SubscribeStar Saturday: The Ministry of Truth

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Apologies to subscribers for not getting this piece posted last week as promised.  After celebrating a lady friend’s graduation most of the weekend, I was scrambling Saturday and Sunday to take care of other posts and putting together exams.  I also overindulged in Civilization VI on Sunday night, so there’s that.

About a month ago, the Biden Administration announced the creation of the Disinformation Governance Board, an Orwellian appendage to the already Orwellian Department of Homeland Security.  After a wave of backlash, DHS is backing down temporarily, putting a “pause” on its plans to create the board.

That’s reason to celebrate, but it’s cold comfort.  I have little doubt that the Biden Administration will attempt to impanel this board as soon as it thinks it can get away with it.

The very fact that Biden’s puppeteers think they could create such an organization—which, I think we all understand, will almost exclusively target conservatives and others with views contrary to the ruling regime—suggests their overconfidence in the security of their position, as well as their utter contempt for the rest of us.

If the situation were reversed, the Left would cry foul—and rightly so.  A government that actively proclaims certain language, speech, opinions, or news as “disinformation” is playing a very dangerous game with free speech.  Even if we knew the people in charge of such an organization were striving towards complete impartiality—if such a thing were even possible—the temptation would be incredibly strong for a corrupt or compromised president to bend the board to his will.

Of course, we know the board will be used as yet another bludgeon—a brutal pretext—with which to smash conservative and dissident voices in as many venues as possible.  Sure, there will be the “controlled opposition” voices, but the rest of us will find ourselves in a bad spot, indeed.

That’s why it’s imperative we continue to ridicule the government for even dreaming up such an institution.

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SubscribeStar Saturday Coming Soon: Disinformation Governance Board

My intent for this weekend’s SubscribeStar Saturday is to examine the chilling ramifications of Biden the Usurper’s new Disinformation Governance Board, a recent addition to the onerous Department of Homeland Security.  Talk about a coolly clinical name for a thoroughly totalitarian institution (I’ll let readers decide if I am referring to the DGB, the DHS, or both).

Unfortunately, my schedule is super tight, between an out-of-town graduation ceremony and a jam-packed Friday (when I typically write these posts), so I’ll be posting about DGB—notice how its abbreviation is spookily similar to the KGB, the secret police of the Soviet Union?—soon.  It could be later today; it might be Sunday.

Thank you for your patience, and for subscribing.

—TPP

SubscribeStar Saturday: Life Finds a Way

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The winning just keeps coming—first Elon Musk’s Twitter acquisition, which is a major victory for free speech; now, what appears to be the overturning of Roe v. Wade (1973), one of the most egregiously unconstitutional Supreme Court rulings ever made.

Conservatives have fought for nearly fifty years for this very outcome.  I did not think it would happen in my lifetime—or ever—given the extreme leftward drift of the country.

But elections matter, and this likely ruling demonstrates why.  All of those conservatives who reluctantly voted for Donald Trump because of the prospect of his nominating constitutionalists to the bench have been vindicated, as have those who supported Trump from the get-go:  his Supreme Court nominations clinched the reversal of this terrible, destructive ruling.

(I note with some degree of amused irony that it was the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s stubborn refusal to vacate the bench that made it possible for President Trump to replace her with conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett; seeing how feminists glorify “RBG” as the protector of their “right” to murder children, it was her tight grip on her SCOTUS seat that, ultimately, doomed Roe to the ash bin of history.)

The social media backlash from disenchanted floozies has been ludicrous.  One friend on Facebook even argued that abortions are a form of mental health treatment, as they spare would-be mothers from the struggles of postpartum depression.

But even ladies who I thought weren’t so hung up on a fictitious constitutional “right” to abortion have been bemoaning the end of their “reproductive freedom” or what not.  The “abortion is mental health treatment” girl also bemoaned conservatives’ desire to “control” women.  I don’t want to control anyone, but I don’t want murder to be legal.

Regardless, that hysteria is grounded in constitutional ignorance and the terrifying normalization of infanticide over the past fifty years.  As I’ve patiently explained to many hysterical women over the past week, overturning Roe just means that the debate over abortion returns to the people and the States.  Now, instead of one imaginary constitutional “right”—note that the Constitution is completely silent on the issue of abortion, as it is on almost everything, leaving it up to the people to decide through their State legislatures—there will be fifty different State level policies.  Some States will put loads of restrictions on it (though I doubt any State will completely ban it); other States will probably allow two-year olds to be murdered if they prove to be too much of a nuisance.

