Monthly Archives: July 2010

I THINK … Elmwood Park, Illinois is taking a page from the Communist manifesto.

Sometimes the largely unnoticed issues are the most telling. Take the recent events in the middle American Chicago suburb of Elmwood Park (where my parents lived out the last years of their lives).

As a preface, you need to recall how public criticism of the old Soviet and pre-Nixon China was treated. Expressions of displeasure with the government would result in arrest or commitment to mental institutions. Anyone speaking out against the “wise leaders” — even for the most modest of reasons – was punished as a malcontent, a nut or a criminal.

Now consider this.

An Elmwood Park city council committee chairman, Stephen Hipskind, recently ejected Darlene Heslop because she “rolled her eyes” in as a sign of disgust over the hiring of a $30,000 lobbyist. Ponder this for a moment … getting kicked out of a public meeting for a disparaging facial expression.

Such enforced “respect’ is opposed to everything America is about. We are a nation that protests our leaders, when we disagree. We yell out pejoratives, and scream out opposition. This is the American way. This is what personal freedom is about. This is what the First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees.

But wait! There is more.

Elmwood Park’s city attorney has been directed draft an ordinance to make it illegal to “disrupt” a government meeting with non verbal facial expressions or body language. Will this include frowning, shaking your head in a negative gesture, looking shocked, glaring, folding your arms across your chest or maybe just falling asleep? Where is the borderline of disrespectful or contemptible appearance? You can only imagine what would become of people who boo, hiss or groan. On the other hand, you can bet that clapping, cheers and attaboys would not be considered disruptive. I am not sure even the old Communists in Moscow and Beijing ever went that far.

This is just another example of how our populist republic is slowly evolving into elitist statism.

Disclaimer: The photo is for illustration purposes and not from the Elmwood Park meeting.

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I THINK … I think a minor overreaction by a person should not cause a major overreaction by government.

Francis Hajosy (pictured left) is a 54-year-old high school teacher in Stafford, Connecticut. He threatened an unruly female student with taking her over his knee for an old fashion spanking for refusing to take her feet of the desk and sit properly. She raised the ante by taking a can of spray glue and defiantly shooting it to the air. When he grabbed her, she starting kicking at him. There was a bit of a scuffle, but Hajosy apparently managed to get her over his knee at least long enough to apply three or four slaps on her butt.

I think we could all agree that his handling of the situation was a bit extreme … things escalated. Minimally, he needed to be sent to the principal’s office, as they say. Assuming that this was an exceptional situation in an otherwise exemplary teaching career, I see this as something to be handled by school administrators, with apologies and punishment all around.

There are still a lot of well educated people alive today who can remember corporal punishment as a routine part of school discipline – especially in the Catholic school system I attended. The criminalization of academic corporal punishment and the decline of quality education are pretty much similar chronological charts. I am not sure that this is an unrelated coincidence. Lack of classroom discipline is a major factor in failed educational systems. However, I will leave that argument for others.

Instead of some administrative discipline, Hajosy was arrested and charged with second-degree breach of the peace (whatever in Hell that is) and fourth-degree sexual assault. A judge issued a protective order against Hajosy. He was suspended from his job indefinitely. Out on $5000 bond, he faces years in jail and a life of a registered sex offender – not to mention thousands of dollars in legal fees from criminal charges and a possible civil suit. Right or wrong, win or lose, this case can screw up his life for years to come.

Frankly, I don’t see sexual motivation in his actions. This is just another example of the neo-puritanical component of political correctness that runs in conflict with the flagrantly liberalized sexual mores of our times. Without further evidence, his motivation seemed to be punishment, and his flaw was an anger that blew away his common sense and good judgment at the moment. Happens to us all, at times.

