Friday, April 14, 2017

Punishing the Victims

Why does this keep happening?

Once again the loony and violent Left has again destroyed free speech. It's on another campus, this time the University of California at Berkeley.

As always, it's a conservative speaker being blocked because, as always, the Left can't stand for anyone to speak or think anything that differs from their prejudices and opinions and demands. Just like the Nazis that, for a time, blocked Martin Luther King's fair housing march in Skokie, Illinois some 50 years ago.

Why do we let violent thugs set the agenda and violate the rights of everyone else?

Clearly, we need to start teaching history and civics again. Then, at least, they will have heard about the rights we have as Americans — the rights they're trashing.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Empathy and Immigration Policy

A friend in Arizona forwarded this to me (from Jeremy Beck of The Hill). He commented saying "Good grief! I'm actually mostly agreeing with a socialist on immigration policy." I absolutely agree with him.

In some respects I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. I learned many years ago, in discussions with a very liberal friend, that Left and Right can find common ground and common goals, just disagreeing on how to reach those goals, so long as pure hyperpartisanship can be avoided.

Here's the text of the message that was forwarded to me.

Ian Smith of the Immigration Reform Law Institute describes the challenge that we in the "immigration-control" movement face in getting our message out to different audiences:

"How to communicate the broad effects of unregulated immigration to non-systemic thinkers, i.e., excessive immigration acts like a weight on working-class wages, makes the rich richer, expands income inequality, puts pressure on public assets, contributes to urban sprawl, increases real estate prices, etc.

"These effects, although disastrous, are diffuse and tend to lag, meaning they do not resonate well with hyper-empathic types."

Smith gives a real-world example: the crisis of displaced persons worldwide. As you know, the United States can help 12 displaced people in the Middle East for the cost of permanently relocating one refugee to America. Yet nearly all of the political discussion focuses on the one percent of displaced people who are able to relocate:

"Empathy-politics, however, diverts otherwise good people from making real, effective reforms. Writing about the refugee-crisis in his just-released book, 'Against The Double Blackmail,' NYU professor and avowed socialist Slavoj Zizek says that it's 'not enough to do (what we consider to be) the best for the refugees, receive them with open hands [and] show sympathy and generosity to the utmost of our ability.' Instead, he says, we must get to the heart of the matter and 'avoid the false generosity that simply makes us feel good.' As he asks, 'are we not doing this to forget what is required?'

"What's required for the refugee-crisis at least, Zizek says, is deep change. Instead of letting them leave, we must offer them a 'common struggle' where they are. We must 'fight for a positive universal project shared by all participants', specifically, he writes, the twin struggles against corruption and the globalist elite."

Join the discussion. Spread the word.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Some People Are Just Nuts

You will be amazed at a story out of Greenfield, Ind. — or maybe not. A group got together and wanted to donate $50,000 to a new high-school football field. They are an anonymous group. And they wanted the name associated with their donation to be a hashtag: “#BlessTheWorld.” The school board said no — because “bless” had religious connotations. The board cited the separation of church and state (!). So the group declined to give their donation.

I have a question: If someone sneezes, what are you supposed to say? Legally?

Unfortunately, this is not an April Fools joke. You can see it reported as the item quoted above here on March 31st, citing the original story in the Indianapolis Star of March 29th.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Two Views of Islam

In recent years there has been a lot of bad blood between the Muslims and the infidels or kuffar (unbelievers). They feel that we have been attacking them, and we are equally disturbed by their efforts to turn our cities into Islamic enclaves and "no-go" zones, and by their terror attacks. Each side considers the other's legal system as invalid, improper, worthless, and terrible. Of course, it's more complicated than that, but that gives the flavor of the dispute.

With all this, it should not be surprising that derogatory things have been said on both sides. Like this one about Muslims and their Sharia Law. Some — especially the more sensitive or perpetually offended among us — would find this description rather harsh.

But that's not harsh at all compared to what they say about themselves. Like this.

This strikes me as an explicit admission, by those most heavily steeped in Islam and most knowledgeable about it, that Islam makes no sense on its own terms. That also fits with the violence and intimidation the Imams are preaching. It's what appeals to those who know they are being dumped on and respond by striking out with any actions through which they can claim some form of dominance — "honor killings", thuggery, terror attacks, jihadism.

That Western "1400 years" view is also not harsh compared to what Muslims say about us (non-Muslims), or what they intend for us. It's the same as they intended, and implemented, for every group of people they ever encountered. It was a simple mantra: "Convert or die." And once they got past that immediate threat, they learned their problems were just beginning: "If you try to leave, we will kill you." It was all a part of, and a follow-on, to the only way Islam has ever spread — conquest.

How does this problem get solved? I'm not sure, but I do look forward a world like that described in this story.

