Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Is President Obama right?

I read recently, with dismay, that President Obama has declared that race relations in the country have improved, even as polls show people believe the contrary.  But...after some quiet reflection, I have concluded that there is at least a reasonable argument to be made that he is correct.

Consider that if a person, a group, or a race feel at risk, they will tend to work at "flying under the radar", so to speak, to avoid problems in their lives.  If one can exist peacefully for the most part, even if not possessed of total equality, it is hard to make a decision to put your sustainable life style at risk without a guarantee of improvement.  If this is Mr. Obama's belief, then he could be arguing that the current crop of demonstrations and the ongoing out-cry by black and other minorities is proof of an improved self-image that not only allows, but requires, the demand for further improvement.

It should be noted that there are myriad black and minority families that have succeeded and achieved great position in our country.  I would argue that the vast majority see only occasional challenges that could even be remotely assigned to race...and those could just as easily be written off as individuals just able to get along.  That happens among all groups and has nothing to do with race.

So, on reflection it would seem that if there is any credence to Mr. Obama's assertion, then it only applies to a select group...a minority of a minority, as it were...that now wants to be treated with respect, regardless of their behavior.  Only time will tell if their claims resonate with the vast majority.  And it would help if their claims were clarified and not related to or based on distorted views of events.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Do Sharpton, Holder and Mr. Obama want to return to "separate but equal?"

It is tough to understand just what the most recent class of demonstrators really want.  They shout for "justice" and for "dead policemen."  But then the media says that they don't really want that.  So...when will the demonstrators speak for themselves and say what they truly want?

Are we to accept that the triumvirate of  President Obama, Al Sharpton, and Eric Holder...and their acolyte, Mayor deBlasio...speak for the group as a whole?  I wonder.  None of that group seems truly dedicated to the plight of black neighborhoods except as it fits and advances their own purposes.  So...what, indeed, is the desire of the unhappy resident of a black community.

The one thing I have heard and read that repeats itself is that they want the police force to be "representative."  In Ferguson that meant that almost all the police were white and didn't understand how to police a black neighborhood.  That does sound reasonable.  It certainly made sense to me.  But then the question is raised just how to accomplish that.  Because, if you do get the desired percentage of black officers, you would still have some percent of white officers continuing to police the black neighborhood.

Ah, I hear, but those white police can be trained to understand how to police the black community "properly."  Oh, really?

I have had black acquaintances and friends tell be that it is impossible for any white person to understand the attitude of any black man or women; that without experiencing it, you just cannot know what it is like.  Well, that sounds accurate too.  Although I think we can all try a bit more to understand those who come from different backgrounds.

Consider the facts that underlie the recent minority (make that "black) deaths in conflict with the police:  first, the (white) policeman in Ferguson was undeniably being attacked and the dead (black) teen would undeniably faced felony charges of attacking a police officer if he had survived;  second, in NYC, the supervising police officer of that arrest was black and there is absolutely no evidence that suggests that there was any racially-based "misunderstanding" of the circumstances of the arrest. (And, let it be noted that there was in fact no actual "choke-hold"; that the deceased died because of the combination of being held down and his own respiratory issues.)

So each of these events were fact based...not racially oriented at all, except by those who wished to promote anarchy, violence, looting and burning.  And those people were honored by comments by President Obama, and the additional gift of the presence of both Eric Holder and Al Sharpton, the President's "go-to guy" on racial issues (although, since he himself is black, one wonders why the President should have to have any assistance in understanding the black community and the nuances of their feelings and desires...but perhaps that is a subject for further discussion another day).

The recurring theme is "we want to be policed by black police officers because they will "understand."

That seems to suggest that they want to segregate the police force so that they can have justice.  They will feel less "threatened" if they have black men in blue in their community.

Do any of you have any suspicions as to what the general populace, and the media in particular, might have to say about such a suggestion if it were made by people in a white community suggesting that they only wanted "white" police officers protecting their interests because only "white" officers "understood" them?  Think that one would fly?  Even get off the ground?  Yet...that is what is the base of the desire of Mr. Obama, Mr. Holder and Mr. Sharpton (No one quite knows what Mayor deBlasio wants or thinks...and no expects to understand that anytime soon.)  They don't use, of course, the phrase "separate but equal" but they refer to "representational" numbers of minority officers.

For some reason, I have always thought that the laws of this country were not "nuanced" by the culture of those who broke a law; that if you were rich or poor, it was still wrong to steal, kill and hurt people.  I believe(d) that one spoke civilly to others, obeyed directions given to you by an officer of the law and, if disturbed by it, argue the propriety about the order later...in a court of law.  You didn't talk back to your parents, your boss or a policeman.  Perhaps I am wrong, but I do not recall any indication that those absolutes were colored ( no pun intended) by the race, nationality, skin pigment, or social position of either the policeman (or other person of authority) of the person being directed to behave in a certain way.  Did I miss that?  I don't think so.

Should be come to accept that black, and other minority communities should be policed by people of their own race, background and gender, it will not be long before those minorities will demand that their teachers by of the same race; that they have bankers of their own race; that all of their political representative be of their own race.

Will the occasional white resident in a black community then have the right to demonstrate, damage, hurt and burn down the community while demanding that a white person hear their grievance?

And I finish with the observation that a large portion of responsibility for the ongoing unrest lies with the media.  They have allowed and helped to spread false claims and comments about the triggering events that only serve to artificially support those who make a living in the Race Industry, fomenting unrest and gaining notoriety for themselves.  Even as they claim "with hands up" that they are only reporting the "news" they are remarkably selective in their reporting, so the claim of innocence rings hollow indeed.

If the black demonstrators get what they seem to be asking for, I suspect that in the end they will rue the day that they allowed some people to "lead" them down this path.  They will not be better off for traveling that directions.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Is "Sony" just the tip of a very dangerous Iceberg?

For a very small, backward, albeit nuclear, country like North Korea to be able to attack the computer capability of a large Corporation in the United States and create enough fear that a scheduled release of a film frowned upon by North Korea was cancelled is, depending on where you stand or work, insulting, inconvenient, threatening, damaging and/or cyber terrorism, vandalism or warfare (chose any combination).

And now we are beginning to see articles touting the cyber-warfare capabilities of the United States that might be used to respond to any attacks on the country.   This is comforting...I think!

But it is also disturbing from another point of view.  The premise seems to be that if some entity attacks the U.S. in cyberspace, we have the capability to attack and destroy the attacker.  Now, as a person who is likely to be one of the citizens whose internet and computer capabilities will be damaged or destroyed, the fact that the entity causing my cyber destruction is being obliterated doesn't really solve my problem or satisfy my dilemma.

I would be much happier to learn that in addition to our country's retributive capability, it could protect me from being harmed in the first place...and our business and utility infrastructure as well.  I don't hear that...not even consideration of the desire to do that.

Not only does that absence of assurance give me pause, but it has been years since I heard anyone mention the need to be capable of defending against EMP devices.  These devices can "fry" electronics, virtually rendering all utilities, communications, and transportation inoperative until the electronic heart of the controls are replaced...an event likely to take many months.  The idea of planes dropping out of the sky, cars losing control, trains stopping, all not to move again for months is not desirable.  The concept of gas, electric and water supplies being rendered inoperative would be dangerous to our health.

Once every great while, I hear some person in government mention that this needs attention, but then the voice fades and I have never seen any report that suggests that we are even working assiduously to protect us from this kind of threat, much less that we are protected now.

Maybe...just maybe...someone ought to make sure that somebody...anybody...works on this stuff?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Is Government of, for, and by the People ever going to be possible again?

It seems as if Politicians always lie.  Maybe not every single one, and maybe not absolutely every time they talk...but often enough to leave us with the feeling...and even the conviction...that they indeed are dedicated to something other than the truth.

Why is that so?

I suspect that they do this because they either know or strongly suspect that if they told us the truth, we would not elect (or, re-elect) them.  But...at some basic level we all actually know that they are lying...yet we allow them to get away with the lie.  And we do that not just once...but over and over and over.

But that isn't the whole problem.  Ask yourself..."Why is it that what they promise so convincingly a lie?"  Most of what they promise...well, except for the fact that they insist that it won't cost us anything...is good, is desirable and is worth at least trying.  So...why doesn't it happen.

