"The most significant threat to our national security is our debt," Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, August 27,2010


Friday, March 28, 2014

Amateur College Athletics – Knight Commission Reports – GREED

On July 24, 2012, TheFundamentals released an essay entitled – “Piling on JoePa.”  Please go to:  http://thefundamentalsus.blogspot.com/2012/07/piling-on-joepa.html

Here are excerpts from that essay:
"Over 20 years ago, the Knight commission on intercollegiate athletics started an investigative process that focused on the many documented derelictions in college athletic programs.  Here, taken directly from their own reports, are observations about the state of college athletics in America:
  • In 1989, as a decade of highly visible scandals in college sports drew to a close, the trustees of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (then known as Knight Foundation) were concerned that athletics abuses threatened the very integrity of higher education.
  • Except for the Ivy League, the schools which were involved were the most visible institutions of higher education in the country.
  • Can colleges and universities continue their traditional posture of upholding the highest values of personal character and integrity when they themselves display so little of either?
  • Public faith in higher education cannot be sustained if college sports are permitted to become a circus, with the institution itself little more than a supporting sideshow."

Our essay went on to say, The Knight commission issued reports in 1991, 1992 and 1993.  Again, every report, every finding, every recommendation is available at:  http://www.knightcommission.org/  They issued a ten year status report in 2001 and we are offering below just one summary observation from that report –
“We find that the problems of big-time college sports have grown rather than diminished. The most glaring elements of the problems outlined in this report – academic transgressions, a financial arms race, and commercialization – are all evidence of the widening chasm between higher education’s ideals and big-time college sports.”
And finally, Their most recent report came out in 2010.  Here is part of their summary recommendations:
This report sets forth reforms that are achievable and that, if implemented, will create a foundation upon which future reforms can build.  Our blueprint for restoring educational values and priorities begins with strengthening accountability for intercollegiate athletics in three ways: 

1.  Requiring greater transparency, including better measures to compare athletics spending to academic spending
2.  Rewarding practices that make academic values a priority
3.  Treating college athletes as students first and foremost - not as professionals"
Well, the chickens are coming home to roost.   Money and the love of money (GREED) now dominate amateur athletics and the great joy of student athletes – seeking a good education and a degree – is now lost forever.  We place the blame at the doorstep of two corporations – NIKE and Adidas with Under Armour fighting desperately to lock up a solid share of the ruin.  Of course, they would argue that their greed is nothing other than a different version of the greed coming from other advertisers; other sport team suppliers; ESPN and its owners, Disney;  Comcast; rich, fat cat alumni, both real and adopted and, most high on our list – coaches and amazingly weak college and university presidents, chancellors and regents.  Or simply, "the NCAA."
Take your pick – greedy basterds all.
In government they take the form of bureaucrats and their greedy union master basterds.  Ditto for K- 12 education.  Soon, ditto for health care.
It’s not just the money folks.  After all they could try to do good with it.  It’s the love of money.  It's pure and simple GREED.  Pocket lining greed.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Another Amateur joins Team Obama

In case you don’t know, or in case Janet doesn’t know, she is not on the team to engage in press conferences; wasn’t asked to play right field because of her defensive skills; or, for that matter her very low batting average; and she sure doesn’t have much of a won/loss record.  Janet is on Mr. Obama’s team for one reason only – her strong and unthinking penchant to keep her index finger firmly pressing down on the “ON” button that runs the US bureau of engraving’s money printing machines.

You’d think she would understand that everything she says and does must always keep those big currency printing machines running 24/7.  Forget about her economic skills – they are illusory.  At least now we won’t need to keep hearing APKD style nonsense about the fed chiefs vast study of the 1930’s depression – Ben Bernanke was the perfect foil for a political party that discovered the joy of fiat currency.  We will not be too surprised if David Axelrod’s APKD or one of the other media management outfits comes up with a propaganda rollout to convince us that Janet is the second coming of J. Maynard Keynes.
Here is America’s new team player – the machine candidate – the heroine of the left – the darling of the party in power – the gal with her finger on the “ON” button – your great president’s choice to keep the dough rising, so to speak:


What message do you think Mr. Obama is sending to the world’s financial capitols and the boardrooms of the worlds banking and investment giants with Janet’s addition to his team?