I know all the anal retentive, politically correct libs are going to be outraged over my opinion on this matter. They will produce a litany of “what ifs.” They will wax on about some imaginary psychological scar that will doom this young lady to a life of therapy. They will elevate her humiliation to the level of trauma when, in fact, punishment and humiliation are Siamese twins. You cannot have one without the other. The strident left-wing feminists will call Hajosy’s actions a form of rape (which is a cruel disservice to anyone who really has been raped), and declare both Hajosy and me as insensitive male pigs.

Let me stress, I am not endorsing his actions, but think the punishment should fit the crime – or in my opinion the non-crime, in this case.

What we really have here is another small example of an overreaching government. Every problem in our lawyer-ruled society must be handled by the lawyer-run legislative, juridical or enforcement communities. I wonder if we will close the loop with a civil suit filed by parents against Hajosy, the school, the local board of education and whoever else some opportunistic attorney wishes to put on the list — and on behalf of parents who are more motivated by money than justice.

With a sex component, Hajosy may well be placed into some government sex counseling program – which is intended to bring his thinking around to what he most likely already knows and embraces. These thought adjustment programs scare me. While seeming innocent enough at first glance, they smack of the thought control agencies depicted in futuristic sci-fi movies and novels and, for real, in the old Cold War Communist regimes in Russia and China.

When we are not allowed to settle difference between ourselves, or with minimal civic involvement, we are succumbing, inch by inch, to the oppression of a police state. One of the common retorts of yore was, “don’t make a federal case out of it.” In other words, don’t make it more than it is. Today, we seem to see government involvement as the first and only option.

As a parent, what would I do if this had happened to my daughter? First, I would want to know what behavior on her part caused the confrontation in the first place. I would want to know why she was unruly, disobedient and disruptive. I would talk to Hajosy and the principal in private to have them explain the behavior. I would demand an apology, BUT without absolving my daughter’s culpability.

In other words, I would have both Hajosy and my daughter sitting in the corner with the proverbial dunce cap. My fear is that Hajosy will be made a perverted criminal, and the girl’s bad behavior is not dealt with. I can almost see the smug look on her face. That would not be a good outcome for anyone.

I THINK … California should serves as a BAD example.

I did not mind that we followed California’s lead into elements of the sexual revolution. I did not mind following the casual dress code for business. I was okay with the pseudo healthy life style. I was not okay with avocados and pineapple slices on what they call “pizza,” however. But, that is off my point.

More specifically, I wonder how far the rest of America will follow California’s go-for-broke financial schemes. In some cases, I guess pretty far. Here in Illinois we embrace it completely – which explains why we are heading into financial ruin, ourselves.

Because the tax raising Democrats and the cost cutting Republicans in the state legislature cannot agree, California is not only without any money, they still cannot produce the obligatory state budget to distribute the money they do not have.

The failure to create the budget has lead Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to order all state employees, except union members, to be paid only at the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The State Comtroller refused to obey the Governor. The Governor went to court. The legal battle rages atop the legislative fight.

There is no doubt that Schwarzenegger’s will create a hardship for thousands of employees, and, if prolonged, could result in repo’d cars, house foreclosures and mounting bills. Consequently there is a lot of anger being directed at Governor Steroids. But, he is not the culprit. The anger should be cast at the Democrats, at all levels of state and municipal government, who spent California into bankruptcy.

They have followed the Keynesian, socialist economic model for years. Maybe that is even unfair to Kenyes and the socialist. Maybe it is merely the Democrats nature to buy political support with taxpayer money without much consideration to economic theories or realities.

Keep in mind the budgetary deadlock in California is between the tax-increase Democrats and the cost-cutting Republicans – and this is mirrored all over America, especially in Washington, D.C. Even before we fight over cutting taxes, which is exactly what we need to do to get the economy growing, we need to resolve the money debate of the moment. Do we increases taxes (or borrow even more of our children’s future) to cover and continue the spending frenzy, or do we place a moratorium on increased government spending and figure out how to cut it in real dollars.

Remember, the Democrats will never stop spending, taxing and borrowing. It is there nature. They are a political party that depends on people being dependent on them.