Well, everybody has their own answer; conspiracy believers abound; folks of all ideologies have their pet talking points; and there are even some who deny that any lies are ever told.

But I have my own:  MONEY!

No, I don't have an argument with the Citizens United case.  And if all ideological arguments were represented by equal money there arguably wouldn't be anyone with an unequal advantage.  But that argument would be false.

The problem is that people running for office, and those who wish to be re-elected to office have to raise money for their campaigns or their election bids will fail.  And that means that you have to convince people to contribute.  They don't do that so that other people will get something...they do it because they are going to get something they want.  Remember the show and film, The Producers?
Every politician is making those promises to each and every contributor; every politician tries to write their plea for money in general way so they can claim that whatever they do, it fits into the promise you think they made to you.  Mr. Obama was the best at this: Hope and Change, right?  Well, he gave each of us that, didn't he.  That was at least one time when, technically, he did not lie to anyone.  Those words were brilliantly chosen to allow each and every one of us who wanted something to change in Washington to infer that he was talking about our definitions of those words.  But he is just the most recent practitioner of the art of parsing words and phrases.  Every politician on every side of any aisle that has ever existed has done the very same thing.  Let the buyer beware!

But where we, the electorate, really lose control is when you get very, very rich people getting together and meeting personally with a candidate or office holder and making huge donations that carry very specific conditions...conditions that are NOT made public, that are NOT transparent...although if we knew the people involved, we all could probably figure out just what was bought and paid for.  And we get angry...not because it is done, but largely because WE can't do the same thing...OUR wishes aren't going at the top of the list...it isn't votes, it is money, because the money buys the votes through tv, radio, internet and radio advertising; money buys staffs and re-election offices and the best minds to craft high sounding populist slogans that make people trust the untrustworthy.  THAT is where the problem resides.

So...what could be a solution?  Is there one?  One that doesn't offend the Constitution?  I don't know...truly!  But I do have an idea.

What if any politician running for any Federal Government Office did not need to buy advertising space, time or access?  What if any person running for such office did not have to pay for production costs for advertise, whether print or media?  What if pay for all re-election personnel were covered by a source other than contributions?

Supposing every candidate was guaranteed equal time and equal space and they need not do any fund-raising?  Consider that if we can keep the emphasis on the message each candidate is communicating, we all are better off than if the candidate even before the election (and whether he or she even knows it has happened) has sold out.

Is that worth a try?

Hey...there is no such thing as a free lunch.  It'll cost you...you, the electorate, ... you, the taxpayer.  But you just might once again have control of your so-called Representatives, your Senators, your President.  Shouldn't that be worth something to you?  If not, stop reading and go back to whatever you were doing before you tripped over this column.  Otherwise...let's see how we could actually do this...

First, where would the money come from?  That's easy...the Federal Government.  Where would they get it?  That is easy too...from us.  Not that little box we sometimes notice now on the IRS forms each April, but from use of General Fund moneys appropriated for the purpose.

Who would control this attempt?  Well, one possibility would be the creation of an independent organization outside the government run much as the current Congressional Budget Office which is non-partisan and simply applies numbers; for this it would track advertising space, placement, tv and radio time, internet efforts and insure that all candidates got equal time, equal space and equivalent time slots on a rotating basis.  Each outlet (paper, tv station, radio station, etc.) would indicate the total time that they were willing to alot, and that time would be distributed absolutely equally.  All production costs would likewise be covered by tax funds and those expenses would be controlled so that each candidate would have equal resources to produce their flyers, ads, commercial and the like.

The key here is that no candidate would have to sell his or her votes in the future to fund getting elected...they would have the opportunity and perhaps even the obligation to speak truth to the electorate.  This would cost billions...but we are wasting billions now on silly things.  Wouldn't it be better to buy ourselves honest elections?  Do you have something better that would provide more benefit to you and your family than that?  I have to say that as far as I am concerned, there is nothing of more lasting benefit, not just to me, but to my children and my grandchildren.

Why can't people try to find out how to make this...or something like it...work, rather than throw up their hands and simply write it off as not workable.  If you see something wrong with it, come with a way to fix it or make it better.  Because the way we are going is just encouraging our "representatives" to keep on lying to us and selling us down the river.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Selective Anarchy supported by Government Leaders

So one group of people can disregard the law with impunity, blocking traffic, interfering with normal business activity on private property, attack police and chant that police should be killed.  One group of people can burn down major part of a town without any punishment.  A person can chant, "burn it down" and not face consequences when, in fact, many business building in the area are burned down.  One group of people can ignore the demonstrated facts that show that a young, huge thug attacked a police officer and attempted to take that officer's gun and as a result was shot dead, and take that same thug and hold him up as an innocent martyr...and the main stream media parrots that claim as a fact, endorsing the activity.

The United States of America used to be law abiding.  Now our President, the U.S. Attorney General, and the Mayor of one of our largest cities disrespect and accuse our Police Officers of malfeasance.  And they do this while seeming to endorse minority anger and violence toward Police.

And now we have the assassination of two NYC police officers by a guy messaging, "they got one of ours, let's take two of theirs."  Seems a clear connection to the ongoing demonstrations; and the permissive attitude of our top leaders to the law-breaking actions of demonstrators while criticizing police sure contributed to these killings.  And I note myriad "tweets" and other social media comments that commend these killings.

Too bad the police cannot withdraw from all those communities that seem so angry with the police presence for a period...say a month or two...and that would include all of NYC and include the protection detail for the Mayor.  Clearly he feels that NYC would be the utopia he desires if only the police would either be absent, or simply issue verbal suggestions to law breakers.

Show the proper respect to the uniformed Police Officer and problems are rare.  A policeman  usually had a valid reason for any given command; how much intelligence does it take to simply obey and wait for the matter to be resolved?  When not questioning me, a cop is protecting me, my family, and my property, as well as that of my neighbors and friends...why should I want to give him "attitude?"  But I see some people actually look to provoke anyone, much less police, for entertainment.  These are the same people who disrespect their elders, their neighborhood and, unrecognized, themselves.  Yet they seem to believe that they are "entitled!"  None of us is entitled.  All of us have to earn our respect by showing that we can learn from experiences and schooling, hold a job by being on time and doing what we are hired to do, and respecting those around us...not sitting a corner talking trash at anyone who goes by.  Yet our country's leaders seem to be taking the sides of the trash-talkers and throwing law abiding people and the Police who protect us under the bus.  That is NOT acceptable and it is time the majority of America speaks up and puts a stop to it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Is the Ideological Right cannibalistic?

Noticed a new story today that Rand Paul was running an advertisement on the internet criticizing Jeb Bush for running for the office of the Presidency.  Now, ignoring for the moment that Bush has NOT yet decided to run (although it IS likely), how do you feel about one member of the right side of the aisle attacking ( not disagreeing) with another from the same side?

 I don't like this stuff one little bit. Yeah...I am so conservative that I have come to consider myself an anarchist. But that is an ideological point of view, not a physical one...that is, I have no intention of going out an harming anyone or interfering with their lives.
Given that, people on the right side of the aisle have gotten into the bad habit of not being able to compromise with those on our side. We all want the same thing, I think: good fiscal responsible government kept as small as is possible. After that, we spin off into our little favorite niches. And that is fine, too. EXCEPT that we do it publicly. It is like immature brothers fighting in the front yard...out there for everyone to see and it leaves a bad taste in the mouths of Independents and even some of those in our own ideological family. Are we so stupid as to think that one side can totally annihilate the other? Or should? We should by now realize that we need to stop acting stupidly,,,at least in public. I am a member of a local Tea Party. But that doesn't mean that I automatically brand anyone who is fiscally conservative but less so on the social issues as an enemy. I NEED THE BUDGET BALANCED. I NEED THE DEFICIT TO START TO COME DOWN. If that is being worked on, no matter at what speed, I can live with that. I CANNOT live with another Progressive, Socialist, Liberal Democrat in the White House. The whole idological right needs to be made to take a time-out, made to sit in the corner and get their collective heads on straight...or you are going to find yourselves living in a European Socialist type country with absolutely no opportunity to change it. Wake up....Please!

Monday, December 15, 2014

What IS "White Privilege?"

