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Conservative movement not in as bad a shape as before.

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Two of my colleagues wrote similar pieces expressing concern and even distress about the conservative movement. Don McCullen penned a piece The conservative intellectual movement is on life support and in decline and Irina Tsukerman wrote Conservatives are lagging behind in recruiting young talent. Here’s how to fix that. At NOQ, we are not an echo chamber. Just ask each of us about Trump and you’ll likely get different answers from each of us. We are allowed to have a friendly back and fourth. In my youthful perspective, I disagree with them. However much I disagree, I still recognize our common goal is to advances a limited government conservative cause. My main disagreement is that while things are not great, they are better than in years past. And while substantial improvements can still be made, we should move forward with optimism not alarmism.

Much of McCullen’s piece is derived from polls and statistical data. This data is good to have, but also misleading. How many elections have we noticed polling was far from accurate. Polling didn’t predict Brexit or Trump. Beyond 2016, polling has been wrong on numerous occasions. Point being, if we can’t rely on polls for elections why should we rely on them for public opinion. The methodology of polling is likely too outdated. Moving forward:

We truly took conservativism for granted, and yet collectively we can’t explain it. It seems that so-called liberalism is on the rise according to a recent Gallup poll.

Consider this:

Tell me, would you genuinely believe in the faith of the 1/3 Christians who are pro-abortion? I wouldn’t. And I know many Christians are the same way. Now since, people identify as Christian, even a specific denomination, but aren’t actually Christian in their beliefs, can the same practice be done with political ideology? People identifying as conservative but not actually being one? We certainly see that all the time in Congress. Polling doesn’t show quality, only quantity, and in recent years, conservatives have been honing in on quality. This is an improvement. However the danger is there also. I agree that the Democratic machine is rising:

The Democrats at least are advancing a progressive agenda, and those who call themselves progressives are registered with the Democratic Party. The committed progressive does indeed have a home with the Democrats.

There are two reasons the Democratic Party is growing: the mass immigration since the immigration reform spearheaded by Ted Kennedy in the mid-1960’s, and our educational institutions.

But the fun fact about this is that while Democrats may be growing their numbers, they are likely growing their numbers in their own strongholds, urban areas. So in regards to the House and Electoral College, these advances are limited in their effectiveness… for now. If Conservatives are smaller, we’re likely stronger. But even if smaller, Conservatism is making waves.

The point about education is wholly accurate. Leftist are pushing propaganda in schools. The focus on multiculturalism teaches kids to believe every culture is equal, when in reality, this is not true. Education plays a big role, but millennials are realizing how flawed the system is and how little preparation it gives students for the real world. To put it simply, Democrats are producing weak thinkers. They are going to reap what they sow and it gives conservatism leverage for now and the future. But until then they have a growing movement of socialist. The best way to combat this is real world experiences and intellectualism.

There weakened thinkers and elitism is paying dividends to the point where “This is why Trump won” is a memeworthy motto and leftist Hollywood is suffering.

The Dark Age of Conservatism

There was a time when conservatism was weak and that was while a Republican was in the Oval Office. During the Bush years, conservatives made few achievements. Sure Partial Birth Abortion was outlawed but we got lousy judges in the Supreme Court and other Federal courts. It was during these years where we took conservatism for granted. Therefore in 2008 the only “conservative” opposing the liberal RINO John McCain was Mike Huckabee. Real strong candidate guys… The third place contender was Mitt Romney who, I guess, is slightly right of McCain. Either way what a field of losers in the most accurate sense of the word.

Obama’s victory was a wake-up call to conservatism and conservatives. The Bush years were the low point for conservatism. We are in better shape now than those years. We have better thinkers now and stronger conservatives.

Young Talent

In formal settings, conservatives are indeed lacking in recruiting young talent. But the talent is there, and there is no shortage of it on social media or rising publications. Where I disagree with Tsukerman is the impression she has of young conservatives.