What the reversal of Roe is, then, is not just a major victory for the life of the unborn—it’s a victory for federalism.  It might also mean that feminist floozies will have to exercise a little more self-control—or move to California.

It also marks an important moment of spiritual redemption for the United States—I hope!

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Twitter Flies Free

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O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!  Elon Musk, the whimsical Willy Wonka of our time, has purchased Twitter.

While I have a Twitter account, I don’t really use it that frequently, with the exception of checking out some spicy Tweets on occasion (but even those are gone, thanks to the platform’s arbitrary censorship).  I find the format clunky and unwieldy, especially when trying to read long threads or responses to Tweets.

It’s also a cesspool of Leftist hand-wringing and overwrought, fake stories, in which progressives claim their small children are asking them if Trump is going to kill the trannies or what not.  At its worst, it’s an outrage factory; at its best, it’s an echo chamber for the mainstream media.

There’s a long history of censorship of conservative and populist voices on Twitter.  The rumors (which will be confirmed or otherwise by the time this post goes live) suggest that Twitter’s quarterly report won’t look good, so Musk was able to scoop up the company at the price of $44 billion, or $54.20 per share.  That represents a 38% premium to Twitter’s stock price as of 1 April 2022.

Basically, Twitter went woke—like, MEGA woke—and it’s starting to go broke.

The news of Musk’s purchase of Twitter is heartening, as he describes himself as a free speech absolutist.  Trump has pledged to stay on TRUTH Social, but I still hope Musk restores his account, even if it’s a symbolic gesture.

While Musk’s takeover is promising—let a thousand crazy Tweets bloom!—it does suggest that conservatives are on hard times if we’re hoping the whims of a boyish entrepreneur/government subsidy devourer will restore free speech on a failing, but still important, Big Tech platform.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: The State of Education Update II

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Spring Break is drawing to a close, with a four-week-ish slog to the relative freedom of summer vacation, when I go from being a stressed-out ball of blubber persisting on processed foods and frozen pizza to living like a chubby retiree.  As such, it seemed like an opportune time to look at the state of education in the United States.

As I wrote this morning, lately I’ve been listening to quite a bit of the ideas of “unschooling” advocate John Taylor Gatto.  Some of his views on adolescence (he says there really isn’t one, and that childhood essentially ends around the age seven) are pretty radical, though they aren’t without historical precedent, but for the most part, I find myself in agreement with assessment of the modern educational-industrial complex.

The first JTG video I watched/listened to

In essence, Gatto (should I call him “JTG”?) argues—and supports, with ample primary source research—that the modern system of “warehouse” schooling is not a proper education at all, but rather a massive system for indoctrinating students into compliance and mass conformity.  He argues that little real “education” takes place inside of schools, and that a genuine education comes from within the student himself.  In other words, all of the world is a “classroom” and everyone in it a “teacher” to the open learner.  An elite, private or boarding school education is available to anyone, Gatto contends, for free.

Gatto famously quit after a long, celebrated career in New York City public schools in a letter to The Wall Street Journal entitled “I Quit, I Think” (note that the title has two possible meanings:  the first, obvious one is the note of uncertainty the added “I Think” carries; the second one is the subtle implication that because “I Think,” I (Gatto) must quit).  In short, Gatto came to believe that what he had been doing for years was actually harming students, rather than improving their lives.

Talk about a heavy epiphany.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Easter Weekend 2022

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As is my custom, it’s time for my annual Easter Weekend post (read “Easter Weekend” and “Easter Weekend 2021” if you’d like to track the posts over time).  Easter Weekend is always doubly special for yours portly, as it marks the beginning of my Spring Break.

Unfortunately, on the first morning of my long-anticipated (and much-needed) break, a freak accident befell me.  My beloved dog, Murphy, and I were out walking.  I had some breakfast in the oven, and realized we needed to get back in the next five minutes.

Murphy—as bull terriers are wont to be—is very stubborn, especially when she picks up the scent of cats (or vermin).  I usually can get her to follow along with me if I tug her and start running; she will then trot along to keep up.

I began my usual tug-trot procedure, when Murphy suddenly turned a full ninety degrees and ran—at top speed!—directly into my right ankle.  I heard a crunch and collapsed to the ground.

Miraculously, I managed to hang onto her leash.  She’d seen a couple of cats darting by, and—without regard for her human—crippled me in her would-be pursuit.

Angry and wounded, but still not feeling the full effects, as my adrenaline was pumping, I attempted to drag her homeward.  She resisted, and slipped from her collar.  Murphy then resumed her chase of the poor felines.