Ask someone...anyone...to define "White Privilege."   What I get every time is an amorphic, rambling commentary that, when deciphered (if that is possible...sometimes it is not) basically says, It's YOUR fault."  The definition of "it" changes with each person, and so does the exact nature of the word, "fault."  But there is no factual or statistical support for any definition or for the conclusion.  And I cannot find the origin of the term.  It sprung out of nowhere, apparently, made of whole cloth and seems designed to emotionally carry the argument without resorting to anything inconvenient...like logic or proof.

Some of the ramblings are quite entertaining and would be humorous, were it not for the totally serious intent of the person attempting to make the argument.  One person said it could be determined simply by the shade of a persons complexion; the lighter the skin pigment, the more acceptable the person regardless of intelligence, ability, education or experience.

They became quite agitated when I inquired as to whether this scale of "whiteness" was absolute, or comparative.  They didn't understand the question.  I explained that I wanted to know if you just put all people next to each other and then oriented them by skin pigment from light to dark...or the reverse, it didn't matter to me...or if each race had its own scale.  If each race than had its own scale, then you would first have to line up all those qualifying as "white" and create a ranking from 1 to 100.  Then do the same for all African-Americans, all Spanish Origin, all Middle Easterners and all Orientals...and perhaps you would need to have sub-groups.  All of these would have a grade of "Whiteness" on an identical 1 to 100 scale.  So...my questions was..."which method of comparison was applicable?"  No answer.

How can one not only understand "White Privilege", much less adjust for it to eliminate its effect, if you cannot define or measure it?

The suspicion starts to develop that the whole concept of "White Privilege" has nothing to do with dealing with and eliminating it so much as using it as a way to avoid responsibility and consequences.  That comes from the lack of definition and the identity and background of those holding high the concept.  And I don't see a lot of occurrences that even come close to being laid at the foot of any loose definition of "White Privilege."  Behavior and attitude seem to be at the base of most of today's disturbing events: insulting law enforcement officers, attacking those who give lawful orders, interfering with others' peaceful enjoyment of public surroundings, business success, political success, just to name a few.

On the basis of skin pigmentation, Mr. Obama should never have been elected President.  Millionaire entrepreneurs are African-Americans that are quite dark in complexion...surely that cannot happen if "White Privilege" is real.  People of "color" routinely break the law and demonstrate in a manner that interferes with other citizens' quiet enjoyment of public areas...but very few are arrested and almost never is one of them actually punished for their law-breaking.  Surely that would not be so if "White Privilege" was real.  People of "color" routinely accuse, without proof, lighter skinned people of being racist and suffer no consequences from such false accusations, yet those of lighter pigment often lose their employment if they accidentally utter words that can be seen as racist only with tortured application of logic;  surely that would not be so if "white privilege" were real.

Meanwhile there are people of various hues walking around with tattoos that insult various segments of humanity, speak derogatorily of themselves and others, dress in cloths that leave ample room for diapers, and strut as if they were trying out for the role of a rooster in a 4th grade play, cannot read, speak, add or subtract without a machine and blame "white privilege" for the fact they cannot get a job...or if they can, that it only pays minimum wage and is part time.  There seems to be a certain failure to communicate here...and I tend to think it is because this group has no interest at all in listening.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sports and Domestic Violence

It used to be that when one's transgressions reached the stage of being prosecuted by the authorities, the result of that process was deemed to be the extent of punishment.  Some went to jail, and when they got out, there were a variety of ways for that person to earn his or her way back into the work force and into society at large.

Should the transgression not reach the level of prosecution by authorities...or whatever the disposition by the courts...the matter was deemed over with and done.  For the most part, a transgression did not trigger a doomsday scenario.

Apparently those days are gone forever.  Mind you, I am in favor of the strictest possible punishment and treatment that will deter and prevent violence in any situation.  Domestic violence is abhorrent.  And I would think that random violence in society among and between those who do not know each other is equally abhorrent.  Although one would not know that by current standards.  A person who gets in a bar fight with a stranger, may be fined, or even get probation and go right back to work with little public notice.  The exceptions are Politicians and Athletes...providing they are men.  Women get a pass.  Not sure why...but they do.

In the NFL now, you lose you ability to earn a living in your chosen profession if you are accused of Domestic Violence.   If you are convicted of Domestic Violence, you lose that ability permanently...or for so long as to amount to permanent, given the short productive period for an athlete.  The Legal punishment now is simply a preliminary element.  Is that right?  Should there be a discussion about that.  If there are children and an ongoing family existence, is removing the earning power helpful to the family?  Does that make sense?  Does keeping a person from gainful employment teach anyone anything?  Progressives and Liberals for years have been preaching about the fallacy of revenge, arguing for rehabilitation and counseling...but in this case they now preach of revenge.   Should this switch and the motivation for it be open for discussion?  Because I have heard nothing along that line...and whatever the outcome it would seem appropriate to think and talk it through to understand the logic.  Because the current logic escapes me and I would like to hear it laid out fully.

And...I would suggest that if the logic is there to support this extended punishment and behavioral level for participation in sports, that it be extended to fans also.  It seems only fair...especially given the behavior of some fans at all sorts of sporting events.  Perhaps one should not be able to buy a ticket to a sporting event unless they can show that they are free from DWI or any alcohol related charges or conviction, of any arrests or convictions for any sort of violence (Domestic or otherwise).  And if they are buying multiple tickets, that the same information should be put forth for whoever is going to be sitting in those additional seats.

Fair is fair.  Equal is equal.  What is good for the Goose should certainly be good for the Gander.

Let us have this discussion...

Friday, December 12, 2014

Did "White Privilege" elect Mr. Obama?

It is difficult to get my head around exactly what people mean by the term, "white Privilege."  And worth a separate discussion in depth, but suffice it to say that right now I understand that it means that the lighter your skin...the more "white" you are...the more you are likely to succeed.

President Obama is half "white."  At least that is what I have read and been told.  So...do these people that espouse "white privilege" intend to indicate that it was the white half of Mr. Obama's lineage that got him elected, and not his striving and his accomplishments?  Because general statements that are proven to be true also hold up when brought down to the specific...and that is what we are talking about in this case: did, in fact, "white privilege" predestine that Mr. Obama would win the Presidency.  That seems absurd on the face of it:  his opponent was much lighter complexioned...although with a healthy tan, and in contrast Mr. Obama was darker.  If "White Privilege" is such an element of the failure of African-Americans to make more progress than so far accomplished, why and how is it explained in the face of Mr. Obama's election victories?

I must admit that this thought is NOT original with me; I heard the subject raised last night on "Red Eye Radio" and the concept leapt out into my brain, slept and broke out again this morning, yearning for release.

Another twist on this whole subject: suppose two African Americans are vying for the same position...private industry or public office...are we being told that automatically the lighter skinned one will get the job or be elected?  It seems to me that is what is being argued by those who claim every white person in America benefits improperly from "white privilege."

Also...does tanning count?  I mean, if one person has a deeper tan than another, does that mean that the pale one will win in an election for public office?

And...how does this concept account for the original proclamation that President Clinton was our first "black President?"  Does that mean that President Obama is now left with the historical footnote of being our first Muslim President?  The concept of guilt by skin complexion is murky at best...it would seem that letter grading wouldn't work...that we would have to make it a numerical system based on pigment density.  And...what would be the base line?  Do we need different base lines for different races, since they clearly do not start out equal.

Perhaps we can get the Global Climate Change folks investigating this...providing grant and government funding is available...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Can Minorities ever be Racist?

For a long time I have noticed that every time any white person says (pretty much ) anything that criticizes someone of any minority race, there is a charge of "Racism."  But...when the situation is reversed, not only does the individual making the comment not get attacked by pretty much anyone...but no one even admits that it could possibly be "Racism."  I don't think that is logical on any level.

I am not a fan of "Racism" or "hate" legislation anyway.  The behavior targeted is almost always already classified as a crime.  If you are convicted, you will suffer.  Having the suffering declared by two different legal entities does not logically increase your punishment.  If someone libels me...I don't much care what the subject of the libel is; if I can prove it, I will get a conviction...or a judgement...or whatever it is that I should get.  What bothers me is that if I should, purposefully or inadvertently, denigrate someone who is a minority...or a protected class...I have a panoply of attackers: local, state, federal, church, media...all jumping up and down to see who can most quickly and greatly destroy my very existence.  OK!  Lets suppose that is just fine.  Here is the question...

