Warping the Hamilton legacy - ignoring the Bill of Rights

© 2016 Jim Spence - Once upon a time American school children were taught why the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution) were required to be added for the Constitution to be ratified. The History Channel took a shot at U.S. history last year with a documentary on Alexander Hamilton. The show included plenty of commentary from left wing newsman Tom Brokaw and New York Times/Democratic Party political hack/"economist" Paul Krugman.
Hamilton's story presents an interesting challenge for the Democrats even though they love the idea that Hamilton favored a strong central government. A strong central government runs counter to the fact that Hamilton was one of the authors of the Federalist Papers, which opposed a stronger federal government. The two-hour piece seemed innocuous enough unless you understood how short it was on crucial details.
To be sure, Hamilton was a business-oriented politician who understood the importance of the nation having fungible debt (trading freely in the marketplace) and a common currency. He also knew the Articles of Confederation, which was the governing document of the nation until it was replaced by the Constitution, was too weak to help the young American nation develop into a superpower. Unfortunately, instead of the show teaching the viewer about Hamilton in the proper context, it takes on a tone that goes something like this: “Let us show you why even a founding father businessman like Hamilton knew the United States government needed to be all powerful, with an iron grip on all aspects of life.” Of course this slanting of the Hamilton story is very far from the actual Hamilton world view. Instead, it represents the view of modern-day Democrats wanting to twist history out of context to fit their opinions.
There was never a single mention of the Bill of Rights during the segment of the show on the ratification battle for the U.S. Constitution. This battle pitted Hamilton against Thomas Jefferson. Anyone with an ounce of understanding of the ratification battle knows that the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments) were required by virtually every founder as protection against government, which they all knew would ALWAYS be grabbing for more and more power. It is the essential nature of government.
The ratification battle was not a case of big government types versus limited government types. It was a process of making sure those who fought and won the revolution against an oppressive government only granted LIMITED powers to the new central government. Arming the government with powers to dominate all aspects of life was NOT something anyone, least of all Hamilton, wanted to do. Sadly, America has lost its awareness of how important the Constitution and Bill of Rights were to strengthening the central government, while also limiting it. The five year battle and victory over the oppression of George III could easily to forfeited with the stroke of a pen had it not been for the Bill of Rights.
Since the time of Hamilton, America has increasingly neglected the basic education of its citizens. You can see it in the way Democrats have chipped away at constitutional rights in an effort to control all of us from Washington D.C.  
Consider the 1st Amendment. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” The Little Sisters of the Poor had to sue Barack Obama to exercise their freedom of religion. So did Hobby Lobby.
Amendment II: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Democrats do everything in their power to infringe on the rights of the people to KEEP AND BEAR arms. There is nothing ambiguous about this fact nor is there anything unclear about the amendment.
Consider Amendment # IV: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The federal government subjects hundreds of millions of citizens to unreasonable searches and seizures at airports every year. The TSA seizes water bottles, hand lotions, tooth paste, and God knows what else.
How about Amendment V? “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” The oppressive tax system takes private property away from law abiding citizens every day for wasteful public use. The examples are everywhere.
How about Amendment VI? "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.” Does anyone believe the court system is much more than an extortion mechanism for trial lawyers and a farce for the rest of us?
Amendment VIII: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” Does anyone think that the fines Americans are assessed by Obamacare for not buying health insurance are not excessive?
Look at Amendment IX, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” The EPA seems to feel it has title to and rights to dominate everything.
Amendment X reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” As a matter of routine. the federal government holds the states and citizens hostage taking powers and controls it was specifically prohibited from seizing by the Constitution. Forcing people to buy health insurance under threat of a fine is a power NOT delegated to the United States by the Constitution.
Perhaps the reason why the producers the show about Alexander Hamilton skipped over the facts about the Bill of Rights including how integral those amendments were to the ratification of the Constitution because they knew those protections have been reduced to the object of ridicule by anyone who is literate and chooses to read the document. 
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Swickard: The smoking hot days of summer

