Sunday, April 24, 2016

The poor in Mind

When Bernie complained that he would be winning if the poor would simply vote, says more about him then most of us realize.  I’m not sure even he understands the gravity of that simple grumble.  If the poor were to vote in mass what would be the result? 

When we think of voting, those who vote take great pride in casting their choice toward their chosen candidate, but the poor have never really voted.  There are some who may be poor financially but have the wherewithal to ascertain the pros and cons of a candidate without the singularity of one issue over all others. 

Bernie was right in hoping that the poor would rise to the occasion and support his socialist agenda and if they knew of that agenda they should flock toward Sanders and fill the polling places so that their choices could be made into a reality of social programs that might directly affect their lives.  But the thing is they don’t understand.  They do not follow the news.  The poor are generally, at least in this country, ignorant of the realities of a democracy and the need for intelligent participation.

That same statement might also be true of most of our voting blocks who continue to support the issues based on a singular attitude rather than looking for the best leader.  The fractured process of voting fails to funnel the capable into the final process of an election it rather forces those who may like to run, running away, not wanting to subject their lives to the scrutiny of the ever present public.

Being poor is not the issue, it’s what happens to the mind when poverty is a choice rather than a temporary condition.  I’ve been poor, many times but I fail to let my mind become slovenly, resentful, hateful or lazy.  These are not natural attributes of poverty.  They are however the choices brought on by a generational process of destruction, one that has been perpetrated by their government and the political parties that want to subjugate them and their posterity.

There are a few facts that should be understood. 

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!

5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

In other words if the poor were to vote for Bernie then we would all be poor.  The blessings of work are universal and undeniable.  Take away the incentive to work and you take away the souls of the men and women who refuse to improve.
There is a lot we can all do to improve ourselves and help those around us.  Life is difficult enough but when our government chooses to redistribute the efforts of those who work for those who do not then our nation will cease to exist. 

The old wives tale says that “idle hands are the devils plaything” teaches all of us to stay busy, work hard, and be productive.   I know there are times and reasons to be poor, to be depressed and be in a situation that seems impossible but doing nothing is never the answer and voting for Bernie would be almost as bad as voting for Hillary, at least he seems genuinely concerned for the plight of man.  The only problem with his outlook is his desire to turn our country into a socialistic hothouse of dead and dying desires, with only the hope of someone else working hard to fund their ignorant and helpless lifestyle. 

In South Korea they have a simple saying that seems to go along with their all they do….”Work Hard…” simple yes, but profound and impossible to argue.  I rest my case, at least until my alarm goes off at 4:30 and I have to get up and go to work.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sore Looser or Sour Politics?

Whatever you may think of Trump or his campaign the way the Republicans are treating his candidacy will create a black hole of confidence that may not be able to be recoverable and will assuredly cause the Democrats to win the election.

We supposedly live in a democratic society where anyone can run for office as long as they meet the minimum requirements.  Trump calls himself a republican and under that broad umbrella lives the diversity that has for so long been the hope of the Republican Party.  With one fell swoop and a wave of some unseen hand that hope will be dashed and replaced with the already perceived ideals that make up the current republican leadership.

They, the leaders are hoping for a brokered convention that will allow them to disregard Trumps prominence within the party and replace him with a candidate of their choosing.  We are then allowed to vote for their choice, not much of a choice if what you want does not fall within the strict conventions of “what a republican should be”. 

Trump in my opinion is not the best candidate but he is the current leader in that campaign.  He has shown an ability to gather followers and to win elections.  Has it always been this way with in the Republican Party and is it this way as well within the Democratic Party?  Are we simple pawns to their battle of political supremacy? 

Like so many other instances where the people chose and then the choice is negated through the courts reminding all of us that the spell of democracy is now broken and replaced with a tyrannical process of outlawing free choice and forcing the public into accepting their choices as the only ones that matter.  If Trump is removed from his place as current leader of the Republican Party the choices that Trump has will inevitably lead to a third party run and a fractured republican ticket that will leave the path wide open for Hillary to win.  (See my article “A Trump in Sheep’s Clothing”…Aug 2015)

I had hoped I was wrong but it seems so much more likely when the party of the candidate has turned their backs on that candidate and are openly moving toward marginalizing that candidate.  This is and will be an unprecedented action of power over democracy and the republicans will suffer as a result.

Since my August article, I have had hopes of a Maverick coming on the scene and really changing Washington in such a manner that level heads can prevail and common sense becomes common again.  But with this move by the republicans the notion of “politics as Usual” will once again be the power play of the day.