Why is it when the reverse happens, I cannot claim the same suffering, and have the same group of attackers come to protect me and destroy the person of minority status who has done exactly what was done to me?  Does that strike anyone as Justice...or even remotely fair?  And not only does that happen...but the media and all our public officials blithely ignore the happening; they will never even acknowledge that the event happened, much less that it was also "Racist" behavior.

So...when did white people become second class citizens, replacing in officials minds those that used to be treated inequitably?  Did I miss the establishment of some sort of secular purgatory?  And why does it never apply to Progressives....

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Why are Black communitys' violence ignored?

Ferguson has become some sort of rallying cry for the Race Industry.  Seems illogical on the facts: a very large, strong person strong-handed and stole from a store, walked down the middle of a street, interfering with traffic, with a friend, was told by a police officer to get out of the street and onto the sidewalk.  That person then hit the police officer, tried to get hold of gun, ignored commands to stop, then ran at the police officer to attack him and ended up being shot and killed by that police officer.  The behavior of that person was foolish at best and inviting just the result that he suffered at worst.  Yet he is seen as a "victim"?  I don't see a victim.  I see a thug and a danger to society at large.

But because this person was Black, and a teenager, and did not carry a "weapon" (although when a person is well over 6 ft. tall and 300 plus pounds I consider such a person a weapon in their own right) the attacked officer is supposed to not shoot?  The person could have been a Buddhist Monk and I would have shot to protect myself.  This is supposed to be a "Race" matter?  How illogical is that?

Perhaps we could more helpfully look at behavior of Black toward other Blacks; maybe we could consider behavior in the Black communities.  Please?

Ever been in a Black neighborhood and listen to their conversations?  Even in a mixed neighborhood, when 3 or 4 Black males of any age get together (eliminating the older mothers, grandmothers and grandfathers, here) their conversation is almost hidden in insults and obscenities.  Even their greetings of each other are clearly insulting and...in any other group would constitute "fighting" words.

When will the "leaders" of the Black community...no, not the Race Baiters or the rich members of the Race Industry...put their foot down and demand that Blacks respect Blacks?  The leaders I am talking about are the Grandmothers and older mothers who are the only shot at "parents" that so many young children growing up in those communities will ever have.  When will they demand that their children show respect to THEM as well as to all others, regardless of race.  After all, what is happening now is that members of the Black Community are teaching each other disrespect for each other.  And that invites disrespect for everything outside your community...and that leads to both tragedy and poverty.

When will the majority of Blacks turn away from the racist "Race Industry" leaders, like Sharpton and his ilk, and start to follow the example set by so many church congregations in the Black community...no, not the "do-gooders" from white churches who seek to help the "down-trodden" but those within the community who shed tears over the lost potential within, knowing that their children and residents are so much more able than they give themselves credit for.  When they will inspire a turning away from hand-outs but look for opportunities to achieve, not receive.  To succeed, not survive.  The ability is there...it is within.  And it is time that Blacks give themselves the respect that they already deserve.  THEN some ignorant comment by another black or, heaven forbid, a white person will have no meaning...they will be secure in the knowledge of their own worth and achievements.

I sure would like to see them take their shot.  I think we all would be pleasantly amazed at the accomplishments that would result.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

When did "citizens" get downgraded to second class status?

Way more than a half century ago I studied the Constitution.  It didn't excite me, failing as so many of my homework assignments were want to do, and while I now appreciate the assignment, as it helps me find particular sections more quickly.  When in school, the Constitution seems quite simple and quite clear: three branches of government, each with their separate responsibilities, and a check and balances element to keep the government from becoming the threat to individual liberty that Thomas Jefferson so deeply feared.

And the purpose of the Federal Government was to defend the Citizens and the borders of the United States of America, providing for the common defense and common good.

I spent some time looking through my dog-eared copy of the Constitution the other night, looking for the Amendment that vacated that last purpose.  I couldn't find it.  That still puzzles me, because it surely must have been repealed, or somehow eliminated.  Why?  Well, because the Federal Government is now taking steps to protect non-citizens as a priority over protecting citizens.  Apparently my citizenship now grants me second class status.  I think this is wrong.  I never heard any discussion about a change.  I was never consulted...or given an opportunity to vote on such a change.  So...why is it so.

Do I hear some of you saying "You are wrong; there has been no such change, ... what are you talking about!"?  Well...Consider the following factual points:

First: our borders are "protected" inadequately and those assigned to protect the border actually help and provide aid to people "sneaking" across and into our country;

Second: our federal administrative courts and tribunals release in the general public most of those apprehended with no certainty or, apparently, expectation that they will appear at their next scheduled court appearance and with no way of knowing where they might start looking for these people who are in our country illegally;

Third: while our economy is barely holding steady and we have millions of citizens who cannot find work in their fields or with the sufficient hours that would enable them to support their families, the Federal Government now is going to allow  a minimum of 5 million people who have come into the country illegally to get Social Security accounts and work permits so that they can compete head to head with the law-abiding citizens of this country.  Our President actually is defying Congress in this step to provide greater difficulty for citizens to find work and jobs that they so badly need;

Fourth: the federal government, when presented with State activity to protect their borders, their businesses, their roads, their homes from people present in their states illegally, prohibits and takes to court those states and prevents those states from protecting its citizens.

Fifth: the federal government provides aid...paid for by money paid in taxes by the citizens of this country...to those here without legal permission.

Now, maybe I just don't understand the situation.  However, absent a Constitutional Amendment that makes citizenship a second class existence, I am waiting for anyone in what is presumably MY (and every other citizen's) government to explain why I have been told to stand still while the welfare of non-citizens has been made a priority over my, and my family's, welfare.

Exactly when, and WHY,  did the cart get put in front of the horse?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Is Jonathan Gruber wrong?

In the past two weeks multiple videos have surfaced in which one of the consulting architects of Mr. Obama's Affordable Healthcare Bill is seen and heard referring to the planned obfuscation in the wording and design of the bill so that the American voter would not be aware that money was going to be taken from younger people to pay the medical bills of older insureds; that if that fact were made generally known, the bill would never have passed.  He goes on to refer to the general "stupidity" of the American voter in accepting the misleading wording.  He does this in many different videos taken at different times before different groups...and he is clearly proud of his accomplishment.

Is he wrong?

And just a vital a question is: was the public mislead by his efforts?

Before I discuss the possible answers to those questions, a little historical review is in order.  First...let us keep in mind that the human is always looking for "free" "stuff."  Usually it is in the form of a bargain, sometimes it is a gift, but always we feel good if we get something for less than we thought we would have to pay or work.

Second, Politicians have for years proven that they were serving "us" by "bringing home the bacon."  How often did we hear during campaigns of how many projects were brought back to us from Washington, how many federal tax dollars were made available to us because of our representatives' efforts?  Did any of us...ever...consider that federal tax dollars originally came from US?  That our politicians didn't give us THEIR money...they were giving us OUR own money, and taking credit for it?  Not many even thought about it.  Local pols would brag about a project that wasn't going to cost us anything because they had gotten FEDERAL money...glibly glossing over the fact that Federal Money is our money too.  There is no such thing as a free lunch.

However, because everyone in Washington was doing the same thing, and because over time the distribution of money evened out around the country, no harm was done; we all paid our federal taxes and we all got some of it back.  No harm, no foul, right?

Unfortunately, however, there was a harm.  We got used to accepting political lies and assuming that we weren't being hurt by them.  That is incorrect.  We were being, and have been, indoctrinated to accept without challenge politicians' promises of "free" stuff...even as deep inside we knew that no such thing existed.

The Healthcare Bill, however, was a break from the traditional, "you protect my back and I'll protect yours" attitude that was largely based on district based "pay backs."  This was nationwide and involved what may turn out to be a one time country wide taking from an entire class of people in order to benefit another whole class of people.  No foreseeable payback here at all...yet it was sold much the same way, with the added twist of planned and carefully considered lies and misstatements designed to support getting enough votes to enact the bill.  The Leaders of the Democrat Party as well as the Democrat President took a Healthcare model that they ideologically favored and crafted a bill that would put this model into place.  In the process, the drafted both language and construction that hid the fact that one main element and result of the bill would be re-distribution of wealth.  They also knowingly failed to announce this, and when opponents pointed the facts out, lied and denied that it was so.