At best, many young conservatives who undergo any sort of training strive to imitate the failing Hannity, Limbaugh, and other conservative models, who have been good at riling up anger, not so great on promoting internal diversity of ideas and the break out from comfort zones and groupthink within the conservative movement.

Perhaps I don’t see these types on social media and think of them as young. As a young conservative, I don’t find this accurate in my own self examination. The young conservatives I see on twitter more resemble Ben Shapiro, Steven Crowder, and Matt Walsh.

Colleges have moved so far left that it has created a rebellious counter-culture just as Tsukerman suggests:

To some extent, the left-wing extremist attitudes on campus are creating a counterreaction. Conservative-leaning college students, in response to pressure, tend to vote more Republican. This represents a perfect opportunity for identifying, recruiting, and training promising future thinkers and doers. Yet conservatives as a whole are failing in this endeavor.

See this is where I agree and disagree. This counter-culture is a prime opportunity to advance conservatism. However, I question whether colleges or even high schools are the most effective avenue for the movement. Many colleges are liberal arts colleges that conservative leaning students are less likely to go to anyway. Other colleges are commuter schools. Perhaps the avenue for capitalizing off of the counter-culture is the internet. The public is tiring of being called racist misogynists by entertainers and educators. They are seeking entertainment and education in other places. This counter-culture has led to many conservative intellectual content creators thriving. Prager U has over a billion views. Ben Shapiro is one of the country’s most popular podcasts. The rise of conservative content creators may be more efficient than an on every campus approach. If conservatives choose to be organized on campus, more power to them. However, I am not yet convinced to say that this should be the focus.

Moving Forward

Even if new faces aren’t emerging to “pundit” status, the next generation of conservatives is being cultivated by better minds than the previous radio and Fox News anchors. Because of this we should move forward with optimism. And perhaps these minds will answer a call to action. And when they do we should give them a larger platform. I am likely the youngest writer here, 22. I continually seek ways to advance small government Conservatism and landed myself here at NOQ Report. Perhaps this is a next step for you. If it is, I invite you to join NOQ Report.

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Democrats

Educational Malpractice, Pt 2: Failure of identity politics on display

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“What a snake pit.” Those were the words of one teacher, commenting on Twitter in response to my February 6th article (detailing the malfeasance uncovered after a local principle blew the whistle in a fiery letter released to the public), to describe the Shelby County Schools system (SCS).

Another person commented, “I would wager there are more instances of this sort of behavior going on across the country in similarly-positioned school systems.”

Neither comment brought me any joy, but I suspect both are correct.

For this, I continue in my examination into my local school system, an examination of issues which are often diluted in reports published by our compliant, local press. Perhaps removing the veil can bring positive change to other school systems.

What hasn’t been said in the press, I intend to say.

The Death of a Successful School System

Shelby County Schools, headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, has not always been embroiled in scandal and failure. In fact, Shelby County Schools has a record of proven success, earning high ratings year after year.

That all ended, just 5 years ago, with the largest school system consolidation in American history: the Memphis City Schools (MCS) system was completely dissolved and then merged with the Shelby County Schools (SCS) system.

Historical Corruption and White Flight

In Memphis, history repeats itself: politicians who have been convicted of criminal corruption are routinely re-elected.

Take Rickey Peete, for example. Beginning in the 1980’s, Rickey Peete served on the Memphis City Schools Board, and was then elected to the Memphis City Council.

  • In 1989, Peete was convicted of taking bribes and extortion, and served a 2 ½ year prison sentence.
  • In 1995, Rickey Peete was again elected to the Memphis City Council, and was later re-elected 2 more times!
  • In 2007, Peete was, once again, convicted for extortion and accepting bribes, earning himself a 4-year prison sentence. “He and fellow council member Edmund Ford were charged in late 2006 with taking bribes from former County Commissioner Joe Cooper, who was recording their conversations for the FBI,” (Memphis Flyer).

