December 2015 Archives

As on the night before this blessed morn, A troop of angels unto shepherds told, Where in a stable He was lowly born, Whom nor the earth, nor heav'n of heav'ns can hold. Thro' Bethlem rung this news at their return; Yea, angels sung that "God with us" was born: And they made mirth because we should not mourn.

His love therefore, oh! let us all confess,
And to the sons of men his works express.

This favour Christ vouchsafed for our sake;
To buy us thrones He in a manger lay;
Our weakness took, that we His strength might take,
And was disrob'd, that He might us array;
Our flesh He wore, our sin to wear away;
Our curse He bore, that we escape it may;
And wept for us that we might sing for aye.

His love therefore, oh! let us all confess,
And to the sons of men his works express.

A hymn on the mystery of the incarnation and Christ's substitutionary work of redemption, by George Wither, a 17th century English satirist and sometime political prisoner. On Christmas eve, we listened to the Trinity Episcopal Church choir sing Wither's verse to Song 46 by Orlando Gibbons (audio here), a tune more famously used as the setting for "Drop, Drop Slow Tears."

Kurt Schlichter: Trump is Going to Break Your Heart

As a young man, I learned that sometimes that hot chick you're dating is also completely crazy and, as much fun as it is to go out with her, it's going to end badly. That's Donald Trump, the super hottie of the "I Hate the GOP Establishment with a Burning Passion That Has Rendered Me Insusceptible to Reason" crew. He's sexy, he likes to party, and he certainly puts out - in the sense that he fulfills your fantasies about giving it to the RINOs good and hard.

That intensely troubling metaphor aside, the point is still valid. Donald Trump is not a keeper, not the one you want to marry. He's never going to make you happy. For now, he's going to say what makes you happy, and for now he's going to make a lot of the right people go nuts, but if you get hitched he'll cheat on you with the liberals. At the end of the day, you'll walk out of the courtroom wearing a barrel while Trump and the pool boy jet off to Tahiti on your dime....

He's using you, and he's going to toss you away when he's done and never look back. Break it off before it's too late - this is just a fling, and if it keeps up one day you're going to find your wallet missing and probably your car too. And you'll wake up with a political rash.

Donald Trump is out for one thing, Donald Trump's personal aggrandizement. He cares nothing about you. He cares nothing about your aspirations and dreams. Don't misunderstand him when he pays attention to you. He's just trying to get what he wants from you, an earthshattering ego stroke....

You can do better. The failures of the Republican donor and consultant class created Donald Trump. They made you furious, and you have every right to be furious. They have treated you like dirt and it's no surprise you picked up The Donald on the rebound. But the answer to being treated like a doormat by a bunch of buttoned-down twits is not to embrace somebody who believes in exactly nothing of what you believe in. You can totally do better. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and they aren't all named Jeb.

Trump doesn't want to make America great. He doesn't want to make you great. He wants to make you tell him that he's great. He doesn't love you, any more than the stripper in the Champagne Room loves you when you've still got money in your wallet....

Derek Hunter: Trump or Get Off the Pot:

Everyone wants America to be great again, but it's going to take more than embroidery on a baseball cap to make it happen. It's going to require a deep respect for the Constitution and the limits it places not only on government, but specifically on the office of the president. I see nothing that leads me to believe Donald Trump respects or even is aware of that concept.

In his daily life he doesn't have to work with anyone - his word is law. He says jump, and his children and the team of lawyers he pays ask how high. It may be great for business, but it's the antithesis of what our government is supposed to be.

That's why I want specifics. I'm not looking for a dictator I agree with. I'm looking for a leader who can restore what Obama, and Bush before him, and Clinton before him, eroded. I'd love it if it were done quickly, but I demand it be done legally. For that to happen I need some specifics.

The example of Obama must be rejected, and it must be rejected the right way. The next president must get things done by leading Congress, resisting the urge to bypass Congress when it won't go along and using the bully pulpit to rally the people to support his initiatives. Persuade the people, and you persuade their representatives.

Caleb Howe: Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio Need To Take a Class In Trump Politics. Howe examines the defensive, lawyerly arguments Cruz and Rubio used to deal with challenges to their votes on immigration reform and concludes that they should follow Donald Trump's approach -- own your position and don't apologize. For example, here's how Howe thinks Trump would have dealt with Bret Baier's interrogation of Cruz:

That's right. He would have shrugged it off. He would have made a face and said "come on Bret. Look it's very simple. I was trying to get what I wanted from a negotiation. I wanted to stop what they were doing and I got news for you, I did it." And if Bret pressed him again, he would have waved his hands and said "I make deals. OK? That's what I do. I know deals. And I worked this deal, and I won this deal, and that's what Americans care about."

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas): Washington Establishment: Merry Christmas, Trump!

What do you give a billionaire who has everything and is running for president?

The Omnibus spending bill in Congress is over 2,000 pages and spends another $1.1 trillion we don't have. A handful of members of Congress and their staffs, the White House and insider lobbyists wrote it over the past six weeks, and outside this small circle, no one had seen it until Wednesday.