I like what Trump says, and I like what Trump represents and for the most part I can understand his allure but let the democratic system chose, let my vote count.  Regardless of the democratic republic that has the tendency to over regulate our choices, I don’t want someone else making these decisions for me, not this time.  Let the democratic process run its course.  Let those who vote matter and let their candidates swing it out in the general election. 

If the leaders don’t like it, make changes for the next election and prepare for the eventuality of this happening again, but don’t change the rules mid stream, which is dishonest, manipulative and smacks of self preservation over the needs of many. 

It’s not that I want Trump but I want the idea of a Trump taking charge, being a leader, speaking his mind and having the ability to run and get elected as a result of an open and free election.  The Republicans are wrong to censure Donald Trump and when the eventually do the wrath of the public will hand the republicans a defeat that they may never recover from. 

Call your congressman, call your senators, your local leaders as well and put them on the spot to support Democracy over the tyrannical machinations of this republican forced 2016 election.  

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Muted Trump

I would like to make a simple and straight forward statement about the “Panama Papers”. If you haven’t heard about these breaches in security they are from the law firm Mossack Fonseca, A Panamanian firm who specialized in creating off shore accounts.

If you’re already getting a little antsy from the term “off shore” I think you have every right to be.  Off shore does not mean illegal and many off shore accounts are completely legitimate, but when the list of names was revealed the high and mighty of the world were prominently displayed. 

I do not want to spend my time naming names, I really don’t have the time nor the space… but the quick and short of it is this:    When corruption is the rule, democracy and freedom cannot exist.

With some of our candidates listed in the Panama Papers we really need to worry about our basic tenets of freedom.  Nothing will probably come of the association with Mossack Fonseca and any major political figure but the inferences toward corruption are as plain as a bright summer day. 

I have always been a staunch conservative with a passionate ideal of what it means to be a caring and rational person (Not implying that if you’re not conservative you would logically fall within the non-caring and irrational spectrum of life).  My ideal of conservatism is a based on service and gratitude with the bonus attributes of discovery and profit requiring a balance of commerce and charity in order to stifle the natural man’s tendency to exploit. 

Honesty is an integral attribute of conservatism, or it should be.  Honesty has morphed into a personal view or perspective based on the needs and wants of that specific time.  When billions and billions of dollars are hidden by our leaders, regardless of their initial intent (which I wish to state is probably nefarious) the idea of shuffling money from this account to another in order to hide those funds is dishonest to say the least and criminal as it concerns Putin and few others that squandered billions.

Maybe the Panama Papers are nothing to worry about, perhaps there only the beginning of the craft of graft and deep seeded corruption that will be revealed in the months and years to come.  Perhaps these papers are nothing more than a weak warning of the disastrous events that will be revealed forcing us to make a choice.  Go along and hope that you can open your own off shore account, being satisfied with the corrupt and money hungry leadership, or take a stand against the self appointed hierarchy, vote for the most honest and capable among the candidates, regardless of the party. 

If you don’t vote accordingly then you will be the one to suffer as all of us suffer from your neglect.  I’m thinking that the best at this point is John Kasich of Ohio.  He has led Ohio in a profound manner.  He is a party favorite and will therefore be given the support of that party.  He is, as far as I can see an honest and capable leader.

The problem with starting to vote responsibly is the deficit of responsible voters on the others side.  If we vote responsibly and they do not, we loose. 

Democrats should vote for Sanders.  I am not sure how capable he is but between the two democratic candidates he is more honest than Hillary.  This is indeed a difficult election.  Not only are we voting for a leader but for the voice of the future Supreme Court and the moral direction of our country.

Make your vote count, make it mean something and if we consider honesty as a guiding principle perhaps we can make a difference, you will have to spread the word though, I don’t have that many readers…..  

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Political Honesty

During these trying and most difficult days of the 2016 election cycle I wish to admit to some degree of imposition and the utter lack of surprise when it comes to political news.  In my defense of this imposition and due in part to my age and experience I have been somewhat put off by the entire political process and the level of insincerity when it comes to providing me with real and substantive information.

I really don’t care that much about what you think or feel at this point, I want the information for me.  I suspect there are a few others like me but the vast majority of political purveyors pursue only the prostrated and plain particulars of political pungency.   In other words they only want the fire and are no longer interested in the essential elements that create those flames.