© 2017 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.   For some of our fellow residents here in New Mexico there has been surprise that the daytime temperatures have suddenly been in the triple digits. And it is real dry here, too.
            The answer is simple: New Mexico has been in a drought for 280 million years, come next August so it should not come as a surprise, but it does for many of our residents.
            Newcomers can be excused because they have not lived somewhere that the seatbelt buckle in their car can be used as a branding iron if it was in the sun. And coins left on the seat of the car will leave an impression if they are in the sun. People bump their heads on the inside car roof when the pain travels from posterior to head.
            But these last few days people have been talking incessantly about the triple digit heat in New Mexico and other states. Entertainer George Burns was asked, “George, how is your wife?” He answered, “Compared to what?” That’s the answer for the heat wave.
            Some say wryly, “It’s a dry heat.” New Mexico is less noteworthy than Phoenix where 120 degrees is their fate. And that temperature in Phoenix doesn’t warrant more than a passing notice by their news media. “We see here where a highway has melted, details at six.”
            What to do here in New Mexico when it is broiling hot? We can prepare a couple pans of cookies to bake on the dash of the car which has two values: you get cookies and it functions as a car air freshener.
            Obviously, we should stay in a cool place and not be out mowing the lawn. Well, I say obviously because some New Mexicans are out mowing the lawn in the heat and with the sweat pouring off of them they ask, “Hot enough for ya?”
            Mostly what I have noticed these last few days is the look of surprise that somehow it got this hot. It does pretty much every year but the last time was about one year ago. We need to do something about that short-term memory loss, eh?
            It is similar to when the New Mexico winds start in March which they do start every March around these parts. People look surprised that parts of Arizona are moving to Texas by air over around and through us. It does so every year.
            What to do? Enjoy the scenic New Mexico vistas, even if they are hot. And enjoy the taste of hot green chile. Not the garbage from New York City, but real New Mexico Green Chile that announced its presence with authority.
            Remember, we are a friendly people so don’t be troubled that we wave hello in our car. We’re just being friendly.
            Likewise, we are averse to anyone telling us how they did things back where they came from. Just suggest whatever without mentioning back home. Especially, don’t tell us how hot it is back home, you are here now.

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Shoot them.....they are morally inferior

© 2016 Jim Spence - The would-be killer of House Whip Steve Scalise was a Bernie Sanders volunteer. He wanted to make sure he was shooting at Republicans when he approached the baseball field where the GOP team was practicing for a charity event earlier this week. And despite some incredibly inflammatory reactions by various Democrats, like the Nebraska black caucus leader, who said, the whole shooting was “funny,” many op-ed pieces have wondered instead why we Americans are so divided.
Explaining why we are so divided is pretty easy. It plays out at the family level all over America…….including our family. Yes, we have Democrats in our family and we also have Republicans. More than anything else my spouse and I prefer libertarian ideals which are long lost in the entitlement era.
It has been an interesting process to witness the morphing of the political discussions at our family gatherings since we were young adults. In the 1970’s and early 1980’s the elders in both my family and my wife's family tended to dominate the political discussions. Mostly we just listened. Their biases were towards the Democratic Party and against Republicans. These elders tried, eventually in vain, to convince us that the “greater good” required European-style socialism. Who else but an immoral person could be against the greater good, was their argument.
The problem with their greater good argument was that as we matured, we realized that the facts simply did not support their claims. As the 1970’s ended and the 1980’s began, Marxist China had to embrace a healthy dose of free market capitalism to end the mass starvation brought on by decades of big government socialism. The Soviet Union did the same to avert financial extinction a decade later. History is littered with failed socialist regimes. The statement by Ronald Reagan that “government was not the solution but the problem,” was proven to be true over and over again. To us facts mattered. By the 1984 election we knew despite what our Democrat parents told us that what they had been peddling was total baloney. We stopped voting for Democrats and we said so.
By the mid 1980’s we were saving and investing a very significant portion of our modest income. We did without many things and “cool stuff” while most others in our peer group spent their money on all the latest discretionary items. With reserves building, we ran across opportunities and our income gradually increased. Most notably, along the way to success, the family political discussions became edgy. People like us, who voted for candidates who seemed to be for more limited government, were told repeatedly that the main reason why we did so, was because we were unconcerned about others, just ourselves. At virtually every family gathering it was inferred that we were selfish, greedy, and lacking in compassion for others. Even as we began to make more and more charitable contributions from our increasing disposable income, the morally inferior inferences continued non-stop from the Democrats in the family. It didn’t take long before it was made abundantly clear that it did not matter how much we paid in taxes or gave to charity, we would always be morally inferior because “we did not pay our fair share.” In some years, we paid more in state and federal income taxes than our harsh judges earned before taxes. We never knew what class warfare really meant until this corrosive process was well underway. 
Eventually, and many years ago now, we made the decision to resist all temptation to discuss politics at family gatherings. While we remained quiet, and or changed the subject, the sniping and morally inferior inferences tossed in our direction continued. If only people like you would pay your fair share, we heard on so many occasions.
Image result for hodgkinson gunman in virginia
Virtually every holiday season became an endurance contest. How many times could we tolerate the jabs and needles that suggested because we reject the false premises of socialism, we were selfish and greedy. These slights often took place while we were cooking and cleaning up after our guests who scarcely lifted a finger.
Are we surprised that a gunman and Bernie Sanders supporter from Illinois, who has been photographed holding a poster with the same sort of class war phrases directed towards us, would open fire on a group of GOP Congressmen and women while they were preparing to raise funds for charity? Why would we be surprised? Our business is barred from providing services for public pensions in the state of Illinois because we are white and male. This unconstitutional Illinois law is the handiwork of a state that has been dominated by the Democratic Party for decades…..the same sort of Democrats who infer at every turn that anyone who is not a Democrat is morally inferior. Steve Scalise's would-be assassin was simply trying to rid the country of derelicts because he had internalized the moral superiority delusion of his party and resorted to violence.
Now into my early 60’s I avoid most family gatherings if I even suspect the Democrats are going to be present. Why hang out with people who think I am morally inferior and have told me so many times? Would they shoot at me? Only metaphorically.

