Archives for category: Government

I do not understand why someone would file for office as a total unknown.

Take me for instance, if I had filed yesterday, anyone with access to a computer could immediately find reasons to laugh at me, reasons to oppose me, or maybe for the rare few, find reasons to support my candidacy. (Hypothetical, of course.)

There would be no reason to wonder if I might be lying. You can look it up. I’m here. I’m on Facebook. I’ve statements scattered far and wide. You can figure out what I think without asking me to lie about it.

The fee for filing is nontrivial. It costs $1k to file for US Congress. The links are here: https://www.ok.gov/elections/Candidate_Info/Candidate_Filing/ All 794 of these folks plunked down at least $500. I suppose most had someone encouraging them with at least some portion of the fee. (For better or worse.)

Regarding the US Congress, each representative has nearly no significance for the state, except for bringing home some bacon. Not a thing I appreciate, but some find it paramount. My BS detector alarm goes off when I hear too much about “for the people” from candidates for US Congress. I want to know your principles, and I want to know what you intend to work hardest for. Beyond that, Congresscritters just don’t matter to the state, being stuck too close to the political-middle between anything useful.

It is this lot that has me writing at the moment:
UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE – DISTRICT 05
Democrat
00107 W KENDRA HORN, 41, 5909 N Ross Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73112

00295 W TOM GUILD, 63, 2109 Rushing Meadows, Edmond, OK 73013

00444 W LEONA KELLEY-LEONARD, 47, 905 Lincon St, Seminole, OK 74868

00507 T TYSON TODD MEADE, 55, 1728 NW 13th, Oklahoma City, OK 73106

00555 T ED PORTER, 67, 4205 NE 116th St, Oklahoma City, OK 73131

00668 F ELYSABETH BRITT, 39, 13600 N Blackwelder Ave #239, Oklahoma City, OK 73134

Republican
00546 T STEVE RUSSELL, 54, 1291 Scenic Trl, Choctaw, OK 73020

00568 T GREGORY DUNSON, 49, 123 NE 2nd St #365, Oklahoma City, OK 73104

00652 F DeJUAN EDWARDS, 36, 13717 Kirkland Rdg, Edmond, OK 73013

(BTW, WTF? What is W, T, or F on each?)

Ms. Kendra filed first. Cool. Gung ho! I found her with no problem. She looks like the Democratic candidate already, but where is her history? All I can see is lies about bipartisanship and pledges to make the Federal Government more meddlesome in Oklahoma. (I say lies because the Dems are no-nonsense when it comes to toeing the party line. Bipartisanship for Dems is purely partisan. Cooperate only when the party bosses tell you to, or you are out.) Regarding Ms. Kendra’s promise to involve the Fed more, I believe you, and that’s the trouble. (Nyves) (Don’t get me wrong; GOP is similar, but not as Draconian.)

Mr. Tom, need I say more than hope springs eternal?

I’m totally unable to find anything worth mention regarding Ms. Leona. Ms. Leona is sufficiently unknown that my internet searches didn’t find that she filed and ran in 2016 and in 2014, receiving about 7,000 votes both rounds, coming in third both times. I happened to notice the fact looking at other candidates on Ballotpedia.

Regarding Mr. Tyson (I’m sticking with first names), he’s a rocker. Cool, but what does he stand for? The name of his old band (in the political sense) just might foretell the results of his run, but who knows how much his celebrity will gain him.

Mr. Eddie was easy to find, although only political. His bio is worth acknowledging. His Facebook page makes me think I’d appreciate his thoughts on corrections. He seems a general contrarian, though.

Ms. Elysabeth was just as easy to identify politically, and reasonably identifiable otherwise. I applaud her for trying to make herself known.

There is this: http://newsok.com/article/5582043/steve-russell-regains-fundraising-edge-kendra-horn-continues-to-lead-democrats

For the GOP, Mr. Steve is incumbent, and minds are pretty made up. I have a lot of respect for him, his experience, and knowledge, but he isn’t a stickler for precision. He doesn’t always bother double checking before he says things. He’s been in politics too long to find anything nonpolitical, but he’s been in politics long enough, you know what you are getting.

Mr. Gregory and Mr. DeJuan aren’t hard to identify, but they don’t seem to have any politics. Perhaps last-minute decisions.

I just keep wondering why anyone would wade into the muck. Well, no, I understand why someone would wade into the muck and the slime and the stench of politics, because I’ve always felt the pull. But it only takes a little exposure to snap me to my senses. These folks not only took time and made the effort to go down and file, they put their money into it. Those campaigning and fundraising have no out-of-pocket expenses. They let the campaign pay for everything. But, per the news-blurb, there are only three of them with any significant funding. Complain all you want about money, but it is just talk. Money really is speech and protected when used as such. It takes a dollar to do a dollar’s worth of getting the word out. Also, money isn’t everything, just ask HDR. She out spent the Donald two to one.

For me, the bottom line is that it costs me no money to find out. If I can research and do my own homework at no cost beside my time, then I’m okay with any money anybody wants to spend on it all. I can look up news articles. I can research at the library and online. I can find folks on Facebook and LinkedIn, et al. I see it as my responsibility to figure out where the candidate is on positions, and where they are talking out of both sides of their mouth, and where they are likely to compromise effectively, and where they are likely to compromise their principles and disappoint me.

Bloomberg complicates the things involved here, but presents some things well. It is clear that if money was the key, HDR would have won. https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/graphics/2016-presidential-campaign-fundraising/

While about 800 people signed up for about 200 elections, there were still unchallenged positions, with only the incumbent. http://newsok.com/governors-race-tops-oklahoma-candidate-filings/article/feed/2002984 I would like to remind everyone that we were used, especially the teachers. The only real point to the teachers’ strike, especially its timing, was the politics of the Democratic party. Undeniably, we were used and abused, and most people seemed not only eager but happy to oblige. I know it hurt me. I know others suffered in silence.

