Tracking ID UA-126977798-1
American media specializes in fear mongering. Whether it is about crime, climate, possible epidemics, "terrorists", food toxicity, nuclear war or total grid shutdowns; the media thrives on instilling fear of "possible and potential" worst case scenarios. The continual advertising on all media platforms about the various "senior" ailments, conditions and potential afflictions is ceaseless combined with the caricature images of "seniors" as feeble, partially deaf, child like, dependent and forgetful, which pervade contemporary TV, film, news stories, cartoons and political commentary.
Decades ago the cry was to "Never trust anyone over thirty!" Now global media hypes 16 year olds as being some sort of "experts" and "activists" to be taken seriously on topics such as climate challenge solutions and gun control. "Old white men" are openly insulted, attacked and denigrated with little rebuttal. "The wisdom of elders" is laughed at sarcastically and hidden from sight. There are very few positive reports circulating of elder women and men accomplishing important tasks, giving generously of their time and knowledge or inventing and/or creating new works from their original ideas. However, here is one from a 99 year old Jewish woman who was a spy in World War II. She still speaks three languages and has a photographic memory. She wrote a book "Behind Enemy Lines" and is a Holocaust survivor: www.wkyc.com/article/news/history/french-jewish-world-war-two-spy-shares-story-before-sold-out-crowd-in-cleveland/95-373cffc2-6a31-48a8-ad7e-b9f153b9c813
Moreover, most companies, small businesses and all levels of government jobs will covertly or overtly practice age discrimination against women over 50 and men over 60. Even if people are healthy, current in their field and able to continue with excellent work ethics-they will either not be hired or gradually, then quickly "let go" or be forced to resign. The best way to assure a position working in your specialty and/or preference is to start your own business and have it up and running before you turn 50. Warehousing seniors in "senior communities", "assisted living" or passing legislation for guided euthanasia are the most popular strategies for dealing with an ever older population in the west. This is not the case in most countries. In most countries multiple generations still live together. It strengthens the family bonds and makes more sense economically. The epidemics of loneliness and aflfuenza are spawned by western, wealthier nations.
The social engineering agendas to divide communities and society based on factors they cannot control such as race, gender and age, proliferate in the current social landscape especially as visual media promotes those who look young, attractive and physically fit over all others. This is drummed into our neuron systems, eyes, ears, mind and even heart-relentlessly. "When you're old-you're done." Inter-generational recreation and activities are not encouraged except in some religious or academic settings or for some in family events such as reunions, weddings and funerals.
"The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060, and the 65-and-older age group’s share of the total population will rise from 16 percent to 23 percent. By 2030, when the last of the large baby boom generation (born 1946 to 1964) has reached their mid-60s, more than 21 percent of the U.S. population is projected to be age 65 or older—up from about 15 percent in 2016. " www.prb.org/aging-unitedstates-fact-sheet/
This means in about ten years almost a quarter of the population in the United States will be over 65-if they live that long.
In the USA the percentage of senior citizens (65 and older) who are diagnosed with dementia is about 10%. The USA is #2 in world health statistics for countries who have high percentages of deaths due to dementia. Finland is #1 and Canada is #3. All the top ten countries are highly developed economically and socially. There are some factors in common including a high percentage of their populations consume alcohol, are overweight and have a more sedentary life style than previous generations. www.worldatlas.com/articles/countries-with-the-highest-rates-of-deaths-from-dementia.html Globally dementia is a serious health concern. "Dementia affects 50 million people worldwide, with a new case of dementia occurring somewhere in the world every 3 seconds. Dementia can also affect individuals under the age of 65 (young onset dementia). Greater awareness and understanding of dementia is important to challenge the myths and misconceptions that surround the condition." Currently there is no cure although there are therapeutic strategies and some progress has been made in possible reversal of damage done by dementia and identification of genetic pre-disposers to some conditions.
Contrary to what media may portray-dementia is not part of normal aging and Alzheimer's disease is only one type of dementia although it accounts for more than 60% of dementia diagnoses. Dementia is not a specific disease and it is not hereditary or contagious. www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/expert-answers/alzheimers-and-dementia-whats-the-difference/faq-20396861
Dementia is an overall term, sometimes referred to as an umbrella term, which describes a wide range of symptoms. These symptoms impact a person's ability to perform everyday activities independently. Common symptoms include:
"The accumulation of protease-resistant misfolded and aggregated proteins is a common mechanism underlying protein misfolding disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington's disease (HD), Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), prion diseases and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis of the UPS, CMA. Although young neurons can manage to clear cytotoxic proteins, this task becomes increasingly more difficult throughout the course of aging during which the components and macroautophagy are downregulated in expression and activity." www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4351408/
"Between the 1950s and 1980s, scientists were focusing on the decoding of the genetic information–how the genome is transcribed and translated, but how proteins are degraded has remained a neglected research area. The discovery of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) with its numerous components and myriad functions has changed the paradigm that regulation of cellular processes occurs solely at the transcriptional and translational levels, and has set regulated proteolysis in a prominent position. It is now known that ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis is involved in regulating basically any cellular process, including cell cycle and division, differentiation, signal transduction, maintenance of the integrity of the genome and proteome, and the many routes the cell communicates with its environment." ciechanover.net.technion.ac.il/
The have been advances in terms of causation and possible treatments for dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases, by scientists, doctors and researchers over the last thirty years. www.israel21c.org/israeli-research-behind-new-cancer-fighting-drug/ I had the good fortune to spend time and discuss both dementia and Parkinson's disease in depth with Dr. Aaron Ciechanover during the time he was a guest lecturer at Yerevan State Medical University in Armenia, whilst I was an invited professor there in 2010. I had a vested interest in "picking his brain" while he was there since he spoke English fluently and members of my family have suffered from both Alzheimers and Parkinson's diseases. Dr. Ciehanover's work with proteins and cytotoxic processes is revolutionary. As well he is deeply committed to abiding by ethical foundations of integrity in terms of making decisions based on medical prognosis and knowledge. He gave an excellent and easily accessible Tedtalk in English in 2017, when he was 70 years old. He is still working. I urge you to watch this one entitled "The Future of Medicine": www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYAgNpVZLRc
Dr. Ciechanover and other medical researchers of conscience, caution us about thinking any "one drug fits all" even if it appears that therapeutic strategies and medications are effective in drug trials for specific symptoms and conditions. In economic and social terms-finding ways to decrease or perhaps erase dementia would be a boost in health and require less health care and costs for any nation who is able to do so. This is a compelling incentive to accelerate research efforts in this field. After all, if you keep living long enough...you will age and there is a one in five chance you may have one or more types of dementia, especially if you live in one of the top 20 countries with a high percentage per population of dementia in their older population and a significantly higher chance if any of your immediate family members are proven to have the genetic mutation or "susceptibility" to this disease and you haven't changed your diet or lifestyle to mitigate this risk factor.
