Author Archives: crisap

About crisap

Cris has been active in politics since college where he led the Republican campus group. Since then he has been involved in campaign drives and community activism off and on between his career of teaching high school English. In addition, Pace has spent the majority of life looking for truth in the world’s major religions finally settling on New Age belief as best representation of the truths of the world. He regularly blogs about both on his blog The Conservative New Ager. Cris is originally from Southern California but currently resides in Phoenix.

A single plan to eliminate the corruption of the IRS, the problems of taxation, and completely reform welfare

 

Goldwater Reagan Buckley RINOWe were told four years ago that 17 million people went to bed hungry each night. Well that was probably true. They were all on a diet. But now we’re told that 9.3 million families in this country are poverty-stricken on the basis of earning less than 3,000 dollars a year. Welfare spending [is] 10 times greater than in the dark depths of the Depression. We’re spending 45 billion dollars on welfare. Now do a little arithmetic, and you’ll find that if we divided the 45 billion dollars up equally among those 9 million poor families, we’d be able to give each family 4,600 dollars a year. And this added to their present income should eliminate poverty. Direct aid to the poor, however, is only running only about 600 dollars per family. It would seem that someplace there must be some overhead.–Ronald Regan, A Time For Choosing

 

So as I recently went to the Western Conservative Conference I saw there a debate between proponents for the flat income tax and a national sales tax (called the FAIR Tax) square off on the merits of their respective plans. Now I will admit that I have traditionally been in favor of something like the FAIR tax as I believe it is more ethical to tax consumption than income, but the debate I saw (in conjunction with something I recently saw on how to reform welfare) has switched me to the flat income tax. What caused this switch was that the people I saw arguing for the FAIR Tax seemed to rely almost exclusively on emotional arguments (and I have a real distrust about the word Fair) whereas the flat tax people made the central thrust of their argument about facts and realities.   Also when one of the few logic based arguments made by the FAIR Tax people was that it would eliminate the IRS my rational brain stood there thinking…wait you’ll still have to have some kind of organization designed to collect tax revenue and investigate fraud (and an IRS by any other name would still smell just as rank) so I found this argument a little lacking.

 

But let’s get onto why I like the flat tax not just for the reasons portrayed at the conference but in general.

 

First off, before any liberal tries to get into this argument let me shut down their bullshit right from the get go. Be it a flat tax or the FAIR Tax, it’s going to be progressive in the sense that people who make more are going to pay more. People who pay 30% of $40,000 are paying less than people paying the same rate on $400,000. And people who are going to make more are going to spend more. So liberals BS claims about those who make more should pay more are completely invalid—it is only when you have the kind of deduction and exemption heavy system that liberals love that you find a tax system where the vast majority of the tax burden is on the back of the middle class.

 

Further part of the problem with the FAIR tax is that is it gives a refund to people based on their income to counter for the taxes on the first $25,000 or so under the idea that the money you need to live shouldn’t be taxed…which means that not only collecting information on sales taxes the federal government will still be collecting information on income and distributing refunds…is it just me or, despite whatever the ideal of the system is supposed to be, does this seems like it will only lead to more bureaucracy. I know that bringing such pragmatism into a discussion of two ideal situations may not be fair…but the fact is that sometimes ideals do become policy and I worry that this plan would only lead to more bureaucrats looking at more things with more ways to ruin my life.

Also the FAIR Tax, as far as I can tell will do nothing to solve the 150+ means tested programs (usually collectively known as welfare) that we have the federal government giving out…

…However the flat tax could solve these incredibly stupid systems.

 

So first let’s get to the flat tax and only the flat tax and what it will be.* We will switch the entire revenue gathering system of the United States over to a single income tax**. There will be no corporate tax, no tariffs, no Medicare, no social security deductions, no capital gains, no federal tax on gas or phone service or anything but income. Just a flat tax at the same rate for income. There will be no deduction for any reason other than a simple $30,000*** deduction for everyone. The tax will be set at 25% (that may seem a bit high, but trust me you’re paying more than that right now when you factor everything else in that this is getting rid of). Are $30,000 and 25% ideally the best numbers to work with? Probably not, but they’re much simpler to use and make general calculations than $31,250 and 22.4% or whatever may be the ideal economic values. So if you make $40,000 a year, you’ll deduct $30,000 and pay a tax of 25% on the remaining $10,000…meaning that your after tax take home pay is $37,5000…which is probably more than you’re taking home right now unless you have a great CPA who knows every deduction in the book…and at $40,000 you can’t afford a CPA that good. In fact at 25% with a $30,000 deduction you’d have to be making well over $100,000 before your take home pay might actually go down. Based on some very rough calculations****, this would bring in about 3.1 Trillion dollars a year in to the federal coffers (this is opposed to 2.77 Trillion brought in by federal government in 2012 from taxes, social security, fees and all other sources of revenue…so even to stay revenue neutral we could go down in the rate but 25% is so much easier to do calculations with). Most of the reason why we take in more money is that there are no more deductions for those making large quantities of cash to use and get an effective tax rate that is lower than the actual top rate. Now the rich are paying more in taxes but their money will not be getting put into places that are only there because the government wants them there. Remember every deduction isn’t really you spending money on what you want, it’s spending money on what the government wants you to spend money on which is not always the most economically beneficial area. Overall even if the take home pay of the rich is reduced slightly, their investment expenditures will in all likelihood be far, far more economically beneficial. And this is not even remotely considering the fact that with everyone below $100,000 easily taking home more money will have major economic booms (as will the elimination of all the other taxes). Just this simple change will be shoving a syringe of adrenaline into the heart of the economy which would yield growth and benefits for decades to come before we even saw a slow down (think of what we could get if we also had regulation and tort reform to accompany it).

 

But still this doesn’t necessarily put it as a more efficient or better system than the FAIR tax by more than degrees one way or another. Both at this point would have eliminated huge portions of bureaucracy that would look at tariff and capital gains, but the FAIR tax would have replaced at least one of these to track sales taxes (keep in mind as the FAIR tax has the refund on the first $24,000, they do have to keep track of your income so the bulk of the IRS may very well still be there albeit changed in form).

 

But where the flat tax has real potential is that the same data and infrastructure thathas to be collected to tax people can be used just as easily to replace Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and all other 150+ means tested programs that have become part of the modern entitlement/welfare state.

(when you watch this remember that this was given in 1968 and the dollar figures he gives and the dollar figures I give are almost identical when adjusted for inflation)

In the works of Milton Friedman, F.A. Hayek, and Ronald Reagan you will find an idea called a negative income tax. The negative income tax says that the easiest way to solve the problem of poverty is not to give people housing, and food stamps, and SNAP and Medicaid…no the easiest way to solve the problem of people not having money is to give them money. It’s so simple only a government could be too stupid to not get it. The negative income tax works something like this. Let us say that we agree the poverty line, the line which an individual cannot live below (and I want to make clear we are looking at living, not thriving, not enjoying life…those things need to be earned…just the bare bones minimum is survival) is $12,000 dollars.So we need to make sure that everyone gets at least $12,000 even if they haven’t earned it…why because if people don’t have enough to survive then you get into situations like Les Miserables where you have to ask did he really have a choice in stealing the loaf of bread, didn’t the survival of his family—or worse history has shown over and over again that when you have large groups of people who can’t afford to live they tend to start bloody revolutions…and that doesn’t work out well for anyone. Society to function properly requires a safety net. The problem is that the modern welfare state where, when you know how to use it, you can make the equivalent of over $45,000 a year isn’t so much of a safety net to keep you from falling as it is a laziness couch that will allow you to never do anything.

But even if we just say that if you’re earning less than $12,000 we’ll make up the difference (so if you make $6,000 we’ll give the other $6,000) but anything more than that you’re on your own…well then what you will see is a lot of people not working at all and still getting their 12 grand…because the low end work you have to do for that first 12 grand is usually hard and undesirable work…but if you never earn that first $12,000 you’ll never be in a position to get a job that earns more. So what we need to come up with is a system that encourages people to keep working. So instead of $12,000 let’s look at what it takes for an individual to be in the lower middle class (which should be the goal), let’s say it’s double the $12,000 needed to survive at $24,000. Now the negative income tax works by looking at the difference between those two points (12 and 24 grand and it will pay you half of the difference).   So if you make nothing you would take home the $12,000 you need to live (24,000-0/2) but if you make $12,000 then we’ll still give you $6,000 (24,000-12,000=12,000; 12,000/2=6,000) This way at every level there is always incentive to work; even though we are providing the needed funds to survive the incentive to earn more is never taken away.

 

And to add to this we will add an additional $6,000***** to what you get paid if you earn less than $30,000 if you have a child (this payment can only be made once per child so both parents will not be able to claim it)…because children are expensive. While this admits that children can sometimes be an unexpected accident or the result of a mistake it does not allow for the welfare abuses of the modern system which keeps paying for every new kid. You get to claim one kid and one kid alone…one time is a mistake which we can take pity. Litters are your own problem as you seem to be completely incapable figuring out what causes babies to be made and I have no patience to suffer that kind of stupidity. (In reality people aren’t that stupid they just see that more kids equals more money right now, and low and behold when you subsidize something you get more of it).

 

Will there be abuses? Of course! As this system will be entirely neutral on the issue of whether you’re married or not, there will be people who has one person earning income and one person claiming they have no income and getting their payment. But first I highly doubt this will be any worse than the numerous abuses of the welfare system by the poor and the egregious use of deductions by the rich that are currently going on right now. Notice also that this system takes away all current punishments that the current tax and welfare system do, which will make it more economically viable for people to get married (or at least live together) which has so many positive effects on the whole of society that when you take a step back and look at the whole, even if the abuses are worse than under the current system (which I highly doubt that could even happen) the final cost to society as a whole will be greatly reduced.

 

We won’t need Social Security since everyone will have a guaranteed income in their old age if they don’t have savings…we won’t need Medicaid and Medicare because everyone will have money (and getting these systems along with Obamacare out of the mess will drastically reduce costs)…we won’t need HUD because people will have money to pay rent.

 

And yes there will be morons who blow their monthly check on stupid things. They’ll have to live with that or not. That only further encourages people to be responsible. But yes there will be people who blow it all on the lottery, or drugs, or lobster dinners…as if people aren’t selling food stamps for cash and doing the same thing right now. Yes, any system you come up with will have idiots do stupid things with it…but in this plan and only this plan do you make it entirely their own fault and do not remove all the benefits for working.

 

And if everyone who makes less than $24,000 gets on this and uses their first kid to get an extra $6,000…a rough guess is that the entire system will cost 1.2 Trillion a year. **** That sounds like a lot until you realize that Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare are 1.4 Trillion a year. So right there we’re saving $200 Billion. Now add the cost of unemployment benefits, House and Urban Development, and all the welfare and food stamp programs that we will no longer have to pay for. Now think of all the savings we’ll have because there can’t be Medicaid and Medicare fraud (the costs of which the medical industry passes onto you the paying consumer)… and that 1.2 Trillion cost is assuming that the number of people on entitlement programs stays relatively the same and doesn’t drop like a rock as it will when you add the boost to the economy that better tax policy will bring. The costs would further be lowered if, in conjunction with previous suggestions of mine, we do not consider anyone a full legal adult until the age of 26, thus making them ineligible for full benefits until that age.
As you work through in your head how the ripple effects will improve society on all levels, it becomes staggering at how needed this kind of reform is.

 

 

Now there are two things I would suggest to make this plan even more effective. The first would if in addition to all this we could pass a Constitutional Amendment that would require a 2/3rd vote in both houses to offer any kind of COLA adjustment to any of the payments made by the federal government (not just the reserve income tax part, but salaries as well), as this will prevent Congress from just placating any group by giving them more money. The second would be that if you adopted this policy that the flat tax rate and the rate paid out in the reserves income tax be linked. So as in my example if the tax rate is 25% then the payment on the difference between the lower and upper limits is 50% (100%- 25%x 2)…if the tax rate is raised to 30% then we only pay out 40% on the difference (100% -30%x2) this way if you want to increase taxes you can’t do it just so you can rob Peter to pay Paul.

 

The assurance of a certain minimum income for everyone, or a sort of floor below which nobody need hayekfall even when he is unable to provide for himself, appears not only to be wholly legitimate protection against a risk common to all, but a necessary part of the Great Society in which the individual no longer has specific claims on the members of the particular small group into which he was born.  F.A. Hayek, Law, Legislation and Liberty.

 

Now there are still two major objections I foresee to this.

 

Objections 1: But I still prefer the FAIR TAX!…Fine, but as CATO Institute economists points out it’s easier to jump from a flat tax like the one I’ve shown here to sales tax than to go from the current system to what you want. I think we can all agree this is better than what we have now and it puts you in a better position to push for what you want.

 

Objection II: But states should be in charge of social safety nets not the Feds. Couldn’t agree more. What’s easier turning the 150+ means tested federal programs over to the states or to turn one over to them. Like the point to the FAIR Tax people above, you’re objecting to a system that would literally help your goal. Take the five steps that are in your direction and stop complaining that it’s not ten.

