Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Progressive Fruits

“Death to America! Death to America!” shouted a million Iranians in the capital square. Every year they would gather to chant, and every year I would show film clips to my students. It was always instigated by Iran’s government in a country that calls itself “The Islamic Republic of Iran,” which, I’m sure, President Obama would insist has nothing to do with Islam as he negotiates with the ayatollahs.
My teaching ran directly counter to what was being taught in the vast majority of American public school classrooms. Most American students hear that Islam is a religion of peace. A majority of the world’s muslims are peaceful, most teachers claim. About the latter, they are correct. About the former? Fourteen hundred years of history gives lie to any assertion that Islam is a religion of peace. Yes, it was relatively peaceful between the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in 1918 to the Iranian revolution in 1979, but in virtually every other period since about 600 AD, Islam has been anything but.
But I was an anachronism. Those calling themselves Progressives have been in charge of education in America at all levels for almost two generations and the results are coming in. During the span of just two days I read about the following:
Students at the University of California at Irvine voted to ban the American flag in a portion of campus because they want to be “inclusive.” I figured: Oh well, that’s California — the left coast — the land of fruits and nuts — run yet again by Jerry “Governor Moonbeam” Brown. No big deal. Par for the course.
Then a dean at Cornell University was asked by an undercover conservative posing as a Moroccan student if he would welcome ISIS on campus. “Sure,” he said. Then he was asked if the “student” could invite “a freedom fighter [from ISIS] to come and do like a training camp for students.” And the response? “You would be allowed to do something like that. It’s just like bringing in a coach, to do a training, a sports trainer or something,” said the dean. Perhaps the dean doesn’t know that ISIS is at war with western civilization - which isn’t a required course anymore at Cornell, or at 86% of all other American universities either. Students at Cornell are instead required to take a course in a non-western culture.
Then Meredith Shiner, a reporter at Yahoo News, commented on Senator Ted Cruz’s announcement that he was running for president, by tweeting: “Bizarre [for you, Senator Cruz] to talk about how rights are God-made and not man-made in your speech announcing a POTUS bid? When Constitution was man-made?”
Hmm. Shiner graduated from Duke University, worked at Roll Call and Politico before Yahoo News, yet she’s a progressive who clearly doesn’t know much. She doesn’t know, for instance, that the concept of God-given rights isn’t in our Constitution. It comes from our Declaration of Independence, which was written shortly after the “shot heard ’round the world” was fired in Lexington, Massachusetts. But things have changed even there. After students at Lexington High School voted a theme of  “American Pride” for a school dance, their progressive school administrators cancelled it because it excluded other nationalities. “People consider America to be a melting pot, so the fact that it was even considered offensive is what people are a little surprised about,” said student Sneha Rao. I’m not surprised. That’s progressive education in action.
This was a little closer to home. I grew up less than twenty miles from Lexington. Yes, I know it’s in Massachusetts, sometimes referred to as “The People’s Republic of Massachusetts” and it’s a famously progressive state like California, but still. American pride is offensive? In America? What have we become?
Fryeburg Academy

Even closer to home, I read that a lacrosse coach at Fryeburg Academy was encouraged to resign because he posted a letter on his Facebook page. This guy coached some of my former students. The Conway Daily Sun reported: “The letter, written by ‘An American Citizen’ was about Obama’s speech given in Cairo in 2009 [in which he] said that Islam has long been a part of American history.” The letter goes on to criticize Islam, saying Muslims are still the largest traffickers in human slavery, which the US State Department reported in 2009. It claims Muslims were allied with Hitler in World War II, which they certainly were. Hitler’s Mein Kampf remains a best seller in Turkey and across the Middle East. In Arabic, it’s called “My Jihad.” My former students know all this.
The letter claims Muslims were either silent on or pleased with the September 11th attacks. That’s dismaying, but also absolutely true. For years I showed students video of Muslims dancing in the streets of East Jerusalem, which progressive mainstream media outlets quickly squashed. Visiting there in 2005, I was advised by my Palestinian guide not to leave the hotel by myself — because it wasn’t safe for Americans.
The Sun reported that although Coach Lees was to meet with top administrators about the letter, “athletic director Sue Thurston told him a decision to fire him had already been made,” so he resigned. Unless there was something more damning in “the letter” than the Sun reported, it looks like Fryeburg Academy officials should bone up on the history of Islam.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Don't Fight Without It

