Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Opposing Sides Clash in Cairo

Three are dead, over three hundred are injured, and thirty-two have been arrested, in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Cairo's sides have been drawn and the two sides are fighting each other, in ways that bring fears of civil war.

Morsi supporters cry out, "Defending Morsi is defending Islam."

While his opponents shout, "Down with the dictator."

So far they've stuck to sticks, rocks, bottles, and gas bombs, but it seems only a matter of time til blades and guns show up.

Muslim Brotherhood offices in several Egyptian towns were burned to the ground, as the entire country joins in the fray.

Aurora Cinemark Theater to Reopen

Cinemark has announced that the former Century 16 theaters, in Aurora, Colorado will reopen.

The theater became infamous on July 20, when a mass shooting took place there, killing thirteen, during a midnight showing of Batman: The Dark Knight Rises.

Remodeling began in mid October, after Cinemark announced it would be turned into a Cinemark XD theater.

XD theaters host an "extreme digital" experience, with ceiling to floor screens.

The renovations cost over a million dollars.

Victims of the shooting and families will be allowed to tour the new theater January 15-16, 2013.

Then on the 17th a grand opening will occur, for invited guests only.

To honor the city of Aurora, Cinemark has announced that all movies between January 18-20 will be free.

5 Killed in Iranian Earthquake

A 5.5 earthquake struck eastern Iran, Wednesday evening.

Five people were killed and another twenty injured.

It struck near Zohan in South Khorasan province.

According to state TV, at least twelve villages saw damage from the quake.

Iran regularly deals with the earth shaking.

In August, more than three hundred people were killed by two quakes in the northwestern part of the country.

2003 saw a single quake kill around twenty thousand.

3 Dead, 8 Missing After Ships Collide in North Sea

A freighter carrying cars sank Wednesday in the North Sea.

The Baltic Ace went down off the coasts of Belgium and the Netherlands.

Three of the crew are dead, eight are missing, and thirteen were rescued.

She collided with another ship, the Corvus J, along one of the busiest shipping lanes in the North Sea.

The Corvus J was badly damaged, but not in danger of sinking.

Her crew, of twelve, has stayed aboard to affect repairs.

Bopha Death Toll Nears 300

Typhoon Bopha continues to cross the Philippines, leaving 283 people dead, in it's wake.

Most of them were killed in flash floods.

Another three hundred are missing, and nearly two hundred thousand people have fled the area.

It has calmed down to winds below one hundred miles per hour.

The entire south of the nation is shut down as the country bears out the storm.

Moving west at about seventeen miles per hour the nearly four hundred mile wide storm is expected to leave the Philippines by Friday.

From The Mouth of Matuszak: Houston You Have a Problem Named Sheila

Houston's Elected Moonbat, "The Queen" of Gaffes.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle have provided us with gaffes worthy of cringes and guffaws.

However, those done by representatives from the left seem to provide some of the ones that leave us wondering if they ever paid attention in school. Then there are some so bad that we wonder if their teachers paid any attention in school.

A prime example is the "Queen of Stupid", Sheila Jackson-Lee, the representative from Houston, Texas.

"I am a queen and demand to be treated like a queen," she once said. Well, Sheila, if you are a queen, you may want to return to your country. There is no nobility here in the US.

A geography genius, Sheila believes that Vietnam is just like Korea and the Dakotas with a North and a South. I guess she failed to pay attention when she was in her twenties and the war was in the news on a near daily basis. "Today, we have two Vietnams, side by side, North and South, exchanging and working. We may not agree with all that North Vietnam is doing, but they are living in peace. I would look for a better human rights record for North Vietnam, but they are living side by side."

When Obama ended manned missions for NASA and killed the shuttle program, Sheila stated, "Many of us in Congress have been calling on the Administration to articulate a bold mission for NASA. It seems that the President is answering that call. I wholeheartedly support his vision for going back to the moon, and from there to worlds beyond." When the latest probe landed on Mars, she asked if it was going to take a picture of the flag left up there. Then, upon hearing of Neil Armstrong's passing, she congratulated him on being the first person to walk on Mars. The last I checked, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface (that's the Moon, not Mars) on July 20, 1969. I do not recall a manned landing on Mars in my lifetime. Then again, maybe she was revealing top secret information to the public yet again.  

