Social Media’s War On Free Markets! (Must Read Articles)

I have always said that the Left are “totalitarians,” and that is because they want “total thought” — in other words, homogenized thinking through the filter of Leftism (race, class, sex: the “unholy trinitarian” goal of the Left). Here is the latest on this fight for societal freedom.

This is the excuse the totalitarians are looking for, PJ-MEDIA has a must read:

….While conservatives rightly denounced the violence this week, this response bodes ill for conservative speech not just on social media, but in the public square and even in private organizations.

In the aftermath of the Capitol riots, Twitter suspended President Donald Trump’s account for the first time and Facebook permanently banned the president. After Trump deleted the tweets Twitter had flagged and had his account restored, Twitter proceeded to ban him entirely on Friday, and then it banned the official President of the United States (POTUS) account.

Facebook throttled the great Rush Limbaugh, notifying him that his “Page has reduced distribution and other restrictions because of repeated sharing of false news.” Limbaugh left Twitter in protest after the platform banned Trump. Apple and Google attacked Parler, claiming that the new haven for conservatives had allowed people to plan the violence of the Capitol riots on its platform.

House Democrats filed articles of impeachment that explicitly blame President Trump for the Capitol riots, even though he never told his supporters to invade the Capitol. While the president’s exaggerated rhetoric inflamed the rioters, Democrats repeatedly did the same thing this summer. Before and after Black Lives Matter protests devolved into destructive and deadly riots, Democratic officials repeatedly claimed America suffers from “systemic racism” and institutionalized “white supremacy.”

Big Tech did not remove House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s accounts when she called for “uprisings” against the Trump administration. Facebook and Twitter did not target Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when she claimed that allegedly marginalized groups have “no choice but to riot.” These platforms did not act against Kamala Harris when she said the riots “should not” stop.

This week, Joe Biden condemned the Capitol rioters, saying, “What we witnessed yesterday was not dissent, it was not disorder, it was not protest. It was chaos. They weren’t protesters, don’t dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists. It’s that basic, it’s that simple.”

Yet he refused to speak in those terms when Black Lives Matter and antifa militants were throwing Molotov cocktails at federal buildings, setting up “autonomous zones,” and burning down cities. Instead, he condemned Trump for holding up a Bible at a church — without mentioning the fact that that very church had been set on fire the night before.

Despite this hypocrisy, Biden’s speech on Thursday proved instructive. Biden used the Capitol riots to condemn Trump’s entire presidency, accusing Trump of having “unleashed an all-out assault on our institutions of our democracy from the outset.” Biden twisted Trump’s actions into an attack on “democracy.” He claimed Trump’s originalist judges were a ploy to undermine impartial justice — when they were truly the exact opposite. Biden claimed Trump’s complaints about the Obama administration spying on his campaign were merely an “attack” on America’s “intelligence services.” Biden said Trump’s complaints about media bias constituted an attack on the “free press,” when the Obama administration actually attacked the free press.….

(READ THE REST!)

UPDATED post via PJ-MEDIA… who points out that these social media tech giants think they are the arbiter of speech as well as the type of information you consume. What is the free market solution? To start your own “companies,” or outlets of free speech. However, as PARLER is succeeding against Twitter and Facebook as a place to speak freely, Big Tech is going after those, too. More via PJ in a minute.

Many #NeverTrumpers love David French’s views — as he is the intellectual leader of the rational side of the movement. This article by THE FEDERALIST needs to be gone through, here is the portion I think is most relevant, but the entire thing should be read (I linked to it in a conversation I just had with a #NeverTrumper):

….National Review writer David French has criticized the bill for attempting to regulate free speech. He argues that this invites a dangerous level of government involvement in public discourse. Subjecting social media companies to government scrutiny may sound appealing with a Republican president in power and a predominantly Republican Senate, but this could backfire if Democrats take control: “Will a Kamala Harris administration decide that disproportionate conservative success violates political neutrality?”

