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Friday, October 9, 2009

32. The Bubble Generation

I've always wondered into which generation I was born. I was born too late to be a "baby boomer" and too early to be a Gen "X"er. But now I think I have it figured out. I'm part of the "Bubble Generation." My generation has watched the world progress from one political and economic bubble to the next. Although too young to fully understand at the time, the 1960s were the "sex and drug" bubble. It all must have sounded so wonderful with Timothy Leary preaching free love and LSD for everyone. But reality kicked in and society found it rather difficult to function with everybody "tuned in" and "turned on" rather than working, earning a living and raising their families.

The next major bubble was the technology, stock market bubble of the 1990s. Stock prices of companies, with little hope of ever being profitable, soared into the outer layers of space. In 1999 I actually heard a financial anaylst on television say, "maybe P/E (price earnings) ratios don't mean anything anymore. Maybe we need a new method of evaluating stock pricing." Yeah, right - profits don't mean anything to a company and its stock price. I couldn't help but wonder from which Ivy League university she graduated. Of course, that bubble burst and the NASDAQ index lost 85% of its value over just a few months.

The bubble then moved into real estate, especially in California, New York and Florida. Housing prices went up, up, up!! I live in Southern California and made money just sitting in my condo watching TV. It was great!! But, fortunately, having watched the other bubbles burst and learning from them, I sold my condo in 2004 and started renting. Since that time, the value of my old condo has dropped 35% and will likely drop much further.

In all three of the above cases, the word "bubble" is perfect to describe what was happening - something growing but filled with little more than air. And considering the outer skin of a bubble is thin and weak, it is guaranteed to pop.

Now we are in a major political bubble, one with both an older and a newer component. The new component is Messiah Obama, savior of America and probably the world, if you ask his disciples. It is eerie to see magazine racks with his pictures, week after week, month after month, adorning not only political magazines but also health, beauty, women's issues and probably pet care magazines, if I looked long enough. Never has a president and his wife had such constant, worshipful exposure in the media. To further the bubble, Obama has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Interesting, considering that war still rages in Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran threatens to obliterate Israel and Mr Peace-Prize Obama sitting in the oval office looking left and right for someone to please tell him what he should do!

Obama was elected on a platform of "Hope and Change" - subjective ideals that mean something different to each person. Many voters who hoped he meant less government and more personal freedom are discovering the "loons" on the right were correct in their dire predictions of 2008. Obama's idealistic hope is a nation like those formed by Mao and Lenin instead of ours formed by Franklin and Jefferson. Considering that Obama has accomplished basically nothing in his life, save for being elected a senator and now president, he too seems be filled more with air than any sort of substance. He is another bubble just waiting to burst.

The second component of this current bubble is socialism. This and Obama's bubbles are fueling each other and both will end badly. Socialism is another empty promise of a utopian world where everyone runs barefoot through clover, smiling and laughing. It seems oddly tied to the LSD induced fantasies of the 1960s bubble, doesn't it? But the promises made by FDR, Johnson, Clinton and Obama are beginning to unravel as the piper is now ready to be paid and the government coffers are empty. Unbelievably, the socialist bubble is already beginning to burst in Europe as staunchly socialist countries, such as Germany, are realizing the folly of the utopian dream and voting for more conservative governments.

The people are rising up. We see it in townhall meetings, Tea Parties, the continued success of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and the FoxNews network. People are emerging from the utopian fog and realizing that the socialist promises are merely hot air and that their lives are now threatened by its demise.

Cycle Theorists are pointing to mid-2011 as a major political crisis, one in which Obama may be forced from office. Not by the "vast right-wing conspiracy" but by all Americans who find that the promises made to their generations are nothing but more hot air. It will happen as the US and global economies burst and melt down and all can clearly see that the emporer truly is without clothes.

It will be another burst bubble for my generationm but one overdue and necessary for our economies to get back to reality and move forward on fundamentals rather than fantasy.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

31. Depraved

Depraved: Marked by evil.

I don't know why I am still surprised when liberals expose their hypocrisy. It's nothing new. Al Gore preaches global climate gloom and doom then zips around the world in private jets. Ted Kennedy loves high inheritance taxes, except when it comes to his family whose family trust sits in Fiji, far away from US tax laws. I've written more about this in my essay Who You Calling Rhetorical? But in the last couple of days, I've seen liberals sink to new lows, so low that it can only be called depravity.

Roman Polanski was recently arrested in Switzerland and is being held for deportation to the US for raping a 13 year-old girl in 1977. Shortly after pleading guilty, Polanski fled the country before he could be sentenced and sent to prison. He has remained a fugitive ever since.

I remember reading that Polanski didn't realize he was doing anything wrong at the time of the rape. In France, Polanski's home country, the age of consent was much younger than 18, as it is here in the US. I did not research the situation further and believed that although that might be true, isn't "ignorance of the law" still no excuse?

Years later, I read the full account of the charges against Polanski. In no way was sex with this young girl consensual. In a hot tub, Mr. Polanski gave her alcohol, drugs and took nude pictures of her. According to testimony, the girl resisted his advances and told him repeatedly to stop. Mr. Polanski ignored her pleas and proceeded to rape and sodomize her.

I would think that liberals would be cheering his capture. But then, as I said earlier, I still apparently think that liberals have a soul or at least some sort of conscience. But no, they are pounding their fists and signing petitions for Polanski's immediate release. The National Organization of Women doesn't seem to care, Hollywood clearly doesn't care, neither of the Obamas, parents of two small girls, are saying much. Whoopi Goldberg even said this wasn't really "rape-rape, it was something else." Ms. Goldberg was unable to define, however, what that "something else" actually was.

Roman Polanski is one of them, one of the elite left - Someone above the law, above punishment, above accountability. The pattern of the left is to marginalize women who stand in their way, should they inconveniently get raped. It was "consensual" as was reported regarding Clinton and Lewinsky. She was "a bimbo" as was reported regarding Clinton and Paula Jones. Also regarding Clinton and Paula Jones was James Carville's lovely comment, "If you drag a hundred dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you'll find." There is also the Kennedy family rape in Florida where the woman was marginalized. No liberal women's group came to the victim's aid and the Kennedy boy, much like others in his family, was set free. The women you see, are chattel, bimbos, idiots. So somehow, to liberals, these women all deserved it - right? This isn't coming from rednecks in some southern state often distained by the left, this is coming from Hollywood power brokers and leaders in the democratic party. Like they said about Clinton and any one of the women who accused him of rape - "Hey, forget about it and just Move On!"

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Woody Allen supports Polanski's release, or maybe even Martin Scorsese or Harvey Weinstein. But what does surprise me is the number of women, from Whoopi to Debra Winger to Monica Bellucci who see nothing wrong with what Polanski did and are protesting for his release. Ms. Winger said, "it is a three-decades-old case that is dead but for minor technicalities." Sick, Ms. Winger, sick.

I don't have children, but I cannot be around the children of my friends and family without feeling fiercely protective. When I am with them, especially the girls, and am in public with them, my eyes are darting back and forth looking for any sign of trouble. I know my body is tense as I prepare to engage any yet unseen enemy of these children. Any man who drugs and sodomizes a child should be sent to prison for the rest of his life. There should be no questions, no middle ground, no "well what about this or that." I know if any child in my charge was raped and sodomized as Polanski did to this girl I would do everything possible to ensure that the beast never saw another sunrise.

I cannot believe that any human, regardless of their political beliefs, could for one moment support the release of Polanski. But Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Debra Winger, Harvey Weinstein, Monica Bellucci, Pedro Almodovar, Woody Allen, John Landis and over one hundred others of Hollywood's liberal elite, don't agree with me. After all, they say, it was a long time ago and besides, we like his movies!