In open an session televised on CSPAN, Sheila outed an undercover CIA agent. This demonstrates that she cares less about national security. 

Sheila's latest flare up of foot in mouth disease aggravated by rectal cranial inversion syndrome concerns the looming "fiscal cliff". Sheila advocates going back to the good ol' days of the "Clinton rates and spending". However, she failed to do her math and figure out the difference between Obama's proposals and what the House under the leadership of Newt Gingrich pushed into action. Then she stated that there was a budget surplus of $5,600,000,000,000 in 2000-2001. She evidently failed basic arithmetic as well as geography, history, and civics. FY2000's surplus was $237 billion. FY2001's was $127 billion. That adds up to $364 billion, less than 1/10th of Sheila's claim. 

How does she keep getting re-elected? There are several hypotheses.

Hypothesis 1: Voter fraud. Her supporters and key campaign personnel want somebody dumber than a ventriloquist's doll to be their puppet. So they have the dead vote. They have supporters from outside the district vote. They vote twice. 

Hypothesis 2: Her constituents purposely want somebody dumber than them to represent them. Perhaps they think that such a representative would be easier to control in order to garner better representation. However, that backfires. She doesn't represent them. She represents whatever the party tells her to represent. What is worse, is that she opens her mouth and constantly reveals that she doesn't know anything about the subjects she is supposed to represent either on. 

Hypothesis 3: Her constituents are even more stupid than she is. That should be scary. Texas is one of the top states in education. If this is the product, we are all doomed. Perhaps they think that putting her in office will magically change history. Perhaps they believe she can magically cast a vote and change the rules of mathematics. 

Hypothesis 4: is an amalgamation of all of the previous three. Half of her constituents want an idiot they can control to represent them. The other half are too stupid to know she is a complete idiot. Their numbers aren't enough to tip an election in Texas. So they have their dead relatives and illegals with faked and stolen IDs vote for Sheila. 

Despite the fact that her votes do affect the outcomes of legislation, Sheila does provide hours of laughter. Many comedians work hard to "play stupid". Here we have comic relief in one who isn't playing.

 The full article and commentary are available at P-G Matuszak's Mental Aikido, all rights reserved. This excerpt reprinted with permission. 

From the Mouth of Matuszak: The AARP Isn't Right

AARP, We rip you off for $16 a year to lobby the Federal Government to steal even more from you. Join Today, Lose Today, Lose More Tomorrow!

A couple of days ago, the American Association of Retired Persons sent me a little packet. I'd wonder what they were thinking, but it is clearly evident that they were not.

It seems they wanted me to buy some tote bag for sixteen dollars. the bag came with a one year membership to their organization. Somehow their senile dementia must have kicked in because they claimed that I am eligible for membership.

Before I get into why I would never join this socialist collective, let's take a look at the more than obvious problems with this packet. They claimed that I am eligible. According to their own site and eligibility rules, I am not. They have a minimum age requirement of fifty. I am nowhere near close to my fiftieth birthday. While I am retired from active military service, I am not fully retired. I call myself "retired" because I receive my hard earned pension check from my military service. In addition, I refer to myself as "retired" because, for various reasons, I have "gone Galt". Those reasons are mostly private and personal and were decided after hours of discussion with my wife. Yes, there is a political reason, as well. It is not the primary reason, though it is on the list.

Whoever the marketing genius that decided I was a good candidate for recruitment was, he needs to go back to school.

The socialist support for senile seniors AARP offers membership benefits of insurance. Their site enumerates all sorts of insurance from health to auto. I guess they never heard of military retiree benefits that their organization cannot come close to matching. Even without those benefits, the USAA has services that the AARP cannot come close to matching for the money. I won't even bring up the fact that I more support HSAs to health insurance. I didn't see anything about HSAs on their site.

