RJ's Corner

Texas GOP Declares: “No More Teaching of ‘Critical Thinking Skills’ in Texas Public Schools”

2016-02-06_10-50-13The Texas GOP’s declarative position against critical thinking in public schools, or any schools, for that matter, is now an official part of their political platform. …. (page 20, Republican Party of Texas, 2012).

Yes, challenging beliefs or claims is considered insubordinate, immoral and could lead to rebellion, disobedience or perhaps worse: revolution. For the Republican Party and their followers, thinking is subversive, imagination is a sin and the Republican Party in Texas and elsewhere is working to codify this into public policy. The plutocrats can’t have a working-class citizenry that is asking questions of those in power, be they parents or bosses; instead, the people must be taught the ideology of what is morally acceptable, what rules and regulations to follow. and even more importantly, how to accept and internalize hierarchical authoritarianism. Critical thinking is a direct challenge to the “leaders” and their claims on authority, and any opposition to vertical arrangements is ethically unacceptable to those in power.

Reactionaries have long known that enshrining ignorance and hierarchy in both thought and practice within the school curriculum is essential if the control of young minds is to be accomplished softly and quietly yet profoundly through propaganda and perception management. In the quarters of obedience training, “education” has nothing to do with “schooling” under capitalism.

SOURCE: Texas GOP Declares: “No More Teaching of ‘Critical Thinking Skills’ in Texas Public Schools”.

2016-01-18_09-18-02.pngIs our country about “obedience training” or critical thinking? That seems to be the question at hand at least for the Texas GOP. Should we have a subservient society or one that is educated to ask questions? Many of the leaders in Texas seems to think the former and like so many other things are trying to force that opinion on the rest of us!

If you haven’t figured it out by now I don’t hold Texas politics in much regard. There are just too many nuts that have come from their in recent years. Some became president and some want to get there now.  There is just too much swagger in Texas politics, and even Texas in general, for my liking.

Being a critical thinker I can’t even imagine a country whose citizens are discouraged from asking  questions. Critical thinking is what has made our country great and the lack of it will surely be our downfall. When we fall in line with whatever our leaders tell us we are on our way to becoming something other than the great democracy we have been. Stifling critical thinking is what allowed Hitler such a strangle hold on Germany for so many years. I regrettable think that it is possible for us to turn that way if the Texas GOP has there way! When critical thinking ceases then propaganda becomes “fact” and that is a scary thing!!!

In the near future I will be showing you more details about the critical thinking process in order to illustrate just how insane Texas politics is in this, and in fact most other areas of life.

 

Maybe This Is The Year That….

 

2016-02-05_07-10-56Democrats say Sanders would be an electoral disaster.

Asked by Maddow later in the debate if his nomination would lead to a landslide defeat like Barry Goldwater in 1964 or George McGovern in 1972, Sanders said his campaign would expand the electorate and not only carry him to the White House, but bring Democratic Senate and gubernatorial candidates along on his coattails.

SOURCE: Insiders: Bernie scored in debate with Wall Street slams.

It seems like everytime I turn around I hear one more Democrat saying “I agree with everything he says but just don’t think he can win a general election”.  But then again, given what is happening over on the Republican side, maybe this is the year for the anti-candidate.  Maybe this is finally the time when most of us say “somethings got to change  and the establishment candidates just don’t get that”. Maybe it is time for another revolution?

The problem is which revolution will dominate:

America is for the exceptional. If you are exceptional then the world is yours, if not then get out of the way and out of our pockets..

or

It is time that the average guy gets a his share of the pie. 

These seem to be the two ideologies fighting for America right now. It is as simple as will the rich get richer on the backs of the labor of others?

Maybe it is finally time for the pitch forks at the castle. Maybe it is time that one of these doctrines wins out?  Maybe it is time to finally cast off the current establishment mentality that has gone no where in the the 21st century?

Revolutions are scary things… but maybe it is time?

Let Me See If I Got This Right?

