Archive for March, 2007

Do they read BLOGDIAL?

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

A passport to misery, if you ask me…

We’re askin; are ye dancin?!

By Jenny McCartney
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 25/03/2007

When it emerged last week that people who apply for a passport will soon be required to submit to an official interrogation, in which they will be compelled to answer in person from a list of 200 questions, I was filled with a distinct unease. For the truth is that I have only a hazy impression of the factual details of my own life. Indeed, it is quite possible I would fail a test to prove that I am me.

I’m good on names but worryingly poor on dates, and I see that some of the sample questions are rather keen on the latter. A query such as “Precisely when did you move into your current residence?” is exactly the sort that could have me bemusedly gaping like a goldfish as the interrogator slowly, grimly shakes his head.

Bernard Herdan, the executive director of the Identity and Passport Agency, wishes to reassure us: “This is not meant to be a daunting experience for people. We will seek to make it customer-friendly.” Whatever Mr Herdan’s intentions, he is wrong: the process will be intensely unfriendly. My reason for so thinking is that a visit to the London Passport Office last summer, even under its current system, left me feeling as though I had narrowly made it through Checkpoint Charlie into West Berlin.
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A few weeks before going on holiday, we had realised that our baby would need his own passport imminently, and that it would be swifter to make an appointment to sort it out in person. The passport form was complicated, and there seemed to be infinite ways of messing it up. On the day of the appointment, already frayed from the effort of marshalling the baby and his documentation to a given place at a fixed time, we found ourselves in a snaking queue outside the passport office. Suddenly an official appeared, herding people according to reference numbers. “Without a reference number you can’t come in!” he cried.

We had no reference number. Gradually, a dim recollection took shape in my mind, of something scribbled down and placed carefully in a kitchen drawer. I felt like crying. Fortunately, however, there was a number you could ring to rediscover your reference number. The pleasant lady next to me was carrying a sheaf of applications on behalf of her brother and his family: he had just broken his leg, and they were all due to go on holiday in two days’ time.

Half an hour later I stood in front of a female passport official. We both understood our roles: she was sternly officious, I was humble and ingratiating. Then she discovered that my Christian names were apparently displayed in the wrong order on my own passport. She paused, quizzical and outraged, as though seriously considering whether to refuse the whole thing.

Finally, I was allowed to creep away with the baby’s new passport and a ticking off.

The nice lady from the queue, who was at the desk next to me, was not so lucky: her distracted brother had apparently filled in a detail incorrectly, and the application was promptly rejected. As she left, despondent, the official concerned turned to his colleague and remarked with a distinct whiff of self-righteous satisfaction: “Well, that’s another one who won’t be going on holiday this year!”

Most British people intensely loathe such brushes with paperwork and officialdom. Since passports are important and necessary documents, however, we are prepared to put up with a bit of it. Yet this Government seems intent upon vastly increasing the tiresome bureaucracy we must endure. It is establishing 69 centres across the country, at an enormous cost to the taxpayer, in order to “authenticate by interview” first-time applicants. By 2009, anyone wishing to renew a passport will also be compelled to attend one of these centres, in which they will be fingerprinted and have their details fed into a national database. Passports and their administration centres are being used as the Trojan horse for the ID card scheme, which will carry a wealth of personal information and biometric data.

The Government has justified these intrusive methods as a security measure, which is presumably why it was so eager to advertise last week that 10,000 British passports each year are sent out to bogus claimants. It cited in particular the case of Dhiren Barot, the British al-Qaeda member who was found to have seven British passports in his own name and two in false ones.

Yet seemingly no one at the sharp-eyed passport agency even noticed that Mr Barot had “lost” an unusual number of passports. Why not? Surely it would be easier to devise a scanning system whereby a passport reported lost or stolen is automatically invalidated and detected if used, than to criminalise the blameless majority of citizens. If the government’s passport and ID card schemes come to fruition, however, I suspect that my stressful little trip to the Passport Office last year will seem, in comparison, as serene as a yoga session on a far-away beach. […]

Telegraph

My emphasis.

I wonder if the very intelligent and insightful Jenny McCartney has read BLOGDIAL, and all the things we have been writing.

BBQ Lie Machine rolls onto the HE battle field

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

BBQ once again, produces a piece of sly propaganda, as it shamelessly boosts the anti-home schooling push:

By Tara Gadomski
In New York

Thirteen-year-old Jack August sits on a small sofa in a cozy, carpeted room, reading aloud from a book about knights.

All the while his playful golden retriever, Mighty, tries to sneak up on the sofa when Jack isn’t looking.

Jack’s mother, Sue, sits alongside, asking him questions about the story.

Earlier in the day, the two performed a science experiment together, using the sofa cushions and a ball fetched from the garage.

This is a just another day for Jack, who is one of the two million students in the US who are homeschooled – taught by their parents at home. And he loves it.

“I like the flexibility. If an opportunity to play tennis or anything else pops up I can do it and just make up the schoolwork later.

“And with the one-on-one instruction, it seems you can move ahead quicker and be at a higher level of learning.”

And yes, says Jack, he does socialise with other children.

“I have friends from church, from sports, and I do know other local homeschool kids.”

Boom time

Until the 1970s, homeschooling was more of a necessity than a choice for American parents.

It took place mostly in rural areas, where schools could be long distances away and children were needed to help out with the work at home.

But after the publication of several controversial books that criticised institutional schooling, the modern homeschool movement in the US began, with thousands of suburban families joining in.

Still, it was not until recently that the numbers of homeschoolers really exploded – nearly doubling in the last six years.

The National Home Education Research Institute (a pro-homeschool advocacy group) estimates that that around 1.5 million children were educated at home in 2000, but in 2006, the number was closer to 2.5 million.

This increase is due, in large part, to the rise of Christian homeschooling – parents’ choosing to teach children at home from a Biblical point of view.

