Friday, December 31, 2010

Napolitano to aid Afghan Border Security?

Sometimes, like Alice, I am tempted to mutter, "we're not in Kansas anymore, Toto."  Reading an article on Secretary of Homeland Security Napolitano's visit to Afghanistan, I actually did say that out loud.  But at least I was not overheard.

Ms. Napolitano arrived in Kabul this morning and ostensibly will meet with senior U.S. and Afghan officials to discuss security progress.  At first I was impressed that Ms. Napolitano was going to people who had experience in security measures, both in country and on the borders, and could give her guidance on how to handle our own difficulties in both travel and how to protect our borders.  Alas, I was to learn that I was in error...and that I had left Kansas (Well, actually I didn't start in Kansas, but I hope you will allow me the metaphor.).

Allow me to quote what came next in this morning's news article...ready?

"Napolitano also is accompanied by six DHS customs and border security agents who will join already personnel in Afghanistan to provide civilian security assistance to local officials. These officers work with the Afghan government to try to secure the country’s borders from militants, as well as from weapons and drug smugglers."(emphasis added)

The person who cannot bring herself to assign more personnel to our Borders to stop smugglers, gun runners and illegal aliens from coming unchecked into the United States is going to provide training to the Afghans on how to accomplish that?  What is this, a parallel universe?  I have never read anything so preposterous in my life.  This is akin to having an illiterate teach another how to read.

Not only that, but when we need additional agents on our own border, why is she sending 6 of ours to another country?  Can we take care of our own border first, thank you?  This is so wrong words cannot begin to do it justice.

I will give the Secretary points for least she used the word "try" rather than promise an absolute result...but that is probably just a political habit thing to leave the door open for escape in the event of failure.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Is Anarchy the only answer?

The term "good" government is fallacious; there is no such animal.  Government in any form is just the process of a few elites acquiring and exercising the power to control the "public"...the "others."  And minkind's unalienable and undeniable instinct to control others prevents any government from being "limited."

"If" government could be limited to providing for the common defense of our borders, to building and maintaining roads, power and water along with a Supreme Court to provide ultimate redress from local injustices, we could see some benefit.  But such is never the case.  It is like being a little bit pregnant...and each step of acquiring more power is presented as just a small, inconsequential step in such a reasonable manner that we sheep simply "baa" in acquiescence and later wonder where our freedom went.

And no ideology changes that.  On the one hand, providing we can keep them from bringing the country down with them, the Progressive-Liberal-Socialist-Democrat-elites will fail when they run out of other people's money.  On the other hand, the Conservative-Republican-elites cannot, once in power, resist the temptation to claim more power and create larger government even as the claim otherwise.

All forms of government and all ideologies end up denying individual freedoms and being punitive to all who would preserve liberty for all.  Perhaps peaceful anarchists have it right. Perhaps Chaos Theory should be a political ideology as well as a scientific one.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sometimes I am tempted to feel sorry for God...

There is a temptation to feel sorry for God. He (since there are so many thing wrong with the world, God MUST be a man...ask any woman) creates this world which he believes is perfect. Turns out, like a disappointed inventor, his major not quite perfect. As a matter of fact, a great deal less than perfect. So...he talks to him. Tells him how to do the right thing. Alas, no luck. Tries a lot of things to convince them to follow his lead: Captivity, slavery, even a flood. Nothing, nada, zip, zero. So...he figures...if they won't listen to me, maybe they will listen if I get down on their level....???

So now, here on our world stage in a production by God Almighty, we present... Jesus. The Messiah, the Superstar; he heals, he produces miracles, he makes water into wine... He sacrifices himself on the cross to give us a way to get right with God again...and then comes back from the dead!  Gotta make a difference, right? Well, except for the choir (the disciples and few of his followers, actually), not so much. Man listens to nobody (big surprise...again, ask any wife)...and understands nothing.

Me? I wonder how we ever survive a sunrise, much less the human imperative to control others and believe that we are some sort of universal elite. We are universally delusional. Just look around you.

Me? I look at asylums. The people in them are insane...we declare ourselves the ones in control. Really? Let us review the situation...They are cared for 24-7-365(or 366, depending on the year), can say and act any way they wish, get a roof over their heads, full health care (well, we are getting close there, I am promised), meals, snacks, and can pretend to live any life they can imagine. And it costs them nothing. Out here, I have to make decisions, be lied to by my government, insist on believing the lies, be insulted by my "public servants", have to find a way to earn enough money to pay for my own room and board, clothes, as well as support the government and that guy who is labeled and denigrated as "insane." ...and I am in control?

What is wrong with this picture. I am starting to envy the guy we are all feeling sorry for even as we dismiss his existence. Maybe we are truly the ones who are insane.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Is Government too big?

"Is Government too big?" is a question asked over and over ad nauseum.  It is a good question, but it misleads the brain into discussing and focusing on a symptom of failure, not the cause of government excess.  The size of government is the result of it assuming tasks that are not it's responsibility and should not be made the job of government.

Government should guard our borders.  Government should build and maintain roads, power lines and water supplies.  Government should maintain a means of addressing injustice in local communities when it occurs. That is ALL.

Leave citizens free to chose their definition of happiness, and allow them to attempt to achieve it.  Don't define happiness for them...that is a personal freedom.  If someone choses to be homeless and not work, that is their right.  And it is also their right and obligation to endure the consequences of their choices...both good and bad. It is most assuredly NOT the job of government to relieve anyone of the consequences of their personal actions.  This country became strong on the philosophical foundation of self-responsibility. And it's current problems are primarily a result of it's abandonment of that philosophy.

Local towns and communities can and should regulate themselves:  decide what type of laws work for them; if police are needed and, if so, how many;  determine if someone in distress is deserving of neighborly assistance, or is a neer-do-well that never has tried to solve their own problems and deserves nothing more than benign neglect (remember the Community Chest and local Church organizations?).  And if some community mistreats it's citizens, have the Supreme Court available to be an objective arbiter.

Stop all Foreign Aid.  It accomplishes nothing.  Stop funding the United Nations...what little it accomplishes is 10 times more expensive that if the same services were done by any other entity; its primary purpose is to take money from poor and middle income people in America and transfer it to rich people in other countries while simultaneously supporting those who are enemies of America.  Expel the United Nations from New York and let them relocate it...Afghanistan seems an appropriate choice.

Require Congress to make sure our military can and does protect us and our borders.  Let the President and Congress determine how best to provide transportation, power and water nationwide.  Let the President negotiate long as those treaties don't weaken our military and limit our choices, and do not require that our troops defend other nations...that is for those other countries to do for themselves.  We are neither the policemen nor the Community Chest for the rest of the world.

Stop all subsidies...if you cannot succeed in a free market, such supported "success" is NOT success at is robbery of the taxpayers.

Congress should be required to pass, and the President required to sign, a bill that declares Congress, the IRS and all government agencies subject to the tender mercies of the RICO statutes.  Perhaps then we can eliminate corruption in government, and allow States Attorneys-General to sue any federal government officials and any federal agencies for violation of those statutes...that will keep the U.S. Attorney-General and the Department of Justice from practicing self-serving benign neglect.

Do this and the size of government will not be at issue.  But our focus will remain on the proper goals of government and the efficiency with which it pursues those goals.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Children's avarice is NOT just a Christmas thing...

Articles keep popping up at this time of the year either to complain about or explain the "I want more" attitude on the part of so many children as we get closer to Christmas...and to Hanukkah, and any other time of celebration that once only called for one or two gifts.  And often there is the talk of different ideas of how to instill a sense of gratitude.

