Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Why Everyone Is Getting Hacked These Days

Why Everyone Is Getting Hacked These Days

If it feels like there have been a lot of password hacks this year, it's because there have been more than usual, and Ars Technica's Dan Goodin explains why that is. In short: Password hacking has gotten better, while our password making has gotten worse. "The result: security provided by the average password in 2012 has never been weaker," Goodin writes, which is why it shouldn't surprise you that this year we have heard about security breaches at LinkedIneHarmonyYahoo Voices, and a personal horror story from Wired's Mat Honan. Last year, James Fallows told us about his wife's security situation in The Atlantic story called "Hacked!" And for all the high profile accounts, there are all the ones we don't hear about. It's happening a lot these days.

But why the sudden uptick? Goodin explains:

  • Our password habits have gotten worse. "The average Web user maintains 25 separate accounts but uses just 6.5 passwords to protect them, according to a landmark study (PDF) from 2007," he writes. We have more things for which we need to create codes and it takes far too much brain space to store 25 different combos. Having the same passwords for various accounts was what did Fallows' wife in. Plus, the passwords we pick are stupid, as we learned from the Yahoo Voices hack, in which "123456" was (still!) a popular choice. It takes 10 minutes to crack a lower case 6 character password. To avoid this possible issue, we have before suggested picking dumb passwords for sites that don't matter. 
  • Password cracking has gotten better. "Now used increasingly for computing, graphics processors allow password-cracking programs to work thousands of times faster than they did just a decade ago on similarly priced PCs that used traditional CPUs alone," adds Goodin, who details the various tech advancements in hacking. The LinkedIn breach taught us this, leading us to the conclusion that perhaps we need to accept that the modern password isn't good enough anymore. 
  • There is a hacking network effect. With each hacker password revelation, future thieves learn more about the way the aggregate thinks. "The ever-growing list of leaked passwords allows programmers to write rules that make cracking algorithms faster and more accurate; password attacks have become cut-and-paste exercises that even script kiddies can perform with ease," explains Goodin. For one, it proves people still use "123456" and "password," even after being told lots of time to use better, different passwords. How many of you have started using Gmail's two-tiered authentication
  • Sites have gotten worse at protecting us. Again, a lesson we learned from LinkedIn, in which the company admitted its protective measures weren't good enough. Honan blamed Apple and Amazon for his hack, too. The bulk of Goodin's post goes into the technical specifics of this dangerous state of affairs. Many websites for example don't have enough ""cryptographic 'salt' to passwords to render such attacks infeasible." "To the detriment of millions of Internet users, going without salt is only one of the many sins that popular websites routinely commit against password security," he writes. 

Reading Goodin's take confirms to us that we have reached the end of the password as we know it. But what to do now? One could hope that technology fixes everything. Or maybe we should start thinking about the kind of stuff we put on the Internet and how we protect it. 

Sent via iPhone

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Disney Mind Control Program

A Look Into Disney Trauma Based Mind Control Program | Aug 27th 2010 11:04 PM

Alrighty, I'm going to make a stab at covering the VAST topic of Disney's Mind Control Program, Subliminal Messages for Mind Control, propaganda and how they operate.

This article is meant to be a simplistic overview of trauma based mind control as has been employed in the MK-Ultra Monarch Programming method. It is important to understand the foundation of how and why this type of mind control works, with respect to trauma, dissociation and subsequent programming.

This system of mind control has its origins in Illuminati based black magic practices. Multigenerational Satanic cults and high level Illuminati members have employed mind control for centuries. The basics of this type of mind control slavery was optimized and expanded after World War 2 following the gruesome experiments conducted in the Nazi concentration camps. Dr. Joseph Mengele, (aka, Dr. Green) disappeared from Auschwitz in January of 1945, and was smuggled into the US by the Illuminati.

When Monarch Programming started, the top men were Illuminati. Originally Mengele was the lead Programmer and became skilled in many things including Cabalistic Magic, abortions, torture and programming children. When Mengele came over to he US, the existing mind control programming jumped from being an occult science, to one that had full access to the Medical, Psychiatric, Judicial, Scientific and Governmental sectors via the power of the National Security Act and the Intelligence Agencies. According to Fritz Springmeyer, author of "The Illuminati Formula Used to Create an Undetectable Mind Controlled Slave", the Illuminati created the CIA. Intelligence agencies such as Britain’s MI-6 began investigating these mind control techniques early on even in World War 1.

These were most likely the early multiple personality Manchurian candidate types of agents. The Illuminati’s programming of multiple personality agents through trauma, ritual abuse, and hypno-programming was simplistic compared to the sophisticated techniques engineered by the Nazi Germans and even today. Secret mind control experimentation continued after WW2 in the US and also Canada under the CIA’s, Project Paperclip.