Now there is a vast and highly organised network of Christian homeschooling advocacy groups, legal advisers and curriculum material.

Faith factor

Sue August says she and her husband decided to homeschool Jack even before he was born.

“Our Christian faith is pretty strong and we thought this might be the best way to be able to pass on those values to our son.”

Her husband Mark says parents can impart something that teachers can not.

“Character is just as important as academics. And so what we’re looking for are character training issues and we would rather do that ourselves.”

The Augusts use a Christian-based curriculum for teaching their son.

Legally, they can teach him whatever they want.

Homeschool regulations vary state by state in the US, but New Jersey, where the Augusts live, has some of the most lenient. There are no requirements for attendance, training, testing, or even the use of books.

While that may seem highly unorthodox to many people, Mark August says homeschooling is just a different way of looking at the world.

“I understand why people look at the lack of regulation and are taken aback. But who is ultimately responsible for raising the child – is it the parent or the state?” Mark asked.

“From a Biblical standpoint, it’s the parents’ responsibility. Parents are going to act in the best interest of their children a majority of the time.”

Here it comes…

Worries

But Wendy Puriefoy, president of the advocacy group Public Education Network, in Washington DC, questions the ability of parents to provide an adequate environment for maturing as well as learning.

“I worry about the lack of accountability in homeschooling,” she said.

“I worry about the lack of socialisation for youngsters outside of their families.

“I worry about the access to other kinds of non-academic resources that youngsters have in public schools that you might not have in a homeschooling situation.”

These worries are totally unfounded. Home schoolers are head and shoulders above pupils that attend state schools, and the top universities are bending over backwards to attract home schoolers:

“homeschooling is a growing trend among the educated elite. More parents believe that even the best-endowed
schools are in an Old Economy death grip in which kids are learning passively when they should be learning actively,
especially if they want an edge in the global knowledge economy.” … “In some circles homeschooling is even attaining
a reputation as a secret weapon for Ivy League admission.”
http://tinyurl.com/dhe6d

Many colleges now routinely accept home-schooled students, who typically present portfolios of their work instead
of transcripts. Each year Harvard University takes up to 10 applicants who have had some home schooling. In gen-
eral, those kids do just fine, says David Illingsworth, senior admissions officer. He adds that the number of applica-
tions and inquiries from home schoolers is definitely increasing.

A Harvard University (MA) admissions officer said most of their home educated students have done very well. They
usually are very motivated in what they do. Results of the SAT and SAT II, an essay, an interview, and a letter of rec-
ommendation are the main requirements for home educated applicants. [Transcripts are] irrelevant because a tran-
script is basically a comparison to other students in the school.

In addition to Harvard, prominent schools like Yale (CT), Princeton (NJ), Texas A&M, Brown University (RI), the Carne-
gie Mellon Institute (PA), the Universities of Arizona, Maryland, Virginia, Hawaii and many others all have flexible
transcript criteria, accept parental evaluations, and do not require any accreditation or a General Equivalency Di-
ploma (GED). At Kansas State University and others like Lipscomb University and Middlebury College (VT), tran-
scripts are optional.

A February 11, 2000 Wall Street Journal article stated that:
A recent survey by the National Center for Home Education, a Virginia-based advocacy group, found that 68% of
colleges now accept parent-prepared transcripts or portfolios in place of an accredited diploma. That includes Stan-
ford University, which last fall accepted 27% of home-schooled applicants nearly double its overall acceptance rate.
Home-schoolers bring certain skills motivation, curiosity, the capacity to be responsible for their education that
high schools dont induce very well says Jon Reider, Stanfords senior associate director of admissions.
http://tinyurl.com/3bsny2

The next part of this article, is just totally ABSURD

Worlds away from Jack’s comfortable sofa, a group of teenagers in a New York City public school history class are gearing up for a debate over the ideal form of government.

The classroom is lively and noisy as students hunch over their institutional-style metal desks to prepare their statements and re-check their facts.

Enlightenment

When the debate finally begins the different voices, accents, opinions and academic aptitudes are apparent. But all the students are participating in their own way.

Homeschool advocates might argue that this way of teaching will slow down the brighter children or prevent the slower learners from catching up.

But the students in this classroom say they would not have it any other way.

“When you’re at school, you’re pushed. Competition brings out the best in you,” said 11th-grade student Frank, adding philosophically: “The most enlightened people are those who are enlightened by others.”

Another teenager from the class, Julia, points out what she sees as another benefit of going to school.

“I wouldn’t want to be around my Mom all day!

“No offence, I love her, you know – but this is a nice little break away from her!”

This is hardly an argument, and frankly it is clear that this nincompoop ‘Tara Gadomski’ didn’t use the internets before she wrote this utter drivel. If she had done so, she would have been overwhelmed by the amount of material in favor of home schooling, and its benefits and the real reasons why it is becoming more popular day by day, which are mostly to do with parents wanting to provide a proper education for their children.

The reasons behind the growth of home schooling are not solely due to religious beliefs, and people like Tara Gadomski focus on that reason to try and isolate home schoolers in the minds of the public as unusual folk who are motivated by fervor and not reason. Nothing could be further from the truth, and everyone knows this. When you write this tripe Tara, it makes you look SILLY, it shows your inability to research and your complete absence of depth.

“the students in this classroom say they would not have it any other way.” Yes, she actually wrote that, astonishing as it seems, and as for the anti-family sentiment of a child wanting to get away from her mother being portrayed as perfectly normal – it is THIS corrosive bile that we are trying to (and which we are successfully) getting away from, these sick ideas laid out as if they were perfectly normal. It is as sad as it is frightening; ‘the benefit of school is that you get way from your mother’ how perfectly horrible.

“When you’re at school, you’re pushed. Competition brings out the best in you,” and this is meant to be a voice of someone who is socialized! I have some bad news for you ‘Frank’ Stanford doesn’t want people who need to be pushed to do their work. They want people who display the following qualities, “…motivation, curiosity, the capacity to be responsible for their education that high schools dont induce very well”

So, no Ivy League place for you then Frank!