Well, it is impossible to instill a sense of gratitude in anyone when the good things in and about their lives seem to be a natural entitlement.  And that is what children today have been raised to least most of them.  And that results from a faulty definition of "love" in the minds and hearts of their parents.

The vast majority of parents love their children. My parents loved me and, perhaps to a lesser degree than parents today, made the same mistake.  They had gone through the depression and knew extreme hardship.  They wanted to protect me from that kind of deprivation. So...they spoiled least in part.  I got more stuff at Christmas than I needed.  And if I really wanted something during the year, with time, effort and whining, I usually got it eventually.

But, and I thank them now for this (as some of you will understand, I felt much abused at the time), I was required to contribute to the family well-being:  cutting the lawn (it wasn't a power mower) during the summer, clearing the walkway and steps when it snowed during the winter, vacuuming the house twice a week (both my parents worked), preparing dinner so it was ready for the stove or oven when my parents got home.  I was raised to understand that life involved work and that work was to be performed enthusiastically, not grudgingly.  The plight of children around the world and even her in America was pointed out to me often and I was made to understand just how blessed I was to have a home, clothes, parents who cared, schooling and unfettered opportunity to succeed.  I might not have liked it, but I got it.  I did have gratitude.  Still do.  And...I think my children do also.

These days I see kids arguing with their parents...and surviving.  I see grandchildren disrespecting their grandparents.  I see kids acting like rules were made for others, not them.  I see young adults clueless about the definition, much less the concept, of "consequences", which they think is something that happens to "others."  And NOBODY seems to think that that is unacceptable.

Forget Christmas.  Deal with the rest of the year.  If we do, Christmas, Hanukkah, and any other celebration will take care of that you "really" love your children...say, "NO," and mean it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sometimes Renovation doesn't work, You have to demolish and rebuild.

There is more talk these days of allowing Universal choice for parents to take their tax money to the schools that they feel will best educate their children, particularly in light of the ongoing failure of most public school students to perform as well as students in other countries.

Nonsense.  The concept of Universal choice is like choosing a way to make the Edsel into a good inefficient way to try to accomplish the impossible.  In this case, the Edsel is the Federal Department of Education...and it's partners, the Teachers' Unions.  There is lack of local community accountability and control.  Local School Boards are rubber stamps for Federal Mandates and Teachers' Unions.

For almost a century, communities have seen the power to control and hold their school personnel accountable for successfully teaching their children taken away and put in the hands of the monolithic Federal Government and National Teachers' Unions.  And these organizations aren't about education, they are about power...and protecting that power.

Do you want good schools?  Want your kids and grandchildren to be able to read?  If a child can read, they can be their own assistant teacher...they can read their texts and remind themselves of just what the teacher had  explained to them earlier that day...or even last gives them second and third chances to both learn and review, which make them better taught.  Without reading, they have only that one shot to learn...that one period when the teacher is actively explaining and teaching the complexities of whatever element is in the lesson plan for that day.  Extra help after school?  Sure, but how many kids voluntarily admit that they didn't get it the first time by going for extra help?  Only those that are going to succeed in spite of the situation anyway...the one's that we should value more but not worry over.

Want you kids to be able to make change without the help of a machine?  Able to create and understand a budget and use it in their lives?  Most importantly, do you want your children to be taught HOW to think, rather than WHAT to think? too.  But...the ONLY way you are going to get that is if you take your schools back; demand the power to continually evaluate your teachers and explain and demand the results you want.

Are there good teachers in our schools?  Of course.  And they should be be given both the opportunity and the obligation to shine at their craft...and rewarded for it.  And those who are there for the Union benefits should likewise be made to find a line of work more befitting their skills, whatever they may be.

That means abolishing the Federal Department of Education.  And if that proves impossible, it should be emasculated and reduced to census type operation providing statistical support absent any funding or enforcement powers...sort of a country-wide report card, but without the power to interpret or enforce its findings and opinion.

I can hear a cry now, "Isn't that a bit extreme?"

Was it your community that decided to stop using phonics to teach children to read, moving to the unworkable concept called "whole word" recognition and insisting on continuing to claim that its use was teaching students to read adequately...even to this day?  No?  Mine neither.  Who made that decision and who endorsed its implementation and continued use even in the light of proof that it was not working?  Your community? was the Department of Education supported by the Teachers' Unions.

If the government, supposedly acting on our behalf, could take control of GM and, in order to prevent it's failing, throw out Union Contracts and Pension Plans, legally defraud bond holders...all in the interest of "too big to fail," how much more justified is it for our communities to take back control of our schools under the aegis of "Too Important to Fail."  Seriously.

Like Home Improvement, sometimes you cannot have to demolish and rebuild.  This is one of those times.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why do the best Educated usually write so poorly"

I read an article the other day...or was it this morning...that declared that the written word has become a poor excuse for communication.  And that the more educated the writer, the poorer the writing.  Well, in the process of acknowledging this obvious truth I caught myself up short and pondered the subject for a bit.

True, writing has deteriorated a lot.  I have commented verbally and in writing at length of the extinction of the profesional journalist, of someone who could clearly provide facts without judgmental adjectives that direct the reader to an opinion.  But is this disrespect for the writings of the learned REALLY appropriate?

Now, I do remember (now that I am forced to do some time travel) that, among others, I once had a very distinguished and highly acclaimed Professor of Economics who had just finished a text on his view of the field of Economics and how it worked.  He wanted us to use his "in process of being published, but not yet available, text" so we were forced to stand in line and receive each chapter on copy paper (which or course required us to punch holes in each sheet and accumulate them in an extremely large loose-leaf binder).  And what stood out in my memory was that each and every chapter...correction, each and every PAGE was as if written in Greek.  This very intelligent person, I am quite certain, knew his subject well...perhaps even at a genius level...but his ability to combine words into comprehensive sentences in order to pass on his genius was, alas, absent.  One Hundred Per Cent Absent.

Moving on to current articles and studies that have come to my attention, I was forced to conclude that even today many University level articles written by those  at Professorial and above levels were virtually unreadable...I have known sixth graders who could write as well...and perhaps better.  Of course that is not necessarily a vote of confidence.  But then I pondered some more...

The denigration of professorial writing, while correct, is perhaps a tad unfair.  The pressure to publish or be denied tenure and perish has panicked  many an academic into writing that in later years caused them to blush.

I have occasionally wondered how many self-declared literary and academic journals have been started, and continue to be supported, by bands of desperate supplicants for tenure in order to provide themselves a ready source for publication...creating, in the process, sort of a vertically integrated academic industry where they could control their destiny without it being readily apparent.

But...I suspect I am more content not actually knowing that kind of information, as it allows me to grant academics some contented regard...

And I wonder occasionally if we use the right criteria for selecting any level.  Do degrees trump teaching skill?  Of course we want both, but which deserves the most weight?  A faculty with many advanced degrees gains a certain respect in the academic community...and that draws students and additional highly-qualified faculty.  But the real talent of teaching helps to best achieve student learning.

I would hope that a school board, or principal, or College or University Dean would chose the most talented teacher, trusting on student success to ultimately guarantee the reputation of the school, and the criteria would include the goal of teaching students HOW to think, rather than WHAT to think, to imbue them with the knowledge that reading and listening are the tools that guarantee the opportunity to pursue happiness, by whatever definition.

