Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Unprincipled vote for a 3rd party... or even not voting at all

A quick rant to my Friends. With all due respect (and for some there is much respect due) to those intending to sit out this coming presidential election, or voting 3rd party , out of 'principle' or in an effort to 'vote my conscience', those positions are not principled or conscientious, and I'll go so far as to say that they are in fact Unprincipled and Unconscionable.

There is more to being principled than ticking off items on a checklist of do's and don'ts... as if principles could operate in isolation and without regard to their wider purpose and context - Principles are an aid to thought, not a substitute for it! - to attempt to be principled, without being Prudent, is to be unprincipled (more on that to follow in next post) To make a choice that looks no further than your comfort zone in the ballot box, is in reality simply a more pleasant way for you to spend your time voting (or not), an easy escape from dealing with the principle purpose of your principles - and to neglect that wider, long-term perspective, is in fact being UnPrincipled, and there is no 'act of conscience' in taking the easy way out of anything.

If you are looking at the ballot as a choice between someone you think is worth voting for, and someone who isn't, and voting that way - that is not being principled. Elections are not about casting your vote, or even electing a representative - those are only means to an end. The end is to preserve and protect our Rights and the rule of law - elections, representatives, even the Constitution itself, are only means to that end.

And if we've allowed the times to become so sorry that we can't, in good conscience vote for someone (or party), because you don't think that they'll further those ends, then you must use your vote as a means of obstructing the candidate you think will do the most harm to your rights and the rule of law.

As foul as I personally find Romney's politics to be, there is no comparison between his big govt inclinations and Obama's intentional malice to our Individual Rights, Property Rights, the Constitution and the Rule of Law. That must be acted against, and the most effective means of doing so is not to be found in sitting out the election, or wasting, and I do mean wasting, your vote on some 3rd party candidate that has no chance of obstructing Obama's pursuit of a second term.

'You mean vote for the lesser of two evils?'

NO!!!

You don't vote for the lesser of two evils - ever! - when you can't vote for someone, you vote against the worst of the most likely evils, using the most effective weapon at hand for stopping the greater evil - the candidate most likely to be able to defeat them. That ain't gonna be a third party candidate - not yet - and sitting the election out damn sure isn't going to do a thing to slow Obama's plans.

The fact is that Romney/Ryan is simply the most effective tool available to thwart the greater danger to our nation, which a second Obama administration poses.

Electing Romney isn't going to solve anything, IMHO, but electing him in place of Obama buys us time, time we can use to try and revamp the GOP, or maybe replace it or maybe even work to scrap the two-party system (which are all short term solutions, but a start).

But we need time, and we as much of our Rights as we can manage to hold on to, to do that.

We won't buy ourselves any time by doing anything that would enable Obama to stay put. And to stand by and allow that, even enable that, without doing everything you could to prevent it, would be deeply, deeply, unprincipled and unconscionable.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Taking an about face on Todd Akin without changing direction - Fight!

1st - the GOP has been despicable on the matter of Todd Akin.
2nd -  Todd Akin has blown it, and I don't mean his Jaco comment.

The GOP, the current and former senators, and all others who've called for Akin to withdraw, saying that because of his 'misstatements' he is unacceptable, are themselves unacceptable.  I won't bother going more into what I went over yesterday. Their pandering to politically correct airs, is nauseating.

Akin won an election. He was right about staying in, he won an election - you don't just allow that to be overturned over for campaign turmoils. But that nomination comes with a responsibility, an awesome responsibility, that when you attacked - when those who entrusted their vote to you are attacked through you - then you fight back and fight back loud and clear leaving no confusion over who is taking their responsibility seriously, you stand up strong, face the fire and provide the active leadership needed to prevail.

That has not been the case, and yesterday was the day to prove it. Yesterday is gone.

Akin's response has been so lax, so passive, and what he has done is so inept, that my confidence in him has dissipated - not because of his words, but because of his actions.

First, what he should not have done. He should not have issued an apology that was little better than genuflecting to political correctness, the very same tones of political correctness that were used to transform a minor verbal blunder into a national firestorm (in the eyes of the media and establishment).

And then he did nothing else. Except, that he then issued the apology that he should have given in the first place.

And then he did nothing else. Except for saying in interview with Dana Loesch "Ah shucks, this new fangled new media stuff really caught us by surprise" (except for 'fangled' and 'shucks' I think that's a quote).

What should he have done?

He should have clarified what did, and did not happen. He should have and the sense and initiative to say something like:
"My message is that rapists should be punished and life should be defended. Period. This so-called incident deserves no more of this campaigns attention. I've issued my apology, if you'd like to hear it again, go to my campaign site... and please leave a donation while your at it - we'd be thankful for contributions from people with spines.

We're facing a formidable democrat senator in Claire McCaskill, who has used Missouri's Senate seat to undermine the health and safety of all Missourians, men and women alike, who voted to take away their right to make their own choices in regards to their health care. Who used her vote to help in closing down a major portion of our states economy and energy concerns with Coal and coal fired energy plants.

Claire McCaskill is busy using every trick in the book to keep her power and leave my fellow Missourians powerless, and I'm devoting my energy and my campaign towards ending that in 72 days. Join me!"
I'm a simple programmer, a student of life, a blogger. If I can see that, if I can come up with that, why the hell can't the man we elected to represent us in the Senate campaign, do better?! AND WITHOUT HESITATION!!!!

There is a passage from Julius Caesar that has been plaguing me:
"The enemy increaseth every day.
We, at the height, are ready to decline.
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves
Or lose our ventures."
, and it has been plaguing me all the more because it comes from the mouth of Brutus, but it is true all the same, and Todd Akin's inaction has become a far greater danger in this election than his misstatements. If he won't fight now, if he didn't see the importance of doing that yesterday... why should we have any confidence that he is going to pick up the fight and fight effectively tomorrow?

Todd Akin said several times yesterday that he was running to the sound of the gunfire. Well Mr. Akin, when running to the sound of the guns, it would be wise to bring your own gun, loaded and cocked and eagerly seeking out enemy targets (not your own POTUS ticket) to fire upon.

Yesterday was Todd Akin's chance to do that, and he needed to come out shooting, he needed to come out and assert his position and lead the charge. But what he brought was only more olive branches and a folksy "Wow, hasn't this been sumthin'?". I'm seething.

He had his chance to do that yesterday. He didn't run to the sound of the gunfire, he did a drive by of the mess hall & PX and kept driving on without ever coming in sight of the front lines.

And now the lines are collapsing all around us.

Mr. Akin, we would support you if you would just fight, but you will not. And we elected you to do just that. And you do not.

That's a dilemma that must be resolved. Now.

I supported Todd Akin to be our senator, and to do that he's got to defeat Claire McCaskill, but he has failed to act. It seems that I will have to take an about face on my support for Todd Akin, but who will take over the fight? Because THAT is the direction we must charge, not a backwards pandering to the sensibilities of political correctness, as the GOP establishment is seeking to cringe in, but forward into the fight.

Someone. Please. FIGHT!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

MO GOP: What Price Principles? Just one gaffe... and we'll give your change back!

Congressmen Todd Akin, who just won the Republican primary for Senate from Missouri, is going to make an announcement this morning, regarding whether he's going to remain in the senate race... or withdraw.

Why? Because of a comment. Actually because of a portion of a comment. A Gaffe. Who is calling for him to do this? The 3rd place rival he defeated in the primary, and nearly every GOP operative and functionary in Missouri, campaign contributors in and out of state, as well as various and sundry Republican Senators, nationwide. Even former Cosmopolitan centerfold guy, Sen. Scott Brown from MA, has put his two cents in on the propriety of Akin's remaining in office.

What was this comment?

He wondered, stumbling for a few words in the midst of a reply about abortion in cases of rape, he said
"Well you know, people always want to make that as one of those things, how do ya, how do you slice that particularly tough sort of ethical question, it seems to me... well first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really where... if it's a legitimate rape, uh, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume, maybe that didn't work or something, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not on attacking the child."
Was it a WTF?! moment? Yes it was.