 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Security Interests and Democracy

No, this is not an essay about the NSA, FBI, CIA and their diminution of the US Constitution.  Not directly or entirely.

It is an essay about security interests and democracy and the growing contradiction between stated US of A principles and legal positions versus those of the Jewish State of Israel (JSI).  And, the influence of JSI interests in directing US foreign policy.  And the implications of those policies looking forward.
TheFundamentals encourages an information gathering project by watching a video entitled, “The Gatekeepers,” and reading a new book entitled, “Goliath, Life and Loathing in Greater Israel.”  Here are references to these sources:
Today, we get a bit more specific.  And, a forewarning, what follows is a politically incorrect discussion meaning it does not abide by the JSI talking points which guide AIPAC and the adherence of American media management and money interests closely tying the US of A with the long term defense and all around support of JSI.
Is Israel (JSI) an open democracy?  Can a Christian go there and be treated equally as a Jew?  What about an Arab?  Or a Muslim?  Could an Arab be elected prime minister?  A Christian?
The answer is no.  JSI is founded and governed as a Jewish state.  Just as Pakistan and Iran and Saudi Arabia are Islamic states.  They are not democracies, in any meaningful sense of the word.  They exist to provide a closed political environment for those who adhere to a common set of beliefs or values or history or all of the above.  Or, at least, try to or claim to.
They do not believe that all are created equal – not when it comes to political power.   Which is a very convenient way or saying – we may tolerate you in our country under certain limited circumstances but do not attempt to proselytize your views or seek political power.  You will be stopped.
Now, should that be a concern in American foreign policy which theoretically advances both our national security interests as well as our political belief in democratic rule?  By concern we mean, can we openly support with money, arms, and other forms of economic, military and commercial activities non democratic states?
Our answer is thus – the reason America finds itself wandering from pillar to post among many focused and parochial interests today, in a totally reactive mode, around the world, is our illogical separation from a few very profound founding principles of this country:
·         All people are created equal
·         No state religions can be imposed on the people
·         People have the right to determine their government
Now we are not so naïve as to think some limited involvements and accommodations will be made along the way.  But America’s embrace of JSI in every possible manner is a direct and very visible violation of our both our founding and evolved principles.  The same statement is true of most every other aspect of America’s internally imposed decline – we have moved too far from our principles:
·         Limited government
·         Individual responsibility
·         Limited foreign entanglements
Here too, there will always be a need for some involvements and accommodations.  The true security interests of America are now at risk – not because of external events.  Simply because we have lost our belief and adherence to the very principles on which we came to be.
Europe needs to make its own accommodations with Russia – but both have much larger demographic and security issues with their Islamic neighbors and residents.   In case you have forgotten, Japan needs to make accommodations with China – the Chinese have not forgotten.   Israel is now so far from an accommodation with those who surround it that all that remains is hope.  The Chinese are moving into Africa and into the western hemisphere.  They dominate Asia economically and militarily – it does not take much to anticipate that Africa and Central/South America are next.  American security interests are no longer based in Europe, Russia and the Middle East – they are right here in our backyard and we had better get about making them our number one priority.
John Kerry’s unfortunate remarks about Barack’s disinterest in the Monroe Doctrine will haunt America for many, many years to come.
American foreign policy under both Bushes, both Clintons and the Obama/Kerry team has neither advanced our national security interests nor our democratic beliefs.  Our focus needs to be here at home, implementing the above principles and then in our hemisphere – not scattered inconsistently around the globe in wars we never win and alliances we cannot maintain.   

Chances of common sense prevailing?  Inversely related to the size of the bureaucracies that set all the bad policy discussed above.

 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Leaderless: both Democrats and Republicans

America has two large, ruling political parties as most of us know.

