Swickard: Testing centric schools are toxic to students

© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  “It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.” Albert Einstein
             The effort to kill curiosity in public schools is the problem in our educational system. Curiosity doesn’t survive the always testing public schools. Our nation takes normally curious young people and uneducates them by focusing on testing which is of no interest to students.
            Worse, we spend incredible amounts of money on testing and administrators. We are spending money to have a problem. The teachers know that the system is corrupt and does not serve the students but can’t be heard over the administrators feathering their nests.
            The new accountability numbers are out from the New Mexico Public Education Department and like all years before we in the public know nothing after seeing the numbers. To most people it is a list of monkey points that each school has earned with no understanding of what the numbers mean.
            Schools go up and down on the scale and it is the average of the school so it doesn’t really tell us anything about individual teachers or classes. After looking at the numbers I know nothing about any school.
            At the core is the notion that administrators can improve the education of students by making them spend most of their time learning how to juke the testing system. We see the administrators say that testing is only a couple of days a year which is false.
            Testing is every day and all day. It is the “Be all and end all” of every data meeting that teachers must attend. Testing holds no interest to students. Day after day, hour after hour students are preparing to take tests that mean nothing to them about subjects to which they are not interested.
            Teachers have a personal battle to try to keep something interesting in their classes while being pushed to only focus on tested material. Want to talk dinosaurs? Forget it, it is not on the test.
            If America had an enemy that got control of our educational system, they wouldn’t do anything different with American education since the administrators have made the enterprise as bad as it can be.
            What is maddening to thinking people is this thought exercise which I have suggested many times. Since there is the notion of testing the teachers by testing the entire school, let us swap all of the adults at the five highest scoring elementary schools with the five lowest scoring elementary schools in Albuquerque.
            Two years later the five highest scoring schools will still be the five highest scoring schools and ditto for the five lowest scoring schools. This is despite all new teachers, administrators, cooks, librarians, janitors and crossing guards. The adults lauded as the best become the worst by being moved to a different school. The whole testing mania is bogus.
            Just as bad is the new push to get every student to go to college, starting in Kindergarten. We need to give all students basic education and let them follow their dreams, not ours. Tell me this: when a smelly sludge comes back flowing out of your biffy what are you going to do? Call a plumber or a philosopher? The learners need to be in practical education if that is what sings to them.
            In junior high school I took six semesters with some practical education classes. One semester it was electrical wiring, one was woodworking, one was tools, one was metal work, one was welding and one was automotive. The rest of my life I have been relatively handy because of those three years. And it didn’t change that I got a Ph.D.
            Primarily we need to refocus education onto the students.
            Students every year need: first, engage their curiosity, next give them literate and numerate tools to satisfy that curiosity. Third, they must enjoy the passage of time in school. It doesn’t have to be a carnival but if they hate every moment, they will come away with little. Next, the education must be appropriate to their brain development and finally, they must retain their dignity at all times.
            School years in a testing-centric school environments are toxic for students. Let’s wake up and focus on the students.


