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The Non-Case That Won’t Be Going Away…Anytime Soon

Here’s the deal: This past August, a governor’s close aide e-mails one of the governor’s appointees, saying “traffic problems” should occur in a specific city. The appointee makes some calls and, on September 9th, voila, problems emerge. The city’s mayor contacts the governor’s administration to complain. The appointee e-mails the aide and another official, misleading them about what caused the problem.

An appointee of the neighboring state’s governor then orders the problem stopped. In the midst of this, the governor is re-elected by a wide margin. After joking about the incident, the governor says he knew nothing about its cause.

And then it all blows up for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie…

Since October, all manner of things continue to swirl about: subpoenas, hearings, impeachment threats. The appointee who made calls to cause the traffic problems resigned, and Christie fired the aide who sent the “traffic problems” e-mail. The appointee who resigned recently said Christie knew about the lane closures when they occurred…as though traffic could halt on the world’s busiest bridge and Christie – and a few million other people – would not know.

Add to that, Hoboken’s mayor accused Christie’s administration of bullying her over Hurricane Sandy relief funds, but her story doesn’t add up, and there is no corroboration. Now, concerns about her diary entries pertaining to a 2013 wrongful termination suit damage her credibility, including the fact she was accused of perjury in that case.

The DNC ran a Superbowl online ad about the re-inventing drama of the governor’s troubles, reading in part, “And it’s only the first quarter. It’s going to be a long game.” That could be true for Christie’s attackers as well: as Democrats and the press yell “Fire!”, it is not that easy to see even smoke in this “scandal”. As ABC News notes, “there has been no evidence linking him directly to the scandal.”

So why is the press spending so much time on what they admit is a non-story, especially when we have more Obamacare train wrecks occurring, “traitors” nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and a Texas Democrat struggling with the truth about her own life story?

Because none of those other items pose a threat to the presidential aspirations of one Hillary Rodham Clinton.

A UK publication said it, straight out: Republicans can’t blame Clinton for Benghazi while absolving Christie of Bridgegate. How that statement could be made with a straight face goes a long way toward explaining the liberal mind, and not only in the US. Somehow:

    • Not knowing about a “traffic study” (Christie) is equal to not admitting what you know about a terrorist attack (Clinton)?
    • Staff members lying about bridge lane closures (Christie) is equal to staff members denying requests for increased security (Clinton)?
    • Four months after the incident occurs, holding a press conference to take responsibility for what occurred YouTube Preview Image is equal to telling Congress “What difference, at this point, does it make?” YouTube Preview Image

It is unlikely that many reasonable people will see an interstate traffic jam as equal to an international terror attack, but the effort to show equivalence be made. If it is not, then how can a woman who lost to Barack Obama in 2008 prevail against anyone who would hang her involvement in his failing presidency around her neck, as Christie might?

Therefore, the strategy Obama employed against Mitt Romney in 2012 comes against Chris Christie in 2016…even though it is only 2014…and even though the party presidential primary elections remain 2 years away…and even though neither Christie nor Clinton have announced their candidacy for the nation’s highest elected office. The “Kill Romney” strategy irrelevancies and deceptions to distract people from the Obama record and focus them on an illusory version of his opponent’s history. The strategy was arguably effective, but the 2012 election was closer than many might think.

However, Democrats may believe the margin was narrow because they did not seek to “Kill Romney” soon enough. To correct that error, they seek Christie’s blood nearly two years before the presidential primaries, and are employing a full-court press. At the state level, New Jersey Assembly Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski, a Democrat has issued subpoenas and launched investigations. At the federal level, Obama’s HUD Inspector General is looking into whether Christie misused Hurricane Sandy relief funds. Interestingly, Republicans are tacitly on board for Christie’s demise, running their own investigation of Christie.

It’s not difficult to appreciate the Democrat motivation for attacking Christie; they seek the “Clinton Coronation” they failed to deliver in 2008. Six years ago, Hillary Clinton ran a great campaign: she knew the issues, had good messaging, the best political strategists, and made no mistakes. All things were ready for her to win…except the fact that Democrat voters, wanted someone else, and leading Democrats jumped off the Clinton bandwagon. Now, the party wants to make up for its “betrayal”.

The Republican motivation for killing Christie may not seem obvious until you remember the Obama praise and “bro hug”

Bro Hug

(which Christie says did not happen), which get credit for helping the president win re-election. Before that, there was Christie’s keynote address at the 2012 Republican National Convention address, which appeared to support his own presidential aspirations more than support the party’s nominee, Mitt Romney. At least in the eyes of the GOP establishment, Chris Christie simply is not as “part of the family”.

Consequently, the issue of betrayal will keep “bridge-gate” with us for some time to come. Republicans will use it to punish Christie for his betrayal in 2012; Democrats will use it to whitewash their betrayal of Hillary Clinton in 2008 and, in the Democrats’ calculus, no Christie means Hillary can’t lose.

So, the long knives are out for Christie on the Democrat side, and revenge-minded Republicans have a few stilettos of their own. The political class does not want a Chris Christie presidency: the Democrats want to apologize to Hillary Clinton for 2008 by nominating her in 2016, and the GOP…well, no one knows who they want…but it ain’t Chris Christie.

However, if Hillary Clinton couldn’t beat Barack Obama with a near-perfect campaign in 2008, who can she beat in 2016, when she has to answer for Obama’s policies?

And Now, Football Must Die…

American Football is quintessentially…American. Unlike soccer (what the rest of the world calls “football”), where participants can’t use their hands as part of the “beautiful game”, Football requires full-body participation in repeated outbursts of violent energy. Also unlike soccer, Football is a game of testosterone; women and young children can neither play it well, nor with the requisite emotion and camaraderie…

YouTube Preview Image

American Football is men, combining their individual might, speed, guile, bludgeoning, and force of will with that of other men, as a committed unit to physically complete against another group of men. It is simultaneously the height of rugged individualism and the ultimate expression of team. Football models achieving the American Dream: personal sacrifice and perseverance, teamwork, a hero’s rise, the breakthrough moment, full commitment, win or lose, in pursuit of an unwilling objective. Football elevates some and humiliates others, yet remains egalitarian; it exposes every man’s weaknesses – and that man will either be made better, or be made to go away, by the revelation.