Was it a stupid thing to say? Yup. Did he apologize for it? Yes indeedy he did. He issued a statement with all the popular PC proper words about empathy & such, and that he was sorry, which personally I think was a bit of a pander to the godz of political correctness - always an error - if I wrote his press release, I'd have said something like:

But foolish as his comment was, did he say anything that revealed any nefarious dealings or hidden agenda? No. Did he say anything that suggested that he didn't believe the conservative positions and principles he campaigned upon to win the nomination for Republican Senator from the state of Missouri? No. Did he make the statement as part of a well considered position paper? Nope. He made the verbal blunder, in trying to stitch together two statements regarding abortion and allowing the fact that rape was an awful crime and  someone should be punished for it, preferably the rapist.

This doesn't go against the positions he ran on, or against his public or private feelings on the matter, he's held this view, campaigned on this view, and was elected over his rivals for the nomination because of, or in spite of, this view.

Yet political players far and wide now wish to overturn the legitimate winner of a primary election; party players and powers that be, wish to disenfranchise all republican voters of Missouri, in order for these power players to put who they would like to see him replaced with. These are the same people who didn't want Akin to run for the Senate, the same people who didn't support him during the election, the same people who did their best to undermine him in order to get a less conservative candidate to run... face it: Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill was more interested in a Conservative winning the Missouri Senate primary, than the MO GOP was! And yet, after the people of Missouri, who knowingly voted for the more conservative candidate - are very likely going to have their votes overturned, by party players who didn't approve of their votes to begin with.

On the pretext of a politically sensitive gaffe, the candidate nominated in a statewide election, is potentially going to be removed from the race, and replaced by someone the GOP would have preferred to have been (s)elected in the first place.

So convenient and such a nice precedent... what could possibly go wrong with that?

Realize, he broke no law, revealed no lie, exposed no subterfuge. He was not accused of rape by former associates or fans (Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Kathleen Wiley, etc), he didn't lie about having sexual relations with an intern in the oval office, he didn't leave a woman to die in his car submerged in a pond, he didn't tweet photos of his privates to random women across the Twittersphere, he didn't molest a young boy... he didn't even call anyone a bad name.

He said something stupid, recognized it and immediately apologized for it.

And for that... he is being hounded to withdraw his name from the race.

A statewide vote is being nullified, not because of outrage and widespread demands from the people, but to soothe the sensibilities of party apparatchiks and to enable them to override an election they didn't approve of, and to avoid possible embarrassment to Mitt Romney's campaign & the Republican National Convention. And just maybe perhaps because members of the GOP, would very much like to kneel and prostrate themselves at the feet of the media lords of political correctness, and fervently declare to them, while kissing their ring, that they will never let it be said that they hold the will of the people or their own principles and convictions, to be of equal or greater value than a single tenet of political correctness or the current winds of popular opinion.

Whether or not Todd Akin withdraws, I'd just like to say to the MO GOP - you disgust me. You are an abomination and an affront to the Republic.

Have a nice day.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A comment on the 'Real Trojan Horse'


I want to reply to a comment that an Anonymous teacher just made to a post of mine from earlier this year,  "The Real Educational Trojan Horse: Deleting Western Civilization 101". This teacher is obvously someone who cares about the students they are teaching, but I think they missed what my post was about - it wasn't about teachers failing to teach, but about the failed materials which they are forced to try and teach from.

Anonymous, this post was not directed towards the teachers, but towards what, how & why it is, that what teachers are having to teach, is being taught at all. Let me put it this way, you mentioned something at the end of your comment, which I believe is absolutely critical, you said:

"Whatever the case may be, when I see them 5, 10, 15 years after the seventh grade, I ask how they are, what they are doing for school/work and most especially....are they remembering the things I tried to instill in them. Being polite, caring, friendly, respectful, responsible....... Thank you."

, which is something that marks You as being a TEACHER, and I thank you for that.

But here's my point, how does something like this:
"The Ancient Greeks believed in many Gods. Zeus was the king of the Gods and was believed to have ruled the world from their home on Mt. Olympus.
Review questions:
1. The king of the Gods was ____ and he lived on ______________."
, help you to teach what you know are to be the most important lessons to be taught? How does being quizzed on a meaningless name and place or date, help to teach that?

How is any child possibly going to pick up an inclination towards, a passion for, a resolve to be, someone who is 'polite, caring, friendly, respectful, responsible', from filling in the blankety-blank space with the most likely word from the sentence above?

What you speak of, teaching a student to be polite, caring, friendly, respectful, responsible, that is the stuff of an actual Education, and it will not, it Cannot, come from this desiccated gray textbook pap peddled as 'educational materials'; any child that does manage learn such things at school, does so not because of the what, how & why's of their particular school district policies, but because some Teacher who actually cares for their students and their responsibility to them, managed to Teach, in spite of the what, how & why's of their school district policies.

The entire point of Homer, was to teach. To teach how to live and why, and through imaginative plot and action, the Iliad teaches that above all; it teaches how 'God like Achilles' was brought face to face, by the staying hand of reason, with the uselessness of his glory, brought to the realization that great and fearsome as he was, if blustering Agamemnon could take from him who he loved, then he had nothing; and that his last nod to that glory cost him the life of his dearest friend Patroclus, and then he had less than nothing left, but rage at life itself.

And of 'man-killing Hector', who loved his wife and his dearest son, and knew himself and they were soon to be lost, and yet he had to do what must be done nonetheless.

And Priam, a king and a father, who lost several sons and his dearest son Hector, to Achilles, had to bend his knee to the man who killed them, in order to retrieve his body and bury him properly, before the loss of all he had spent his life in building. And to 'Godlike' Achilles, that and all else broke in on him at that moment, quenched his rage, and brought back his humanity to him, his own loss, and the importance of repaying the sorrow of the old king with decency and respect and generosity because that was truly all that mattered and was worthy of glory.

Homer, despite the teaching of some fools, did not glorify war, the Iliad reads far more like something written from the Vietnam era, than a gung-ho WWII movie, it teaches - if its story is allowed to be fully communicated, rather than chopped into freeze dried spoonful’s - the importance of "being polite, caring, friendly, respectful, responsible", and what the world is like with and without those lessons being learned (BTW, this is one of the better books, certainly of any modern book, on The Iliad that I've read: "The War That Killed Achilles").

The fact that Teachers such as yourself are deprived of the best materials ever conceived for your purposes, and instead must find some way to manage to teach such things Despite the materials, purposes and motives of their 'curriculum', which is the real Trojan Horse, and an epic tragedy all its own.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Claire McCaskill - Extremist of Extremism

Claire McCaskill has apparently decided on her campaign strategy - declare conservative Congressmen Todd Akin, to be an 'extremist'. Leaving aside what that says about her fellow Missourians who just elected Todd Akin to be the Republican candidate for Senator, what is it that ClaireBear considers to be so extreme about Todd Akin?

According to a San Francisco Chronical report,
"Todd Akin is out of the mainstream," McCaskill said as she kicked off her campaign with a news conference at a Kansas City sheet metal fabricator. A sign touting her as "a senator on our side" was propped on a raised forklift."
Wouldn't you consider "a senator on our side" to be on the side of Missourians?

Missouri is a major coal state ... if Claire is 'on our side', would you expect that side to be on, or against, Missouri's ability to mine and operate Coal Powered power plants? Not the case. She has sided with the Obama Administration and the EPA, in imposing controls that are effectively shutting down a major portion of the Missouri economy. And attempted to deny it.

Claire's response to that situation has been,
" There's so much the government should do and can do, and then there's some stuff the government shouldn't do," she says. "I'm trying to find that balance right now."
For Claire McCaskill, one of the 'nations richest lawmakers', she thinks finding 'balance' between the livelihoods of the people of your state, and the policies of the EPA, is that the same as being 'on our side'? Personally, I find that to be extremely misleading and dishonest, and extremely detrimental to jobs and budgets in Missouri, don't you?

Claire says,
"We're going to prove to Missourians that Todd Akin is out of touch with their problems, out of touch with the pain that they feel, and out of touch with the views that they hold dear,"
Apparently, according to Claire, the fact that Akin believes that the government is not above the law, makes him an extremist. Is that an idea that you find to be extreme?