Then there are the Fords; a family of politicians that could be described as a criminal enterprise. And, lest we forget, the FBI’s Operation Tennessee Waltz offers a sobering reminder of the corruption that has haunted the area.

Thus, plagued by decades of political woes and poor policies, more and more people moved out of Memphis – often incurring debt in order to do so – and into the surrounding cities hoping to escape the rising crime rates and the downward decent in quality and safety of the city’s troubled schools.

Although the areas of Shelby County which are outside of the City of Memphis are just slightly over 50% white, the departure of city residents away from Memphis is pejoratively called “white flight.”

The Funding Structure  –

All county residents’ county-wide property taxes were divided between the Memphis City Schools and the Shelby County Schools based on the number of students. This structure allocated more funds to the City of Memphis since the city’s schools had a higher number of students than the county’s school system.

The Memphis City Schools operated as a special school district. Residents of Memphis paid additional property taxes that were allocated to the city’s schools. As such, Memphis City Schools operated with a larger budget; funded by county and city residents, allowing for significantly higher per-student spending than that of Shelby County Schools.

In addition to various special programs, Memphis City Schools students’ athletics were publicly funded, while Shelby County students’ athletics were funded entirely by their parents.

Yet, Memphis City Schools were constantly facing funding difficulties, and threatening to dissolve the school system entirely became a norm.

In an act of desperation, hoping to keep the crooked fingers of Memphis corruption from taking over the county’s high-functioning, successful school district, the Shelby County Schools board began exploring legal ways of obtaining special district status for the county system, the same special district status that Memphis City Schools enjoyed.

A Hostile Takeover

By 2010, due to mismanagement and corruption, the City of Memphis had defaulted on tens of millions of dollars designated for the city’s schools. In a rushed vote brought on by funding woes and by the efforts of SCS to obtain special district status, the MCS school board hastily threw in the towel, voting to dissolve the charter of Memphis City Schools altogether.

A referendum vote was then scheduled for Memphis residents to approve the council’s choice for system dissolution. County residents did not have any voice in what was to happen to their school system should MCS merge into it.

If the referendum passed, Memphis representatives, based on population, would then secure the majority of SCS school board seats.

It passed, and the Memphis City Schools system officially ceased to exist.

Those Rich, Racist Bastards!

Leading up to the referendum vote, “journalists” and education “advocates” and politicians repeatedly put forth the premise that education in Shelby County was unequal, despite the higher public spending per pupil and the public funding of various support programs in Memphis City schools which would disappear should the city schools be dissolved.

The residents of the suburbs and of unincorporated Shelby County were labeled racists and their genuine concern for their children was painted as an attempt to maintain boundaries of segregation. County residents were framed as rich white people who hate black people and who are inexcusably greedy, selfishly hoarding their riches in hopes of keeping black children in poverty.

In the county schools, technology such as Promethean Boards and learning programs such as Accelerated reader were entirely funded by parents. This technology was absent from Memphis City Schools. The stark contrast in parental involvement the positive effects of high levels of parental involvement on student achievement was brushed aside, as if invalid.

With complete disregard for the studies highlighting the negative effects of system mergers on students, especially low-income minority students, the “advocates” persisted.

The gross failures of the Memphis City Schools system which had persisted because of systemic corruption, a climate of mediocrity, and vast ineptitude was simply re-framed as “separate and unequal education.” 

City residents swallowed this racist, classist, shamefully dishonest ploy hook, line, and sinker.

Memphis City Schools system officially merged into Shelby County Schools in 2013; representatives from Memphis secured majority rule of the SCS board, effecting every single public school-attending child in the county.

Shelby County Schools became the largest school system in the country.

Curiously, and reeking of Memphis politics, the attorney representing the Memphis City Schools during the years-long merger process then became the superintendent for the new, unified Shelby County Schools system.

The Results

Predictably, the endemic dysfunction that characterized Memphis City Schools now characterizes the Shelby County Schools system. The same failing schools are still failing. The same inept leadership keeps on leading.

