Saturday, November 28, 2015

Crazy People Everywhere

I am fascinated at the fear the Conservatives have of letting refugees into the USA.  One would think that they believe we are a peaceful country where everyone is stable and peace loving.  Let's say the back ground checks miss 2 or 3 crazy people...  How again are we going to tell the difference between them and our home grown crazy people?

Or since we have ~400,000 illegal immigrants crossing the border each year...  The crazy or criminals in that huge group.

CNN Carson Goes to Jordan
CNN Carson Be Careful
CNN Colorado Shooting
LA Times Shootings
USA Today Murders Rise

I leave for China again tomorrow morning, probably one of the safest places in the world when it comes to becoming a victim of a Muslim Fundamentalist Terror attack...  Thoughts?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Who Turned My Blue State Red

Laurie's Newest Recommendations
This topic doesn't interest me so here is a link to an article that got a lot of attention from left leaning bloggers / media:   Who Turned My Blue State Red?  And here is one of the more interesting commentaries on the article / problem:  Quiet Desperation and American Fascism 
I am not sure why I shared it because I currently find conservative views very tiresome, so don't bother to read or comment.
 And Jerry's response:
Laurie, I read your "blue state red" item with great interest. Thank you. It's interesting how the liberal mind works, claiming that people who get government benefits should elect liberals who "provide" them (by stealing from the better off), rather than the conservatives who believe as they do that people should be responsible for themselves, "make their own way," etc. to the degree possible, and that private charity can do the rest. (Time and again, conservatives are proven more charitable.) And what kind of cynicism must be in play for liberals to WANT people taking government benefits just to "buy votes"? How about helping people OUT of poverty and into human dignity?
The author seems puzzled by the fact that those of lesser means seem to be the most disaffected about government, and that anti-government candidates fare so well. It's the same problem. Both sides of the divide see a government that is not solving the problems, and not listening to the people. When, regardless of the votes, government continues on its own way, democracy fails. And why shouldn't it?
Remember the famous Ben Franklin quote? Asked, after the Constitutional Convention finished, what kind of government had been created, he said, "A Republic, if you can keep it." We are not a democracy, nor should we be. The great red/blue divide is plain for all to see in the names of our two parties-- the Republican and Democrat parties.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Single Family Income

Joel said something that seemed to me to be so disturbingly flawed back G2A Balancing Freedoms that I thought it was worth making its own post.
"I found this statement by Bernie disturbing. "It is not a radical idea to say that a single mom should be earning enough money to take care of her kids." The idea that he wants to set the target as one income per household is very sad. The reality is that it took 2 adults to make the baby(ies) and there should be 2 Parents to raise the child." G2A

""The idea that he wants to set the target as one income per household is very sad."  This is nonsense. It USED to be that families lived quite well off of one income...and the families were larger then. And with the cost of child care these days, it's hardly a benefit most times for both parents to be working.
If income had kept up with inflation, we wouldn't even be talking about this, but Corporate America has colluded with the Government to keep their taxes down while suppressing wages at the same time their employees have become more productive. "Joel
"Let me say this-- you know, no public policy doesn't have in some cases negative consequences. But at the end of the day what you have right now are millions of Americans working two or three jobs because that wages that they are earning are just too low. Real inflation accounted for wages has declined precipitously over the years. So I believe that in fact this country needs to move toward a living wage.

It is not a radical idea to say that if somebody works 40 hours a week that person should not be living in poverty. It is not a radical idea to say that a single mom should be earning enough money to take care of her kids. So I believe that over the next few years, not tomorrow, that over the next few years we have got to move the minimum wage to a living wage $15.00 bucks an hour. And I apologize to nobody." Bernie Sanders
 This statement probably frustrates me the most. "It USED to be that families lived quite well off of one income..."  I would love to see a source for this malarky. Here are my thoughts in no particular order:

  • Most of the houses in Robbinsdale / Minneapolis tell the story. 2 or 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom and maybe a detached garage if you were lucky.
  • If you were lucky you had a black and white TV, one car and a phone that may have been on a party line.
  • The spouse who stayed home had pretty much a full time job taking care of the kids, volunteering in the community, maybe tending a garden, cooking and cleaning. Remember that our high tech high cost labor saving appliances were not available. (not even a microwave oven...) And their was a lot less use of pre-packaged foods.
  • And if you lived out in rural America, it was likely that that garden was actually a small field and you got really good at canning, storing food in a cellar, etc
  •  Just like today, to make a household work it was important to have 2 parents at home sharing the responsibilities. (Sorry for the source, it is hard to find all the graphs I wanted in one place)
So let's compare this to today:
  • Crazy folks like Bernie seem to think that it is good to encourage and reward single parent households.  Even though evidence clearly shows this not the case for the kids.
  • People seem to need more to be happy. Be it the size of their home, the model of their phone, the type of job they have, the distance to their vacation place, the perfect spouse, etc.
  • People seem to be fine with having other people raise THEIR children, as long as they can have the things noted above.
  • Median wages adjusted for inflation have apparently been pretty flat.
Now Joel would have us believe that folks are far worse of than they used to be, even though we are spending a huge amount more on government mandated wealth transfer than ever before.  And he thinks it is Corporate America and the Government that has kept incomes down, even though we know that it is the consumers who choose to shop at Walmart rather than their local Mom and Pop store.  And we know it is the consumer who chooses to buy cars that are designed and built in lower cost countries.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

