An Open Letter To Al Franken

I received an email from Senator Franken. Among his accomplishments touted was supposedly keeping college affordable for Minnesotans, accomplishing this by keeping student loan rates low, and trying to expand the issuance of Pell grants and other sources of financial aid. 

This was my response to the Senator:

Dear Senator Franken 

While I appreciate your wanting to keep the cost of education affordable for all Minnesotans, your solutions appear to be centered on only one side of the equation. 

While I applaud your efforts to keep interest on student loans low, and to expand the availability of Pell grants and other sources of financial aid, I must wonder what is being done on the other side of the equation– to keep college costs down? 

What is happening in colleges seems to be highly analogous with what is happening in health care. In health care, raises in prices are passed on to health insurance companies, who in turn merely charge higher premiums to their users. There is no competition nor pressure brought to bear on medically-related institutions to hold the line on costs, as they simply pass the costs, almost whimsically, back to the consumer. 

In the same manner, as colleges raise their tuition rates with impunity, government responds not by holding educational institutions accountable for their costs, but by increasing the levels of debt on the part of students and/or cost to the taxpayer in terms of financial aid subsidies. This necessarily keeps tax burdens on individuals and businesses elevated, and necessarily increases the already insurmountable mountain of debt incurred by students. 

What is the threshold under which government will put a ceiling on financial aid? 

If government places such a ceiling on the level of financial aid given to students, colleges will necessarily need to adjust tuition and other associated costs or face severely declining enrollment. 

In other words, competition and market-driven forces will bring pressure to keep the costs of college at affordable levels. 

And, incidentally and likewise, competition and market-driven forces will force health care providers to keep their costs at affordable levels (I present the lowering costs and higher quality and availability of laser eye surgery as a shining example of this concept). 

Senator Franken, at the beginning of this screed, I didn’t think about tying these concepts, health care and higher education, together. But now that I am typing this, I have come to the conclusion (and I hope that you can follow me) that what it comes down to is this: what is missing from Higher Education and what is missing in health care–including Obamacare–is the very thing that will alleviate issues in both of these problematic areas– the introduction of market forces to bring costs down to affordable levels. 

Sir, I have little hope that you will take this to heart, as no doubt your partisan blinders will prevent you from seeing the inherent similarities between these two out-of-control aspects of our society, and that these two sectors share a nearly identical solution (market-driven forces); but then again, one can certainly dream. 

Sincerely, 

Leo Pusateri

Regarding “Hate” Crimes

I don’t believe in the concept of “hate crimes.”

There are precious few crimes, especially murders, that are “love criimes.” 

In my opinion, the psychological intent or the mind state of the person committing the murder is already summed up in degrees (first degree, second degree, manslaughter, etc). 

The reasons for premeditation are immaterial. If the person intended with forethought to visit bodily harm resulting in the death of an innocent person for reasons not related to self defense, that perpetrator committed murder. Period. It is immaterial whether the perp is a racist or whether the perp is Mother Teresa. 

To assign an instance of the wanton deprivation of another’s life as more or less severe simply because the perp was a racist or did it out of racial spite is superfluous. Premeditated murder is premeditated murder. 

When society assigns the gravity of premeditated murder as dependent on the mind state of the perpetrator, you are now jumping into the realm of THOUGHT CRIMES. 

Do we really want to go there? 

Unfortunately, there are many on the left who do. 

As the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case clearly illustrated, those on the left are more than happy to fall all over themselves in immediately assigning motives of racism and “hate crime” (read: THOUGHT CRIME) status when a fellow-traveller is on the receiving end and a white person (even a ginned-up “White Hispanic” person) is on the giving end. 

When one or more of their own is on the giving end, however, not so much. Rare indeed is the case when black on white violence ends up being prosecuted as a “hate crime.” 

Which leads me to believe that to a critical mass of our population (not at all exclusively black, mind you, but exclusively “progressive” at any rate), the whole concept of “hate crime” is not borne out of a thirst for blind justice; rather, the concept of “hate crime” seems to serve as a tool to exact revenge on those progressives identify as enemies of their ideology at worst, or as tools to advance their sense of ideology and/or personal political agendae at best.

 
It looks as though the thugs who murdered Delbert Belton will not be charged with a hate crime. 
 
I’m sure there was nothing but bored love in their hearts as they beat him senseless and took his life.
 
 

Regarding Asia’s Mini Me.