Adding to this con, the President knowingly assured the American public that the bill would not require anyone who was happy with existing healthcare plans to change anything about their coverage...even as he constructively had to know that he was lying.

And now we are presented with the filmed proof that Mr. Gruber, who was considered the "go to" guy by the administration on the design and construct of the bill, not only worked to hide the facts and present wording that would keep the CBO from considering the true costs of the bill, but was effusively proud of his ability to mislead a "stupid" electorate.  And...with that, all members of the administration and of the Democrat members of Congress have developed a curious case of amnesia regarding Mr. Gruber;  they only dimly remember the name and cannot recall any substantive dependence on his abilities to design and craft the bill.  Suddenly there is no recollection of his being one of 4 people who met in urgent session with President Obama 3 days prior to the Senate vote that passed the bill on pure partisan lines to figure out how to reassure (falsely as it turns out) wavering Democrats who's votes would end up being critical to passing the bill.

Now, any thinking person would think through the process used to conceive, draft, and promote the oddly named "affordable" Healthcare Bill and perhaps some to the conclusion that those that came up with this bill perpetrated a fraud on the American public and on the Congress as a whole, and abdicating their responsibilities under their oath of office in the process.  I feel that way, but am not sure that, as self-protective of federal office holders as Federal Law is (note that the RICO statutes exempt Congress for consideration thereunder) seems to be, there is any legal recourse.

The main thought of this particular post, however, is...was, and is, Mr. Gruber wrong in his attitude about the intelligence of the American voter.

One can argue both ways.  Surely, there was an effort by opponents to point out that the claims by Mr. Obama, Mr. Reid, Ms. Pelosi and the rest of those in office were false and could not be accomplished under the claimed financial considerations.  At some level, we all know that there is no such thing as a "free" lunch, yet we did not react with either anger or disbelief, but sat silently by as Congress acted.  And even recently, many of those Democrats who voted for the bill were re-elected...and this was done with them acknowledging that they never read the Bill before voting in favor.  These are certainly facts that seem to support the accuracy of Mr. Gruber's characterizations.

On the other hand, people in a bad economy are focused on working, earning money, stretching their available funds to take care of their families and they believe, with certain fairly minor deviations, that their elected representatives are looking out for them...at least in the major areas.  And Healthcare involves about one-sixth of the American Economy...so I could also argue that the electorate could reasonably rely on their elected officials to do the right thing...even as the opposition was shouting "fraud" and "you lie" to the high heavens.

I suspect that many of those that partake of the Progressive, Socialist, Liberal, Democrat ideology do indeed see themselves as of superior intellect, an elite group that truly does the entire country a favor by not only knowing what is best for everyone, but doing it despite any desire on the part of the "others" to disagree.  That is the attitude so clearly demonstrated in Mr. Gruber's commentaries.  He may be right.  I happen to think he is wrong...but I don't count.  Elections have consequences and recent elections certainly have seemed to support a general acceptance of Mr. Gruber's ( and those of Mr. Gore, Mr. Soros, Mr. Obama, Mr. Reid, and Ms. Pelosi, among many others) point of view.

One wonders if we have reached a tipping point in this country where no longer will the electorate insist on government being responsive to the public, but allow the government to cause the electorate to serve the government.  After all, when was the last time that the government gave you back a personal freedom...or granted you a new one?

Monday, September 15, 2014

When did we become Killers?

Some of you will respond that we are carnivores...we've always been killers.  Well, that is outside my area of expertise, so I won't respond.  Besides, that isn't what I am talking about.  I am talking about the casualness with which we destroy those around us, both friends and enemies, with no guilt, no thought, no emotion and often with no thought or active decision to do so.

I grew up before social media.  You could get bullied in school.  And you could be whispered about in school.  But it was limited to your class or your building and if adults heard any of it, they dismissed it as immature "stuff"...and it was.  It was discarded when you moved on.

A kid getting caught doing something wrong was punished.  Often the police turned him or her over to the parents, 'cause they did a more intense job than the police did...and it didn't leave a permanent record.  Besides...the parents took the responsibility seriously.

And that, too, was left behind even as the lessons learned stayed with us as we moved toward adulthood.  Almost all went on to productive lives, applying for and getting jobs that allowed us to finance and fulfill our families and our lives.

Even in adulthood, if you broke the law in some way, we all knew that was what the Justice system was for and we didn't take punishment into our own hands.  And the few times that that happened, those that gave into "mob" rule, were in turn punished...that was not justice, that was mob rule, feeding a blood-lust that didn't fit our view of what a civilized society should be about.

Law breakers had to word harder at it, but they could rejoin society if the proved that their transgression was a one time thing.  Yes, suspicion remained if something untoward happened, but that was the price...the consequences, if you will...of having broken the law in the first place.

That is not today's world.

Today, children and adults destroy others' lives without even a thought. No guilt!  No shame!  Often not even a thought for either emotion!  And there is a lack of inherent self-control on the part of all that often invites destruction. When I was growing up, it was drummed into me not to do anything that we were not prepared to have appear as a headline, with pictures, in the local paper.  Where and when did that admonition go...'cause it sure doesn't seem to be either known or acknowledged today by children or adults.  And the concept of consequences for both stupidity and purposeful wrongdoing has also disappeared...unless it captures the attention of the media or special interest groups.  No longer can any transgression be left to the courts; there must now be attendant consequences: loss of job, public ridicule, public denigration...often before a legal verdict is rendered.

There are those that will claim that all this is either appropriate or that it is life as it exists today and no thought need be given to it.  Well, time will tell whether that is or is not so.  But I leave you with this thought:  If you did something that was either wrong, or might be wrong, and it was taken up by the legal system, would you accept non-legal punishment dealt out by nameless individuals or groups that destroyed your ability to make a living or walk the streets in safety...all before a Justice system had ruled on you actions and, if appropriate, declared you legal punishment?

Have we reverted so far back to the days of each man for himself that we endorse mob rule based often on rumor as much as fact and taking upon ourselves the right to rule on life, death and pursuit of happiness of others without formal assignment of that task?  I find that a fearful thing from any standpoint: accused, accuser, observer, or judge.

Of course, I also find it abhorrent that so many around me are so uncertain in their place in life that they would make it legally required that I approve of them, their actions, or their beliefs.  I would not want to interfere with what others lives are, provided they do not actively interfere with mine;  I see no reason why I should be required to take any notice whatever of their lives...I do not require their acquiescence to my beliefs, actions or way of living.  I neither need nor want their involvement; why would they required...and that by act of law...mine?  But that is for another discussion.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

President Obama...and ISIS

At the moment, many are concerned about the ongoing actions of the group known as ISIS (or, as the current administration curiously labels it, ISIL).  There are really only two major concerns: 1) why the apparent delay or failure of this administration to have a strategy already prepared for a group who's existence and power is no surprise; and 2) what should that strategy be.

The first answer is fairly straightforward. Mr Obama has shown himself to have little or no interest in devoting the hard work necessary to be an effective President. There is a reason all of our Presidents have looked so worn down after their period in the Oval Office. It is hard, worrisome work. Mr. Obama prefers raising money, making speeches (often including totally unacceptable lies and never followed up on by hard work to make promises a reality), and playing golf while enjoying the image and perks of being President. Also, while he might have proven that he can play well with others, he also has shown a very thin skinned inability to work well with others. He simply doesn't want to do the work of being President, and doesn't want to be hounded or found fault with for that lack of work.

The second question is much harder: what to do. This country...and the world, really...has often shown little initial interest in people being subjected to genocidal and other treatment. The Nazi's are on point, and there are many instances on the African continent and in Asia that come to mind. We need a personal threat that smacks of reality or an actual attack to get our attention and inspire purposeful action. I would think that a lot of governmental people are very nervous about the depleted condition of our military, so I think the first step should be a re-evaluation of needs and purposes and a concomitant authorization of funds to make our military capable of responding to any number of threats.