In other words, business-as-usual in Washington again. Merry Christmas, Donald Trump....

In 2014, Americans entrusted Republicans with Senate and House majorities to stop the Obama agenda, but Republicans refused to get in the driver's seat of Congress. Instead, they offer this back-room, bloated bill to hike spending by another $50 Billion. It is strongly supported by Obama, Pelosi, and Reid - and strongly opposed by nearly every major segment of the Republican Party....

So whether you care about life and liberty, about national security and our borders, jobs and even stopping ObamaCare, Washington has a message for you: Donald Trump is right.

On issue after issue, this Omnibus spending bill proves Donald Trump's point - Washington is not working for the American people, especially conservatives in the heart of the Republican Party. This country needs a strong leader who is not afraid of fighting against the status quo, business-as-usual, America-be-damned attitude in the Capitol.

The Washington Establishment wishes you a Merry Christmas, Donald Trump. May you have a blessed, successful New Year.


The Tulsa Boy Singers will perform their annual holiday concert tonight, Thursday, December 17, 2015, at 7:30 pm, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 5th & Cincinnati in downtown Tulsa. (Park and enter from the south side of the church.) Admission is $10 for adults; no charge for children.

The boys will perform Christmas songs and other seasonal favorites, including:

  • Ave Maria
  • Winter Wonderland
  • Pat-a-pan
  • White Christmas
  • In the Bleak Mid-Winter
  • The very best time of year

Also included will be an organ solo version of the French carol "Bring a torch, Jeanette Isabella" and the American folk carol, "I wonder as I wander" as a piano solo.

I had a sneak preview of some of their music this past Sunday night, when they traveled to Norman to sing in a service of Advent Lessons and Carols at St. Thomas More Parish. Though few in number, the seven trebles did a beautiful job on Bach's "Zion hört die Wächter singen," which they will perform at Thursday's concert, accompanied by Casey Cantwell, TBS director and Trinity choirmaster, on the organ.

These young men are well-trained musicians -- the ribbons they wear indicate levels of achievement in the Royal Society for Church Music's "Voice for Life" training program -- and they produce a clear and straight tone, which resounds throughout Trinity Episcopal Church's beautiful Gothic Revival sanctuary.

A reception with savory and sweet snacks will follow the concert.

As always, boys that might be interested in joining TBS can be auditioned immediately after the concert. Auditions are brief, and no need to prepare -- just a quick test of your ability to match pitch. Both of my sons have benefited greatly from their participation in TBS: Fundamental skills of musicianship, poise and confidence in front of a crowd, following direction and blending your efforts as part of a team, and developing an appreciation for great music.

Back in October, my youngest and I joined our homeschool community on a field trip to the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art on the University of Oklahoma campus to see a special exhibit from Rome's Capitoline Museum. "Immortales: The Hall of Emperors of the Capitoline Museums, Rome" features 20 ancient busts of Roman emperors and their consorts from the very beginning of the empire through its final century.

The exhibit was originally scheduled to run through December 6, 2015, but I was excited to learn this weekend that it has been extended through February 14, 2016

This is not part of a tour, but the sole showing of these ancient sculptures anywhere in the world beyond Rome, and it's part of a broader collaboration between OU and the Capitoline Museums, bringing ancient Roman artifacts to Oklahoma for study. According to the press release:

The exhibit in Oklahoma is the second phase of the Hidden Treasures of Rome program, which was launched in 2014 by Enel Green Power, in partnership with the world renowned Capitoline Museums of Rome and served as a first-of-its-kind initiative to exchange cultural, educational and technological resources and artifacts between the Capitoline Museums and U.S. universities.

The program's expansion allows EGP-NA to bring the ancient culture of Rome to the state of Oklahoma, creating a distinctive exhibit for the university and innovative way for the company to engage with local residents and communities, Venturini said....

This collaboration also includes the transfer of epigraphs and materials from the
Capitoline museum's Antiquarium to the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History at OU. These artifacts - dating to the period of the Roman Republic (fifth to first centuries B.C.) - are part of 100,000 pieces that were stored for more than 100 years in the Capitoline Museums' Antiquarium but have never shown to the public, creating the opportunity for undergraduate students from the university's department of Classics and Letters to catalog and analyze these artifacts for inclusion in the Digital Latin Library project.

We were fascinated by the realism and detail of these ancient marble sculptures, which showed hair texture, brow furrows, and smile lines, and even scars and double chins. Perhaps the most impressive were the portraits of Vespasian and Livia, both of which used several different types and colors of marble. Vespasian, founder of a new dynasty in the wake of the chaotic "Year of Four Emperors," looked like someone you might see around town, with his broad face and nose, large ears, and receding hairline. Our guide said one visitor thought he resembled Lyndon Johnson. One of our group thought he looked like an old football coach.

It was interesting to compare the marble portraits of Octavian and Augustus -- the same man, but depicted first as ordinary politician and then as deified emperor. In the transition, the sculptor gave Augustus a civic wreath, a svelter nose, and smaller ears than his civilian portrait.