One can hope...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Economics is the new "religion"

Beginning in the later part of the Nineteenth Century, and continuing to the present, Progressives (which morphed into liberals, then back again, and include Socialists and Liberal Democrats) have successfully fomented the notion that mankind does not need God, that God is passe.  Their efforts to remove God from public life has been singularly successful, as has their effort to sell the populace on the the idea that Mankind can raise itself up and create it's own Utopia...self-governing it to increasingly improve both Mankind and life on this earth.

There is, however, a small problem.

Whether consciously or sub-consciously, mankind knows that it doesn't have all the answers and needs reassurance that it is doing the "right" thing.  Other humans cannot meet that need...after all, if you don't have the answer there is no reason to believe that any other human being on the planet, no matter how smart and gifted they claim to be, has the requisite authoritarian position.  So...what to do.

Having already denigrated and dismissed religion of any sort, that path is now closed, but...perhaps by another name?

Consider that success for the past Century plus has been defined, not by moral happiness, but by acquisition of money and all that it can buy.  How automatic has it become for us to gage how well we are doing by the level of our bank account, our savings or our investments...breathing a sigh of relief if the balance looks "healthy."  Gone are the days that even if you had little money, you considered yourself successful if you had a house over your head (rented or owned) weren't going hungry, your family was reasonably clothed and MOST IMPORTANTLY, you had a happy family that loved each other.  No mention of money in that sentence, right.  Money was seen as a necessary evil,  not the gauge of happiness.

Then, God out, self-improvement in.  No longer is morality or contentment the signal evidence of a good it is "stuff" and "wealth."  But...there is that aforementioned doubt and desire for affirmation from a higher source.

Enter the development and standing of "Economics."  A "Science", an authoritative statement and means of judging success.  And, of course, a new High Priesthood...Economists.  Not the same as Priests, to be sure, because they were talking about "Science" and using their authority to protect your ability to "succeed."  But their status gave their utterances a higher consideration, a higher authority (like priests, speaking for God?).

Just how, pray tell, is this any different (other than nomenclature)  from religion.  And there are competing Economic theories, just as there are different Churches. Instead of Churches, there are buildings and Colleges dedicated to the study of Economics.  I will admit that, with one exception, there isn't a 100% parallel (but it is very close).  The only completely parallel comparison is with Islam.  Both Economic Theory and Islamic belief call for taking political power so as to create, protect, and defend the coming Utopia for the people of the world...continued rising wealth for all people in the case of economics, and paradise both here and the hereafter for Muslims.

So that will be the future battle for world domination...Islam versus Secular Economic Wealth as a measure of success. One heck of a choice.  I predict a bloody future, whichever wins.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I'll miss Ed Rendell

Every once in a while you find yourself surprised by your own reaction to something or someone.  And it almost always, if I find the time to mull on my surprise, leads to a self-teaching moment.  I saw an article a few days ago about the fact that Ed Rendell, the outgoing Governor of Pennsylvania, is about to be out of public office for the first time in quite awhile.  Now, I do not agree with much of what Rendell's writings and comments say that he believes...not at all.  But I found myself feeling a loss at his departure...and that was a real surprise.

Like Bill Bradley, Rendell was on the other side of the political table and I did not like their policies. So I leaned back and thought about it for a bit...and discovered that I thought they were both "Good Guys."

Let me define who I consider to be "Good Guys."

To me, a good guy in politics is a candidate and office holder who believes in the United States of America as a just and dependable entity...a country they think of as did the founding fathers: an imperfect experiment in trying to protect individual freedom (to succeed, to fail, to suffer, to conquer) by protecting that freedom from danger from both other countries and saboteurs within.

Sure, Rendell and Bradley wanted to encourage helping the disadvantaged; they felt some people need more help than others to succeed and believed that the government should provide that help.  In that sense, they had less confidence in the American people than I do, but their heart was in the right place.  They wanted to help the deserving, not support the ne'er-do-wells that would live off of the public teat for as long as it would be allowed.

But they believed in the essence of America, of the United States of America, of an assimilated group of citizens that believed as one even as they argued and fought over the details...Good Guys.  They, and others like them didn't believe in ignoring our borders, throwing citizens to the wolves of illegal invaders, foregoing their constitutional duty to protect us.  They listened to their constituents most of the time...and when the didn't, and the elections proved it, they didn't deny the lesson of those elections...Good Guys.

Wish there were more "Good Guys" out there today.  I miss them.  And I'll miss my imaginary arguments with Ed Rendell, too.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Have Politicians REALLY Changed?

Suddenly (in the past couple of years, or so) we have started hating and disrespecting our politicians.  Oh, we have always hated and disrespected politicians in general, but now we are including our own politicians.  Why?

Have any of them really changed?  After all, those among us who consider these things long ago realized that no person runs for public office for the least not the salary.  It isn't high enough to pay for the trouble, aggravation and responsibilities thrust upon one by the job.  And some of us recognize that "pay" is split into two kinds: monetary (salary, pension, etc.), and psychic (I like doing it, people are helped by what I can do, I get a car and driver, I get 5 weeks vacation, I get to tell others what to do, my commute is short, etc.).  This is all pay, and explains why some people stay at jobs that we know pays less than they could get elsewhere; the psychic income makes up for the monetary shortfall.

One of the elements that is psychic and always applies to a political office is one of these two attitudes: "I know better than anyone else how to take care of this."; or "No one else that knows what their doing is stepping up to the plate so I have to."

So, since this applies to all politicians...and has always applied to all politicians...why are we just now starting to get really, really unhappy with even our own representatives at each and every level of government?

I suggest that it is because all politicians are becoming more truthful.  Stop gasping...I mean it.  Now, don't get me wrong...not in everything, but just a small and perhaps inadvertent way in dealing with we, the voters.

Given that each and every one of them believes that they are superior to everyone else, at least in their district or state or whatever area they represent, and that has not changed...why do we feel differently now?

Well, think about how you have felt in the past.  For me, it was always that "every guy in office is crooked, taking money under the table and ignoring the public except for mine."  See, when he or she came back to their local office or was running for office or hosted a Town Hall Meeting, they acted as if they were listening, they behaved toward us with respect, telling us with their expressions, their words and their posture that they cared about what we wanted and wanted our guidance so they could accurately represent our interests.  Think about it...really...that what they used to do.  All of them...every time they went "home."  Of course, for Federal office holders, home was always in D.C....they never, ever wanted to have to come back to their roots,  but that is for a later discussion.

What started happening during the debate about changing healthcare was that politicians became tired of pretending to value their constituents' views, of pretending to care what they thought, of pretending to treat them as equals.

Sure, we always knew, deep down, that we were being conned.  But they worked so hard at it, and avoided rubbing their presumption of superiority in our faces so well, that we allowed it, reassuring ourselves that at some point they did understand that we (collectively) could throw them out on their posteriors at any time...and that their posturing was an acknowledgment on their part that they understood.

But for some reason, last summer they didn't bother to put on the mask.  They stopped playing the game.  Or perhaps they decided that it really was a game and didn't need to be played anymore; the "children" were now to be told "BECAUSE" instead of being taught, to be told to go sit in the corner, instead of reasoned with, to be treated as the lesser beings that they were and continue to be.  In other words, our representatives assumed the authority of Divine Right, if not of Kings, then of superior, elite holders of public office.

And then they acted, and continue to act, surprised that we do not hold them and their judgments in the high esteem that they themselves assume.  

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Is today's Turkey tomorrow's America?