Image
The linked article below from Stratfor.com gives an interesting perspective as to the history of the relationship between Beijing and North Korea-One possibility missing in this article is that of North Korea being a puppet and proxy government under Beijing’s control, via which Beijing can assert plausible deniability for actions it takes via its North Korean sock puppet.In an effort to ‘diffuse’ tensions, John Kerry sojourned to Beijing the other day, and offered, in exchange for China’s willingness to call off its ‘attack dog,’ concessions on U.S. missile defense in Asia.Could it be that Beijing is rattling North Korea’s saber, just to see how the West reacts and/or cowers? We arguably have the least cogent, most feckless foreign policy since the dawn of Jimmy Carter. It would appear plausible that China is exploiting the Obama Administration’s/Washington’s newfound affinity for “global test” pacifism and Chamberlain-esque knee-jerk appeasement, and will try to obtain more and more concessions while the gettin’s good.My guess is that China will continue to play the West via North Korea like a fiddle, as long as the current feckless leadership remains in Washington, and that Beijing will seize every opportunity to effect the West’s strategic weakening and further a lack of resolve.

Read further here:

Regarding DOMA And Other “Assurances.”

OK– I’ll open the floodgates–time for a ramble….

Marriage is a word used to describe a societal institution, and it means something–or at least it has, that something being a relatively permanent, committed union between a man and a woman. Yes, I know that people have historically taken their own marriages too lightly and the Hollywood left and others have treated their marriages in much the same manner as middle-school kids treat crushes; but the essential accepted definition of the term, “MARRIAGE” has nonetheless remained intact for the better part of 2000 years.

Now, however, we are being told that we, in a new ‘enlightened’ era, must arbitrarily re-define the longstanding societal institution of marriage, for better or worse, to include same sex couples, and that it should be so under the 14th Amendment, and upheld between States under the “Full Faith and Credit” clause.

Fine and dandy, I guess…BUT–

We’re also told that that’s as far as it will go– and if we (those who are against gay marriage and/or those who are on the fence) think that it is the beginning of a slippery slope ‘anything goes’ redefinition of the institution of marriage, we’re just paranoid neanderthals.. 10 or 15 years ago, we were also told that there was no need to pass a defense of marriage amendment to the Constitution, because the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) protected that traditional definition.

Fine and dandy, as well, I guess;

However, up to this point, no one has been able to adequately explain how, if the SCOTUS decision tilts the “gay marriage” way, that polygamists, incestuous couples, etc., will not also want equal protection under the 14th Amendment, and sue for the right to marry, and that the term ‘marriage’ will have so many meanings so as to render what has been a veritable societal institution meaningless.

In other words, what is to prevent the slippery slope we’re being assured will not happen?

Personally, I’m of the mind that it’s a State issue, and that ALL unions should be civil unions. But should the term “Marriage” be so malleable so as to become meaningless?

Are people really thinking things through on this issue? Or are many merely living in the zeitgiest of the moment,  inconsiderate of and/or oblivious to the ramifications?

I’ve been thinking long and hard the past few days, and I can’t see any assurances that my worst nightmare regarding the institution of marriage, that it essentially becomes meaningless, will not come to fruition.

While many marriages have failed since time imemoriam, the institution of marriage on balance has unarguably been a net-positive as a building block for literally thousands of years into our civilization.

I guess all I’m saying is that we may be taking this issue a bit too cavalierly; jumping in the clouded pool without regard as to its depth and/or its potential consequences.

I await to be educated to the contrary.

UPDATE, by Mark Noonan – Mark Steyn nails it:

…It came up at dinner Down Under this time last year, and the prominent Aussie politician on my right said matter-of-factly, “It’s not about expanding marriage, it’s about destroying marriage.” That would be the most obvious explanation as to why the same societal groups who assured us in the Seventies that marriage was either (a) a “meaningless piece of paper” or (b) institutionalized rape are now insisting it’s a universal human right…

The thing about liberals is that, at bottom, they are just downright nasty – doesn’t matter what the issue is, they will always take the worst possible position and if it contradicts their previous position its no matter…as long as hatred the destruction of our civilization proceed, they’re just pleased as punch.

Dystopia–In His Own Words.

Just prior to the 2008 elections, Barack Obama boldly stated,

“We are 5 days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America” (October 30, 2008)

Many among my conservative friends took that to be so much fluff; pretty much liberal boilerplate consistent with his whole “Hope and Change” campaign message.  Given, however, Obama’s background, cutting his teeth with the radical leftists/communists of his day (i.e., Frank Marshall Davis, Bernadine Dorn, Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright) I believe I was one of the relative few that took him at his word.  Unlike most of America, conservatives such as myself and others who actually took the time to vet Obama, knew that background and worldview mattered, and that Obama’s past gave more than a glimpse of how he intended to govern in the present.

When Obama uttered those words, “.. fundamentally transform AmericaI knew he meant it. It was Obama himself who stated (emphases added),

“As radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical.  It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least, as it’s been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative libertiesSays what the States can’t do to you; says what the Federal Government can’t do to you, but doesn’t state what the Federal government or State Government must do on your behalf.”  (Barack Obama, June 18, 2001).

