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Questions persist about the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

My previous posts on this horrific incident might also be of interest to those who missed them: the effect that SSRIs can have on the mind, the media attention certain young people received, recent news about the media narrative and more contributing factors to mass shootings, one of which is the absence of fathers in today’s family structure. The latest was a guest post by my reader George True.

This post explores various accounts of the shooting.

Sheriff’s office affadavit

This comes thanks to a reader at The Conservative Treehouse (emphases his):

According to a booking affidavit filed Thursday by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office:

“Cruz stated that he was the gunman who entered the school campus armed with a AR-15 and began shooting students that he saw in the hallways and on the school grounds. Cruz stated that he brought additional loaded magazines to the school campus and kept them hidden in a backpack until he got on campus to begin his assault.

The sheriff’s office said he got to the school by ordering a ride from Uber. Deputies tracked down the driver, who said she dropped Cruz off at 2:19 p.m. ET, toward the end of the school day, according to the booking affidavit.

Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters at a news conference Thursday afternoon that the driver didn’t know what her passenger was planning and was completely blameless.

Within barely two minutes of being dropped off, Cruz started firing into four classrooms in Building 12, returning to two of them to shoot again, Israel said.

Cruz then went upstairs to the second floor, where he shot one of his victims, before proceeding to the third floor, where he ditched his rifle and backpack, Israel said.

He then ran down the stairs and outside, where he blended in with hundreds of terrified students — many of them his former classmates — and eluded officers as he left campus, Israel said.

Amid the chaos he’d left behind at the school, Cruz made his way to a Walmart store, bought a drink at its Subway restaurant and walked away again, Israel said.

While police and sheriff’s deputies frantically looked for him — at least one witness at the school had identified him to arriving investigators, according to the booking affidavit — Cruz went to a McDonald’s restaurant, w[h]ere he lingered for awhile before leaving on foot, Israel said.

It took 40 more minutes for Coconut Creek police to spot and detain Cruz in the nearby community of Coral Springs at about 3:40 p.m., according to the timeline Israel gave.

The sheriff’s office booking report is here. It includes 17 counts of first degree premeditated murder, a description of what Cruz was wearing, the mention of an AR-15 and more. Essential reading.

Sheriff speaks about officer not entering school

Scot Peterson was the sheriff’s deputy assigned to the high school in Parkland as School Resource Officer (SRO). He did not enter the school during the shooting. Nor did three other Broward County deputies.

Peterson was suspended without pay, then promptly retired in the days that followed.

Sheriff Scott Israel discussed the matter:

Police from nearby Coral Springs did enter the school building. Jim DeFede, an investigative reporter from CBS4 in Miami, tells the story:

Over the weekend, calls for Sheriff Israel’s resignation mounted. Governor Rick Scott is among those wanting him to resign:

An investigation will be launched:

Follow Jim DeFede’s Twitter for more news.

Yes, people died

More than a few people wonder if anyone died.

Yes, they did.

First, see the aforementioned sheriff’s office report.

Secondly, see the Miami Herald report of February 15, which has names, photos and tributes from people who knew the victims.

On Sunday, February 25, Chris Wallace interviewed Andrew Pollack, father of Meadow, who died in the shooting. The first minute shows Pollack’s appearance at the White House for President Donald Trump’s listening session last week. The man was on fire:

Pollack talks about making school safety the top priority and says that talking about gun control is too divisive an issue. He says his daughter died because the school was unsafe. True!

Timeline and maps

On Friday, February 23, the Sun Sentinel posted an excellent article which has the timeline of the shooting, accompanied by maps and diagrams.

Please read it in full. It is very interesting and describes what the teachers did. A mathematics teacher saved her students’ lives very simply. Worth noting:

Hearing the gunshots and screams, math teacher Shanthi Viswanathan placed paper over the classroom window so no one could see in and told students to get on the floor in the corner.

Her actions probably saved her students, said Dawn Jarboe, whose son Brian was in the class.

A CBS News article from February 15 is also highly recommended reading. It has details of the shooting, interviews with the students and much more.

Deadline Hollywood also has a worthwhile report that appeared on the day of the shooting.

History teacher Ernest Rospierski describes what he saw and heard during the shooting:


Thank you to my readers who commented on yesterday’s post and to sunnydaysall for the video links she posted (see here and here).

Loads of us have questions based on videos and commentary about these interviews.

I found copies of the videos sunnydaysall referenced.

The first has a clip of what the girl with dark hair said (see here for the full interview). I’m including this tweet because others said the same thing about the attire they saw (see the second tweet):

I am interjecting another early interview, which features the girl who said she was talking with the shooter while the shooting was going on. Someone later commented anecdotally and said that was a different Cruz, whose name was spelled Nicholas. We don’t know, so, let’s assume for the sake of argument that it was Nikolas Cruz to whom she was referring. This video first appeared very soon after the shooting:

The second link is to the biggest video sensation of the weekend — the Good Morning America interview with the creative writing teacher. She, too, saw bullet-proof vests, body armour and more:

Someone at The Conservative Treehouse posted a partial transcript:

Just one week ago Valentine’s Day creative writing teacher Stacy Lippel’s class was playing music, writing love letters when the fire alarm went off. As students filed into the hallway, she heard gunfire but killing had begun. ‘I was about two feet away from my door. All of a sudden I heard gunshots in the stairwell, which is about 20 feet away from my room and then kids were screaming and then running back towards me and towards the end of the hallway, so I just went in this very strange autopilot mode where I pivoted on my feet, I unlocked my door and then, “Kids, you start pouring in my room”. I don’t know how many kids were in there but I was pulling them and getting them in and shouting at them to get in the room and then I suddenly saw the shooter about 20 feet from me standing at the end of the hallway actively shooting down the hallway, just a barrage of bullets and I’m staring at him thinking why [are] the police here? This is strange because he’s in full metal garb helmet, facemask, bulletproof armor shooting this rifle that I’ve never seen before seen’.

Sadly, Lippel lost two of her students in the attack.

Intellihub broke down Lippel’s statements and compared them with the official reports of the shooting. They do not add up.

Someone on Twitter who opines a lot on the news thinks that she is lying:

But maybe there was more than one shooter.

Then there is the film David Hogg made in a closet time stamped 9:32 a.m. — hours before the shooting took place. A fire drill took place in the morning. Shouldn’t he and his fellow students have been out of the building? Hogg asks students what they think about gun control. Why would he do that? took an Infowars report without even linking to it — BAD! — that said former Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling has been criticised for saying that Hogg wasn’t even a student at the school. Yes, it’s the ongoing puzzle as to whether Hogg graduated from school in California in 2015.

Hogg has been busy making the media rounds since the shooting.

And finally …

While notional mourners enjoyed themselves on Ellen Degeneres’s show …

… the NRA is getting a load of new members:

And Floridians enjoyed this past weekend’s gun show:

More soon.


As one digs deeper into the Florida school shooting on Valentine’s Day 2018, one finds strange things involving Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

At the weekend, I wrote that I hadn’t even intended to post on this topic but decided to do so once people began clamouring for gun control and ignoring mental health issues, including the effect that SSRIs can have on the mind. I followed up with another post on the media attention certain young people received. My post from Friday, February 23, had recent news about the media narrative as well as more contributing factors to mass shootings, one of which is the absence of fathers in today’s family structure.

