Saturday, July 30, 2011

Veterans Deserve Better than State Honors

Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) proposed a budget with extensive cuts to all sectors receiving pay-outs from the state, including veterans.

Those who serve this country deserve the best treatment possible. The Federal Government cannot do that.

Any state agency will falter under its inherent power to force revenue and dispense with it without accountability.

Consider the fate of the Walter Reed Hospital, an medical facility which fell into long-term neglect and disrepair, where medical personnel were reusing medical instruments without even sterilizing them! Government (mis)management provided a corrupt facility for men and women who deserve much better.

Then there is the lack of security. The fallout from the Fort Hoos Massacre alone should be enough to review the current security which veterans enjoy when undergoing medical care.

Besides, is it in any person's best health interests to receive unending benefits from the state? Have we not reconciled ourselves to the fact that after extensive health-care provision, unending handouts simply create unhealthful dependence on the government? Why should any veteran be forced to expect a well-deserved reward from an institution which routinely fails to pay its own bills?

Veterans deserve all the care possible to facilitate their integration back into civilian care. They deserve respect for the sacrifices which they have made for this country. Yet would it not be better if U.S. Veterans received block grants, a permanent tax write-off, or another emolument which will enhance their independence from the state, and relieve future tax-payers from onerous and ultimately wasteful financial obligations? Veterans deserve the best care. To ensure that they do receive what they deserve, they should be allowed to choose where they meet their medical needs. An open marketplace would permit this, as opposed to limiting veterans to VA facilities which do not have to compete and do not undergo adequate scrutiny to improve overall care for their patients, unlike private hospitals throughout the country.

Big Government isn't Working

This is not the end of the world, everyone. Nations in Europe are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. The United States cannot resolve its debt debate, failing to raise the debt ceiling

If markets do correct, as French Economist Frederic Bastiat calmly asserted, then this is the most massive and necessary market correction in human history.

For two hundred years, national governments have instituted large entitlement programs and the horrendous debt which they incur in order to consolidate power. European states purchased the agreement of rural and conservative interests in their lands by offering state subsidies and handouts, like social security, if they would relinquish ancient land ties and local autonomies.

Recently, political parties have bought votes by promising to take from the wealthy and pass out the legally ill-gotten largess out to the growing base of tax-exempt citizens. Government has insidiously colluded with public workers to offer handsome perks and exorbitant benefits on the public dime. No one complains when it is not their specific dime getting pilfered, yet when everyone collectively suffers under the timely failure of wealth distribution, the people of a nation protest.

This Big Government model was bound to be unsustainable, no was bound to unsustainability. Those with money get tired of being forced to lose their wealth to those who have done nothing, slowly entrapped in the wicked entitlement mentality that only demands more. As sources of independent wealth dry up or drive away, the state depends on tricky accounting, subtle tax increases, and ultimately extensive borrowing. These dysfunctional maneuvers only drown the state in deeper obligations, steeper paying plans, and ultimately bankruptcy.

What does a state do when it cannot pay its bills? Will municipalities declare war on their own communities and attempt to seize from so impoverished that they cannot provide for themselves? If individual tax-payer are bled dry, what hope do state and federal agencies have?

There is no escape from the one grand conclusions pressing on liberal, conservative, and undeclared: Big Government isn't working. It cannot function. It cannot sustain itself. From overtaxed citizens to crippled national governments, everyone is learning the hard way that depending on a growing government to meet the needs of the future was a foolhardy gamble from the beginning. Banking on the state to honor its obligations because by law the state is obligated to pay up no matter how dire the economic conditions--that is simply a ludicrous, hollow threat when there is no money to spend, no resources to print currency, and no buyers willing to settle for promises to pay later.

Big Government isn't working. No longer will conservatives demand change through emotional and moral appeal. Dragging stocks, falling revenues, slowing growth, the vast mistrust between borrower and lender, all sound the death knell of the Big Government Behemoth.

Americans Fear Debt Default: Wrong Sentiment, Wrong Idea

As Congress continues to be unable to pass a comprehensive budget with necessary cuts and revenue increases, the American people seem to fear: What will happen if the nation defaults on its debt?

Economists have guessed. Senators have scolded. People still pace in fear.

Legislators are calling the President's bluff. Even if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling by August 2, they argue, the United States is still obligated to pay certain bills, like social security. By law the government must pass out certain handouts, no questions asked.

So Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling. . .what will happened?

Government will simply have to live within its means. Just as households across the country are cutting spending because they do not take in as much revenue as before, so local, state, and federal agencies must bear the responsible burden of letting go of pet projects, meandering entitlement programs, and the incessant hemorrhaging of resources which is undermining this nation.

If the politicians were not willing to make the cost-cutting decisions before, now they have no choice. Just like the Government shut-down in 1995 only harmed a few agencies across Washington D.C., a federal government that is unable to pay its bills will only foster more freedom for the millions in this country who have paid their bills and managed their debt.

Rather than living in fear, consumers and creditors in the United States should look forward to a future where less of their money gets sucked up into the Big Government Leviathan. Because this monster is so lethargic and inept, we only have to fear the length of time it will take before the Federal Government begins shutting itself down and being forced into its proper constitutional limits.

Fear not, overburdened tax-payers. If you have invested your time and fortunes properly, you have nothing to fear from other government agencies which have refused to manage their affairs.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Do-Nothing Government: A Welcome Euphemism

Do-Nothing Government: A Welcome Euphemism for "Limited Government".

Speaker of the House John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and President Obama cannot craft final legislation to raise the debt ceiling. They are still unable to control the unruly elements in their respective parties to agree on certain conditions for the short or long term.

The incessant debate of Congress has angered voters across the country, who had demanded that their legislators do something about the financial crises afflicting this nation. Many of them have decried Washington as a dysfunctional, do-nothing Congress that is wasting our time and patience while flushing billions in tax revenues.

Foolishly, some pundits have elevated bi-partisanship to mythic status, as though every legislator must be dedicated to putting aside his or her "petty ideologies" and cooperate with forming a Grand (albeit "Corrupt") bargain. Yet every time that bi-partisanship mania has deluded both sides of the aisle into passing heedless legislation, it has only concentrated more power in the hands of the federal government and impoverished individuals and local stake-holders. The frenzy over stopping terrorism after 9-11, for example, gave birth to the bloated and corrupt Department of Homeland Security, which has only added to the financial as well as national insecurity plaguing this country. Consider also the chronic, complicit corruption of legislators to sneak in pork and entitlement enhancements to please constituents for easy reelection.

Someone has got to slay this insanity. Bi-partisanship is the very thing bringing down this country. A government that does nothing, even failing to raise the debt ceiling, would accomplish far more for this country than the stop-gap "bi-partisan" measures which have only sucked the life out of this nation's hard-working tax-payers while exploding the growth of "Do-Nothing-By-Doing-Too-Much" federal government.

Congress is finally functioning exactly how it was supposed to. The Framers designed the Federal Government to function only under great deliberation, not duress nor demand. Presidents do not get to force their mandate on an unwilling Congress. Even leaders within both legislative chambers cannot bully their members to follow in lock-step with their national parties' overboard agendas. President Carter, for example, learned the hard way the futility of dictating change to Congress, even when the large majority of Congressmen at the time were fellow Democrats. Newt Gringrich resigned within four years of ascending the House Speakership after failing to fulfill any part of the Contract of America which he had run on in 1994. His repeated attempts to force his Republican colleagues to vote in lock-step with his wishes also contributed to his downfall.

Today, the Tea Party Freshmen frustrating House Speaker Boehner are doing exactly what they were voted into office to do: hold the government accountable for every tax-payer dollar that it spends. If that means not permitting the federal government to raise its debt limit, so be it. If that means the nation defaults on its debt, perhaps the American People will stop expecting the federal government to play by the same rules that they live by when preparing a budget with their finances. Once we rid ourselves of the naivete that the federal government is inherently dysfunctional, we will stop justifying our growing dependence on government control and provision.

Congress by its nature must consider legislation. Emotional initiatives and parochial pressures have no place in the Capitol. We have political parties for a reason, each of which sponsor a differing core version of the nation and the Constitution. These views will never be reconciled, nor should they be. Any government, handicapped by partisan bickering is the very engine of "non-change" which will begin the necessary resurgence of power back to the people. The voters, the tax-payers, deserve a Federal Government which will protect our rights and defend our borders, nothing more.

"A Do-Nothing" Government is a welcome euphemism for the limited government intended by the Framers, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, and until recently sorely lacking from the halls of the United States Federal Government.

Debt Ceiling Dance: Gridlock in Lock-Step

In Washington, nothing gets things done like gridlock.

So states the (decidedly conservative) pundits who do not lament the failure of Congress and the President to pass legislation, specifically regarding the debt ceiling.

There are three branches of government for a reason. Congress does not take orders from the President, nor does the President have to follow suit with Congress. For all parties considered, the Supreme Court was never supposed to play a large role in federal or state policy to begin with.

If each branch wants to dance to their own tune, then nothing gets done, no one goes anywhere, and this nation will get back to its roots: limited government with private and local initiatives taking off where the federal government has failed, and should never have stepped in the first place.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Debt Ceiling Dance Goes into the Night

The Tea Party is ready to dance all night. House Speaker John Boehner better keep up if he wants to stay in the dance for much longer, or the Tea Party Caucus might motion him to have a seat and let someone else lead the rest of the Republican delegation in the House of Representatives.