The News Media and Public Education- Sowell Part 5

© 2016 Jim Spence - The volume of wisdom available to those who want to learn from Thomas Sowell seems almost inexhaustible. We begin part 5 of this series on Sowell having barely scratched the surface of the depth of this remarkable American. 
In the previous four parts we have spent time on what Sowell has to say about the current president and his would be successor in the Democratic Party. We have also addressed the folly of Obamacare. Most recently, we summoned Sowell's quotes to expose the utter cluelessness of Colin Kapernick, a high profile rube who embodies the failure of our education system as well that system’s partner in intellectual crime, the news media. 
It is time to tidy up these messes, at least intellectually, by considering what Sowell has to say about the likes of ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, NPR, MSNBC, and newspapers like the Washington Post and New York Times. In the following quote he explains how these institutions get away with poisoning the minds of Americans:
“The intelligentsia in the media can decide what to emphasize, what to downplay and what to ignore entirely when it comes to race. These may be individual choices, rather than a conspiracy, but individual choices growing out of a common vision of the world can produce results all too similar to what is produced by centralized censorship or propaganda.”
When you are a consumer of news and you consume with an awareness of the emphasis or lack of emphasis on facts, the most pathetic examples of bad news outlets trying to manipulate public opinion get exposed. Sowell recognizes perhaps the most egregious violator of basic journalistic integrity with this observation on the New York Times:
“The New York Times’ long-standing motto, “All the News That’s Fit to Print” should be changed to reflect today’s reality: “Manufacturing News to Fit an Ideology.”
Sowell has also had much to say about the public education system which he has a great deal of hands on experience with. Consider this observation:
“People are all born ignorant but they are not born stupid. Much of the stupidity we see today is induced by our educational system, from the elementary schools to the universities. In a high-tech age that has seen the creation of artificial intelligence by computers, we are also seeing the creation of artificial stupidity by people who call themselves educators.”
On the cusp of September 2016, we are two months out from yet another presidential election. We shake our heads at the so-called “choices.” How could it come to this? Eight years of Barack Obama and now his replacement will either be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Sowell explains:
“The fact that so many successful politicians are such shameless liars is not only a reflection on them, it is also a reflection on us. When the people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy.”
Or if you prefer, this will serve as a substitute.
I think we're raising whole generations who regard facts as more or less optional."
All of these observations and quotations on our public education system and our news media do serve a purpose. The problems with government, the economy, and social unrest are all tied to the failures of public education and the news media.
Above all else Thomas Sowell points out that America is being indoctrinated and conditioned. However, we are not taught the most basic things.
Want proof? Drive to work in the morning. You will find yourself surrounded by zombies. Nearly every day I encounter several idiots who do not maintain their traffic lanes on crowded thoroughfares. When I pull alongside to peer in their cars or trucks to determine who the hell they are, I can’t see their faces…..they have their heads down texting on their “smart” phones, only occasionally looking up to watch the road. They do this everywhere in America these days and they do so while they are operating machines that weight as much as 6,000 pounds, next to others doing the same. Our education system and news media cannot even convince millions of Americans that doing this sort of thing is insane. Accordingly, these institutions no longer serve an important purpose.

A Real Bay Area Hero - Thomas Sowell Part 4

© 2016 Jim Spence - “One of the consequences of such notions as "entitlements" is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.” ----Thomas Sowell
You have to wonder about how ignorant San Franciso 49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick is. If he takes care of the money he has already been paid in the United States of America, he is set for life. He isn't yet thirty years old.
Colin Kapernick's refusals to stand for the national anthem during pre-season football games this month have been met with tacit approval by the 49ers management. Of course the position of the 49ers is understandable. Their franchise covers an area with some of the most intellectually dishonest people on earth. Kapernick explains his acts of protest this way:
Thomas Sowell
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.”
A country that oppresses black people and people of color? Who does this guy hang out with? Does he have any idea what would happen to him if he showed so much disrespect for any other country in that country? The fact that in America he is FREE to make an ass of himself should be instructive to him. But it isn't.
Perhaps we should consult Thomas Sowell and see if we can find some explanations in his quotes that apply to the utter nonsense spouted by Colin Kapernick.
Sowell has this to say about people like Kapernick:
“Virtually no idea is too ridiculous to be accepted, even by very intelligent and highly educated people, if it provides a way for them to feel special and important. Some confuse that feeling with idealism.”
Maybe Kapernick should spell his name c-o-l-o-n since that is apparently where he prefers to park his own head? But at least he thinks of himself as special.
Or maybe this Sowell quote is more applicable:
“Since this is an era when many people are concerned about fairness and social justice, what is your fair share of what someone else has worked for?”
One has to wonder. What would it take to satisfy idiots like Kapernick? What would it take to make things square? The simple answer of course is nothing. Nothing will ever be enough. One has to wonder what utility the Kapernicks of the world find in declaring that anyone who is not a white male is disadvantaged. Again Thomas Sowell says it best:
“What sense would it make to classify a man as handicapped because he is in a wheelchair today, if he is expected to be walking again in a month, and competing in track meets before the year is out? Yet Americans are generally given "class" labels on the basis of their transient location in the income stream. If most Americans do not stay in the same broad income bracket for even a decade, their repeatedly changing "class" makes class itself a nebulous concept. Yet the intelligentsia are habituated, if not addicted, to seeing the world in class terms.”
Colin Kapernick and the millions of morons in the Bay Area don’t think, they feel. And if they must substitute feeling for thinking, then they need to feel stupid because that is what they are. Let’s be clear about Kapernick and his ilk. He won’t speak up about the horror of tens of thousands of black-on-black killings that take place in America every year. In this sense he joins other misguided athletes like Dwayne Wade who blame weapons instead of murderers for crimes. Wade's cousin was killed in yet another black-on-black crime in Chicago this week. His cousin joins 500+ other Chicago area victims, mostly black, who have been killed, mostly by other blacks since July 1st. In Colin Kapernick's mind calling out the killers as killers is not a cause worthy of his efforts. Instead, he, like Dwayne Wade, prefers to blame America the country not the killers for the horrible decisions made by these violent individuals.
Here is one final Sowell observation on the mindset of the Kapernicks and Wades of the world.
“We seem to be getting closer and closer to a situation where nobody is responsible for what they did but we are all responsible for what somebody else did.”
Colin Kapernick is now the front runner for idiot of the year honors.