For at least six years, the party out of power (POOP) has been leaderless.  That party has managed to secure control of the House of Representatives and done little with that significant power for the last four years.  It has lap dog followed the party in power (PIP) by behaving or misbehaving depending on your view and begrudgingly or maybe not so by going along with their budgets, their debt increases, their record levels of spending and their various social programs, handouts and special interest arrangements (read:  public money is traded for special interest votes.)  This is not leadership – it is not a directed movement with a described philosophy or governing manner – it is pure treading water hoping for an opportunity.
The party in power (PIP) chose a man who is self described as not being a leader.  He has variously described himself as lazy; as a community organizer; as a “constitutional” professor or some such thing; and as the past winner of two political positions – state senator from Chicago meaning he clicked his heels and did the bidding of the political machine because that is the only way you attain elected positions in Chicago and Illinois and then as US senator from Illinois (ditto.)   That is a very limited resume and it shows – shows more and more each day that he occupies the white house.  He has built no alliances – at home or abroad; dealt with even one major issue he “inherited” or challenged even one special interest that votes for his party’s candidates.   What he has gotten done is, using the techniques of Chicago politics, one piece of legislation that is now deemed his “signature legislation” and it stinks; his own party candidates are running away from it even though they obediently supported it and voted for it.  Mr. Obama does not grasp the concept of national or international power – all he can do is read speeches written by others that sound good but are now ignored by all except the captive American media (we call this group of stooges – the Hollywood media.)  The party in power does not have a leader – it has a mouthpiece with no portfolio – no following – just a bunch of hack politicians who don’t know where to go or what to do unless someone tells them where to be; at what time; and how to vote when they get there.
On the sidelines, mostly, are more of the same; regardless of PIP or POOP.  There are a lot of bit players on the sidelines.  Any one of whom could fill the occupant’s shoes – by which we mean, fill the vacuum with their physical personage.  We don’t see one of them who can fill the decade’s long leadership vacuum that is now American national politics.  We don’t see one of them grasping this fundamental of leadership – getting followers to do that which they don’t want to do but what is needed given the times, the circumstances and the consequences.
We so much wish to be wrong.
There is one simple need in the United States of America today – we need leadership that grasps that leadership is not about what the rights of the followers are but what the responsibilities of the followers are and speaks and leads and executes to that view and secures the acceptance and enthusiasm of the followers in the process.
Anyone can buy votes or give away other people’s money or add so much debt to the nation that our children and grandchildren will never know independence much less freedom.  Their rights will be gone because the only way they would ever have been able to secure those rights is if we, their moms and dads, grandpas and grandmas, aunts and uncles, had fulfilled our responsibilities when it was our time.  We have not.  We demand what we want, today – no one demands that those wants are subordinated to what we must do for those who follow.   Instead we pretend that we are building a better society.
We are leaderless in a changing and challenging America and world. 

 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

This Business about Feinstein and the CIA and NSA

September 4, 1957.  Do you remember what happened on that day?

November 19, 1959.  How about on that day?
As you can tell, about two years passed between the two dates.   That is how long it took the Ford Motor Company to introduce its new car – the Edsel and put an end to it.
A little over two years.
Here are two more dates for your consideration:
April 23, 1985.
July 11, 1985.
Can you guess?  Do you know?
Not even three full months between the two dates.
Those dates are the introduction of New Coke and the end of New Coke.
So what do these two business failures and their respective introduction dates and ending dates have to do with Senator Feinstein and the CIA and NSA?
We use them to illustrate both the timing and finality of market decisions versus government decisions.    We particularly wish to emphasize that one word – finality.  When the markets, the open market, the free market, call it what you will sends a message it happens quickly but most important it is decisive.  There is no wishy washy rhetoric, explanation, discussions, excuse making and, most importantly, there is no continuation of bad decisions, bad plans, bad personnel, bad products, bad services.  The market produces finality.
We all know that the CIA and NSA are way off the reservation.  Unless you work there.  Or you run them.  Or you are too terrified to make a change, a real change.  Too political.  Too worried that if you cut back or eliminate and something happens someone will point the finger of responsibility toward you.
There are too many bad bureaucracies now in America – these two are at the top of the heap but they are simply more visible right now.  They need change or flat out termination.
Feinstein claims to have realized it in the last few days which means she simply has not been doing her job – literally asleep on the job.  The market, such as it is in this case, has spoken years ago about these two outfits.  But they continue, they expand, they prevaricate, they violate the law, shred the constitution, become a power above all else.  The market, the people would do just fine without them at least with a much smarter, more focused, more technological spy outfit.  We would do just fine without any NSA.  The NSA and CIA are jokes – led by jokesters.
Feinstein just woke up to it this last week.  If you wish to believe her carefully worded observations.
Solutions:  term limits possibly.  But who knows?  There is a bench full of Feinstein’s waiting for their chance to join the go-along, get-along cabal that is now our federal government.  Government is not a business.  It’s now a club.  A high school club.  So far removed from the people; the market and rational decision making as to be a great accumulation of bad ideas and plans and people and products and services.  This club operates outside the law with no limits and no priorities.  If they can do it; they do it.
The last leader of this country who at least recognized this situation was five star general and president Dwight D. Eisenhower.  That was almost 60 years ago. 