President Truman was right to demand unconditional surrender from Japan. After we destroyed their navy and were bombing them daily, they sought negotiations. Truman refused, and warned them he had a fearsome new weapon he would use against them if they didn’t surrender unconditionally. Teaching US History again to a group of ten high-school aged home schoolers, I’m showing them “Hiroshima.” It’s a wonderfully produced historical film depicting events, both in Japan and in the United States from FDR’s death in April, 1945 to the use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August.

Unconditional surrender is what the United States should demand whenever we go to war with anyone. Soldiers we send to fight and die deserve nothing less. We do them a disservice if we send them without a clear sense that it’s absolutely right to declare war, and with the commitment to see that war through to a victorious end. Otherwise, we shouldn’t go to war at all.

We shouldn’t fight without a declaration by congress either. The last time that happened was 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor. We’ve fought in dozens of places and circumstances since - large and small, short and long - and how has it worked out? Korea is still divided; North Korea is still hostile, threatening the US with nuclear weapons they developed while we were “negotiating” with them. Vietnam is reunited, but under communist rule. That development went against the Truman Doctrine of containing communism rather than defeating it outright as General George Patton wanted to do after the Nazis surrendered in May, 1945. President Obama claimed to end the war in Iraq, but did he? Looks like it’s still raging, and we’re going back in.
We went into Afghanistan after the September 11th attacks to get Osama Bin Laden, who planned the attacks from there. Americans supported that effort wholeheartedly, but Bin Laden escaped across the border into Pakistan. President Bush decided not to pursue him there. Big mistake. Bush should have said to Pakistan: “Give him over or we’re coming in after him,” but he didn’t.
Instead, we continued the “war” in Afghanistan that was really nation-building. Could we realistically expect to build a democratic nation in a region ruled for millennia by tribal warlords? Could we expect to even hold Afghanistan after the British experience there? The Russian experience? Another big mistake. We were after Bin Laden and we took our eye off the ball. War is war. It’s what we do when negotiations fail. It’s brutal. People get killed and things get wrecked. Often, it’s innocent civilians who are killed. War is hell, as General Sherman observed and that’s no less true today than it was when he said it. That’s why we shouldn’t conduct it unless congress declares it. When we do go to war, we should go all-out until it’s over — and it’s only over when the other side gives up unconditionally. Absent that, it’s just going to flare up again like a smoldering ember.
We’re not capable of nation-building anywhere else but right here. Only the people who live in a place are capable of creating a nation there. That’s how ours was built. Have we forgotten that? I think we have. We should have searched out al Qaida and destroyed it — wherever it went to hide. If things got wrecked and people were killed? Well, that’s war. Don’t start if it you’re not willing to finish it. It’s not our obligation to clean up afterward either. It’s the job of the people who live there. They’ll be more careful of who they let in next time.
Teaching again, I’m reminded of how idealistic young people are. As we study each of America’s wars, I say: “Now that you understand what caused the war, how it was fought, and how it turned out, imagine you were an 18-year-old male when it started. Would you volunteer to fight?” The only way to decide is to ask themselves if they were willing to risk their lives in pursuit of whatever the goal was. If it was ill-defined, the answer was usually no. Defining the goal is the job of our elder statesmen and women. If they can’t do it in simple terms, it’s not worth dying for.
Surviving relatives should be able to say something more than “He was killed in WWII.” Rather, they can say: “He died to defeat Nazism.” Veterans can say: “I lost my leg fighting the Japanese who attacked us.” What can the last soldier maimed by an IED just before the scheduled Obama pullout from Afghanistan say? Our soldiers shouldn’t have to think more than a second about why they’re fighting, but today our president refuses to even mention our enemy by name.
Harry S. Truman was an ordinary American thrust by circumstances into a position where he had to make a momentous decision in only a few weeks: whether to use an awesome new weapon on our declared enemy — and thereby bring the most destructive war in history to an end, decisively, with no smoldering embers. Truman said he never lost a minute’s sleep after making it, and today, Japan is one of our closest allies.