Elections are messy business. Respectable people will have nothing to do with elections. (Let that sink in.)

That points makes it rather shocking to me that people are willing to give up teaching positions to run for elected office. It will be a rude awakening, a slap in the face. For those few who succeed, the regrets are almost certainly going to outweigh any gains they can point to. I suspect the former teachers who are in office now will admit the life of an elected official is harder than that of a teacher, and generally with fewer rewards.

I’m looking at a lot of research requirements just for the statewide positions and the ones in my district. 15 candidates filed for governor. (15 x $2,000 = $30,000, I would suppose money like that will keep the polls open.) 15 candidates, lots of homework to do, but none of it matters per the experts. The frontrunner is clear. We shall see if the race muddles any. I’d like to see the Libertarians getting some press and stage time. I like their ideas and their flair. (I mean, who doesn’t appreciate that tragic soul, Joe Exotic?)

It will be a relief to have a new representative in District 94. I’ll be doing my homework, but I’m already worried. My main hope is to not have another grandstander.

I noticed something. My initial hypothesis is that there is a causative correlation between district wealth and the number of candidates filing. I’ve tabulated the races with more than four candidates, at least the ones I noticed.

First number is always D, second R, third is L or I, and fourth is I.
Senate 16 has 3 & 3
Senate 30 has 2 & 7
Senate 36 has 2 & 4

House 5 has 1 and 4
House 14 has 2 and 3
House 17 has 2 and 5
House 20 has 1, 6, and 1 (grudge match–people love to hate Bobby)
House 22 has 3, 2, and 1
House 26 has 3 and 3
House 27 has 1 and 5
House 31 has 2 and 3
House 36 has 0 and 5 (Rs)
House 41 has 3 and 6
House 43 has 2 and 4
House 47 has 3 and 4
House 48 has 2 and 3
House 53 has 3, 3, and 1
House 63 has 2 and 4
House 66 has 2 and 3
House 68 has 3, 4, 1, and 1
House 69 has 3 and 2
House 71 has 1 and 5
House 79 has 2, 3, and 1
House 80 has 4 and 3
House 81 has 1, 3, and 1
House 82, jeeze! has 1 and 12
House 86 has 3 and 2
House 91 has 3 and 2
House 95 has 4, 1, 1, and 1
House 98 has 2, 6, and 1
House 99 has 5 and 0
House 100 has 2 and 3
House 101 has 4 and 4

I didn’t double-check my hypothesis or data. I’m mostly noting several races have excessive candidates. The sad part is, it matters so little. No person’s vote really matters. We pretend every vote counts, but it is much more realistic to assume no vote counts.

Larry Norman said it well in many ways so long ago. When he asked who would lead us if none of us would vote, I always knew the loudest mouth or biggest fist would.

I haven’t given up voting, but I sure understand those who neglect it, and those who denigrate it. Voting, democracy, really isn’t all it is cracked up to be. The tyranny of the majority is tyranny nonetheless.

Plato talked about inferiors ruling, but that is inevitable. The only guards are restrictions and limitations on government. Otherwise, the violent do violence, and the manipulative use and abuse us all, far too often in the name of the children or some other vulnerables, never actually helping anyone but themselves.

Bottom line, do your own homework and be an informed voter. Or, forget about it; don’t sweat it, knowing you’ll almost certainly live just and long and die just as happy.

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Only Matthew records the tale of the day-laborers in the vineyard.

http://biblehub.com/cev/matthew/20.htm

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.”

The commentaries expound well, but they don’t dig deep. http://biblehub.com/matthew/20-13.htm http://biblehub.com/matthew/20-15.htm

I think it important to remember Jesus’ closing of it, “The last shall be first, and the first last.” We know, we experience so often, this truth. Mark tells us, and Matthew records two instances, where Jesus tells us that from he that hath not, even what he had will be taken away.

http://biblehub.com/matthew/13-12.htm

http://biblehub.com/matthew/25-29.htm

An obvious point is the fleeting nature of worldly goods.

Paul seems to have noticed, and he stated he was content regardless of what he had.

There is a lot in the parable, a lot for every era and time, but I think especially for our time. The day laborers, the notion of fairness, the uprightness of faithfulness even without generosity.

Wikipedia, of all places, has a nice note and interesting details, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_Workers_in_the_Vineyard

Perhaps Jesus expected us to assume the owner of the vineyard remembered the command, “You shall not oppress a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns. You shall give him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets (for he is poor and counts on it), lest he cry against you to the LORD, and you be guilty of sin.” http://biblehub.com/deuteronomy/24-15.htm

This instruction seems a good thing to remember when considering migrant workers, even foreign workers. (That is a thorny and complex topic. I’d settle for few, limited, simple laws, consistently enforced, that considered each as an individual, not a labeled-group.)

The central point seems to be an individual responsibility to be content with agreements. If I agree to a price, or a wage, that is it. I have agreed. If other considerations make it seem unfair, my obligation is to remain faithful to the agreement. I’m responsible for what I agreed to and fulfilling my part of the agreement. Me, each of us, individually. I am responsible for my agreements and obligations. (Yes, I like redundancy.)

Jesus seems to be condemning the attitude of envy, and that seems consistent with all we know. Life rarely works out fair. Don’t begrudge the fortune of others, for no life is trouble-free. Wealth and influence generally make life less hard, but life, in general, is hard.

I note and emphasize that the owner asserted the right to do with his own as he pleased. That seems especially obvious when the use benefits others.

The owner had no obligation to explain or justify. He had a need, he hired workers to accomplish it. Each worker agreed to work for pay, and apparently only the first hired had established the set amount. (Note that the amount was the then current wage for a day’s work for a day laborer.) Those who went out for less than a full day likely expected a fair portion of the full-day rate. Those last hired were probably resigned to fasting for the day, so what little pay earned could go to feeding the family. Can you imagine the joy and relief each felt while accepting the full portion of pay?