It has been reported that the girl, now 45, hopes the case is dropped. On the other hand, the woman was also paid off in a civil suit against Polanski. So, I guess if you are a liberal, can flee the country and pay off your victims, even child rape is okay.

There is almost no political issue in which I support Obama. In fact, I see him as the worst possible thing that could have happened to America. In spite of this, if any man drugged, raped and sodomized one of his two little girls, I would hope that all of America would join me in ensuring the perpetrator be sent to jail forever. But then, I know now that my hopes would likely be dashed. For if that man was Roman Polanski, Hollywood would probably just shrug their shoulders and say, "hey - just move on. After all, it wasn't really a rape-rape, was it?"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

30. A Modest Proposal

It has been 280 years since Jonathan Swift penned his proposal, and now it is my turn. I've decided to stop fighting the enlightened, intellectual progressives. In fact, I'm picking up their mantle with the exuberance of a zealot. I agree with their vision, their hope of a better future for all. They want healthcare for all Americans. I say great!! But I also say, "Why stop there? Why not guarantee a comfortable and safe future for all Americans?"

So, here is my modest proposal. The US government will give each American $1 million to secure their future. In addition, $500,000 will be given to each family to purchase a home. Health care will be provided, regardless of cost, to each and every citizen of this great country. No American shall ever go without a safe home, a warm bed, a full belly and the best medical care possible. Upon the birth of a child, the government will issue a check for another $1 million to ensure that child's future.

How can any caring, loving, concerned, compassionate American not agree with me? To disagree with this proposal would doubtlessly be because of hate and/or racism. No other reason could possibly be valid. Don't we all want the best for each and every one of us?

What, you say? This proposal is too much? Too extreme? Too generous? I'll ignore for a moment your obvious greed and selfishness and try to be open to debate and negotiation. How about we reduce the amount to only $750,000 per American and only $400,000 for a home. The health care, though, is not negotiable. Unlike so many non-progressives, I have a heart, a soul, a conscience.


Just as Swift's essay was satirical, so, of course is mine. Sadly, many of the progressive left would almost agree with such a proposal. Since their make-believe world has no limits or boundries, this proposal, or some variation of it, certainly is possible. Isn't it?

I do agree with socialist progressives that it would be wonderful if healthcare could be provided to every American, even every person on this planet. It would be great if the world worked in such a way that every person could live without want. But this is not reality. We've seen the results of countries trying to ensure "fairness" and the results have been nothing more than common misery for all. No American ever flew to the USSR to avail themselves of their excellent medical care. No wall was erected around the prior communist eastern bloc countries to keep people out, only to keep people in. No one has ever risked their life swimming from Florida to reach a supposed paradise in Cuba.

The issue with Obama's healthcare is its cost. It isn't about racism, or greed or hate. Let's look at my modest proposal and its cost. The US would have to print almost $1 quadrillion. What would be the result? First of all, those dollars would basically be worthless, inflation would drive the cost of every product to stratospheric heights. Even if inflation could be avoided, most Americans would stop working and live off their windfall. If no one is working, who is producing the goods and services we need to live? Someone owning chickens would quickly find a market for his eggs at $1,000 each!

If you, Mr. Progressive, think this is ridiculous and Obamacare isn't, explain to me why the left accused then President Bush of bankrupting our country when the national debt hit $1 trillion yet you see nothing wrong with Obama tripling that debt in his first six months in office. The projections are that should all of Obama's programs be implemented, the debt will rise rapidly over the next ten years to $10 to $20 trillion. How can that possibly make sense to you? On Sunday, Obama shockingly stated that the only way to reduce federal spending, at this point, is to implement this healthcare program. Ignoring the data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) which stated that the cost would actually rise, Obama still stands up and makes such a statement. Even worse, there are those that believe him.

Yes, it would be nice to give everyone, everything they want or need, but life simply doesn't work that way. Our founding fathers were wise beyond their time. We can provide opportunity and nothing more. It is up to each individual to succeed.

I have written before in my essay America The Prejudiced of immigrants from all over the world who have found success in this country. We provided opportunity and they came, they worked hard, they went to college, they saved, they invested, they bought homes and they made lives for themselves and for their families. Something not possible in the socialistic countries from which they fled.

Yet through some fantasy delusion, the progressive left sees a socialistic utopia as possible here in the US. Yet in spite of the fact - the fact - that it has never worked anywhere else in the world at any time in history, they still believe somehow, some way, it will work here.

My proposal is satire. To the left, it is sadly somehow real.

(Special thanks to Roger Massengale)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

29. The Party of Parrots

Yesterday I read an opinion piece regarding Obama's recent troubles getting legislation through Congress, especially his health care bill. After completing the article, I continued on and read many of the comments posted by other readers. Not surprisingly I read the same comments I've read many times before from other articles. The comments come from what I now call "The Parrots." A parrot, usually a leftist, is one who continually repeats the same phrase over and over without understanding what he or she says or even why he or she says it. Yet, repeat it they do.

The first parrot phrase I've found is that the Republican Party is the "Party of 'No'." Since conservatives reject Obama's socialistic agenda they have been encouraging their Congress men and women to vote against these policies. Of course, that vote would be "No." Do these same parrots see Democrats as the party of "Yes?" Hmmm.... Whenever conservatives try to push legislation for choice in education, allowing poorer parents the same priveleges to send their children to private schools as the rich, what does the left say? "No, No, No, No, No!!!"

What about privatization of Social Security? If you read my article "Jack Makes An Investment" you'll discover that privatization would conservatively lead to retirement benefits five to ten times greater than the current government controlled program. What has the left said about such a change? "No, No, No, No, No!"

These are just two examples of the supposed "Yes Party" stomping their feet, taking their shoes off, beating them on their tables and shouting, "No, No, No!" But does that stop the parrots from assigning that label to conservatives? Well, um... no, it doesn't.

The second label used against conservatives is that we are the "Haters." Hate, hate, hate - that's all we do on the right, we hate everyone and everything, well, at least according to the parrots. If anyone disagrees with any policy in any way of Obama's - they are a hater. No discussion, no debate, no give and take - just hate. Hmmm...... let me think, what did the left call George W. Bush? Nazi, Stupid, Racist...... I guess I just don't feel the love there. Sounds like hate to me.

Jesse Jackson has made a career spewing hate by calling people racists. Harvard professor Henry Gates was quick to decry his arresting officer as a racist. What about Obama's "Green Czar" Van Jones, saying "they [Republicans] are a**holes?" He's also made racially charged statements referring to "white polluters and the white environmentalists steering poison to minority communities." More hate. On any day of the week, visit the DailyKos and read the postings or check out the HuffingtonPost and read what the bloggers say about anyone who disagrees with the policies of the left. How any rational person can read that crap and see love and compassion is beyond me. It's hate - vitriolic hate. I don't know how many times I've been in a room with leftists and someone makes a political comment to which all I do is simply question their position, asking them to give supporting evidence for their views, and I am met with a litany of name-calling and hate. Hate, hate, hate. Hate and more parrot phrases.