They also claim they can assist with lowering travel costs. They may want to look into how military retirees qualify for Space-A travel on MAC flights.

They also advertise their community services. I guess they failed to consider other organizations such as the VFW, The American Legion, and State Level VA offices. I have yet to see an AARP clubhouse or post. I have shaken hands with multiple Veterans' Service Officers from local VFW and American Legion posts. Not a single AARP community service volunteer has come to me and offered to help, regardless of my membership status.

Now I will address their claim for advocacy. They claim they will give me a voice in government if I join.

I vote. In fact, this year I was able to vote without using an absentee ballot. It was the first year I was confident my vote was tallied. That is my voice. I don't need some group of silver haired socialists telling me what is best for me. I can vote. I can also write. I write letters to my representatives quite often. I have submitted editorials, op-eds, and letters to editors, some of which have been published. In addition, I write for a living. I also have a phone (another benefit they claim membership to the AARP will provide, sorry, I already have one). I call those representatives. I have a voice. I speak to people and to groups. Sorry, I am not a feeble person who cannot think or speak for myself. The AARP does not provide any form of advocacy or voice for me that I either don't already have or cannot provide for myself.

When the time comes, I may consider joining AMAC or Generation America. I will not join the AARP, ever. Yes, Virginia, there are better alternatives to the AARP.

Now come the less obvious problems. Those problems start with that "advocacy". They claim they will speak for me and my concerns. No they won't. They have supported every candidate that is against the US Constitution and against everything I supported and defended during my twenty-four year long military career. If they stand against the things I hold most sacred, how will they provide me a voice?

They have opposed reforms that would make socialist insecurity a workable and viable option. The money a working person pays into the fund is supposed to be theirs. The fact is that the AARP and the socialists in government don't see it that way. If those same funds were put into individual accounts and privatized, the value and payouts come retirement age would be higher. The proof is in Galveston County, Texas where they did exactly that. Instead, the AARP supports maintaining a bankrupt and unconstitutional system that makes social security an additional income tax while working and a means of making retired people dependent upon the whims of the federal government. That is anything but liberty or the pursuit of happiness that Thomas Jefferson referred to in the Declaration of Independence. It does anything but "secure the blessings of liberty". It, as well as Medicare, promote slavery and dependency instead  of "promoting the general welfare". The AARP stands for a system that steals from Peter to pay Paul, after it takes its cut.

The AARP pushes its health insurance benefits. However, they also advocate the PPACA. The real irony here is that the PPACA creates a fifteen member panel that will decide if a sick retired person really needs that surgery or that blood pressure medication, or if  it is better to just drug them with pain killers until they die. Granny is seventy-five and needs a bypass. The fifteen member panel decides it is cheaper to give Granny aspirin and Percocet and let her die of a heart attack within the next six months. Why? Well, Granny is close enough to the average expected lifespan, despite the fact the bypass would allow her to live to be 85-90. Wait, if she lived that long, she would receive (maybe) Social Security and Medicare. Let's cut the costs of the fifteen years of those benefits with aspirin, Percocet, and the "natural causes" of that heart attack.

The AARP also advocates raising taxes on working Americans, especially on those households earning and AGI of over $150k a year. That is not all. They also advocate raising taxes on pensioners who earned pensions over $150k a year. So, they wish to undercut fellow retirees who were smart enough and successful enough to earn those higher pensions. The AARP also advocates increasing taxes on IRA payouts. Some IRAs are tax-deferred. Others are not, but have reduced capital gains taxes on the back-side. The AARP wants tax increases on both ends. This also includes 401K and Roth 401K retirement accounts. So, they don't really want to see future retirees benefiting from the fruits of their individual labors. No, they advocate stealing from those individuals, now.

