Category Archives: POLITICS

INAUGURATION TACTICS

As I watched the Presidential Inauguration this morning, I was struck by how somber the tone was of our newest President.  There are many things that he said and did, with which, I totally agree.  The most notable of all was the fact that he did not pander to the people who did not elect him.  That is a total departure from politics as usual, where a president fills inaugurations with platitude after platitude, all in warm, pear shaped tones.  Make no mistake, the media in all of its forms is allied and aligned with a clear mission: to ensure as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, get the worst possible view of President Trump.

This is not by accident.  I don’t believe anything he could have said would have been well received by anyone who did not, and does not, think he is the better person for the Presidency between him or Hillary Rodham Clinton.  If he had said,

I am sorry for my harsh words during the campaign, but I didn’t run for President because I wanted people to like me, I ran to win.  Politics is a blood sport and you do what you have to do to win.  Now is the time to come together.

The media would have said he was a disingenuous racist, bigot.  And if he had said,

I will do my best to also represent the people who didn’t vote for me.  I am YOUR president too, and even though you didn’t support me, what you have to say matters to me.

His many bitter and destructive detractors would have said he is lying and pandering to the left, classic politician trying to move to the middle.  Just as every blowhard politician for decades has done.  If, instead of calling out the abysmal failures of the last eight years, he had said,

Barack Obama did as good a job as anyone could have, and the country is now recovering.

The opposition would seize on it as evidence that leftist policies work and that everything he ran on was a lie to get elected.  That is simply not true.  The economy is not recovering because of Obama and his policies, it is recovering in a few ways in spite of Barack Obama.

I contend that this inauguration was a lose-lose for anything he could have said to ameliorate the misplaced rage and anger of the left and the media.

So, in what I think was a wise choice, he did what a smart tactician would do in the face of a media hell-bent on his destruction, and a pitifully confused urban population who thinks government is the answer to all of man’s problems: he flanked and fought the battle he could win.  He spoke to his supporters alone.  Any aisle crossing, any grace toward the endless bureaucratic failings of the past would have been slapped away anyway, so it is a fools errand to waste your breath on the countless snowflakes who would plug their ears and shout “NA NA NA” because they are still in the throes of a temper tantrum.  Anyone who hates Trump and thinks the world is going to end, or threatened to move to another country if he is elected, is lying to you and themselves if they recount their feelings as they watched the inauguration,

I was open to the idea of him bringing the country together.  I hoped he would unite us.

Lies.  Those same people thrive on complaint and dissent and live in academic bubbles of half-baked philosophy and often half-baked theology as well.  They harbor such intense hatred inside of them that they project it on everyone and everything that does not boil down to complete agreement with their life, choices, lifestyle, and woefully under-educated worldview.  Most are on depression medication in one form or another.  The mentally ill.

If you support Trump, and hope he really does turn Washington on its head, then you must also feel how keenly every single talking head in the media from Lester Holt, to Charlie Rose to Saturday Night Live, wants nothing more than to destroy, discredit and belittle him.

So I say, well played Mr. President.  I am glad you spoke plainly and while there were several times I felt like you were on the verge of a diversion from your written speech, and I think I am going to invent a drinking game based on your comically frequent habit of hand waving, you showed verbal restraint and spoke to the only people who would listen to you anyway.

Now let’s see if you have the courage to make good on your declarations, particularly the one to eradicate radical Islamic terrorism from the face of the earth.  That is a tall order…

Islamic-Terror

But I have to admit, I’d love to see the kinds of people willing to behead Christians like those above in Ethiopia, or anyone for that matter, for not praying to Allah get everything that is coming to them with interest.

Time will judge you as it has Obama, in spite of the endless sycophantic love letters Obama has enjoyed from the media and the acolytes and useful idiots on the left, the people I know will remember him as an even more weak and traitorous President than Jimmy Carter.  Who spent our great-great-grandchildren’s savings, made us look truly pathetic on the world stage, was less transparent and more secretive than any administration in history, and abused executive privilege in a way that utterly mocks the separation of powers and our beloved US Constitution.

I wish you good luck Mr. President.  You’re going to have to be ten times the President Barack Obama was to receive even one-tenth of the credit.