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Monday, March 09, 2015

Two More Years. Will We Make It?

The private school where I started my career was boot camp for teachers. We got high school aged students from public school on the way to lockup or coming from lockup back to public school. Some were bigger than me. If I could carry out a lesson plan with them, I could do it anywhere. The first thing I learned was that no matter how good my lesson plan was, it wouldn’t work unless I had control of the classroom. If I couldn’t wield authority effectively, there were students ready to take over. When I felt control slipping, I had to be conscious of one important dynamic and ask myself: “Who is responding to whom?” It was my job to enforce the rules consistently. Never bluff, never yell. Warn once in an even tone, then lower the boom. If the hooligans I taught sensed weakness, they exploited it. I could lighten up only after earning their respect. There was no other way.
After that, I taught fourteen-year-olds in a regular, public school classroom, twenty or thirty at a time for decades. It was a breeze, but they, too, were masters at sizing up adults. Many probed to see how far they could push before feeling an uncomfortable consequence. Working as a mentor with teacher interns who were weak classroom managers, I’d emphasize that the he or she had to establish clear boundaries early and administer a consequence if any were crossed. “Don’t blink,” I’d say. There were students in every class who would sense weakness and push further and further until hell broke loose. Once a teacher-intern lost control, it was almost impossible to get it back. Someone else had to step in and restore order.
A teacher must be the leader in a classroom and the President of the United States must be the leader of the free world. The dynamics are similar. There will always be malignant actors ready to take advantage of a president they perceive as weak. Unless it was clear to students who the adult was in the room, nothing else mattered. Just as a good set of lesson plans weren’t going to work unless the teacher could handle a class. A thoughtful foreign policy won’t work either unless the president has earned respect. If our community organizer president tried to work with juvenile delinquents by “leading from behind” or with his latest policy of “strategic patience,” he wouldn’t last a week. They’d eat him up.
Our president has the US military behind him. I had the backing of the owner and director of our school, Dr. Ernest L. Herrman, who had been a running back at Kansas State. If I sent a student to his office and he closed the door, people nearby might hear sounds of bodies hitting walls after which the student would emerge with a different attitude. Students had to know I would send them for therapy with Dr. Herrman after only one warning — and drag them down to his office if I had to. If malignant actors in today’s world actually believed the president would use American military force, it wouldn’t likely be necessary to do so.
The trouble is, they don’t. They sensed weakness early on and have been exploiting it ever since. If a student crosses boundaries and the teacher responds with idle threats, the student will continue pushing until the trigger is pulled. A teacher must assess the situation early, warn only once, and do something when a boundary is crossed. Our president blustered about red lines, but backed down while sketchy strongmen all around the world were watching. His attempts at tough talk ever since are seen as so much bluff and bluster.
As Iran keeps building the nuclear weapons our president said were unacceptable, who is responding to whom? As Vladimir Putin takes over parts of the Ukraine and Europe wonders where he’ll go next, who is responding to whom? Where will the next red line be drawn and erased?
Some teacher interns didn’t have to be coached. They had a clear sense of right and wrong ingrained in their personhood. They knew instinctively when a behavior was purposely disruptive and were ready to handle it. My only assistance was to walk them through the administrative paperwork and parent notification procedures for whatever action they took. Other interns lacked a strong inner core. I sensed it, and knew students would too. When those interns had to take over alone for a few weeks, I knew they’d be eaten up. I’d have to hover nearby so I could take over periodically and restore order.
Nobody is hovering outside the White House and the community organizer has to pretend he’s leading for almost two more years. The only ones who seem weaker than him are Republican leaders in the House and Senate whose job it is to keep him in line. It’s not a good situation for the United States, or the rest of the free world either.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Left and Right

