Thursday, November 16, 2017

America is on the brink of becoming a "3rd world country"

My definition (and my suggested reason for the existence) of a "3rd world country" is the absence of the rule of law.  The status has nothing to do with the form of government.  Even a dictatorship can be responsive to the needs of a majority of its people.  Chaos, violence, denial of respect of "others," and a desire to eliminate or render powerless and inconsequential all those who would disagree or challenge a "different" point of view are the characteristics most prevalent.

With the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the United States, the above characteristics have become predominant...even in those elected to public office.  Prior to his election, once an election was concluded and votes counted, those who considered themselves on the losing side would grouse, whine and moan...often loudly for a bit, promising the collapse of civilization as they knew it...but then retreat to wait for the next election;  there was a respect for the election process and the rule of law.

One can argue that the election of President Trump was a legal revolt by the voters.  Clearly a majority felt that those elected to public office were no longer honoring their oath of office to represent the citizenry, but were actively pursuing  self-aggrandizement, accumulation of personal wealth and of power.  Those possessing the perquisites of elected office find the presence of Mr. Trump in the White House to be a threat to their "elite" status and power, so some cases quietly, in other openly and all they can to render him powerless.

Unfortunately, these efforts have not been confined to sanctioned legal political maneuvering.  Elected holders of office and even the press have openly challenged the right of President Trump to hold office, regardless of the fact that the election has been legally certified.  For the first time, elected office holders are urging the portion of the public that disagreed with Mr. Trump's electioneering promises to disregard and disrespect the election and the rule of law, with the intent of disrupting and eliminating any discussion on policy and action in favor of emotional mob rule.  Some have even spoken of their desire that Mr. Trump be "eliminated" only to later disingenuously argue that they only meant removal from office...even as their acolytes and supporters  violently demonstrate, injuring persons and destroying property as they go.

These people behave as if laws are "optional"...only to be obeyed if they happen to agree with them.  Civility and respect for others is now almost universally absent in America, except for small, almost secretive enclaves where people still value disagreeing with others without acting disagreeably.  Friendships and marriages are failing and disappearing because of this encouragement of mob rule as a replacement for the rule of law.

It could be argued that this path started decades ago when the secularists in America began convincing a majority the the rules of behavior handed down in the Bible should be considered the Ten "Suggestions", open to both interpretation and human approval.  Predictably, that now is extending to our secular laws of behavior, as those who chose to ignore and act contrary to law insist that they should not be required to suffer "consequences" for their transgressions.

With the ongoing combination of polarization, disrespect for those who do not agree with us, and the encouragement to disrespect not only the law but also those who enforce the law, it is certain that increased violence will result, as those so inclined will feel encouraged to kill and otherwise eliminate all who do not agree with them.  And that, my friends, is exactly what happens in 3rd world countries.  Take the time to breath deeply, set emotions aside, quietly calm yourself and consider if this is what you want for your country, much less the world around you.

Mob rule in this country was violent.  And the day after, most of the members were quietly embarrassed and ashamed of their actions.  Unfortunately, today's Media encourages and excuses the excesses, even labeling them as justified and proper, not particularly surprising as it if financially and ideologically rewarding for the media to do so.  One wonders if the framers of the Constitution had that in mind when they gave the Press the freedom to libel and slander as they wish under the guise of "freedom" of the press.  The result is that one Mob rule moves on and pops up somewhere else, sometimes under a different name or "cause."  It makes me consider seeing them as the mob equivalent to the renown "Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game in New York" first described in "Guys & Dolls."

It would be reassuring to think that America will wake up at some point in the cold, harsh light of reason and reverse course.

That isn't going to happen.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The "Establishment" Politicians on both sides still don't "get" it!

Perhaps it is because they see any success by President Trump as "Armageddon" to their elite political existence.  I find it hard to imagine that with the myriad professional politicians with elite educational credentials are unable to see the true reason for the election of a businessman with considerable baggage, personally and in business,  to the highest office in the land in preference to a life-long political operative who had so much in common (with, of course, ideological differences) with those on both sides of the aisle.Can they all hold the conviction that Secretary Clinton lost because she was a bad candidate and had at least as much baggage as Mr. Trump?