 

Monday, March 10, 2014

A very large Crack in the Democrat Party Façade

The sick, enabling, co-dependency between the Democrat Party and the teachers unions; two largest are NEA and AFT, has always been the looming cancer eating away at their façade of unity and purpose.  Any political party whose leadership uses their influence as well as their amply padded, publicly funded bank accounts to send their children to high performing private schools while insisting that their electorate not receive a similar opportunity for their children is destined to fail. 

Let’s look at the two current examples:
1.     The newly elected mayor NYCity has gone to war against publicly funded charter schools which have managed to escape the domineering and bad performance standards of the NYCity teachers union.  This fool named de Blasio has decided that his first public action is to deny the successful charter schools access to publicly supported facilities – in effect he is saying only schools with teacher union members get to work in public funded school building.  He doesn’t care about results.  Why would the fool de Blasio take such action?  First answer is simple – he’s stupid.  A clown.  Meaning he is a tool of the teachers union.  But he also is a politician and he is not only out of step with the people of NYCity, he is in direct conflict with the governor of his state, also a Democrat and the president of the United States, also a Democrat and the head of the federal education bureaucracy, also a Democrat. 

2.    But don’t get too smug over the fool de Blasio.  As we about to show, this blatant confusion, contradiction and hypocrisy in the Democrat party runs all the way to the top.  In the state of Louisiana, kids, mostly poor kids and minority kids are given the opportunity to get out of the crappy teacher union schools and go to high performing private schools – just like the fat cats in the party do with their own kids.  Why do they get this chance?  Because Louisiana does not treat tax money to schools as the private domain of the teachers unions, that’s why.  They have this bizarre concept – public funds belong to the public and when it comes to education parents know best – know best what their kids need – where their kids can get the best education – how to evaluate said education – support said education.  Holy smokes, can you imagine such anarchist thinking – parents know best.  Well, the teachers unions sure can’t so they go to Washington with their fancy lobbyists and propaganda (check out the fool Randi Weingarten) and tell Obama and his education head and his attorney general – all Democrats mind you – stop this school choice  business in Louisiana.  Faster than you can say “you gotta be kidding,” Obama, Holder and Duncan all salute while clicking their heels and use the power of the federal government to stop parental school choice in Louisiana. 

This party – this Democrat party – is troubled to the core of its rotten being.  It actually is in a race – can it self destruct before it destroys the country it rules.  As Admiral Mullen pointed out – debt is our nation’s top national security problem. Yes, debt is getting the job done but the most destructive force in America today is the Democrat Party.

 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

NATO crumbles – what difference does it make?

Pretty interesting watching a 70 year old alliance with a couple of really big accomplishments just blow away, in the wind, because the top member is simply not up to leading anymore.