"Though as much as 99 percent of all Alzheimer’s cases are not a result of a known genetic mutation, researchers have determined that the best place to find a treatment or cure for the disease is to study those who possess a mutation that causes it. It’s a method that has worked for other diseases. Statins, the drugs that are broadly prescribed to block the body’s cholesterol synthesis, were first found effective in studies of people who inherited a rare gene that led to severe and early heart disease. (watch Dr. Ciechanover's TedTalk for a clear, concise explanation of this process)
Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in this country."www.nytimes.com/2012/06/10/magazine/an-alzheimers-gene-one-familys-saga.html
On the other side, there is a four out of five chance you will not get dementia especially if you maintain a healthy lifestyle, diet, exercise and keep your cognitive skills challenged and sharp. The best way to do this is to keep socially connected, find purposeful work-if not paid then volunteer work, and eschew any unnecessary medications-especially psychiatric drugs. There are natural herbs and supplements including MCT oil and/or powder which enhance cognition and energy in a complementary way for the human body.
However, regardless if you are in your seventh, eighth or ninth decade there will be significant changes unless you are one of the 4% who are active and alert until their dying days. Most of those people live in France, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, Australia and Italy according to the World Atlas in 2019-America did not make the top 20: www.worldatlas.com/articles/countries-with-the-longest-life-expectancy.html There is some dispute about statistics since Monaco was listed as having a life expectancy of 89.32 years for it's men in 2018, but regardless most of the 193 countries have life expectancies of less than 80 years including the USA, which has a life expectancy of 78.6 years of a baby born in 2019. www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/u-s-life-expectancy-compare-countries/#item-le_the-u-s-has-the-lowest-life-expectancy-at-birth-among-comparable-countries_2019
Here is a pithy poem on growing older by an American poet, author, dancer, screenwriter, singer, civil rights worker and mother who lived from 1928-2014. Her legal name was Marguerite Johnson, but she is known by her pen name...
Maya Angelou and she defied statistics by living into her 80s in the USA.
By Maya Angelou (More Maya Angelou)
When you see me sitting quietly,
Like a sack left on the shelf,
Don’t think I need your chattering.
I’m listening to myself.
Hold! Stop! Don’t pity me!
Hold! Stop your sympathy!
Understanding if you got it,
Otherwise I’ll do without it!
When my bones are stiff and aching,
And my feet won’t climb the stair,
I will only ask one favor:
Don’t bring me no rocking chair.
When you see me walking, stumbling,
Don’t study and get it wrong.
‘Cause tired don’t mean lazy
And every goodbye ain’t gone.
I’m the same person I was back then,
A little less hair, a little less chin,
A lot less lungs and much less wind.
But ain’t I lucky I can still breathe in.
Coming to the end of this week's missive with a song by a Texas band that many thought had "died" but who has risen again thankfully. They have a tongue-in-cheek song entitled: "Don't Let Me Die in Florida"
You'll discover why the "Dixie Chicks" are still one of the most vibrant American country western musical groups in the USA. Luckily they are touring soon with their new album "Gaslighter". When you listen to the song and see them on this video linked below go ahead and tap your feet and if you can, sing along...while you still have breath.
As another personal note-today, September 24 is my father's 89th birthday and as he says, he's "still above ground and standing" and he's still in Texas.
Keep healthy wherever you are...until next Tuesday,
RED TEAM THOSE RED FLAG LAWS
In general terms, "red teaming" just means trouble shooting any plan to determine any possible negative outcomes or consequences. In 'best practices' you do red teaming before you present a plan. You utilize the results of a thorough red teaming to refine and/or change your plan. A number of states already have "red flag laws" enacted as a means of gun control. Do they actually work? This week let's red team those new prospective Federal "Red Flag" laws people, politicians and pundits are talking about. What could possibly go wrong?!
For many American citizens the 2nd Amendment to the US constitution is a vital part of our American culture and a cornerstone to our other freedoms. As a reminder I have included the original text in an easy to read image inserted here. Please read and consider these words carefully and consciously. Notice it does not specify "all" people but rather "the people". In historical context this meant only citizens - who were only Caucasian (white) men and who owned property. This has changed significantly since it's ratification in 1791. American citizens now include both women and men, all races, creeds and backgrounds/economic status. See this short video for some verifiable statistics and reasons for carrying a weapon today-the title is: "I Carry A Gun" www.youtube.com/watch?v=1alljvP_org
American citizen's rights can be taken away because of criminal indictment, being reported as being a mental incompetent, mental defective, having a mental illness, voluntarily giving up one's American citizenship or through denaturalization - although rare - which is possible if an American citizen (for example) goes to fight for a foreign nation that is the enemy of the USA i.e. Daesh/ISIS/Taliban/Al Qaeda/Hezbollah/Hamas, FARC, etc.