Bad Examples Abound

Besides taking a rather Pollyannaish view on conservative success on social media—never bothering to mention the blatant partisan censorship of conservative voices like Steven Crowder, Prager University, or Live Action—this argument from French and those of other like-minded critics rests on two counterexamples where government cannot regulate speech without violating the First Amendment: a controlled forum like a college classroom, and a public utility like a telephone service.

However, these two examples do not have any bearing on what is meant by free speech. In the case of regulating a public utility, this does not involve actual speech. Speech, in the First Amendment sense, consists of arguments made to a public audience. A telephone service is a means of communication, not a platform for facilitating speech. Therefore, the federal government cannot demand a company like AT&T refuse service to pathological liars or criminals because they perpetuate harmful speech.

Furthermore, if AT&T executives did start to do this, on the grounds that they work for a private company and can do what they want, customers could rightly charge them with discrimination (violating the 14th Amendment). They must provide phone service to all who agree to pay them, not just those who meet their speech guidelines—again, because their service does not pertain to speech, but basic communication, a utility.

In the case of a college lecture hall, the speech in question is not actually free. The professor can make his arguments and say whatever the school permits him to say. He also sets the rules for what students can say. If Dr. Kevin Sorbo tells his students that God doesn’t exist, as he does in the Pure Flix movie “God’s Not Dead,” his students are not free to debate him unless he allows it—which he foolishly does, much to his demise. Nevertheless, they do have the right to free speech outside his class (unless they attend Harvard University) and can complain about their atheist professor all they like.

This is different from students who request government action when they feel their free speech rights are somehow violated because a professor has an opinion that they dislike. Hawley’s bill would not require the fictional Dr. Kevin Sorbo or the real Dr. Fang Zhou to change their views or speech policies to uphold political neutrality in their classroom. It only applies to large social media companies and is meant to prevent silencing any particular view, conservative or progressive.

It’s Naive to Think Big Tech Companies Will Die Out

Given that these social media platforms have billions of users altogether, and will simply buy up any worthy competitor if it stumbles on a new idea (which is the ongoing plotline of the television series “Silicon Valley”), it is misguided to assume that they will pass away like the social media companies of yesteryear (Myspace, Friendster, etc.). The Big Tech platforms are less like a few popular channels on television and more like the whole cable and basic television package. The truth is that they won’t need to change; conservatives who try to create content on their sites will.

Without any laws to check them, Big Tech companies are removing conservative voices and clearing the way for the Democratic narrative that Trump is terrible and more government can save America. Heard often enough, this narrative will convince Americans who have no way of knowing better to vote for Democrats. And it is not a stretch to assume that the first order of business for any Democratic president will be to impose speech laws that suppress conservative ideas or grant greater authority to the Big Tech thought police.

In this, French is right to ask what a Harris administration would do to free speech if given the chance, but wrong to conclude that she would exploit Hawley’s law to do it. She doesn’t need to. Speaking for most Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opposes taking away social media’s legal protection (Section 230), considering it a “gift.” She recognizes that Democrat politicians will continue to benefit from the bias dominating all media and only stand to lose if conservatives compete on a level playing field.

It is nonetheless worth noting that even with numerous obstacles put in place, conservatives still dominate the internet because most Americans recognize that they have the better argument and discuss more relevant issues. By contrast, leftist publications depend on skewed narratives and bad arguments and tend to focus on tired topics like the Mueller report, Trump’s tax returns, and Joe Biden.

When given the chance, viewers will watch the watch Crowder over Vox’s Carlos Maza because Crowder is funnier, smarter, and doesn’t rely on people’s sympathy for his success. Of course, if Crowder stops producing his show because YouTube demonetizes his videos, viewers will not have a choice anymore.

In light of this fact, it is probably more accurate to frame the issue of regulating social media as more a matter of a free market than one of free speech, although one depends on the other. Many people on the left want to eliminate competition online and stop losing to conservative content creators. Allegations of hate and radicalization are merely a pretext to this.

