Flynn, Trump, Russia, and the Media Faux Hysteria

Can we just all take a time out. Just for a minute- to stop and stare in incredulous wonder at the sheer spectacle of hypocritical media driven hysteria that has descended upon us this week regarding Russia, Trump, our intelligence agencies and Flynn. The Unites States should just be called the Twilight Zone.

Let’s rewind just a mere few months ago to an alternate United States of America, where a little thing called Wikileaks dominated the media. In these Wikileaks, massive amounts of shocking, disgusting, incriminating information was disseminated to the public regarding the train wreck that is Hillary Clinton and the progressive left. We weren’t exactly sure of the source of the information, BUT never once was anything proven to be UNTRUE.

What was the media’s response you ask? Well, the mainstream media was up in arms! Proclaiming that this information was leaked illegally! It came from the Russians! The Russians are trying to rig our election process! Wikileak’s main man, Julian Assange, is a horrific individual! Never you mind that the information is, in fact, true. The media kept screaming that we shouldn’t care what the information actually IS, we SHOULD be concerned that it “came from the Russians”! Our super intelligence agencies swooped in to investigate!

What did they find? They found that supposedly the goal of the Russians was to “undermine public faith in the US democratic process.” (Which incidentally, is the same effect this report had.) The report is mum on the fact that the information that was leaked was, in fact, all true. They make the shocking claim that this was done to ensure a Trump presidency, yet offer no proof that a Trump presidency would benefit the Russians over a Clinton presidency. Also noticeably absent in the report is the fact that their alleged hacking attempts would not even have been successful if the DNC wasn’t full of idiots who fall for password change emails. Not to mention the fact, that Hillary left HERSELF vulnerable by intentionally NOT following existing cyber safety protocol, so that she could get away with her own back door dealings with greater ease! This, Hillary actually WAS found guilty of by the FBI. The report was subsequently added to as more information was declassified. A notable addition was this line of information: DHS assesses that the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying. So, we actually did elect our president- I guess thanks to the Russians, who were willing to let us know the down and dirty about the Democrat’s candidate- as opposed to our media who preferred to keep that information secret.

If you’d like you can read the report in its entirety here: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3254229/ICA-2017-01.pdf

Flash forward to this week and the mainstream media is STILL trying to sell the story that Trump and his administration are bff’s with Russia. With evidence you might ask? Because I would be interested if evidence were to actually be presented. The thing is I haven’t seen any of that yet. The latest hysteria revolves around a phone conversation that Flynn had back in December (under the watch of the Obama administration by the way) with Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak, in which they discussed sanctions. Subsequently, Flynn either lied or inadvertently left out information when briefing VP Pence of the conversation. How do we know this? Because someone in our intelligence agencies leaked this information to the media- which, by the way, is illegal. Interestingly enough, both the NY Times and NPR have had to report that when the phone conversation was investigated- NOTHING illegal was found to have taken place. Peter Schwiezer breaks it down like this, “But what’s curious in this case is that it’s unclear what people are suggesting or what actual evidence there is,” he observed. “For example, the New York Times today has a front-page piece which I think balance is actually pretty fair. When you initially read it, it talks about the fact that U.S. intelligence was monitoring the fact that four people close to Trump had contact with Russian intelligence. Now when you hear that, you think, ‘Oh, my gosh, what’s going on?’ But when you actually read the article, you find out that, first of all, it’s unclear that they even knew they were talking to Russian intelligence officials. They all deny that they did. And when you’re doing any kind of business in Russia – the Clintons have certainly done this, as well – chances are you’re probably going to encounter an intelligence official…But you don’t know what they talked about. You don’t know what they’re inferring. And the article points out when this information was taken to the FISA court, which is the super-secret court that gives you the opportunity to wiretap, there was not sufficient evidence for them to be granted a warrant to further monitor these communications, which implies to me that, clearly, this was really much ado about nothing.”

So how are the media responding to this? Well, I have whip lash from the 180 degree flip in their reporting. NOW, the mainstream media is exhorting the public to “pay attention to the information and not where it came from”. I literally heard a liberal talking head tell someone that if they were more concerned in the source than the information they were missing the entire point. On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, the host, a former congressman, called the leakers “heroes.” Wow! Considering the last few months I’m really not sure how anyone in the mainstream media could make these statements with a straight face.