Additionally, our military and Homeland Security should already have (and if not, to quickly develop) plans on how degrade the military abilities of ISIS (or, as the administration prefers to call them, for reasons unfathomable to me, ISIL) and screen those coming to the U.S. (including finally a securitization of our borders so that we actually know who is arriving) to prevent individual terror acts. And finally, it would seem obvious that any comments that are made by the President...or his "people"...should avoid phrases that seem limiting. One doesn't have to threaten; just indicate a willingness to do "what must be done" to protect and defend. Declaring that no military action involving "boots on the ground" may be true...but you are absolutely insane to verbalize it. Let those who would harm us worry about what we will and will not do...don't hand it to them on a silver platter.

Anyone have a better idea?

Monday, August 4, 2014


Ever notice how a child, when they misbehave, looks around with a sense of foreboding or fear?  They know they have done wrong and are waiting for the expected consequences.  Present and aware parents are there to respond...the child suffers the consequences that the child expects, and the learning about life in civilized society continues.

But...what about families where that doesn't happen?  No consequences.  Soon the child comes to believe that whatever instincts he or she was born with can be discounted as inconvenient and an impediment to doing whatever it is he or she wants.  Is it any surprise when those children break the law, both in their early as well as later years?

And...what about countries and ideological groups?  Does the same apply?

When, as an example, Hamas launches missiles at Israel, and the United Nations and others defend the practice...is that not the same as not visiting consequences for "bad" behavior?  And...I would suggest...that to allow that to happen over time, is to invite the presumption that there are no consequences and thus invite an escalation of such unacceptable behavior.

Hamas must be punished...or eliminated.  Which is not clear, but one or the other will happen.  But...I think that the United Nations is complicit in encouraging Hamas to believe that they would not suffer consequences for the killing of Israelis or for the destruction of the Israeli State.

Such thinking and behavior should never be rewarded or approved.  The United States of America should cease funding the U.N.  Other nations routinely fail to pay their dues; America should stop paying money to an organization that encourages violence toward others.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Does anyone out there remember Johnny Carson?  How about Everett Dirksen?  Remember Ronald Reagan? Can your remember what they had in common?  Civility!

I don't bother with late night tv anymore.  It is mean.  The jokes are mean...and I often think the stars are mean too.  I grew up...and more intelligent...with Johnny Carson.  He would poke fun at anyone who acted stupidly, or made a fool of themselves...but it was never mean.  He had a humor that was observational, not an attack.  Don't know how he did it, but he did...and he made America better for it.

Dirksen was a politician...but he understood that politics was a craft that required negotiation, not a "Sherman's march to the Sea."  Progress, as his ideology defined it, was slow...but not a reason for destruction.  He lost some.  He won some.  But he treated his opponents the same way that he treated his allies...with civility.

Ronald Reagan was a man with strong convictions.  He never foreswore those convictions.  Yet he negotiated with a Congress that opposed him to achieve progress.  He didn't demand "winning'"...he gave some and won some, but like Dirkson understood that it was a gradual influence that he wielded, not the label of a "winner" or "loser"...time would determine those things.  Both realized that the job of ruling the country came first.  Each put politics away once an election was over, because they needed to DO THE JOB!  Not only that, they did it exemplifying the art of civility while promoting their own agendas.

Today, I experience ole age with a certain amount of disdain for America.  Not for the country physically, but for our government.  There is no civility.  Oh, sure, there is feigned politeness...but it comes with obvious cynicism...it's not real.

And the President has no skills in negotiating.  Of course, he knows that so there is an avoidance of even entering that arena.  For the first time in my more than 70 years, I see a President afraid of the Oval Office.  I see a President unable to even call Congressmen and Senators and talk about solutions for problems.  Instead, he runs off to fundraise or play golf.  I expect that he is scared of showing his lack of experience if he sits down in the situation room with his military officers and discusses the ongoing world-wide challenges.  For such an intelligent, learned man, how could he not realize that the admitting of ignorance is the beginning of both knowledge and the inspiring of a desire of those around him to help.  Instead, he ducks, weaves and avoids.  And makes believe all is well.

His attitude, mentally, is the equivalent of the old story of the Emperor's new Suit of Clothes.

Unfortunately, this is NOT a fable.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A "probable" solution to the flood of minors coming over our Southern Border

Let us forget the "blame" game regarding the overwhelming flood of minor illegal aliens crossing our southern borders.  The first question should be "how do we stop it and get control over our border?"

The only logical solution I have heard so long has been presented by Senator Flake, from Arizona.  His answer:  Ship a couple of planes to each of the major source countries for these minors chock full of those very same kids.

Consider that families have paid many thousands of Dollars to human smugglers and the cartels to send their children to the "land of milk and honey" expected that we will take them in, and they will have a chance for the American success story.  I can't blame them.  And, truth be told, our current administration has given those parents every reason to think this country will "wink, wink, nod, nod" and allow them to stay.

But...if suddenly those children start showing up back home in planes sent by the United States Government, those parents have just thrown thousands of dollars away...dollars they had to skimp and scratch to get in the first place.  They will not throw...perhaps cannot...that kind of money away again without the likelihood of success.

The result would be that within 30 days the flood would start to abate, and within 90 it would virtually come to a halt, and the border would normalize.

That is not to say that there would not continue to be the ongoing drug smuggling and adult crossings, but that would be a matter for another, much longer, discussion.

Two or three plane loads to each country...9 plane loads tops...and this problem starts to go away.  Mr. Obama, you can fast track  that many kids in two months...get to work.  It would help mightily if you were to discipline yourself to stay in the Oval Office and actually work at this...but even if you have to assign it to someone else, get it done.  Fix this.  You can do it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Would Secured College Loans benefit everyone?

I recently heard that there are more than a trillion dollars in outstanding College Tuition Loans that are increasingly likely to go unpaid.  And the implication was that the federal government would have to step in and take the majority of the loss.

Somebody in charge of this has failed to have the elevator serve the top floor for some time for this to be the case.  A simple review of the risks would suggest that loans for any kind of study program need strict controls to prevent untoward risk.  Just consider the variables: the motivation of the student; the quality of the courses; the appropriateness of the courses to accomplish the goal; and  the likelihood of actually getting the job the student is preparing for and the pay being sufficient to live and also pay off the loan.

Do you know of anyone really looking at those things?  No?  Neither do I, at least not on a required basis.

When we want to buy a home, we need to provide certain qualifying information.  We need to show that our income level is adequate to enable us to pay the proposed monthly charge for the loan; we need to get an appraisal of the value of the house so that, if we should NOT pay, the lender can ultimately expect to get all...or at least most...of his loan value from a sale of the property.

Why can't we do this with college loans?  Consider requiring an application that would do the following:
  1) Indicate the potential student's goal; what is the career that he or she wishes to pursue;
  2) Indicate the number of jobs in the intended area of employment that is expected to be available in 4 (or 6, or 8...whatever the requirements) years when the student would matriculate;
  3) Show the ranking of the intended College in preparing students for that intended job;
  4) Compare the intended College with others that also prepare students for this area of employment, showing costs, both present and predicted for the period of study, percentage of students in each college employed in their area of preparation;
  5) Provide the curriculum..the courses and course load...that the potential student is committing to if the loan(s) are granted;
  6) An attestation by a qualified College Advisor to the accuracy of the analysis provided in 2-4 above;
  7) An agreement that after each semester, prior to release of the next semester's tuition, the Student will provide a certified copy of a transcript showing successful completion for graduation credit of all coursed taken in that semester, plus a certified copy of the course schedule to be taken during the upcoming semester together with a comparison to the obligation of course load committed to prior to the origin of the loan(s).

This would accomplish three (3) things:  it would a) show the quality of preparedness of the student for the College process, proving a sense of direction, together with the ability to provide a personal business plan for his or her life; b) it would provide proof of the value of spending for the degree in showing how likely successful employment could maximized and actually provide for repayment of the loan; and c) it would pressure Colleges to teach for the measurable benefit of their students, showing that there was demonstrable value in the offered degree.

It is true that this would have no effect on those of means...or perhaps more properly, of parents with means...in going to College just to party or "search" for themselves.  But it is their money involved, not the government's...which is to say, "ours", since it is our tax dollars that now fund such loans.