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What do you expect?

© 2016 Jim Spence - Let’s see if we notice a pattern?
Recently hard-core Democrat comedienne Kathy Griffin produced a video of herself holding a bloody severed Donald Trump head. "It was Trump's fault," she said when CNN dropped her from next year's New Year's Eve telecast for her appalling behavior. "He (Trump) drove me over the top," she whined. Now that's funny.
There's more. Much more. Shakespeare in the Park in New York City has approved a modern version of Julius Caesar for this summer where the lead, a Trump look alike, is actually assassinated. The New York Times reviewer loved the play, giving it a sterling review. The implication? Kill!
In recent years the Black Lives Matter crowd, which Hillary Clinton cow-towed to every chance she got, has called for and managed to influence people enough to get some to engage in execution-style killings of law enforcement people. If you try to offer your support for the dead cops families by wearing a "blue lives matters" t-shirt.........Democrats will call you a racist.
And just this morning James T. Hodgkinson, a certified Republican-hating Democrat from Illinois, shot four people including a GOP Congressman at a baseball field in Northern Virginia.
Ummmm......what do you expect?
The patterns suggest we should expect more of this hatred-filled violence regularly. These acts of violence have been assisted by ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, NPR, CNN, The New York Times, the Washington Post, and nearly every newspaper in America. These outlets print not just the quirky truth about Donald Trump, which does enough damage to his political situation on its own, but vile lies. When the drumbeats of anger are beaten while directed towards high profile Republicans, you can expect more than a few Democrats to resort to violence. Does the media and leading Democrats want violence? Probably not. They just cannot control their hatred.
Obviously these patterns are unprecedented. Recent studies have showed that the negative coverage on Trump is about twice what it was for George W. Bush, and four times more than it was for Obama. The fomenting and encouragement of violence is not being orchestrated by radical fringe groups, it is being done by seemingly respectable people doing national news broadcasts on television. Add to this the fact that high ranking leaders within the Democratic Party are also fomenting violence. DNC chairman Tom Perez has been giving one profanity-laced speech after another, even with children present. Perez is on the record exhorting the sort of hatred that used to be over the top at skinhead conventions. This is mainstream Democratic Party politics by the chairman of the party now. New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand got into the mix recently when she dropped the F-bomb at a technology conference.
You also see the fomenting of anger and violence play out in the form of violent property-destroying protests against freedom of speech on the campuses of California Berkeley and UCLA. Folks this is the tip of the iceberg. This sort of thing is going on in many other areas. The hope must be that Democrats will intimidate those who do not agree with them into silence.
What can you expect in the aftermath of these shootings today? Look for Democrats to call on all elected officials to sacrifice more of their personal freedoms for more controls by big government. Within a week of today the dead Democrat who shot these innocent people won’t be blamed for anything. It will be his self-operating gun that takes the fall. The NRA will be the real culprit. Just sit back and watch this happen.
It continues to be truly amazing that people who enjoy the protection of armed body guards at taxpayer expense never demand a vote to disarm the people protecting them. In fact they vote regularly to provide more security…….for themselves. The would be mass murderer this morning was shot and killed by Capital Police who were there to protect elected-officials. Good for that law enforcement contingent and THANK GOD the would-be murderer wasn’t black. If he had been black we could see hints there might just have been some racism involved in the volley of shots fired by officers at him while he was firing away. We have already seen this happen in other locales where the gunman was black.

Of course, in reality Mr. Hodgkinson was just another angry Democrat who could not come to terms with being on the losing side of an election. If it had been you or me at that park this morning and no congressmen, we would have had to rely on our 2nd Amendment rights, which of course Democrats would like to usurp with unconstitutional laws. Adequate security is only something that self-important Democrats require....not the millions of minions out there who serve the state.

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Swickard: Use lottery to fund math education