What are the media’s concerns regarding this Flynn issue? Well, the Trump administration’s “relationship” Russia of course! They are worried this could have left Flynn open to blackmail. Am I seriously supposed to believe the media, or ANYONE on the left is concerned about blackmail potential considering they just ran Hillary Clinton for president of the US?? Exactly how many countries including Russia could Hillary have been blackmailed by!?! We STILL don’t know what happened to, like, 30 something thousand emails!! If it’s only ties to Russia we should concern ourselves with, how about that time Hillary literally made millions in her dealings with Russia– the paid speeches, the uranium?

But who even cares about Hillary, we dodged that bullet right? So what about Obama’s relationship with Russia? According to Glenn Greenwald in his article, What’s Behind Barack Obama’s Ongoing Accomodation of Vladimir Putin, “Early last year, U.S. intelligence agencies claimed to have evidence that Russia was making increasingly aggressive military incursions into Ukraine, including with tanks and artillery. Leading foreign policy experts in both parties — including Madeleine Albright, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Obama’s own Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin E. Dempsey — united to pressure President Obama to send arms to Kiev to ward off what they viewed as Russian aggression. But Obama steadfastly refused. Obama’s recalcitrance became so entrenched that a bipartisan alliance in Congress emerged to introduce legislation to force him to provide lethal aid. As the New York Times reported:

Representative Eliot L. Engel of New York, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said last week that he was so “disappointed” in the administration for not using tools in past legislation authorizing more sanctions against Russia and arms for Ukraine that he was introducing a new bill to “dial up the pressure on Vladimir Putin.”

The Ukraine debate of 2015 was not the only instance in which President Obama has taken action that accommodated Putin and benefited Russian interests. Last year, Russia began bombing Syria in order to protect its long-time client Bashar Assad. While Hillary Clinton and others advocated imposition of a “no-fly zone” to stop the Russians, Obama did nothing. To the contrary, Obama — who himself has spent two years bombing the anti-Assad fighters in Syria whom the U.S. government regards as terrorists (killing many civilians in the process) — is now actively forgingpartnership with Putin whereby Russia and the U.S. would jointly bomb agreed-upon targets in Syria (ones opposed to Assad).” (Can someone please remind me why Russia would prefer a Trump presidency? I’m failing to see a motive. They seemed to be getting along quite well under the former administration also.)

So, is the media against any administration having ties with Russia or only the Trump administration? Once the irony is exposed it leaves me wondering what their agenda is? Obviously, it has nothing to do with anyone’s relationship with Russia.

It’s no secret that our intelligence agencies aren’t exactly happy with Trump. He has called them out on many occasions. How much power do our intelligence agencies wield? Interestingly, Chuck Schumer, says they wield quite a lot of power. Thomas Lifson writes in his article for the American Thinker, “Senator Chuck Schumer, of all people, laid out on January 2 what was going to happen to the Trump administration if it dared take on the deep state – the permanent bureaucracy that has contempt for the will of the voters and feels entitled to run the government for its own benefit: New Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump is “being really dumb” by taking on the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia’s cyber activities.

‘Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,’ Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. ‘So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.’”

Does the CIA have any connection to Flynn? In the same article above, Lifson continues, “Does the CIA have an ax to grind with Flynn? Gen. Flynn is the hardest of hardliners with respect to Russia within the Trump camp. In his 2016 book Field of Fight (co-authored with PJ Media’s Michael Ledeen), Flynn warned of “an international alliance of evil movements and countries that is working to destroy us[.] … The war is on. We face a working coalition that extends from North Korea and China to Russia, Iran, Syria, Syria, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua.” The unsubstantiated allegation that he presides over a “leaky” National Security Council tilting towards Russia makes no sense. The only leaks of which we know are politically motivated reports coming from the intelligence community designed to disrupt the normal workings of a democratic government – something that raises grave constitutional issues. Flynn is the one senior U.S. intelligence officer with the guts to blow the whistle on a series of catastrophic intelligence and operational failures. The available facts point to the conclusion that elements of the humiliated (and perhaps soon-to-be-unemployed) intelligence community is trying to exact vengeance against a principled and patriotic officer[.] … The present affair stinks like a dumpster full of dead rats.” Incidentally, Flynn was also a vocal opponent of Obama’s Iran deal, which Flynn reportedly had intimate knowledge of. Trump made no bones about his intention to “rip up” the Iran Deal, which horrified Obama and the left, because the deal is worthless has been so effective.