We noticed the addition of carved pupils, beginning with Antoninus Pius, and increasing in sophistication through the years. The exhibit caption noted the emergence of beards after the Greek fashion beginning with Hadrian. The bust of Alexander Severus, showed him with a beard, but a rather insubstantial one, reflecting his youth -- he ascended to the principate as a 14-year-old.

Elsewhere in the museum, we enjoyed the permanent exhibit of French impressionists, were drawn in trying to decipher the Greek and Slavonic captions on the McGhee Collection of Orthodox icons, and were fascinated by a temporary exhibition of works on paper from 18th and 19th century Europe, which included satirical engravings by Goya and Hogarth, a landscape engraving by J. M. W. Turner, and a page from William Blake's Book of Job.

Later in the day, after a picnic lunch at Reaves Park (where the fort-like play structure was the perfect setting for a battle with foam-rubber swords and axes), we visited the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. The dinosaur exhibit is the star of the museum, but we also enjoyed playing mancala in the hands-on Discovery Room and viewing a special exhibit on Galileo and the publishing society of which he was a member, which rescued a book on the birds of North America from oblivion.

OU is celebrating Galileo this year of its 125th anniversary with a series of exhibits around campus. Please note that "Through the Eyes of the Lynx: Galileo, Natural History and the Americas" will close on January 17 to make way for another exhibit on Galileo and Microscopy at the Sam Noble Museum. The exhibit "Galileo and the Scientific Revolution, currently on display on the OU-Tulsa campus in Schusterman Library, will close on December 18.

Ol' Blue Eyes came into the world on December 12th, 1915. In honor of his centenary, here are a couple of links for your enjoyment:

This year, columnist and vocalist Mark Steyn has expanded his "Song of the Week" feature to twice a week, so that he could cover 100 of Sinatra's best songs. Each entry discusses the lyricist and composer, how the song came to be, who performed it before Sinatra, how Sinatra came to record it, who helped him (producers, arrangers, musicians), and how it was received. Often Steyn provides a personal anecdote from his conversations over the years with the people involved. It's a tremendous intro to the Great American Songbook and its foremost male expositor. (Ella Fitzgerald would be its foremost expositor, period.) Entry No. 100, "One for My Baby, and One for the Road," includes a list of and links to each song in the series, which began with "It Was a Very Good Year."

Also on Steyn's site, as part of a Sinatra centenary weekend, Mark considers Sinatra's movie career and talks with Vincent Falcone, Sinatra's pianist and conductor, in a two-part interview (Vincent Falcone part 1, Vincent Falcone part 2). As supplementary listening, Steyn offers a two-part collection of his interviews with composers and lyricists of some of the songs Sinatra sang: Part 1 (Mitchell Parish, Phil Springer and Betty Comden and Adolph Green), Part 2 (Irving Caesar, Ann Ronell and Alan Jay Lerner).

(Mark Steyn's latest vocal outing is an album of cat-related songs, Feline Groovy: Songs for Swingin' Cats.)

The Daily Telegraph has a collection of 28 photos covering the course of his career, including this one of Sinatra in 1947, wearing the uniform of his softball team, The Swooners.

In the Weekly Standard, William H. Pritchard reviews a new book about Sinatra and his music, Sinatra's Century: One Hundred Notes on the Man and His World by David Lehman. Pritchard confesses his preference for Sinatra's early oeuvre:

I was pleased to note that some listeners still prefer the timbre of Sinatra's youthful voice, including his granddaughter, Nancy Sinatra's daughter. And with those listeners, I align myself--feeling that, for all the fine tunes he would record and re-record, the early 84 sides on which he sang with Tommy Dorsey's orchestra are unsurpassed. It may be that, growing up in the 1940s myself and playing in a dance band, I detect greater force and life in those songs, partly because I have projected my own satisfactions and disappointments from long ago onto the songs that seemed to embody them.

The recordings with Dorsey begin with a lovely, completely forgotten song of 1940, "The Sky Fell Down," and end in 1942 with "Be Careful, It's My Heart" (Irving Berlin's song in Holiday Inn) and "There Are Such Things" ("So have a little faith, and trust in what tomorrow brings, / You'll reach a star, because there are such things"). Along the way we get a rollicking jitterbuggy "Let's Get Away From It All," and "Snootie Little Cutie," in which the Pied Pipers (Jo Stafford singing) and cute little Connie Haines supplement Frank's performance.

Earlier this year, Michael T. Nelson reviewed a book that discussed Sinatra's role in creating the Great American Songbook:

Early discs could only play one cut per side, so these writers learned to compose to an AABA form (two choruses, the bridge, then another chorus, each eight bars long), benefiting from that discipline of form as surely as sonnet writers have from theirs. Then, in the 1920s, along came radio to provide a mass audience for these records, which were often performed by big bands. Microphones, another innovation, meant that a band's singer didn't have to belt to be heard. Record makers, radio programmers, jukebox owners (they bought half of all records in the late thirties), and the big bands all placed a premium on new songs, the assumption being that no one wanted to hear (much less buy) numbers they'd heard before. Popular songs, even from movie musicals or the stage, generally were dismissed as ephemera: all the rage today, tossed in a drawer tomorrow.