The 70+ Freshman know where their allegiance lies: cut spending, cut spending, cut spending. One other goal: cut the nation's credit card, especially in the hands of President Obama and the Washington elites who follow him, Democrat or Republican.

Mr. Boehner, what a toss-up for you. Make some effort to raise the debt ceiling, or risk becoming the sore loser that let the country lapse into default. Yet would it be your fault? You called the President's bluff. Now let him walk off the cliff. Whether bond ratings plummet along with Obama's approval ratings is not your concern. You and your caucus have done what you could. As New Jersey Governor Chris Christie remarked earlier, if the debt ceiling is not raised in a timely fashion, it will be a failure of leadership, specifically from President Obama.

Why not just undo the whole debt ceiling concept for good? It serves no other purpose but to convey to superficial voters that the national government seriously has no interest in spending beyond its means.

Balanced Budget Amendments notwithstanding, when will legislators ever learn. . . someone out there is watching how the money is spent. Where they have followed the money has scandalized this country once and for all. The voters in this nation will no longer sit back and watch politicians pilfer away our future.

In the past superficial and apathetic, the current electorate in the United States is electrified and unified. Stop the spending, stop the spending, stop the spending!

The Tea Party caucus has listened, they are engaged, now the leadership and the opposing party better follow along, or misstep and fall out.

Fan or Follower (. . .)

Jesus Christ: the name inspires.

So much to say, so much to wonder about, so much to consider.

Who is this guy? What does he mean to me? Why should I care?

Someone you call on when you accidentally stub your toe or hit your finger?

Someone whose name you whisper when things are going well?

Someone whose name you cry out when things go from bad to worse.

Some name you sing out in church once a while, then forget about when you go back to struggling through your six-days-a-week shuffle?

Or is He the name above all names? The one and the only, the Alpha and Omega?

Do you follow him from a distance, or do you strive to walk with him?

Do you care what he thinks, or have you given up caring what he thinks, no matter what happens?

The fans, close or far away, like the guy. They even get along with the whole "God-became-a-man" routine. Yet they are not committed to him when the going gets tough.

The followers, they stick it through. They also follow him, some from a distance at the outset, so unworthy to even be near him. Others follow close by, but then just when they think that they are able to catch up with Him, Jesus seems to have outstripped them once again.

The fans are content to sit by and watch, even to cheer once and a while.

The followers, they go to every game, they watch, they help out, they cheer him on, they even practice the moves. When they fail to measure up to the Master, they get discouraged and fall back. Some followers, so moved by his power and game, don't even try. So disgusted with their inability, they just give up altogether, resigning themselves to being feckless fans or faithless opponents.

Fans never try. Followers try and fail. No matter what, it seems, Jesus Christ, the Carpenter of Nazareth, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, is just out of everyone's league. A great leader, a great speaker, a great teacher, too great to be around.

At least, so it seems.

Besides fans and followers, is there some other way to the Way? Can His name indicated more than nice guy, glowing example, stern pattern, and impossible standard to meet?

Bush 43's Second Inaugural Address: A Further Consideration

"We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world."-- President George W. Bush

From a speech crammed with lofty hopes, noble sentiment, and vague entreaties, this bold pronouncement became the central doctrine of the conservative neocon cabal. According to President Bush, in order to safeguard the United States, this nation would commit itself to making democracy safe in other parts of the world.

That notion has been debunked for two reasons:

1) Because of the rampant growth in state spending, much of it due to poorly-planned and terribly-managed nation-building, the United States Government is teetering on default. A nation which cannot pay its own bills has no business advocating or lecturing other states on democratic principles, especially when these efforts have less than respectable results.

2) Arab States throughout the Middle East and superficial democracies in Sub-Saharan Africa are stumbling over massive protests, all without the aid or instigation of the United States. Uprisings have toppled stable dictators, long upheld by the United States Government. Our policy of cautious, selective infiltration of democracy has been irrevocably exposed.

The United States needs to be committed to its own interests without imperilling or impinging on the rights of other nations. If we stick to maintaining our own freedom in the face of growing global unrest, we will be better off all around.

"The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world". This notion is fuzzy at best, if not permanently faulty. Even if one nation wanted to export democratic principles and foster liberty elsewhere, it has to be chosen. How one nation defines liberty may jar completely with that of the United States.

Let us not focus so much on exporting freedom and democracy far beyond our coasts, but build it up here. If we leave well enough alone abroad, other nations will contend with their internal unrest. Their fate, for better or for worse, lies ultimately in their hands. We must content ourselves with not contending, not micromanaging, not attempting to determine the course of political history for diverse countries and unique peoples around the world.

If nothing else, this nation will cease inadvertently setting off animosity with the rest of the world. At least that cold comfort is better than the expensive interventions which have escalated tensions and unrest across the Middle East.

Later Reflection: The War in Iraq, and Freedom in the Middle East, with Frequent Reference to President George W. Bush's Second Inaugural Adress

Nation building, advancing the cause of Democracy.

All of it was sweeping fun. President Bush's bold declaration:

"All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you."

What a noble sentiment. Reading it against makes me tear up.Yet what were we willing to set ourselves up for? By standing for liberty, does that including maintaining a long-term occupying force in nations where the native populations would look on the Americans as encroaching invaders? Consider these lofty hopes of Bush 43:

"The great objective of ending tyranny is the concentrated work of generations. The difficulty of the task is no excuse for avoiding it. America's influence is not unlimited, but fortunately for the oppressed, America's influence is considerable, and we will use it confidently in freedom's cause."

How considerable is our influence, exactly? As of now, the Middle East is embroiled in Revolution from Tunisia to Syria, with Iran likely waiting in the wings. The United States did not instigate this change, yet for years the United States government supported "stable" dictators who supported a policy that tolerated Israel and beat back Al-Qaeda militants.

It would seem, sadly, that our policy of bringing freedom to the Middle East was inevitably handicapped from the start. Start with another noble declaration in President George W. Bush's second inaugural address:

"America's belief in human dignity will guide our policies, yet rights must be more than the grudging concessions of dictators; they are secured by free dissent and the participation of the governed. In the long run, there is no justice without freedom, and there can be no human rights without human liberty."

Yet for years the United States Government for years supported "grudging concessions" for dictators who harassed their own people, irrespective of class, race, or religion. Their blanket persecution was more tolerable to the U.S. Government's foreign policy agenda than securing those rights of "free dissent and participation of the governed."

Now that Arabs throughout the Middle East are clamoring for those same rights, they want to marginalize opposition parties and minority groups. They wish to alienate and isolate Israel, the only liberal democracy in the regime. Iraq, with its troubled parliament, insisted on European model of government which has produced nothing but protracted stalemates and while exacerbating ethnic rivalries, none of which existed before the 2003 invasion.

What has all the United States' Armed Forced blood and treasure accomplished for the desperate nations of the Middle East? For the United States?

Free elections do not a free society make. The world is witnessing the congenial vision of flourishing democratic regimes in the Middle East devolve into a corrupt, violent nightmare. And legislators from both parties insist on plunging our already-depleted resources into this widespread quagmire.

If we really want to promote freedom, protect our borders, and help secure the blessing of liberty for others, the United States needs to concentrate on upholding the Premises of the Preamble to the Constitution for our own people.
"Self-government relies, in the end, on the governing of the self"--President Bush should have turned this trope to managing the affairs of this country with an eye towards balancing the budget and preserving our posterity for future generations.

If we can maintain our glorious shine like a city on a hill instead of letting the imploding dysfunction of government growth ruin our gleam, then our example and our culture may in turn inspire oppressed people to rise up against their leaders and demand freedom for themselves, a sentiment which even President Bush alluded to:

"Liberty will come to those who love it."

In all truth, we can stand with all the oppressed and politically persecuted peoples of the world by advancing our own causes first. Free markets make free people. Free nations have chosen freedom and all the challenges that come with implementing it for all people. But let's abandon the notion that this nation can impose freedom on any other nation. That is simply contrary to the very nature of freedom itself.

Military Build-Up or Jazz: The Cause of Soviet Disintegration

New Historians are questioning whether Ronald Reagan's military build-up was the catalyst which brought down the Soviet Union. One historian, Thaddeus Russell, claims that the infiltration of American popular culture accomplished far more to bring down the Soviet Union than than the exponential growth of military spending. After World War II, American Soldiers brought jazz to Eastern Europe, which then made its way to the Soviet Union. Dance music made people want to tap into their sensual side. Popular art makes people want to express themselves, a naturally subversive trend which totalitarian regimes loathe.

If popular culture trumped military spending, then most die-hard Reaganites have some major soul-searching to do in their quest for the 2012 Presidential Candidate. Yes, Ronald Reagan cut taxes; yes he lower tax rates across the board to spur economic growth, but was the huge uptick in defense spending necessary, or justified? There seems less evidence supporting the excessive funding into the military-industrial complex, especially in the wake of a burgeoning nation debt which is crippling this nation's future.