While it is clear that all professional politicians motives, even as they each deny them, include self-aggrandizement, accumulation of power, money and a sense of an elite status, not one of them seems to have the ability to sense, much less analyze and conclude, that the American voter is fed up with the lying and failure to actually care about the things that the voters who put them in office truly care about.

Some of them seem to think that because they were re-elected even as Mr. Trump won in last November's election they were not seen by the voter the same way that hindsight seemed to indicate those same voters saw Mrs. Clinton.  One wonders if they have any inkling that if in their own races there had been 3 or more choices (including a brash, non-politician) that they might have suffered the same fate as Mrs. Clinton.  Because with very few exceptions, it is clear that such would have been not only possible but likely.

Those of the political establishment have for years...decades, actually...gotten away with making promises that were clearly abandoned as soon as the election results were tabulated.  In some cases it is clear that those promises at the time they were made were clearly lies.

Now that President Trump has held office for almost a year, it has been clear to every citizen capable of voting that every other person elected to the Congress of the United States of America acts to prevent any significant accomplishment by the new President...every one, even those who ran on a Republican ticket.

For eight years, Republicans claimed they had a better way of providing Healthcare in America and were prevented from providing relief for the American people because of the veto threat from a Democrat President...FOR EIGHT WHOLE YEARS!  But once President Trump took office, having promised that when the Republican controlled Congress presented the bill to him, he would sign it...that Republican-controlled Congress failed to pass the promised legislation. That is too egregious to be an oversight, a mistake, or something slipping through the cracks!  They lied.

Meanwhile, the Democrats for the previous eight years had proven over and over again that they also were lying to the American people.  They also were moving further and further to the Left, as they took the side of demonstrators who took to the streets hurting people and destroying property and even attacking, hurting and murdering police.  They claimed such violence was only "sporadic" and that it was all part of "free speech."  Somehow they missed the concept of the guarantee being for the right to avoid prior censorship, but not consequences for what was said.

It is unfathomable that professional politicians do not recognize that the majority of the country see them as the equivalent of an invading, occupying force that holds office through subterfuge and fraud while exercising their power to obliterate individual freedom(s) and control both speech and action.

Clearly, the citizens of this country do see that as the truth, hence the election of President Trump.

Instead of colluding with each other to try to take Mr. Trump down...instead of investigating the election, obstructing real partnership to get reasonable legislation passed...and colluding with a clearly "Leftist" media for the same purpose, they should recognize, admit, and act to prove they are prepared to abandon their lust for money, power, and status by actually listening to and acting on the wishes of their constituents.

If they do not, the next election cycle will see a lot of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle facing challenges from candidates that will make President Trump look like an agreeable teddy bear.  And those candidates will win.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Our Educational System is failing...but THIS is ridiculous!

We continue to allow our Educational System in America to deteriorate.  Objective evaluations show performance to continue to fall when compared to what students in other countries are achieving.  We literally do nothing about it...except to point fingers at people and factors other than ourselves.

The reality is constantly growing more apparent.  High School Diplomas no longer guarantee that holding one means that you can do basic math, spell most words correctly and recognize when you have to check a dictionary (do any young people even have one anymore, much less know what one is?), have the ability to write a coherent sentence or note with decent handwriting so that it can be read a half hour later?  High School Graduates no longer even seem to have had instilled a sense of discipline or the ability to concentrate on any task (other than "texting" others) for more than 45 seconds at a time;  they interact face to face badly, seemingly unable to communicate without using an electronic device.  They have not been taught the rudiments of "problem solving" or civilly discussing different sides of any given subject.

This results in Colleges and Universities being inundated by applicants that several decades ago would have been deemed insufficiently prepared to benefit from exposure to "higher" education and been denied admittance.  And parents would have recognized how inappropriately prepared such young people were and realized that to fund such would be a waste of money.  Yet...Colleges and Universities are well attended.  Why?