Frank Sinatra was the young band singer in the early 1940s who figured out that modern audiences would appreciate hearing forgotten gems from old Broadway shows by writers like Porter and Kern. Recklessly, or so it was thought at the time, he left the popular Tommy Dorsey Orchestra to strike out on his own. Tenderness, not fervor, was what a wartime nation was looking for, Sinatra calculated. And so the typical songs in his early repertory as a soloist--sung conversationally, even intimately, into a microphone and played on a record or over the radio--were old Broadway compositions originally written for heartsick female characters: "Someone to Watch Over Me" (the Gershwins), for example, or "My Funny Valentine" (Rodgers and Hart) or "All the Things You Are" (Kern).

It's not too much to say that, in resurrecting them, Sinatra was inventing the whole idea of standards and, thereby, creating the Great American Songbook.

Some wise words from Matt Walsh, in reaction to the latest trans-sensation, Paul "Stefonknee" Wolscht, a 52-year-old father of seven who left his wife and kids to live as a six-year-old girl.

As I said, this is what happens when you remove moral absolutes, shame, and judgment. For years, schools, parents, the media, even some churches, have taught that nothing is inherently wrong, nobody can judge, and nobody should be ashamed of anything. That lesson has sunk in, to devastating effect. The more we hold up shamelessness as an ideal, the more we rob ourselves of our dignity, which is what shame is designed to protect. The more we become something like monkeys who run about grunting and flinging our feces around, metaphorically.

If you listen to the champions of any of these various corruptions -- the transgenders, the transagers, the transspecies, the incestuous lovers, etc. -- you'll find that all of them talk about the glorious moment when they overcame the shame they felt (and should feel) for indulging in their kinks and hideous fixations. Almost always, this triumph occurred when they encountered, usually online, other people with the same disturbing propensities. They found "community" in their sin, and there they could build a human wall to block out the "judgment" of the outside world.

Of course, the outside world has been indoctrinated to the same faulty notions of relativism, acceptance, and tolerance, so there is less and less judgment, less and less shame, to hide from. Now, these "communities" can come out into the open, and as they do, more people feel encouraged to nourish and explore whatever sick temptations might be gurgling deep in the recesses of their subconscious. In this way, despite how liberals might scoff at this idea, it is true that sexual deviance -- whether it's transgenderism or homosexuality or whatever else -- can be "spread" like a disease. People who would otherwise ignore, suppress, or hopefully seek counseling and spiritual healing to deal with their urges, now feel encouraged to not only act upon them, but become them. To define themselves by them.

Moreover, I'm convinced a certain large number of these folks basically manufacture the urge. They feel too painfully average and unremarkable, and in these debaucheries they see the opportunity to be different, special, and trendy. We all must find our identity in something, and if we do not look for it where we should -- in faith and family -- we might end up finding it in some fashionable perversion. This is all made possible by a society devoid of shame and righteous judgment.

Shame is a good thing. Shame is, by definition, the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, or ridiculous. The 52-year-old man should feel ashamed of dressing up like a school girl. Bruce Jenner should feel ashamed of pretending to be a woman. An "otherkin" should feel ashamed of crawling around on all fours and telling everyone he identifies as a woodland fox.These behaviors are ridiculous, dishonorable, improper, and shameful.

Shame tells you something, just as the sharp, burning pain tells you something when you put your hand on a hot stove. It tells you, "This is unhealthy. Stop doing it." But our society has convinced us that nobody ought to feel such an uncomfortable sensation. Nobody ought to be judged, no matter how gross, bizarre, and twisted their actions might be.

I vaguely remember an SNL sketch in the late '90s, a fake public-access cable show featuring a man in a diaper (Will Ferrell, if I recall correctly), a woman who thought she was a chicken, and representatives of other delusions, fetishes, and fixations. Periodically the group would break out in a chorus of "Don't judge! Don't judge!" Less than 20 years ago, leftist-controlled popular culture still treated such trans-folk and their demands to be applauded as patently ridiculous. I can't imagine such a skit could be aired today.

MORE: The Gender Trender blog tracks the latest in insane demands and indoctrination from the trans world.

Run for School Board

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Next Monday through Wednesday, December 7 - 9, 2015, is the filing period for public school board positions in Oklahoma. Most school districts will have a single seat, Position No. 1 up for election to a five-year term. Skiatook will have one additional seat on the ballot to fill an unexpired term, and Glenpool will have two additional seats. (Here is the Tulsa County Election Board press release listing the school board offices up for election. And here's where you'll find maps showing school district and election district boundaries.)

School board filing always comes at a busy and distracted time of year. As I wrote last year, it's almost as if school board elections were deliberately scheduled to escape the notice of potential candidates and voters.