You could call it the “Wayne’s World” of politics. Every other Wednesday, I go to the Valley Vision studio in North Conway, New Hampshire and argue politics for an hour with a liberal named Gino. We call the show “Left and Right” but I keep suggesting we call it “Right and Wrong” instead. Gino doesn’t agree. Each episode runs over and over in different time slots for two weeks until we tape another. Only people who subscribe to the local Time Warner Cable franchise can watch it on channel three, and we have no idea how many tune in. I think my mother would, but she has a satellite dish.
Gino and I are both political junkies who keep up on issues of the day. Each of us keeps notes on whatever is happening to bring up on the show, but I have an advantage: I used to be a liberal and I remember how I thought back then when I was young and foolish. Gino, however, was never a conservative. It would be accurate to say that I’m a personification of the adage: “If you’re not a liberal when you’re twenty, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative when you’re forty, you have no brain.”
Churchill's biographers say they can't find the quote, but someone said it.

The left/right dichotomy has strongly influenced my life for decades. When I was teaching in the public schools, my history textbooks were slanted liberal. I provided balance by offering a conservative point of view to contrast the book’s perspective. Lately I’ve been teaching a group of ten home-schooled, high school-age students in Auburn with whom I’m doing something I’ve always wanted to try: using both a liberal text and a conservative text, and assigning them readings on a particular period in history from two perspectives. Each student has “A People’s History of the United States” by the late Howard Zinn - a closet communist. They also have “A Patriot’s History of the United States” by Schweikart and Allen. I’ve got students only once a week for two hours, and we cannot cover too much in one year, but it’s very instructive to compare and contrast the two points of view. Authors of both books claim to be unbiased, but neither Zinn nor Schweikart, nor Allen are of course. Neither am I, but I try to be. No one is really, but we should keep our minds open.
When I started teaching in 1975, I was pretty far to the left. After dropping out of college in 1972, I worked with liberals in John Kerry’s failed congressional campaign in the Massachusetts 5th district that year. I also worked with “community organizer” disciples of Saul Alinsky and Noam Chomsky in Lowell, Massachusetts. After all that I went back to school to become a teacher and began my long metamorphosis from left to right. When I first started publishing columns in 1989, I was still straddling the fence. By about 1993, however, I had become a full-fledged conservative.
Around that time, I began publishing regular weekly columns for local newspapers in which I expressed my opinions without reserve. Many readers on the left assumed I taught my history classes the same way I wrote my columns. At first, they wrote letters to the editor suggesting I was unfit to teach and these were published frequently. Several leftists went further by trying to influence principals, superintendents, school boards, and state teacher licensing agencies to discipline me, silence me, or pull my teaching certification. By the time I retired, I had amassed quite a paper trail documenting their efforts.
For the past three years, I’ve been working on and off writing a book about this, being careful to get it all down as it happened. Last month, I thought, “Okay, I’m done. It’s all down there in black and white.” I printed it off, made some copies, and asked friends to read it with the condition that they be ruthless in their feedback. Well, that feedback is trickling in and I’m thinking maybe I’m not all done. Looks like I need to expand it. Some suggest I add more on what caused me to move from left to right. Others said it reads too much like “just the facts, ma’am” written by a detective or a reporter, and I need to put in more about what it felt like as events unfolded.
Then there’s the business of book publishing. It’s not like publishing columns, except that both are changing rapidly. The more I look into it, the more I realize how much I still have to learn. It looks like I may have been premature when I announced on the “Left and Right” show that my book about moving from left to right was finished. It was hard enough to get down what happened. Now I’m going to have to write about my feelings? That’s not something I’m used to or very good at either, but it appears to be still another thing I have to learn.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