Other than these specific situations or conditions, currently American citizens will retain all their constitutional rights as long as they reside in the USA for the duration of their adult lives. By the way September 17th is "Constitution Day" in the USA. Happy Constitution Day!- especially to those fortunate enough to be born and/or live as an American in the United States.
Red flag laws are a constitutional and legal labyrinth. As of 2019, seventeen states and the District of Columbia have enacted some form of "red flag" laws as gun control. Connecticut was the first state to pass legislation in 1999. Indiana was next in 2005 and the rest followed after 2014. Some states have 'Extreme Risk Protection Orders' (ERPO)-Oregon, Washington, Vermont and Maryland and others have Risk Protection of Gun Violence Warrants such as Florida and California.
Senator Kamala Harris from California who is running for President of the United States, even proposed a "domestic terrorist" legislation as a red flag law which would infringe on US citizens right to freedom of speech.
Matt Olsen, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center during the Obama administration, stated that "Senator Kamala Harris's proposed domestic terrorism prevention orders legislation should include a provision that a person cannot be deemed a domestic terrorist solely based on First Amendment-protected activity". It doesn't.
Kamala Harris runs on a platform which would not support the "right to bear arms" and would use executive orders to severely limit access to guns, require full registration, make personal selling of firearms (more than 5) illegal unless the individual is licensed and performs official background checks, all in addition to enacting red laws which would include the possibility of designation of an individual as a "domestic terrorist" based solely on political activities and social media or personal speech and not necessarily based on previous physical threats, violent acts or inciting others to violence. www.ontheissues.org/2020/Kamala_Harris_Gun_Control.htm
This is an extremely hostile approach to upholding the second amendment.
What could go wrong here?
'Guilty until proven innocent' is not supposed to be part of our American justice system, but these 'red flag' laws have turned due process upside down. Most red flag laws make provision for "anticipation of a danger to the person cited or to others" and if someone reports or petitions for an individual to be "red flagged" they have to prove they are not "dangerous" or a "domestic terrorist" and they will have their weapons collected and stored by law enforcement first....then they will have to appeal and go to court to have them returned. They will also be liable for any "fees" stipulated by the court or law enforcement, no matter if the call/petition against them proved to be invalid, harassment or false, even based on lies or slander.
In some states, the petitioner can make the request via phone. They don't even need to look the judge in the eye. Let's assume your ex or a disgruntled co -worker calls in, swears under oath (and no one has ever lied under oath, right?) that you are dangerous, crazy and might kill them. Because...what? You're supporting Trump and everyone knows that that's irresponsible and dangerous? (There are lots of activist judges.) Your house is searched and any weapons are seized and you may be arrested. Then you need to hire a lawyer and may possibly be held in jail.
Within 21 days, 90 days, 6 months or a year-you have your appeal hearing before the judge and the judge decides that you are not dangerous after all, and you can get your guns back. False alarm-misuse of the red flag law. What happens next?
You go to the police station where your guns have been stored and you're told that you have to pay the storage fee which is usually around $500/day for each day. In many states including California, the storage fee per day is even higher.
They took all your 5 guns, so that's $2,500/day.
For 21 days, you owe $52,500.
You don't have the money so, "Oh, so sorry, you cannot get your guns back...the $2,500/day is still accumulating, every day".
Technically you can retrieve your guns but effectively you are a victim of search and seizure. Your guns, your private assets have now been appropriated by the state.
See how these red flag laws can easily be misapplied?
Let's examine another example of how red flag laws can be manipulated against American citizens from actual case histories of military veterans. There have been a number of military veterans returning from overseas deployments where their neighbors call into local police and social welfare organizations that there is "suspicious behavior" by this individual they often do not know. There is no evidence needed for the phone call to be followed up.
The person calling in may have ulterior motives, a grudge or even be mentally unstable themselves. It doesn't matter. Once they report they see this individual as "dangerous to him/herself or others" that person is labelled and digitally, indelibly filed as a 302. This will probably disqualify them from certain jobs, holding a security clearance and will be on their medical and criminal records as being held as an involuntary patient. This is different from a 5150 which is less serious. A person on a 5150 can be held in the psychiatric hospital against their will for up to 72 hours. This does not mean that they will necessarily be held the entire 72 hours; it means that psychiatric hospitals have the legal right to do so if determined to be necessary.
An involuntary commitment, a 302 - is an application for emergency evaluation and treatment for persons who are a danger to themselves or others due to a mental illness. A person applying for the 302 because they are concerned about another is referred to as a petitioner. They do not have to be related to the person they are identifying as needing "emergency evaluation", nor do they have to be a qualified medical/health practitioner. A person with a 302 on their record will not be able to pass a background check for owning a firearm/weapon for the rest of their lives.
Moreover, under the previous (Obama) administration more restrictions were put on military veterans purchasing/owning firearms. When veterans registered to speak to someone at their nearest Veterans Affairs office for transition assistance into civilian life-they were often designated as "needy" and "defective"-incredible as this may seem it happened to tens of thousands of veterans. These veterans were already "red flagged" without knowing they were put on a list as "mentally defective" or "mentally incompetent" simply because they were asking for support.
"The VA suggests many of the veterans they deem “incompetent” and need financial assistance to manage their benefits, be categorized in the “mental defective” section. However, Grassley claims they fail to consider “whether a veteran is a danger to himself, herself, or others,” the federal standard for denying someone possession of a gun. He also noted the VA’s listings are too loose for the federal background check law’s standard." popularmilitary.com/veterans-unfairly-being-banned-from-owning-guns/
Did you know under the present system any federal agency can report people to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, (NCIS) but the VA's recommendations account for about 99 percent of the people who are listed in the mental defective category? thehill.com/regulation/administration/239012-doj-gun-ban-unfair-to-vets-republican-says
One terrible precedent is the case of US Marine Brandon Raub 26 years old. Brandon had served in both Iraq and Afghanistan from 2005-2011. Upon his return to the US in 2012, Brandon was forced from his home in his underwear and when he struggled with police to try and get his clothes on and ask why he was being arrested, he was cuffed and dragged to the police car which brought him to a psychiatric hospital. The Chesterfield, Virginia police told him the FBI and Secret Service were concerned he was mentally ill because of his facebook posts which said nothing more than constructive questioning and criticism of the Obama and other administrations. He did not have post traumatic stress. His mother and other family said he was fine, never violent, not a danger to himself or others. He did not own a gun. They do not know who initiated these actions against Brandon Raub. The FBI and Secret Service denied involvement. There have been other similar cases in other states since then.