Or the fact that he believes that those in government are not themselves above the laws they create. Does that sound extreme to you?

Granted, it may be uncomfortable for politicians such as Claire McCaskill, who came to expect being able to ignore the tax laws, as she did when choosing to avoid paying taxes on her private airplane, that they helped write for you to live under... but... does that make Akin extreme... or Claire?

Claire is for the health care laws, which the vast majority of Missourians have shown themselves again and again to be opposed to, and which you will have to live under... though she will not, if she can remain in the senate, that is... does that make Akin an extremist, or Claire?

My recently former employer recently sent me an email, expressing their regret that they will have to cut back on the health care that they can offer to their hundreds of employees. They were announcing rising costs and lowered services, because of the new ObamaoCare laws soon beginning to go into effect, not only require that those policies and services be reduced, but that your ability to match their employees contributions to their own health savings accounts, etc, be reduced and restricted. They diplomatically communicated that they feared further changes will be coming soon which might imperil their ability to offer the quality of care package that they have always sought to extend to their employees,
"...Employee sponsored health care is changing. We have begun to see small aspects of that change in our current plan and will see a bit more in the plan that will take effect September 1. Most of the current change involves mandatory benefits, and you should have received information on these changes from our current provider. In addition, some of you may maintain separate flexible medical spending accounts. Please be aware that as of January 1, 2013, the new health law limits contributions to such accounts to $2,500 annually from the current $5,000. The most fundamental changes to employee sponsored health care is scheduled to take effect in 2014 which may greatly affect our renewal in September of 2013. While it is too early and difficult to predict what our renewal bids will look like a year from now, our intent and desire will be to continue offering employees of (company name) the choice of private health care delivery assuming it is economically feasible to do so...."
That came about as a direct result of the policies that Claire McCaskill championed for Obama, while she occupied one of Missouri's Senate seats.

Remember, Claire is the one who said that Tarp and the auto bailout were 'wildly successful' policies, and expected ObamaoCare to be same, for the same reasons.

I think that's extreme... don't you?

I think the result of Claire McCaskills policies have helped impose an extreme hardship upon us all, don't you?

I think Claire McCaskill's attempt to impugn Todd Akin as an 'extremist' for expecting government, and those serving in it, to follow the law, is itself an extremist position.

Don't you?

Nancy Pelosi famously said
"But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.”
Can you find any real difference between what Pelosi said there, and what Claire McCaskill said about ObamaoCare here,
"I understand that parts of it are not popular, but I don’t think most Missourians understand whats all in it because it hasn’t gone into effect yet,” McCaskill said in an interview. “I think if they give it a chance, they might be surprised how much they like it.”"
Claire McCaskill is every bit as extreme as is Nancy Pelosi, Claire's problem is that her constituents, Missourians, are nowhere near as extreme as Pelosi's in San Francisco, so Claire has to try and pretend to be what she is not, a moderate, by calling her opponents 'Extreme', in order to divert attention away from her own beliefs and policies.

I find Claire McCaskill's effort to hide her own misdeeds and policies, by calling her opponent extreme, to be an extremely dishonest and cowardly line of attack, and one that depends upon her fellow Missourians being too lazy and stupid to understand the nature of her attacks, hoping to avoid the truth of her own extremely damaging positions by painting her opponent as an 'extremist'.

Claire McCaskill is an extremist of extremism, and I am extremely looking forward to her being removed from the senate this November - along with her buddy Obama.

Do you expect to live your own life? It's a simple question.


Do you expect to live your own life? It's a simple question. The answer to which determines whether or not you are an American, or are Anti-American

Too harsh? Too bad. Answer the question. Do you expect to be able to live your own life? Don't worry, there remains plenty of room within a 'yes' answer for us to find innumerable areas to disagree upon, but upon this one question, all further communication depends.

Do you expect to be able to live your own life?

If yes, then welcome to the club, the club which is populated with a subset of those living in America, who are actually Americans.

Now, if you do expect to be able to live your own life, doesn't that require that you be at liberty to make your own choices in and for your own life? Do you believe that you are able, capable, entitled, to make other choices for other people, to live their lives... while still expecting to be free to live your own life?

Is such a view compatible with equal Rights for all?
Is such a view compatible with equality under the law?

Have you considered this? Seriously, have you? Have you considered what it means to want to force others to comply with your wishes, while somehow being left free from their desire to force you to comply with their wishes?

It is all well and good to want to see that every American has their health care needs met. Who doesn't, it is a laudable sentiment. One which, according to the left, a majority of Americans agree with. Answer me this - is there any reason why you and your majority, can't associate together, to provide low cost health care to those in need of it?

Is there some level of efficiency which you feel 200+ new governmental bureaucracies, are going to bring to providing your service, that you, focused upon your cause, couldn't provide yourself?

What is it?

You don't want to answer that, do you? What is it that the govt brings to the issue, other than the ability to compel, force, everyone else to conform to your wishes?

Do you really expect to be free to deprive others of their freedom? How long do you expect to remain one of the privileged 'others' and separate from the imposed upon 'we'?

Another question: Do you have such a low opinion of your fellow Americans, that you believe that the vast majority of them would not be favorable to your project, and would not contribute some measure of time, effort and money, towards your efforts to aid your fellow Americans?

Think of the unprecedented outpouring of donations to help victims of worldwide disasters in Japan, Indonesia, Haiti, Katrina, 911... why would you think your fellow American would be so stingy to your efforts to help those in need right here, in your neighborhood?

What does that say about your allegedly 'good intentions'?

One last question, a rhetorical one borrowed from Thomas Sowell, how is it that you believe me greedy, mean spirited, etc, in wanting to remain free to make my own decisions and spend my money myself... and yet you don't find it greedy, mean spirited, etc, for you to want to take my money from me and deprive me of my liberty to make my own decisions about living my own life?

I would dearly love an answer to these questions.

Monday, August 06, 2012

My Primary Sense

Ok, here are my two cents for tomorrow's Missouri Primary, for what it's worth.

Governor: Bill Randles
I have seen no one else better express the essentials of what government can, should, and should not do, and the importance and meaning of Individual Rights and the role of the Law in protecting them, than Bill Randles. Click on his link, hear him out yourself.

United States Senator: Todd Akin
While I do have issues on many of Mr. Akin's previous positions and votes, I don't question his understanding of the need to bring govt back under the control of the Constitution, or of his having the character to take a position he believes to be in the right, even when it might appear expedient to do otherwise.

I have no particular objections to Sarah Stealman, her ability, character or understanding of conservative positions, but I do question her ability to forcefully convey that understanding in a campaign with Claire McCaskill, and so in the primary, my vote goes to who I've seen drive those positions home quite ably, and that's Todd Akin.

Brunner... I find to be someone ready, willing and able to say what he thinks will be politically viable (see my post here). I've had enough of that.

United States House Representative Mo District 2: Randy Jotte
I'm admittedly not going on a lot of information here, regarding Jotte, but Ann Wagner is a long time GOP operative, and while she has done much that was good, her dismissal of our concerns over Aerotropolis, confirms to me that she will not be standing against the expansion of govt, but will instead merely divert it into GOP friendly avenues.

That's got to stop.

Jotte I know little about, other than his being a doctor and raising a family indicates the intelligence and character needed for the position, and having no issue with his stated conservative positions - that'll get my X.

Attorney General: Ed Martin
He's been an outspoken opponent of every aspect of Obamacare from the beginning.

Secretary of State: Shane Schoeller
Scott Rupp may have long standing conservative credentials, but with his efforts to turn Prop C from a State Constitutional Amendment, into a meaningless (but easier done) statute, and some of the statements I know him to have made regarding centralizing education, such as with Race To The Top, in order to score Federal budget money $$$... no thanks - see for yourself:

Neighboring district races:
United States House Representative MO District 1: Martin Baker
I personally know Martin to be a solid conservative who has time and time again stepped up and put in his time and effort at the grassroots level to bring government under control, and I've no doubt he'll do the same in Congress.