While I feel sorry for those who will suffer if the $7.25 wage is imposed, it is sadly true that California has earned its economic punishment. Rather than follow the California example, we should be running from it. Personally, I prefer the Indiana example – maybe more about that another time.

I THINK … we need to resurrect our historic concept of treason.

It is reported in Politics Daily that Wikileaks has released to publications all over the world more than 90,000 top secret documents relating to the military and diplomatic situation in Afghanistan — and this is not the first time.

The sole purpose of the leak is to undermine our war effort … pure and simple. It will embolden our enemies, weaken our allies and cost the lives of untold numbers of military and intelligence personnel. Perhaps we cannot yet put an exact number on the latter, but additional loss of life is inevitable.

The White House, through National Security Advisor James Jones, strongly condemned the action and complained that Wikileaks did not contact them first.

Condemn the action? This is what you get from liberal governance … words. I can only imagine what our reaction would be if Ronald Reagan were President at this time.

We are in war, and giving out military secrets is treason. It is about time we enforce the laws against treason without sympathy. The First Amendment rights and the tradition of a free press do not entitle individuals or organizations to release and publish secret documents. There are no nuances.

Unless President Obama enforces the treason laws and brings to swift justice all those who now flaunt them, he will again prove that his left wing global philosophy trumps the traditions and laws of the United States of America, and the Constitution which he has sworn to uphold.

When you couple this with his refusal to secure our southern border for political purposes and his willingness to enter into international pacts detrimental to the power and wealth of the United States, it is no wonder that a significant percentage of the public consider him the first un-American President.

I THINK … it’s time to lay the blame for America’s poor quality urban education where it belongs – on the education industry, the unions and the polit

I have been a consultant to the Chicago and Detroit Boards of Education during brief times of reform. I have even traveled to Lithuania to consult on the then new, post-Community school system. I was the founder of the first school choice coalition in Illinois, etc. etc.

I say this just to establish that I know something about American education. The situation is not so complicated. Our public schools are failing … ah … have failed … because of politics. This is not accident. In most major cities, tens of thousands of blossoming minds are trampled down for political and financial gain.

Kids are kept prisoners in substandard schools with inferior education because they are the currency that provides the education unions with members, money and political power. The political value of each kid can be calculated through wages, dues and pension funds.

Why has so much money produced so little good? If you think the “good” is the education of our young people, you are wrong. No wonder you are confused. For most urban school systems, the “good” is the money for the teachers, the unions, the suppliers, the contractors, the support services … and oh yeah … the politicians. As long as these folks are rich, fat and happy, the education machine is running properly – to hell with the kids.

There is no good reason that we cannot give our kids the best education in the world. It is done all the time. It is done in the Catholic Schools. It is done in private schools. It is done charter schools. It is even done in hundreds, maybe thousands, of suburban and rural public school systems.

The big urban school systems do not fail because they cannot teach kids, or because kids come from poor families and single-parent homes. They do not fail because of classroom size. They do not fail because of drugs. They do not fail for lack of money. They fail because the politician and the union officials want them to fail.

How can I say something so outrageous? All you have to do is look at the many examples of quality education, and you know that the failure of the urban government run schools is no accident, no inevitable fate, and no force major. It is the simply the unholy trade off for money and power that dooms the children of the cities.

You want proof that inner city kids can be educated. There are many examples – way back when Marva Collins ran Chicago’s Westside Prep in the heart of the ghetto (and you can download the resulting Hollywood movie).

Maybe it is not a movie yet, but check out Chicago’s Urban Prep Academy. The Class of 2010 will be sending 100% of the graduates to four-year colleges. That’s right. The entire senior class is going to college.

Urban Prep is not some fancy school in an upscale neighborhood that accepts a few promising inner city kids out of noblis oblige. This is a totally minority school in the heart of Chicago’s black ghetto. The kids now graduating were previously on the path of joblessness, gang membership and menial jobs or crime.

The point is … if there is a sincere effort to educate kids, we can do it. If we do not do it, it is because we don’t want to – or, I should say, they don’t want to.