Our (Your) government has made loans easily available.  To the immature person, this seems like "free" money, since repayment is not until after graduation which fells like eons away to the new applicant.  These loans don't require a well defined "purpose" or "motivation" for so-called advance studies.  A young adult can "park" themselves in a University or College for 4 years or more...and the institution they attend welcomes the government money that enables them to fund all sorts of courses in what is a largely non-competitive environment for the faculty.  The presence of young people so ill prepared for what used to be the rigors of acquiring a University education required (and apparently continues to require) a down-grading of subject matter and grading standards.  Such a waste of time and money is deplorable.  But it is worse than that.  No longer is debate, challenge, or problem solving allowed, much less valued, in many Colleges and Universities.  News Flash: the real world doesn't have "safe spaces."

Why, you ask, this diatribe now?

When President Trump announced that he was going to discontinue DACA as a Presidential Executive Order, young people around the country walked out of classes, out of work and congregated to declare such action as being "cruel" and "hurtful" and even un-Constitutional.  AND they were joined by many of our elected Public Officials.   Apparently, our diminished educational system's deficiencies has already percolated to those holding public office!

How can I suggest such a thing?

The DACA program is only by means of a Presidential Executive Order.  It is NOT a law.  It is subject to the personal whims of whatever individual holds the office of President of the United States.  This makes it a political football with no real benefit to those it alleges to help...a very uncertain thing that leaves some level of fear in the minds and hearts of those who are subject to it.

By demanding that Congress act to codify DACA so that it becomes the law of the land, President Trump is working to make the benefits certain and sure, which would depoliticize the program, removing it from use to fear-monger those who are subject to the current vagaries of politics.

The President has given Congress 6 months to get a law drawn up and to present it to him for his signature...a signature that he has stated he would provide.  And he has further indicated that if there is some proven need for additional time to get this done, he is prepared to re-visit the matter.

Anyone with a REAL education, prepared to read, ask questions, research would have almost instantly realized that for those affected, this was a cause to demonstrate THANKS...not fear.  The fact that not one group realized the truth just emphasized how our refusal to redesign and rededicate our Educational System to serious education has resulted in what can only be described as a nation of indoctrinated idiots, with apparently no ability to think and evaluate correctly.

It is impossible to not think that this is the ultimate proof that our educational system is no longer remotely involved with educating.  It has failed miserably.

Friday, August 18, 2017

"Mob" Rule apparently now acceptable in America

Life in America today suddenly seems like a combination of a seriously illogical dream and being on the trip that Alice took to "Wonderland."  It appears as if someone set off a device that has deprived almost everyone of any common sense or logic.

Dealing with the relatively new phenomenon of "Terrorism" is bad enough; the senseless killing of innocent individuals by Muslim Extremists, Mentally Ill individuals and a couple of Far-Right Fanatics is an unfortunate fact of life today.  All violence or any sort, whether against persons or property, is to be condemned and punished no matter who the perpetrator.

But by what logic does this sudden desire to sanitize and/or revise History become a populist movement, seemingly endorsed by the Media, the Democrat Party (and its members) and the Republican Party (and its members)?  Has the entire country become so narcissistically enthralled by a desire to "attack" something that such action a denial of historical truth will erase anything or improve life in America in 2017 for anyone?  If this was the 1850's in our West, tomorrow the mob would wake up feeling guilty and avoiding looking each other in the eye out of embarrassment and guilt.

Our President condemns the violence in Virginia by all who took part in that violence, and goes on to condemn the attitudes of Racism as being "wrong" and "unacceptable" but the Media, the Democrat and Republican elected officials and anyone on the ideological Left insists on misinterpreting his comments as equating the beliefs of the Racists with the beliefs of those who declare that Racism is wrong.  Instead of seeing the statement(s) as the plea and demand for non-violence by both sides, promising punishment for those who act violently, as the call for sanity that it clearly is, they incorrectly label his comments in an attempt to profit politically.

Seems as if there is a strong logical basis for suggesting that all of America...or, at least the media and the political establishment (all sides)...should properly be undergoing treatment in a mental hospital.

The only speech allowed these days seems to be Leftist, Socialist, Progressive, Marxist, Liberal and Fascist.  All others are shouted down or prevented from speaking without being denigrated and insulted with the aid of the media.  What is going on today is the over-turning of the Constitutional guarantee of "Free Speech."

