applicants. In fact, Yale’s law school recently began destroying its admissions records, presumably to avoid having to disclose the criteria such as race and other standards they use to determine admissions.

The groups outline the harm these discriminatory policies cause, such as a cynical and negative view of the American higher education system and a lack of trust in the purported American meritocracy. The applicants themselves feel immense pressure to overachieve in order to gain one of the limited “Asian-American spots,” leading to more stress, an increased suicide rate, attempts to hide their racial identity, lower self-esteem, race-related conflict, and resentment.

Though the concept of race-preferential admissions undoubtedly came from a place of good intentions, it’s become increasingly clear that these policies are doing more harm than good. Indeed, there’s overwhelming evidence that giving applicants a significant boost based on race or ethnicity often sets them up for failure because they are “mismatched” with their schools and struggle to keep up with their peers.

How do schools that receive federal funding get away with imposing racial quotas and caps without violating the equal protection guarantees in the Constitution? Starting in 1978, the Supreme Court determined in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke that schools may use racial preferences as long as they are intended to promote the “educational benefits that flow from an ethnically diverse student body.”

It was not until 2003 that the Supreme Court revisited the issue of racial preferences in college admissions. The Supreme Court held in Grutter v. Bollinger that a school’s goal of reaching a “critical mass” to advance diversity on campus was permissible, and in Gratz v. Bollinger that schools must pursue “race-neutral alternatives” to achieve diversity though they are not required to exhaust “every conceivable race-neutral alternative.”

The Asian-American groups have asked the Departments of Education and Justice to intervene but they ultimately may need to bring lawsuits against Yale, Brown, and Dartmouth to see any real changes. Suits are currently pending against the University of North Carolina and Harvard challenging their racially discriminatory admissions programs (the latter brought by Asian-Americans who were denied admission).

Justice Clarence Thomas explained in Grutter:

The Constitution abhors classifications based on race, not only because those classifications can harm favored races or are based on illegitimate motives, but also because every time the government places citizens on racial registers and makes race relevant to the provision of burdens or benefits, it demeans us all.

Let’s hope that someday this view will prevail at the Supreme Court and the justices put this principle in place by banning racial preferences in college admissions.


A leading gay rights activist yesterday condemned the student movement for practising ‘the politics of victimhood’

Peter Tatchell attacked the clampdown on free speech by the National Union of Students through its ‘no-platform and safe space’ policies.

The human rights campaigner accused the NUS of ‘dangerous, regressive politics’.

During a speech to an education conference at Wellington College, in Crowthorne, Berkshire, he likened modern day campus politics to the Red Guards, a fanatical student group in 1960s China.

This paramilitary student movement was told to eradicate the ‘Four Olds’ of Chinese society – customs, culture, habits and ideas – during the Cultural Revolution. Old books and art were destroyed, museums ransacked and people perceived to have ‘bourgeois elements’ were attacked, tortured and killed.

Mr Tatchell’s comments follow months of clashes on campuses over attempts to censor speakers or remove historical references that might be offensive to some.

The no-platform policy means people or groups on a banned list for holding racist or fascist views are not given a platform to speak on student union premises.

People believed to be sexist, transphobic or rape apologists have also been banned from speaking on the grounds that they would threaten ‘safe spaces’ – environments that protect students from mental harm.

Mr Tatchell has spent decades fighting homophobia and discrimination, often enduring physical attacks for his campaign for equality.

But earlier this year, an NUS representative at Canterbury Christ Church University refused to share a platform with him because she regarded him as having been racist and ‘transphobic’. Mr Tatchell told the conference yesterday: ‘The NUS no-platform and safe space policies don’t refute offensive ideas. They simply exclude them. That doesn’t solve anything.

‘The most effective way to defeat bad ideas is by exposing and countering them in open debate. Bad ideas are best discredited by good and better ideas.

‘The NUS is increasingly characterised by the politics of victimhood – the idea that being a victim of injustice automatically makes you right.

‘This means that a person’s right to be heard and be taken seriously depends on their experience of discrimination, not on the quality of their arguments, the evidence they can marshal for their case and the longevity of their commitment to a cause.’

He added: ‘This is dangerous, regressive politics. The divisive, sectarian, zealous witch-hunting of students with dissenting views has echoes of the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution.’


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