I limped over to her—she had the cats scrambling up a porch post, fleeing for their nine lives—but before I could get the collar back on her, she darted across the highway after the cats (it may also have been another stray cat—we have a problem with them here), right as a Darlington County Sheriff’s deputy went rolling by.  In my limping, disheveled state, he must have taken pity on me.  If so, I thank him for not writing me a ticket for my dog being off-leash.

So I proceeded to limp across US-401 to my friend’s mother-in-law’s house, where Murphy was pursuing her quarry through her bushes.  She then trotted up onto the porch, and as I slowly climbed the steps, she trotted back out, looking at me as if to say, “Hey, dad, what’s up?”

Thus began our gimped walk home—and she still resisted.  We finally made it back to a burnt (but still edible!) breakfast.

I stuck to the full day of lessons I had that afternoon, literally dragging my foot from one house to the next (driving, fortunately, was not difficult).  I think I overdid it here, but $150 was on the line, and if I was going to end up at a doctor’s office, I’d need that much (at least) for whatever ungodly medical bills I might face.

As of the time of this writing (Good Friday!), I still have not been to a doctor to X-ray the foot, but a long night’s sleep really helped.  The foot is still swollen, though that’s gone done, and with the aid of a cane—yes, I am walking with a cane, care of a good neighbor—I can get around with minimal pain.  Thursday night it had gotten excruciating to walk around, but now I can bumble around the house without too much inconvenience.

So, now that I’ve regaled you with tales of my recent crippling, here’s what’s in store for Easter 2022:

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Spring Concert 2022 Postmortem

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This past Wednesday night was the Spring Concert for my students.  As is my custom, I like to do a concert “postmortem” with my students to talk about what went well, and what we could improve (myself included) for the next concert.

This year’s concert really went over well.  Anecdotally, I was told that a number of parents said something along the lines of “I thought last year’s concert was good, but this one was even better.”  I do think we hit the runtime just right:  the concert kicked off a few minutes after 6 PM, and we wrapped up right around 7:15 PM.  That’s with our dance classes performing in the middle of the program.

We split the concert into three parts:  an opening section with Middle School Music and a couple of solos; the dance classes performing six pieces; and a closing section with my High School Music Ensemble (and a few more solos).

With that, here is a breakdown of the two musical portions.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Indianapolis and TPP Update

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I’m in Indianapolis this weekend for my older brother’s wedding, which I will likely report about in some detail next week.  As I lacked the time this week to craft a better SubscribeStar Saturday post, I figured I’d give subscribers an update on my various projects.

Blogging at Buca di Beppo

Blogging at Buca di Beppo, Indianapolis, Indiana

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SubscribeStar Saturday: International Relations

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Continuing somewhat on last Saturday’s post, I’ve been thinking more about the war in Ukraine this week, specifically pondering how surreal it all seems.  Obviously, it’s quite real for the people in the Ukraine and Russia, as well as the various volunteers from around the globe who have enlisted to fight on behalf of the Ukraine.

But part of the surrealism—at least for those of us, like yours portly, who are swaddled in luxurious comfort here in the United States—is that we didn’t have to worry about international relations and foreign policy in any immediate way for at least four years.  At any rate, during the Trump administration, foreign policy largely receded from the national consciousness as a major concern.

Sure, there was the constant banging-on about “Russian collusion” and interfering in the Ukraine, and early hysterical rumors of nuclear war with North Korea.  But President Trump silenced the Norks, the Russkies, and even, to some extent, the ChiComs.  I was dismayed, initially, by the rocket launch in Syria early in Trump’s administration, but in retrospect it seems like that was a convincing show of force to the Russians (who have all sorts of interests in Syria).

After that—and after dropping some big ol’ bombs in Afghanistan, etc.—foreign policy seemed like an afterthought.  For years that had dominated headlines and—given my own interest in the topic—my mental conception of America’s role in the world.

Perhaps one of the great overlooked achievements of the Trump administration is that it achieved—however fleetingly—a semblance of global order and peace, so much that we didn’t have to think about foreign policy and international relations in any deep, consistent way for a few years.  I have no doubt that a second Trump term would not have seen the current escalation in the Ukraine.

A bold claim, but I think it’s accurate.  Regardless, the focus of this post is on that brief moment when the woes of the rest of the world seemed distant, and the United States could focus instead on its own domestic woes (of which there are many).  Now that that moment—gauzy and illusory as it turned out to be—has passed, we may be facing some profoundly existential questions about the future of the global order.

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