If you still don’t understand then I rest my case and forego any further postulations pursuant to the popular brand of purgatory.  “Hell is what we make it, while we live on earth” and those who fail to see the urgency behind picking a qualified political leader are destined to live in the shadow of their own hell when they chose to vote out of social exigency rather than the overall and positive qualities of any given candidate.

Many voted for Obama for the simple reason of race.  Many will vote for Hillary simply because she is a woman.  Will businessman/woman vote for Trump simply because he is a businessperson….? Will you vote based on one topic or another?  Abortion, race, poverty or economics, will you vote using one issue as your foundation for potential leader?  Voting is a sacred responsibility that I take seriously.  I will never condone the practice of voting within a static singularity and further denounce those who do.

This election, perhaps unlike any before will be the paradigm of our country in the future.  Will we continue to honor the Constitution or will we fall prey to the singular devotees who garner favor based on the superficial aspects of one quality and only one, discounting the negative or the positive qualities that are mostly in abundant in all candidates.

It’s inevitably the substance of a candidate in its entirety that creates the foundation of our ability to judge their motivations and aptitude to lead.  Beyond their individual capacity and availability are the destructive nature of simplicity and the effortless attitude of the electorate.  Decrying the search for truth over a game of chance the voters continue to seek the easy way, the entertaining way and the (sorry for being blunt…NO I AM NOT) most risky way of electing our President. 

Most it seems are willingly ready to put their vote into an app that would tabulate their vote based on nothing substantive but on a social media example of what society should be if every one was on facebook and that kind of thinking was the reality.

A popular President is a good thing but voting based only on popularity is not.   I know that my words will not garner any ground swell of change but I also know that for me this election is important and I at least will think deeply about the three basic principles of being a public servant. 

  1. Are they Honest
  2. Are they Capable
  3. Are they Electable

If they are not honest they will not lead they will push.  Honesty should be a mandatory principle of leadership.  Honesty is the foundation of good character….

If they are not capable then their decisions are guesses.  Experience is an essential part of leadership.  How can one effectively lead when they don’t know where to go or how to get there?

If they are not electable then why bother? In politics the overriding principle has to be if they are electable.  This is not an easy concept to understand, especially in light of the all too often scenario of having to choose between the lesser of two evils.  But no matter the honesty or capability if there is not chance of being elected, don’t waste my time or my vote.

The bottom line to all this is actually quite easy to see.  Look closely at your candidate and do so as you would a business you hope to buy or a used car.  Take your time.  Look at the details.  Try to imagine his or her leadership and those consequences, both good and bad to the country and more specifically to yourself, if they are indeed elected.

Move away from singular voting reasons.  Would you buy a car simply because you liked the color?  If you answered yes, please remove yourself from the voting public and if at all possible move to Mexico…(this is not a slur against my Mexican brothers and sisters, or cousins as it is in my case, but only a quick alternative to living in the USA.)…Canada.

The depth of a candidate is often glossed over by the media and in large measure because of the media the candidates themselves glosses over the essential and important aspects of leadership and the 3 principles of leadership.

Look at life in all its complexity and only then will you be able to see the simple truths of creation.  Candidates are the same and should be viewed with those 3 principles in mind.  And lest we forget, fighting for something inconsequential only leaves you bruised, broken and depressed.  Fight for what is right and no matter how many trials are placed before you, you will always know that the path chosen is the right one.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The King of Trump

When thinking is actually used in our decisions the logical outcome is decidedly more productive and beneficial.  Thinking for most seems to be a rarity rather than a common practice.  How often do we really ponder the problems and deliberate the choices?  More often than not we accept the perceived inevitability as the way it’s supposed to be and give those monumental decisions a pass of supposed certainty rather than the homage to personal choice that should be made at each and every juncture of our lives.

So it is with our political choices.  We have the primaries that weed out the unacceptable and sustain the inevitable candidates.  We then have the elections that predetermine our choices and mandate a choice of right or wrong when in the reality of life there is a monumental difference in how we should be electing our leaders.

Trump seems to be the favorite despite the efforts of the right to command a choice otherwise.  And Clinton seems to be the favorite in spite of the public's demand for an alternate option.  What we are left with is fundamentally the lesser of two evils and that is no choice that anyone should ever have to make.

The political system of parties is partly to blame, with a two party system only two will emerge as victorious and only two will have the chance of being elected.  The hope of a third party is never really considered as a reality since the voting block of that candidate inevitably helps one of the two major candidates win the election.  For years the two party system has served us well and has kept the coalition style government from our shores, but when we actually think about the choices we are provided the reality of choice is no where to be found and the realization of a coalition or back room merger process emerges rather than the democratic style we are brought up to revere. 