 

But, again please remember I used the numbers I used because they’re nice and round and easy for people to grasp in what is already an overly complicated blog. The actual number we would use if we ever got this far would likely be far different (while in parts of country you could survive on $12,000 a year—again survive, not thrive—you certainly couldn’t do it in New York or California and this would have to be dealt even by splitting the difference of bare minimum costs or the states will have to come up with their own internal systems). And for any plan, no matter how perfect the long term benefits there will always be people hurt during the transition. I admit this, but I think generations of prosperity are worth a little hurt now. And given that this plan fixes both the taxation and entitlement state problems with the least amount of government possible (as far as I can tell the FAIR tax only addresses one of these)

 

*Please keep in mind this is a very general overview. There are some very good and more extensive books on this, I’m just covering some of the broad strokes to get people thinking. Please go read these more detailed books if you want more information.

**And maybe a few fees for specific services. But these will be more to cover costs of the service than actual revenue. And that’s something that no one complains about, be they die hard capitalist to Keynes himself. If you’re getting a special service you should pay for it.

***One can easily argue that we could and should put in deductions for charity, investment, and savings. But I am keeping this out because that begins to ask questions of what is the right amount that will most benefit the economy in general, keep revenue rolling in, and keep the bureaucracy small (keep in mind every deduction creates a bureaucracy to verify it and with the power to control it). Also one must consider the danger that each new deduction, no matter how well intentioned, and even logical at the time, gives implicit cover to the next deduction and the next and the next until we’re back to the crappy system we’re at now. These are all complex issues that do need to be discussed…just not in this blog which is trying to keep this as simple as possible (and even then it’s overly long). There is also legitimate discussion for work requirements or reducing the negative income take for felons to be included, but all of this needs to be weighed against the costs and harm done by any bureaucracy needed and the harm such government power creates.

 

****I can show you the math and my assumptions based on census and IRS data if you really want to be bored, but trust me this is more or less in the ballpark.

***** You’ll notice that this is where I get the 30,000 deduction, $24,000 plus the $6,000 so you can theoretically have a family of three surviving but having that as no advantage over those who are working for that same 30,000 and not have to pay any taxes.

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Filed under Conservative, Individualism, Government is useless, Government is corrupt, Long Term Thinking, Capitalism, Ronald Reagan

God’s Not Dead: Deeply flawed, but decent

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So I didn’t think I was originally going to go to this one before it hit the dollar theater but on some word of mouth recommendations (and the fact it is getting as much buzz as it is) this little pagan thought he would see if this was more than the typically bad Christian film.* It wasn’t, I would go as far as to say this is the best I’ve seen from this genre. It certainly was the best performance I’ve seen from Kevin Sorbo. But that is not to say that it is not without its flaws.

 

The central plot revolves around a Christian student (Shane Harper) Josh Wheaton** who is forced to either say in class that there is no God or risk his grade for the class. And as there is no tradition of taqiyya in Christianity he feels he cannot lie about his faith. This, in what I have to say is the worst teaching method I have ever seen, leads the rather pompous professor (Kevin Sorbo) to try and humiliate him by making him defend the idea that God exists before the class. What follows is his defense of God and how it affects him and those in his class…and a lot of people not in his class, and some people only connected by the most tangential lines…honestly I think they tried to squeeze way to many subplots into this movie.

 

Now his argument in favor of God takes three main points:

  • The traditional argument by cause…although Aquinas made the philosophical much better, and I’ve seen many others make the scientific argument much more clearly.
  • The argument from design looking at life, specifically he looks at the rather shaky grounding for modern evolution being set on punctuated equilibrium…rather than the stronger attacks on the fact that life could not just spontaneous come into existence, nor could sentience. But I was quite happy that the writers took the much more intelligent tack that even if evolution is true it still demands a God to work the way it has rather than the ignorant creationist or simplistic intelligent design arguments.
  • And finally rebutting the problem of evil and taking the Augustinian side that evil exists because of free will.

Regrettably the film didn’t actually use any of the names or terms I used above which would make it difficult for most people seeing this film to actually go and read the more fleshed out versions. So if the film wanted to convince people it may have whet their appetite for these ideas but it didn’t give them anything to work with from there. But overall the case presented by the student is one that is accurate if a bit over simplified.

 

Further I liked the point that behind every atheist is a very angry theist who is angry at God for some reason, which is more or less what I’ve witnessed in life…and what has at least been partially substantiated by research (it’s been shown they all fear him…and with following Yoda’s line of logic…) Although given the rather callous and shallow letter the professor’s character’s mother wrote to him before dying, I can kind of understand why he might have issues with God.

 

My biggest problem is this jump in logic the movie seems to make over and over again. If I show the arguments against God are wrong and show evidence that there is a God then it follows that a Protestant Christian interpretation of God exists.  Over and over again this movie implicitly makes this assumption.   Now to a New Ager like me this is where I have problems. If you destroy the opposition’s case and show that a God exists…that shows that a God exists. You still have a long way to go to prove that your particular interpretation of God exists. And this is the biggest problem I have both with atheists and Christians in this fight; they both seem to assume it’s either their side or the other side. It’s this one or the other. Atheists seem to feel that all Christians believe the exact same thing and can be lumped together and most Christians (or at least a very large portion of the more vocal ones) seem to feel that their interpretation of Christianity is obviously only the right one. As a non-Christian I look at this battle between these two groups with probably the same confusion that America looked at the side war between Finland and the USSR in the early 40’s: Guys you do know there is much bigger battle going on that doesn’t just involve your own petty differences? Right? Honestly as someone with many Thomist sympathies, I don’t think even Catholics would be particularly thrilled with the defense of Christianity in this film (but I could be wrong).

 

But I think this shows a larger problem that is not just specific to Christianity (nor do I think all Christians suffer from it). This film, which ostensibly should have been there to try and offer arguments for atheists and agnostics to give up their beliefs and accept God, does a poor job of it because it implies that if you believe in God you must be a Protestant. You would do a much better job by just proving that a God exists. Once that door has been opened philosophically then if you truly believe in your interpretation you should trust free will and faith (which was a central part of the argument in the movie) to bring people to the truth. By saying that if you have to accept everything or nothing you’re committing just as egregious a logical sin as atheists, and tactically making a very poor move. And I say this is a larger problem because you’re seeing the same problem in a larger political sense, where populists are currently demanding that all who are in the Republican party must be ideologically pure or we can not have them at all…and it is this attitude that drives voters away and keeps the party from winning time and time again…and if Christians* like the producers want to make a case for God they might do best to just try and prove the existence of a God by itself before they make the case for their interpretation of a God as making someone accept both at the same time might in many cases be a bridge too far.
One of the most jarring things of the whole film is that near the end one of the atheist characters in the film is confronted with death and makes a death bed conversion. Luckily there is a minister there to help guide this character back to the faith in their last minutes…and it’s not too subtle that God had a major hand in making sure the minister was there at that place in that time to help save that soul. Even as a pagan I didn’t have a problem with this because I do believe this is how God works…what I had a problem with was that between the writing and directing the scene comes off in a very cold and callous way. Immediately he begins preparing this character for death even though the correct thing for someone to do would have been CPR to save the character’s life. It comes off a little heartless. The fact the very next scene has the cast of Duck Dynasty insulting this character after they’ve already died is possibly one of the worst directing calls I have ever seen (honestly if you just flipped the order of the scenes it wouldn’t have been as bad) but apparently the director felt like insulting the dead.

 

 

On a final note I did appreciate the film showing that China is a repressive tyranny and the religion of peace is anything but.

 

If you’re a Protestant you’ll probably be able to overlook some of the glaring philosophical problems and downplay the bad writing and actually enjoy the film (again I’m not entirely sure how much the Protestant interpretation will grate for non Protestant Christians)…if you’re not a Christian that philosophical jump between God’s existence and Jesus died for you might be a bit much to overlook and ruin the enjoyment.

 

I give the whole thing a C-.

 

*That is not an insult to Christianity…that is an insult to the absolutely pathetic writing and production values faith based movies have had for the past couple of decades. Let’s be honest, Lifetime laughs at the production values of faith based films.

**I still am not sure if the fact that his name bears a great deal of resemblance to a very famous atheist is intentional or not.

***Again certainly not the entirety, but an awfully large number with access to mass media.

 

 

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Filed under Movies, Religion, Solar Plexus Chakra Willpower, Spirituality

Common Core, why I support it and you should too

 

Common Core State Standards.jpg

So it was pointed out to me that while I have repeatedly ripped apart the Anti-Common Core people showing their positions to be contradictory, baseless or just the worst in typical liberal/populist propaganda, I have never pointed out why I like the Common Core Standards. So here goes.

 

First let’s define what we mean. Common Core Standards (linked here) are a collection of standards drawn up by the National Governor’s Association (NGA). They cover reading, writing, and mathematics. They do not define what will be taught, what goes into textbooks, or do they create worksheets. It does not have anything to do with allocation of resources in the school or how teachers teach. There are some recommendations about how to make math a more pragmatic, real life application approach to math, but most of the complaints in the media have nothing to do with the Common Core math standards. These are based on the current administration and their education department interference – Race to the top.   These two different concepts should not be combined.

 

Before we get back to why I love the standards I can already tell I’ll have some objections to the above paragraph. But I heard Common Core was a federal take over…no you’re thinking of the White House’s Race to the Top program which like the list of the previous 60 years of federal education programs boils down to we’ll require schools to do random things (some stupid, some okay) and throw money at them. Race to the Top does require states to adopt Common Core, but no state is required to follow Race to the Top, just as no state has to adopt Common Core, and many states were getting ready to adopt Common Core before Obama even got into the White House. But I heard Common Core requires this or that stupid text book. No, those textbooks and those text book companies were always stupid. In fact studies have been done that the new text books that say “Common Core Compliant” are actually the pre-Common Core versions (word for word) with a new sticker slapped on. But on the news I saw this terrible worksheet a student had to do and they said it was Common Core. You must not watch the news much as those stupid worksheets have been around for decades before anyone thought of Common Core. But the teachers and school administrators are saying everything they’re doing is because of Common Core. Here’s a hint, most teachers and school administrators are either liars or incompetent (in many cases both)…there’s a reason we had to come up with bare minimum standards for them to follow, namely, they were too dumb to be trusted on their own. Repeat after me Common Core is properly only used to refer to the Common Core State Standards. It is not Race to the Top, it is not textbooks, it is not the behavior of teachers. It is only standards. They may call all these other things Common Core…but if you call a fish a bird it doesn’t mean that it’s a bird. The only thing that is actually Common Core is the Common Core State Standards. Everything else is not Common Core and you should berate anyone who says otherwise for their ignorance.

 

Okay back to the standards themselves.

 

Common Core is a set of standards created out of an initiative from the governor’s council.  It has two main parts Math Standards and English Language Standards (Reading and Writing).  Things like as a Student will be able to do X at Y grade level.

An example standard reads (this is for reading at the 11th and 12th grade level):

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.7 Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry); evaluating how each version interprets the source text. (Include at least one play by Shakespeare and one play by an American dramatist.)

That’s all it is as can be seen here http://www.corestandards.org . (Again please go read them).

 

It was meant to replace each state’s individual standards so there is more consistency and a higher standard throughout the US.  It also allows for states to use only one standardized test (which saves costs for the states as development costs are now shared for one test) and also allows for us to actually see which states are meeting requirements.  In most cases (but not all) the standards are higher than what the state had before.  Are the math standards high enough? No. But they’re higher than they were before in most cases and states, schools, teachers, and students can always go beyond the bare minimum of the standard.

 

Beyond suggestions of the kind of reading (as in primary sources, or analysis papers) and questioning to be done at each grade level there are no History, Government, Science or other kinds of standards.

 

There is almost no content requirements to be narrow on.  The only Common Core standards even remotely related to Social Studies and Science are the language ones that more or less boil down to “Read Primary Sources”.  It requires only a few works that HAVE to be read by students: They have to read something by Shakespeare, the Declaration, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, Gettysburg and I Have a Dream. That’s it. Other than that it’s pretty much open game for teacher selection so a bad teacher could still choose bad works to try and indoctrinate, but as the standards focus more on the higher level skills (Analysis, Evaluation, Synthesis) if they’re actually teaching the standard then they should be teaching students how to question and analyze (after that it’s up to free will of the student).

 

Why do I think this is all a good idea?

Well first of all teachers are like most people. Most of them will do the minimum required of them. As the standards before Common Core were much lower in almost all the states…this at least means that the minimum they have to do will be higher. Some might complain that this will amount to teachers only teaching to the test…but that is a problem with the teacher not the standards or test. A bad teacher will always teach to the test because that is the minimum they can get away with…and if you don’t have a test it’s not like they’ll suddenly go in great teacher mode, no, they’ll show videos and talk about their feelings all day. Great teachers will have no problem with these standards as their teaching is probably already well above the minimum. (Oh, and to the recent string of whiny teachers who thought that anyone should give a shit about their screeds about how education was becoming nothing but testing…you have no one to blame but yourselves. Even if you were among the competent teachers, which I seriously doubt, you were among the teachers who were voting for unions and supporting them when they protected your inept colleagues. Teachers are to blame for not beginning to police their own long before this.) Standards/testing have always been around to determine if everyone is getting an average amount of data from the course – whatever that is – so this statement of teaching to the test is silly.

 

I like this because it is better economics. Not only in the fact that we’ll save overhead costs in not having to have 50 different state tests…but because this will lower a bar for people who have children. If standards are equal everywhere then you never have to worry about “but if we move to this state will Sally fall behind” greater mobility in geography will translate to greater economic prosperity everywhere.