John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, said the following:
"For government officials to not only arrest Brandon Raub for doing nothing more than exercising his First Amendment rights, but to actually force him to undergo psychological evaluations and detain him against his will goes against every constitutional principle this country was founded upon. This should be a wake-up call to Americans that the police state is here.
Whitehead stated that every year in Virginia more than 20,000 people are committed under similar circumstances and "that means a lot of people are disappearing" under the pretext of mental illness.
"I'm friends with the local police; I could call them right now and probably get you committed if you were in Virginia," Whitehead said. "They can arrive at your door based on somebody's testimony or your Facebook page and take you away to a mental hospital. There's a system here that is corrupt".
Yet when there have been individuals with a history of serious mental illness, repeated threats of suicide and harm to others, reported calls to local police with threats-these individuals were not even questioned by mental health authorities, police or the FBI and a few of them ended up being mass shooters in Texas, Florida, Ohio and California. There certainly are cases where it is legitimate to detain and evaluate someone due to cause. We already have systems in place for this in America-they are just under utilized or people are afraid of getting "involved" or doing their job diligently with follow on. We don't need more "red flag" laws - we need to enforce and utilize those already in place. We need competent court workers, social workers and mental health workers who do not let their own bias and agendas dictate their diagnoses.
The tactics and strategies against someone seen as 'dissenting' against the government is all too reminiscent of the Soviet gulags and mental hospitals used as prisons to silence any opposition to their regime. The Soviet hospitals used medications/drugs/electric shock to subdue their opponents. Brandon Raub was 302d because a police officer thought he needed more "evaluation" so he was forced to stay in a psych ward in a mental hospital and take medication for a further 30 days. One wonders if these were "beta tests" in the USA?! Can you see the potential for abuse of both the involuntary commitment to mental hospitals laws and the "red flag laws" nexus? Ever seen the movie "Minority Report"? A cautionary predictive programming film. I recommend you watch it soon.
Closing tonight with a song from the band Guns and Roses entitled: 'Welcome to the Jungle' a classic rock band and piece still relevant as we approach 2020.
Hell No - We Won't Give Our Guns to the Government - My Texas Ties Are Strong and Real Texans Will Never Stop Supporting and Fighting for Our Second Amendment! Remember to Keep Your Reactions Sharp. Shooting is a Perishable Skill.
Till next week,
This week public/state and private schools in the Northern hemisphere opened for their next academic year. While most pupils come from the cities and neighboring suburbs to school, there are also innovative and unique schools in rural communities, in Indigenous nations and in what are considered the low income areas of some of the largest cities in the northern hemisphere. This week I write about schools in three different English speaking countries: England, the USA and Canada. I highlight challenges they have in common in all three countries public school systems and then I present an example of successful "outlier" schools: one state, one tribal and one privately run school. They all have their student's long term interests as a priority combined with acknowledgement as well as respect for traditions and cultures of their parents and elders whose children attend their schools. For many in the field of education their systems and methods are "controversial" but these are schools who have proved their success by every measure including passing the state or national exams/testing, seeing their teachers remain engaged, their students naturally modelling high standards in and outside of school, and maintaining the integrity of their mission and principles. Plus, they all have outstanding and visionary leadership-a key component to continued progress.
The connection in schools all over our planet is children-the students/pupils-and teachers. All other aspects will vary depending on the country, community, funding level and type of national government. Let's consider the teachers first.
Teacher training has been degraded in many countries over the past two decades, along with the status of this profession. I have witnessed as part of my work as a teacher trainer, education adviser, mentor and education programs assessor the forced ideologies disguised as the "new pedagogy" which results in the dulling/dumbing down of both teachers and students. A constant denigration of full spectrum thinking in favor of rigid group think, lowering standards in the name of "equality and inclusiveness" and enforced political straitjacketing of language and movement are resulting in inhibited innovation, limited avenues for any freedom of expression, as well as little possibility of peer constructive criticism and healthy competition. Those most suited for a teaching career, who care for children, love learning and designing unique lessons for their classes-are the ones who are most disheartened by much of the current teacher training practices and certainly by the systems they are compelled to teach under in the current public/state school curriculum and administrative hierarchies. See my previous article linked here: www.jopatti.com/blog/indoctrination-vs-education
"It's not the kids that burn us out, it's not the school per say, it's the requirements set forth by our state legislature, and the lack of support financially and professionally," Wenning, who has been an educator for 18 years, said. "Requirements set forth by legislatures include changes to curriculum, staff and parent meetings, and state-wide testing." insider.com/teachers-are-seeing-their-colleagues-leave-at-an-alarming-rate-2018-11
The 'political correctness' (correct only according to a far left/liberal interpretation of the word) required of teachers at work, in their community, after hours on their personal media platforms, often squashes the enthusiasm, joy and motivation for teachers to continue. Teaching is considered a calling as well as a profession. One that offers little financial reward and often throttles personal satisfaction and creativity. Moreover the little support given by administration, school boards and even parents for maintaining safety and decorum in the schools and in classrooms, causes many young teachers to give up on their aspirations for dedicating their lives to this work. Did you know 'Teaching' used to be considered a "noble profession"?!