2016-01-06_08-13-16.pngLaVoy Finicum says the Feds won’t take him alive

One of the armed protesters occupying a federal wildlife refuge in rural Oregon said he would rather die defending the building than be arrested by the FBI.

Source: Oregon Occupier Warns FBI He’d Take Death Over Jail | TIME

I guess that not all the nuts in the country are running for president. Some of them are waving the flag and the constitution in the name of getting “free” stuff and saying they will die rather than pay for it.

Ok, maybe that is a little harsh, lets look at it a little more.  The major conflict of these guys known as the “Oregon Occupiers” is grazing rights. They all have ranches/farms  close to federal land and think they should be able to use that land for their own purposes. They get upset when the federal government says they have to pay rent on it via grazing fees.

How much is the rent? -I’m not sure if I got all this straight but it appears that people using government land to feed their cattle pay about $1.50 per cow a month. That comes to about $18 a year. If the rancher is not fortunate enough to be close to federal land he would have to pay  about $1/day. That’s about 20 times more than grazing fees.

How is this rent money used? – About half of it goes to the States to compensate them for not being able to get property taxes from that land. The other half goes to the costs of managing the land and to preserve additional land for public ownership.

All this doesn’t seem very evil to me and it certainly is not worth dying for. It doesn’t sound like it is the big bad feds putting it to the little guy. To me it kind of sounds like these guys are getting a deep discount for their cattle business but they want it free instead! I’m sure the vast majority, if not all, of these guys are ultra-conservatives who rail against all those free-loaders who are living off welfare checks but are they really any different in wanting free stuff?

As of this writing, and I hope into the future, the FBI and other law enforcement branches are choosing to just ignore these nuts who are ranting in the northern wilderness about their constitutional rights but actual history shows they are on the wrong side of this issue. I suspect they will prosecute some of them for the laws they are breaking, especially when they do so at the point of a gun. But that will come later.

As soon as the press leave I suspect even the guy who claims he will fight to the death for free stuff will leave. Let’s end this post with another group of armed insurrectionist occupying federal buildings..

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Right-Wing Populism…

2015-12-28_09-18-30.pngAll of them agree on three points: First, that Trump’s campaign is a populist reaction to the economic decline of the white working class. Second, that Trump is exploiting the anger sparked by this decline for his own purposes. Third, that a more conscientious response would involve the Republican Party proposing a series of policies to address the interests and anxieties of these angry white working-class voters.

via Can right-wing populism be stopped?.

To me the underlying words in the report above are the Anxieties of these angry white working class voters.  The establishment GOP just has no answers for them.

To me this struggle is not populism but instead just outright fear and extreme anxiety. A populist is a person who supports the rights and powers of the common people in their struggles with the privileged elite. That is not what is going on here. Like most in the GOP they don’t have much animosity towards the rich who they deem the job creators. No, it is really about fear and loss of status…

  • They see their income and buying power drop year after year while the GOP establishment whom they have clung to in the past tells them the answer is to give more tax breaks to the “jobs producing 1%”
  • They see their voting power being decreased almost daily by those invading their country while the GOP establishment seems to have no idea how to prevent that from happening.
  • They savagely cling to the idea that they are the majority, if only the “silent majority”. They cannot bear to even consider that they will not have command of  everything in our daily lives as they have in the past.
  • At the root of it they feel threatened at every stand in this country to the point of extreme anxiety.

How much of the GOP electorate is in this group?  That’s hard to figure but at least it is a substantial minority (oh no, that ugly word again). There is no rational way to make all of these threats go away so they cling to a very irrational candidate for president as their only representative.  I don’t think they really expect him to win but they see him as the only one who feels as they do. This is a guy with $4 billion in the bank so I don’t think he sees anything like they do except maybe admiration for himself.

I don’t really feel an anger toward this group of anxious angry white working-class voters so much as I feel sorry for them.  They just can’t imagine anything positive in the country anymore.  Everything is going to hell as far as they are concerned. They just can’t appreciate someone besides them getting a break once in a while, even in the healthcare area.