(READ IT ALL!)

Now, here is the continuation of PJ-MEDIA….

….After the social media platforms nixed Trump, people appeared to leave platforms in droves.

Nancy Pelosi, Ayanna Presley, and other Democrats have egged on rioters in the streets. Their social media accounts are still intact.

Conservative Americans have left the platforms in the understandable belief that if they could cut off the most powerful man in what used to be known as the free world, then they stood no chance.

They’re right.

To avoid the speech police, Americans have been leaving those platforms for Rumble and Parler, social media sites that promise to have few filters on speech. Parler does not allow illegal activity on its site under its terms of service.

But even as conservatives fled Facebook and Twitter for Parler, Big Tech decided to censor the site.

As I reported at PJ Media, Google Play cut off the Parler app from its app store and Apple followed suit in short order.

On Friday, a group called the “Amazon Employees for Climate Justice” wrote a screed to management demanding the tech behemoth boot the Parler app from its servers.

[….]

On Saturday, Amazon capitulated to the leftist rage mob and informed Parler it was getting rid of the social site from its servers.

Parler CEO John Matze announced that at midnight Sunday, Amazon would expunge the app content from its servers. Furthermore, he alleged that the tech giants conspired to orchestrate their moves to make it harder for Parler to stay afloat.

Sunday (tomorrow) at midnight Amazon will be shutting off all of our servers in an attempt to completely remove free speech off the internet. There is the possibility Parler will be unavailable on the internet for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch. We prepared for events like this by never relying on amazons [sic] proprietary infrastructure and building bare metal products.

We will try our best to move to a new provider right now as we have many competing for our business, however Amazon, Google and Apple purposefully did this as a coordinated effort knowing our options would be limited and knowing this would inflict the most damage right as President Trump was banned from the tech companies.

This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place. We were too successful too fast. You can expect the war on competition and free speech to continue, but don’t count us out.

#speakfreely

This is tyranny. This is groupthink.

To sum up:

  • Big Tech censored you and the president on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter
  • You left to go to other social media sites such as Parler, MeWe, Minds
  • Big Tech didn’t want you to leave for more freedom
  • Big Tech refused to let another social media platform, Parler, use their app stores
  • Big Tech then booted the social media site Parler from their servers

Double standards abound. No one on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram was tossed off those platforms for protesting, rioting, looting, and vandalizing on behalf of Black Lives Matter and antifa. Lobbing Molotov cocktails wouldn’t get a group booted off a platform.

Ayatollahs and the Chinese death camp operators are held in higher regard than the president of the United States of America – and his supporters – because of Wednesday’s siege on the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

The line is drawn.

UPDATE!

RED STATE and WEASEL ZIPPERS notes the latest attack on free-markets and free speech by the Tech Giants:

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Mocks Parler after Coordinated Big Tech to Take Down His Competition

So with this coordination to take down the right and any other alternative to Twitter, you would think that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey would be standing up for free speech, right? Just kidding.

Not only are they cool with booting off folks on the right from their site and removing the followers from virtually every right leaning account on Twitter, they’re also cool with their competition being stomped on. Indeed, if we were looking into antitrust questions in the coordination of all this, what Jack just posted would be Exhibit #1 in that action.

Here’s Jack celebrating that instead of Parler being the number 1 App on the App Store, his Signal App private messenger is instead. With a little help from his friends.

WEASEL ZIPPERS continues:

Amazon Kills Parler Server

You are not allowed an alternative either. They’re pulling them down tonight at 11:59 p.m. so Parler is looking for a new server.

Via BizPac Review:

Calling it a “coordinated attack,” Parler CEO John Matze informed the social media platform’s users Saturday that Amazon kicked Parler off their web hosting service, which will wipe them off the internet until they find a new host.

