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The Hypocrisy of Ron Paul. A Response.

So, it’s probably no big secret that I’m a pretty big Ron Paul supporter.  He’s the one guy that I find to be consistent, honest, and most in line with my personal values.  I suppose any bubble deserves a little poking now and again and that’s exactly what happened when I was sent this article.  I was told the article was very “telling” and from the title alone I could tell that I was about to find out that he was a “hypocrite” too.  *sigh*  I really didn’t want this to happen, but I read on. The following is my response.  I was pretty happy with what I found and all the research I did, so I really wanted to put this here even though it was originally on Facebook.

***

Not only is this article really weak, I’m not even going to respond to the first 3 paragraphs.  I don’t see the picture the writer is trying to paint with that.  I don’t have a problem with any of it.

Promising to take an objective look, here is my response to the article by paragraph (quotes from various other places, are in italics)

Paragraph 4:

Voted YES on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D.

“Proponents support voting YES because:

This legislation is an overdue step to improve part D drug benefits. The bipartisan bill is simple and straightforward. It removes the prohibition from negotiating discounts with pharmaceutical manufacturers, and requires the Secretary of Health & Human Services to negotiate. This legislation will deliver lower premiums to the seniors, lower prices at the pharmacy and savings for all taxpayers.

It is equally important to understand that this legislation does not do certain things. HR4 does not preclude private plans from getting additional discounts on medicines they offer seniors and people with disabilities. HR4 does not establish a national formulary. HR4 does not require price controls. HR4 does not hamstring research and development by pharmaceutical houses. HR4 does not require using the Department of Veterans Affairs’ price schedule.”

Of course, when it described the reasons people vote “no” it contradicted the answer above and did indeed mention “price controls”.  If we were to understand why Ron Paul voted “no” we would have to completely read the bill to understand it myself, which I have not done.

***

Paragraph 5:

Drug reimportation benefits seem to be widely a matter of opinion.  And again it seems to be an interpretation of the bill.

He stated this, “Drug reimportation is critical to lowering prices,” Paul stated. “Reimportation allows American consumers, particularly seniors, to benefit from worldwide price competition. It’s outrageous that the FDA does not permit U.S. citizens to reimport drugs that sell for 30 to 300 percent less outside our borders. The pharmaceutical companies should not be allowed to profit by this government-enforced price fixing. How much longer should American consumers be expected to pay much higher prices for identical drugs available in Europe, Canada, and Mexico for a fraction of the cost?”

I would guess that Paul’s interpretation of this bill is vastly different than those who oppose it.

***

Paragraph 6:

Ahhh….  The pork.  Which sucks.  Not really what I wanted to be reading.  What I found were a few quotes about how for a time he took a “can’t beat em join em” attitude.  While I disagree with this “pork”, it doesn’t confuse me.  I still think his spending and voting record is a far cry from any other candidate.  If you take a look at his earmarks (pork) you will see:

If you take a look at his earmarks (pork) you will see: there are no bridges to nowhere, no land improvements in an area that backs up to his home to improve his property value, no paybacks for contributions. There are infrastructure appropriations, concern about health issues, concern about the economy in his district. (an opinion I am borrowing from the Daily Paul that I %100 agree with).  For a bit he seemed to take on the opinion of well, if their going to hand out the money we might as well get back what we paid in.  Or something like that.

It’s also been stated that every single bill he had earmarked was probably so full of pork that he probably also voted “no” against it.  Yeah, I know…  not terribly honorable since he had his own pork in their anyway…  but it’s worth mentioning.  It’s also worth mentioning that “Ron Paul is 100% for transparency in bills, including earmarks; 100% against self-serving earmarks; 100% for Congress “reading” bills in their entirety.” (Daily Paul)

I don’t know why blips in people’s records make them hypocrites.  Am *I* a hypocrite because I once thought public school was the best thing for my child and NOW I champion unschooling?  No, I don’t think so.  We live….  we learn.  But you can formulate your own opinions regarding the inconsistencies in his career.

I don’t care if he doesn’t always line-up perfectly with libertarians.  I don’t care if a well known libertarian walks away from supporting him.  What I have always noticed about Ron Paul is that he stays true to his own principles.  He has stood both with AND against Reagan.  That is not a secret.  He talks about it at national televised debates.  The ads aren’t deceptive they are stretched at best and made by his campaign to capture people’s attention.  Not a huge deal for me.