The primary MK-Ultra project adapted from these early systems was the Monarch Program. The reason why I think this system is important is because it is the original programming used to lay the groundwork for future more sophisticated mind control systems. The main factors for success in Monarch programming is the genetic tendency for dissociation, high intelligence and creativity. It was discovered years ago, by the Illuminati that dissociative ability was passed on from generation to generation. The children of multigenerational abuse are good at dissociation. These genetic qualities have been fine tuned and specific bloodlines; both Illuminati and non-Illuminati are closely monitored, so that most Monarch slaves are even chosen before birth. Genealogical records of Illuminati bloodlines are highly guarded secrets, but in general these consist of 13 major families which include the Royal bloodlines of Europe.

The reason why dissociation is important to mind control is because the human mind is more susceptible to hypnotic command in these trance states. Dissociation is also a survival skill of great value in response to trauma and abuse. Frequent traumas, which split the mind of a child before the age of six, will produce multiple personality states. This is also known as dissociative identity disorder. This is one reason why the programming must be done in early childhood and in some cases, infancy and in utero. It is known that trauma based personality splits remain isolated in the mind better than hypnotic based mind splits.

Once the victim is systematically traumatized through various methods, which may include ritual abuse, programming is anchored in to each individual trauma. These dissociated traumas are linked to hypnotic programming commands and scripts. Then the traumatic memories linked in with the programming are walled off with amnesia from the host personality. The traumatized "split" is also known as the newly created alter personality. Alter personalities are created according to the Programmers needs, while the host personality is unaware of the traumatic memories and alters who hold the memories. The alter personality can be called up to the front of the mind via codes or specific cues that the programmer knows, and be trained to do a variety of functions.

All programming is anchored upon some type of trauma. A variety of scripts may be used, along with specific training for individual alter personalities. This extends into the childhood and adulthood of the slave. The idea behind this is to create the perfect slave who can carry out a variety of functions while maintaining secrecy and obedience to the programmers. Such functions may include assassination, espionage, sexual servicing, couriers, "photographic "mind file data storage, and even psychic abilities. There are other important elements employed in Monarch mind control such as the overlaying of demonic entities through ritual, or the power of ancestral generational spirits, which may make the person very psychic. Many of the Monarch victims are chosen because they have a powerful level of generational spirits within their families, who may have practiced black magic for generations.

Nowadays, sophisticated scientific technology is also used, such as biochip implants, electroshock, drugs and brain wave entrainment systems to lock in hypno programming more effectively. Real physical trauma is sometimes substituted for virtual reality headgear, which simulate horrific traumas to quickly split the mind, priming it for programming. The important thing to remember is that the powerhouse behind this type of mind control system is demonic and technical. The key to freedom lies in deliverance and specific deprogramming therapy and support systems.

"Movies can and do have tremendous influence in shaping young lives in the realm of entertainment towards the ideals and objectives of normal adulthood." Walt Disney.

The F.B.I. under Hoover began talks with Walt Disney beginning from 1936 and continue until his death in 1966. The Disney FBI file reveals a complex relationship between these two Cold War actors but is also informative of the process of cultural production taking place during the Cold War and how content becomes a plane upon which a struggle between competing visions of purpose is enacted

Disney was hired during WW2 to provide cartoons and other images for use of propaganda for the US government:

MGM even got in on the action:

Disney has went on to take this very same manipulation through imagery and subtle messages to influence kids even today. Even with seemingly innocent movies such as the Little Mermaid, you even get that same "mind control" mentality. Look at the overall plot to the movie......a little mermaid "sells her soul" which is symbolized as her voice in order to fall in love with the wealthy prince.

TONS of symbolism here from an esoteric standpoint as well as a symbolic standpoint.

You have the trauma victim "selling their soul" to achieve something they want(in this case love) but in order to get what they wish to must be kept a secret which is symbolic of "stealing the voice". That voice now belongs to the person who controls them. As you can see, the Sea Witch in the movie even sings her little song about it:

Poor unfortunate souls indeed.

Here they are even telling you of how they operate. These poor unfortunate souls do get caught up in this labyrinth of manipulation and trauma.....for them, escape is damn near impossible.

This leads me to my next section, which are some of the prime examples of the mind control subjects:

One common thing that you will see with many of the people associated with Disney's Mind Control program is The Mickey Mouse Club. Britney did happen to be a member. One interesting thing that I did notice is that she tried out once and was told that she was "too young" so they sent her to one of their agents who then sent her to a "School for Performing Arts". After she left this school, she was quickly picked up by the Mickey Mouse Club.

Looking at Britney's appearance, she had the classic "look" of many of the trauma subjects that have escaped from the inside such as Cathy O'Brien as well as others. Even my friend Haley fits the category of the "blonde hair, blue eyed" girl. This seems, for some reason or another, to be the type they like to look for. When Britney came out, she had that look. She had the "innocent school girl" look and her songs told quite a story as well.

Now, another thing that is quite common in mind control programs is for the programming to start breaking down around age 30 or so. What we start seeing is this slow, breaking down of the person as all of this dark mess that has been bred into them begins to surface. For these people, this is all they know therefore they feel as if they have no one else to turn too. She ends up getting involved with Madonna through the Kabbalistic Society which, from a ritualistic standpoint, explains the "kiss" but that is another story. Please don't think that Madonna is innocent either as her symbolism tells otherwise:

This leads to the classic mental breakdowns.