Rand Paul, the outspoken Tea-Party Senator from Kentucky has scolded both Democrats and Republicans for outrageous spending, attacking the left for wasteful spending on domestic programs, but targeting the right for unjustified apportionment's to the military and defense. With the new insight of more recent historians, it would appear the Rand Paul's concerns are more than justified.

California Courts Crushed in Budget Crunch: a More Philosophical Note

Beyond the cash-crunch which is crushing the California State Court System, let us consider two larger issues which should further question the rise and expanse of judicial power in the state in the first place.

The California Court System was implemented to protect and enforce the California Constitution. Yet the California Constitutions dwarfs the United States Constitution in sheer length, in addition to the extensive inane addenda micromanaging county and local facilities. There is so much to contend with. It is inevitable for someone to take exception to something, either between parties are with the state as a whole.

Moreover, what are judges supposed to be defending anyway, when the contents of the Constitution keep changing in one ill-planned statewide referendum after another? Attorneys general and governors dispute amendments supported by popular vote, like Proposition 8. If they refuse to enforce portions of the Constitution, which the People of the State of California have endorsed, then where does that leave the officers of the court throughout the state?

In addition to the question of what the courts are supposed to be upholding, there is the larger problem: what are courts of law for? What is their role in society in general? Most people would understandably respond: to see that justice is done, and to see that those parties who have been wronged are compensated, and those who have done wrong are punished.

Yet do we see justice transpire in courtrooms? The rules of evidence automatically exclude pertinent information in some cases. The deaths, or weak memory, of witnesses compromise prosecution and defence. State officials, from the police officers on the beat to the prosecutors pushing a case to the judges and jurors who apply the law and try the facts, inevitably make mistakes. Who is responsible, and how they are fixed, are two issues that are never adequately resolved.

A courtroom provides a forum for begrudging resolution, nothing more. Full justice will never be meted out in a court of law, no matter how august the judge or impeccable the attorneys who practice.

With the shuttering of courtrooms across the state, the people of the State of California should breathe a sigh of relief, for with fewer outlets for state-sponsored outrage between aggrieved parties, perhaps potential litigants will exercise self-restraint and practice more justice in their daily lives, letting the good comity that follows make up for any loss suffered at the hands of artless neighbors or incompetent business.

California Courts Crushed in Budget Crunch

The Dean of Courts and California Supreme Court justices are decrying the new slew of budget cuts authorized by Governor Brown.

The complain that with all the court closures, litigants throughout the state of California will have to wait even longer to process court documents and proceed to trial. Small claims litigants will now have to wait an entire year before receiving a hearing before a judge.

In a society as litigious as the United States, it is hardly lamentable that there are no more factors which would discourage citizens from pursuing court actions.

How many times have we endured harangues from judges that private parties should take whatever steps necessary to settle disputes among themselves? In most cases, it would better if wronged individuals simply ate the loss from minor indiscretions of witless perpetrators. By avoiding court, individuals could save time and energy, then invest their money in more profitable ways.

The court system is slow by design, wasteful for its slack in tackling major issues. Employees within the system, from the clerks to the bailiffs, have little incentive to ensure an efficient process, even in good times.

Rather than trusting a lawyer in a black dress or twelve apathetic triers of fact, plaintiffs should rely on living justly rather than fruitlessly searching for justice in a court of law.

Instead of disparaging the stripping of funds from the California court system, thing, the citiznes this state should be grateful for the opportunities forced upon potential litigants to seek more expedient and less controversial means for resolving disputes and recouping loses.

Let us not discount the long-term savings in cutting the court bureaucracy. Fewer courtrooms means fewer public employees with little incentive to provide adequate service to the public, and more importantly, fewer summons to jury duty!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wu, Weiner, and all the other Weirdos

Wu, Weiner, and all the other Weirdos. . .

What were these wackos thinking? . . .I'm sure that is the question a lot of people in this country are wondering.

People in high places have engaged in outrageous personal misconduct, polluting the air waves with filthy communiques and consortia, meddling with staff members, hurting family members.

In all honesty, however, anyone rich or poor, famous or obscure, is susceptible to the same perverse fallout that these and other high profile people have succumbed to.

Everyone of us wants to be successful. We want to have influence. We want to make big decisions and move influential people.

Yet when anyone steps into the role of king, kingmaker, or kingpin, human beings quickly realize that they have taken on something beyond their scope to manage.

We cannot predict in advance how others will react to our decisions. This burden stirs up great anxiety in our minds. Sometimes, we do not have the faintest ideas as to what we should do, yet we either push ourselves or we face pressure from those we serve to do something.

The stress literally impinges on the human soul.

Couple the growing strain on our time, ability, and resources, the high profile positions and pay cannot satisfy the deeper needs that every human spirit struggles with. All the perks, all the name-dropping, all the connections do not begin to compensate for all the demands forced on us.

Pushed from one side by increasing demands and on the other side by decreasing return in our onerous commitments to the high callings we insisted on taking upon ourselves, it is small wonder that we human beings with eternity in our hearts look for satisfaction elsewhere, or at least a temporary release from the strains and troubles which we have created for ourselves, which we will not relinquish, for fear that we would lose a source of great joy or lose the esteem of those we hoped to impress, including ourselves.

This chronic escalation of trials, strain, and despair most certainly weighed on the two Democratic Congressmen recently slammed in the press for sexual improprieties. The source of their troubles originates in their desire to be big people making decisions, yet once they faced the humbling reality that they took on duties beyond any person's capacity, they insisted on trying while compensating for weakness and weariness in wicked, worldly ways.

Let their misconduct and fall be a lesson to us all. Pride does come before a fall, but it is a climb precipitated by a desire to do good, be great, and have something more than what one had before.

The real question we need to ponder: how does the human soul escape this desperate dilemma of seeking great things for ourselves without being overwhelmed in the process?

Debt Ceiling Dance: Continued

Don't stop the beat, Republicans!

Obama rejected a bipartisan deal to cut spending and raise the ceiling: his folly, his loss.

Do not let the moody stock markets and credit rating gurus scare you. The debt and interest will devour this country in a matter of time, no matter what happens to the interest rates. Citizens in this country must borrow less, spend less, save more, do more with less. Any correction by the market which advances these outcomes should be welcomed.

Whatever it takes, Boehner and company, demand at all costs that the United States Government cut spending.

Tax hikes notwithstanding, this government has a major spending problem which cannot be supported. Close loopholes to induce some Democrats into this process if necessary, but cut the spending spree!

No more bailouts. No more half-measures. No more compromises.

We cannot kick this can down the road any longer, it is so flat with the beating and constant hammering and neglect.

If this government keeps skirting the issues, there won't be a can or road to kick it down!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amy Winehouse Dead: A Reflection

"They tried to make me go to rehab, but I said, No, NO, NO!!!"

Good advice always ends up becoming bad advice.

No one can be told what to do. If people choose to live dissolute and empty lives, there is nothing that other people can do to stop them.

Winehouse epitomizes, once again, the futility of fame in a rapidly self-involved world. She made great music, she won some awards, yet she could not stand to be with herself.

One occasion, she could not accept the award for one record because her visa had been revoked. Her obstreperous behavior posed enough of a nuisance to the U.S. Government, that she was forced to perform on a sound stage in London for a music awards ceremony in the United States. A dubious distinction, to say the least.

In Winehouse's case, how many times will a person have to check in before they check out?

Still, if her music makes someone happy, there is some consolation. Yet would it not be better to excel at being who you are, regardless of how much fame you accumulate in the end?

Winehouse's death poses a critical question: is fame, finances, and frolic worth your life?

In one week, will anyone care that she's dead? Such is the fast life, such is fame, such is the fate of the one who needed rehab but said "No, NO, NO!!!"

Response to Response #3 "Deficit begins with loopholes" Press-Telegram

"Arthur, there we were, in semi-complete agreement on almost all of your thoughts... right up until you took a swipe at folks on Social Security and our veterans.

Ya see, of all the cuts you mentioned, those two particular groups aren't "entitlement" constituents, they've earned the little bit our government pays them. The retirees have faithfully paid into the SS system for their entire working lives... and the vets, well, they've paid with their blood and sacrifice. Neither group, in my humble opinion, is "on the dole"." -- Waldo Dennison

Since when is it a good idea for the government to take you money now and pay it back to you in stratified payments over time in your golden years? Don't you think that you can save, invest, and spend your own money better than someone else?

Would it not have been better if you had received your full, well-deserved pay in the first place? What was the government' angle in taking care of your money for you? They obviously have not, since the Social Security Fund is going broke!

As for the plight of our veterans, they would have been much better served if they received a lump sum and access to private health care, where they could have taken better care of themselves and relied on better medical care. By depending on the government, even if the government "owes" you the service, a citizen is still at a disadvantage. The government can not do well enough by our veterans, in my opinion. They would be far better off making choices for themselves with resources presented to them at once by the U.S. Government. Perhaps giving them greater tax breaks than they already receive, for example, or a complete exemption.