Missouri State Assembly Representative MO District 70: Tyler Holyfield
Tyler is someone I learned of through a friend of one of my sons, but he wins my support with this:
Property Rights
You have the right to property and to protect that property. I believe in this ideal and will do everything I can to protect your property.
“The Right of property is the guardian of every other Right, and to deprive the people of this, is in fact to deprive them of their liberty”
That's a viewpoint we desperately need in our government
Dokes is another longtime GOP operative who too often sides with the establishment, especially in regards to centralized govt control of Education.

Precinct Committeemen!
A little mentioned but extremely important position regarding what and who have a chance to become issues and be voted upon. If you want to see the GOP remade from the ground up, these are some of the people ready, willing and able to see that done!

Missouri River: Lloyd Sloan
Hadley Township: Jackie Coleman
Wildhorse: Anne Gassel
Queeny: Lee Presser
Maryland Heights: Margaret Walker
Missouri River: Annette Read
Jefferson Township: Frieda Keough

Critical Thinking in action: The Sikh temple shooter was a white male, ergo: it's all Conservatives & Rep. Bachman's fault!

We've had another example this weekend, of people who were most likely unarmed, being shot by someone who had no regard for an individuals rights - not their right to life, nor their right to think or worship differently, or of any other right or regard for the laws protecting them; all were brushed aside to satisfy one persons appetite to kill, the appetite to force his way upon others, even to the point of murdering them.

Curiously, this self evident information has been absent from the media and conversation I've had the displeasure to observe raging about, once again.

The fact is that the one bit of relevant information that was possible to be known, before any of the other facts were discovered, was this - that a person with no regard for individual rights, took the lives of others, because he wanted to and thought he could.

Which is why, I suppose, it has not been reported, or even hinted at, in any of the initial reports by the media, or in the initial responses from the Twitterverse or Blogosphere. What were their initial assumptions? Apparently their thought process went something like this:

  1. The gunman was a White, middle aged, bald guy.
  2. Michelle Bachman recently spoke about dangers from Islamist radicals.
  3. Therefore, the gunman was a Conservative whose actions were caused by Bachman's 'fear mongering'
Though not a valid example of a syllogism, it is a very disturbing, and common, example of what might be called a Sillyogasm - feelings asserted at random in order to reach a desired climax. I won't bother with the reams of logical fallacies involved there, but instead focus in a bit on what it tells us about the thought process that must have been used, in order to assemble them into something that they actually thought was actually a thought.

To put it mildly, their conclusion does not follow from their premises. Rather, their conclusion obviously preceded the premises, which were arbitrarily selected in order to inflame and advance a political agenda, in spite of the information which they did have available before they formed their conclusions (such as the fact that the point of Conservatism is to conserve the Individual Rights of all Americans, as they are secured through our Constitution), prior to their having any real information about the attack, for them to consider.

In other words, they stated their conclusion and guessed about which examples they could 'think of' that might be made to support it; in other words this is an example of what our schools teach as 'Critical Thinking' skills.

Seriously.

Have you ever cracked open even a grade school level 'science' textbook? The basis of the all important 'Critical Thinking' skills which our schools are so focused upon, such as how to formulate an hypothesis under the 'scientific method' (here's a good example of this), are typically actually taught in the classroom by exasperated teachers, in this manner:
Teacher (facing the blank stares of students who don't understand their 'Hypothesis' worksheet) - 'Just make a guess about what you think will happen. Write down why you guessed it. Then write down how you'll know you were right, and what would show you were wrong.'
Kids - 'What should we guess about?'
Teacher - 'Anything, anything at all.'
Kids - 'Like what?'
Teacher - '[slight pause while silently cursing the idiots who mandated that the 'Scientific Method' be taught out of the blue to kids with no solid knowledge to build upon] It's up to you, just pick something... 'which cookies people will like most'... whether 'flipping a coin will come up more often heads or tails'... just make a guess and support it.'
(Yes, this is an actual example from our recent experience with 6th grade science homework.) An hypothesis is typically described as
"An hypothesis is a statement or explanation that is suggested by knowledge or observation but has not, yet, been proved or disproved."
, but doing that, scientifically, requires first off, a foundation in knowledge of the phenomena being observed, an informed understanding of what is happening, and then a plan to test the soundness of that understanding. Do you see even the possibility of that in this actual classroom example above?

The lessons that are actually learned from these exercises have nothing to do with Science or 'Critical Thinking', what is learned from them, is that you should make guesses about what you feel is right, and then find 'evidence' to support it.

Want to test my 'hypothesis'? Look at the reactions in the Media, Blogosphere & Twitterverse!

If you haven't seen them yourself, you can find examples of this non-sense in the screen shots of actual comments that Ginny Kruta has provided in her post here, or in Doug Welch's sampling on Liberty News, such as those congratulating Michelle Bachman for the murders that were obviously committed due to her 'Christian hate speech', and that:
'It may be time for Fed Law Enforcement to look at those who may use speech to incite violence,, ie Michelle Bachman, Limbaugh Fox, Beck---"
Did these peoples immediate reactions touch, in any way, upon what could actually be known, beyond the simple fact that people, Sikhs, had been shot dead? No. As I already mentioned at the top of this post, the only relevant information that could be known, was never even raised, and I've seen no evidence that any of those concepts (Individual Rights, Conservatism, Constitution) have been understood or applied or 'factored in' to their thinking processes.

I see no indication of any actual thought having been given to these tragic and horrible circumstance, I see only the rantings of hysterical children demanding their ice cream, gun control and the elimination of uncomfortable thoughts. What I see in their 'thinking', is the collective mass reaching for the results that they wanted to assert, such as

  • 'Guns are bad and Gun Control is needed!'
  • 'Conservative whites are caused to kill muslims by Christian conservatives!' (tip: Sikh's are not muslims)
  • 'hate speech' causes gun owners to kill!'
, which they immediately set about spewing out towards everyone they could manage to splatter with their thoughts.

Aside from the obvious idiocy of blaming anyone other than the shooter for the deaths caused by his shooting at them, the lack of actual thought displayed here is staggering. Their willingness to use words devoid of understanding, as little more than useful filler in padding out their assertions, is indicative of such a lack of education, that it could only have come from one place: our educational system.

In other words, what is expressed in these 'thoughts':

  1. the presence of guns in the environment causes people to die and conservative speech causes conservatives to want to kill,
  2. Conservatives own guns,
  3. therefore, guns must be banned and conservatives must be shut-up.
, are an expression of 'Critical Thinking' which is critically devoid of anything remotely resembling informed and methodical thinking - which is exactly what IS taught AS 'critical thinking' in our schools, day in and day out. Only a daily immersion in a 'thinking method' for a period of 6, 12, 14, 16 years or more, could cause a person to not think, in such a deliberate manner, to not think about the essential concepts that are so critical to what it is you are attempting to think about. You either have to deliberately avoid thinking of them, or be so thought-impaired, that you simply habitually skip over, any consideration, of anything, that might divert your attention away from what it is you want.

What that used to be called, was being driven by appetite, which was once the very definition of being a child, and which school was, once upon a time, designed for the purpose of raising you above. Obviously, that is no longer the case.

In the rush to have their desired conclusions, there are simply no thoughts given to what conservatives are, only to what they want them to be, the possibility that banning these things (guns) or that speech (Conservative, Christian, etc) might conflict with what Rights are (specifically those defended by the 1st & 2nd Amendments) are simply brushed aside, if even that amount of effort can be granted them, not even what might constitute 'hate speech' is considered (which is apparently any thought that isn't in strict compliance with politically correct dogma), these are all entirely, and seemingly intentionally, left unconsidered, in their rush to promote and advance their preferred political agenda.

Because they want it. Appetite driven. Children.

This is nothing new. I'll spare you my typical references back to developments such as 'The Frankfurt School', Dewey, Hegel, Rousseau, etc, and just offer up this snippet from 1991, from "Jam Today at Last!", Richard Mitchell's skewering of the farce that is the teaching of 'Critical Thinking' skills in our schools,
"... So at last they came up with critical thinking, distinguished from mere thinking in that it was, well, critical, you know. They didn't put it this way, because they're not too good at figuring out what they mean, but they obviously did sense (aha! another substitute for thinking) that critical thinking ended up with something that was not in the "thinker" until after the thinking had been done, and the mere thinking was a way of declaring what was already in the thinker. And thus it was that they ended up, for awhile, trying to teach logic as though that were thinking. They did know, after all, that logic reached conclusions, which made it seem comfortably similar to Dewey's notion of thinking as "problem-solving activity."