NCLB Update

NCLB must be a great law because both the Far Right and Far Left seem to HATE it...  Checkout the comments here.  MP NCLB Update  And here is one I just added there.
"I think you should do more research and listen to the Union and Bureaucracy folks less.

I have no hate for the Unions or the Education Bureaucracy, they are just doing what normal capitalistic people strive to do. They fight tooth and nail for higher wages, more job security, more benefits, more control, more work rules, more vacation, more autonomy, etc. The problem is that these goals are at odds with what is needed to operate a highly effective and efficient customer (ie student) focused organization.

Kennedy realized this and wanted to find out just how bad it was, where it was bad, and to try to force change/improvement. So he fought for NCLB which simply requires States to test and grade their schools to a somewhat common standard and report the results publicly. Teachers test kids to determine if they are learning / performing, so it only makes sense to grade the school systems in a similar manner.

Now if you are part of a system that is leaving a large percentage of unlucky kids (ie poor with questionably capable parent(s)) behind, and someone starts shining a bright spot light on your poor results, what will you say about the test/process? Please remember that no one told them how to teach. They only demanded that they report the results of their efforts once per year.

By the way, NO Child Left Behind had two primary flaws. It had HIGH / unrealistic expectations in that they wanted even special ed, ELL, and other late arrivals to be proficient. It assumed that the School Bureaucracy would strive to improve and change once the light went on which did not happen. Instead the system spent 10 years pointing at the tests and each other. Remember the "Not Me" character in Family Circus... :-)" G2A

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Muslims, Refugees and Extremists

I am fine with vetting and accepting the refugees per the current system and accepting them into the USA. I am happy the hackers have found a better use for their "talents".  However the lack of action by the supposed "moderate Muslims" frustrates me to no end.

CNN Obama's Thoughts
MP Anonymous Fighting ISIS
"My question is when will the main stream peaceful Muslims that I hear so much about say enough is enough and start aggressively turning against the radicals? And begin working with the authorities to arrest them?

Our own local Muslim community Leaders were concerned that the outreach program served a secondary purpose of finding and stopping radical members within their society. Why would any peace loving and supporting group of individuals try to block those activities?

Multiple millions of Muslims are running from their country instead of fixing it. Something is strange in that. Maybe us Protestants and Catholics should start going at it... I do agree that ISIS and Al Qaeda are worse than most. But the idea that they needed Saddam Hussein to keep the Shiites and Sunnis from killing other speaks to deeper and more pervasive problems." G2A
I just couldn't see us Christians running from our country and standing by rather silently as a radical Christian offshoot started beheading people. Thoughts? 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Democrat Debate Good Sleep Aid

I can't get a comment published again...  Go figure.  After a long day of hunting and a good meal I sat down with my Conservative Parents to watch the debate on Saturday night. About 1 hour later I woke up and all 3 of us were sleeping soundly...  MP Democrats Debate  So here is my response to Paul's comment.
"Since the Democrats are all dealing with the same reality (we're the party that does that) they are going to converge on the same issues and solutions -- only the details vary. That may make for less exciting theatre, but for better governance." Paul
 I have to agree with him that they were consistent:
  • If you elect me President, I will provide many of you with additional programs, funding, services and bureaucracy, and it won't cost you anything because I am going to take the money from other evil greedy people.
  • If you elect me President, I will encourage more illegal "no background check" aliens to cross the border, and budge in front of legal "background checked" immigrants, by offering them amnesty, a path to citizenship and immediate programs, funding, services and bureaucracy. And it won't cost you anything because I will raise the minimum wage and take the money from other evil greedy people.
I think I heard that common message at least 5 times before I drifted off to sleep. 

I especially liked when they kept saying that the netflow of illegal immigrants was zero...  Which of course avoids addressing the fact that ~400,000 illegal immigrants entered the country without being screened.  Kind of tough to swallow after the Paris attack on Friday.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Balancing of Freedoms

 MP Tribes  Okay...  One more because Charles' comments are fascinating to me.
"The libertarian Right expresses a preference for formal freedom - that is, minimal collective constraint on individual action - even if that formal freedom, as a result of the ineluctable concentration of wealth and power over time that it fosters, results in an authoritarian system and the near-absence of actual freedom for almost everyone. (It is never clear if the self-professed libertarian actually favors formal freedom at the expense of actual freedom, or just doesn't have a very well-developed capacity for analytical thought in realms of political economy.)