The AARP is a scam. They charge you sixteen dollars a year for a tote bag and permission to tell you what you think. They charge you sixteen dollars a year to steal from you and advocate destroying our republic. They charge you sixteen dollars a year so they can advocate taxing people for health care in order to pay for abortions and other elective surgeries. They charge you sixteen dollars a year so your church can be forced to pay your children to not have your grandchildren. They charge you sixteen dollars a year to advocate taking away your rights as grandparents and your kids' rights as parents.

To the incompetent marketing AARP employee who thought I was one of his key demographics for recruitment, perhaps you should have dedicated just one tenth of the time researching your demographic as I have looking into the scam of an organization that employs you. You would have saved yourself some embarrassment. Keep on the lookout for that package you sent. I did return the application with some choice words. I also included those temporary membership cards. They sort of fell into our MC14MX Micro Cut Paper Shredder. I hope you like confetti.

 Article originally appears at P-G Matuszak's Mental Aikido reprinted with permission.

From The Mouth of Matusak: Ready To Leap Off The Fiscal Cliff

Obama proposed a plan to avoid the "fiscal cliff" that left many GOP congressmen rolling in laughter. It proposed a possible increase in revenues by renewing the tax cuts for middle income earners while not just allowing those on the "top two percent" to expire, but raising income and capital gains taxes on them.

Anybody who has at least a cursory familiarization of the Laffer Curve knows why. Those proposals will lead to higher wage earners to further exploit loopholes, credits, and exemptions. They will also reduce production and employment, further shrinking the tax base. That would reduce the misconstrued increase in potential revenue to a much smaller amount, causing a greater deficit and further increasing the national debt.

The GOP has finally given its counter-proposal. It is an alternate, revised version of the Simpson-Bowles plan. It involves closing loopholes and exemptions without raising overall tax rates. it is designed to increase the base and allow for recovery and growth, which will lead to greater overall revenues. The initial estimated projected increase in revenue is much lower than Obama's plan. However, it does provide for conditions leading to greater GDP growth rather than shrinking it.

It's bartering.

Obama proposed the most extreme plan he thought feasible, though it is actually ridiculous.

The GOP countered. The counter should be their plan that is almost as extreme the other direction. The problem is that it isn't. It is a compromise at about the extent they could reasonably compromise. From this plan, there is nowhere for them to go other than more conservative. Obama will never go that direction. In essence, the GOP tipped its hand. Negotiations are over.

More than likely this will go one of two ways. If the GOP congressmen stick to their guns, we'll stay in a stalemate. Nothing will get passed. We'll go over the cliff. It is along the lines of the budget, which hasn't existed in nearly four years.

The other way is that the GOP will cave on a perceived compromise that will deny the country what it needs while giving Obama and the socialists some of what they want. The result will be we will go over the cliff, just at a steeper point from a higher elevation.

Obama wants us to go over the cliff. It's part of his plan. He is already campaigning against the GOP and building the foundation of the false argument that it is all the fault of conservatism and capitalism. he even proposed doing nothing until at least August.

Our current situation and the pending cliff dive is Obama and the socialist dominated Senate's fault. When the socialists controlled both houses of congress, they set the stage with the PPACA, increased subsidy spending, the "stimulus", and other failed fiscal policies and legislation. However, he'll blame it on either the GOP's unwillingness to compromise or he will blame it on having to make those (non-existent) concessions.

The reason this is such a win win for Obama is that his false rhetoric will set the stage for the useful idiots to accept it when he further oversteps his authority. He will claim that since the GOP has gotten in the way and congress is ineffective, that he will have to step in and do what has to be done without them. His past rhetoric has even admitted that this is his plan.

The only way the GOP can counter this is to start advertising. Obama is still campaigning instead of governing. He hasn't stopped since 2007. He isn't trying to win an election to president or a re-election. He is trying to win permission to publicly burn the US Constitution and establish himself as supreme dictator and dissolve this republic.

For those who wouldn't see the historic precedents of Hitler, Julius Caesar, and Saddam Hussein, look at Star Wars Episodes 2 and 3.Obama is Palpatine. He has a plan, a design to take over and make it appear as though he is the good guy and it is your idea that he do so.

