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Flipping Off Flynn


 
I knew it was humor, but it bothered me. Pope John Paul II had been the driving force behind the peaceful liberation of Poland from the Soviet empire. He is often credited with contributing to the destruction of that empire itself.

The recent public statement from Donald Trump’s attorney reminded me of a grim joke in 2005 that briefly circulated as followers mourned that death. The message from attorney Ty Cobb was a lawyer’s statement filled with lawyer’s phrasing, each word carefully chosen to mislead.

Today, Michael Flynn, a former National Security Advisor at the White House for 25 days during the Trump Administration, and a former Obama administration official, entered a guilty plea to a single count of making a false statement to the FBI.

The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year. Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn. The conclusion of this phase of the Special Counsel’s work demonstrates again that the Special Counsel is moving with all deliberate speed and clears the way for a prompt and reasonable conclusion.

So let’s take a closer look:

“…guilty plea to a single count…” was an attempt to minimize the deal. It sounds less significant. A single count of wrongdoing isn’t that much, right?

General Flynn did not simply “enter a guilty plea”. He entered a plea bargain, agreeing to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump campaign activities. There was no indication of when that deal began. How long had he been cooperating? Had he been recording conversations that could be used against others?

“Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn.”

Implicating culprits other than Mr. Flynn was not the purpose of the guilty plea. Implicating others was the purpose of the cooperation.
Continue reading “Flipping Off Flynn”

Is Educational Freedom Just Giving Parents the Money?

from Raymond

 
Libertarian Michael A. LaFerrara advocates a sort of educational voucher to parents of minor children, replacing all public elementary and secondary schools:

What we can do is redirect the dollars now spent on each child’s schooling by recognizing the moral right of parents to direct the course of their own children’s education through universal school choice. This can be accomplished by essentially giving the education tax dollars now spent on each child to the parents, to use according to their own judgement.

Dave Dubya, who also writes for Freedom Rants joins longtime reader and frequent commenter Ryan in responding:

Ryan:

Parents’ moral right to direct the course of their own children’s education? LaFerrara forgot the important step of proving that part, popular or not, before making his case about how the government should facilitate it. When we’re talking about making decisions for someone who is either unable or not allowed to make them for himself, that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

In any case, the application of free market principles to education is one of the most misguided parts of libertarianism, in no small part because

  1. educational competition does not necessarily serve all of the major goals of education and
     
  2. education impacts our own evaluation of education.

Schools that teach something false, even if it is significant to some major subject, are by no means destined to fail. If they teach that slavery was not an important factor in the American Civil War, for example, they might still produce great students who go on to become very successful in their careers. Even a school that rejects major scientific truths may produce students who are successful in non-scientific fields, which can be enough. Parents tend to want their children to believe the same things that they do, so if there are already many people who buy into these false ideologies, then there is already demand for schools that teach falsehoods. And when students graduate from those schools, many of them will not know any better, so they will raise their children the same way, thereby securing the next generation for those schools. We see all of this already in our current system, so I can only imagine it getting worse under LaFerrara’s vision.

But even if it were true that the truth would win out in the end, how long would that take? How many people must be miseducated (and go on to affect all of us with their votes, including votes for further miseducation) in the name of “freedom” before the truth is accepted? This sounds a lot like another problem with libertarianism: how many people must suffer at the hands of unregulated bad businesses before natural market forces cause them to fail? The ultimate result, even if it is somehow what libertarians imagine it to be (it isn’t), does not undo or make up for the problems along the way.

One last point. LaFerrara writes:

“When will we learn that you can’t foster a competitive workforce geared to a competitive world economy on the back of an uncompetitive, monopolistic education system?”

I confess that I do not know much about other countries’ educational systems, but I was under the impression that most countries do not have a “fully free education market.” If their systems are like ours but they are still doing better, then it is reasonable to conclude that we can improve our own system without resorting to LaFerrara’s recommendations.

