Thursday, February 23, 2017

Conundrum


Conundrum
Made available by Bob Dunn

Free people are not equal.  Equal people are not free.
(Think this one over and over?) Makes sense!   
  

The definition of the word Conundrum is something that is puzzling or confusing.
Here are six Conundrums of socialism in the United States of America :

1. America is capitalist and greedy - yet half of the population is subsidized.

2. Half of the population is subsidized - yet they think they are victims.

3. They think they are victims - yet their representatives run the government   

4. Their representatives run the government - yet the poor keep getting poorer.

5.  The poor keep getting poorer - yet they have things that people in other countries only dream about.   

6.  They have things that people in other countries only dream about - yet they want America to be more like those other countries.

Think  about it!  And that, my friends, pretty much sums up the USA in the 21st Century.  Makes you wonder who is doing the math.


These  three, short sentences tell you a lot about the direction of our current 
government and cultural environment:
1. We are advised to NOT judge ALL Muslims by the actions of a few lunatics, but we are encouraged to judge ALL gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics.   
 Funny  how that works.  And here's another one worth considering?
2.  Seems we constantly hear about how Social Security is going to run out of money. But  we never hear about welfare or food stamps running out of money !  What's  interesting is the first group "worked for" their money, but the second didn't.  Think  about it.....and Last but not least :   

3.  Why are we cutting benefits for our veterans, no pay raises for our military and cutting our army to a level lower than before WWII, but  we are not stopping the payments or benefits to illegal aliens. 
  
Am I the only one missing something?

"If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools."............Plato

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Betsy DeVos v. the Education Monopolists


Who doesn't believe that our education system needs immediate improvement.
Maybe competition would be part of a solution.

Betsy DeVos v. the Education Monopolists
Establishment critics try to pound Trump’s education secretary into submission.
Larry Sand

During her Senate confirmation hearings, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was attacked in every way imaginable. She was called names. Her intelligence, commitment, and religiosity were called into question. “In nominating DeVos, Trump makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America,” seethed American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten. Chicago Teachers Union boss Karen Lewis referred to DeVos as a “nightmare.” Speaking a day before the confirmation vote, Minnesota senator Al Franken pointed out DeVos’s supposed lack of experience in the field, insisting that education secretary is “not a job for amateurs.”

The vitriol hasn’t abated since DeVos was confirmed on February 7, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie. Weingarten proclaimed DeVos’s confirmation “a sad day for children.” National Education Association leader Lily Eskelsen Garcia was defiant. “There will be no relationship with Betsy DeVos,” she insisted. California Teacher Association capo Eric Heins referred to the nomination as “a blow to our nation.” Filmmaker Michael Moore tweeted, “The Senate Republicans have just sent a big FU to the school children of America. Even the worst countries don’t sh*t on their own kids.” And most delirious of all, Vanity Fair film critic Richard Lawson tweeted, “Betsy DeVos’s policies will kill children. That is not an exaggeration in any sense.”

The viciousness toward DeVos is animated by several things: she is rich, a Christian, a Republican, and, worst of all, a school-choice supporter. As chairman of the American Federation of Children, she has devoted much of her adult life trying to provide children with the best possible education, whether via a private school, home school, charter, or traditional public school. This drives the public-school monopolists crazy, as it hints at an alternative to the nineteenth-century, one-size-fits-all education model they control.

“[DeVos’s] concentration on charter schools and vouchers . . . raises the question of whether or not she fully appreciates that the Secretary of Education’s primary focus must be on helping states and communities, parents, teachers, school board members, and administrators strengthen our public schools,” commented Maine senator Susan Collins, one of two Republicans who voted against DeVos. Collins is wrong. The Department of Education’s mission is, simply, “to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation.” The department has no special brief to promote public schools. Its sole focus is on improving education outcomes.