There are thousands of very good paying jobs right now that go begging because of our current over-valuation of a College degree.  My parents worked at whatever job they could find that paid enough to live.  They researched...looked...for better opportunities, figured out how to prepare to do those jobs and moved on, eventually starting their own business.  There was no guarantee of success...and there interim failures...but all served to teach them things that were required to succeed.  And succeed they did.

Would it be so bad for those without the money to pay for college to have to prove to any person or entity that was inclined to consider loaning them the money to go to college to show that proposed lender that they were making a good investment, to prove their readiness to work toward a goal that would provide for repayment to the lender, and a successful career for the applicant?

I would suggest that it would be a benefit almost as great as the degree itself.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

What does President Obama think?

I am old.  I remember my parent's thoughts about President Roosevelt, and I personally remember all of our Presidents from then to now.  Some I noticed more than others as they acted.  Others I have come to study as I grew older and wanted to "understand" ... not a totally achievable goal, but one can try.

What I found for most of my life was that, while I could disagree with their actions, I could always agree with their motivation; Presidents acted, in office, for the good of all the country and with recognition of differing beliefs on what the problems were as well as what their solutions might be.  There was a desire to represent all the people, not just one segment.

And all of the Presidents admitted to errors...and mistakes, both in evaluation and in execution.  They all had experience that they brought with them to the Office and surrounded themselves with people who were able...and obviously supporters.  But the prime consideration was ability, with ideological identity and loyalty following.  So...I didn't like a lot of our Presidents, but I respected them all...they campaigned, then upon taking office, stopped campaigning and worked in the Oval Office to serve the country at large...to serve ALL of the American people.

Were promises not kept?  Of course.  Were there compromises? Yes. None were ever perfect...but they served the country and seemed to realize that as President they owed an allegiance to each citizen, not just those who voted for him.  They were honorable men.  Men with which to disagree, but to respect and honor.  And they showed respect to us; in office they told us the truth, acknowledged failures and worked to make things better.

Then President Obama took office.  He promised to correct the problems with the Veteran's Administration, to be the most transparent administration ever, to fundamentally change America.  Well, one out of three might be good in baseball, but not so much in public office.

I cannot come up with any logical evaluation of President Obama's thought processes or his motivation. He seems to have chosen his Cabinet Members by looking first at loyalty, then at contributions.  I see no sign that ability or qualifications based on administrative accomplishments were ever considered.  That by itself is madness, because the government is far too large for one person to track, so able subordinates are essential if you are not to be ill served and surprised by problems.

Is there any doubt that a President has to be interested in actually administering?  Can you imagine that a President promising to correct the already flagged inadequacy of the Veteran's Administration wouldn't call the Cabinet Secretary responsible for that area every quarter to make sure that he was correcting the errors he had identified during his campaign and which he had promised to correct? \\

When your President campaigns on lowering health care costs and promises that if your are happy with your health care plan, you will be able to keep it, aren't you entitled to believe that?  After all, the campaign is over, he is elected and as President shouldn't you expect he must be speaking the truth?  How did that work out.

And how about your Representatives, who repeated that same plan.  How do your feel about a government where your elected officials vote to enact a bill without ever actually reading it.  How respected does that make you feel?

With the IRS looking at organizations on the basis of their expected ideological positions, rather than their technical qualifications, the Justice Department ignoring some laws that Mr. Holder disagrees with ideologically, but taking action where those with whom he disagrees, and Mr. Obama using Executive Orders to exercise King like power, by-passing Congress, my mind cannot find any way to understand Mr. Obama's purposes when comparing his actions to those of past Presidents...with the possible exception of President Roosevelt's attempt to pack the Supreme Court.

While it is clear that President Obama is an elitist and thinks highly of his opinions and has quite a thin skin when faced with opposition or challenge, that does not fully account for his administration.

Certainly, he lacked experience in administration.  But even after over one term, he still seems not to have developed an ability to work with...to horse trade with...Congress, nor even a recognition to develop personal relationships with those in the Congress.  That is troubling.  He seems to not want to work at the job  to which he was elected...he seems to salivate at the opportunity to leave the Oval Office for almost any reason: to campaign; to fund raise; to go abroad; to vacation; to play golf.

President Obama reads a great speech.  But the value of a President is how he follows through on what he says or promises in those speeches.  He has been proven a liar.  Some of his Cabinet Members have been proven to be not up to the job.  He has promised much, but accomplished little...and that is accompanied by a seeming inability to recollect his own promises, or acknowledge his failure to keep them.

My conundrum is that I simply cannot decide whether President is simply inept, or intending evil.  If someone could offer a third option...other than "both," I would love to hear it.  I keep coming back to the the work, "obtuse" but even that seems inadequate.

If he were a Republican...or anything other than a Democrat...I cannot understand how anyone could support anyone who was in President Obama's camp...following his party, his party's leaders or his party's talking points...

My State's Representative...actually MY Representative parroted Obama's promise of "if you like your health care plan you can keep it" nonsense.  Will I vote for him again?  Nope.  He has proven himself not only inept by not reading the bill before voting, but disrespecting of his obligation to represent my concerns...again, by not knowing what he was doing and listening to his party's leaders instead of to my questions.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I Truly don't Understand

I used to think that America's biggest problems came in the political arena.

Perhaps that was incorrect.  I have been avoiding the news for quite a time now, because it was just so disturbing and disquieting.  The political events in this country just seem beyond control, and I was just not ready to even consider the reports of every day events.  After all...the news is always bad.  No one ever makes money reporting good news.

But...I cannot understand how Americans have allowed their lives to deteriorate to the degree that nightly news reports suggest is becoming the norm.

Child molestation is apparently now being "punished" by probation or less than one year sentences.  There was a time when such a crime would require the death penalty with approbation from all.  Those with criminal records that show a consistent lack of honor for a civil life when suffering invited injury or death by law enforcement are eulogized by demonstrators, some of the most vocal of which are clearly interested more in defying law of any sort rather than any individual injustice.

Colleges refuse to allow movies or discussions about abortion criticisms, but refuse to allow the showing of a movie documenting "honor" killings by Muslims and other domestic violence practiced by Muslim extremists.  Charter Schools in NY that provide true opportunity to disadvantaged students are closed by the NYC Mayor arguably elected by that same electorate.

HUD is a vehicle to bring the wrath of the Federal Government on property owners who operate in good faith on the basis of just one complaint, with absolutely no showing of a balanced view of counter claims, thereby threatening fiscal disaster to individuals and HOAs across the country.

Ever try to get the government's help on anything?  Unless you claimed minority status, did you ever get any satisfaction?  The odds are great that you would answer "no."  Why is that?  We live with the belief that the government exists to serve us, right?  But it turns out that our belief is an illusion.  Our government's actions would appear to prove that it serves their own officials, both elected and appointed, and those who can pay them (with votes or money...or both).  So we are being governed by a dictatorship by committee...and we are powerless to defend ourselves.

I have this feeling that when I die, it will be by natural causes...whether that is true, or really by government action or neglect I do not know, but I know what I suspect...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

America is becoming a "Sad" Country

America has been many things over the years: desperate, chancy, energetic, powerful, original, and dangerous, among many other labels.  But "Sad" wasn't one of them...until now.  America has become a very "sad" country.

Americans were always known for their energy, their independence, their pride and...yes...even for their foolishness.  But they were never sad.  They were optimistic. Their soul spoke of survival, overcoming and moving forward.

But Americans now more and more are dependent...mostly on government, but also on their parents and "others," expecting "someone else" to take care of them, expecting "someone else" to suffer the consequences rather than themselves.  Our leaders apologize to other nations for taking care of them in their needy times, show deference to those who treat their own citizens as second class beings and other nations as being beneath them.  Such is the state of our country...and it's leaders.

America's citizens allow it's leaders to spend beyond the country's means, not holding them accountable.  America's citizens allow their children to be burdened by this debt that was created to "give" our current populace a "free" lunch.

Some of us...not enough...feel guilty, even though we have not only not approved of these actions, but have spoken out and voted against them.  We feel sad.  We are embarrassed.