More than 40% of trained teachers in middle and high school in the USA, the UK and Canada do not even last five years in the teaching profession anymore. "Up to 50 percent of those who become teachers in the US quit within five years—a figure that has been widely shared. That was always a rough estimate, and this new figure uses national longitudinal data and is more accurate, the report says. Of course, given the ballooning of the teaching force, there are more beginners in the teaching force than before. Still, it's a high attrition rate. Teachers leave the profession at a higher rate than many other professionals, including police officers." blogs.edweek.org/edweek/teacherbeat/2018/10/today_teaching_force_richard_ingersoll.html
"In the UK the retention rates of early career teachers are also lower now than they were a few years ago. Around 87 per cent of teachers who enter teaching remained in the profession at the end of their first year, which is a figure that hasn’t changed since 2010, until this year when it decreased to 85 per cent. Worse still, the three-year retention rate has dropped from 80 per cent in 2011 to 73 per cent in 2017 and the five-year rate has dropped from 73 per cent in 2011 to 67 per cent in 2017. " www.nfer.ac.uk/news-events/nfer-blogs/latest-teacher-retention-statistics-paint-a-bleak-picture-for-teacher-supply-in-england/
In a recent Canadian study and survey published in The Voice of Canadian Teachers they reported, "Virtually all respondents indicated that “Work-related stress“, “Heavy workload”, “High expectations lack of support" "increasing demands on teachers” and “Student behaviour and discipline issues” are important factors in their decision to leave the profession in spite of the rewards of working with children and potentially making a significant impact and difference in their lives.
Unfortunately there has been minimal focus on the problems in our education system. The response to the continuing attrition rate and challenge in recruiting, training and retaining "good teachers" has been to cover up evidence of failure instead of following the successful models of countries like Finland, Singapore and Israel which have improved their teacher to student ratios (smaller classes) subsidized teacher training and professional development, elevated the professional status and salaries of teachers as well as raised national standards. North America and the UK have responded by cutting corners in most areas of the state education sector and in obscuring their decision making criteria. The teachers and children suffer as a result and many parents feel they have no recourse. If they can afford to, they will seek out private schools or if financially possible, home school their children; but the majority will continue to be pushed through the substandard public school system because they feel they have no other option.
"The way the teacher shortage is often being managed by state governments isn’t by offering to pay more; it’s by lowering teaching standards. Unsurprisingly, no state government that I’m aware of has honestly described how they’re handling the problem. Some even blame the teachers’ union. It’s a con job and if your child is being deprived of a good education by it, you should demand better." exclusive.multibriefs.com/content/why-schools-cant-hire-enough-good-teachers/education
There are examples of parents, elders and communities demanding "better education" adhering to their own culture, language and standards. One group pictured signing as an independent district with control over curriculum, teachers and administrators hired, and resources allocated within their jurisdiction, is the KTC Education authority started over twenty years ago and finally recognized and funded by the tribes and the Canadian Federal government after many years of persistence, hard work and lobbying by the Cree Nation.
“KTCEA was established to ensure that Loon River, Woodland Cree, Lubicon, Whitefish Lake and Peerless Trout First Nations students receive an education responsive to their unique needs by strengthening Nehiyawewin (Cree) [language and culture] in our schools; developing resources and courses that reflect diverse Indigenous and community perspectives; focusing on student retention, attendance, literacy, numeracy and improved teacher retention; and improving student well-being through nutrition and athletic programs,” said Loon River First Nation Chief Ivan Sawan." www.dailyheraldtribune.com/news/local-news/investing-in-first-nations-schools-ktcea-signs-education-agreement-with-feds-2
Another example of a successful school with a visionary founder and leader
who hires and promotes engaged, excellent teachers, raises standards and expects consistent appropriate behavior from her students; is the Michaela School in the Wembly Park district of London, England. The co-founder and Headmistress (Principal) is Ms. Katherine Moana Birbalsingh. Her school, founded in 2014 in what is reported as a "poor, underprivileged section of North London", has been characterized as "one of the strictest state schools in the UK. The school teaches a traditional “knowledge rich” curriculum and follows stringent routines. Students move between classes in silence and are often made to chant poetry during assemblies." However, no one can argue with the brilliant results her students achieve on national exams. inews.co.uk/news/education/britain-strictest-school-michaela-gcse-results/
There is a waiting list for children wanting to enroll in the Michaela school and educators, administrators, politicians and celebrities come from all over the world to see the Michaela school in action while borrowing and/or exchanging ideas and strategies. Ms. Birbalsingh has become a beacon of light, knowledge, generousity and hope for teachers, principals, curriculum designers, parents and policy makers in a number of nations. She tells the story of her career, ideas about education 'reform' and the process of founding the Michaela Community school(s) in this interview-well worth watching. This was filmed before the official results of the Michaela school on UK national exams FYI: www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXc46-NlOyw
Native American reservations still exist. In fact, they are still officially designated as "Prisoner of War (POW) Camp" by numbers in the USA. Pine Ridge reservation for those who know American history, is the location of the Wounded Knee Massacre and the home of the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribal members, descendants of numerous great leaders and warriors. Pine Ridge is POW Camp #334. You can search online for more details of the history of forced internment and deliberate deprivation in a thinly disguised policy of actual genocide by previous American governments. It is a stain and a human rights violation not remedied by the civil rights actions on behalf of Black Americans, disabled Americans or women. Sadly a race containing a combination of cultures, languages and traditions of the "Red man" was once 100% of the population of North America, but is now down to only 2%. The states with the highest percentage of Indigenous tribal members is Alaska, followed by Oklahoma, New Mexico and then South Dakota. The problems on reservations are well documented and here is one short story of one family on Pine Ridge: www.youtube.com/watch?v=dc94YDtSM1E
The Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota has tribal schools which were started privately during the time Barbara Means Adams (cousin to Russell Means), initiated the White Buffalo Calf Conference on Lakota education and supported efforts for traditionally oriented early childhood and kindergarten education on the reservation. One such school is the Lakota Waldorf school near three mile creek in Kyle.
