Robert A. Teegarden's Blog

July 27, 2012

Obama creating African-American education office – WRONG.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is creating a new office to bolster education of African-American students.

The White House says the office will coordinate the work of communities and federal agencies to ensure that African-American youngsters are better prepared for high school, college and career.

Obama is announcing his election-year initiative Wednesday night in a speech to the civil rights group the National Urban League as he seeks to rally black voters. Aides say his executive order, to be signed Thursday, will set a goal of producing “a more effective continuum” of programs for African-American students

Obama’s recent announcement about creating a new office to bolster the education of African-American students is a perfect example of why politics and education should never meet and why government agencies in America should get out of the business of education. The very suggestion of such an office is an affront to the American citizens in the black community because it relegates black students to the Jim Crow days of the antediluvian South, just before the Civil War and 58 years before Brown v. Board of Education (1954).  And there’s an answer to the needs in Obama’s own USDOE and staring him right in the face.  His decision to create such an office demonstrates how he will use anything, even children, as grist for his political mill.  But Obama’s efforts and announcement does admit one thing.  America’s government schools ARE failing students in the black community, among others as well.

Immediately one has to ask, “Why now?” Obama has been in office for three and one-half years.  Why does he wait this long to create such an office?  The much-tauted Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Education, has had the same time to establish programs and offices to meet these cited needs.  Have things deteriorated that much in such a short period of time?  Not in turns of educational outcomes, unfortunately.  It seems Mr. Obama is using students to regain lost prestige and influence in the Black community of Americans who have lost faith in their leader due to other unpopular political moves recently.  Politics and education just don’t mix.  But Mr. Obama hasn’t learned that lesson.

Some would argue that the entire US Department of Education (USDOE) was established for the very purpose Obama outlines.  Every mandate, every grant, every so-called “competitive grant” from the USDOE is designed to favor young American citizens of color. The department has failed consistent with the failure of their charges. Millions have been spent on programs, offices, equipment, and the employee of thousands of adults but not one cent in achievement or academic  results.  If all this money-spending had succeeded, then why the need for yet another office?  Millions of dollars have been spent but that money failed to achieve results except in two areas—private schools and voucher programs.

Besides the usurpation of the college grants program, the largest federal program for the USDOE is The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (of which the No Child Left Behind is only the most recent iteration). NCLB has spent over $130 Billion in the past six years to create level playing fields in America’s government schools, programs designed specifically to assist the poor among us. It has failed miserably—except in one area.  The only place where the learning gap between kids of color and all others in the US has closed has been for those attending private schools!  The services rendered under NCLB for poor kids and kids of color attending private schools have had a demonstrable effect: they gained academically. The success occurred because the grants/services went to institutions that knew how to use them.

But now Obama wants to target Black American students with a new office.  He’s basically creating a separate-but-equal office just for Black students.  I thought separate-but-equal was outlawed de facto and de jure in Brown v. Board of Education back in 1954. It was found to be illegal to create a separate program just for black students, separate from all others.  How about the rest of America?  Will he create an office for Hispanic students when he needs their parents’ vote?  How about Syrian-Americans or Muslim-Americans? Will they also get an office?   The very purpose of education is to bring kids out of that singular experience that is theirs into the greater whole of mankind’s experience. You know, e pluribus unum.  Obama hasn’t learned that lesson as well.

The greater irony in this case is that the answer lies right in front of him: the Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) in Washington, DC.  The OSP provides a voucher to needy students (kids of color) to attend the school of their choice, usually a private school. In order to give these students this opportunity, the political dynamics required the buy-out of the local teachers’ union.  But the program succeeded because the students succeeded.  Indeed, the USDOE’s own research has demonstrated the success of the OSP program. The students in this program were “better prepared for high school, college, and career.”  But Obama defunded the program.  Twice.  He put these kids and their families on an educational roller coaster than is unconscionable. Just as they were making progress he pulled the rug out from under them.  The problem was that they were succeeding and he wasn’t.

Education, while valued at a national level, is NOT a Federal issue. Nowhere in the Constitution will you find any reference to schooling… NOWHERE.  It’s not their job.  Likewise, when the USDOE was established under the then Carter administration, the lawmakers included exacting and express restrictions on the office from influencing and/or interfering with schooling at the local level in any way, shape, or form.  This includes creating “a more effective continuum,” whatever that means. That descriptor is vague enough to drive a truck through: it could allow anything.

More money is not the problem, that’s been proven time and time again. American schools have plenty of money; they just don’t spend what they have wisely. Classroom size reduction is not the answer, that’s been proven by research over 270 times. Early Childhood education isn’t the answer; Headstart research has demonstrated that all the skills learned in their program were lost by the time the student reached second grade in the government schools. A new bureaucracy is not the answer, that’s been demonstrated year-after-year since 1965.  Separating kids off into separate-but-equal programs is not the answer, let alone for the fact that it’s against the law. Mandates from Washington are not the answer; that’s like crowd control from the air—it never works.

The answer lies is in competition and parental choice at the local level.  Give parents the opportunity to choose what is best for their kids and they will. And those students will succeed.  We don’t need new offices, new systems, and more regulations.  Simply distribute the funds available per child each year and stick it into the backpack of every school-age student and have their parents decide where they should go.  All kids, regardless of their background or color, will succeed. The key is to get government out of the business and out of the way.

Advertisements

July 23, 2012

Penn State NCAA Penalties: Not Good Enough

Filed under: Education,Ends of Education,Sports — by Robert @ 10:19 am
Tags: , , ,

The NCAA’s so-called sanctions against Penn State for the Sandusky/Paterno et al criminality simply doesn’t go far enough, not by a long shot.  Here’s the premise of the NCAA’s statement about their sanctions:

“No price the NCAA can levy with repair the damage inflicted by Jerry Sandusky on his victims,” he said, referring to the former Penn State defensive coordinator convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse last month.

The NCAA concerned itself with collateral damage from this situation, mostly to the future.  The damage control seems to concern itself with present players, potential players and possible future activities.  It’s’ hard to undo what has been done.  But the point is this: the Penn State “culture” abandoned right reason and common sense morality in favor of its reputation and win-loss record.

Yes, Sandusky has been found guilty in a court of law. But the court records and the independent research indicate a far deeper and more troubling culture of deceit and cover-up. The sanctions admit that this “culture” goes deeper and has a much longer history than that advertised in the Sandusky trial. It’s to that “culture” that I address the following.