I can’t look at his record and call him a hypocrite.  That’s ridiculous.  I CAN however look at his record and see that it stands pretty strong to MY values, and is the most consistent record of ANY of the candidates that are in the running today.  So while I learned something new that I hadn’t known before…  my vote still goes to the man with the plan, Ron Paul.

National Day of Mourning and Thanksgiving

I don’t have to start cooking for an hour or so.  I made chocolate chip pumpkin bread, sausage bread, and a pumpkin pie last night, all gluten free of course.  I also roasted the pumpkin seeds.  I’m cooking just for my family this year.  My brother is coming over and there will be a grand total of 6 of us, yet enough food for an army.  Thanksgiving leftovers are of the very best kind, no?

I am thankful for so many things, and not just today.  Everyday, I am thankful for many things.  Although I may have days of less expression of gratitude, I don’t forget exactly what it is that I am thankful for.  But I think many people have forgotten, or at least in the terms of Thanksgiving, what exactly we are giving thanks for and the roots of this American holiday.  Our Thanksgiving has roots in slavery, genocide, and the destruction of a culture so thankful, that it could easily put ours to shame.

One of the gazillions of reasons our kids aren’t in school is because of the skewed historical facts, the dumbed down versions of now ancient atrocities, and the complete omission of interesting and important events.  I want them to know the truths and how to get at those truths and even why they are skewed the way they are.  But as the TSA has somehow taken it upon themselves to feel up people in ways people shouldn’t be touched and as I discuss the real Thanksgiving story with my preteen, I also feel terribly sad.  Like I have somehow taken away that blissful ignorance that so many kids grow up with.

Possibly, it was a lie all along that children should be hidden from these truths.  Maybe it’s important to childhood to think about big heavy things and to know just how violent and based in lies much of our American history is.  Then again, I don’t want them to be full of sorrow, or hateful toward Americans or our way of life.  I just want them to be informed children who think for themselves, and find those truths that are hidden in lies.  Striking balance can be difficult when there is so much hate in our history.

So today, in honor of the Native Americans, I will recognize the National Day of Mourning and remember those who died, who were killed and those, not so deep into my ancestry, who never regained their way of life.  Yet, I will also be thankful for my glorious life that I live, with my amazing children, and my wickedly generous (not to mention handsome) husband.  I am thankful for so many things, I couldn’t possibly list them all, but I am truly, truly thankful for the ability to be me, because that wasn’t always so easy.

I’m absolutely grateful for the ability to keep my children home, tell the truth, and share it here with you all.

Today’s Students Are Tomorrow’s Leaders, Scared Yet?

There, for as far back as I can see, exists a separating line between republicans and democrats.  Sure there are a few other parties, but I’m just going to stick with the major two.  And why wouldn’t I?  Everyone else does.

So many people sit on the dividing line and point fingers in the other direction.  But from where I am standing no one party is absolutely wrong about anything.  But many of our elected officials sit back and blame “the other side” for anything that might go wrong.  It seems that a meeting of ideas and respect for another’s thoughts and beliefs is in order.  You might say that Libertarians do just that!  And in many ways they do, but just belonging to any one party has inherent flaws.

In school, the culture is a rat race.  We use grades and other systems of measurement to place value on ideals.  Students who socially, economically, physically, and academically meet those ideals become competitive with students who do not, and vice versa.  It’s an unspoken game that exists within the social structure of school.  The worst part about it, is that students who do not want to enter the race have no choice.  Observation and theory no longer become tools of science; they become tools for survival in the institution.  When we use these tools and apply them to the real world, we recall it from the only place we know, an institution, causing a competitive and judgmental social culture.  It’s not the way the world works, yet when we release students after 18 years it’s the only way they know how to make it work, especially when given power over others.

Earlier I had a conversation on Facebook with a 16 year old girl about evolution.  Her knowledge of the subject was not quite correct.  Throughout the conversation she continued to be extremely defensive and even change the definitions of what she said.  She wanted to be right and I can’t say I blame her.  Modern child rearing and formal education do not value a child’s ideas, thoughts, and opinions.  When someone is never right, and never valued for their opinion they are shut off from learning about the subject and often feel inclined to defend their stance, when there is no battle and even if it’s factually wrong.

