American Children fall behind other Children throughout the World in Math and Science

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 5th, 2014

Week in Review

More people are going on to college than ever before.  And we have the student loan debt to prove it.  As recent graduates threaten to default on their loans as they can’t get a job with their worthless degrees in the humanities and social sciences.  Expensive degrees colleges sold them.  Promising them fulfilling careers.  But a degree in minority studies or French literature ain’t going to go far in a high-tech economy.

And that’s the problem.  People are going to college for the wrong reason.  To party.  They want to have fun.  And take the easier degrees so they aren’t weighed down by too much school work.  It’s so bad that high-tech companies are using the visa system to fill job openings.  As they can’t find American graduates that have the same qualifications as foreign graduates.  Who actually take math and science.  And get the education businesses are looking for (see Distinguishing Science from Nonsense by Arthur Caplan, Ph.D., posted 12/31/2013 on bioethics.com).

As Americans enter 2014 there is grave concern among our political leaders that we are lagging behind other nations in terms of our children’s’ scientific literacy.  This past December an international survey confirmed—too many American kids don’t understand science and they continue to fall behind children from other nations, many much poorer than we are in science and math skills.

Students in the United States slipped deeper in the last international science literacy rankings amid fast-growing competition abroad.  American teens scored below the international average in math and roughly average in science, compared against dozens of other countries in the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).  We trail Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Britain, Latvia, Viet Nam and many more.  (http://www.oecd.org/pisa/keyfindings/pisa-2012-results.htm)…

A key reason for the poor performance of our children with respect to science is that American culture is both ignorant of and disrespectful to science…

As I write this there are two women in ICUs in different parts of the U.S. on life support despite having been pronounced dead by medical experts… Neither the media or the medical profession seemed to be able to explain that brain death is truly death.  Nor did the public seem inclined to listen, believing somehow that a miracle might occur.

At the same time as these cases emerged a poll was released by the Pew Foundation showing that a third of Americans do not believe in evolution…

And as I write this flu season has begun across the country.  The CDC estimates that last year 381,000 Americans were hospitalized due to the flu. They also estimate that, the flu vaccine prevented 79,000 hospitalizations and 6.6 million illnesses.  Yet a tiny cabal of kooks and know-nothings has gotten so much attention that barely half of all Americans get a flu shot…

The nutritional supplements industry is a thirty billion dollar business that has no solid evidence for efficacy and oodles of instances in which death and disability are linked to poorly manufactured or mislabeled products…

I could go on but the point ought to be clear.  Children are not going to flourish at science in a society that treats science either as something you can believe in selectively, something that is simply one point of view or something about which anyone can have a credible opinion no matter how ill-qualified, dumb or misinformed.

If we want to have a brighter economic future then we need to start thinking about science education outside of our schools.

Absolutely.  Because our schools aren’t teaching science.  They’re teaching our kids about global warming instead.  So they will grow up frightened.  And vote Democrat.

The teacher unions support Democrats.  And Democrats protect teacher unions.  So is it any surprise that they are programming our children to be good Democrat voters instead of teaching them good science?  Filling their heads with politicized science like global warming.  For it is politicized science when a consensus closes a subject to debate.  That is something that just doesn’t happen in good science.  If it were then physicists would just take a vote on what better reconciled general relativity and quantum mechanics.  Loop quantum gravity or string theory?  Of course, physicists don’t reach a consensus to determine which science is the right science.  But that’s what climate ‘scientists’ do.  And Al Gore.  And our public schools.  And our universities.  They say there is a consensus and the scientific debate is settled.  We are warming the planet.  And the only way to save the planet is with massive government regulation.  With Democrats in power to write ever more regulations.

The reason why Americans are falling behind in math and science is because the Democrats use education for political ends.  Not for educating our children.  For they couldn’t win an election if they did.  They need a crisis.  Like global warming.  A crisis and an ignorant electorate.  Which their friends in education give them.  And because they do children from Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Britain, Viet Nam and many more are now smarter than American children.

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According to a Baltimore School Teacher it’s not Bad Teachers but Bad Students that are the Problem

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 4th, 2013

Week in Review

The left keeps saying we need to have a dialog on race.  Which means do nothing, excuse bad behavior and spend more money.  That’s their idea of dialog.  Because for them there’s nothing to talk about.  For when it comes to racial issues they have two simple rules.  Rule #1:  Whites are to blame.  Rule #2: When blacks are to blame see Rule #1.  Why?  To curry favor in the black community.  To get them to vote for them.  And that’s all they care about.  Even if they worsen the condition in the black community in the process.  Because they don’t care about the plight of black people.  They just want their votes.

In today’s society you cannot criticize blacks behaving badly without the left calling you a racist.  Even if you don’t mention race.  If you say ‘Joe is behaving badly’ and Joe is black then your comment ‘Joe is behaving badly’ reeks of racism.  Because of this people are reluctant to criticize blacks behaving badly.  Because it will bring the wrath of the left down upon you.  Stirring up trouble for you where you work and where you live.  Which is the last thing most people want.  So they don’t criticize blacks behaving badly.  Which only encourages some blacks to behave badly (see A brave Baltimore teacher speaks the truth about schools, students by GREGORY KANE posted 8/1/2013 on the Washington Examiner).

Dave Miceli doesn’t know me from a hole in the ground, but he’s my new hero.