The progressive Left expresses a preference for actual freedom. This means dismissing as irrelevant theoretical notions of absolute freedom and aiming at maximum freedom in a complex society, otherwise known as ordered freedom. Maximum freedom requires a great deal of collective constraint on individual action so that economic freedom is respected but not to the extent that the concentration of wealth is allowed to undermine the freedom of many.

The progressive Left doesn't value collective constraint (i.e., "regulations") as a good in itself, quite the opposite. The criterion is whether the collective constraint will have the net effect of increasing actual freedom." Charles

"It seems you are saying that we should be willing to sacrifice the individual freedoms of the few to maximize the freedom of the many.

Should we also apply that to police and security profiling? It would make the lines at the airport much shorter and eliminate some silly actions. (ie my ~70 year old Mom losing her cuticle scissors at the TSA checkpoint)

I understand that you would like to pick and choose who gets what freedoms based on your value set, however Libertarians typically don't seem to like to sacrifice the few for the many like you are suggesting. Be it on economic, security or in other areas." G2A

"""It seems you are saying that we should be willing to sacrifice the individual freedoms of the few to maximize the freedom of the many." I can't for the life of me figure out how you get that from my comment.

The basic value of our society is individual freedom. The role of the citizenry is to fill out its concept of "freedom" and then give it meaning through the decisions it makes about our laws and norms.

You say Libertarians prefer not to sacrifice the freedom of the few to maximize the freedom of the many. I conjecture that a thoughtful citizenry would prefer not to sacrifice the freedom of the many to maximize the freedom of the few.

My "value set" has nothing to do with it. Whatever a thoughtful, informed citizenry would decide would be what we've got. Unfortunately we don't have a thoughtful, informed citizenry (one result of freedom residing in the few), so it's all hypothetical." Charles

"As far as I know, everybody no matter their wealth has the freedom to learn and to vote. We provide free K-12 educations, many TV / Radio stations are free and there are many free libraries in which to access books and the internet. I know it is easier to blame the few that you likely disagree with, however the real problem is that many citizens do not take personal responsibility to learn about issues and practice their freedom by voting.

"a thoughtful citizenry would prefer not to sacrifice the freedom of the many to maximize the freedom of the few"

So do the thoughful citizenry and yourself support profiling by security personnel, it would definitely increase the freedom for most of us, reduce screening costs and reduce our wait times at airports, sporting events, etc. Of course those innocent people who seem more likely to be terrorists or smugglers won't be happy being singled out for sreenings." G2A
Per my understanding it seems Charles wants to limit the Private Property freedoms for the good of the Majority. However I am pretty sure he thinks differently in most other trade offs. (ie LGBT rights, "Appearance" Profiling, Special Ed main streaming, etc)  Thoughts? 

Fewer Swing Voters

MP Fewer Swing Voters I am preparing to leave for another weekend of hunting deer and pheasants, so I thought I would leave you with 2 topics.
"I agree that there are fewer voters today who might conceivably find either the D or R candidate worthy of consideration. I used to be a bit of a swing voter during my early years in Oregon. I was basically a Democrat, but I voted for Mark Hatfield for Senate and other Republicans for state offices. No longer. I cannot think of one state or national Republican who could win my vote today.

There are more voters who find neither party attractive. They think that the Republicans are in Cloud Cuckoo Land and that the Democrats have been co-opted by Big Money, in which case they might want to vote for a Green or Democratic Socialist candidate. Or else they think that the Republicans are too into foreign intervention and big money and the Democrats are for fostering dependence, in which case they might want to vote Libertarian.

When 50% of the population nationwide doesn't vote at all, we have a problem, which is not of lack of swing voters but of lack of voters, period. Low turnout is a sign of disengagement and fatalism, a hopeless sense that no positive changes, only negative changes, are in our future, no matter who is in office." Karen

"I agree that many think most politicians are similar and that their vote has little impact. However the "fatalism" piece is too dark for me. I personally think that most citizens are pretty satisfied with the status quo and don't want any big changes to the Left or Right. It seems to be only those on the Far Left and Far Right that spend a lot of energy complaining about America.

It is likely that more than a billion world citizens would love to live in the GREAT country that is America, yet folks who live here say silly things like "that no positive changes, only negative changes, are in our future, no matter who is in office." I will never understand that level of dissatisfaction with the greatest country in the world.