It’s time we stop giving the urban school industry the benefit of the doubt. They are in the business of destroying the kids’ education for political and financial gain. Until that ends, no amount of money will fix the problem – maybe make it worse.

I THINK … GOP National Chairman Michael Steele should resign.

I was all in favor of Michael Steele becoming the head of the Republican National Committee. In fact, I made a number of calls in support of his candidacy. I could think of nothing better than a conservative African American to be one of the key voices in opposition to President Barack Obama’s far left agenda.

I got what I asked for, but I did not think to ask that the person be intelligent and skilled.

Steele has a history of foot-in-mouth statements, but none can compare to his remarks about the Afghan War made to a crowd of donors. Maybe he thought the insider session was off the record, but even that does not excuse the ineptitude of his remarks. Basically, he said the Afghan War was started by Obama, and that it is unwinnable.

His facts are so provably wrong that it is impossible to understand how he could not know better. Is he that ill-informed … or does he think he can heap blame on Obama with his own version of the facts? Does he think his audience is that stupid?

In addition to his case based on ignorance or malicious misinformation, Steele also joined the extreme left wing in suggesting we should pull out immediately – the consequences be damned. If there is any unifying issue in America these days, it is the broad belief that we must win in Afghanistan. Only the crazies think America can walk away – and apparently Michael Steele.

The GOP has a good and important message to convey to the American people in this election year. It should not be diminished or demeaned by the foolish and counterproductive rhetoric of those who prattle.

As National Chairman, Steel possesses one of the most important Republican megaphones. Despite his next day public apology and position reversal, it is time for him to pass that amplifier to someone with the knowledge and skills to convincingly articulate the GOP message. Political insider stuff aside, I would give the job to Newt Gingrich. Far and away, he is the best spokesperson the GOP has. In any event, Michael Steele needs to go — sooner than later.

I THINK … Mayor Daley should be made to to write the Second Amendment on a blackboard 100 times, so he gets it.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is again showing that the “Chicago Way” is his way only. He will not be dissuaded from the imposition of his edicts by the law, the Supreme Court, the will of the people, American traditions, the U.S. Constitution or common sense.

Following the rejection of the Chicago gun ban on Constitutional grounds, Daley has forced the passage of a series of Draconian regulations that effectively make gun ownership in Chicago a meaningless right. In all probability, most of the new law will be stricken again by the Supreme Court, but only after years of meandering through lower court decisions.

In what can only be described as a fit of civic petulance worthy of any despot, Daley will cause Chicago to endure years of uncertainty, and millions of dollars in legal fees – which the Mayor will gladly dole out to his lawyer friends. In fact, this law is just another form of creative patronage.

It is also another example of Daley’s willingness to add more needless costs on the already reeling city. It should not go without notice that Hizzoner does not mind spending lavishly in pursuit of his personal agenda, even as funding for critical services is evaporating.

And to the central issue, what has all his gun control efforts accomplished? The gang bangers and the crooks remain immune to the Mayor’s laws, killing hundreds of his constituents each year. Virtually ever week some teenager is gunned down by “accident” – the victim of misidentification or a stray round.

In the name of public safety, Daley disarms the innocent for the benefit of the criminals. Perhaps crime control should have priority over gun control. Just maybe, with an armed public, we would have more dead crooks than vulnerable victims.

If a man breaks into a home to rape a woman, and she blows him to his eternal judgment, it seems to me society is the beneficiary. At least it takes some pressure of the judicial docket. I am all for making crime a high risk business.

The Mayor creates criminals out of people who are not – and in the process he sends the innocent to jail while those who commit real crimes roam the streets.

Of course, this makes no difference to the rubber stamp Chicago City Council, which passed his hand scribbled ordinance without so much as a public hearing. In a move a unfathomable hypocrisy, the good alderpersons of Chicago continue to exempt themselves from Daley’s gun restrictions. As part of the government elite, their safety is paramount – and how could Daley get their votes if he did not accede to the worthiness of their exception.