It did not occur to them, apparently that logic was also uncomfortably like problem-solving in that it could reach only those conclusions already implicit in its givens, and the teaching of it was, in any case, no fun at all. As far as we know, logic is no part of the standard curriculum in any of the public schools.

The term "critical thinking" made the school people feel pretty good for awhile; it suggested a technical proficiency not unlike that of the sciences, and implied, in those who said they could teach it, an expertise for which schoolteachers have in general not been celebrated. But there was a problem; it was that word, critical, which the school people in the Affective Domain construe as meaning something very like hostile. You can hardly blame them; any truly critical consideration of what they do in the schools must end by being, at the least, not flattering. There is worse. If school children were brought into the habit of critical thinking, might they not become critical? Might they not, by logic alone, notice incoherence and in consistencies in their schooling? Might they nor begin to question some of the supposed social truths and goods which are preached to them as worthy and feelings? There is, after all, nothing more galling in any teacher's class than the smartass who makes sense..."
Whatever may be discovered in the coming days about the shooting in Wisconsin, my hypothesis is that what will be most relevant to the rest of us, is what will likely remain unconsidered:

  • That this man had no regard for the rights of those he went to kill.
  • That the people who were killed, had no ability to defend themselves.
  • That the concepts of Individual Rights, careful and deliberate thinking in conjunction with logical method are not taught in our schools.
Does these premises follow from one another or lead to a conclusion? Is there something important left out?(there is). I'll leave that for you to think about, and only suggest that it is critical that you do so.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Career Politicians, Political Self-Defense and the purpose of Political Rhetoric

Political Rhetoric has fallen to new lows in this country, hasn't it? But... I'm betting that I probably don't mean that, in the way you do. For instance, I'm not all that upset about the recent "Hate!" rhetoric surrounding Chick-Fil-A.

Liberal Fascism
What? Why?

Well, not because it wasn't a despicable misuse of political power, bordering on the fascistic - it most certainly was; but that is actually why I'm rather pleased that the comments of the Chick-Fil-A executive were so frantically set upon and made into such an issue: Because it did expose the ProRegressive Left as being political thugs, ridiculously shallow, and for having a fondness for fascistic practices.

What more can you ask of Political Rhetoric, than that it clarifies your political beliefs?
 [BTW, the Euro-Fascists of the 1920's & 1930's, got most of their ideas from our Yankee ProRegressives, in the 1900's & 1910's.. Just sayin'.]
The progressives in out of the way, leftist backwater locales, such as Washington D.C., Boston and Chicago, took a statement by a private citizen supporting marriage as being between a man and a woman,  which was essentially the same position as Barack Obama's position was while running for Senator in 2004 and four years later in 2008 while running for President, that,
"Mr. Obama tells Chicago public television “marriage is between a man and a woman."
, yet the popular ProRegressive Front called this man's company a bunch of homo hating fascists. At the same time they demonstrated their eagerness to use political power to punish people for expressing ideas which had the gall to differ from theirs, even to the point of trying to damage their businesses - all for the CEO 'daring' to say what he thought in response to a question... about what he thought.

That's a political self-exposure that you couldn't pay prize winning journalists to expose! And... I mean that seriously, I mean, read the papers, watch the News; the "Real" reporters are unable to expose what we see them doing every day. And here every political hack from Mayors Menino, to Rahm Emanuel. to the MSM & The Muppets, berated and attempted to shut a private person down for expressing his opinion - the exact exercise of freedom of speech which the 1st Amendment is designed to protect the government from abusing!

Even the private smart set of the caring and tolerant left, showed themselves to be two faced, lying, clueless idiots in the process!

America saw very clearly, even more clearly than they did when Obama said "You didn't build that!", just who it is the ProRegressive left really are and what they're made of. As a result, it sparked such a vivid understanding and outrage over what the left was doing, that the American People demonstrated by patronizing Chick-fil-a in record breaking sales numbers, literally putting their money where their mouths were, at such levels that not even the most left of the left could ignore or deny!

Wonderful! What's not to like about that! That is precisely what political rhetoric should be: stating what you believe and who you are, so that people can see and make up their minds about you.

Marvelous!

Sooo... just what is it that I find to be deceptive & despicable examples of political rhetoric? Statements like this one, from GOP Senate hopeful John Brunner,
"Comments like these have no place in this U.S. Senate campaign, or any other campaign in this country, because they don't represent American values."
, a sentiment which he energetically sought to insert into a media meltdown over some lively political rhetoric, a few months ago. More on that in a bit.

Actual Highs and Lows
First, to try and get us onto the same page, and to get a better perspective on what the High points and Low points in our political rhetoric might actually be, it's worth asking a couple quick questions. First:
"What were the heights we have fallen from?"
, and second, it's worthwhile to ask:
"What is political rhetoric meant to accomplish?"
A case is often made that Politics and Political speech in America were at their high point during the time in which our Founding Fathers were still alive and active in them, somewhere in or around the 1790's to early 1800's. That is after all the period that produced our Constitution, the Federalist Papers, the ratification debates and those politicians who defined and respected our form of government as no one has since.

But what's interesting if you accept their time as being the high point, and then compare our political rhetoric of today, with that of theirs then - if you are expecting to find polite, respectful speech that is careful not to offend or aggravate the sensibilities of either the other candidates or various members of the public... you are going to be in for a very serious shock.

The fact is that the political rhetoric of their day was often blunt, rude, caustic and full of insanely unfair cheap-shots. If that's surprising to you, then you might want to consider your answer to the second question above (which really should be the first question asked) - what do you think the point of political rhetoric is?

  • Is it to show your respect for the other candidate, and those who support them?
  • Is it to communicate your personality and thoughts, or to camouflage them?
  • Is it to blur positions and policies or clarify them?
  • Is it to show your respect for the sensibilities of those in society who did, do or might support your opponent?
  • Is it to make your opponent and supporters feel more comfortable in their positions?
Or,

  • is it to clarify or at least make starkly visible, your differences with other candidates,
  • is it to convert non-supporters into supporters or at least make them hesitate to declare their support of anyone else,
  • so as to defeat your opponents?
Whatever your assumptions might be, the political rhetoric of our Founders era was made in the effort to make vividly clear the differences between the candidates and their positions, in order to defeat them (and I've got news for you, it still is today, except that the methods today are far more underhanded and crude).

For example, there's this famous political 'attack ad', where Thomas Jefferson was calling John Adams
a 'hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."
- you just can't beat that for making it very clear just what he thought of re-electing John Adams as President of the United States. Those same standards and rhetorical style carried on into the period where the newspapers hit their stride with the famously fiery rhetoric of the yellow journalists.

What people of today whine about disliking in political rhetoric, is exactly what those of our Founder's era purposefully set out to do, and they used the most figurative, imaginative language (''hideous hermaphroditical character' !!!) they could think of, to do it. Consequently their rhetoric was loud and often crude, but it succeeded in accomplishing what it set out to do - it made a point with perfect clarity and it left listeners in no doubt about where a candidate, reporter or commenter stood. If you had any ideas about finding level headed, objective reporting of the facts of each other's platforms and characters by either the candidates or the partisan press, along with polite and respectful discourse between the candidates... then you were looking for what never was, and were looking for it in a place where it never will be found - politics.

Political speech in America, in the last decades especially, has moved away from that model of pure political theatre, where it was at least understandable (politicians after all, will try to 'Score!' any way they can, and newspapers have always enjoyed making a point without being hampered by facts), and it has now indeed sunk to its lowest depths ever, but those depths are not measured by how inflammatory the rhetoric is, but rather through the congealed, deadened, boring, meaningless form of speech which those in power are attempting to foist upon us, speech which seeks to banish clarity & imagination while imposing a pandering thoughtlessness in their place and which no one dares to deviate from, and it is this, IMHO, that is killing political discourse in America.