In every way that counts, Home schooling is better. It produces better students, better people, better citizens and thus, a better society. It very probably produces better journalists.

No number of poorly written pieces of trash will change this.

Peers slam school fingerprinting

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

Peers have criticised the “intrusive” and increasingly common practice of taking schoolchildren’s fingerprints.

Junior education minister Lord Adonis defended some schools’ use of biometric data for the attendance register, and access to meals and libraries.

He said fingerprints were destroyed once pupils left the school, and were only taken with parents’ consent.

Dirty Liar!

But Lib Dem, Tory and crossbench peers criticised the practice as intrusive, alarming and “completely astonishing”.

For the Lib Dems, Baroness Walmsley said: “The practice of fingerprinting in schools has been banned in China as being too intrusive and an infringement of children’s rights. Yet here it is widespread.”

Identity fraud

She said one head teacher had “tricked” three-year-olds into giving their prints “by playing a spy game”.

And, she said, with the dangers of identity fraud, the practice should be banned unless parents specifically signed up to the system.

Crossbencher Baroness Howe said: “Most people would be somewhat alarmed by the idea of having fingerprints taken and would have connected it with criminal offences.”

A Tory peer, Baroness Carnegy, asked Lord Adonis: “Are you not concerned that the impression children are going to get of what it is to live in a free country and what it is to be British if, in order to get the right school meals, they can have fingerprints taken? It seems to me completely astonishing.”

The Department for Education and Skills (DfeS) says it does not have figures for how many schools are already using biometric data.

Privacy watchdog

But a web poll by lobby group Leave Them Kids Alone estimated that 3,500 schools had bought equipment from two DfES-approved suppliers.

After pressure from campaigners, privacy watchdog the Information Commissioner is to urge schools to seek parents’ permission before taking children’s fingerprints.

Some primary schools have stored children’s thumb prints for computerised class registers and libraries without parental consent.

Lord Adonis told the House of Lords on Monday that under the Data Protection Act 1998, children or their parents must be given “fair processing” notices about the data and its proposed use.

He said biometric systems could improve the take-up of free school meals, as there was no “stigma” attached and many schools were using the systems “without any contention whatever”.

Lady Walmsley accused him of “complacency” and said children were being fingerprinted without permission, and were being victimised if they did not comply and threatened with exclusion.

Lord Adonis replied: “I think there is a certain amount of scaremongering in your question, which I regrettably don’t accept on the basis of the information that has been made available to my department.” […]

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6468643.stm

Threats coming together: Mental Health Screening

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

Proposed CT Legislation Marching This State To Socialism

By Judy Aron

Good intentions or larger plan? If you examine the proposed legislation it should become clear to what is slowly being rolled out in CT regarding how early child education, public education and mental health initiatives are all being combined. It is already happening in other states in the country, like Illinois, Minnesota and New Jersey for example. The underlying agenda is to have children attend school as early as 3 years old, with health (including mental health screening) services to be administered from schools instead of your own family care. Medical facilities/resources will be located at the school. This is all taxpayer funded. While Universal Taxpayer Funded Preschool is now just being proposed on a voluntary basis here in CT, once the infrastructure is put into place, the compulsory school age will be lowered and all children will be required to attend school at age three. Government/taxpayer funded universal preschool is offered in most European countries, and Social Progressives are pushing those initiatives here. Most children in Britain already start full-time school — in so-called “reception” classes — at age 4. Standards and developmental benchmarks have been set by the State and woe to the parent of the child who doesnt meet those standards which include nutrition and weight.

Mental health screening and early childhood education is going hand in hand in many states, as is the expansion of compulsory school age in some states to encompass age 4 to 18. The ultimate is Pre-K to age 22. Yes, age 22, as the community colleges and other forms of higher education will be part of the entire school program. The State Board of Education and the Board of Governors for Higher Education are already working together on many initiatives to encompass this K-16 learning in CT, and that will soon be including Pre-K as well. […]

http://nheld.com/socialistct2007.htm

This is an interesting article, which describes part of a larger picture of troubling developments bubbling around the internets, like the really bad sounding ‘TeenScreen‘ where children are being exposed to scientifically groundless standardized tests which ‘pathologise’ children as neatly described in episode two of The Trap.

Listen to the clip and take a look at the documentary.

The way that they are administering these bogus tests, without parental consent, is like the fingerprinting without consent that has taken place in the UK recently.

People are not property, and it is time that parents started to get tough on this nonsense.

But you know this!

Two Who Got It Right: Scott Ritter in Conversation with Robert Scheer

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

Truthdig Editor Robert Scheer interviews Scott Ritter.

The former U.N. weapons inspector, who was scorned for saying there were no WMD in Iraq, speaks with Robert Scheer about American ignorance, the lies that led us to war, Irans nuclear program and more.

Special thanks to the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Public Library for hosting the event.

http://www.truthdig.com/

The War on Home Schooling: the first salvo in the UK front is fired

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

The attack pattern is tried and tested.

first, say that there is going to be a consultation.
second, find cases (related or unrelated) of abuse or wrongdoing to justify legislation
third, collect responses in a false exercise to ‘gauge opinion’
fourth, ignore all responses that do not support the party line
fifth, introduce the legislation unchanged

The fist salvo has now been fired.

They have found a case that is completely unrelated and irrelevant to home schooling, and are using this as a pretext to bring in the new and onerous regulations.

The ignorant and brain dead journalists are lapping it up and regurgitating it like the dogs that they are.

Not one of them has the brain to understand that people who do foster care are already registered as a prerequisite, and that registration does absolutely nothing to prevent abuse. Secondly, they are conflating child fostering with the care given by parents OF THEIR OWN CHILDREN.

