sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Things that Would Improve the American Nation

A new year is coming and I hope that 2017 brings you joy.

2016 turned out to be a good year for me, and Donald Trump's election portends positive change in our declining nation. It will be a year of change for me, and while that always brings some trepidation, I'm looking forward to it with great anticipation. A friend asked what I thought of life in general today and I replied as I always do:
Every meal's a banquet, every paycheck a fortune, every formation is a parade -- and every day above ground is better than a mouth full of dirt!!
Here is my PARTIAL prescription for the nation.

JANUARY 20

Congress needs to repeal all of the regulatory executive orders that Barack signed over the last 60 days of his presidency.
In 1994, Republicans gained control of the U.S. House for the first time in 40 years, largely on the strength of the “Contract with America,” written by Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey. The document outlined a GOP agenda that included reforms intended to make Congress more accountable and transparent, while preaching fiscal discipline and regulatory restraint. 
One of those reforms was the Congressional Review Act, which created a 60-day period during which the House and Senate could overturn Executive Branch rules so long as the president did not veto such resolutions. The tool has been used successfully only once, because it’s highly unlikely that a president who imposed an administrative rule would sign a bill to kill it.   But there is a new sheriff in town.
If Congress uses the act to strike down a rule, the issuing agency is barred from reviving the regulation in the future.

Senate Republicans should use the Congressional Review Act to have something on President Trump's desk within hours after the inauguration.

THE TRUMP AGENDA - I agree with the program so I'm not going to go into detail on that. The legislature is onboard, the Supreme Court will be fixed and we might just be able to see improvements in the country with the badly needed exit of Barack from the national stage.

COMMUNICATION - Cell phones and the Internet are fine but living abroad or studying abroad are keys to understanding different cultures and different customs. Visiting on an organized tour may be good entertainment but it's completely worthless in terms of "communication". If you want to understand the world, you have to live in the world and not in the town where you were born. Fellow blogger Euripides, and I,  had this discussion over a delicious "pig-dip sandwich" this past year. Understanding the world and its people requires effort and exposure.
Example: Having said that, you'll never understand the Chinese and they will never understand you, but you can learn to get along and to appreciate the culture. The Chinese are predictable. Westerners are not, which is what terrifies them about us. We can switch from Barack-the-Magic-Muslim to Donald J. Trump with a single plebiscite. 
Many things that Americans do and say when it applies to the world at large is done and said out of ignorance. Go somewhere unfamiliar, stay there for sixty days, eat where the locals eat, do what the locals do, go to their churches, attend sports events and then go somewhere else. The educational value exceeds what you will ever manage to achieve in a classroom. I'm not suggesting a life of aimless wandering, but communicating in a real way out of your comfort zone, builds skills, understanding and compassion. It's easier if you can start while you're young.

CITIZENSHIP - I'm at odds with the Founding Fathers here. They made a grievous error in the one-person-one-vote system of democracy. You can be born a "citizen" (small c) but for voting rights, you should have to serve. Whether it is in the military, or in a civilian capacity emptying bedpans at an old folks home or planting trees, you need to earn it in an environment of discipline. The term of service should take four years of your life. There are people who read this very blog whose lives were profoundly changed for the better through military service. However the key is service at a low wage and learning discipline. Once you've completed that, you have the right to vote. No service, no vote. The process brings rich and poor, black and white, city people and country people together where they can better understand the value of teamwork, mutual hardship, and brotherhood. No entitled may vote without service.

EDUCATION - It's the great ladder that allows the poor to ascend in any society. The access to education needs to be universal. However only the valuable courses of study should be rewarded with a student loan. Unless you are studying hard science or business, no loan. No encouragement for grievance studies (womyn's studies; racial studies; basket weaving; social justice, etc.). I don't care if you want to study in a grievance major, the government should not encourage it with loans.


COMMENTS?

I'm sure that you who follow this blog have ideas as well, please feel free to add them to the list by commenting below:


40 comments:

  1. If the US wasn't so vast, I think there'd be more incentive to travel abroad. Perhaps your communication concept should apply to coastal elites getting to know Kansas. And there's the rub. What incentive do those content where they are have to get out and see the world?

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    1. Clearly, the coastal corrupt, elite media types need to leave their prejudices behind and discover America. I don't know that it's possible for them, though, based on what I've seen during and following this last election cycle.

      Most Americans are content not to travel and I have no problem with that. Still, without the perspective that seeing, feeling and kicking the tires brings, it's difficult to form accurate opinions. That is more my point.

      I've heard a lot of chatter from various people about this or that place and I've asked them, "Have you ever been to (insert place)? Because that's not at all what I found." There is usually a shuffling of feet and an aw shucks moment when they admit that they read about it in caveat found within the pages of a university text on social justice or something.

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  2. Deport anyone whose paternal line ancestors were not citizens in 1800. Immigration destroyed the nation left by the Founders to their posterity.