George Friedman has been writing a fascinating series of articles recently sharing his view and travels that he entitles, a "Geopolitical Journey."  Each article stands on its own but does cause you to want to read each of the others, as it places the current political climate of a number of of the eastern European and border states in context with each other, the world and, of course, individually.  I highly recommend taking the time to slowly read and assimilate the thoughts in each article...they are fascinating.  And the thoughtfulness put into the presentation by Friedman is to be both appreciated and savored.

Anyway, I my point...

Friedman's description of the current state of civil, political and religious life in Turkey is enough for a semester course in any University of note.  He cuts through so much pre-existing world views of what and who Turkey really is that you continually find yourself having, as I call them, "Ah-hah!" moments.  Enough light bulbs go off in the course of reading that you almost keep looking up for the camera's with the old-style flash-bulbs.

Turkey today is being challenged by a population that is an Islamic majority, with a government that is hugely populated by secularists that have the support of a strong military that also favors secular rule.  The current political party in power speaks earnestly of the value of and it's interest in preserving a secular government, while acknowledging the Islamic demand for more input in governance.  The Islamic drive for political power is a given in Turkey...the background of the Ottoman Empire is still a genetic part of the population that is in various phases of conflict with a secular government designed by Atatürk following the First World War to pull Turkey into the modern era.  It is this history of secular governing that causes most of us in the West with only cursory knowledge of the country to have until recently seen Turkey as a western Allie on our side against the other-aligned Arab states.

But here is the most interesting element...with a secular Government that excludes any active involvement of religion, Islamic or otherwise, Turkey is now suffering from unease as Muslims are now demanding that accommodation be made for their faith by the government. These are not extremists, these are your regular, normal practicing Muslims that follow the Qur'an and the Prophet's teaching which include striving for political power.

There is unease particularly among young secular Turks, who do not want to be governed by religious tenets with which they do not agree.  And the current government, while elected with Islamic votes, has continually striven to re-assure the population that the government will not become Islamic and that Turkey will always remain a secularist modern society with all the individual freedoms that that promises.

Those in America who refer glowingly toe Islam as "the Religion of Peace," would do themselves a service by reading Mr. Friedman's article on today's Turkey with an eye to recognizing that the tensions in Turkey right now are likely to reappear in America in the future, as the Muslim population grows more and more rapidly and with it the demand for more and more accommodation for Islam in this country.

At some point there must be extensive, quiet discussion among reasonable people recognizing that there is conflict between Islam and secular government.  We in America will have to decide just what we can, should and will do about it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Should the Tea Parties just "go away?"

The more open the government is, the more difficult it becomes to govern;  the more involved the populace wishes to be in governmental affairs, the greater the obstacles to those "great minds" and "great thinkers" who "know how the country should be run."  I can understand fully the desire of many for the Tea Party to just go away, for the people to quiet back down and allow those who "know better" to get back to work establishing  live the way it should be.  I truly understand.

There are many examples in history of associations and individuals of such great minds dealing with such difficulties:  King George on England, of course, comes to mind first; then there are Robespierre, the Czars of Russia, King Louis XVI of France and others who have "tisk, tisked" their distaste at the audacity of the common people to question "their betters."

And today, the Progressive-Liberal-Socialist-Democrat-Elite mimic their forebears' reaction to popular unhappiness with disdain, both personal and ideological, as well as personal insults, with "they just don't understand" visages, and "we just haven't learned how to communicate effectively with them" comments to their Press Relations people (you know, those professional reporters from ABC, MSNBC, CBS, CNN, and NBC) who nod sagely, admiring their sagacity.

When history repeats itself, as it surely will, their surprise will be absolute.  We, the poor, the uneducated, the unwashed, the "stupid" PEOPLE will not go away. I apologize for that...well, maybe not so much.  After all you will have earned everything that will be coming to you.

Friday, November 26, 2010

North Korean questions...and others

No one seems to know what to do in response to recent North Korean acts of war toward South Korea.Of course, that raises the question of why American troops are STILL in Korea so long after a truce was declared...especially in light of the built up state of South Korean military capability.  


does anyone question for even one moment that should America pull out of South Korea and it's treaty obligations, South Korea would be over-run by the North within a year at most?  So, ... the question comes down to, "Why should we care?"

And since Japan, if I remember correctly, is limited to defensive armament that cannot threaten the mainland of either Korea or China, I suspect that it would not be many years before the Chinese and a unified Korea would cast greedy eyes and ultimately successfully take control of Japan.  Again, the question is, "Why should we care?"

And that leads to our European involvement.  While it is unclear what effect a withdrawal of American troops from Europe would have on their security, it is entirely possible that if they perceive a threat from the east an offer would materialize that would cover America's costs of keeping the troops in place.  But the question still must be answered..."why should we care?"  Indeed.

The world expresses resentment to the presence of our troops anywhere in the world.  There is no appreciation, no gratitude, no benefit to America for our soldiers' presence or for the danger to their lives.

The world expresses resentment for our foreign aid, and we apparently cannot prevent it's use for anything the receiving nations wishes.  Foreign Aid is just a way of taking the tax money from poor and middle-class Americans and giving it Rich People in foreign countries.

Membership in the U.N. gives us the privilege paying great sums of our tax dollars so that we can be insulted by the rest of the world, and allow their "Diplomats" into our country to flout our laws with impunity.

What, indeed, is the benefit to the United States of America?  Are we genetically dependent on appearing to "be the Boss?"


If we discontinued all this unwelcome involvement, I suspect that we would have the military capability to actually secure our borders, the funds to insure that any attack on the territory of the United States would result in the destruction of the attacker, the money to pay down and eliminate our debt and, with just a little bit of luck, enough left over so that scientists could develop a genome that would result increating a moral, honest politician, the cloning of which would insure that our federal government, like the States and the rest of us, had to live within it's means and not infringe on our personal freedoms....just maybe.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Illegals, Law and Morals

We have many laws. Some have been around for a long time. Some change over time and still others still exist but are ignored, unenforced or have been forgotten. Perhaps our laws on immigration need examination.But a review of the concept of laws might first be in order.

There are two kinds of laws: those for convenience and those that represent the very essence of what is considered "right" (moral) behavior. Traffic laws are perfect examples of laws of convenience: driving on the left is not morally wrong, but by choosing a side and establishing a law, there is a sense of expectation of behavior that allows all of us to predict others' behavior and render us all a bit safer.

Then we have laws founded on our view of right and wrong. There is a moral foundation. Murder, rape, child molestation, robbery, burglary, trespass...these are all transgressions that have been considered "wrong" morally and our laws make them illegal.  Can the morals change...of course, at least on the basis of majority rule. Homosexuality used to be morally wrong.  While many religions still hold this, the majority of the population has apparently ruled that is no longer the case, so those laws are disappearing...or at least not being enforced.

What about illegal immigration?  Well, what is your opinion on the expectation of privacy, ... or trespass?  If you, as a citizen, believe no one has the right to enter your property uninvited )and, if they do, they must be arrested and punished), how can you interpret illegal immigration as other than a trespass?  Could we choose to make it OK(moral)? Of course, but then be prepared to give up your right to privacy.  Your call.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Palin hatred revisited...with a bit of perspective

The Progressive-Liberal-Socialist-Democrat-Elite exist with the belief that those who do NOT believe as they do are stupid, un-educated, and suffer from an inability to appreciate the "nuances" of life that they themselves hold so dear to their (sometimes) bleeding hearts.  They see Palin as a threat because she succeeded while demonstrating the antithesis of what they believe deserves success.