The Waldorf school 'system' is more compatible with Lakota culture than US government schools. From it's inception in 1993 as just a kindergarten, it has grown to an elementary school. They intend to build up to a middle school soon. The Lakota Waldorf school exists only on grants and donations in kind, as well as in dollars (frog skins). There was a period of exchange between Europeans and Native Americans in the 1990s and a few Austrian, Swiss and Germans married Sioux tribal members living on the reservation with their children. As a result, some of them who knew the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner's work in education and Waldorf schools decided to consult with Lakota elders about creating a Waldorf school in the heart of the Pine Ridge reservation. They did so with only private funding/donations. This meant they could have flexibility for designing community specific curriculum and activities in the Lakota language. Many of their alumni volunteer to work at the school and credit their love of learning Lakota, routines, healthy habits and handcrafts from their time at the Lakota Waldorf school which for many of them is a place of refuge.
I had the privilege of volunteering for a few months at this school back in 1997, and I am happy to support a family foundation, the Denali Foundation's-specific gift which sends/donates art supplies to this school. The Lakota Waldorf school has their own website and a video about their school at this link: lakotawaldorfschool.org/2017-lakota-waldorf-school-video/
I am also writing about the Lakota Waldorf school this week to encourage you to donate whatever amount you can to their go fund me campaign to host their first Lakota Waldorf school pow wow. They are almost at their goal of only $2,000.00 Here is the link which has the details: www.gofundme.com/f/lakotawaldorfpowwow
With all the trillions, yes trillions of dollars in "education programs" in other countries our tax dollars are funneled to through USAID, the Department of State, the Department of Defense Civil Affairs and Provisional Reconstruction Teams, the Department of Agriculture projects as well as subcontractors and NGO programs even to countries which are openly advocating violence against the USA; it is a national disgrace and shame our own Native American schools and reservations still lack basic necessities, lack adequate infrastructure including heat, transport, supplies, and our American children lack enough food, shelter, medical care, adequate clothing, school supplies and opportunities for further education when foreigners are granted full scholarships and living allowances in the USA through "exchange programs", immigration subsidies and 'charity'.
Most of the 195 countries in the world have some form of public education for their young children, their next generation. We may take for granted that education is provided and that states, federal and even international organizations are committed to doing the best they can to raise the standards of achievement and the tools for children to learn, to be independent, to think on their own, to gain knowledge of a variety of subjects needed for life and to eventually teach others.
Like any important system whether in our own bodies, our families, our communities or our nations...we must be vigilant in maintaining and improving our education and educators. We need to hold those in positions of power over education policy, resources and personnel, accountable. We need to question any "new" ideologies which may be regressive in the results we see in our children, our grandchildren in our neighborhoods and representing our country. We need not accept slack teaching, slack attitudes, restrictions on our basic constitutional freedoms and disrespect as part of the "new normal". We need to back our schools only if our schools are producing the excellent results they are capable of no matter where they may be located. Others have done it, are doing it-there are no excuses anymore. We need to demand transparency from our school boards, legislators and politicians at the local, state and national level.
Closing today with a song from a popular film about a high school that was turned around from the lowest "performing school" with gang and discipline problems to a top performing school because of strong, adaptive, creative leadership and commitment. The film "Lean on Me" was based on a true story and the lead role was played by Morgan Freeman. The title song is sung during a school assembly and applauds the high standards which were presented as "cool" only one generation ...thirty years ago in 1989. Enjoy!
Until next Tuesday-drive carefully and be alert...schools are back in session,
The world is watching Hong Kong and China with keen eyes. In a situation similar to David and Goliath from the old testament, the smaller nation must face off against the mightier or be consumed into the giant social machine of Communist China. Hong Kong has worked long and hard to maintain it's capitalism and her freedom. The stakes are high for each country not to be seen as 'backing down'. Saving face carries a different significance in the East than in the West.
For a number of reasons, it is often those in the scientific as well as in the arts and religious fields of work who first feel the creep of totalitarianism in it's two extreme forms-Fascism and Communism. Once a totalitarian type government starts to take hold, those in education will feel it's vice grip-next. Unless you are an avid student of history you may not know that the word "fascism" was originally used not by Hitler or Franco, but by Benito Mussolini in 1919. What people associate with Fascism now, is really the Hitlerism which heinously added the "master race" ideology, the SS units, the Jewish race law, and they called themselves the Nationalist Socialist party. Mussolini's 'fascisti' pre-dated Hitlerism and the Nazis.
Benito Mussolini coined the term “fascism” in 1919 to describe his political movement, the black-shirted members (Camicie Nere) the Fasci di combattimento - “combat groups”, who seized power in Italy in 1922. Mussolini’s party adopted the fasces, a bundle of rods with an ax among them, as a symbol of the Italian people united and obedient to the single authority of the state. They became known as the "Fascisti" and they were feared for their ruthlessness and brutality.
"The first squads—each of which was called Squadre d’Azione (“Action Squad”)—were organized in March 1919 to destroy the political and economic organizations of socialists. By the end of 1920, the Blackshirts were attacking and destroying the organizations not only of socialists but also of communists, republicans, Catholics, trade unionists, and those in cooperatives. Hundreds of people were killed as the Fascist squads expanded in number. A Fascist convention in Naples on October 24, 1922, provided the pretext for the concentration of armed Blackshirts from all over the country for the famous March on Rome that put Mussolini into power." www.britannica.com/topic/Blackshirt When Mussolini appealed to Italian history hearkening back to the Roman empire he created a flag for his "New Roman Empire". Soon the same tactics the Nazis employed, Mussolini adopted and used against all the same groups of people: Jews, Roma and political dissidents, in Italy.