It's Not Easy Being Green

Portland Harbor from South Portland February 2015

Portland Harbor froze over for the first time in thirty-five years. That presents a dilemma for people around the southern Maine area for several reasons. Ice breakers are necessary to keep shipping lanes open. Ferries to the islands get more difficult too, but the hardest thing is explaining how this could happen when you and your fellow greenies — the dominant species around the greater Portland area — have been wailing about the dangers of global warming for decades. The polar ice cap was supposed to have disappeared by now, but locals are looking over their shoulders this winter for fear that ice cap may creep south and take over our state the way it did four times before — and melting the last time only 12,000 years ago. This month will go down at the coldest February on record. 
Poor Adam (From Portland Press Herald)

Adam Souza’s car was destroyed in Portland last weekend when huge ice chunks fell on it from a five-story building. “They told me my insurance doesn’t cover an act of nature,” he said. I have to wonder: what if the car had been submerged by rising ocean waters the greenies predicted? Would he be able to sue oil companies? Would he have been able to insist it was human-caused, and not an act of nature? Other Portland residents are reminded they have to shovel snow off sidewalks in front of their houses, but they wonder where they’re going to put it. Snowbanks are already so high they have to drive halfway onto the street to see if there are any cars coming. Body shops say there are three times more cars with collision damage compared to past winters.

Then there are the endless stories from other greenies in Boston where winter snows keep piling up and below normal temperatures prevent any of it from melting back. Environmental cassandras like Robert Kennedy Jr and Bill McKibben are still insisting it’s all caused by global warming. “Climate change is a time test,” claims McKibben. “If we don’t act very quickly — well, Boston is getting a taste right now of what a changed climate looks like.” He’s the leading cassandra of the global warming movement and likely will be the last to admit it’s really mass hysteria.
Coo-Coo McKibben

Kennedy, meanwhile, is trying to convince Harvard to divest from fossil fuels to prevent catastrophic global warming. He wants to lead “Heat Week” sit-ins for students to pressure the university. They’re going to have to shovel out some space for the students to sit, unless they want fashion Cambridge’s enormous snow banks into chairs somehow.

Greenies at the Washington Post are struggling desperately to keep their “climate change” house of cards from collapsing with a recent headline: “What the massive snowfall in Boston tells us about global warming.” They just won’t give up, insisting: “It doesn’t yet for most of us, but sooner or later we’re going to have to get past the idea that global warming and huge amounts of snow are somehow contradictory.” Contradictory? Who would ever think that? Kermit The Frog warned us all a long time ago that it’s not easy being green. These are indeed very difficult times for greenies. As Kermit sang:

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder?
Why Wonder, I am green and it'll do fine, it's beautiful!
And I think it's what I want to be.

Penn State’s Michael Mann, author of the dubious “hockey stick graph” touted by Al Gore, still insists all this snow and cold is indeed caused by global warming: “storm[s] will be feeding off these very warm seas, producing very large amounts of snow as spiraling winds of the storm squeeze that moisture out of the air, cool, it, and deposit it as snow inland.” Warm seas? They don’t appear warm to me when I look out over the ice in Portland Harbor.
Portland from Bug Light Park last week

Scott Peck, a psychiatrist who had some best-selling books back in the 1980s, described the greenie dilemma well: “Our view of reality is like a map with which to negotiate the terrain of life.” He said we construct one in adolescence and try to use it without modification throughout life. It’s tough to admit we’ve been wrong even in the face of overwhelming evidence. “Life is difficult,” he said. To even consider we may be wrong about the way we understand things is hard enough. Admitting it to ourselves and others is even harder. Constructing a new life map is the hardest of all, so most of us never undertake the effort.
Portland Head Light last week

It’s especially hard for the head greenies like President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, who keep insisting that global warming is more dangerous to us than Islamic terrorism, I mean “extremist violence.”