The third parrot example is to me, the most interesting. I first heard this parrot line from MSNBCs Rachel Maddow. Ms. Maddow went to Stanford University yet she too is nothing more than a parrot. She was ranting on about conservatives standing up against Obama and Pelosi's push to ramp up this countries run to socialism. Her exceedingly brilliant parrot phrase was, "if these people hate socialism so much, why do they still draw Social Security and Medicare?" Wow, Rachel, you got me there. Ok, Rachel and the rest of you parrots - are you listening? I'll try to take this one slowly. Yes, as much as I would love to see both Social Security and Medicare phased out, I can't blame anyone, conservative or liberal, for expecting the government to live up to their promises. If I'm 65 years old and have been forced all my life to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars into both Social Security and Medicare, yes, I do expect a return, pitifully small though it may be. If I had been given a choice to contribute to Social Security or to a private program and chose the private program, no, I would not then expect to draw from the public option. The same is true for Medicare. For what I and my employer have paid into the system over my lifetime, I could secure private insurance for my retirement years. But, it didn't go into a private account, it went to the government. So, I do expect them, regardless of my belief in the program, to pony up. Just as I would expect the same from any organization, public or private, into which I've paid and who has guaranteed me a product or service in return. Rachel, let me opt out of these programs and put that same money into a private fund and you'll never hear me ask for government assistance. Is that fair? Are you ok with that? But the supposed "Party of Choice" has repeatedly said, "NO, NO, NO!! NO Choice for YOU!"

But if Rachel sees this as hypocrisy, let's take a closer look at the left. In 2001, the state Democrats in Arkansas wanted to raise taxes. Then Governor Mike Huckabee said "no." But, he did respect those that wished for such an increase and created the "Tax Me More Fund." This fund allowed those leftists who believed in the "public option" and higher taxes to put their money where their mouth was and voluntarily contribute to this fund. The result? Six months later the fund had only raised $1,900. I wonder how much Rachel contributed.

I'm all for the "public option" as long as the public who demands that option also pays for it. Obama and his followers want health care for an additional 50 million people. Great - tax them more!! Set up a fund to which they can contribute. Then use that money to purchase health insurance for all of the uninsured. What do you think Rachel?

I'm guessing Rachel and the rest of the parrots will say, "No, No, No!"

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

28. Two Townhall Questions For President Obama

President Obama, thank you for taking my question today.

First of all, I want to assure you that I do not represent any insurance company nor am I a plant of any faction of Hillary's "vast right-wing conspiracy." I am not a member of any mob, a racist nor an "evil-mongerer." I am just an ordinary American citizen who is deeply concerned about the proposed health care initiative in Congress. Second, in spite of Ms. Pelosi's views, I do not see my concerns as "un-American" and I trust you will not see them as such either.

In listening to many of the townhall meetings which have been broadcast, members of Congress, as well as yourself, Mr. President, have often been unable to answer specific questions regarding the content of the health care bill. The reason usually cited is that several versions of the bill are currently working their way through committees and it is not yet currently known what will be in the final bill. This is quite understandable. On the other hand, in July, before the Congressional summer break in August, you were trying to push this seemingly unknown bill through both houses before members of Congress and the American public were even able to review its contents.

So, my first question: Mr. President, will you promise me and all Americans that when this bill is fully hammered out, that it will be posted on the internet for a minimum of eight (8) weeks so that all members of Congress and all concerned citizens of this great country are allowed sufficient time to review and understand a bill that will place one-seventh of our economy under government control? This will give us all time to understand and digest this bill and then time to contact our members of Congress with our comments and concerns. Considering the magnitude of this bill and its potential impact on our economy, is this really too much to ask?

My second question: Mr. President, you have made many sweeping promises regarding this bill. One such recent promise is that no one will ever have to stand in line for health care. You have portrayed this bill a the solution to our nation's health care problems and concerns. So, Mr. President, will you promise to me and all Americans here and now, that one additional clause will be placed in this bill. That clause will read:

"All members of Congress, the Supreme Court, the President of the United States, all members of the President's cabinet, all federal employees and all members of the families of each of these offices must be covered soley by this plan. Any elected or appointed federal official, member or employee not choosing this plan must reliquish their office or job within the federal government."

If I was a member of Congress or even the President of the United States, there is not one single piece of legislation I would ever force upon the American people that I would not also wish to apply to me. I trust you, your wife Michelle, Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Barney Frank, Harry Reid, Diane Feinstein, Al Sharpton, Dick Durbin, Arlen Specter, Chris Dodd, Ted Kennedy, Robert Byrd and every other member of Congress who is committed to this health plan, hold these same values and will welcome the excellent care which will undoubtedly be provided. And if this plan is not good enough for you, your family or for your esteemed colleagues, then why should it be good enough for any other American?

Thank you Mr. President for your time and your concern.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

27. What's In A Name?

Tuesday, the California Supreme Court actually lived up to their role in government, well, at least six of the seven justices did. Instead of legislating from the bench, they ruled in favor of the majority of Californians who passed Proposition 8, the proposition which bans gay marriage. In their summary, they sent the measure back to the people. If gay marriage is to become law, they said, it must be the residents of California who approve the measure.

Bravo. It’s about time.

But this puts the gay community in a very awkward situation. For their future proposition to pass, they must now somehow convince the same people they have been demonizing in the past to vote for their measure in the future. Since the passage of Prop 8, here is a sampling of what I have seen on television from the pro-gay marriage crowd:

1. Near-rioting in front of the Mormon Temple in Los Angeles. The Mormon church has been a frequent target of anti-Prop 8 activists. But demographically, the churches most responsible for the passage of Prop 8 are the black churches and Latino Catholic churches.

2. During an anti-Prop 8 demonstration in Palm Springs, a small, elderly woman entered the crowd carrying a cross. A demonstrator wrestled the cross out of her hands, threw it on the ground and stomped on it.

3. Tom Hanks calling those who supported Prop 8 “un-American.” Although he later apologized, it’s pretty difficult putting that comment back in a can where it should have remained.

4. In San Francisco, during a Catholic mass, several drag queens dressed as nuns, entered the church and approached the altar to take communion. Again, this was a protest against the churches position on gay marriage, but it desecrated the altar and the sacrament and certainly won no converts to their cause.

5. Anti-Prop 8 groups calling anyone who disagrees with their position as “homophobes” and “hate-mongers.”

It is fascinating to me that anyone in the gay community would think that these actions would rally support for their cause. In fact, it has the opposite effect by polarizing and empowering those who oppose gay marriage. I would think that even Mormons who might have been sympathetic or even voted against Prop 8 now may change their mind after the near rioting outside of their temple.

Fred Phelps, a minister in Topeka, Kansas campaigns heavily against the gay community with his “God Hates Fags” website and organized protests. He is a vile, repulsive man. The gay community, understandably, denounces Fred and his disgusting demonstrations, yet they take his same approach by attacking those with whom they disagree. Is Fred winning over converts with his disgusting antics? If not, why does the gay community feel that it will work for them?

The gay community and its supporters claim this issue is about “rights.” It isn’t though, it’s merely about a word and that word is “marriage.” They could easily have the same rights as long as they use a word or phrase other than “marriage.” Calling it “domestic partnership” or “life partnership” would make all the difference. Polls within California have repeatedly shown that the vast majority of voters are sympathetic and would vote for such a measure. But once the proposition invokes “marriage” the attitudes of voters change. Their position is understandable since marriage has strong religious meanings, especially for Catholics and Mormons.

But this really isn’t about rights or even fairness, it is about money and political power. By keeping your group victimized and agitated you also keep them organized. As long as this remains a hot political issue, money will continue to flow into the Human Rights Campaign and other pro-gay marriage organizations. Take away the hot-button topic and you lose your financial support.

Respecting the beliefs of others and working toward a reasonable compromise is clearly not part of this movement. It is all or nothing. It has been decided that nothing short of “marriage” will suffice. So, more money, more anger, more protests, more victimization, more demonization and more finger pointing are ahead for California and the rest of the country.