Maybe there was time that the experiment in gun control was warranted as an untested theory. But, after the generational failure of feel good gun laws, Daley loses the benefit of the doubt. He is just wrong in this.

I THINK … there is no economic recovery with Obama-nomics.

It appears that the “recovery” recently proffered by President Obama and his Democrat cohorts is now falling into relapse — at least that is the latest report from the economic wunderkind. We should not be surprised.

First: There has been no recovery. Oh sure, the stock market had some gains, foreclosures abated a bit and the rate of new joblessness started to level off. Don’t those things suggest recovery? Nope!

First of all, the stock market tends to respond to corporate profitability. Profits go up. Stocks go up. The reason, however, is not good. Corporate America’s bottom line starting looking better because of cost cutting, not increased sales – and cost cutting was largely in the workforce. That is why the stock market rose and unemployment did not go down.

Second: The Obama stimulus package was largely a waste of money. It was more like a pain killer that makes the pain lessen until it wears off. Now that the stimulus money passed through the financial system, the same old economic headache has returned. This is what happens when we treat only the symptoms and ignore the disease.

Finally: Obama did very little to fix the real problems. His attempts to have the government produce growth by financing work projects is a loser. Never worked, and never will. Remember, every time Obama says the federal money will create spending, and therefore jobs, he does not want you to understand that he took away the money, through taxes, from people who would have spent it, themselves.

His age-old scheme simply redistributes wealth from those who oppose him to those who support him. Obama is using the economic downturn as cover to impost his big government agenda on the United States. He is operating more like a looter who uses a disaster as a cover for his actions. It may be good Machiavellian politics, but certainly not good economics.

You might counter by noting that a lot of the money being spent by Obama is not from taxes, but from borrowing or simply printing more money. Borrowing only insures that we will have a much larger financial crisis in the future. He is literally stealing out children’s and grandchildren’s … and by this time maybe eve our great grandchildren’s … money. This means a lower standard of living for future generations. This is not only bad economics, but immoral.

Printing money is another short term solution that will bring hyper inflation to a nation that will be, by then, reeling on the brink of economic chaos. They call it “stagflation.” Keep in mind that inflation can feel good because wages go up. This is not economic growth, as Obama and the Keynesians would have you believe. When you go to spend your wages at the store, you will find that your “buying power” will be no better, or even worse, as prices soar.

Government spending is often compared to a narcotic, since there is a certain short term good feeling followed by an inevitable crash – and people and institution do get “hooked” on government money.

Brace yourself for a rocky economic ride for the foreseeable future. For real relief, we should be looking at 2014 – two years after we toss out Obama and the Democrat leadership. If we do not, the long term outlook is grim.

I THINK … the post office is like any government agency.

Every now and then, when a person is inclined to think government can do something … anything … right, you are gifted with reality – sometimes with the most modest of examples.

Not long ago I received a letter from the United States Post Office. They explained that they were returning the contents of an envelope that they could neither deliver to the “unknown” addressee nor return it without opening the envelope. They returned my enclosed check and the accompanying brief note – finding my name printed on the check and apparently doing some sort of search to secure my address. I mean, if the Post Office cannot find your address, who can?

On the surface, it seems like pretty good service. However, you may change your mind when you learn that the check was made out to and mailed to … Ready for this? … the United States Post Office. That’s right. Apparently, they could not find their own address.

Sort of reminds me about the time I tried to call the phone store, only discover that they had an unlisted number.

Obama is no socialist

I THINK … President Obama is not a socialist.

So, stop calling him one! He is not!

He is a fascist, and about that, I am not kidding.

First you must remember that he and his cadre are products of the Illinois (nee Chicago) Machine, the “banana republic” of American politics. It is that same form of government that produced Franco Spain, Mussolini Italy, Hitler Germany and the old dictatorships of South and Central America, Illinois. Yes, Chicago is a classic dictatorship – a fascist dictatorship.