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Walker Would School Them All

I was a teacher. Still am, some say. Two comments last week from web sites on which my column runs claimed that I was educating them — and if they say so, then it’s true. What I wrote informed them about something or helped them see something in another light. For that, I’m glad. Some teachers say they're educators, but I always thought of myself as a teacher.
Was I in the education business? No, because education is not a business, not in the public schools in which I spent 34 years. If it were, it would be more effective, but it’s a union-controlled institution with the inherent inertia too many such institutions possess. Businesses have to remain competitive but government institutions do not. Neither do they have to be accountable, because they’re not elected; they’re funded by taxpayers in an indirect way. Educational institutions like public schools and colleges suffer from the same inertia objects do as observed by Isaac Newton: they have a tendency to remain at rest until acted upon by an outside force. They need to be shaken up if they’re ever going to change.
What might accomplish that? Competition, that’s what — in the form of vouchers. If parents could have a choice about where they sent their children to school, including the choice of private and religious schools, and get just half of what public schools would spend to teach a child year to year, it would revolutionize education at the elementary and secondary level.
Many are coming to believe lately that a college education has been way oversold. Parents with a child living in their basement after graduation, saddled with tens of thousands in student loan debt, and no way to pay it because he has no job, are doubting its value. So are the graduates themselves. What is a college degree worth? Depends on that the major was. If it was engineering, medicine, or one of the other hard sciences, it might be worth something. If it was in something like art history? Gender studies? They’re unproductive. There’s no market, unless it’s to teach in the gender studies or the art history department at Liberal U.
When I decided to become a teacher, I had to go back to college after I had dropped out for two years to do things that were more interesting. After I went back it took me another year and a half for a BS, then two more years for an M. Ed. Did those degrees prepare me to teach? Not really, no. For the BS (aptly named, that) I had to do six weeks of student teaching. That prepared me, but none of the education courses I took along with it did, and I took dozens. The states of Maine and Massachusetts required that I get those degrees to license me, but I’d have been better off learning more about the subjects I taught. I became a better teacher after years of doing it, not studying to do it.
Wisconsin teachers called in sick to protest Walker

As conservative Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s presidential poll numbers have climbed, liberal media drones have zeroed in on his having dropped out of Marquette University in his senior year to accept a job. “What?” they exclaimed. “He doesn’t have a college degree? And he’s running for president? Is he smart enough to be president?” He got elected governor in 2010. He fought off government unions, the media, and the entire Democrat political machine in a 2012 recall election, then was officially reelected in 2014 — and all that while actually governing effectively in a very liberal state.
Our media elite, however, still question his intelligence because he’s a conservative and a Christian. To them, believing in Jesus Christ is akin to believing in the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny, so he must be a moron. One asked Walker if he believed in evolution. They think anyone who professes belief in Christianity is convinced the earth was created 6000 years ago. In one week, they’ve put more effort into scrutinizing Scott Walker’s college records than they’ve put into President Obama’s over the past eight years. Why, for instance, did Obama seal his college records? What is he hiding? Liberal media elitists don’t want to know.
To be a teacher, one must first have learned, and learning should never stop during any teacher’s lifetime. There are many paths to knowledge and college is only one — probably not the best one either if Obama’s tenure as president is any guide.
At least two of our best presidents, Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman, did not have college degrees. Neither does Bill Gates, so don’t worry about Scott Walker. If he’s elected president, he’ll do just fine, especially compared to the community organizer he will have succeeded.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Picture Power