What a waste.

Friday, May 8, 2009

26. Dem Bones

"De back bone connected to de neck bone
De neck bone connected to de head bone
Oh hear de word of de Lawd!"

I guess my biggest problem with liberal ideals is that they all seem disconnected from the reality that everything in life is interconnected. Each of their ideals can only operate in the pristine fantasy land in which liberals abide. Whether it be political or economic, each item exists in a separate little bubble and none of those bubbles apparently interact.

Since we are in a recession, let’s first start with economics. Liberals believe they can raise federal income by simply raising taxes on corporations. Sounds pretty simple, the companies pay more from their profits and the government has more money to spend. Of course, this ignores the reaction from the corporations and consumers. To maintain their profits, corporations will first consider raising the prices of their products to meet the higher tax demands. They may lay off workers, reducing their expenses. They may even consider relocating their facilities to another state or country with more favorable tax codes. In general though, raising taxes on corporations rarely increases revenues to the Feds. In fact, it is more likely to reduce jobs, which then in turn, reduces the taxes each of those employees would have paid.

How about raising taxes on rich people, something Obama and most liberals feel is a solution. Most of those rich people have options, just like the corporations. They may switch investments to municipal bonds to avoid taxes. As tax rates rise, the lower interest rates paid by muni bonds become more attractive and more profitable. They may shelter income by forming a foundation, something the Clintons and Michael Moore found as a good way to avoid taxation. How about moving money offshore? Whether legal or not, this is an option that the Kennedy family found to be quite appealing. In each case, federal and state revenues drop, not increase.

Yet when you mention these outcomes to a liberal, they dismiss them as irrelevant. It doesn’t appear that they really care about outcome – just revenge in some twisted way.

Unions are another banner which liberals proudly wave. Yes, unions do generally ensure higher wages for unskilled workers, but they are more than just a wage problem for corporations. In the 1940s, the vast majority of products in the world were manufactured in the US. Today the number is less than 25%. Unions drive jobs out of the country – that is a fact. Which is better, lots of jobs at $10 an hour or just a very few at $30 an hour?

The US currently imports more steel than it manufactures. The demand is here, but union, government regulations and taxation all drive the production elsewhere. Can’t liberals see the correlation? Are fewer American jobs what liberals really want? Apparently so.

Liberals often complain about jobs being shipped overseas. Guess what? When wages and taxes are lower and there are lower costs associated with less government regulation then the end price of the product is also lower. Guess who ultimately drives those jobs overseas? Bush? Reagan? Greedy corporations? Nope, it is the consumer. By buying cheaper, foreign made products it puts US companies in a position in which they can no longer compete. A liberal acquaintance of mine recently complained about the lack of electric and fuel efficient cars produced in the US. I’ll ignore for the moment that he drives a Japanese luxury import running on eight cylinders, but the reality is that these cars have been produced and have been available and no one bought them!! Detroit wasn’t producing big SUVs because they just liked the look of them, they produced them because of consumer demand.

Bringing these jobs back to the US is really quite simple and needs no government intervention – if all liberals would just dig deeper into their pockets and pay the additional costs of US made products and US made products only, the jobs would come rushing back. But say goodbye to cheap clothing, electronics, appliances and so forth, because US made products, especially those produced in union-only shops, will cost one hundred to one thousand percent more.

I attended a concert by the local symphony shortly after the election last year. I suspect that most of the musicians enthusiastically voted for Obama. I’m sure it never occurred to them that their salaries are paid, for the most part, by rich individuals and corporations. So, while they think they are “sticking it to ‘The Man’” they are actually damaging their own financial future. When the income of any organization or individual is reduced, whether by lower profits or higher taxation, the first thing they cut is their charitable contributions. I’m sure there will be layoffs coming to most of the orchestras, opera companies and other non-profit organizations in the coming years. Some will likely be forced to shut down.

What about our esteemed institutions of higher learning? They love students who major in art, history, women’s studies, cultural and race studies, poetry, philosophy, literature, humanities and so forth. Guess what? Aside from teaching these same subjects, there are no jobs waiting for these graduates except at Macy’s selling shoes. Our economy is demanding engineers and computer scientists and instead we are sending flower children into the real world. Computer jobs didn’t go to India and China just because of lower wages, job positions couldn’t be filled in this country because there wasn’t a large enough pool of qualified workers. As the demand rose, wages rose so high for the few US workers that did exist that it then became worthwhile to export the jobs.

Liberals want to believe that there are no consequences for any of their actions. They praise Obama for his massive spending spree while refusing to acknowledge the future cost to our economy including higher taxes for everyone, especially our children and grandchildren. When confronted with these facts, they immediately go into the same, tired, bizarre excuse that I’ve heard over and over again, “Well, what about Bush? What about his spending?” First of all, Bush isn’t president anymore – get over it. Second, I can only assume that since they approve of Obama’s spending, then they must have approved of Bush’s spending. If not, then they must believe in the child’s rule of “two wrongs really do make a right.” Third, just in case anyone wants to know, I was equally unhappy with Bush's spending and domestic policies.

I can give hundreds of examples just like those above, yet liberals will still reject the logic and continue living in their fantasy bubble world. With Obama as their head mouseketeer, leading their no-consequences parade, our economy will continue to collapse as talented individuals, companies and capital leave this country for economies more firmly grounded in reality.

Friday, April 24, 2009

25. Rational?

My cousin sent me a link from the alleged investment expert Jamie Dlugosch. The title of the article is “There is no place for gold on the global financial stage.” Mr. Dlugosch states that he “…despise[s] gold and everything it stands for” and that investment in gold is “hogwash!” He then lays out his five “expert” reasons for not investing in gold.

I have no idea what qualifies Mr. Dlugosh to hold the title of “expert.” But what I do know is that his five reasons seem to come more from a novice than any sort of thoughtful expert.

Since mid-2001, gold has risen from $260 to almost $1,000 an ounce. Although it has retreated recently to the $900 range, it is likely preparing for another major run upward. During this same time I’ve listened to investment talking heads on TV bash the buying of gold while gold ignored their advice and continued to climb higher in value. During that same time we watched tech stocks bubble, burst and lose 85% of their value under the Clinton administration. The real estate market bubbled and, to date, has lost 35% of its value. All this while gold increased 285% in price.

So, even though this site is primarily about politics, I’m going to take the time to go through the five points and refute Mr. Dlugosch’s arguments. But then, maybe this is about politics. I suspect that Mr. Dlugosch is probably a disciple and kool-aid drinker of the messiah and doesn’t want to accept that Obama is destroying the dollar, our economy and our way of life. In doing so, this then leads to gold being a very good investment and hedge against losses in other markets.

So – let’s begin…. Here are Mr. Dlugosch’s five reasons for not investing in gold. I have selectively edited his comments on each point. My rebuttals follow each of his thoughts.

1. There Is No Inflation. “….Today, the numbers do not support an inflationary environment and fear over current spending and stimulus of the government creating inflation is misplaced.”

Apparently Mr. Dlubosch actually believes government inflation figures, probably the most manipulated and inaccurate reports produced by the feds. The higher inflation, the more the government must pay in Social Security, government salaries and pensions, etc. It is to their benefit to keep the figures low. I don’t need an official report to know that inflation is alive and well in the US.

The Obama stimulus package, budget, massive borrowing and the Treasury simply printing another trillion dollars to throw into the economy, all work together to devalue the dollar and destroy the economy. Certainly, he can’t believe that this isn’t happening and that all those reasons don’t work to increase the value of gold? Well, maybe he can.