Anyone that can dredge up the guts to teach in Baltimore’s public schools automatically becomes a candidate for hero status in my book, especially if said anyone has taught in these schools for 20 years, as Miceli has.

But it was his bold, insightful, no-punches-pulled letter to the editors of the July 15 edition of the Baltimore Sun that put Miceli on my hero’s list…

“I have taught in the Baltimore public school system for the past two decades. What we need is better students. We have many excellent teachers. I cannot count the number of students who have physically destroyed property in the schools.

“They have trashed brand new computers, destroyed exit signs, set multiple fires, destroyed many, many lockers, stolen teachers’ school supplies, written their filth on the tops of classroom desks, defecated in the bathrooms and stairwells, assaulted teachers (beyond constantly telling them to perform certain impossible acts upon themselves) and refused to do any homework or class work.

You can bet that Baltimore school honchos and some elected officials want Miceli fired so badly they can almost taste it. Oddly enough, what probably saves Miceli from being canned are two things that conservatives — rightly so, in most cases — feel are precisely what’s wrong with American education.

That would be teachers’ unions and tenure. With his two decades of teaching, Miceli has tenure. Members of the Baltimore Teachers Union — and its leaders — probably don’t know whether to love or lynch the guy.

So Miceli probably knew that he wouldn’t be fired for his letter, but he’s courageous for saying what he said in a city that’s majority black, with a school system that’s majority black, and where most of the elected officials are black Democrats.

A majority black city?  A majority black school system?  And a majority of black elected officials?  So it’s safe to say that at least some of these students behaving badly are black.  And if these predominantly black Democrat cities have a high black unemployment rate perhaps the conversation we should be having is why aren’t these students doing their homework?  Why aren’t they doing their class work?  For if they aren’t doing their school work how are they going to possess the skills an employer would expect of a high school graduate?  And if they’re not doing their work in high school how are they going to be able to go on to college.  Which is just a much harder high school?

Perhaps this is the reason for the high black unemployment rates in our big Democrat-controlled cities.  Because the left sacrifices these kids for political reasons.  So they can blame racist white Republicans for preventing these kids from doing their homework and their class work.  For remember rule number 2.  Which states, “When blacks are to blame see Rule #1.”  Which states “Whites are to blame.”  Even when it’s black teachers in a black school district in a black city run by black Democrats.

This is the dialog the left wants to have.  So the right understand these two rules.  So they, too, do nothing, excuse bad behavior and spend more money.

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Oregon Teen wanted to be like the Columbine Murderers the Media turned into Celebrities

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 1st, 2013

Week in Review

Sandy Hook, Aurora, Tucson and Virginia Tech were crimes caused by the Second Amendment.  Or so argue the Democrats.  Who want to use these episodes to press for their long-desired gun control legislation.  But the guns these people used weren’t the cause of their murder sprees.  Their mental health problems drove them to commit murder.  But instead of addressing the failures of our mental health system we focus on the guns.  Because the Democrats have long had a burning desire to pass gun control legislation.  Because gun bans will make the world a safer place (see Records: Teen wrote detailed plans for school plot by JONATHAN J. COOPER posted 5/28/2013 on AP).

An Oregon teen accused of planning an assault on his high school wrote detailed plans to “shoot and throw bombs throughout the school,” then kill himself before engaging with responding police officers, according to court documents released Tuesday…

At about 11:10, he would begin blasting music from the car while walking toward the school, a napalm firebomb in one hand and a duffel bag in the other.

“Drop duffel. Light and throw napalm, unzip bag and begin firing,” the notebook said. “Cooly state: ‘the Russian grim reaper is here.'”

The line is apparently a reference to the 2003 film “Bad Boys II.”

The plan went on: “Throw a smoke bomb prior to walking in. Proceed to enter the school, then shoot and throw bombs throughout the school. Kill myself before S.W.A.T. engages me.”

The detective wrote that the notebooks indicate that Acord “compares himself to both Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold,” the teenagers who killed 13 people at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999 before turning their guns on themselves…

On Monday, Acord’s mother, Marianne Fox, issued a statement through a Corvallis lawyer, Alan Lanker, saying the teenager struggles with a rare form of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

This was in Oregon.  Oregon isn’t even a red state.  It’s a blue state.  So if anything they must have an anti-NRA attitude there.  So it wasn’t a gun culture pushing this kid to a bomb crime.  It was mental health problems.  According to his mother.

Thanks to the Left’s relentless coverage of Columbine they turned those two kids into heroes for others like them.  Every kid that was ever pushed around by a bully now dreams of doing the same thing.  Thanks to the celebrity the media gave them.  They really need to stop making these people sound so awesome to others suffering from mental illness.  If they didn’t go wall-to-wall with coverage perhaps this kid would have never heard about that mass murder.  And never planned his.

Once again a person suffering from mental health problems chose a soft target for his crime.  A school.  Which is a gun-free zone.  Why?  Because he didn’t want anyone shooting back at him.  And once someone did arrive on the scene with a gun he would stop murdering innocent people.  And kill himself.  The lesson here?  If there were people with guns at our schools people wouldn’t make plans to murder unarmed people there.  Because all they want to do is kill a lot of innocent people before someone can hurt them.  This is the problem with taking guns away.  It doesn’t stop bad people from doing bad things.  It just makes it harder for good people to protect themselves from bad people.  Who are trying to shoot them.  Or throw bombs at them.