There is no question that Barack Obama was unhappy with his perception of unequal distribution of wealth that America so unfairly championed, and that he wanted to transform this nation into something more ‘equitable’ in his eyes.  The question was how, and to what extent.  Just how does one “fundamentally”  transform a nation whose very basis for existence is freedom, itself?  The only feasible answer is to transform that already-free nation, into a nation with fewer freedoms.  Given Dinesh D’Souza’s brilliant insights as to Obama’s worldview engendered by his past, one knew that Obama’s absolute contempt for what he saw as America’s unequal distribution of wealth would result in his promoting policies that would necessarily stifle economic growth.   Obama’s America would no longer be one of unbridled economic opportunity; rather, America would be a nation of egalitarian outcomes, regardless of effort; to coin a phrase, to each, according to his needs; from each, according to his means.  

As a means of bringing about this transformation, America could no longer be a free nation.  No where as free, at least, as it was at the time of he assumed his presidency.  Liberties would need to be forsaken to bring about his vision of utopia.  The free market system would need to be reined in, and done so in no small measure.   Obama would have four years, eight at most, to make this happen.  This transformation would need to be done quickly, and in a big way.

Enter Obamacare, America’s first stop on its train ride to Utopia. Against the wishes of 60-70 percent of Americans, and without the vetting of congressional legislators who rammed through the legislation, the United States Federal Government took control of a full one-seventh of the American economy, which had the net effect of driving up the cost of health care for all involved,  taking away freedom of choice, relegating freedom of conscience incompatible with the party line to irrelevancy, while at the same time having the no-doubt intended effect of casting a chilling pall on America’s ability to sustain economic growth and prosperity.  For those who wish to argue regarding this latter point, how better to right the wrongs of the perceived injustice of unequally-distributed wealth than to stifle the engine that creates such wealth?

As I’ve said, Obamacare is but stop one on America’s train ride to Obama’s Dystopia.  Obama’s seeming assault on everything traditional America has held dear for centuries appears to have taken on epidemic proportions.  Remember- Obama only has three and three-quarter years left.  Those who haven’t yet felt the pinch of his “transformations,” most likely have not yet realized that they, too, have been pinched.   Obama’s willing media accomplices can only cover for him for so long before a critical mass of Americans, admittedly as dull as many of them are, will start to put two-and-two together and finally determine that the hopey-changey unicorn jockey they voted for may actually have had something to do with the plight in which they suddenly find themselves.

Then what?

When the critical mass of Americans finally wake up one morning, to find that they have been played as chumps, they are liable to get a bit–shall we say, testy. When this inevitability finally does come home to roost, The TEA party protests that grew out of Rick Santelli’s historic February, 2009 rant will no doubt look like a series of school pep assemblies.   Such civil unrest would certainly be difficult to quell, and will no doubt be yet another bump in the tracks on the way to Obama’s Dystopian dream.

What to do, what do do? You can’t just sick the military after the troublemakers. Well, you could, I suppose, but then you risk pissing off your fellow travelers who have had a history of contempt for men and women in uniform.

What to do??

Since, at least philosophy- and policy-wise, one can take Obama at his word, one may get a clue as to Obama’s plans by again, studying his own non-TelePrompter inspired rhetoric:

“We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set.  We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded.”   -Barack Obama, July, 2008.

Yeah- remember that phrase?  Neither did a lot of other people.  Like the rest of Obama’s sordid past and rhetoric that if brought to the light of day would have rendered his election impossible, The media (true to their sycophantic nature) pretty much glossed over that little tidbit.  A powerful Civilian security force. Remind you of anyone?

So when you see articles like this, or like this, or like this, and then think, aww–Leo–take off that tinfoil hat!  You’re just blowing smoke.  That would never really happen here.  There’s no way.

Just remember.  I didn’t put those words into Barack Obama’s mouth.

He did.

With a Measure of Disgust…

Oath of Office
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.” -Oath of office for Congress.

Just words– without one iota of consideration as to what those words mean.

I’m just getting more and more nauseated every time I think of this whole damned bunch of traitors, liars, opportunists, and career criminals.

I’ve lost every iota of optimism and faith in government.

They are no longer public servants, placed in a position of trust.

They–the lot of them– are self-serving, egotistical leeches who are in it for no one but themselves.

The inmates have taken over the asylum.

God have mercy on our nation, and please, drain the swamp, once and for all.

I’m so disgusted.