This must be what Hillary had in mind with her dopey reset button with her Russian counterpart as she launched America on this concept of leading from behind.  Well, at least in Hillary’s case, nature and all those comfy meals on those private jets provided her with an ample cushion to “lead from behind.”
Now what?
NATO is going, going ……...
Russia is on a roll – the thug Putin has masterfully vanquished the community organizer from the south side of Chicago.  Surprise, surprise.
Oh golly gee, what should we bright Americans do?  We know what we can do.  Let’s give more money to the CIA and the NSA and the FBI and Homeland Security, huh?  Surely, they need more money because not a one of them had a clue about what was going on or what might happen or what we could/should do if the Russians did do something.  More money – maybe a bigger contract with one of their unions, huh?  That would help.  Maybe a big pay raise, huh?  Bigger bonuses.  Raise their pensions.  Can’t give them many more days off – after all, they have had weeks of snow days just this winter.  Can’t expect them to work when it’s snowing can we?
On the other hand, maybe it makes sense to insist on some credentials in some form of competitive arena for one to advance to high office, huh?  Nah.
We’ve got Hillary in the wings, Barack filling out his brackets for the upcoming basketball tournament and Joe Biden soul searching – oh, should I or shouldn’t I?
Not a gram of spine or cojones in the gang.
Now what?
Russia dominates Europe – China dominates Asia – what’s left over for us?
More illegal immigrants and more dependents of illegal immigrants who have gained citizenship or, at least, legal status.
Give ‘em the vote (well, what we really mean is buy their votes, just vote for us Democrats; we’ll make it worth your while.)  Most, of those immigrants, maybe not a one, ever heard of NATO.  What’s the big deal?  Or, as Ole Hil’ would say, “What difference does it make?”

 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Deputy President Valerie Jarrett v. The People

There is no greater special interest in America today than the American public teachers unions.  There is no more damaging special interest in America today than the American public teacher unions, particularly if you are a youngster forced to attend one of their many underperforming schools – mostly located in urban areas but not exclusively located in such areas.  These several unions (two biggest are NEA and AFT) own America’s largest political party – the Democrat party.

One of the great Democrats who support the NEA and the AFT is none other than America’s deputy president at the white house – Valerie Jarrett.
The NEA and the AFT parrot a propaganda mythology that their interest in their labor organization is to better provide performance education results for their students.  The facts, the results, the performance comparisons to private American schools and other developed countries K – 12 education metrics belie the mythology of the NEA and the AFT.  In other words, the NEA and the AFT do not accomplish the very mission that they claim to be the reason for their existence.
In any competitive environment the consequence of this performance would long ago have been realized – extinction – bankruptcy – elimination – pick a consequence – it would have occurred.
Very recently America’s deputy president at the white house, Valerie Jarrett, announced that America must continue to support public schools across the land.  Sounds good doesn’t it?  How could one argue with such a noble position – support public schools?   Our unelected deputy president was simply using acceptable language to comfortably announce that America under her leadership would continue to support the NEA and the AFT.  No, she didn’t word it that way – she is not stupid.  Just deceitful and manipulative.
Many communities in America support their public schools and seem to be quite tickled with the union representation of the teachers who run these schools.  So be it.  If you like your public school you can keep your public school.  But, unlike the affordable health care act (you may know it as Obamacare), if you don’t like your public school there is no government website or alternative plan for your youngsters education.  There is no choice.  You are stuck with a crappy school (in the case of health care insurance plans Obama and his deputy president Valerie Jarrett refer to these plans as “substandard.”)  They do not refer to crappy schools with any such direct language – they say – give them more money – more resources (this is Democrat speak for “more money = more votes on Election Day from the teacher union members.)
Think about that – Ms. Jarrett and Mr. Obama think you should have a choice when it comes to health care and they will even pay for those choices if you are poor.  When it comes to schooling – they think you should not have a choice.  Can anyone explain in rational or logical terms why they push for choice on health care – on abortion – on marijuana – on citizenship for illegal immigrants but not for the parents who vote for them who want their kids to get a good education?  We wonder if Hillary would go along with this “no choice for parents about education” idea?
If you wish to read an article about our deputy president Valerie published in her home town magazine please go to:  http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/Felsenthal-Files/January-2014/The-Mysteries-and-Realities-of-Valerie-Jarrett-Mystery-Woman-of-the-White-House/