Response to Response #1 of "Deficit begins with loopholes" Press-Telegram

"Arthur, you almost got it right, but you obviously never served in the military. If you had you would not be taking anything away from our veterans who for many years have prevented you from speaking German, Japanese, Korean, Farsi and any other foreign language and country with whom we have been to war with. When you have walked a few miles in our shoes I can only ask you to measure your words more carefully in so far as the veterans are concerned." -- Ike Oshana

First of all, if you wanted to make a quick buck or ensure long-term care for yourself, there are better ways to do than joining the military.

Second, does the state even provide adequate compensation and care for our veterans? There were scandalous reports out of Walter Reed Medical Center, where veterans were treated in the shabbiest of conditions, where colonoscopy apparatus were reused without cleaning on unknowing patients. Can we really say that our veterans are getting the care they deserve from our current Government Veteran's Administration?

What' worse, can we really say that we have done well by our veterans, only to see many of them struggling to get by on the street. They fought for this country, yet have they been trained to fight for themselves in the domestic coldness that defines daily life?

Third, much of the fighting that our veterans have engaged in: has it really been about preventing us from being overrun by military marauders across the world?

Our interventions in Vietnam, Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq II (2003)--have those armed excursions kept this country any safer? Can we really say that the men and women who fought for in those countries. . . fought for the well-being of this country?

As far as I can tell, with the escalation of the War on Terror, fewer people enjoy any privacy, it is harder to get on airplane, it is harder to travel period. If people speak out against the aggressive growth of the military-industrial complex, they are loudly condemned as anti-American pinkos are complicit with the terrorists themselves!

The first President of the United States made a concerted point that this nation would stay out of foreign entanglements. The third person slashed the military budget of this country, yet was not reticent about sending a navy flotilla to wipe out the Barbary Pirates in Tripoli.

Response to " Adults who do not Speak to a Parent"

Mr. Prager's religious commentaries are becoming more off-base and irrelevant with every issue.

For example, he writes:

"I became aware of something that, as a parent, I view as a nightmare: children who voluntary disappear from a parent's life."

The phrase turns on two realities: his perception and his alarm, both of which are unfounded.

I believe that the Torah teaches:

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2:24)

It is normal and understandable for children to reach a point in their lives when they leave home. If they want to be gone once and for all, that is their choice.

When the Lord commanded through Moses "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee," (Ex. 20:12), the understanding is that we would recognize that we did not make ourselves. We are not obligated, however, to undo our lives to incorporate abusive or distant parents. Sometimes, the best way to honor one's parents is to stay away.

Moreover, parents have to be more than parents. Their lives simply cannot revolve around their kids (or grandkids), who will (and should) grow up and move on with their lives.

Besides, the alarming number of adult children who still live at home and depend on Mommy and Daddy--that is the greater nightmare.

"Government is the Problem!" is Part of the Problem

Let's not content ourselves anymore with the smug cliché "Government is the problem. . "

We need government to lead us out of the long-term problems which weigh on this country. Despising the means to enact change is simply unacceptable.

Railing against too much government has been the status quo, de facto position of every president in modern times, yet they still continued to spend like drunken sailors growing money on trees and slaughtering golden geese as if another gaggle will be gotten in the (never to come) future.

Ultimately entrenched, concerted inaction is what we need. What if Senators, Congressmen, and Executives across the country did not do anything? What if they ceased their empty deliberations, the chronic sucking up of air time with back-and-forth debates that are just plain posturing to the American public that they want to do something, when in fact their is no incentive for them to do anything, lest they get handed the bill for any failure, and ultimately lose their seats of power.

We need people in government who will not do so much. Or we need more legislators who will frustrate government from doing anything.

As George F. Will commented, "We have more to fear from government haste than government tardiness."

Friday, July 22, 2011

What would Reagan do? How about "What are we going to do?"

We know that President Reagan pushed a 10% tax cut across the board.

We know that President Reagan wanted to stop inflation.

We also know that he increased military spending considerably in his ongoing fight to bring down the Soviet.

We also know that entitlement reform as we know it is nothing like entitlement reform as we need it, and Ronald Reagan failed to deliver in either respect.

It is a crime, certainly, for one segment of the population to their own detriment to support the wealthier denizens of the state for their own benefit. It's about time that we went beyond cutting taxes. We must make sure that every company, every corporation, every welfare recipient begins earning and paying in their fair share.

We the people must stop the spending on all levels. We must stop sending out troops and our treasure to foreign lands where the indigenous populations refuse to be ruled, let alone rule themselves. We cannot be the never-ending hand-out to the outlandish here and abroad who refuse to take care of themselves.

Reagan was right to cut taxe rates across the board. He was wrong, however, to spend money that this country did not have. He could have tackled entitlement encroachment early in his administration, yet he let it go to deal with the equally pressing problem of the Soviet menace, still collapsing in its final death throes.

Today, let's stop asking "What would Reagan do?" because what he did then is not enough for us now. We need to cut, cap, and balance for the long haul. We need to stop talking about slowing the growth of government. We need to stop growing government in the first place.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Don't Care about National Security

The Armed Forces is an agent of security, not experimentation.

The Armed is a conservative institution for a reason. The armed forces has been instituted to conserve our liberties, to conserve our borders, to conserve our way of life.

In no way should it have been the political battleground for debating equal rights, or extending civil rights.

Yet this argument mires under a faulty premise: homosexuality is not a civil right, not an innate characteristic, nor should it be accorded special treatment.

Besides, the armed forces does not accommodate every type of person for every situation, anyway. Handicapped individuals, for example, simply would not be fit combatants in the line of duty. Individuals suffering from cerebral palsy or autism should not possess a firearm or walk into the line of fire, where they would inevitably put themselves and their comrades at arms in harm's way.

Forcing open armed forces recruitment centers to individuals who openly practice homosexual conduct undermines morale, creates tension which has not place in the military, and distracts the focus of the armed forces from its true calling: Protecting this nation.

Cut the Crap: Cut, Cap, and Balance

The Republicans in the House of Representatives are stepping out.

They have provided solutions to the ongoing budgetary problems which have for too long plagued this nation.

We need to cut spending, cap available funds to a percentage of GDP, and introduce means for balancing the budget for every fiscal year.

The Republicans have made a move. We have yet to the Democrats propose something meaningful.

A carte blanche raise in the debt ceiling is not acceptable, Mr. President. Congress will not tolerate it. The American people will not accept it.

You were elected to lead. You are expected to provide something concrete for this country to work with. Enough blaming. Enough with the empty rhetoric about everyone "acting like adults." You need to act like a leader, get everyone on both sides into the room and come up with a plan that will cut spending, cap outgoing revenues which do not even exist, and balance the budget over the long-haul, long after you and all the politicians have left Washington, which in your case may be sooner than you think.

Response to Daily Breeze poll: How should California award its electoral votes?

With the decline of comity (at least in name only) in the halls of Washington, it is a welcome topic for the Daily Breeze to revisit: how should California award its electoral votes?

A few years ago, there were discussions of having the electoral votes of this state automatically transferred to the Presidential candidate who won the majority popular vote across the country. Such an extreme measure would have robbed the votes in this state from their civil efficacy as citizens. One state, one vote, for each state.

The Daily Breeze Considered two other options:

Let's consider a third: The Congressional District Method. If California opted for this system, the majority winner in each Congressional District would win one electoral vote for than district. The candidate who wins the majority of the popular vote state-wide wins the two electoral votes representing the two Senators accorded to each state.

This option has the following advantages:

1) Every electoral vote in the state would be in play. Each voter in the state would be better represented. Republican voters in the Central and Eastern parts of the could contribute toward awarding their preferred candidate some electoral votes in the general election.

2) Political candidates of both parties would be more inclined to campaign in California, which up to now has been all but guaranteed to the Democratic candidate for the last twenty years. This has discouraged Republicans and Independents, and has hardly galvanized Democrats.

3) Voter turnout during general elections would increase, since more voters would feel that their vote actually counted.

4) In the event that there has to be a recount, tallying could focus on specific Congressional districts in dispute as opposed to a burdensome canvassing of the entire state.

It's unfortunate that the Daily Breeze did not submit the Congressional District Method as an option for apportioning California's electoral votes in the Presidential General Elections.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Response to Janice Hahn's Election to the CA-36th

Janice Hahn won 55% of the vote in the CA-36th, yet she did not harvest a majority vote from many of the municipalities in the South Bay. Will she indeed represent the needs of the entire District, or just butter up the same state-dependent sycophants whom she played to as Councilwoman?

Let's consider her "record" as LA City Councilwoman:

She sat by while the city of Los Angeles jacked up parking rates 400% in San Pedro, then tried to reverse the fee raise in the heat of her (second) campaign for Congress. San Pedro, a core element of her constituency, is still struggling through the current anemic economic recovery.

Los Angeles is hemorrhaging millions in pension obligations and generous health care benefits to city workers, many of whom have been laid off in the midst of the economic downturn which has hit this country. There is little record that she actually did anything about it. Multiply by thousands the fallout of public handouts, and you have a pretty ugly picture of what the entire nation is dealing with.

"Local government teaches you about solving people's problems," Hahn crowed while presenting her plans for her brief tenure as Congressional representative. Sadly, the Congresswoman-elect has not offered any specifics on how to resolve these problems in the long-term. There is scant evidence that throughout her lackluster political career she has done anything to assist any constituent except one: herself.