One of my readers, George True, posted an excellent comment revealing anomalies about this shooting. He kindly gave me permission to post it below. I am most grateful for this opportunity. Emphases mine below:

There are so many things wrong with this entire affair that it just screams coverup. In no particular order :

TPTB had already decided within two days after the shootings that the building where it occurred would be demolished and rebuilt, at a cost of some 30 million dollars. WTH??? And they apparently had already been assured that federal funds would be made available to cover the bulk of the cost. What?? How could they possibly know that so quickly? And who gets to make such a quick and cavalier decision to destroy a perfectly good $30M asset that the taxpayers paid for and in fact own? At best this is a harebrained decision based on nothing but ‘feeelings’. At worst, it is a deliberate plot to destroy forensic evidence lest it lead to a different conclusion.

What in the world is the Secret Service doing conducting active shooter training in recent weeks at ANY school, let alone this particular school? Their job, their ONLY job, is to protect the president and certain other high government politicians and political candidates.

Multiple people present said there were multiple shooters. Why are these witness statements not being seriously and exhaustively investigated? Why are they being dismissed out of hand, or even ignored altogether? Is this perhaps why the building is off limits pending immediate demolition, so that it cannot yield evidence that there was more than one shooter?

In his court appearance, the alleged shooter had a deer in the headlights look on his face. As though he had no idea or recollection what happened or how he got there. Churchmouse has done a yeoman’s job of covering The Issue That Must Not Ever Be Mentioned. Namely, the common thread of SSRI’s in every school shooting since Columbine. It has absolutely been known for many years now that SSRI’s actually ALTER the developing brains of adolescents. It has also been known that SSRI’s will CAUSE violent homicidal, and suicidal impulses in a small but significant subset of teenagers and young men under the age of 25. In a nation of over 300 million, if this subset is only one percent, that is still 30,000 troubled ‘yutes’ on SSRI’s who are ticking time bombs.

In recent days , Q Anon has said that the MK Ultra program is still alive and well today. But they no longer refer to it by that name, as that was merely the program name during its early experimental stage. Q Anon infers that the program has progressed far beyond that in sophistication since those days. The thousand yard stare on the alleged shooter’s face suggests someone who is a product of both SSRI’s and MK Ultra mind conditioning.

The immediate full-court press by the media against guns is too well orchestrated and coordinated to be anything but a pre-planned campaign all ready and waiting for the right incident. It is not grass roots – it is quite obviously astro-turf, and it has Soros fingerprints all over it.

These are just a few things that come to mind that raise many, many red flags about this incident. Just like the Las Vegas shooting last Autumn, there is much here that is being hidden, along with intentional misdirection and deliberate disinformation on the part of public officials and their running dog Media syncophants.

Don’t be fooled by what you saw or heard on Sunday news shows about gun control being the solution to mass shootings.

I, too, have the same questions and suspicions about this tragedy which took 17 lives and injured 14 others.

Will we ever find out the truth?

This will not be my last post on the subject. More revelations came to light over the weekend about Broward County officials and school policies.

In closing, thank you, George, for allowing me to share your comment for those who might have missed it. Thank you for also being such a supportive and insightful reader.

What has been evolving out of the Valentine’s Day shooting in Parkland, Florida, beggars belief.

I wasn’t even going to write about it, but decided to do so once people began clamouring for gun control and ignoring mental health issues, including the effect that SSRIs can have on the mind. I followed up with another post on the media attention certain young people received.

Before I discuss two more contributing factors — lack of two-parent households as well as school and law enforcement policies for young people — let us look at the latest headlines in the aftermath of the shooting.

Latest curiosities

CNN held a town hall broadcast with Florida senators Marco Rubio (R) and Bill Nelson (D) about gun control. A student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the scene of the crime, was in attendance and already had a question prepared. He claimed that CNN gave him a scripted question.

From Real Clear Politics (emphases mine):

Colton Haab said he was approached by CNN to ask a question at Wednesday night’s town hall but decided not to after the network gave him a “scripted question,” quashing one he wrote himself. Haab, a member of the Junior ROTC, shielded students while the school was under attack from the shooter, said he was going to ask about using veterans as armed security guards …

CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions and it ended up being all scripted,” Haab told WPLG-TV …

“I expected to be able to ask my questions and give my opinion on my questions,” Haab said.

“Colton Haab, a member of the Junior ROTC who shielded classmates in the midst of terror says he did not get to share his experience,” WPLG’s Janine Stanwood explained.

Colton wrote questions about school safety, suggested using veterans as armed school security guards but claims CNN wanted him to ask a scripted question instead so he decided not to go,” Stanwood reported.

CNN responded:

CNN did not, and does not, script any questions for town hall meetings, ever.

Really? One wonders.

On Wednesday, February 21, Alex Jones interviewed a student at the school who Snopes says is not enrolled there. Infowars has an article, a video and the student’s school schedule (emphasis in the original):

Managing editor of left-leaning publication Snopes Brook Binkowski attempted to discredit a Marjory Stoneman Douglas student in a now-deleted tweet for calling in on The Alex Jones Show the day after the shooting took place.

However, records reveal the student, Jalen Martin, does in fact attend Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school.

Here is the video. Jalen’s interview is the first part. He says there had been a fire drill in the morning, then, in the afternoon, they heard the alarm again. Everyone evacuated the building and Jalen says people were talking about whether it was a code black (bomb) or code red (active shooter). One of Jalen’s classmates left his phone behind, so Jalen lent him his. The boy rang his mother to say that there was a shooter. A teacher overheard and told him, ‘Don’t say that!’ The teacher confiscated the phone and looked as if he were about to break it. Jalen stepped in to say, ‘That’s my phone’:

Jalen also told Jones that there was a visit from the Secret Service four weeks prior to the shooting to train teachers in defence. That was also reported after the shooting took place.

Why would the Secret Service do that sort of training, impose protocols and regular drills? That is not part of their function.

Jalen said that the students were not allowed to leave — or call anyone to let them know what was happening — until later. Law enforcement showed up within just a few minutes. He also confirmed multiple shooters.

In short, the official story line does not add up.

In another development, the mother of one of the young media stars has connections at CNN. Big League Politics explains (emphases mine):

“Great VIP tour,” said a post by Rebecca Boldrick showing a series of photos taken in 2016 at CNN world headquarters.

One photo shows her children sitting at an anchor’s desk.

Boldrick is the mother of David Hogg, who has gained internet fame for his activism in the days since the shooting

Hogg and his merry band of anti-gun crusaders have been paraded around by nearly every cable news network in America.

Apparently, activism runs in the family. A series of Facebook posts show that Boldrick is an avowed Democrat and anti-Trumper

“I can’t sit by and do nothing with what is going on currently in the USA,” says one of Boldrick’s posts. “If you like what Trump is currently doing please unfriendly [sic] or block me because you won’t like what I am going to begin posting.”

The article concludes:

Is this organic, grassroots teen activism in the wake of a horrible tragedy, or are these children being exploited in an orchestrated effort to serve the political interests of adults?

There seems to be something very selective about these calls for gun control. Why aren’t the same people outraged about MS-13? FrontPageMag has an excellent article on the subject. Daniel Greenfield, the author, points out:

The media can’t be bothered to talk about their victims because it’s politically inconvenient. Many of the perps are illegal aliens or undocumented beheaders. The victims aren’t people they could envision as their kids. And reporting on MS-13’s crimes endangers their push for illegal alien amnesty. It also shines a harsh light on the policies of Obama Inc.

But while CNN won’t have that town hall, conservatives should. Imagine President Trump hearing more from the Latino parents of MS-13 victims. The media would have to grit its teeth and cover the story.