What those who cling to the education status quo don’t understand—or won’t acknowledge—is that Secretary DeVos isn’t an absolute monarch ruling over a vast national education empire. In fact, the great majority of U.S. education policy and financing is handled at the state and local levels. Fordham Institute president Mike Petrilli points out that the education secretary’s job is to “work with members of Congress and governors, to understand how a bill becomes a law, to provide moral support to reformers as they fight it out in the states and at the local level.” Being an outsider makes DeVos an especially good pick. “The strength of Secretary DeVos’s appointment is that she brings strong independent leadership to American education,” observes National Association of Scholars president Peter Wood. “She will not be steered by organized labor or by the higher education establishment. This means that we have the opportunity for real reform.”

While the establishmentarians are choice-phobic, parents aren’t. In fact, school choice is popular. A recent EdChoice survey revealed that most American parents aren’t getting the educational options they want. When asked about their preferences, 41 percent of parents said that they prefer a private school; 28 percent, a public district school; 17 percent, a charter school; 11 percent, home school. But as things stand now, 83 percent of students attend traditional public schools.

Despite the monopolists’ panic, school choice won’t kill off public schools; they’ll just have to try harder to hold on to their customers. In fact, as EdChoice’s Greg Forster has shown, vouchers make public education better. According to Forster, out of 33 studies examining the effects on public schools where private-school options exist, 31 showed an improvement in public schools and one study showed no effect. Only one study revealed a negative effect on public-school students. I’ll take 31 to 1 any day.

Larry Sand, a retired teacher, is president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network and a contributor to City Journal’s book, The Beholden State: California’s Lost Promise and How to Recapture It.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Stuart Smalley, Smaller Than Ever

Stuart Smalley aka Al Frankin
Stuart Smalley, Smaller Than Ever 
 Bill O'Reilly

Franken complains that Betsy DeVos is inexperienced and unqualified. He insisted, 'It's not a job for amateurs who don't know the first thing about education.' That's almost as rich as Al Franken himself. 

Senator Al Franken, who once played the character Stuart Smalley in a previous career for which he was eminently more qualified, attended the absolute best and most expensive private school in Minnesota. Current tuition: About $30,000. Good for him, his parents could afford it and wanted the very best for their son.

Franken's own children attended one of the finest and most expensive schools in Manhattan. Current tuition: Well over $40,000. Good for them, their very wealthy father could afford it and wanted the very best for his kids.

But now Al Franken is standing, George Wallace-like, at the doors to private schools like those, essentially telling poor children they are not welcome. No, he isn't literally blocking the entrance, but in effect that's what Democrats tried to do when they unanimously voted against the nomination of Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education.

The left despises DeVos for various reasons, not least of which because she is an extremely wealthy woman. You'll rarely see her name in the New York Times or Washington Post without the adjective 'billionaire.' Even more egregious is the fact that Secretary DeVos poses an existential threat to the teachers' unions whose cash, extracted involuntarily from the rank-and-file, is the lifeblood of the modern Democratic Party.

Franken himself has received something like $150,000 from teachers' unions and their affiliates. Put another way, that's almost enough for four years at his kids' posh school. 

My comments...
This the same guy that launched Kerry's presidential campaign in NYC's Central Park by using the microphone and leading a 10 minute "f__k George Bush, f__k George Bush f__k George Bush............." Then handed the mic to Kerry to make his presidential candidacy launch speech.... too cool for school.

Also, the guy that lost the Minnesota Senatorial election and then it was revealed that a bag of mostly Frankin ballots were found in the truck of a car several days after the election... must have taken a couple of days to forge those ballots. BH

Thursday, February 02, 2017

When Normalcy Is Revolution



When Normalcy Is Revolution
Victor Davis Hanson, National Review


Trump’s often unorthodox style shouldn’t be confused with his otherwise practical and mostly centrist agenda.

By 2008, America was politically split nearly 50/50 as it had been in 2000 and 2004. The Democrats took a gamble and nominated Barack Obama, who became the first young, Northern, liberal president since John F. Kennedy narrowly won in 1960.