The Russian Conspiracy Theory

A far-Left portion of the Democrats has been pushing the idea that the election of President Donald Trump is somehow illegitimate because of claimed Russian interference — "Russian hacking" — of the presidential election. But just what is it the Russians are accused of having done? Not interfering in the actual voting or the vote counting, though that's what they would like to have you think. No. It's charged that the Russians changed the election results by releasing information that made the Democrats look bad. That is, they changed the election results through advertising. (Advertising executives wish they could be that effective!)

Let's step back and take a bit longer view. The main thing that has the Democrats disturbed is that they didn't win. After all, they know they are the ones who represent reality, reason, compassion, and all things good and true. They know there is no legitimate reason why people would oppose them. That being the case, the opposition must have some nefarious reason to oppose them and their policies. There's simply no other possibility.

They are especially disturbed when the opposition is successful. In effect, then, here is what really has the Democratic Left riled up. Stated succinctly,

That's right. It's their own string of failures that has them becoming so rabid.

This is just another reflection of something that's been true for roughly fifty years. It's a truism. If you understand these two statements, you understand nearly all of American politics.

      Conservatives think liberals are wrong.

      Liberals think conservatives are evil.

This was true before, but increasingly more so in the past thirty years.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Thought on the ObamaCare Repeal

It seems to me that "Repeal And Replace" should be the proper approach to dealing with ObamaCare (the horribly misnamed Affordable Care Act). The reason for this has nothing to do with any of the bill's primary provisions, the things that were why the bill was written. The reason is this: Nobody liked this bill when it was being pushed through the Congress. (That's actually not quite true. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the one or two other people allowed into the office to draft this bill must have liked it at least a little.) That's why the Democrat leadership had to add item after item to the bill to enable them to talk other Democrats into reluctantly voting for it. (The biggest single one of these items was probably the federal take-over of the entire student loan process.) None of these additional items was seriously or appropriately considered by Congressional committees or members — not even to the extremely limited degree allowed for the main bill. And, of course, the Democrat leadership couldn't allow anything like the normal amendment process or their entire house of cards would have collapsed.

The only way to get rid of all the extraneous garbage accretions that were used to bribe enough senators and representatives to vote for this turkey is to repeal the entire bill outright. Otherwise, even if all parts of ObamaCare get fixed perfectly, all the additional garbage will still be left in place and in effect.
Just a thought.

Some Wisdom on the Federal Budget

Until we stop scoring federal programs on how much money we spend on them, and begin keeping score on how well they accomplish what they were set up to do, we'll never shrink the size of government.
      — Rich Galen, Mullings

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Legislative Insanity and Stupidity

Legislators in New Mexico seem to have been going out of their way to be stupid. And nuts.

A case in point: The Legislature in our state capital of Santa Fe has decided they don't like switching onto and off of Daylight Savings Time every spring and fall. So far, so good. But their solution is to stay on Daylight Savings Time all year round. (!) The bill's sponsor claims the farmers in his district support his proposal, but he admits elsewhere that they will be in the fields based on the sun, completely independent of whatever the clocks are doing. Dumb! Just dumb!

The Legislature also demonstrates insanity, defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. The Legislature's only solution to any problem is "Raise taxes and throw more money at it." (Actually, that's not true. It's really "Raise taxes and throw more money somewhere.) They haven't yet learned that this never works. I can't tell you how many tax increases have been and are being passed by this Legislature, but they amount to something close to half billion dollars a year in tax increases on this small, poor state.

The Legislature's insanity disease has also been contracted by the city council in Santa Fe — or is it the other way around? The city council this week passed a "sugar tax" that will principally affect soft drinks and other sweetened drinks like Gatorade. (The actual boundaries of this tax are not yet well publicly defined.) The tax is to be 2¢ per ounce of liquid. As opponents have noted, that means your drink will often cost you more in tax than for the drink itself. The only good news is that this proposal is going before the voters for ratification. The bad news is that the city council is a reasonably accurate reflection of the community they represent, including in its insanity.

These are just some current examples of this phenomenon. Every legislative session provides new ones. It's almost enough to suggest that those who want to run for Legislative office should be banned from serving there. But then,

¡Así es en Nuevo Mexico! That's how it is in New Mexico!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Politician Makes Sense on Immigration

This politician makes more sense on immigration in under a minute and a half than other politicians have in a number of years. Watch the video from C-SPAN here.

This really needs to go viral.

I would also like it if President Trump would run it with a tag saying "I'm Donald Trump and I approve this message"!

I guess the Left and the Right can agree on immigration after all.

I should slao note that what is now being decried as a radical departure in immigration policy and "an assault on American values" was the mainstream policy of both major political parties in past years and as recently as early last month.

Historical Ignorance on Display

This showed up on the internet (here, for example). A friend picked it up and e-mailed it to me because it was so far off the wall.