Interesting.

So, is there a link between the CIA and our illustrious mainstream media? Only, a historically diabolical one. Here’s a snippet of the CIA’s sordid history with the media from Carl Bernstein’s The CIA and the Media, “…more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters. Some of these journalists’ relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services—from simple intelligence gathering to serving as go betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors without portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested in the derring do of the spy business as in filing articles; and, the smallest category, full time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad. In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America’s leading news organizations.” In the same article Bernstein lists the media outlets that the CIA notably “partners” with, “Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were Williarn Paley of the Columbia Broadcasting System, Henry Luce of Tirne Inc., Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times, Barry Bingham Sr. of the LouisviIle Courier Journal, and James Copley of the Copley News Service. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include the American Broadcasting Company, the National Broadcasting Company, the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald Tribune. By far the most valuable of these associations, according to CIA officials, have been with the New York Times, CBS and Time Inc.”

Could Obama or any of the holdovers from his administration have anything to do with any of this? I don’t know, but this little tidbit from this story in the Jan. 12, 2017 edition of the New York Times, suddenly catches my attention, “In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections. The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches.”

Seems a little suspect considering the events that have transpired since. The media is of course doing their job in blowing it completely out of proportion. Pam Key reports for Brietbart, “Tuesday on CNN’s “Wolf,” while discussing the resignation of Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) said if members of the Trump campaign or administration have been “conspiring” with Russia, they have committed “treason.” Considering the media has been forced to concede that they have no evidence of wrongdoing, this seems indeed to be quite a premature sentiment, yet totally transparent when it comes down to the mainstream media’s agenda.

So! Did Flynn actually do anything wrong, is the Trump administration secretly run by Russia? For one, I am encouraged that if indeed, Flynn was in the wrong, he stepped down from his position.  I haven’t seen that happen much across the aisle. (Hillary certainly didn’t see the need to let those pesky indiscretions get in her way) I don’t know, but I’m gonna need something other than the drivel the mainstream media is trying to sell me to make up my mind with.

 

Christians, We Have To Stop Confusing the Role of the Government When it Comes to Immigration

 It doesn’t surprise or bother me at all when people who aren’t Christian call my anti open borders, pro extreme vetting, anti illegal immigration views hypocritical while I listen to them parrot a list of verses from the Bible- my Guidebook to life. They usually pick verses such as Leviticus 19:34:“The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.”, or Ezekiel 16:49:“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.”, or best of all, Matthew 25:34-46:“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Scriptures from a Book that, by the way, they believe is a backwards, bigoted, genocide endorsing, archaic collection of fairy tales. No- their opinion doesn’t affect me. Why would I be offended? They are basing arguments on a Book they have no understanding of.

I’ll tell you what really DOES bother me though. When some of my fellow Christians misuse these same verses to accuse me of not portraying the “love” of Jesus. It concerns me, because to hold this view, you must completely disregard the context of these scriptures. Something that is never advisable when it comes to Bible study. I mean, let’s just take the context of the first two examples I gave: Leviticus 19:34 and Ezekiel 16:49. Leviticus is a chapter full of God’s laws to the Israelites. Laws that incidentally would prohibit “foreigners in our land” from worshiping their own gods, impose Jewish dietary restrictions, and demand the death penalty for what many are now considering “alternative lifestyles”. Is that really the context you want to operate in? The entire context of Ezekiel 16:49 is a rebuke comparing Jerusalem to an adulterous wife who behaves like a prostitute. He goes on to tell them they will bear the consequences of their lewdness and detestable practices. Spoiler alert- He ain’t just talking about their failure to be compassionate to the needy! With regard to Matthew 25:34-46, maybe I could understand a pro-open borders, pro- illegal immigration application of these scriptures IF the rest of the Bible was silent regarding the formation of nations and boundaries and the role of the Christian vs the role of the government. However, as it turns out- the Bible has quite a lot to say on these topics.