© 2017 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  Surveys on American saving and investing indicates many Americans have no investments. Their plan for old age is to win the lottery. While I agree: “No dreamer too small, no dream too big,” there are limits to what society should encourage.
            People who understand math do not believe in the lottery. It’s like someone jumping out of an airplane without a parachute with the intention of landing on something soft. An action slightly possible but not probable.
            The New Mexico Lottery, under the guise of raising money for education, preys upon math challenged people. The ads suggest riches will shower down if you buy a lottery ticket.
            The proceeds from this tax on people who don’t understand math does go to education. However, it goes to general education, in fact, anything students wants to study. The tobacco settlement has the tobacco companies funding anti-smoking campaigns.
            Likewise, the New Mexico Lottery should go directly and entirely to math education. Every dollar should be channeled to making New Mexico students the envy of the nation when it comes to math.
            The first time I voiced this position I admit I was just trying to get a rise out of people, which I did. Upon reflection, I believe I stumbled onto something. If people can buy lottery tickets with the expectation of winning, they are showing their lack of math education.
             We should take their lack of numerate ability and use it constructively so that future generations don’t end up in the same condition. That’s the tobacco settlement method and it applies to people who lack numerate ability to the point that they think buying two lottery tickets significantly improves their chances of winning.
            The operational concept most lacking in people who are not numerate appears to be the ability to think in scale, to judge two things as they relate to each other in mathematical terms. People can buy a lottery ticket occasionally if the mood strikes. But at those odds, don’t expect anything but dreams.
            Once I was flying out of Chicago on a commercial airliner. We were on the ground in a long line of jets waiting to take off. The man next to me confessed that he was petrified of flying but had to make this trip.
            I pointed out the window. “There are over a hundred jets ready to take off just right here. Thousands of airplanes are in the air.”
            “Gosh,” he said, “I hope we don’t run into any of them.”
            I continued, “The scale of airline dysfunction (I didn’t want to use the word ‘crash’) is about one plane in two million flights. Not bad odds.”
            The guy next to me brightened slightly. “But what if this airplane is the one in two million?” he questioned.
            “Then whoever has a window seat gets a good look at it coming.” That sent him back into gloom. I forgot to ask if he had a lottery ticket, but I bet he did. He needed some math education.

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North Korean style journalism in America

© 2016 Jim Spence - Everyone in the malignant world of journalism was watching the testimony of James Comey this week. Sadly, instead of reporting exactly what Comey actually said and did not say, most of the propaganda ministers in the dozens of media outlets that collaborate with the Democratic Party (virtually all media outlets except Fox), decided to report what they wished Comey had said. Such is the way of the world in the U.S. these days. We live in a country where the utter failure of our public education system is put on display every single day.
The all-out assault on Donald Trump continues 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, there is so much more to the insidious ways in which propaganda ministers and opinion manipulators attempt to create fake news stories and block real news stories from being reported. There is something very strange about Democrats these days. Their compulsive desire to mask the dangers threatening the entire world by radical Islam takes on all sorts of remarkable behaviors. I’ll cite two more examples to drive home this point.
Democrats in the news media are providing a great disservice to the rights of women by not providing any measurable coverage of the first federal criminal case of female genital mutilation in the state of Michigan. It is a horror story associated with Islam that keeps getting bigger while Democrats insist on looking the other way and not reporting on it. It seems that Detroit Doctor Jumana Nagarwala has been accused of performing horrific mutilation procedures on dozens and dozens of young Muslim girls. Another Muslim physician, Dr. Fakhruddin Attar has also been arrested and charged with despicable crimes. The evidence strongly suggests that between 2005 and 2017 as many as 100 girls or more had their genitals mutilated by Nagarwala to prevent them from experiencing the pleasure of having sex later in life. This story was reported locally in The Detroit News. Apparently, the estimate of the butchering of 100 young Muslim girls is a conservative figure according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Woodward who is prosecuting the case. Where are the feminists when you need them? They are all bashing Donald Trump instead.
Another story, this one fake, has gotten zero coverage in the media. It is a story of CNN attempting not to report the news, but to create the news. It seems that CNN clearly wants there to be news reports out there that Muslims in London abhor the acts of terrorism that have taken place there recently. No doubt there are more than a few Muslims in London that actually do hate terrorism. Unfortunately, CNN wanted to report Muslim's dislike of terrorism so much, CNN actually “staged” a Muslim protest against terrorism........so CNN could then report about it.
The problem with what happened in London this week is CNN reporters and producers were caught on videos orchestrating the entire event instead of simply reporting on it. A Youtube video taken by Claire Jordan depicts the actual scene of the “protest.” In the video, CNN employees are shown preparing alleged protesters for their on-air shot. There were actually more members of the press at this alleged protest than actual protesters. On the video CNN employees are seen handing out bouquets of flowers and protest posters to the bystanders. None of the protesters brought flowers or posters. These Muslim women are clearly shown taking the posters given to them by CNN employees, then getting instructions to cross the street, and then being choreographed by CNN producers and reporters as they set up the “protest shot” that CNN used in their broadcast. Some protest.
This practice is mindful of the films that occasionally come out of North Korea showing hundreds of North Koreans bursting into tears at the sight of their beloved Kim Jung II. Just like Kim wants to be loved by those he dictates to, CNN wants Muslim women to engage in spontaneous protests in London to express their disdain for terrorism. The trouble is Muslim women don’t organize protests against terrorism.
CNN wants Muslims to be what CNN wants them to be so much, this means CNN will 1) refuse to cover the mutilation of young Muslim girls in Michigan by their parents and Muslim doctors and 2) stage phony protests in London so they can depict Muslim women as CNN wishes they actually were.
The bottom line is in countries where Islam is the dominant religion, hatred of the west is drilled into the minds of all the children. In these same countries, young girls are mutilated and the butchering of innocent people who are not Muslim is routine. 

You wonder why Americans in the heartland don’t trust ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN? It is because all of these outlets engage in crass propaganda creation. They do it 24 hours a day seven days a week.