Black Lives Matter - Thomas Sowell Part 3

© 2016 Jim Spence - Consider the turmoil in Milwaukee in recent weeks. A black criminal pointed a stolen gun at a black policeman, and got shot by that black policeman, who was protecting a black neighborhood. So the residents of that neighborhood rioted and burned down their own neighborhood, because black lives matter. Nobody in the Democratic Party leadership that the national news media follows, pointed out the stupidity of this situation.
America has evolved and finds itself in a very scary place on race relations. Thomas Sowell distills the evolution of how America is now being encouraged to deal with the social relics once known as prejudice and discrimination:
“If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 50 years ago, a liberal 25 years ago and a racist today.”
That’s right. If you call for everyone to be judged by the same standards, the hallmark of the Civil Rights movement, you are now a racist.
Consider how urban areas have turned into cesspools. Still, black Democrats love to trot out slavery, which was outlawed one hundred sixty-three years ago as the primary reason. They also infer that slavery is the reason why law enforcement should treat crime infested areas differently and blame society for the behaviors of criminals. Sowell teaches us that human bondage is not unique to the black experience. He has this to say about slavery:
Thomas Sowell
“It takes no more research than a trip to almost any public library or college to show the incredibly lopsided coverage of slavery in the United States or in the Western Hemisphere, as compared to the meager writings on even larger number of Africans enslaved in the Islamic countries of the Middle East and North Africa, not to mention the vast numbers of Europeans also enslaved in centuries past in the Islamic world and within Europe itself. At least a million Europeans were enslaved by North African pirates alone from 1500 to 1800, and some Europeans slaves were still being sold on the auction blocks in the Egypt, years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed blacks in the United States.”
And Sowell has spoken about the absurdity of preferential treatment for any group at great lengths. Here is a quote that encapsulates his wisdom on the subject:
“However much history may be invoked in support of these policies (affirmative action), no policy can apply to history but can only apply to the present or the future. The past may be many things, but it is clearly irrevocable. Its sins can no more be purged than its achievements can be expunged. Those who suffered in centuries past are as much beyond our help as those who sinned are beyond our retribution.”
It would seem that according to Sowell we cannot end discrimination by using discrimination. He also provides warnings on the mindsets of those who are not treated the same as everyone else:
“When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination.”
And perhaps most important of all, Thomas Sowell identifies the “incentives” that cause people like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to prefer to blame “society” for the crimes committed by black criminals rather than blaming the criminals themselves.
“To believe in personal responsibility would be to destroy the whole special role of the anointed, whose vision casts them in the role of rescuers of people treated unfairly by society.”
Sowell sums up the consequences of buying in to the con job perpetrated on America by Democrats when they falsely claim that more government is the solution to poverty.
“The fatal attraction of government is that it allows busybodies to impose decisions on others without paying any price themselves. That enables them to act as if there were no price, even when there are ruinous prices - paid by others.”


Thomas Sowell Part 2, Obamacare

© 2016 Jim Spence - As we continue to highlight the profound wisdom and insights of one of America’s greatest philosophers, Thomas Sowell, we move on to Obamacare. Sowell had this to say about the outrageously named legislation, which Democrats dubbed the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (Obamacare):

Thomas Sowell
“It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.”