Note that the money belonged to the owner. He, apparently, had earned it. He seems likely to have been a good and honest man. He chose to be generous with his worldly goods, and he chose to pay a full day for everyone that worked for him, even for only a twelfth of that day.

Changing tack, people who work for the government are in a different circumstance. People who work for the government are paid from taxes, money taken from others, for no reason other than the majority voted for it, at least in some roundabout way. Tax expenditures are governed by law, not generosity.

Again, tax expenditures, even if worthy wage paid for worthy work, are governed by law. Generosity is the sole domain of the individual. The government has no positive value. It makes no money of its own. It takes from citizens, and it uses the money according to law. While individuals run a mutually enriching system of agreements and exchange, the government’s system is zero sum. Whatever it gives to one, it took from another (and wasted some along the way). There are valid activities we want the government to do (but that doesn’t address governmental overreach), but when one group riles and rouses the majority and demands more, the fact remains, the favored are gaining at the loss of others.

This brings me back around to envy. It is an individual responsibility to avoid envy, especially that which begrudges and hates others.

Also, faithfulness. Fulfill your obligations, even if someone claims a higher calling. You can’t faithfully fulfill an obligation by abandoning another.

Finally, given the parable is about the kingdom of God, I take the lesson as showing us God treats all equally, and it often doesn’t seem fair.

Oklahoma is in crisis.

The unions are reporting increased parental support, but they’ve lied so much already I won’t accept anything they say.

I’m heart torn. I hurt. We homeschool. So, it doesn’t directly affect my family, but we’ve always supported our local schools and the teachers we know. The slogan is the walkout is for the kids, but the only fact establishable by empirical evidence is the teachers walked out on the children. It is abandonment, betrayal.

I don’t understand it. I know so many teachers, friends, family (including my daughter), younger, older, former, and current. I cannot doubt the heart of any one of them. I honor and respect everyone one of them. They each have accomplished so much, given so much. I trusted them, would have trusted them, but they did not remain faithful.

Again, I don’t understand. I know these teachers have the biggest, most giving, most loving hearts of any people I’ve known; yet, they walked out.

Not only did the teachers and their unions warn they would hold the children hostage and extort the parents, the parents (and legislators) believed them that their plight was dire (It was.), and the State paid the ransom. The legislators bit the bullet and raised taxes, a large tax increase. Sadly, the old adage held. Pay the ransom and embolden the extortionists.

It is interesting, even praiseworthy, how the teachers have acted, and, moreover, how many in our community have responded. Many private people and businesses have provided goods, services, and cash. It is with very mixed emotions that I watch it all. Despite being intimidated and threatened, we love our teachers and continue to work with them.

Of course, there is very little of anything good can be said of any politician in this whole mess. (Well, a small few, but that is not of concern here.) It is hard to condemn the politicians being under so much stress, intimidation, and disparagement. Some messed up, some just didn’t act right, and a few grandstanded and put on the show at every opportunity, never shying from any deriding or devise remark.

An oft-repeated chant aimed to deride the legislators was, “Do your job!” while teachers constantly thronged them and posted derogatory reports whenever the legislator was trying to attend business rather than offer a sympathetic ear. Teachers have boasted of overcrowding the legislators. Teachers complained when their disruption wouldn’t be tolerated. Teachers (and the grandstanding pols) pitched royal fits when the legislature adjourned early one day, and started slightly late the next. Lose-lose for all the legislators but the grandstanders.

As to doing their job, what is their job? The teachers seem to think it is to raise taxes and give the failing education system more money. Is it the job of the legislature to penalize the citizens of the state to appease the teachers unions?

No, the job of a legislative representative is to represent the people who elected him or her. Being in the district of the chief grandstander, it just might be that the majority in my district did so want more expensive failure in education, and the majority may very well have thought it right that grandstander-in-chief opposed all tax increases for being too small, until the strike was certain. (I wrote him often asking him to not raise my taxes and to not make such spectacle of himself.)

However, it is clear from recent history that most of the voters in most of the districts wanted their legislators to represent their interest in holding the line on tax increases. Maybe moods have changed, but it is simply disingenuous to assert the representatives were failing in their job. The legislators were, in fact, fulfilling their duties and obligations. Again, there is blame can be handed round all round, but on the whole, the legislators were doing their jobs, even while being railed against by the grandstanders and union activists.

Amongst the railing and intimidation and threats, the legislatures settled on a package of tax increases that drew compromise agreement of the required supermajority. A large, and likely painful, tax increase, and there were celebrations and dancing in the streets, even a high-five from the Governor as she rushed to sign the measure.

Yet, the strike was still on.

Come Monday, with new tax increases and new laws funding education confirmed and in the books, the strike came. The teachers walked out of their classrooms leaving students and their parents holding the bag. Betrayal of trust by any objective evaluation.

Yet, the parents bucked up and voiced support. I’ve heard no estimates of how many people had to take off work. The cost has to be over several millions of dollars, just for that first day of the walkout. In Oklahoma, it is illegal for teachers (unions) to strike against the school board (their actual employer). However, the school boards also believed the dire circumstances, and many authorized the walkout, keeping it legal.

Still, day two. Surely the teachers had made their point. Surely, with the extraordinary raise (16 to 18% per teacher, and more money for this and that) and tax burden tolerated, the teachers would be happy, but no. The unions had started the mantra Monday that it was never about the raise, never about “the money,” but about the classrooms, about education in the state as a whole. Oklahoma already spends half of its budget on education. One can argue particulars, but one cannot claim Oklahoma doesn’t care about education. That fact mattered not to the unions.

Now, we’ve muddled through the week. Some schools have called the teachers back to the classrooms. A few never walked out at all. (At least one small district sent a delegation of teachers to represent them while classes continued. Quite reasonable, I believe.)