THE PATRIOT FAST

In order to mobilize the patriots of America we must begin on common ground.  To be a patriot, you must love America for its own sake, for how it came to be, and for the radical notion of liberty that it was.  If you love America because we are becoming more and more like your values system, then you don’t love America for herself, you love her for yourself.  Your loyalty is a reflection of your agreement, a mere nodding of the head, and no such patriotism stands long under the crushing weight of conflict.  If you love America as a patriot, her origins are a reason to love her, and her current plummet into darkness is reason to love her more.  I believe you have no ground to criticize a thing unless you love it like a patriot.  You can complain and chastise and scream and even insult, but the right to offer up the ways in which it must be improved are the province of the lover only.  All else fails the test of investment.  Someone may criticize your spouse, but the spouse need only value it from you.    You see them for both their strengths and their weaknesses, and don’t love them more for one and less for the other.   So it is with all things.

Therefore, it is to the true American patriot I address this letter.  I will attempt to offer a solution to the problems that beset our nation, instead of adding another voice to the chorus of complaint.

who

I imagine our American heritage, and the energy and moral strength we draw from it, like the bulging backs of aged warriors, chained in an arena and being made to fight society’s sins for show, so the audience can feed upon the spoils of our victories and the spectacle of our efforts.  The spectators, ravenous not for food but purpose, release beast after beast for us to battle: pride; for tolerance, envy; for success, gluttony; for distraction, sloth; for virtue, lust; for danger, greed; for excess, and a tentacled levitation of wrath; for God.

We are weary, but the spectators are hungry.  Our numbers shrink but theirs grow.  Our backs bend and their fingers straighten.

Make no mistake the forces of evil in this world are winning.  Earth is fallen as man is fallen.  We live in the province of the enemy.  But take heart, because darkness never cloaked the Colosseum so thickly that sunrise never came.  The enemy’s ticket takers are roving the stadium aisles as doomsayers and fear-mongers.  Those ruinous men, about one in every dozen, who foretell the end of the world is near.  They take great secret pleasure in “being sorry to say all is lost.”  They encite the mob to shout at us from the safety of the grandstands phrases like “we are nearing the cliff,” and “we are over the cliff and falling,” and “trainwreck,” and “armageddon,” ad nauseum.  The problem with these metaphors is that everyone dies together at the end of them, and that is not going to happen in America.  Everyone dies in a trainwreck, or by going over a cliff.  The conservatives wouldn’t walk away from a liberal trainwreck, and vice versa.  These ideas are planted in the hearts of men with a penchant for schadenfreude by the enemy, and they keep us in line.  Oh we, the working warrior patriots of America, of little faith.

how

I offer another metaphor, and none more fitting so close to Black Friday.  We are simply drunk. Utterly trashed in actuality.

I watched a video compilation of Black Friday insanity the following Monday and each scene looked like poor footage from a movie set where actors were told to act like the love child of a drunken jackass, and a mindless zombie.  It was truly chilling to watch people swarm around, and cry out in ecstasy over being able to receive… a stapler.

For generations, we have become more and more intoxicated by our own decadence, and increasingly less charmed by it.  As we edge God out of our culture, we edge our purpose out with it, and no amount of excess can fill that void.  America now offers what God intended as the reward for hard work, with little to no work at all.  Our parents, and their parents, going back to the greatest generation, failed to train huge numbers of American youth what our values are and how vitally important is the character only found in the arena of life… in the battling of our individual sin.  Instead, we have lived well off the fruits of the baby boomer, who inherited the work ethic but not the moral ethic.  Work hard and love your neighbor, became “work hard, play hard.”  Then lately it seems, they just dropped the “work hard” altogether.  It’s just “play hard” now.  Get while the getting is good.  Find your fun.

I say again, we are drunk.

Drunkenness is not a fixed state, it comes like temperature, in degrees.  One may be a little goofy, or a tad louder than normal, but a great deal of time and consumption separates the reddish cheeks of these first two, with the great retching we hear and see each day on the news.

The majority of people in America today, these chronic moral inebriates, simply do not know what it means to love this country as a patriot.  They want to make America into a thing they can someday love, when cleansed of its Judao-Christian values. We cannot give America over to them.  You must love them as you would love a spouse, or a friend, who has had far too much to drink, and is retching, while at the same time beckoning another beverage.