  1. she did not have a power base from which to start;
  2. she began in politics to get something done, instead of just grousing about it;
  3. she didn't try to pander to a power-elite, but ran against it utilizing (horrors) a grass-roots movement;
  4  she did not see her job as an entitlement, but as an obligation...and followed through;
  5. and when Progressive-Liberal-Socialist-Elite groups threatened to cost her state millions and a proper response would have interfered with doing her job as Governor, she resigned to take care of business rather than make her state and it's citizens pay for defending her against the Progressive-Liberal-Socialist groups.

She did not achieve her goals by being a "token" or an affirmative action hire...she did it the old fashioned earning it.  No payoffs, no promises, except to do her job.

That kind of success is impossible according to Progressive-Liberal-Socialist-Democrat-Elite lore...just cannot happen.  That it did happen needs to be hidden by them in a blizzard of lies and attacks...and that is just what they have done.  And it is why they continue even after apparently accomplishing their goal...because if the corpse ever rises, the see their own Armageddon.  To prevent that, there is no such thing as overkill.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We CAN balance the budget and pay of the Deficit

It actually is easy to pay of the existing deficit and to balance our Federal budget.  What is hard is to find politicians who have the political will to do what is necessary.  If Congress wanted, they could do the whole thing in one bill with a page or that everyone could both read and understand it..and it could read something like this:
     WHEREAS you are not allowed to spend money that you do not have; and
     WHEREAS you must pay back money that you have borrowed; and
     WHEREAS  you must pay the agreed upon interest on all borrowed funds;
                                              it is

Prior to allocating any money in any fiscal year for any purpose, the interest due on money borrowed previous to the enactment of this law shall be put aside and credited to said interest;

Prior to allocating any money in any fiscal year for any purpose, Five Hundred Billion Dollars shall be put aside to pay down the balance of principal and said funds shall in fact be applied to said principal;

The balance remaining of anticipated Tax funds for the current year, after debt and interest payments as aforesaid shall be compared to the discretionary funds available in the year immediately prior to the current fiscal year and, should Congress not be able to agree on a balanced budget for the current year, the resulting % shall be utilized to reduce equally each and every department's budget and each and every expenditure by the government and its agencies, without exception, equally by said percentage.

It would be nice for government to live by the rules that govern our states, our families and ourselves.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fewer Americans WANT to all

Speaking at a little-noted event at the University of  Southern California's Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, Mr. Douglas Elmendorf, the Director of the non-partisan C.B.O. (Congressional Budget Office), a federal agency within the legislative branch of our government that produces some of the most objective, "fair", and non-politicized date that we receive from our government, stated that, in some cases, Americans will choose not to work, because their needs for healthcare will be provided by the enhanced Medicaid Funding that is provided for in the Obamacare Law.  This  assessment of Obamacare by Mr. Elmendorf coincides with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's remarks last May, when she insisted that Obamacare would allow "artists" to "quit their day job" and pursue their art, free from the constraints of having to  provide for one's self, because the government would now take care of artists' healthcare benefits.

Is this a problem?  Long-term, it will be disastrous.  Humanity takes the path of least resistance and makes decisions based on the pain-pleasure principle: on the pain side, we make the decision that reduces pain; on the pleasure side, we make the decision that increases our pleasure.  Of course this is complicated a bit by the fact that different people define those terms differently and that any one person on different days will define the terms a bit differently also, but...details...

It has been suggested that 15-30% of people will always do the "right" thing:  they will obey the laws as they exist, they will strive to work hard and be fair to others just because they have been raised to believe that "it is the right thing to do."  Likewise, it has been argued that there are 10-15% of the population that will do what they want to do without regard to laws, training or "rightness."  These are what we refer to as the criminal elements of our society that cannot be "rehabilitated" because punishment and reward outside their definition has no effect.

That leaves the vast majority (between 55% and 76%) of our population who's behavior IS responsive to our laws, our moral attitudes and our perception and response to the pain and pleasure in our lives.

What does this have to do with Obamacare?

This is one more unearned reward for people.  It is another entitlement.  It is one less reason for contributing to society.  And, for those who work hard to get ahead and achieve peace of mind, it is one more thing that unfairly is given to others who haven't worked for it.

No matter what your point of view may be with regard to the economics of Obamacare, the only way the costs can be made even remotely reasonable to each of us is if the greatest number work to contribute toward the costs.  If that number falls, the burden on those of us working becomes greater and greater, decreasing the benefit to us while giving a free benefit to others.

Human nature operating on that vast middle of our population is going to decrease the contributors to the costs.  At first the decrease will be quite small.  But, as the realization sets in that there is increased pain from having to pay for others and no decrease in coverage (pleasure) from NOT contributing, there will develop a tsunami of those no longer bothering to work and pay for this benefit, leading to a total collapse of the system.

This has always been the weakness of Socialist programs:  the inherent self-interest to work and earn is destroyed by providing benefits as entitlements.  This is a disincentive to produce, which means less worth is produced and removes the fund from which Progressive-Liberal-Socialists expect to redistribute in accordance with their elite points-of-view.

This legislation expects to avoid this disaster by passing a law mandating contribution to Healthcare costs.  But there are two problems, one legal and the other human nature.  Legally, the Supreme Court of the United States could well find that mandating that a citizen buy something for no other reason that being alive is unconstitutional.  On the human nature side,  the government cannot make you pay something if you earn nothing...if more and more people figure that welfare is sufficient when it also includes coverage for illness and accidents and decide not to work but to live off the government dole, it will ultimately bring down the government.  Either it will collapse monetarily, or be removed through another revolution.  Either will fail.

What is amazing is that the smartest people in the world (Congress and the President) cannot see and/or understand this.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

News has morphed into Entertainment

News has become today's entertainment.  It has the same snail's pace as the soap operas and, as long as on political party isn't in complete control or an attack using WMDs hasn't occurred, the same limited impact.  when EVERYTHING can be and is covered, it is like having too much of your favorite food or stop appreciating the finer points.

The big loser is, of course, the American People.  Journalism used to be about the story.  With no television, you read a paper or heard a radio report.  It was about what used to be revered by every professionally proud reporter: What, Where, When Why, Who, and How.  It wasn't about adjectives.  It wasn't about taking a position (which, if done in a news story, used to get your fired).  It was about telling your readers the facts and, KNOWING...that they would interpret those facts for themselves; they would define what the appropriate reaction or judgment should be.

Reporters used to pride themselves on not having friends outside the business.  They has sources.  They had readers.  They were cynical, but they had a CALLING.  They were better than the Politicians that they covered.  They were of more service to the Republic than were all the laws, courts and politicians combined...because they and they alone trusted the American People with the facts...and they did not have a stake in the game except to tell everyone the facts.  Interpretation was beneath them.  They were dedicated to the Freedom of the Press and what it stood for...not power over others, not name recognition, not directing others...but telling the American People everything they could find out.  And even better to reveal what someone (anyone) wanted hidden.They BELIEVED that if all the people knew everything, the nation would survive.

Right or wrong, it was this attitude about the sanctity of their work and its purpose that preserved the ideal of Freedom of the Press for so many years.

Yes, the American People have largely lost their way.  There are many reasons: a growing narcissism, a sense of entitlement. victimization by unscrupulous politicians...  But lost in the many self-inflicted causes is the death of The Professional Journalist.