Still, most, including all the larger districts, day by day canceled class for want of teachers. I know not what most of the school boards have done, but they face the very real possibility of having to fire, perhaps even prosecute, teachers if they (the board members) grow stubborn and insistent. There is no win, only harm, in that prospect. It is still possible. It may come to it in some instance.

I’ve waxed verbose, and I offer my appreciation for reading and sharing my pain. I aim to express my disappointment in the teachers, even in those who have vehemently supported them, but my primary aim is to end the betrayal. I hope the teachers will return to class. It is a sad fight. It is sad that it is a fight at all.

While the teachers say the government has failed, it cannot be said the education system is better. There are systemic problems of myriad sort in our education system, even more than our government system. Both are flawed from inception, with error compounded upon error over the decades. Our defects have grown for more than a century. No thorough fix is possible in even a few years.

But we can start, but not while teachers raise ruckus and disgraced politicians show no shame. The legislators cannot do their job while teachers hinder them.

While I sincerely hope the teachers will return to class Monday, we citizens of Oklahoma, all of us, must continue to call upon our legislature to address the flaws in our systems, all our state systems. They are badly broken. The problems are clear, but the causes are not. The remedies are even more elusive, but we must. We simply must find repairs, and we really must install workable systems before we make them all more expensive. We may find we need more taxes. We likely must revamp our taxing system overall.

No easy answers. We won’t find any if we get complacent. We will repeat this hurtful, tragic fiasco again in a few years if we don’t keep at honest effort for accountability and solutions.

 

But hatred is best combined with Fear. Cowardice, alone of all the vices, is purely painful—horrible to anticipate, horrible to feel, horrible to remember; Hatred has its pleasures. It is therefore often the compensation by which a frightened man reimburses himself for the miseries of Fear. The more he fears, the more he will hate. And Hatred is also a great anodyne for shame. To make a deep wound in his charity, you should therefore first defeat his courage.

Screwtape to Wormwood, per C.S. Lewis

Instead of fighting over whether the census should ask about citizenship, like Fred said to Ginger, let’s call the whole thing off.

We should work an amendment through the processes and fix it permanently, but Congress has the power to pass laws to direct the manner of census. They could simply direct the manner to be statistical.

We know how to do it, and it would save a lot of money. Of course, there is that “actual enumeration” phrase. My argument is that an actual enumeration of every person, citizen or otherwise, is quite impossible. The confidence intervals are hardly tighter for the full census than for thorough statistical estimates. Congress has the power to enforce. They can do this if they have the will.

The worry is apportionments. While Representatives and corresponding electoral votes are decided this way, it’s really all about the money. (Isn’t it always?) Which State gets more money is partly based on which State has more people. The definition of people has changed throughout history. So the change continues.

The question is really addressing how we should define people nowadays. I support treating every individual as one individual, not as a member of a group or class, but as a single, self-sovereign individual. So, let the statisticians and pollsters count heads, every head, regardless of other characteristics. Let them satisfy the proven models (and reprove and improve the models with oversight and some regularity), and let’s use the numbers for apportionment. The portion is never fully based on just the numbers. (Some Congresscritters are just better at bringing home the bacon.)

The apportionments for 350,000,000 people split unevenly among the States, and cannot be evenly, fairly divided, at least not perfectly. We are human after all. The population is also dynamic, so what was “perfect” yesterday is faulty tomorrow.

Let’s drop the full mansion-to-mansion, door-to-door, hovel-to-hovel, bridge-to-bridge, shelter-to-shelter notion of census. The money saved will more than make up for any slight deviation of this group versus that group. There will be more money left over to apportion, so even the underestimated groups will end up with more. Win-win!

The point of the census is apportionment. A person is a person. The community deals with every member. We have needful reasons to be mindful of the ramifications of citizenship, et al., but not here, not with the census. Apportionment must consider persons, nothing more.

Note, the Constitution very specifically considers citizens for privileges, such as the vote, but it just as specifically considers persons, individuals without regard to other characteristics, for protection and due process. No person can be denied equal protection under the law. Every jurisdiction in the USA is bound to provide protection to every person within the jurisdiction so far as the law is concerned. Every protection equally, to citizen or alien, sinner or saint. Equal under the law.

Please, also, don’t conflate need to offer protection with general aid. No, the jurisdiction doesn’t owe you anything except protection from others infringing your basic rights as a human, as a fellow traveler in this brief moment we have, this experience we share.

Some background:

https://usconstitution.net/

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers…actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. Originally Reps per State could not exceed one per 30,000. (Getting back to that proportion is an idea worth considering.)

14th
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Since no taxation without representation was a founding principle, our Constitution says no representation if you aren’t taxed. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding [those] not taxed. The wording in this section is outdated, but the point is, the vote can be denied to criminals, but those who cannot vote cannot be counted for apportionments.

Many offices in the USA and the States require an oath. Ever breaking that oath disqualifies you from holding Federal elected office. Congress can override with 2/3rd.

USA debt cannot be questioned. It is valid by law, etc.

Congress has the power to send armed enforcers if they want to keep you in line.

 

 

While teachers and other state workers plan to hold me, the rest of Oklahoma tax payers, and our children hostage, our education leaders do things like extend the contract of the Tulsa Superintendent, paying her roughly a quarter-million per year (plus any official expenses, of course). http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/education/tulsa-school-board-strikes-three-year-contract-deal-with-next/article_cdd7589c-c7bb-5019-bba9-8a6347b35fd2.html

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/education/deborah-gist-s-contract-renewed-tulsa-public-schools-superintendent-remains/article_b183e73a-6023-57c2-af55-dbfca517b8f8.html

Apparently, new teachers should only get $31k, and generally not get raises for years (and experienced, proven teachers don’t end up making much more in many instances), but administrators pull in the big bucks, and news editors proclaim how much they deserve it. Hmm…

Still, apparently, the situation is my fault.

I mean, it must be. The teachers and other school officials (and state workers) all clamor that I’m not paying enough taxes. They say shaking me down is the only solution to their problems.