The advertising the GOP needs to do is to reveal the truth. Educate people in the Laffer Curve. Tell people the facts. Be prepared to blanket the news media with paid for PSAs that squarely put the blame where it belongs, on the backs of Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Frank, Feinstein, Hank Johnson, Maxine Waters, Sheila "Neil Armstrong walked on Mars" Jackson-Lee, and Ditzy-Debbie Wasserman-Shultz. Going on the new programs and talk shows isn't enough. They need to do what Obama is doing, and do it more, harder, and faster.

Let's go over that cliff and use it as a means to reveal Obama's real intent, to fundamentally destroy our Republic.

 Article originally appears at P-G Matuszak's Mental Aikido reprinted with permission.

A Cost Benefit Analysis of Education

The financial costs of education are increasing faster than ever. Over the past several years, the costs of schooling have jumped exponentially. This is not just in colleges but also in elementary, middle, junior high, and high schools.

A huge portion of the increase is the involvement of the federal government. The scary part about this is that the federal government really has no business in education. While many of our founding fathers and the framers of the US Constitution were in favor of a public education system, they were opposed to federal involvement in that system. The fact that Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution doesn't explicitly grant congress the power to run schools is the most obvious evidence of that fact.

The current public school system was, in reality, the brain child of industrialists and career politicians. It was not designed to do anything more than make sure that kids were educated well enough to work in factories. They had to be able to read safety manuals, maintenance manuals, and the like. They had to do basic math in order to figure out how to measure raw materials in order to process them. That's one reason why shop classes were part of the basic curriculum for so long. "College Prep" was a curriculum designed for the top percentage, sort of what you'd call an honors or "AP" program these days.

Today, the schools attempt to maintain that same mission while trying to claim that all students are being prepared for college. It means that the system is fighting itself. Caught in the middle are the students who believe that a C+ average means they are entitled to at least an associate's degree.

So, upon high school graduation, we now have a record number of kids headed off to college.

A better educated society is a good thing. To a great degree, personal accomplishment hinges upon it. If the person doesn't get a formal education and a degree, they need to read, research, and study on their own. Education is the foundation to success, be it formal or non-traditional.

However, who should pay for it?

It is an individual responsibility to educate one's self once you graduate from high school, and reach adulthood. It is your life. You are free to decide what you wish to do with it. However, you are responsible for doing it yourself. That includes paying for it.

College is expensive. It gets more expensive semester by semester, it seems. Unless your parents started saving five years before you were born and you worked twenty hours a week from the time you were fourteen (saving every penny for college), the chances are that you cannot afford to pay for it. That leaves very few options.

Option one -- join the military and earn the GI Bill. That will help. It does not cover all the costs. You'll still end up working a part time job or taking out a loan or two.

Option two -- scholarships. However, unless you are in that tenth of a percent that is athletically gifted, the chances are that the scholarship(s) won't cover all the tuition and fees. You will have to work and/or get a loan or two (or four). Some scholastic scholarships out there, though rare, go far enough to cover all of your costs, etc. However, they usually include some form of internship during your summers at the company who is paying for it. Like joining the Army, you will also have some form of time commitment to the company once you graduate.

Option three -- borrow, borrow, and borrow more. This is the option that has helped create the mess we currently have.

Option four -- get a skilled-labor license or certificate. They are cheaper than a degree. Then get a job in that field. We need welders, plumbers, electricians, and mechanics. Work your butt off. Continue to save up. In five to ten years, go back and parley that into an engineering degree. (Just one example). Just don't waste your money on cars that are beyond your means, renting a huge house (or buying one that you cannot afford), impressing girls, clubbing, drugs, the newest gadgets, movies, eating out, data plans on smart phones, etc. Meet your basic needs and save the rest. Eventually, you will have enough, hopefully.