However, Football is losing its place in the country that invented it (After all, how long can you support a professional expression of hyper-masculinity in a culture concerned with a “war on women”?). This teacher of basic truths struggles in an American society increasingly comfortable with complex lies. Unless that changes, this politically incorrect game will die.

The National Football League (NFL) began as the American Professional Football Association (APFA) in 1920, with four Ohio teams, in a Canton automobile showroom. By 1927, after franchise fits and starts, the NFL trimmed 22 clubs to 12, cutting financial dead weight and shifting its center from the Midwest to the East Coast. A de facto ban on black players in 1933 was overcome after World War II. In 1946, the NFL headed West, with the Cleveland Rams relocating to Los Angeles.

In 1960, Texas oilmen, kept from NFL franchises, launched the American Football League (AFL), sparking a competition that led to Super Bowl I in 1967 and an explosion in player salaries. Along the way, Football replaced baseball as America’s favorite sport. The two leagues merged, in 1970, into the modern NFL.

Today, the NFL’s 32 teams span the country. A sport once ignored after the Midwestern Fall now rivets the nation’s attention year round. Yet Football is both under attack and in decline, with few realizing the situation, though the signs are visible.

Before the NFL, Football brought glory and built character, but no one played for any real money. Football was a vehicle to launch young men’s careers; it was not itself a valid career choice. The professional league did not immediately change even the best players’ minds on that. The 1935 Heisman Award winner was the first player chosen in the NFL’s 1936 inaugural draft. But Jay Berwanger never played in the NFL, opting instead for a manufacturing career.

And the young NFL was not immediately a big money career. In the NFL’s early decades, most players had jobs or businesses. Football players had to WORK, not just work out, during the off-season. However, that prepared them for life after Football, even as they played, integrating them, socially and economically, into their communities. But the big money, which began with the AFL-NFL competition for players, brought big changes.

Big salaries isolated Football, creating players who are much larger, and richer, than the people among whom they live, leaving them with little physically, economically, or socially in common with their communities.

The source of Football salaries created another form of isolation. Most people generate their incomes from their local economies. Football players…not so much. Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans’ economy, cutting off local jobs and incomes. Yet Saints’ players still got their checks, without interruption…because the NFL, not the cities, pays most of player salaries.

NFL teams generate about, $51 Million from annual ticket sales; NFL payrolls, in 2012, ranged from $91.9 Million to $118.3 Million. The league provides what teams cannot from TV and other revenue.

Another, and worse, form of isolation is of players from education. Before the NFL, Football was an education vehicle; players left the game in their twenties to compete in the fields of business, education, and politics. Even after the game went pro, early NFL players were likely to be college graduates. However, by 1989, only 1 in 3 NFL players had college degrees. By 2004, the number rose to 46%, however the damage was already done.

Large NFL contracts isolated players from college degrees, lessening their marketable skills once their playing careers ended. When an All-Pro defensive lineman admits he was functionally illiterate in college, yet was an upperclassmen; when the Number 1 pick in the 2006 NFL draft files for bankruptcy protection in 2014, that is not integrating men into society. That is destroying men within society.

Now, there is “chicken little” talk of concussions and players safety; some surmise it may end football, as parents, including NFL players, grow wary of seeing their sons play Football, though the science is not settled. And the NFL wants to head off the issue with a monetary settlement, which is stalled in court.

However, in truth, concussions and CTE will likely be the feather that knocks over a weakened sport. The real damage to Football began long before people showed concern for how many times a player “got his bell rung”.

When American Football went professional, it began turning from a game that integrated young men into society as educated, aggressive, and disciplined leaders, and into a sideshow of well-paid, large-bodied characters who are likely uneducated or undisciplined entertainers.

Without the NFL, this outburst:

YouTube Preview Image

is harmless exuberance from a 20-year-old kid. Instead, it is from a 25-year-old kid (big difference, right?), who makes a half million per year, and causes a national uproar. Seriously?

Without the NFL, this foolishness:

YouTube Preview Image

is unconscionable, along with the support of the group that led to this idea in the first place.

If there were no “next level”, which paid folks to play, then a free education, and the connections that come with it, would be appreciated, rather than sniffed at. Football players as college employees? Do they wish to pay taxes on those scholarships and stipends?

Football no longer has giving men with uncommon drive a path to societal greatness as its primary function. Too often, it simply prepares a small minority (there are less than 2000 active NFL roster spots each year) to play a game for pay, extending their adolescence well into their 20′s and 30′s, and leaving them unmarketable and broke when done.

If Football provides nothing more than money, while crippling those who play it, then who could blame a reasonable society for turning away from such an enterprise.

It is time to return Football to what it did well, before a great game goes away.

So, How Much WORSE Can It Get…?

I just see a huge train wreck coming down

That is what Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) told Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in April 2013, about the Obamacare rollout, then less than six months away.

Baucus would later say, some two weeks before the rollout, that he longer expected a debacle and that his April statement was a wake-up call to the administration, “That was the whole point of it and we got their attention and worked to try to straighten things out.

It will be a train wreck…It won’t be a train wreck…Senator, as the old folks say, “Always go with your first mind.”

Obamacare’s problems are now myriad, with more, different, and more devastating items than most imagined. In May 2013, Institute for Policy Innovation resident scholar Merrill Matthews saw not one, but four impending train wrecks for Obamacare:

    • Overstating the readiness, and the potential cost savings, of Electronic Health Records (EHR),
    • A lack of support from health insurers and from the public,
    • Ignoring health insurance experts to draft a law that explodes health insurance premiums, and
    • Underfunding the high risk pools for the “uninsurables” with pre-existing conditions, thereby leaving people the law intended to help with no help at all.

So far, two of those wrecks have occurred; does anyone seriously consider a problem with EHR and with insuring those with pre-existing conditions unlikely? Everyone should have seen these problems coming; the Obama administration certainly did.