One of the biggest was Britney shaving her head but people don't understand what was happening here. When she showed up, what color was her hair? It was brown...she has dyed it brown. This was already part of breaking the chain here with just this simple move. No more "blonde hair, blue eyed" girl as this darkness was starting to seep up through the cracks and she began manifesting it. The next step was to strip it all away which throughout the ages a symbolic gesture of rebirth was the shaving of the head.

Once these alternate personalities begin to break down, you can even see the person begin to exhibit symptoms of them almost seeming to be on drugs. They won't know where they are, lose time and really seem to be talking out of their head.

Look at this clip of Britney right after she shaved her head and listen at the very beginning to the girl who was in the beauty shop describe what Britney said as she was doing it:

"She says she's tired of having things plugged into her and doesn't want anyone to touch her"

Doesn't want things "plugged into her"?

One common method of "altering" the mind that has been used for quite a while now is the "electo shock" method.

Click Here For Info --- Info on Electro Shock Torture

We also see later her acting out violently which is another slow breakdown of the control. Notice that once they sent her back to the "hospital", which ironically was the Ronald Reagan Medical Center in the psyche ward, and she was treated. I say "ironically" because Reagan was a mind controlled puppet as well.

Even in current form, we can see how this girl has slowly fallen down the ladder the older she gets. One thing that you tend to see with all of these stars is the Mickey Mouse Club being in common. If it was just one or two different people in high ranking entertainment areas doing this, it would be one thing but it's a ton of different people.

You can see the same patterns with her as with Britney:

You see the same hair that she dyed that blonde color along with the blue eyes. Notice that the hair didn't manifest until she began to work with the music industry which I find kind of strange. As we can see, she gets older and these "alts" start breaking down. This is why she has turned to drugs, drinking and other things in order to cope with all that is going on.

This is what she gets reduced too:

Here we have another alumni of the Mickey Mouse Club. With her, she doesn't seem to be manifesting any breaking of the programming but rather just seems to be feeding off of it. Again, she has a very similar look to all the others:

Just as with Lady Gaga, among other celebrities, you see her symbolism with the Illuminati "eye":

Don't forget about her new album pushing the "Transhumanism" for the NWO where man and machine become one:

She even shared, a much less public version for some reason, the SAME kiss from Madonna:

What would a write up about Disney mind control be without talking about Miley Cyrus. As it stands, there isn't a whole lot of evidence physically that can be seen with Miley HOWEVER symbolically tells a different story. First we have to look at how they got this girl to where she is. On her show, "Hannah Montana", she was telling another story. She was an average girl, who put on a "disguise" to become a different person. Ironically enough, that disguise was a blonde wig....hmmmm, haven't we seen that before?

With this disguise, she fools all of her friends into thinking she is a different person.....this is virtually the little mermaid story all over again with a spin. Now, the first thing that alerted me to Miley was her symbol:

So what are we looking at? The Monarch Butterfly is what we are looking at with different colors. How does this relate? Project Monarch, as you would have read above in the first article, is one of THE LARGEST mind control operations in the world! This is their symbol, people!

Click Here for Info

To me, this speaks volumes!

Even the name...."Cyrus". Anything similar to "Osiris" possibly? Maybe it's just a coincidence but who knows. Typically, nothing is coincidence for these people.

Now let's take a look at her video:

First thing you see if the "dark angel" motif. You can see her caged up here with all of these "elitest" staring at her. Throughout the song she is telling people that she cannot be changed, cannot be tamed nor can she be saved.....WOW, poor unfortunate souls indeed.

In another symbolic gesture, you can see that as long as she is in the cage.....she has her wings however once she steps outside that cage, the wings no longer exist. To me, this speaks volumes as well. As long as she stays in the cage her creators have built for her, she can stay on top but as soon as she attempts to leave...forget about it. Another interesting thing to me is that it appears that her staying in the cage is a willing move as the bars are plenty wide enough for her to escape as she shows. However, she stays in this cage under her own free will. That, again, speaks volumes.

What's important for people to understand also is that this person is being presented as some kind of "Teen Idol" which kids should look up too. After she received the award for being the "most influencial teen role model" she pulled out this video:

Maybe it's just me but pole dancing, grinding and crotch grabbing doesn't seem like the proper message for a "teen role model". I look for her to start falling at the seams pretty soon but it won't happen for another few years but if the pattern progresses; she will end up like the rest.

This is another one that is falling apart at the seams. I'm not going to get into her too much but trust me, I'm sure that most people know that this one has already been "exposed" on the net.

The same can be said for guys like Justin Timberlake, also a Mickey Mouse Club alumni, and that girl from the Cheetah Girls who recently put nude pics on the net.

For me, I just can't call this a coincidence because there are just so many different cases and virtually all of them end up following the same pattern.