Dave Dubya:

When he says “Educational Freedom”, he means gutting public education to subsidize corporate or religious indoctrination.

It’s convenient to ignore the moral obligation, and basic need, for the public to educate children free of religious dogma and corporate bottom lines.

If parents want their children indoctrinated, fine. Let them pay for it, but not on my dime.

A free thinking mind is a terrible thing to waste. Look at the Randroids.

Ouch.

Have a good rest of the week.

A Manifesto of Resistance Christians

found online by Raymond

 
From North Carolina pastor John Pavlovitz:

Sometime truth is just volume.

The loud people get to write the story that everyone hears, the one they come to believe is the only story. In this way, they get to define what is true for those looking on who may not hear anything else.

Right now there is a story being written about Christians in America; a story saturated with cruelty, one absent of compassion, and because the author’s volume is so great and their profile so high—that is becoming the singular story. It is becoming true for all of us.

But that is not our story.
There is another story.
There is a different kind of Christian.
We are such people.

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Educational Freedom, Not Just Education

found online by Raymond

 
From libertarian Michael A. LaFerrara:

I recently listened to NY Mayor Bill De Blasio, speaking on CNBC post-election, urge us to “fix our educational system.” It’s the same old mantra. Everyone from the president on down has got their scheme to fix what can’t be fixed–our one-size-fits-all, monopolized government education establishment.

We need to get politicians out of education and get the parents and educators in charge. There are various ways to accomplish this. While I don’t believe in the morality of wealth redistribution, Americans won’t accept a fully free education market at this time. What we can do is redirect the dollars now spent on each child’s schooling by recognizing the moral right of parents to direct the course of their own children’s education through universal school choice. This can be accomplished by essentially giving the education tax dollars now spent on each child to the parents, to use according to their own judgement.

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GOP Turns to Decades-Old Lies to Sell New Tax Scam

found online by Raymond

 
From Jon Perr at PERRspectives:

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and that’s our target market.” That perversion of Abraham Lincoln’s timeless adage might as well be the slogan of the modern Republican Party, especially when the topic is taxes. After all, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Joint Committee on Taxation, (JCT), the Wharton School, the Tax Policy Center and a host of think tanks have concluded that the GOP tax bill will produce between $1 trillion and $1.5 trillion in additional debt over the next decade. But if “tax cut pay for themselves” is a cynical myth designed to force deep spending cuts in the future, so too is the notion that the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA) produces either tax relief or jobs for lower- to middle-income Americans.

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Welcome To The Cult, America

found online by Raymond

 
From Dave Dubya:

Cults. Just the word evokes images of mindless death and tragedy. Jonestown, Waco, Heaven’s Gate. The grisly evidence of cult brainwashing is there for all to see, but sadly too late to save the victims.

The existence of cults is evidence that humans have an innate herd instinct that induces those with anger and hate, or simple fear, uncertainly, and anxiety to join groups of true believers. True believers blindly follow their leaders.

Believing leaders frees them of the need for self-examination and intellectual curiosity to adapt to the world. Believing leaders frees them of doubt and moral ambiguity. Believing leaders endows them with the belief that they alone possess the truth and superior morality. Believing leaders means rejecting all facts and information their leaders want them to reject.

Let’s look at some examples.

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Coward

found online by Raymond

 
From Green Eagle:

Well, as I am sure you saw, a couple of weeks ago, North Korea launched a missile which is said to be capable of reaching Washington, DC.

Trump did not care a shred, of course, that if he started his war, hundreds of thousands of Koreans and Japanese citizens could die to provide a distraction from his crimes, but God forbid that there should be one thousandth of a percent chance that a missile might fall on him personally. Yes, folks, the Most Powerful Man On Earth has been beaten down and made to run for cover by a fat thirty year old punk with one of the most obsolescent armies on earth.

So all of a sudden it’s all about how we have to have talks with North Korea, and the attention of the White House has totally turned to fomenting violence in the Middle East, where there are also millions of people who can be killed without Trump caring a bit.

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