In a nutshell, a single sentence, Sowell is able to capture the sheer stupidity of every American who thought or still thinks Obamacare is a good idea.
Sadly, Obamacare is a cancer growing on the nation. The proof is in the economy. Recessions come and recessions go. George W. Bush became president during a recession that got underway when Bill Clinton was in the White House. It took some time, but eventually America climbed out of the deep trough and we resumed rapid rates of economic growth. The same is true of the recovery that got underway when Ronald Reagan became president in 1981. We experienced rapid growth.
There has been the slowest growth in decades for the last 7 ½ years. This is due in great part to the shackles on job creators that Obamacare imposes. Obamacare is a curse to pretty much anyone who works. Here is another quote from Sowell that helps explain why:

“Competition does a much more effective job than government at protecting consumers.”

Look at the official title of the law. It was named the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Obamacare neither protects patients nor provides affordability. Why? As Sowell so ably points out, competition does a much more effective job than government at protecting consumers. Why does Sowell say this? Because he knows that government protects government. Government’s chief concern is the perpetuation of itself. Protecting patients and making healthcare affordable are simply catch phrases that sound good. When you consider how frequently the following fundamental truth gets violated, you will understand why progressive Democrats are systematically destroying the nation’s ability to provide for itself:

“The fact that the market is not doing what we wish it would do is no reason to automatically assume that the government would do better.”-------Thomas Sowell

Oh but Democrats do “automatically assume that government would do better” even when the evidence is overwhelming that government does worse. Just yesterday a 76 year old veteran committed suicide outside of a VA hospital on Long Island in New York at the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center where he had been a patient. That hospital is part of the Veterans Affairs medical system. It has been under scrutiny since 2014, when the V.A. finally admitted that numerous patients had died awaiting treatment. Government officials had tried to cover up long waiting times for thousands of veterans seeking medical care. Why? Because government protects itself, not its patients. Even a study released by the Government Accountability Office as recently as April revealed that the V.A. system has still not fixed its scheduling problems.

The point is simple. The federal government may dominate the private healthcare system through regulations, but the government RUNS the V.A. system. 

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton want to bring the same horrific quality of service, piss poor service, that is a national scandal at the V.A., to every single American. Why? Because Democrats wrongly assume, and do so automatically, that government can do better.


Thomas Sowell - Great American Part 1

© 2016 Jim Spence - Michael and I want to thank all the website visitors at News New Mexico. It seems fitting that our site passed one million page views on the 4th of July this year. We love our state and our country and appreciate what Independence Day means.
In the weeks ahead, a tribute to one of our greatest Americans, Mr. Thomas Sowell will be presented in a series here on our site. Sowell should be more famous than Will Rogers and an inspiration to all Americans. Sadly, the mainstream press does its best to ignore Thomas Sowell, mainly because he does not parrot the narratives of fellow Democrats in the media. Still, Sowell is arguably the most accomplished African American philosopher in U.S. history. Rather than being shunted in favor of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, Sowell's quotes should be required reading for every school aged child in America. We will present three of his quotes in this column.
Thomas Sowell was born June 30, 1930 in North Carolina. Sowell grew up in Harlem, New York. He dropped out of high school and served in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War, then later earned a bachelor's degree, graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1958. Sowell went on to earn a master's degree from Columbia University in 1959. In 1968, he earned his Doctorate in Economics from the University of Chicago. He is an economist and author by trade and currently a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, at Stanford University. During his academic career Sowell served on the faculties of several universities, including Cornell University and University of California, Los Angeles. He has also worked for think tanks such as the Urban Institute. Sowell has written more than thirty books. Here is what Sowell has to say about Hillary Clinton:
Thomas Sowell
“For someone who has spent her entire adult life in politics, including being a senator and then a secretary of state, Hillary Clinton has nothing to show for all those years — no significant legislation of hers that she got passed in the Senate, and only an unbroken series of international setbacks for the United States during her time as secretary of state.
Hillary Clinton became an iconic figure by feeding the media and the Left the kind of rhetoric they love. Barack Obama did the same and became president. Neither had any concrete accomplishments beforehand besides rhetoric, and both have had the opposite of accomplishments after taking office.
They have something else in common. They attract the votes of those people who vote for demographic symbolism — “the first black president” to be followed by “the first woman president” — and neither is to be criticized, lest you be denounced for racism or sexism.
It is staggering that there are sane adults who can vote for someone to be president of the United States as if they are in school, just voting for “most popular boy” or “most popular girl” — or, worse yet, voting for someone who will give them free stuff.”
Of course one of the underlying problems in America is bad public policy. Sowell has this to say about the trends in public policy:
“Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good.”
And of course the problem is our education system does not produce enough parents who can think and teach their children to think. This leads to America falling for what “sounds pretty good.”
The Clintons are experts in this field. Sowell might as well have been talking about the Clintons when he said this:
“When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.”
And of course, when you want to buy influence from the people and sell influence to others ready to exploit government, you try to hide your corrupt communications from full view.
The “pay-to-play” revelations contained in the Hillary Clinton emails, which remind us so much of the blatant corruption we saw with Bill Richardson in New Mexico, continue to show that the Clinton “Foundation” is nothing more than a poorly constructed conduit for influence peddling funds.
In our next column we will explore what Sowell has said about Obamacare.