For those who respond that the "speech" being quashed is "bad" speech, they might consider that if a group that disagrees with that definition gains power, the reversal will make it impossible for them to speak at all.  The court held that the church that demonstrated at military funerals with a message that clearly was hurtful to the families involved had a Constitutional right to so demonstrate.  There was emotional hurt but no violence.

How much more effective would it have been if the legal march in Virginia (they had a permit, after all) had simply been allowed to take place...BUT NO ONE ATTENDED OR REPORTED ON IT?  After all, they were after publicity.  Any intelligent person or group would have won the day by simply ignoring the is a fringe group with no significant support and that would have been clear is all had simply stayed away.  But unfortunately today's attitude is that anyone with whom you disagree must be shouted down and "prevented" from saying anything.  Why?

Politicians say a lot of things that I don't like.  But they get to say them anyway.  News reports are very often wrong on facts or incomplete and slanted...but I don't get to shut them down.  But I don't want to shut them down.  If I feel strongly enough about a matter, I can write letters, make calls, ask questions and made suggestions.  But the actions of the last week suggest that my right to do so will not exist for long, because this feels like an attack on our very rights under the Constitution.

When History is being sanitized revised, and re-written...and mob rule replaces our Constitutional guarantees, we are in very big trouble.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Declining Education in America should not be a surprise

No one disagrees that America's educational system is losing ground to the rest of the world at an increasing rate.  But there seems to be little agreement on why...or what to do to reverse this.

Like everyone else, I have some ideas that might bear consideration and discussion.

Let's start with some presumptions:
-the purpose of education is a function of a societies view, which is not a constant;
-the importance of education is determined by both the home and society;
-how effective education reaches defined goals is NOT defined by students.

Today, our society had become so sensitive and delicate that our history is being "sanitized" and revised so as to not "offend" anyone's sensibilities.  Discussion of the cause as well as the proofs of climate change is seen as no longer legitimate, despite many instances that cast doubt on both data and reasoning.  Can a country where facts can be distorted, history be re-written and challenge disallowed ever successfully "educate?"  Do we WANT to educate?  Define that term...

Our K-12 educational system was based on the Prussian model which had two goals: 1. indoctrinating youth to act in concert as commanded, and 2., providing reading, writing and mathematical skills sufficient to make the graduate employable and to be a worthwhile citizen of the country.  For many years, it accomplished this, but with reduced indoctrination results due to American family values and demands that insisted on independent problems solving skills, and questioning of authority due to the lessons carried over from the War for Independence and needs for survival.

As the Industrial Age developed, increased skills were needed, yet problem solving became an even more important skill.  With time,  and increased security, family interest in History lessened but continuing knowledge of History continued in schools as a "habit."  Also increased security allowed the luxury of also lessening the need to be productive in order to survive, as government began to promote a need to "support" those who could not support themselves.

Today, advancement through the grades does NOT require successfully acquiring proficiency in reading or math, and many schools are now eliminating the need to know how to write (I have no idea how these individuals will be able to record anything or communicate over any distance should our power distribution system be disabled for an extended period).  Now "social" promotion is the norm and a High School Diploma is virtually useless as a qualification for a reasonably well-paying job.

K-12 Schools no longer are places where discipline is instilled, education to facts, or the art of problem solving is the norm.  The inmates are running the institution.  Immature children are not being trained, they are being coddled.  Learning is no longer being demanded.  Those interfering with the learning process are no longer being removed from classrooms or the schools, resulting in students who wish to learn being deprived of the right to accomplish that goal.

Money is not the answer; legislation is needed to provide the authority to control our youth in schools so that they can be taught the basics needed to survive in a real world.  The "individual rights" concepts focuses on single trees as all around our forests are dying by our own hand.

Universities and Colleges are no better.  They used to be places where an aspiring individual went to develop their ability to compete, argue, convince even as they learned more about the world around them, both present and past.  They acquired advanced ability to communicate, question, and solve problems...often in intense disagreement with both classmates and Professors.  Such disagreements were valued as "teaching" be able to argue and defend a position or point even as you learned some often very valuable things from your opposition...and you respected your opponent and the opposition, knowing that it broadened your understanding of your own point of view even as it was amended in light of newly learned strengths and weaknesses.  There used to be competition to be admitted to such place.  And, of course, you needed to pay for it.  Some graduated from High School and worked for years to put away enough money so they could take college courses and ultimately gain greater security for their was a privilege to be able to achieve this, demanding dedication purpose, and hard work.