Hopefully, the voters next March will take reconsider the damage this interim Congresswoman will inflict on this nation and elect a fiscal conservative who will challenge the economic calamities which the Obama Presidential administration is forcing upon us. We need a representative who will command the respect of the entire CA-36th, not just the far-gone liberals in the margins of Los Angeles obsessed with social non-issues while ignoring the fiscal problems of this district and the entire country.

Mother Teresa: Works-Righteousness that Worked No Righteousness

Mother Teresa has been regarded by many, from the denizens of the Catholic Church to the most remote of believers to the most active of humanitarian-atheists as one of the finest examples of charitable humanity that has every graced the face of the Earth.
If it were only that simple, that supported, or even true.

Despite her immense efforts to cater to the needs of the most outcast of people in the most despised and defiled slums of India, she poured out in her journals about a chronic remorse which dogged her every day. What was this chronic pain which she kept silent from the world? What could have caused it? Are there any circumstances or choices in the eventful life of the Saint from Calcutta which would suggest why she was so miserable in spite of the fame and fortune which she harvested for herself and her causes?

Suffice to say that she did a lot for the world, did her work bring her any closer the Kingdom of God?

Personal and private writings expose that frequently she opined in her private correspondence a state of despondent separation that vexed her soul. She felt spiritually dry, isolated from God, unable to hear His voice or discern his spirit.

Yet work she continued to do. Charity she continued to invest in. For fifty years until her death, she referred off and on to the desolate emptiness that gripped her soul.

Perhaps her activities were not as high and mighty, saintly and holy as originally assumed. . .

Some reports indicate that her order of nuns practically venerated her as a god. They prayed to her, revered her with utmost authority, a scandalous set-up which would hinder any evangelist outreach.

Of course, was Mother Teresa's goal the broadening of the Kingdom of Heaven, or just the extension of her own ministry?

According to other reports, she received financial contributions from ruthless dictators like Baby Doc Duvalier, murderers who presided over the massive famine and deaths of their own people, yet congratulated themselves on doling out cash to a small-time operation in other parts of the Third World.

She gave people food, but did she give them the Bread of Life, He who came down from heaven to nourish hunger souls who has spent their labor on that which could never satisfy?

For a woman who did so much, was any of it spiritual activity? Despite the expansion of her influence, apparently she was mostly invested in promoting herself, her outreach, her work, not the Kingdom of Heaven.

Small wonder that Mother Teresa felt so alone, tired, and empty in spite of all the toil that she put herself and her staff through.

We are not called to do, but to be. We are not called to earn our salvation, but to receive this most precious of gifts from the One who died for us. To this day, believers (true or nominal) still insist themselves into work, work, work, as if they can do anything for God, the One who has made everything, done everything, and wants to give everything: "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32) It cannot be emphasized enough. . . every person who seeks Jesus must accept that he has nothing. We can only bring our lost state, our poverty to the Cross, where He blessed us with His Forgiveness, His faith, and His redeeming power, all through His Holy Spirit. Without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).

Mother Teresa is the quintessential example of Works-Righteousness, which is an offense to God the Father (Is. 64:6). Like many adherents to religion (yet not to Christ himself), people still think that they can (or at least that they have to) work their way into God' good graces. This is nothing more than the debasement of the perfect righteousness demanded by the law and despising the precious blood of Jesus Christ, whose death is the only propitiation for our sins.

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Rom. 8:3-4)

It is Satanic deception and arrogant folly that anyone can work their way into the perfection demanded by God's immutable law.

Based on the hectic efforts of the worker from Calcutta in contrast to the private torture that she attempted to cope with, Mother Teresa obviously confronted the inescapable reality that we cannot earn, nor deserve by our own merit, the peaceable and peaceful Love which accords every believer salvation and sanctification.

Rather than being a saint, Mother Teresa was another scrap of sorry humanity, a dreg who placed her own power, position, and prominence ahead of the saving work of Jesus Christ. Rather than being canonized, she should be demonized as one more self-deceived presumptuous Pharisee.

These scriptures underscore the predicament of placing our works ahead of the Finished Work of Jesus Christ:

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matt. 16:26)

Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. (Luke 10:20)

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. (Luke 17:10) The significance of this verse matters in that we do nothing apart from the power and permission of God Himself. We cannot take upon ourselves the glory or congratulations for anything that we accomplish for the Kingdom of Heaven.

For Jesus Himself exhorted his disciples shortly before His death:
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (Johnn 15:5)

Mother Teresa did not abide in Jesus; hence, she could not claim to sense His life-giving, loving, enriching presence in her life. Sadly, she has been numbered with the sadly (and damned) deceived:

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matt. 7:22-23)

A harsh judgment on a woman so widely renowned? Hardly!

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. (1 Cor. 13:3)


But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Heb. 11:6)

Mother Teresa never promoted the Person and Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. She did not seek Him from whom all blessings flow. Thus was she in no wise rewarded by the one necessary longing of the human soul.

It is not small matter that Jesus instructed His followers as the one necessary thing:

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:42) What is that needful thing that Jesus speaks of? Resting at His feet, receiving life and truth from Him, which in turn empowers to minister to a dying world. In context, Jesus is gently admonishing the busy sister Martha to follow Mary's example.

Would that Mother Teresa had done the same thing. The sad fate of the servant of Calcutta should guide those who strive to be servants of Christ instead of being served by Christ, who in turn works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13)

George Washington: The First, one of the Least, and one of the Best

George Washington, Leading Commander of the American Colonial Forces, did not want to be President. Yet he was universally regarded by both Congress and countrymen as the most fitting leader for the fledgling Republic.

In fact, when the Framers of the Constitution drafted the Article delineating the role of the Chief Executive in the New Federal Government, everyone tacitly agreed that the first one to fill the role would be General Washington, who at the time was serving as the President of the Constitutional Convention.

He did not want the job, pure and simple. Like any citizen soldier, he wanted to serve his country, then retire to his estate and live out the rest of his days in quiet contemplation and domestic tranquility. Despite his innate resistance to the call, Washington accepted the election and became the United States' first President.

He was the perfect man for the job. His reluctance to take on the immense leadership was not only well-founded, but expedient for the young nation. As an unwilling executive, he did little, expected little, and allowed little beyond what the Constitution would allow.

A consitutional President, he limited his role as chief executive. His limited role was aided in part by the lack of disernible political parties (despite the schism in domestic policy which emerged in his cabinet between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton).

What this aging Republic needs now more than ever is a Chief Executive who lacks the outrageous ambition which has exploded the role and influence of the Presidency at the expense of Congress. This proposition is all the more challenging because the current political process has evolved to the point where anyone who wished to President must promote himself extensively. In order to garner the popular vote, he must pitch popular positions in monosyllabic sound bites, all of which put pressure on the elected winner to expand his role in Washington.

Despite the enormous hindrances which either discourage the adherents of limited government or force presidential hopefuls to compromise worth constitutional principles, the reckless spending of the past thirty years plus the growing dissatisfaction of the people with a large dysfunctional government may induce candidates to persuade voters to the need for a more restrained president, less compromised Congress, and more limited government.

In other words, a man with the reluctant spirit to lead, like George Washington, may emerge once again on the scene, content to be one of the least of Presidents, and in turn be one of the Greatest.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Civil Disobedience: The New Way to Balance the Budget

Stop paying!

Stop paying into the Ponzi Scheme with the United States Seal.

If they don't know how to spend the money, don't let them have any.

Etienne de La Boetie, a Renaissance-era French noble, considered this radically passive (or passively radical) option.

What if everyone simply did not pay their taxes. Can the Internal Revenue of the United States indict every person in the country for not paying their taxes?

The national government would continue to spend by its own means, but at least they would not have the heinous privilege of wasting our money, i.e. throwing good, hard-earned money after bad.

Salvador Allende Killed Himself . . So what was the Point?

The autopsy report has been released by British coroner David Prayer:

Salvador Allende killed himself by firing a shotgun into his chin while Pinochet's forces were storming Chile's Presidential mansion in a military coup.

That was the accepted story then; it has been confirmed.

Yet what was the purpose of the exhumation and re-autopsy? Historical Revisionists will stop at nothing to discredit the Pinochet regime which harassed and tortured a number of political prisoners. Past question, those actions of the state were reprehensible.

Yet the economic boon that followed Pinochet's investment in free market reforms simply cannot be denied, no matter how brutal his authoritarian regime. Let us not forget that he allowed a plebiscite to remove him from power after his fifteen-year rule, a political move which no Communist has ever permitted.

No matter what steps socialist sympathizers take to further discredit the Pinochet regime, the free market maneuvers which resurrected a moribund nation then and still thrive today would never have been put in place by the Communist puppet Salvador Allende.

On "Acting Like Adults" Part V

What should we do, then, when we are pressed by the powers that be, by our colleagues, or even our kids to start "acting like adults".

Press them to define "adult".

Much of the time, they will either be flummoxed to provide a positive answer. If they sputter nothing but negatives, tell them to stop evading the question. If they say that an adult acts like so-and-so, press them to explain what qualities exhibited by that person add up to "adulthood."

Responsibility is not enough. Children have to take on responsibilities at home, just as older people have jobs and families to attend to.