2. Gold Prices Are Easily Manipulated. “Unlike paper currency that is impossible to manipulate in any way, gold can be accumulated by a group of connected buyers for the sole purpose of eliminating supply from the market.”

Wow, amazing. He actually states that paper currency is impossible to manipulate. Someone needs to tell George Soros about this. Based on just one comment he made in an interview about the French Franc, the franc plummeted in value the following day. Or what about China's persistent manipulation of the value of the yuan? Doesn't Mr. Dlugosch read the financial news?

Is the price of gold manipulated? Yes, just as the stock market, oil, corn, wheat other commodities, real estate and currencies are manipulated. And who are the biggest players in these manipulations? It is banks and governments which regularly manipulate currencies, stocks, bonds and commodities. But much like the stock market, these manipulations are short-term moves. The market will always find its correct level over time.

3. Gold Is In Limited Supply. “Those who want to return to the gold standard fail to appreciate that at some point a lack of supply could have disastrous consequences in a gold-based system.”

Yes, there is a very limited supply of gold in the world, only about two Olympic-sized pools worth. It is one reason this metal gets the adjective “precious” in front of its name.

But as fiat currencies become worthless and individuals turn to something to preserve their wealth, precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum are at the top of the list. China has even begun to hoard copper as a hedge against falling fiat currencies.

Is it viable to have a gold-backed currency? Probably not, but that doesn’t make gold a “hogwash investment” over the next 3 to 5 years.

4. Gold Was Dead For 20 Years. “For more than 20 years, the price of gold did nothing. If you invested in gold, you wasted your time. That all changed with fears of inflation and hedge fund speculation several years ago. Today, the church of gold is full of believers. What changed?”

Yes, that is true. But from 1975 until early 1980, gold was a fantastic investment, going from $35 to $860 an ounce, a return of over 2,300%. Mr. Dlugosch, all investments move in cycles. Stocks tend to move in twenty-year cycles. From 1920 to 1940 the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved from about 110 to only 130. From 1960 to 1980, the DJIA again went sideways from about 600 to 800. That was an average annual return of merely 1.45%. But that doesn’t mean that stocks weren’t a fantastic investment between the years of 1940 to 1960 and 1980 to 2000.
If you bought real estate in Southern California in 1989 you watched as the value of your property declined 40% and had to wait another ten years for the value to return to your original purchase price. Investment-wise, was that a good ten years for you? On the other hand, if you bought real estate in 1994 and sold it in 2004 you did quite well.

All investments have periods of boom and bust.

5. The Dollar Is The Global Currency. “Do not underestimate the strength of this country as compared to the rest of the world. Predictions of our demise are premature.”

I agree, we are still a powerhouse of a country. That does not mean that the dollar cannot go into crisis nor is it premature to sound the alarm at the direction we are being taken by the Obama administration and a complicit Congress. Our government is moving in the same direction as other fallen empires by destroying our monetary system and our economy through excessive borrow and spend policies. I’m sure there were those shortly before the fall of the Roman Empire who insisted it couldn’t happen as well. With computers and the internet, it can happen almost instantaneously. Civilizations and empires also come and go in cycles. And even if this is not the end of the United States as we know it, it again does not mean that gold is not a good investment right now.

Mr. Dlugosch founded and edits a newsletter called “The Rational Investor.” I guess we’ll see just how “rational” his advice really is over the next three to five years.

24. The Bubble-Headed Bleach Blonde

"We got the bubbled-headed bleach blonde
Who comes on at five
She can tell you 'bout the plane crash
with a gleam in her eye." - Don Henley, Dirty Laundry

The other day I caught a few minutes of CNN, you know “The most trusted name in news?” They were discussing another of Obama’s anti-business proposals and the costs associated with such a program. The anchor finished the segment by saying, “the concern is that corporations will pass these costs on to the consumer.”

I couldn’t suppress my very audible sigh. Is there a brain in anyone’s head in the media? How about academia? I’m beginning to seriously wonder.

So, in my effort to educate the left by writing this column, I’m going to give a brief class on businesses and corporations. I’m hoping to enlighten those Ivy League intellectuals that run the news rooms of CNN, NBC, CBS and ABC. God knows, SOMEONE needs to have a talk with them.

Guess what Ms. CNN-Reporter? ALL costs of businesses are borne by the consumer. Did you hear that? The consumer pays ALL COSTS. Instead of repeating this ad nauseam, I’ll just ask you to re-read the first sentence of this paragraph fifteen times.

Costs of doing business include rent, salaries, fuel, energy, raw materials, office supplies and equipment, legal fees, government regulation, lawsuits and, are you ready for this one…….. TAXES. Yep – even corporate taxes – are paid by the CONSUMER. These costs are passed on to the consumer in the price of the product. And, if you didn’t already know, a corporation isn’t even a person – it is merely a piece of paper filed away in a law office.

Now, what about the investors, you know, the stock holders? Hey, maybe they are the evil, greedy ones CNN talks about. Let me ask you a question, Ms. CNN. Suppose a stock broker calls and wants you to invest in the ABC Corporation, a little start up firm that makes ATWs (advanced technology widgets). The price per share is $10. You understandably ask about the company’s profit potential. ABC Corp, your broker tells you, has no intention of making profits – EVER. So, if the company does well, your share price will never be more than the $10 you originally paid. If they don’t do well, you’ll lose your money. Also, since they don’t want to be greedy and make a profit, there will never be any dividends paid to you. So – are you ready to invest? At the bank in a safe, secure CD, you’ll get 3% on your money. If you invest in ABC, at best, you’ll merely get your money back and, at worst, you’ll lose. Is this a difficult decision? If a corporation doesn’t make profits, no one will invest in their business.

Hey, Ms. CNN – are you still with me here? Or am I moving too fast?

Ok, let’s review - if a company doesn’t pass along its costs of doing business to the consumer it can’t make a profit. If it doesn’t make a profit, then investors won’t invest and there won’t be any companies.

During the Clinton administration, Big Bill was hot on raising the minimum wage. A businessman challenged Bill complaining that the higher wages would hurt his business. Yale and Rhodes Scholar Bill replied, “just raise your prices.” Guess what Bill, if I get a raise yet the cost of everything I buy goes up at the same time, my raise is meaningless. I’m in the same spot I was before I got the raise.

The left keeps proving to me over and over again that they are the “feel” people. They make all decisions based on how they feel and never seem to bother using their heads. Yes, it does feel kind of good to hate big corporations. It feels good to point your finger at something or someone else on which to blame your own problems even though it solves nothing. Ultimately, you will be the one that is hurt, not the corporations. You will be hurt either in having to pay more for goods and services, by losing your job or you will watch your investments, your pension, your IRA and your 401(k) values drop like a stone falling from a tall building. If you ultimately drive corporations out of business or out of the country, it will be the employees and again, the investors who are hurt. It’s pretty difficult to hurt a piece of paper – or didn’t you know.

Hey – guess what Ms. CNN, that’s exactly what is happening right now. Stock prices are falling just like that stone off of that imaginary building and with it Americans are watching their savings and retirement funds fall dramatically in value. It started, interestingly enough, as soon as Obama got the democrat party nomination and began his war on business.

Now do you understand? Or will you need another class?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

23. The Perfect Storm

We conservatives have sat passively by for the last seventy years while the wave of socialism, started by the FDR administration, has continued to build strength and pour over us. We’ve worked, saved, raised our families and voted yet the storm, with a brief respite during the Reagan years, has grown larger and more devastating over time.