This whole episode, and the way that they are trying to use it as a pretext to bring in controls over home schoolers is COMPLETELY BOGUS.

Lets take this nonsense apart line by line:

HOW COULD THIS BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN?
Date : 21.03.07

The Citizen asked Gloucestershire City Council to answer the following questions:

Concerns were raised in the 80s and 90s about Eunice’s care of the children but they were not acted on. Why?

Initially these children were placed in Mrs Spry?s care by their parents. Once she became a local authority foster carer, we monitored her as required by regulations at the time.

So, they already monitor foster care, and they cannot detect when things are going wrong. Monitoring does not work to prevent abuse. The current mania for registering is simply that; a mania and a gimmick.

Once the court had given her legal parental rights, there was no role for social workers to monitor her parenting.

We responded to concerns reported to us and investigated them. Concerns included:

1) Allegation that children were left alone in a mini bus outside the house. When she was challenged Mrs S said that they were using it as quiet space to do their homework.

2) School expressed concerns about attendance and lateness. Mrs S explained it was because one of the children was slow eating breakfast

The level of allegations that came out in the trial had not been reported before.

Once again, this is all fluff and nonsense. These people are not able to organize or protect anyone. They are not even able to stop people putting garbage out on the wrong days; why do they think that they have the right to control home schoolers, and why do they think that these bogus propaganda tactics are going to work?

The council “inspected” Eunice twice a year throughout the 90s when she was teaching the children at home. Did any of these visits raise questions about the way she was treating them?

The accommodation was seen on each visit, but the most recent visits were made to the barge on which they were staying. There was no suggestion that the care of the children or the living conditions seen were unsatisfactory.

Home education staff do not have the right of access to the home.

And if they did? They would have failed as they always fail. Inspections twice a year are completely ridiculous, and nothing more than a hoop which people are forced to jump through. This is not what the DfES is after though; they want very invasive, total control over home schooling, where they will dictate what you teach to your children and how you do it, and you will be tested on that. Let us not forget that these people cannot run the schools that they are already in charge of. They have no basis for any new regulation, that is why they have to manufacture this garbage as a false pretext. They are incompetent control addicts, pure and simple.

Gloucestershire County Council has previously raised with the DfES concerns that this does not allow effective safeguarding of potentially vulnerable children.

A full national consultation is expected this spring. In the meantime, all staff working in the home education service have received training in identifying potentially harmful situations.

This is utter nonsense of course. These people should be spending time looking after the unruly schools in their catchment areas. Gloucester has a good record when it comes to its schools, but it is exceptional in this regard and the new regulations will apply to you wether you live there or in the worst part of the country. In any case, all of this is irrelevant. Even if the schools were perfect, you should not be compelled to send your child there, and if you choose to home school, you should not be subjected to monitoring, registration, surveillance, testing and any other sort of interference from any government body at either the national or local level.

4. What procedures did Spry have to go through to be accepted as a foster mother and when she formally adopted the children? What checks were carried out?

The process 20 years ago was not as vigorous as the one in place today.

When considering her application there was discussion about the fact that the children had been placed with Mrs Spry by their own parents under private arrangements and had been with her for some time. The alternative would have meant the children would have had to move from what appeared to be a settled home.

None of the concerns that had been raised at this point appeared to justify removal of the children. In fact, staff from a number of agencies working with the family gave strongly positive reports of her parenting.

What no one in the jabbering classes in the UK seems to be able to understand, is that you will never be able to absolutely guarantee that everyone is safe. There will always be crime; crime is a part of human behavior. It is a minority behavior, and the majority, the decent people should not be penalized or have their freedoms curtailed in an insane rush to try and do the impossible. The act of trying to eliminate the possibility of crime makes life itself become less and less worth living. It is only the free man that enjoys life to he full. We must accept that criminals will exist. We must watch out for them, and look after each other, but not give in to paranoia and police state measures as is all the rage in the UK

How often was Eunice’s care of the children reviewed? What did this involve? Why was nothing picked up on?

Visits were made by the supervising social worker and review meetings were held to look at the children?s progress.

None of the information that was known at the time would have led to the ending of the placement.

There is now a requirement for monthly supervisory visits to all foster carers and children and a formal annual review of the foster carers themselves.

And all of this is practically useless, and of course, has nothing to do with home schooling, though you can see how they will try and transfer these requirements to home schoolers. Remember, this war is against not children in the care of strangers, but children in the care of their own parents. It is completely absurd. What they are saying is that parents are not qualified to raise their own children, and need guidelines and inspections from the state to make sure they are doing it right.

This is anti-family, anti-logic, offensive and utterly insane.

After the adoptions and residence orders Mrs Spry became the children?s legal parent, which ended the duty to monitor their care.

There will always be crime, criminals and victims. It is very sad, but we must not over-react and throw out the baby with the bath-water.

How did Eunice manage to ill-treat these children so badly for so long without it being picked on?

Mrs Spry was given legal parental responsibility by the court that effectively ended the involvement of social care services.

Almost as soon as these orders were granted, Mrs Spry removed the children from school, taking them away from the important source of child protection monitoring that schools can provide.

And here is the lie that they inject to start their crusade against home schooling!

Mrs Spry involved numerous medical professionals, denying any one person from building up a picture of the children?s care.

As a result of this, no-one was able to build a complete picture of what was happening to the children.

Everyone who comes into contact with a child has a duty to share information when they have concerns about a child. All agencies have now signed up to an agreement on better information sharing.

See how they just slipped that in there? Appalling. There is absolutely no evidence that if these children were in school that they would have been picked up. It is total nonsense, and no one with even a single working brain cell buys any of this nonsense.

What has been done to ensure this will never happen again?

There is nothing you can do to ensure this will never happen again. Only children think in these terms. Adults understand that bad things happen, and we try and make sure that they do not, but we do not, for example, forbid the playing of golf because some people get hit by lightning every year on golf courses. This is a stupid question from a very stupid person.