Many student loans used to be "guaranteed" by the government, be it state or federal. That meant that you would apply for a loan at your local bank. Among the paperwork would be a request for the government to co-sign the loan. This was good for the bank. If the student defaulted on the loan, the government would pay off the majority of the loan (not all of it, and not the interest, just the principle). Then the student would be taken to court and the government would sue to be reimbursed. The government would get its money, too. It would garnish wages and withhold tax returns. However, if the student were actively seeking a degree and making a C+ average, all payments would be deferred until a certain time after graduation. That time was designed to give the graduate time to gain employment.

In 2009, the socialists held the majority in both houses of congress as well as the executive branch. So, they decided to try to "save" some money under the alleged intent of also alleviating the burden to former students who would have to pay back those loans. So, they passed a law that was highly lauded by first Senator then President Obama. The idea was to allow students to borrow directly from the US Government instead of private lending institutions.

At first glance, the idea looks good on paper. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that direct loans would "save" the federal government $87 Billion over the course of ten years (an average of $5.8 Billion a year FY10-FY19). This savings would, on paper, come from not having to pay off the defaulted loans as well as reduced court costs in attempting to recoup the principle. Also, the government would then reap the benefits of the interest, directly, instead of getting just its share from taxing the lending institutions.

Second and third order effects were ignored in the initial analysis. First, with the government backing the loans and making them more available, schools were now swamped with more students. So the schools increased their cadre, increased their number of administrators, and raised their tuition rates to cover all of these new expenses (and to make profit, since that is what businesses operate to accomplish). Many of the schools also saw the opportunity to increase revenues by lowering admissions standards.

Adding to the cost burdens upon all schools, elementary through graduate programs, is labor costs. Not only do the colleges now require more professors and a ridiculous increased percentage of administrators, but the teachers and administrators are demanding higher pay and benefits to go along with the jobs. Most college professor jobs were not created as full time positions. However, many of them are working full time hours. They want just compensation for their work. Those that are considered full-time positions also demand higher pay and better benefits. This leads to ever increasing overhead and labor costs for the schools.

The analysis did a poor job of calculating drop out rates. With more students now attending, you had a higher percentage of those who couldn't make the grades or those who decided the academic life wasn't for them. Now you have students who did not complete their degrees and do not qualify for those big paying jobs they planned on getting. So, they have jobs that require lower skills than a BS in engineering, that pay less, and they owe for their attempt.

While the bill allowed for direct loans, it also couldn't violate the US Constitution and make secured student loans illegal, or outlaw unsecured loans. So, there were still borrowers that sought out the loans from private institutions. When borrowers failed to pay, the banks took legal actions.

You also had students who honestly believed in Pegasus and unicorns. They sought degrees in things that interested them, but had no market value. A degree in "gender studies" is not conducive to a mid-level position at a marketing firm. You are lucky if it can garner you a position as an assistant department manager at Sears. The bottom line is that no degree guarantees a job. Some degrees are more marketable than others. A degree that is less marketable most likely means that there will be no job paying that $35k a year starting that these entry level basket weavers honestly believed were waiting for them. So, they are working for eleven dollars an hour, paying off student loans, paying for gasoline, and trying to eat. The loans aren't being paid back.

Go back to that ever increasing average tuition rate. That means the principles on the loans are much higher today than they were just five years ago. Together, the math adds up to much more money the government doled out that is not being replaced. Increasing or decreasing the interest rates won't affect the fact that the principle is still too much. The interest rate could be 0%, and these graduates and drop outs still couldn't afford the payments.

In 2013, we will have the first batch of four year graduates that went to college entirely on the direct loan program. the burden on taxpayers will skyrocket by January 2014 when many of them, more than ever before, reach the six month mark and cannot make their first repayments. In fact, the CBO has already indicated that its initial projections of "savings" were about $33 Billion too high, and the "savings" may be closer to $47 Billion. If you are checking my math, that $7 Billion remaining difference is the estimated cost, to the federal government, of administrating the program, which the initial analysis overlooked.

When the analysis is calculated for FY14, it should not surprise anybody to suddenly find that $47 Billion to be adjusted down, again, quite possibly into a negative savings (otherwise known as an increased cost to tax-payers). Reducing the interest rates or forgiving interest on many of these loans, as Obama has proposed many times during his most recent campaign, will further decrease that "savings".