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FT148: “You only know what someone taught you.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 14th, 2012

Fundamental Truth

If we Grew up on a Deserted Island isolated from Hate we’d Probably Grow up Better Adjusted to live with One Another

No one is born a racist.  It’s something you have to learn.  Someone has to teach it to you.  If a parent is a racist chances are the child will be bombarded with racial slurs growing up.  And become a racist.  Just like his or her parent.  But if you raised a bunch of babies of different races together on a deserted island in isolation would any of them grow up to be a racist?   No.  For they wouldn’t even know what racism is.  Because the life they knew would be normal.  It would be normal for black, white, brown, red and yellow to live together.

Catholics and Protestants have spent a few centuries killing each other.  Ever since the Protestant Reformation in 1517.  People have been persecuting Jews since forever.  The Palestinians, Hezbollah and Hamas have been killing Israelis for decades.  Shiite and Sunni have also been killing each other for a very long time.  These people have hated each other so much that they just want to see the other dead.  Yet if you took a Catholic, a Protestant, a Jew, a Palestinian, a Shiite and a Sunni baby from their parents and raised them on a deserted island in isolation they wouldn’t grow up wanting to kill each other.  They wouldn’t even know they were supposed to hate each other.

Europe was just itching to go to war.  Nationalistic fervor was just bursting at the seams.  Germans, Austrians, Hungarians, French, Russians and British were ready and waiting.  Filled with nationalist pride.  Just jonesing to open a can of whup-ass on anyone that wasn’t from their own great nation.  Having learned nothing from the Crimean War.  Or the American Civil War.  Thinking they would march their magnificent armies onto the field of battle, fight a glorious battle and watch the enemy throw down their arms and run away.  Even though tactics hadn’t changed much from the Crimean War and the American Civil War.  Though the weapons were far more lethal.  Making World War I one of the bloodiest wars of all time.  But had you taken a German, an Austrian, a Hungarian, a French, a Russian and a British baby from their parents at the turn of the century and raised them on a deserted island in isolation they wouldn’t have grown up wanting to go to war with each other.  As they wouldn’t know that they were supposed to hate each other.

Of all the Things the State did Poorly perhaps the Worst was being Husband and Father

When our parents grew up they often went to bed without locking the doors to their houses.  Even during the days of Prohibition when armed gangs shot each other in the street with automatic weapons.  Today we have deadbolts and alarm systems.  And metal detectors at our schools.  For kids today are taking guns to school.  And they’re shooting people.  This didn’t happen during the days of Prohibition when gangs were armed with Thompson 45-caliber submachine guns.  Why?  Because during Prohibition there weren’t violent video games, graphic violence in movies & television and rap & hip-hop songs glorifying gun violence.  So even though we have less lethal weapons on the streets today we have more gun violence than before.  Because kids have been so desensitized to violence that killing people just isn’t a big deal to them.  Raise these kids on a deserted island away from this violence in our pop culture, though, and they’re not going to kill indiscriminately.  Instead they’ll stay innocent kids longer.

Add to this violence in our pop culture our secular progressive culture.  The Left’s quest to remove religion and God from as much of our lives as possible.  And their attacks on Christianity.  For imposing their moral code on people.  And opposing free love and abortion.  They have gone so far as to call for the removal of the Ten Commandments from our government buildings.  And our schools.  Because teaching kids things like ‘Thou shall not kill” is a bad thing.  Or any other morality lesson.  For who’s to say what is right and wrong?  Of course when we teach our kids growing up that there are no moral absolutes it sure weakens the argument for them not to do bad things.  It detaches them from society.  And makes them lack empathy for their fellow citizens.  Making it easier to hurt them.  If you pulled these kids out of our public schools and put them and their parents on a deserted island away from this secular progressive culture and filled them with the fear of God for misbehaving they probably could sleep at night with their doors unlocked.  For hurting one another would be the last thing on their minds.

When LBJ passed his Great Society legislation it included Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).  An unmitigated disaster for poor people.  For it let men father and abandon their children.  Leaving women to turn to the state to act as husband and father.  And of all the things the state did poorly perhaps the worst was being husband and father.  It just decimated poor families.  Single mothers filled housing projects.  Their children, with no male role model, turned to the street.  Got into a lot of trouble.  And into drugs.  Even taking that behavior into their schools.  Which is part of the reason why metal detectors are needed today at our schools.  Forcing organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to pick up the parenting slack.  Had these deadbeat dads lived on a deserted island untouched by AFDC there would have been less fathering and abandoning of children.  Like there was before AFDC.

Keynesian Policies have Historically Resulted in High Unemployment and Painful Recessions

After World War II the world went Keynesian.  Classical economics (that favored savings over consumption, low taxes, the gold standard, little government intrusion into the private sector and responsible fiscal policy as in DON’T spend so much) that made America a superpower went out the window.  In came the disaster we call Keynesian economics (that favored consumption over savings, deficit spending, printing lots of money, high taxes and a lot of government intervention into the private sector.  Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge in the Twenties were the last of the classical economists.  Their policies gave us great prosperity.  JFK adopted policies of the classical economics variety to pull America out of a recession in the Sixties.  Nixon, Ford and Carter were big Keynesians whose policies destroyed America.  Ronald Reagan rebuilt America in the Eighties by returning to policies of the classical economics variety.  As George W. Bush did to pull us out of the bad recession caused by Bill Clinton’s dot-com bubble bursting.