There are numerous stories too of children disappearing at Disney World as well. As far as reliable facts, this cannot be confirmed however I can point to an article where this issue is discussed:

Click Here for Story

One thing that people don't speak of often is the Underground Tunnel Complex that is at Disney World. I have heard numerous reports from people who have actually been in these tunnels before and say that it's huge!

Here is some info:

Click Here for Info

Click Here for Info --- More Info on the Underground Tunnel Complex

Maybe there is more to this than just "delivering supplies" or who know what those supplies are. Again here, I am speculating however it's safe to say that Disney has some pretty dark history and some of the biggest names in show business that end up falling down the "rabbit hole" have their beginnings there.

Speaking of "down the rabbit hole", The Alice in Wonderland movie was said to be a symbolic tale of the brainwashing process. It is supposedly based off the idea of what is called the "Alice in Wonderland Confusion Technique" as I've heard it termed. It goes as follows:

Most so-called hypnotic or "confusion techniques" are designed to compel a listener to pay close, intense attention to someone who is speaking or presenting them information. In many situations, these techniques are designed to brainwash a subject, or at least make strong suggestions to them that will linger in their mind afterwards.

On the most basic level, using confusion and confusing language to get someone to pay attention to you is obvious. When you're listening to someone speak, and they appear to be making sense, but you are unable to follow the logic of their statements, you will pay closer attention. The "Alice in Wonderland" confusion technique merely takes this same principle to a more extreme level.

Essentially, the Alice in Wonderland technique uses confusion to replace a subject's accepted ideas about the world with false or nonsensical ones, much as the character of Alice is confronted by surreal or illogical goings-on once she makes the trip to Wonderland.

Typically, the technique involves two interrogators. The first poses a question to a subject that appears to be straightforward, but is on some level nonsensical and impossible to answer correctly. The second interrogator then interrupts with an unrelated and also impossible-to-answer question.

Questions continue to be asked in this manner, overlapping one another, for hours, days or even long as it takes to thoroughly convince the subject that their situation has become illogical and to break down his or her resistance.

At this point, a person who previously was unwilling to accept a thesis that contradicted his or her worldview will become more open to suggestions or new ideas. They will accept that they will not be able to escape their situation through rational means, and will embrace irrationality as a means of escape.

Obviously, this technique is primarily useful for something like an interrogation, when the interviewers want to get information out of a subject, or with brainwashing, as one would find in a cult atmosphere. It has been suggested that the technique is employed in the Church of Scientology, but I could find no evidence online that this was actually true or false

This just falls into line with a whole line of different movies by Disney to accomplish mind altering ideas. One thing that people miss out on with their catching of Disney movies is Disney's OTHER movie company for adults called "Touchstone". Disney wanted to cover the adult market however they also wanted to keep their "kiddie" look as well so they just created a new movie company for cover. Once again, this is just the cameleon changing it's colors to mask it's intent.

Cathy O'Brien is one of the government slaves that ended up making it out of the sex slave trade. Here you can listen to some of her stories and things she experienced:

Click Here for Info --- Information on Cathy O-Brien's Story

Bill Clinton even shows evidence of this:

Here he admits being "sorry" for all the mind control experiments even though they still go on:

If anyone has anything else to add from an esoteric standpoint, ritual or magical aspect.....please feel free to add.

Thanks for reading,

Minority of One

Original Page:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Unwritten: A Day in the Life

Let's face it... my job pretty much sucks: 

The very nature of being a crisis counselor, therapist, casemanager or any other kind of mental health professional requires that I respond with professionalism to kids who have 
been abused and basically fucked over for years; first by their families, and then by a system that fails to protect them. 

I get calls in the middle of the night from children, adolescents, and even my friends who are in vaiying stages of crises— some are suicidal psychotic, angry, and pretty much just all kinds of fucked up. 

But today, TODAY!!!! 

Today, a child rolled up her sleeves to show me that her set finflicted wounds (cutting) were beginning to heal. She threw out her last razor blade from her hidden collection the night 

Today, I won a small battle. 

Today, I saw a life change and the healing begin, Not just for her, but for aii of us. Today, I won a small battle. 

As one of my former clients told me, what I do is important— because even though I may not change hundreds or thousands of lives every day of my fife, I make a difference one life at a time. 

At the time, I couldn't: stop the tears from my eyes now I can't stop the warm feeling that has taken hold of my body and me same instead of the tears.
I am so very proud of you. 

Elyssa D. Durant, Ed.M.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Last Writes: My Last Correspondence With Ned Vizzini, RIP Ned

Unwritten: My Last Correspondence With Ned Vizzini

From: “Ned Vizzini"
Hey, sounds like me!  I’m headed towards ruin quick.  Hope all is well

-------------- Original message ---------

From: “Ned Vizzini"

I’m not good, Elyssa. Very depressed.  I was such a different person when I knew you.  But maybe I will be different soon. 