When are choices are so mind-numbingly predictable (not in knowing who but in an absolute surety of the what) it’s time we had other choices.  We need strong candidates who fulfill the mandate of leadership but forsake the party system.  We need someone who looks toward the constitution and the founding fathers as a guide to that leadership and sustains the integrity of our country without having to sell their souls to any particular party or organization.  Hopeless you say?  Perhaps it is the rambling of an aging blogger but the hope remains and the reality, albeit statistically minuscule is still a possibility.

Trump may be that person.  He may be the kind of leader we have been hoping for.  He may be the white horse of promise the transcends the political, while being political enough to transcend the old guard in order to get elected but at the same time being true to the unspoken mandate of a true leader, an entrepreneurial politician that overshadows the past foundations of what a politician is and sets that new standard that millions are willing to follow. 

The hope for Trump is high but the hope for a true leader is even higher.  Not by name but by idea the dreams Americans pursue, eager to tread where a true leader walks, looking toward that vision of what should be rather than the nightmare that almost assuredly always is.

Trump is not a dark horse or a slender hope, bankrolled by his billions, but an idea of a man, any man, who can be the triumphant and a skilled warrior, facing off all comers to stand victorious over the vanquished, that gleam in his eye as he wields the sword of truth and justice….ooh my it sounds like I want a superhero.  Not a superhero just an adequate leader that does and says what he says he will do, not the typical mealy-mouthed and oily tongued, two faced, weak and wiggly minion to the bureaucratic nightmare that is our country and what it has become.

Wishful thinking, perhaps but it is possible, if still very improbable.   The chances of such a leader rising though the ranks of that political machine unscathed by its evil is very slim.  It is more a tangential thought than a thunderous hope.  We are in desperate need of honest leadership.  Our society is crumbling and our very foundation is cracking and splitting, we risk so much if there is not a suitable choice to rally behind.

But then I think that most do not believe as I believe.  Most do not see the inevitable destruction of a beacon nation, all they see is change and so what if we are not the super power of the earth.  So what if we are not the moral harbinger of the world, maybe it is someone else’s turn to rule and reign. 

It is a relative world these days.  Everything we think and do has its basis on how we feel making any moralistic mandates old and antiquated so why wish for that ever diminishing moral life?  Because without morality all we have is secularism and with secularism all we have are excuses for immoral behavior and an even greater need for strong and moral leadership.  Trump, Donald Trump may not be the man but he may encompass the dream of what we want and that may be enough to start the revolution away from the complacent mediocrity that has become our system of government.

I want more, I demand more, I expect more and I will vote for what I think we deserve, so should you.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Keep the choice for public charters

Not everyone likes Charter Schools.  Not every one should, they’re not perfect but the reality of the charter school is that they are 100% public schools.  A charter school may have a slightly different focus to their educational programs but most, and I emphasize the most, are just like your local elementary school or your local high school, having the same oversight and same requirements that every other school has in the state.

So the question of why some don’t like charter schools becomes more of a question of why they don’t like certain public schools.  The answer is actually very simple.  Charter schools usually excel at educating their students.  It is true that charter schools are schools of choice, meaning that parents have to make a choice to attend a charter school where as the local school is mandated to accept those within its boundaries making some believe that the charter system is picking and choosing its students, leaving the left over’s for the local schools to deal with.

When parents have a choice they are more in tune with that choice and are therefore more involved with the education of their children.  The issue is with choice and the few selfish politicians who want to legislate those choices away, forcing everyone to attend the local schools only, without any regard for the quality of education within that local school.

Let me be open and honest, I am a teacher and have been for some time.  My wife and I have sent our children to the local schools and to charter schools; I’ve worked for both and currently work for a charter school.  I teach special education and I can tell you first hand that we do not, I repeat, do not pick and choose our student’s, nor can any charter school.  They must accept those who enroll and who are accepted though the enrollment process.

The charter only allows the school to educate along pre-determined and agreed to mandates.  Charters may design a curriculum around the arts or math and science, very much like Magnet Schools operate, except the managing authority is not the local school district.

The current feud between local public schools and public charter schools is mostly about the money.  Public Charter schools are currently allowed in 46 states with California being the leader in the number of open and running schools with a combined enrollment of over 471,000 students or approximately 6-8% of the total students enrolled in k-12 schools.