The last professional journalist died long, long ago.  Now the press is just a publicity agent.  Sometimes the client is clear.  Often it is not.  And so many times it changes in the middle of a "story."  But one thing is certain...the client is no longer ever the American People.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I woke up in a sweat last night...

not because of a cold, or a malfunction in the heating system.  No, it was what started out as a ghostly appearance of understanding that, as I moved toward consciousness, grew larger and more disturbing with each moment.

As an individual who started life as a Rockefeller Republican and has slid to the right ever the point where John Birchers look liberal and chaos theory makes sense as a political policy guide...what I suddenly was considering seemed like a threat to my very core beliefs.  And I believe, as I describe it to you, it threatens the very core beliefs of those on ALL sides of the Political Spectrum.

First, consider the reason for the Democrats recent loss of a majority in the House of Representatives.  They listened to those in opposition, then trivialized and marginalized those opposing points of view and finally treated them with a mocking, denigrating disdain.  And when they lost the election, claim confusion about why they lost.

They had applied Alinsky's Rules with dedication and precision.  What they did not realize is that if your defined enemy suddenly becomes more numerous than you, you have a problem...a very big problem.

The Republicans, in turn, have done the very same thing.  Granted, they treat those ideas with which they disagree with dismissal, rather than outright action.  They ignore, rather that voicing their disregard, but that is a matter of style, not substance.

Both sides practice this approach.  Many in the world also have done it.  The problem lies in choosing an opposition that ultimately can outnumber you.  When that happens, the best propaganda machine in the world loses to the numbers.

Only once in my lifetime has this approach ever worked.  And it worked because the practitioner realized that  an enemy had to be selected that could NEVER become the majority.  The National Socialists in Germany under Hitler selected the Jews as the enemy.  This ensured that application of the forerunners to Alinsky's Rules could never be trumped by numbers.  And the application had singular success.

This political application was shear genius.  Hitler's, and Germany's, demise was a result of bad war strategy, not political failures.

But my shock upon awakening was not caused by the fact of this was that its continued practice here in America and in the world prevents us from taking care of our public existence properly.  The political spectrum is not really about political ideology as much as it is about acquiring power over others.  Most are subconsciously aware of this, but ignore it because of the very public discussions and arguments about the "ways" of acquiring it, as if the particular political point of view validates seizing the power to tell others what to do.

Disagree?  Consider:  I may have any number of political views which I think would make the country (any country) a better place to live for me, my children and my community...but I don't go out and demand that others live under that particular set of rules.  Who does?  Dictators.  Conquerors. Despots.

Anybody else?  Well, those who secretly would love to be a Dictator but sense the personal danger in acquiring and keeping the position as well as a desire to be seen as a more benevolent but superior person form a group acquire power.  In some cases this is an army.  In many others, it is a political party.  But I cannot see how anyone can argue that at its center is the desire for power over others that starts the trouble.

In the South Pacific Islands they had a practice (I do not know if it continues) of selecting as King that person who least wanted to be King.  And, if he grew to like the position, they would kill him, eat him, and select again.  Not many failed to appreciate that it was NOT good to want to be King.

I like that practice.  It serves to put power over others in perspective and surely helps minimize it.  Wish we could do it here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

No Morals

This administration continues to show that they have no moral compass.  Well, that may be slightly inaccurate...they have no compass at all.  But todays bit of evidence really is both moral and legal.

The 2008 Child Soldiers Protection Act specifically mandates that our government penalizes countries that use child soldiers.  And this is the first year that it has gone into effect.  Sound like a plan, doesn't it?  A good thing?  Shows our moral repugnance for any entity that would put children in the field to act as military personnel, right?  Yep.  The United States will show the world our true values and stand up for them, right?

Well, not so much, apparently.

In a Presidential memo, released today by the White House,  to Secretary of State Clinton, Mr. Obama indicated he had determined that "it is in the national interests of the United States" to waive application of the law to the countries of Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and Yemen.

There are provisions in the law that would have allowed the US to target military funds while still allowing funding for professionalization of army capability, but Mr. Obama chose to grant a blanket exemption.

It is interesting how consistently Mr. Obama ignores, makes excuses for, or supports egregious behavior on the part of other countries in the world, while attempts by member states of the union are attacked in court, penalized monetarily and roundly chastised publicly by this President for something as seemingly appropriate as enforcing our borders.

There is no logical, ideological or moral consistency to his actions...ever.  Perhaps he should go to church more often...even Reverend Wright's church.  Even a misguided consistency is better than swinging in the wind with no compass at all.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The President continues to act un-Presidential

It is one thing to disagree with any politician in office about their philosophy of government and governance.  It is common and parallels our business and personal existence.  Nobody agrees with anyone on everything...and some of the disagreements can be intense.  No matter.  It all usually works out in the end.

I admit to agreeing almost not at all with President Obama's ideological positions on the direction the country should take and how that direction should be enabled. has been said, elections have consequences.  He won, he gets to push in the direction that he chooses to believe in.  Fine.

However, there is such a thing as acting and behaving Presidential.  It involves an awareness and understanding of the position of President; a recognition that as a representative of all citizens, speaking in support of your aims and goals should not incorporate vilifying any of the countries citizens.  As a person, you may feel that some groups and individuals are, indeed, you enemies.  And if you were just a person, or just a member of an opposing group, you could indulge in all kinds of name-calling and vilification.  As President, however, it is unseemly to do is NOT Presidential.  It denigrates the office of the Presidency, papering it with the detritus of partisanship that demeans the office-holder as well as the office, leaving a long-lasting oder that takes multiple elections to remove.

President Obama's recent speech directed at and crafted to inspire Latinos to vote in his favor crossed the line with his description of opponents as enemies.  He could simply have made a case for his governance (and his party's)  being best for Latinos without demonizing those he sees as opposing his agenda.  But he was in campaign mode and could not keep himself from acting as a candidate instead of President.

Shameful...and so disappointing.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Reiner and Maher right on the money, just late.

Appearing on Bill Maher's Real Time show, actor/Director/Writer Rob Reiner prefaced his remarks by proposing:

      “you never get into a political discussion unless you bring the word Hitler in. You have to have Hitler, so let's put Hitler out there,” as if that caveat lessened the vulgarity of his impending comparison, he contended all the Tea Party needs to match Adolph Hitler is a charismatic leader: "He wasn’t a majority guy, but he was charismatic and they were having bad economic times – just like we are now – people were out of work, they needed jobs and a guy came along and rallied the troops. My fear is that the Tea Party gets a charismatic leader, because all they're selling is fear and anger and that's all Hitler sold. 'I’m angry and I’m frightened and you should hate that guy over there.'” “Right,” Bill Maher chirped in as Reiner, to applause from HBO's Los Angeles audience, declared: “And that’s what they’re doing.”

 Well, I hate to break the news to Reiner and Maher, but what they feared has already 2007 and 2008.

Remember?  Remember the fear, hatred and loathing voiced by the Progressive-Liberals toward "W" and all things Republican or Conservative?  Remember the cry for someone to lead them to the promised land?  It was palpable.  And the diatribes went on endlessly, in blogs, newspapers (both editorial and so-called "news" sections), and Main Stream Media.

And they GOT their charismatic leader...a junior Senator from Illinois...a silver-tongued ideologue that could inspire and rabble-rouse and could lead them to the promised land.  The mice fell right into step and followed him right out of town and to the voting booth

Then, just like Hitler, he turned that power back on the electorate for his own purposes to create a country in his own image and in accordance with his beliefs.  Does any student of history really believe that if Hitler had won the war, the German people would have been happy with the government and the atmosphere that would have governed Germany? we are, in the same position...except that we are not in a World War of a military nature.  But we ARE in a war of ideologies.  And the results, if Obama's power is not cut off, will be just as catastrophic to America today as Hitler's was to Germany in the middle of the last century.