Penn State sanctions

• $60 million fine
• Vacation of wins from 1998-2011 (112 wins)*
• Four-year postseason ban
• Players may transfer and play immediately at other schools
• Athletic department on probation for five years
* Joe Paterno record now 298-136-3; fifth on FBS all-time list

$60 million fine         The NCAA said the $60 million was equivalent to the average annual revenue of the football program. The NCAA ordered Penn State to pay the penalty funds into an endowment for “external programs preventing child sexual abuse or assisting victims and may not be used to fund such programs at the university.”

With two or three phone calls, Penn State will have donors lined up to cover those costs.  But how does this address the deeper, institutional and “cultural” roots of such a disaster.  This behavior didn’t happen over night.  Records indicate that this took time.  How many more victims are out there who haven’t come forward?  If there is an institutional mindset that protects child abuse, what other kinds of “lesser” abuses have or are taking place as we speak?  If the Penn State win-at-all-costs “culture” shields these things, what else is being protected?  No, the roots go deeper.

Vacation of wins from 1998-2011 (112 wins)          I suppose that this is really the meat of the NCAA’s authority in this situation; it’s the best they choose to do. But it doesn’t make sense.  So the records are adjusted to reflect what?  You didn’t play fair? You weren’t living up to the NCAA rules and regulations?  From the point of view of the victims, I’d say, “So what?”  Future scholarships for players are not given based on the track record of the school.  They’re given for present performance, period.  But the sense of history here does indicate the need to go deeper into the culture that allowed and protected this kind of abuse.

Four-year postseason ban    There’s big money in the post-season play-offs.  But this attacks only the pocket book, not the “culture” that gave rise to such heinous behavior.  Penn State could easily arrange its own post-season games, eliminating the potential loss.  But the beat goes on.

“There is incredible interest in what will happen to Penn State football,” Ray said at the news conference. “But the fundamental chapter of this horrific story should focus on the innocent children and and the powerful people who let them down.”

The Big Ten fully supports the NCAA’s actions, saying in a news release it is officially hereby condemning and censuring the school for “egregiously” failing on “many levels — morally, ethically and potentially criminally.”

Of course they would.  But this is like the politician saying, “It’s for the kids.”  What they’re really thinking about is their own football possibilities.

Players may transfer and play immediately at other schools        Now this makes sense.  Present and future students may transfer immediately to other schools IF they are wanted and IF they have room. This acknowledges some of that collateral damage.  But what does this do for the victims known and unknown?  How does this help the “culture” that seems engrained in this institution?

Athletic department on probation for five years                This basically says don’t mess up for another five years. If you do, then this suspension/probation turns into what?  Expulsion?  The five years should be institutionalized a bit deeper.

Joe Paterno record now 298-136-3; fifth on FBS all-time list       Like the vacating of the school’s record, this is an empty gesture.  Leave the dead to bury the dead.  One cannot deny past victories or losses; they are a matter of history.  But so is the history of the institutional culture that allows these crimes to be committed.

There are some noble gestures directed at children:

Penn State’s proceeds from Big Ten bowl revenues from the four years, amounting to an estimated $13 million, will be allocated “to established charitable organizations in Big Ten communities dedicated to the protection of children,” the conference said.

But these gestures are only that: gestures…

Penn State, in a statement released less than an hour after the sanctions were revealed, said it will accept them and that the “ruling holds the university accountable for the failure of those in power to protect children and insists that all areas of the university community are held to the same high standards of honesty and integrity.”

Individuals and institutions don’t “bounce back” from tragedy, nefarious or otherwise, until they’ve hit rock bottom.  Penn State is at rock bottom, whether or not they recognize it. Now that needs to be institutionalized so that they can start over.  $60 million in finds, an erasure of past victories, future post-season closures, and probation are not rock bottom.

Except for some minor hand-slapping, these rulings don’t go anywhere near holding “the university accountable.”  What the Penn State should have added is, “In accepting these sanctions and in order for us to eliminate the viral infections of the past and build on what is right, we will not compete in intercollegiate football for four years. There will be no football at Penn State for four years.”

July 20, 2012

Time for Impeachment

Filed under: American,Civics,Elections,Government — by Robert @ 3:14 pm
Tags: , , ,

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. –Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world. (Declaration of Independence)

The US Constitution limits impeachment to “The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States” who may be impeached and removed only for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors”.

Then President Richard M. Nixon resigned from office with only the threat of impeachment. His crime: lying to the American people about a cover-up that included all the branches of the US intelligence and justice departments.

Now we have a POTUS who has gone way beyond a cover-up, though that offense will be in the bill of particulars or in discovery.

John Adams, the second president of the United States, once stated, “Facts are stubborn things.” Well, the following facts are stubborn things. They’re stubborn because they cannot be denied.

(The italicized portions are from the Declaration of Independence.)

Treason       

  1. He asked permission of the United Nations in order for us to go to war, a war not authorized by Congress.
  2. He has made efforts (through Secretary Clinton) to subsume the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution to a UN Treaty.
  3. He was the UN Security Council Chair in 2009, while he acted as president.
  4. His administration gave British Trident missile codes to Russia.

Bribery

  1. He forced British Petroleum to pay $20 billion to a slush fund to compensate Gulf Coast businesses and residents affected by the BP oil spill. There is no Congressional oversight.
  2. Votes for ObamaCare were purchased with the “Cornhusker Kickback”, “Louisiana Purchase” and the Department of the Interior increasing water allocations to California’s San Joaquin and Central Valleys.
  3. He gave taxpayer funds to Solyndra (along with a few others).

High crimes and Misdemeanors

  1. He accepted millions in illegal campaign contributions from foreign credit cards.  The screening process to preclude foreign money was (somehow) turned off.
  2. Domestic donors to his campaign were able to contribute over the legal limit.
  3. He produced a fraudulent birth certificate to disclaim questions about his birth.
  4. He does not meet the Constitutional requirement of being a natural-born citizen.
    1. A candidate for the office of president (and presumptive office holders) must be natural-born citizens: at the time of birth, both parents must be citizens of the United States.

i.      By his own admission (POTUS) his father was native to and a citizen of a foreign country.  He is not eligible for the position.

ii.      Continued willful obfuscation of the facts surrounding his birth and the documents that could prove otherwise is a cover-up far and away great than that of former President Nixon.