If you're a conservative, you should give serious consideration to running.

The Tulsa district, largest in the state, has two out of seven seats up for election to a four-year term, Posts No. 5 and 6. The election will be held on February 9, 2016, with runoffs on April 5, 2016, for those seats where no candidate won a majority of the vote in the February election.

Tulsa Election District 5 covers Riverside to Yale from 21st to 41st, plus Riverside to Harvard between 41st and I-44, plus Utica to Yale from 11th to 21st, plus a small section just south of I-44 between Peoria and Riverside. The current member, Cindy Decker, was appointed to the post in May 2015. Her bio suggests that she's part of the problem with American education, tied in with the social services non-profit and educational consulting world. "Decker has been an education researcher since 2002. She is passionate about ensuring all children have a quality education. She works as Director of Research and Accountability at CAP Tulsa while also consulting for various groups including the U.S. Department of Education and Howard County Public School System in Maryland. She is Chair of the Board of Moto, Inc., a family-owned business based in Illinois. Formerly, she was a Senior Economist working with the education team at the U.S. Government Accountability Office." Cynthia Gustafson Decker is a registered Democrat.

Tulsa Election District 6 covers, roughly, I-244 to 51st Street from Yale to Mingo, plus 51st to 61st, Sheridan to Memorial, plus (oddly) Memorial Park Cemetery. The incumbent is Ruth Ann Fate, who was first elected to the seat in 1996. Ruth Ann Fate is also a registered Democrat.

Looking through the online biographies, I think it's fair to assume that there is not a single conservative on the Tulsa School Board. One member is a Democrat political consultant. Another is a former Democrat County Commissioner. One of the members is a teacher in a different school district and a member of the OEA, the far-left teachers union.

In addition, Tulsa Technology Center board seat 5 is up for a seven-year term, representing northern and western Tulsa County beyond the Tulsa city limits, plus those parts of Creek, Pawnee, Osage, and Washington Counties within the TTC boundaries. TTC seems to have more money than it knows what to do with; it would be lovely to have a fiscal conservative on the board who could curb their building spree.

If you're a conservative, you should give serious thought to running, even if you have no school-aged children, even if you have children that are homeschooled or in private school, even if you've never had a child in the public schools. The public school system exists to serve all citizens by educating the children of the community, so every citizen has an interest in the curriculum being used, the way discipline is handled, the condition of the school buildings, and the credentials, skills, and philosophical presuppositions of the teachers, principals, and administrators. Property owners support the school system through ad valorem taxes, and so they have a reasonable interest in the proper and efficient expenditure of those funds. So do all citizens who pay state income and sales taxes, which provide funds to supplement local property taxes.

If you are, like me, a homeschool or private school parent, you will have experience and valuable insights with successful, classical alternatives to the faddish and failing teaching methods, priorities, and content currently in use in the public schools.

I ran some numbers, comparing 2010 census data, broken down by age, with the closest school attendance data I could find, from the 2010-2011 school year. In the Tulsa school district, the average daily attendance was only 67.2% of the number of school-aged children (5-18) who lived in the district on Census Day 2010. That means about a third of school-aged kids were either homeschooled or in private schools, the highest proportion of any district in the metro area. The Tulsa district also had the lowest percentage of residents in the 5-18 bracket -- 17.9%. Compare that to the Sperry district, where 91% of school-aged residents attended the public school, and where 22.6% of the residents were school-aged.

It seems that a substantial number of families move from the Tulsa district to the suburbs when their children reach kindergarten, or, if they stay, many opt for homeschooling or private schools. Those numbers make a strong case for new leaders in the Tulsa district. And if the school board is going to be strictly representative, at least two of the seven members should have children in homeschool or private school, and a majority should be conservative.

Filing is simple: A notarized declaration of candidacy, and a signed copy of the statutory requirements for school board candidates. For this office there is no filing fee. You can view the Oklahoma school board filing packet online. And although school board elections are officially non-partisan, the local and state Republican Party organizations will provide assistance to registered Republicans who are candidates for non-partisan office. (I suspect the same is true of the Democrats.)

There was a time when it was generally agreed that schools existed to transmit knowledge and the values of the community to the rising generation, working alongside parents. At some point, as part of the Gramscian long march through the institutions, the public schools were infiltrated by Leftists who saw them as a venue for missionary work, converting children away from the values of their parents, away from the ideals that made America a prosperous and peaceful nation. The Left has influence over schools of education, textbook publishers, teachers' unions, and continuing education for teachers, administrators, and board members.

There are, it must be said, many good conservatives, many devout Christians serving in Oklahoma's public schools. But they need support in the form of school board members who will set policy and curriculum and ensure that the paid staff adhere to it. Conservative school board members should not give undue deference to "professionals" who have been trained to see education through a Leftist lens. The subject matter taught, the methods used, and the values undergirding it all should be firmly under the control of our elected representatives on the school board.

Education is necessarily ideological, because it rests on presuppositions about knowledge, truth, goodness, and beauty. The ideology of the public schools should reflect the ideology of the community.