Even rumors of school board corruption still persist.

The worst result, which was completely predictable I must add, was the phenomenon of once high-performing schools across the county subsequently dropping precipitously in quality.

For example, what was once a top-performing elementary school around the corner from my house is now a level 1 school (at the bottom of the rankings).

The problems that plagued Memphis City Schools were never addressed.

 It was far easier to feign virtuous, employing the abhorrent politics of identity, than it was to seek genuine solutions. So, it should be absolutely no surprise that the results have been, in a nutshell, the spread of failure.

Thankfully, for at least some of Shelby County’s children, the story doesn’t end here. There was a great divorce that took place, benefitting thousands of students.

Yet, it is because of this “divorce” that the residents of Shelby County are once again being plastered as racists and classists, rich whites, on a national scale; and residents have become the target of well-funded, Marxist proponents of the “sustainability” movement.

This, I will discuss in Part 3 (the final part).

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Guns and Crime

Gun reform that will actually work

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In the wake of the horrific high school shooting in Parkland, Florida on Thursday, Leftists took to their usual diatribes — they called the NRA a terrorist group, Jimmy Kimmel cried on live television (again), and mainstream news organizations touted misleading if not outright false statistics. All of the above pleaded for yet-unspecified “comprehensive” or “common sense” gun reform.

Through it all, I repeatedly asked vocally adamant gun control supporters, “What is your plan? What law would have prevented this from happening?” Many conservative leaders did the same. Still, no one on the Left seemed capable of providing a coherent answer, short of a full-on gun confiscation and/or ignorance of laws that are already in place, such as a ban on machine guns (which weren’t even used in this shooting).

Pointing this out won’t stop Lefties, obviously, but my intent with this article is not to continue debating what hasn’t, can’t, or won’t work when it comes to gun control, nor to debunk recurring arguments and statistics. That’s an important task, but for right now, I’ll leave it to the likes of Steven CrowderBen Shapiro, and Matt Christiansen.

My goal here is to defy perhaps the most frequent accusation pointed at conservatives during any gun debate, which is that we aren’t willing to discuss how to stop this kind of thing from happening again. And I’m not talking about preaching the gospel or inspiring a deeper respect for life — I mean genuine legislation.

Here are four measures that will actually make an impact in preventing mass shootings:

1) Repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990

According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, over 98% of mass shootings in America from 1950 to 2016 occurred in gun-free zones. It should be common sense to understand that criminals target the weak, vulnerable, and unprotected — such as groups that are guaranteed to be unarmed.

This 1990 legislation was introduced by none other than former-Vice President Joe Biden and signed into law by Bush Sr., prohibiting the presence of firearms within 1000 feet of public, private, and parochial elementary and high schools.

Some locations might be gun free de facto rather than de jure, such as churches, where it is not prohibited by law but not necessarily common practice to carry a gun, but the unknown always goes in favor of the potential victims. In a room where a shooter has one firearm and the crowd has zero, you do the math.

The way to prevent shootings is to put more guns in the hands of good guys than in the hands of bad guys. In order to discourage mass shootings, killers need to fear the possibility of getting caught on the other end of a barrel.

This is not to say that teachers should necessarily be required to carry weapons, but those who are trained and feel inclined to take that precaution should be welcome to do so in order to protect their students and colleagues — a proposal which 81% of police officers favor, as provided by USA Today.

2) Place armed security at all public schools

Most federal buildings feature an armed guard of some kind, and many have additional security measures such as metal detectors. So why are our children left unprotected on public (meaning federally operated) school grounds? As Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh contends, there is no sensible argument for abandoning our children to such a clear threat.

Some have argued that the presence of police officers or guns might traumatize young children, but do you know what’s even more traumatizing? Watching your friends get slaughtered by a homicidal maniac with a psychotic vendetta.