From "Elyssa D:

god ned-- I wish we could talk—based upon what I’ve read (what you’ve posted on line and through your interviews) it seems as though you are going through all the emotions and emotional chaos that I was experiencing the first year we met back in New York.

Another friend of mine just checked himself into a psych ward after a suicide attempt and I feel so helpless because I care and respect you both so much.

it is funny because I always thought that if I could just finish that damn book I was working on ten years ago—or just finished law school, my PhD. or any number of things—everything would be okay.

It confuses me because you finished your book—rob finished law school- I finished nothing.

A few weeks ago, I “lost my shit” so to speak, came across your interview, and was completely blown away—I used to be the crazy one—now I have my sanity back but nothing else.

having been through several crises myself, I came to believe that when you see someone in crisis, they become so overwhelmed and confused that they do not know what to do first—and how to dig out of the hole they have dug for themselves.  I decided that rather than asking, I just try to figure it out and give it to them, no questions asked, no thank you necessary.

How many people have told you, “Call if you there is anything I can do” and when you do call—nothing!  Nothing but disappointment and regret.  So I have decide never to ask somebody what they need—

Mostly because they don’t even know themselves— hen I came to the realization a few weeks ago that my transient existence is so tangential that no one would notice if I never took another breath—I tried to figure out what I needed so that I could give it to myself.
so I started going back through my old journals to see if I could identify the missing element of my life—you know that “thing” that would both make it all go away and make all come together so I could be a whole person again.
That thing is a figment of my imagination.  I used to think it was being loved by a man—I had that.  That wasn't it.
Then I thought it was having money.  I had that.  But that wasn’t it either.
Then I thought it was health insurance—but no, that was not it either.
Then I thought it would be having that oh-so-critical Ivy League degree.  I have that.  That still wasn't it. 
So obviously, none of those things could have been “it.”
The thing I need most, I lost long ago, and that was hope. Perhaps I never really had it at all.

So I guess some things just can’t be bought, learned, earned, or acquired. 
I think of the long twisted road, and I remember one of my favorite childhood movies, where a girl named Dorothy was so determined to find her way home after a great storm.  Disillusioned and distracted, Dorothy would not yield to the many obstacles that had been placed in her way.  Determined to meet the great Wizard, she stayed one path. 
Yes, there were detours, obstacles, and the Wicked Witch of the West.  Each of these obstacles may have taken her of course, yet she never once lost sight of the road home.   She believed in one thing, the Wizard, and his ability to bring her home.  

Having great faith and determination, she never strayed far off the path to righteousness.  Dorothy had a clearly defined goal, a means to get there, and a bright yellow brick road to guide her.  Through her determination and unyielding faith, Dorothy never once doubted that she was on the right path. 
In the Wizard of Oz, the yellow brick road may have been the path she was taking, but through her determination and blind faith, she was able to bring others onto the road t enlightenment.
The lion found his courage; the tin man got a heart.  The scarecrow got some brains—and even Dorothy got what she needed most. 
Dorothy began her journey looking for one thing.  She needed to get back to place she began, and find her way home. Dorothy teaches us a valuable lesson, but she was lucky enough to know what it was she so desperately longed for... home.
If all I had to do was click my heals three times and find my way home, well, sadly I would not even know where home is.  Yes, they say home is where the heart is, and perhaps that is part of the problem.  But for some of us, out childhood homes were not places of happiness and nostalgia.  They are places from which we run, searching endlessly for that magical place and can only hope that we have come across a road that is clearly marked to guide us in our destination. 
Of course, we know there will be that take us off course, and it will up to us to find our way back.  Unfortunately, there is a certain point when we lose our direction and we lose our faith.  As I grew older, I came to realize recognize that my feeling of detachment went far beyond having a dysfunctional childhood a broken family life that even my sister and I never lived in the same house for more than a year or so in the summertime.

So no matter how long I have been in Nashville, in many ways I am, in fact still a stranger.  I am a stranger because homeless is a state of mind. 
In my mind, I like to think a home is a place of acceptance, shelter, and a place you can find forgiveness, comfort and recognition.  For most, going home means to reconnect in a way so that you are reminded that you have something, someone, who will always have your back. 
Homer represents more than a structure; it represents a strong foundation that will always be there whenever you need to feel safety and comfort.  For me safety is marked by the boundaries that are supposed to keep me safe and protected. 
So this is my home.  I don’t necessarily feel safe here, but I do feel consistent.  I do not have to worry that I will be forced to switch schools, neighbors or friends every six months just because my parents could not get it right.  What they failed to realize is just how very wrong it really was.  

Changing schools, changing friends, changing siblings; changing myself just enough each time so that I could fit in. But after 16 years of constant change, I never got the opportunity to find out anything real about myself.  Even my name was changed when I moved--- dad called me Liz, and my mother called herself any number of last names as she desperately tried to hold on to her youth, her beauty, and delusional fantasies of entitlement and sacrifice that I think she may actually believe. 