That’s what I see in our leaders.  I see many politicians, men and women, people who were probably never valued for their thoughts and dreams, and so they adopt an ideology and defend from behind the line.  Few politicians ever come out and say, “you know, I think xyz, just might work” if it doesn’t follow their party lines.  And that’s a shame, because I see many good ideas and good values on both sides of the line.  But like I mentioned, it’s not how we are raised.  We are raised to be right, to have the right answer all of the time.  We are also raised to expect greatness and perfection from our leaders when they too, are only human.  There is extreme value placed on right answers and loads of negativity, like public humiliation for example, being directed at being wrong.

My God Heather.  What on earth are you getting at?

I know, unequivocally, that unschooling can change the world, that is if the whole world unschooled.  Raising children in freedom will allow them a fresh, unobstructed view of what happens in the world today.  They don’t need to head to school to learn the ins and outs of government.  They don’t need someone else to tell them how government works.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or an elementary civics student to know that there are big, huge problems in government today.  However as parents, it’s important to allow our children an unobstructed view of modern politics.  I think discussions must come from a neutral place, allowing a child freedom of thought.  There is a place for sharing your opinions and beliefs but, I would tend to be careful in rights and wrongs, careful in the condemning the thoughts and values of others.  If you give a child your inner voice, that child will be stunted in the development of their own.  Quite possibly, the trust and freedom to learn will translate into the trust and freedom of all children, and even further the trust and freedom of the people.  No dream is too big right?

The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next. -Abraham Lincoln

IQ’s Importance in Politics and Unschooling

A long time ago my blog subtitle identified me as a “conservative hippie”.  I am sort of a middle of the road kind of gal, who leans a little more right, than she does left and enjoys referring to herself in the third person.  However, one day it was very strongly pointed out in a discussion and it caused me to think long and hard about how I felt about the self-proclaimed label.  So I took it down.  Many people may have thought I took it down because of someone else, but I didn’t.  I took it down because it was too pointed and may have been giving off the wrong idea.  I decided that even though unschooling and politics intertwine in my world, I didn’t want people to be turned off from unschooling or me, because of my perceived political ideology.

Unschoolers everywhere have a very different take on politics.  I know who I feel is the loudest group, the quietest group, and I know many don’t say anything at all (out of fear).  I know who I identify with politically, socially, and (new word I just made up) unschoolingly.  I do nothing that seeks to divide anyone any further and I do my best to have discussions of a political nature in an intelligent and friendly manner.  If I feel I can’t do it, for any particular reason, I politely bow out.  It’s not that I’m backing down, it’s that I am not looking to divide a community that is so tightly knit because of something so important as raising our children.

Yesterday, an article was posted on Facebook.  Then it got reposted, and reposted, and reposted.  The article from Satoshi Kanazawa’s blog on Psychology Today is called, Why Liberals are More Intelligent than Conservatives.  Just the title alone makes me want to vomit.  It’s inflammatory and from what I can tell a gross misconstruing of data in order to get a certain result.  Then again, maybe it’s true.  Maybe all you liberals have a statistically insignificant larger IQ than your conservative counterparts.  Both averages, still fall within the average IQ range.  Still, so much data seems to be missing, even from his article.  Kanazawa’s results were about liberals, atheists, and sexually exclusive males, but he left that out of his post.  What about the fact that children in school, usually identify themselves as liberal?  Kanazawa himself said that liberals run all institutions.  What about religious liberals or conservative atheists?  I’m really feeling like he was looking for a certain result and made certain he got it.  First of all, he has been shown to be biased in past studies and second of all, the timing of his blog post article tells me there was more in it for him then producing some silly results.

From an unschooling point of view, I can’t imagine myself putting any weight on this article, even if the tables were turned the other way.  It’s inflammatory, misleading, and divisive.  There is no good reason in unschooling that an IQ score matters.  It’s important to me to question everything, studies, history, religion, the list goes on.  I check my sources and I put it up against my values.  IQ is of no value to me since I feel no need to prove my intelligence and I would never want my children to feel like they have to prove theirs.  That is what school is for.  I am surrounded by people who no doubt have varying IQ’s, some with very low IQ’s and some very high (a right leaning person very dear to me qualifies for Mensa).  I can’t figure out why some people think someone who has a high IQ is somehow better than another.  It’s the American way though isn’t it?  Bigger is better and the proof is in the measurement.