What does the Bible have to say about nations and boundaries? Well, first off, God Himself created them way back in Genesis 11. Prior to Genesis 11 all people spoke a common language. We all know the story: the world had become so wicked that God destroyed it all in a flood- all with the exception of Noah, his family, and the animals on the ark. After the flood, God’s command to Noah and his family was to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. Instead, man gathered together in the plain of Shinar to build themselves a city. We all know this story about the Tower of Babel. It was our first attempt at a one world government. Interestingly, many astrological and occult practices date back to the Tower of Babel. So, God nipped that in the bud right quick. Genesis 11:5-9 explains that God confused their languages and scattered them over the earth. Why did God do this? Joseph Farah explains it well in his article What Bible Says About Illegal Immigration, “It seems He scattered the world’s population and created the diverse languages in an effort to subvert man’s efforts to unite in a global kingdom under a false universal religion…Interestingly, one of the prime motivations of those behind the promotion of borderless societies is this very same notion of regional government and global government and the breakdown of nationalism.” God is sovereign over all and that includes nations and boundaries. Acts 17:26 says “and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation…” God created the boundaries for a reason.

Now that we have established that God actually created the nations and their boundaries, we must note that the Bible makes very clear distinctions between the role of the government and the role of the individual. Scripture clearly indicates that God charges governments with preserving order, protecting citizens, and punishing wrongdoers- Romans 13:1-7. Earthly governors “bear the sword” on behalf of those under their authority. This means governments are given the authority to preserve law and order, fight off invaders, and punish law breakers. When it comes to immigration, the government is well within its right to create and enforce laws to preserve the safety and welfare of its citizens. Government is also well within its right to punish anyone- citizen or not, who breaks these laws. Doug Brandow sums it up well in his Biblical Foundations of Limited Government, “Thus, government is to be a neutral arbiter and protector.”

Conversely, the Bible charges the individual with a completely different role. Jesus tells us in Luke 6:27-31: “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” In this passage Jesus is specifically speaking to us as individuals. In John 18:36, Jesus tells us “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” Here Jesus says that we should not fight for the sake of His spiritual kingdom. As Doug Brandow notes regarding I Timothy 2:1-4, “We are to pray for the welfare of government and to thank God for the blessings that we receive through it. We receive earthly blessings through the activities of the government, but our most important concern for government is that it will promote peaceful conditions in which the Gospel can be freely preached, so that all men have the opportunity to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Matthew 25:34-46 applies specifically to us as individuals and our personal acts of kindness for which we will be held accountable. When it comes to our individual responsibility to immigrants, illegal or otherwise, we absolutely have the personal responsibility to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, care for the stranger, etc. Our actions are to be guided by compassion for all people. It also bears mentioning that in our role as purveyors of compassion, we are also exhorted in Leviticus 19:15 to do so fairly, not perverting justice to show partiality or favoritism to the poor.

However, when we as Christians confuse commands given specifically to us as individuals and endeavor to apply them to the government, it results in a failure of the government to perform in its Biblical capacity. It is indeed merciful and loving for an individual to “turn the other cheek”, give to the needy, or personally sacrifice in order to help others, but the government can’t do any of these things- it can only obligate its citizens to. Applying this scripture to a government causes it to inflict harm on its citizens. Let’s look at amnesty for example. Forgiving those who have entered the country illegally or allowing those whose visas have expired to stay, might be considered “compassionate” to the lawbreaker, but what are the effects on US citizens? If these people are granted legal status they now qualify for already scarce public resources such as Medicaid, welfare, etc at the cost of US citizens. The US, at this point, is struggling to fund these programs for the benefit of our own needy citizens. (The extent to which the US should offer these programs is a related issue, but beyond the scope of this discussion- so I’m just going to leave that one alone for now.) Some may say, “We must be compassionate to both!” Yes, we as individuals should- but the reality is resources are NOT unlimited. (Some people have a hard time accepting this concept, but I assure you- the government has no resources of its own. The resources the government has are derived from the citizens and we as citizens do not have unlimited funds) Resources that go to one individual, reduce the availability of resources to other individuals. This causes the government to fail in its role by placing compassion for the foreigner above compassion for its citizens.

