Archive by Author | Horatio Bunce

21st Century Movietone, a.k.a. government propaganda at the movies

1948 - American Toys for American Boys & Girls

1948 – American Toys for American Boys & Girls

by Eric Holcombe

Check out the latest UN global governance missive you paid to be broadcast to folks at the movies this week; those whom may have missed out on the coincidentally-timed, wall-to-wall coverage of the redundant message from the “holy father”:

“THE PLAN IS AGREED BY EVERYONE”…..yeah, all the cool kids are doing it – except for the Holy See of course.


This was followed by a trailer for military-industrial complex p*rn: The Martian, a movie suggesting human residence on Mars is plausible (in a boy-in-a-bubble sort of way) – coincidentally-timed with the state media release of the “we gotta spend NASA billions to explore Mars saltwater” story replete with “liquid” water gems like these:

Liquid water has many uses:

  • It can be used for drinking.
  • It can be used to produce breathable oxygen.
  • It can help make rocket fuel to launch astronauts off the planet and back home.

Really now….water-based rocket fuel you say? I guess it’s a great thing then that the surface of the earth is about 70% salt water. All our energy worries are over! On Mars however, there is precious little of it. But you too can sign up for the “one-way” trip to the red desert at the Mars One project.

Just a couple of examples of the 2013 NDAA Congress--sponsored propagandizing of the American people at their own expense…”making “available, in the United States, motion pictures, films, video, audio, and other materials prepared for dissemination abroad or disseminated abroad pursuant to this Act….



A Utah teacher’s opinion of the SAGE test “items” TN is renting from Utah for $2.3M

by Eric Holcombe

Photo: Kelly Maher Poynter of her daughter working on "rigorous" Commie Core assignments

Photo: Kelly Maher Poynter of her daughter working on “rigorous” Commie Core assignments

As mentioned in earlier posts, Tennessee is leasing Utah’s Common Core, federal government-forced online testing “items” from their SAGE assessments provided by Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC) via the behavioral research company American Institutes for Research (AIR). AIR is known for behavioral research, a.k.a. data mining, on public school students such as Project Talent in 1960 (also driven by the federal government). At the time of their implementation, the SAGE assessments were untested, that is, they were unpiloted on any students prior to them being foisted upon Utah students in spring of 2014. Utah students were the guinea pigs – and Utahns paid handsomely for the privilege to be the guinea pigs. In December of 2014, Achieve Inc. board member Bill Haslam announced that Tennessee would be renting test “items” from Utah for $2.3 million for the next couple of years until Measurement Inc. (via AIR, via SBAC) can develop the “TNReady” tests. Now keep in mind that like Tennessee, all states that took the Race To The Top federal bribe must choose between one of two federal-government created masters for their mandatory, online testing: PARCC or SBAC. Tennessee’s initial illegal, no-bid testing contract was awarded to PARCC (Kevin Huffman, governing board). Utah initially chose SBAC and after much public displeasure was expressed then did the same thing Achieve Inc. board member Haslam has since done: pretend to put the mandatory, federal-driven testing “out for bid”, say you are making “state-led” tests except they rigged the specifications so that ultimately only an SBAC subcontracted entity could “win”. So Utah ended up with the SAGE assessments by SBAC via AIR, the behavioral research company. In Tennessee’s case, we added yet another middle-man by hiring Measurement Inc. from North Carolina, who subcontracted to AIR, a Washington DC corporation (like Haslam’s Achieve Inc.) who works with SBAC from Washington State. And in the meanwhile, we are renting the tests that Utah has already paid them to create, thus TN students are really UtahReady.
Following is an editorial by Debbie Nichols, a recently retired Utah teacher of 34 years, who gives her view of the SAGE test (emphasis mine). This was published in the Deseret News on November 1 of 2014, about six months after the first application of the SAGE tests in Utah but still PRIOR to Tennessee’s contract to lease the test “items” for $2.3 million per year from Utah for the next two years and PRIOR to Tennessee’s $108 million contract to Measurement Inc. to produce the new tests from AIR/SBAC for the following five years.
You may find yourself asking who did the shopping for this and why did we decide this was a good idea for Tennessee (if in fact Commie Core and its mandatory online testing really is “state-led” and not forced by the federal government).