Failures of law enforcement and mental health treatment

A school administrator from Florida tweeted to ask questions about the shooting. It’s a long thread and well worth reading. Excerpts follow:

As for the aforementioned son of a retired FBI agent (father) and anti-Trump activist (mother):

It is weird that part of the school building will now be demolished. Has forensic evidence been collected? Sound familiar? Think Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut:

His conclusion:

I for one am SICK TO DEATH of fake news outlets pretending this is about a rifle- its not. Its about a mentally ill person, totally abandoned and discarded and politically expediently ignored, by multiple agencies allowed to commit inhumane acts of terror due to incompetence. END

Local school board policies and law enforcement failing troubled teens

Here are some answers for Mr Bouchell.

The Conservative Treehouse has an illuminating post about how Broward County — where Parkland is located — and Miami-Dade County (immediately to the south) enacted policies whereby students could not be arrested. Please take the time to read the post in full. Two excerpts follow:

In 2012 and 2013 while doing research into the Trayvon Martin shooting we discovered an alarming set of school policies being enacted in Miami-Dade and Broward County Florida.  The policies were called “diversionary programs” and were essentially about stopping High School students from being arrested. Law enforcement was instructed to avoid arrests and defer criminal conduct to school administrators.

Students who engaged in violence, drug sales, robberies, burglaries, theft and other various crimes were intentionally kept out of the criminal justice system.  County administrators and School Superintendents told local and county law enforcement officers to stop arresting students

Unfortunately, the school board mandated policies came into conflict with law and order. The problem of the conflicted policy -vs- legality worsened over time as the police excused much more than misdemeanor crimes.  Over time this culminated in police officers falsifying documents, hiding criminal activity, lying on official police reports and even hiding stolen merchandise police retrieved from high school students.

Imagine what happens after an extended period of time? A mass shooting that could have been prevented if a twisted school/law enforcement policy had not been in place. Given that police visited Nikolas Cruz’s home at the request of his mother 39 times, had the system been left alone, he never would have been allowed to handle firearms. He probably would have had better mental health care, too.

Fatherlessness a huge issue

On February 17, Susan L M Goldberg wrote an excellent article for PJ Media about the effect the lack of a father has on young men. Excerpts follow:

Now that the gun control advocates have had their fifteen minutes of fame, let’s start focusing on the real issues impacting the rise in school shootings since that infamous day in Columbine in 1999. Issue number one that no one in the mainstream media or government wants to acknowledge: fatherlessness. Specifically, the impact of fatherlessness on the boys who grew up to become school shooters.

Nikolas Cruz was adopted. His adoptive father died when he was a boy. His mother, who was in her 60s when she died in November 2017, could not control him, hence the police visits.

Goldberg provides various statistics on the damage the absence of a father has on young men:

As Terry Brennan, co-founder of Leading Women for Shared Parenting, notes:

72 percent of adolescent murderers grew up without fathers; the same for 60 percent of all rapists.

70 percent of juveniles in state institutions grew up in single- or no-parent situations

The number of single-parent households is a good predictor of violent crime in a community, while poverty rate is not.

This is a dangerous situation for society — not just in the US but elsewhere in the West. We are deceiving ourselves when we argue against guns:

Instead of spending so much as fifteen minutes on fatherlessness we are forced to endure the same salacious headlines, the same provocative tweets, the same tired old memes about the evils of guns as if somehow a cold piece of metal convinced yet another boy to become a mass-murderer. We ignore the lack of adequate mental health services, the failure of law enforcement to effectively intercede, and the sickening impact fatherlessness has on each one of these tragic cases. Why? Because it is easier to ban a hunk of metal than it is to right systemic cultural wrongs.

She rightly concludes:

What is the primary way to attack a boy’s masculinity? Strip him of his primary male role model: his father. Over the past 50 years, we have taught women to embrace single motherhood and to cut fathers out of their children’s lives through divorce. Now, thanks to the gun control echo-chamber, it will probably take another 50 years to right the wrongs we’ve done to our fathers and our boys.

I couldn’t agree more.


Single-parent homes are not serving society well. In Cruz’s case, one can understand that his mother might not have wanted to remarry. Perhaps her husband was the love of her life. However, it would have been good for her to get male role models for her sons in the form of a family friend or a relative.

School boards are failing troubled teens by asking law enforcement to compromise proper procedures.

Law enforcement officers are failing troubled teens by enabling bad behaviour in accordance with school board policies.

More gun control is a bad idea. Europe is largely a gun free zone outside of police and criminals. Many European cities — e.g. Marseille — have turned into violent dumps where shoot-outs occur with alarming regularity. Criminals have no problems getting firearms.

All of these factors make a heady brew for a mass shooting.

This is an important example of left-wing hypocrisy:

Is everyone in the United States aware that the FBI is investigating Bernie Sanders for fraud?

NBC’s Chuck Todd didn’t mention it in his interview with Sanders about last week’s special elections in Georgia and South Carolina. I can appreciate that the network is proud that Meet the Press is in its 70th year, but, please, give people the full story:

In May 2016, Burlington College in Vermont had to close. It went broke. Sanders’s wife Jane had been a recent Burlington College president.

On June 22, 2017, Politico published Harry Jaffe’s article, ‘Jane Sanders Lawyers Up’, which recaps the background. Jaffe, who has been following Sanders’s career since the 1970s, is the editor-at-large for Washingtonian magazine and the author of Why Bernie Sanders Matters. Excerpts and a summary follow.

In short:

Investigative reporters had been breaking stories about a federal investigation into allegations that the senator’s wife, Jane Sanders, had committed fraud in obtaining bank loans for the now defunct Burlington College, and that Sanders’s Senate office had weighed in.

In May 2017, Sanders blamed the story on President Donald Trump’s campaign manager in Vermont:

Sanders had never responded to questions about the case, but he took the bait this time. Briefly.

“Well, as you know,” he said, “it would be improp— this implication came from Donald Trump’s campaign manager in Vermont. Let me leave it at that, because it would be improper at this point for me to say anything more.”

Sanders repeated the accusation:

“Yes,” Sanders responded, “it is nonsense. But now that there is a process going on, which was initiated by Trump’s campaign manager, somebody who does this all of the time, has gone after a number of Democrats and progressives in this state. It would be improper at this point for me to add any more to that.”

Investigators are looking into whether Senator Sanders’s office used his influence to obtain a loan from People’s United Bank to help bail out the college.

Sanders is correct in saying that Brady Toensing, an attorney who chaired Trump’s Vermont campaign, notified authorities. Politico reports that Toensing sent a letter in January 2016:

Toensing, in an email to Politico Magazine, notes, “The investigation was started more than a year ago under President Obama, his Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and his United States Attorney, all of whom are Democrats.”

Politico says that Mr and Mrs Sanders are now seeking top lawyers:

Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ longtime top political adviser who heads Sanders’ political organization, Our Revolution, confirms to Politico Magazine that Bernie and Jane Sanders have lawyered up. The couple has retained Rich Cassidy, a well-connected Burlington attorney and Sanders devotee, and Larry Robbins, the renowned Washington-based defense attorney who has represented I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and disgraced former Rep. Bill Jefferson, to represent Jane Sanders in the matter.

It’s now Trump’s Department of Justice that is handling the investigation which could proceed via a US Attorney for Vermont, not yet appointed.

Politico says:

The facts of the case are complicated. They are steeped in Vermont’s peculiar educational culture and the incestuous financial system in Burlington, Sanders’ hometown and political base, where some Sanders backers worry that with Trump’s Justice Department calling the shots, the facts—intricate as they are—may not determine the outcome.

Reporters knew about it a year and a half ago:

On January 10, 2016, in the midst of Sanders’ sudden stardom—just weeks before the votes in Iowa and New Hampshire—the U.S. attorney for Vermont was sent a “Request for an Investigation into Apparent Federal Bank Fraud.”