    Return to a citizen's militia, disbanding the army.

    End all aid to every other nation.

    Repudiate every defense treaty we are currently party to.

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    1. I have relatives who came over in the 1700's, but my paternal line (a bridge builder) arrived in 1816, thus it would be off to England with me. I do like Yorkshire but they'd have to accept my firearms...

      Modern weapons require a great deal of technical expertise. It's tough to do with people who must master them and train with them in their spare time. If you're Switzerland, it's easier to pull off than the US. I presume that you'd stand the navy down as well, which means that there would be no US trade because any nation could seize our ships (sort of like the Barbary Pirates did in the Jefferson Administration).

      I get your point, but there are more people who can't trace paternal ancestry back before 1800 than can, which means that evicting them would be a challenge. Same with trashing the military in lieu of a militia.

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  3. I have many thoughts and questions, such as, I have not heard anything about the Czars appointed by Obama to tell him what is going on in the world. There were there to by-pass anything to do with Congress. Will they be gone? It would mean many government jobs dumped on the curb... which is okay with me.

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    1. The czars were replaced quietly by Barack's pen and phone as he issued imperial edict after imperial edict.

      Many government jobs need to be dumped. Many many thousands of jobs. I think that you'll see that under a Trump Administration.

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  4. Service is a great idea, but four years? I've always thought military service should be part of everyone's life. We need people who can think making decisions not people that only feel.

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    1. I have no problem with a Swiss model. They have compulsory service that transitions to annual training periods - I think until age fifty, but I'm not sure on the age.

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  5. I have not been blessed to be able to travel to Europe. I did take a two week tour of Mexico, which was wonderful. What made it wonderful was the tour guide took me under his wing. When we hit a town he would meet me out front of where we were staying and we would head into town. I got to see the real Mexico - markets, people, town squares. I loved it.

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    1. My thesis that "Americans need to get out more" rings hollow with some. However, it's exceptionally difficult to make judgments on the rest of the world (as we do) without having experienced any of it.

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  6. It would to my mind behoove Americans to get out and experience other parts of America before they pass judgement on the rest of the country and the world.
    Though I haven't gotten to travel the world to experience other cultures, I did grow up with a diverse supporting cast of Mexicans, Japanese, Chinese, Swedes, Germans, Brits, Basque, Spaniards, and one Nigerian... all willing to expand a young mind.

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    1. That's a good way to sample customs and to better understand that different ways of looking at the same problem aren't all "wrong" because it doesn't fit the model we're accustomed to.

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  7. Probably my favorite post...I enthusiastically concur!

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    1. I take that as a high compliment, my dear friend.

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  8. What? No student loan for learning Klingon? ;-)

    Son number 2 did two tours in Iraq. He got to know the Iraqi people and is pissed at what Obama allowed to happen to them.
    My last tour in the military was 5 years on Okinawa. Not Japan, don't let the people there hear that; but it was enjoyable.
    BIL has spent ten years or so (retired as AF Col.) in Japan, teaching American medical techniques and got to know the "mainlanders". We have good discussions often.

    Hubby and I have been saying for years now, that in order to vote, everyone should have to do some form of service. Whether military, Peace Corps, VISTA, etc. I would even accept places like Manna House, community service, maybe if it was as you say, emptying bedpans, picking up trash, etc.

    And part of that could come with helping farmers, too. Everyone needs to know their food does not come from the local grocery store except as a dispersing point, so-to-speak.

    I disagree on disbanding the military. Not sure about the 1800's thing. Immigration that is done properly has made our country better, I think.

    Anyway. Great post. I am a little envious of your future plans.
    Here's hoping that God will bless us all now, and in the coming year.

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    1. I disagree with Chris Mallory too. Immigration is good for America, but it must be done legally. The problem with immigration at present is that it's not well managed.

      American youth (in general) suffer from a lack of discipline. Certainly not all, but enough of them. Taking them out of their 'safe space', away from their therapy pets, coloring books and hot coco, and putting them to work in a disciplined setting will do the generation nothing but good. Blending rich and poor, and people of different backgrounds is good for the generation as well. As you suggest, teaching them where their food comes from is a good idea. Have them kill, skin and dress the sheep that they eat for supper in boot camp or something.

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  9. Compulsory service for one, getting rid of the 'anchor baby' concept for two... Other than that I agree. I know where you got the "Every meal a banquet" too...LOL

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    1. The every meal a banquet deal works... ;^)

      I don't see why we have anchor babies. That makes no sense.

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    2. It does of you're a liberal.....

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    3. I suppose that it does. Votes from any source.

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  10. I like everything about this program, though I'd like to see English and History as part of the curriculum, for obvious reasons.

    Of course I have service and low pay down to a fine art, discipline? Not so much but bear in mind we're an irregular unit...