Today, attendance at a University and/or college is touted as a "right" instead of a "privilege."  But today's University is not the one that I enjoyed more than a half century ago.  Why?  While there are probably many answers, one can be sure that with the failure of High Schools to graduate youth with the skills needed to hold ordinary jobs, the Universities and Colleges now serve to do that.  However careful examination proves that such is not the case; math, writing and problem solving are no longer of any obvious interest today.  Today Universities are also, like K-12, run by the inmates; "safe spaces", "nonaggression" and "being offended" are the focus of today.  Administrators are dedicated to making their students "comfortable" and Professors are (apparently willingly) advised to not offend their students or require them to do anything with which those students disagree.  How disgustingly plebeian are the majority of today's College and University graduates.  One strongly suspects that the reason that the government makes student loans so easy to acquire is that these institutions of "learning" are great for parking a lot of our youth so they don't appear on unemployment rolls for at least 4 years...  The government apparently cares little for the low probability that a majority of recipients of these loans will get an "education" that qualifies them for a job that will enable them to live and pay off those loans...

Do we want Universities that train, rather than coddle and indoctrinate?  If so, restore competition in admittance, in grading, in performance, including a guarantee of open and challenging dialog between both students and faculty, and require students to come with a life plan, knowing why they are in a college setting (other than to please their parents).  The least desirable element should be comfort.  Learning, advancement, challenge are uncomfortable.  They require ongoing effort of a lifetime, and University should be where one learns the habits that make success possible...not an artificial comfort zone that increases the likelihood of failure in a real world.

Maybe...just maybe...if we consider honoring what used to work, once again our educational "systems" can revert to successfully preparing our putative students to not only survive but achieve success in the real world.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Will Mueller turn out to be our modern day Torquemada?

The voters of the United States of America, under the impression that they had the right, elected Donald Trump to be President of the country.  He did not come from a long line of politicians.  He was not a politician.  He was not active in any political activities, other than as they affected his businesses, until disgust with politics motivated him to run for President, which led to his subsequent election.  Evidently a lot of people agreed with him.

The political establishment was neither amused or content; they were horrified..  For politicians, the "game" of politics takes on the aura of religion; it is a way of life and they believe that being "called" to be a politician establishes a common bond that transcends ideological differences.  They become "family."  So, while they can fight between themselves, when an outsider appears and disagrees with their family "habits" of behavior and activity, they stop fighting and combine to defeat the newcomer.

Ah...but how to accomplish this?

The "people" have spoken.  Clearly a multiple pronged attack is clearly in order.  First, mount a campaign of both falsehoods and half-truths that, if pursued constantly and loudly, will cause a diminution of President Trump's support. Secondly, do all that is possible to prevent any accomplishments reach the eyes and ears of the public, hoping that the public will conclude that no Presidential promises are being kept or being effective.  Third, work across ideological boundaries (but cautiously, so the public does not become aware) to defeat bills that would enable actions desired by President Trump.

However, there is a chance that these efforts will not be enough to defeat President Trump's support or prevent his accomplishing some of his declared goals.  What more can be done?

It is unclear who actually triggered the concept (one suspects that all would take credit if asked "off the record"), but the appointment of a "Special Prosecutor" took place.  Usually, this is in response to evidence that a crime has been committed and the goal is document it and determine the responsible party(ies) to be sent to in "Watergate."

Curiously, after more than 9 months there is no evidence of a crime.  With the porous nature our nation's capitol, if there were such evidence it is inconceivable that it would not by now have been leaked to press corp proven ravenously anxious to publicize any illegal act by President Trump or his supporters. Yet...we have a Special Prosecutor.  Not only do we have one, but he is one ideologically oriented to the Democrat party which is the lead ideological group seeking President Trump's removal from office.  Certainly a good number of Republican Congressmen and women would cheer the event also...but oh so quietly, while giving lip service to President Trump.

