News broke over the weekend that the Climate Change data used to create the Paris Agreement on Climate Change was intentionally manipulated using flawed methods and a computer system with bugs that has become so unreliable that none of it’s data can be verified (source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4192182/World-leaders-duped-manipulated-global-warming-data.html)
I know that I usually remain focused on the issue of School Property Tax Elimination but bear with me for a moment….
What we are seeing is institutional falsehood and manipulation to promote a preconceived conclusion where it is claimed that “the science is settled” but that science relies on models that are manipulated to reach those preconceived ends.
I’m not a scientist. This data is too complicated for me to fully grasp so I am reliant upon those charged with supplying me with the correct information that I can process to reach my own conclusions. When that has been stolen from me by the very people I am supposed to trust, the blame rests solely on them.
We would think that this story would be in every media outlet in the world, especially in America where the free press is still supposed to be the bulwark of our foundation in the principles of Liberty.
What is the common citizen to do when both the institutions and the media that is in place becomes a propagator of falsehoods in these tactics of indoctrination.
I am neither a Climate Change denier not a blind supporter…all I ask is the truth!
You see, when government, or any agency of the government, is more interested in promoting propaganda than they are with telling the truth coupled to a media that promotes the propaganda as fact, where do the people go for the truth?
To my way of thinking, the fear isn’t really that there is fake news out there, because there is fake news. The fear is that people will stop believing the fake news (propaganda) sanctioned by the government and the many-tentacled-monstrosity they’ve created through their organizations and bureaucracies.
The information about the falsehood’s and manipulation of scientists should be alarming to all of us. These are people that we should be able to trust. They have no reason to look any further then in their own mirror for the blame for that lack of trust.
Responsibility and Accountability should be an integral part of Integrity. That Responsibility and Accountability should be framed around being honest!
This type of activity is becoming all too commonplace. We can see it happening in our own Commonwealth!
So what does this have to do with the School Property Tax Elimination effort?
As an ardent activist for School Property Tax Elimination, listening to the falsehoods about this legislation, largely from people who haven’t taken the time to actually read the bill, has become commonplace. It was to be expected. In the desperation of clinging to the status quo, regardless of how harmful the status quo is, challengers of the status quo must be ostracized.
The issue of school property tax elimination is neither a left or right issue although, as an advocate I have been called both socialist and neo-con. That is because protectors of the status quo are firmly entrenched on both sides of the aisle. They simply don’t care if the status quo actually works or not….they will fight protect their treasured status quo while pretending to be fighting for us!
However, two weeks ago school organizations banded together to launch a virile attack against HB/SB 76 largely using falsehoods to promote their claims. A recent letter from these organizations went out carrying this image on their letterhead:
Our school organizations have partnered with the PSEA, the powerful state teachers union, in their attempts to trash the school property tax elimination efforts. Like the alleged “scientists” who stooped to manipulating data to push their climate agenda; these organizations, who we have charged with the education of our children in the public school system, have resorted to propaganda that has been carefully crafted to push an agenda….facts be damned!
The news media has jumped on board to carry their water for them. Forget fact checking; they just give them the room they need to kill this necessary reform to how Pennsylvania funds public education.
The goals of this agenda are simple to see for anyone who is actually watching:
(1) Stall the efforts of the advocates and the supporting legislators by forcing them to redirect energy away from their priorities. By using their manipulation as fact utilizing a media as their water boys to create a false legitimization of their information they force us into a defensive position. A day spent fighting these untruths is a day not spent on getting this bill across the finish. After all, we have limited resources and they know that. We aren’t a well-funded machine like their organizations. We don’t have tax-payer funded advantages like making others pay for their dues collections that can then provide revenue to participate in campaigns such as this. Nor do we have tax-payer funded websites that can propagate the falsehoods (http://www.nwlehighsd.org/spotlight.cfm?sp=17246&school=0). If they want to hold a town hall to spread their misinformation they can do so making use of tax-payer resources. Unlike us, the cost for these promotions doesn’t come out of their personal pockets.