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  11. No, if we're going to have financial aid available only for certain types of courses, that needs to include the humanities. Art, music, literature, history, classics, foreign languages, are all legitimate and necessary subjects. We need citizens who are not only good workers but also can think well and want to leave the world a more beautiful place than they found it. The human soul needs beauty and art and literature and music, not just practical things that make money. Better still would be a world where government was not involved in financial aid for education, as that is a mechanism for leftists to fill curricula with their nonsense.

    As for the franchise, I have previously laid out the case for limiting it to property owners. http://v-forvictory.blogspot.com/2012/11/why-not-abolish-universal-franchise.html

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    1. Anita, current hard science and business majors take humanities courses. I am addressing financial aid for people who major in areas other than those. This is not about crushing the human soul, but opening up crowded universities to those who are paying their own way or those who have promise in areas of vital need to the nation.

      I'll check out your case (above).

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    2. Yep, I took a metric ton of Art, English, Music, History, and other courses in college.

      You can't get a 4-year degree without them.

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    3. That's precisely my point. I'm not opposed to a balanced education. I'm not opposed to Social Science (or even social justice) majors. I simply think that if you want that sort of education, it shouldn't be underwritten by the taxpayers. You can do it the old fashioned way and pay for it yourself, get a scholarship or have your parents/family underwrite your career in social justice.

      The single biggest inflationary measure at work on university tuition is student loans.

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    4. I have a BS degree in biology and, in addition to tons of math & science, I took lots of english, history, humanities, art, etc.. The world doesn't need any more, what you so aptly called, 'grievance studies' majors. Activism, community or otherwise, has taken a less than favorable connotation in my book especially since the affirmative action prez took office. Everybody needs to simmer down now.

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    5. I have a BA in Accounting and an MS in Mathematics and easily half of the course work I had was in some sort of humanity. And I agree that part of it is important. The only problem with many degrees in things like music appreciation is that they don't translate to gainful employment and people who earn those degrees are saddled with student loans that they can't pay back.

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  12. And how big is the Student Loan debt right now?

    Several hundred BILLION?

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    1. OUCH! I kinda-sorta thought it was around a trillion, but being conservative, I didn't want to overstate it....

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    2. Some of these numbers boggle the mind. And in many cases, the government does the student no favors.

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  13. Many great ideas in your comments section. My only contribution? A flat tax. Let the entrepreneurs do what they do best which creates more jobs for everyone.

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    1. China has a 15% flat tax.

      No sales tax, gas tax, phone tax (other excise taxes), property tax, etc.

      When you look at what I pay in taxes to the state and federal government, it's well over half of my income. And there is tax on tax.

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    2. When I was knocking down the big bucks before I retired, I was paying over 60% (around 65%, IIRC) to various federal, state, and "other" tax grabbers. Even with my 401(k) maxed out, and a very good tax preparer, I was still getting a huge bite taken out of me.

      I couldn't use certain deductions because I fell into the arcane tax category of being a "Highly Compensated Individual", a category I didn't know existed until Turbo Tax choked on my return...

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    3. Me too. Same state, same problem. They have no shame at all. They just keep on taking. Once you crest that $350-400K mark, you're simply red meat for the eating.

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  14. >coastal elites getting to know Kansas
    I see the point, but I'd rather coastal "elites" having to live a year in an inner city such as Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, you get the idea. And having to live in public housing. (Plus ideally having to take public transportation.) This should be a requirement for employment in any "services" governmental agency. Experience firsthand what federal policies since Lyndon Johnson have wrought and then tell me with a straight face that you want to continue them.

    Having these folks work in a retail/service job, such as grocery cashier or convenience-store clerk would be a bonus. No great liberal savior condescending to the poor repressed masses made-up bullshit jobs. See what some people buy with their EBT. Snow crab clusters, skrimps and steaks for momma an her man, decorated cakes for momma an her friends. And as an afterthought, sugar and fat laden, over-processed empty calories for the kids.

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    1. I find no fault in your logic.

      Progs do bad things. Very bad things. And they don't see the cause and effect of what they've created ---- because they're progs. Detroit is one of their finest creations in America, but you could look at any inner city to see their handiwork.

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  15. Engineers and natural sciences makes the worlds go forward and solve the challenges. Stanford had a successful story of commercialization of technologies. MIT wanted to achieve the same. They engaged the man from Stanford building their OTL and his first decision at MIT was to let the attorneys leave and substitute them with engineers. That helped. It depends what you want to achieve, but if you have to few of the people really making the difference in building the generators that fuels the economy you have a problem. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFSPHfZQpIQ

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    1. The Steve Blank instruction (youtube above) is useful. Hard science majors have a vital purpose to advance national interests. Thus, government loans to support that makes sense. Grievance studies brings no national interest and if people want to take those courses, they can do that on their own. For the most part, it's difficult for a 'grievance' major to find a job that will allow them to pay back the loan...which in part accounts for the fact that there is $1.2 trillion in outstanding education loans.

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It's virtual - it's a mirage - it's life