Swickard: The no longer grateful nation

21 year old B-17 pilot Jesse Jacobs
© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  New Mexico born World War II cartoonist Bill Mauldin died more than ten years ago. To some people he is of no use any longer, therefore he is forgotten. To those who were home or in combat during the second world war Bill Mauldin and his cartoon characters Willie and Joe were some of the most important people ever.
            That was long ago. It is not even taught to young people today. Being forgotten is happening not only to those who die but also those who get old. When I was young old people were revered.
            Today there seems a backlash against elderly citizens. Even when we talk of the “Greatest Generation,” those who fought in World War II, there is little acknowledgment by young people today.
            A few years ago at halftime during a New Mexico State University football game, former NMSU president Gerald Thomas, a WWII combat flyer, was honored on the field. At the time President Thomas was about ninety and was moving slowly. He made it to age ninety-five before his death.
            At this football game one student was impatient and hollered, “Get those old farts off the field so we can get back to the game.” Everyone around him, including me, tried to hiss him into silence. He protested, “I was not even alive during that time so I do not owe him anything.”
            We gave him an earful but he was never convinced. He asserted that if he was not alive in the 1940s he does not own any debt to these people who served in the military. He and many young people today show no gratitude for what has come before them. Apparently they were never taught these things.
            This last weekend was the 93rd birthday of my friend Colonel Jesse Jacob USAF retired. He flew B-17s in World War II and F-80 fighters in Korea. After that he had a long aviation career that would take several books to document. Unlike most of his fellow flyers in Europe and Korea, Jesse is still alive. He is one of my favorite people of all time.
            Cartoonist Bill Mauldin died in 2003 and was born 95 years ago near Alamogordo at Mountain Park. He enlisted in the Army in 1940 as a rifleman and gradually people realized that while a fine rifleman he was a fantastic cartoonist. What many people don’t realize is he was also a great writer.
            His 1946 book Back Home details how poorly combat troops were treated when they returned to our country after the end of the war. But that premise is rejected today because people just don’t want to believe it. The ink on my book was put there in 1946 by this Pulitzer Prize winner and no revisionist can change that.
            In our everyday life we see wrinkled old people and not the youngsters that they were. One of my grandfather’s friends fought in the Pacific. He had a tattoo that read, “Tojo is a dwarf.”
            When I first met him years ago I asked him what that meant. He said it meant that while in combat with the enemy from Japan, he was never going to surrender. Few men in the Pacific on either side did.
            My father was a combat photographer in WWII making landings in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Anzio. In the middle of the battles my father and his fellow photographers were documenting what was happening.
            Stephen Ambrose summed up, “Then I think about those who didn’t make it, especially all those junior officers and NCOs who got killed in such appalling number. What life was cut off… a builder, teacher, scholar, novelist or musician? I sometimes think the biggest price we pay for war is what might have been.”
            I salute those serving and who have served in our military and their families. But there is more. It seems that our nation has turned on the older generations who built and ran our country. There is a blowback against senior citizens by the young because the senior citizens are no longer as productive as they were in their prime.
            As a senior citizen I see this often and I am offended.


ESPN home of the race-baiting pimps and parasites

© 2016 Jim Spence - ESPN provides a forum for some of the most despicable parasites in America. All you have to do to realize this fact is read Cam Newton’s comments in the latest edition of GQ Magazine and then think about what the disgusting race-baiting pimps on ESPN had to say about him.