If it has to do with knowledge, simply acknowledge that there are many smart people who cannot take care of themselves, who make no effort to care for the needs of others, or who refuse to make sense of their place in the world/

In all likelihood, most people throw out the charge of "act like an adult" to shame the freedom in which an older person chooses to demonstrate in their lives, regardless of the scolding or shame that he or she may face. In other cases, most people so despite not receiving immediate agreement or validation that they slam the purposed obstinacy of others as "childish".

Yet we should not allow the petty frustrations of others dissuade us from doing what is right.

On "Acting Like Adults" Part IV

"Acting Like an Adult" does not necessarily preclude one from behaving like a child, either. Sometimes, an adult must act like a child in order to accomplish what needs to be done.

Older people have every right to be children at heart, enjoying their time on this earth as they please, laughing at silly stories, playing jokes, and looking forward to better days, even if their passing is near.

Not always playing by the rules and taking risks: would that more adults in high places were willing to break past these limits. Much more would be accomplished. Instead or chronic stone-walling, with either side of a conflict merely waiting for the other to fail, both side would offer solutions without vapid reserve.

Acting like an adult sometimes entails acting like a child. Taking direction, admitting that one does not know something. Refusing to cooperate, in some cases, may be perceived as childish, yet in fact demonstrates a determined willingness to be an independent adult,refusing to bow to public pressure or accepted opinion.

On "Acting Like Adults" Part III

Instead of lecturing others to act "like adults", why don't we stress the need for maturity? Adulthood does not by its own beget maturity. In Ancient Rome, the Paterfamilias did not declare his son to be a man until he demonstrated by his conduct that he was willing to take care of himself and behave like a free man in civilized society. A male could have been fifteen, twenty, or even thirty years old before his father would accord him the dignity of being a man.

Mature behavior comes in all shapes and sizes, regardless of the age of the person who steps up to the standard.

Mature people know that they do not have to force circumstances around them to get what they need. They do not have to lie, cheat, steal, manipulate to make things work out.

Mature people accept that they cannot have everything they want it . . .at least right away.

On "Acting Like Adults" Part II

Acting like an adult is not the same as being an adult.

Playing the part is still childish, no matter how serious one claims to be.

Caring about others may be more dysfunctional than watching out for one's own.

Doing what you want may serve others more than trying to be useful in a way that others may appreciate.

Instead of people wasting their time and energy trying to guess and second-guess what other people want, we would all be better served by adults acting like "children" in that they look out for their own interests first, without violating the rights of others to care for their own.

On "Acting Like Adults"

One of the favorite taunts in on-going, tense negotiations is to lambaste the opposition as childish, or not "acting like adults".

When did people get the idea that "acting like adults" in itself guaranteed successful and mature action?

In some contexts, "adult" suggests perversion, or material not fit for general consumption. If that is not the case, then what are we talking about?

I assume that "acting like adults" means taking responsibility for one's actions. It involves taking chances when a major decision has to be made. It means that people will respect the needs of the other party in negotiating a difficult compromise.

Yet the taunt "we need to start acting like adults" is in itself misinformed, blameworthy, and snide.

Let's not ignore the trite yet necessary fact that most "adults" do not act like "adults."

Let's also consider that there are some characteristics of children worthy imitating to some degree. Children are willing to be lead as well as to lead, when it becomes necessary. When they do not feel threatened, they are not afraid to share what they have. They can trust others. Adults in difficult times need to be willing to do these things.

Adults do not wait for other people to act like adults, I guess. They do not talk about it, or taunt others for failing to do so.

Paris Hilton: "Has-Been" Then and Now

Paris Hilton is, or rather WAS, a celebrity just for being a celebrity.

She was famous just for being famous because she just happened to be in the news a lot. She was known for being about town, doing silly things, or buying lots of stuff.

Her apparently popularity has more to do with the inept emptiness of the media rather than any merit she possessed as a style, starlet, or even a start-up.

She was a has-been to begin with because she was a commodity, pure and simple. Since she was a fad, she would soon die away, as all fads do. Her predicament was compounded by the fact that she knew she was a fad and marketed herself exclusively on that.

Paris Hilton, we hardly knew you, nor did we care much, since we know that you were only famous for being known, and people get tired of knowing the stuff that they have already known for a long time.

Entertainment is funny like. Information is old as soon as it is released. Paris Hilton was famous for being a piece of information. Is there any surprise that she is a "has-been"?

The Governemnt is Just BIG, too BIG

The United States Constitution is short, for a reason.

The Framers did not want a government that would be all things for all people.

Who in their right mind would assume that it was government's job to provide for us?

Government is in place to:

1) Protect our rights

2) Protect our borders.

Government is not necessarily a necessary evil. When it grows beyond its acceptable boundaries, then it becomes evil.

Government is not the problem; the people's outrageous and protean definition of what government should do . . .therein lies the problem.

Governments are instituted among men "to protect our rights." Those rights are enumerated very concisely in the Declaration of Independence: "Life, liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

Read, it is not government's job to provide anyone happiness per se. Rather, to provide the means for every person to seek it as they see fit.

Government which runs up huge debt to pay off obligations which it was neither obliged not entitled to provide. . .that is not what government is for.

Let us consider the fate of the miller, his son, and the ass they were taking to town to sell. Every passer-by kept telling them how to carry their animal to their destination. Some said to ride the ass, some said to walk next to. Some said to let it run, and finally one townsman told them to tie the horse to a pole a carry the ass the rest of the way. With all the prodding and changing, the ass got so agitated that it struggled with the miller and his son, pushing them away, and falling into a nearby river, where it drowned.

The moral of this fable is the same for unmitigated government growth:

"If you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one."

Government that tries to serve every need will not serve the people's needs.

My Turn to the Daily Breeze: Hawthorne and Lawndale

I was a long-term substitute teacher for Centinela Valley Union High School District during the 2010-2011 school year. In spite of the "tectonic shifts" that have apparently disrupted the educational status quo at Lawndale and Hawthorne, not enough has changed. I ought to know. Attempting to be part of the solution, I ended up being one more cog in a dysfunctional wheel seemingly designed to grind students and staff.

My first day teaching in the district, the class broke out in rude, disruptive behavior. When I called security, three officers, two assistant principals, (and later one dean) showed up. Students continued yelling, even at the dean!

One of the administrators asked me if I wanted to go home. What kind of a message does that send? I thought to myself. Why let the students prevail when they raise hell? I look back and ask, "Why not send the most troubling elements home, reprimand the rest, and send a clear message that teacher abuse will not be tolerated?

That should have been enough to force me out. Yet in my pride, in my design to try and make this thing work, I stayed on.

The next day, I was transferred to a US History class whose first teacher quit after one week, only to be replaced by one of the coaches for a day or two. For the next six weeks, I endured one of the worst experiences I have ever endured as an educator.

Repeatedly I was questioned by the students, "Are you our new teacher or not?" The administration was trying to fill the empty positions, and they told me I had a small chance at getting the job.

For the next six weeks, I dealt with disruptive students who would not do their homework. Some threw things at me; others repeatedly mocked me; many times the lesson was interrupted.

One student had a terrible reputation of cursing at other staff members on campus, including myself, as well as bothering other students -- nothing was done about it. I was forced to send certain students out of class every day, yet nothing was done about that, either. I called parents, some of whom resorted to blaming me, telling me that I had to get control of the classroom. Where were they when their children were growing up?

Students arrived routinely late, sometimes by thirty minutes. Most teachers allowed it, apparently; students complained repeatedly because I did not.

After nearly two weeks, aside from the hopeful support from a handful of students, most of the kids began to snidely ask: "Have you been fired yet? Did you get fired yet?" It is very difficult to be motivated and to motivate students who are more interested in messing with a teacher than commanding any self-respect and doing something rigorous.

Why did I hang on for six weeks? I had fallen for the fallacy that has deceived many teachers: if the student does not learn, it is the teacher's fault. So I screwed up my courage and kept trying to make it work, mostly out of fear for the future and pride that maybe I could take on five classes with a confirmed majority of unruly students.

It was terrible. I just could not muster the faith or the courage, tried as I could, to make the whole thing ultimately pan out. It takes a village to raise a child: I cannot be the parent, nutritionist, social worker, probation officer, psychiatrist, psychologist, punching bag, and martyr for every troubled young person.

To say the least, I did not get the assignment, and for my part, I am glad. I was fired, yes, you could certainly say that.

It was a terrible six weeks, one that revealed to me why public education is in the toilet, especially at Centinela Valley Union High School District.

Honestly, there were some bright moments, some students who liked me, liked what I was trying to do. When I returned to Hawthorne later that year to cover classes day to day, some of my former students said that they missed me. They told me that the teacher who replaced me was boring. Yet I wonder: did they actually learn anything from me, or did they like me because I was easy prey?

What did I learn from that awful experience? Do not minimize failure or abuse in your life. If you do not like what is happening in your workplace, do something about it or get out. At Hawthorne High School, a change of attitude simply was not enough.

If your have to strive without any real success at something, then that is something that you should not be trying to do, and there is no shame in admitting that. When I accepted that teaching just is not my bag, I could look back on what I endured, and say, "I made out like a bandit, compared to those kids. . ."