Backed by six exhibits and a dozen documents, the four-page letter described how Jane Sanders had “orchestrated” the purchase of 33 acres along Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, where her husband had minted his populist political brand as mayor. The deal closed in 2010, when the senator’s wife was president of Burlington College, a tiny, obscure, nontraditional school that always seemed to be struggling for students and funds. The letter alleged that to secure a $10 million loan and execute her grand plan to expand the college, Jane Sanders had falsified and inflated nearly $2 million that she’d claimed donors had pledged to repay the loans.

Sanders had “successfully and intentionally engaged in a fraudulent scheme to actively conceal and misrepresent material facts from a federal financial institution,” the letter alleged. It pressed for a federal investigation into potential bank fraud.

However, Politico says that reporters did not ask the Sanders about the letter or exhibits, because they were too intrigued by his popularity with voters.


Beyond the glare, federal investigators and FBI agents started to pull apart the $10 million financial arrangement. They showed up at Burlington College to sift through hard drives, audit reports and spreadsheets. They began to interview donors, board members and past president Carol Moore. “I was contacted and spoke with an FBI agent numerous times last spring, again last summer,” Moore told Vermont Public Radio in May 2017, “and recently, maybe a month ago.”

A second letter followed, alleging Senator Sanders’s office was involved:

A second letter to federal prosecutors in early 2016 alleged that Senator Sanders’ office had pressured the bank to approve the loan application submitted by Jane Sanders. “Improper pressure by a United States Senator is a serious ethical violation,” the letter asserted.

It is surprising how far back this story goes.

Before discussing that, however, let’s look at a bit of history. Burlington College was founded in 1972 by a literature professor, Steward LaCasce, who had envisaged an institution of higher learning without walls and with a high degree of autonomy. He started Burlington in his living room with 14 students. Anyone reading this who was not alive then should know that the early 1970s was still a time of flower power and experimental lifestyles which held a lot of appeal for a niche group.

Although LaCasce’s fledgling institution was not known as Burlington College initially, it got its name once classes moved to a former grocery store in Burlington.

When Jane Sanders was appointed president in 2004, Burlington College had 200 students. She had big plans for the college’s expansion. However, those did not materialise immediately. In the meantime, she was proving unpopular with other faculty and even students:

In the four years since she had taken over, two dozen faculty and staff had left the tiny college. The Student Government Association in late 2008 described a “toxic and disruptive environment on campus.” Nearly half of the students and faculty members signed a petition demanding a meeting about the “crisis in leadership.” Even so, Sanders’ salary rose to $150,000 in 2009, according to college records, as tuition increased by $5,000, to $22,407 in 2011, and enrollment dropped to 156 students.

Despite this, she carried on with the support of college trustees.

In 2010, she decided to act on expansion. She planned to move the college to larger grounds, on the desirable Lake Champlain, no less. The local Roman Catholic diocese needed to sell a magnificent building — a former orphanage and rectory — because they needed to fund settlements from child abuse lawsuits:

The property went on the market for $12.5 million. The Diocese took Burlington College’s offer of $10 million, which seemed to be a bargain.

There was only one problem. Burlington College could not afford it:

… the college was nearly broke. Its annual budget hovered just below $4 million. Even at a discounted rate, the land would be an extravagant purchase. Yet Sanders was able to craft a complex set of deals to finance the acquisition.


The state’s Educational and Health Buildings Finance Agency voted to issue $6.5 million in tax exempt bonds. People’s United Bank loaned Burlington College $6.5 million to buy the bonds. The Catholic church loaned the school $3.65 million in a second mortgage. To secure the loans, Sanders assured the bank and the church that the college had $5 million in likely pledges and $2.4 million in confirmed pledges, which she would be able to use to pay off the debt. And finally, the college received a $500,000 bridge loan from Anthony Pomerleau, a wealthy Burlington developer close with Bernie and Jane Sanders.

Yet, landscaping the campus required an additional $6 million:

To many locals, it didn’t add up.

In September 2011, Sanders took reporters on a tour of the new campus, overlooking Lake Champlain.

However, one month later, the board of trustees persuaded her to resign. Financial problems — repayments and unfulfilled pledges — as well as her continuing conflicts with faculty were the principal reasons.

Regardless, it was too late for the college to recover:

Burlington’s free fall accelerated after the board forced out Sanders. The school had moved into the old buildings on its new campus, and though Sanders had budgeted for more than $3 million in renovations, the structures were in need of rehabilitation that would cost substantially more. Unable to increase enrollment to pay for the added costs, the school lost students.

Even selling off parcels of prime lakefront property to developers did not suffice. The college still could not pay off the loans sufficiently.

The bank called in the loan in April 2016. In May, Burlington College closed its doors — for good.

In a 2015 interview on Vermont Public Radio, Jane Sanders insisted she left the college in good financial condition in 2011.

Trump’s campaign manager, Brady Toensing, became interested in Burlington College’s financial difficulties in July 2014, after an alternative newspaper, Seven Days, carried an in-depth piece on it:

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges had put it on probation because of the school’s shaky finances. The college was about to sell off land to defray its mounting debt.


requested loan documents from the Vermont Educational and Health Buildings Finance Agency that had issued the $6.5 million bonds for the land. The August 1 response from the bonding agency produced a trove of documents that detailed how Jane Sanders convinced the bank and the church that Burlington College could pay back its millions of dollars in loans.

Politico says he shared the documents with Seven Days and a non-profit Vermont website, VTDigger.

Interestingly, it was The Daily Caller — based in Washington DC — that first broke the story on March 26, 2015:

under the headline: “Exclusive: Bernie Sanders’ Wife May Have Defrauded State Agency, Bank.”

VTDigger took it from there (emphases mine below):

Morgan True, reporting for VTDigger, went deeper. Examining the pledges Sanders had listed on documents she signed for the loan, True and other reporters found discrepancies and overstatements.

The records showed that Sanders had assured People’s United Bank and the state bonding agency that the college had $2.6 million in pledges to secure the loan. Internal college audits showed that only $676,000 in actual donations came in from 2010 to 2014. Sanders listed two people as having confirmed pledges for more money than they had offered; neither knew their pledges had been used to support the loan. A third donor had offered a $1 million bequest, to be paid upon her death. Instead, the college’s loan application counted it in funds to be paid out over the next few years.

When media contacted her at the time, Jane Sanders gave no comment.

Brady Toensing had what he needed. He:

wrapped these figures and facts into the January 2016 letter to the U.S. attorney and the FDIC, requesting an investigation into what he termed “apparent federal bank fraud.” In March 2016, Toensing doubled down in another letter to federal officials. This time, he made an allegation that struck to the core of Bernie Sanders’ clean-government image. “As a result of my [initial] complaint,” Toensing wrote, “I was recently approached and informed that Senator Bernard Sanders’s office improperly pressured People’s United Bank to approve the loan application submitted by the Senator’s wife, Ms. Sanders.”

Politico says that proving that Bernie Sanders’s office was involved would be difficult at best, adding that proving bank fraud is also challenging:

Charges of bank fraud, say legal experts, are not easy to prove. “It requires that the act be performed knowingly,” says William Lawler, a former federal prosecutor now with the law firm Vinson & Elkins. “Not every mistake is going to rise to the level of a crime.”

As I write, investigators have not yet finished their work. Once they have done so, they will present their findings to federal prosecutors and the relevant lawyers will:

have discretion on whether or not to bring charges.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the DoJ would then decide whether to prosecute. Remember that Jeff Sessions and Bernie Sanders were both in the Senate together for many years. Sessions will also know what Mr and Mrs Sanders said about Trump on the campaign trail and this year.