My view: A teacher’s opinion of the SAGE test
Many Utahns heard about the SAGE test for the first time this week as the test results were published. There is more to be concerned about than the scores. There are some things that taxpayers and parents need to know about the SAGE test.
I taught school for 34 years and just retired in June. I taught nine years at West Kearns Elementary and 25 years at Eastwood Elementary. I have watched the metamorphosis in education over these many years. Some changes have been good and some have not. The SAGE test is not a good change.

SAGE testing does not line up with the curriculum. It may tell you some things a child knows, but not necessarily what he or she learned in class. This style of test never measures what has been taught.

The math section of the SAGE test is really a reading test, which means one cannot distinguish computation from application from vocabulary knowledge. Can the child do the computation but not apply it? Could the child do the computation and apply it if he or she knew a different vocabulary term used in the word problem? The SAGE test won’t tell you, and educators are not given vocabulary lists or knowledge of content.
The SAGE test is simply not a good test. Last spring I saw a little boy stare at his screen for 30 minutes. He knew the correct answer was 1½, but he could not find a way to enter a mixed number to answer the question. It couldn’t be done on his computer.
The SAGE test is written so that as a student answers questions correctly, the test immediately takes the student to questions that aren’t just harder, but out of grade level. It overwhelms and frustrates elementary children. The students are not allowed to go on unless they answer each question. Last year I watched as 28 students stared at a screen until they gave up and guessed. The teacher is not allowed to give prompts during this test at all. Exasperated students soon give up. Low students stop reading altogether.
The SAGE test does not help teachers or students know student progress. This testing format is not age appropriate for grade school. For secondary schools, it is still not measuring if a student mastered the curriculum that they were taught.
Learning has to be measured in some way. So educators look at what the end goal is and set out during the year to try to achieve this goal. We make a curriculum that matches up with the final test to be given. This is not teaching to the test, this is teaching to the goal of mastery of a subject.
A runner knows that his race time does not improve by buying a new stopwatch. The runner knows that he needs to work harder and practice more. Students’ scores will not improve with a new test. It is not the testing we need to practice but the actual skill. More testing does not equal more learning. We need more teaching time in the classroom and less testing time. There is so much more that these students need to know for the future. Too much testing just desensitizes them. We should be striving for love of learning, not hate of testing.
Educators and society need to prepare our students for college and the real workforce. The SAGE doesn’t help, it just dampens the love of learning. We deserve more for our education dollar. More importantly, our students deserve better.

So what does UtahReady look like?

Brian Halladay, Alpine School District Board member, Utah County, UT

By Eric Holcombe
In my last post I explained how we are paying the state of Utah to “lease” test “items” that Utah has paid to have produced by the behavioral research company American Institutes of Research (AIR). Utah’s tests are called the SAGE Assessments and they began using them in 2014, because Utah, like Tennessee, also took the federal bribe in Race To The Top to implement the federally-provided Common Core “state” Standards and all electronic assessment testing provided via the federally created, multi-state testing consortia (PARCC and SBAC). So since Tennessee students will now be UtahReady, I thought you might be interested in the viewpoint of a Utah school board member regarding the SAGE assessments we are now paying Utah to lease “items” from. After all, we have been told by the Common Core Whores what a great idea this is because all the cool kids are doing it (emphasis mine):

The Reality Behind Your Child’s Test

By Brian Halladay, Board Member, Alpine School District, Utah

Sage test results were recently released that showed less than half of Utah’s students were proficient in math, English, and language arts. Taken at face value, this means that more than half our students are “not proficient.” So, what does this mean? Absolutely nothing.

The SAGE test is an unreliable, unverified test that our children from 3rd-11th grade are taking not just once, but up to three times a year. These tests aren’t scored by their teachers, but rather by the American Institutes for Research (AIR). This company is the one of the world’s largest social and behavioral research organizations. Your child’s proficiency is being scored by a bunch of behavioral researchers. 

No teacher is scoring, or has the ability to score, an individual child’s SAGE test.
Your child is taking a test for 8 hours (4 hours for math and 4 hours for English) that their teacher can’t see the questions to. This test is designed to have your child fail. Gone are the days when a student could feel a sense of achievement for getting 100% on a test. This test is touted to be “rigorous”. If your child gets a correct answer the test will continue to ask harder and harder questions until he or she gets it wrong (who knows if what is tested was actually taught in the classroom?) Put simply, this means that your child likely will come home grumpy, anxious, or depressed after taking this test. With over 50% non-proficiency, this will affect more than half  of the students that take it.