Should the government “turn the other cheek” in response to threats of war from our “neighbor” nations? Whether or not certain groups may acknowledge it, does not change the fact that we are currently at war with radical Islam. Their entire goal is to defeat the “infidels” (that’s ALL of us here in the US, not just the conservatives by the way) and instate their ideology complete with Sharia law- which is not exactly a pro-human rights system- to say the least. It is also a verifiable fact that ISIS has in the past and currently continues to use the sad state of our immigration law enforcement along with our refugee policy to infiltrate the US.( If you would like to be educated regarding the history of Islam, I have attached a fabulous video that breaks it down in about 17 minutes at the bottom of this article.) It is the very definition of the Biblical role of our government to protect it’s citizens from such threats through the enforcement of immigration laws, temporary bans, extreme vetting measures, or whatever means it has at its disposal. The willingness of certain citizens, Christian or not, to put themselves at risk to show compassion to foreigners is of no consequence to a government, which acts as an agent for all citizens as a whole- not certain groups of citizens.

In order for Christians to be consistent in this “turn the other cheek” policy with respect to government, we would also have to eliminate the police along with our criminal justice system. Some may consider this an oversimplification, but is it? Coming into the US illegally is the same as breaking into someone’s home. A criminal breaking into your home may also be driven by desperation rather than selfishness or evil, yet that doesn’t affect your decision to lock your door at night. The fact that you lock your door at night doesn’t equate to hate or lack of mercy or compassion for the criminal. Taking measures to protect your family from harm or to guard your possessions doesn’t render you devoid of compassion. By the same turn, relying on the government to enforce laws, punish lawbreakers, and promote a safe society doesn’t equate to a lack of mercy or compassion. If anyone makes such claims, they do so without Biblical basis. We should all strive to be compassionate and merciful, but nowhere does the Bible suggest that we forsake wisdom and prudence in our efforts.

As a matter of fact, when we as Christians become driven to transform the Biblical role of government by transposing our individual responsibilities onto it, we not only cause government to fail in its role, but we can become failures in our own roles as well. For example, when we delude ourselves into thinking that an “open door policy” for our government is the most compassionate and merciful way to help our neighbor, we tend to ignore evidence that “bringing everyone to our house” is not necessarily the best way to help an individual OR a whole ailing nation of individuals. Studies show, that if we literally crammed the US full to capacity with immigrants, we couldn’t even make a dent in the population of needy people worldwide. (If you want to see this fact come alive before your very eyes, take the time to watch the incredibly insightful video I have attached at the end of this article and be educated.) Am I saying that it isn’t worth helping just a few people? Of course not, but how about we aim bigger!

Here’s another example that focuses on the current refugee crisis. According to Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies in his article, “The five-year cost to American taxpayers of resettling a single Middle Eastern refugee in the United States is conservatively estimated to be more than $64,000, compared with U.N. figures that indicate it costs about $5,300 to provide for that same refugee for five years in his native region. Each refugee we bring to the United States means that eleven others are not being helped with that money. In other words, each refugee we bring to the United States means that eleven others are not being helped with that money. Faced with twelve drowning people, only a monster would send them a luxurious one-man boat rather than twelve life jackets. And yet, with the best of intentions, that is exactly what we are doing when we choose one lucky winner to resettle here…Security concerns aside, it is morally unjustifiable to help the few at the expense of the many.” Strong words indeed, but words many of us need to hear. It may make us feel warm and fuzzy to think about how compassionate we are being by opening our borders to refugees while ignoring the dangers we are subjecting our country to by doing so, but is that what Jesus commanded? Emphatically no! Matthew 28:19, Jesus commands US to GO make disciples in other nations. It would be a far stretch indeed to ascertain the we must open our borders so that nations will come to us to be evangelized, OR so that foreigners could come here illegally for any reason at all. The Bible makes clear the role of government and the role of the individual- too much blurring of these lines results in a failure of either to adequately perform their role.

So what should we as Christians be doing to fulfill our duty? For one, we should be concerned with helping ALL the needy- not just the foreign needy. Get out and help your literal neighbors! Give YOUR resources- time and/or money- to organizations that help the needy here in the US as well as organizations that are dedicated to help those abroad. Don’t demand that the government do so in your place and rest believing that this will be counted to you as righteousness. Put your money where your mouth is, so to speak. We are not all individually called specifically to foreign mission. If you are, awesome! God has different plans for each of us. Don’t underestimate the value of mission here in the United States or in your own community.