Well, obviously, I disagree.

If the Oklahoma City Superintendent, making only a little less than Tulsa’s, wouldn’t stick it out, I think the problem is not the money. I mean, who walks away from a $220k per year job because of a bad day at the office? It must have been a really bad day.

Sure, the Supers have to be paid something, and that quarter-million won’t cover much of the needs of the districts, but we keep pouring more money into education, and education keeps declining. It isn’t a money problem! The problems aren’t such that money will fix!

If teachers walk out of classrooms in Oklahoma, that says plainly that teachers don’t care about the students. Sorry, no other way to look at it. You can pretend the teachers have no recourse, but that is a lie. It is simply untrue.

In general, in most individual instances, we pay for perceived value. Sure, many things skew this or that, but for the most part, compensation is consistent with perceived value received.

I suspect most people will argue that teachers deliver more value than they are paid for. Well, true. Really, our teachers are delivering more value than they are being paid in compensation, but (you knew there’d be a but) Oklahomans are paying for an education system, not just teachers.

I, for one, think Oklahoma is taking more from me than is justifiable.

Oklahoma governments (including local) take from me in multiple taxes, and they take from me every year–in sales taxes, every day. They take from me with every utility bill, and they take from me every time I buy fuel.

Scott Inman, my representative (who has me blocked on his Facebook page), voted against raising taxes on me. I thank him for that, but he said he did so because the tax increase wasn’t large enough! Good heavens! He shouted that the proposed tax hiked taxes on the little guy, but not on the fat cats. I’m not sure who he meant, but he called them the Republican’s fat cats. Since Scott wanted more taxes on oil, I reject his argument.

Scott Inman and other Democratic representatives insisted on more cost imposition on oil companies. I suppose he thinks “the little guy” is too dumb to realize that the imposed cost is simply passed on in higher fuel prices, higher utility bills. I suppose Scott thinks “the little guy” will feel better about pretending “big oil” is paying a fair share, while each paycheck stretches tighter with increased cost of fuel for getting back and forth to work. I’ll simply remind that no business actually pays taxes. All businesses have costs, and taxes are simply costs. Prices charged must exceed all costs, or the business is bankrupt. Taxes on business, all taxes on business, are simply and only taxes on the little guy.

Overall, the governments of Oklahoma (and the USA) take more from me, by force, than can be justified by the services (including primary and secondary) rendered.

It is too much. Government is too much. The education establishment, with all its state employees, administration, and staff is too much!

We can pay teachers more without tax increases. We should pay teachers more, but it won’t help with the system. Education is broken, and no amount of money will fix it. (Just ask Aurora Lora.) Superintendents have some ability to fix things in their districts, but school board administrators must cooperate. Teachers unions have to get out of the way. Still, all that is only a small part of the problem. The first step is to end compulsion. While we coerce children and parents into State-sanctioned schools, the education cannot but worsen. The plight of teachers cannot but worsen.

Regarding unions in general, they exist to oppose the “boss,” yes?

Of course. Unions exist to collectivise the workers against the employer. The notion, which has sometimes been true, was employers exploited workers for greed.

Okay, but when have parents been greedy and knowingly exploitive of teachers?

Don’t teachers work for the parents?

I know unions disagree, but don’t we all say that teachers work for the parents, for the students? Isn’t that what we all assert?

Then the unions oppose the parents and students.

Yes, there is no way around it. Teachers unions exist to coerce and tyrannize parents, students, and taxpayers in general. That is who teachers work for. That is who unions oppose.

We err with teachers unions. Teachers err with unions.

Union coercion is part of the problem. Nobody likes to be coerced.

Coercion is evil.

 

 

 

Ever notice that for the most part politicians and lawmakers do whatever the heck they want?

They pretend to speak for the people. They pretend to represent our interests, but they just play their power games and do whatever the heck they want. I know there are a few exceptions, but the portion is too small to matter. Even the ones I’m not mad at still play the games; they still just stick it to us any old way that helps them achieve their priorities, priorities that change with the political winds.

On the drive home, I heard some snippets on the radio and composed the following to my legislators. I’ll be surprised if I even get an acknowledgement.

First, I heard on the radio a Democratic congressman blaming everything on the Republicans. Can we stop the childish name calling and blame casting, please? There is plenty of blame to go round, and the problem is spending, not revenue. Focus on the problem and reducing it, not on some preferred band-aid.

I heard on the radio someone claiming “the voters” want higher taxes on oil. Well, no. No, I don’t think they do. I know I don’t.

I really don’t think anyone wants more taxes. Put a volunteer option on the tax forms, and see if anyone donates extra. (I doubt even the outspoken Democratic politicians will.)

Honestly, there are no such things as corporate taxes; there are no such things as taxes on oil. There are only costs to operations, to extraction, and to production. We voters pay for all that no matter what caused the cost. If the oil folks have more taxes, the costs simply go up, and our prices go up to cover it.

I find it disingenuous and deceitful to pretend the gross production tax is simply on the oil companies. No, it is simply on you and me, and we pay it with every tank-full and every heating bill.

I’m good with getting rid of specialty tax laws and exemptions. The leveler the field the better, but let’s be realistic about it. All state taxes come out of the pockets of every Oklahoma citizen, no matter how a given tax is assessed.

We need less spending. We need fewer state programs. We need consolidation in the things we spend on. Mostly, we need the budget reduced.

Figure it out. Do the hard work. Don’t just pass the buck on to me and the rest of Oklahoma’s tax payers and residents.

You can start by repealing the prohibitions. That will lower some budget requirements.

Here is a hard thing. “The only way to grow out of the state is to not treat it as an alien “other” but as a reflection of a violence-addicted culture.”

We, you and I, commit violence against others with our laws, with our regulations, with our prisons.

You and I have blood on our hands. Our lawmakers ensure it.