So the record shows the success of classical economics.  And the failure of Keynesian economics.  Yet about half the population voted for the Keynesian policies of President Obama in 2012.  Why?  Why did they vote for more of the failed policies of the past?  Because most Americans learn only of Keynesian economics in their economic courses.  While politicians, economists and the mainstream media endorse Keynesian policies as if they have a record of success.  They do this because Keynesian economics does something that classical economics doesn’t.  Empowers big government.  Sanctions class warfare.  Giving them the moral high ground when raising taxes.  And printing money.  Despite these actions causing the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression.

President Obama won reelection for one of two reasons.  Either people want more free stuff.  Or they don’t understand economics.  Or the consequences of handing out all that free stuff.  For if they understood economics they would not have voted for a Keynesian.  For Keynesian policies have historically resulted in high unemployment and painful recessions.  So even if you’re voting for the free stuff you’d vote for the classical economics candidate.  For without people working there is no income to tax to pay for all of that free stuff.  But few people understand economics.  Which is lucky for President Obama.  In fact, few people understand the disaster that has been the liberal agenda as the liberals control the public schools, our colleges, the mainstream media and the entertainment establishment.  So few are learning the long record of liberal failures.  Which helps liberals win elections.  For you only know what someone taught you.  And if the liars are in charge of teaching us the only things we will learn are their lies.  Unless, of course, we can find some deserted island to grow up on where their policies can’t reach us.  Then when we come back we can make the world a better place.  A place with sound economic policies.  With no racism, no religious intolerance, no blind nationalist fervor, no culture of gun violence and no epidemic of deadbeat dads.

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Obama uses a Joint Session of Congress for a 2012 Campaign Speech on Jobs

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 9th, 2011

The Obama Jobs Speech was the Same Old Same Old with the Angry turned up to Eleven

The big speech was last night.  President Obama‘s Jobs speech.  After waiting with bated breath.  For him to come back from vacation.  On Martha’s Vineyard.  Where no one wants for a job.  Or anything.

What you thought of it depends on your party affiliation.  If you’re a Big Government liberal Democrat that wants to stick it to the rich, I’m sure you liked it.  If you were looking for substance, I’m sure you were disappointed.  It was just the same old same old.  With the angry turned up to eleven.

Here are some selections from the transcript with commentary (see Obama jobs speech transcript: Full text (as delivered) posted 9/8/2011 on Politico).

These men and women grew up with faith in an America where hard work and responsibility paid off. They believed in a country where everyone gets a fair shake and does their fair share — where if you stepped up, did your job, and were loyal to your company, that loyalty would be rewarded with a decent salary and good benefits; maybe a raise once in a while. If you did the right thing, you could make it. Anybody could make it in America.

For decades now, Americans have watched that compact erode. They have seen the decks too often stacked against them. And they know that Washington has not always put their interests first.

Yeah, it used to be like that.  Until greed set in.  Government greed.  Their insatiable want of private sector wealth.  And power over our lives.  High taxes.  And punishing regulations.  These have hurt American businesses that once provided those fair shakes.  It’s President Obama and his party that have been making this a business unfriendly nation.  Giving American businesses an unpleasant choice who struggle to compete.  Either close.  Or conduct business in a country that lets them compete.

Just look at the effect of Obamacare.  All hiring is frozen.  And those who can get Obamacare waivers are.  The communist Chinese don’t have these problems.

The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy.

He says as he scolds the American people.  And our Republican representatives.  Yelling at us.  Scowling at us.  Fed up with us.  Because he is not getting his way.

Ultimately, our recovery will be driven not by Washington, but by our businesses and our workers.

Absolutely right.  And the best thing Washington can to is to stop helping.  Their tax and regulatory policies are smothering economic growth.  You want to help?  Then get out of the way.  And let business do what business does best.  Grow.  And create jobs.  To meet demand.  That the market is demanding.  Not building what the government thinks is best.

I am sending this Congress a plan that you should pass right away. It’s called the American Jobs Act. There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation. Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans — including many who sit here tonight. And everything in this bill will be paid for.

That urgent is it?  Urgent.  But not so urgent to cancel your luxurious vacation on the exclusive Martha’s Vineyard?  Where the rich and famous vacation to get away from people like us.  You know, if it could wait until after Martha’s Vineyard, it can’t be that important.

Democrats and Republicans support everything in this plan?  If so why isn’t this already law?  If not important before, why is it now?  Some two and a half years into your presidency?  And some two and a half years after applying your laser-like focus on job creation?

It will create more jobs for construction workers, more jobs for teachers, more jobs for veterans, and more jobs for long-term unemployed.

Jobs for teachers?  There’s nothing stimulative about that.  They don’t hire workers.  And the kids they teach aren’t going to hire any workers for a very long time.  This is just more money for teachers’ unions.  Which will be funneled back to the Democrat Party via union dues.

We pay teachers with tax dollars.  Paid by the taxpayers.  This is money the government transfers from the private sector economy to the public sector teachers.  So before teachers can stimulate with this money the private sector has to lose it first.  They take a large sum of money from the private sector.  And give it to the teachers.  Less administration costs to make this all happen.  To stimulate the private sector economy.  Which means the teachers spend less money than the private sector would have if they were able to keep their money.  This is a net loss of economic activity.  And is not stimulative.