I also learned to trust my intuition, to stand up for myself, since for so long I used to question myself.

Earlier this school year, I ran into some of the students whom I had taught for those six weeks. I was no longer the fearful teacher who would grudgingly take abuse. When one of the students began joking about the abusive and disruptive behavior that I had permitted during the previous year. . .

"Poor Mr. Schaper," he started. "We got you fired."

 I cut him off right away: "You will not talk to me like that! You treated me poorly in the past, and you have no right to bring up my shame! It was wrong what you did."

After about a two-minute tired, the student sank in his seat, trying to disappear. He said nothing for the next ten minutes.

I had also learned to forgive myself and them; but I was not about to let one person prevent me from moving on.

That young man had enough dignity to cover his mouth in shame. He then quietly asked me, "Do you want me to leave?"

I answered, "Do you need to?"

Right then I demonstrated a powerful principle in assertiveness and self-respect: Respect is NOT something you earn, nor demand -- it is something that you command, that you demonstrate, that you draw out of yourself, regardless of how people treat you.

Now, I can look the world in the eye, not afraid to go with my internal flow, to speak (not scream) my point of view.

I do not regret the past of Hawthorne High School, nor do I wish to close the door on it. Yet I would not repeat it for all the money in the world.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Teacher's Unions Are Part of the Disunion in Education

Teacher's unions are under a lot of attack these days.

Is there any reason why they should not be?

They claim to support teachers, mind the best interests of students, and advocate for the needs of the communities they serve. Yet the facts suggest otherwise.

Unions support unions, plain and simple. They claim to ensure that their members have just enough so that they keep paying their dues, when the unions do not have to ask teachers in a school district to join. In fact, they automatically collect their dues right out of the paychecks, whether the teacher wishes to join or not! They even spend the dues on politicians and political causes without the input, let alone approval, of the teachers from whom they stole the money to begin with!

In addition to their outright rapacity, unions do not protect the most vulnerable group of instructors, the new teachers, because the senior-protection clauses in the contract require those "last-hired" to be the "first-fired." When new teachers are inevitably mired in political difficulties with parents or administrators, the union rep on site merely shrugs, saying: "You can be fired for any reason, and there's is nothing we can do about it because that is what is in the contract," which the union had negotiated in the first place.

When a teacher does get tenure (i.e. unmerited job protection), he or she may engage in the most unseemly conduct, whether abusing a student or playing karaoke all day instead of actually teaching, the union will stand 100% by that miscreant because he or she has tenure. Mediocrity sets in really quickly when an employee has guaranteed employment after two years on the site, a devastating outcome for students and dedicated colleagues who do not need tenure in the first place.

Beyond this, unions negotiate exorbitant pension packages and health benefits for their members, which drains the coffers of the state and local communities. There is little surprise that this long-silent constituency is speaking out against having little say in how well their tax dollars are spent, or even whether they are getting their money's worth!

Teacher's unions are a major part of the problem when it comes to resolving the many problems which plague public education, including the need for reforms and accountability for administrators as well as teachers. Fraudulent, deceptive, selfish, and greedy, teacher's unions do nothing for the teachers, they harm students, and they fail the communities which they are supposed to serve.

Response to Fred Fasen: Time for sanity in government

In "Time for sanity in government" (Letter to the Editor July 16,2011) Fred Fasen debates the merits and responsibilities of the United States Government in putting this nation's fiscal house in order.

First, I would submit that there is no support for Fasen's suggestion to raise tax rates on the wealthy will increase revenues. No matter how high this country raises the tax rates on the wealthy, they can find ways around the taxes, whether in shelters, trusts, or charities.

Moreover, Fasen accuses the Republicans of spinning a Ponzi scheme at the expense of the American people. However, we cannot ignore that the Democrats (admittedly, with the help of weak-willed Republicans) have initiated one inept, corrupt Ponzi scheme after another on the American People, from Social Security and Medicare to the needless and wasteful Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act, i.e. Obamacare.

It is respectable that Fasen stresses the need for shared sacrifice in restoring the United States to fiscal solvency. On the other hand he should practice what he preaches, not pointing "the finger of blame" at either party of Washington. Both need to share the responsibility of making the United States a fiscally sound nation again.

Raise the Debt Ceiling? Raise the Roof!

Let's cut the crap about the Debt Ceiling, the national debt, and annual budget deficits.

Whether or not the United States raises the debt ceiling for more unbacked, unfunded spending, this country must start saving more than it spends, period.

As Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahmoa) mention in a recent news conference, to do nothing is a tax increase.

Fine, if the Democrats want revenue increases, so be it. Let them close the loopholes which protect certain companies. A free market economy may not play favorites with certain industries, no matter how crucial the commodity.

Stop corporate and elite welfare. Cut off all subsidies to farmers, which do not help small land-holders one bit. Right there Congress would slash billions from the federal budget without harming a core constituency.

Yet looking beyond the necessary cuts which need to be made, what will happen if the United States, heaven forbid, fails to raise the dreaded Debt Ceiling?

Interest rates will go up. They should. Easy credit creating speculative bubbles--that is what created the Great Recession in the first place.

Welfare recipients, social security beneficiaries, and veterans will not receive their handouts. That would actually be a good things. Since when have we developed the fuzzy notion that it is a good thing to live off the governtment's dole? You work, you get paid. You should not get paid for not working, no matter what profession calling you took up before your declining years.

Instead of merely raising the Debt Ceiling, let's raise the Roof on the political back-and-forth which will never yield a neat solution to the real budget crisis afflicting this nationm: an unconscionable inflow-outgo spending problem.

Restoration for the Abused through the Most Abused

God who became man, Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, put aside his glory to suffer the pain and temptation that travails human kind--God not only became like one of us, he knows first hand the shock, disorder, and suffering that we face every day.

For the sin of the race, for abuser abused, and those who ignored it entirely, He endured the greatest abuse in recorded history: dying on the Cross, the crudest and cruelest form of torture known to man. While hanging pitifully between heaven and earth, he endured the taunts and jeers of the crowds, despised by religious authorities and abandoned by his followers. Even God the Father turned his back on his own Son, which led Jesus to cry out "My God, My God, Why hast thou forsaken me?"

God himself knows the pain and torture which has wracked victims of abuse. He died on the Cross for every hurt, for every betrayal, for every shame which they have suffered, needlessly and unjustly. The Just for the Unjust, Jesus Christ is the Propitiation for our sins. He more than covers any loss, any sorrow, any wrongdoing done to us.

Because we have been forgiven so much, he grants us the power to forgive others, even those who have violated the most cherished of confidences. Even Jesus endured the greatest betrayal, His own Father rejecting Him, the we may be reconciled to Him here and now and for eternity.

Sex Abuse Victims: By His Stripes You are Healed!

From the Associated Press (7/19/2011): "The incoming Roman Catholic archbishop of Philadelphia has pledged to help sex-abuse victims by working harder than anyone to heal 'the sins of the past.'"

Abuse victims will never receive satisfaction from their abusers, not matter how humble and contrite the offenders become. No more what indemnity an offender pays, no matter how many apologies are offered, those harmed by sexual abuse will never be restored by those who offended them, by those who denied the abuse outright, or by those who deliberately covered it up.

Contrary to the well-meaning yet ill-conceived hope of the incoming archbishop, neither Msgr Charles Chaput nor the Catholic Church can ' heal the sins of the past.'

Only One can restore to those who lost their safety, whose trust was betrayed, whose sense of hope and respect where damaged by those who perverted their authority.

That one is Jesus Christ.

God poured out His righteous wrath upon His Son, that we sinners may all be made the righteousness of God, no longer condemned because of our sin to endure eternal separation from God. As the prophet Isaiah foretold:

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Is. 53:5)

Though people in high places may have harmed us, though institutions may have failed us, though friends and loved ones have betrayed our trust, we can rightly place our confidence in Christ's death and resurrection. By His Great Sacrifice, we are not only forgiven our sin and restored to right standing with God, but we can rest assured that all that was taken from us will be restored to us double!

"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified." (Is 61:3)

And. .

"For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them." (Is 61:7)

Let's not forget the Apostle Paul's joyful promise:

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Rom 8:32)

No human being or institution can heal the pain and shame of the past . . . But Christ through His death and resurrection at the Cross offers redemption and restoration to all who suffer.

Coburn's Plan: Spare no Expense, including the Marines

Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) has proposed a moving budget plan that will make massive cuts to the long-term accounting in this coutnry.

Like a modern-day Moses, Coburn is dedicated to bringing the United States across the Red Sea of Debt to the Promised Land of the Black.

Not fearig the vociferous recriminations of his party, the Fiscal Hawk is willing to cut loop-holes and tax subsidies for corporations. He also demands that veterans pay more into their benefits. Despite the seemingly callous nature of the demand, the grateful service of our armed men and women to this nation will be for nought if we do not take drastic measures to save this nation from financial ruin.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Coburn's Plan: Bold, Sassy, and . . .Doomed (?)

Finally, someone in Washington has the guts to step up to the podium and propose a plan with drastic cuts and necessary revenue increases.

Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) has prepared a long-term budget plan which is determined to appall everyone, yet if passed, will bring this nation back to fiscal sanity. If not, this nation will end up needing a pall-bearer.