The story is on hold for now but is trending on Twitter. However, it will be interesting to see how this materialises, especially, if, as Politico suggests, Brady Toensing is a successful nominee for the post of US Attorney for Vermont.

Yesterday’s post related how Emmanuel Macron met Brigitte Trogneux, his wife and former teacher.

Today’s post describes a bit more about his youth and Brigitte’s involvement.

When he was a little boy, Macron often went to his maternal grandmother’s house. Germaine, who died in 2013, was a retired schoolteacher. She instilled in her grandson a love of books and education. She was also keen for him to become a politician. She died in 2013. However, from the beginning, he was accustomed to being around older people.

When Macron was 15, he was a student at the Jesuit-run La Providence school in Amiens. Trogneux, then Mme Auzière — a mother of three, married to André-Louis Auzière — taught French and drama. The first lady of France told an interviewer before her husband became president that when the young Macron auditioned for the school play:

‘I just found him incredible. He had such presence.’

She went on: ‘Without doubt he wasn’t like the others. He was always with the teachers. He simply wasn’t an adolescent.’

The Daily Mail has photos of this particular production, including her giving him a congratulatory kiss at the end.

She was close to her 40th birthday at the time.

The Mail researched several of her interviews with French media, one of which had this:

‘At the age of 17, Emmanuel said to me, ‘Whatever you do, I will marry you!’,’ Miss Trogneux told Paris Match magazine last year.

Macron’s parents were less than pleased. Heavy has 5 Fast Facts about Trogneux, including a description of how things unfolded at home in 1993 (emphases mine below):

According to the book Emmanuel Macron: A Perfect Young Man by Anne Fulda, Macron’s parents told Trogneux to stay away from their son, at least until he was 18.

As Vogue notes, Macron’s parents tried to split them up by sending Macron to Paris to finish his studies, but that didn’t work.

“I cannot promise you anything,” Trogneux told his parents, Fulda writes, notes Reuters. Their relationship continued and they married in 2007, after Trogneux and her husband divorced.

Macron’s parents told Fulda that they believed their son was actually going after the heart of Trogneux’s daughter. They were stunned to hear that this wasn’t the case.

We couldn’t believe it. What is clear is that when Emmanuel met Brigitte we couldn’t just say: ‘That’s great,’” Macron’s mother told Fulda.

Then there was the possibility of Macron not having his own children. Starting one’s own family is a top priority in France. Macron’s mother had words for her son’s teacher:

She is quoted as telling Trogneux, “Don’t you see. You’ve had your life. But he won’t have children with you.”

This came true. Macron stated the reasons why:

During a BMFTV interview in April, Macron made it clear that he and his wife have decided not to have any children, Gala notes. He’s already the step-grandfather of seven children.

We have chosen not to have children. A choice that was not selfish for me,” he told BMFTV. “It is a choice that has been assumed, which I had to make very young given the age difference …”

As the years passed, time healed the wounds between Macron’s parents and the May-December couple:

Although Fulda did interview Macron and Trogneux, Macron’s spokesman said he was disappointed that she didn’t ask about his parents’ approval of the relationship.

And, yes, the middle-aged teacher probably had broken the law, however:

Emmanuel’s parents were keen on emphasizing that they did not lodge a complaint against Brigitte Auziere (Trogneux’s married name) for corruption of a minor,” Macron’s spokesman said, reports Reuters.

Even today, years later, she said:

“Nobody will ever know at what moment our story became a love story. That belongs to us. That is our secret,” Trogneux is quoted as saying in the book.

Macron, 39, is two years younger than his step-son. He is the same age as his elder step-daughter and was a classmate of hers. He is only nine years older than Brigitte’s youngest child, Tiphaine Auzière.

Tiphaine, a lawyer, worked on Macron’s campaign.

Brigitte is very close to her second husband. The couple firmly expect that she will have an important role to play in his presidency.

One wonders whether she will have the family chocolates in the Elysée Palace. Heavy points out:

Trogneux’s parents were Jean Trogneux and Simone Pujol. They had six children, with Trogneux as the youngest, according to

L’Express notes that Trogneux’s family is well-known in the north of France for their chocolates. Her nephew, Jean-Alexandre Trogneux, leads the family business, which made four million euros in 2013 alone.

The Jean Trogneux website has a full list of merchandise. The chocolates and other specialities are very pricey.

There’s a joke here, because the company makes the famous Macaron d’Amiens, which Catherine de Medici introduced in the 16th century:

The company’s best-known product are their macaroons, or Mac[a]rons d’Amiens. In 2014, a local jokingly told Le Parisien that, “We already had the macaroon from Amiens. Now we also have the Macron d’Amiens!”

Such an unusual marriage cannot be without rumour:

Macron’s unconventional marriage has led some to speculate that he’s secretly gay. Back in February, he laughed off rumors that he was having an affair with Radio France CEO Mathieu Gallet … The Telegraph reports.

The NATO meeting and G7 summit last week put Brigitte Trogneux in the world spotlight. One French report said that Trogneux has the world at her feet (see the first 1:51 minutes):

Not everyone commenting on the video agreed (translation mine below):

It’s more like Melania Trump who has the world at her feet!

Trogneux, 64, has teenage legs, to be sure. However, she doesn’t need to show them off so much at every opportunity.

Here’s another video of her attire contrasted with Melania Trump’s:

In closing, below are links with photos of Macron’s family from his inauguration ceremony.

The senior Macrons have been divorced for several years. However, Jean-Michel and Françoise Nogues-Macron were photographed together at the Elysée. Macron’s mother is a retired physician and his father is a professor of neurology at the University Hospital in Amiens. Macron’s brother Laurent, a radiologist in the Paris region, is two years younger than the president and was at the ceremony, although no one in the media knows what he looks like. Their younger sister Estelle, a kidney specialist near Toulouse, did not attend.

One cannot help but wonder whether Macron, too, would have gone into medicine if his secondary school years hadn’t changed him so much.

In any event, I’m still thinking about a husband cuckolded by a 15-year-old and a set of very shocked parents. It’s disgusting.

Before I relate a cautionary news story, this is where the phrase ‘to come a cropper’ originated:

For the actual derivation we need to consider the nether quarters of a horse – the croup or crupper. In the 18th century, anyone who took a headlong fall from a horse was said to have fallen ‘neck and crop’; for example, this extract from the English poet Edward Nairne’s Poems, 1791:

A man on horseback, drunk with gin and flip,
Bawling out – Yoix – and cracking of his whip,

The startish beast took fright, and flop
The mad-brain’d rider tumbled, neck and crop!

Now onto today’s news item.

Can you spot the error in the following Facebook message from a user in Florida? Emphases in the original:

The funny part about immigrants staying home is the rest of us who pay for them are here at work like we’ve always been.  Looks like less mouths to feed today.  Have fun while you still can.  So glad to hear about massive deportation.  Let’s make America great again.  Thanks Donald Trump!!




For grammarians, ‘less mouths’ sticks out like a sore thumb. As one can count mouths, the phraseology should be ‘fewer mouths‘.

A schoolteacher should know better, especially if she teaches in a primary school. It doesn’t matter that she is a computer lab teacher. The example she sets will stay in her pupils’ minds.

However, ZeroHedge reports that the parents at Parkside Elementary School in Naples, on the west coast of Florida, considered Veronica Fleming’s Facebook message as one big mistake and took action.

In response to Mrs Fleming’s reaction to ‘Day without Immigrants’, an American protest which took place on Thursday, February 16:

as a local NBC affiliate reported, it didn’t take long before the principal of Parkside Elementary started receiving calls from outraged parents demanding Fleming’s immediate dismissal over the controversial post that was allegedly written during working school hours.  Though she has not yet been fired, Fleming was moved to “administrative duties” by the district pending an investigation of her conduct.