Afred BinetAlfred Binet developed the Binet-Simon test in order to identify children who were possibly mentally challenged in school so that they could be helped to improve their intelligence.  He invented the test, but he didn’t invent the term Intelligence Quotient.  He said, “The scale, properly speaking, does not permit the measure of intelligence, because intellectual qualities are not superposable, and therefore cannot be measured as linear surfaces are measured”.  I find this very interesting, especially since it is primarily the government who has had an interest in the IQ of its population over the last 100 years.  Many researchers believe that IQ is fixed and only goes down as brain matter changes as we grow older.  That goes against everything I believe.

I wrote in a facebook comment that the article was inflammatory, misleading and divisive.  That the language only serves to keep our nation divided right down the middle, just as it always has been.  I am not insinuating that we all must agree, but maybe that we learn from each other and stop and think about the values of those who do not agree with us instead of just believing we are more intelligent.  Stephen Jay Gould, in The Mismeasure of Man, writes that these tests are based on faulty assumptions and are a basis for scientific racism.  I agree 100% and I’ve not even read the book…  yet.

Related Links:

Time Magazine

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

General Social Survey

Wikipedia: Stanford-Binet

Wikipedia: Religiosity and Intelligence

Wikipedia: Intelligence Quotient

Brief History of American Compulsory Schooling

Note to readers:  I only wish history were simple.  Then I wouldn’t feel like I’m missing so many pieces of history in this post.  If I included everything I know, and everything I learned while writing this then I’d have to write a book.   I originally wanted to write a time line, but quickly realized that there was a message I wanted to give you.  Hopefully, I’ve captured that message for you and inspire you to research more. Enjoy!

The idea of compulsory schooling actually came from Plato’s, The Republic.  The earliest example of authoritative compulsory schooling is traced back to Sparta.  Even though Sparta isn’t usually referred to as a totalitarian state, it may be the first example of European totalitarianism in recorded history.

Skip forward from about 195BC to the 18th century Prussia.

From what I could gather, the Prussian Education System was specifically for the raising up of obedient people and to indoctrinate the youth with militant state ideology, nation building.  The most obedient graduates were awarded the best jobs and positions in military and government to make sure that the dictatorial style of government remained in tact.  For if you do not have an obedient people, then you cannot be “King of Prussia”, as Frederick the II named himself.

Although schooling was generally considered compulsory for years prior, in 1763 Frederick William II made school compulsory by law for all children between the ages of 5 and 13.  By 1794 all schools and universities were made institutions of the state and were funded by taxes.  Children were divided by age, a teacher stood in the front administering curriculum decided upon by the elites.  The elite decided what was to be learned and how the children would learn it.  In addition the math, reading, and writing children were also taught obedience and duty to country.  In the summer, children were released.  I had seen in a short film,  that the kids were released specifically to help their parents with the harvest, but I could not find a valid source saying so.  I’m unsure of the validity of that statement, but it does make some sense.

Doesn’t any of this sound eerily familiar?

In 1843, Horace Mann, while the secretary of the state board of education, visited Germany and became fond of the Prussian educational system.  Because of his convincing writing and passionate lectures, he created an interest in education that had not previously existed.  Shortly after his visit, the state of Massachussets adopted the Prussian educational system and following their lead, the governor of New York set up its 12 state schools under the same system.  Eventually, all states adopted this method of compulsory instruction; a method with origins that originally came from a country with a militant monarchy.  It might be important to mention here, that it is quite interesting to me that Horace Mann was such a champion of compulsory schooling.  Mann himself, never attended school for more than 6 weeks a year and was largely self-educated.

Early America did not have compulsory schools.  Instead it had private schools which relied on tuition, not government money. The change from voluntary schooling to compulsory education marks a significant change in the rights of families.  It marks a time when the state assumed responsibility over its children and their education.  Laws made it possible for states to take children away from their families if they felt the children were not being properly educated or if they were held from school.  Compulsory schooling in many different countries seems to have roots in many different places.  Prussia began compulsory schooling for nation building, many believe that American compulsory schooling was to continue the workforce and protect the economy, England enacted compulsory education well after industrialization.  The common theme, at the time, was the government; specifically the government’s control of children and families.  Not anywhere in my research about educational systems did I read anything about children being anything but  but a group that must be “fashioned”.  No individual rights, nothing.  I only read about training, obedience, and matters of the state.