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The GOP is all talk

© 2016 Jim Spence - It is important to recognize how politics has evolved in America. Democrats have changed quite dramatically, and so have Republicans.
Harry Truman was a communist fighting Democrat in words and in deeds. There are none left in America. Truman also saw the excess power of unions as a threat to America and he fought them too. John F. Kennedy, like Truman, was also an ardent anti-communist. And much to the chagrin of 21st Century Democrats, who would like to alter documented history, Kennedy was an successful income tax rate cutter. Even the hapless Lyndon Johnson, who was America’s worst president of the 20th Century, used the U.S. military in Viet Nam to fight the spread of communism. Make no mistake; communism and socialism are pretty much one and the same. Truman and Kennedy understood that the spread of communism/socialism was a threat to basic freedom. This stands in stark contrast to 21st Century Democrats who have all sold their souls and their freedoms to the fantasies of socialism as if they were naive Venezuelans. Unlike 21st Century Democrats, Truman and Kennedy were not stupid about conceding fundamental truths.
Today Kennedy and Truman would fit the philosophy espoused by the GOP. Of course espousing a philosophy is one thing, and doing something to prove you believe what you say is another. But I digress to skip ahead.
As time has passed in America, it has become clear that Democrats are in favor of advancing a single point of view, from which all their public policies are to be driven. Democrats always want more government.....period. It does not matter what the issue or problems to be solved are, Democrats want government to get bigger. The solution to every problem in the mind of every Democrat is more government.
The last real effort to curb the size, scope, and control of the U.S. economy by our government came after Bill Clinton’s drubbing in the 1994 Congressional elections. Clinton, who blew with the political winds instead of having any core beliefs, actually teamed with Newt Gingrich to pass legislation that diminished, or at least held in check, the size of government. The result was the continuation of the Reagan recovery that was a watershed period in U.S. history.
Since the end of Clinton’s presidency there has been virtually no effort made by either party to work together to engage in an honest assessment of the capabilities of government and only fund aspects of government that are effective. George W. Bush did cut tax rates, but he also made government bigger. And during the first two years of his first term, Barack Obama made government infinitely more intrusive and wasteful by increasing taxes, exploding the rate of growth in government spending, doubling the national debt, and insanely regulating all forms of private enterprise.
The mid-term elections in 2010 put an end to the Democrats control of Congress, but not to the growth of government. The 2010 elections also rang in the emergence of a governing strategy in the White House that remains to this day.
In 2017, the way that America is controlled and regulated can be summarized with a single sentence. The president signs executive orders in an effort to govern, while Congress behaves as if it is against everything and for nothing.
Mr. Obama used executive orders to expand the size and scope of government in ways that are difficult to over-state. Obama tried to govern without ever passing or repealing a law. Bureaucrats became economic segment dictators under Obama. And Obama's use of executive orders forced Republicans to sue in the courts. Often in the courts, after lengthy legal delays, judges often stuck down Obama's over-reach and forced him to follow the constitution. However, while proceedings dragged out, untold damage was done to thousands of businesses and dozens of industries. You can expect the Supreme Court to affirm Trump's executive authority, but it will take time to get to those rulings.
Mr. Trump is using executive orders to undo much of what Mr. Obama did to harm American businesses with executive orders. While businesses have been getting life preservers tossed to them by Trump, it has been amazing to see the press suddenly discover the perceived dangers of executive orders. After ignoring the fact that it was the primary governing strategy of Obama for the final six years, the press has decided executive orders are only good if a Democrat uses them. And perhaps equally amazing, with full majorities in both houses, an executive order is now the only thing America has going for it.
Image result for mitch mcconnellOver the last eight years or so I have used this column to rail against all that hurts America. My columns often echoed the same chorus of “words” that were being sung by the GOP in Washington D.C. Mitch McConnell could be heard lamenting the difficulties of being in the minority from 2009 until 2011. Then he whined about divided government for the balance of Obama’s presidency, even after the GOP regained the House and then the Senate. Paul Ryan did the same as the GOP’s V.P. nominee in 2012 and then as House Speaker.
The GOP Congress is all talk. They have a White House that will sign their bills, but they won't produce any. Votes to repeal Obamacare came in a steady stream so long as the GOP knew Obama was there to veto them, or at least the Senate was there to filibuster them. Now that Obamacare has finally been repealed by the House, the Senate, for all the talk from Mitch McConnell and his brethren, has stalled the elimination of this catastrophic law. Tax reforms? Forget it. Nothing. You get a budget proposal from Trump that tries to reign in the size and scope of government control over all aspects of America and GOP Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain tell the media the proposals are dead on arrival. There is nothing more worthless than a tenured U.S. Senator who will never be president.
Image result for paul RyanThe results of GOP Congressional intransigence are unconscionable. Washington D.C. is a sprawling cesspool of malignant bureaucracy. What was plaguing America under Obama is still plaguing America. Despite the fact the GOP has majorities in both houses of Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court, outside of Trump’s executive orders, nothing has been done to shrink to cancerous effects of big government. Yes, Trump is working each day. And Trump is taking all of the heat for trying to make a difference. In the meantime, the GOP Congress is still talking while doing nothing. It is the most pathetic development possibly imaginable for those who realized thirty-seven years ago that Reagan was right when he said, “Government is not to solution, government is the problem.”
All incumbent GOP congressional leaders should face primary opposition and be replaced by real leaders.