The demographics of the school in Naples, Florida, is a majority of non-white pupils, with 70% Latinos and 20% Haitian, which likely contributed to the outrage among parents.

The Daily Mail reported that the school’s principal, Tamie Stewart, gave the following statement regarding the incident:

We greatly appreciate our parents who have communicated to the school to share concerns so that we can address this issue.

I want to ensure our families that this person’s individual post is not at all reflective of our school staff in any way.

However, parents of pupils at Parkside want further action taken. They have started an online petition for Fleming’s immediate dismissal. The petition points out that Fleming was at work when she wrote the message and that an educator, particularly one amidst mostly minority students:

should always be professional and behave as an impartial authority figure that is held to higher standards.

The story continues.

The big message here is about the freedom people on Facebook think they have.

ZeroHedge and the Daily Mail include a picture of Fleming in attire unbecoming for a schoolteacher. Why would someone post a photo like that on Facebook?

And, returning to the parents’ ire, why post such a message, especially during working hours?

Although Fleming removed her post, it was too late.

The moral of the story is: be careful when online, especially on Facebook.

Facebook users trust their platform implicitly. Why?

I know people who use Facebook exclusively to communicate with family and friends. One of my relatives told me, ‘If you’re not on Facebook, I won’t be in touch with you. Get with it! Get a Facebook account!’

No thanks.

It’s interesting that none of the articles about Fleming’s post included detail on how it was spotted — or by whom. Someone must have been watching her account.

Also noteworthy is that local residents seemed to have a lot of empathy for her opinion, rightly or wrongly. See the comments following NBC2’s article.

Yesterday, I was most surprised to discover that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under Obama paid Muslim groups not to harm Americans.

The Burning Platform has an article, ‘Paying Them Not To Kill Us’. A summary with quotes follows.

It is possible that Americans are finding out about this only now that Trump is in office. Some of these organisations no longer want DHS money, even though substantial sums have been paid in previous years.

A Trump administration official said that the Obama administration came up with this programme in 2011 as a way of:

“countering Islamic extremism.” The official, who has knowledge of the discussions, was not authorized to speak publicly about the proposal and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Trump administration wants to change the name of the programme, which seems to be part of the reason some groups are now rejecting the money. Currently, 20 per cent of the $10m in earmarked funds has been rejected.

A greater element involved is that the groups sense that Trump will go through with plans and policies that are anti-Islam.

On Friday, February 11, 2017, the Sacramento Bee featured an article on Bayan Claremont, the fourth Muslim group to reject DHS money.

Bayan Claremont would have received $800,000 in federal funds aimed at combating Islamic extremism. This would have covered half the Muslim graduate school’s annual budget. However, Trump’s campaign rhetoric and his recent Executive Order — halted for the moment by the Ninth Circuit — changed their administrators’ minds. Bayan Claremont’s president, Jihad Turk (yes, really), made the announcement on Friday.

The comments following the SacBee article are well worth reading. Americans are astounded and angry that tens of millions of dollars from their taxes have gone to supporting … religion.

Bayan Claremont, incidentally, was founded in 2011. It is part of the Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, California, which is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. That said, students from many different Christian denominations attend CST, which is also home to the Episcopal Theological School and Disciples Seminary Foundation.

Among the other groups in the United States which receive DHS’s money are Unity Productions Foundation of Potomac Falls, Virginia, which has declined a $396,585 to produce anti-extremist films; Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities in Dearborn, Michigan, which has rejected $500,000 for youth and health programme development and Ka Joog, a Somali non-profit organisation in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which turned down $500,000 for youth programmes.

All this is money saved that the DHS can put into other areas. After all, as Jihad Turk said:

school officials already had reservations about the CVE strategy under Obama because they felt there’s no clear or proven pathway to violence for someone with a particular extreme ideology.

Just so.

In closing, this sounds awfully lot like voluntary protection money — non-imposed jizya.

To follow up yesterday’s post on making school lunch great again, I ran across two helpful resources which might be of interest to parents.

With all the nonsense about Michelle Obama’s national lunch programme (2010) and the USDA rules about fruit and vegetables in school meals (2012), students and parents are finding what should be an enjoyable midday break difficult.

A New York Times article from 2015, ‘Parents, Not Schools, Should Decide What to Pack for Lunch’, describes the frustration, anxiety — and sometimes sadness — accompanying school lunch (emphases mine):

Based on our review of the available research, we estimate that 10 to 15 percent of all American children and up to 80 percent of those with special needs struggle with feeding challenges. This is not an insignificant concern. These kinds of school incidents can lead to significant setbacks for children with complex food anxieties or challenges. Some children may have special needs around food that aren’t immediately obvious to a teacher, like the sister of a 13-year-old in the hospital from complications of anorexia nervosa, whose parents are desperately trying to teach the girls that all foods, including Oreos, have a place in a healthy diet. Or there is the instance of the little boy with autism spectrum disorder who eats well at home but is so overwhelmed in the loud cafeteria that for him to get enough calories and energy for the afternoon he has to have his most familiar and safe foods. If someone shames him for his sugary squeeze yogurt and Ritz crackers, he may eat nothing.

One child we worked with, who had had multiple surgeries and was weaned off a feeding tube as a toddler, enjoyed fruit cups packed in light syrup as her only fruit. Her teacher held one up in front of the class, calling out the sugar content as unhealthy, and asked the kindergartner to not bring it again. The girl was upset that her cherished teacher thought her food was bad, and refuses to eat it anymore.


Parents have the right to decide what to feed their child, with input from a doctor or dietitian, if necessary. Children have the right to enjoy lunch at school without undue scrutiny, and certainly without being called out in front of peers for a choice the parent makes.

The authors of this article, Dr Katja Rowell and Jenny McGlothlin, recommend that parents enclose a laminated ‘lunchbox card’ stating:

“Dear ____________, Please don’t ask __________________ to eat more or different foods than she/he wants. Please let her eat as much as she wants of any of the foods I pack, in any order, even if she eats nothing or only dessert. If you have any questions or concerns, please call me at _______________. Thank you.”

They acknowledge that the child might be reluctant to do this, so parent and child should rehearse at home before putting this into practice.

They also say that concerned school administrators or teachers should contact the parent rather than confront the child — or, I would add, confiscate his or her food.

School districts have become increasingly authoritarian. The Ellyn Satter Institute, which deals with child nutrition, has a useful page from 2011 on what students encounter. ‘School Nutrition Horror Stories’ spells it out clearly. Recommended reading. Examples and excerpts follow:

All public schools in the St. Paul, MN, district will be declared “sweet-free zones” and second helpings banned by the end of this school year. Reminders have been sent to teachers, students and parents that “sweet, sticky, fat-laden and salty treats” aren’t allowed during the school day.”

New Hampshire schools have authoritarian dinner ladies who humiliate children asking for a brownie as well as hectoring dietitians who patrol the lunchroom criticising pupils who eat a cookie before starting the main course. The end result was that one woman’s son:

was so traumatized that he’s not eating any lunch at all. He tries to find reasons not to go to the cafeteria.

Some parents have been so intimidated by school officials that they related their experiences to the Ellyn Satter Institute only on condition they could remain anonymous — even when they were successful in getting schools to back off!

The Institute recommends that parents talk with the teacher first to get her side of the story, then to explain that you are packing foods your child will actually eat (some nutrition is better than none). If that does not work, take it up to the principal in a non-adversarial way (don’t make it against the teacher, but an information-gathering session).

They also recommend that parents push for a school-wide policy on non-interference with packed lunches:

This might involve the principal, school counselor, school nurse, lunchroom personnel, PTO. It is a lot of work, but it is that important.