If I were running -- and for family and business reasons I can't -- here are some of the planks that would be in my platform:

  • Introduce the classical trivium as the philosophy and method of instruction in schools that are currently failing. That includes a heavy emphasis on memorizing facts in the elementary years, which gives children a sense of mastery and accomplishment and provides a solid foundation for subsequent learning.
  • Instill pride in our city, state, and country. America has its flaws, but it is a beacon of liberty and opportunity that inspires hope in hundreds of millions of people around the world who wish they could live and work here. Our children should understand the aspects of our culture and history that have made our country prosperous and peaceful.
  • Keep the Land Run re-enactments in our elementary schools. It's a fun and memorable way to introduce students to our state's unique history. There is an activist in Oklahoma City who managed to convince historically ignorant principals and school board members there that the '89 Land Run was an act of genocide. Oklahoma City, founded by the '89 Land Run, no longer has reenactments of that event, because of a zealot who pushed her slanderous revision of history on ignoramuses in charge of the schools.
  • Return music to the elementary grades. An early introduction to classical music and learning to make music by singing have tremendous developmental and behavioral benefits.
  • Review all federal grants and determine whether the cost of compliance and the loss of independence is worth the money.
  • Young people who foolishly believe that swapping sexes will solve their deep unhappiness deserve pity and guidance. It is utter cruelty to humor their misplaced hope that "changing gender identity" will cure their misery. Leadership at each school should craft a way to accommodate these deluded young people with compassion and dignity, while protecting the dignity of everyone else, and while affirming the biologically undeniable reality of the two sexes.

On that last point, doing the wise thing will require resisting Federal pressure. If the U. S. Department of Education refuses funding based on its perverted interpretation of Title IX, the school should sue the DoE.

Our public schools need principled, intelligent conservative leadership. Will you step forward to serve?


Stella Morabito writes, "Ask Not Who's Running For President, Ask Who's Running For School Board," and she cites the recent battle in Fairfax County, Virginia, over transgender policy as one among many reasons:

The board voted 10-1 with one abstention to shove the policy down the throats of startled parents. There was no discussion and no consideration given to the concerns expressed. Instead, the parents were in effect smeared as intolerant bigots.

The ten board members voting in compliance with this federal harassment behaved like a bunch of cronies who seemed most interested in securing their places of privilege in a coming nomenklatura by regurgitating Orwellian-style talking points about "equality" and "non-discrimination."...

When informed citizens of goodwill vote en masse locally, they can provide an effective check on corruption and force government to be more responsive to its citizens. This kind of citizen activism serves as a buffer that can prevent state and federal governments from absorbing local governments.

As we've seen from the Fairfax County case, our distraction from local elections and neglect of local politics is fertile ground for growing laws under the radar on issues that have not been debated or thought through.

More than ever, we need to push back against the use of local elections as a back door to enforcing agendas established by central, national, or even international agendas.

Walt Heyer, a man who underwent sex-change surgery and then, realizing that the change failed to give him the happiness he had hoped for, changed back, writes that the Obama Administration is using its perverted interpretation of Title IX to force public schools to trample their students in the transgender war against science and reason.

Let's look back and unmask the founders who started the gender madness we see infiltrating into our public schools today. As I detail in "Paper Genders," changing boys into girls started in the perverted minds of three abhorrent pedophile activists from the 1950s who were at the forefront of promoting a movement for sexual and gender experimentation... [Alfred Kinsey, Harry Benjamin, and John Money]....

Public schools are becoming centers for gay, lesbian, and gender-pretender activists and only secondarily fulfilling their purpose as institutions for sound academics. The laws are being interpreted far beyond the original intent of non-discrimination based on gender to where they protect gender pretenders at the expense of the rights of non-trans kids. Gender pretenders are assured access to every school facility and program available to the opposite gender, up to and including girls-only dressing rooms and showers.

Every child's rights to privacy and protection from exposure to inappropriate opposite-sex nudity are now in jeopardy. According to these new legal interpretations, if you like your gender and want to keep your gender that's fine, but you cannot keep your freedom, rights, or protections in public-school dressing rooms or restrooms. The current conflict of interest playing out in school locker rooms between girls born as girls and the self-acknowledged gender pretender trans-kids is real and it is not funny. Non-trans students have lost their right to privacy and parents have lost the freedom to parent and protect their children....

Studies show that people with gender issues also have other psychological issues 62.7 percent of the time. When the co-existing illness is treated, often the desire to change gender dissipates. By not treating the co-existing illnesses first and instead putting the patient through gender reassignment--hormones and surgery--the medical community does irrevocable harm to the patient's body and long-lasting harm to his mind.

The harm is deeper for impressionable children and adolescents who experiment with gender-change behaviors and hormones or hormone blockers. Studies have shown that the majority of kids who are gender confused will grow out of it if they are left alone....

Gender pretenders--also known as trans-kids, crossdressers, or transvestites--should get counseling, not encouragement. Social terrorists who use child transvestites to advance an agenda of sexual perversion should be shut down, not be guiding public school policy.