So, if we supposedly live in a “free country” (yeah…  I know) and we at the very least reject totalitarianism and a dictatorship and we are free to think and learn what we would like, then WHY is school compulsory?  I guess children didn’t and still don’t have rights.  Our educational system is modeled after a system created in the 18th century under the dictatorial regime (yes, technically a monarchy) of Prussia.  Thought provoking isn’t it?

There is your little bit of history for the day.  If you think I’ve gotten anything wrong, aside from my opinions, please feel free to comment or email me (link in sidebar) and I’m happy to fact check.  I’d hate to write something here that isn’t true.

Vermonster

If there is one thing I’m going to miss of Vermont, it’s the beer. Vermont is home to some fabulous breweries. Large or small, each one presents a unique appeal and flavor. Most everyone has heard of Long Trail or Otter Creek beer. The lesser known around the US would be Magic Hat, and even smaller, Rock Art Brewery.

Rock Art Beer was born in the basement of Matt Nadeau 12 years ago. For four years he brewed alone and now employs 7 people not including himself and his wife Renee. To celebrate their 10th year they created a beer called the Vermonster. Honestly, I’ve never tried this particular beer. That’s not why I am writing today. On September 14th, of this year, Matt and Renee received a Cease and Desist letter from Monster Energy drinks.

Please watch this video this video below to understand the full context of what is happening to the Nadeau’s.

I am one of the few that has nothing against corporate america as a whole. I even question the way Matt refers to corporate America in his video, but I DO get the message he is trying to send us and I DO completely agree with him. Justice is NOT for those with the deepest pockets. Please share this story and do what you can to help the Nadeau’s.

From http://monsterboycott.wordpress.com/2009/10/16/hello-world/

12 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO SUPPORT ROCK ART BREWERY
by: Josh Dion of LOST IN THE BEER AISLE
#1: Visit Rock Art’s website.
#2: Join the “Vermonsters and Craft Beer Drinkers Against Monster” Facebook group.
#3: Contact Monster Energy and tell them how you feel:Hansens company owns Monster: Contact them
#4: Contact Vermont Politicians:Bernie Sanders: http://sanders.senate.gov/contact/Senator Patrick Leahy: senator_leahy@leahy.senate.govEmail Peter Welch (House of representatives [VT] and on the House Small Brewers Caucus)
#5: Discuss the topic on Twitter. Use Rock Art’s official hashtag “#ISUPPORTROCKART” in your Tweets.
#6: Follow Rock Art Brewery on Twitter.
#7: Call Hansen’s Natural and lodge a complaint. 1-800-426-7367 Remember to be polite!
#8: Contact Monster energy.
#9: Contact the board of directors for Hansens. A list of board members can be found at this link.
Email addresses are formatted: Firstname.Lastname@hansens.com
#10: Buy Rock Art beer!!!
#11: Sign this petition.
#12: Buy a Vermonster T-shirt. Not yet available on the Rock Art website. Call 802-888-9400, email rockart@pwshift.com, or visit the brewery to get one. $15. M/L/XL/XXL. Vermonster label on the front.

Diarhea of the keyboard…

While on vacation, I spilled a margarita on my computer. I’m REALLY lucky to have only damaged the keyboard. TJ took the keyboard off and it was a sticky mess underneath. We have a new one ordered. Hopefully it won’t be long. I can’t wait to share pictures and stories.

I wasn’t going to blog until I got my computer back, but something happened today that made me slightly uncomfortable. Frank called me a socio-political ultra conservative in a comment on another blog. ULTRA? Really? I’m really not feeling that one. I’m a fiscal conservative. Social? Well, I don’t believe it is my place to tell anyone how to live their life.

I’m ok with my opinions and the fact that they might be in complete opposition with many people I know. My political opinions are my own, and I certainly have a lot of them. I do understand that even having the word “conservative” up there in my title will automatically have people judging me and making assumptions that are simply not true. It was working for me for awhile. Apparently not anymore.

I’ve heard the term hippie-conservative used many times. I’m sure the use of the word hippie could be wildly debated. I just sort of used it as a playful term to describe my natural, organic, fun-loving, socially laid back ways. Conservative might be considered somewhat the opposite. There is a balance in my political opinions. Although I rarely get into talking about social politics because I don’t care to get into it.

I’m going to change my descriptor. I don’t know to what yet. My brain feels fried after a long day so I’ll put it off for another day, but if you have any ideas I’ll gladly take them. It seems that the very thing that I cannot stand (labels) has come back to bite me in the ass. It’s a clear example of how labels can be misconstrued and used in different ways than we meant them.