Since the Climbie Inquiry (2003), a range of measures have been put in place to improve the safeguarding of children and young people. These include:

That poor girl’s case is being used to justify everything and anything. It is disgraceful.

A requirement that all children are seen and spoken to alone when concerns about them are raised
An expectation that records held by all agencies will contain a clear diary of key events so anyone accessing the records can see the picture at a glance
Appropriate sharing of key information between agencies to ensure that each knows about the others? work with a family
The creation of a Safeguarding Children Board to ensure that child protection remains a high priority

We are not complacent and plans are in place to share lessons arising from this case. What remains vital is that all those who come into contact with children, young people and their families continue to regard safeguarding as the responsibility of everyone.

[…]

http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk

What is actually important is that everyone put the facts into perspective. These cases are exceptionally rare. They in no way represent a significant statistic, and should in no way be used to justify or be used as a spur to create new and onerous legislation that will only impact the decent people.

Local councils should put all their efforts not into disturbing the good families of the UK, but in fact, they should be fixing the problems that they already have lost control over.

If they were serious people, this is what their priorities would be, not the creation of the thin end of the wedge of more societal re-engineering where children become the property of the state upon birth.

What I want to know is, who drafted these answers, and wether or not it was done with the help of anyone. All statements from public servants or departments must be by named authors so that we can address them directly. If we do not have their names, then its like punching fog; we cannot get to the root of the problem – the insane people who are making up this garbage.

German Home Schooling Family Escapes The Fatherland: Request for help

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

Forwarded from Leslie Barson:

I am sending on a copy of an email (with permission) recieved on the Learning Unlimited list in the hope that someone who is closer to Stanstead may be able to help this fmaily for a few days…. If you think you can help please email Aldona directly at ‘aldona99 (at) yahoo.com’. You can also pass this on to any list you think might be appropriate. Thanks Leslie

Hello dear friends,

I’m trying to help a displaced family get out of Europe to N.America who have fled Germany a few months ago, and are hiding out in another country. They have twins, 10 yrs. old that have gone through alot in the past 12 months. They have become very fragile, are clinging to their parents, and literally have anxiety attacks when they encounter people speaking german. One of the twins is very sick, and really needs to take doses of oxygen throughout the day. The boys have not been to a decent doctor in months. Now they have the possibility of getting to their destination, thanks to donations made by caring people, but they need to make the trip as short as possible, and as cheap as possible, since its the 4 of them.

I’ve managed to find a flight directly from London Heathrow to Calgary, but they first need to get to London, so there’s a flight for practically pennies (well, you still have to add the taxes… ) into Stanstead a day or two before they fly for Canada.

The father has good prospects of getting a job with one of the job hunters they have been in contact with for almost 6 months already.

I’m actually hoping to find someone in the London or airport areas who could find the time, space and compassion to help this family get to their destination. This really reminds me of two historical events…. the time when the the slaves were helped and when the jews were being scurried out of the country and out of harm’s reach.

The dates would be around Easter time… between April 8-10, around that time frame. I’ll have more details soon. If someone could find some time at a more opportune time for them we could eventually postpone the trip a few days…

Thank you all for all the moral support you’ve given hundred of homeschoolers throughout the past few years…

Most Sincerely, Aldona Guenter in Germany

This is a sad story, and really, it is less about home schooling and more about the principles of freedom.

This family has been forced to flee Germany. They have been made to pack up and leave their homes so that they can follow their principles, whatever they may be. This is wrong. By being forced to leave their homes in this way, they have been deprived of their right to their property, and the right to be secure in their homes. All decent countries have these rights written down unambiguously.

Western countries need all the decent families that they can get. Their societies are having trouble on many fronts; moral decline and a population decline to name but two.

Home Schoolers are being actively courted in more advanced countries like the USA. They understand that Home Schooled children are a precious resource; Universities and employers both are scrambling for these individuals.

If all the home schoolers in Germany, around 500 families, are forced to flee to free countries, this would constitute a significant ‘brain drain’; and Germany would be the loser. In practicing their insane ideas about creating a homogenous society, they are expelling the very people they need to bring sparkle, decency and variety to their society all of which are essential to any nations health.

The Germans have a history of doing this. They did the same thing with their absurd ideas about ‘Jewish Physics‘ which stopped them from getting the Atomic Bomb. But that was a good thing.

The fact is that a society that is completely homogenous cannot come up with the great ideas; it is doomed to wither and stagnate. It is analogous to the health and life of languages; English is a very strong and healthy language because it willingly includes words from other languages into its base. Other languages that resist new words from other cultures stagnate and are supplanted by English. The French (who have just passed some new and stupid anti-home schooling laws) use a special government department that controls additions to the French language. They are a culture under siege, and persecuting their home schoolers will only make it worse. Luckily there is a place in Canada where they can home school freely AND speak French, Quebec, should they need to escape.

The Societies that have different philosophies (running inside the national culture, i.e. speaking English in England and French in France) flourishing freely inside them are stronger, more innovative, able to ‘come up with the goods’ more often, and are better places to live in. Germany is the opposite of this. It is a bad place to live, a place where your ideas, (and by extension, you) are considered worthless by everyone.

Perhaps a society like Germany cannot be trusted with the precious families that home school. Canada and the United States will reap the benefits of these families and their children, and the ripples of this transferral will propagate down the generations, improving those countries while Germany becomes like an old vine unable to produce grapes.

I hope you will be able to send this family a little something to help them rebuild their lives.

Another German homeschooling family under assault

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

From CBN News…

A court in eastern Germany has taken custody of five children away from their homeschooling parents, but has not yet removed the children from the home. The parents, Bert and Kathrin Brause of Zittau, lost custody of their children, Rosine, Jotham, Kurt-Simon, Lovis and Ernst, to the local youth welfare office.

The parents can only regain custody by placing their children in public school, and the children may be physically removed by the state at any time.