LBJ’s Great Society cemented the inevitable outcome we are just beginning to witness as those who contribute less and less demand more and more from those who produce wealth in this country. They have demanded, organized, lobbied, intimidated and voted themselves entitlements which are quickly bankrupting our nation.

We conservatives sat quietly and watched in the early 2000s as the Bush administration and the Republican controlled congress did nothing to ease the tide of socialism. Economic values and principles embraced by conservatives were ignored by Bush and the Congress and spending and waste continued unchecked.

Disillusioned by the Republican party and their candidate fielded for the 2008 election, some were desperate enough to vote democrat while many opted not to vote at all. Regardless, the approaching wave could not be stopped. Now all elements have come together to form the perfect storm, an economic Category 5 hurricane led by Obama, Pelosi, Reid, the democrat Congress and the main-stream media. Together they will destroy our economy, the dollar and every entitlement program devised over the last 70 years. It will wipe out and cleanse this country of socialism much as Katrina washed over New Orleans. In their attempt to banish the US of conservatism, they will instead be washing away all signs of their precious socialism.

Just as a hurricane needs fuel to continue its destructive journey, this storm needs money - your money - to feed itself. Hurricane Obama will seek out every dollar and confiscate it from those who have worked and saved. It will be taken “for the good of the collective.” When the monetary well is sucked dry, the Fed will print more and more worthless, inflated dollars of which will have no real value.

As much as Obama loves to crow about only raising taxes on a small portion of Americans, it is only the delusional who believe it. Taxes on sales, income and energy have already begun to rise in many states. "Sin" taxes are increasing at astronomical rates. Fees charged by government agencies have already, in many cases, doubled. A rise in corporate taxes means a subsequent rise in the products they produce. These are taxes and fees paid by not only the wealthy and the middle class but also by the poorest of those in our society.

What is soon to come? Inheritance taxes will be raised to levels only seen in socialist Sweden. There will be no point to even attempt to save for the next generation as the government will confiscate it. Already Obama’s administration is talking of confiscating retirement savings accounts, our IRAs, 401(k)s and annuities. These have been declared to be a “failure” by his administration and that they should be rolled into the Social Security system so that the government can "properly manage" them.

Profits made by wise individuals investing in energy, gold, silver and other commodities are already being targeted. Obama wants a big portion of their "ill-gotten gains" and is looking at windfall taxes exceeding 90%.

In the late 1990s, James Dale Davidson published his book, “The Sovereign Individual.” I suggest everyone read his book keeping in mind when he wrote it and then what is happening today. We as conservatives and moderates have no choice but to economically rise up against our government to preserve ourselves. Continued inaction will destroy any security we have amassed.

We must have a two-pronged approach to this storm. The first is to preserve our own wealth and the second is to cut off the monetary fuel that feeds this monster.

First, for those who still work, increase the deductions on your W-4 form, especially if you are someone who annually receives a refund. Stop lending money to the government interest free. If you are brave enough, stop paying taxes all together. After all, doing so didn't seem to hurt Tim Geithner's career.

Second, start paying for purchases in cash, preferably from smaller, locally-owned stores and markets. Negotiate “no sales tax” purchases. Not only do you save money by avoiding taxes, the vendor (regardless of his political persuasion) avoids paying state and federal income tax as he is unlikely to declare the income.

Third, if you are over 59 ½, consider rolling all money out of your IRA and 401(k) plans. Not only are you likely to pay higher taxes on what you withdraw in the future, but you risk having what is left in the account confiscated and rolled into the Social Security system. For those in Roth IRAs, do not count on the government keeping its promise for tax-free withdrawals. Ever since the inception of the Roth IRA I have been highly suspect that anyone, especially anyone of moderate means, would ever see the day in which the government didn’t renege on that tax promise. If you are under 59 ½, I would first stop contributing to your retirement account, take that money and begin buying gold and silver, as I talk about in the point below. If you currently have money in your retirement account, consider the penalties that will apply should you pull money out of your IRA. Reconsider your account and your contributions and what would happen if that money was suddenly gone and under the control of Nancy Pelosi.

Fourth, begin buying gold and silver. Not mining stocks or ETFs, but the physical metals. Be aware that FDR confiscated gold from those wise enough to hold it in the 1930s. Much of it needs to be in vaults in foreign countries such as Switzerland, Lichtenstein, or other countries with strict, private banking laws. Do not use banks with international branches such as UBS or Credit Suisse. Find smaller, independent banks. There is nothing illegal in transferring money to another country and buying gold for the bank to hold. Keep some silver on hand, either in the form of ingots, American Eagles or silver coins minted prior to 1965.

The Obama administration is already hoisting the red flag warning us about violence in the streets. But instead of the wild-eyed, rabid, right-wing conservatives they fear, it will be those people who were promised government money and will now be cut off that will be rioting. It will be their blood that is spilled in the streets as their only sources of income are cut off or the dollars they do receive are worthless.

The storm will pass, but the victims will be like those who stayed behind in New Orleans, believing the inevitable could never happen during Katrina. Open your eyes people, it is happening now and the financial devastation will be like nothing we have ever seen before.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

22. The Messiah and Change

Obama and his disciples are smiling and laughing and celebrating as if there is no tomorrow. Yes, Obama is the messiah bringing change to this country and change that has long been needed. He compares himself to Abraham Lincoln and to Franklin Roosevelt. These comparisons are historically valid, except not in the way Obama envisions them. Where Lincoln unified the nation, Obama will split the country. Where FDR ushered in socialism, Obama will destroy the social programs created under FDR and those he also creates. The “change” Obama is bringing is the end of the federal government as we know it – and it is change that is long overdue and necessary to return this country to the original vision of our founding fathers.

Our country can no longer live under the burden of inept governmental control and regulation. Each social program created sucks more life out of our economy and provides little or no benefits to the supposed recipients of such programs. Like many historical events that seem fated in retrospect, Obama appears to have been selected by God as the right man in the right place at the right time. He will bring this country to its knees and he will go down in history as one of the most incompetent and hated leaders of all time. If he avoids impeachment, or even worse, he will be lucky. He will probably be the first ex-president who will have to live in exile from his home country, fearing for his life.

Unlike the 1930s when FDR began the New Deal and later in the 1960s when LBJ expanded upon those social programs with the Great Society, Obama leads this nation in a very different time. His predecessors did not face a nation whose citizens know nothing but government hand outs and programs as we do today. Millions of Americans demand or soon will demand their Social Security payments – retirement life blood for which they paid dearly during their working years. Government employees, including teachers, look forward to their pensions, many realizing, at this point, that the cupboards are already bare. Generations of families who know nothing but a life of continual welfare programs will soon be forced to work – or they will starve. Government assisted businesses which have no idea how to run profitably will soon find such assistance terminated. All will soon find the rug pulled out from beneath them when the well is dry and there is nothing to give them but worthless, inflated dollars which will barely sustain life.
Also not faced by FDR or LBJ is the internet. A government can only control its people as long as it can control their money. In the 1930s, the thought of average Americans having foreign bank accounts was unreal. Funds can now be transferred to any safe haven throughout the world with nothing more than a click of the computer mouse. As working Americans see their savings taxed to death or destroyed through inflation, they will quickly move their nest eggs abroad into havens such as gold and silver. As businesses are taxed or regulated into extinction, they too will move to business friendly nations with only satellite offices in the US. Corporations will leave the country, taking with them the jobs Americans so desperately need. Yet, Obama will find other ways to tax and confiscate the wealth of this country. Just as FDR confiscated gold from Americans wise enough to hold it as a hedge against the crash and depression of the 1930s, so will Obama come after every American wise enough to protect themselves from the destruction of the US dollar and our successful, capitalistic economic system.