I like clarity. It’s not easy to be in this position. I have many conservative views. (GO Ron Paul!) However, I am afraid that people will take some of it the wrong way since I choose not to clarify my position on many social issues. Point is, I’m pro-liberty. I’ll end it there.

Tax Day Tea Party April 15th, 2009

It’s sort of hard NOT to show up for this when your state is listed as #1 most tax-burdened and 25th in income. There was 800-1000 protesters in Vermont. 7,000 in Seattle where my brother lives. 3,000,000 nationwide. Think there’s a problem?








Video: My father speaking at rally.

Video: Rutland Herald – Cassandra Hotaling

Semantics

I recently had seemingly unrelated subjects completely intertwine themselves in my head, Gay Marriage and Unschooling. Unless of course you’re a gay unschooler who wants to get married. Then, it is indeed related.

Anyway, I’m sure most of you know that gay marriage has recently become legal in Vermont. I distance myself from the issue. As political as I am, I don’t get involved with gay rights or abortion rights and very few social issues. So this has nothing to do with how I personally feel.

Many of us recently came across this site. The owner seems to have stirred up some controversy by choosing to use the words summer and unschooling in the title. As if it were something you could just apply when the mood struck. Some veteran usnchoolers, became a little offended, and rightly so. Eren Hayes San Pedro choices of words, “dissenters” for example gives less reasons to believe her intent in true. To explore unschooling. Here is my comment to her:

Dissenters? Interesting choice of words.

Unschooling is unschooling. No one can change that. Some people may or may not fully understand it and call themselves unschoolers when they are not fully embracing the philosophy. It would be like trying to calling yourself a vegetarian because you eat chicken only sometimes.

If you are only partially embracing unschooling, then you are eclectic homeschooling. You are embracing and applying a few different styles to you home.

I wonder if you’ve not so much offended the radical unschooling community, but done something contrary to what we’ve been trying to do for so long.

Many of us spend a great deal of time helping others learn about unschooling and guiding and supporting those who wish to embrace the philosophy. We’d be happy to share places where you can find information. Most of recognize that unschooling, or radical unschooling, whatever you want to call it, is a whole life philosophy. It cannot be done just in the summer. It is a life’s journey that slowly unfolds.

Embracing unschooling only in the summer, it’s contrary to the type of living that comes with usnchooling. Each time a child is removed from school and/or curriculum it takes a lot of time, from months to years, to decompress from the previous lifestyle. Only after that period can an unschooled life begin to unfold. Sending a child back to school begins the process all over again. It reminds me of a rubber band being snapped over and over again.

I (and others) worry that your chosen title of summer unschooling will give many people the wrong idea about unschooling. That it can be done over a summer vacation, when it simply cannot.

Unschooling “looks” different in every household, but it is not different by basic principles. Some think unschooling to be an “anything goes” situation. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

I fear that you and a group of people that have signed up will set to “redefine” unschooling for yourselves, giving a multitude of people the wrong idea.

I do hope you reconsider your title, or make it clearer to the passerby who may not read everything on your site, that even you are unsure of what unschooling truly is.

I did receive a nice email from her, stating that she would like to interview me for her blog, and that I was the only one “concerned with this project to offer or even consider helping to educate us all instead of using strong words”. I have to question that fact. I am not known for my “tact”. I just have to imagine that we speak a similar language. What I do know about us unschooling parents, is that we tend to be clear, and to the point, and in writing that can be construed as harsh even when it isn’t. That said, I’m sure there were a FEW icky comments, but when you put yourself out there, it’s to be expected.

Anyway… back to my point. It is important to us, that we protect the word unschooling. We work so very hard to live our lives in this manner and to help others understand this way of life that when a group of people take the word and apply there own meaning it can be harmful to our movement as a whole. Some people might argue, “it’s just semantics”. That’s another thing, as unschoolers, we have come to realize that every word we choose has meaning. We are very careful in our choices of words, especially on the internet.

This is where the gay marriage bill in Vermont comes in. Here, we had a group of people, actually, I can safely say the majority of Vermonters, trying to protect the word marriage. To them, marriage is between a man and a woman and it’s how they’ve come to know it for their whole lives. Why shouldn’t they be offended, when a group of people seeks to change that for them? It doesn’t make them homophobic, it just makes them sentimental or traditional. I’ll tell you I felt for some of the people trying to defend the word marriage, they were labeled awful things that they were not. They just wanted to protect their word. Just like some of unschoolers sought to protect our word. It’s not about what it means to “us” or “them”. It’s about the actual definitions.