Just don't wait for Reiner or Maher to get a clue any time soon.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Housing Market...why it continues to stagnate

     There are two concerns that the Administration has with the Home Mortgage situation: one involves helping some people keep houses that they were not economically qualified to buy in the first place, and the second one is to promote the recovery of the housing market...both building and sales of existing homes.  I strongly suspect that either goal will prevent the second and, in fact, exacerbate the problems in that area.  Let me explain.  The housing market cannot recover until it bottoms out...until the public is satisfied that home prices have found their proper equilibrium.

As long as foreclosures are pending in record numbers, the market suspects that prices will still fall, money will stay on the sidelines, and lenders will be uncertain of appraisal values.  The Administration has made a judgment that it is good to make every effort to allow as many economically unqualified purchasers as possible to stay in their homes and not be forced into foreclosure or to sell.  But the market recognizes that this artificially clouds the real state of the market: how many homes are out there, will be out there, should be out there,... and when will those questions be answered allowing a logical evaluation and setting of home prices?

Unfortunately, the administration has royally screwed up their attempts to help those homeowners who are "under water" and not able to make their mortgage payments.  The supposed "help" has been difficult to get, hard to work with, and impossible to understand for some...and that ignores the extended time taken, often with not progress at all.

The net result is that the administration is not even accomplishing what they state to be their goal, while the decision to make that a goal is preserving the state of chaos in the housing market.  The administration has succeeded in creating a truly classic "lose/lose" situation.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Does the Federal Government know what it is doing?

The Muslim Brotherhood is, as I understand it, a transnational Islamic Organization with chapters in 70 or so countries.  There is one in America, at least an organization founded by the Brotherhood. is their Motto:  "Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; jihad is our way; and dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope."

Doesn't exactly sound like a group with a live and let live attitude, does it?

The Islamic Society of North America was founded by Muslim Brotherhood member in the United States.  The Council on American-Islamic Relations was linked to Hamas support effort organized by the Brotherhood.  Sort of sets off alarm bells, doesn't it?  It does to me.

But...apparently not to either the Bush or Obama administrations.  A Hudson Institute report last year identified the American Islamic College (AIC) as having been planned by the Muslim Students Association, a affiliate of the Brotherhood (and the MSA was once headed by AIC founder Ahmed Sakr).  The significance, you ask?  Well, President Obama's personal "envoy" to the Organization of Islamic Converence in Chicago this week appeared on stage with Ahmad Rehab, head of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)...a CAIR official and a White House aide sharing a stage.

Due to exhibits in the Hamas-support prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, the FBI has declared    "until we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner."

But apparently the White House has no problem with this.And it is not just one...there are a number of Brotherhood speakers on the list for this conference: Safaa Zarzour, Secretary-General of the Islamic Society of North America, Imam Siraj Wahaj, who testified as a character witness for the Blind Sheikh, John Esposito, Dalia Mogahed, Rep. Keith Ellison, and Farah Pandith, the State Department's special representative to the Muslim community.

It is arguable that such activity by the administration empowers groups whose aim is to create an Islamic Nation in the United States.  Why isn't the government explaining how this is in any way serving to protect the United States from the obvious threat?  Why?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I read an interesting thought earlier today by Ronald R. Cherry :

"A natural equal right to the creative pursuit of happiness can only be secured by equal law which results in natural unequal outcome. Some individuals will attain superior achievement through greater creativity or greater labor, while others work less or with lesser creativity which naturally leads to unequal outcome."

 As a thoughtful observation made, perhaps, from a quiet study or in a University setting, I found it curiously calming and reassuring.  But a sense of disquiet followed that made me sit back and mull a bit on the comment, and then on the exact words used and finally on what was NOT said.

I concluded that there are a number of problems with the proposition.

First, there is no such thing as equal law.  By its very nature, it is always attempting to reach and equality, to be sure, but that definition is always changing in a dynamic society.    It is not a separate absolute knowable goal exactly because of that dynamic.

Secondly, the law in any event is not controlling, responding after the events where a perceived desirable outcome is not reached or reachable.The second sentence, while accurate, leads the trusting reader to assume definitions of terms where the definitions are not present, making it possible to adopt the premise of the thought...a mistake indeed.  For example, what some people will define as a "greater creativity" would be defined by others as a "con" or "twisting the rules."  As an example, how do you define the creation of default swaps in the midst of the run-up to the economic turmoil in which we find ourselves struggling today?  What about the definition of government decisions and collective bargaining agreements which results in protecting the incomes and fortunes of those clearly not earning and deserving of such benefits?

And finally (for now), it is not at all clear that there is any "natural" equal right to the pursuit of happiness.  Our Fore-fathers declared it so...and attempted to protect it in the Constitution.  But consider:  If it is a natural right, why does it need artificial protection in any government document and why hasn't it been evident in other ages and other countries down through history?

More logically it can be identified as a desirable privilege founded in moral thought and principle...but certainly not evident in history as having the standing of being "natural", much less a "right."  Humans with a sense of purpose, a competitive spirit, a moderate willingness to and understanding of  "taking a chance" and, most importantly, an understanding and belief in and willingness to accept consequences will always act and support a sytem that allows for the pursuit of happiness as a right, natural or otherwise.  But there are many of the human persuasion who prefer to be cared for, to not make hard decisions, to not take chances, and to accept a lower level of happiness (for now, at least) that is guaranteed and not the product of taking chances and of hard work.

The mutual existence of these groups is made problematic by the fact that the product of the first group must of necessity by taken, at least in part, to fund the existence of the second, but...details, details, details.

The quote is useless and irrelevant to any practical application to the human condition in America. The fact that it can be read by anyone and interpreted by them to support any particular vision of life is the very fault that would make it the centerpiece of virtually universal disagreement  in any attempt to apply it to real life.  It's sole benefit is as a centerpiece for discussion in a University or professorial setting...a good mental exercise indeed.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why protecting our borders IS important

Why is it important?  Bear with me, and consider the following:

People are wrong when they say that the current problem amounts to Hispanic bashing. The anger is not at Mexicans or any other Hispanic group because they are Hispanicit is because they are Illegal.

My father was an immigrant. My mother's parents were immigrants. They waited for years to be granted the opportunity to come here. They had to prove that a job awaited them. They had to have a sponsor who guaranteed that they would have a place to live and who also guaranteed that they would support them for one year if they lost the job that was promised.

In other words, they found out the rules, obeyed and lived by the rules, and were rewarded by the legal right to come to America. They felt honored by the opportunity, and they proved their own honor.

How does that have 
any connection with illegal entry to the United States? Does Mexico care what the nationality is, of ethnic background, of those who attempt to enter Mexico illegally? If you do not know, the answer is, "No, they do not care and treat all the same...harshly.

Our government has forgotten or decided to abdicate its main responsibility...protecting its citizens. If illegals were coming over the border wearing uniforms and carrying guns, would you expect the government to send in troops or do whatever was necessary to protect our borders? I suspect that you would say yes, but if not then you certainly do not value the existence of the United States. So, what is the difference. We are still being invaded. And, while shooting invaders who do not carry guns may not be appropriate, stopping them is still very appropriate, and rewarding them for invading is absolute insanity.