But, unlike other countries and people who fell to communist/socialist regimes, Americans will rise up and revolt. We already see “Tea Parties” organizing and protesting. Several states are in the process of passing resolutions supporting the Tenth Amendment which secures states rights. Governors are refusing to accept stimulus money and with it, the strings which are attached. And many people, even average Americans, are already transferring their wealth to other countries, to protect it from the greedy, evil, power-hungry, self-serving politicians who care nothing about this country and only about their own interests.

Unlike other people at other times, most Americans are not sheep who will simply be led to the slaughter house. We will revolt, not necessarily with guns, but with something far more powerful – our wallets. We will bankrupt this country and with it the communist/socialist ideals that have slowly whittled away our freedoms and our economy. And once this country collapses, it will rise again under leadership also fated by God. Men and women, much like Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson in the 1700s, will take our homeland into this new century, having learned the lessons of a corrupt and over-reaching government and will place stronger restrictions and limitations into our Constitution.

Yes Obama, you will bring change, but it is the change for which I pray and not the change for which you and your disciples yearn.

Friday, February 27, 2009

21. Phoenix Rising

What is the function, goal, or purpose of our public education system? Is it to ensure that every American child is educated and knowledgeable enough to compete in today’s technological age? Or is it to simply move students though an antiquated system which hemorrhages money from tax payers while supporting a massive, ineffective, bureaucratic white elephant which produces results that can only be graded as failure?

Regardless of any official response by the NEA, the public school system or any other public school organization, the actual answer is the second. Currently in the US, over fifty percent of students leave school classified as functionally illiterate, with an education level less than the fifth grade. In poorer urban areas, such as Detroit, the number soars to seventy-five percent. Blaming lack of funds is pointless since we already spend more per student than other industrialized countries with superior educational records. Even within the US there is no correlation between spending per student per state and performance results. Private schools and charter schools generally cost much less per student than public education yet they also yield far better results.

Our public schools are bleeding us dry economically and leaving our children completely unable to compete in a modern society. Is it any wonder that American companies turn to foreign labor for computer programmers, engineers and technicians when our children leave school unable to do basic math and write simple sentences. What jobs await a generation of illiterate Americans in an age which demands specialized knowledge instead of merely a strong back for the plowing and harvesting of fields? Yet even in our colleges and universities, the emphasis is on liberal arts, humanities, and racial and gender studies – course work which leads not to in-demand, high-paying jobs, but jobs in education or, for most, as clerks in department stores.

The question that should be asked by our school system is, “What is the most effective method to teach?” This question should be the basis of our educational system. Not only do our public, and even many private, school systems not ask this question they have in fact, continued to teach in the same way as when this country was founded over 200 years ago. We continue to throw a mix of students into a classroom with a textbook and a teacher and expect that nine months later the students will have learned and will retain what is necessary to advance to the next grade and on to succeed in life.

Each element, the teacher, the textbook, homework and the class structure all ensure failure. And failure we have seen. Sadly, the comment I’ve heard from more than one teacher is, “the public has to understand that some children simply can’t learn.” Not only do the methods of teaching employed by our school system guarantee failure, but many teachers have been institutionalized to believe that the onus for education is solely on the student and not upon the teachers and the school system.

Let’s look at each element of our current system and why it should surprise no one that our school system has failed us and will continue to fail us unless radically changed.


Excluding a child's parents, teachers are probably the most important link in education. Yet, as humans, they too fall under the bell curve of performance. Five percent will be outstanding, the next ten percent will be very good and the rest fall quickly into mediocrity and on into incompetence. Even those who may have once been great teachers can easily become bored, indifferent and ineffective. Excellent, motivated teachers become frustrated with a system that does not allow change and creativity nor rewards them for successful results. With tenure and the protections provided by the teacher’s unions, these numbers could actually be worse as it is almost impossible to weed out bad instructors in the system.

The better the teacher – the better the education. Yet statistically a student is likely to encounter only 5 to 7 great teachers in their lifetime. This is exactly the number I came up with in looking back at my time from elementary school through college and the number is right on the 5% mark as stated above.

Are the best teachers even in the education system? Some of the most knowledgeable and exciting educators are likely in private enterprise. They have a wealth of knowledge to share but choose not to enter teaching as a full-time profession.

But even with the best teachers, they are not necessarily the best or most effective teachers for each student nor can any one teacher meet every student’s learning needs.


Textbooks are probably the weakest link in our education system. They are written, evaluated by teams of editors and educators, used for a few years, discarded and then new textbooks become available. Yet, as far as I can tell, there has never been a system to evaluate a textbook’s effectiveness. Did it actually engage and teach students? If not, then how can it be changed so as to become effective?

Sadly, this question doesn’t even seem to be on the radar screen of the educational system. Sadly also, this is a great opportunity that is missed in education. As someone who enjoys reading, I know that text does not have to be dull to contain and teach important information.


This is probably the most antiquated element of our school system. We place our students in a classroom from September until June, break the year down further into semesters and quarters and from 8:00am to 3:00pm hope for the best. All based on a farming schedule that no longer exists for almost anyone in the US.

We all learn at different rates and even those that may learn quickly in math may at the same time learn much more slowly in English or history. Does the structure allow for this? No, there are few allowances. It is the same structure for each student in each subject.


Homework is definitely an important part of education. Working through problems, researching information and writing essays are all important methods of learning. Yet, homework in our school systems has become too much of “busy work” in which nothing is learned.

Another problem with homework is, who exactly is doing the work? The student? The parent? The tutor? I’ve seen tasks assigned to third graders that no fifth grader could accomplish. Only with the intervention of parents can the assignment be completed. Presently in the school system, homework is routinely not returned to the student for evaluation. If I cannot see what I have done wrong, how can I then know what I need to go back and learn or review? Writing is learned almost exclusively through writing, editing, re-writing and then re-writing again. Not being able to review what is both correct and incorrect with assigned work does not lend itself to education.

What is the objective of education?

Shouldn’t the objective of education be to ensure that all students excel to the best of their abilities? That each student, regardless of their IQ, their parent’s abilities, their economic background or even their language skills, has the best opportunity to learn and be educated? We cannot have a great society if our citizens are illiterate. We continue to move into a technological age that demands scientists and mathematicians yet we turn out students who cannot read, write nor even add and subtract.

The complaint of the public school system is primarily money, although I have heard teachers also blame society, the media, music, etc., etc. All of this finger pointing is a complete waste of time. The tools are available to ensure that each student receives the best education possible, yet, with the exception of some home schooling tools, no large education system is even bothering to move in this direction. Not only is it possible, it is inexpensive.

What is possible?

The answer to our educational problems lies in a virtual internet classroom. The internet possess the power to be the greatest educational tool ever available, a virtual classroom which can reach every student in the world. A tool, if used properly, which can reach and educate every student, addressing their individual learning needs and evaluating each teaching method implemented. And – when methods are not effective, change instantly.

Let’s first start with education objectives – measurable objectives. What should every student know at the end of their formal schooling? What level of reading and comprehension should they achieve? What about math? History? Writing? What tools and knowledge do they need to succeed in society and in higher education?