I  pray that somehow these angry and anxious folks manage to step back and see they are on a very destructive path similar to what much of Germany experienced in the 1930s. They need to chill out, accept if not embrace change.  We will always have the half-full glass folks but these folk don’t even see a glass.  How sad is that???

Nowadays Representatives Pick Their Voters..

It used to be that the voters would pick their representatives; but nowadays the representatives pick their voters. As we saw in Florida, some districts are drawn with purely partisan motivations so that if a candidate wins the primary they essentially win the seat. Florida is not an isolated case and there are districts around the country that are so irrationally drawn (just look at this image of IL-4) that it would be comical if it didn’t have such dire consequences….

The common thread among all of these obstacles is that they were enacted by the major parties to keep themselves in power and maintain the status quo. The truth is, none of this will change until we rise up and show the powers that be that we are sick of the partisan games and we demand leaders that work outside the wishes of the party bosses. You can help build this movement by sharing this information with your network and encouraging your friends to become members. Together we can bring some sanity back to Washington.

Source: 3 Ways The Parties Have Diminished Your Power at the Ballot Box – IVN.us

I long ago said “enough is enough”. When are we going to take back our government  from the major political parties of today? Gerrymandering is one of those things that should never have been able to happen in the first place. Its sole purpose it to insure that one political party has dominance over another. It strikes against everything that our representative democracy stands for. But how do we affect the change necessary to prevent absurd things like gerrymandering from happening?

We used to turn to the Supreme Court to remedy these types of issues but since that court has for the last couple of decades now been as partisan as our political parties that seems to be no longer a viable solution.  Where do we turn. The only answer is to drive those responsible for such practices out of politics. What will that take?

I can see on the horizon the time when we so-called “independents” take control for our electoral processes. Where being a member of a political party is a hindrance rather than a necessity as it has been up till now.  When our country was formed two centuries ago the idea of opposing political parties was not even considered.  The founders saw the people voting for the common good rather than partisan ideology. Yeah, I admit that the political parties came into being pretty quickly to stain the institution.

Independents as shown in the graph below now make up about 42%of the total voters in this country and are on a pretty steep rising slope.  The GOP is dropping like a rock while Democrat are doing no better than hanging on to their numbers. Will there come a day when political parties are seen as “old school”? I certainly hope so.  We need to get back to the idea, if we ever had it in the first place, that we should do what is good for the country not what is good for a political party.

I am a dreamer aren’t I????

2015-12-08_10-24-44.png

The Narcissist and His Supporters

2015-11-28_07-33-43So what does that say about those who support Donald Trump? For one mental health professional, the Trump “enigma” may arise from the fact that some Americans believe that Trump is some sort of bellwether, that a man whose own website refers to him as the “the very definition of the American success story, continually setting the standards of excellence” has an appeal to a certain mindset.

“For me, the compelling question is the psychological state of his supporters. They are unable or unwilling to make a connection between the challenges faced by any president and the knowledge and behavior of Donald Trump. In a democracy, that is disastrous.”

SOURCE:  Clinical Psychologists Diagnose Donald Trump — And It Isn’t Pretty [Especially For His Supporters].

We are about a month away from the first votes of this primary season and I hope this insanity within the Republican party finally stops. Let’s face it, the wingnuts in that party are just  plain nuts!  The sooner we can get rid of Trump, Carson, and Cruz the sooner we can get down to electing a president eleven months from now. Do the mainstream Republicans think the hate and spite of these three guys is presidential?? By their silence they seem to acknowledge that opinion….

Will saner minds eventually take back control of the GOP or will the nuts continue to rule the nut house? For the sake of my country I certainly hope there are still some Republicans with some degree of sanity. I think it will eventually be up to us independents to show them they are so off track to even warrant our attention in the coming elections.

We independents are the only sanity in today’s political process and we also make up the biggest segment of the voting population. So we “should” be able to rescue the GOP from themselves….  :)

Which Came First??