With the ADA (Average Daily Attendance, the funding source for all schools in California) being about $9,300 per student, per year, the amount of money in question is staggering and the real reason for the legislation is completely understandable.  We’re talking about 4 billion dollars.  Four billion dollars that used to be under the control of the local school districts, no wonder they want to sponsor legislation to get it back.  

Not all public charter schools are equal and not all local schools are bad.  The reality of the situation is a bit more complicated than simple black and white statements but more often than not the public charter has a better track record than the local school.  The reason is the choice the parents make to educate their children, a choice anyone could make but only 8% of the population decides to make.  It’s only 8% and the local schools are clamoring and complaining that the public charters are hurting their schools.

The public charter has just as many individual issues as the local schools, the difference is we care more, we use uniforms and we have a program that we follow that mandates how we teach, what we teach and then we follow though with what we teach and make sure the students have actually learned what they were supposed to have learned.

I know what you’re thinking…don’t all schools teach like that?  There supposed too but very few actually do, that’s why the public charter does so well and why the proposed and ongoing effort to stop the public charter school movement should be defeated. 

There are representatives gathering signatures, they need over 300,000, we should let them know up front that we want our public charters to stay and to let the local schools know that if they want those students back, start teaching, start caring and stop complaining. 

Last thing, it’s not the teachers in the local schools that are at fault, it’s the top heavy and burdensome administration that stifles the creativity and abilities of the teachers, let them teach and I dare say the students and parents of those students would be back.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentines Day

There are a lot of holidays.  I think we need more.  But I’m not in any position to demand a Taylor Day (that is my name by the way).  As a teacher I observe every holiday with a thankful heart that I can take a well deserved day off.  Holidays are supposed to be day of reflection but in most cases they are simply an extra day to catch up. 

Some of our holidays are not sanctioned, meaning they have no specific day to commemorate or reflect.  One such holiday is Mother’s Day.  It is a great day to reflect on our Mothers and it is a day that has been set aside for that purpose, making Mothers Day a staple of the weekend holidays, I think it’s the only one in fact.

Halloween is a little bit different it occurs on the 31st of October and is subject to the rotating day of the week.  Like Halloween, Valentines Day is another day that has no governmental sanction also falling on the same day each year.  If you want to take that day off you will have to pay for it yourself. 

Unlike Halloween, Valentines Day is a mostly manufactured holiday that greeting card companies created to sell more cards.   I don’t remember the last time I bought a greeting card for any occasion and to my wife’s chagrin I think I can only remember buying one or two Valentines cards.  Oh well, life goes on….

Evan though I am not a fan of the process of creating a holiday out of greed the idea of setting aside a day of reflection for those we truly love is not a bad idea.  In our hurried and harried lives we often need a specific excuse to excuse ourselves from the mundane and ordinary in order to act a little romantic, putting aside the every day in order to focus our attentions in an extraordinary way.  Men are in some ways forced to close off the Neanderthal sections of our brain (OK most of our brain) and let go of the practical and spend the time toward lofty and more grandurious (new word) endeavors; thinking of those we love and care for, for the purpose of letting them know that we actually do love them, by buying flowers, chocolate or maybe even splurging and buying a greeting card.

Like other Holidays, we often forget about the importance attached to those specific days and need to be reminded to focus on the message that was created by that Holiday.  Valentines Day is no different; we need to be reminded to tell those we love that we actually really love them, so in this regard having a Holiday about Love and Devotion is not a bad thing.

There is some history taken in part from a mysterious St.  Valentine of Rome which started when this Valentine person (he was not a saint yet) was imprisoned for marrying soldiers who were not allowed to merry.  He was imprisoned and while incarcerated healed the daughter of his Jailer, Asterius.  Before his execution the thankful girl wrote a letter and signed it “your Valentine”

No one really knows if this is true but there are numerous older examples of Love invoked accounts with most agree that the day first became associated with romantic love within the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century from a poem: 

For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.

(Those are not misspelled words, they are the original words of the 14th century, and maybe they were just bad at spelling)

There is a fairly strong indication however that due to the many martyrs during the purge of Christianity that had the name of Valentine and through the story of St. Valentine the holiday has a fairly strong historical foundation as well. 

But the holiday never had a future without the advent of the greeting card.   With approximately 145,000,000 cards being sent each year the holiday is alive and well.  The problem is that 85% of purchases are by women. 

The bottom line is that even though we have a holiday about love and devotion women keep it alive as they have always done, shaming men in all areas of romance. 

Is it too late to run to the store, they may still have some cards left, maybe a wilted stack of flowers?