The power granted to a Special Prosecutor is immense.  It is reminiscent of the power granted to the Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition in the late 15th century, Tomas de Torquemada.  And there are more similarities:  t
wo prominent leaders, King Ferdinand II of Aragon, and Queen Isabella I of Castile (you may substitute "Sen. Schumer: and "Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi" if you wish) appointed Torquemada to "cleanse" Spain of "non-believers" ( you may substitute "non-politicians" if you wish) in 1483 and he remained in office for the next 15 years.  There is no "expiration date" for the office of Special Prosecutor.

Both the Special Prosecutor and Torquemada enjoyed virtually unlimited power authorized by the government with no over-ruling element (while the Special Prosecutor may in theory have some of his actions subject to challenge, the political price is so enormous that it rarely happens).

The various forms of Inquisition lasted in the Hispanic Americas until 1825, in Portugal until 1820,  and in Spain until 1846.  In Italy, it ceased in 1870.  But the office, renamed twice, remains to this day: Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.This particular enumeration of "Special Prosecutor" is the first that was clearly established as a "fishing expedition" and lacks a specific law-breaking event to investigate.  Much as was the Spanish Inquisition, the Special Prosecutor may do and investigate whatever he chooses with little if any legal, political or Sense of Justice; Justice will be what Mr. Mueller declares.

Not sure that any of us should be comfortable with that.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Is it about Health Insurance...or Health Care?

Even as "Obamacare" is imploding from costs that are not covered, young people who are not signing up, and premiums that are sky-rocketing, the Media, Ideological Right and Ideological Left point fingers at each other, and talk past each other.  And it is so obvious that one cannot escape the strong suspicion, if not certainty, that they are doing it on purpose to mislead the vast majority of the public.

First, a review of the facts shows that Obamacare has apparently increased the number that is covered by healthcare of some kind.

The difficulty with this claim arises when we ask ourselves if it is insurance, regardless of scope, that we want to extend to people...or is it increased paid-for actual medical coverage that all of us see as the goal.

Healthcare Insurance comes in various least it used come in many forms.  You could chose to select catastrophic insurance plans, where the costs were low because you had no benefit until medical costs exceeded a selected limit...often more than $5,000 for an illness...because you budgeted for normal and ordinary Doctor's visits and accidents.

Then there were the normal, what I used to think of as the Blue Cross/Blue Shield, plans.  These covered normal costs of doctors and hospitals in a variety of ways.  You could chose a network of doctors and hospitals, out of network providers and select any number of co-pay limits and/or drug coverage.

The point of these offerings was to enable any person or family unit to balance cost of premiums against their medical coverage preferences.  Those who had the choice of insurance provided by their employers usually benefited from the employer's negotiating good premium terms, and often had portions of those premiums actually paid by the employer.  But if you left that job, every person had the option of continuing that coverage, albeit at a higher rate.  But you wanted to continue coverage so that you didn't trigger a non-covered period (usually a year or 18 months) for any discovered pre-existing condition.

The motivation for getting, paying for, and continuing Medical Insurance coverage was to protect against preexisting conditions which might or might not develop.  It wasn't enough to have just any policy; you needed to have coverage that was useful.

Obamacare was and remains the equivalent of a con, because it claims to offer a benefit that turns out to be non-existent; the premiums are increasingly exorbitant while the deductibles are so high as to turn the policies into catastrophic only coverage that isn't what most purchasers had before and expected to continue under the promises made by President Obama regarding Obamacare.

And now the Congress is repeating the same mistake.  The only motivation that will cause younger people (and families) to chose to purchase Medical-care Insurance is the fear of discovery of preexisting conditions.  Obamacare proved that a financial penalty wasn't enough if there were no prohibition of coverage due to preexisting conditions.  Besides, without that exception of coverage, what you are trying to provide is NOT insurance at all, but socialized medical coverage.  Without making citizens responsible for the consequences of their planning and their actions, you are socializing the medical costs of everyone.  And that is exorbitantly expensive.

If the government wants to provide ability and incentive for all citizens to have USEFUL medical coverage, provide a limited period (perhaps 18 months) for everyone to select, sign up for, and begin to pay for medical coverage of their choice with coverage for preexisting conditions.  But upon expiration of that period, reinstate the preexisting condition exclusion.