This devastating blow coming after Parler was removed from Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

The narrative employed to justify the Big Tech attack on Twitter’s biggest competitor is to link Parler, a free speech site being billed by the corrupt media as a “pro-Trump” site, to last week’s U.S. Capitol protest, claiming they allowed “calls for violence.”

Keep reading

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Some Quick Thoughts Of Where We Stand (Part 2)

KEY: If any votes are thrown out through either fraud, breaking the law (the court ruling), or mishandling the count (not allowing poll watchers), then this is only the fault of one Party. DEMOCRATS!

FIRST! the latest

Yesterday I was letting people know (family and friends) the following: “165,000 in Philly, and 330,000 in Pitts were processed against state law.  If shown true in court, 80%  of Bidens and 20% of Trumps ballots would be nixed. Trump would win PA. Ohio’s AG asked SCOTUS to rule against the lower court usurping PA’s voting law. Missouri AG asked as well, saying the court ruling shouldn’t be able to change state election laws.” It was based on this as I was doing deliveries (I added the Pam Bondi video from a couple days earlier to give context to Giuliani):

Via “Our plan for the President. Rudy Giuliani with Sebastian Gorka on AMERICA First“.
I added the Pam Bondi video which I have a fuller version on in this audio: “Hans von Spakovsky On Election Integrity

THE QUESTION

The question was basically, Justice Alito asked for PA to separate the late votes where signatures and postmarks may have not been up to Pennsylvania election law — if these ballots are simply mixed in the rest [to hide the irregularities], what is the possible action. Remember, a court added to election law, whereas the state legislature is the only entity that can change election law/rules/procedures… not mayors, city councils, or governors or the courts. IN FACT, the Attorney Generals of Louisiana, Missouri, and Oklahoma are urging SCOTUS to overturn the lower courts ruling. Why? Because the chaos Democrats created in PA would spread to other states where Democrat Judges would wantonly rule on issues of election laws. Here is more from THE DAILY SIGNAL:

Three of the state attorneys general—Jeff Landry of Louisiana, Eric Schmitt of Missouri, and Mike Hunter of Oklahoma—held a virtual press conference Monday to announce the filing of an amicus brief in the Pennsylvania mail-in ballot challenge brought by the Pennsylvania Republican Party, which is before the Supreme Court.

“We are weighing in on a case, on a writ, that has been brought to the U.S. Supreme Court in order to bring additional arguments before the court as to why we believe the court should take up this matter,” said Landry, chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association.

In unofficial results contested by President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, Democratic challenger Joe Biden got 49.8% of the vote in Pennsylvania to Trump’s 49.1%. The president has not conceded the election, which major media outlets called Saturday for Biden after some put Pennsylvania in the former vice president’s column….

FACEBOOK CONVO, NOVEMBER 6th/7th

In a previous conversation on Facebook with an ex-co-worker, this is what I noted:

Granted, my original statement was a misrepresentation of what I heard in a short clip on the radio while driving. Getting in and out of the vehicle I drive, turning the sound down while on a studio lot (windows open no sound [not even the AC on] when reversing on a lot, etc). I will emphasize though what my correction said to explain better the following:

ORIGINAL POST and CLARIFICATION

[Original Statement] Biden does worse than Hillary and Obama in every state except WI, GA, MI, and PA. Lol

[Talk to text additional context] I misspoke Chris Lazar, the stat I heard was from a story LIKE THIS (Biden Is Underperforming Hillary in Battleground States) I believe Biden outperformed Hillary in those counties [cities] that many of the questionable practices [late ballots and blocking watchers, large percentages found for a single candidate, etc] happened.

[While in stopped traffic that old article I read was all I could find, not the article mentioned by the radio personality] This is what I should have been clearer on in messaging (RUSH LIMBAUGH):

Joe Biden underperformed Hillary Clinton in every major metro area around the country,” except… Are you ready? “Milwaukee, Detroit, Atlanta and Philadelphia.”