His plan will cut $9 trillon from the budget over the long haul, a real swipe at the deficits and nation debt dragging this country to the bottom.

Willing to think big and cut more than the margins, Coburn is desecrating every sacred cow and making every interest group eat some of it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Teen contributor to 'It Gets Better Project' takes his own life

The mainstream media has a pernicious penchant of taking a terrible tragedy and turn the outcome into an empty, limited tirade against proper conduct and society.

Homosexual conduct is not normal, no matter how hard advocacy groups press schools and communities to treat the life style as normal and natural. Even the individuals who have practiced this lifestyle in large numbers flee that conduct.

The high incidence of death, disease, and despair among individuals who practice homosexual conduct exceeds the normal limits of other deviant behaviors in society.

However, the media still paint the pain and rejection of young people experimenting with the lifestyle as though it is the fault of unfeeling intolerance and bullying of parents and classmates which ultimately leads these young people to take their own lives.

What really drives men and women to kill themselves is the notion that they cannot change, that they are defined by feelings which are unusual, unnatural, and unacceptable to the basic tenets of a self-propagating society.  Something within every human being witnesses to the Creator within us, who made us to live happy and holy lives, yet we cannot do this to the extent that we insist on misusing our bodies, giving in to our feelings to establish our worth instead of believing in our God-given worth, to shape our feelings.

In point of fact, the hyper-political LGBT (and now "Q") agenda has misled many to believe that "sexuality" is an innate characteristic, despite the fact that pre-pubescent children do not exude sexual feelings, and some adults choose not to enter sexual relationships throughout their lives.

The confusion of sexuality as identity is the true culprit leading to the deviance and dysfunction among young people. Sex is a choice, right down to the responses one takes in regards to the feelings they possess or struggle with. We are not our feelings, we are fare more than our thoughts. But for those who do not believe in Christ, they are dead in the trespasses, spiritually dead, the part of us that is meant to live, the only part that will be alive from this earth into eternity! People are not born gay or straight. A human is far more than the sum and sumptuousness of his or her parts.

Homosexuality is a temptation,like any other behavior, which anyone can struggle with or release from by grace. No one is trapped in strange sentiments. 

We are not our feelings, pure and simple! We are far more than our sexual leanings or longings. We are more than capable, if willing, to adopt or adapt behaviors in the best interests of our body, mind, and spirit.

Yet no matter what one's conclusion may be on the etiology of homosexual behavior, every human is endowed with natural rights from God, which no one has the right to infringe or impinge upon.

Notwithstanding the vocal political machinations of concerted interest groups, sexual behavior is not one of those rights.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Final Stretch of CA-36th House Race

At last, the race is almost over.

Mudslinging always slips into the fray in the last week, no matter what steps the candidates take to remain above the fracas of name-calling and attack ads.

Janice Hahn purloined an endorsement from Louis Zamperini, South Bay World War II, an endorsement which she did not have permission to use in last-minute fliers. Will the political class stop at nothing to win a vote? Both Celebrated veteran and son have denounced any sanction of the ad.

And now Craig Huey's personal life becomes public fodder, with the last-minute release of an alimony suit over one of his daughters, a large sum which has been a matter of legal wrangling for some time. Suspicious timing, to say that least, that this wrinkle in Huey's personal life should suddenly emerge, not that such information should influence CA-36 residents in their vote--one way or another.

Despite the official recorded 18-point advantage of Democrats to Republicans in the district, the 16% voter turn-out followed by a more anemic run-off turn out, plus the widening number of "decline to state" voters may edge Huey into a slim win over Hahn.

Let's hope that CA-36th residents take advantage of the remaining hours to cast their vote in this watershed election.

Murdoch on the Rocks

News Corps publication "News of the World" faces severe allegations of bribery, phone hacking, and other unethical practices in pursuit of the next bit of juicy gossip. The icky net of this scandal reaches to the mishandled investigation of a murdered girl, the private life of the former Prime Minister, and--as usual--the Royal Family.

Attempting to staunch the damage from the outrageous revelations, Rupert Murdoch has zoomed over the UK to smooth over public relations. He has also abruptly discontinued the shameful gossip rag at the middle of this media scandal, and may be forced to rescind a negotiated corporate stake in another British media organ.

If this nothing else, the power of the press has impressed the world with its power once again. The press turns on its own just as much as it shapes, steers, and manipulates the masses. Those masses, in turn, may well dictate by their pleasure or distaste whether a newspaper, a network, or another media outlet endures.

the Once considered unassailable, Rupert Murdoch, head of a Media Empire of proportions which dwarfs the British Empire of yore, is scrambling to assuage widespread alarm and protest at his encroaching power in worldwide media. Not that a foreigner should be denied significant investment in another country's media markets, but rather that his far-reaching influence would ever immunize him from the irresponsible, if not reprehensible, tactics of his journalist agents.

Murdoch, for all his wealth and reach, may indeed by on the rocks for quite some time.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Debt Ceiling Dance

Congress is moving to an interesting dance craze these days, "The Debt Ceiling Dance":

"You cut $1 billion here

You tax $1 billion there.

You talk a little, balk a little, then angrily storm out.

You do the Debt Ceiling Dance, and you bicker all around.

That's what it's all about."

Unfortunately, while Congress dances, the United States burns billions less than the country takes in daily from taxes and other revenue streams.

Let's get serious about fiscal solvency in this country. By now, both parties should be interested in balanced budgets, lowering the national debt, and shrinking annual deficits which our fiscal well-being.

If both sides of the aisle cannot reach meaningful compromise on reducing the debt and raising the debt ceiling, we all may be singing a more rueful tune:

"Political impasses,

A budget never passes.

Default, Default

We all go broke".

Aid Suspended to Pakistan

The United States has suspended a multi-million dollar aid package to Pakistan.

Two ways to evaluate this dramatic (or drastic) shift in policy:

1) Too little too late.

2) Better late than never.

1) The Pakistani government t has thrived on illicit and undeserved handouts form the U.S. Government for years. A nation imbued to taking money from foreign governments to make ends meet, the Muslim nation still struggles with immense natural disasters, political intrigues, and terrorist cells. Military might has done little to establish any order in the region, only emboldening our enemies. This country had to divert its own forces to take down Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden.

2) Finally, the United States is tightening its fiscal belt. Dealing with extravagant and unnecessary outlays like foreign aid to undeserving states is a great way for the United States to excise the excess which is rapidly draining this nation's already empty coffers. Let's not stop with Pakistan though. Following Ron Paul's suggest, let's end foreign to all countries, including allies, third-world states, and potential terrorist adversaries.

No matter which take one takes on responding the suspension of massive aid to Pakistan, it is a step in the right direction toward fiscal discretion in this country.

Space Program has Been Lifted

The United States is discontinuing the NASA space shuttle program. Ending lift off was never a more timely investment.

The United States wasted time and money outdoing enemy nations with space exploration.

Besides, there's far more empty space to contend with here on Earth, i.e. the the lack of brains and will missing from the feckless politicians bickering away this nation's future. Instead of searching black holes and exploding stars, the United States should have been filling the deficits swallowing this nation whole and resolving the exploding debt which is undermining this country's progress and prosperity.

Forget space, . . "where no man has gone before", this nation should try another illusive destination: solvency.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Redondo Shores Teacher: Sure. . . .You can improve schools

Paul White is getting the classic treatment.

He came in dedicated to doing what he could to clean up major problems on a troubled campus. He was selected to improve a school in complete disrepair. He did his job, and now he's getting punished for it. What is the source of the problem in many schools, which prevents students from receiving the learning, the security, and the guidance which they crave?

The school bureaucracy, lead by the superintendent and his minions, followed by the unreachable directors, coordinators, and hyphenated administrators who influence little that takes place in the classroom.

They want to keep the higher-ups happy. They want to keep enrollment up. They refuse to deal with abusive students, lest the staff raise the ire of touchy parents, who in turn will play the race card or sue. Schools are all about drawing in state funds at any cost, even if that means passing students have not earned passing grades and tolerating rampant disrespect.

Instead of working with teachers, they negotiate with unions, entrenched interests which seek their own ends, not the best interests of the teachers they claim to represent or the students whom they claim to serve.

Beyond the apparent contradiction between boastful claims and subtle action, the greatest fraud perpetrated at all levels in public education is the misuse and corruption of public funds--the biggest scandal which Mr. White was apparently about to expose. There is no accountability in spending, from the district offices which siphon off huge funds to subsidize larger office and exorbitant salaries for do-nothing bean-counters, to the unnecessary regulations which frustrate efficiency and innovation in the classroom and throughout every school. Let's not forget the cozy-conflict relationship between school boards and teachers' unions, which create fat paychecks for uninvolved school board members and enormous pensions and health care benefits for school staff, all of which become and onerous burden for taxpayers who have yet to see their kids receiving any education for their tax dollars.

All of this miasma, once again brought to the fore by the well-meaning advocacy of a tough teacher using tough love to toughen students out of their arrogant complacency.

Mr. White, I am proud of the work that you did on behalf of the continuation students of Redondo Beach. I certainly hope that you will find a more fitting placement for your dedication and skills in the future.