I have never had plastic surgery, could not afford it anyway, but what do have is a clear memory, vivid nightmares, and a place of my own.  What I also realize, is that until I can live free from fear and dependence, I will never truly be able to know what it feels like to be at home.  

If home is where the heart is, then homelessness is clearly just a state of mind.  And today I have some hope that I might someday no longer feel just as homeless at home.  So now I know more than ever, that homelessness is a far more than a concrete structure or family property. 
I will always feel a little homeless at home.  It is knowing that you are the thing that remains constant—regardless of any dreams I may have, I will never have the constant I would need to get bring a child into this world--- as much I  would like to. 
I envy those who feel they have so much in their lives that they can trust without any reservation that the world is a loving enough place they want to share with a child. Especially a child of their own.  

No, my mother told me long, long time ago, that I can never have children.  She also told me last year, that I could not have a dog.  My own mother does not think I am capable of raising a puppy.  Maybe she’s right.  She put her fears into action when she once donated my cat of 14 years to the animal shelter under someone else name so that I truly was left without any ties to the condo I stayed in for a few short months while I tried to come up with a plan to take him and myself far from a place where we could be safe and live free. 

I adopted him back from the animal shelter 40 miles out after learning that she had used someone else’s name at the agency so I could not find him on my own.

I will not look elsewhere to find the essentials things healthy children receive that in turn makes them healthy adults. 
I will never be “healthy” but I do think I wish I could give more than what I have received.  I regret never being the kind of “community member”, I think I could have been, and I doubt I will get over the sheer humiliation of having to love this way for so many years when I should have been doing so much more.
In having truly been able to do the great things for society that I believe I could, but I can’t regret not giving no longer need constant reassurance, recognition, or validation, but I will always question whether things could have been different if only one person had taken the time to show me I was worth it.  That I deserved more than what I could actually afford and realize that I do give so much in so many other ways.  

The ways that people cannot calculate or see just how badly the ones who received them needed those gifts.  It was the little things.  It was Kody, it was Desiree, but above all else, it was me setting goals, the feelings of that my feeling I would never and was no longer subject to bi-annual custody disputes and shifts  and us to realize that homelessness is merely a state of mind. 

Where would I go?  10 years “down the road” and now, more than ever, I realize I am truly and deeply, “homeless at home.”  
You see it is not so much that I doubt myself, I just don’t trust that people will not do horrible things even if that means doing nothing at all. 
I do have much love to give.  Actually too much.  So much that it often pours out of me in inappropriate sentimentality.  I know when I need to keep to myself, and I know when my anxieties starts to make others a little anxious.  I know because as I see you react to me be anxious, it only makes me that much worse. It is one of my worst, but at times sometimes, that sensitivity is also at times a wonderful attribute and god given gift.

But should that prevent me from getting out into the world just because other people think I should be don’t like me … that’s not my job.
I have spent more than half of my life in self-imposed isolation, and the other half wondering how I can be less annoying and high strung so others would want me around.  The sad truth is, yes, I am annoying, but also, I am perceptive and very aware.  Sometimes I do it purpose. 
I should not have to live in isolation because I have nervous tics or sometimes say the wrong thing.  But regardless of what people seem to think about welfare recipients being lazy bums guess what—FUCK you right back.  

For many years, I have kept chose to keep to myself just in case I really am so horrible to be around that even my own mother thinks I would be better off dead.
Rest in Peace, Ned. You were loved. 

Elyssa D. Dursnt, Ed.M. © 2008-2013

Sunday, November 10, 2013

In God We Trust: Applying the Lemon Test for Public Funds for Parochial Schools

In God We Trust: 
The Lemon Test and Public Funds for Parochial Schools

Elyssa D. Durant, Ed.M 

Guiding Questions

1. How can school vouchers reach a balance between serving the public interest and preserving individual freedoms and rights? 
2. What additional arguments can be presented for against the use of school vouchers for parochial schools?
3. How is the issue of school vouchers for sectarian institutions different or similar from issues surrounding prayer in school?
4. What are the common issues relevant to both charter schools and voucher programs?