Democrats had believed that the unique racial heritage, youth, and rhetorical skills of Obama would help him avoid the fate of previous failed Northern liberal candidates Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, and John Kerry. Given 21st-century demography, Democrats rejected the conventional wisdom that only a conservative Democrat with a Southern accent could win the popular vote (e.g., Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Gore).

Moreover, Obama mostly ran on pretty normal Democratic policies rather than a hard-left agenda. His platform included opposition to gay marriage, promises to balance the budget, and a bipartisan foreign policy.

Instead, what followed was a veritable “hope and change” revolution not seen since the 1930s. Obama pursued a staunchly progressive agenda — one that went well beyond the relatively centrist policies upon which he had campaigned. The media cheered and signed on. 

Soon, the border effectively was left open. Pen-and-phone executive orders offered immigrant amnesties. The Senate was bypassed on a treaty with Iran and an intervention in Libya.

Political correctness under the Obama administration led to euphemisms that no longer reflected reality. 

Poorly conceived reset policy with Russia and a pivot to Asia both failed. The Middle East was aflame.

The Iran deal was sold through an echo chamber of deliberate misrepresentations.

The national debt nearly doubled during Obama’s two terms. Overregulation, higher taxes, near-zero interest rates, and the scapegoating of big businesses slowed economic recovery. Economic growth never reached 3 percent in any year of the Obama presidency — the first time that had happened since Herbert Hoover’s presidency.

A revolutionary federal absorption of health care failed to fulfill Obama’s promises and soon proved unviable.

Culturally, the iconic symbols of the Obama revolution were the “you didn’t build that” approach to businesses and an assumption that race/class/gender would forever drive American politics, favorably so for the Democrats.

Then, Hillary Clinton’s unexpected defeat and the election of outsider Donald Trump sealed the fate of the Obama Revolution.

For all the hysteria over the bluntness of the mercurial Trump, his agenda marks a return to what used to be seen as fairly normal, as the U.S. goes from hard left back to the populist center.

Trump promises not just to reverse almost immediately all of Obama’s policies, but to do so in a pragmatic fashion that does not seem to be guided by any orthodox or consistently conservative ideology.

Trade deals and jobs are Trump’s obsessions — mostly for the benefit of blue-collar America. In normal times, Trumpism — again, the agenda as opposed to Trump the person — might be old hat.

He calls for full-bore gas and oil development, a common culture in lieu of identity politics, secure borders, deregulation, tax reform, a Jacksonian foreign policy, nationalist trade deals in places of globalization, and traditionalist values.

In normal times, Trumpism — again, the agenda as opposed to Trump the person — might be old hat. But after the last eight years, his correction has enraged millions.

Yet securing national borders seems pretty orthodox. In an age of anti-Western terrorism, placing temporary holds on would-be immigrants from war-torn zones until they can be vetted is hardly radical. Expecting “sanctuary cities” to follow federal laws rather than embrace the nullification strategies of the secessionist Old Confederacy is a return to the laws of the Constitution.

Using the term “radical Islamic terror” in place of “workplace violence” or “man-caused disasters” is sensible, not subversive.

Insisting that NATO members meet their long-ignored defense-spending obligations is not provocative but overdue. Assuming that both the European Union and the United Nations are imploding is empirical, not unhinged.

Questioning the secret side agreements of the Iran deal or failed Russian reset is facing reality. Making the Environmental Protection Agency follow laws rather than make laws is the way it always was supposed to be.

Unapologetically siding with Israel, the only free and democratic country in the Middle East, used to be standard U.S. policy until Obama was elected.

Issuing executive orders has not been seen as revolutionary for the past few years — until now.

Expecting the media to report the news rather than massage it to fit progressive agendas makes sense. In the past, proclaiming Obama a “sort of god” or the smartest man ever to enter the presidency was not normal journalistic practice.

Freezing federal hiring, clamping down on lobbyists, and auditing big bureaucracies — after the Obama-era IRS, VA, GSA, EPA, State Department, and Secret Service scandals — are overdue.