  1. He is using a false Social Security Number.
  2. His Draft Registration number is false.
  3. He violated the bankruptcy laws by awarding the United Auto Workers with a share of GM and Chrysler during their bankruptcy proceedings.
  4. He summarily fired the Chief Executive Office of General Motors, a violation of the Constitution.
  5. He lied to American citizens about being able to keep their healthcare coverage if they went with ObamaCare.
  6.  He told the EPA to set carbon emission standards without the direction and/or oversight of Congress.
  7. He instituted the “Brown Shirts Mentality” when he instituted a website that asked Americans to report on other Americans about ObamaCare, using taxpayer money.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

  1. The appointment of “czars” (over 30) is questionable at the very least. It bypasses the Senate and the representative nature of this Constitutional Republic.
  2. He violated contractual law when he cancelled 77 oil field development contracts previously approved by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
  3. He has used tax payer funds and government offices for political gain. One such example is the use of the DHS to determine the political affiliation of Americans making FOIA requests about his administration, with subsequent DHS refusals and delays.
  4. He conducted a war against Libya without Congressional authorization, a violation of the War Powers Act of 1973.
  5. He lied again to the American people when he said there were no US troops in Libya. His later admission was that they were just “logistical troops.” (Sound familiar: “There are no US troops in Laos.)
  6. His cover-up and use of “Executive Privilege” to shield his administration about his knowledge of and direct involvement with the Fast and Furious gun-running operation.

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

  1. On New Years Eve 2011, he signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act which includes provisions that permit the abduction and military detention without trial of U.S. citizens.

For imposing taxes on us without our consent

  1. His role in the economic looting of America since he took office is unprecedented. Specifically, Obama violated the Constitution’s Takings and Due Process Clauses when he bullied the secured creditors of automaker Chrysler into accepting 30 cents on the dollar while politically connected labor unions and preferential others received better deals.
  2. He authored and urged the passage of what is known as ObamaCare, telling the citizens that it was not a “tax” but a penalty for non-participation.
  3. His use of signing statements shows his desire to rule by executive fiat. This is a direct violation of Article II of the Constitution.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

  1. He has failed to defend US soil in Arizona as Mexican troops bring illegals and drugs into the USA, crossing the border doing so. This is a direct violation of Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution.
  2. He has allowed US Attorney General, Eric Holder, to ignore his violation of US immigration laws by the creation of immigration sanctuary cities.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither

  1. He has directed his Attorney General to sue any state which seeks to secure its borders.
  2. He enacted law without Congress by providing amnesty to illegal immigrants by allowing ICE Director John Morton to prohibit ICE officers from enforcing US immigration laws.
  3. He and Secretary of State Clinton misappropriated $23 million in US taxpayer funds to help his homeland of Kenya move to a communist nation where the freedom of speech, private property rights, and other rights are subservient to “social justice”.
  4. He acted in April 2009, at the G20 meeting, to expand the Special Drawing Rights that now gives the IMF more control over the US economy, more authority than the duly-elected representatives of the citizens.
  5. He allowed the FCC to assume authority over the internet, in direct violation of a federal appeals court that DENIED the commission that authority. In December, the FCC voted and passed the first federal regulations on internet traffic.

He has obstructed the administration of justice…

  1. He allowed the DOJ in 2009 to stop enforcing federal drug laws in regards to marijuana.
  2. He allowed the DOJ to refuse to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, a law of the land at the time.
  3. He issued an Executive Order on July 12, 2011, attempting to restrict the Second Amendment rights of US citizens in Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona
  4. When Eric Holder refused to prosecute two New Black Panther Party members for brandishing weapons in front of a voting location in Philadelphia, He did nothing. This is a voter Civil Rights violation.
  5. There is new evidence that he obstructed justice by giving preferential treatment to his uncle, Omar Onyango, found guilty of overstaying his visa since 1989 and having received a DUI during this time; the uncle received a deportation stay from the Obama administration and, despite a court ruling to the contrary, received an “emergency” driver’s license.

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments…

  1. He attempted to bypass Congress and raise the Debt Ceiling by “reinterpreting” the 14th Amendment.
  2. He bypassed the Senate by appointing Richard Cordray to a new unconstitutional agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  3. He bypassed the Senate in order to appoint three people to the National Labor Relations Board.
  4. He allowed Education Secretary Arne Duncan to grant waivers to No Child Left Behind however, this is a law enacted by Congress and neither Obama nor Duncan have the authority to authorize that.
  5. He violated the policy of the Senate when he appointed Donald Berwick as CEO of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
  6. Obama allowed the bailouts to grant money without the authority to do so. “No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.” Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7U.S.Constitution
  7. Obama allowed Operation Castaway to occur, which allowed firearms laws to be broken through coercion of legal gun dealers.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

  1. He allowed his Secretary of Defense to place US troops within the jurisdiction of the United Nations.
  2. He and his Secretary of State have maneuvered to subordinate the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution to a United Nations treaty on arms control.
  3. He allowed Interpol to operate in the US without the proper oversight by Congress, the FBI, our US courts or even local law enforcement.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us…

  1. He interfered with a high profile murder case in Florida by taking sides.
  2. He allows the DHS/TSA to routinely violate the 4th/5th Amendment rights of Americans at airports, train stations, and VIPER checkpoints.
  3. His administration changed a welfare program into a government handout to not citizens by promoting Food Stamp Assistance in alien newspapers.
  4. His Attorney General has failed to address the voting rights of American citizens on the island of Guam, an American territory.
  5. During his tenure the American Olympic committee was allowed to outsource the manufacture of team uniforms to China.
  6. He failed to rein in his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, falsified her statement, given before the entire “international community,” claiming “200 men, women, and children” were deliberately massacred, when in reality it was the Syrian military restoring order in the face of armed terrorists.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends

We, therefore… do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people… solemnly publish and declare… that they are absolved from all allegiance… and that all political connection between them …ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

The Moral Dilemma and Obama

Filed under: American,Civics,Elections,Government,Language — by Robert @ 2:59 pm
Tags: , , , ,

One of the telling problems of politics is the disconnect between what a politician says and does from one moment to the next.  We hear a speech that inspires and enervates.  We then hear an off-the-cuff remark that bewilders and is contrary to the speech.  The dilemma for the citizen in 21st century America is getting to know a candidate and/or politician from the words and actions revealed.  Why they reach the conclusion they reach is as important as the conclusion itself because it reveals how the person thinks and what they value.  Why does Soetoro-Obama do this or say that?  What does he really mean?  What does he really value? Part of the problem is modern technology.