Candidate Obama repeatedly promised Americans that his health care reform would lower health insurance premiums for American families: YouTube Preview Image

Obamacare in hand and seeking re-election, the promise of premium reductions became a story of reducing total health care costs.

Then, four months after the 2012 election, HHS Secretary Sebelius let the cat out of the bag: insurance premiums could rise and not fall at all. Recently, the Manhattan Institute predicted rates would double for young men and increase 62 percent for young women. By then, Obama had changed his tack to taking credit for the slowest rate of increase in 50 years.

So much for the exciting promises of dramatic decreases in premiums. Does anyone else see a problem with that one?

Then there is the HealthCare.gov website, which the administration promised to have ready on October 1, 2013: YouTube Preview Image

However, by that date, the website was neither fully built nor tested: YouTube Preview Image

The president said he did not think himself “stupid enough to go around saying this is going to be like shopping on Amazon or Travelocity a week before the website opens if I thought that it wasn’t going to work.” He then stated, “Clearly we, and I, did not have enough awareness about the problems with the website.”

Yet, multiple reports show that the administration, including the White House, was aware of website problems, months in advance. Is the president being truthful when he denies knowing anything was wrong, or does this fall into the category of his “Like it…Keep it” promise?

Regarding that, the president did apologize for the millions of health insurance cancellations, but did not call them unanticipated. That may be because the administration published, in June 2010, that 40% – 67% of individual health insurance policies would not have the promised “grandfather” status. We are to believe the president did not know what his administration predicted, not 90 days after Obamacare became law? No one told him? Really?

(Something is greatly amiss, as touching this man’s veracity, intelligence, competence, or any combination of the foregoing.)

Unfortunately, the carnage will not stop with the private health insurance market, estimated to eventually see some 16 million policies go away. That’s small potatoes; the next wave of cancellations will wash through the beaches of the employer-provided health insurance market and erode 68% of those policies, leaving 129 million Americans without the insurance they liked and hoped to keep.

If that was not enough, we now see people losing access to the doctors they trust, beginning in Connecticut, and beginning with Medicare Advantage patients, with UnitedHealthCare firing thousands of doctors.

As Vice President Joe Biden said: YouTube Preview Image

So big, in fact, that the administration is looking for other folks to take the fall. They are blaming insurance companies for the millions of cancellation forced by their regulations; they are blaming the GOP for not helping them fix a mess with which Republicans had nothing to do; and blaming the media for not telling Americans how good Obamacare is. CNN is even blaming Christians for Obamacare’s woes.

But CNN also blames Christians for homosexual teen suicides, for homosexuals getting beaten on the street…CNN blames Christians for a number of things, but CNN is not officially part of the administration, and I digress.

The administration, and its supporters, are in full bunker mentality mode. The troubles with Obamacare are hurting more than the president. After the government “shut down”, Democrats held a significant lead over Republicans in the generic Congressional ballot; a more recent poll saw the GOP in the lead. Expect that lead to grow as more people lose their health insurance because of a law for which only Democrats voted.

Much is made of Republican in-fighting and disarray. Even more is made of the Republican Congress being less popular than the president. But that static picture ignores some important facts.

One is that it does not matter what people think of Congress; it only matters what they think of their individual Congressman. Who cares if they hate John Boehner in California, when the people who determine if he stays in Congress live in Ohio. The second fact is Obamacare will continue to be the gift that keeps on giving problems to everyone who voted for it…which includes not a single Republican. Which means Democrats, and not Republicans, may have the worsening problem.

How much worse can it get? Well, if 129 million Americans lose their health coverage before November 2014, then Max Baucus’ Obamacare rollout concern will be midterm election prophecy, and Democrats may, after the pools close in 2014, call 2010 “the good ol’ days”.

Beware the Presidential Pledge…

Among the more interesting things about President Barack Obama is his ability to use words. He is able to electrify audiences during big moments: YouTube Preview Image

Or “rally the troops” to big challenges: YouTube Preview Image

Or sound the right tone during difficult times: YouTube Preview Image

That those are scripted moments does not diminish the president’s effectiveness with words. However, his ineffectiveness, even incoherence, sans teleprompter, is painful to watch: YouTube Preview Image

There is also discomfort when the president fails vary his script, whether with monotonous evaluations of “friendly” foreign countries: YouTube Preview Image

Or regarding the largely ineffective focus on U.S. employment: YouTube Preview Image

Which serves as a lead-in to a larger discussion about Barack Obama’s words. That discussion is not whether his words carry any weight; every U.S. President’s words have weight, at least when he speaks them. The discussion is whether Obama’s words lead to anything meaningful after he speaks them, especially when he says something to the effect of, “we are going to do everything in our power…”

Consider the recent Navy Shipyard mass shooting in Virginia: YouTube Preview Image

The president indicated “we will do everything in our power” to hold the shooter accountable. Of course, the Obama team did not need to do much, after the fact, since the shooter was among those who died. However, if Obama sincerely desired to limit/prevent mass shootings in the U.S., then why did Marines at the Navy Yard not have live ammunition in their weapons? In this case, the president’s policy, before the incident, had greater impact than anything he said once the shooting ended.

One could look to immigration, which was an important factor in the 2008 campaign and afterward. Candidate Obama made it clear that passing the “Dream Act” was something that could be done immediately and would be a “top priority”: YouTube Preview Image

However, despite large majorities in both Houses of Congress during his 1st two years as president, Obama not only accomplished nothing immediately on immigration legislation, he accomplished nothing at all, prompting this assessment, during his re-election campaign: YouTube Preview Image

Hmmm…

On another domestic front, the president clearly promised an all-out, expedited federal aid effort to the victims of Hurricane Sandy: YouTube Preview Image

However, a New Jersey woman whom Obama hugged, on camera, and promised to help: YouTube Preview Image

received no assistance, more than a month after the president’s pledge: YouTube Preview Image

More than a year after the storm hit, the lack of money and urgency from the federal government extends the tragedy for those in New York and New Jersey.