Teachers are like government.  They provide an important service.  But they are taxpayer financed.  And like anything taxpayer financed, they are a drag on the economy.

More shovel-ready construction projects?  You told us yourself there is no such thing as a shovel-ready project.  This won’t be stimulative either.  Construction projects just don’t happen overnight.  Even if you get rid of all the regulatory red tape.  Projects take months to engineer.  If you cut that short there will be cost overruns to correct all the things missed in the engineering process.  Then there’s the asbestos abatement study.  Lead abatement.  Environmental impact studies.  At best these will start hiring in time for the 2012 election campaign.  Which no doubt is the goal.

It will provide — it will provide a tax break for companies who hire new workers, and it will cut payroll taxes in half for every working American and every small business. (Applause.) It will provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled, and give companies confidence that if they invest and if they hire, there will be customers for their products and services. You should pass this jobs plan right away. (Applause.)

If tax breaks are good for businesses then just cut tax rates.  A tax rate cut is more stimulative than a onetime tax credit.  A tax credit does not instill business confidence.  Because hiring a new employee is far more costly than any onetime tax credit.  Especially with Obamacare bearing down on small businesses.  It’s these permanent costs of current tax and regulatory policies.  These are what are keeping business skittish about expanding and hiring.  And a onetime tax credit won’t change that.  A repeal of Obamacare would probably spark some business growth.  But not a targeted tax credit.

Pass this jobs bill — pass this jobs bill, and starting tomorrow, small businesses will get a tax cut if they hire new workers or if they raise workers’ wages.

Wishful thinking.  Whoever came up with this is an economic simpleton.  He might as well have asked everyone to voluntary pay more for their groceries.  So the stores will hire more people with all that additional profit.  Employees are another cost of doing business.  Voluntarily increasing these costs above the market cost will only make these businesses less competitive in the market place.  Threatening their business.  And all the jobs they currently provide.

It’s not just Democrats who have supported this kind of proposal. Fifty House Republicans have proposed the same payroll tax cut that’s in this plan. You should pass it right away. (Applause.)

Yes, payroll tax cuts are good.  They reduce the cost of doing business.  And let employees keep more of their earnings.  So cutting Social Security and Medicare taxes will help.  But this will only set up higher taxes down the road.  Because these programs are going broke.  Businesses understand this.  They know it will only be temporary.  And illusionary.  For they will pay more in the future.  So they aren’t going to hire more now.

Building a world-class transportation system is part of what made us a economic superpower. And now we’re going to sit back and watch China build newer airports and faster railroads? At a time when millions of unemployed construction workers could build them right here in America? (Applause.)

No.  It didn’t.  We took over the title of economic superpower from the British before the federal highway bill.  And private industry built the railroads.  And robber barons.  Sure, government helped.  But it didn’t lead the way.

China?  Really?  Why is China building so much infrastructure?  Because they have cheap labor.  They couldn’t do what they’re doing if their labor costs were the same as ours.  And that high-speed rail system?  They’re now questioning quality and safety.

And there are schools throughout this country that desperately need renovating.

According to my calendar it’s September.  And I’m pretty sure it’s September throughout the country.  Which means what?  That’s right.  The kids just went back to school.  Which means the next round of school renovation projects will take place starting next June.  When the kids get out of school.  Not very stimulative if you ask me.  Unless you just want a lot of people working on these school renovations during the 2012 election campaign.

And to make sure the money is properly spent, we’re building on reforms we’ve already put in place. No more earmarks. No more boondoggles.

Just like you promised your $800 billion stimulus wouldn’t contain any pork or earmarks?  When it was mostly pork and earmarks?  Fool us once shame on you.  Fool us twice shame on us.

And we’ll set up an independent fund to attract private dollars and issue loans based on two criteria: how badly a construction project is needed and how much good it will do for the economy. (Applause.)

Great.  Nothing guarantees to speed things up like making it go through a new government bureaucracy.  Which can better send money to friends of the administration.  Just like that $800 billion stimulus.

Pass this jobs bill, and companies will get a $4,000 tax credit if they hire anyone who has spent more than six months looking for a job.

Let’s crunch some numbers.  Say you hire someone.  Pay them $30,000.  Your half of Social Security and Medicare taxes come to $2,295 for the year.  Now factor in your other costs.  State and federal unemployment insurance.  Workers’ compensation insurance.  Health care.  Etc.  Not to mention their salary.  It adds up to a lot of money.  Far more than that $4,000 tax credit.  For hiring someone they don’t need to support their current level of business.  And you know what?  A smart business owner isn’t going to do this.

The plan also extends unemployment insurance for another year. (Applause.) If the millions of unemployed Americans stopped getting this insurance, and stopped using that money for basic necessities, it would be a devastating blow to this economy.

The government has to take that money out of the private sector economy first.  Before it can pay unemployment benefits.  Someone is still spending that money.  Just a different someone.  By the time you add in the cost of administering those benefits, there is a net loss in economic activity. 

Unemployment benefits help the unemployed while they look for another job.  They don’t stimulate the economy.

The agreement we passed in July will cut government spending by about $1 trillion over the next 10 years. It also charges this Congress to come up with an additional $1.5 trillion in savings by Christmas. Tonight, I am asking you to increase that amount so that it covers the full cost of the American Jobs Act. And a week from Monday, I’ll be releasing a more ambitious deficit plan — a plan that will not only cover the cost of this jobs bill, but stabilize our debt in the long run. (Applause.)