When a political leader speaks formally today, s/he often uses a teleprompter or, at least, prepared notes.  It’s very seldom that an informal give-and-take takes place.  Why?  In the formal setting the politician is working from a well-prepared script.  The problem is that this script was probably written by someone else. In the informal tête-à-tête the politician is naked before the world. These latter words reveal the real person behind the words.  You really don’t know what a person is thinking from a prepared speech. One measure of a politician’s strength would be to see how often s/he works from a script or speaks extemporaneously.  How often does this person speak directly to the people? How does Mr. Obama stack up when he working from a script versus when he’s not?  Notice a difference?  It’s obvious that the level of moral reasoning by the scriptwriter is radically different from that of Mr. Soetoro-Obama.

One such scale used to measure cognitive moral reasoning was authored by Piaget.  Piaget studied and wrote of many aspects of moral reasoning and judgment.  But all of his research narrowed down to a two-state theory.  Moral dilemmas are handled by under-10 and 11-year-olds far differently than those older. In other words, there are two stages of development: 10 & 11-years-old (and under) and all people older. Children 11 and under regard the laws and rules of order to be fixed and absolute.  These rules are handed down by God and/or adults and they cannot be altered.  The older group sees that rules are not necessarily sacred and/or absolute, but they are tools that human beings use to form social groups and get along.

The younger group measures rules by what might happen if; what would happen if I break that rule or follow that rule.  They see the world in terms of consequences.  The older folks tend to see the world of choices in terms of intentions.  For some of them, one’s intentions can trump the severity of breaking a rule/law. That’s why intentions are a major part of most capital crime investigations. What was their intention? Was there an intention to deceive?

A second author on moral choice was Lawrence Kohlberg.  Kohlberg took the extensive research of Piaget and analyzed it even further. In his famous doctoral research, he observed the responses (moral reasoning) of 72 boys from Chicago all dealing with the same dilemma.  From those interviews and subsequent research and writings, Kohlberg developed his Six Stages for Moral Reasoning.  “Moral” here doesn’t mean a bag of virtues.  It’s the intellectual value one places on why one chooses to do or not do a particular act.

Here’s a chart of those stages:

Pre-moral or Pre-Conventional Level

Stage 1: Love of Pleasure, Fear of Pain or Punishment-Avoidance   and Obedience

Decisions are made strictly on the   basis of self-interest.  Rules are   disobeyed as long as one doesn’t get caught.

Stage 2:    Egotistic-Reciprocity or The Exchange of Favors

Others may have needs, but   everything is subordinate to the satisfaction of my needs first and foremost.  

Conventional   Level

Stage 3: The “Good boy” or “Good Girl” stage

Chooses to do or not do things in   order to please others.  Very concerned   about maintaining interpersonal relationships.

Stage 4: Law and Order

I choose not to do this or choose   to do that because it’s the law of the land.

Post-Conventional or Principled Level

Stage 5:  The Social   Contract

Rules/Laws are part of social   agreements. While these laws should be followed by all, they can be changed   from time to time.

Stage 6: Universal Moral/Ethic Principle

There are transcendent principles   that are higher than or more encompassing than particular laws in time and   space.  There is a deep inner   conscience.

Subsequent stages are “better” than the previous.  “Better” here doesn’t mean “gooder” in the sense of a good/bad thing. It means more-encompassing, more intellectually honest.  A person who reasons as level 3 includes levels 2 and 1 into a higher order of reasoning.  Likewise, a person thinking at level 5, the Social Contract, necessarily includes the preceding levels 1-4.  Each stage of cognitive moral reasoning is a more encompassing level; the very “motion” of the chart itself goes from the narrowness or solitude of the “I” to the much broader idea of the “they”, the one to the many.

People don’t necessarily move to “higher” stages of moral growth simply because of age, nor can they skip a stage.  A famous 60-some-year old politician once said, “I don’t know how they can do this to me after all I did to them” the night he left office.  Clearly, that’s a level 2 kind of thinking.  But a person grows from one stage to another by intellectually dealing with moral dilemmas, that is, grappling with the moral content of an issue. If folks don’t engage moral dilemmas, they remain morally stagnant.  Most children outgrow level 2 by the time they are in second grade. This was once called the “age of reason.”  Most American adults reach level four thinking, acting at level three.  Some reach post-conventional thinking. Kohlberg noted that Socrates, Plato, Ghandi, Jesus, and some of the writings of Martin Luther King, Jr., were all examples of level six thinking. They were all killed by level four type folks.  There is a price to pay for having an individual moral compass.

There are averages for the cognitive moral development of most folks, but there are exceptions.  Kohlberg found that “normal” folks usually think one level above where they tend to act. In other words, while folks might be talking about Law and Order, their actions demonstrate clearly that they’re really thinking of how they can please another. An interesting sidelight study was that Kohlberg found that criminals tend to act one level above their reasoning; that is they did a “law and order” kind of deed, but when questioned they noted their prison record and time off for good behavior. Criminal “types” think and act the opposite of law-abiding citizens.

Let’s give Mr. Soetoro-Obama a dilemma and see by his actions at what level he’s probably operating.  The dilemma is this:  He wants to run for a higher political office.  The office has a strict criteria for candidates: both of his parents must be natural born citizens at the time of his birth in order to qualify.  He knows he doesn’t qualify but he really wants this office. He’s been offered the possibility by several of the richest and most influential men in the world. If he reveals his birth certificate, he’s ineligible. Should he reveal this fact or not?

Mr. Soetoro-Obama decides to move ahead and keep that information from his constituents.  In fact he spends close to $11 million to hide that fact and avoid discovery.  He wants the job opportunity.

So the question is this: At what level of moral reasoning is this decision?

Stage 6: Universal Moral/Ethic Principle?      No.  In order to be transcendent, all actions and thoughts have to be transparent. It’s all out there for folks to see.  There’s nothing to hide.  The very act of hiding eliminates this level. His actions to secret information reveal the lack of moral reasoning at this level.

Stage 5:  The Social Contract?                       No.  An example of this Social Contract would be the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of the United States; they reach for higher values, higher principles.  But the Constitution is the very document that outlines the expectation for this office.  If he chooses to hide the facts of his birth and upbringing, then he is not rising to this higher level of post-conventional thinking.  His actions are contrary to the expectations of this stage.