This is why the  loan programs should have stayed in the private sector. In the private sector, the lending institutions still can say "no" to a high risk loan. The lending institutions have more flexibility to negotiate repayment programs and interest forgiveness (in order to recoup just the principle and not lose money). For the federal government to do so literally takes an act of congress.

So, just like with the housing market and the flexible rate mortgages that congress, under the great leadership of Barney Frank, mandated with Fannie Mae, etc., you know have Sallie Mae and direct Federal Student Loans. As with the housing market, there will be a crash. Colleges will face bankruptcy. So will the graduates who cannot afford to pay back even 70% of their loans (which has already been proposed as a solution to the "education bubble"). This will just make our already lethargic and bleeding economy even worse.

 Article originally appears at P-G Matuszak's Mental Aikido reprinted with permission.

From The Mouth of Matuszak: Better Parents Not More Teachers

Among the many discussions on governance is the one that most likely spurns some of the more emotional investment, Education.

Higher education students, most of which are voting age, worry about paying their tuition, acquiring employment, and paying back their student loans. They also worry about having the federal government force people to pay for part of their educations. If you doubt that, go to a more left-leaning college campus and ask the students if they feel that more tax money should go to paying for their education.

However, you get to a more local level, and education can spurn even more heated debate. The reason is that there is still a certain amount of the old 10th Amendment lingering that makes public school education mostly (just barely) a primarily state and local issue.

Among the largest argument you hear from local and state politicians, on both sides of the aisle, are calls for education spending. After all, "It's For The Kids". Nobody will disagree that educating our children is important.

Many, primarily on the left, argue for a need for more teachers. They will argue that they need a smaller teacher to student ratio so that our kids get more direct attention. They will argue that class sizes are larger and more teachers are needed to keep class sizes at levels they were ten years ago.

Next they argue that teachers aren't paid enough. In the 1970s, this may have been the case. Today, in San Antonio, Texas, your average entry level teacher starts with a pay, pension, and benefits package worth over $70k. The average public school teacher in San Antonio makes about $70k a year, not counting those benefits.

Add that information together and the writing on the wall is clear. The unions, who lobby and line socialist politicians' pockets, want those nice, high salaries. They want increased employment of teachers. Why? The combination of those means more money to the union administrators, and more money to put into socialist politicians' campaign coffers. They do this so they can repeat the cycle with larger gains the next go around.

Also, do a little digging into how their pension funds are managed. Usually, it is managed by the union. the union usually also controls their health care benefits. So, they garner even more for managing those. As a capitalist, I can appreciate the desire for profit. However, as a true capitalist, I also shudder at the Ponzi schemes and unethical business practices involved, especially since, in most states, teachers must join the unions in order to work. That is not capitalism. It is a monopoly that supports instilling a tyrannic oligarchy.

Those pensions, by the way, are responsible to a ridiculous percentage of public debt at the local and state levels. Most union teachers in most localities do not pay a red cent into their pensions. Tax-payers pay for all of it. They have no personal stake in their own retirement futures. They believe that we owe them. In addition, once they have tenure, it is almost impossible to fire them for incompetence. Some have even been found guilty of crimes ranging from fraud to sexual assault, yet still manage to receive pension checks larger than a twenty-five year military retiree.  

Good teachers deserve just compensation for their labor. If the market value for their labor equates to that amount, good for them. 

But there are those precious not as few as there should be poor teachers. There are those who do not teach. They preach. They indoctrinate. They lie to students. They do as little as possible. Then they cry that the policies and the materials are to blame. Do not even dare to counter their diatribes with the fact the Abraham Lincoln was largely home schooled, and he went on to pass the Bar exam (and later, become a US President). Do not remind them that Tim Tebow was home schooled. Do not confront them with the fact that home schooled students, who have fewer resources available than public school students, and less funding per capita for those students, somehow seem to out perform public school graduates in college.