In Vermont, we had civil unions, which by law gives all of the exact same rights that a traditional marriage did. The gay marriage proponents sought to hijack the word marriage, and well they did a good job. It worked. It never went to referendum, it would have surely lost. 85% of Vermonters were against civil unions. What scares me is that this particular group of people thought it was ok for our legislators to vote without hearing the people. How are they going to feel when the tables are turned and they don’t get a chance to vote on something they feel passionately about? Anyway, that’s another blog post entirely. The government doesn’t listen? Weird.

We must be careful that which we seek to loosely define. I personally don’t wish to stop anyone from applying a few unschoolish principles to their daily lives. Eclectic homeschooling pulls different principles from many sources. However, if you set out to call eclectic homechooling, “unschooling” then you have very quickly distorted its meaning to others who might not understand the philosophy. The words are not interchangeable. I personally don’t believe this is any different then the gay marriage activists who seek to take a word that is so important to so many people and use it for their own purposes. It’s not cool to step on the toes of so many people.

That’s my twenty-two cents.


Smokescreens

Smokescreen!
Smokescreen!
So the truth cannot be seen!

I used to sing it as a child for some reason. I can’t remember any details surrounding the use of this little phrase. I just know that it’s been there, in my mind, for as long as I can remember. It’s like a recording in my mind, and it always seems to start playing when the government does something completely stupid, while something major and important is going on.

For example, this state is in such economic turmoil that it wouldn’t surprise me if it collapsed under it’s own weight. I won’t get into numbers right now, since this blog is about something different, but I’ll tell you it’s really, REALLY bad. Businesses are leaving, people are leaving, and the taxes just keep going up. And what would my government like to focus on? Gay marriage. I don’t want to stir up any debate, so I will tell you that I would vote yes on gay marriage given the choice. It’s not about the issue itself, or the fact that many people see it as very important. But in this state, we have an economy that is about to fold, and the focus of everyday news is gay marriage. Are you kidding me?

Up here in Vermont, we have an Independent senator by the name of Bernie Sanders. He was once a loud and proud member of the Socialist party. I don’t know why he has changed his party because he hasn’t changed his issues one bit. I suppose he thought he could get a few extra votes by being Independent, since not everyone is entirely clear on what Independent means, since it certainly doesn’t mean what it implies… Independent. Anyway, Bernie made it into the paper again today slamming AIG for thei irresponsible decisions and saying things like the AIG bonuses are “morally reprehensible”. First of all, I don’t care how “morally reprehensible” Bernie thinks anything is. It’s not the job of the government to make sure the people are moral.

Second of all, (here’s your math lesson) the AIG bonuses equal 1/10th of 1% of the bailout money. ONE TENTH OF ONE PERCENT!!! Senator Sanders and all the others are whining about pennies. These are contractual bonuses. There is nothing anyone can do about the bonuses. The last I heard these were retention bonuses, given to people who had already been fired, so that they would stay a little longer. So… a firing bonus, not a hiring bonus. So now, our government is meddling in the lives of AIG employees who have already been fired anyway. since they can’t legally do anything about the bonuses, they are looking into taxing the shit out of the bonuses. Yeah, I know, totally weird for a socialist senator right? (yes, that was sarcastic)

AIG is simply a name to blame. If all the focus is on AIG’s supposed “greed” then the focus shifts off the real problems. This is nothing more than a smokescreen, to take the focus off our increasingly socialistic government. It is our government that bailed out AIG, no strings attached, in the first place! Had AIG been allowed to bankrupt those bonuses would have been small, employees would have been laid off, and the company would have been forced to restructure and/or fail. Blame your government, not AIG.

So now we have a company that has been nationalized, yes I said it, NATIONALIZED. Isn’t it strange to anyone that the government is spending more time in the affairs of private business then the affairs of uh… government? There has been more bad policy pushed through so fast, that I can’t even keep up. With Obama’s approval rating at (last I heard) 56% and dropping it’s not wonder he is moving so swiftly.

I don’t know about you but, I’m tired of our government criminalizing wealth. Atlas has shrugged people.