For every evil a state-enforced regulation alleviates, it perpetrates more, maybe many more, maybe many times worse. You and I are responsible.

When one causes suffering, that one is responsible. When our government, our state, our laws, our police cause suffering, we are all responsible. All of us have the blood on our hands.

“Don’t be evil,” the saying goes. What is evil? It is at least the causing of suffering unnecessarily. Do our prohibitions cause suffering? Yes. You know our drug laws, our prostitution laws, our petty prohibitions of this and that, our requirement of this or that, they all cause suffering. They all result in harming people and families in prisons and other obvious harms. Why continue?

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.” Thomas Jefferson, Philadelphia Dec. 23. 1791.

If we live to “protect,” how? How can we protect anyone older than about six years? We can only protect people by imposing on them. Coercion is evil. Coercion is always evil. Why commit evil to protect? There is one reasonable justification: when the evil prevented is obviously worse than the evil imposed by the coercion, when that evil prevented was clear, present, and imminent.

Coercion, imposition of law, needs to be stripped of its layers and accoutrements, especially the pretty ones. We pretend our laws are for the good, but what good? Strip the law down to its ultimate: Every law has you, ultimately, holding a gun to someone’s head and saying, “Comply or else!”

You scoff. You recoil. You would never do that. Heck,  you may even protest you own no gun, you may even claim you’ve never held a gun, but did you vote? Did you pay taxes? Don’t you sanction the police, at least when you need them? Did you cheer when the law passed? “No more texting and driving,” you cried in triumph. Yet, what of the young person who does so anyway, who is seen, caught red-handed, by an officer of the law? Who, when the siren sounds and the lights flash, refuses to submit? What then? High speed chase? Property damage, injury, loss of life? All because you insisted on assigning enforcement, the guys with the guns, to enforce your coercive, self-serving, even narcissistic and egotistical, will.

You! You supported that. You are responsible. There is blood on your hands.

We must change our ways. We must change our laws. We must abandon punishment in our civic culture. We all know what harm is. When there is a responsible party, intentional, negligent, or something similar, we understand justice. We understand the harm, the wrong, must be set right in some way. Punishing the responsible party is seldom warranted. Locking the person in a cage, how have we remained so evil so long?

When someone is harmed, we must find ways to set it right, ways that may involve substantial hardship for the responsible party. We can be reasonable, merciful, and still see justice done.

The old rule of eye-for-eye and life-for-life may need to be applied on rare occasions, but we normally have much more rational, even more effective, options.

Imposing harm willingly is the height of evil. Yet, we do it every day.

We harm those who violate our laws daily, and we harm those who love them or depend on them. We cause the harm, and we know it! That is the evil of our society, not supposed slights and unconscious bias.

Our laws need to focus on harm done and reparation. We must abandon punishment in most civil and criminal matters. We must figure out how to stop locking up all but our most dangerous fellow humans.

Here is another idea we must internalize, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

I am the monster. You are the monster. Our society, our laws, our enforcement, our systems! We are the monster! “There is none righteous, no not one!

Think, are you not frightened whenever you think of doing something out of the ordinary? Don’t you wonder if it is illegal, if someone might call the police, if the police just might show up for you? Oh, what evil we have wrought! We live in a society where the sensitive among us live in fear of the police, the state. Why?

When we impose regulation on children, on parents, on education, we are restricting, coercing, demanding what is not rightfully ours.

For many thousands of years, we have made do just fine with no imposition of regulations on parents. How can our hubris reach so high as to think this or that rule improves the human lot? Nemesis visits us already. Her reminders to return to humility, to minding our own business, are not usually extreme, but they will become so if we continue our imposing, coercive ways. It is simply the nature of existence. TANSTAAFL and “Mind own business.” That is the existence we have. It is what we should celebrate. We can only have the best when we all trust one another to the good, to be honest, to accomplish our own necessities. Our meddling only, almost always, increases suffering more than necessary.

I allow for the needs, for the necessities, because nothing is ever perfect, at least not in the existence we live.

I want less government, less law, less meddling, less imposition, less coercion. I’m not advocating for overthrow. No! What we have works pretty well. Let’s not blow it up. But, we can start restricting it. We can start repealing laws. We can start lowering budgets and eliminating programs. Such is the road to less harm and more general welfare.

There are no government programs that don’t cause harm. Get it? All government programs, all government action, causes harm. Government programs and actions harm some, some individuals. In many instances, the government action is causing more harm, more human suffering, than it alleviates, even when the best of intentions are legitimate and even when well supervised.

Government causes harm. It is inarguable. Freedom is better. Of course, there are those who will take advantage when opportunity arises, and that is why we need the sanctioned violence, the enforcement, the police, the guys with the guns. Yes, we need them. (We also need to be able to defend ourselves from them.)

However, we need less than we have.

Our needs our meager when it comes to government, yet we surfeit! Why?

Why is government excess the one excess we revel in. Is revelling in excess not sin, simply by definition! Of course, it is. Let us stop insisting on continuing this sin.

Less government, and let’s start with less laws.

 

 

 

I aver that Martin Luther King Jr. was a pretty good example of a husband and father, and it seems fitting on the day we honor him to note that for the most part, we’ve solved the problems for women of not having husbands.

That is, in most of our circumstances, we support single mothers. We don’t shun them. We typically work with them in personal and public ways.

For the most part, a single mother’s life is hard, but it is not life-threatening as it used to be.

Thus, we have many single mothers. That is, while there are still problems, the biggest problem, the problem that made women fear being a single mother, has been mitigated. While we have improved the lot of women, we have not improved the overall lot.

Fatherlessness, lack of a husband in the family, is a problem for society. It is a serious problem for children. Fatherlessness of families results in harm.

How do we fix that? I think it is obvious money and government programs cannot fix it.

How do we fix it?