 

When and if the standards are implemented even half-way competently you’ll have a justification to fire bad teachers who can’t even teach to the test to the minimum standards. Further this will be a fair basis by which we can judge which students need to be held back.

 

Further despite bizarre claims to the contrary, these standards are a great thing for school choice movement. These people are apparently not actually paying attention to one of the biggest problems with the school choice movement: bad schools. The central claim of the school choice movement is that bad schools will go out of business …but regrettably that implies that every parent wants their child to learn. Regrettably I can tell you that some parents just want their kid to get a diploma, or worse they’re just looking for a baby sitter…whether they learn anything isn’t even a concern. And thus schools with really low standards that won’t bother them with homework or parent-teacher calls or requests to meet to discuss Johnny’s progress are very popular with this group. And these excuses for schools give liberals ammunition against the entire school choice movement. And independent testing can help separate them…but testing alone won’t do it because you also need high standards. Why? Well there are some alternative schools that are set up to cater to students who have trouble—they look for the students who have flunked out of three or four schools already…as might be expected the pass rates on tests of these schools are rather low…but they did take a group that everyone else got 0% and in turn got 30% to pass…to only look at the pass rate is say that these schools took toxic waste, turned it into water and you want to complain they didn’t turn it into wine. High standards (and the school creating curriculum to match those standards) help differentiate these schools which are seeking to help the high risk student from the paper mills which just seek to give every student a diploma and collect their funding no matter what they learned. These standards will get the terrible schools out of the market and will strengthen the school choice movement as a whole.

 

And on a personal level I certainly won’t mind if elementary and middle School teachers are finally required to teach basic grammar so that I, in Senior English can actually focus on poetry and philosophy…and not, you know, my usual fair of “How to use a comma.”

 

Now the problem is that each state is implementing Common Core in a different way.  Some are adjusting their history and science standards, and some (usually the liberal ones) are adding PC blame America BS into the standards.  Also several companies that make teaching material, handouts, textbooks and such are also making liberal tripe and giving their product names like “Common Core History.” The implementation and the products which bear the name Common Core are in a lot of cases really dumb and should be opposed–Not because it is being called Common Core but it is bad regardless of what you call it.

 

I would compare this to trying to teach Shakespeare.  In the hands of bad teacher the high moral, hilarious comedy, and near libertarian critique of corrupt government could become a diatribe of trite feminism, bad psychoanalysis, and cheap Marxism…but it is the teacher not the Shakespeare that is to blame.  In the same way Common Core is perfectly fine…it’s the idiots trying to put it into practice that are the problem.

 

Let’s deal with a few pointed criticisms about the Standards themselves. Some critics claim that the standards aren’t high enough to get students into high end colleges…well no kidding, they’re minimum standards, they’re what every student should learn and every student isn’t going to MIT. Others, usually the same organizations that claim they’re not high enough…please make up your mind…but even if they’re still not high enough (and that is the case in some places) they are almost always well above the previous state standards and I know of no state that adopted Common Core that found their standards dropping.   Besides which you need to start at a basic minimum and then each year you can start raising the bar. This could go a long way to stopping the graduation of students who can not read, write or comprehend English or Math.

 

Some complain that the problem with the standards is that they were written in an undemocratic way without public feedback and comment at every level…yes because all the regulations we have from the government with that level of feedback are just so wonderful…and all documents that were composed without public comment (like the Declaration and Constitution, which the CCSS require students to read) are just so terrible and like Common Core should be abolished because of their anti-democratic methods of being created. Also private companies were hired to help write the standards…and as we are a good capitalist nation we hate private companies…wait, no.   The problem with this set of complaints is that it never actually asks if the standards are any good. They are. It doesn’t matter who wrote them or the process of them being written, unless you can point to me where the standards themselves are lacking this is just a demagogue tactic to whip up baseless hatred of the standards.

 

The Common Core reading list has books on it that are terrible! Yes the suggested reading list has some books on it that I would never teach. But here’s the thing, I don’t have to teach them. It’s an extensive list of suggested works that you don’t even have to follow. All it says is that the books are of the level we’re looking for at certain grade levels, when planning for your English course, try to have the books you pick to be on par with the ones listed here. Yeah the list does include some real tripe, but I hazard to think what any educational institution would have cut if they tried to make the list more restrictive…better to have the list be broad and then have parents judge the teacher’s by the books they pick (and if you don’t like the books get your kid a new teacher or new school) or a new book.   If you cut the list down to just Shakespeare and the other classics it might give truly inept teachers the appearance of knowing what they’re doing. Better to not restrict the freedom of teachers, and even suggest a few pieces of dung, and then you can easily spot the bad teachers by the ones who pick those worthless books.

common core

Yes just look at how terrible some of those suggestions are…clearly signs of how evil the Common Cores Standards are.

 

So to sum up. Just about everything you hear complaints about isn’t the actual Common Core standards. The Common Core standards themselves are fine and will, if implemented lead to some but not all of the reforms we need to make in education (while making some of those other reforms easier to implement).

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Filed under People Are Stupid, Education, politics, Common Core

Captain America: The Fringe Libertarian Solider

captain america

That is the depressed look of someone who actually read the script.

 

So I waited a couple of days to see if my distaste for Captain America: The Winter Soldier would pass…it didn’t. In fact the more and more I think about it the angrier I get.

 

So the good news first. It’s better than the first Captain America. But that’s not a high bar to meet as the first one was so bad that watching just about anything else would have been better.

 

But even objectively if you’re looking for mindless entertainment it’s fun. Like Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 this movie did a good job of giving you an entertaining wild ride in a post Avengers world. The problem is that this movie seems to have addressed my complaint that while The Avengers seemed to start delivering into deeper territory, the Iron Man and Thor sequels went back to mindless entertainment (even more so than their predecessors). The problem is that while this film attempted to actually be deeper and actually have a message, it was the wrong message.

 

Okay past this point there are spoilers…if you’re just looking for fun and never look at any deeper level, go see the movie, but after this sentence I reveal all the secrets.

 

First off, for a movie called The Winter Soldier, the Winter Soldier is in remarkably few scenes. Further he’s little more than the hired muscle. It would be like renaming Goldfinger, James Bond: Odd Job…or advertising a whole movie on a villain who really isn’t even there (oh wait, they already did that with the Mandarin in Iron Man 3…I’m beginning to worry that at this rate Ultron may never actually be appearing in Avengers 2: The Age of Ultron). Who names a movie after the hired muscle who barely appears? And while there is supposedly the beginning of a major personal issue for Captain America…this whole mess depends on me caring about the relationship between Steve and Buckey in the first film…which I didn’t. And that one lame scene that was put in to tell me that Steve and Buckey were close didn’t do much either.

 

And this is now the third different character I’ve seen Scarlet Johnasson play in a Marvel film. I know they’re all supposed to be the same character but the personality between Iron Man 2, Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier are so wildly different I’m having a hard time really buying it. It’s like they think it doesn’t matter that we haven’t put any real character development into her, she’s pretty, so comic book nerds won’t care…oh, wait, they might be onto something there. Also am I the only one just not impressed by Scarlet Johansson…she’s not a bad actress…but she’s no where near as good as all the roles she gets.

 

 

But most of all this is Captain America where Captain America is played not by a patriot…or even the Human Torch…but by Edward Snowden. No really. So apparently S.H.I.E.L.D. has been taken over by Hydra (you remember the uberNazi’s from the first movie). Now I might be willing to forgive a lot about what this plot point implies about our actual intelligence and military services namely because this is a plot point they took from the comics…but they don’t let it just rest there. No. No. They go for completely making a political statement by saying that the only way to take down Hydra is to, like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, steal all the S.H.I.E.L.D./Hydra files and put them on the internet. Ignoring how this actually hasn’t done much of anything to actually hurt any government agency, this makes a pretty bold statement that fascist supporting traitors deserving of a quick trial and quicker execution like Snowden are the real heroes. No. No. I will not put up with this bullshit. There was no need for the plot to go the Wikileaks/Snowden route so the only excuse for this plot point is they wanted to make Snowden a hero  Further the implication of this film that organizations like the NSA or any branch of the US military/intelligence community are deserving of comparisons to people too extreme for Nazi’s is just insulting. To the writers and directors of this film, a heartfelt !@#$ you. Yes, let’s attack the one branch of the federal government that doesn’t seem to be cooperating with Obama’s numerous attempts to harass his political allies. Now if you wanted to have a movie where the IRS led by a Lois Learner type character was infiltrated by the Nazi’s, I’d have no problem with that since the morals and sadistic tendencies of your average of IRS agent are already on par. Yes, in real life there needs to be more oversight and more controls…but you can’t point to a single piece of information where the information these groups have been collecting has actually been used against the innocent (beyond idiots using the data for personal reasons)…that’s quite a compliment to the self-control given the power these groups have with this information. But no, let’s compare the most controlled people in the government to Nazi’s. Thanks Marvel.

Yeah some idiots like to portray this only as an issue dealing with our rights to privacy, but while those concerns do need to be addressed, only a fool would suggest completely destroying the very needed intelligence gathering system we do need would end up well in the long run.

And then the directors said they wanted to say the whole movie was a commentary on drones. Oh shut up. Three flying death machines with bullet ranges well beyond the limits of the dumbest science-fiction is not comparable to drones. The problem with drones is not that they exist or that they kill the innocent…the problem with drones is that they’re being used by a inept arrogant son of bitch who uses what was designed as a precision instrument and waves it around like a Neanderthal with a club. Drones could be used efficiently with almost no collateral damage against targets that could not be reached any other way…but they’re not being used that way because of the jackass who is ordering the attacks. And the libertarians who loathe drones so much should remember that drones are tools. Drones don’t kill people, the politicians who use them do. And any libertarian should clearly remember that if they continue their hatred of drones they will have to hate all tools that could kill people if they wish to maintain any claim to intellectual consistency. But asking any liberal or libertarian to understand the difference between the tool and the person using the tool seems to be too much these days.

captain black widow

Black Widow: How can we make this movie worse? Captain America: We have Albert Brooks back…

 

Also I’m really happy that Captain America’s response to finding out the greatest threat to liberty is back, is to decide ‘I’m going to destroy the only agency that might have a chance at stopping them.’ Good call, Cap.

Some other observations. In Iron Man 2 Tony was quite clear that he privatized world peace and the world was much more stable now with Iron Man on the case (and certainly far more safe when in Iron Man 3 the biggest worry was what translated to minor bombing…no really think about it, it is what possibly made Mandarin even on par with even the current actions of the Taliban).   Yet somehow with all this, Hydra claims to have consistently made the world less stable and more chaotic. Which is it?

Or maybe when Hydra makes it clear they were responsible for the death of Howard Stark…and you only have two superheroes to take out three flying supercarriers…no one thought to give Tony a call…maybe for some closure…I mean just pragmatics here…this is not the kind of situation you want to leave to chance…of course when you have control of the first two ships you could have just blown the third out of the sky…but that would have meant we didn’t need to waste the last 20 minutes in a pointless battle between Captain America and the seldom seen Winter Soldier.

 

And a really minor point…there seemed to be a lot of knocking Nazis unconscious. But a lot of hesitation about shooting them. Umm….these are Nazis.   I feel more for all the dead Chitari than I do for Nazi…why did everyone in S.H.I.E.L.D. (beside Maria Hill) seem to have such issues with giving them a one way ticket to Hell….I just didn’t get that point.

 

But more than anything it’s the suggestion that the men and women in our intelligence agencies are Nazi while traitors like Snowden are heroes. This is a revolting idea and ensures that I will never watch this film or anything from these writers or directors again.

 

If you like mindless entertainment, you’ll enjoy the film (in this sense I’ll give the film a B-).   If you look for something deeper and have a sense of morals you’ll be disgusted (in this sense I’ll give it an F.)

 

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The Rise of Modern Populism

 

 

When the Tea Party came onto the scene a few years ago I liked their stated principles…but I had worries, worries that they weren’t the deeply principled conservatives they claimed to be. I worried that as they grew they would sacrifice the principles of conservatism– which when held to will always be good for society as a whole and for the future, but sometimes be hard on the individual in the present—would be sacrificed for the ease of populism.

 

Time has proven that my worries were correct. I hate it when I’m right about things like this.

 

So what do I mean by Populism? By Populism I mean a system of political belief that endorses anything that seems to offer a short term benefit to the masses which it attempts to play to. This depends on a lot of us vs. them mentality because it has to attack people who appear to be against the Populist agenda. But unlike liberalism which also has to rely on this us vs. them mentality, at least when compared to Populism, Populism has at least some ideological consistency. Populism will take any short term solution available so long as it provides immediate benefits to the constituents of the Populist group, damn whatever the long term consequences of that position may be. Populism is the party of “stay out of my life” and “don’t take my money in taxes”…”but feel free to do so to anyone else, in fact feel free to impose my beliefs on everyone else”. It’s cronyism for the people who can’t afford lobbyists…and it is just as vile and destructive as corporate corporatism.

 

“But the Tea Party isn’t a Populist Party! It’s conservative!” The Tea Partier claims. But in reality it’s not a conservative group…it may have been when it started as anti-Obamacare, anti-tax, anti-regulation, anti-big government group…but as it’s grown it has become something else entirely.

 

Don’t believe me?

 

Okay let’s look at the facts.