You might say “No, you’ve had enough,” but the America we love has developed quite an addict’s tolerance, and they will not listen to any voice insulting vice.  A raging alcoholic, America screams, and throws a drunken tantrum as it stumbles, but all is far from lost.  We will fall down, but not perish.

answer

Do not buy into the end of the world.  Every generation since Jesus has read his return into the tea leaves of current events… every single one.  America is not going to die, but she is going to have one hell of a hangover.  It will come with headaches, and pain, and suffering, and even more retching, but it will be a cleansing process, not a dying process.  As anyone who has loved someone who has obviously drunk too much, you can hardly stop them soon enough.   The challenge now is to understand that to stop them, we must stop trying to take away their beverage.  We must quit buying their booze.  We must get completely out of the way and allow them to pass out on their own.   We must turn the other cheek, not in weakness, but in wisdom.

I call on the Patriots of America to fast.  Our country only functions on the lifeblood of our efforts.  It is we who foot the bill.  To not pay our taxes is a crime, yet no law exists to minimize our own earnings, and our spending.  To fast.  If you are self-employed, as I am, you pay a tremendous amount of money for the privilege of working half-days, and you also get the luxury of picking whichever 12 hours you like.  Understand this is a choice.  You could likely get by with far less, and have far more time with your family.  Now is the time for such an exercise.  The practice of fasting is a gift, and was originally used as a reminder to pray each time you felt the pang of hunger.  The Patriot Fast is the same.  Each time we feel the need or want of another thing, or another toy, or another experience… instead remind yourself to be thankful.  We must work less, produce less, consume FAR less, and give every dime we make above and beyond our basic needs to charity. We must massively and intentionally diminish our taxable income and expenses.  There are an infinite variety of ways to implement the Patriot Fast depending on your family’s situation but to help spark your imagination, here are a few:

Go on a complete consumer holiday and buy nothing that is non-essential.  Choose a hobby that requires your time instead of your money, I recommend geocaching.  Read great literature instead of buying movies.  The possibilities are limited only by your commitment to this vision, and your imagination.

The system cannot survive for more than a year or two if enough Patriots decide to stop feeding the government beast and instead, speak with their cheek.  In a way, it’s a much more difficult fight when you are swinging the sword of self-discipline, to fight our own urges, to battle our own sin, but it’s past time to do so.  It’s time for the hangover to begin.

Now is the time for the Patriot fast.

POWER TO THE PARENTS

Many of you are aware of the current battle for the future of education, the argument for school choice.  There are two sides poised to wage an epic media war for the hearts and minds of the voters.  On one side, you have unions, union interests, and quite frankly, union money outfitting the cannons of fear and marching with the cavalry of institution.  On the other side you have concerned parents and the taxpayers smart enough to care.  These citizens, wholly unfunded, and largely unorganized, are preparing to wade into the fray against seasoned veterans of successful past campaigns of misinformation, intimidation and outright deceit.

The battle lines are drawn, the standards raised, and the first volley has been loosed.  On the radio, you will hear the union fear-mongering echoing through the theater of your mind.

“A voucher system threatens public education, and limits options.  This will hurt teachers and hurt families and hurt our kids, and we’re proud to tell you.”

The analytical mind can’t help but scrutinize how exactly, in education and no other industry, competition reduces options, but there are many parents standing on the battlefield who have neither the time nor the interest to don the armor of skepticism and the shield of statistical fact.  They buy the lie.

Our education system was once the envy of the world.  We stood tall atop the mountain of greatness, but over thirty years ago, a chill wind from the mouth and mind of one James Carter sent us looking for shelter further down the mountainside.  For over thirty years now, this top down management of education, this stifling bureaucracy, has pressed us further and further down the slopes of success and into the dreary plains of mediocrity where the US trails most developed nations in literacy, math and science.  It is this system that prevents rapid adjustment to student needs, stifles the flexible development of curriculums, and prevents our great teachers from being justly rewarded.

