Biden Looks for a New, New START

Source: Foreign Policy
by Jack Detsch

“When U.S. and Russian negotiators first shook hands on a comprehensive arms control deal in 2010 that put stiff limits on the nuclear stockpiles of the world’s two biggest atomic powers, the White House saw signs of a thaw in the post-Cold War relationship. … But more than a decade later, even though the Biden administration and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top deputies in the Kremlin are optimistic about a follow-up nuclear deal, there’s little hope for any breaking of bread or clinking of glasses. As the U.S. State Department plots its negotiating strategy with the Russians ahead of an expected follow-up arms control talk … the talks are increasingly seen as less of a new start and merely a new starting point for a diminished relationship where the two sides can agree on avoiding nuclear war — but perhaps little else.” (06/22/21)

Canceling Critical Race Theory

Source: Heartland Institute
by Larry Sand

“In Florida, the state board of education has voted to approve a rule that prohibits schools from teaching CRT and the 1619 Project. Iowa governor Kim Reynolds recently signed a law that will ban schools from making students ‘feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress’ because of their race or sex, among other provisions. In D.C., a bill has been introduced that would ban the promotion of ‘race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating.’ … And now, ironically, the wokesters — the same crowd that brought us ‘cancel culture’ — is [sic] screaming ‘Censorship!'” (06/22/21)

How social justice and due process are inextricably linked

Source: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
by Rohan Krishnan

“When due process protections are minimized, marginalized groups with little political power are disproportionately harmed, as white and wealthy students are more likely to have the power and connections to protect themselves against sexual assault allegations. For example, an analysis of sexual assault allegations at Colgate University found that [b]lack male students at the university were accused of 50% of the sexual assault violations even though the [b]lack population at Colgate accounts for only 4.2% of the student body. The disproportionate nature of sexual assault allegations based on race demonstrates the need for stronger due process and the continuation of the current Title IX regulations.” (06/22/21)

A Charter School Named For the Author of “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” Is Union Busting

Source: In These Times
by Hamilton Nolan

“In 1968, Paulo Freire, a famous Brazilian philosopher, authored the book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, a Marxist argument for using education to empower the downtrodden. In 2013, a charter school named in his honor was founded: the Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School (PFSJCS), located in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Now, in a display of the universe’s sense of humor, teachers at PFSJCS say that the school’s leadership is engaging in union busting. In March 2020, the school’s professional staff of about 26 people (mostly teachers, along with a few other employees such as guidance counselors) unionized with UAW Local 2322 in Massachusetts. Zack Novak, one of the teachers who helped lead the union drive, said that several years of experience working in unionized public schools had led him to expect certain standards of treatment that he didn’t see at PFSJCS.” (06/22/21)

Zoning by “Outsiders”

Source: Common Sense
by Paul Jacob

“Government land-use regulation by ‘zoning’ is an awesome expression of rights-abridging power, usually becoming nothing more than what most regulations are: special-interest protection schemes, helping the in-crowd at the expense of ‘outsiders’ (you and me, actually). Most savvy people understand this in specific instances, but not generally, so when they see zoning they don’t like, they might leap to the notion that bad local regulations should be replaced by good state or federal regulators. Trouble is, we have less ability to ensure that regulators in distant political centers aren’t captured by special interests or malign ideologues.” (06/22/21)

Against National Unity

Source: Reason
by Samuel Goldman

“Pundits tend to blame mistakes of rhetoric or legislative strategy for politicians’ failure to achieve e pluribus unum. The truth is, neither cause is primarily to blame. Americans are not divided because politicians failed to pronounce the correct phrases or promoted one bill rather than another. We are divided because we genuinely disagree — not only on matters of public policy but also on basic questions of justice and identity. At a glance, this should not be very surprising. This is an enormous country that contains a vast number of people with quite various backgrounds. Disappointed Americans sometimes wonder why the United States does not enjoy the levels of consensus or solidarity that seem possible in, say, Denmark. Part of the answer is that the population of Denmark is comparable to that of metropolitan Phoenix.” (for publication 07/22)

Thinking Outside the Box, part 2

Source: Notablog
by Chris Matthew Sciabarra

[H]istorically constituted ‘capitalism’ has never been the ‘unknown ideal’ of Ayn Rand’s narrative. We can stand here and debate this for eons, but it’s not going to change the reality of how the system that came to be known as ‘capitalism’ emerged — as I stated in my last post — very much the product of state forces that worked at the behest of large medieval landowners, using such tools as the enclosure acts to nullify peasant land tenure rights and, through the legacy of colonialism, wholly dispossess many indigenous populations. If the state has always been involved with the social system known as ‘capitalism,’ then the Randian goal of radically separating the state from the economy such that it is no longer a political economy is indeed an ‘unknown ideal.’ It has never existed. Whether it can exist is another question.” (06/22/21)

Daniel Ortega Is an Autocratic Thug, but Washington Should Leave Him Alone

by Ted Galen Carpenter

“There is little question that Daniel Ortega is a nasty autocrat. He came to power at the head of the Sandinista revolution in 1979, but a diverse coalition defeated him in a free election in 1990. His recent actions make it clear that he has no intention of risking a repeat performance. Since his return to power following elections in 2006 (with a mere 38 percent of the vote against a splintered opposition), his rule has become ever more stifling and brutal. … It becomes especially challenging for advocates of a noninterventionist US foreign policy to stay the course when the target is a corrupt foreign ruler who commits extensive human rights violations, and Daniel Ortega fits that description perfectly. However, it’s important that the United States refrain from meddling in Nicaragua’s internal affairs. There are multiple reasons for exercising such restraint.” (06/22/21)

“Stop talking right now”: University of Oklahoma training shows instructors how to censor, indoctrinate students

Source: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
by Daniel Burnett & Sabrina Conza

“Do you question whether refusing to use preferred pronouns is hate speech? You can’t — writing on that topic is ‘not acceptable.’ Think Black Lives Matter shouldn’t engage in property destruction? We’ll have to ‘re-adjust’ your thinking. If you’re a student at the University of Oklahoma — congratulations! Your instructor may already have done all of the thinking for you. But beware: Deviating too far from an instructor’s personal opinions can cost you. A recording of an ‘Anti-Racist Rhetoric & Pedagogies’ workshop acquired by FIRE raises alarm bells about the state of free expression and freedom of conscience at Oklahoma’s flagship university. The workshop in question trains instructors on how to eliminate disfavored but constitutionally protected expression from the classroom and guide assignments and discussion into preferred areas — all for unambiguously ideological and viewpoint-based reasons.” (06/22/21)

Idolatry and the Pledge of Allegiance

Source: J.L. Cells
by James Leroy Wilson

“I’m not sure if anyone really believes the U.S. flag has god-like physical power, but the rituals surrounding it (including the Pledge) and strict rules for its display and maintenance, suggest that it’s magically imbued it with god-like spiritual power, as if anyone who ‘disrespects’ it has offended the dead and is a terrible person. ‘But wait,’ you might protest, ‘It’s not the actual flag we care so much about; we’re not superstitious. It Is ‘the Republic for which it stands: one nation, with liberty and justice for all.’ We honor the flag as a symbol, and recite the Pledge as a way to honor our country.’ In my view, however, that’s still idolatry. Pledging allegiance to ‘the republic,’ creates an ‘immoderate attachment’ to the country’s government that sacrifices one’s own conscience.” (06/22/21)