It seems that Heisman Trophy winner and NFL MVP Cam Newton who is famous, rich, and black, accepted the idea that like all other sports figures, he is subject to volumes of criticism some fair and some unfair. Imagine how chagrined a collection of ESPN race pimps were when they read where Newton said of the criticism he gets, “It’s not about race.” And of course when he was also quoted as saying, “We’re beyond that as a nation,” they all went berserk.

Reprehensibly, ESPN trots out race-baiting pimps on talks shows on a regular basis. Each pimp tries his best to condition America to swallow the grievance narrative. Three ESPN parasites in particular made fools of themselves following Newton's comments. These pimps would be Kevin Blackistone, Pablo Torre, and Israel Gutierrez. Nobody knows why these chumps are even on TV let alone ESPN. But there they were spewing nonsense.

ESPN host Tony Reali played set up man for Israel Guiterrez for his pimping pitch. When asked about Newton's comments Guiterrez said, “You don't want to have to force an athlete to say things he doesn't want to say or is not ready to say. It feels like Cam is still in that I'm becoming a superstar mode and once he is ready to be able to take on these topics, maybe he will. Then again, it's also not for everybody. We all want everybody to be all of these activists and say this.”

We all want everybody to be activists? Not really. Activists promoting race pimping want the Newtons of the world to block and tackle for them. Of course what race pimps like Guiterrez want is for all blacks to be treated differently than all other high profile people and react differently too. From Mr. Obama on down they want no criticism to be tolerated, because if there is criticism, it must be motivated by race.

Then there was Kevin Blackistone who is truly a pimp for the ages. He said this, “I think he (Newton) sounds like a young man who is still trying to find himself in this new media world that we have where everyone is asking an athlete to say something that sounds important about something that is important.”

No Kevin. Newton already found himself. The fact that Newton doesn’t promote your pimping operation is reason for praise not scorn.

Then it was Pablo Torre’s turn on ESPN when he had his chance to stoke the fires of racial paranoia. “It is very damaging to say something along the lines of we are post-racial in this country, we have gotten past that…… It's stigmatizing to give admonition to people in denial."

Damaging to who Pablo? Damaging to the divisive race-baiting industry? Damaging to the possibilities of perpetuating the profits associated with white guilt complex?

The bottom line is that ESPN has become an intellectual cesspool. The network provides a forum for people who have a certain schtick......and that schtick is to thump the racial paranoia drums. The mission of these three pimps is not to be truthful, let alone lift people up. Their goal is to promote a victim’s mentality. They have no other marketable skills except to try to monetize guilt tripping and paranoia.

How sad is it that ESPN provides legitimacy to cultural chicken littles who can be easily irritated by Cam Newton for not acting like one of their parrots? The explanation is easy. Newton is merely a human being who has worked hard all of his life, developed remarkable skills that have real value in the marketplace, been a good teammate, and earned millions of dollars.He does not fit their manipulative narrative.

It is as if ESPN and the bozo producers in charge there kind of like giving microphones and camera time to morons. It would seem that ESPN doesn’t want racism to die out in American even though it has been on life support for decades. These little men are the ultimate parasites in 21st Century America. They are devoid of integrity. They subtract from society instead of adding to it.

How do they campaign twenty hours every day?

© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  Ask any astronaut what question they are asked most. Is it about the wonders of the cosmos or dangers they face or what launch feels like? According to many astronauts, they’re most often asked how they use the biffy in space.
            Lately I have been thinking about the presidential contenders. While I don’t care about their biffy use, I wonder: how can they campaign twenty hours a day, seven days a week, and do so for months and months?
            Speaking for myself, I work ten-hour days usually five or six times a week, and get plenty tired. The presidential contenders could be tougher than me, or, as some people suspect, they enhance their stamina pharmacologically.
            There is no chance the current presidential candidates will disclose what drugs they take to campaign relentlessly. I wonder about the side effects?
            Maybe none of them take drugs. A few years ago I remember watching New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson spend much of six years running for president while he was also the governor of New Mexico.
            Sometimes in debates he was sharp and collected. Other times he was sweaty and off target. Could it have been too much caffeine? He has the Guinness handshaking record for an eight-hour span. He shook one hand every 2.15 seconds for eight hours. How much energy does that take?
            The 38th Vice President of the United States, Hubert Humphrey, was elected vice president in 1964. He was known as the Happy Warrior because he could campaign around the clock. Interestingly, he was a licensed pharmacist. Perhaps there was a connection.
            This presidential election cycle we are getting some very odd statements from both major candidates. In 1972, Ed Muskie broke down weeping uncontrollably at one campaign stop while reportedly taking drugs to keep his energy up. This kind of behavior on a slow news day spelled the end of his candidacy.
            Writer Hunter S. Thompson wrote in a 1972 edition of Rolling Stone Magazine: “It was not until his campaign collapsed and ex-staffers felt free to talk that I learned working for Big Ed was like being locked in a rolling boxcar with a vicious 200-pound water rat. Some of his staff considered him dangerously unstable. He had several identities, they said, and there was no way to be sure on any given day if they would have to deal with Abe Lincoln, Hamlet, Captain Queeg, or Bobo the Simpleminded…”
            Thompson captured the antics of politicians in the extreme on the campaign trail. Some stand for hours at fish sliming plants shaking hands with workers before they wash their hands at the end of their shift. Mechanically they say, “Shake hands with the next president, shake hands with the next president...”
            As I watch this presidential race I wonder: is this the best we, as a nation, can do to select our leaders? Further, will this process produce the best leaders? After they have spent many a disgraceful year pandering to the voters, will they be able to step into the White House prepared to be presidential?
            This election is not about how many hot dogs they can eat or a parking ticket or if a friend of a friend heard someone say they didn’t leave a tip one day. They are asked “Gotcha” questions which are routinely misreported by media sources who are pushing a candidate.
            Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have stumbled on the stump. Perhaps they took just one too many of the energy drinks or whatever they take to keep going. Wondering is not proof but both have had some bad moments on the campaign trail.
            The over-hyped media makes each day on the campaign trail sound like the Hindenburg has just crashed: “Trump is one point up in Indiana today. We will have twenty-four non-stop hours of analysis to know what the people of Indiana are thinking just one hundred forty-two days before the election.”
            Going back to Kennedy/Nixon, I’ve watched each presidential election, somewhat in awe and often in horror. This presidential cycle is worse than any other I have experienced. If they are like this normally and not taking dangerous drugs - it will be a long four years.


Lose weight, look younger!

© 2016 Jim Spence - Order right now and we will send you second one absolutely free! (um....just pay separate shipping and handling). Do you care about your baby? Buy Enfamil. Enfamil is, “Clinically proven to improve brain and eye development.” Are you tired of being too fat? Forget dieting or exercising, just buy Nivea “Bio-Slim Complex” body lotion. If you rub it on yourself, we are talking “regular use,” this lotion will “significantly reduce body size.”

The dumb claims are endless. Cheap sunglasses are actually, “high definition” sunglasses. Laundry detergent is fun. Americans get bombarded with insanely outrageous commercial messages like these ones every day. We can hit the mute button, change the channel, or simply shake our heads and wait for them to end.

Why are these stupid messages developed and produced? National television ads can cost millions of dollars to run and are extremely expensive to produce. The reason why these messaging schemes are continuous is pretty simple. No doubt there are some very serious research dollars behind these kinds of ads. And the evidence that running them will earn a decent rate of return on the advertising investment is overwhelming.

What does the very presence and repeated appearances of these stupid commercial pitches tell us about the people they target? It tells us that the scientific marketing research has found that the massive American market is perhaps more stupid and more gullible than ever before. If people stopped responding to these ads we wouldn’t still be having endure all of this crap.

Gary Johnson
The evidence that there is widespread idiocy is everywhere. Expect creativity from Hollywood? Forget it. You’ll continue to see billions spent every year on super hero sequels. You want intellectually stimulating programming on television? Forget it. Channels like the H-2 History Channel have been dropped for channels like Vice HD which broadcasts some of the most phony brain dead programming imaginable.

So what is the point?

The point is the Democratic and Republican parties are living examples of how deep into the intellectual abyss we have fallen and how much the party operatives know it. And their marketing people really know this is true. Accordingly, we can now choose between two utter fakes; Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Neither of these people (Hillary or Trump) can pass a basic smell test.

I have done my soul searching. There is another choice. I will be voting for two-time New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson who is running as a Libertarian. He governed for eight years in our state. Johnson is authentic. He has more common sense than any other elected official I have ever seen. During his tenure Johnson vetoed more stupid spending bills than all the other state's governors COMBINED. 

However, if you vote for Gary Johnson, it won’t make you lose weight or look younger.