Standard and Poor’s wanted to see $4 trillion in real spending cuts.  Not cuts in the out-years that will disappear in the next budget deal.  Real cuts.  If not they said they would downgrade the U.S. sovereign debt rating.  They couldn’t do it.  The best they could do was a $1 trillion tax cut over the next 10 years.  And by golly if S&P didn’t downgrade our credit rating.

And the special commission is to find another half trillion in spending cuts?  On top of the $1.5 trillion they were already looking for?  That Congress was unable to find?  And now they have to find $2 trillion?  Yeah, like that’s going to happen.  That’s a plan with but one goal.  Failure. 

With this kind of spending, a deficit reduction plan can only mean one thing.  More taxes.  Just what the economy needs.  Not.

While most people in this country struggle to make ends meet, a few of the most affluent citizens and most profitable corporations enjoy tax breaks and loopholes that nobody else gets. Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary — an outrage he has asked us to fix. (Laughter.) We need a tax code where everyone gets a fair shake and where everybody pays their fair share.

An executive secretary probably earns something north of $60,000 a year.  That puts her in a top marginal tax bracket of 25%.  Crunching the numbers and this executive secretary will pay $11,125 in federal taxes.  Now let’s assume Warren Buffet has a half billion dollars in investments that pay a return of 8%.  That’s a capital gain of about $40 million.  Taxed at a paltry 15% capital gains tax that’s a measly $6 million in federal taxes.  Funny.  His secretary has a higher tax rate.  But Buffet pays approximately 53,833% more in tax dollars.  I don’t know how you can say one person paying $40 million in taxes isn’t paying his fair share.

Should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies? Or should we use that money to give small business owners a tax credit when they hire new workers? Because we can’t afford to do both. Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires? Or should we put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate ready for college and good jobs? (Applause.) Right now, we can’t afford to do both.

This isn’t political grandstanding. This isn’t class warfare. This is simple math. (Laughter.)

This is nothing but political grandstanding and class warfare.  And rather Orwellian.  In Nineteen Eighty Four, they just changed the meaning of words to control the people.  Such as slavery is freedom.  But changing the meaning of words doesn’t change what slavery is.  It’s still slavery.  No matter what you call it.  And political grandstanding and class warfare is political grandstanding and class warfare.  Even if you say it isn’t.

Now it’s time to clear the way for a series of trade agreements that would make it easier for American companies to sell their products in Panama and Colombia and South Korea -– while also helping the workers whose jobs have been affected by global competition.

America can’t compete with China because Chinese labor is cheaper.  So to make American products more competitive the president wants to subsidize our high cost of labor.  With American tax dollars.  Spread the higher cost of U.S. goods throughout the American economy.  Leaving everyone with less money for their own personal needs.  So we can keep Big Union working.  And supporting the Democrat Party.  Which will only increase government spending.  Our deficit.  And our debt.

To subsidize Big Labor they’ll have to pill that money out of the private sector economy first.  So you subtract X from the private sector economy.  And give X to Big Union.  Less an administration fee, of course.  Meaning that there will be a net loss of economic activity.

If we provide the right incentives, the right support — and if we make sure our trading partners play by the rules — we can be the ones to build everything from fuel-efficient cars to advanced biofuels to semiconductors that we sell all around the world.

The free market doesn’t need government incentives and support.  They did fine and dandy in the old days without any government help.  And making our trading partners play by the rules?  If you could do that they would be playing by the rules already.  There’s nothing you can do to make China stop undervaluing the yuan.  Unless you want to throw up protective tariffs on Chinese goods.  Of course they’ll retaliate.  Which will only make everything more expensive for the American consumer.  Besides, we already tried this.  Just before the Great Depression.

You really want to talk about the government picking winners and losers (i.e., incentives and support)?  Really?  After the Solyndra bankruptcy?  And the FBI raid on their executive homes?

Well, I agree that we can’t afford wasteful spending, and I’ll work with you, with Congress, to root it out. And I agree that there are some rules and regulations that do put an unnecessary burden on businesses at a time when they can least afford it. (Applause.) That’s why I ordered a review of all government regulations.

Didn’t Al Gore already reinvent government?  To root out wasteful spending and regulations?  Yeah, he did.  Or tried.  Turns out that’s a lot easier said than done.  Especially when you don’t really mean it.  I mean, come on, the Left lives and dies for these costly regulations.  They’re not just going to sit idly by and let them get repealed.  Not when they fund Democrat candidates in elections.

But what we can’t do — what I will not do — is let this economic crisis be used as an excuse to wipe out the basic protections that Americans have counted on for decades.

Really?  So you’re not going to let anyone do what you did?  Like Rahm Emanuel said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”  When you used the worst recession since the Great Depression to pass your stimulus?

Basic protections are one thing.  But your regulatory zeal has shut down this economy.  Just ask the Gulf oil workers.  If you can find any.  Because they aren’t working on rigs in the Gulf anymore.  Thanks to you.

We all remember Abraham Lincoln as the leader who saved our Union. Founder of the Republican Party. But in the middle of a civil war, he was also a leader who looked to the future — a Republican President who mobilized government to build the Transcontinental Railroad — (applause) — launch the National Academy of Sciences, set up the first land grant colleges. (Applause.) And leaders of both parties have followed the example he set.