The teacher is almost as much of a test victim as the child. Having no idea of the test questions, teachers are still starting to be evaluated —on a test they can’t see. I believe we’re starting to see this leading to more experienced teachers leaving, and an increase in teachers with little to no experience not knowing the pre-SAGE environment.  

Points to consider: 

1. When did we allow testing to become more important than education?
2. Your child’s data is subject to being shared with people and organizations without your consent. There is nothing that prohibits AIR or any its multiple organizations from accessing your child’s data. As long as AIR doesn’t make a profit from the data without the USOE’s consent, they can use it for anything they want.
3. This test has no contractual provisions that prevent it from collecting BEHAVIORAL data. AIR has a long history of collecting behavioral data, and seeing they’re a behavioral research organization, don’t you think they will? (Just look up Project Talent).

Last year, two fellow board members and I wrote a letter to our State Superintendent asking him to address our concerns, for which we’ve had no response. If your parental instinct is kicking in, I would ask that you at least consider opting your child out of taking this test. State law allows any parent to opt their child out. Even if you don’t decide to opt out, talk with your teacher, know when your child is taking this test, and make sure your decision is in the child’s best interest.

Tennessee Students are now Utah-Ready?

TN is paying Utah for test questions

by Eric Holcombe
If you have been following Achieve Inc. board member Haslam and the state department of eduction’s more recent announcements regarding “TNReady” or “TNCore”, the alleged, “new”, “state-led” standards for K-12 education to “replace” Common Core (because those Common Core “state” Standards we were told were “state-led” by these same people were nothing of the sort), then you may have been hearing that everything is bright-shiny new and there are new “Tennessee” tests and new “Tennessee” standards. Well, that’s not exactly true.

While Achieve Inc. board member Haslam did let Kevin Huffman (governing board member of PARCC) go as education commissioner and PARCC did lose their illegal, no-bid, multi-million dollar testing contract to provide the Common Core “state” Standard aligned tests in Tennessee, there were absolutely no consequences for the apparent taxpayer-funded collusion between PARCC, their board members and the folks in TN State Board of Education letting the no-bid contract. Neither was there any repercussion for PARCC’s project manager, Achieve Inc. (Bill Haslam, board member). Instead, the same standards are rebranded “TNCore” and the second testing entity (like PARCC) created with $365 million in federal stimulus money will ultimately provide the Common Core “state” Standards aligned tests. This second company is Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). Joining a multi-state testing consortia was part and parcel of taking the federal tax dollar bribe in the Race To The Top federal grant application, and so was the adoption of the Common Core “state” Standards. Many states initially contracted with PARCC and many did with SBAC. We are simply changing federally-created test makers. We took and have already spent the $500+ million in the federal Race To The Top bribe, so you can be sure we will remain slaves to our federal masters, no matter what Nashville wants to rename it.

What you probably did hear about was a $108-million contract between the state of Tennessee and a company called Measurement Inc. to provide the “new” tests to replace the TCAP tests, now nicknamed/rebranded TNReady. You may have even read that Measurement Inc. isn’t really producing these tests, but is actually subcontracting the work to a company called American Institutes of Research (AIR) who is a partner to SBAC to provide the tests. That’s right. You are now paying for at least two middlemen. In the typical “but Mom, all the other kids are jumping off the roof, so why can’t I?” rationale, we were told how Utah, Arizona and Florida were already contracted with AIR so it must be good for Tennessee too, right? Don’t try too hard to remember all that selling that Achieve Inc. board member Haslam and Candice McQueen have been doing to convince you this time it really is “state-led” (by another state I guess). That is how we ended up in the PARCC boat with Florida to begin with.

AIR is primarily a behavioral research company, not a standardized academic assessment maker, i.e., they are well experienced in data mining. There is much speculation about what their motivation may be in the new business of data-mining public school students when combined with the bizarre data collection goals revealed in “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perseverance” published by the federal Dept. of Education. Like many of the players in the Common Core game, they too received millions of dollars from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This is beginning to look like a prerequisite to get into the education “business” in Tennessee at this point. Nevertheless, AIR did produce Common Core “state” Standard aligned assessments for the state of Utah called SAGE assessments. So, did Florida, Arizona and Tennessee get their own “state-led” assessments made just for themselves for their alleged “state-led” standards? Nope. We are paying $2.3 million to lease two years’ worth of test “items” from the Utah tests. The defenders of this scheme claim that we are not paying for Utah’s “tests”, only “items” from the tests.
So to summarize, Tennessee students will now be Utah-Ready. But it’s all “state-led”….