2015-11-14_08-20-08

“Which came first, the chicken or the egg??” has been the question of the day for as long as I remember. But I have a different version now. Which came first a ranting populace or radical right radio?? Lets look at that question some in this post.

I know that Rush Limbaugh has been around a long time now.  He has made millions of bucks ranting about almost everything. I also know that there is a faction within our population who simply adore him and listen to him constantly. He is without a doubt their hero.  He has been so popular that now there are look-a-likes everywhere you turn.

I also know that ranting in the comments section of most Internet new sites has been viral for quite some time. Are all these ranters simply screaming what Limbaugh taught them are is Limbaugh listening to them for his rants? That is the question.  But sadly we seem to be approaching a tipping point of these folks.

It seems that if the nation is to survive we progressives are going to have to save it. (oh I can hear the ranters scream with this one!!!)  It is going to be up to us to put some sanity back into our political processes. The GOP is simply getting way too out of hand to save themselves let alone our country.

I must admit I never gave President Reagan much credit for anything good that happened in the 1980s. He just seemed to be a B-class actor reading the script that people (read Rumsfeld and Chaney) put in front of him. But now I realize that he was much more of a forward thinker than I ever imagined. Little did I realize that when he went about about shutting down all the mental healthcare facilities in this country  he was actually  using those cast out to fill the base of the GOP in the 21st century.  Go figure…. :)

 

 

Trump Supporters…

2015-11-28_07-33-43Donald Trump, as many people on the left and even some on the right agree, is undoubtedly and intentionally making controversial remarks on cultural, racial and religious issues.

 

But what’s emerged as the more complicated question is whether Trump’s supporters agree with all of his remarks. Are at least some of Trump’s backers, as many liberals argue, racist or intolerant? In interviews, Trump supporters often say they like the mogul’s blunt approach, that he “tells it like it is,” without always detailing what “it is” that Trump is explaining so clearly.

Source:  What Trump Supporters Think About Race and Religion – NBC News.

This short quote above got me to thinking. Why is Trump intentionally making very controversial remarks? He even mocks handicapped people!  How many of his supporters agree with that I wonder.  I have a handicap and I get mocked on occasion supposedly behind my back. I know how that feels when someone puts the totality of you into your handicap. Are there people who support that?

But actually I am getting off the purpose of this post so let’s get back to the underlying thing.  I’m pretty sure Trump is running for president just to get the attention.  He, like someone else I intimately knew, does whatever he can to draw attention to himself. I think he is kind of surprised at the crowd that gathers around him and is actually trying to disqualify himself from the office he supposedly seeks by his ranting. He just keeps going further and further from anything resembling compassion in order to finally be able to get back to his normal life with a small number of “yes” people around him.

It just seems that the more outrageous he get the louder his base approves. That sadly says something very provoking about a segment of the GOP. I know the Democrats have their wingnuts too but it seems the quantity in the GOP utterly obscures them.

So, here I am waiting for the next insulting comments to come from Mr. Trump’s lips. Papa Bush’s lips caused him to lose re-election because he had the audacity to raise taxes on the wealthy.  I, and I suspect Trump, wonder what will take to get him out of this thing he is playing with.  I guess that answer resides with the GOP base. Is there anyone he can yet insult that will make them abandon him?

Taking Personal Responsibility…

2015-11-13_09-22-23In my mind taking personal responsibility is a big part of the bedrock of what makes the U.S. a success story among the nations of the world. We encourage, some would even demand, that each of us take personal responsibility for our well being and especially for our future needs. The graphic to the right pretty well sums up the benefits and obstacles associated with personal responsibility. It starts with self control and eventually peaks with wisdom. Self control means that we make the choices necessary to provide the desired outcomes. All of us need to take personal responsibility for our actions and lives and to suffer the consequences when we don’t.

The Republicans among us are very adamant, maybe even paranoid, about personal responsibility.  They just don’t 2015-11-13_09-24-42seem to want any of our citizens to get something that they haven’t earned through personal responsibility.