Regarding a different tragedy, the president spoke after the Sandy Hook shooting which killed 20 elementary school children and implored Congress to pass gun control legislation, telling an assembled audience, “we have an obligation to try”: YouTube Preview Image

While the president expected opposition from the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, the Democrat-controlled Senate failed to support the measures. Though 4 GOP Senators voted in favor, 5 Democrat Senators stood in opposition, and gun control failed in the Democrat-controlled Senate by 8 votes.

Anyone beginning to see a pattern?

Those concerned about anti-American terrorism, domestic and foreign, certainly might. Following the failed 2010 Times Square Bombing attempt, the president reiterated his administration’s commitment to do “everything in our power” to protect the American people: YouTube Preview Image

The president credited federal and local law enforcement, and ordinary citizens, with foiling the attempt. Somehow, he did not credit the real cause of the bombing’s failure – Faisal Shahzad’s incompetence; he fashioned a device that ignited but did not explode.

He also said the government would look into Shahzad’s possible connections to terrorist organizations, then gave Miranda protection to Shahzad, so that he need not say a word. Was that consistent with “doing everything in our power” to protect Americans from terror? Or was it the reason the president would, later, pledge to “get to the bottom of” another domestic terror incident: YouTube Preview Image

Who can say that the ease with which America was attacked at home did not embolden terrorists abroad? Clearly, killing bin Laden did not deter Al-Qaeda in Benghazi. And once again, the president pledged action, saying “justice will be done”: YouTube Preview Image

However, more than a year after those attacks, the U.S. government can neither find nor arrest a man who the international media interviews with regularity: YouTube Preview Image

It appears the more this president says about a matter, the less likely what he says may actually occur. Which brings us to: YouTube Preview Image

Well, there are at least 5 million Americans (and growing) who, looking at their individual health insurance cancellation notices, might take issue with the president. That, by the way, is in addition to roughly 4.5 million who lost employer-sponsored insurance within 18 months of Obamacare being signed into law.

An overpriced, under-performing website took the blame for the cancellations, which brought yet another pledge of (swift) action from the president: YouTube Preview Image

However, one month after its opening day debacle, there was no fix in sight. Even after calling in high-tech heavyweights, the president’s Chief Technology Officer Todd Park was unwilling to commit to November 30th as the date the website would be ready.

This is more than a pattern; it is a mode of mode of operation.

Today, the president said, again, “we will do everything we can to fix this problem”: YouTube Preview Image

referring to the millions of canceled health insurance policies, but offered a fix that simply shifts the responsibility to state insurance commissioners and health insurance companies, leaving out the fact the administration’s implementing regulations made those cancellations predictable and necessary. The president did not indicate what, if any, changes might be made to those regulations.

Once again, the president has pledged to do something about a problem. Given his track record, it is difficult to believe anything meaningful will occur. It seems the best way to guarantee inaction from the federal government is to have this president pledge to take action.

Consequently, a true “fix” for Obamacare is unlikely, and those who have lost and will lose health insurance policies they liked have little more than a snowball’s chance of seeing that coverage again.

Religious Pedophiles: Bad…Education Pedophiles: ?

The Catholic church paid a heavy price for its pedophilia scandal. In the U.S. alone:

    • There were, at least, 7,400 abusers,
    • There were at least 15,200 victims, between 1950 and 2009,
    • The Vatican ponied up $3 Billion to address the matter, and
    Eight dioceses declared bankruptcy.

More than 700 priests and deacons left the ministry, either voluntarily or perforce. Even a U.S. bishop went down.

Of course, regard for the church eroded. As the priest-shuffling scandal reached its heights, the public did not hide its disdain:

Britain Pope

and the Catholic Church was political cartoon fodder:
priests

By the time Pope Benedict XVI resigned, 3/4 of U.S. Catholics surveyed were ready for him to go, his handling of the pedophile scandal being a major factor.

It was a sorry episode in which the blatant disregard for the welfare of more than 15,000 children outraged the public…

However, now the public can read of:

    A California teacher feeding his bodily fluids to blindfolded elementary school children,
    A Michigan teacher in a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old boy,
    • An HIV-positive teacher in Georgia indicted for sex with a teenager,
    • An over-achieving Michigan teacher who slept with four of her male students,
    • An Oklahoma teacher buying beer for students, then sexing one of them at her home,
    Female teachers makin’ it happen in Florida,
    Principals and their assistants gettin’ their share, and
    So much more.

Unfortunately, it does not end with a few select news accounts:

    • In 2000, an American Association of University Women report indicated that 10% of 8th through 11th graders experienced inappropriate sexual conduct at school,
    • A U.S. Department of Education Report indicated 6% to 10 % of public school children are victims of sexual abuse by school teachers and employees, and
    • Another report indicated 9.6% of all students experienced some form of sexual abuse during their K-12 matriculation.

Since annual U.S. public school K-12 enrollment is 50 million children (and growing), those small percentages produce staggering numbers.

Over a 13-year period, more than 650 million children pass through U.S. public schools. A 6% abuse rate produces more than 39 million victims; a 10% rate, more than 65 million. Divide those numbers by 13, and there are 3 million to 5 million child victims of sexual abuse, in U.S. public schools, every year…and the average U.S. school year is only 180 days.

It took the U.S. Catholic Church more than 50 years to violate some 15,000 children; abusing, on average, less than one child per day. If that is reprehensible (and it is), then what is the proper adjective to describe U.S. public schools’ sexual abuse of, on average, 17,000 and 28,000 children, every school day?

To say the Catholic Church was slow to respond to its pedophilia problem would be, well, understatement; but it did respond. Despite missteps, there have been apologies, even recently, with the last pope doing so publicly in 2010:
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By comparison, there seems little by way of contrition or apology from U.S. public schools. It seems absent from teachers:

    After the Michigan teacher’s conviction, 8 teachers – 6 current and 2 retired – wrote letters to the judge, seeking lenient sentencing, and saying the homosexual pedophilia (which would also be statutory rape) was a mistake.