For more than two generations, we feared and loathed Communist socialism, forgetting about the fascism we crushed in Europe in World War II. Our “eternal vigilance” has been so focused on the failed, frail and fading extreme socialism that we hardly recognize the threat of fascism.

Knowing the basic distinction between the two is critical to understanding why we are not sufficiently alarmed by what is happening in Washington. Socialism means the government taking over all aspects of civic life. In socialistic society, the government owns and operates everything. Except for the most minimal human interaction, there is no private sector, no personal property, and no inalienable individual rights that trump the pseudo rights of the collective as determined by an elite minority.

Like socialism, fascism is an authoritarian and elitist doctrine (again I refer you to Chicago), but with one great difference – maybe more in appearance than reality, but significant nonetheless. In fascism, the private sector succumbs to the power of the central government, but does not lose its technical private status. The great businesses become quasi governmental entities. The business leaders become less entrepreneurs and more like bureaucrats.

We can see this in the creation of Fannie May and Freddie Mac – two “banks” that are as much public sector a private. With the passage of the so-called financial reform legislation, the small banks are put to virtually fatal competitive disadvantage, while the big banks morph into Fannie and Freddie-type institutions. The Healthcare legislations is nothing less than a “great leap forward” for government run medicine.

The co-opting of General Motors is yet another example. Unlike a loan or the bailout that was given to Chrysler a generation ago, GM comes under the management control of the federal government. Through the use of unelected “czars” and bureaucrat overlords, GM is effectively being owned and operated by the central government. Obama even talks about hiring and firing officers. Car dealerships are now doled out by liberal congressmen to friends and contributors.

There is movement toward bringing other industries under “regulatory control,” such as energy and agriculture. Among the more ominous proposals is the “bailing out” of the old media companies, such as the New York Times and the Chicago tribune. Combined with efforts to force pro government viewpoints onto the media by edict, the independence of our “free” press is significantly imperiled. You should be thinking Pravda here.

One of the reasons we are blind to fascism is that it appears to align with free market conservatism – which is totally inaccurate. When bailing out (co-opting) Wall Street, it appears that the Obama administration is siding with a conservative business community – the private sector. This is the dangerous myth. Any true conservative abhors the neo-fascists business leaders as much as anyone.

For those who take the time to notice, the current crop of business leaders are not free market zealots, but fellow travelers of the “big brother” types who now control our federal government. They are buying into the unholy partnership. Their chief mission is personal wealth, power and glory – with little regard for America’s entrepreneurial tradition and dying spirit. In short, the fanged wolf of fascism is better able to hide beneath the lamb skin of capitalism. Socialism has no disguise.

Despite their pro-big government bias, the independent trade unions will be big losers. Already, the gigantic public sector unions, such as _______ and _______, are turning into the 500 pound gorillas. The United Auto Workers are already co-opted by the GM take over. Trade unionism will survive, but only as a government agency of sorts — like those in China.

As President Lincoln once feared, we are a nation divided. The anxiety and conflict we see at the grassroots is due to the fact that we have reached the fulcrum between the dominance of individual free-market capitalism that gave America its strength and the highest standard of living in the world and fascism’s road to an oppressive central government and the eventual decline and fall of the American democracy, as we know it.

Under Obama, and the Chicago Way, we are most certainly moving swiftly toward a stronger and more dominant federal government. No sane person can auger against that. This path leads inevitably to authoritarianism. Socialism and fascism cannot prevail in a society were power is truly derived from, and exercized by, the masses.

The American fate is sealed unless this country has the strength and the understanding to not only slow down the intrusion of the federal government into all aspects of our daily lives, but to commence a rollback that will restore the powers of the several states and the municipal governments. It is there where the people have their strongest influence, and there where matters of education, welfare, police protection, etc. can be most responsively and economically managed.

If we continue to be suckered into thinking that all matters of our daily lives must be addressed by the distant federal government, we are witnessing the last days of “the great American experiment in democracy.”