Half the country is having a hard time adjusting to Trumpism, confusing Trump’s often unorthodox and grating style with his otherwise practical and mostly centrist agenda.

In sum, Trump seems a revolutionary, but that is only because he is loudly undoing a revolution.

 — Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author, most recently, of The Savior Generals. You can reach him by e-mailing author@victorhanson.com. © 2017 Tribune Media Services, Inc.


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Trump is Playing with the Press


Trump is Playing with the Press

Glenn Harlan Reynolds, USA Today

He's gaslighting them and they fall for it every time.

Why are the relations between Donald Trump and the press so bad? There are two reasons. One is that Trump is a Republican, and the press consists overwhelmingly of Democrats. But the other reason is that Trump likes it this way, because when the press is constantly attacking him over trivialities, it strengthens his position and weakens the press. Trump’s “outrageous” statements and tweets aren’t the product of impulsiveness, but part of a carefully maintained strategy that the press is too impulsive to resist.
The first thing to understand is that one of the changes going on with Trump generally is the renegotiation of various post-World War II institutional arrangements. One of those is the institutional arrangement involving the press and the White House. For decades, the press got special status because it was seen as both powerful and institutionally responsible. (And, of course, allied with the Democrats, who were mostly in charge of setting up those postwar institutional arrangements). Press quarters inside the White House and daily press briefings made it easy for everyone to get together on the story of the day.
Now those things have changed. If the press were powerful, it would have beaten Trump. If it were responsible, it wouldn’t be running away with fake news whenever it sees a chance to run something damaging to Trump. And, of course, there’s no alliance between Trump and the media, as there was with Obama.
So things will change. The press’s “insider” status — which it cherishes — is going to fade, with Trump’s press people even talking about moving them out of the White House entirely, and ignoring their existing pecking order in press conferences. (This is producing waves of status anxiety, as are many other Trump-induced institutional changes). And, having abandoned, quite openly, any pretense of objectivity and neutrality in the election, the press is going to be treated as an enemy by the Trump administration until further notice.
In fact, Trump’s basically gaslighting them. Knowing how much they hate him, he’s constantly provoking them to go over the top. Sean Spicer’s crowd-size remarks on Saturday were all about making them seem petty and negative. (And, possibly, teeing up crowd size comparisons at this Friday’s March For Life, which the press normally ignores but which Trump will probably force them to cover).
Trump knows that the press isn’t trusted very much, and that the less it’s trusted, the less it can hurt him. So he’s prodding reporters to do things that will make them less trusted, and they’re constantly taking the bait.
They’re taking the bait because they think he’s dumb, and impulsive, and lacking self-control — but he’s the one causing them to act in ways that are dumb and impulsive, and demonstrate lack of self-control. As Richard Fernandez writes on Facebook, they think he’s dumb because they think he has lousy taste, but there are a lot of scarily competent guys out there in the world who like white and gold furniture. And, I should note, Trump has more media experience than probably 99% of the people covering him. (As Obama operative Ben Rhodes gloated with regard to selling a dishonest story on the Iran deal, the average reporter the Obama White House dealt with “is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns.” In Rhodes’ words, “they literally know nothing.”)
If you read Don Surber’s election book, Trump the Press, it becomes pretty obvious that the press hasn’t been very good at understanding Trump’s strategies, or at responding to them. So far, there’s no sign of that changing as we move from the Trump campaign to the Trump administration.
So what should the press do? It can keep responding the way it has responded so far, or it can change its approach. But the latter may require more self-discipline than it’s got.
The killer counter-move for the press isn’t to double down on anti-Trump messaging. The counter-move is to bolster its own trustworthiness by acting (and being) more neutral and sober, and by being more trustworthy. If the news media actually focused on reporting facts accurately and straightforwardly, on leaving opinion to the pundits, and on giving Trump a clearly fair shake, then Trump’s tactics wouldn’t work, and any actual dirt they found on him would do actual damage. He’s betting on the press being insufficiently mature and self-controlled to manage that. So far, his bet is paying off.
That’s too bad. If we had a better press, we’d be much better off as a nation, and Trump’s strategy of capitalizing on the press’s flaws is good for Trump, but will probably make that problem worse, if such a thing is possible. But the truth is, we don’t have a better press. And as long as the press is mindlessly partisan and bereft of self-discipline, capitalizing on that is just good politics.
Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor and the author of The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself, is a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors.