…absent from school districts:

    The aforementioned California pedophile fought his dismissal as an unfit teacher and received a $40,000 back pay settlement from the Los Angeles Unified School District, which offered the following explanation: “The State’s current teacher dismissal framework makes it extremely difficult to terminate unfit teachers like Berndt, thus requiring the District to find other viable options to ensure the safety of our students” …like paying off pedophiles?

…absent from teachers unions:

    • Cities: New York City spends $22 Million, yearly, appeasing its teachers union by paying teachers deserving of termination, including Roland Pierre, who stayed on payroll for 13 years after molesting a female student in 1997;
    • States: The California Teachers Association used their influence to kill legislation to remove child molesters from classrooms;
    • Nationally: Though both Democrats and Republicans agree on the need to protect children, both the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) oppose a bill to keep criminals, including sex offenders, out of schools, citing potential compromise or unionized worker protection and even racial disparities in background checks.

One could argue it is also absent from the country’s parents and guardians as well; there is a reason images like this one are popular on social media:

pta_kmart

However, at least as interesting as the relative lack of concern from schools regarding their behavior is the relative lack of rage from the public. Outrage over Catholic pedophilia was strong, leading to priests being killed in Poland, in Massachusetts, and a Canadian priest, convicted of pedophilia, committing suicide. However, aside from the community reaction to Michigan teachers who supported their convicted pedophile colleague, there appears to be little national outrage at what schools are doing to the nation’s children.

If the wave of Catholic priest pedophilia victims made people’s head spin, then the tsunami of US public school pedophilia victims should make those same heads explode. However, apparently, it does not. In fact, at least one leading intellectual, Richard Dawkins, does not consider it a big deal, though he himself was abused. One can only wonder whether his experience influenced his outspoken atheistic stance.

When one teenager, recently, died under tragic circumstances, the nation mustered this reaction:
YouTube Preview Image

So, when will the streets fill for the more than 17,000 children and teenagers who are sexually abused every day that a school bell rings?

And if, the nation will not take to the streets, might it at least withdraw the taxes that support, and protect, such blatant and defiant pedophilia, at least until U.S. public schools do as much about their pedophile problem as the Catholics did about theirs? Unless the message is, as Richard Dawkins implied, pedophilia is not a concern, as long as God is kept out of it.

…But, Mr. President, They Liked Their Plan…

YouTube Preview Image
That was the false rhetoric. While Obamacare purported to reduce the number of those without health insurance in the U.S., it now has the opposite effect, with more insured people losing the coverage they had and preferred than previously uninsured getting new policies. It is not possible to say how many more, since the administration has not released data on Obamacare signups, and others are not sure if the available numbers are accurate.

This much, however, is known: In Florida, 300,000 will see their individual policies “transitioned” to Obamacare, but not cancelled.

Seriously? The insurance they had, and liked, goes away in favor of new insurance that contains what they did not use (the “old” policies did not contain things like “maternity and newborn care, mental health, substance abuse services and emergency services”, which a “qualified” health plan must now include), will cost more, and is unavailable, due to the 0.4% signup success rate for those trying to get coverage through HealthCare.gov. That, in someone’s mind, is not a cancellation.

Why a healthy, sober male would need, or should pay for, maternity care or substance abuse services is difficult to understand, as is the government’s de facto assertion that people are incapable of deciding, for themselves, what makes up minimally acceptable health insurance coverage. That is, of course, until one remembers the new policy premiums will be more expensive.

Simply put, it is not about providing affordable health insurance to those who already had coverage; it is about making sure those who had coverage pay more to cover someone else.

We also know that, in California, Kaiser Permanente cancelled 160,000 individual policies, and Blue Shield cancelled 119,000 policies back in September; nearly 2/3 of the Blue Shield customers will see rate increases. In addition to the “Florida Flow” and the “California Carnage”, Pennsylvanians are gettin’ dropped like it’s hot: Highmark, in Pittsburgh, is shedding 20% of their individual policies, and the major insurer in Philadelphia is kissing 45% of its individual polices goodbye.

Since insurance companies are canceling policies, instead of individuals opting not to renew coverage, can anyone assert that these people can keep the coverage they liked, as the president said they could?

And are those who liked their doctor able to keep their doctor, which was the other part of the president’s “pledge”? Well, it depends on whether:

    • The doctor still accepts insurance. Some bailed on working with insurance companies in the Obamacare era, even before the website debacle?

    • The doctor still owns, or remains part of, a private enterprise which practices locally? Some argue that by 2014, such doctors will be harder to find.

    • You’re a Medicare patient, in which case, you need to get lucky.

As people waste time worrying about why a website doesn’t work, it is increasingly clear that the president’s assurances to those already insured were lies designed to encourage them to skip the debate, believing they would be unaffected by whatever happened. They are now learning how much their apathy may cost them.

Indeed, a bigger problem than people’s difficulty in accessing the website, will be their difficulties once they do. For one, the website seems not to respect the privacy of those who do manage to log on. Add that to what doctors must request and record under Obamacare, and the U.S. healthcare system may gather more information about U.S. citizens than the NSA.

The second major difficulty is the cost. The Manhattan Institute has calculated that Obamacare will double health insurance premiums for younger men, and hike them for younger women by 55% to 62%.

Of course, higher premiums run counter to candidate Obama’s 2008 campaign pledges:
YouTube Preview Imagewhich he repeated during the re-elect campaign: YouTube Preview Image

Interestingly, there are Democrats: YouTube Preview Imagewho have another view, including the HHS Secretary, and acknowledge Obamacare will not lower costs.

To be fair, Obama’s remarks, about people keeping what they liked were quite subtle. All Obama said was if you liked your doctor or plan that you CAN keep it; he did not say how much it would cost anyone to do so.