This new attack upon free speech in America, and that is what it is, is one that empowers 'The Press' to force the lowest of political acts - verbal suicide - upon those it dislikes, demanding that they submit with nonsense such as:
I apologize if I in any way offended anyone and I of course deeply respect the traditions of...'
, while scoring the cheapest of political points for its preferred candidates - 'eh, compared to the other guy, he wasn't too bad'...even though, supposedly, The Press says that it shouldn't be out to 'Score!' points for anyone, or ever try to move any particular candidate or platform Forward!

Right? (so to speak.)

The chief weapon of this NewSpeak has been spun through our political parties and media functionaries, following the cant first aired in wackedemia, by insisting that opponents self-censor every instance of figurative language they might consider using ('shoot', 'target', 'explosive', 'crazy', etc.), insisting that every word of it be taken as if they were literal commands to the most unhinged of listeners imaginable, and mindful of the worst possible way in which it might be taken.

If you are 'Tsk-tsking' at me, scroll back up and look at Jefferson's comment about Adams, or look at John Adams' retort to Jefferson, that he was
“a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.”
If you can't imagine our Founding Fathers even attempting to live by these new prissy shackles (and before you say they didn't have to deal with the sort of people we have to deal with today, recall that Former Vice-President Aaron Burr shot and killed former Treasury Security Alexander Hamilton, over some heated words)... should we be attempting to impose such prissy shackles upon ourselves?!

Loaded for bear... 'Care Bears', that is....
Keep that in mind as you consider a round of this deadening of our language, which came in reaction to a comment by Tea Party activist Scott Boston (a friend of mine), made during a Tea Party Express rally for conservative candidates seeking to unseat Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill. Mr. Boston, correctly gauging the intelligence of his audience, made a remark which, as you can see from the heavily edited video they've provided, was very clearly understood, and thought for the most part to be grin worthy but otherwise unremarkable by all concerned, and drew nothing more than polite, applause from those listening... and would likely have been quickly forgotten by them.

By those it was meant for, anyway.

But the new puritans of prissiness found much they could seize upon in his offhand remark. Keep in mind, Scott's remark was made while describing to the crowd how McCaskill routinely presents herself with two diametrically opposed images - the one made for the public presents her as a cloyingly caring friendly Aunt, and is laid on so often and so thickly, that she is commonly referred to around Missouri as "Claire Bear", a reference to the sickeningly sweet "Care Bear" cartoon characters. The second image is that of the reality of how she operates in Washington D.C., where she is a calculating and powerful Senator, a skilled politician, who is adept at advancing agendas that are often, as conservatives see it, detrimental to Missourians. With that in mind, Mr. Boston made the point that it was important for conservatives to work to dispel her phony 'care bear' image, and in the few words we're allowed to hear in the heavily edited video (on the Huffington-Post's story), you can hear him saying,
"We have to get Claire McCaskill out. We have, we have to kill the 'Claire Bear', ladies and gentlemen. She walks around like she's some sort of. 'Rainbow Brite' uh, 'Care Bear' or something, but really she's an evil monster."
Watch the video and pay close attention to the peoples expressions in it. You'll see Sara Steelman, a candidate for Senator, and her son Sam Steelman who works in her campaign, as Mr. Boston is speaking - do you see them being roused to passionate action? Do they seem stirred into an emotional frenzy by this 'violent hate speech'? Do you hear the crowd in the background roaring for blood?! No, what you see in the video, which was probably provided by the McCaskill campaign, is Sarah Steelman paying only passing attention to the remarks, while her son Sam Steelman, turns almost absently, though politely, to clap along for a moment, as does the unseen audience.

Why? Because neither they, nor anyone else at the rally even remotely thought for one moment that when Scott Boston said "We have to kill the Claire Bear ladies and gentlemen", that he was speaking in anything other than simple metaphors & analogies to cartoon characters and stuffed animals. It was a quip. Period.

The editorial board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, however, in a nearly hysterical lament, did its best to convince anyone who reads it, that:
""Kill the Claire Bear" is not a campaign slogan. It's not a poor choice of words. It's not a metaphor.

It's a threat of violence. So when an overzealous supporter of U.S. Senate candidate Sarah Steelman, a Republican, directed the threat toward U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, at a campaign rally this week, Ms. Steelman swiftly should have condemned it."
Do you seriously buy that? Do you think they buy into that? Why do you suppose that they made such incendiary comments in response to a rather banal analogy made during a backwater stump speech in Missouri?

Meanwhile at the Washington Post, they continued that theme, with,
"... an activist at a Tea Party Express rally near St. Louis implored the faithful in attendance to “kill the Claire Bear, ladies and gentlemen.” ..."
, though they do let slip that Mr. Boston was probably not making a serious call for violence, but only an exercise in hyperbole:
"...In a hyperbolic rant against incumbent Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, GOP activist Scott Boston exhorted the audience, “She walks around like she’s some sort of Rainbow Brite Care Bear or something but really she’s an evil monster.”"
, they don't let that carry on for long, with statements such as,
"Not only is uncivil rhetoric dangerously taking society in the wrong direction, it is, incidentally, costing taxpayers money and resources. "
, and they allow one more brief bout of reasonableness,
""I doubt the Missouri conservative was advocating that anyone actually end the life of the 58-year-old senator or, for that matter, that Ted Nugent was threatening the president with his crude bully talk...."
, before going in for the insult, and forewarnings of doom to follow from such dangerous and vitriolic language:
Most people recognize that the screaming bombast aimed at public servants is just horrible manners by attention-craving individuals apparently unable to express themselves civilly. But the trash-talking can incite unstable persons to commit lethal acts."[emphasis mine]
, they even go on to cite the Arizona nut-job, Jared Loughner who shot up a congressmen's rally, as the logical result of using such 'language'.

Seriously? Play that video again.

Look. Listen. Think.

Are we really to conclude that political stump speeches referencing Care Bears and 'evil monsters' are what We The People must be on the guard against hearing or thinking of, or using in public, in order to safeguard ourselves from ourselves?

Do you believe that THEY believe this idiocy? I don't.

I don't believe it for a second. I don't believe that either the Post-Dispatch, or the Washington Post, or the Huffington-Post or Sen. Claire McCaskill or her staff believed it (the FBI, who gave Mr. Boston a swift 'all clear', certainly didn't believe it). These people DID NOT misinterpret what Scott Boston said. Instead they all deliberately worked at taking the figurative speech he used, and deliberately took what they knew he meant, and with carefully spun spin, they actively re-interpreted and re-purposed his words for their own pathetic political purposes - in order to move their political agenda Forward!

Note: I'm not calling them out for using fiery rhetoric themselves, quite the contrary, I'm calling them out for trying to castrate the political free speech of those they disagree with, and that is the despicable low to which political discourse has fallen to in this country. Not the name calling between candidates (recall Jefferson & Adams), but the intent to deprive anyone from being able to freely use the full power of our language in the fashion it is intended to be used, in order to communicate ideas in a lively fashion, from one person to another, so that they will be passed on, from one person to another.

In the attempt to deprive you of the power of your own spoken word, these despicable people are doing their very best to transform any thought of using imaginative language to communicate your political speech, into fears that 'it might' be taken as literal demands for violence. What they want is for their political opponents (you know they don't intend to impose the same standards on the likes of Van Jones or Alan Grayson) to be cowed into using useless, grey, deadened language that pays deference to their leftist idols.

GOP Strategic Response to Political Correctness: Sell the hangman the rope for your noose - but at a profit
Unfortunately Republican Senatorial Candidate, John Brunner, also running for the same senate seat, provided an excellent example of what we've come to expect from 'canny' GOP candidates. It's just the sort of knee-jerk apologetic reply which is expected from the opposition in response to any sign of lively language being used, and which 'conservatives' typically run to the microphones with, seeking to get air time & score points with, and often doing so faster than Obama could bow to a king. In this oh-so compliant reply to media criticism of Mr. Boston's remarks, it was glowingly reported (similar to how John McCain used to enjoy attention from the press) by the Huffington-Post, and others, who patted Mr. Brunner on the head like a good little republican for being 'so reasonable'.