Let me go through this again. “Joe Biden underperformed Hillary Clinton in every major metro area” except for four. Milwaukee (i.e., Wisconsin), Detroit (i.e., Michigan), Atlanta (i.e., Georgia), Philadelphia (i.e., Pennsylvania.) It just so happened to be the four states that are gonna put Biden over the top in their scenarios here.

Here are two recent articles for clarity discussing this in-depth [and the portion not excerpted is a portion that supports some of Chris’s points from a previous discussion, FYI]. And this one example of Milwaukee is a reply in a sense to Chris’s nide LOL/TEAR emojis and missfounded response when I said this clearly:

  • (ME) the stat I heard was from a story LIKE THIS
  • (Chris) 😂😂😂😂 that’s an article from AUGUST 28TH!!!!!
  • (ME) I am driving now, but there is a fresher comparison
  • (Chris) stop digging to try & fit the fraud hoax

The following is a combination of JONATHAN TURLEY’S article as well as THE FEDERALIST’S article:

…..In Michigan, ballot counters take unreadable ballots, and transcribe them to blank ballots, while a poll challenger from the Democrat, and the Republican parties, observe. They sign off each ballot transcribed. Instead, in violation of state law, GOP poll challengers were made to leave the room, and the windows blocked with cardboard. Ballot counters cheered, on camera, each time a GOP poll challenger was made to leave. One Republican poll challenger, Connarn, said that a counter told her that they were changing the dates on ballots received too late in order to count them. The counter allegedly handed her a note confirming it. As soon as that happened, the Republican was told to leave….

In 2008, Barack Obama received 316,916 votes in Milwaukee County. In 2016, Hilary Clinton won only 288,822 votes there. But in 2020 Biden outperformed them both, receiving 317,251 votes countywide and besting Obama’s share of the vote by nearly two points.

What makes this suspicious is that the county is shrinking. The Census Bureau population estimates show that in the last 10 years, thousands of metro Milwaukee residents have left the area for other parts of the state and country. As the Milwaukee Sentinel put it, “We’re lagging in a key metric that often reflects the vitality and desirability of a metro area: population growth.” The City of Milwaukee, which makes up about 60 percent of the county’s population, saw the number of registered voter decline by more than 26,700 from 2008 to 2020.

While it’s true that Obama in 2008 won about 18,000 more votes than Biden in the City of Milwaukee itself, one would also expect the countywide vote total for Biden to be less than Obama. Obama was a historic figure that motivated record numbers of blacks to vote in 2008. In addition, he had one of the most robust and successful campaigns in American history. His ground game and get-out-the-vote efforts were unprecedented, utilizing door knocking, canvassing, and phone banking. Not surprisingly, in no small part because of the black vote in Milwaukee County, he won the state of Wisconsin handily by a 6.9-percent margin.

[….]

The numbers in Milwaukee County suggest something fishy is happening in Wisconsin, and the Trump campaign is right to call for a recount.

So the above was for clarity.

CHARLIE KIRK ADDS TO THE ABOVE

Now, because of all of the above, REAL CLEAR POLITICS (hat-tip, 100% FED-UP):

BOOM!

Remember what I told my family and friends two days ago (Link Below) — and we are in the midst of either scenario:

Never before has an election been overturned by the amount of spread between the two candidates.

But, Trump has accomplished many hurdles. So there are many tracks I see happening.

One is [best case scenario] that SCOTUS is going to reject ballots after the 3rd (8pm) of November. The ballots not allowed to be jointly viewed by GOP/DEM “minders” need to be reviewed again, the ballots “cured” while not under view within 6-feet of GOP persons will be fully rejected because of that and that the equal “curing” didn’t happen in other districts for heavy Trump areas. [“Curing” happened in multiple districts in multiple states]. The machines (software) that “glitched” in the district in MI is in 30 states. ALL those ballots need to be hand counted and viewed properly. If this happens, Trump may win….BEST CASE.