This interesting fact remains: with 300,000 in Florida, and another 279,000 in California losing their health insurance, Obamacare took health insurance policies from more people, in just 2 states, than it provided to people throughout the entire nation. All who would dispute this need do just one thing: get the Obama administration to release its information regarding how many got policies, either via the website or any other signup mechanism. Rest assured, if Obamacare participation were strong, then that would be the only thing Jay Carney would discuss with the press….instead of ramblings like this:YouTube Preview Image

So, Obama was less than truthful regarding his promises to the already insured, about how his signature legislative achievement would impact them. Is anyone honestly surprised by that…or simply by how large the fabrications were and how far they went?

…and all to pave the way for the single payer system the Democrat Party wants to impose:YouTube Preview Image which will emerge from the ashes and lies of Obamacare.

Bankruptcy, Thy Name Is Democrat

What do these U.S. locations have in common: Central Falls, RI; Detroit, MI; San Bernardino, CA; Mammoth Lakes, CA; Stockton, CA; Jefferson County, AL; Harrisburg, PA; and Boise County, ID? Well, each has filed for Chapter 9 Bankruptcy since 2010.

However, there is something else, shared with the financially troubled cities of Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Miami; also with Atlantic City and Camden, NJ, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

It is also common to the following states: California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

What these cities and states share, along with their financial challenges, is that the Democrat Party controls nearly every one of them; sometimes, it has for decades.

Consider Detroit, which on July 18, 2013, became the largest U.S. city ever to seek bankruptcy protection. No Republican has been mayor since January, 1962; the City Council has not had a Republican majority or plurality since the 1950′s. Democrats have run Detroit for more than a half century…into the ground.

As for the last Republican mayors in the other bankrupt locations:

    • Central Falls – 1930,
    • San Bernardino – 1993,
    • Stockton – only one since 1990,
    Birmingham, Alabama, Jefferson County’s seat – 1975,
    Harrisburg - 1982, and
    • Boise County, Idaho’s Commission appears majority Republican of late, bucking the trend.

Among the troubled, but not (yet?) bankrupt cities:

    Baltimore last elected a Republican mayor in 1963,
    Philadelphia - no GOP mayor in more than 60 years,
    Pittsburgh was last run by a Republican in 1934, and
    Miami has never had a Republican mayor.

Additionally:

    • Atlantic City’s last Republican mayor was black; James Usry ended his term in 1990,
    • A Republican last served as mayor of Camden, NJ from 1935 to 1936,
    Chicago’s last Republican mayor served in 1931, and for 43 of the last 82 years, the Democrat running the city was named Richard Daley, and
    Los Angeles boasts one Republican mayor since 1961.

There is more. In a report that identified 20 U.S cities that could go bankrupt after Detroit, at least 15 of them are Democrat-run. Of the 10 US cities with the highest percentages of residents living in poverty, Democrats have run them for decades. The point is hard to miss.

Turning attention to states with financial challenges:

    • California: 4 Democrat and 4 Republican governors since 1959. However, since 1992, Democrats have run the State Assembly for all but 4 years, and the State Senate for all but 2,

    • New York: Since 1958, 5 of 8 governors were Democrats. Since 1992, Republicans ran the Senate all but 4 years, but Democrats controlled the Assembly each year,

    • Illinois: Since 1991, 2 Democrat and 2 Republican governors; and Democrats controlled the State Senate for 12 of 22 years, and the House of Representatives for 20 of 22 years,

    • New Jersey: Since 1990 – 4 Democrat and 3 Republican, administrations. Since 1992, Republicans ran the Senate for 10 years, there were 2 years of shared control, and Democrats ran it for 10 years…the last 10 years; in the State House, Republican control for 10 years, followed by Democrat Control for the last 12, and

    • Massachusetts: Since Michael Dukakis’ 1991 retirement, there has been 1 Democrat governor, but Democrats kept majorities in both the Senate and the House.

To be “fair”, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan are troubled states under Republican control. Ohio has 24 governments and 6 school districts plagued by pension funding issues and an unwillingness to cut spending despite declining revenues. Pennsylvania has $47 Billion in unfunded pension liabilities and no political will to address the problem. Michigan halts between dealing with rising healthcare costs, or kicking that can down the road.

However, the political scales may not balance as much as some might believe; the policies at the root of these financial ills have a decidedly liberal Democrat aroma.

The problem of unfunded pension liabilities traces back to President Kennedy’s desire to grab union votes for Democrats. Both Franklin Delano Roosevelt and former AFL-CIO president George Meaney considered collective bargaining for public employees bad for taxpayers. However, when Kennedy saw that New York City Mayor Robert Wagner built a reliable Democrat voting bloc by granting collective-bargaining rights to the city’s public employees, he put his party’s good ahead of taxpayer benefit and issued an Executive Order in 1962, granting those rights to unionized federal employees. The practice spread across the nation. Now, governments have collectively bargained themselves into more than $4.5 Trillion in unfunded pension liabilities.

Problems with healthcare costs trace back to the 1965 origination of Medicare and Medicaid under President Lyndon Johnson. Government socialization of medical costs is now a financial disaster, with Medicare facing $38.6 Trillion in unfunded liabilities, according to its Board of Trustees. Also, Medicare heads for bankruptcy in 2016 or 2024, depending upon what is true about Obamacare.

It took 17 years for all 50 states to “voluntarily” participate in Medicaid, and 11 more for President Clinton to announce Medicaid was bankrupting them. Add the fact Obamacare makes Medicaid more costly for states, and that uninsured patients often have better medical outcomes than those using Medicaid, and one wonders how Medicare, Medicaid, or Obamacare benefit the nation. However, despite poorer health care and worsened state balance sheets, liberal Democrats use the programs to show themselves as “caring”.

More often than not in the U.S., when governments have financial trouble, Democrats are at the helm of government and, even when not in charge, policies originated and associated with Democrats cause the problems. For example, Democrats portray Social Security as an effective and successful program.

However, it is hard to imagine how a program, short nearly $10 Trillion over the next 75 years, and facing massive growth in the number of beneficiaries, meets any reasonable success criteria…until you consider how it delivers the senior vote to Democrats.

To their credit, Democrats convinced the nation that they care about the people, even as they devastate them financially. By the time Democrats finish showing their concern for people, no government anywhere is likely to have a dime to spend on them.