 

Now first off I will state up front that part of the problem is that there is no core to Tea Party. It’s a diffuse group of vaguely joined individuals. It has no single head, no single organization, no single direction (this is part of the problem and I’ll get to that later). This is part of what makes it Populist, by remaining as 3000 groups under a general banner, each subsection can play to it’s own little group and doesn’t have to worry about any consistency in philosophy.
Then there is now a pervasive anti-corporation tone in everything the Tea Party says and does. “Common Core was funded by big business” “Congress needs to choose between Big Business and the people” “Big Business only stands for corporatism!” Implicit in all of this is the central core of populism that the government must side either with the people or the corporation. That it must choose those with money or without. That it is the haves or have-nots. Workers of the World, cast off you chains you have…wait a second.   Did that just really, and I mean really quickly, and rather easily devolve into Marxism? You know why I was able to do that in only a couple sentences? Because it’s the same mentality at the root of both populism and every form of liberalism. That government should be for me* and when it is for me it has to be against someone else. Meanwhile if you’re a conservative you realize that there is little difference between a person or a corporation…in both subsets you will find good and bad, ethical and unethical, harmful and helpful…but most of all you will find among both groups a short term thinking that looks only to their own needs disregarding the needs of anyone else. A person will take every government handout they can and end up with a take home pay almost 20 grand more than I make working 50 hours a week—but this is no different than a corporation looking to put up tariffs or rules to help itself from having to deal with competition. Both are full of people and organizations that only look out for their own interest.   And there is no picking between the two, and there is no changing the underlying human nature that causes both excesses. But there is limiting government so that it cannot pick winners or losers. There is limiting the powers of government so that while a needed safety net for individuals (and yes it is needed, even the gods of Capitalism, Friedman and Hayek, would point out that a safety net is needed) and forgiving bankruptcy laws to help corporations be productive feature of capitalism’s creative destruction rather than just an unending source of misery to all associated. Conservatives say that the choice is not pick between the two but to limit government’s ability to pick between the

populism

This picture is a perfect example of populism…You don’t have a right to be heard, you have a right to speak but no one has to listen to you…but the populist view because you speak people should be forced to listen to you.

two. Go listen to any Tea Party spokesperson…do they sound like they’re on the not picking side…or do they make it a choice between the corporations and the people.

 

You see populism with the Tea Party in it completely forsaking capitalism in favor protectionism. With the recent TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) agreement you see a very strong Tea Party/Populist move against the trade deal because it doesn’t offer protections for American products. Now any capitalist be they from the Chicago or Austria school will tell you the important thing is that you lower taxes if you have two countries with tariffs on each others products and only one country drops it tariffs and the other doesn’t it doesn’t matter because there will be more trade and everyone will prosper because of that in the long run. It would be better for both nations to drop their tariffs, but to say I’m not going to end mine unless you end yours is not only economically suicidal but pathetically immature. But the Populists are throwing a conniption fit over the fact that in this trade agreement Japan is keeping tariffs to protect their farmers (all this shows is that Japan is still idiotic when it comes to understanding macroeconomics). Who cares. Now I have not been over every line of this trade agreement and there may be many reasons to hate it that I am not aware of, but if the only argument against nations all over the Pacific lowering tariffs and trade barriers is because the politicians of one nation are being particularly daft in playing the Populists for their constituents doesn’t mean we should shoot ourselves in the foot over this. But just watch the Populists drive this one home just like they did with NAFTA.

 

And I would love for you to show me one Tea Party person in the Midwest who hates ethanol/agriculture subsides. Yes those Tea Party folks hate big government…unless it benefits them and their constituents.

 

And how can we forget that wonderfully Populist idea of us vs. them when it comes to the idea of the people vs. “the establishment.” “The establishment” a group more shady and secretive than the Illuminati, and possibly with goals more nefarious. Now I can never get a full list of “the establishment”… now it certainly involves Boehner (despite the fact that he keeps getting his hands tied by the Tea Party) and McConnell (despite the fact as Ann Coulter points out you’d have to be absolutely clueless to not think Mitch McConnell is a conservative)…and most likely Eric Cantor, although I can’t think of anything he’s done to undermine conservatism. It may or may not include Paul Ryan depending on whether or not it’s high tide or low tide. It certainly can’t include lifelong RINO John McCain because supreme divine goddess Sarah the infallible endorsed him over a Tea Party candidate in 2010, and Sarah wouldn’t endorse anyone from the establishment, so he and his al-Qaeda supporting ways can’t possibly be part of “The Establishment.” After that I’m a little fuzzy on the roster.** But “The Establishment” is the all powerful force that controls all the strings in the Republican party and they must be taken down…though it’s unclear exactly who must be taken down. But strangely it must be taken down with candidates who make the most insane statement you can find. And Democrats seem to like these challengers…but the fact that our enemies love these people apparently has no bearing on anything.

 

 

And finally, Populists like their liberal counterparts are very big on emotion and very poor on logic. Just look at how anyone in the Tea Party reacts to a suggestion that we should use some strategy in how we go about trying to win a campaign. No. No. None of that strategy bullshit. There is no such thing as the moderate or swing voter there is only rallying our base and getting them to vote…because I don’t care what numbers you throw at me, we lose only because our base doesn’t come out to vote. No. No. NONE OF YOUR NUMBERS AND FACTS THAT MIGHT SHOW THIS TO BE UTTER FANTASY. We should never appeal to the middle with the things we agree on, the middle on (economics, liberty, small government, pro-entrepreneurial laws and regulations, less red tape, lower taxes, getting out of their lives and taking less of their money), NO! We must only talk about social issues and support candidates who hold to these issues 100% of the time without fail (and I can’t find justification for these social issues in the constitution). There must not be any compromise at any time for any reason (even if that reason were to actually further our cause). THERE MUST BE NO COMPROMISE! BECAUSE WE MUST ONLY ACT ON PRINCIPLE AND EMOTION. THER MUST NOT BE ANY REASON OR STRATEGY, that way lies RINOS and “The Establishment.”

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.  If we wanted to get into every issue I could show the populist overtones in the Tea Party are more prevalent than the conservative ones.

 

And I blame the fact that the Tea Party has degenerated so far on a very few in the GOP, certainly Palin, DeMint, Levin, Malkin and Hannity have all done more than their share to fan the fires of idiocy, but more than anyone I blame Michael Steele (see I don’t rely on some mysterious “Establishment” I can tell you exactly who I blame). He got so annoyed at the idiots like DeMint and Palin who started the whole movement going off the rails by endorsing really preposterous candidates that he worked to cut them off from funding entirely in 2010 rather than begrudgingly bringing them into the fold and making the Tea Party just the grassroots part of the GOP, Steele and his subordinates tried to distance the GOP from the Tea Party. Way to go Michael…I see that got you a cushy job over at MSNBC, I see they reward hurting the GOP well over there. Had we cared more about strategyback then we would have embraced the Tea Party (even though they had some populist undertones even back then) which would have prevented this divide, prevented them from going full Populist, and would have actually worked to quash the Populist themes of the Tea Party.

 

But that is over. And it cannot be changed. The only thing I can say is that for real conservatives we can only make it our goal to appeal to both the Tea Party and the moderates, the conservative beliefs are what needed to prevail. We need to be even more aggressive in our ground game than the Tea Party during the primary season to prevent the craziest candidates form winning and we need to do our best to make sure that they don’t sulk and stay home come October and November. Remember that no matter who get the nominations for all the offices, “Establishment” or Tea Party either is probably BETTER than a Democrat.

 

 

*You know a lot of libertarians hate Lincoln for his Constitutional violations and war crimes, a lot of economists hate him for his complete lack of understanding of economics, a lot of principled people hate him for the fact that the had none…but if there is one thing that I loathe Lincoln for it is the phrase “For the people.” You can find “Of the people” and “by the people” in the Declaration and Constitution…you can’t find “For the people.” It is Lincoln who first brought the vile populist idea that government is there for you into general thought. And for that and that alone he should never be listed as one of the good presidents.

 

** I will just have to ask for a members list next time I’m at the monthly “Establishment Virgin Sacrifice to Ba’al”…listening to the Tea Party I assume we do that sort of thing here in “The Establishment.”

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April Fool’s Day Post: Secret Documents Reveal Democratic Plan to Undermine the Right From Within

Exclusive, The Conservative New Ager has, this April Fool’s Day, been shown recently uncovered documents that show conclusively that the Republican Party has been infiltrated by liberal moles hell-bent on destroying the Republican Party from within.

 

What’s this you say? Liberal infiltrators within the Republican Party? Yes!

 

And no I’m not just referring to the fact that liberals have been heavily funding “libertarian” candidates to divide votes against conservatives. No the plan appears, according to these documents, to go much further (beginning with the open push for open primaries – we now see the underlying liberal reasoning).

 

While the documents do not list exactly who is involved or where money is being funneled to, the plans and tactics for the double agents are laid out clearly. For instance, one document states:

 

Liberal infiltrators are to always bring up abortion.   Polls show that while Americans are not in favor of the Democratic position of abortion on demand at tax payer expense, the natural American tendency toward liberty finds it even more offensive to claim “”If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down”. Gallup studies have shown that despite claims otherwise, 71% of Republicans favor keeping abortion legal in one form or another…yet a vocal minority within the Republican party, which these documents show are on liberal payrolls, are hammering a point that in no way appeals even to the base of the Republican party and certainly not to the majority of voters. Further these documents suggest that DNC forces have also paid off the media to only cover these infiltrators which explain why the media gives these comments so much play and not real fiscal comments from the Republican Party. These liberal infiltrators have started even attacking what the vast majority of Republicans and independents believe is a valid purpose of abortion, aborting children with severe medical challenges to spare them the living hell of a

Dinner?

Hmmm….

life like that. Further these liberal infiltrators are being paid to make Republicans look mentally challenged by suggesting that abortion is the cause of our economic woes with truly brain dead statements like “The reason Social Security is in big trouble is we don’t have enough workers to support the retirees. Well, a third of all the young people in America are not in America today because of abortion, because one in three pregnancies ends in abortion.” Quotes this insane assumes that conservatives believe that children have one purpose – to support the elderly – which if that isn’t the ring of liberal propaganda then what is… there is nothing there about the conservative beliefs in individualism, personal responsibility and freedom of choice – whatever those repercussions are.

 

These documents were obtained in light of the fact that despite being a traitor worthy of hanging for his crimes, Edward Snowden did reveal what liberals consider data security. The field agents of the Conservative New Ager just strolled into the DNC headquarters and asked for access to the computer systems claiming to be tech people called in to repair an unspecified problem. The stoned hippie behind the desk was apparently more than helpful in providing our investigative team with all the documents they needed.

 

As such deep cover agents have been sent into the Republican Party to pose as conservatives, they work tirelessly to offend moderates and even Republicans as liberals are desperate to get votes for themselves or at least deprive Republicans of votes by having those voters veer towards the perpetual waste of a vote known as the Libertarian party.

 

In addition to the abortion issues, similar DNC drafted talking points for these infiltrators include making statements against gay marriage (when the majority of moderate and even conservative voters would rather you just get government out of religion and just have legal civil unions for everyone) or focusing on other issues that any idiot would know would not drive moderates away.

 

It is unclear exactly who in the Democrat Party came up with this plan and who is funding it (or even that anyone at the DNC could possibly have the foresight to think up something this clever)…or who in the Republican Party was too stupid to not notice what was going on. But as insiders begin to comb over the paperwork it becomes clear that this is the only thing keeping the Democratic Party alive as the Republicans would sway the vast majority of independents and libertarians if they were just running on conservative economic values.

 

Documents do not make it clear exactly who these people are but there are clues within the paperwork. For instance one such infiltrator is listed as a former Governor who during their term of office threatened violate contract law (something conservatives hold as sacrosanct) with contracts the state held with private corporations, raised taxes on those corporations, encouraged large federal spending projects to nowhere, advocated that the budget to the Department of Education be expanded, endorses the worst candidates (even liberal scum) whenever possible, and takes government subsidy money for their TV shows. One wonders how moderates could be so dumb to accept such a clearly vile liberal shill as a conservative, but you betcha they are just that dumb.

 

Other infiltrators are suggested to have endorsed arming al-Qaeda in Syria. One even appears to be a massive closet case who never met a government spending program or bribe he didn’t like.

 

To spot these liberal infiltrators according to these documents, the following positions should be noticed:

(1)  They make wild baseless claims about abortion rather than just pushing to end all government funding of it.

(2)  They believe that gay marriage is an abomination rather than the conservative belief that government should get out religion, and only do civil unions for any two consenting adults leaving marriage to religion and religion alone.

(3)  They attack other Republicans.

(4)  They treat conservatism as a belief that can only exist within Christianity despite the fact that the moral basis for conservatism can be found in just about every religion on Earth.

(5)  They attack corporations as something inherently evil or do not hold other basic conservative/capitalist views like the sacrosanct nature of contracts – personal property rights.

(6)  They speak in terms of populism accidentally dropping liberal talking points like “living wage” or feel that competition is a bad thing.

(7)  Having no understanding of the difference between the idiotic federal Race to the Top (Obama’s plan) and the intelligent state led Common Core standards and treating them as if they’re the same thing.

It is almost certain that anyone who traffics in statements like this is clearly on the DNC payroll and following their direction/talking points.