The Berlin Wall?!!? The level of historical ignorance is apalling. Rather like the folks that think the Civil War was fought against Germany, or those that think the Civil War is what we fought in from 1941 to 1945. In this particular case, the historical wall is identified to the wrong dictator, from the wrong country, in the wrong decade. Could the "Occupy Democrats" be any more historically ignorant?

Actually, they probably could. The Left always keeps surprising me with how ignorant and unschooled they are. I suspect that's a side effect of the fact that history is barely taught any more at all.

There's another ignorance issue as well. These people want to pretend that the Nazis and other fascists (and their descendant successors) were and are right wing. But that's just DUMB. That's most obvious for the Nazis. The full name of the Nazi Party was (in German) the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei. That translates into English as the National-Socialist German Workers' Party. Note the second word in the party's name — Socialist. That's right — the Nazis were and are left wing, NOT right wing.

Changes Coming in Defense

It is reported that President Donald Trump, in his speech tonight to a joint session of Congress, will call for a 10% increase in the defense budget. It seems absolutely certain this funding increase will be accompanied by major changes in defense policies from top to bottom including primary military strategy, weapon system procurements, and Rules of Engagement for our troops in war zones.

The coming changes can be seen in another way as well.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Glad to See It

I was so glad to see the celebrities at the 89th Academy Awards ceremony last night wearing blue ribbons in support of prostate cancer awareness. It's about time this disease got some publicity on the scale of the breast canceer awareness pink ribbon program.

This fashion tidbit was described in a Washington Post news story, the front part of which was published in the Albuquerque Journal under the headline Blue ribbon in fashion at Oscars. As the story said,

The gesture was simple and spoke for itself. There was no need, and perhaps no desire, to launch into a long, high-volume explanation. Hollywood loves its symbolic ribbons. For AIDS awareness, for gay rights, for human rights. And now, here was another
Glad to see more celebrities paying attention to the need for awareness of this terrible disease.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

An Issue in Education

The following letter to the editor appeared in the Albuquerque Journal a week ago, on January 22nd. It definitely makes some most valid points.

I am a Canadian teacher and literacy specialist who is following New Mexico's literacy debate with interest. I have met with the same stubborn refusal by government and school districts to even consider that perhaps the reading methods being used are ineffective, and that more money will not solve the problem.

Having taught students and teachers for over 20 years, I know what works; however, an inexpensive, easy-to-use, guaranteed-to-work phonics method is not what the billion-dollar business of education — with its "balanced literacy, guided reading" jargon — wants to hear.

I find it especially ironic that New Mexico seems to have the same attitude, and such dismal literacy stats, since the "cheap and easy" method I have been using for over 20 years to successfully teach reading was created by New Mexico's Dr. Ernest Christman.

New Mexico has a clear, simple, relatively quick solution to its illiteracy woes right in its own backyard. Why is the state not using it?

          KATE KELLY
          Delta, British Columbia, Canada

My mother would have enjoyed reading that letter. She used phonics to teach reading back in the 1960s. Then, as now, it was both out of favor and highly effective. But she only cared about what would work for her students. And as she noted,
Some students will learn no matter how well or by what method they are taught. For others, the teacher must find the method that can enable the student to learn.
Phonics really should be used to teach reading. If the education establishment wants to use the latest fad instead, it should at the very least allow and support the use of phonics to teach students for whom the fad does not work well.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Three Obama Rules to Follow

The following letter to the editor appeared in the Albuquerque Journal on January 24th.

To honor the legacy of ex-president Obama, it would be fitting to continue to observe three rules that were hallmarks of his presidency.

First, for the next eight years, anything bad that happens is the fault of the previous president.

Second, starting January 20, anything good that happens is the result of the wise guidance of the current president.

Third, any attempt by the party in the minority to exert influence over the course of government is to be considered a bigoted and racist attempt to thwart the will of the people.

Given how well these principles served President Obama, I am sure we can all agree that we should continue to follow them as part of Obama's legacy.

It is going to be an interesting ride and, to paraphrase ex-president Obama, "You progressives are welcome to come along for the ride, but you will have to ride in the back (of the pickup)."

After all, elections have consequences.

          Cedar Crest

No further comment is necessary.

A WD-40 Ad from 1964

This is a genuine Ad from 1964 when WD-40 was first released.

Their Ad department sure had a delightful way with words.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

A New Vision Will Govern Our Land

Yesterday, the United States of America received a new President. His inaugural address was not partisan. And in it, President Trump showed himself not to be an ordinary politician.

The Albuquerque Journal reported on yesterday's inauguration this way.

And now we begin a new era.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Inauguration Approaches

President Barack Obama offers to give President Elect Donald Trump his best advice as Trump prepares to take office.

Meanwhile, a sizable chunk of the Democratic Party, not believing in the Constitution or the orderly transfer of power, does what they do best.