The seeds of the first transcontinental railroad were sowed back in the 1830s.  Lincoln became president in 1861.  The NAS was established by an Act of Congress.  Land grant colleges came into being in with the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890.  First introduced in 1857.  Abraham Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation.  But he did not create these other acts of Congress.  Congress did. 

And the transcontinental railroad?  That was Congress, too.  And one of the most corrupt Congresses in history.  The incentives and support Congress gave encouraged them to build track on ice.  Zigzag to cover as much land as possible to claim the mineral rights beneath. And when east and west finally met, they kept building track.  Parallel to each other.  To keep collecting money for track mileage laid.  And the cost overruns made a lot of Congressmen wealthy.  No, this railroad was not America’s finest hour.

How many jobs would it have cost us if past Congresses decided not to support the basic research that led to the Internet and the computer chip?

The government Internet (DARPA) was nothing more than file sharing and email for scientists.  If private enterprise and entrepreneurs didn’t step in that’s what the Internet would still be. 

The computer chip?  Funny. I thought that was Texas Instruments and Fairchild Semiconductor.  Which was ultimately based on the transistor.  Invented in 1947 by John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain, and William B. Shockley of Bell Labs.  Who replaced vacuum tubes with semiconductors everywhere.  Except in high-end audio amplifiers.

What kind of country would this be if this chamber had voted down Social Security or Medicare just because it violated some rigid idea about what government could or could not do? (Applause.) How many Americans would have suffered as a result?

Actually they’d probably be a lot better off.  As far as a return on investment, Social Security is one of the worst retirement investments out there.  Why?  Because it’s not an investment.  Your money goes into the Social Security trust fund.  Where it ‘waits’ for your retirement.  But before you do, the government takes that money and spends it.  Leaving an IOU in the trust fund.  This is no IRA.  No 401(k).  No mutual fund.  It’s not even a savings bond.  In fact, if you die before you collect, all that money you paid in is kept by the government.  It doesn’t go to your heirs with the rest of your estate.  Like an IRA, a 401(k) or a mutual fund would.

But Social Security has been a real success.  For the government.  Because it has made generations of people dependent on government in their retirement.  Who live in fear of losing their benefits.  And will do anything to keep those benefits coming.  Even if it means screwing their own children.  And their grandchildren.  They’re so frightened by the Democrats that they will vote Democrat.  No matter how much the Democrats steal from future generations.

I don’t pretend that this plan will solve all our problems. It should not be, nor will it be, the last plan of action we propose.

That’s right.  You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.  And they will milk this for all it’s worth.  Stimulus.  Bailing out the UAW pension funds (i.e., the auto bailout).  Financial reform.  Obamacare.  Everything they’ve always wanted.  But could never get through the normal legislative process.

The Problem with Barack Obama is that he’s a Keynesian who wants to Grow the Government

Once again the professor scolds those who don’t agree with him.  And offers more of the same.  Which has already failed to reverse the worst recession since the Great Depression.  And it’s not going to work this time.  How do we know this?  Because if this stuff worked it would have worked the first time.

And it would be nice to see the plan before our representatives pass the plan.  For as CBO said before, you just can’t score a speech.  We need to see the numbers.  And the leaps of faith.  But I guess it’s hard to quantify soaring rhetoric.  Especially when you’re offering the same thing.  That you’re trying to make sound different this time.

The problem with Barack Obama is that he’s a Keynesian.  With one slight difference.  Keynesian stimulus is supposed to be temporary.  Whereas Obama’s stimulus gets added into the baseline budget.  Making his stimulus spending permanent.  His number one goal isn’t growing the economy.  It’s growing the government.  That’s why his polices don’t help the economy.  But they sure have grown the government.  And in Obama’s book that’s mission accomplished. 

But he sure would like a second term to continue the fun.  But I just don’t see that happening.  For I can’t see how he can fool that many people into believing that they’re better off after four years of his policies.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

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Drug Violence on our Southern Border and Catcalls in New York City are Related – Societal Decay Responsible for Both

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 30th, 2010

The drug cartel violence crosses the U.S. border.  Beheaded body found in Phoenix, Arizona.

It’s getting a little violent on this side of the U.S. border.  The latest?  This from AP’s Amanda Lee Myers’ Arizona beheading raises fears of drug violence posted on apnews.myway.com:

The gruesome case of a man who was stabbed and beheaded in a suburban Phoenix apartment has police investigating whether the killing is potentially the most extreme example of Mexican drug cartel violence spilling over the border.

The police think the victim was stealing drugs from the cartel.  And this was a message to others who might be thinking about doing likewise. 

Decapitations are a regular part of the drug war in Mexico as cartels fight over territory. Headless bodies have been hanged from bridges by their feet, severed heads have been sent to victims’ family members and government officials, and bags of up to 12 heads have been dropped off in high-profile locations.

The crime appears confined to members of the drug trade.  It’s a little reassuring for the innocent bystanders close to the crime.  ‘Little’ being the key word.

“I’m terrified,” said [a neighbor], a 47-year-old housekeeper who lives two doors down from the apartment. “I’ve lived here for 20 years and I’ve never heard of that (decapitation) happening, and it was so close to us … Maybe they’re copying what’s happening in Mexico.”

But it hasn’t been exactly restricted to the drug trade.  There has been some collateral damage. 