It's time for parents and kids to fight against the social terrorism of gender change. It's time to take schools back from males who wish to expose themselves with impunity in the girls' locker room.

Hack-proof your mind

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Is the current generation of Americans especially susceptible to propaganda and emotional manipulation?

Early this past summer, Stella Morabito wrote a column for The Federalist called How to Escape the Age of Mass Delusion. Morabito pondered the startling turnaround in societal norms on sexual identity issues, the backlash against modest attempts to protect the liberties of dissenters from the new consensus, and the mob eruptions in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore:

American conservatives are by and large clueless about propaganda methods and tactics. And it shows. There are virtually no conservative social psychologists around. You'd think once a liberal social psychologist hits the public over the head with this fact some on the Right would take notice and at least try to get clued in.

Meanwhile, the Left has been employing social psychology and depth psychology on the masses for decades. President Obama's campaign staff was filled with social psychologists. In this context, those who believe conservatives can subsist on reason and logic alone are kidding themselves. It's no wonder GOP leaders are caving on so many principles, and being absorbed so easily into the Left's machine.

A lot of people are scratching their heads today, wondering how life got to be so surreal, so fast in the United States of America. Based on the silencing tactics revealed by the LGBT lobby, many observers are likely now thinking: "Gee, I thought marriage equality was merely a gay rights movement. I didn't realize that fascism was part of that package." The Great Unraveling continues at a rapid clip when slipping on a pronoun in these days of transgender rule could cost you your career or earn you massive social media rallies chanting "hater" at you.

To understand these phenomena, Morabito turned to a nearly 60-year-old book, The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing, by Dutch psychiatrist Joost A. M. Meerloo. Meerloo wrote the book "after years immersed in the study of social psychology and countless interviews with victims of mental coercion, including Nazi officers and American prisoners of war in Korea." Morabito quoted the opening of Meerloo's forward:

"This book attempts to depict the strange transformation of the free human mind into an automatically responding machine - a transformation which can be brought about by some of the cultural undercurrents in our present-day society as well as by deliberate experiments in the service of a political ideology."

Further quotes from Meerloo:

"It is simply a question of organizing and manipulating collective feelings in the proper way. If one can isolate the mass, allow no free thinking, no free exchange, no outside correction and can hypnotize the group daily with noises, with press and radio and television, with fear and pseudo-enthusiasms, any delusion can be instilled."

"The totalitarian potentate, in order to break down the minds of men, first needs widespread mental chaos and verbal confusion, because both paralyze his opposition and cause the morale of the enemy to deteriorate - unless his adversaries are aware of the dictator's real aim."

"The techniques of propaganda and salesmanship have been refined and systematized; there is scarcely any hiding place from the constant visual and verbal assault on the mind. The pressures of daily life impel more and more people to seek an easy escape from responsibility and maturity."

Morabito explored the social and mental engineering that laid the groundwork for today's mob eruptions:

Unfortunately, too many Americans have been sleeping through most of its propaganda battles, and for a very long time. When it comes to understanding the inner workings of social psychology and political correctness, we seem to be at a loss.

Meanwhile, the power elites who now control the media, academia, and Hollywood seem to understand social psychology well enough to exploit it on a massive scale. They have engaged in psychological warfare against the private mind by inducing "collective belief formation." There's really nothing new here. Conditioning and nudging the masses into groupthink is a very old trick of all wannabe dictators. The bloody twentieth century is filled to the gills with examples.

Yet it feels like we've awakened to an ambush. A lot of Americans watched in shock while cultish mobs suddenly attacked the RFRA that [Indiana Gov. Mike] Pence initially defended. But the groundwork for mass hysteria like this was stealthily laid for decades, and the minefields sown.

Family breakdown led to community breakdown, which we can see in the decline of trust in society. Ignorance was cultivated in the schools through political correctness and squashing free debate. The academy's disparaging of western civilization virtually wiped out respect for any serious study of history and civics, as well as for the Socratic method and the rules of civil discourse. Political correctness sewed confusion into the language, particularly regarding identity politics. Youth are now set to be programmed for conformity through the K-12 "Common Core" curriculum mandates.

All of that and more promotes the semantic fog that allows for mind rape. It amounts to an act of "logicide," to borrow a term from Meerloo, whom I will continue to quote below. To kill logic and reason that might stand in their way, wannabe dictators "fabricate a hate language in order to stir up mass emotions." Leaders in Indiana, Arkansas, and Louisiana have been unable to understand this tactic and are grossly unprepared to deal with it. So they simply surrendered. In effect, they joined the mob, further endangering everybody's freedom....

I encourage you to read the whole article, in which Morabito goes on to call for action to fight against mass delusion through free speech and targeted ridicule and to fight against societal atomization through genuine friendship.

So, in the end, freedom truly depends upon breaking down the walls of separation that tyranny builds. It means cultivating the art of friendship, boldly exercising our rights to free association and to communicate our thoughts to others. It means cultivating knowledge instead of cultivating ignorance.