This article will address concerns regarding the long-term outcomes of school choice and voucher programs. Specifically: do school vouchers exacerbate the inequality between the rich and the poor?
Since I believe that health care and education are both social goods, I have some reservations about letting the free-market run amok during such a critical point in history. Is it wise to allow for-profit market forces to dictate public goods when natural rights are at stake? 
The shortcomings of the Medicaid managed care programs, Medicare supplemental insurance policies, and demonstration projects such as the privatization of prisons provide sufficient evidence of the dangers of profit driven corporations in American culture. Corporate scandals with food and other suppliers contracted by the Board of Education in New York City in the late 1990's provide excellent examples of how easy it is for private companies to manipulate funds away from the target recipients.
It was not too long ago that private managed care companies offered gifts to boost enrollment by enticing desperate Medicaid recipients to join their plans. This marketing strategy is simply offensive when we are dealing with a social good albeit health care or education. Vulnerable populations are frequently exploited through corporate contracts and there is little reason to believe that for-profit conglomerates would treat public schools or economically disadvantaged students and families otherwise.
Arguments on both sides of the school voucher issue are very similar to those presented for and against charter schools and free-market school choice. Smrekar (1998) presents four key issues that have been at the center of the school choice debate: (1) economic, (2) political; (3) social justice; and (4) pedagogical.
The economic argument in favor of school choice points out that our current public education system resembles a monopoly. Proponents argue that the introduction of choice into the educational marketplace will promote competition and force schools with poor performance records to improve or close (Friedman, 1968).
The political argument is centered on the democratic ideal that the freedom to choose where your child attends school is a fundamental right. The political argument also triggers strong feelings about the role of education in a democratic society. There are those who feel that the public school is intended, at least in part, to create a common set of core values that is best served by the public sector. 
At the core of the political school choice argument is a debate regarding the benefits of providing a common set of experiences in a democracy versus promoting individual choice and liberty (Smrekar, 1998). This issue, while not dead, was challenged in 1925 when the Supreme Court ruled in Pierce v. Society of Sisters (268 U.S. 510 (1925)) in favor of parents who sent their children to private school. This argument continues today and is at the center of both school choice and curriculum debates.
The social justice argument is a bit more complicated and there is little agreement on any front. Proponents argue that school choice empowers the poor to participate in the education of their children by giving them the same options available to wealthier families in the United States. According to a 1997 poll in USA Today, 47% of parents would send their children to private schools if they had the financial resources (Doyle, 1997).
Information is an essential component to any school choice program. In order to ensure social equity in school choice programs we need to be sure that the "poor" are fully informed of their choices and are not taken advantage of in the open market. Research has shown that the act of "choosing" has positive effects on the school environment and promotes parental involvement in their children's education (Doyle, 1997). Additional components of the social justice argument have focused on the nuts and bolts of choice programs, and point out how there are several different ways that choice programs may (wittingly or unwittingly) promote social inequity (Cookson, 1995). Such arguments focus on transportation problems, admissions policies, the availability of information, and how we define "choice" and implement policies regulating recruitment, enrollment and performance of participating schools, (Cookson, 1995; 1997).
The pedagogical argument points out that school choice programs are better suited for the individual needs inherent to a pluralistic society. Although some feel there is value in providing core curriculum and a common set of basic skills, there is a current trend towards specialty schools that focus on the arts and sciences, technology, vocational training, etc. Educators look towards successful magnet schools as examples of the pedagogical success that demonstrated the importance of school choice and parental involvement as indicators of educational outcomes. Some educators fear that the introduction of school choice and voucher plans would prompt the best students to leave public schools and that this would have a negative effect on the overall climate of public classrooms.
Among the various school voucher programs, there is considerable controversy surrounding the program design that gives qualified individuals the choice to attend parochial schools using public funds. Traditional arguments against this type of school voucher program have focused on the constitutionality of using state funds for sectarian institutions. In theory, public schools are believed to be completely independent of religious institutions and provide a place where young adults can join together and develop a core set of "American" values and "democratic" principles. Just this year, states such as Tennessee have modified the curriculum to include Bible class in publicly funded classrooms. It is not yet known how this will be implemented given the number of students who did not meet the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) benchmarks. They are just now trying designing the course content and have not yet selecting the text to be used next fall (2008).
Historically, the church had a key role in the education of children in America. During the National Period (1780-1830), churches were used to educate children, and the King James Bible was used as a reader in these classrooms (Smrekar, 1998). Derek Neal (1997) points out that much of the current sentiment against Catholic schools is not a reflection of their excellent performance record, but rather an indication of the anti-Catholic sentiment which swept the country during the late part of the 19th Century (Neal, 1997). Neal argues that until that point, there was no contest to religious education as long as it was Protestant.
Catholic schools have traditionally served the children of the working class. They were a major socializing force earlier in the century and continue to succeed with children who might otherwise fall through the cracks in public schools. Despite tapering enrollment, Catholic schools remain a viable force in the private sector providing a reasonably priced private education to American children. Neal conducted a study that looked at the graduation rates of minority children attending Catholic schools compared with children attending public schools in the inner cities. Controlling for demographic variables, (parent's education, parent's occupation, family structure, and reading materials at home) closer analysis revealed graduation rates for urban minorities are 26% higher in Catholic schools compared with public schools in the same communities. Although Neal found similar benefits for whites and in suburban communities, this effect was most profound for urban minorities.