According to court documents translated by the International Human Rights Group, the parents were also ordered to pay all court costs, estimated at almost $4000. The judges order was based solely on the parents unwillingness to send their children to the public school, in violation of Germanys mandatory school attendance law.

The case in Zittau, in the eastern state of Saxony, is a separate case from the one involving the Busekros family in Bavaria, where a 15-year-old girl was taken from her homeschool family and put into a mental ward for treatment of school phobia. The parents no longer have custody of the girl, Melissa.

There are only about 300 to 500 homeschoolers in Germany, and many have been jailed and fined. Some have lost their businesses and others have fled Germany with their children to other countries.

Using Nazi laws to enforce Nazi attitude. Ironically Nazi symbols are illegal in Germany, while, obviously, Nazi tactics are not.

Snarfed from Jack Lewis’ blog.

Germany, and its blind citizenry have no idea of what freedom means, despite being smashed to pieces in ‘World War Two’ and being partitioned into two states, one ‘Communist’ and the other not. During the Cold War, they had on their doorstep, a nation under control of Soviet Russia, where one third of the population was employed by the STASI to spy on the other two thirds; a living nightmare of totalitarian control and paranoia. Even with that horror-show right next door to them, threatening to engulf them for decades, after it was wiped off the face of the earth they STILL have no idea about freedom. They have no idea of the real relationship between the state and the individual. The officials who trot out this home school persecution garbage cannot see that they are behaving exactly like the East German STASI beasts that dampened and destroyed the population of the ‘other half’ of Germany during the Cold War.

It makes any reasonable person sick to their stomach.

That the UK is in bed with such people is terrifying. That their laws can now be enforced in the UK is almost too frightening to contemplate.

Germany: We are Borg

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

If you are a German overseas with children, you can register with a correspondence school and be exempted from Schulpflicht (compulsory school attendance).

If you are a foreigner with a child over the age of 14 years you may be allowed an exemption in some regions on compassionate grounds but that is a big may.

But if you are a foreign visitor to Germany you are allowed no dispensations.

See http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schulpflicht

Surely if one has applied to their national education Ministry and been approved through submission of intended curriculum then the German government could accept that and also grant a reciprocal exemption?

Surely if there is evidence to suggest that children under the age of 18 living in a foreign country are better to be with their parents rather than separated and sent away, that would be enough to acknowledge that the stability provided by parents, actually helps in acculturation and doesnt propagate a parallel society.

[See the research by Ruth Useem and David Pollocks book]

The sheer residency of a family and children in Germany is usually by choice, and for the most part will see many families there temporarily. The intention therefore would be for the family to move on or return home and reintegrate with their own culture and society. Is it not then a good idea for those children to be, if it is the parents choice, educated in the systems and language familiar to them, to advance their future?

When Germany grants temporary residency on one hand is it not creating a parallel society. Then on the other hand it tries to mandate assimilation.

[…]

Educating Germany

Well well well. Let that be a warning to anyone with offspring wanting to move to Germany for any reason. As soon as you get there your children will be assimilated, Borg style.

Adderuppa Now Testing

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Adderuppa, a new app to help you keep track of time is now online: www.adderuppa.com. While its being tested out, you can try it for free. Please let us know what you think of it!

British Lords applaud Chinese on civil liberties

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Mark Ballard
The Register
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The UK government faced questions on school fingerprinting in the House of Lords yesterday, led by the accusation that they had a worse track record on civil liberties in this regard than the Chinese.

Baroness Joan Walmsley, Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman, said the government should look at the Chinese example

“The practice of fingerprinting in schools has been banned in China as being too intrusive and an infringement of children’s rights, yet here it’s widespread,” she said, calling for the UK to ban school fingerprinting unless parents opted into it.

Lord Adonis, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Schools), Department for Education and Skills ignored the reference to the Chinese, but said it was normal for parents to be informed about fingerprinting, at which Walmsley screwed up her face in disbelief – a lack of parental consent in school fingerprinting has been central to the debate.

What’s the point of taking children’s fingerprints at all, asked another Lord.

Adonis said they were taken to control the issue of library books, taking registration or dishing out school meals. In the latter instance, he said, children who take free school meals would be able to do it without anyone knowing if they bought them with a fingerprint rather than a voucher, and so avoid any stigma that might be lumped on them for being poor. An alternative to a fingerprint scanner is a swipe card.

The Chinese decision to ban school fingerprints took a broader, longer-term view of the matter, the official who made the decision told The Register today.

Roderick Woo, the Hong Kong Privacy Commissioner, said: “A primary school has no business collecting data of that kind.”

“The way we look at it is, is it really necessary to collect that data and is it’s collection excessive, concerning their primary function [which is education],” he said.

“We always look at the issues and say, ‘are there less privacy-intrusive methods to achieve the same ends?’,” he said, suggesting that it might be enough to take someone’s name at registration and a little excessive to take their paw print.

“One takes a longer view,” he said. “And also whether it’s a good education for young chaps growing up thinking whether privacy of their personal data is important or not. It’s just a way of saying, ‘I attended school’ – surely there’s a less intrusive way?”

However, Woo was also a little put out by being referred to as Chinese: “We are one country and two systems and this is very much a Hong Kong show.”

[…]

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/03/20/chinese_lords/

The other night, I saw a report on BBQ about the ‘repressive’ Chinese government that is denying people property rights. They followed some displaced people on a protest to Tianamen Square. They duly then reported the ‘repression’ as the protesters were arrested for protesting.

At no time did the idiotic reporter convey sickening fact that in the UK, such protests outside our own Tianamen Square (Parilament) are now banned.

Now it turns out that the British Government is more repressive than the Chinese government, which does not fingerprint schoolchildren, because it is, “too intrusive and an infringement of children’s rights”.

Who would have thought.

British children would be better off under Chinese Communism than British Democracy.