So here we stand, parents and taxpayers alike.  The time for watered-down, apologist commentary that says all teachers are great and all our teachers are doing their best with what they are given, must end.  I don’t blame the teachers directly for Alaska’s abysmal education numbers, but the numbers are the numbers, and our system doesn’t need modest reform.  Our education system needs radical improvement.  At the recent AEDC forecast luncheon, the state of Alaska’s education system was recapped in a short video available here. The results speak for themselves.

I teach a two-day program sponsored by a local rotary club called Choices.  In it, I speak to 7th grade classes about how their grade is really the turning point in their lives where actions and performance directly determine the number of doors that are open to them in life, both in college or in a non-academic vocation.  I encourage them to take an hour or two per week to learn about the industry that supports their personal interest.  Video gamers would be served to learn programming.  Artists would be served to learn Photoshop.  In one class several years ago at Colony Middle School, I spent half of the final day arguing with the union-protected, tenured teacher who kept vocally insisting most students would be best served to drop out at 16, get their G.E.D. and enter the workforce.  After trying to respectfully disagree, I eventually disagreed in a substantially less respectful way, after which the class erupted in laughter and I was branded a hero.  Later, when I was leaving the administration offices, I mentioned his attempted torpedo of the program to the staff and was amazed by the response; “we’re just kind of waiting for him to retire.”

A system this dysfunctional does not need some little reform, it needs to be overhauled.

When the power of the purse is placed with the parents, the education system will radically improve.  It must, because now parents must make a choice, and choices must be weighed.  I submit, when given a choice, even uninvolved parents who are the bane of most talented teachers, will try to make a good choice for their kids.  Power to the parents means schools must appeal to them, must vie for their child’s interest, must demonstrate the ability to succeed, and most importantly, must listen to the feedback of their customers parents.  Monopolies are outlawed for good reason, and we’ve suffered the pains of poor options long enough.

The unions loathe the notion of accountability and mediocre and uninspiring teachers fear it but for very different reasons.  Great teachers however, embrace it.  Great teachers know not everyone is cut out to educate and inspire, and they’re correct.  Great teachers know the material is largely irrelevant.  It is their interaction and presentation of the material that engages students, as each of us with fond memories of an amazing teacher can attest.  I believe teachers deserve to be paid well when they educate well, and a good teacher understands power to the parents is a pay-raise in the works.

We must change our language to win.  Choices don’t inspire people, dreams inspire people.  I dream of an education system as varied and diverse as my options for footwear, where two computer-game-loving parents with a son who wants to spend his whole day playing Halo can enroll that boy in a school that is staffed with people who get excited about software and want to train the next generation of the world’s best coders.  A school where two hippie soul-mates can enroll their animal-loving daughter into a school designed around a fully functional ecosystem where the latest in forestry, farming, and agriculture technology are innovated at the same time they are educated.  Where two thespians who met in acting class can send their precocious kids to master the disciplines of poise, articulation, delivery and timing that will prepare them for a career on the stage.  Imagine a system where Christian parents, or Muslim parents, or Hindu parents can send their children to a school that wraps a classical education into and around the foundations of their faith.

I dream of a teaching environment that aligns teachers with the subject they are qualified and excited to teach. I believe in a system that rewards teachers a cash-bonus for each student who performs above grade level, cumulative bonuses per category.  With power to the parents, the negative consequences take care of themselves through natural market forces.  We need only concern ourselves with the duty to reward excellence, handsomely.

All this is possible in time if we are victorious, but victory lies in the language.

This must not be a war between choice and public education, that language is pure foolishness.  The public will continue to be educated, only at the behest of parents, and not political purchase. Educational unions and top-down bureaucracy are effectively dream thieves.  Through their systems go the bulk of our youth, and the results are pitiful, measured not only by the poor literacy rates and abysmal math scores we witness today, but by the loss of each affected child’s American dream.  That average student who straddled the line between his smarter peers and his lesser, whose chance to believe in himself and have the spark of imagination fanned into the flames of a bright future was instead, snuffed through the pure avarice of the NEA and the apathy of tenured teachers.

We can no longer allow the status quo to steal the futures of our middle-class children.  Do not be seduced into framing the argument between choice and public education.  Do not apologize, and stop worrying about people’s feelings.  After all, these are our kids were talking about here.

Opponents of school choice are the dream thieves, we are the parents.

Power to the parents.