Wow, apparently so. We can only hope the Trump administration reverses Michelle’s Meals as soon as practicable.

Nearly five years ago, in October 2012, I wrote about Michelle Obama’s awful school lunch plan, which left American children hungry, even when they managed to eat what was on their plates.

That post has videos of Michelle saying she loves fried food, which she forbade children from eating at school, not a place most of them want to be, anyway.

Now that Donald Trump is in the White House, readers of The_Donald hope that he will:

Hope springs eternal, boosted by a report in the Conservative Tribune, ‘BOOM: GOP Looks to Shut Down Michelle O’s lunches’ (complete with photos of the current offerings):

Donald Trump and the Republicans aren’t just making America great again. They’re making Taco Tuesday great again, too.

Just think, the new, tasty versions could even be called Trump Lunches: a stroke of branding genius we have come to know and love from the Donald.

They could include a taco bowl, possibly based on the Trump Tower Grill recipe. What’s nicer than a huge deep fried taco piled high with salad? Yum. Brings back fond memories of lunches I enjoyed as an adult in the 1980s.

Of their photographs, one of which has an industrially-stamped sandwich bun, the Conservative Tribune says:

Not exactly Anthony Bourdain we’re talking here. Little wonder, then, that even Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s prisoners ate better than some of our nation’s schoolchildren.

The report says that the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was never going to work, even if it:

started out with the best of intentions. Who doesn’t want their children to eat healthier, after all? However, the legislation made two fatal assumptions.

First, it assumed that local school districts weren’t, for whatever reason, trying to make healthy food for their students. Second, it assumed that a one-size-fits-all series of laws and regulations could fix the problem.


They wished to believe that, given time, these unworkable regulations would turn our nation’s lunchrooms into veritable Whole Foods cafeterias.

Unsurprisingly, it hasn’t worked. It’s time for Michelle Obama’s lunch rules to be tossed.

Fox News has more:

A document released by the office of Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., called for repealing certain aspects of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 – the legislation that helped put Michelle Obama’s hallmark program into law. The initiative is part of a broader plan released by Meadows titled, “First 100 Days: Rules, Regulations, and Executive Orders to Examine, Revoke and Issue.”

The document calls for the Trump administration to reverse nearly 200 rules and regulations, including the requirements of the 2010 law. 

A related report from the House Freedom Caucus shows:

The regulations have proven to be burdensome and unworkable for schools to implement. Schools are throwing food away that students are not eating.

Another report, released by the University of Vermont in 2015:

found even though students added more fruits and vegetables to their plates, “children consumed fewer [fruits and vegetables] and wasted more during the school year immediately following implementation of the USDA rule.”

The USDA rule mandating fruit and vegetables came into force in 2012, as a result of Michelle’s 2010 mandate (emphases mine below):

Titled “Impact of the National School Lunch Program on Fruit and Vegetable Selection,” the [Vermont] report noted that average waste increased from a quarter cup to more than one-third of a cup per tray. Observing students at two northeastern elementary schools during more than 20 visits to each, researchers took photos of students’ trays after they chose their items, as they were exiting the lunch line and again as they went by the garbage cans.

Admittedly, Vermont studied only two elementary schools in the Northeast, however, this tweet shows what a typical Michelle Meal looks like:

While her daughters enjoyed a daily choice of lunch items at the prestigious — and private — Sidwell Friends school, American children were left with unappetising selections resembling cat food.

Worse, the amount of food is paltry:

The Fox News report says that the documents they examined showed that:

some schools had to get creative in disposing of the food waste, feeding leftovers to pigs and other animals at nearby farms.

Before Michelle Obama got involved, many American high school students remembered yummy treats.

Several readers at The_Donald recalled lunch after 2010 (I’ve cleaned up the language in places):

They took away our French fries.

I know they removed soda from the machines and replaced with juice or some[thing].

Salt. My high school HAS NO SALT. There is plenty of pepper, but no salt to be found.

That’s funny considering you even get salt in jail

Underground privatized freedom cafe BTFO dystopian government tasteless “we’ll tell you what to like” food. Epic win.

At my school they started only letting kids have 1 condiment packet.

I graduated in 2015 and our lunches were so horrible that eventually the school didn’t make us pay for them

Ours were free too, and we still didn’t eat ’em.

The calorie restriction completely [mess]ed [up] athletes. Nothing says Lefty policy like bringing down the top performers.

Trump and the Republicans could really clean up with this for mid-term elections in 2018 and the next general election in 2020:

A lot of fifteen year old future Trump voters made today.

I imagine this will make quite a few Gen Z voters happy.

This will red-pill an entire generation. Crazy.

Some remembered luncheon delights before 2012, when the rules were fully implemented around the country:

I just graduated in ’16. The food my school was forced to serve after my freshman year was slop. We went from delicious stuffed crust pizza, bosco sticks, and food the great cafeteria cooks would saltless garbage. I stopped eating it and so did many kids there. Its a shame too because I live in a decently poor rural area in TN so for a lot of kids it was their only meal, and it was complete garbage on a tray.

My school in Massachusetts once had a sandwich bar, nice white buttery pasta with Parmesan cheese, a la carte with fresh chocolatey cookies of several varieties.. Ice cream bars, Hoodsie cups.. Then it started to go [downhill]. My sophomore year, 2011, the subs, sandwiches were gone. Then the cookies lost their moisture, sweetness, and flexibility. The pasta became wheat. Dry, and hard. Then, the cookies and a la carte disappeared. Then, the pasta.. Students were left with utterly [awful] chicken patties, watered-down off-brand condiments, or the viscerally repugnant daily hot lunch.

Was Michelle’s programme confusion or conspiracy? Probably a bit of both, which is a bit rich coming from a woman who often enjoyed wagyu and kobe steak with her husband and friends over the past eight years.

In closing, here’s a brief flashback into history. Mao Tse-tung cut off trade routes to Hunan province, thereby increasing the price of salt. People in Hunan had to form co-operatives, pooling money to purchase it.

A reader at The_Donald posted this:

One of Mao’s biggest problems was the Chinese who would attempt to defect by swimming to Taiwan.

He restricted salt knowing that if these people did not have a certain amount of this necessary nutrient, they could not make the trip.

When I read that severe salt restriction was a part of Michelle Obama’s nutrition plan, again, I chuckled out loud.

They just couldn’t resist their tyrannical impulses.

In other words, ‘For me, but not for thee’. I would be disappointed, but not entirely surprised, to find that Michelle knew of the health implications regarding calorie and salt content of her lunches and implemented them anyway.

For the past 20 years, I have made a conscious effort to articulate views in conversation without saying ‘I feel’, instead using ‘I think’ or merely making a statement.

I knew a business professor at the time, now retired, who often introduced his conversational opinions with ‘I feel that …’ He said it so often that I began listening for those words from others, including friends, acquaintances and colleagues. There was a lot of ‘I feel’ among them as well as in television interviews with famous people.

SpouseMouse also noticed this.

Were we the only two who had?

We had a long wait, but, finally, it now emerges that other people have had enough of ‘I feel’. Before exploring their criticism of those words, let’s look at a bit of background from the late 20th century to today.

Thinking is being

Until recently, secondary school and university students took an introduction to philosophy course.

They read René Descartes, the French philosopher who wrote in his Discourse on the Method in 1637:

Je pense, donc je suis.

In 1644, he wrote the statement in Latin in Principles of Philosophy:

Cogito ergo sum.

Translated in English, it means:

I think, therefore, I am.