WORSE CASE? Trump is a lame duck but uses his last couple months to install an independent council to look into Bidens’s’ dealings.  Using his position to show everyone how corrupt the Democrat machine is and the depths of cheating elections, thus, taking away the peoples real power. As he heads into the sunset helping set up a revived GOP machine to help fight the retarded philosophy of the Left’s corruption and depths of depravity in socialism.

Some Quick Thoughts Of Where We Stand (+ Article Dump)

 

Does More Money Equal Better Educational Outcomes?

On my Facebook a friend mentioned the following: “…and whenever we can pour money into schools and education… shouldn’t we?” He was saying this as if there is a correlation between spending on education and educational outcome. This will be a quick summary of where I see a failing in this correlation, but I will link some sources as I go along that expand on the portion I am quoting. The first up to bat is WINTERY KNIGHT… who makes the point well that spending money has no real world outcome:

National Review reported on data collected in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which spans all 50 states.

Look:

Comparing educational achievement with per-pupil spending among states also calls into question the value of increasing expenditures. While high-spending Massachusetts had the nation’s highest proficiency scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, low-spending Idaho did very well, too. South Dakota ranks 42nd in per-pupil expenditures but eighth in math performance and ninth in reading. The District of Columbia, meanwhile, with the nation’s highest per-pupil expenditures ($15,511 in 2007), scores dead last in achievement.

The student test scores are dead last, but National Review notes that “according to the National Center for Education Statistics, Washington, D.C. was spending an average of $27,460 per pupil in 2014, the most recent year for which data are available.” They are spending the most per-pupil, but their test scores are dead last.

CBS News reported on another recent study confirming this:

Decades of increased taxpayer spending per student in U.S. public schools has not improved student or school outcomes from that education, and a new study finds that throwing money at the system is simply not tied to academic improvements.

The study from the CATO Institute shows that American student performance has remained poor, and has actually declined in mathematics and verbal skills, despite per-student spending tripling nationwide over the same 40-year period.

“The takeaway from this study is that what we’ve done over the past 40 years hasn’t worked,” Andrew Coulson, director of the Center For Educational Freedom at the CATO Institute, told Watchdog.org. “The average performance change nationwide has declined 3 percent in mathematical and verbal skills. Moreover, there’s been no relationship, effectively, between spending and academic outcomes.”

The study, “State Education Trends: Academic Performance and Spending over the Past 40 Years,” analyzed how billions of increased taxpayer dollars, combined with the number of school employees nearly doubling since 1970, to produce stagnant or declining academic results.

“The performance of 17-year-olds has been essentially stagnant across all subjects despite a near tripling of the inflation-adjusted cost of putting a child through the K-12 system,” writes Coulson.

In another WINTERY KNIGHT and FEDERALIST article, CATO INSTITUTE is quoted from…

As Figure 1 illustrates, on a per-pupil basis inflation-adjusted federal spending on K-12 education has grown immensely over the last several decades, ballooning to 375 percent of its 1970 value by 2010. And this increase did not just compensate for funding losses in at the state and local levels. As Figure 2 shows, overall per-pupil expenditures through high school graduation have nearly tripled since 1970. Meanwhile, mathematics, reading, and science scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress — the federal testing regime often called “The Nation’s Report Card” — have been almost completely stagnant for 17-year-olds, the “final products” of our elementary and secondary education system.

In fact, with the Department of Education, schooling was promised to improve… it has not. The Foundation For Economic Education lists 7 Ways the Department of Education Made College Worse…. not to mention the Department forces boys into girls locker-rooms. But these issue are not in our purview today… money is. Besides noting the lackluster outcomes of the states that get the most money for education, when comparing per-pupil spending by country, America spends the most:

And really, you could throw all the money in the world at these schools and because of policies. For instance, a new law in California makes it impossible to have order in the classroom… HOT AIR:

It is will soon be illegal in California for both public and charter schools to suspend disruptive students from kindergarten through eighth grade

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday signed into law Senate Bill 419, which permanently prohibits willful defiance suspensions in grades four and five. It also bans such suspensions in grades six through eight for five years. The law goes into effect July 1, 2020.