Two months after Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor, the German government issued the Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeamtentums—the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service. "The 7 April 1933 law ordered that those in government positions who had at least one Jewish grandparent or were political opponents of the Nazi Party be immediately dismissed. Thousands of people lost their jobs as teachers, judges, police officers—and academics at the country’s top universities were arrested, fled or disappeared. (see photo above of German scientists subject to the 'Professional Civil Service 1933 Act)
The names in the physics section of Berlin universities in the1930s read like a who’s who of early 20th-century physics:
Hans Bethe, Felix Bloch, Max Born, Albert Einstein, James Franck, Otto Frisch, Fritz London, Lise Meitner, Erwin Schrödinger, Otto Stern, Leo Szilard, Edward Teller, Victor Weisskopf, Eugene Wigner. Three of them—Einstein, Franck, and Schrödinger—were already physics Nobel laureates; five more would eventually receive the prize. A 2016 study found that the 15% of physicists who were dismissed from German universities accounted for 64% of all German physics citations."
1926: Dr. Orisino Mario Corbino, a physicist and also a member of Mussolini's government, appointed Dr. Enrico Fermi-physicist-to choose a team to work on advancing nuclear physics. Fermi assembled his team in Rome in 1928. Enrico Fermi invited my paternal grandmother, Gertrude Inez Ziniti Patti, (born in Harlem, New York city in 1903 of Sicilian, Italian and Sardinian ancestry) who was pursuing her PhD in nuclear physics, to be the only woman on his team. My grandmother had the gift of having a photographic memory and innovative thinking in addition to her skills in mathematics and science.
Enrico Fermi's wife was Jewish but she converted to Catholicism. However under the Italian "race laws" she and their children would be subject to arrest. The entire Fermi physicists team was anti-fascisti. By 1933 it became clear they were all under scrutiny.
My grandfather, Giovanni (John) Patti who had been part of the Diplomatic police force, then went on to get his law degree in Rome-was also anti fascisti. He was arrested, interrogated by a "squad" of the Camicie Nere (Blackshirts) and sent home to die in 1934. The death certificate initially stated the cause of death as 'heart attack' then it was changed to 'pneumonia' but he died of whatever happened to him under interrogation by the Blackshirts. My grandmother reported to all the family that her husband had died of 'pneumonia'. He was 29 years old.
My grandmother was supposed to continue work on Fermi's team as a single mother with two small children under 7 years old. She asked permission to bury her husband (who was also her cousin) in Sicily to be with family and after, return to Rome. But while in Sicily her family helped secure passage on a ship with her two children (my father and aunt) to New York. When my grandmother did not return to work in Rome her family in Sicily were found, harassed and suffered reprisals. They knew the Blackshirts would come but they also knew it was vital to provide safe passage for my grandmother and her children. The Italo-Ethiopian war started in 1935, then came the formal alliance with Germany and Japan in the Axis powers. World War II was underway in Europe by 1939.
The only job my grandmother could get upon return to the USA was teaching public high school in Brooklyn. At first she taught languages (Italian, French and Latin) and finally they hired her to teach science as well. She told me she loved teaching. A few years later she married a Sicilian/American man who was also a teacher. Together they also created an import jewelry business using materials and designs from Sicily. He adopted my father and aunt, bestowed his family name of "Munisteri" upon them, and was the only grandfather I ever knew. My grandparents were wonderfully supportive, guiding and loving human beings. They were full of energy, curiosity and joy despite the fact both had endured incredible hardship and tragedy in their lives. Over the decades they taught and guided thousands of high school students. They were staunch believers in American democracy and staunchly anti-communist and anti-fascist, wary of fascism in any form.
My grandmother told me when I was 10 years old, the "true story" of what happened to her first husband, her great love-my grandfather John (Giovanni). She impressed upon me that I must never tell "the children" meaning my father and my aunt. She felt she had to lie and protect them but she also felt terrible the real tragedy of his death could not be uttered aloud. She was very considerate of my grandpa Peter Pino Munisteri and didn't want "to hurt his feelings" by dwelling on what was past. She had me repeat the story to her again when I returned to New York from Texas as an adult. I was in my twenties then as we walked around a long Brooklyn block. She said to me, "Do you know how deep the sorrow is to have someone you love so much with you....and then he is gone?!" Oh, how we both wept together as we walked side by side that day.
My grandmother also counselled me that whatever life presents to you on your path, be sure to look where you are going and look ahead. If you must adapt, you must adapt. My grandmother had to change her career plans, aspirations and country. Her own mother had to do the same. Her mother's sister Laura Patti, was widowed with five children and a farm to run. My two great aunts, her sisters; also had their own careers, businesses and great sorrow with their children dying young before them, serious illness and divorce. However, the moral of her cataloging our family history was...you must persevere as well as keep to your convictions and become competent. "Do what is right because it is the right thing to do." This is one of our family maxims often repeated by my father. My father used to make sure my daughter knew it, as well as his personal favorite... 'never trust the government'.
Until today I kept my grandmother's secret although in some respects I regret I did since when my father (her son) wrote his autobiography, "Born in Rome" he included the 'cover story' of his father's death as that was the only story he had grown up with and believed. At his book launch in Houston last year, I sat squirming inwardly as he read his opening chapter and spoke about his father and his father's death. "He still doesn't know the truth," I thought but I kept silent.
My father Joseph George (Patti) Munisteri also had a natural ability and love for math and physics. He went on to graduate from Brooklyn Technical high school and Yale university gaining a Bachelor of Engineering. One of his specialties in his long career has been nuclear energy. He served on the President's Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979, and as a consultant for design and safety for other nuclear power projects in the world. He was not afraid to trouble shoot and criticize projects and systems. "Commenting on deficiencies found in the design of nuclear equipment, the training of operators and the procedures they follow, the commission said that an accident like Three Mile Island was eventually inevitable.”
https://www.nytimes.com/1979/10/31/archives/atomic-panel-finds-no-sure-way-to-bar-reactor-accidents-report-to.html? Joseph G. Munisteri holds a number of patents on inventions in hydraulic processes and hydrocarbon extraction. He still works part time.