  • why do most from the GOP establishment seem to encourage other nations shirk their responsibilities when it comes to defending their lands and their way of life?
  • Why do we let them insist that we, the U.S., must do almost everything in this area for them?
  • Why aren’t we letting others beyond our shores take personal responsibility?
  • Why are so many in the GOP  so against giving aid to our poorest citizens but at the same time eager to run in and taking over all the responsibility for almost all regional conflicts in the world?

Whenever there is a problem in the world, particularly the kind involving aggression, we seem to rush in telling everyone else “don’t worry we will take care of it for you”.

When it comes down to it isn’t ISIS just a group of Muslims who radically differ with the majority of that religion on how Islam is to be practiced. If I understand it right ISIS wants their version of the faith to be everything in its believers’ lives. They want every aspect of life, including government, to be controlled by their religious dogma much like it is in Iran. Wouldn’t you think that this is something that others in that religious group should be taking personal responsibility for? Why should the U.S. send our young people and spend so much of our tax dollars to do it for them? Isn’t that allowing Muslims to shirk their responsibility of controlling those within their own group?

Even the Middle East in general seems to always be one religious group battling another. Look at Iraq, or at least what there is left of it after our invasion. It seems every bomb that goes off and every killing that occurs is one religious belief fighting another.  It is Sunnis against Shiites against Kurds.  I kind of suspect that if Israel were not in the middle of all this stuff and the target of much of the anger in that part of the world, we would not be so interested in spending American human and monetary capital on the other side of the world.

I don’t know the answer to all this stuff that we keep getting ourselves into but I do know that insisting that others take personal responsibility for their circumstances is a big part of the solution.

About Those Refugees…

2015-11-21_07-34-12I don’t know which GOP rally the picture to the right was from but I know it was from one of them. This guy is seen to represent the supposed base of the GOP. (Why do all those guys holding signs like this one look the same?) They seem to be deathly afraid of someone, anyone, getting something they don’t deserve.  In that regard they just seem to hate the refugees almost as much as ISIS. When I say “supposed base” it is not without an underlying feeling. Outside of Fox News I don’t see much of the phobia happening. I, and especially the media, have been using the term “GOP base” for almost everything that is wrong with this country.  I kind of get the feeling that like the term “Evangelical voters” the “GOP base” has been hijacked by the extreme elements of our society. Those who just hate everything, especially anything to do with change.  I suspect, or at least I hope, that the  majority of those who wear the GOP label are compassionate people who recognize and even empathize with those fleeing war on that side of the world. But what saddens me is that no one in that majority seems to want to speak up for their side of conservatism. Without  at least some opposition the radicals own the word “base”.

Stepping back and looking at it from a wider perspective Syria which is the de-facto home base for ISIS is a unique problem for the world  I can certainly see why so many are reluctant to get involved there. It is complicated to be against both sides of a civil war. Neither the Assad government nor those fighting against it are to be trusted. They both have political agendas that are out of sync with moral values of a major part of the world.

How can you take a stand when neither side of a conflict supports a valid answer? Some are talking about a “No Fly” zone but that kind of losses meaning when ISIS has no airplanes. If we just renamed that concept to a “sanctuary zone” maybe it would fly (pun intended). It would be a place for all the refugees to go to get away from war.  If this sanctuary zone were implemented by the U.S. it would not have strength that it would have if the United Nations, or at least a broad coalition of countries in the area were to do it . Why do we have to go to the other side of the world to solve problems that are totally solvable by local factions?

Another problem with U.S. involvement in Syria is that we as a citizenry are just exhausted with the wars pushed on us for 14 years now. We have spent thousands of our young people’s lives in conflicts which seem to have no viable solutions. Why would Syria be any different? We have already spent $4 trillion on wars this short century with no way to pay for them.  How can we keep doing it and not go bankrupt in the process? We simply can’t keep stripping away layers of our national safety net and put it into our war machines…. that is simply NO solution…

 

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