I just want to end with this caution to Christians who may get caught up in the “left’s” version of what society should be, which is based on a false interpretation of the “love” of Jesus. Jesus isn’t, nor has He ever been a pushover. Love is not synonymous with approving of what any person may believe they require to make them happy. There is a word for that, but it isn’t love- it’s enabling. Also, disapproval is not synonymous with hate. We are fully capable of truly loving someone while at the same time not agreeing with or approving of their choices or behaviors. There will be a time, when the open borders/one world government model will prevail despite the effort of Christians to maintain the Biblical role of government, because that also is a part of God’s plan. This is yet again, the attempt of man to usher in a utopian society without God. God uses this effort to usher in the end times and ultimately establish His Kingdom. If you want to see how that works out, read the book of Revelation. I’ll give you a hint- He WINS. Don’t doubt for a second that these liberal concepts (open borders, socialistic welfare states, etc) are a push in that direction, even if they “seem” upon first glance to be the compassionate route.

Links:

1. Immigration, World Poverty, and Gumballs:

2. 1400 Years of Islam History in a Few Minutes:

Sources:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/julyweb-only/immigration-reform-another-christian-view.html

http://www.wnd.com/2014/10/what-bible-says-about-illegal-immigration/

http://acton.org/pub/religion-liberty/volume-7-number-1/biblical-foundations-limited-government

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/did-jesus-teach-pacifism

http://cis.org/High-Cost-of-Resettling-Middle-Eastern-Refugees

http://cis.org/ImmigrationBible

 

 

DeVos and School Choice- The Good, the Bad, the Reality

So I’m hearing a whole lot of back and forth about our new Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, and whether or not she’s the savior of our education system or the nail in its coffin. As it turns out, the issue is a lot more complicated than partisan politics. Republicans tend to frame the argument in terms of a free market scenario in which competition breeds better choices. Devos said as much in an interview back in 2001. In the interview she and her husband are asked directly if they want to “destroy our public schools.” She responded, “No, we are for good education, and for having every child have an opportunity for good education…We both believe that competition and choices make everyone better and that ultimately if the system that prevails in the United States prevails today had more competition- there were more choices for people to make freely- that all of the schools would become better as a result.” The thing is, our education system isn’t exactly a free market scenario because- government funding. Democrats see government funded “school choice” as the death knell for public schools because public schools already struggle to perform with the funding that they have. What would they do if funds were to be diverted to private and charter schools? Good question. From the perspective of a parent, everyone wants to have the ability to provide their child with the best education possible and the fact of the matter is some public schools do NOT fit that bill. Where does the complication come in? Government funding. Essentially, this is an issue of privately funded school choice vs government funded school choice and the realities of each.

Let’s look at DeVos and school choice from the liberal perspective. The first thing that really stood out in my research is that the left absolutely HATE Betsy DeVos and the thought of her as Education Secretary. They do have one valid concern which is DeVos’ lack of experience. She has never overseen a public office and now she is over The Dept. of Education with nearly 5,000 employees. She has never worked at a school district, so her experience with education is limited to her perspective as a student and a parent. That being said, DeVos has never attended public school and her children haven’t either. Is this a big deal? According to education analyst Jay P. Greene from the University of Arkansas and Lisa Shell from the Reason Foundation, the Education Secretary really doesn’t have much to do regarding federal funds as they are already pre-committed through funding formulas that aren’t easy to tamper with. What DeVos CAN do is set a broad agenda and a tone, which is really what the left are up in arms about.

Agenda and tone- herein lies the rub. Betsy DeVos is a very outspoken Christian and as such is a proponent of making government funded religiously based school choices available to everyone. This is truly where the left shifts into complete freak out mode. You don’t need to spend much time listening to their point of view to realize that. Here’s a little sampling of their rhetoric:

      1. Gizmoto contributor Rae Paoletta says, “DeVos has repeatedly supported Republicans who have waged war against climate change and evidence-based education. Her family supports the notoriously anti-science evangelical group Focus on the Family, and other fundamentalist Christian organizations. Unsurprisingly, DeVos also supports vouchers that can carry taxpayer dollars to religious schools, which could be teaching creationism. In effect, taxpayers could be sending their children to school where evolution is regarded as—to quote Trump—’fake news’.”