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A fascinating look at Primate Research

© 2016 Jim Spence - A few years ago behavioral psychologists at a major university did a groundbreaking study on tribes and rituals within primate populations. They started with a cage containing four monkeys. Inside the cage the researchers hung a banana on a string from the top of the cage and then placed a set of stairs under the banana. If a monkey climbed to the top step he could reach the banana.
Before long one of the more ambitious monkeys went to the foot of the stairs and began to climb towards the banana. The psychologists waited until the monkey had climbed two of the five steps and then they turned a hose on ALL of the monkeys, and sprayed them for several seconds with a heavy dose of very cold water.
Apparently, it still seemed reasonable to the monkeys to go after the free banana after the first water spraying because after a short passage of time, another monkey was observed making an attempt to get the banana. As soon as the second monkey began to go up the stairs, the researchers sprayed all four of the monkeys with another blast of cold water, sending them scurrying to the far corners of the cage.
After a much longer wait, a third monkey approached the stairs. This time the other monkeys, nervous about the cold water backlash, physically prevented him from climbing the stairs. He quickly yielded.
The next stage of the research project involved removing one of the four original monkeys from the cage and replacing him with a new monkey that had been kept elsewhere out of sight and sound. Almost immediately the new monkey noticed the banana and moved towards the stairs. When the new monkey took the first step all three of the other monkeys attacked him violently. After the poor new monkey waited a couple of hours he made a second attempt. Again the other monkeys pounced on him, bit him, clawed him, and beat on him. From this point forward the new monkey ignored the banana.
Image result for monkeys in cagesNext the researchers removed another of the original four monkeys, and replaced him with another new monkey. Not long after the second new monkey’s placement in the cage, the newcomer could not resist the banana and he went to the stairs. Just as was the case with the first new monkey, the second new monkey was attacked by the other three monkeys, including the previous newcomer, who actually took part in the punishment – with great enthusiasm. The researchers surmised that this monkey must have felt that he was now part of the "tribe" who understood the ritual.
Eventually, the researchers replaced a third original monkey with a new monkey, and then the fourth.  Each time the newest monkey tried to get on the stairs only to be attacked by the other three monkeys.
Having replaced all of the original monkeys with new monkeys in this behavioral experiment, none of the monkeys now occupying the cage had ever been sprayed with cold water for going towards the banana. But each knew the ritual, despite the fact that none of the monkeys could possibly have any idea why they were participating in the beating of any monkey that might try climbing the stairs.
After this pattern went on and on, the explanation behind this research of primate behavior was actually pretty simple. In the minds of these monkeys, they had become part of the “tribe.” They engaged in a nonsensical ritual because that is what they had always done.
This experiment explains perfectly the tribal behavior in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. It makes perfect sense to grab free bananas, just as it makes perfect sense for everyone to eliminate hundreds of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. However, when all the monkeys in any primate tribe get conditioned, even conditioned to stop acting in their best interests, they become monkeys living in a cage......the cage we know better as Washington D.C.
Considering the mountains of data on this subject, perhaps it is time to replace ALL of the monkeys in Washington at the SAME TIME. It is the only way to end the nonsensical rituals that serve very little purpose.
Please do not misunderstand my reason for sharing the conclusions of this groundbreaking primate research with you. I mean no disrespect whatsoever towards monkeys.

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Swickard: Harming students with summer vacation

© 2017 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.   If we know allowing academic skills to go unused causes those skills to atrophy, why have three-month summer vacations in public schools? And, why is there the notion that after high school graduation people don’t need to use their academic skills to retain them?
            The reason some high school graduates cannot read, write coherently or do math to an adequate level is not because they haven’t been taught these skills. Rather, it is that the students have allowed their academic skills to degenerate by not using those skills.
            The students are victims of the gap between being able to use a skill and the subsequent loss of the skill. If a skill such as writing or math is not used in a certain amount of time it will be lost. Some lose their skills slowly, but everyone will lose their skills if enough time passes without the skills being used.
            Summer vacations are harmful to students since most do not continue to use their academic skills, in fact, most do not open a book the entire vacation. When the students come back to school, the first two months are getting back to where the students were before the summer vacation. What a waste of academic time.
            The benefits of three months off are: janitors can leisurely wax floors, teachers get summer jobs or return to college and parents can send the kids to relatives. Students work on their tans, play video games late at night and sleep until noon.
            The three months off looks like everyone gets what they want. In the short term that is true, but the tragedy is that in the long term, students are short changed their proper education by these summer vacations.
            At high school graduation, students are told in glowing terms that they have achieved a great wisdom. They are finished developing their skills and no longer have to use these skills regularly. Many high school graduates believe those graduation speeches.
            The truth is they will achieve wisdom when their kids graduate from high school and not before. Their high school skills have a shelf life, like bread has a shelf life. They must use the skills regularly to retain those skills. If, at age twenty-five, the former students lack skills, most often these skills were lost from lack of use rather than never having been developed.
            Students must use their academic skills during their days in school and during the rest of their life. Summer vacations are one of the biggest threats to their ability to progress in school. It isn’t the vacation per se that harms the student, it is any time that months pass without the person using their academic skills.
            When that happens some people ask, “Why didn’t those darn schools teach them anything?” The answer doesn’t matter. Whether they had those academic skills and then lost them for lack of use or never had those skills, it’s all the same in the end.
            They do not have those skills.