(2) Sap Representatives’ will to support or drive necessary change. Unfortunately doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do is not high on the legislative priority list. Re-election is that priority. When organizations like this combine to fight the will of the people polls don’t matter nearly as much. In spite of the fact that in poll after poll, the overwhelming majority of the people support elimination of the school property tax those numbers don’t matter as much as this one:
That’s just the Union contributions and does not include the spending by other the organizations. How do we compete with that?
(3) Reaffirm the illegitimacy of the HB/SB 76 advocates: Every time a falsehoods is propagated as fact, a public who doesn’t understand the legislation the way we do is more susceptible to perceive the falsehood as fact. Unfortunately we also have some legislators who support the concept of property tax elimination but have not taken the time to study the bill nor the issue in detail. They too, will buy into the falsehoods because, after all, the information is coming from supposedly informed and reliable sources.
These three steps are now commonplace strategies used by propagandists in driving agenda’s where the truth becomes irrelevant. It’s not so much the three steps that I have a problem with. My problem is with the tactics used in advancing those steps.
When truth in this equation becomes irrelevant, there is nothing legitimate about those three steps! The end, in their way of thinking, must always justify the means.
In the past I have attempted to defend the school boards and, truth be known, we do have some school board officials fighting with us. I have also defended teachers. I can not defend what is happening now.
How can we trust them? If we can’t trust them for the reliable information on this legislation why should we believe them when they tell us the reasons for the next school property tax increase?
As I look at that image of logo’s included on their letter I am struck with this question: Where do we, the working families who pay their bills through our taxes, turn to find our real representation? It should be obvious to us that we aren’t being represented anywhere here. Yes, we vote for our schools boards but how much do we really know about them when we cast that vote?
Do we really know if there is conflicts of interest like spouses in the public educational system? Do we know if they operate a business that personally benefits from the school district? The fact remains that, as important as these people are in the education process, there is very little vetting of them. They will then go on to hire our teachers, promote our principals, hire our administrators and choose our curriculum. Worst of all, they get to decide if we can stay in our homes. If what they want or concede to exceeds your ability to pay you become part of the collateral damage of a failed and unfair system of taxation!
Why do they fear allowing the public, through no-exemption voter referendum, to participate in the decision making process that will impact our ability to keep our homes?
Why do they refuse to acknowledge this as real local control or, as Thomas Jefferson put it, the consent of the governed?
Do they has so little respect for us that they think we will fail to recognize real need?
This rhetoric of misinformation has resulted in leaving a very bad taste in my mouth. It has only reinforced my will to fight back! Unfortunately, it has also weakened my faith in those we have entrusted to oversee the education of our children.
I started this blog by asking a question: Who Watches The Watchers?
The fact of the matter is that we can not trust them for this information nor can we trust the media to do the journalistic work of digging into the details to tell the truth. They have demonstrated that we have as much reason to trust them as we would have in trusting a parrot. All we are going to get is the regurgitated information that’s been fed into them and in this case, Polly wants a cracker…that cracker is the authority of your home sold to us in the guise of “local control”. They want to control us through our homes and they will go to great lengths to protect that authority over us!
Granted many who are repeating this information are simply fulfilling the role of parrot in blindly repeating the talking points they have been handed. Perhaps some may think we should blame the parrot because the parrot is just doing what it is supposed to do. These people, however, aren’t parrots….they have a responsibility to us to demand the truth. Unlike the parrot who can only, by design, repeat what they’ve been told, these are people capable of reason and logic tied to a responsibility to those who have entrusted them to be factual and honest.
Who Watches The Watchers? That’s our job! By that I don’t simply mean the leadership of the PTCA/PTCC or leaders of other like-minded organizations who support this legislation . I mean you and me! We must remain vigil.
We do have the truth on our side and in this case, we can afford to allow the truth to be silenced!