      2. Quoted in the same article is Allie Sherman, a biology teacher from California, “DeVos may try to push some backwards anti-science curriculum, and that’s going to be tough for science teachers in places that already struggle with anti-science culture,” Sherman said. “But I think those of us who really understand and care about science are going to laugh at any attempt to tell us what to do in our classrooms.”

      3. In this Newsweek article entitled “Betsy DeVos is coming for Your Public Schools, two section headings read, “Christs Agent of Renewal” and “Advancing God’s Kingdom”. Dramatic much? The author goes on to use Devos’ quotes out of context to make a faux point.

      4. This article in Politico states, “The Devos family has a long history of supporting anti-gay causes — including donating hundreds of thousands to “Focus on the Family”, a conservative Christian organization that supports so-called conversion therapy aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation.

        -This example strikes me as a little Buzzfeed vs Chip and Joanna Gaines if you know what I mean.

I emphasize this point to bring to light a blatant irony. The left wants to determine what is taught at the institutions their tax dollars support. Hmm, what a novel idea! You might think the left would welcome school choice! An excellent opportunity for them to have control over what their children are exposed to. But no, they are opposed on the grounds that their tax dollars would support any institution with a curriculum they disagree with. Which, by the way, Christians have been doing for decades…

Let’s draw another mind boggling comparison. The left just supported a massive Women’s March in which women demanded that the government give them full autonomy over their bodies while also demanding federal funding for these autonomous decisions.

What is DeVos championing? The right to governmentally funded school choice with respect to the institution you send your child to be educated and that institution’s right to be privately run. Good grief, if DeVos was a Democrat they would have asked her speak in the time slot between Madonna and Ashley Judd at their march. Hello hypocrisy!! If you’re conservative this may leave you feeling a little uneasy- and it should. That’s your inner logic trying to get your attention.

So what does all this mean? Is school choice bad?? The answer is no. Let’s take a look at charter schools because the left tries to give them a bad name even though they are pretty much an innocent bystander in this whole debacle. This is the header from an actual anti charter school website:

Oh. The. Drama.

Ok, back to reality. Let’s look at how charter schools are similar to public schools:

      1. They take the same state mandated standardized tests

      2. They don’t charge tuition.

      3. Can’t discriminate by race, sex, or disability in their enrollment.

      4. Accountable to the city, state, county, or district that granted their charter.

Here’s how they are different:

      1. Varying leadership, or staff organization structure.

      2. They can be run and operated by a nonprofit Charter Management Organization.

      3. They can be run by private, for profit entities that also provide the school’s curriculum.

      4. They can have an educational philosophy which determines the curriculum and teacher training.

      5. They can hire teachers who are not part of a union and who aren’t credentialed. The latter is something you should DEFINITELY check into with the specific charter school you may be considering. California law requires all charter school teachers to be credentialed.

      6. Typically charter schools allow their teaching staff more leeway regarding their curriculum and teaching style.

How do charter schools stack up against public schools? Well, just like public schools, there are good ones and bad ones. According to this article at greatschools.org , “A 2012 study by the California Charter Schools Association found that charter schools tend to fall on two ends of the spectrum- high performing or low performing- rather than somewhere in the middle. The study shows positive effects are strongest at charter schools serving low-income students than there are high-performing traditional public schools serving low-income students.”

Now we come to the reality of where DeVos gets it WRONG. As a parent, I’m all for being able to choose the school I want to send my child to without having to shell out mega bucks I can’t afford to get them there. As a realist, I know there is always a give and take- you can’t have your cake and eat it to. This is exactly what DeVos is trying to do, and as much as I would love for it to be possible- it just isn’t. As Daren Jonescu puts it in his blog post on the subject, “What kind of ‘private options’ come at public expense? The short and obvious answer: the kind that meet with government approval.” What is the huge problem with our public education system now? The fact that the government has way too much control over it. DeVos’ answer to making private and charter schools affordable for the masses is a voucher system. This excerpt from a Brietbart article sums it up, “School vouchers are the transfer of taxpayer funds from a public school to a private or charter school. Grassroots constitutionalists know that school vouchers as a means to bring about “school choice” are associated with the greatest amount of regulation for the schools that agree to accept them. In some states with voucher systems, the schools that accept these vouchers, have been forced to use the same Common Core standards and have their students take the same Common Core-aligned tests as their counterparts in the public schools. This is done in the name of ‘accountability’ for use of public money. This situation, however, begs the question, “Why bother, then, to move a child from a public school to a private school?” Schools that want to be included on a state’s alternate school option list will have to conform to learning parameters dictated by the current government administration. This is what government intervention in our school system currently looks like:

And this:

‘Sorry, kid…that’s it.’