The promptly issued statement from Mr. Bruner, was that:
"Comments like these have no place in this U.S. Senate campaign, or any other campaign in this country, because they don't represent American values."
Please, take a moment and scroll back up to Thomas Jefferson's comment to John Adams - which remark do you think was more likely to be representative of our original American values, Mr. Boston's, or Mr. Brunner's? Adams & Jefferson's remarks were made during the height of political discourse and truly statesmanlike accomplishment in this country... Mr. Brunner's, IMHO, are characteristic of those being made during the low it has sunk to.

Thank goodness Senatorial Candidate Sarah Steelman refused to meakly submit to the power of the press',
"I may disagree with the words Mr. Boston chose in his statement, but I understand his frustration and I emphatically support his right to express his views," Ms. Steelman said.
Mr. Bruner has also gone to mind numbing lengths to paint himself as pledging to be a 'Citizen Senator' (um... is there another option?) and opposed to 'Career Politicians', and yet he said in a recent statement, words to the same effect of Scott Boston's:
"We have an opportunity to eliminate three career politicians…two Republicans and one Democrat."
, which uses the same PC Scare-Language ('eliminate', 'target', 'kill') he slammed Scott Boston and Sarah Palin for using.

Do I think that language is 'over the top'? Hell no! But it does tell me that Mr. Brunner is perfectly happy to play the game of political correctness - using language to incite responses in order to mislead and conceal information - whenever it's convenient, which is the epitome of what he claims we'll be able to eliminate by voting for him: 'Career Politicians'.

Was this just a slip of the lip on his part? You tell me. From The Missouri Record, May 11, 2012:
"According to Jake Wagman at The St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
In a debate Friday in St. Joseph, Republican Senate hopeful John Brunner emphasized both the importance of voting, and his opposition to gay marriage.
"It is so important for so many people to get involved in politics ... and most importantly get out there and vote," Brunner said.
But when primary rival Sarah Steelman pressed him on how he had voted on the 2004 amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage — "'yes' or 'no,'" Steelman asked — Brunner offered a vague response.
"Every vote I have ever taken has been in support of marriage," Brunner said.
Turns out, Steelman was asking about a vote he didn't make.
This made my head spin. Brunner doubtlessly knew he hadn't voted on the matter when he was asked about it in the debate. A normal person may have forgotten such a vote eight years prior, or even misremembered. But normal people haven't spent $2.5 million dollars of their own money on a campaign that had to have included background research. (It is possible that he didn't know, but that would require a jaw-dropping level of political ineptitude in those around him.)
So Brunner knew the truth and he chose to prevaricate...."
On top of that, the campaign of this 'non-politician Citizen Senator' has been the most unrelenting in its use of selective information and full out attack ads on his two opponents, Sarah Steelman and Todd Akin, that I just can't buy a vowel of his claims for being the non-politician, politician. It just doesn't wash.

When I add this all up, the answer that I come up with, is exactly what I dislike about the worst of our politicians - that they use language to mislead and conceal, rather than to reveal their beliefs - and that the only reason I can find for his not having been a career politician, is that it was only late in life that he discovered his true calling.

Which leaves me in an uncomfortable position, because while I'm not particularly for either of the candidates for Senator in our Primary this Tuesday - though I am leaning towards Akin (I was initially attracted to Brunner, but for these very reasons, he soon repelled me), I'd dearly like to see Brunner lose to Akin or Steelman.

Is that too harsh? Sorry, that's what primaries are for.

But on the other hand I would eagerly take any one of these three candidates, Akin, Steelman or Brunner, without hesitation, over Claire McCaskill, as Missouri Senator.

Primaries. Ugh.

Electoral Self-Defense
It is my hope that incidents such as Chick-fil-a, as well as examples of kowtowing to any other sort of politically correct sensibilities, will be a strong turn off to any and all audiences, especially conservatives. I hope that people are beginning to see, that it is through this pandering for 'the popular vote' by people in general, and by politicians in particular (who apparently do believe that political correctness really IS the popular view), that political correctness has been able to accomplish its aims: imposing upon us all a form of politically correct self-censorship.

It is promoted by the princes of prissiness in order that the media can preen themselves in the glow of their own faux moral high ground, and it is done in order to portray the position or candidate they are trying to move Forward!, as a brave, brave victim of evil-doers - so as to boost and secure political power for them, over you.

Worse, these PC views are being imposed upon us not only by Wackedemia and the MSM in order to support their political favorites (and penalize their opponents and everyone else connected with them), but it is being aided and abetted by many a vote seeking 'conservative' as well, and these positions gain an even more terrible strength as a result of that conservative complicitness, than they ever would have acquired if they were expressed by the left alone.

We cannot let these ProRegressives, Left or Right, continue with their campaign of Political Correctness; they are attacking even our ability to think and to speak, and even to eat, and in the process, frankly, they are wiping the toilets with our language, turning it into something with no more character or substance than used toilet paper.

The level of political discourse in our times has fallen to new lows, and it is up to us to lift it back up to where it belongs, this smothering of speech must not be tolerated any longer.

It is what has helped to deliver us to the world we've got. A world where electing one person is often little or no different than electing another. A world where no one says what they really think, everyone seeks the approval of the politically correct princes of prissiness, and We The People end up with Representatives without representation. It's the world we've got, and it is one where those I despise politically (Romney for instance) end up being the ones that ends up on the ballot.

What do we do about that? How do you defend your electoral integrity, when you only have those you dislike, together with those you dislike even more, to choose from? Personally, I can't vote For any of them, but then again to not vote, enables all of them. Remember, it's not the candidates to brought us to this point - they just hitched a ride on our apathy and carelessness. Both have to be remedied in order to improve the situation at all.

In my view that leaves us these options:

  1. Decide which candidate wants to use the govt to most weaken your Rights and force the most ignorance upon you.
  2. Decide which candidate has the best chance of defeating that 1st candidate, and use your vote to help defeat that 1st candidate.
More importantly, in every other moment between elections, when you hear 'political correctness' from friend or foe, call them on it. Laugh in their faces. Dismiss them. Kick them out of power in Washington, with your vote at the ballot box, and out of power at the newsstand & T.V. by spending your dollars and attention upon information that is actually informative.

Also, do as much as you can to understand what Government, Law, Rights and Liberty actually mean, and depend upon, and then spread that light you've gathered as widely as you can, and help to dissipate the ignorance around you.

My fellow Americans, it took us a minimum of 150 years to get to this sorry state, and there will be no quick answers, no magic legislation and no miracle candidates that will get us out of it. We have to reestablish what America Means, one idea, and one mind, at a time - and that means starting with YOU.

Friday, August 03, 2012

'Educational Choice' - the cost of the Question never asked

I went to a presentation at a valuable local think-tank “The Show-Me Institute”, this Tuesday, marking the 100th anniversary of Milton Friedman's birthday, geared towards his ideas of choice in education, via vouchers, tax credits, etc, to open our educational system to market forces.

The speaker, James Shuls, made a very able presentation for "Friedman Legacy for Freedom Day 2012", with his speech, his first for the institute, about "School Choice and Individual Freedom: Advancing the Ideas of Milton Friedman."; he was very engaging, had a number of examples that well illustrated the problems and frustrations that he himself had had with his local public school system, and which he believes, as do I, a privatized system would largely eliminate. The idea being that doing so will eventually produce a better quality of education, by serving the market what it wants.

But. While the principle is sound, the offers made to practice it, are not, on at least two different levels.

Level One
I don't mean to speak ill of either the Show-Me Institute, or Mr. Shuls, but there is one issue which I've yet to see addressed during any of these discussions of 'Educational Choice' - namely: 'What an Education is'.

Wouldn't that seem to be an elementary question to resolve first, in a discussion of 'Educational Choice'? Everyone just AssUme's they know the answer? Assuming the answer that 'everyone knows' couldn't possible make an Ass of you and me, now could it? No? And why is that? Because assuming something to be true has such a good historical track record, that we all feel safe and protected by doing so?

What happens, is that by neglecting that question, all the available answers to choose from, are simply those remaining variations on one preselected answer to that unasked question, that being:

To provide skills to earn a living.

Unaddressed in that answer, and unaddressable, is what sort of life would be worthwhile living? And how do you choose it?