While extreme violence has stayed south of the border for the most part, some of it has spilled over into the U.S.

In March, Arizona rancher Robert Krentz was gunned down while checking water lines on his property near the border. Authorities believe – but have never produced substantive proof – that an illegal immigrant, likely a scout for drug smugglers, was to blame for his killing.

In May 2009, a Mexican drug cartel lieutenant who became an informant for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was shot eight times outside his pricey home in El Paso. The lieutenant, Jose Daniel Gonzalez Galeana, was living in Texas on a visa that ICE gave him, and is believed to be the first ranking cartel member killed in the U.S.

Payan described the spillover as minimal, but said it could increase.

And what is the federal government doing to address border security?  Suing Arizona.  And putting up some signs that warn Americans about unsafe American territory.

Whistles, catcalls and lewd come-ons on the rise in New York City.  Young girls harassed near their schools.

In a serious news story about women being harassed on the streets of New York (see AP’s NYC Considers a No Catcall Zone posted on www.nbcnewyork.com on 10/29/2010), the article starts off with a most inappropriate photo.  It shows a woman’s feet in what appears to be 6-inch stiletto heels.  The kind of shoes you’d see a stripper wear on stage.  Or so I’ve heard.  One thing for certain, though, any man looking at the photo is going to imagine a smoking hot woman attached to those feet.  The kind of a woman that burly construction workers would whistle at.  And, to be fair, a woman dressed like THAT may be disappointed if they didn’t.  So it’s a rather poor choice of a photo to use with this article.  For although we know:

Whistles, catcalls and lewd come-ons from strangers are all too familiar to New York City women, who say they are harassed multiple times a day as they walk down the street.

Some men are clearly crossing the line. 

A City Council committee heard testimony Thursday from women who said men regularly follow them, yell at them and make them feel unsafe and uncomfortable. Advocates told stories of preteens and teenagers being hounded by adult men outside city schools and pleaded for government to address the problem.

And what is the city of New York doing about this issue?

Hollaback [an organization formed five years ago to stand up to street harassment] is pushing the city to commission a study, a public awareness campaign and perhaps even legislation, including “no-harassment zones” around schools to protect young women.

Madonna, Brittany Spears and Glee go too far in sexualizing young girls?

Now, what do these two stories have in common?  Although the victims aren’t responsible for the crime/harassment against them, the society that they are a part of is.

The Left wants to give condoms to our kids.  And make abortions available when a pregnancy happens.  We need to be progressive.  Kids are having sex.  We need to stop being so puritan and treat our kids as adults.  Like the television show Glee does.  In that show adults play high school kids.  And their audience is primarily high school kids and younger.  They’ve had some pretty questionable content on that show.  Madonna and Brittany Spears video parodies.  And they’ve appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine, dressed as high school kids.  But you could look up one of the girls’ skirt and see her little white panties.  And the same ‘girl’ just did a GQ photo shoot, posing inside a high school.  Again, showing her little white panties.   Of course, these kids are really adults. But they play kids. 

The Left attacks the world of Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best & Ozzie and Harriet.  But you gotta admit this; they didn’t objectify women.  You didn’t see any of them sexualizing young girls.  And New York City didn’t have council meetings discussing possible legislation banning catcalls around schools.

Marijuana, cocaine, heroin and crystal meth supplied by Mexico to meet demand in the United States.

They’re trying to legalize marijuana again in California.  They say it’s no big deal.  It’s no worse than drinking.  And all that talk about it being a gateway drug to the stronger stuff?  That’s just ridiculous.  Then again, that stronger stuff is crossing the border along with the marijuana.  Which begs the question, why?  Who’s using the harder stuff?  People who’ve moved on from marijuana? 

The vast majority of drugs coming in from Mexico and causing all that trouble on the border is marijuana.  There’s big money in Mexican marijuana.  And it will get bigger and bloodier if California legalizes it.  More customers.  And lower prices (legal things tend to be cheaper than illegal things).  The drug gangs will fight to expand their territory.  And fight to not lose any of their territory.  So there’s marijuana.  Also coming in from Mexico is cocaine, black tar heroin and, of course, crystal meth.  Meth is a booming business since they restricted the sale of decongestants in the states.  They have factories in Mexico creating this stuff wholesale.  And shipping it to the United States.  Why?  Because we keep saying drugs are no big deal.

Sex and drugs responsible for societal decay?

Sex and drugs.  Everybody does it/them.  We need to accept it.  Treat kids as adults.  And when there are consequences to this behavior, we play the blame game.  It’s not school condoms and abortion on demand that is making people look at girls/women as sexual objects.  It’s men acting as animals.  For girls/women it’s empowering and liberating.  But it’s primitive animal behavior for men.  Of course, women can’t be empowering or liberating sexually without men.  So men are obliging.  And they’re apparently thinking about it all of the time.  Even when working on a construction site.

And when it comes down to pointing the finger of blame for the border violence, I don’t know if we can point it at just the drug gangs.  I mean, they wouldn’t be doing what they are doing if it wasn’t for all those Americans eagerly looking to buy what they are selling.

So, when men whistle at a girl/woman, or there is a drug-gang murder on the border, society’s to blame.  And it’s important to emphasize that the individual victims themselves are not responsible.  It is the societal decay that has preconditioned the predator.   They think it’s all right.  Because everyone is having sex.  And doing drugs.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

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