I’m not going to explain any of my own history, but I identify fully, exactly, with Jordan Peterson. #jordanbpeterson @jordanbpeterson
Also with Lindsey Shepard.
My views don’t align well with any group I know of. I suspect Peterson would say the same of himself, except maybe for some of his fellow clinical psychiatrists.
 
If he happens to see this, I encourage him to stay strong and to focus on doing what is right. Stay faithful to your heart, your convictions, and the truth as best you can see it.
 
I stand pragmatically. I stand for all I know of history and science, and for realizing what can work, and what cannot.
 
Freedom is the only thing that can work.
 
Coercion is evil, always.
 
Stand for everyone, every group, every segment, no matter their differences, no matter their color, no matter their age, no matter their politics, no matter their religion, no matter their nationality, no matter their conformity. Stand for the individual! Stand for free exercise of conscience.
I support Peterson in his stand against using public education as indoctrination. https://youtu.be/s0EuQe6BOWo
I stand for the abolition of coercive, compulsory education laws.
There are many things that need fixed in education, including basic civility, respect, and freedom in all regards, but none of it matters while we officially coerce parents to force their children to conformity. Public education fails because its only true goal is to make conforming drones, compliant to the political will of the dominant faction.
We are free people, free individuals. It is fundamental. Everywhere freedom is suppressed, every time people resist, and resistance is not futile.
Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations

In response to a video I happened across on social media:

I stopped subjecting myself to religious zealots long ago. I especially guard myself from preachers who take scriptures out of context and twist facts to beguile and to spin their lies.

I would start by saying that overall taxation keeps increasing on the wealthiest, yet the wealthiest stay the most wealthy. I would also note that few of the wealthiest (or their kin) 100 years ago are still among the wealthiest, and those from 50 years ago haven’t fared much better.

Quoting from the video, “All the way to socialism.” Ooo…that sounds so scary. The commentator admits it is bad and impossible, but the commentator doesn’t bother making his suggestion, but he implies something less draconian than killing over one-third of our population should suffice. (Of course, ask the Venezuelans what percentage of them are starving to death. I used one-third because that is approximately how many Stalin alone accounted for under his regime.)

Anyway, whatever anyone might suggest, how? How shall we do it? How will any plan be implemented? Are you going to increase taxes? What else might you try? Regardless, how are you going to get it? How will you enforce it? How will you take my money and give it to the poor? BTW, I sure don’t feel rich, but I’ve run the numbers. It only takes $17 per hour, full time, with typical benefits to be in the top 1% of us humans.

Get it? $17 per hour puts you in the top 1% when we include Asia and Africa and the whole world.

If Uncle Bill wants to help, why only dispense a few million a year through some inefficient foundation that seems to mostly want to convert the children of our nation into automatons suited for his and Google’s salt mines? Why might hypocrite, Oracle-of-Omaha, prefer tax increases rather than simply giving away his billions directly? (No, he pretends to give away unimaginable sums while mostly bilking the taxpayers via various government incentives for his various schemes, not the least of which includes windmills.)

Cronyism is certainly harmful to all but the elite. The more connected, the more it pays off, and the more the rest of us are shorted.

Protect the rights of the little guy, and the little guy will do just fine. Tax anyone, from the richest to the poorest, and they simply spend more of their time trying to avoid the taxes.

Many pretend they don’t understand, but everyone acts personally with full knowledge that it just ain’t right to take what I earned and give it to someone else, or use it for some purpose I neither want nor assent to.

“How much more of what I earned do you need to take before you think it is fair?”

Again, how do you enforce any of it? You send the guys with the guns. You hold a gun to my head, and people die because of it. You make us all participate in the senseless slaughter. Will Rogers implied the US tax code made more criminals than anything else. He didn’t know the half of it.

One cannot cure an ill by force. Coercion is evil.

Referencing this FEE article:

https://fee.org/articles/do-schools-really-need-more-money/

Written by Kerry McDonald. Excellent article. Unassailable point. (And she has other good articles at the link.)

It isn’t the money that matters. It is the parents. The farther the parents in the school district are from median, the more exaggerated the ill effects of poverty or affluence. The best school districts tend to be associated with upper-middle class. The worst, well, you get the point. Money looks like it helps because having extra in the parents’ pockets looks like it helps, and having none in the parents’ pockets looks like it hurts, but control for the factors that affect the family, and I think you see that money isn’t the important part.

In short, real world examples, aggregates, and averages, the honest data, show that more money for the education systems and teachers just doesn’t help. The system is rotting, and money will not freshen rot and decay.

I do not support government tax programs to bolster “school choice.” I see no potential net gains and ever more expansive government overreach.

Honestly, where we need to target is freedom of education exactly the same as freedom of religion. Would to God our schools were in as sad shape as our churches.

Don’t miss my point. Our churches and houses of worship of all faiths are isolated from government aid or backing, and our religious institutions are often even persecuted by government, officials, or common people. Don’t pretend otherwise. You know of examples yourself of churches, synagogues, mosques, and other temples and religious organizations that have drawn the ire of someone or other, often with official backing. That is persecution, and you know good and well that no religious organizations get any government assistance, not even religious schools. (Okay, I bet you can find some extraordinary exceptions, but let’s consider the common, typical situation.) Religious organizations do quite well enough, and proliferate well enough, with no government backing and no legal coercion forcing individuals to support them. (Consider the counterpoint in the UK.) If you want education to do better, let it alone, just like religion.

If you want well-educated kids, do it yourself. If you choose to participate in public schools, it is harder, but still doable. Regardless, if you want well-educated kids, you must do it yourself, even if you try to shift some of the responsibility on the public.

The simple fact is that the overall trend in education will be more expense for less results until we rid our culture and legal systems of coercion and compulsion. We must repeal all truancy laws, or NOTHING will help. Give people freedom without changing anything else, and watch it start working. (Watch out for those who will be obsolesced by the changes and successes. They will fight to retain relevance, even when it obviously harms the children.)