Unfortunately, the majority of American citizens apparently are not embarrassed, sad, or sorry.  They party on, on their children's dime.  How sad.  Long ago, we would have termed such actions and attitude as criminal.  But...laws, morals are now not mandates, but "suggestions" and right and wrong are decided by a minority vote, lest someone's feelings are hurt.

The last days of the Roman Empire seem glorious in comparison.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Is America important to it's Citizens anymore?

History can tell us a lot.  But most of the time we look at and read history as a story about "others."  And, of course, it is.  But...they were human beings, as are we.  They didn't have the technological advances that we enjoy, but they were advances far beyond those who went before.   The Greeks did amazing things and discovered much.  The Romans went even further, as life became a bit more complicated, but showed what could be done with public utilities and expanding governance.

One wonders how future civilizations will look upon America.  My suspicion is that we will fade nicely into the amalgam of civilizations that rose on achievement and declined on mediocrity.

Do you wish to argue the point?  Fine.  Argue away.

This country rose above all others on the face of the world at its time because it was a meritocracy.  For many reasons, there was no consideration for those not able to perform or survive; rewards for those who survived were just that...survival.  And as time went on, added to that were riches and power.  The rule was: perform or die.  Those unlucky or not able died; they did not procreate.  Only the genes of those who were survivors duplicated.  And the nation prospered.  Just as the Greeks and the Romans prospered.

But they...and America...over time changed.  Care was given to those who did not perform.  Lives were saved who otherwise would have perished.  And many of these people became a drain on the resources of society.  And even more damaging, their attitudes and needs became direction for the nation.  Attitudes were changed, resources were re-allocated.  Those who achieved were disrespected and became the accused.  Achievement was discounted...and no longer encouraged.  There were no longer to be any winners or losers.

Together with a declining responsiveness of government to the individual, people came to realize the futility of "trying" and came to accept the idea of "entitlement," without the slightest sign of embarrassment or guilt at receiving a living that was not earned.

That is where we are today.  Some of us older people, who can remember the past and honor what our parents and those who came before them, try to get attention...but no one listens.  After all, what we propose is to honor an existence that involves consequences and responsibility, while the current government offers ease of existence, lack of guilt to go with lack of effort.  And an increasing number of citizens and inhabitants of this country no longer care about self-worth or effort.  And...given the situation...can you blame them?

But it saddens me that once I die, only future historians will even recognize the ongoing pattern...and I bet their generations will be just as blind to their own fall.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Is Control of our Government gone forever?

When was the last time that you felt that your government was being responsive to you, your values, your needs?  When was the last time that you felt that the government was there, in the words of the old half-joke, to help you?  When was the last time that you trusted the government to do the right thing?

If you are like most of the people I know, on all sides of the political spectrum, the answer is, "never!"

For a long time I have searched for a true answer for why this seems to be true.  Some have blamed ideology.  Others point to the need for term limits.  But these answers seem hollow and superficial.  Would changing those things change our attitude about today's United States of America Federal Government?  I suspect not.  So, my search has been ongoing, fitfully, for some time, since it seems that if one cannot define and truly identify the source of and reason for a problem, there is no hope at all for "fixing" it...assuming that it can be fixed.  And suddenly a whole new area of study and possible answer to my ongoing questions came to my attention.

In November of last year, one Professor Donald Livingston, Professor Emeritus at Emory University, gave a speech at the University of Virginia on Republicanism (the government form, not the political ideology), David Hume, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln.  That speech was broadcast on C-SPAN just last week.  Now, most of us have had ideas come to us suddenly and the proverbial light bulb goes off in your brain.  But...this speech was flashbulbs of of incredible brilliance going off continually for an hour of rapt listening...and nodding ascent.  Never before had I even considered the effect of our form of government on the current status of the country.

Certainly I had been taught that our government was not a pure democracy but a Republic.  But the difference between a pure democracy and a republic was never, at least in my case, a matter of intense or critical study.  Nor was there ever a study of the advantages and limitations of a republican form of government.

What an error in our educational content.  But, perfectly understandable.  Why?  To answer that question completely requires the reading and study of commentaries on the subject by David Hume and Thomas Jefferson.  Or...for the equivalent of a Cliff Notes summary you might want to watch Prof. Livingston's speech on C-SPAN (  http://www.c-span.org/video/?316075-1/ThomasJeffers   ) which would reduce what otherwise would take months of study to about an hour of video.  But I will share the substance of what stuck with me from watching and listening to Professor Livingston...and I am confident that substance will get your attention and initiate thought and debate.

The general view of republican governance was one where size mattered, if you were going to have representative rule.  If you get too big, you lose representative responsiveness.  Jefferson's vision was one of additional republics being formed as both population and area grew, maintaining the people's control of government.  The republics would then band together in a Commonwealth for cooperative defense and trade.  Up until the Civil War, succession was often discussed and seen as a legitimate evolving action for growth.  It wasn't until Abraham Lincoln reflecting the governmental philosophy of Thomas Hobbs, determined, by force, that the southern states could not secede and the "indivisible" term became the norm when speaking about the republic. Jefferson's view of the various republics being the political unit, to one where people became the the political unit and control was to be centralized.  The French Revolution resulted in the formation of the French Republic, the first modern large modern state republic, looking to the individual as the political unit.

No one comments on the mutually exclusive concepts of republican government as laid out by Jefferson and then by Lincoln (following the Hobbs model), and yet the significance and effects of this clash on our lives is long standing and enormous. The two approaches are incompatible, as Livingstone states.

All of this is interesting on its own, but you might ask how this translates to our perception that we have lost control of our government...and it is a good question.

At the time of the adoption of the Constitution, the House of Representatives elected one Representative for every 30,000 people.  But in 1911 the number of Representatives was capped at 435.  The result is that today there is one Representative for every 720,000 people.  If this ratio were applied to the original 13 states, the House would be composed of 5 members, and 8 states would have no representatives at all. On the other hand, to keep the same 30,000 to 1 ratio today, the House would have 10,500 members.  And the Supreme Court now is the decider of what the Constitution says.  This means that we have lost the republican view of governmental responsiveness as well as the rule of law.

Additionally, consider that the number of votes necessary to enact laws and authorize spending, all concentrated in Washington, D.C., is 268, and if you limit that to a quorum minimum, the number drops to 135.  This level of representation has resulted in a national debt of over 17 Trillion Dollars, and total unfunded liabilities variously estimated to be anywhere from $220 Trillion to $238 Trillion.  This is the burdon that our government has placed on our descendants.  To give you some prospective, in 2011 the Gross Domestic Product of all of the countries in the entire world amounted to $72 Trillion.

Now you start to see the source for the correct impression that we no longer control our government.

So...what to do.

David Hume wrote on how to solve the problem of size and save the responsiveness of government in a large republic.  Both he and Jefferson realized the greatest danger to the existence of a republic was corruption; the danger of a group of representatives to make decisions for their own purposes and aims. The answer was to divide America into 100 republics, not states, and move the House of Representatives out of Washington to each republic capitol, with each republic having 100 Representatives ( getting us back close to one representative for every 30,000 citizens).  The Senate would pass a bill, and then it would send that bill to each Republic for ratification.

This greatly eliminates the possibility of corruption, as the cost and logistics of lobbying 10,000 Representatives in 100 different locations would be at best, problematic and at worst, impossible.  There would also be the benefit of Representatives living and being constantly available to their constituents at home, rather than in the comforting isolation of the nation's Capitol.

With such a process, the Senate would not want to waste time with bills with "earmarks" and "pork" projects that were clearly not beneficial to all, as there would be no chance of passage by the House of Representatives.  And those bills which have merit, but not on the gigantic scale of the Commonwealth, could and would be adopted by those republics individually as they saw the smaller scale need.

Of course, the best operation of the republican form of governance is still the small republic.  The analogy presented by Professor Livingston seemed most apt, even if not absolutely correct from a medical viewpoint: when a cell grows beyond a certain size, it divides...when it does not it is a cancer.

I am convinced I have discovered (for myself) why our government no longer serves us; why it may still be "of the people", and "for the people", but is no longer "by the people."  Now I can begin to study and ponder on what the solution may be, including those as presented by the application of David Hume's "Large republic" concept.  But is seems clear that the status quo has nothing to offer.