My grandmother died in 1988 a few months after her only great grandson, my son Denali was born. I envision they are happily altogether now along with her other son, my uncle Arthur Angelo Munisteri and my aunt Lauradele Patti Munisteri Smith and all the other 'family' who have crossed the threshold of this life on earth including her colleague and friend, Enrico Fermi.
Dr. Enrico Fermi and his family escaped to America right after he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1938. Fermi went on to work on many important scientific projects including the architecture of the "atomic bomb". He taught in universities and died in 1954 of stomach cancer leaving his wife and two children to continue on as citizens of the United States. His wife, Laura, became an author and activist. One of her books is entitled: Illustrious Immigrants about, "men and women who came to America from 1930-1941, with their PhD's from universities and diplomas from art academies or music conservatories in their pockets, and who continued to engage in intellectual pursuits in this country." Laura Fermi died in 1977. Their two children Nella and Guilio died before the year 2000. www.geni.com/people/Laura-Capon-Fermi/6000000001482606710
A number of "illustrious immigrants", including physicists, have come to the United States to study and pursue their academic and personal freedom. This time they come from further east...from Communist China. With the advent of sophisticated surveillance technology and online tracking, these immigrants have to be alert to the reprisals and repercussions not only to themselves, but also on the family members they had to leave behind. One courageous physicist and legal US immigrant, is Dr. Yangyang Cheng. Her bio from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists states:
"Dr. Yangyang Cheng is a postdoctoral research associate at Cornell University. A member of the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), she designs next generation silicon tracking detectors and searches for dark matter. Dr. Cheng received her PhD in physics from the University of Chicago in 2015, and her Bachelor of Science from the University of Science and Technology of China’s School for the Gifted Young. Her writings have appeared in Foreign Policy, MIT Technology Review, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Teen Vogue, ChinaFile, and other publications. She contributes to New America’s DigiChina initiative, and has been interviewed by the New York Times, WBEZ Chicago Public Radio, South China Morning Post, spektrum.de (the German edition of Scientific American) among many other media outlets." Dr. Cheng also writes unflinchingly about China, policies of the Chinese communist government and unethical practices conducted by Chinese scientists/doctors/companies and labs.
As she wrote in one of her most recent articles: "Over the past several years, the Party, aided by new technology, has tightened its grip on all aspects of Chinese society. It is one among many examples of rising ethno-authoritarianism across the globe, but arguably the most consequential." supchina.com/2019/08/28/freedom-in-dissent/
Dr. Cheng writes coherently and gracefully in her adopted language of English. Not only is she a physicist and philosopher but she has the heart and sensibility of a poet. This weaves and breathes through her writing. Dr. Cheng writes in the public domain for a general audience and her articles are reachable on many levels. I hope to be reading more of her writing and trust she finds new support and community in the USA. Moreover, Dr. Yangyang Cheng is an LHC Physics Center Distinguished Researcher at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, which is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. The Fermi Laboratory is named after Italian/American physicist Dr. Enrico Fermi.
After my own article on China was published last week, entitled: "Controlling Cognitive Domains" smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/controlling-cognitive-domains
I received a few new readers and comments concerning my viewpoint on the Chinese government's intentions. Some people wondered how I could write about China..."never having been there"...oh, but I have...and just recently. Although I was fortunate enough to be up in the Yun Tai Shan (mts.) doing Shaolin training and not in sprawling Chinese cities, I personally witnessed the creep of 'techno authoritarianism" in the form of surveillance and the implementation of their 'social credit system' over only five months. More on this in my next non-fiction book, "Getting to Yun Tai Mountain".
Somehow, it is the political activists, writers, members of the military and often those in the education fields and/or 'the working class' who are remembered and publicized for their courage against repressive regimes. People are ignorant of the numerous women and men who have vigilantly battled in the fields of ideas, of medicine, of science and the arts trying to open the eyes and ears of their fellow citizens. For example, In the 20th century a group of German doctors and medical students formed "The White Rose". They were all executed (but one) for their valiant courage against the rise of the fascist Nazis. I wrote in more detail about them in my post from Christmas Day 2018, while I was in Henan, China. Here is the link: www.jopatti.com/blog/remaining-resolute
This week I will close with quotes from Dr. Cheng: One of her last sentences is heavy with self recrimination and sorrow:
"In an unfree world, to live freely is the loneliest, most selfish act."
"But freedom is not a gift; it is not found or bestowed. Freedom is a state of mind, a means of existence. Being free is the lightest of feelings, and defending it can be the heaviest of burdens."
Dr. Yang mentioned how much she liked the Hong Kong band "Beyond" so I will include a link to the band singing "Boundless Ocean, Vast Sky" which over 100,000 demonstrators in Hong Kong last week sang in Cantonese as they lit up their cellphones on Lion Rock and beyond to a chorus of these lyrics:
“Forgive me for being wild all my life, loving freedom without restraint
I too fear that I’ll fall.
Anyone can give up on their dreams,
But I’ll stick to mine
Even on the day when it’s just you and me.
Remain vigilant! Until next Tuesday and always...seek the truth and resist tyranny in any form,
One last significant quote from Dr. Enrico Fermi just after the first tests of the "Atomic Bomb" were successful:
"The fact that no limits exist to the destructiveness of this weapon [the “Super”, i.e. the hydrogen bomb] makes its very existence and the knowledge of its construction a danger to humanity as a whole. It is necessarily an evil thing considered in any light. For these reasons, we believe it important for the President of the United States to tell the American public and the world what we think is wrong on fundamental ethical principles to initiate the development of such a weapon."
Dr. Enrico Fermi
Enrico Fermi and I.I. Rabi, 'Minority Report of the General Advisory Committee', United States Atomic Energy Commission: In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer: Transcript of Hearing before Personnel Security Board, Washington, D.C. April 12th 1954—May 6th 1954 (1954), 79-80