Stage 4: Law and Order?                                No.  The law of the land outlines the expectations for his office.  He submits a false document to suggest compliance with the law. He’s able to think about the expectations at this level, but his actions are not consistent with what society offers as was is legal and what is a sense of order. His choice to violate the law is not for some higher good.

Stage 3: “Good boy” or “Good Girl” stage?  No.  One might argue that he chose to do hide his eligibility in order to please his backers.  But is he very concerned about maintaining interpersonal relationships with the people this office serves?  No.  There is evidence that he’s at least toying with his level of moral development.  He did alter and amend the official histories of his predecessors in order to attempt admiration for his own supposed accomplishments to date.  He’s starting to think about this level but his actions aren’t there yet.

Stage 2:  Egotistic-Reciprocity or The Exchange of Favors Stage    Possibly. Others may have needs, but everything is subordinate to the satisfaction of my needs first and foremost.  His control of media events directs all attention to him; he continually takes credit for others’ work and achievement. He accepts awards where he has done nothing to earn them.  When others challenge the facts of his eligibility, he attacks the author with ad hominem remarks. Clearly he works at this level because of the many favors he grants to only those who have supported him.  

Stage 1: Love of Pleasure, Fear of Pain or Punishment-Avoidance and Obedience Stage?   For sure.  The very reason he spends so much money, time and energy on hiding his credentials is that he might get caught.  Then what?  Decisions are made strictly on the basis of self-interest.  And like Piaget’s early stage thinker, his decisions are based on consequences, not intentions. The egotistic love of pleasure in holding the position is more important than the honest revelation that he simply is not eligible for the same.

Kohlberg hoped that people would advance to the highest possible stage of moral thought. The best possible society would contain individuals who not only understand the need for social order (stage 4) but can entertain visions of universal principles, such as justice and liberty (stage 6). But neither of these can be obtained if, as an adult, one has the stagnated moral development at the level of a six-to-11-year-old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hyphenated-America

Americans see hyphens every day.  The most common use of the hyphen is in the art of orthology or correct spelling, especially when a word breaks at the end of a sentence. Hyphens can either separate or unify.  Hyphens can be used to divide or connect syllables, names or word elements; they can also be used to link jobs or function such as singer-dancers, actor-models, mendacious-politician (Oops, I’m sorry. That’s redundant).  But hyphens are especially needed for clarity. While one might be contained in the other, there is a difference between re-creation and recreation.  And as a parent, I surely would like to distinguish for my children the difference between a dirty-movie theater and a dirty movie-theater.  So, hyphens can help; but they can also hurt.  It all depends on how their used.

Take the term Irish-American or Black-American. To be clear at the outset, it really should be Afro-American, for the modifier is not color but source. Color, like height or weight, is not substantive. Imagine folks being referred to as short-Americans or sinister-Americans (those who write with their left hand).  I suppose, though, one could call herself/himself anything they wish.  But in common parlance and public exchange, things can get confusing. What if your mother were white, your father was from Kenya?  Would you be a white-Afro-American? Or an Afro-White –American?  We seek clarity.

If one is Irish-American it denotes that one has immigrated recently from Ireland and you still have a leg in both countries and cultures. For those who were born here of that particular pedigree, the term is often used to connote origins, not the present reality.  If “Irish-American” denotes a recent arrival, then all others are “Americans of Irish decent”.  After all, the common denominator for us all is “American,” not “Irish.”

Likewise for the Afro-American. A recent immigrant from Monrovia, Liberia, to Azusa, California, could be considered an Afro-American for a while. But with time, naturalization, and assimilation in the new culture, she/he would be known as an American, who happens to be from Africa.  Again, what we all have in common is in being an American.

How we use the language says a lot about us.  Maintaining a hyphenation maintains a duality.  If asked for your nationality ten years after moving into the USA and you said, “Irish American,” that would indicate to me that you’re not here yet.  You’re living in two worlds.  Don’t get me wrong. One’s origins, nationality and culture are fundamental. They are important and need to be nurtured.  I would be proud to be Irish.  But when you move to a different land, you necessarily need to absorb the principles and mores of that land; otherwise, you live a life divided upon itself.  What happens is your own culture fails to develop and your new allegiances cease to grow.  You’re kind of in a Twilight Zone.  I’ve often wondered about hyphenated-married names.  That burden is placed on the bride in the American parlance.  But what a gift to give? Does having a hyphenated name after marriage mean that you have a foot in each camp, one single and the other married? I wonder.  What does that same about commitment?

Who are we really?  We’re Americans who came from Africa. We’re Americans who came from Ireland.  We’re Americans who came from Colombia.  Rich with a cultural heritage and even language, we can be proud to be an American…. first.

But hyphens that hurt can also heal.  Usually the last thing they do to you is hyphenate your life. You know:  1925 2008.  That little hyphen (actually it’s more like a dash) captures time (in this case, about 83 years), history, experience, family, off-spring, roots and love.  All that can make up a person’s life is captured by that little hyphen-now-dash.  Between these two days lived this person. Between these two marks in time, we hyphenate eternity and honor a life.

So be careful out there in the military-industrial complex. Be careful not to fall prey to political-correctness and instead judge for yourself based on facts and truth.  Avoid cancer-causing substances and conditions.  Try to choose the most cost-effective means of living in these difficult times. Avoid separating yourself off from others. If you’re here legally, you’re an American first and foremost.  Welcome. Best wishes.  If not, sign up.

Chip-Readers, Scanners and Stud­­ents­­­

On March 20,1933, the new leader of Germany (since January of that same year) established a concentration camp in the Bavarian town of Dachau, a camp for political prisoners—people who disagreed with his politics and that of the status quo.  In April of that same year, the new government of Germany entered into a relationship with the newly-named IBM company to use its developing technology to help identify and catalog the ethnic identification of the 41million residents of Prussia. The American parent company sent over 7,000,000 reichsmarks (about $1 million) to Berlin to build IBM’s first factory in Germany.  It’s estimated that over 60,000 German citizens were housed in Dachau by the end of April that same year.

Fast-forward about 70+ years and now we have Northside Independent School District in Texas planning to “track students” using technology “implanted” in their student identification cards.  They say it’s a trial.