A previous law had already banned schools from suspending defiant kids through third grade.

[….]

And where does this road lead? Take a look at Baltimore. Students have been physically attacking teachers and other administrative staff, with some of them being sent to the hospital. We’re not just talking about high school, either. It’s going on in middle school, the same age group this new California law will apply to. And it’s happening in other cities as well.

Before things reach that level, the school needs a more drastic way to restore order and send a message stronger than just detention. Suspending a student puts the problem squarely in the view of the parents. Now they may be missing work or having to arrange extra childcare during the weekdays. When the consequences of the bad behavior land in the parents’ laps instead of the teachers, it may inspire them to get involved and bring their out-of-control brats into line.

Way to go, California. As if it wasn’t hard enough being a teacher as it is.

In a post of my own discussing classroom size, I note the difference in today’s students and the ones of the measurable past, and if the Dept of Education and other laws tying the hands of educators is helping or hurting this stark example:

occasionally, something comes along that hits the nail harder than I do (Meridian Star, 4/21/16).

I read that in a survey of public school teachers in 1940, the top disciplinary problems listed included talking out of turn, chewing gum, running in the halls, dress-code violations, and littering. More than a half century later, the problems teachers contend with are drug and alcohol abuse, pregnancy, suicide, rape, robbery, and assault. Teachers and administrators say that things are worse for students now than ever before. One junior high school teacher commented, “I can’t believe the things they do to themselves and to each other.” A kindergarten teacher recently told me that her five and six year old students are restless, angry, and some even have the addictive habit of cutting themselves. A grandmother told me that her grandson, whom she is raising, has admitted to having suicidal thoughts. He is ten years old.

What a comparison. What teacher today wouldn’t fall on her knees and shout Hosannas to have the problems teachers did in 1940? “Andy, is that gum in your mouth?” “Yes, teacher.” “Go to the principal’s office!” Can anyone even imagine?

(RELIGIO-POLITICAL TALK)

One can get another myth somewhat dislodged in the famous Matt Damon “schooling” of a reporter — see my post: “Did Matt Damon “School” This Reporter?” But here is another excerpt I noted by an outing after work one-day a few years back:

I was feeling the steak salad at TILT THE KILT, so I grabbed my newest copy of THE CITY JOURNAL and a book I am reading “Contradict: They Can’t All Be True,” and headed over. I must look like a COMPLETE idiot as I have my faced buried in either of the two… just glancing up to see if there is a change of score in the Blackhawks game (the only thing good to come out of Chicago… that and it’s school of economics [back-in-the-day]). Some good articles in the City Journal this time around. One was so interesting that I scanned a bit of it for others to read.

[….]

So you know, UFT stands for United Federation of Teachers, and is the largest teacher union in New York. Here is a portion of the article:

The UFT has been especially effective because, unlike other interest groups in the city, it gets two bites at the apple—through collective bargaining and through politics. Three structural features of the collective bargaining process skew in the UFT’s favor. First, even in the best-case scenario, in which the city fights for the children’s interests and the union battles to protect its teachers, the result would be something in between—that is, an outcome not fully in the interest of students. Second, the city is a near-monopoly provider of education. Absence of competition reduces pressure on the city to drive a hard bargain with the UFT, while lessening incentives for the union to moderate its demands. Third, the UFT contributes cash and campaign assistance to the politicians with whom it negotiates. To the extent that the UFT backs winners, the union ends up on both sides of the bargaining table. Consequently, negotiated outcomes favor the UFT over time.The United Teachers Federation (UFT) represent most of New York’s public schools, so you understand the acronym below:

In the political arena, no group in New York City can rival the UFT’s manpower and money. Most of its 116,000 members hold college and graduate degrees, making them more likely to be politically active. The union also collects huge sums in dues, which are automatically deducted from members’ paychecks. Each UFT member pays, on average, approximately $600 a year in union dues, bringing the union’s annual revenues to about $70 million—much of it reserved for paying union officials’ salaries, contributions to state and national federations, rent for office space, and the costs of collective bargaining. The UFT also maintains a Committee on Political Education, sponsored by members who voluntarily donate anywhere from 50 cents to ten dollars out of their biweekly paycheck for explicitly political purposes. The fund hauls in more than $10 million a year, about $3 million of which goes for lobbying and protests.