I learned quite a while back that I choose whether to look at the 5% of things in my life that were "bad or could be better" or the 95% of things in my life that were good or great. Focusing on the 5% led to unhappiness, anger, frustration and arguments, whereas focusing on the 95% led to happiness, gratitude, satisfaction and open communication. Choices Choices." G2A

Public Employee Unions and Higher Taxes

MP Can VA fire its way out of problems  This piece and the resulting comments raise some interesting points. Paul and I are disagreeing as often is the case, here are my views:
"I agree that there are many factors impacting the cost and quality of health care in America. One of them being Union collective bargaining and bureaucracy which drives up compensation (ie cost), sets work rules, often limits pay for performance, etc. I am not sure how anyone who says that Unions help employees get more compensation and job security can deny that they also increase costs to the tax payer or consumer?" G2A

"Now as for Unions increasing costs, of course they do or they would not be doing their job. (ie more money and security for all their workers)  
However you are correct that there are many other reasons why costs are high in America. (ie High Direct and Indirect Tort Cost, High End of Life Costs (ie try to save everyone), No Easy Low Cost Physician Assisted Suicide, Americans are Unhealthy (little exercise, bad diet, high obesity, etc), Highly government regulated system, Arduous Licensing and Training Requirements, etc)" G2A
Per Sean's recommendation, I have added "Excessive medical licensing requirements" to the list.
G2A American Healthcare Drivers

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Latest GOP Debate

I watched some, but lost interest quickly.  This seemed to be a good summary from what I saw.  Thoughts?  CNN Takeaways

Then we have Eric's biased perspective.


Monday, November 9, 2015

Political Tribes

Here is a comment I left over at MP Tribes in response to an exchange of comments that Dan and Paul are having.
"Many here find the gray zone that is reality very threatening for some reason.

I think what you have said is that government can be good or bad depending on how it is operated and by who. And the more power we give to the politicians that are located far from us citizens, the more likely it is that groups of bureaucrats and/or politicians will use it for their own benefit rather than society's. Finally, the greater the ability for them to do that, the greater the drive for people to seek those positions.

I am not sure why people disagree with this simple logic. Some folks seem to think that those millions of bureaucrats and public employees are pure of heart and there to serve us citizens. When in reality they are just humans who can be interested in empire building, better paychecks, more job security, pursuing their own agenda, etc like the rest of us. Of course the challenge is that we tax payers are paying for their excesses.
SC Times VA Probe Finds Mismanagement" G2A
 I think Dan's comments make a lot of sense.  Thoughts?

Friday, November 6, 2015

Damned if you do Damned if you don't

Damned if you do. Damned if you don't. That is my answer to Eric's latest post.
"People die whether the USA gets engaged or not. Of course when a million people die because the USA failed to act, none of the near pacifists seem to mind. Thankfully the USA usually only gets involved when some "evil" exists that is harming or killing people, AND there is a national interest in the region.
From what I remember, the Syria civil war started long after Iraq and before ISIS came on the scene. The USA pretty much stayed out of the fight and hundreds of thousands have been killed and millions have been displaced. Now do we bear the guilt of not helping out more earlier?
With great wealth and power comes great responsibility!!!
Just curious...
  • Should the USA let Putin take back Ukraine and maybe all the BLOC countries?
  • Should we let China take over the South China Sea uncontested?
  • Should we have let Germany have Europe in the 1940s?" G2A

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Democratic Party in Crisis?

Another gift from Laurie:
"Here is a new topic suggestion for you - I'll call it TMITIRT (the most interesting thing I read today.) The conclusions of several writers that are linked should make you and J. happy.

Don’t believe the Democratic Party is in crisis? Then read this tweet."

And here is what Eric had to say about the topic a few weeks ago.

Personally, I think most rational citizens understand that the government is inefficient, ineffective and some what not to be trusted.  And the Democrats answer for every issue is give the State more money and control.  I can see how that may reduce support for them.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Congress: A New Beginning

Dennis W. asked a fascinating question in response to this post and some of the prior comments.  Unfortunately it is not getting any answers over there....  So what do you think?   MP Fresh Start
"It appears the fresh start lasted about what, less than 3-4 days? Seems this column can't even get a fresh start, how does anyone expect DC to move forward? Would be real curious, really curious, what does a "Centralist" look like? Are they like Unicorns? Got my ideas, be interested in other folks point of view." Dennis W.

"Remember my continuum.  Political Continuum...
  • We have Sanders trying to pull us to a 2 position.
  • We have Hillary maybe aiming for a 4 position
  • We have Jeb/Marco aiming for a 6 or 7 position
  • And the far Righters aiming for an 8 or 9
To me it is just a question of who do you want deciding how much you will save, where you will invest it, who will choose your insurance policy, etc. If a person wants the politicians and bureaucrats doing this, vote for Democrats. If you want to control it yourself, vote for a Republican." G2A
"Who would be in between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton? Along those lines...
WP It is Hard to be a Moderate" G2A