The Parkland shooter was previously expelled from the school and prohibited from carrying a backpack on campus, yet somehow that ban didn’t work, as the shooter mosied onto an unsecured campus with a backpack toting a rifle and ammunition — after all, who was going to stop him?

3) Reform the mental health system

Not all people who suffer from mental illness are violent — not by a long shot. Nor are all murders committed by the mentally ill. But the fact is that mass shootings account for a miniscule percentage of total gun homicides in the U.S., and many if not most mass shootings are executed by mentally unstable individuals.

Our country needs to reform its mental health system and consider increasing the amount of people who are institutionalized in mental health facilities.

Ironically, the same groups calling for common sense gun reform immediately backstep when mental illness is brought into the conversation, obfuscating relevant data on two fronts: firstly by falsely claiming that this will lead to a witch hunt of anyone with depression or anxiety, which is simply not true — we’re talking about those who present a danger to themselves or others — and secondly by conflating all gun killings with just mass murder, which is defined by wholly different parameters.

The Atlantic ran the latter kind of piece in October 2017 following the Las Vegas shooting, which cited a statistic that fewer than 5% of gun homicides are committed by a person with a previously diagnosed mental illness. That could very well be true, but it’s beside the point, first marginally because this doesn’t account for undiagnosed illness, but primarily due to the fact that mass shootings only account for 2 or 3% of gun murders anyway, so we’re talking about a completely different set of facts. In the same article, The Atlantic tries to play off a statistic from 2001 and another from 2016 that peg the rate of mass shooters with mental illness closer to one in four, or 25%. By their own admission, if we reform involuntary commitment laws to allow for easier institutionalization of the severely ill, then we can immediately cut down on mass shootings by a quarter.

One might call that statistically significant.

On The Rubin Report, Ben Shapiro links the rise in mass shootings to the large-scale emptying of mental facilities in the 1960s and 70s, leading to an upsurgence in homelessness, violent crime, and, yes, mass shootings, because even if only 25% of mass shooters are previously known to have been mentally ill (this coming from the same folks who claim we’ve had eighteen school shootings this year when the answer is closer to four), every single one of the viral shootings in recent memory, if it wasn’t committed by a terrorist, was brought about by someone who is mentally ill, from Parkland, to Sutherland Springs, to Las Vegas, and so on.

And for those squawking about Trump weakening prohibitions on the mentally ill buying guns, this is a lie. He repealed an unconstitutional gun ban on senior citizens who needed help documenting their Social Security finances, which is a far cry from violent schizophrenia. The ACLU, not known for its conservatism, supported Trump on this action.

4) Audit the Fed(eral Bureau of Investigation)

This issue is far more pressing than anything related to the Federal Reserve.

As reported by CNN, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered a review into the FBI’s process for handling tips following its admitted failure to properly address notification given in early January of a potential threat from the Parkland shooter.

According to the FBI’s statement, the tipster informed them about “[the shooter’s] gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting,” yet “no further investigation was conducted at that time.”

This kind of negligence certainly ought to raise eyebrows, and Florida Governor Rick Scott has called for Christopher Wray, the FBI director, to step down.

Now, in fairness, how many credible tips does the FBI receive on a regular basis? Probably a lot. How many of those threats does it successfully neutralize? Probably a lot.

But as Stephen Gutowski of The Washington Free Beacon tweeted on Friday, this is the fourth mass shooting in recent years where “the FBI was informed of significant warning signs beforehand.” Gutowski doesn’t mention, by the way, the federal oversight on the Sutherland Springs shooter, whose dishonorable history of military service should have disqualified him from gun ownership during his background check.

In addition to the tip itself, the shooter also gave off red flags by way of social media comments that he wanted to become a professional school shooter and take vengeance against police, as well as 39 home responses from police in only seven years.

Tack on growing suspicion of the FBI’s integrity in the handling of recent investigations, and at the very least, we ought to support Sessions’s decision to figure out what’s going on in the Justice Department.