Pinch me…PLEASE!

Sorry

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Lord Turnbull the alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks has confessed it was not “appropriate” for him to have described Gordon Brown as acting with “Stalinist ruthlessness” and other al-Qa’eda attacks, according to an edited transcript of a hearing at Guantanamo Bay released by the Pentagon late last night.

Other senior civil servants and Ministers are known to share Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s critical views of Gordon Brown

Lord Turnbull – a former Cabinet secretary who was Mr Brown’s senior mandarin at the Treasury before becoming head of the civil service – sparked uproar in Westminster when his unguarded comments, read for him during a closed-door military hearing at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, about the Chancellor were published by the Financial Times today. He also indicated that earlier statements he had made to the CIA were the result of torture, but said his confession on Saturday was not made under duress.

He later said he had not expected to be quoted by the newspaper – although he did not dispute the accuracy of the comments – and admitted that the language he used was not appropriate for publication.In a section of the statement that was blacked out, he confessed to the beheading of the Chancellor, according to the Associated Press. Pearl was abducted in January 2002 in Pakistan while researching a story on the independence of the Bank of England, the three-year spending round, much of the fiscal framework and targets for departments, and Turnbull has long been a suspect in the killing.Turnbull said in the statement that the attacks were part of a larger military campaign.

In the interview, published the day before the Chancellor delivers his 9/11th and almost certainly final Budget, Lord Turnbull killed 2,972 people, destroyed the World Trade Centre and damaged the Pentagon. Speaking through a translator, accuses Mr Brown of exhibiting a “Stalinist ruthlessness” in government, belittling his cabinet colleagues whom the Treasury treats with “more or less complete contempt”. Turnbull said he was “not happy” about the victims, saying he did not like to kill people, but justified his actions as part of a holy war against interest rate rises.

“I was the operational director for Sheikh Osama bin Laden for the organising, planning, follow-up, and execution of the 9/11 operation,” he said. He also accused the prime minister-in-waiting of a “very cynical view of mankind and his colleagues”. Around 385 men are being held in the Guantanamo Bay base on suspicion of links to al-Qa’eda or the Taliban. Legal experts and journalists have criticized the US decision to bar independent observers from the hearings. “There has been an absolute ruthlessness with which Gordon has played the denial of information as an instrument of power.”

“Do those ends justify the means? It has enhanced Treasury control, but at the expense of any government cohesion and any assessment of strategy. You can choose whether you are impressed or depressed by that, but you cannot help admire the sheer Stalinist ruthlessness of it all.” The presiding colonel said Mohammed’s allegations of torture would be “reported for any investigation that may be appropriate” and would be taken into account in considering his enemy combatant status.

“He cannot allow them any serious discussion about priorities. His view is that it is just not worth it and ‘they will get what I decide’. And that is a very insulting process,” Lord Turnbull said.

But in a statement today,Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said: “The FT article does not give a balanced account of my views nor of the conversation I had with the FT which covered a much wider range of issues. Mohammed, who was arrested in Rawalpindi in 2003, also allegedly acknowledged responsibility for over 30 other terror attacks or plots, including plans to bomb other landmarks in the US and the UK, including Big Ben and Heathrow airport.

“My remarks to the FT about the way Government business is transacted were not made with the intention or expectation that they would be quoted verbatim nor, I acknowledge, were they expressed in language appropriate for that purpose.”

(via the Telegraph)

+++

Good to see the randomised masthead back.

Missing Passports; BBQ spin out of control

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

So BBQ is reporting that ‘10,000 passports go to fraudsters’.

This is of course, spin to engineer support for the new interrogation centres that are popping up all over the country.

The fact of the matter is this. ‘Home Office minister Joan Ryan said the IPS had 16,500 fraudulent applications during the 12 month period, 10,000 of which went undetected.’ This is clearly a lie. If they know that 10,000 were fraudulent, they in fact were detected. If the Immigration officers used my system where each passport can be checked in realtime over the internets with just the information in the machine readable part of the passport, with no biometrics, then each of these 10,000 people could be caught as and when they tried to use these bad passports.

If the Home Office has detected these ‘10,000’ passports, then they have a list of all their numbers, and this list is not being used. It is sitting in a paper file somewhere on someone’s desk. That is not very smart.

The Tories it seems, are not very smart either:

Conservative MP Grant Shapps, who compiled those figures, said they raised “serious concerns” over the risks of identity fraud and terrorism.

Identity has nothing to do with ‘terrorism’. I’ll say it again, “Identity has nothing to do with ‘terrorism'”.
It is not the government’s responsibility to guarantee identity. We have said this again and again and again.

Note how this article fails to mention that everyone ordered to report to these interrogation centres will be fingerprinted like a criminal and their details entered on the NIR, and note too that the ‘Related Links’ are only to the government and not to No2ID and or Privacy International.

BBQ, you are the lowest of the low!

Smallpox shot infects soldier’s toddler son Boy critically ill; mom also stricken

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

By Jeremy Manier
Tribune staff reporter
Published March 17, 2007

In the first case of its kind in years, a 2-year-old boy is being treated in Chicago for a rare and life-threatening infection that he contracted from his father, a U.S. Army soldier recently vaccinated against smallpox.

The Indiana boy is in critical condition with eczema vaccinatum, an unusual side effect of the smallpox vaccine that can affect people who receive the shot or their close contacts.

Doctors also said the boy appears to have passed the infection to his mother, who has a much milder case of the virus in the smallpox vaccine, which is also called vaccinia. The virus is not smallpox, though it is similar enough to offer protection from that deadly disease, which was declared eradicated in 1980.

The mother and child are being treated at the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital, which withheld their names at the family’s request. There is no infection risk for the general population, government officials say, since the vaccine virus can spread only through close physical contact.

But the boy’s diagnosis last week has prompted a frenzy of activity and daily conference calls involving the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the state and city public health departments. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave emergency authorization for the hospital to treat the boy with ST-246, an experimental drug for smallpox that is untried as a therapy in humans.

