Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why are we interfering in a Civil War?

After all these years American Foreign Policy in the Middle East still resembles the early years of American business expansion into the world that earned us the name, "Ugly American" because of our assumption that everyone thought like us and would make decisions the same way plus have the same values and goals. How utterly stupid that was. American business learned...and prospered. American Foreign Policy is still seemingly unaware that not all the world wants to be like us.

Consider if Obama had been in power in England (or France, or Spain) during our Civil War.  How would we have felt if he come out with the command, "Lincoln must go" and set about organizing the other European Countries to bread the Northern blockade of Southern ports?  Sounds decidedly inappropriate when looked at from that point of view, doesn't it?  And where was this purposeful resolve when people took to the streets in Iran? Bahrain? Syria?

The inconsistencies are bad enough...and this article discusses them well. But there is more to be concerned about...and that is the nature of the Middle East itself. Up until now the countries have been run by heads of state with their own interests, and often at odds with one another. The President's actions are opening that up to a change that most certainly harbor more danger for the United States.

Not one American pundit, in or out of Government (much less the President) has considered that multiple secular leaders with self-interest at heart is much less a threat to the United States interests than a Middle East unified in a religious/political sect that sees Western Values (read, "American") as evil and to be overcome and destroyed. Many of the rebels in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain are Shi'ites and operate with the same attitudes and goals of those in Iran. And we are now the tools of their attempt to gain unified power.

It is bad enough to be wrong...but to be stupidly wrong is both an embarrassment and a horror.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japan...would WE be prepared?

No.  Not a hard answer, is it?  But most people I speak to talk about the government being broke,...or stretched too thin.  This all may be true, but the primary reason we are not, and never again will be, prepared is that we have lost the sense of self-reliance and self-preparedness that our parents (well, at least MY parents) had. They never stopped drilling into me the idea that no one else's lifestyle mattered...you needed to afford your own. Keep up with the Jones'? They didn't understand the term and when I explained it, they just laughed and labeled it insanity. You lived within your own budget; you put aside money for "rainy" days; you make decisions and then lived with the consequences...no "blame someone else" mentality was allowed. I remember once I got into trouble...not for doing anything wrong, but because I was hanging around with some "friends" who, indeed, had done something wrong. I got a suspension out of it and complained. My father said it was my fault..."you are known by the company you keep and if you want to be highly thought of, don't hang around with them...there are consequences for bad choices, so don't complain to me" 

Today, Americans are wrapped up in "blaming someone else" and expecting the government (or "someone") to bail them out of trouble. They don't even TRY to prepare for "rainy" days...they are too busy keeping up with the Jones'. Smoke and mirrors and the illusion that there are no consequences. Stupidity is the norm for the day throughout America.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Still another comment on America's Educational system...

While I have known plenty of teachers in my life who were dedicated to their students and their futures, the majority of teachers chose that line of work because when in college the idea of a 9 or 10 month work year with summers off plus a guaranteed job after 3 years (tenure) seemed like a safe and desirable alternative to working for a full year with two weeks off and the prospect of having to prove yourself every day or get fired.

All of these people found that it was harder than it appeared: you had to use your summers to get advanced training and degrees; the hours were often 12 in length because of the need to grade papers and prepare lesson plans. It didn't turn out to be the utopia that it seemed in the callow days of their youth. And many did not have that drive to be educators...but now they were locked into the job. But...how to improve pay? Unionize. To a professional, that was the wrong way to go; better to start a professional society and mandate performance that would lead to competition for better pay. But remember that most teachers were disillusioned with no concept of "professionalism"; they just wanted more money to pay for the unexpected working conditions. Logical, really. But this failure to see teaching as a profession has led our educational system into the morass which exists today.

 Get rid of tenure and cut the power of unions and demand that there be some evaluation of dedication to TEACHING for someone to get into and REMAIN in the PROFESSION.