Scott Walker (R) uses Millions of taxpayer dollars for NBA Stadium subsidy

By Jay Polk

From the article: “This one involves Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who’s running on his tough-as-nails budget-cutting credentials. Come tomorrow, Walker will commit no less than $400 million of taxpayer money to a stadium deal to keep the NBA Bucks in Milwaukee:

The state would put $250 million toward the arena, with interest adding up over decades. The subsidy, approved last month with bipartisan support in Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled legislature, wasn’t addressed in the first presidential debate Thursday. That might change in future forums—or attack ads.

That’s bad enough, of course. But what makes the situation even worse is that Walker is actually trying to sell it as something other [than] politically motivated corporate welfare of the basest sort:

Walker, 47, argues that the subsidy is a “good deal,” partly because Wisconsin would lose revenue if the Bucks leave, as they had threatened. The owners of the Bucks, a team whose value Forbes pegged at $600 million, will pick up half the cost of the $500 million arena.

You got that? A business worth $600 million doesn’t have the cash or the credit to build its own…palace (despite covering just half of costs, the Bucks will get virtually all revenue generated by venue forever and ever amen).”

And so it goes that Republicans are just as bad as Democrats on wasting your hard-earned money. Why do fiscal conservatives support Republicans again?

Dear Tennessee government, you do not have my consent

by Eric Holcombe

Tennessee State Constitution Article 1 Section 3:  That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience; that no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any minister against his consent; that no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience; and that no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or
mode of worship.

I am tired of paying for the worshippers of Molech and their child sacrifices.

Achieve Inc. board member Haslam should stop chasing Forrest’s pre-conversion ghost and put an end to the current Negro Project we are being forced to fund.



Will the real Bill Haslam please stand up?


by Eric Holcombe

Rocky Top Politics has reminded us that July 13 is Nathan Bedford Forrest Day in Tennessee. It’s required by state law TCA 15-2-101:

Additional special observance days.

  Each year it is the duty of the governor of this state to proclaim the following as days of special observance: January 19, “Robert E. Lee Day”; February 12, “Abraham Lincoln Day”; March 15, “Andrew Jackson Day”; June 3, “Memorial Day” or “Confederate Decoration Day”; July 13, “Nathan Bedford Forrest Day”; and November 11, “Veterans’ Day.” The governor shall invite the people of this state to observe the days in schools, churches, and other suitable places with appropriate ceremonies expressive of the public sentiment befitting the anniversary of such dates.

RTP pointed out that Achieve Inc. board member Haslam has signed such a proclamation for Nathan Bedford Forrest Day the last four years running and wondered in light of his recent, new-found distaste for certain statues if Achieve Inc. board member Haslam would break the state law this year. However, that question has been answered already: Achieve Inc. board member Haslam signed the proclamation declaring July 13 as Nathan Bedford Forrest Day back on June 2.


So to recap:

Achieve Inc. board member Haslam on June 2, 2015: “I….do hereby proclaim July 13, 2015 as Nathan Bedford Forrest Day in Tennessee and encourage all citizens to join me in this worthy observance.


A mere three weeks later:

Achieve Inc. board member Haslam on June 23, 2015:  “If I’m choosing the Tennesseans that I’m going to honor, and we’re only going to honor a few in the State Capitol, I don’t think I’d pick Nathan Bedford Forrest,”.

The BS Gap Continues to Grow

snake-oil-salesman475by Eric Holcombe

Dad Gone Wild has a new post about the Achievement School District (ASD) in TN directed by Teach For America (TFA) alum Chris Barbic. Remember that Chris was tagged for the position by Kevin Huffman, the former executive v.p. of public relations for TFA (and board member of PARCC of no-bid, testing contract fame) who was appointed by Achieve Inc. board member Bill Haslam. Somebody had to spend the $90 million Bill Gates grant given to Memphis to start up charter schools. The ASD was created by Jamie SCORE Woodson’s special session First To The Top bill in January 2010 at the same time the Common Core “state” Standards were being committed to (before they existed) in the fraudulent Race To The Top federal grant application that claimed unanimous support and signatures from every director of schools, school board chair and teacher union representative in the state. Shortly after passage, she quit her Senate seat to start collecting Bill Gates’ checks at TNSCORE along with Bill Frist (nearly $6M now and counting).