I'm number one...

Who cares...

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mike Walker, new book

Mike Walker, Col USMC (retired) new book


The 1929 Sino-Soviet War: The War Nobody Knew
(Modern War Studies) 

For seven weeks in 1929, the Republic of China and the Soviet Union battled in Manchuria over control of the Chinese Eastern Railroad. It was the largest military clash between China and a Western power ever fought on Chinese soil, involving more that a quarter million combatants. Michael M. Walker’s The 1929 Sino-Soviet War is the first full account of what UPI’s Moscow correspondent called “the war nobody knew”—a “limited modern war” that destabilized the region's balance of power, altered East Asian history, and sent grim reverberations through a global community giving lip service to demilitarizing in the wake of World War I.

Walker locates the roots of the conflict in miscalculations by Chiang Kai-shek and Chang Hsueh-liang about the Soviets’ political and military power—flawed assessments that prompted China’s attempt to reassert full authority over the CER. The Soviets, on the other hand, were dominated by a Stalin eager to flex some military muscle and thoroughly convinced that war would win much more than petty negotiations. This was in fact, Walker shows, a watershed moment for Stalin, his regime, and his still young and untested military, disproving the assumption that the Red Army was incapable of fighting a modern war. By contrast, the outcome revealed how unprepared the Chinese military forces were to fight either the Red Army or the Imperial Japanese Army, their other primary regional competitor. And yet, while the Chinese commanders proved weak, Walker sees in the toughness of the overmatched infantry a hint of the rising nationalism that would transform China’s troops from a mercenary army into a formidable professional force, with powerful implications for an overconfident Japanese Imperial Army in 1937.

Using Russian, Chinese, and Japanese sources, as well as declassified US military reports, Walker deftly details the war from its onset through major military operations to its aftermath, giving the first clear and complete account of a little known but profoundly consequential clash of great powers between the World Wars.

Available  – January 27, 2017 from Amazon

Reviews...
“In telling the story of the Sino-Soviet conflict, Walker takes a wide-ranging approach that encompasses international politics of the region between China, Japan, and the USSR while simultaneously providing a wealth of detail on the domestic politics affecting decision-making. The military aspects of the war are equally thoroughly documented from the quality of leadership, to the tactics and technology that determined the outcome. This work will be the standard for a long time to come.”—Roger R. Reese, author of Why Stalin’s Soldiers Fought: The Red Army’s Military Effectiveness in World War II
 
“Long overlooked as inconsequential, the 1929 Sino-Soviet War in fact had profound implications for China, Japan, the Soviet Union and the international order in East Asia. Drawing upon trends in international and world history, Michael M. Walker breathes new life into the study of this war, offering a fluid narrative and detailed analysis of the political, military, and diplomatic aspects of the conflict. In doing so, he reveals the complexity and consequence of ‘the war nobody knew.’“—Peter Worthing, author of General He Yingqin: The Rise and Fall of Nationalist China
 
“This unprecedented, credible, and interesting study of the twentieth century’s most obscure war highlights the complexity inherent in the prolonged struggle for political dominance in northeastern Asia.” —David M. Glantz, author of The Stalingrad Trilogy
 
“The 1929 Sino-Soviet war over control of the Chinese Eastern Railway in Manchuria is perhaps the least studied 20th century conflict even while being one of the most important. As detailed by Michael Walker in his ground-breaking monograph, one immediate result of China’s defeat was Japan’s 1931 invasion of Manchuria, and its creation the next year of the Manchukuo puppet state, widely seen as the opening salvo in the Pacific War.”—Bruce Elleman, William V. Pratt Professor of International History US Naval War College