 

When informed of this GOP chair Reince Preibus stated that, “When you think about it this actually makes sense. I mean the only other option would be that the Republican Party was laced with absolutely suicidal morons who don’t understand the principles of real conservatism and have no desire to win….wait what, this is an April Fool’s Day post and none of this ever happened. We actually have a minority of the party that really are that dumb? Well shit. We’re doomed aren’t we?”

 

Well shit indeed. Guess we had better start teaching true conservatives ideals starting with fiscal responsibility.

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Some in the conservative movement seem to be out to destroy Republicans with their closed minded behavior

 

Lately I have noticed a very strange resurgence, once again in an election year, of the most idiotic branch of religious closed mindedness popping up in political forums.  And it seems to keep coming from the right…do these people want to lose or are they just too stupid to realize that this constantly hurts the party and actually getting anywhere with any of their ideals?

 

Let me start off by saying my problem is not Christianity, Christ, or organized religion in general. I may have a few issues with some of the core metaphysical concepts within Christianity, but there is nothing in the ethical code of Christ (at least in the way I read it, some others, say Calvinists or Liberation Theology reads it in a truly abhorrent way, but that’s part of what this column is about).

 

What my problem is that not only are the craziest forms of Christianity making a very vocal comeback, but they’re doing it in a way that is distinctly political. And as this is coming out on what should be conservative outlets (really they’re being rank populist outlets).  But let’s go over a few of these highlights I’ve found (really for everyone I point out here there are at least 10 other articles in the last 3 months I could point out, which suggests a much larger groundswell of the dumbest of the dumb).

 

The first I would like to point out is an article titled 7 Reasons I’m A Conservative, Not A Liberal. Among the many reasons, some of them quite valid, he gives the idea that he is a Christian as a reason why he is a conservative. I hate this point mostly because it exhibits such an ignorance of philosophy that while I try to be articulate on the blog, it leaves me a sputtering mess of anger and outrage in real life.  Note to all Christians, it is not Christianity that gives conservatism its moral back.  Christ may give you many of your moral codes, but his words can be equally interpreted towards socialism as towards capitalism (as has been done by many liberals). It is Aristotle and Aristotle alone who gives conservatism the virtue based backing that makes it the only successful belief system in existence.  Just take a look at history. Before Aquinas grafted Aristotle onto Christianity you had the Dark Ages, after Aquinas showed us that Aristotle was the way, you had the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and the spread of liberty throughout the world. When was the very brief Golden Age of Islam that you hear about (but never see its effects in modern culture) it was the 90 or so years that the Mutalizite Sunni’s grafted Aristotle onto Islam. Why is Europe failing…just find for me an Aristotelian idea anywhere on that god-awful failing continent…or anywhere in the Democratic Party for that matter. Granted those are only two examples…but just wait for the day India, China or Japan grafts Aristotle onto their culture and watch the world take off in a way you’ve never seen. You’re a conservative because of Aristotle not Christ. Please have even a basic understanding of philosophy before you feel the need to state things.  Second, yes you do need the religious backing of Christianity to make Aristotle’s philosophy work. Specifically you need the idea that the human soul contains a spark of divinity (found in the Holy Ghost and the idea that man was made in God’s image).  But this is not an idea that is unique to Christianity. It’s actually found in every single belief system that is not atheism or Islam.  So please don’t act like Conservatism is only a Christian thing, it’s not.  It never has been.  Most of Founding Father conservatives you admire and respect (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, Hamilton) were deists who tended to doubt (Washington, Hamilton, Madison) or outright deny (Adams, Jefferson, Franklin) the divinity of Christ. We need to accept that conservatism has little to anything to do with Christianity because all this belief does is drive away people who from other religions who would otherwise agree with us on everything. But, way to go. Putting out an article that I can only assume you believe will convince people they should be conservatives…and only accomplishing the exact opposite.

Then of course I saw this one also from the supposedly political Townhall.com We are not all the children of God.  Because that’s right let’s attack random pieces of theological doctrine on a political website, I’m sure that will do wonders to help this make us a big-tent party centered only around conservative principles. Let’s also ignore such statements as “Adam, which was the son of God” (Luke 3:38) and “Blessed are the peacemakers:for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9). No, no, only the narrowest most closed-minded interpretation of Protestant belief must prevail in our party…are you people intentionally daft or do you not realize you have become your own worst enemy.

But speaking of the worst aspects of Christianity, let’s talk about this little article.  Resurgence of Calvinism.  Dear God in Heaven?  Really?  The most idiotic, anti-Conservative, anti-individual, anti-libertarian philosophical movement in history is making a comeback. You know I used to debate a rather useless and idiotic atheist and his main point was always to attack Calvinism as proof the religion was stupid and among my many points of why he was wrong was that Calvinism wasn’t exactly a major theme in modern Christianity (my other points that he was tumblr_m9ut29DAnM1r1x0cco1_500debating a Christian and that just because one subsection was dumb doesn’t mean that all forms of religion are still valid and a strong plank in my point that this particular atheist was a waste of space and volume), but it still hurts that this rise in this idiotic strain of religion is on the upswing.  And I don’t care what the differences are between the old and new versions of this belief, because at their heart they still both deny free will, a cornerstone belief for any conservative, any republic and any successful free society. To deny free will is to deny the very thing that makes America: the natural rights of liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  But when you look at the people championing this new Calvinism it’s people who claim to be conservatives.

 

Now these are just three examples.  But I’ve seen more.  A lot more. It’s just becomes repetitive and boring to go over all of them.

 

Now it may be that I’m just seeing what I want to see, a general rise in the stupidity of social conservatives, and the confirmation that bias is making me select the information that supports my thesis and ignore everything else…but I’ve looked and between the Tea Party shifting from a purely small government, pro-liberty, low taxes party to one that wants to rail about social issues at every turn, from the endorsement of social conservative loons like Cruz and Palin, from DeMint’s almost psychotic pivot at Heritage from a economic and foreign policy think tank to one that focuses on social issues as it’s primary concern…I’m not seeing anything to disprove my thesis that there seems to be a distinct rise of the vocal closed minded social conservatives who act as if their way is the only way and all who disagree with them to even a minor degree are somehow not conservatives when conservative philosophy should deal with fiscal matters, property rights concept and foreign affairs doctrines only when it comes to politics….conservatives believe in the power of faith and God and the necessity for them in society but we also should believe that we never put them in a position where government has any power over them.

This is dangerous.  This is supposed to be big tent party. We’re supposed to be the party of small government. Of personal liberty and responsibility. Of capitalism.  And these are values that exist not only on the brand of Christianity but in almost all religions.   These statements only drive away the people we should be reaching out to and showing your personal ethics match up with the GOP. It’s not a problem to hold deep religious convictions, it’s in most cases admirable…but while those convictions may drive you, you can convey them in a way that doesn’t turn away people who do not share your exact brand of convictions.   And these people who feel that conservative politics is only for their particular brand of religion need to shut up, because they are hurting the politics they claim to support, or they just need to go away because their bigoted ‘my way or the highway’ attitude is far more in line with liberalism that believes it’s perfectly okay to use any and all means to force people to agree with you.

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Let’s deal in fact and reality: Race to the Top: Bad. Common Core: A Step in the Right Direction.

 

And people who do not get this distinction are idiots.

You know I am having a harder and harder time taking anyone in the media seriously these days. The entire left wing of the media keeps repeating bullshit that history and economics and common sense and experience have disproved a million times over. But now the right wing is getting equally stupid. Namely in the fact of their anti-Common Core crusade to insanity.
There are so many preposterous points I don’t where to start.

But let’s start with the oh so repeated line of “One size education doesn’t fit all.” It’s the idea that having standards will destroy any and all freedom in education. Bullshit. That’s the nicest I can treat that sentiment. Bullshit. You are an absolute idiot if you believe that having a minimum standard in any way, shape or form ruins a teacher’s ability to teach. Now initially as with any raising of the bar, teachers at the high grades will have trouble getting all the standards in because their lower grade counterparts never bothered to meet any standard and that will, for a few years take up a good deal of their time…but I fail to see how that will be any different from the present when I’m having to teach Seniors how to use a comma, who Julius Caesar was, or what a platypus is (these are not random things I thought of, these are all real moments from my high school Senior English course). Yes the transition might be difficult, but it will be worth it, because at the end of the transition student will be coming into my class knowing the basics and having the skill to discuss Shakespeare and Aristotle and allowing me to teach them how to analyze a paper (or better a news article or a politician’s) to find the truth rather than how to write a simple sentence. Please tell me how that restricts my freedom as a

Common Core State Standards.jpg

Common Core has been blamed for everything short of shooting Kennedy…and essentially all of the charges against it are without any basis in reality.

teacher? Further saying that a minimum standard impedes freedom is saying that your students have a right not to learn anything. No. There should a bare minimum in reading, writing and math that students know at certain grade levels. And nothing in the Common Core standards (please actually read them) is too far ahead of the abilities of an average student, even a below average student. Or do you think that
“Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic” is too much for a 4th grade student (if you do think that’s too much for that age, you clearly have never heard a child expound on the near graduate level knowledge they all seem to possess about dinosaurs). Or if you think that “Find a percent of a quantity as a rate per 100 (e.g., 30% of a quantity means 30/100 times the quan11tity); solve problems involving finding the whole, given a part and the percent” is too much for a 6th grader…then you clearly needed the Common Core standards when you were growing up because you never learned the basics of math. I’m sorry there is nothing in the Common Core standards that is too high for any grade level. In fact, before Jim DeMint sold the soul of the Heritage Foundation to populists, the Heritage Foundation’s complaint about Common Core wasn’t that it was too hard, or a one size fits all lie, or new math or anything like that…no back in early 2012 before Heritage’s education department became dependent on clueless pundits, Heritage complained that the standards weren’t high enough (which is still an invalid complaint because the standards are higher than what most states had before).  You can’t complain that standards aren’t high enough but that standards are bad for education at the same time without being a hypocrite…and DeMint’s Heritage (which still has not sold out on economic and foreign policy, but is beginning to lack everywhere else) is just that.

Having standards sets the lower end but any teacher is allowed and encouraged to go beyond that minimum bar in any way they feel best. Granted to meet and exceed this minimum bar we will need better teachers across the board, but we had to start somewhere because to have good teachers you need a minimum standard to judge them by, and to have a minimum standard you need good teachers. So either we could get into an endless chicken and the egg debate of which we should do first, or we could just pick on, which we did.
Then of course there are the media outlets, like the Daily Caller which quoted a study as showing that Common Core doesn’t work:

The study, conducted by the Brookings Institution, compared standardized test scores for all 50 states over the last five years. It found that states using education standards that are most dissimilar to Common Core tended to score the highest on math.

Actually the report was (A) talking about how far the state standards were from Common Core in 2009 and how they were doing now, and (B) the states with 2009 standards least like CCSS showed the most improvement over the 4 years since switching over…which would suggest that switching led to better growth. But, even that is going to far as the study actually said:

Table 3-2 reveals no systematic relationship between the states’ MSU ratings and changes in NAEP from 2009–2013. Indeed, states with standards most different from the CCSS (rated 1) gained the most on NAEP (2.25). States with standards most like the CCSS scored the next largest gains (1.94);

The report also makes the statement (in big bold letters):

States that more aggressively implemented the CCSS registered larger gains from 2009–2013.

But again, I won’t claim that this report highly endorses Common Core. It doesn’t. It claims that with very little data on hand only a minimal amount of growth can be shown or even expected. It further questions if this growth is worth all the money and effort going into putting Common Core into place. It however does not say what the Daily Caller claims. And I’ll admit that this is a high cost for minimal gains…at first. But this is the first step in having real across the board minimum standards to actually preventing students from falling behind. This is the first step of many that need to occur, the first step to culling bad teachers and bad schools from the system. The first step to making sure students are held back to ensure they understand before being promoted to the next level. The gains we see from this one single step are minimal, but they are an investment on a system of reform that will pay vast dividends. And when your opposition, as the Daily Caller as clearly put itself in the Anti-Common Core camp, has to blatantly lie about a study showed to make it’s point, you have to question whether or not the anti-Common Core line has any validity.
Oh but then there’s the new math. Common Core is teaching new math and that’s terrible (but remember thinking one size fits all is also terrible, so if you’re utterly confused on the exactly what the anti-Common Core people are arguing for, don’t worry, that only means you have a brain). So let’s first forget that there have been new math programs for decades and that this is nothing new. Let’s also forget that Common Core is just standards and does not require any of this. Now like a good anti-Common Core person we’ve forgotten reality let’s deal with the evil Common Core Math.

Now with most of the examples you see on the internet they’ll show you one worksheet where you can’t see if there were more worksheets that explained it in greater detail, or even what publisher they’re from. I’ll wager most of these evil worksheets are from minor text book publishers or that their idiocy predates Common Core…
But I was happy to see one worksheet that’s making the rounds that actually does have a copyright in the corner. The anti-Common Core people made a mistake in including the copyright information in the corner because it shows them to be a bunch of idiots and liars.