Other studies have focused on identifying the qualities that make Catholic schools successful. A number of factors have been identified by Bryk and Lee, including active parental participation and the benefits of school choice in creating an inclusive community that fosters a common set of values and ideals (Bryk & Lee, 1995). Interestingly, the very same variables found to enhance the performance of Catholic school students are remarkably similar to the reported benefits of magnet schools and choice programs. Despite the excellent performance records of Catholic schools, there are currently no voucher programs that allow parochial schools to participate in state funded voucher programs.
The reason for this is quite simple, but not necessarily correct or in the best interest of our children. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the use of public funds in religious institutions. However, it can also be argued that it is unconstitutional to exclude parochial schools from voucher systems because it violates the student's free expression of religion. In addition, voucher programs require a conscious decision on the part of the student and the parent. The state does not enforce a blanket endorsement of any one religion. I use Catholic schools as an example because they represent the majority of parochial schools in urban America.
Voucher programs typically undergo strict scrutiny for all four reasons mentioned above, but this issue is especially true of any choice or voucher program that channels funds into Parochial schools. For this reason, Catholic schools and other schools with religious affiliations have been excluded from voucher plans up until this point. It is not politically viable to institute a choice or voucher program at any level (at the district, state or national level) since similar plans have historically presented long-standing, hard-fought, legal challenges to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Since the Supreme Court has not ruled on this issue, most challenges up until this point have taken place in state courts[1]. These state decisions have been split, and while there are a few voucher programs operating in Wisconsin and Ohio, neither permits sectarian schools to participate in their programs. Milwaukee designed a voucher system that included parochial schools in 1995 but later revised their proposal after the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction against expansion into religious schools (Kremerer & King, 1995).
School choice programs that involve vouchers have not been tested in the Supreme Court, but there is a long history of court cases that challenge the flow of money from the public sector into private, sectarian institutions. The recent pattern of Supreme Court rulings has lead some legal scholars (Kremerer & King, 1995) to conclude that school vouchers would pass constitutional muster under the following circumstances:
1. Provides payments in the form of scholarships to parents of school age children
2. Allows parents to choose among a variety of public and private sectarian and nonsectarian schools for their children
3. Gives no preference to sectarian private institutions
Voucher programs up until this point have encountered substantial resistance from the legal community and a number of civil rights and political organizations. This becomes more pronounced when the voucher model includes sectarian institutions in the model plan and state court rulings have been inconsistent in decisions surrounding the constitutionality of voucher programs.
The definitive case regarding school voucher programs is Lemon v. Kurtzman (403 U.S. 602 (1971)). The Court's ruling in Lemon was based on three components that came to be known as the "Lemon Test." The Lemon Test applies the following to any Constitutional challenge of the Establishment Clause:
1. The government action must have a secular purpose
2. The primary effect must neither advance, nor inhibit religion
3. It must not result in excessive governmental entanglement with religion
Since voucher programs do not generally provide support directly to the institution, individual freedom and choice remain intact. Individual families are empowered by educational vouchers since they choose the school and religion appropriate for them. Qualified schools are not determined by religious affiliation and all schools are required to adhere to state and federal regulations that increase accountability. Similar issues came before the courts in Pierce v. Society of Sisters (268 U.S. 510 (1925)) as well, however Lemon v. Kurtzman (403 U.S. 602 (1971)) is considered to be both the landmark and test case currently before the courts.
The reason for this is quite simple, but not necessarily correct or in the best interest of our children. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the use of public funds in religious institutions. However, it could also be argued that it is unconstitutional to exclude parochial schools from voucher systems because it violates the free expression of religion. In addition, voucher programs require a conscious decision on the part of the student and the parent. The state does not enforce a blanket endorsement of any one religion. I use Catholic schools as an example because they represent the majority of parochial schools in urban America.
Teacher's unions are resistant to bring in a new system that has the potential to upset their job status and security. It will likely be a number of years before we truly understand the effects of magnet schools and can evaluate the implementation of school choice programs that are already in place. Because we are dealing with such an essential human, social good, it is my recommendation that we do not implement a largest-scale voucher program until issues of access and equity are resolved on other public fronts. We must ensure real choices for the students and families who are not information savvy and may be limited in their ability to recognize the real value of their options. We must find a way to ensure the equitable distribution of resources so that education truly does will empower the poor.
Is it time to apply the Lemon Test to school vouchers? 
 You decide.

Cookson, P.W., Jr. (1994). School choice: The struggle for the soul of American education. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Cookson, P.W., Jr. (1995). ERIC Digests: School Choice.
Doyle, D.P. (1997). Vouchers for religious schools. Public Interest, 127, 88-95.
Haynes, C.C. (1993). Beyond the culture wars. Educational Leadership, 51(4), 30-34.
Houston, P.D. (1993). School vouchers: The latest California joke. Phi Delta Kappan, 75(4), 61-64.
Kremerer, F.R. & King, K.L. (1995). Are school vouchers Constitutional? Phi Delta Kappan, 77(1), 307-311. 
Kremerer, F.R. (1995). The Constitutionality of school vouchers. West's Education Law Reporter,101 Ed. Law Rep. 17.
Kremerer, F.R. (1997). State Constitutions and school vouchers. West's Education Law Reporter, 120 Ed. Law Rep. 1.
Neal, D. (1997). Measuring Catholic school performance. Public Interest, 127, 81-87.
[1] Including a decision that was handed down regarding a choice plan in Ohio. (12/18/2000)

Elyssa D. Durant © 2007-2014