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A multi-trillion dollar con

© 2016 Jim Spence - Yesterday Donald Trump said he represents Pittsburgh not Paris. Hold that thought.

A couple of years ago, for the first time in decades, Lake Michigan froze over. It takes many days of bitter cold to cause that huge body of water to freeze. If you have lived sixty-one years, as I have, you begin to notice that our misinformed news media handles things differently now. The same old things are hyped as noteworthy, while the incredible story of Lake Michigan freezing solid goes pretty much unreported. For the first forty years or so of my life, we had lightning (we had it again last night), rain (ditto), and strong winds (ditto). We also had tornadoes, hurricanes, cold spells, winter storms, blizzards, the occasional Indian summer in the fall, and yes even some heat waves. Check the Weather Channel sometime and you will see the Democrats who dominate it not just hyping the weather news for ratings. No, this NBC-owned channel does much more than simply exaggerate to keep viewers tuned. All of these normal weather events that have been occurring quite naturally for millions of years are classified by the Democrats at the Weather Channel as evidence of “climate change.”
Of course “climate change” used to be called “global warming” until every single prediction made by every single government grant slurping researcher turned out to be a pipe dream. To perpetuate the Democrat’s narrative that the earth is being damaged by fossil fuels, in the face of failed predictions, Democrats have resorted to referring to events related to the four seasons, and all other noteworthy weather events (and many that are not noteworthy) as, “climate change.”
The climate change narrative is not just carefully designed to mislead, it is actually being manipulated by scoundrels to milk the public treasury Sadly, the gullible and uneducated public is swallowing this con hook, line, and sinker. All academic papers containing very powerful evidence that has already highlighted all of data fraud and the global warming prediction failures, are being squashed by grant thirsty "researchers." Instead of facing facts about their interpretation of data, Democrats continue to insist on using contrived propaganda to convince Americans to hate coal, hate natural gas, and hate oil. You see, Democrats want you to hate these things even if you like it when your electrical power is reliable, your new I-phone gets made and delivered to you, your computer runs, there is food at the grocery store, and your car takes you where you want to go.
Donald Trump called BS on the climate change hoax yesterday when he said he was not going to damage the U.S. economy simply to go along with the socialist's pretend game. And of course all of the Democrats in Europe, along with help from the chimps working at ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, NPR, the New York Times, the Washington Post and virtually every local newspaper in the country.....went ballistic. Apparently an endless supply of bogus predictions on rising seas and crop failures, due to the use of fossil fuel, cannot satisfy their desire to engage in self-delusion. Accordingly, anyone who actually cites all of those preposterous predictions of catastrophe that never materialized, is labelled as a “denier.” Where is Torquemada when you need him?
Put me in the denier camp. Seeing is believing and facts are facts. The geological record shows that the earth has been evolving for millions of years. Climate change is normal. Man-made global warming is not a scientific fact, it is a multi-trillion dollar scam involving “scientists” who trot out ridiculous predictions, gather up grant money, and then, obscure the fact that they simply keep getting their predictions all wrong.
There is a political beauty to this con job for any Democrat who is running for any office. Thanks to a failed education system and the millions of uninformed fools it has produced, Democrats can embrace stupid ideas that have been proven false, and not be held accountable for being dumb. Instead, every single day an army of con artists in the media will try to convince you Trump is the devil. He isn't. The people who keep trying to cram this con down America's throat are.
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Everything should be free!