The smallpox vaccine fell out of general use in the 1970s, but the case could be a lesson for the U.S. military, which has vaccinated 1.2 million personnel against smallpox since 2002 amid fears of bioterrorism.

[…]

http://www.chicagotribune.com/

The only ‘bioterrorists’ are the people manufacturing these poisons and the fear-mongers engineering the false causes for their injection.

But you know this!

“Everything in Washington is a lie”

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

Watch this video of Donald Trump telling it like it is.

When people like Donald Trump speak like this, people over there listen.

It’s about time.

A plea from a young girl

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

A teenager taken from her home and parents by German police officers and institionalized in a psychiatric ward for homeschooling is pleading with the international community for help so she can return home.

“I want to ask you for help, to get my right to go back to my family, as I wish,” Melissa Busekros wrote in an English letter hand-delivered to the International Human Rights Group, whose lawyers have been working on her case.

More than six weeks ago she was taken “with more than 15 police men” from her home to a psychiatric hospital in Nuremberg, she wrote, and about a month she was placed in a foster home.

“I am not sick as the doctor said and my family is the best place for me to live,” she said her letter.


Melissa Busekros and her sister speak with Richard Guenther, director of European operations for the International Human Rights Group. The girls are in a clearing house where Melissa was scheduled to meet her parents

WND reported earlier this week a German appeals court affirmed the lower court’s decision to remove the 15-year-old from her home and keep her in foster care, despite a lower court’s proposal accepted by the parents for her to return home under state supervision.

Part of the appeals court ruling included a requirement for her parents, Hubert and Gudrun Busekros, to also be given state-sponsored psychiatric tests, and Joel Thornton, president of the IHRG said there was a high concern that the government will use those tests to remove the other five children from the family.

There also is the fear “Melissa will be returned to the psychiatric clinic system in Germany and ‘disappear.’ This would leave the family with no way to know where Melissa is or how she is doing. She could become a ward of the state and completely lost to her family,” Thornton said.

“The trouble is this emboldens the state again, only now it’s at a higher level, and the courts still are agreeing with them. This could put Melissa back into the psychiatric system where she could disappear from sight entirely,” Thornton told WND.

The appeals court ruling came despite the fact that all three of the lawyers representing Melissa told the higher court the family had accepted a compromise offered by a lower court for her to return home under government supervision.

“In spite of [that] the appeals court held that the family refused the court’s initial compromise to let Melissa become an outpatient,” Thornton said.

Thornton also suggested that the case even could end up extending its impact beyond the Busekros family.

“There is an increased fear among homeschoolers about whether their children are next,” he said.

Even those German families who already have fled to other countries because of Germany’s homeschool ban are moving into hiding because of the possibility they could be returned to face German fines or jail time for homeschooling, he said. […]

http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=54695

The most sickening and appalling treatment imaginable.

The article in Spigel is frankly, a bad example of doublethink, summed up nicely in this comment to it:

So, you on the one hand, repeat the bogus claim that the German authorities deny this is an attack on home schooling, and in the same breath say that other families have fled Germany to Austria over home schooling and that it is in fact BANNED in Germany.

Now the Germans in exile are running for their lives. They have to do this because with the EU arrest warrant, the immoral German authorities can nab the home schoolers anywhere in the EU, even if they are not violating local laws.

Think about that for a minute.

Ecofascism

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

The word ‘ecofacsism’ seems to be quite popular recently. Personally I see two sorts of eco- facsism, ecological and economic battling it out for governmental attention.

I happen to believe that the combination of climate change (and its effects), resource depletion and the C20 style ‘westernisation’ of human activity to be unsustainable. Whether or not climate change means warming, cooling or turmoil and, man-induced or naturally caused, its effects will be felt more considerably in the coming years. The only way we are going to remain ‘comfortable’ is to be more fluid in our activity, face up to challenge of moving targets rather than fighting for vested interests.

This includes changing how we deal with depleting resources, a move to renewable energy (or nuclear fusion) would decrease the re’liance on fossil fuels (and extend their lifespan) increased usage would bring down costs, etc. Resource depletion does not only mean fuel though, it includes waning fish stocks, decreased nutritional value in industrially produced fruit and vegetables (and industrially reared animals).

At the moment people are generally carrying on ‘as normal’ which is leading to a situation where the market will provide a tightrope situation between affordability and ‘sustainability’ (i.e. borderline extinction or artificially managed ‘nature’) this will ultimately reduce choice and the viability of alternative methods leading to a highly corporatised market and is the failure of holding strictly to the market model whilst hoping ‘things will turn out alright’.

The reaction of the ‘ecological fascists’ in the form of demanding punitive taxation or quotas will backfire. It will lead to resentment amongst those who cannot afford such measures and are coerced into changing their habits, those who can afford to ignore such restrictions will of course continue to live their lives as before, quotas will not be effective against those who can afford to take business elsewhere. In addition the increasing of the tax burden to offset ecological issues takes evermore power from the individual and gives it to the State to prescribe solutions (which of course will be shaped by those with the greatest lobbying power) and inevitably succumb to bureaucracy, monitoring and, above all, control.

What is needed to avoid falling into the traps of either extremist viewpoint is a generation of people who have been educated to evaluate and question the options available or presented to them rather than blindly accepting (or proposing) blanket ‘solutions’ or deluding themselves about the wiider impacts of their actions. Such an education cannot even begin when children are innured to the ideas of ‘control’ be it through fingerprinting for library access or implicit supression of individual action. Once you have people who can think and act for themselves – and realise that this means acting beyond ones immediate self interest – then the worse implications of self determination (the market) fade and the need for the invasive measures of ‘command and control’ environmentalists disappear.

I write this as the current November-March heating period for my home comes to an end, cool but comfortable in a jumper.