Again, repeal all truancy laws and grant agency to families, or education will remain dismal. Believe me.

I posted the following to Facebook:

Did you know we are spending 250% more on K-12 public education now than we did in 1960? That is in inflation adjusted dollars. http://www.justfactsdaily.com/question-of-the-day/290652/

The problem isn’t money. Money honestly has very little to do with all of it. We could eliminate the federal budget for education and half the state budgets, and it would hurt, but test scores wouldn’t go down much. (Of course, a lot of that is because test scores are a very poor measure of education success.)

There is a fundamental problem with public education, and that is that coercion is evil. Forcing people to do anything, including what is good for them is evil. If you do it, you are an evil tyrant. At the root, Johnny doesn’t want to go to school simply because you hold a gun to his, no, you hold the gun to his momma’s head, and you tell him he has to go. Of course, you accuse me of being hyperbolic. No, I only slightly exaggerate the emotional aspect of the statement. Yes, you are forcing Johnny to go to school, and you are forcing his momma to make sure of it, and if momma fails, or Johnny refuses, you send the guys with the guns. You pretend no one will suffer, no one will get hurt, but you deceive yourself. The extreme can happen, and occasionally has happened. Overall, though, you see the results in ever spiralling costs, with ever flat test scores, and ever more clueless interviewees in the man-on-the-street gotcha reports. It is sad when people don’t know anything about the Constitution, but it is a sign of true cultural cancer, fatal consumption, when so many people can be asked about the fundamentals of Independence Day, and they can’t come up with anything, and they don’t even know that John Wilkes Booth wasn’t even remotely attached to it.

My favorite anecdote was Jay-walking, where Leno brought in two presumably bright young ladies from our own prestigious Tulsa University, and they couldn’t even ask sound questions in the on-street interviews. They didn’t even suppose Canada has a representative form of government; heck, they couldn’t even fathom Canada had any government. Yeah, our education systems from the youngest to the oldest are broke. One certainly can’t hurt it be trying to make it truly elective.

I’m all for school choice when that choice is not only where to go, but whether to go. Let freedom ring! Abolish all compulsory laws. Let momma decide. Grant her full agency.

We can keep the schools for now. We can keep the government funding for now. Just start by repealing the coercive compulsory laws.

Here in Oklahoma, I would like to see a full constitutional repeal of all truancy laws. Repeal truancy laws from our State Constitution and guarantee the right of every citizen to decide for himself, or each momma to decide for her children under the age of majority. Let freedom ring!

Let freedom ring!

Do we really need to outlaw plagiarism?

Does copying someone else’s work without attribution pose a threat so grave that we must send armed forces to stamp it out?

I think not.

It truly is important to think through every law. We must stop and say, if my grandmother was engaging in this prohibited action, do I think it worth pointing a loaded gun at her to try to make her stop, and is it justifiable to pull the trigger if she refuses compliance?

If we review our laws that way, I think we will repeal most of them.

First, an aside, am I justified in calling all law to be so scrutinized? I don’t think justification is involved. That is what we do. If we pass a law, we are threatening to send aggressive, armed forces, law-enforcement, to coerce compliance. When we write a parking citation, we are counting on most people to simply comply and pay the fine, rather than challenge the authority, because when the sheriff shows up, we don’t want to risk the fact that the deputy will probably eventually pull the trigger and put us down permanently because the law backs the enforcer.

It isn’t an academic question. It is what we do. We enforce all law, tax law, civil law, criminal law, and environmental regulations, by putting a loaded gun to the head of violators, held by enforcers willing to pull the trigger if ultimately needed to enforce compliance. It is what we do. We have institutionalized coercive violence and prettied it up such that we can pretend it is a tame beast, but it is not. It, all of it, the institution and the violence and all that pertains, is a fearsome, destructive monster, always ready to pounce whenever unleashed, even in the smallest of instances.

Again, we pretend it is not so harsh because we count on individuals to comply before violence ensues, before the guns come out, but ultimately, if the individual (or the group, or mob) determines to be noncompliant, the bullets will eventually fly. Coercion is evil, but most of the time it is easy to pretend otherwise.

Back to plagiarism: How do we know what anyone wrote before Anne?

Mostly, we know who wrote what, and who originated ideas, because of the honor system. For the most part, replicators of ideas or writings wanted to attribute the origin because of credibility. It was more for personal honor and reputation than for honor of the originator. There was limited commercial value before the printing press. And, since ideas mattered, the surest way to have your ideas gain purchase was to attribute properly, especially to persons who already held the respect of their peers, especially if fame extended to the masses. Attributing your idea to Einstein just might get it accepted even if Einstein never thought of it; just provide a plausible story to make the connection.

It seems at least partly that copyright originated to protect the publishers, not the authors. Monopolies were extended, and that can never be counted good, even if at times it might be argued necessary.

It seems copyrights and intellectual property rights are primarily intended to protect those earning profits from it, not the originator who is the actual rights holder. Copyright and intellectual right, together, are simple; if I wrote it, if I originated the idea, I hold property right to it. I really see a huge disconnect between that simple idea and implementation and enforcement. Freedom and free-market interplay will work better. We need simple protection of the property right, not the profiteering rights.

I think those calling for liberty in intellectual property are on the right track. We really don’t need the guys with the guns to enforce honorable action in ideas, speech, writing, free thought, and all the related spread and influence of information.

We can let freedom ring.

Let’s work for freedom.

Sure, TANSTAFL, but it sure seems everything works out better the more freedom, and everything works out worse for more regulation and centralization.

 

 

We need not fear which administration holds sway, either right or left or in between.

We have only cause to fear the ever-growing government itself.

I was quite impressed by Reggie Hamm’s articles (reblogged previously), and I was sharing Scott Adams’ ( @ScottAdamsSays #ScottAdams ) blog post on Facebook, and I wrote more than I expected. I’m reproducing it here, since Facebook is so hard to find anything on. Read the rest of this entry »

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