Math Coach CornerNow initially looking at this sheet you’d think someone had just gone insane and why can’t we just go back to the old way of learning math. However, if you type the name Donna Boucher (which who copyrighted this) into a search-engine you come up with her website Math Coach’s Corner where you find that worksheets like the one you see there are probably not meant as a first round of teaching but designed to help students find alternate avenues to doing the same problems if the traditional approach doesn’t work—because as the anti-Common Core folk like to correctly state one size fits all does not work for everyone, but strangely when you try not to go with one size fits all methods you get yelled at, because the hypocrisy of the anit-Common Core bunch knows no bounds. Pick a side anti-Common Core people. Now if a teacher started with Boucher’s methods that would probably be foolish, but as there is no context for the worksheet as it is shown on any site I’ve seen it on, nor any of the background of the lesson showing how to use it there is no way to tell if this is a teacher doing this on the first go around or merely showing their students another way of doing things. Further, ever since the day I taught in a lecture on Romantic poets that “The Romantic poets of early 1800’s England viewed the character of Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost as a heroic figure” and then got accused by a parent the next day of “teaching students to worship the Devil,” I tend to take parent’s statements that no other information was offered with just a grain of salt. I’m sure there are idiot teachers out teaching math incorrectly, (but that has nothing to do with Common Core), there always have been, however I’m also sure that there are teachers out there that are using things like Boucher’s worksheets because they understand ‘not one size fits all’ and are trying to expose their students to different ways of doing things. Without context it’s hard to tell when and where this worksheet was used and if it was done in the correct context or an incorrect one. But any way you want to look at it, Common Core isn’t to blame. So just because a worksheet doesn’t seem to make much sense remember there are probably more worksheets that explain things, and there was probably a lesson to go with it.
I would also point out that some of these new math worksheets have made me going “Oh, thank God, I thought I was the only one who did it in their head that way!” While a few other of these ways that I have seen on videos get explained so fast you’re not sure if you’re watching an Abbott and Costello routine…but when I’ve listened to them I find myself thinking, “That’s genius!”* Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s bad. The proof will be if it actually helps students. Yeah, there are some dumb methods out there too, and quite a few of these worksheets I can’t figure out what they’re getting at. But NONE OF THIS IS REQUIRED BY COMMON CORE and some of it may be simply be a lack of context.

Then of course there are all the complaints about the fact that textbooks have been changed to meet Common Core and thus they now have terrible information. But if you actually read the standards or the very limited material that has actually been put out by the people who actually wrote the standards, the incorrect stuff doesn’t appear anywhere in the real standards. I suspect that it’s more likely the anti-common core bunch found a few idiotic textbooks and are claiming that it is representative of all of common core because Common Core has made them so terrible. Also fun fact. All those common core textbooks you hate? Did you know that a study was done comparing those new textbooks to the old pre-Common Core textbooks. Guess what, the textbook publishers just took the old textbooks and slapped Common Core stickers on it. They’re the same—same text, same problems, same answers, same process. Why didn’t you complain about them before since there was no difference? Oh that’s right, you don’t really care about education, you were just told to hate this by some pundit and dutifully and blindly followed.

Then of course there is the problem that a lot of things that are actually part of Obama’s idiotic Race to the Top program are being called Common Core. People will say “Well this teacher, or that union, or such and such school board said that this terrible plan was part of Common Core.” So? What do I care what idiots say. Morons say that the Constitution says that guns aren’t an individual right…but amazingly I don’t listen to morons I actually go and read the Constitution and see that no, the 2nd Amendment clearly states it as a “right of the people.” With Common Core I don’t care what the morons say is Common Core, I have a brain and can actually go and read the Common Core Standards and see, nope that idiocy isn’t there. And if I were talking to those teachers/unions/schools I would chide them for their complete and utter inability to read and point out that this is why we need the standards so we can see who doesn’t meet the standards as teachers…and then fire them. If you play their game here that all these things that have nothing to do with Common Core are Common Core just because idiots believe it’s Common Core, then you have to agree that Obamacare is Constitutional because 5 corrupts pieces of scum in black robes said it was when it isn’t, or that when Obama says he supports capitalism you have to agree to that because most of the country was dumb enough to buy it. You can play that game. I’ll be over here in reality where word have meaning and facts are things you should go by.

I could go on about how I am really bothered by the liberal/populist/socialist argument that because big business was involved thus it must be evil permeates every anti-Common Core debate…or how parents never seem to be complaining that schools (or parents) aren’t teaching  children how to learn from failure or how to pick themselves up, only that “Common Core made my halfwit child cry!” (Okay maybe I added the halfwit part, but it’s accurate.) I could go on on all of these things, but they all come back to there has yet to be a single valid critique of the actual Common Core standards.

And this all culminates in the problem that I’m now having trouble taking just about any problem aside from the ones I already know about seriously (the economy and foreign policy) because I just can’t trust that anyone is doing even the slightest amount of research.

*If anyone wants me to I’ll go over the video I’m thinking about and showing how the math process they show as being terrible is actually quite ingenious…however this blog was getting long as it is.

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Filed under Common Core, Education, People Are Stupid, Problems with the GOP

I’m getting tired of some of the populists out there who claim to be conservatives…

In a recent article on Brietbart:

‘Renee Ellmers Thinks For Herself’: Rep. Calls Ingraham ‘Ignorant’ In Pro-Amnesty Meltdown

There are several very bizarre things.

1. Is this bullshit that all reform is amnesty?  The Republican principles are quite clear that they will not be amnesty.  If you can read you can see that…clearly most of the media and 100% of talking heads are effectively illiterate as they seem to miss this point.

 

2.  From the headline you’d think that it was pro-reform Ellmers who had a breakdown when to anyone with two good ears it was obviously Ingraham who got overly emotional about the issue from the get go and started responding irrationally.  The hack who wrote up this article was quite stupid to include the audio as his attack of Ellmers was as unjustified as Ingraham’s points.

 

Heritageimmigration

Keep in my by Laura Ingraham’s logic…Heritage is a liberal organization in line with La Raza because they said the system is broken. Now I am having some issues with Heritage’s social and education issues…but I wouldn’t go as far as to say they’re liberal.

3. Ellmers was attacked for saying we have a broken system, which Ingraham took offense to because that is something La Raza and liberals say.  Millions of people and drugs coming over an unprotected border no matter who is in control, huge welfare payments to illegals, public services being ruined because of exploitation by illegals, no effective way of dealing with this in the short term…you know I don’t care if La Raza and Chuck Schumer or even Karl Marx, Adolf Hitler and Satan were the ones who first said the words “broken system”…it’s a broken system, just because the opposition also uses the term doesn’t change the fact that it’s broken.

It’s broken.  This is a fact.  If it were any more broken we’d have to call it Obamacare.

 

I’m really convinced that Laura Ingraham doesn’t have the first clue what the free market is.

 

4.  Ingraham starts going off that businesses just need to start providing a living wage if they want to attract workers…remind me again exactly who sounds like a liberal here.

 

5.  Ingraham says it’s terrible that businesses are being driven out of existence because illegals are offering the same service for less money…and that anyone who doesn’t support her side of deport them all is against the free market.  So being for undercutting your competition is against the free market…wait, what?  The fact that people who are willing to work for less get the job isn’t conceding that the free market doesn’t work it’s 100% proof that it does.  The free market has no bias to where you’re from or how you got here, it only cares about what you do and what you’re willing to pay or work for.  Yes they broke the law to get here, and yes a functioning free market requires rule of law in terms of property rights and contract law…but the laws being broken here are not the laws specifically tied to the idea of the free market Laura.
6.  Also apparently according to Ingraham the government is there to ensure that higher wages are paid.  And this is from a Tea Party person…and to think I claim the Tea Party has ceased being conservative and is now 100% a populist movement.

 

7. Ingraham also seems fairly pissed off about the idea that Americans are lazy, and that to say this is somehow un-American.  Laura, the vast majority of the country either sat at home or voted for Obama.  Ispo facto.  Americans are lazy.  At least some of them are.  To deny this is just preposterous.
Its great Laura your mom was a hard-working blue collar worker who did low paying jobs to get you through life.  Just because your mom exists doesn’t mean that everyone in the nation has a strong work ethics.  They don’t.  This is also a fact.

Further the problem isn’t the illegals who want to work.  For decades, hell generations, no one cared about people coming up from Latin America (legally or illegally), working and earning money.  That was the free market and for the most part everybody loved it because everyone benefitted.

The problem is not the illegals who want to work.  It’s the ones who bring their kids to get educated and families to get food stamps and medical care on our tax dime.

I’m sorry but if you want to deal with this real problem then you have to do a few things.

(A)  You have to build a way to keep new illegals from getting into the country…oh, look, that would be the first part of the plan that Boehner, Paul Ryan, Renee Ellmers are actually proposing…too bad Laura that in your mob mentality you were ignorant of this fact.

(B)  Then you would have to reform the immigration code to reward people coming here who want to work and who have the skills to work.  Again that is part of the Republican plan that any non-ignorant person would know…obviously not Ingraham.

(C)  You would then have to deal with the illegals who are here…and that leaves a few options…Deport them all at astronomical cost, which the Republicans being the fiscally sane party are not for… or amnesty, Reagan tried that because he still thought that all illegals were the kind that just wanted to work, experience has shown that doesn’t work and that’s why the Republican plan doesn’t include amnesty (and to claim it does isn’t just ignorance, it’s an out and out lie)…or the Republican plan fines them and lays huge restrictions on them if they want to stay, deport the relatively small amount that don’t want to take this option, and never allow those who came here illegally to have citizenship if they don’t want to go to the back of the line and start the way everyone else has to.

Anyone with a brain can see that the Republican plan is exactly what we need.  Yes we need to work out the details. But just saying that nothing needs to be fixed by denying that the system is broken is foolishness and idiocy.  And I am getting tired of this very kind of idiotic populism that seems to have infected so many supposedly conservative pundits and voters.

 

 

 

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Filed under Conservative, Economics, Illegal Immigration, Long Term Thinking, People Are Stupid

The futile nature of foreign policy under cowards and idiots.

“Evil is an outreach program.”—P.J. O’Rourke

 

These are the hardest moments for neocons and sane people (but I repeat myself).  You realize that in Venezuela, in Ukraine, in Syria, in Turkey, in South Sudan, and a dozen other nations there are terrible things going on.  That any rational understanding of natural rights and that they apply to all people equally (regardless of what country you live in) and ethics (and the basic tenet that you have to help people when you know about their suffering and are in a position to help them) tells us that we need to do something…
Flexibility-copy

…but reason also tells us that we can’t do anything. Not because there is nothing to do, but because with the leadership we have now any intervention would not only be pointless it would likely make things worse(as occurred with the Arab Spring).

 

And that’s the problem, there are things to do, things that can improve the situation everywhere, but the idiots we currently have can only muck things up and it may be best to let these atrocities work themselves out.  Which is terrible.

 

It was bad when you have a life long cowardly isolationist (from a family of worthless cowardly isolationists)  like Bush try to adopt the mantle of a neoconservative on foreign policy…but not bother to understand the part about long term planning to help build, rebuild and establish functioning constitutional republics that defend the rights of their people.  Nope, like all Bush’s, W. didn’t seem to understand long term thinking (like daddy didn’t understand the truth of supply-side realities, and W. also didn’t grasp that tax cuts have to be permanent to have any lasting effect).  No let’s just ignore that it was long term involvement, planning and slower turning over of control to the local governments that made Germany and Japan a success…no, let’s just assume that a functioning democratic-republic will just spring up in a couple years (to hell if it took the US over a decade and two Constitutions to get it right). It was bad when this non-neoconservative gave neoconservatives a black eye.  But at least we were trying.   And even with the complete cluster—- that Iraq and Afghanistan have become there are fewer governments and tyrants actively funding terrorism.  There are at least silver linings in these screwups.

 

But even though Bush was a moron, at least he left things better than they were before (not good by any means, but marginally better than when he got on the scene), he was a genius compared to Obama who makes everything worse.  Give Iran money to build nukes.  Stop actually gathering needed intelligence on terrorists (while oddly focusing really hard on American citizens…maybe if we tell him that Al-Qaeda is thinking of starting a SuperPAC he might actually go after them).  Not backing Britain in their dealing with socialist Argentina.  Back stabbing Israel at every single turn because the fact is that with the exception of Ron Paul followers there is only one party I can think of more anti-Semitic than Obama and his Democrats.

 

Yeah I know everyone is using the excuse that Bush let Putin have parts of Georgia in 2008…but let’s be honest when that happened Bush was entirely out of political capital to use on foreign affairs (not saying he would have done the right thing if he had any chips to play, but we should at least admit realities)…but, as a particular commentator likes to correctly point out “Bad behavior doesn’t excuse other bad behavior.”tumblr_n1w40gdLBs1qaoso9o1_500

 

Let’s ignore the thousand and one things we could have done over the past 6 years that would have prevented all these things (and make no mistake a strong and intelligent US foreign policy could have prevented all of it).

 

We could easily impose harsh sanctions against Russia and open every form of oil and natural gas production in the US. This would devastate the Russian economy, keep Europe relatively stable, and work as a shot of adrenaline to the US economy. But we really can’t do that because if we did push for sanctions Obama would probably idiotically engineer sanctions that only annoy Russia and fail to open up US production of energy that would leave Europe even in worse shape than they currently exist.

 

We could honor our treaty with Poland (you know the one Obama broke) and help them defend themselves.  And we could offer to extend that defense treaty to all those other nations that were once part of the Eastern Block we have no intention of doing so. But as experience tells us, Obama would rather give guns to the villains instead of  our allies.