Now these are not passive identification cards like your state driver’s license.  Swiping your driver’s license into an appropriate reader shares a lot of information about you.  But, at least, it requires a scanner then and there.  Not so these new student chips.  No, these so-called identification cards will include what are called RFID tags (Radio Frequency Identification System) somewhat like the GPS tags that are in most cell phones today.  With the appropriate scanner, not only can one identify your name, age, gender, nationality and any other data collected about you, but this chip allows the scanner to identify where you’re located.

The district says it’s all about student safety, but they readily admit that students can be counted more accurately (than their teachers?) at the beginning of the school day to help “offset cuts in state funding,” which is partly based on student attendance.  While they say it’s for safety, it’s more about money and, I believe, the loss of liberty.

The  district notes that this technology will also be for all special education students who ride district buses.

“We want to harness the power of (the) technology to make schools safer, know where our students are all the time in a school, and increase revenues,” district spokesman Pascual Gonzalez said. “Parents expect that we always know where their children are, and this technology will help us do that.” If student attendance is unknown to the professionals in this district now, having a machine count them doesn’t necessarily make kids safer.

The district also noted that the “chip readers on campuses and on school buses can detect a student’s location but can’t track them once they leave school property. Only authorized administrative officials will have access to the information.”  The problem here is that only the school’s scanners “can’t track” students once they leave school property.  Others can.  If only authorized administrative officials have access to the information, how are the teachers to know and/or confirm that students are present?  How does this make things safer?

Imagine a Tom Clancy type-novel where the bad gal gets a hold of a copy of Who’s Who in San Antonio.  It lists the richest families by name.  Our villainess cross references that data to the other data that she’s scans out there on these student identification cards and voila; she finds the exact location of her prey.  Far-fetched, you say?  The US military uses the very same technology to locate soldiers in the field.  It can be done.  It is being done.  If the school is providing a radio-frequency identification chip for their students, student safety might as well be thrown to the wind or the first drone to fly over.

Families weren’t asked if they wished to participate in this so-called pilot program. This isn’t a volunteer program. They’re getting the RFID-tagged cards.  And officials note that students could leave the card at home, which defeats the entire purpose for the system.  The school noted that the cards cost $15 each and, if lost, a student will have to pay for a new one. The article did not say whether parents were required to pay the initial purchase or not.  Nor did they say if a student were to leave their card at home whether they’d be taxed (penalized) for not carrying it.

Why these schools in this district? A district representative noted “the district picked schools with lower attendance rates and staff willing to pilot the tags.” It’s the “attendance rates” that are a problem, not student safety. They need more money.  I love the euphemism “pilot the tags.” Apparently the teachers are unable to motivate students to attend or to count the ones who do.  The problems experienced in this district have little to nothing to do with student safety. Do the teachers have to carry these tags as well?  Maybe that would help their budget problems in a much simpler way.  But if the teachers refuse to “pilot the tags” themselves, why should their students?

The RFID cards have been compared to security cameras. They’re really more like 24/7 drones with cameras.  I need to remind these citizens of the Fourth Amendment of their Constitution.  It says:

“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.”

It’s been noted in previous juris prudence that a child does not check their Constitutional rights at the school house door. Just because they attend a government/union school doesn’t mean that they must give up their right to be secure in their persons.  Being tracked electronically is not one of those reasonable exceptions to the rule.

The school district runs a terrible risk by mandating such a program.  They are putting their students at risk from outside sources. Whether the tracking is done by electronics or tattoos, it’s wrong.

July 17, 2012

Guess Who?

The following are quotes from a variety of sources, mostly biographical in nature.

He was an extraordinary man.

The answer lies within his booming personality.

He was extroverted and charismatic using words to convince people to follow him.

He was quite intellectual in that he excelled in school and became a person of great power.

Many highly regarded California politicians, including Governor Jerry Brown, listened to him.

Because of his determination it appears that he was quite conscientious in his endeavors.

He preached the importance of radical egalitarianism.

He was the patriarch of a dysfunctional family.

His mother supported the family.

As an adult, He wanted to make the world a better place.

He was a charismatic man who demanded loyalty.

His vision was socialist in nature. He believed that American capitalism caused an unhealthy balance in the world, where the rich had too much money and the poor worked hard to receive too little.

He preached activism.

His work was praised in newspapers and by local politicians.

People trusted him and believed that he had a clear view of what needed to be changed in the United States.

From the outside he looked like an amazing success. Yet on the inside, his following was transforming into a cult centered around him.

He quickly became infatuated with power.

He had been deeply influenced by his perception of black religious leader.

He was seen by followers as a prophet and miracle worker.

Equally strong in him were the Marxist leanings underlying his social idealism.

Though a lengthy report was issued, the mass of materials, including the files of the various government investigations of him, have never been made public, and the truth of what actually occurred remains shrouded in mystery.

He was a voracious reader as a child and studied Joseph Stalin, Karl Marx, Mahatma Gandhi and Adolf Hitler, carefully noting each of their strengths and weaknesses.

He personally walked the neighborhood comforting African Americans.

He was careful not to portray himself as a communist in a foreign territory, and spoke of a communal lifestyle rather than of Castro or Marx.

“If you’re born in capitalist America, racist America, fascist America, then you’re born in sin. But if you’re born in socialism, you’re not born in sin.

Unlike most other figures deemed as cult leaders, he was able to gain public support and contact with prominent local and national United States politicians.

He forged media alliances with key columnists.

He grew up very much an exile of society, and had an understanding of the troubles minorities faced in not being accepted.

With such an understanding of how these people had suffered, the ordeals that they had been through and the pain within them, it is no surprise that he was so able to gain their trust and make them feel like he was really ready to help them.

He appeared to be a great person, and he convinced so many people that he was doing great things in the community.

He was a political animal – very ego-driven and very successful.

Such a moving statement allows us to empathise and understand why this man, who is seen as a villain today, was so widely respected and immortalised. He provided them with so much which ultimately led to unimaginable loyalty and trust to this man, such as a child honours that of a sporting hero.

The people were betrayed by the actions of their hero, their role model but they cannot be blamed for entrusting such faith in him, as he misled them to believe him to be a demigod, perfect in so many ways and what he said. What he told them to do was truly thought to be the right thing to do.

You could even say they were oblivious that it was their own hard work and determination which brought about the better lifestyles; they believed it was this organization.

He was a very desirable man to many women, and a role model to the men.

He was a man who understood the troubles of minorities and just generally of others, always ready to empathise with others. If you put your trust and faith in him, you were rewarded and looked after.