Not stopping them is virtually inviting the overthrow of the government. This administration, and the one before that, is doing exactly that and, in my mind, is the very epitome of seditious behavior.

But...there is another major reason why we should protect and close our borders. We are telling the children of this country, as well as the American public generally, that our laws don't mean anything. Really. They are discretionary and can be ignored if they are inconvenient. No, you say? Prove it. Ask anyone you come across whether a law has to be obeyed if you do not like it. I will bet that the answer that you get the most time is “it depends.” Our government passes laws that they don't read, hold protecting our borders hostage to getting illegals in this country on a citizen track so they can vote the “right” way, allow one race to picket a voting place while preventing others from even questioning the citizenship of voters and allowing felons to vote. And we wonder why our youth has no moral standards? How can they...we don't have them ourselves.

In the 60's, when protests meant something, civil disobedience meant that you were going to be arrested and that you were going to be in jail.  You had decided that going to jail for breaking a law that you believed should be changed was a price...a consequence...that you were willing to meet in order to make a point.  There was no expectation of being let out or not serving the had broken the law, and you expected to pay the price.  After all, if the law meant nothing, why change it?  We respected the law and wanted laws to be changed so that they were Just in addition to being the law...we believed in law.

Today?  No one expects to be arrested after breaking laws in protest.  Even the courts act disrespectful to the law...they do not enforce them.  The Government clearly does not respect the law or the Constitution...if does not honor the commitments the law or the Constitution puts on it.  You disagree?  How about the obligation to protect our borders?  How is that going?  When instead of protecting the borders, the government puts up signs warning citizens that travel in an area of the United States of America is prohibited because of illegal activities that come in over the non-protected border, that raises a question of how my government is acting in accordance with the least in my mind.

Why doesn't someone write about that?  Why don't we as citizens impeach our "representatives" (that is a joke) for non- and malfeasance?  Why don't we explain that when Reagan gave amnesty, the deal was that the government was going to close and control the border and it hasn't been done...the government lied.  And we are not going to accept promises again...Close and Protect the border, prosecute employers who hire those in the country illegally, stop spending public money to aid those who did not respect us enough to get legal authorization to come to this country or to stay here.  Respect the Law...and stop selling us lies.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Elections: looking for "my" candidate

Lying in bed the other night, unable to get to sleep, the question suddenly came to mind, “What would or should I want in a President?” Following shortly thereafter was the edited thought, “Well, what would or should I want in anyone that holds any public office?”

After a brief flurry of the time-tested know...things like honesty, ability, enthusiasm, and the eternal “wants what I want him to want” I decided to clear the slate and try (and I emphasize, “try”) to come at this subject from a different direction. is the result....

The first major concept that I found comfort in was “He or she never looses touch with the electorate.” Someone really smart once said that a good leader knows to stay far enough ahead of his voters so if they wish him ill, they cannot catch him...but close enough so he can sense when they are about to take a hard turn and take it ahead of them, preserving the illusion of  leadership. The concept is not only true, but requires a truly dedicated, aware, intelligent person. A stupid person cannot do this. A narcissist cannot do this. Any office holder needs to have people who he will listen to that can give him accurate feedback on the attitudes and moods of “his” people...and the politician has to “want” to listen.  And he has to be continually looking for new people to do this, to avoid the insular stagnation of being separated from direct voter input.

But that is not enough. Sure, you can swerve with the crowd and appear to lead...but swerve too often and the voters will be forced to see the truth, that you are not leading but following from the front. They do NOT want that. So...what do we, the voters, want? I think we also want a teacher, a professor. NOT a dictator that talks down to us, but a person who is not only willing, but both able and anxious to explain the path that they would like to take, what its benefit to the voters will be, how it will work, how to tell if the idea works or not. AND, if he is unable to convince the voters of the wisdom of what he thinks should be done, then...and only then...change his focus and approach so as to represent his voters wants and desires, not continue blindly and run over his constituents.

And I want this person to be able to promise me that he or she understands all of this, is committed to it as the only proper way to govern and to promise to quietly and thoughtfully listen to voters if they feel that he or she has gotten away from this way of doing serving the constituency. Ideally, he would identify during his campaign 3, or 5 or ten, people that he trusts who he would listen to if they sensed that he was getting away from this promised method of representation and, if he could not correct his course or could not be convinced that he had gotten off track, promise to resign his office.

This kind of representative is someone I could respect even if his plan and concept of government was different from mine because his election would be the result of voters' decisions, not just mine, and elections have consequences. But if he or she does his or her job: reads the bills, discusses details with constituents, listens and reasons on behalf of his voters, and responds to and protects the concerns of his voters, his heart and mind are in the right place and he has earned respect.

Unfortunately, I have not yet found such a person. Perhaps none exists. But...I can hope, can't I.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Health Care simplified (maybe)?

Why does the government always look to solve a problem by starting with the most complicated and controlling approach first (and often never moves on from there)? And that is assuming (a very big and IMHO false assumption) that it can accurately determine whether or not there actually is a problem.

Indulge me by joining in another look at Health care in America. The whole conversation is about two areas: costs and availability of coverage, right? For the sake of argument, supposing we separate the two for purposes of discussion.

Cost. Right now, the individual states control the cost of policies sold in their states...or, at least they have the power to control those rates. So...the federal plan that is going to cost us who knows how many trillion dollars does not really address or improve that factor, does it? Do we really think that federal bureaucrats will do a better job than state bureaucrats? I don't either. But...can we change the factors in a way that might (and I emphasize, might) improve costs? How about allowing cross-state-line sales of different health care insurance products? Instead of mandating a specific model of coverage, as states do now, why not mandate that different policies can be marketed with different scopes and levels of coverage and the consumer can select whatever suits his or her desires? Further, if you thought it would be helpful, research and find out what the profit margin is for Health Insurance Companies, come up with an average and mandate that all Health care Insurance Companies may not set rates that result in exceeding that margin. Adjust that number by inflation, provide for public auditing of compliance. Require that promotional and explanatory literature on the different Insurance policies highlight in bold print and plain English just what the differences are between policies, with emphasis on scope (types of things and illnesses covered AND NOT COVERED) and Coverage (amount of money available by type of service and lifetime of policy).

I think all of this, done at the STATE level, would result in lowest possible (knowing that this does not necessarily lead to an actual reduction in bills, just that the charges are not inflated) costs and allow a family to chose at least some coverage at a cost that they can afford.

Availability of Coverage. Again, let us presume that we want to extend coverage to all citizens. Why not just provide for reimbursement of costs of medical care to citizens who do not have coverage. All Doctors, Hospitals and Medical Laboratories have to do is document the person receiving coverage, why they were not covered by a policy (pre-existing condition, financially unable to afford coverage, etc.) verify that they were a citizen or a legal resident, and the government would cover the costs. There would be no reimbursement for treatment for illegal aliens or non-citizens. Also, these forms would also be required to be audited to prevent fraud.

This would, within a couple or 5 years provide us with a baseline for the costs of covering those who do not have any insurance. If the experience seemed to support it, perhaps a follow-up step would be to replace the reimbursement program for the Health care Industry with a subsidy for lower income families to enable them to buy an insurance policy, leaving the government directly responsible only for those with pre-existing conditions.

Such an approach would provide both more alternatives and more power of choice to the American citizen and family, keeping government control at a minimum while mandating government verification of industry, provider and end user truthfulness, as well as minimizing taxpayer costs.