 

We could send arms and support (training, advisors, infrastructure) to Ukraine as a clear sign we are drawing a line in the sand which you will not cross…but we know what happens when Obama draws foreign policy lines.

 

Hell…we could even be going to the UN asking for meaningless peacekeepers be sent to Crimea to observe the situation.  It would be pointless, and would likely be vetoed by Russia, but at least it would be more than rolling over for dead as Barry and Michelle  go on separate vacations while the world falls apart.

 

spineless-posterWe could do a lot of things…and we could do it for a lot of nations…because we do have a moral obligation to see liberty and human rights defended and spread over the whole world.  But as long as this moron is in charge nothing will get done and pushing to have anything done will only result in even a worse situation occurring because he is too cowardly to do what needs to be done and too stupid to even know what that is or the conspirisists are correct and it is what he wants –one or the other no in-between.

 

There is a silver lining to this at least in the Ukraine. The fact is that while we should be leading a movement to band the nations of Eastern Europe together, they will probably do that on their own. Also, despite the fact that everyone likes to say that Obama is playing checkers while Putin is playing chess…the fact is that in reality Obama is drooling on himself while Putin is playing tic-tac-toe poorly. This may be a short-term goal for him, but it will strain his already strained economy, and it will likely make Russia not just the target of Islamic radicals in Chechnya but inflame and put Russia right in the crosshairs of al-Qaeda
.   I think we speak from experience that al-Qaeda is a bitch to deal with when you attack the nations they claim to be from…it will be a complete nightmare for Russia when they even lack the moral and ethical high ground that the US had.  Let me know how your population problem is going in ten years Vladimir when you’ve had to sacrifice every young man to holding the nations you’ve invaded to try and reestablish the evil empire.  And like Stalingrad, I will be actually quite happy with Russia and al-Qaeda wasting time, money and lives killing each other…it really doesn’t matter who wins so long as both sides lose.  Long term, we are lucky that evil may be an outreach program but it also always includes the seeds of its own destruction.

 

 

 

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Filed under Foreign Policy, Long Term Thinking, NeoConservative, Obama

Ukraine, Ron Paul, and It’s not our problem: The suicidal joys of Isolationism

“[America’s] previous attempts at isolationism were successful. Unfortunately, they were successful for Hitler’s Germany and Tojo’s Japan. Evil is an outreach program. A solitary bad person sitting alone, harboring genocidal thoughts, and wishing he ruled the world is not a problem unless he lives next to us in the trailer park. In the big geopolitical trailer park that is the world today, he does. America has to act.”—P.J. O’Rourke, Peace Kills: America’s Fun New Imperialism

So yesterday I was treated to Ron Paul  appearing on The Russian Propaganda Network Russia Today where he blamed the whole Ukraine mess on THE JEWS “Global Bankers” and the “Military Industrial Complex” and also took a few cheap shots at America including a lie about America being an empire.  He also said it’s up for argument if Russia has violated the sovereignty of Ukraine (it’s not up for argument Ron you daft ass, it’s a fact).  He then defended Obama and compared the actions of a tyrant like Putin trying to extend his empire to the acts of the US when trying to destroy tyranny (the complete inability of this man to understand ethics is really sickening).

But despite his usual mixture of idiocy, anti-Semitism, implicit hatred of America, and evil that defines Ron Paul we have the isolationism he that is the hallmark of his vile rants. He keeps making the a point that boils down to “It’s not our problem.”

I’ve heard a lot of people talking about getting out of world affairs in the wake of the current Eastern Europe ruckus. As is always so popular in America, Isolationism seems to be making a comeback in the psyche of the nation, it’s not just Ron Paul, he is just the mouthpiece for a larger movement.  Isolationism.  Because, it’s not our problem.  Great idea. Let’s take a look at how well isolationism has always worked in this country’s favor over the last century…
Coming off our crazy Manifest Destiny kick, Americans swung into a full isolationist mode in the early 20th century. So much so that when people started dying by the thousands in WWI we chose to do nothing. Thousand of soldiers—British, French, Italian, German, Austrian, to name a few—suffered in trenches with some of the most horrific conditions modern warfare has to offer. But it’s not America’s problem so we do nothing. The Ottoman Empire (ally of Germany and Austria) begins genocidally slaughtering Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks so brutally the Allies actually issue a statement using the words “crime against humanity” for the first time (so I doubt everyone in America was ignorant of this). America still does nothing, because still not our problem. Then one of our ships gets torpedoed while going through a war zone, so now it’s our problem. We come in with enough troops to end the war (if we had come in years earlier it would probably have ended the war then and spared thousands upon thousands suffering and death, but, oh, that’s right it wasn’t our problem at the time).

 

“some men just want to watch the world burn.”

So World War I ends. President Wilson has a good idea in the form of a world organization to oppose tyranny and support democracy around the world, the League of Nations, but the isolationist quickly take power again in America and decide not to be a member of the organization. I’m not saying American participation in the League would have stopped World War II from happening, but explain to me how it would have hurt. So in the end the League of Nations is filled by almost nothing but countries that have pacifist views that will cower when anyone with a gun shows up.
The first major failure of this war weary League and America (both parties are equally guilty) is allowing the continuation of the Red Army in the former Russian Empire. World War I ended officially in 1919, but the Russian Civil War didn’t end until 1923, yet no one even really offered to help the White Army put down the communists (good call, because the Soviets didn’t cause any problems over the next 70 years or so). No, rather than actually take out the root of the problem at maybe the cost of a few thousand more lives for Western nations, here in America we chose the policy of going into a hysterical fit over the fear of communists in our country, mobilizing every federal and state power to track down what turned out to be nothing more than a few dozen radicals with access to gun powder and a rough skill in making bad mail bombs.( I’m not saying there weren’t Soviet agents ever in America, there were, but odds are they didn’t become entrenched until after the Russian Civil War was over.) So we’ll use police powers against our own people over the fear of a foreign nation but won’t actually deal with that foreign nation we fear, because it’s not our problem.

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Isolationism…because evil isn’t coming after you…yet…

The next few years brought up other things that weren’t our problem. The Spanish Civil War, which allowed the country to fall to fascism. Italian aggression and empire building in Africa, but not our problem. The growing Maoist Army in China, not our problem. Invasion of China and Korea by Japan, not our problem. And dare we forget all those things Germany under Hitler did that weren’t our problem. Crimes against humanity each and every one of them. Not even counting the Holocaust, literally millions of people are being killed, raped, enslaved, and tortured. Americans can’t be that stupid to not know anything about this. Yes, many chose not to learn anything, just as nowadays many don’t bother to read about what goes on in the Sudan, because we know deep down if we knew we would be morally required to act, but American ignorance was one of choice, not one of lack of information (also much like how after we went into Germany all we found was a country filled with “Good Germans” who never knew what was going on in the concentration camps). And if all American’s were really that ignorant of these things, then how does one explain the very few Americans who went to all these wars to fight against fascism, to fight for what they believed to be right. They had to learn about it somewhere.
But these things weren’t our problem.
Then once again a weird thing happened. Low and behold after nearly every other nation who opposed fascism had fallen or was under siege, all of a sudden the fascists turned their eyes to us and it became our problem. Who could have guessed that an ideology founded on conquering the world would ever come to American shores. Completely unpredictable. So once again it suddenly became our problem again, and we went in and took down most of the bad guys. Then we went back to isolationist tendencies. Now some history buffs out there will call me crazy, because Truman’s post war policies could hardly be called isolationist—after all, we helped rebuild Western Europe and contained the Soviet Union. True, we contained the Soviet Union. This was isolationist in itself. Let’s go back to the day immediately following Japan’s surrender and look at the situation. You have Soviet Russia preparing to take total control of Eastern Europe as a “buffer zone” between them and Germany. Even at this point in history everyone knows Stalin is a worse butcher than Hitler. The bulk of the Soviet Army (devastated far more than the rest of the Allies by the war) is racing across Asia hoping to get a foothold into Japan and thus more land to control, thus leaving everything up to Moscow with minimal defenses. Gen. Patton (certainly not the most stable of men, but a strategic and tactical genius nonetheless) has this wacky plan to push the Russian army in Europe back to the Russian border if not destroy it completely. It was August, giving us at least a couple of months before those infamous Russian winters set in. Oh, and America was the only country that was a nuclear power at this point. It wouldn’t have been bloodless, but had the Allies decided to attack Soviet Russia it wouldn’t have been a long war, nor would it’s outcome been in the favor of communism. But we chose once again to not deal with a problem until it affected us.
We create the U.N., but then give two of the most evil governments in the world veto power to stop any action intended to stop their tyrannical ways.
Some more things that weren’t our problems after that. Eastern Europe is placed under a dictatorship as brutal and bloodthirsty as the one we just liberated them from. China, with Soviet help falls to communism. Tibet, after asking for U.S. help, receives no help and falls to Maoist butchers. The Soviet Union becomes a nuclear power (yes we did recognize that as our problem, but the fact is if we had recognized them as a problem a few years earlier, they wouldn’t have been around to become a nuclear threat). And after some half-hearted (I’m insulting the politician who made war policy, not the soldiers who fought) fighting we allow the communist to take North Korea (it’s not like allowing that one would ever lead to problems). Cuba also falls to communism, but not directly our problem, until low and behold communist from one part of the world start giving communist in another part of the world nuclear missiles.
So isolationism is not looking like a good option at this point to anyone who can count hundreds of millions tortured and killed as a direct result of it, but the U.S. still can’t give up it’s isolationist way. So we now try a kind of halfway isolationism. The use of the CIA to work behind the scenes and the use of the U.S. military only in “police actions.” The problem with police actions is if you have rules about when and where your troops can fire back at the enemy, and what lines they can cross, and just generally the falling short of fighting a real war then all you end up with is a lot of U.S. soldiers in body bags and a wall in D.C. commemorating the fact that despite being excellent soldiers, who never actually lost a real battle, politicians will make their deaths completely worth nothing by just leaving countries like Vietnam to communist governments.
Then Khmer Rouge takes over Cambodia and does things that might turn a Nazi’s stomach, but again, not our problem.
All this time it would take a whole book to recount all the bloody things being done in Africa that weren’t our problem.
Iran falls to a dictator whom we don’t support, falls to a dictator whom we do support, then falls to a radical Islamic cleric who no one in the world of the sane is not disturbed by. Our president at the time of this final change of power decides it’s best to be weak, and let them hold American hostages until he leaves office. But then again this is the same man whose grand stand against the invasion and resulting crimes against humanity in Afghanistan by the Soviets was best combated by boycotting the Olympics. Way to take a stand, Jimmy.
So we learned not to use police actions. So still not wanting to actually fight real wars, because it’s not really our problem, we just start arming people in their wars against our enemies. People like the rebel soldiers in Afghanistan to fight the communists (this guy named Bin Laden comes to mind), and people like Saddam Hussein to fight off Iran. I wonder if that policy ever came back to haunt us?
Oh wait, it did. Hussein invades other countries; we kick him out of Kuwait but leave him around for the next generation to deal with (incompetently I might add).
Our genius plan of dealing with the collapsing Soviet Union is to support whatever dictator comes along in the Balkans, which once again leads to genocide and U.S. troops having to go in under the cover of the U.N. (really wasn’t even our idea, it required Tony Blair twisting Clinton’s arm to get U.S. troops to go). And I’m still trying to figure out what drugs were being passed around when it came to our policies involving Russia itself, but the result was what it always is, let’s not get involved.
Then let’s try and help out in Africa, until a few bullets get fired (in a war zone of all places, who could have predicted that) and it’s decided that’s it’s better for a few soldiers to have died in vain, than to actually clear Somalia of the warlords.
Afghanistan falls to psychotic religious fanatics, not our problem. At least until the New York skyline gets a permanent makeover.
Is it just me, or does it seem that all of these things that aren’t our problem have a bad tendency of becoming our problem, and rather big problems at that? Ironic because they weren’t necessarily always big problems, in fact they would have been more easily dealt with problems back when it wasn’t our problem.
And let’s look at another pattern that seems apparent to me, when what wasn’t our problem becomes our problem we go in long enough to stop the current problem without sticking around long enough to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The few places we gone into with a plan and have stuck around in (Germany, Japan) seem to be pretty stable.
So no matter how you want to look at it isolationism on any country’s part, but especially one as large as the U.S. seems to lead to three things: (1) Torture (2) Death (3) and problems that become so big they do become our problems.

 

I’m not entirely sure what should be done about Venezuela, Ukraine, Turkey, Syria, or Sudan right now, mostly because we need to wrap things up in Iraq and Afghanistan before further overextending ourselves…but not doing anything is a really dumb idea as history has shown and it shows that Paul’s claim that non-interventionism is “Pro-American” is a vile lie that can only be told by the very stupid or the very evil (or both if you’re Ron Paul).

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Filed under Anti-Semitism, Evils of Liberalism, Foreign Policy

Why we need to raise the age of just about everything to 26 (or higher)

Why we need to raise the age of just about everything to 26

 

You know a while back there was a big brouhaha about the fact that Obamacare required that children be allowed to stay on their parents insurance until they were 26. Now there were many multiple valid claims about this–that it was unconstitutional government use of power, that it wastes money, that it would cause a death spiral of insurance coverage, that it was an entitlement giveaway to just buy votes. All accurate and valid objections of idiotic action by the government. But of all the objections the one that wasn’t really that valid was that 26 year olds are adults. Seriously?  I know this is legally a fact, like the idea that corporations are individuals, a pleasant legal fiction that has no relationship to reality. But unlike the legal fiction of corporate personhood which needs to be defended if you want society to properly function, this idea that you legally are an adult when you turn 18 needs to eliminated.