Then you have schools and teachers who seek to get your students accustomed to tyranny. In some schools in San Antonio, Texas, students are forced to walk through the halls employing "Hallway Hands". "Hallway hands" will look very familiar to cage kickers and prison inmates. ("Cage kicker" is a euphemism for a prison guard). For those who spent time in the military, "hallway hands" is walking while simultaneously at the position of "parade rest". In short, the students must walk with their hands interlocked behind their backs as though they are cuffed. Yes, students are treated as though they are prisoners. Prisoners violated the law are were incarcerated as part of their punishments. They deserve the restriction of certain rights since they sought, through their crimes, to deprive others of their natural rights. However, these kids in public schools did no such thing. No, this "hallway hands" is just a power ploy meant to indoctrinate the students into being good little slaves to their government masters.

In Northside Independent School District, San Antonio, Texas, you have socialist indoctrinators school administrators and teachers "tagging" the students as though they are cattle. They do this so they know where the students are at all times, and to justify their daily share of tax money at a rate of about three dollars a day per student. it isn't about student safety. it isn't about better education or services to the students or their parents. It is about justifying stealing more money from the tax-payers regardless of how well they perform their jobs.

This morning, I read an article in the Daily Caller.  A second grade comprachico in Irvine, Texas thought she would teach her victims students about merit. Teaching merit and earning is important. It builds responsibility and accountability. However, a seven year old should not have to earn the right to use a rest room. Some seven year old children are still developing their renal and urological systems. In addition, forcing children to "hold it" can lead to health problems. It can cause kidney and bladder damage. It can cause damage to the prostate. It can lead to urinary tract infections. It can cause erectile dysfunction to manifest later in life. In short, it is medically unsafe to force them to "hold it", especially for hours.

In a warm state such as Texas (even worse, in more arid states such as Arizona), kids require more hydration. Proper hydration should lead to kids having to "go number one" about once an hour, and have it relatively clear. In addition, poor hydration can lead to heat injuries. It can lead to poor neurological function as synapses lack the fluid necessary to reset. That means slowed learning as well as slowed reactions. So, the kids need to be getting enough water. Along with getting that adequate water intake comes a necessity for frequent (about once an hour) trips to the rest room. 

Examples such as these, and others I reported on in the past, demonstrate one need when it comes to education. We do not need more teachers and administrators. We need better quality control of those we, the tax payers, currently employ. We have teachers in Arizona who cannot pass a language competency exam at a sixth grade level, yet are responsible for teaching our kids basic spelling and grammar skills. Fire them for incompetence. We have teachers telling our kids lies about recycling and global warming. They do not tell the kids that these things are still in high debate in the scientific community with loads of data on both sides of the argument. The actual answer is "we do not know". But they lie and tell the kids otherwise. Fire them for lying. We have teachers telling kids that it is wrong to practice their religion in public and they should be ashamed to do so. As government employees, they violate the First Amendment when they do so. Fire them. They teach that the US Constitution is a "guideline" instead of being the supreme law of the land. Fire them.

Teachers are not supposed to be surrogate parents. Do not be so lazy that you let them be. As parents, be involved. Take a morning off from work every few weeks and sit in on your kids' classes. Go to school board meetings and make your voice heard. Write the elected school board officials and tell them what you, the consumer, the one paying their paychecks, their boss, want and don't want. Next, lobby your state level representatives. make your state a "right to work" state, if it isn't already. This will help take back the running of the schools away from the unions and put it back into the hands of the tax-paying parents.

Each year, teachers should be required to take a certification test. This should not be some national standard. Each state or local district should come up with its own exam. Included in that exam should be questions that support the desires of the teachers' employers (the tax payers). And teachers should be paid by the student and the progress of each student. Much of the way things are now need to go back to the days of Ichabod Crane, when the teachers knew their place as employees, and by whom they were employed, and were paid according to their achievements.

This article originally appears at P-G Matuszak's Mental Aikido reprinted with permission.