Wikipedia explains:

This proposition became a fundamental element of Western philosophy, as it purported to form a secure foundation for knowledge in the face of radical doubt. While other knowledge could be a figment of imagination, deception, or mistake, Descartes asserted that the very act of doubting one’s own existence served—at minimum—as proof of the reality of one’s own mind; there must be a thinking entity—in this case the self—for there to be a thought.

St Augustine of Hippo wrote similarly in the 5th century in his works The City of God and the Enchiridion, in discussing the errors of sceptics. By being alive, we are prone to error:

… one cannot err who is not alive. That we live is therefore not only true, but it is altogether certain as well …

Other philosophers and great thinkers also addressed the certainty of our existence, which revolves around the ability to think and to reason.

My point here is not to engage in philosophical discussion but rather to point out that thinking was seen as the foundation for rational expression.

When I was growing up, my parents asked me to substantiate my opinions with facts. Facts require thought in order to process the information therein. Facts give us solid reasons to support certain perspectives.

Thinking is not emotion. As my parents used to say, ‘Any fool can feel. You’re supposed to use the God-given gifts of thought and reason.’ To some that will sound tough, but it will produce critical thinking.

The therapeutic era

Most people under the age of 35 or even 40 will have encountered a therapeutic approach to language rather than a rational one.

If this approach to linguistics does not begin at home, it will certainly be taught at school.

Everything must be couched in inoffensive terms. Prefacing an opinion or even a fact with ‘I feel’ is understood to be more acceptable than using the more definite ‘I think’ or making a direct statement.

Defenders of ‘I feel’ think they and others who use those words are demonstrating humility, gentleness and openness towards others. ‘I feel’, they say, signals a willingness to change one’s mind if a good case can be made to the contrary.

However, there is also a manipulative side to ‘I feel’ when it is used by people who self-identify as victims. It is a passive-aggressive way of saying, ‘I’m a delicate little flower. Therefore, please don’t contradict me, because that will invalidate my feelings. Truth be told, I am not interested in what you have to say, anyway, unless you agree with me.’

The case against ‘I feel’

On May 1, the SundayReview in The New York Times featured an article by Molly Worthen, an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a contributing editorial writer to the NYT. Worthen’s most recent book is Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism.

Her article, ‘Stop Saying “I Feel Like”‘, is a must-read for both supporters and detractors of that perspective. The accompanying illustration of a woman opening her mouth with flowers falling out of it makes the point perfectly.

Worthen begins by saying she has been hearing people opine on the presidential candidates this year. Too many of them make statements similar to the following:

Personally, I feel like Bernie Sanders is too idealistic

or, as someone said of Rafael ‘Ted’ Cruz, the ex-Canadian:

I feel like I can trust that he will keep his promises.

Worthen points out (emphases mine):

The imperfect data that linguists have collected indicates that “I feel like” became more common toward the end of the last century. In North American English, it seems to have become a synonym for “I think” or “I believe” only in the last decade or so. Languages constantly evolve, and curmudgeons like me are always taking umbrage at some new idiom. But make no mistake: “I feel like” is not a harmless tic. George Orwell put the point simply: “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” The phrase says a great deal about our muddled ideas about reason, emotion and argument — a muddle that has political consequences.

Although women use the phrase more often than men, she says that among her own students:

male students begin almost every statement with “I feel like.” The gender gap is vanishing because the cultural roots of this linguistic shift were never primarily a consequence of gender.

Some students Worthen interviewed are making a conscious effort not to say the words:

Jing Chai, a senior at the University of Chicago, said: “I’ve tried to check myself when I say that. I think it probably demeans the substance of what I’m trying to say.”

As I said above, ‘I feel’ can be a passive-aggressive conversation stopper. Worthen agrees:

“I feel like” masquerades as a humble conversational offering, an invitation to share your feelings, too — but the phrase is an absolutist trump card. It halts argument in its tracks.

When people cite feelings or personal experience, “you can’t really refute them with logic, because that would imply they didn’t have that experience, or their experience is less valid,” Ms. Chai told me.

You know, we can’t have that these days. The atmosphere on campus is meant for victimhood rather than learning. Worthen says that Bradley Campbell, a sociologist at California State University, Los Angeles, has written about the shift:

from a “culture of dignity,” which celebrates free speech, to a “culture of victimhood” marked by the assumption that “people are so fragile that they can’t hear something offensive,” he told me.

People like that should not even be at university, regardless of their intelligence. University is for people who can think critically and encounter new ideas. It’s a place for well-reasoned, tempered debate and discussions which result in learning. Yet, for all their linguistic kindness, today’s university students, sometimes aided by lecturers or professors, violently shut down opposing viewpoints. Think of the Chicago ‘protests’ (assaults and vandalism) a few months ago by university students — encouraged by radical professors — which prevented a Trump rally from taking place. Elsewhere, earlier this year, one student purposely damaged a Trump supporter’s laptop because he couldn’t stand looking at the bumper sticker on it. Trump aside, many universities — including those in the UK — have had to cancel certain speakers’ appearances because they are not politically correct. This is in response to student protest and threatened violence. The wimpy ‘I feel’ is, in reality, manifesting itself as physical harm or damage. But I digress.

Worthen also interviewed Christopher Lasch’s daughter Dr Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn, a historian at Syracuse University, who is carrying on her late father’s fine work in social commentary. If you have not read Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism, you are missing out on a treat. I read it in the early 1980s and it analyses our society to a T.

Of ‘I feel like’, Lasch-Quinn told Worthen:

It’s a way of deflecting, avoiding full engagement with another person or group because it puts a shield up immediately. You cannot disagree.

In 2001, Lasch-Quinn’s book Race Experts lamented that no real improvement is being achieved with equality or economics. Instead, the Left focusses on sensitivity training. ‘I feel like’ is part of this pattern:

a means of avoiding rigorous debate over structures of society that are hard to change

Cultivating the art of conversation goes a long way toward correcting these things,” Dr. Lasch-Quinn said. 

Her father wrote about what, today, Americans call ‘self care’. Worthen explains:

“self-care” — can lead to what the writer Christopher Lasch called “pseudo-self-awareness.” It can leave us too preoccupied with personal satisfaction to see the world clearly. “The new narcissist is haunted not by guilt but by anxiety,” Mr. Lasch wrote in his 1979 book “The Culture of Narcissism.” “He seeks not to inflict his own certainties on others but to find a meaning in life.”

Unfortunately, times have moved on. In the 2010s, it is all too apparent that those who are emotionally-driven actually do seek to inflict their own certainties on others, either by shutting down opposing viewpoints or threatening people. ‘I feel like’ is a contributing linguistic factor to this phenomenon.

Although philosophers have for centuries acknowledged emotion as essential to thinking, we can take our feelings too far. When Worthen spoke to the neuroscientist Dr Antonio Dimasio, who teaches at the University of Southern California, he agreed that ‘I feel like’ is:

“bad usage” and “a sign of laziness in thinking,” not because it acknowledges the presence of emotion, but because it is an imprecise hedge that conceals more than it reveals. “It doesn’t follow that because you have doubts, or because something is tempered by a gut feeling, that you cannot make those distinctions as clear as possible,” he said.

The best gift parents and teachers can give children is to get them to figure out why they like or dislike and agree or disagree with something or someone. Insist that they think about it and articulate it factually, without one-word answers or labels. Furthermore, when they see a soundbite from someone they disagree with, ask them to research further. Did they understand the full context in which a statement was given? Did they read or hear the full quote?

Saying ‘I feel like’ prevents our getting the full story. Using ‘I think’ or — even better — doing away with the first person preface altogether will produce sharper thought processes and a more reasoned point of view, easily articulated to our listeners and readers. Children should learn that as quickly as they can. It will serve them well in life.

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