Instead, we are told that earning money is good. Earning more money is better. Personally, I am a big fan of earning more money, but I have long suspected that a person should take some care in how they go about it. Seems to me, those cares should be addressed in any worthwhile Education... but what do I know, if 'everyone else' says 'more is better', then everyone else must be right, right? So 'Mo money, mo money, mo money!'

That is lesson #1 that's taught in school. That, and that having money is bad. Quite the lesson, that, 'Having lots of money is bad, and pay attention in school so you can earn more of it', what could possible go wrong there.

And is that not the meaning of "Get an Education so you can earn a good living!"? It is not saying "Get an Education so you can live a life worth living!", but simply go out and earn a good living, meaning more money, nicer things, cleaner fingernails.

What is not given the slightest consideration in this 'choice' is the possibility that a person, just might find getting their fingernails dirty the most worthwhile profession for them. Also unaddressed, and assumed to be wrong, is the possibility that not making more money with clean fingernails, might be a perfectly worthy choice. On the contrary, the 'get better skills!' theory of education, tells such a person, that they are a failure, nothing more. The theory of Education that doesn't follow that party line, might be one that could also teach a person that having made just such a professional choice, it would be wise to also be followed with acquiring some knowledgeable skills in investment, so that, in the long run, you would not be lacking in money. But that would require consideration of the long run, and what was best for it, most worthwhile - which we assume to be answers to question that are not worth asking, after all, we assume that we need answers that are effective now, pragmatically 'true is what works', forget about thinking beyond the moment, in the long run we're all dead. Right?.

The Skills based educational system does something more, it locks you into a particular set of skills, and should the market change, your value to it does as well.

The 'life worth living' based education, on the other hand, opens you up to any skill you might find a need in acquiring, by providing the knowledge and understanding which makes learning, and even seeking, new skills, a snap.

But such 'choice' is not offered up in any of the debates over 'Educational Choice', those extending the offer of 'choice' to you, have already chosen, and what they offer you to choose from, is not designed to satisfy your choices, but theirs - those who made it for you, those who expect to profit from it, one way or another.

Never fear my friends, the word 'AssUme' always lives up to its greatest potential, for all concerned. Moving on....

Level Two
Not that I think that Mr. Shuls was advocating any of this, or attempting to conceal this, it is more likely that he has never considered any of this - his choice having long ago been made for him as well - he does have a Masters Degree in Education, after all.

While there was little to object to in his presentation, putting it into practice today is... problematic. For one thing, there is a problem with what is being advocated as Educational Choice, the least of which is, that it is not advocating for a free market in Educational Choice.

Huh?

Charter Schools are the current rage, especially in Missouri ... but despite what they are assumed to mean (and what people are led to think they still mean), they are not privately funded and operated schools - not by a long shot. I asked James something along the lines of
"If the state is determining the standards, curriculum requirements and testing criteria that charters schools must use, as well as a say in who the teachers are that are teaching in them, then are those charter schools actually representing a free market, or undermining the very possibility of one?"
He acknowledged that it was a problem that the state had such a strong hand in the charter schools, and said that while it was not the choice he'd like, it is what they have to work with and he was hopeful that schools such as "Construction Careers Center" (a vocational charter school ) were available as an option.".

While I get the first part, 'make do with what you have, baby steps' & so forth, the second part leaves me in despair of those baby steps ever leading to anything other than taking us the rest of the way over the cliff.

An alternative 'strategy' for addition
Even his best examples of complacent public schools unconcerned with parents concerns, such as math strategies are less effective than 'traditional' math, do not fill me with hope. Even in the areas he expressed frustration in, regarding 'math strategies', the standardized tests already in place, let alone those that will follow with 'Common Core Curriculum' will ask about, and score based upon, such oddities as students awareness of differing 'strategies' in solving math problems (a result of teaching math as a skill only)... and so the kids will need to be taught them, even if not emphasized as much, they will need to waste their time on knowing ‘what color math is', and attempt to not let that clutter interfere with how to solve an equation... or, excuse me, a 'math sentence'.

Again, skills over purpose; What, How and How Many, over Why... the unasked question.

When he was asked about Home Schooling, he admitted that he didn't know much about the movement; he was aware that home school students tended to score above average, but felt that their numbers were not large enough to be a factor in the marketplace. That his estimation of actual numbers may be off, isn't the issue, that the aims of homeschoolers, which are largely very different from the skills based 'traditional schools' (traditional being those that were imposed upon us on a large scale, beginning around 1900), are not considered a part of the market, IS.

What is going under the name of “Educational Choice” , is more reflective of the lack of choice that public, private & charter schools are even capable of offering - they offer us even less of a choice in education than Democrat-Republican parties offer us to choose from in our elections.

The market is being managed by forces and powers outside of the market, and immune from market forces of value, satisfaction, supply & demand, and are in no way representative of a Free Market.

The Free Market IS the answer(or at least the path towards it), but it has one teensy-weensy requirement – that it be Free! Offering up an adulterated fraud as being part of, or representative of, the Free Market and Educational Choice, will not only be unable to deliver the goods that the Free Market might otherwise have excelled in, it is destructive to the market and to Education itself.

Distinctions without a difference
There isn't any worthwhile difference in the Educational choices being offered by public, (most) private or Charter schools. Mr. Shuls has a Masters Degree in Education, which means that, though perhaps he has his own ideas, his optimism for the vocational-tech school as a bright light in Education tells me that the aims of Modern Educational theory that he has been taught, are largely his own as well, that the purpose of an education is to inculcate skills, which students can use to get 'meaningful' employment from.

Some skills are of course needed in order to acquire an Education, but teaching that acquiring useful skills is the same as getting an Education, is more than anything else, a handy dandy method for eliminating the Educated. An Educated person, is someone who has learned the essential knowledge necessary to developing the internal means and ability to govern themselves in pursuit of a life worth living. That is not what is being taught, and it is not a choice that is being offered in the educational market place at all.

Do you really need to look any further for proof of this, than the Obamao/G.M. Chevy Volt?! Really?

When answers are imposed, questions are not asked, and results are not improved upon. Worse, such a forcibly static system is unsuited for a dynamic world, and decline can be the only result. Were none of you watching what happened with East Berlin and the USSR? Have you not seen that our 'investment' in our educational system has increased year after year, and the results and quality have continued to decline, year after year.

For choice to matter, you need to have at least one choice worth choosing, a distinction with a difference, and the freedom to choose it - and to fail. Without that, there is no possibility of either success or improvement.. Being offered a choice, by the state, to choose between one style of teaching students skills, over another, is no choice worth being distinguished as an Educational Choice.

Instead, what is being offered up to us as "Choice", is not one of making choices between actual Educational aims, methods & content, but rather a choice between operational efficiencies in facilities management and Human Resources practices for efficiently handling faculty and student. Such choices may produce better cleaner lunchrooms and safer hallways, perhaps even a sharper sharper set of skills… but what you are not now getting, or are ever going to get, is an actual choice, or change, in Educational aims and methods & content.

The answers to declining results is always more time in class, more testing, more strategies, more useful skills and always, always, mo' money, mo' money, mo' money!

The only assurance you have, is that more money will be spent, and with no better results - that is the cost of the Question that is never asked - What IS an Education? We simply AssUme we know.

Worse still, of course, what you will not have produced from such an educational system, are Educated people.

Worst of all, America cannot exist without an adequate number of Educated people. See the news for reference. If people do not value a life worth living, and have the internal means and ability to pursue it... they will not; they will instead pursue what catches and stimulates their interests, and Individual Rights and the Rule of Law have little place in such a system - they were the product of an approach towards Education that asked Why, before How. Again, see the news for reference. With every new crop of graduates, we come that much closer to emptying America of Americans.

It reminds me of a quip by King Edward II "Longshanks" in Braveheart:
"The problem with Scotland is that there are too many Scots!... if we can't beat them, we'll breed them out!"
What such faux choice offers, is little more than a means of strengthening the goals of centralized planning and dis-empowering the individual and their hopes of affecting it. What such a program truly proposes, as I said in a previous post, as 'If you are given a choice between hot-dogs, beef franks & turkey franks - you are being given a choice between which hot dogs to eat, but you are not being given a free market in dining.

Or do you assume that something different is happening here?