Additionally, for the poor (and there needs to be a certain definition of what that is) set up a means for catastrophic coverage costs to be reimbursed to the purchaser by the government, with the government also picking up any intervening hospital and practitioners' costs upon their supplying factual and audited data.

The key, though, is to mandate that the people themselves have to be responsible for selecting, and processing the necessary applications for coverage and, where appropriate, reimbursement.  If that is done, truly everyone will have the opportunity to access meaningful medical insurance coverage.  But it is opportunity that needs to be provided...not a guarantee.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Are the "Hate Crime" statutes attempts to by-pass the Constitutional guarantee of free Speech?

For three quarters of a century I have been angered by many events that centered around the exercise of free speech as guaranteed by the American Constitution.  Most were personal events that occurred after I had gotten to voting age and had to endure what I considered bad language that not only was often physically impossible but also un-civil.  These offended my perception of what communication should be in any civilized society.

Then there were general public exercises of offensive behavior and speech that seemed to violate existing social norms.  Included in this list, was the burning of the American Flag and the behavior of the Westboro Baptist Church, of Topeka, Kansas, at the funerals of fallen servicemen.

I admit to a visceral anger at such behavior, and the wish for the power to put such activities to an end.

On reflection, while there was great danger in any preemptive prohibition on speech and/or action that did not encourage actual physical harm to others, it seemed that in cases where a case could clearly be made for damage being inflicted on innocents or others those who were injured should have the right to restitution.

Logic suggests that the courts, SCOTUS included, have wrongly and carelessly expanded the definition of "free" in free speech to include freedom from consequences of that exercise.  A careful consideration of the concept of free speech seems to clearly mean that the founding fathers wished to prevent the preemptive prohibition of any person from stating a case on any subject that they found compelling.

There is no action in this world that does not have consequences for those committing actions...or speaking words.  ONLY in America are people allowed to insult others, call them vile names and, in the case of politics, actually lie about accusations and behavior.

In any moral sense, this is wrong.  Certainly any person can comment or accuse, but isn't it just common sense that there needs to be truthfulness in the comment or accusation?  Absent truthfulness, shouldn't any, famous, poor, able to call any such commenter or accuser to make the victim whole?  What social, moral or governmental purpose is served by allowing reprehensible language.

Note that I see such action as being in civil courts, and never as being based on statutory laws.  This should never be in the criminal realm.  Why?  Because then the government is given control of determining what is acceptable or not.

I abhor the passing of "Hate Crime" and "Hate Speech" legislation.  The activities specified are already against the law and the courts have jurisdiction and those engaging in such actions can be punished for their actions.  Frankly, the motivation for abhorrent behavior is not of importance and certainly should not the subject of governmental definition and intuition.  As far as speech is concerned, the Constitution is clear on it being allowed.  I certainly would allow action to recover provable injury from such long as it was in civil court and the judgment made by a jury.

Hate Speech statutes seem only to be a means for the Federal Government to "pile on" for largely political purposes when some crimes are committed.  That is not reason to create more power and put it in the hands of the level of government most removed from the people.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Possible Solution to our Education deficit

The degradation of the educational system in America is the result of many factors: the erosion of the family unit, the unionization of teachers that focuses on protecting the welfare of teachers instead of the education of children, and the Prussian Model used as a basis of our educational system through twelfth grade which is better designed for indoctrination than for learning and independent problem solving, among others.  The focus on the family cannot be recreated by any government.  It must come from the people.  Likewise, a desire to change our educational system from one of standardization to one of maximizing individual learning must also develop from the people and the teaching community working together.

But perhaps if the educational professionals themselves considered a radical change in their way of organizing, they might lead the way to improvements in the other two areas.  Here is one possible approach for consideration.

This involves a great deal of spending up front and that will turn many people off.  But if we look at how much money has already been appropriated only to fail to improve education in this country, perhaps we could at least try something a bit different.

How much more respectful and empowering would it be if all educators ruled themselves through a Professional Association matrix instead of a union matrix?  If administrators and teachers ruled their own membership in a manor designed to mandate good teaching methods as well as results, with awards and raises given by their own judgment and standards based on the achievements of their students, they would achieve three things:
     1, They would insure that all of them were dedicated to educational achievement, with the ability to set and demand high standards of each of their members based on their own self-interest;
     2.  they would have professional respect from parents as well as the general public; and
     3.  they would have the self-satisfaction of knowing that their students would be productive citizens. to implement this?  One idea would be to approach the teachers and their unions with the concept that ALL salaries for three years would be tripled.  Yes, tripled!  In return, the teachers would create their own Professional Organization empowered to rule itself, set minimum requirements and methods for self-evaluation based on student achievement as well as the teachers' Organization evaluations, and give up all tenure.

During those three years the teachers would themselves select those who's performance on behalf of the students qualified them for terms of tenure...which would be for a set number of years (perhaps 8 years), upon the expiration of which the Teachers Professional Association would do a review evaluation, the satisfactory finding of which would provide for an additional 8 year tenure.  At the same time, the Teachers Professional Association would be tasked with reviewing the educational program for learning efficacy, seeking improvement in the learning matrix and experimenting to improve the educational system with the goal of enabling and insuring that all students reach a certain minimum standard of reading, math and general knowledge while those with exceptional or advanced abilities are nurtured to maximize their educational growth.  But the key would be to put the responsibility AND the rewards for achieving that goal in the hands of the teachers themselves.

When Teachers and the general public come to see that Teachers are dedicated professionals exercising professional ability to regulate themselves to excel every bit as much as Doctors and other professionals and demonstrably requiring that all their members perform at the same high standards, they will:
   a. receive the admiration of the public and parents;
   b. which will give them greater authority to enable changes in education that will provide better results for all students;
   c. which in turn will demonstrate value that will provide for remuneration that all excellent teachers deserve; and
   d. the increased status will draw highly motivated and able new recruits into the profession.

At the end of the three year period of adjustment, re-selection of teachers deserving tenure and the creation of the basis for self-regulation and self-evaluation, the salary level would initially go to double the original (or, decrease one-third from the then effective level).  As time passes, the Teachers Professional Association can develop payment rates.  Perhaps they will decide to create a hierarchy of teaching ability (level 1, 2,3, Masters) either generally or by subject that would stay with the teacher and set the level of pay regardless of where or at what school he or she worked.  And/or there might be set adjustments based on cost of living when a teacher moved from one area of the country to another.  And, if a teacher moved during a tenure period, that tenure would continue until the expiration of the current term, with the usual re-evaluation to be conducted by representatives of the Teachers' Professional Association.

Just one idea to consider.  It seems wrong to criticize without attempting to come up with a way of improving or changing what seems currently not to be working.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Were the Russians Really helping Trump win?

I have not seen one argument or suggestion that Russia or those directed by Russia were not trying to help Trump win the election.  But I would suggest that in fact they had no idea that Trump might win, regardless of any Russian-backed activities.

Consider that there were no countries, residents, governments or leaders throughout the world that expected Mr. Trump to be elected.  You can safely bet that that was the view throughout Russia too...including Mr. Putin and the leadership of Russia.

So...what was really going on?  I suggest that it not only possible but probable that, with the success they had in hacking into various American sources a year or more earlier, that they decided to test the American Public's reaction to some of the politically indefensible and embarrassing information they had acquired.  It is likely that they discovered far more than was leaked during the campaign season.  To reveal what they did release was arguably a signal of proof that they had "stuff" that the DNC AND Ms. Hillary would find not only embarrassing, but possibly grounds for impeachment; that not-so-subtle message would have made influencing a President Hillary Clinton easier and perhaps even more effective.Governments usually go to great lengths to hide their hacking operations...and do so quite effectively.  The DNC hacks were not particularly well hidden, as known cut-outs were employed.  Arguably, they wanted the government, expected to be headed by a President Clinton, to know.

Whether all of this is true or only true in part is not something I can prove.  But when you consider that the entire world, in addition to the Democrat party and its adherents, expected the election of Ms. Hillary Clinton to the American Presidency, what other use did the leaks serve?  Most of America knew about the leaked data and that didn't move the polls...and  neither did Trump's other promises and claims.

Think about it.