 

I mean have you met most people in their early 20′s?  It would be hard to find a group less like adults if you tried.

 

Let me speak in generalities for just a moment (those to whom this does not apply will find this an all too accurate indictment of their fellow early twenty something’s). The majority of people in their early 20′s are self centered, short sighted, inexperienced and overly emotional with few useful skills. In some ways they are like 2 year olds, but not as cute.  Now certainly they’re not as stupid as Michelle Obama thinks they are claiming they don’t know how to handle knives or cook for themselves (but in her defense look at the mentally challenged dunce she’s married to, so she may have a skewed vision of age and intelligence), but while not the complete idiots liberals think (and hope) they are, they’re not fully ready to accept all of the responsibilities that get thrust on them when they’re 18.  They’re simply not.

 

Let’s be honest, the ages of 18 and 21 are holdovers as rights of passage have more to do with practical issues of previous eras and not anything to do with realities of intelligence and maturity.  And it certainly has nothing to do with science as we are beginning to see that the risk aversion portions of the brain (the part that tells us: It might not be appropriate to engage in immature behavior, like say, voting for a worthless idiot who is promising you free stuff) does not fully develop until late 20’s by 30 at latest. 

 

 

brosurance

And before you accuse me of having a low opinion of 20 somethings…just remember what the left thinks of them.

So let’s deal in reality a little more and raise the age of full rights as an adult to at least 26 (if not 30, because if your brain only stops developing at 26, logically you might want to have a few years using that brain and get used to it before being thrown into the deep end of the pool).

 

Does this mean that I want people living with their parents until they’re 30?  No.  Hell no.  (Although that does appear to be the goal of Democrats based on the last few years of their economic planning).  But that just because you get to move out doesn’t mean you you’re ready for everything.  Think about it, it’s silly to say, ‘oh you’re 18 and just moved out, here is a long list of things we didn’t trust you with last month and in addition to trying to figure out how to support yourself, we’re going to give you all these other options and responsibilities you have no experience how to deal with  Yes we need to give people at 18 or 21 the legal right to sign contracts so they can sign a lease and get out of their parents immediate circle and learn to live on their own, but we don’t need shove everything on them all at once before they’re prepared for it.

 

Further this needs to be done because of the changing nature of education.  Whether the state led Common Core standards (as opposed to the federal Race to the Top program which very ignorant pundits call Common Core, because there are some very ignorant pundits who probably could have used a more standards based reading curriculum out there) succeed or not in becoming standard practice, the fact is that the day is coming where you will see consistent standards across the board in this nation.  And once you have that you will see more and more students held back.  And this is a good thing; it is one of the dumbest things in world to think that all six year olds are at the same level on the same day.  And holding back students a year (and in some cases two or three) will help a lot of students actually succeed where before they would have failed their entire time in school.  But this will also mean that you will see more people graduating high school at 19 and 20 (and maybe even a few at 21).  Do you really want someone voting who hasn’t even had a government course yet (and let’s think about how little is actually covered in a high school government class…if you don’t even have that, I certainly don’t think you should be deciding what to do with my tax money).  And even more to the point as more students succeed in elementary and secondary education because of these standards holding them back making sure they actually get the information in the first place, you will see more and more students getting through trade schools, and their A.A.’s and B.A.’s, (which will be great for the economy)…but will also mean that people will likely be in the bubble of undergrad education for even long periods of their life (and the last thing we need is those people voting)…which will in turn mean they will get an even later start in life.

 

Let’s just admit that society is changing and change our attitude toward the legal concept of adulthood to match.

 

And when you think about this there are so many wonderful advantages to this.

 

What would I include in this?

 

Well, first, we need to raise the voting age.  It should be raised to 30, but I’ll take 26.  Yes you can make the argument that some 18 year olds are mature enough to vote, but guess what, if they’re mature enough to vote then they’re mature enough to understand that there are anywhere from 2 to 5 of their fellow 18 year olds who are not mature enough to vote and they’ll probably be more thankful to not have 5 idiots cancelling out their vote.  Now some will say that we lowered it to 18 because if you’re old enough to serve in the military then you’re old enough to vote…forgetting that this was an argument about the draft (a program that will never be instituted again because the military prefers an all volunteer force and modern technology has made it possible to fight a war without having to draft). Trust me if we ever get into another war the magnitude of which we have to call a draft, whether 18 year olds can vote or not will be the very least of your worries.  And you know what I’m more than willing to put in some exception for those who wish to serve their nation having the right to vote earlier, hell I’m even willing to put in some kind of rules, like in the description in Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, we will find you something to do if you don’t meet the traditional physical needs of the military if voting before 30 means that much to you (if you’re willing to give 4+ years of your life to your nation, we’ll find you something to do and give you the vote).  But back to voting, before I digress too much, anyone who has studied exit polls knows that without the 18-29 voting block you will get much, much more rational, sane and intelligent representatives.

 

But it just doesn’t end there.

 

Libertarians, what if we raised the age that one could take drugs from 21 to 26 and imposed very heavy punishments to those who sold to anyone under that age. If you made that argument you would be able to deal with almost all the people who very rationally argue “what about the kids” and you would be able to push much more effectively on your legalization arguments (which would in turn reduce much of the waste and corruption that comes from the war on drugs).  No one would really care what someone in their late 20’s or older puts in themselves (so long as they do it in the privacy of their own home).  But please remember this does need to come with near Draconian measures to against those who can’t keep it in private and those who would provide such substance to anyone under 26…think about it Libertarians, it’s a near perfect silver bullet for one of your favorite issues.

 

And social conservatives, you should also embrace this? Why, because I think the existence of Girls Gone Wild and other such videos (not to mention nearly every other week hearing about a woman in this job or that being fired for having done porn briefly in college despite any of her current rational and mature behavior) proves that 18 year olds might not be the best age to allow men and women to decide when to get into this industry.  I’m not getting into the argument here of whether or not there are people who do enjoy being in this industry and can do it without being psychologically scarred…all I’m going to say is that I think we can all agree an 18 year old isn’t qualified to make that important a choice that will haunt them for the rest of their life.  (Liberal feminists you should also be on board with this).

 

And liberals you should also be on board with this as it will require parents to be financially responsible for their children longer, which you think is a good thing.

 

And economic conservatives, before you read that last sentence and throw a hissy fit, let’s also say that you can’t get ANY welfare benefits until you are fully adult, you’re the responsibility of your parents until then.   And consider how many liberal parents will suddenly start teaching some self control to their children if they know at 16 they’ll be responsible for them (and any spawn they have) for another 10 years not 2.  Now think of the dropping welfare roles that could follow.  So conservatives, keep calm, reread the last paragraph and use it convince your liberal friends.

 

Really there is no group that shouldn’t be in support of this.  Except maybe demagogues who only stay in power because of easily fooled adolescents.  Yeah Barry I mean you.

 

 

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Filed under Conservative, Constitution, GOP, Long Term Thinking

Economics 101: Opportunity Costs and the GOP

 

 

One of the basics of economics is the idea of opportunity cost. Opportunity cost is the idea that you have 5 dollars and you can buy a latte at Starbuck or you can buy 5 widgets (because as an economics example there is an unspoken rule that I must include the selling of widgets).  But you can’t have both.  Now for most of us the latte will be a better investment because no one has ever figured out what you can do with a widget.  But you have to lose the opportunity to buy one when you but the other.

You can save money or you can spend money but you can’t do both with the same dollar.

You can invest in  all your money in Company A or you can invest all you money in  Company B, or you can split your money between the two, but you can’t give all your money to both companies.

The idea in economics is that whenever you move resources to one thing (be it time, money, capital or people) that same resource can’t be used somewhere else. So you have lost the opportunity to spend that resource on the other thing…preferably because where you did spend money was a better choice.

Why do I bring this up?

Because we have a limited amount of time to talk to voters. People tune you out after a while.   So in that limited amount of time you can only discuss a certain number of things.

Logically we would want to discuss the issues that will most likely convince voters to vote for us, that will most change the nation for the better, and have will affect the most number of people.

But regrettably many Republicans are anything but logical.

Think about it.  Of these options which one does your average Republican choose to argue?

You can bitch about Common Core or you could actually push for the elimination of the federal Department of Education.  The latter might actually improve education.

You talk about gay marriage or you can could actually push to end the incentives against marriage in entitlement programs.   The latter might actually increase marriage rates, reduce poverty and increase social stability.  The former will just allow liberals to make you look like an ass to moderates.

You could talk about abortion or you could talk about the economy and actually win an election.

tumblr_mc9ndiv52J1qi01k6

Why do Republican always pick the snatch defeat from the jaws of victory option that leaves me like this?

 

You can whine about RINOs or you can attack Democrats.  A RINO from a purple district/state still gets us control of the House and/or Senate.  A RINO will vote with us some of the time, a Democrat will not.

You call things that aren’t amnesty, amnesty and hurt your own party or you can push for any effort to secure the border.

 

You can whine about “Oh but we always give, and we need to take a stand now even if that stand will mean shooting ourselves in the foot” or you could be a sane person and learn from the past (as opposed to living in it)…and the past teaches me to pick and fight my battle, not run away from every battle or fight every battle (both extremes are dumb)

Oh, for libertarians:

You can whine about the drug war’s ineffectiveness or you could secure the border.  Hmmm which one will benefit country more?  Let me think.

The fact is that this is a party that time and time and time again want to “take a stand on principle” even where there are other issues that defend the very principle they care about and when they have a choice they will either divide their time between the unimportant stuff and the relevant stuff or they will focus almost entirely on the issues that won’t win, won’t work, and won’t help anyone.

Please Republicans, get your act together.   And I’m not talking just about the politicians and the pundits, I’m talking about the rank and file reading this.  How often do you waste a chance to win someone with an argument that might work  and doesn’t violate a single one of your principles because you have some pet issue. I hate to tell you winning votes isn’t about your pet issue, it’s about the pet issues of the person you’re trying to convince…unless you can adapt to that reality don’t get into politics.

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Filed under Economics, GOP, People Are Stupid, Problems with the GOP

Milton Friedman on the problems of government in medical care

This is a rather long lecture by Milton Friedman on the issues of government in medical care.  As it is so long I’m not going to write a lot, but you should watch it because, despite being over 3 decades old, every word is still very relevant.

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Filed under Capitalism, Conservative, Economics, Evils of Liberalism, Government is useless, Health Care, Individualism, Long Term Thinking, Natural Rights, Obama, Taxes, Tyranny

Monthly Meditation: Learning to Focus

I realized that while in my previous meditation I have focused on some of the more spiritual sides of meditation in the past meditations I have suggested I have just glossed over some of the basics.

One of the most basic and pragmatic benefits to meditation is that it allows you to improve your concentrations skills. By focusing a few minutes everyday on one thing.  By focusing one thing–a mantra, an image, a flame–it allows us to not only focus our mind during the meditation, but to keep our mind focused on things well after our meditation is through.  It also allows for our subconscious mind to sift through the vast amount of information it’s been sorting through all day without having to worry about new information.  This has multiple positive effects on your psychical and mental health.

But sometimes it’s hard to find a mantra that we feel comfortable with (as word have that sneaky tendency to cause us to actually think about the meaning and what it means to us and who said it and and and…the questions and the answers can be the very opposite of the single focus you want in a meditation). The same can be said of focusing on a picture.  And finding time to light a candle can be equally problematic (especially some of the time we need to focus are at work or while standing in a line or various other places that starting a fire might be looked down upon).

So I find that one of the easiest things to focus on is abstract shapes.  There is little to worry about or analyze so they don’t have much deeper meaning and they’re easy to manipulate in your mind (spinning them, changing color or size) so that you can still be focused on them without giving into the boredom that often ruins a good meditation session for those just starting to meditate.

So what I suggest is to either focus on a three dimensional figure (a sphere, a cube, anything you want) and just focus on it from various angles or distances in your mind.

If you want something that might take a little more mental power.  Start with a point.  Focus on it for as long as you can.  If you feel your mind veering off stretch the point out into a line.  Rotate the line the line on any of the three axes for as long as you can.  When that gets dulls  stretch the line into the a square.  Again look at if from all angels.  And when your mind starts to wander again stretch the square into a cube.

tumblr_mteejvVdU31s9jjn1o1_400

 

And then after you’re done looking at the cube take back to down reversing the order.  From a cube to a square, from a square to a line, from a line to a point.

This will help keep your mind focused. It will offer new stimuli as you think about the object you’re focusing on, but still keep you mind on a single object.

Ten minutes a day at the beginning or end of your day (or more if you like) and you’ll be amazed at how much more you’ll be  able to get done in a day.

Incorporate it with a daily more spiritual meditation and you’ll find you’ll get the best of both worlds.

And if you feel that you can stay focused enough, you might want to turn that cube into a tesseract:

240px-Tesseract

 

 

 

Or you could a triangle up to a merkabah like this:
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Or whatever this is if you’re feeling very focused and just a bit over eager:

tumblr_muyv98xNXT1r1t8a3o1_400

 

 

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