So, what was the ASD supposed to do? Well, frankly an impossible task – take the bottom 5% of schools academically and move them to the top 25% academically, in just five years. Okay, anyone paying attention to achievement scores knows this is not realistic and would expect some shall we say, creative accounting, was involved if this proved to be true. Well, Chris and Co. have already done some of that, creating a new “school” out of thin air when reporting scores to report year-over-year “improvement” that was at best an apples-to-oranges comparison. Now that the 5-year goal deadline is approaching, the Gates money is running thin, well something has to give to keep the dream alive:

From the post,

“…Barbic says,

“We could say tomorrow we are changing the goal. The only blowback we would probably get is from you guys (media). But there is nothing stopping us. I could wake up tomorrow and decide I want to do something different.

Wow. If we were making porn movies, that would be what they call the money shot. The hubris is appalling. I guess he forgot that part about kid’s lives being at stake. Hey, when you’re building a franchise, it’s hard to keep track of the players. It’s interesting that this line appeared in the original story in the Commercial Appeal but by mid-afternoon the next day it and two other paragraphs had oddly disappeared only to be replaced by more flattering paragraphs like below,”

Click here to read the rest of the post at Dad Gone Wild

Then remind yourself of how many years the Tennessee Virtual Academy was allowed to exist before being shut down by the state amidst enrollment caps instituted by Achieve Inc. board member Haslam, while parents with a choice still wanted to escape there with their children.


Is this what Achieve Inc. board member Haslam means by “compete in the global marketplace”?


From Zerohedge:

Want A Low-Wage Job? Go To College


Perhaps it is time to rethink the “college for everyone” meme as ‘fair’ and instead realize it is nothing more than government delaying the inevitable of a middle-class being down-trodden to debt-servitude for the good of the few at the top who need credit to be extended to any or everyone in order for the obvious unsustainability to be exposed for all to see.”

I bailed out of insurance to better serve my patients, slash costs

David Tulis of provides an article by Dr. Homero Rivas II, a TN physician who has “opted-out” of the health-insurance-by-government-force Obamacare system:

“American medicine is being squeezed into an ever-tighter corner in its voluntary self-incarceration in the modern welfare-warfare state. Doctors are concocting a jail break. One way they are crowbarring their way back to professional liberty is to refuse to take third-party reimbursements either from insurance companies or government cartels such as Medicare or Medicaid.”

Dr. Rivas provides an easy-to-understand picture of the difficulties your health care provider (not insurer) faces and how your services are now being controlled by a for-profit third party whose business is now mandated by the federal government.

This same scenario exists for the public school system under Gates/Pearson/Commie Core. The solution for the local school to regain their liberty is also the same.

Looting the Looters

Bill Gibbons announces death of the 4th Amendment in TN

Bill Gibbons announces death of the 4th Amendment in TN

If You See Something Say Something™ right Bill Gibbons? I see our Department of Safety and Homeland Security are a bunch of 4th and 5th Amendment-violating crooks. The state legislature has attempted (and failed) in two sessions now to enact some kind of restraint on the armed robbery committed in the name of “asset forfeiture” in Tennessee. It is looking more and more like Nashville may be the root cause.

The “thin blue line” strikes again:

“When the Sevierville Police Department learned pills in a woman’s car were antacids and the $11,922 an officer seized as suspected drug money was an inheritance, the agency agreed to drop charges and return the cash.

The Tennessee Department of Safety wants it back….

The department essentially argues that the only way that Ms. Stiltner could prove (the cash was not drug money) is through taking serial numbers of all the bills she received from the estate check, hiring an accountant to review all of her cash spending, and then comparing these notes to the money that was seized,” he wrote. “This is nonsensical, and the department’s position is wholly untenable … This appeal results from the Tennessee Department of Safety’s continued efforts to steal $11,922 from Kathy Stiltner despite uncontroverted evidence that the funds were derived from a legitimate source and a total lack of evidence that the funds resulted from illegal activity.”

If only the United States was the land of the free, we might have some kind of law against this.

These taxpayer-funded, unaccountable armed robberies need to stop.