After all, political correctness is primarily a tool for crushing people's ability to have open conversations in friendship and mutual respect. In this context, it seems very much like a tool to bring all personal relationships under state control. And it shouldn't surprise us that this is being done today in the name of equality for certain kinds of personal relationships. Tyrannies always pretend to promote the very thing they seek to destroy.

The ongoing campus war against free speech inspired Morabito to write a follow-up: 10 Resources For Hack-Proofing Your Mind

The dynamics are similar wherever there is obstruction of the free exchange of ideas. They include: using silencing tactics to achieve conformity of thought; blind rage and intolerance towards any ideas that diverge from the agenda; and all-out efforts to eliminate perceived enemies.

But the visible actors who are shutting down freedom seem not to be free agents themselves. They act more like recruits whose behavior has been conditioned through political correctness, an effective behavior modification tool. It's been entrenched for decades in the West, in education, media, and pop culture. With terrorists, we know that indoctrination is far more direct.

Either way, messing with your mind--or coercive thought reform--is a common denominator of any agenda that depends on shutting down real conversation. Whatever the grievance du jour, it serves mostly as a distraction from the main goal: collectivist conformity that ends up empowering an elite. Campuses are prime recruiting grounds....

Student agitators are not the root of the problem, though. They seem more like victims of coercive persuasion since universities stopped valuing independent thought for conformist thought. They're easy targets for mind-rape by the elites and lobbies who can use them for mass mobilization behind various agenda items. We can now see the student agitators acting as deployable agents for hacking the minds of others. Kind of like a Borg.

To resist this (submission is futile) we must first be aware of our own human susceptibility to coercive thought reform and mind manipulation. So, where to start?

Why not start a mind-rape prevention book club? Students who wish to retain their sanity on PC-conditioned campuses should be especially interested in exploring this. But everyone should try to learn how to fight mob psychology either on their own, or, ideally, in conversations with others.

Below is a very select list of books and other materials that can help to inoculate the mind against mass delusion. None of the titles are recent. That's partly because I've found the greatest clarity and respect for independent thought in material written decades ago....

In these times of growing confusion and delusion, we must try to learn all we can about how to keep our minds free from coercive manipulation. Let's recognize political correctness for what it really is: a political tool to imprison us into conformity of thought. The PC-induced "safe spaces" on campuses amount to nothing more than Pavlovian conditioning chambers. Sane spaces--places that allow real learning and real relationships--are what people really need, because without free expression, there is no diversity.

One of her recommendations is the Mind Hacking Alert pamphlet from NJ Safe and Sound. It focuses on the special vulnerability of young adults under the age of 25:

You're already at risk for mind-hacking because of your age. The part of the brain that's responsible for emotions, judgment, decision-making, planning, and impulse control- the prefrontal cortex- is not fully mature until around age 25. That doesn't mean you're stupid - only that you have to be extra smart around mind-hackers.

The pamphlet goes on to list specific vulnerable conditions, including many that apply to new college students.

RELATED: Sharyl Attkisson, an award-winning investigative journalist and a former reporter for CBS news, spoke recently about "Astroturf and manipulation of media messages" (10 minutes).

What is astroturf? It's a perversion of grassroots. Astroturf is when political, corporate, or other special interests disguise themselves, and publish blogs, start Facebook and Twitter accounts, publish ads, letters to the editor, or simply publish comments online, to try to fool you into thinking an independent, or grassroots, movement is speaking. The whole point of astroturf is to try to give the impression that there's widespread support for or against an agenda when there's not. Astroturf seeks to manipulate you into changing your opinion by making you feel as if you're an outlier when you're not....

Astroturfers seek to controversialize those who disagree with them. They attack news organizations that publish stories they don't like, whistleblowers who tell the truth, politicians who dare to ask the tough questions, and journalists who have the audacity to report on all of it. Sometimes astroturfers simply shove, intentionally, so much confusing and conflicting information into the mix that you're left to throw up your hands and disregard all of it, including the truth.

Attkisson calls Wikipedia "the astroturfers' dream come true" as paid operatives "co-opt pages on behalf of special interests," violating Wikipedia's policies "with impunity." As an example, she discusses the connection between an apparently objective study on sleeplessness by the National Sleep Foundation, which turned out to be funded by the makers of a new sleep drug.

She then offers tips on how to protect yourself against astroturf, listing hallmarks of astroturf". One example: "Instead of questioning authority, they question those who question authority."

(Here's Attkisson's take on the media's attacks on Donald Trump over his statements, corroborated by contemporaneous news reports, about Muslims celebrating the 9/11 attacks in New Jersey. Her weekly program, Full Measure, airs Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m. on KTUL channel 8 in Tulsa and KOKH channel 25 in Oklahoma City.)

MORE: The latest example of either herd mentality or coordination: The attack by leftist bloggers and politicians on anyone offering "thoughts and prayers" for the victims of today's shootings in San Bernardino, California.

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