Thanks to its massive war chest, the UFT has become the Democratic Party’s largest underwriter in New York City and State. (It is also a major donor to the left-wing Working Fam­ilies Party.) Over the last two years, the union has given $1.7 million to city council candidates—all Democrats. According to the National Institute for Money in State Politics, in 2012 (as in most years before and since), the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), largely a state-level extension of the UFT, was the Empire State’s big­gest contributor to candidates and parties in state politics. Seventy-nine percent of the NYSUT’s S1.2 million in contributions went to Democrats.

In his book Special Interest, Stanford University political scientist Terry Moe found that from 2000 to 2009, teachers’ unions’ cam­paign contributions exceeded those of all other business associations in New York State combined by a ratio of five to one. And most business groups don’t try to influence education policy so single-mindedly.

The UFT and the Democratic Party in New York are intertwined in other ways. For ex­ample, the union provides office space—next door to its headquarters at 50 Broadway in Manhattan—to the State Senate Democratic Campaign Committee. Then—UFT president Randi Weingarten served as cochair of Hillary Clinton’s 2000 senate campaign. Not surpris­ingly, during the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, Senator Clinton dismissed the idea of teacher-merit pay as disruptive. A revolving door of consultants, campaign operatives, and lobbyists connects the UFT and the campaign staffs of state legislators and city council mem­bers. Many liberal interest groups in the city—such as Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, 1199 SEIU Healthcare Workers East, and other public-employee unions—are, for the most part, UFT allies. The union also helps fund other ad­vocacy organizations, such as U.S. Action and the NAACP, and think tanks, such as Demos and the Economic Policy Institute, whose loy­alty it can rely on in a pinch.

The UFT’s membership constitutes the larg­est single voting bloc in mayoral elections. And because teachers and school paraprofessionals live in all parts of the city, they can be decisive in low-turnout city council races. The UFT’s get-­out-the-vote operation is rivaled only by its ally, SEIU 1199. In 2013, de Blasio was elected mayor with just 752,604 votes in a city of 8.4 million people. Fully 42 percent of voters said that they belonged to a union household.

The UFT also spends millions each year lob­bying city council members and state legisla‑tors. According to the New York State Ethics Commission, the union spent $1.86 million in Albany in 2012. And the New York Public Interest Research Group re­ports that the NYSUT, to which the UFT contributes substantial revenues, was the state’s second-biggest lobby­ing spender in 2010, plunking down $4.7 million. (The Healthcare Education Project, a vehicle of SEIU 1199 and the Greater New York Hospital Association, was first.)

The UFT’s extensive political activities en­sure that the school system continues to serve the needs of teachers first. The union’s enduring objectives—better pay, benefits, and job protec­tions for its members—are divorced from issues of student achievement, as New York’s declin­ing school performance since the unionization of teachers in the 1960s makes clear. By 1990, nearly 40 percent of freshmen entering high school had been held back in earlier grades, while 23 percent of students dropped out of school altogether. In 1994, only 44 percent of students graduated from high school in four years. Only one in three third-graders could read at or above grade level in 1997….

[….]

All this spending means that the New York City school system now lays out $20,226 per pupil — double the national average of $10,608 — based on census data released in May 2014.

Daniel DiSalvo, The Union That Devoured Education Reform, The City Journal (Autumn 2014), 12-13, 16.

And all the money will not fix stupidity in the teacher unions and how they are destroying education: