Friday, October 20, 2017

The missing cause of poor academic results

The Thursday Oct 20 Detroit News has a series of editorials on why Michigan students in particular and U.S. students in general are falling behind other nations in educational achievement.

I have been reading such editorials on public education's failures for many decades. Such attempts at solving the problem range from 1.lack of money (this is a perennial), 2. no supplies, 3. lack of access to this or that or some other thing. Even circular arguments like 'poor academic results are due to lack of access to a quality education' have been used!!!  I can't count the times I've seen articles claiming we need better standards, new standards, a stronger or newer commitment to better results and so on.

But if one wants to really make progress in finding a cure for the never ending poor academic results, one needs to examine the one concept almost never mentioned, curriculum. The questions that need to be asked are what is the reading curriculum, the math curriculum and the history and science curricula?

But first in my view we must ask what is a curriculum? According to this blog:

"In the most general sense, curriculum is a course of study. But as Great Schools Partnership notes, in practice it typically refers to objectives, lessons and assessments:
“...curriculum typically refers to the knowledge and skills students are expected to learn, which includes the learning standards or learning objectives they are expected to meet; the units and lessons that teachers teach; the assignments and projects given to students; the books, materials, videos, presentations, and readings used in a course; and the tests, assessments, and other methods used to evaluate student learning. An individual teacher’s curriculum, for example, would be the specific learning standards, lessons, assignments, and materials used to organize and teach a particular course.”"
I agree with this description. So a curriculum is a method of teaching a given subject, a lesson plan so to speak which would include all relevant materials. For example, Spanish and English just to name two, are phonetic languages thus the most efficient way to teach them would be phonetically. Sounding out vowels and consonants into syllables followed with rules of grammar and so on. That would be a reading method or curriculum.

Chinese however, employs a pictorial method usually called sight recognition where the phonetic method could not work. There are of course other attributes of these two methods of learning. But I think that if an elementary school system is turning out students that can't read at the end of grade three then it should compel us to examine with a fine toothed comb the reading curriculum, the lesson plans and even teacher's aides used in class. The same approach should be taken to all other subjects.

Nowhere in the above linked-to editorials is there a demand to examine the curricula of our elementary and secondary schools. We need to make that demand now. Since most of our schools are run by the government I will further recommend looking for political candidates that will demand a microscopic look at curriculum, lesson plans and the like. Next year is an election year so now is a good time to let candidates know your vote depends on their stand on this issue.

Monday, October 09, 2017

About gun control

Since the Las Vegas shooting the Democrat Party, media and academia have been barn-storming for more government restrictions on guns. Yet we already have laws against fully automatic rifles, against killing other humans and the hotel I'm told, was a gun free zone. None of these laws prevented the shooter from murdering 59 people.

Criminals by definition don't obey laws. The notion expressed by Senator Charles Schumer and the power lusting Democrats that more laws will magically result in criminals obeying them which will then make us safer is beyond the pall of sloppy thinking or any other seemingly innocent rush to judgement. There is nothing innocent about it.

The leftists (progressives) that now dominate the Democrat Party care only about power, the power of force over the masses. You can't reason with them. If you try to talk to them in terms of principles like for example you point out that the method of killing-guns-is not the problem but rather the act of killing is the crime, you may as well talk to a wall. They are not open to reason.

A truck was used in Paris to kill 85 people. Should we call for a ban on "assault trucks"? The notion that a weapon can have a designation of 'assault' is to impart free will to inanimate matter, it is to believe  that guns run around jumping into the hands of people compelling them to pull the trigger. To designate assault as the only purpose is to deny its ability to be used in self defense, a major but required evasion for progressives.

But, you might ask, Democrats don't really believe that do they? Yes they do. Democrats have a long history defending robbers, murderers, rapists, (Hillary defended successfully the raper of a 12 year old girl) various psychopaths and other maniacs claiming "It's not your fault. Society made you this way."

And so it is with Mr Paddock. The availability of guns made him do it. He is only partially responsible I presume, for not understanding the evil intent of the guns. You see, he is the victim of an irrational society flooding him with these evil guns. But I say to put any blame on the guns at all is to remove some blame from the shooter and there is nothing morally good about that though it is standard MO for progressives.

Many Democrats are claiming that guns are out of control. But the question to be asked is "Whose control?" Every gun owner I know is in control of his guns. Mr Paddock was in control of his guns. They weren't out of control. Obviously the only control acceptable to Democrats is governmental control and that--a disarmed citizenry, is the real goal of the Democrats.

The claim that Democrats are only concerned about public safety is a real stretch. All statistics show that where guns are plentiful, murders by guns are way down and where guns are heavily restricted murder rates skyrocket. Yet you can't even communicate these facts to them. Whatever their motives, a concern for public safety is not one of them.

More articles on gun control can be found here.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Intellectual self defense on climate change

In my previous post "Slanted News" I mentioned that we need to be aware of the techniques used to move us into a certain desired mindset. I mentioned the use of adjectives, verbs and adverbs that are designed to imply something nasty with the goal of smearing someone or some position. Like for example "The dirty, rotten Republicans met with the noble and virtuous Democrats today." Well you get the idea.

My next example is provided by Washington Post writer Eugene Robinson whose article titled "Climate-change denial is a cruel insult to storm victims" which appeared in the editorial page of the Macomb Daily of 9/10/17. Admittedly this is an opinion piece and opinions often have little relation to facts. But it is an example of several slanting techniques.

Take this sentence:
"No rational U.S. administration would look at the devastation from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and seek to deny climate change. At present, however, there is no rational U.S. administration."
This is a form of the argument from intimidation. Its most popular form is on the order of "Only an idiot (or moron or irrational fool) could believe that X is true." It is meant to appeal to a person's feelings in the hope it will result in something like "Well I certainly don't want to be an idiot or irrational fool, so I won't support the idea that X is true."

Here, the phrase "No rational administration ...would deny climate change" is designed to evoke something like "I will not support this administration because it is irrational" ignoring the fact that the administration's irrationality has not been proven yet just asserted.

But Mr Robinson goes on to provide what he thinks is evidence of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change (CACC) i.e. man made climate change. He asks among other things:
"Why did Harvey dump unprecedented, almost biblical, amounts of rainfall on Houston and its environs? Why did Irma spend longer as a Category 5 storm than any other storm on record?"
These and other questions were answered by real scientists I saw on TV. Harvey stalled over the Houston area because of two high-pressure centers, one just northeast and one just northwest  of Harvey preventing it from moving so it just kept dumping on the City. Irma stayed a Category 5 for a long time because of its huge size. Neither these nor other events have any relation to man made causes. There is just no evidence for it.

But the real deception foisted on his readers is his use of the term denier. It is an anti-concept. Anti-concepts are designed to destroy a valid concept by replacing its original meaning with a new meaning.

In this case the warmers want to obliterate the concept 'critic' in the public mind. A 'critic' is one who criticizes a proposition, like global warming, because he has either evidence contrary to the proposition or he knows the evidence supporting the proposition is flawed. Either way a critic has reasons for his criticism.

And that fact is what the warming mongers and their acolytes in the media are out to destroy. A denier is one who has no reasons. He just denies for the hell of it. So if they can replace 'critic' with 'denier' then the existence of contrary evidence is hidden from the public. Gone. Oh happy day for the saviors of the planet! (And the destroyers of modern civilization.)

Next time you read an article pushing man made climate change just substitute the word critic for denier and the meaning should become clearer. Take the above headline "Climate-change denier criticism is a cruel insult to storm victims." How can criticism be an insult to victims? It can't. That's why 'critic' has to go. If there are no critics, there is no contrary evidence.

Mr Robinson goes on with the standard global warming talking points [my comments in brackets] like humans have increased "...the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 40% [not a problem because our atmosphere is actually CO2 deficient] or that carbon dioxide traps heat [nope, it just slows down the escape of heat to space but cannot trap it] or that global land and ocean temperatures have shot up [another nope, temps have increased as the always do in an inter-glacial but have not 'shot" up] or that Arctic ice is melting [such melting always happens in cycles due to the two main oceans' conveyor belts] or that sea levels are rising [ see this and this from CO2 Science showing no increase in accelerating rising]. Actually, the evidence against man made climate change is overwhelming.

To further provide you with sources of intellectual self defense on climate change and CO2, I want to highly recommend the web site of CO2 Science, a weekly roundup of studies showing the benefits of increased CO2 in the atmosphere for all living things. I eagerly recommend the following additional sources:

SEPP the Science Environmental Policy Project
Watts up with that?
Climate Depot 
And if you want to get into the heavy science see
Climate Audit 

Please visit these sites and check out their blogrolls. They contain links to many other sites reporting on the real science of climate change.

But you won't find this knowledge on the MSM. They routinely deal in anti-concepts and arguments from intimidation. You know, knowledge is like food. We can't sit at the kitchen table and wait for someone to plop it down in front of us. We have to actively go get it. Same with the truth. We cannot expect the MSM to plop the truth into our heads while sitting on the couch. We must go get that too. I've listed some top quality sites with scientific truths for your cognitive self defense. Hope that helps.





Friday, September 01, 2017

Is the media unfit to be objective and fair?

The Sunday 8/27/17 Detroit Free Press oped page carried a rant by former Free Press editor Paul Anger who asked "Can we all agree now that Trump is unfit to lead?"

Well, no, I don't agree.

There are a number of things Mr Anger said with which I disagree--like his notion that Trump is un-American. Though I reject that viewpoint, I will support his right to have it and express it publicly.

I want to focus on a more serious injustice, his claim that Trump legitimized the Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Va. I want Mr Anger to understand that the Nazi rally was legitimized by our Constitution which guarantees everyone the right of free speech regardless of how obnoxious or even evil their ideas may be like those of the Nazis.

This a good test of one's loyalty to a principle like that of free speech. Most people don't have a problem agreeing with each other. It's when we disagree that problems arise. But even if someone's ideas are wholly evil, a loyalty to free speech requires we defend their right to voice them. Defending someone's right to speak evil ideas is not the same as defending those ideas.

Mr Anger properly gives a list of the evils of slavery and Jim Crow laws for which the KKK and neo Nazis were demonstrating. His complaints about Trump are that he spoke "...so erratically about what happened in Virginia" and that Trump's response was 'belated and tepid' and "There were "many sides" to blame?" and there were "fine people" on both sides. This last was indeed wrong. There were no fine people on either side as far as I could see. He deserves criticism for it. But 'belated' and 'tepid' and 'erratic'? We should execute him immediately?

But Trump's claim that there were "many sides" to blame for the violence is spot on. You could see that on the media's videos where Antifa (anti fascist fascists) were wearing helmets and body armor vests. One does not wear these these things if one intends a peaceful protest. No, they intended to be violent.

Mr. Anger states: "And as someone who spent almost five decades in journalism, I am beyond fed up with Trump's attempts to demonize the media. Members of the media are not perfect. We're human. We're your neighbors, friends, family member. But the media's first responsibility is to be objective yet relentless in reporting and fair yet fearless in commentary."

Objective? Fair? Let's take a closer look at this.

 There was a rally designed by neo Nazis and some KKK members to protest the taking down of a statue of Robert E Lee, a civil war general for the Confederacy which wanted to keep slavery and Jim Crow. The Nazis applied for a permit to peacefully protest. I say peacefully because when you sign such a permit you agree to the terms and conditions therein one of which is always that your rally remain peaceful. Did Mr Anger mention that? Nope.

Nor did he mention that the so-called counter protesters consisting of Antifa and Black Lives Matter did not get a permit. Obviously neither group planned on being peaceful especially since one group wore body armor. Clearly both groups think they are above the law. Did Mr Anger mention that? No.

Most of the time when there are protests and counter protests the local police keep both sides separate precisely to avoid violence. That did not happen in Charlottesville. Why not? There was a police presence yet they did nothing to maintain the peace. Did Mr Anger report this? No again.

 It certainly looked like the powers that be-the mayor and/or governor-wanted the violence to happen. Why that? I say in order to tie it to the Trump administration. Of course this is speculation but not without some warrant.

For example, the neoNazis hold a rally every year and the only media coverage they get if any, is local. The national media routinely ignores them and properly so. Routinely ignores that is , until Trump was elected. I fully expect more media to look the other way as BLM and Antifa hold more violent rallies somewhere and to search the land for more evil and try to tie it to Trump.

Can the media actually be 'objective' and 'fair'? Sure, when it comes to things like "local PTA holds bake sale" or "Dog bites man." But when it comes to politics? Forget it. A nonobjective and unfair media has been around for a long time. Back in 1971 Edith Efron published her book "The News Twisters" on the 1968 election between Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. One of the things she shows is how the 3 major networks (ABC, NBC and CBS) gave much more air time to Humphrey than Nixon.

Here is a quote from page 50 on the media's general opinion.
"The opinion-selectivity of all three networks resulted in:
   !)A portrayal of Mr Humphrey as a quasi-saint.
   2) A portrayal of Mr Nixon as corruption incarnate"

As for Trump being un-American, well I find it a stretch to believe a man who was awarded the Ellis Island Award by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations for immigration and ethnic philanthropy, with co-Award winners Mohammed Ali and Rosa Parks, could somehow support Nazis and KKK types. I don't buy it.

 I've always believed that one should look at the essence of opposing sides. To me the Democrat Party has been for a totally controlled society since FDR at least. Trump in his bumbling, stumbling way claims to be for America and more economic freedom. I'll take the latter any day.

Mr Anger says he's always been an independent voter until two years ago when he decided to become a Democrat. For a man who says he condemns the KKK, slavery and Jim Crow, it's sad to see him join the party that promoted all three.



Tuesday, August 08, 2017

What was the Obamacare folly designed to accomplish?

Sunday 8/6 Detroit Free Press's Brian Dickerson is at his fact altering editorializing again. He claims that:
"Donald Trump has been predicting Obamacare's collapse since he began his presidential campaign more than two years ago — and certainly, no one has done more than he has to make that prophecy come true."

Donald Trump was elected precisely to get rid of Obamacare. Most American voters knew it was a disaster. Trump in fact said many times that the newly elected GOP must save America from the utter catastrophe of Obamacare, that the GOP could let it implode because the Democrats will own those results but moral concerns dictate the GOP not let that happen.

Mr Dickerson talks approvingly of various subsidies the ACA (Affordable Care Act) provides for some people who are hit with higher costs. But he ignores the fact that those subsidies are paid for by higher taxes on the very people the ACA claims it wants to help.

Donald Trump has done nothing to make that above mentioned prophecy of collapse happen. It was written into the ACA. It was designed to fail so that the next Democrat president, Hillary, would declare that freedom has failed so it is now time for government to take totalitarian control of health care.

The details of the ACA were not important. That is why many Democrats-like Nancy Pelosi-and some Republicans, saw no need to read it. What was important was the ultimate goal, government control of every individual's health.

The ACA is not about helping anyone. Insurance is about money. If you control a man's money you control him. That is what the ACA is designed to accomplish, with Mr Dickerson's eager approval.


 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

London's Acid Test of Diversity

This is so true. Multiculturalism and diversity are destroyers of modern civilization. Both are cognitive package deals whose goal is to destroy diversity of thought. 

London's Acid Test of Diversity

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Drain GOP swamp first

Wow! I get emails from Real Clear Politics every day. Today RCP editor Carl Cannon's round up of news items included this headline. "Senate approves news Russia sanctions, limits on Trump" by staffer James Arkin. The first paragraph reads:

"The Senate on Wednesday approved new sanctions against Russia for its interference in the 2016 election. Perhaps more significantly, the measure also includes a provision preventing President Trump from lifting or adjusting the sanctions without congressional approval."

This seems really far fetched to me. First of all, What interference? It is treating Russian interference in the election as established fact even though over 7 months of investigation has produced zero evidence to support it.

Secondly, the Senate is controlled by Republicans and since the vote was 97 to 2 this means Trump's own party is defying him, joining the Democrats' attempts to undermine him.

Thirdly, Obama placed sanctions on Russia by way of an executive order which can be reversed with a new EO by a subsequent president. Even if the original EO calls for the approval of congress, it is my understanding that EOs apply to the executive branch and not Congress. That would violate the separation of powers. Am I wrong on this?

It seems to me the Democrats are looking for WW3. They seem to forget that today's Russia is not the Soviet Union with desires of world domination. Putin is no friend of capitalism but he is concerned about Russia.

I find it amazing that Congress had no problem with Obama making nice with "Death to America" Iran and giving them $170 billion to achieve that death but go hysterical over Trump's hope to try a peaceful agreement with Russia.

I don't think Trump will have much success draining the swamp unless he drains the GOP swamp first.



Thursday, June 15, 2017

4th Circuit Court deals blow to individual rights


     The Friday 5/26 Detroit News print edition ( I could not find a link in the online edition) carried a front page news item "Court deals new blow to travel ban" by David G. Savage, Tribune Washington Bureau. Evidently, The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 10 to 3 that "...it appears to discriminate based on religion and that the administration's argument that the order was needed to protect national security was a "pretext" offered in "bad faith."

     Please understand what this means: we should never have bombed Japan in WW2 because doing so was discriminating against their religion, Shinto. Their religion treated the emperor as a god or godlike. His every command was to be accepted on blind faith and obeyed. America's self defense then was just a "pretext" determined by our own "bad faith." Evidently, that 'bad faith' caused Pearl Harbor. Thankfully, none of these justices were around in WW2.

     This is what happens when justices drop context when considering legal decisions. They dropped several contexts big time in this one.

     First, is the question, what is the purpose of our laws? Generally speaking, their purpose is to provide justice. But that leads to the next question: according to what standard?  That standard is provided in our Declaration of Independence. It is man's unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness guaranteed to all men equally. This should be the standard by which all laws are to be written.

     It's a simple formula actually: If an activity violates or threatens to violate a citizen's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, Congress shall address it. If an activity does not violate or threaten to violate a citizen's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, Congress shall make no law. This in turn means the Constitution and all its amendments must be held to this standard.

      So when the founders wrote the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,...." The context here has to mean that any religion that requires its followers to violate the rights of other humans cannot receive judicial sanction as a rights compatible religion and must be exempted from the first amendment. The reason is plain: a rights protecting society and a rights violating religion are incompatible.

     To hold that a rights violating religion should have the same legal status as rights compatible religions is to ignore the purpose of law: to protect individual human life in a social context. It is astonishing that these 4th Circuit Justices cannot see this. (The truth is that they are blinded by their previous acceptance of an out of context notion of the concept 'discrimination', a topic for another day)

     I understand that not all Muslims seek to kill infidels. But the fact remains that all the major religions have repudiated their more violent and brutal pasts, except one, Islam. Plus, their bible, the Koran, orders them to lie to all infidels to gain their confidence then kill them. So how can we infidels trust them? By what standard? For those Muslims already here however, it has to be the principle of assuming innocence until proven guilty.

     But in my view, those seeking to come here anew to establish Sharia law must be turned away. It is an admission of wanting to overthrow the government. The attempt to establish Sharia Law here in the US should be grounds for deportation or imprisonment for the same reason as an attempt to overthrow the government.

      The second major context dropping is accepting a principle, moral or political, out of the context of rights protection. For example, if you accept the principle 'honesty is the best policy' without ever putting it in context, it can hurt you. A thug breaks into your house and demands your wallet. Then asks 'do you have any more'? You say 'yes, $300 in the second dresser drawer under the socks.' He takes it and leaves. Your honesty just cost you an extra $300. Loyalty to the virtue of honesty here leads to the destruction of life values, not their survival.  In this context honesty was the worst policy.

     And so it is with immigration. Allowing massive amounts of unvetted, uncontrolled immigration the pretext that immigration is always a moral virtue regardless of any hostile intentions by those immigrants is risking suicide. I contend there are contexts in which immigration needs to be supervised or controlled like in war or at least vetted for diseases if coming from a stricken nation.

     This leads to the third evasion of context: treating immigration as though it were exclusively a domestic policy issue. It is also a foreign policy issue which I wrote about here.

     In that essay I imagined what I had hoped then President Obama would have said in his speech on immigration but didn't. One paragraph:
"We need to find out why our neighbors to the south are not creating the conditions in their nations that exist here in the US so their citizens don't have to come here to be free and prosperous. Again, this is something that needs to be discussed not only by our congressional houses but by the State Department as well. Foreign Policy is this Department's domain. It needs to be developing policies with perhaps incentives or even disincentives to be applied to and/or negotiated with our southern neighbors. This isn't happening right now. It will going forward."
Although that paragraph was about immigration from our southern neighbors it applies to all immigrants. Yes immigrants have a right to their pursuit of happiness which includes the right to try and come here. Yes we are a nation of immigrants and need to stay that way. I'm all in favor of open borders but not from nations that have sworn "Death to America." Even though we did not declare war on them, the Muslims in Iran declared war on the U.S. long ago.

It was President Obama who first identified the 7 nations as terrorist hot spots that Trump wants vetted. But do you think if Obama had followed up with a ban from those nations the Democrat Party and news media would have gone hysterical like they are now? There would be not only silence but eager approval.

These 10 justices are engaging in blatant obstructionism and should be rebuked by the Supreme court. From the New's article:
"All 10 judges in the majority were Democratic appointees. The three Republican appointees dissented."
That's all the evidence we need to know that these justices (and the Democrat Party and the news media) have no interest in law, justice or individual rights.



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Monday, May 15, 2017

Double Standards for me but not thee

It could be a candidate for the eighth wonder of the world. I'm referring to the bulldogged resistance of the Democratic Party and its acolytes in the media. After losing the white house to Republicans, they have a born again concern for things like the Constitution, principles, rule of law and separation of powers among others. Although Democrats paid lip service to these values when in power, they were largely ignored by the party leaders and their media champions.

Case in point: the Sunday 5/14 Detroit Free Press' Brian Dickerson posted an oped on how Trump's judicial appointees could protect us from an imperious president if we examine them closely. The need to examine them critically is true enough. But his first paragraph says:

"The men who wrote the U.S. Constitution never met Donald Trump. But he was precisely the sort of president they had in mind when they invested the other two branches of government with the authority to corral a commander-in-chief with pretensions of autocratic power."
One has to ask where was Mr Dickerson's concern for the separation of powers while Obama routinely sidestepped congress to get what he wanted? For example, when the president signs into law legislation passed by congress, only congress can alter it. But Obama altered or postponed several parts of the ACA until after the then next election. That is supposed to be unconstitutional. Evidently loyalty to the separation of powers is only expected of Republicans not Democrats. He continues:

"The good news for champions of a robust judiciary is that Trump is not terribly interested in the judicial process, and that he has largely delegated the business of identifying and vetting candidates for judicial office to people who are."
I agree. That is exactly what Trump with no judicial experience, should do, rely on those who do have such experience. Dickerson then adds:

"The bad news is that some of those people are less interested in promoting the rule of law than with greasing the judicial skids for the same special interests that already wield outsize influence in the other two branches of government."
Who are 'those people'? Who are the special interests that wield 'outsize influence'? No answer. They are simply evil bad guys lurking about, which we are to take on faith.

 But 'greasing the judicial skids' has been on the Democratic Party's dream list going all the way back to FDR and his attempts to pack the SCOTUS with progressives. Evidently, greasing the skids is OK for Democrats but not Republicans. Later Mr Dickerson claims:

"Trump took office with the opportunity to fill an unusually large number of seats on the federal bench. Now, after hustling to fill the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia's death (and prolonged by the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's unprincipled refusal to schedule confirmation hearings for President Barack Obama's nominee to replace Scalia) the White House is turning its attention to 129 lower court openings."
I think those 129 seats are what the Democrats and media really fear. But why was Senate Leader Mitch McConnell's refusal to schedule a  hearing on Obama's nominee 'unprincipled'? From the NYTimes:

"WASHINGTON — As a senator more than two decades ago, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. argued that President George Bush should delay filling a Supreme Court vacancy, should one arise, until the presidential election was over, and that it was “essential” that the Senate refuse to confirm a nominee to the court until then."
The above statement is in the form of a principle. Just not one Mr Dickerson or the MSM feels loyalty to this year. Perhaps loyalty to that principle will be born again in the next Democrat administration. Mr Dickerson concludes with:

"Last week's transparent attempt to take the wind out of the FBI's investigation into the administration's ties to Russia is only the latest signal that Trump's grandiose conception of presidential prerogative is on a collision course with the constitutional reality."
No it isn't. It's on a collision course with the wishes, whims and feelings of the Democrat Party and their baggage handlers in the media. Nor is any wind taken out of the Russia investigations. Mr Comey did very little if any investigating himself. He had a vast number of investigators working on many cases. His job is that of an administrator coordinating teams and helping where needed and turning over results to the Attorney General.

I wonder where the concern about presidential prerogative was when Bill Clinton, under investigation by the FBI for the Whitewater scandal, decided to fire the FBI director? Was that director getting close to discovering something pernicious? Obviously, firing FBI directors is only permissible when Democrats do it but a no-no when Republicans do so.

I think what we are seeing today is a clash between a false reality adopted by an intellectual class of concrete bound mentalities no longer able or willing to think in terms of principles, and a public that can still do so but lacks the integration needed to form a coherent philosophy which is needed for a consistent movement. So a frustrated public is striking back at the establishments the only way it can, by supporting an administration that wants to punch the establishment in the nose.

This can be futile because the intellectuals are well organized and united by their common anti-conceptual method of thinking. Novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand pointed this out nicely:
"This kind of psycho-epistemology works so long as no part of it is challenged. But all hell breaks loose when it is--because what is threatened then is not a particular idea, but that mind's whole structure. The hell ranges from fear to resentment to stubborn evasion to hostility to panic to malice to hatred." (from the essay "The Missing Link" in her book "Philosophy: who needs it"pg40          
This hatred is what we are seeing today. While Mr Dickerson's oped is one of the more milder ones, it is representative of how media pundits often employ a double standard against Trump as opposed to any Democrat.

 If America can get principled intellectual leadership, principled political leaders will follow. But it can't be done backwards, by focusing on politics first. Perhaps Trump can buy enough time for such a principled leader to emerge. Hopefully.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

They only care about maintaining control

      The tooth and nail tenacity with which the Democrat, Republican and media establishments are resisting President Donald Trump's attempts to drain these swamps reminds me of a commercial I saw a few years ago on local TV. It showed an elderly gentleman standing in an auto repair shop in front of a larger man in mechanic's coveralls. The elderly man looks at the camera and proudly announces: "I always take my car to Joe's. He's fixed my transmission 26 times."

     I think we can all agree that TV commercials are prone to wild exaggerations and this is certainly one of the wilder ones.

     I now ask you to imagine with me that this commercial was not an exaggeration after all, but rather true: this gentleman-we'll call him Phil-actually did take his car to Joe's to have his transmission fixed 26 times. Fact.

     Now, given this fact, would you say that Phil's highest goal was to get his car fixed right? Or that his highest goal was to keep Joe in charge of fixing his car? It's rather obvious that after 26 times, Phil's main goal is to keep Joe in charge of fixing his car, and that the goal of getting it fixed right is further down on his priority list, and probably not even on it. I'm sure we can all be telling ourselves yes, that makes sense but I for one would never be guilty of that. Right?

     Well, I'm here to say wrong. We are guilty of it. All of us.

     First, year after year we see our roads and bridges crumbling. Pot holes that require more money to patch this year than two years ago. Endless lines of orange barrels turning our roads into obstacle courses. Yet our political and intellectual leaders in academia and the media keep advising us of the practicality of  putting our transportation needs in the hands of Joe's public transportation.

     Second, not year after year but decade after decade we see our kids coming out of school, especially in the inner cities, unable to read, can't write coherently about what they read, can't give change for a dollar without a calculator and can't get into college without taking two, three or more remedial classes.

     Even outside of the big cities, many graduates cannot think in principles. They can't identify the premise on which a particular idea is based. Our primary and secondary schools are failures. Yet our professional leaders insist it is practical and moral to continue placing our children's minds under the auspices of Joe's public education.

     Third, now we are told that it is practical and moral to put our lives and that of our loved ones under the control of Joe's public health care. In fact we are constantly told to let the government provide almost everything our lives require. So the question is, why are we allowing ourselves to be put into these boxes? Why can't we start thinking outside the box of Joe's government control?

     This is my main point. It is we who have to teach ourselves how to think outside the box of Joe's government control. It is you and I that have to research things like private roads in America, toll roads in America and how else can they be funded. We must look at private for profit and non-profit educational systems, private health care and so on. How can we identify a candidate's ability to think outside the box if we don't know what that looks like ourselves? Happily, some of this research has already been done.

     For example:

     There are lots of private roads in America and they are maintained nicely. We need to study these and call for the government to begin a process of auctioning off some of its roads.*

     The same with education. The public school problems have been around for a long time. A March 25 2002 Detroit News article headline reads "Voters to politicians: improve the schools"

Another Detroit News article on Dec 11th 2003 headline "District parents: Dump new math"

A Detroit Free Press article of Oct 16th 2004 says "Detroit students fall farther behind state." Those articles are 13 to 15 yrs old. So what have the media been saying recently?

     A Mar 17 2016 Detroit News article by Ingrid Jacques headlined "Mich. residents believe public schools failing." She cites a poll showing "...less than 30% of residents believe Michigan's school-age children get or have access to, the best education possible."**

     Another editorial this time in the Detroit Free Press by staff writer Nancy Kaffer is titled "To fix Michigan schools, we must fund them."***  It's an endless plea for more money which has never helped in the past. So we see nothing has changed in at least 15 years.

     The same with health care. First Lady Hillary Clinton tried to get Hillary Care passed during President  Bill's first term. It didn't fly then but with constant pressure from academia and the media to put our health in the hands of Joe's government, they tried again with President Obama and succeeded, for now anyway.

     So it is up to us to make it happen, to educate ourselves and seek out candidates of like mind. The politicians aren't going to do it themselves. They are the Joes who are determined to stay in power and maintain control over us. Do you really think our present Senators and Congressmen are going to start thinking outside the box of government control anytime soon? They have spent their entire careers creating these boxes and nudging us into them. It's time we climbed out.

     I would like at this point, to indicate what I think are two first steps to climbing out of these boxes: shutting down Joe's federal Dept of Education and electing freedom candidates to local school boards.

     The Dept of  Education doesn't teach a single thing to a single student. Instead it controls the purse strings of indoctrination. It actually threatens our kids by declaring for example that the states had better teach subject X or it will have to withhold federal dollars. It is child abuse.

     By turning education over to the states it will begin the process of decentralization which should continue within the states down to the local level where it belongs. The states will do things differently from each other. Best practices will tend have best results and those results will be out there for all to see, debate and copy.

     In closing I want to emphasize this point: when Joe controls education he will be sure to teach all his students the value of....Joe, that Joe cares about them and that Joe's control--and Joe's money--will be the solution to all of their future problems. Sadly, there have been several generations of American adults who have gone through Progressive Education and have been thusly indoctrinated. That's why it's absolutely critical that if we want to get education fixed right, we must first break the stranglehold that Joe has on the minds of our young, and do it soon. We need to stop being Phils and make sure our kids don't become new Phils.




   *http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimpowell/2012/07/29/no-president-obama-it-was-private-business-that-made-our-

**http://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/columnists/ingrid-jacques/2016/03/16/michigan-public-schools-fail/

***http://www.freep.com/story/opinion/columnists/nancy-kaffer/2016/12/29/school-reform-michigan-funding/9570479






Friday, March 31, 2017

Here comes the moral agonizing over Trump's budget cuts.

     Well it didn't take long for the leftist media to roll out its predictable orgy of bleeding heart anguish over President Trump's recent budget cut proposals. Sunday's Mar 26th leftist Detroit Free Press carried three opeds decrying those cuts.

     They appear to be written by staff writer Nancy Kaffer which the paper titled "Promises to Keep" regarding said budget cuts.

     First, it shows a picture of a young lady whose life was saved by a doctor when she was an infant. The doctor invented an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine which saved her life. He was able to create the machine because of a grant from the National Institute of Health, the very program president Trump's budget seeks to cut.

     Second, is one subtitled 'feeding the hungry' which shows food being loaded into cars to be delivered to needy elderly as part of the Meals on Wheels program which is now jeopardized by Trump's cuts.

     The third, subtitled 'staying warm' is about a lady whose electricity was shut off and had to rely on The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) for help with heat. It's another federally and state funded program which Trump's budget would 'wipe out' according to the article.

     The theme is quite obvious: government spending is doing lots of good for a small price so Trump's budget cuts should be rejected and the taxes on the people to pay for them should be continued. There are several unAmerican premises underlying this theme.

     First is the notion that it's moral to forcibly take money via taxation from people who earned it and could then use it to donate to charities of their choice, and give it to government so that it can decide which charity will get the money. This in turn is usurping the morality of kindness from the people and embedding it firmly in the government. Such charity taxing would be fine if taxation were voluntary but it isn't. This federal program of robbing Peter to give to Paul is designed to destroy in the minds of the public the fact that the moral is the chosen, not the forced.

     A second premise is that the needs of some people are a claim to the money of others. Again, no it isn't. The worship of need is replacing respect for and protection of, rights. Those who aren't in need are targeted to have their money taken to benefit those who do need. Sadly, it can be said that many of the needy are needy precisely because in their productive years their money was taken to benefit the poor of the time thus depriving them of the ability to save for a more secure future for themselves.

     A third premise is the idea that if government didn't provide grants for science, feed elderly, and provide heat, people would be dying for lack of medical technology,  starving in the streets, and freezing in their homes. This of course is utter nonsense.

     Perhaps that particular lady's life would not have been saved by that particular machine at that time in a free market. But in all probability it would have been invented sooner. More millions of people allowed to keep their tax dollars would mean many more people deciding which charity to help would have increased the odds of its creation.

     As for Meals on Wheels, it is mostly privately funded. About $3 million federal dollars are given to Meals on Wheels America which is an advocacy group that does not feed a single person. That is what Trump wants to cut. There is no reason MOWA can't do its own fundraising.

     As for the lady with no heat, there are private charities that will help with that. The American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and United Way just to name a few off the top of my head, provide help with paying heating bills. Besides, THAW is partly funded by state money which is not affected by federal cuts so it isn't all going to be 'wiped out.' And if the state money is tied to the federal money a simple bill to untie it would be easy.

     There is the further implication that past private charity was woefully lacking so government had to step in with its forced charity. From his excellent book "Rooseveltcare: how social security is sabotaging the land of self reliance" author Don Watkins writes"
"In 1910, in New York Sate, for instance, 151 private benevolent groups provided care for children, and 216 provided care for adults and children. If you were homeless in Chicago in 1933, you could have found shelter at one of the city's 614 YMCAs, or one of 89 Salvation Army barracks, or one of the seventy-five Goodwill Industries dormitories, among others."
     No there was no shortage of private benevolence before government decided to usurp it on a large scale.

     But President Trump is not going to return government charity to the private sector. He just wants to drain the corruption in it. He isn't going to make an unjust system just. But he can lay the ground work for a successor to the finish the job if he stays the course now.

     The media and the Democrats will fight tooth and nail and won't let up until he gives in. So, we can expect to see a lot more of this emotional agony as the media will try to blame every social, political and economic ill on Trump's budget cuts. President Trump and his various spokespersons need to arm themselves with the moral and practical arguments against these and other government enforced sacrifices.










Sunday, March 26, 2017

Damned Liars

The Saturday Mar 25, Macomb Daily again carries an oped by leftist Washington Post writer Eugene Robinson. Ecstatic over the failure of AHCA, aka RinoCare, Mr Robinson can't wait to unload on president Trump:

"President Trump called himself “instinctual” this week, but the word he must have been groping for was “untruthful.” He lies incessantly, shamelessly, perhaps even pathologically, and his lying corrodes and dishonors our democracy."

Really? This is wishful thinking. Trump certainly exaggerates a lot but he doesn't come close to Robinson's goddess Hillary Clinton. If there is a pathological liar in Washington it has to be Hillary. The NY Times did an article in 1996 on Hillary Clinton: the "congenital liar." Her incessant lying makes most politicians look like saints.

Hillary lied to the lead attorney in the lead up to the Watergate trial.
Lied about Benghazi.
Lied about her private email server. In fact, Real Clear Politics has a lengthy list of her lies here.

Actually it is Robinson who is doing the lying now. He is the obedient defender of all things Democrat and chief smear artist of everything Republican. His dishonesty has even been noted by the leftist blog Daily Kos who called him a 'total disgrace." (Even the leftist press, NYT and Daily Kos, sometimes can't stomach the extreme dishonesty of some of their own)

Citizens have to watch the leftist press. Whenever Democrats say something that's not accurate or even false, they 'misspoke.'  But when Republicans do the same, they 'lied.'

It seems to me that the NY Times and WAPO are in competition to become America's version of Pravda.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Freedom From ...?

My local county newspaper, The Macomb Daily--Macomb County abuts Wayne County, the home of Detroit--carried an oped by Walter Williams on this Sunday 03/19. It's titled "True Liberty is not for wimps."

Mr Williams writes
"Congress has no resources of its very own. If Congress gives one person something that he did not earn, it necessarily requires that Congress deprive somebody else of something that he did earn."

Very true, and continues with:
"Another area in which there is contempt of liberty, most notably on many college campuses, is free speech.
 The true test of one's commitment to free speech does not come when he permits others to say things with which he agrees. Instead, the true test comes when one permits others to say things with which he disagrees."

True again and adds:

"A very difficult liberty pill  for many Americans to swallow is freedom of association. As with free speech, the true test for one's commitment to freedom of association does not come when one permits people to voluntarily associate in ways that he deems acceptable.
The true test is when he permits people to associate in ways he deems offensive."
I was happy  to see these ideas of true individualism in my county's paper. We need many more discussions on the meaning of freedom and I'm bouyed by the fact that Mr. Williams is a syndicated columnist who is widely read.

But the question is why do so many Americans today appear to be political wimps? I say it is because they are intellectual wimps i.e. they are not being taught the real meaning of freedom in any of our public schools.

My favorite writer on freedom, Ayn Rand, writes:
"Freedom, in a political context, means freedom from government coercion. It does not mean freedom from the landlord, or freedom from the employer, or freedom from the laws of nature which do not provide men with automatic prosperity. It means freedom from the coercive power of the state--and nothing else." (From the essay 'Conservatism: An Obituary' from her book "Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal"

It also means freedom to associate or not with people of one's own choosing. In a free market any buyer can refuse to buy and any seller can refuse to sell regardless of reasons. Mr Williams is right, many people find this liberty pill hard to swallow. Today's leftists believe freedom means freedom from want, of any kind. And they are willing to employ the tyranny of government force on others to get it.

This is why it is so critical to get government out of education. Progressive Education has already produced several generations of such intellectual wimps who now need remedial courses on the real meaning of political freedom.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Trump a do-nothing president?

The print edition of the Macomb Daily, a paper of the Detroit suburban county of Macomb, carried an oped by Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson On March 1st. It's titled "Does Trump Know that He's in Office?" In the first paragraph Robinson tries to get his readers to believe that Trump is largely a do-nothing president.

"The Trump administration so far has been smoke and mirrors, sound and fury, self-proclaimed victimhood and angry tweets. Where is the substance? Where is the competence? And where--increasingly--is the public support?"
If Mr Robinson can't see the things Trump has done in his first 5  weeks then he couldn't have been looking very hard. Off the top of my head Trump:

1. Rescinded Obama's order to allow men into women's bathrooms.
2. EO to freeze Federal hiring except for military.
3. EO to cut 2 regulations for every new one.
4. EO okaying the Dakota and Keystone pipelines
5. Notice to pull out of TPP
6. Begin building border wall
7. Rescinded EPA's Waters of the United States act which allowed blatant violations of property rights.

That's just to name a few. But then, given that Mr Robinson writes for the leftist WAPO he probably would not consider any of these to be accomplishments. He then brings up the old leftist canard:

"...Trump will never erase the fact that he lost the popular vote."

Anyone with any knowledge of political history knows that our Founders wanted nothing to do with democracy, the tyranny of the majority. They wanted everyone in every state to have at least some say in the electoral process. That's why they created the Electoral College. If we had pure democracy today only 5 states would decide every election, California, New York, Texas, Florida and maybe Ohio or Michigan or Pennsylvania. All the rest would be disenfranchised.

According to mrctv.org, Obama lost the popular vote to Hillary in the 2008 Democratic primary. I don't recall any WAPO writers complaining about that.

Mr Robinson obviously has no use for the electoral college because if you can control elections by controlling just 5 or 6 of the most populous states, the other 44 or 45 are your voiceless slaves to whom you can dictate. A leftist utopia.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Slanted News

The print edition of Sunday Jan 15 Detroit Free Press carried an Associated Press article by Steve Peoples titled "Trump unleashes Twitter attack against civil rights legend." It's true that Rep John Lewis D-Georgia is a famous champion for civil rights going back to the march in Selma where he suffered a fractured skull.

I also agree with the article that "...no one is untouchable for scorn from a president-elect with little tolerance for public criticism." Yes Mr Trump does seem to be rather thin skinned as was also evidenced in the debates.

I'm not disputing any of this. But this article is a good lesson on how a news article can be slanted to present a certain image to the public.. If you just read the headline above you could easily think Mr Trump started it. The opposite is true. It was Mr Lewis who said he didn't think Mr Trump was a "legitimate president." Mr Trump was responding to that.

We have to defend ourselves from the techniques used to sway us to a certain mindset. Failing to say explicitly who started a dispute is one way as mentioned above.

Another is the use of adjectives and adverbs. Look at the word 'unleashed' above.  It means something-an attack perhaps-already exists but is on a leash. Then Trump unleashes it on a civil rights hero. Mr Peoples could have used words like 'Trump responded' or "Trump answered' which are action words but do not indicate violence--to which most people attach negative feelings--which the violence of 'unleashed' does. Achieving negative feelings does seem to be the goal here.

One more. This involves obfuscation.
                       "U.S. intelligence agencies have said that Russia, in a campaign ordered by President Vladimir Putin, meddled in the election to help Trump win."

So this is about meddling in the election but which is followed by this sentence:
                       "After spending weeks challenging that assessment, Trump finally accepted that the Russians were behind the election-year hacking of Democrats."

See the switch in meaning here? Russian meddling in the election, for which there is no evidence, is combined with "...Russians were behind the election-year hacking of the Democrats." It is true that the Russians and the Chinese et al have hacked the Democrat's computers. The Democrats have not been very concerned with cyber security as Hillary's private server fiasco has revealed. But the Democratic National Committee's computers were not used in the election.

It was not at all necessary for the reporter to use the phrase election-year. Everybody knows this is about the election. So the packaging of the words 'Russian', 'election', 'hacking' and 'Democrats' was designed to equate those concepts in the mind of the reader so he will be nudged to conclude that Russians hacked the election.

In closing let me say we must keep an eye on adjectives, verbs and attempts to obfuscate ideas instead of identifying them precisely.

P.s. I could not find a link in the Freep's online edition.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What? No Santa?

 "Self-described progressives like Meryl Streep don’t care about freedom of speech. It’s only some journalists they wish to protect — their kind of journalists at CNN, ABC, HuffPost and MSNBC. The ones who only support their narrative of endless big government and socialistic do-goodism through government coercion" This quote is from Michael J Hurd's post here about how celeb's can't handle being talked back to.

Meryl Streep is just the tip of the disillusioned Hollywood iceberg. Most of Hollywood can't figure out why their cognitive caretakers in the MSM could not tuck them into bed that election night with something like "There, there now. It's going to be alright. This is just an aberration. It will pass." It didn't happen because their mental nannies in the media were having their own nightmare - Trump winning. Here is an observation I jotted down in November:

"Watching the election returns November 8th 2016, I went back and forth between Fox News and CNN. Both channels interviewed panels of expert political pundits whose job was to tell us what to think of those results. But instead of enlightening us they projected a bare naked, full screen display of just how detached they are from reality and the general public.

They used words like "shocked" and "stunned" and "amazed" and other such descriptors. "What's going on here?" and "How can this be?" were voiced often. Megyn Kelly used "unbelievable" several times. It was as if some children were just told there is no Santa.

It was glaringly obvious that these talking heads were frustrated at a reality that was not conforming to their preconceived--or should I say indoctrinated--notions of how the world should work and were at a loss to explain why. These pundits' frustrations projected a well earned image. It was as if they all shouted in unison "Can it be the public isn't listening to us any more?" And I smiled."
The 'do-goodism' of which Dr Hurd speaks is what I call government enforced altruism, the desire to achieve good through the initiation of force. There is nothing wrong with voluntary charity. But government enforced charity is neither moral nor charity. It is loot.

We see the Democratic Party and the media  having breakdowns because their world view has been rejected by voters. But who created that false world view for them? Our university departments of philosophy and their notions of post-modernism, pragmatism, egalitarianism and others.

The only solution is to get government out of education by starting with the federal Dept of Ed. This will start the process of decentralization which should continue within the states down to the local level where it belongs. Trump said he would do that. We have to hold his feet to that fire.





Sunday, January 01, 2017

The same ole New Year on the Left

It's New Years day and the leftist Detroit Free Press is at it again. The Freep's chief political cartoonist Mike Thompson presents his Auld Lang Syne year in review with a collection of past cartoons. One of them shows a family of four in a sedan with dad driving, mom next to him and what seems to be a daughter and son in the back seat and a small dog sticking his head out the window all of whom are smiling except the dog. This I presume is supposed to represent the traditional American family.

But in front of that car we see eight adults and two children standing in line just below a sign saying "Flint Bottled Water Distribution" with an arrow pointing the way. None of these people are smiling. In the upper right hand corner are the words written in cursive: "There's no way like the American way."

These two images together are conveying the notion that the American way is to go from having Happiness-the smiling faces, and having independence-driving the family car, to unhappiness-no smiling faces-and dependence, standing in line for emergency charity. So the American way is to go from happiness to unhappiness.

There is a lot of truth to this cartoon though I don't think its the truth Mr Thompson wants his readers to glean. The truth is that the traditional American family existed in an era of more political freedom, that is to say less government control and more self reliance.

But since the sixties that 'American way' has been reversed. Today we are constantly advised by the chattering class that it is wise, nay even morally ideal, to place all our economic needs--not just political ones--in the hands of government controllers. And I say it is the government control of the water supply that is responsible for the disaster in Flint.

On that note I just want to point to all that clean water being trucked into Flint. Why is it clean? Because it is produced by big, huge, giant corporations in business to make profits. They have the economies of scale that allow them to bring massive amounts of water, that small mom and pop businesses could not match, to those who need it.  They can't afford to poison their customers even accidentally. They would lose too much money. Government doesn't face that prospect.

So, the lesson to be drawn from Mr Thompson's cartoon is that the modern American way of trusting government to provide for our economic needs is unwise, nay even morally wrong. Thus the resolution we should all make for 2017 is to work hard to remove government from our economic needs and urge Mike Thompson and the Detroit Free Press to join us in that endeavor.