His intentions may have begun as good, yet one thing is for sure; one man should not have such power over anyone, especially not such a mass of people.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>

Of whom do we speak?

>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
Jim Jones of Jonestown, Guyana

>
>
>
>
>
>
>

Sound familiar?

>
>
Don’t drink the Kool-Aid!

July 15, 2012

Sowing and Reaping

Filed under: Civics,Elections,Government — by Robert @ 12:06 pm
Tags: , , ,

You sow a seed, in this case the seed of a tree.  You nurture it, you cultivate the soil around it, you feed and water it; eventually you transplant it.  You watch it grow, you anticipate its shade.  You wait for the harvest, the first fruits of its sap.  This is a new seed, and unknown variety.  This seed has never been tried or tested before.  Investment becomes a gamble. This is a change from the last year’s crop.  There’s great hope in the outcome.

Our new seed is of the species Apple. The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica.  It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits in the world.

All of its life energy is focused on the fruit of this tree.  We might admire the byproducts of our tree; we might admire its stature, its stateliness. We could appreciate the sound of the wind blowing through its branches.  We might even wonder at its various colors through the seasons of the year. This new tree might even bring shelter and comfort to others of God’s creatures out in the field. But we wait for the fruit.  If it bears good fruit, then comes pruning, fertilizing, more nurturing, and growth; if it bears bad fruit, well… more on that later.

There’s a great deal of hope in that first fruit-bearing season.  It’s the first measure of growth and performance. A lot of effort has gone into this moment. Evidence of future fruit abounds. There are flowering buds of tantalizing hues everywhere.  The tree even looks good.  Its colors through the year appeared correct.  It has the right height and the right shape.  The air is dripping with anticipation. Our tree is ripe; it’s time for the harvest. The pickers arrive.

But instead of sweet nectar, the fruit of this tree is sour, almost acrid, both in taste and appearance. Birds won’t nest among its leaves and the crowds of ground critters avoid its branches. A change has occurred, but not for the good.  Some fruit falls from the tree to remain uneaten even by the lowly ant.  Allowed to ripen on the tree, the rest of the fruit eventually falls to the ground, withers and dies.  What does fall is collected elsewhere to be burned.  The very presence of this offspring could contaminate the soil further. This fruit would poison the very ground from which it came.

The results of all that hard labor were for naught. The outcome was blamed on the soil, on the water, and mostly on last year’s crop. But the farmer began to question the very seed itself.  Dutifully he fertilized, weeded and pruned again.  Sometimes first efforts are not always the indicator of future crops.

Good trees produce good crops.  It’s in their nature.  When there is good fruit the farmer is happy, the critters are happy, birds avail themselves of this nourishment. This is success. The life cycle of this tree is complete and it is good.  But it’s good not because of the shade, seasonal colors or aromas; no, it’s good because good fruit can only come from good trees.

So our farmer tries once again. Given agricultural encouragement our tree continues on in the cycles of life. Harvest time arrives once again.  But to the surprise of all who witnessed, this year’s crop didn’t include one complete apple.  You see, the skin of this year’s crop shielded from view the aberration taking place within, almost as if it were hiding the change taking place.  There were half-apples and half-apricots, apple-plums, cherry-apples, apple-peaches and almond-apples and each of those varieties by themselves.  This was not expected, indeed, and while surprising, it was very disappointing.  And though intriguing at first glance, this fruit was inedible as well.  Not only did our tree not bear good fruit, it bore half-fruits and fruits other than what was planted and expected.  The very sap of this tree was kind of like a lie. It was as if this tree could not live up to its very nature. The tree never delivered what was promised.  The change was not what was anticipated and planned, the hope was fruitless, and the results were catastrophic.

The farmer had no recourse. Bad trees produce bad fruit.   He had to remove the trees from his orchard.  Cut down and stacked, the wood was sold for firewood—at least someone might be warmed by its loss.  Those who labored here to find security simply from the heat of its combustion were also disappointed.  The very wood of this tree just failed to ignite.  While the tree consumed great resources from planting to harvest, it proved to be of no value whatsoever.  Thank the Maker that our farmer had the insurance necessary to protect his family from this blight, this failed experiment.

On to next year’s crop.

July 8, 2012

Taxed for Naught

Filed under: Civics,Government — by Robert @ 12:40 pm
Tags: , ,

A new world has just opened up: Taxes on what you DON’T  do.  My God, the possibilities are endless. They are also chilling.   For instance:

  • A tax for NOT voting for a particular politico. Oops, sorry. We’re already doing that.  This Pay-to-Play tax was perfected by Grey Davis in California and Barry-Barrack Hussein Soetoro-Obama in Washington.
  • A tax for Not attending the government/union schools.  Oops, sorry.  Despite a law to the contrary, parents who opt to send their kids to a private school or home-school, are still taxed for not attending the union schools.
  • A tax for NOT having health insurance.  Oops, sorry.  This is the most recent iteration of this bizarre, fascist procedure.
  • A tax for NOT failing.  That one’s called the Capital Gains Tax. Or the “Luxury Tax.”
  • A tax for NOT living.  This sometimes called the “death tax” or the Inheritance Tax.
  • A tax for Not catching fish.  The tax is for “fishing,” not catching.
  • A tax for NOT being efficient.  It’s called the “Gas Guzzler” tax.
  • A tax for NOT walking.  It’s called the “Gasoline Tax.”
  • A tax for being too old.  The U.S. “generation-skipping transfer tax” imposes a tax on both outright gifts and transfers in trust to or for the benefit of unrelated persons who are more than 37.5 years younger than the donor or to related persons more than one generation younger than the donor, such as grandchildren.
  • A tax for not being selfish.  It’s call the “gift tax.”
  • A tax for the failure to sell.  It’s called the “inventory tax.”
  • A tax for NOT remaining single.  It’s called the “marriage tax.”
  • A tax for NOT being homeless.  It’s called “property taxes.”
  • A tax for NOT staying stupid.  It’s called “the school tax.”
  • A tax for NOT polluting lakes, streams and rivers.  It’s called the “septic tank tax.”
  • A tax for NOT being lazy, independently wealthy or a politician.  It’s called “Social Security.”
  • A tax on NOT being ill or NOT having an accident.  It’s the “Emergency Telephone 911 system fee tax.”
  • A tax to protect all the industries we used to have.  It’s called “Tarrifs” or “Import Taxes.”
  • An occasional simply political tax for not keeping quiet. It’s called the “Federal telephone excise tax.”
  • A tax for NOT talking enough.  It’s called the Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax.”
  • A tax for NOT using kerosene lamps, using an out-house, or a wood stove.  It’s call the “utility user’s tax.”
  • A tax for NOT using public water supplies.  It’s called a “Well Permit tax.”