© 2016 Jim Spence - Consider how little the average American knows these days. A bad education system has produced bad journalism. And bad journalism now supports and helps perpetuate a bad education system. What we see is an endless negative feedback loop.
Many of us find ourselves scratching our heads too often. My previous two-part column dealt with the intellectual disintegration of America. Sadly, the points I tried to make in those columns get affirmed every single day in the news reports.
Speaking of negative feedback loops. Think about Bernie Sanders wife Jane and her bankrupting of the Burlington College in Vermont. Did Jane Sanders engage in fraud or stupidity? When you pretend you know something about prudent management, it has to be both fraud and stupidity. Vermont is over-run with both. The Sanders are all the evidence we need.
Think about Bernie’s popularity on college campuses and in large metro areas. Bernie can be heard railing against all forms of free market capitalism while calling for everything to be “free” in America nearly every day. Bernie, like millions of Americans, has no idea how goods and services are created or successfully provided. And worse yet, Bernie and his millions of devotees have no idea that what he calls for, will destroy the availability of goods and services in America. All Bernie knows is what he wants. And what Bernie pretends is that everything he wants for himself and his devotees can somehow be free.
It is one of the great scandals of 2017 that there is virtually no U.S. media coverage of the self-inflicted economic tragedy taking place in Venezuela every day. Pregnant Venezuelan women cross their borders when they are close to term, simply so they can have their babies under basic care in Columbia. They do so because Hugo Chavez, the anti-capitalism Marxist of Venezuela (and his successors) said everything would be “free” in Venezuela including hospital care. Here is the reality. Nothing is free. People have to work to produce things. Thanks to Bernie Sanders-like thinking, the hospitals inside Venezuela cannot even provide basic care for pregnant women. Thanks to Sanders-style socialism, Venezuela has squandered every advantage it had, including once being among the top energy producers in the world. People are starving in Venezuela. But don’t look for the socialists in the U.S. media to connect the dots for their viewers. This is bad journalism.
Nobody bothers to tie the ongoing Venezuelan tragedy to the policies American Democrats like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, and yes oh yes……Barack Obama pine for in the U.S. every day.
The story is simple. Venezuelan socialists nationalized everything a couple of decades ago. They made government as big as it could possibly be. Now the country is enduring bloody food riots every day. Only the socialist politicians in Venezuela get the food and medical care they need. The masses have been reduced to fighting for scraps. But there are no profits in Venezuela. Instead, the shortages of everything are “free.” Starvation is free.
It is the same story in North Korea. The North Korean people starve while their socialist dictator runs an international extortion racket. Ditto for Cuba where living standards are a complete disgrace. The only thing socialism produces in abundance is garbage. Sadly, some people develop a taste for garbage. It is the cuisine of choice on college campuses all over America.
Long gone are the days when American students were taught that the three most maniacal mass murders in human history all called for socialism and raged against free market capitalism. The common weapon associated with the trail of more than 100 million dead human beings who were killed by Stalin, Mao, and Hitler is that in Germany, China, and Russia, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao used big government as a weapon against free market capitalism. Hitler actually called it “Jewish capitalism.” Their rhetoric on economics mirrors that of Bernie Sanders.

Would Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren slaughter millions of innocent people like Mao, Hitler, or Stalin? It seems unlikely. These people aren't killers they are just stupid. What these two stooges would do is exactly what Jane Sanders did when she was in charge of Burlington College. They would destroy the availability of living standards for everyone including those tenured college professors who seem so enamored with Bernie, Betty, Hillary, and Barry at Burlington.
It is sad that so few Americans understand this. We brought this on ourselves.

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Swickard: A funny thing happened in line

© 2017 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  Many years ago, I was standing in a line at the university. It was the usual kind of line that college students stand and have stood in since the beginning of time.
            No one was speaking, each barricaded in their own world, secretly wishing the other people would have heart attacks so they could step over the fallen bodies to the head of the line. No matter what happens to our world, we will still have lines to stand in.
            Someone walked up, looked carefully at a piece of paper and then looked worriedly at the sign in front of the line. He started to leave, wavered, almost spoke aloud. He was fearful of being in the wrong line.
            At last, with an air of resignation, he stuck the paper in his pocket, sighed heavily and stepped into line; having decided it was the wrong line but he was going to have to go to the front of this line to find out which line he should have been standing in.
            I turned to him and said, “I wouldn’t mind lines so much if it wasn’t for all the waiting.”
            The effect on the people in line was immediate. Most smiled. I also smiled. Like the air rushing out of a balloon, the tension in the line vanished and people started talking to each other.
            You cannot stand in line with people who are on edge, ill-tempered and full of anger without it affecting you. Likewise, if person after person steps to the front of the line full of bile, it rubs off on the people behind the window until they are surly.
            Sooner than later, they hand that mouthful of bile right back to someone in the line forming a very destructive cycle.
            The way out is to talk to the people around you. Try a little humor if you like. Something like:
            I hear Governor Martinez just flew in from Santa Fe, I’ll bet her arms are tired. Or, how many psychology students does it take to change a light bulb? One, but the bulb has to want to change.
            You can just speak to the people in a friendly manner. You will be surprised how much better you both feel. While it is true that all workers should be nice to us regardless of how they are treated, the way it works is simply: the nicer you are, the better your chance to succeed in getting what you want.
            Seriously, when standing in any line to pay bills, get loans, buy stamps, ask simple questions, ask hard questions, ask unanswerable questions; whatever you are doing in lines, take your humor with you. Be gentle, I may be in the same line.
            Also, if you can’t bring yourself to laugh, at least smile, when you hear: I understand the Aggie football team is so tough that when they play horseshoes, they don’t even bother taking the shoes off of the horses.
            That will move the line right along.

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