And this:

Is this what we want to turn our private and charter schools into?

Two things cause me to suspect that DeVos is in fact a part of the establishment “swamp” when it comes to education. The first is her backing of Common Core. Don’t be fooled by her recent claims that she isn’t a common core supporter. According to Michelle Malkin in this article for the Daily Caller DeVos is, “…a woman every last grassroots activist in Michigan knows was not just mouthing words of support for Common Core, but funding the main state non-profit organization that was pushing it on them.” American Principles Project senior fellow Jane Robbins had this to say about DeVos’ denouncing of Common Core, “ Though, upon her nomination, DeVos quickly dismissed any notion that she has been supportive of Common Core, her statement that she calls for ‘high standards’ and ‘accountability’ are ‘sleight of hand’ words that describe the unpopular nationalized standards.” Indeed, DeVos supports what is effectively the “rebranded” version of Common Core. The second sign is the fact that DeVos’ has expressed the desire to implement the massive Every Student Succeeds Act (the just as boondoggledy successor of the boondoggle No Child Left Behind) Jane Robbins had this to say, “[ESSA] enshrines the progressive-education agenda of national standards, workforce development, competency-based education (the modern term for discredited outcome-based education), digital training, government preschool, and non-academic ‘social emotional learning.’” These are the chief factors that lead me to believe DeVos is what I would consider to be an establishment Republican when it comes to her push for government funded school choice.

What does that mean? When it comes to DeVos herself, she may truly want to make school choice (and religious school choice) a reality for those who currently cannot afford it- which is commendable. However, she is attempting to accomplish this by effectively maintaining or increasing the role of government in our already ailing education system. That may work out well for us now, while we have a pro-Christian Education Secretary and President of the US, but what about when we don’t? By taking private and charter school education under the wing of the federal government, DeVos opens the door for even these school options to be wrested from our control. Democrats and Establishment Republicans are two doors to the same room. Both want a larger government, they just disagree about how to run it.

So, sometimes being a realist really stinks. I mean, I can’t jump on the government funded school choice bandwagon, which at this point excludes me from being able to take advantage of a private or charter option that I would love to be able to provide for my kids. The optimist in me, however, sees this as an opportunity. An opportunity to fight for my children to receive the kind of education I want them to have- in public school. And if I’m fighting for my kids, then the underprivileged kids in my zip code benefit as well. I can do that by being an activist in the fight against governmental overreach in the public education system and lobbying to reform how our schools are run. Dale Rogers, a teacher in Michigan with 32 years experience who achieved National Board Certification for Career and Technical Education in 2007, wrote an article detailing how we need to revolutionize our education system that I think a lot of us can get behind. Here are some of the high points in his article entitled “Run Schools Like Businesses? Sure. Here’s How.”:

      1. Utilize the intern model used by the medical profession by having quality internships for new teachers.

      2. Redesigning a school calendar that recognizes the quality benefits of time for teachers to plan and evaluate student work.

      3. Develop techniques for education that aren’t built on a foundation of standardized curriculum developed by 10 elite men in the 1890’s.

      4. Not placing blame on the workforce (teachers) who are only responsible for 15% of the problems where the system designed by management (politicians) is responsible for 85% of the unintended consequences.

Rogers goes on to stress three important points that education reform currently overlooks:

      1. Quality goes down when ranking people.

      2. Cramming facts into students’ heads is not learning.

      3. People talk about getting rid of deadwood (bad teachers), but there are only two explanations of why the dead wood exists: A. You hired dead wood in the first place, or, B. you hired live wood, and then you killed it.

I’m definitely no education expert, but if our aim is reform, this seems like an excellent place to start.