Perhaps it is time for a real change?

Regarding One Thing Missing for Black Males

Since Trayvon Martin’s death, momentum builds toward a racial “showdown” in this country, with one side outraged that a “white” man got away with “murdering” an innocent black child, while another side counters:

    1. Zimmerman is not white,
    2. A jury found there was no murder, and
    3. A teen-aged MMA enthusiast with ongoing school and drug problems is not everyone’s definition of an innocent child.

The first side, Side “A”, makes racism the issue, though the FBI and the Zimmerman jury said race was no factor. The month after Martin’s death, his parents formed a foundation to advocate for crime victims and their families (though the jury effectively said there was no crime), and, with the Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys of 2013, to challenge “Stand Your Ground” laws, though Zimmerman never invoked Florida’s version, and such laws are popular.

How did Side “A” come to create its own issues while dismissing others? In 3 acts:

ACT 1. In 1995, the Nation of Islam sponsored the “Million Man March” on Washington, D. C., to focus attention on black issues. Varying attendance estimates distracted from the event’s message, and determining what it accomplished is more problematic now than was counting heads then.

ACT 2. Nevertheless, the Million Man March inspired Washington, D. C., Congressional Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, in 2001, to form the “D.C. Commission on Black Men and Boys” to reveal and help resolve issues that (D. C.) Black men face, such as high school dropout rates, criminal justice issues, HIV and AIDS, and marriage and family issues. The commission met many times over the next decade. However, like the Million Man March, its accomplishments are difficult to find.

Homicides, district-wide, decreased to a 50-year low 88 in 2012, but the credit belongs to local government and police. However, in D. C.’s 93% black Ward 8, unemployment averaged 22% in 2012; in 2000, it was 21%. Regarding other Ward 8 “measurables”, between 2000 and 2009:

    • Poverty went from 35% to 34%,
    • Child poverty went from 46% to 48%,
    • Persons lacking a High School diploma went from 33% to 20%,
    • Overall unemployment went from 21% to 17%,
    • Unemployment for those 16 years old and older went from 45% to 48%, and
    • Average family income decreased 5.2%.

And between 2000 and 2012:

    • People on Food Stamps increased 75%, to 42,888 (total Ward 8 population: under 71,000), and
    • People receiving TANF increased 6%, to 17,579.

Lastly, black illegitimacy in D. C. was 77% in 2002; in 2008, it was 79%.

While these things occurred:

    • The D.C. Commission on Black Men and Boys of 2012 discussed Lessons from the Life and Death of Trayvon Martin and focused on local experience with and problem-solving for the negative branding of African American youth and men because of the color of their skin,

    • The D.C. Commission on Black Men & Boys of 2011 featured former rival gang members and violence intervention workers, and accepted testimony from residents,

    • The D.C. Commission on Black Men and Boys of January 2010 took 17 young fathers out for an afternoon of mentoring and job preparation,

    • The D.C. Commission on Black Men and Boys of August 2010, responded to the particularly difficult time Black men are having in a job market that is sometimes unreceptive to them, especially in today’s unprecedented economy,

    • The D.C. Commission on Black Men and Boys of 2007 discussed national efforts to support the “Jena 6,” six Jena, Louisiana high school students, all African American males, who face discriminatory treatment in the criminal justice system…

ACT 3. The Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys of 2013, formed after Zimmerman’s acquittal, was modeled after Norton’s D.C. Commission on Black Men and Boys. Its mission: to be a “vehicle for raising consciousness” on issues disproportionately affecting black men and youth including job training, HIV/AIDS and the breakdown of the family. Sound familiar?

So, organizations, modeled after gatherings which did not resolve issues in the last decade, which were inspired by an event that did not resolve issues in the decade before that…will resolve issues today? What is Einstein’s Definition of Insanity, again?

Meanwhile, Side “B”, seizes on black illegitimacy and family decline, the criminality of young black men, etc. They cite statistics with irrefutable implications. They identify a “grievance industry” which they believe facilitates and exploits the adverse state of black affairs, and frustrates honest race discussions. They also show little fear of the nuclear option of political discussions: being called “racist”.

Unfortunately, Side “B” mis-spends their courage. Standing up to Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and national NAACP official won’t influence the majority of blacks for whom those gentlemen do not speak. Side “B” needs to take its message to suffering black communities, showing the respect of direct conversation, not just the courage of broadcast monologues.

Side “B” also fumbles their facts, letting spinmeisters confuse issues and change subjects. If Side “B” says, “Blacks commit 93% of black homicides“, Side “A” counters with “Whites commit 86% of all white homicides“; that blacks, at 13% of the population, commit 52% of all U.S. homicides, including 59% of felony murders, gets lost in the noise. Should one say, “Black illegitimacy is at 73%“, another will counter, “White illegitimacy is increasing at a faster rate“…and so it goes…

Both sides miss the point: Side “A”, by putting energy into window-dressing events and off-topic efforts that do not improve the black condition; Side “B”, by being courageous with the wrong black people, and by letting objective facts become subjective banter.

The point? The black community does not hold black males accountable for their behavior.

For contributing to black illegitimacy, he appears, not before other black fathers, but before family court, while by-standers laugh:

YouTube Preview Image

He is not taken “out back”, but taken in, to criminal courts:

YouTube Preview Image

Dealing with this young black man fell to a judge because his community did not check him long before. When a man abuses a woman publicly, it is not the first time, and his behavior is no secret. People knew, and gave him a pass, because “he could ball”.

Black male misdeeds are not even privately considered by the black community; they are broadcast via social media:

YouTube Preview Image

These things happen also to whites, hisanics, and asians. However, those groups do not have 3 of every 4 children born out-of-wedlock, nor does any of them, alone, commit more than half of U. S. homicides.

Black communities used to deal with their young men, handling complex issues and dispensing consequences that punished and deterred bad behavior. Now, they outsource that responsibility to schools, police, and courts. The result:

    • The schools are less safe;
    Blacks fear the police, perhaps more than they respect them; and,
    • In 2009, there were 2 black males incarcerated for every 3 in college.