I found myself over-taxed by the task at hand.  The more I researched, the more I found that we were already being taxed for NOT DOING a lot of things.  But the whole exercise was taxing my patience.

We seem to have it all backwards in America.  We should be charged for what we do, not NOT do.  With that in mind, let’s simplify.  Get rid of all taxes, federal and state.  All of them.  Then have a tax not on naught, but a tax on what one purchases. Not a tax on what you make, but on what you spend.  No tax brackets.  That’s all.  If you buy it, there’s a tax on that transaction.  If you don’t, there’s no tax at all. How about having all government agencies pay taxes on their purchases as well? The party-favors from the recent GSA “parties” would lower the national debt considerably.

TSA—Time To Close Down A Failed Experiment

Filed under: Government — by Robert @ 11:02 am
Tags: , , , , ,

The TSA was “created in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, to strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation systems. The Aviation and Transportation Security Act, passed by the 107th Congress on November 19, 2001, established our agency and gave it three major mandates:

  • responsibility for security      for all modes of transportation;
  • recruit, assess, hire, train,      and deploy Security Officers for 450 commercial airports from Guam to      Alaska in 12 months; and,
  • provide 100 percent screening      of all checked luggage for explosives by December 31, 2002.

“ In March 2003, (they) we were moved from the Department of Transportation to the Department of Homeland Security that was created on November 25, 2002 by the Homeland Security Act of 2002, unifying the nation’s response to threats to the homeland.”

But who are they?  What are they?

Here’s how they say you are to apply for a job:

“Apply for the Job. Follow the instructions in the “How to Apply” section of each USAJOBS announcement (upper right tab). Instructions will guide you through the application process, providing you detailed information on the questions, forms, and format that must be addressed and used to capture your qualifications for the job. Submit all required documents and pay close attention to the application due date and application procedures, which will vary by job and the Department component.

Interview for the Job. The names of best-qualified candidates will be forwarded to the supervisor or hiring official. If you are one of the best-qualified candidates, the supervisor or hiring official may interview you in person or by telephone, or in rare cases may hire you based solely on your application materials. Selection procedures are subject to Federal Civil Service laws, which ensure that all applicants receive fair and equal treatment in the hiring process.

So, here’s how it works:

  • Apply
  • Complete forms and format      (?)
  • Submit documents (birth      certificates?)
  • Possible interview in      person or via phone
  • Hiring

Here’s what they say they do:

“Since 2001, we have been mandated by law to appropriately screen air travelers to ensure that certain items and persons prohibited from flying don’t board commercial airliners. We are most visibly present through our 43,000 trained and certified Transportation Security Officers stationed at over 450 airports across the country. Combined with over 1,000 credentialed security inspectors, these professionals screen over two million passengers daily and deliver both world-class security and customer service at your airport.

No they weren’t.  They were formed to screen luggage. Period.  Once in place, the TSA passed its own regulations about screening passengers.  They took it upon themselves to go a step further.

“We also lead and support security operations across the spectrum of the nation’s transportation systems from mass transit and maritime vessels to our highways. In concert with other federal agencies, we play an active role in national special security events and in ensuring the security of the nation’s airspace.

  • “Appropriately” means what? Wanding? Groping? Assault? It’s not defined in the code.
  • These so-called Security Officers are so because they’re “certified,” not necessarily qualified.
  • There are “credentialed security officers.”  Again, they have a piece of paper that says they’re qualified.  Kind of like teachers’ credentials.

Are they law enforcement officers?  NO.  Their “rank” is kind of like the officer in your local bank, and I don’t mean the night watchman.

Should they be wearing a badge?  NO  They are NOT law enforcement officers.  They have no authority to arrest; they have to bring in “real” law enforcement officers to do that.

So why the police-like blue uniforms?  It makes them look like police officers.  They’re NOT.  Also, I’ve been told that their uniforms are paid for by the American taxpayer, not the employee.  Pretty cushy job there.  They even have epaulets as in the military.  They surely give the impression that they’re official, don’t they.  But the simple truth is that they are NOT. They were hired to screen luggage.  They APPEAR to have authority (badges, military-typed creases on their shirts and blouses, ranks of office (?) [I’m a screener, he’s a prober, she’s a groper.],  but in actuality they only have the legal authority to check one’s luggage.

Here’s the training schedule:

The website is vague at best about TSA training.  It speaks more to the training they perform, not that which they receive.  As best I can tell there’s about 80 hours of training after being hired.  Is this police-officer training? NO.  Is this federal marshal training? NO.  Can they exercise a warrant and search?  NO.  Are they a form of police? NO.

80 hours and they’re certified!  Wow…  But to do what?  The original mandate is to check luggage. Well, check away.

TSA officials are a very close kin to the US Postal system and teachers’ unions.  There’s a lot of high fluting language and shiny badges and military-creased uniforms.  But the law basically says that they are baggage handlers.  With baggage they have been okay.

Have they discovered inappropriate items in baggage?  Yes.

Have they “caught” one terrorist? NO.

They’re okay with things but their track record with people is terrible.  Example abound how their actions border on the violation of and exceed the mandates of the Fourth Amendment.  In case you might have forgotten, here’s what that LAW says:

“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.”

TSA officials have no legal power to issue warrants or arrest.  Their searches are unreasonable and this sad experiment needs to be shut down. We, the people (in other words, We, the government…) need to call for closure.  I’m all for security, but not at the price of personal liberty and Constitutional expectations and provisions.

TSA folks have been found on the roads, on subway trains, and have been invited to schools.  That’s right, to your child’s school.  They say it’s training in safety. Some suggest it’s training in getting used to seeing the blue-shirts wherever you go.

But the TSA is kind of like taxes.  Once they’re in place, we all kind of get used to it and go along for the ride (literally).  We’re told they have the authority to do some of the things they do, but they don’t.  If congress or the American people don’t close them down or rein them in, well, instead of blue shirts maybe they should wear brown shirts.  Then we’ll know their real reason for being around.

Happily there is at least one effort at least to rein in the exaggerated claims and showmanship of the TSA.

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.