Once these objectives are defined, the second goal is to determine the best method to teach these objectives to each student. I don’t have to be a teacher to know that some mix of audio and visual is probably the most effective. Start with a great teacher, a great communicator and put him or her on video. Start adding other visual and audio tools to determine what mix effectively impresses the information into a student’s brain. If we are talking about the civil war, show photographs and videos of the battlefields, the people involved, and maps of the region. Produce films that engage students while teaching them facts, not Hollywood pseudo-history. The presentation may not even include a human teacher – animation or computer generated graphics may be what is most engaging. Instead of casting effective teachers aside, as the public school system did with Jaime Escalante, analyze and duplicate their methods and reward those teachers financially for their innovation.

Homework need no longer always be separate from the lecture. It can be integrated into the flow. Learning can become entertaining or even a game with problems to solve and text to read as part of the lecture-type presentation. This not only helps the student to learn but allows the teaching programs to evaluate their progress. A method to track progress, to discover where the student’s learning is deficient and re-present the same material in possibly another more effective format for this student.

If one student requires more video stimulus, the course can automatically adjust to meet that student’s needs. If a student learns and retains more from reading than from audio, the tool can shift again. We know many of us quickly retain information presented in rhyme or song format. This is how most of us learned our ABCs. Employ song writers to compose learning tools, especially incorporating what would be considered dry information such as dates of significant events. We all know when “Columbus sailed the ocean blue” because of a rhyme. Yet most Americans cannot even place the civil war in the correct century.

If students finish a presentation and cannot meet the minimum requirement of a review exam, they can not only go back and re-take the course but can also consider alternative options for this particular coursework. Maybe another program, teacher or virtual classroom is clearer and more effective. Also, those producing the material can change and edit the material should their internal auditing of student progress show that the coursework is not effective in thoroughly teaching the students the required material. These techniques can be analyzed, quantified and duplicated so that every student has access to great educators and excellent teaching methods. The methods can be constantly refined and improved, working toward 100% education of all students. Students no longer need to be afraid to raise their hand in class when confused. The virtual classroom works with them, providing more information as necessary in a variety of formats to ensure that each student understands and retains the material. A student is not locked into one classroom, one teacher or one school.

Education does not need to be dull to be effective, in fact, the opposite is true. We are more likely to learn and retain information when we are entertained and engaged. In college, I had two professors in whose classes I rarely took notes. They were such effective speakers that they impressed the information upon me without my writing anything down on paper. In some cases it was entertaining, such as my economics professor standing on his desk singing, “Look for the union label” to introduce the effect of unions on our economy. In another situation, it was a passionate educator who knew how to speak effectively and impress his knowledge upon our class.

Students with a passion in one course can then have access to further information. Instead of ending the class at the end of the text, he can explore and learn beyond the curriculum, as long as, of course, he continues to do well in all other courses. The programs can even evaluate and use those courses a student finds especially interesting as a carrot to entice them to work through the more difficult subjects.

The programs can even evaluate a student’s strengths and interests and begin suggesting possible careers that would interest a student. The average high school graduate is usually only familiar with one job, that of a teacher, since it is the only profession he or she has witnessed. Programs can introduce students to a myriad of occupations which they likely, never knew existed.

What about those people in private enterprise, the ones actually building the buildings, the bridges, developing software or researching new drugs? Without leaving their laboratories or offices they too can reach millions of students and enlighten them with their knowledge and experience. It can be complete course work or lectures on just one or two topics.

There are no time constraints with such a system. The student can log in and work through each course at his or her own pace. Unlike the current classroom, a student can review any topic that is not clear. Further examples can be presented to clarify the subject. Students who excel in one subject can move quickly, at their pace, through the material, eliminating the problem of a good student being bored by classroom progress while slower students struggle. Which is more important, having students finish school in 12 years and be illiterate, or having them finish in 14 years and be fully educated? Realistically, a system like I propose would most likely greatly reduce the time necessary for education, for both the gifted and the challenged student.

Political indoctrination has become an issue in education. Leftist teachers with captive audiences rant daily about their political beliefs with no opposing view opined to give the students a balanced view. I was also subjected to such bloviating in high school and would not hear any opposing view point until much later in my life. This issue would quickly become a non-issue as parents can review and rate educators in the virtual school. Parents can not only review the material presented to their children but can also become quickly involved in their education as they too can log on and work along with their diminutive scholars.

Evaluation of the current system is almost impossible. Even if it could be properly evaluated, it cannot be effectively changed as teachers are in their own classroom each day, each using their own, unique methodologies. Their weaknesses cannot each be realistically addressed and their strengths cannot be brought to other classrooms.

What of the cost of such a system? The initial cost would be in the production of each module. As education modules go online, the best will quickly profit and will refine and improve their coursework. Even at a cost of only $1 per course module per student, an excellent educator could easily make several million dollars a year. The cost per student for a full year could drop from the current $8,000 to $13,000 to several hundred, including a computer and other necessary materials. Such a system need not be limited to the wealthy, I believe strongly in publicly funded education but I am strongly opposed to government controlled education which provides no choice to parents or students.

Clearly not all courses can be simply reduced to an interactive audio/video presentation. Writing is a great example of something which requires constant feedback, rework and editing. Yet, teachers with a passion for writing can still offer courses, albeit probably more expensive than $1 per course per student, to evaluate, encourage and inspire students. Their work can reach not only those of us who need to write no more than a coherent letter but to those wishing to write the next great American novel.

Some courses would need to move beyond the virtual world into a physical realm. Learning centers could easily be funded and staffed at a fraction of the cost of current education. Small children would also most likely need more mentoring and monitoring. The virtual classroom can be in ones home or in a more traditional setting with proctors and teaching assistants helping the students move through their course work.

Testing, beyond that embedded in the virtual classroom, would probably also be necessary to ensure each student is learning the coursework. Again, such centers could be made available, even temporary centers, to ensure progress.

On-line libraries of course material can be established and the course work evaluated and rated, by staff, students and parents, as to their effectiveness. These virtual schools need not stop at high school. Imagine each of us being able to get a “Harvard Education” each from our own home. If the professors at these colleges and universities truly are the best, then make them available to the world instead of just an elite few with parents possessing deep pockets or the proper political connections.

In a virtual classroom – including university level – industry can begin to influence the curriculum by providing the coursework and teaching the skills necessary for students to succeed in their selected fields. I have attended college level classes after working in the “real world” which were either completely irrelevant or the information presented was totally wrong. Yet there is no monitoring or evaluating of these courses. Not only can providing such course work be profitable to the companies in a variety of disciplines, it also provides them with the educated hiring pool necessary to staff and grow their companies.

As home schooling has become more popular in the United States, those opposed to such a system continually bring up “lack of socialization” as an objection to such a system. A virtual classroom, especially for many students working from their homes would raise the same protest. This is probably the weakest of all objections to non-traditional education. Most of the socialization occurring in our schools is not positive. Peer pressure includes smoking, the taking of drugs, non-performance in school (because it isn’t cool), clothing, pressure on physical appearance, or being classified as a nerd or a geek. Some schools in urban areas do little more than try to control violence. As I mentioned above, slower students regularly suffer from “socialization” in the class room as they are mocked for being “stupid” and for asking “dumb questions.” This process causes them to withdraw, remain silent, and stop learning. But what I find especially difficult to understand is that anyone would rather their child be “socialized” than educated. An illiterate adult, no matter how social, is still unlikely to find work. Socialization can take place in church groups, sports, organized social activities and clubs. School is not the only place that interacting with others can take place.

The possibilities in education are endless with the use of the computer and the internet. So far, only a few home schooling companies and teachers have tapped into this market and are making progress. The established school and university systems will fight such a change as their objectives have little to do with education, their objectives are about maintaining their empire and their power.

Fortunately, it is an empire about to collapse and its destruction will benefit every child and every student with access to the internet.