Images are powerful, stronger than words. It was video of ISIS beheading two Americans that spurred President Obama to finally take action he was doing his best to avoid. Video of ISIS burning a Jordanian pilot alive last week got King Abdullah angry enough to quote Clint Eastwood in his promise to strike back. His actions since prove it wasn’t an idle threat.
ISIS was holding a woman named Kayla Mueller from Prescott, Arizona who was captured while doing charity work for “Doctors Without Borders.” It claimed last week she was killed when Jordanian planes struck an ISIS building housing weapons, and the family confirmed today she’s dead. What would happen if ISIS had burned her alive and filmed it? Reaction would have been fierce. Would it have been enough for Congress to declare war on ISIS? It seems that’s what it’s going to take because President Obama isn’t likely to do much more on his own initiative, even if though he’s asked for the authority.
Pictures of mistreated puppies move millions to enact strict animal cruelty laws that have imprisoned hundreds. Brian Williams claims to have once rescued a puppy from a burning building. If he had a picture of the puppy, he might still be anchoring the NBC Nightly News.
Pictures have enormous political power. One shot of a little girl running away after being burned by napalm in Vietnam turned countless Americans against the war. Another of a Viet Cong soldier being executed, and then a video of a Buddhist monk immolating himself had enormous effect on millions of Americans back home.
Teaching about the Holocaust, I used to hold up a grainy, black and white photo of an SS soldier shooting a Jewish mother and her baby in Poland. I’d ask, “Is this soldier evil?” Then I’d moderate a forty-minute discussion on whether he was or wasn’t. Students wanted to keep talking about it after the bell rang. I’d have to end the discussion and kick them out. Images of bodies in liberated Nazi death camps shocked the world in 1945. Nobody could deny the Holocaust after that and those pictures led to UN recognition of Israel as a Jewish state in 1948. Try as it might, Iran cannot negate the power of those images in its effort to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist in the world’s eyes by denying the Holocaust ever took place.
When al Qaeda posted video of American journalist Daniel Pearl’s beheading in 2002, I told students that I chose not to watch it and advised them not to either “unless you want the image to stay in your head.” Pictures of Iraqi POWs being humiliated at Abu Ghraib turned many Americans against the war and led to Barack Obama’s election in 2008. I won’t watch video of ISIS burning the Jordanian pilot for the same reason. I saw one still photo and that was enough.
He was charged with eight, but his staff said he murdered hundreds

Good liberals all, our liberal mainstream media wasn’t about to show any pictures of dead babies during the Kermit Gosnell murder trial in 2013. They refused to even cover it for three weeks. Then they gave weak excuses: “It’s a local story,” when they were finally smoked out and even then gave it scant mention. They certainly didn’t show any pictures — except of Gosnell’s building which he called the “Women’s Medical Society.” No dead babies. No emotional testimony by former employees who witnessed the slaughter either, though there was plenty of both. The old maxim “If it bleeds, it leads” doesn’t apply to abortion stories in the mainstream media.
Feminist Professor Lisa Wade at Occidental College commented on photographer Lennart Nilsson’s Life Magazine cover shot in 1965: “Nilsson’s images forever changed the way that people think about pregnancy, mothers, and fetuses. Before Nilsson, the visual of a fetus independent from a mother was not widespread. His pictures made it possible for people to visualize the contents of a woman’s womb independently of her body.  Suddenly, the fetus came to life. It was no longer just something inside of a woman, no longer even in relationship to a woman; it was an individual with a face, a sex, a desire to suck its thumb.”
Sparing you another picture of an aborted baby, this is an ultrasound

When my students debated abortion in the years before the internet, opposing sides would write away to organizations supporting the pro-life and pro-choice viewpoints. Pro-life students were appalled at images of aborted babies they received. When pro-choice students saw them, they were appalled too and said they could no longer defend the pro-choice side.
That’s why pro-choice feminists so vehemently oppose ultrasound images for pregnant women who might actually see what they’re choosing to destroy. Do they really support a woman’s right to choose? Only if they can keep her ignorant of what the choice actually involves — and especially what it looks like. Anyone making the pro-choice argument who hasn't gone to Google Images, typed in "aborted babies" and looked, should shut up. You don't know what you're talking about.

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