Such is the legacy of black communities not holding black males accountable for their behavior.

While Sides “A” and “B” debate, the men of a great people lack what they need most to succeed, or even live well. It is not employment, not education, not acceptance by whites. It is accountability, to those who best understand them. Accountability, to those who can best build and correct their character. Accountability, to those who look like them. Should that return, the other issues will heal, quickly.

There are communities that manage their young men by the power of community expectations. Blacks should strive be one of them…again.

Re-trial Goes Much Like the First Trial, But Sadder

The basic details are not difficult:

A man saw someone he considered suspicious, called police and followed him. Eventually, he came into contact with the subject. Words were exchanged, an altercation ensued, during which the man sustained injuries. He drew a weapon and fired once. Police arrived to find the man, George Zimmerman, aged 28, bloodied and shaken, and the shooting victim, Trayvon Martin, aged 17, dead.

Police questioned Zimmerman that night, gave him a lie detector test the next day (he passed), and determined there was not probable cause for an arrest.

In the 16 months that followed: the FBI concluded race played no role in the shooting; and Florida’s governor appointed a special prosecutor who bypassed a grand jury to charge Zimmerman with 2nd-degree murder. That decision was criticized by a legal expert as potentially criminal, and special prosecutor Angela Corey was indeed later criminally indicted for falsifying the arrest warrant and complaint against Zimmerman.

At trial, prosecution witnesses supported Zimmerman’s self-defense assertions, including a black legal professor, who explained, under cross-examination, that injuries are not required before a person might legally act in self-defense.

Despite all this, people were shocked, SHOCKED, at George Zimmerman’s acquittal on July 13th.

So, those who insisted Zimmerman be tried in a court of law, despite a weak case, changed venues: the court of public opinion, bound neither by the rules of evidence, nor any need to speak truthfully. So, how is that coming along?

The day after the verdict, there were demonstrations from New York City to Los Angeles, Chicago to Oakland, Milwaukee to Miami, and elsewhere protesting Zimmerman’s acquittal.

Also on the day after the verdict, the NAACP and Al Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) called for the Department of Justice to file federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman. Attorney General Holder told NAN, “If we find evidence of a potential federal criminal civil rights crime, we will take appropriate action, and at every step, the facts and law will guide us forward.” One can only wonder if those facts will include the 2012 FBI report which found no evidence of racism, a hate crime, or any civil rights violation by George Zimmerman. One prosecutor is already criminally indicted for corruption in the charging of Zimmerman; could an overzealous Attorney General Eric Holder become the second?

Perhaps sensing the initiative slipping away, the NAACP’s Hilary Shelton appeared on Sean Hannity’s TV show (July 18th) to assert that Zimmerman “stalked, assaulted, and” shot Trayvon Martin to death, and to criticize Stand Your Ground laws. However:

    1. There is no proof that Zimmerman stalked Martin.
    2. The evidence presented and the verdict imply Martin assaulted Zimmerman, and
    3. Stand Your Ground was not part of Zimmerman’ defense.

President Obama’s post-verdict statement gave way to a July 19th race speech in which he said, “Trayvon Martin could have been me, 35 years ago.” Whether Obama sought to unite the nation or curry favor with the black Americans he normally ignores is hard to say. However, this is not: 2 days after the speech, a national poll showed Obama’s disapproval rating higher than George Zimmermans’s.

Then, there were the July 20th 100-City Trayvon rallies, with turnout far less than expected, though that was hard to glean from most news coverage.

Even the Congressional Black Caucus chimed in, with members expressing support for an economic boycott of Florida to protest Stand Your Ground laws, and looking to revisit gun control in the wake of Martin’s shooting. However, Congress generally cannot revise state laws, and the good ship gun control already sailed away…empty.

So, the public “re-trial” is going much the way the state trial did, and for the same reason: those arrayed against George Zimmerman have more passion than proof. However, regarding Martin, more proof emerges that may generate a different passion.

First, the Skittles and Arizona Iced Tea…actually Arizona Watermelon Fruit Juice Cocktail. Those are 2 of the 3 ingredients needed to make “lean“, a street drug, which requires the codeine in prescription cough syrup, or Dextromethorphan (DXM), available in over-the counter cough syrup like Robitussin. Martin’s Facebook page showed him seeking codeine to make more lean, before being told Robitussin’s DXM would also work. When abused, DXM can cause aggression and paranoia. Of course, all this is circumstantial until Martin’s autopsy report revealed liver anomalies, consistent with DXM abuse.

Then there is Alicia Stanley, Martin’s former stepmother who gave an interview to CNN at the beginning of the trial. She said she did it so people would know, “I exist…”

Why would that matter? Because it is she, not Sybrina Fulton, with whom Trayvon Martin lived, from age 3 until 2010. During that time, there is no evidence of the truancy, drug use, theft and other issues that prosecutors fought to keep from a jury.

To the point; it is less a matter of what Martin’s improper behavior was than when it started and, perhaps, with whom.

However, Alicia Stanley, the woman who raised Trayvon Martin, became an inconvenience: told to “get in where you fit in” at his funeral, and waited more than a year after Martin’s death before seeking the recognition some would say she has earned. By contrast, Sybrina Fulton waited less than a month before seeking to profit from trademarking “I AM TRAYVON” and “Justice for Trayvon”.

Sadly, a young black man died, shot in self-defense by a “soft” man with “a hero complex.” Unfortunately, that is not all that is sad. Trayvon Martin’s innocence began to fade in 2010, through events over which he had no control. By February 26, 2012, Martin was a troubled kid, by any measure: doing poorly in school, committing petty crimes, and a drug user who had already sustained internal organ damage and was at a 7-Eleven, procuring the ingredients for his drug of choice, jones’in’ for another high. Viewing the store security video in that light is heartbreaking:

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No matter why Martin was out that night, this tragedy might still have occurred. However, no one’s child should be out at night like that…ever. Somehow, we came to focus on Zimmerman, and lost the bubble on that.

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