No legislative action will ever fully solve this problem, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t find reasonable improvements while still respecting natural and constitutional rights. But we’ll never move forward if all we can resort to is virtue signalling and name-calling on Twitter.

If you want gun reform and you don’t like my ideas, then tell me your plan — just know I’m giving up hope that anyone on the Left really wants to have that conversation.

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards. Follow him and The New Guards on Twitter, and check out The New Guards on Facebook.

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Culture and Religion

Media: Please stop bringing Fame to mass murderers with the Gratuitous use of their Names and Imagery.

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It is time that we stop glamorising killers with unnecessary media fanfare    #NoFame4Killers

Saying that the Socialist-Left wants a certain level of violence to push gun control will always result in a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth. Still, it’s hard to shake that conclusion when it comes to the idea of refusing to bring fame to mass murderers. Studies have shown that these killers inspire others to copy their horrid acts, so it’s only logical that cutting down their media exposure would help alleviate the problem.

Proving the point is the report in the Miami Herald that: There have been threats of violence at 12 U.S. schools, at least, since Fla. Shooting, Including an arrest of a high school student who threatened ‘Round 2’ of Florida Shooting as reported at Tme.com

Consider a 2015 study from researchers at Arizona State University and Northeastern Illinois University reported in the PLOS journal, concluding that:

We find significant evidence that mass killings involving firearms are incented by similar events in the immediate past. On average, this temporary increase in probability lasts 13 days, and each incident incites at least 0.30 new incidents (p = 0.0015). We also find significant evidence of contagion in school shootings, for which an incident is contagious for an average of 13 days, and incites an average of at least 0.22 new incidents (p = 0.0001).

To make it perfectly clear, we are not talking about keeping this information secret or censoring the media. The data should be available in certain places in the media – a dispassionate recitation of the facts of the crime, to keep conspiracy theories and other such nonsense at bay. But there is no logical reason to make a mass murderer famous for the sake of clicks or ratings.

Nor is this a call for government intervention, this is more like a “gentlemen’s agreement” (or gentlewoman’s as the case may be) to stop gratuitously promoting these killers. It’s about denying fame to cowardly murderers who are the worst of the worst, nothing more, nothing less.

Consider that the experts in the field have detailed the extensive planning and preparation these mass murderers that proceeding through five distinct phases. This article published in PoliceOne.com detailed these stages: 5 phases of the active shooter: A tactical reload

1. Fantasy Phase
2. Planning Phase
3. Preparation Phase
4. Approach Phase
5. Implementation Phase

Are we to believe that the “Columbine effect” doesn’t factor in these stages?
In addition, are we to believe that in the Left’s magical “Gun-Free” Utopian fantasy land, that criminals of this type wouldn’t find alternative methods of mass murder?

Both sides of the political aisle have championed this have idea. It was extensively discussed on the Glenn Beck Radio program: Logic and Reason Needed, As well as the publication ‘Mother Jones’.  While we loathe to link to them, they did offer some useful tips to alleviate this deadly problem:

Report on the perpetrator forensically and with dispassionate language. Avoid terms like “lone wolf” and “school shooter,” which may carry cachet with young men aspiring to attack. Instead use “perpetrator,” “act of lone terrorism,” and “act of mass murder.”

Minimise use of the perpetrator’s name. When it isn’t necessary to repeat it, don’t. And don’t include middle names gratuitously, a common practice for distinguishing criminal suspects from others of the same name, but which can otherwise lend a false sense of their importance.

Keep the perpetrator’s name out of headlines. Rarely, if ever, will a generic reference to him in a headline be any less practical.

Minimize use of images of the perpetrator. This is especially important both in terms of aspiring copycats’ desire for fame, and the psychology of vulnerable individuals who identify with mass shooters.

When both ends of the political spectrum agree on something that is so basic and eminently obvious, everyone should take notice. But then again, maybe there are those who really want a certain level of violence, who would prefer to tilt at the windmill of gun control and never really solve anything.

 

 

 

 

 

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