The Puppet Show

Well, the dutiful bubble-headed talking heads on the Alphabets, like clockwork, are busily carrying the democrat water, spouting off about how gun control is now the best thing since sliced bread; that it was the gun that killed the children at Sandy Hook Elementary, not the finger attached to the perp that pulled the trigger.

The bodies are cold enough. Let the politicization begin.

I’m really tired of having public policy dictated by the emotion du jour instead of by clear-thinking minds, just so some idiot politician can beat his or her chest, and say “Look at me!! See what I did?? I care!!” not to mention the lamebrained kneejerk reactions by some politically correct company board rooms afraid of their own shadows, putting their ears to the ground, just so they could follow the latest mindless lemming stampede.

As David Axelrod said, “Never let a crisis go to waste.”
There’s nothing that the current statist government-uber-alles powers-that-be would love more than to have an unarmed populace of subjects, vs. an armed populace of citizens.Never mind that gun control in this country, no matter how strict, has NEVER worked. It has had the OPPOSITE effect.Never mind that criminals don’t give a flying copulatory act in a rolling pastry about gun laws.

Never mind that the only ones who will be disarmed are the law abiding citizens who would never otherwise visit harm upon their fellow man.

It’s all about EMOTION. Rationality, my friends, is over-rated.

What you are now witnessing is a textbook example of David Axelrod’s axiom in action; Big Government statists and willing media accomplices engaging in a coordinated “campaign of whispers” to whip the information-bereft Idiocracy into an unstoppable emotion-laden frenzy to do their bidding under the guise of “doing *something!*” little realizing (or simply not caring) that they are all too willing to give up freedom, for a false sense of security, only to be relieved of both.

The puppeteers are now licking their chops; joyously, triumphantly pulling emotion-laden strings, and the dutiful marionettes are happily, even if unwittingly dancing to their tune.
With their “Lord and Savior” Barack Obama at the helm, who even needs congress?

Victims No More.

As an educator, and as one who has lived through a school shooting incident, I’m not going to sugar-coat anything. What happened in Connecticut (as well as the school district in which I worked) is proof positive that there is evil in the world, and evil will continue to prey on the most vulnerable. The only way to combat this evil is to make the vulnerable less so. If there was an armed teacher or administrator at Sandy Hook Elementary school, there is a great chance that many if not all innocent lives would have been saved. This would have held true in the theater in Aurora, Colorado, and even in Fort Hood, where, ironically, there were strict gun control laws. To deny this is not only foolish, it continues to place our children (and other innocent, law-abiding citizens) in harm’s way. 

A “No Guns Allowed” sign is nothing but an invitation for any low-life scumbag psycho-killer to enter what promises to be a target-rich environment. 

Victims, no more. It’s high time we stop ignoring the dangers and put an abrupt stop to this madness.

The Liberals Have Really Stepped in it This Time…

Judge finds NC ‘Choose Life’ plates unconstitutional

myfox8.com

RALEIGH, N.C. – A federal judge has ruled it is unconstitutional for North Carolina to issue pro-life license plates unless…

 

Here is the takeaway line…
“This is a great victory for the free speech rights of all North Carolinians, regardless of their point of view on reproductive freedom,” said Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU-NCLF.

Brook said the government cannot create an avenue to express one side of a political issue while denying an equal opportunity to citizens with an opposing view.”

This is quite interesting… and at once damning to all the government-sanctioned intellectual monopolies held by the Left.

Given the Federal Court’s decision, for instance,

Should the taxpayers support Darwinism exclusively being taught in schools, while at the same time denying equal opportunity and access for those who espouse Intelligent Design theory?”

Given the Federal Court’s decision, why should the taxpayers be forced to support Planned Parenthood, and at the same time not be forced to support Pro-Life organizations?

In their zeal to utilize the courts to push their agenda, it appears that ‘progressives’ have really stuck it to themselves this time.

So That ______?

I just figured out the insidiousness connected with what passes for policymaking in Washington D.C. and elsewhere:

There aren’t enough”so thats” 

A long time ago I had a wise supervisor (in education, of all things) who said, “For everything you do in your job, as well as for every change you make in your procedure, you need to have a “so that” attached to it. In other words, I do this, so that________.” If you don’t have a good “so that,” then you have no good reason to keep on doing what you’re doing, or for implementing the change you’ve been contemplating. 

Prime example: “We will raise taxes on the wealthy so that_____.”

So that what? So that we can decrease the deficit? 

By all accounts, the tax hike currently being contemplated by the Democrats will produce enough extra income to run the government for a grand total of EIGHT MORE DAYS. And that is a liberal estimate. With the concomitant economic slowdown, more like FOUR extra days. 

So raising taxes so that to decrease the deficit doesn’t wash. 

So tell me, my Democrat friends- what is the “so that” connected to this grand scheme??