Sunday, February 26, 2012

Common Core and Universal Design for Learning

I was having a cup of inflation-stricken chili that looked a few ounces smaller than before – the Michelle food-police with her holier-than-thou dictates of nutrition must have convinced the owners of the chain to change portion size while increasing the price.

I became privy to the loud conversation of three young women in their early twenties from the nearby table. One was bemoaning the lack of a raise in three years to her $44,000 a year teaching job – she had had enough and was going to look for another job. I was wondering if anybody sent her the memo that 25 percent of college graduates in her age group, 25 and younger, are unemployed and would gladly take her job.

High school teaching and a library science degree were the source of their displeasure and the list was quite long. Who decided that filing books in a library by the Dewey system is a science?

Dealing with a liberal education curriculum, demanding administrators, unruly students who challenge any authority and come unprepared to school every day, placating helicopter parents who hover at school all day, objecting to anything American, demanding progressivism, multiculturalism in teaching methodology, or parents who only care if their children have three free meals a day away from home, can be challenging. Complicating the problem is the lack of subject matter knowledge of some teachers and the political correctness required in the classroom. All can make someone’s life quite miserable at work.

Making only $44,000 in early twenties is certainly an outrage for young people in the Obama-entitled society.  After all, they were promised a six-figure salary by their college advisor and plenty of jobs in spite of their unemployable field of study. Such overt “social injustice” can only be rectified by confiscating wealth from the rich and distributing it to the young. It is a right now to have everything that someone else has, regardless of effort or age. Why wait and build up a career and experience when you can demand full rights here and now?

You can always take to the streets with the Occupiers and burn American flags, deface buildings, cars, and squat in the middle of a busy city or a beautiful park to make your demands known. If you are a nuisance to the taxpayers who must dodge your flea-infested camp daily on their way to work while they can no longer use the park they are paying for, and you cause millions of dollars in public property damage, so be it, America is rich and can afford it.

We no longer teach a common culture, common identity, common true history, or values such as hard work, charity, morals, virtue, and the rule of law. The new freedom among the youth is anarchy. Secular education and “green” environmentalism in support of mother earth has become the new religion.

Greek universities are offering protection to the young anarchists and rioters. If they make it to campuses, the police cannot arrest them without a warrant from the university presidents who, of course, refuse to issue them. Education is encouraging anarchy and lawlessness in Greece.

Goethe, a classical liberal, warned us that democracy is incompatible with liberty. “Legislators and revolutionaries who promise equality and liberty at the same time are psychopaths.” Political centralization would lead to the destruction of culture. (Hans Hermann Hoppe, Ludwig von Mises Institute)

Common Core national standards, another President Obama brainchild, will implement among schools a Race to the Top competition through federal grants. If states adopt his Common Core standards, they will be exempt from the onerous provisions of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandates.

According to the Brookings Institution, “The empirical evidence suggests that the Common Core will have little effect on American students’ achievement. The nation will have to look elsewhere for ways to improve its schools.”

The authority to create and set standards belongs to states and school districts, not the federal government. Better yet, parents should have the power to give their children the type of education that best suits their children’s needs and abilities.

The Department of Education does not know best – it paid two Washington, D.C. organizations, the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices and The Council of Chief State School Officers, to come up with the Common Core national standards. (Pioneer Institute)

According to Lance Izumi, author of “Obama’s Education Takeover,” the President “strong-armed the states into adopting these standards through a number of devices, principally through the Race to the Top competition through federal grants.”

Awards in Race to the Top $4 billion “historic” grant scheme will go to states “leading coherent, compelling, and comprehensive education reform.” It was authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. 

“Assessments have to be developed that are valid, support and inform instruction, provide accurate information about what students know and can do, and measure student achievement against standards designed to ensure that all students gain the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in college and the workplace.” (Race to the Top)

My translation is, dilute education, water down curriculum, force everybody into one “successful mold,” and receive an undeserved pass, a high school diploma and a worthless college degree. Exceptionalism is discouraged; poor students are rewarded, while achievers are punished.

In my 30 years experience as a teacher, the College of Education came up with many experimental programs that promised to be a breakthrough in education and ended up as another giant waste of taxpayer dollars.

“As the nation seeks to maintain our international competitiveness, ensure all students, regardless of background, have access to a high quality education, and prepare all students for college, work and citizenship, these standards are an important foundation for our collective work.” (Arne Duncan on Core Standards)

Searching deeper into the Core Standards, the true intent is clear, “all children can and should learn to high achievement standards.” Policymakers must “endorse, fund, and recognize assessment regimes that accomplish this goal,” Universal Design and Universal Design for Learning. Really? All children can learn to high achievement standards? Our minds, IQs, learning styles, and God-given talents are so equal now that everything is possible by government fiat?

Apparently, standardized tests “fail to produce a valid and reliable measurement of what significant minorities of students actually know, especially students with disabilities, English language learners or those from varied cultural backgrounds. Without accurate measurement, accountability systems are not only ineffective, they are unethical.” (Core Standards)

It will be a fascistic world in which every person will be forced into a government-dictated and enforced, dumbed-down mold, where everybody is equally intelligent, equally capable, equally trained, equally able, and equally educated with a diploma on the wall that is not worth the paper with the fancy intaglio printing.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Global Warming Crowd Opposed in Virginia

After global warming has been debunked, omniscient environmentalists changed their rhetoric to global cooling and now to climate-change. Of course, the climate has been changing back and forth for thousands of years without human input, but environmentalists have now noticed because it justifies their man as culprit agenda. How else could a minority impose their omnipotent will on the majority?

Because 30,000 readings of temperatures around the globe have shown the earth as cooling since 1997, Al Gore and his supporters have changed their talking points from global warming to climate-change.

Record-low temperatures in parts of Eastern Europe caused death tolls from Ukraine to Romania. Two meters of snow covered villages and towns in Romania, such as Buzau, forcing occupants to leave their homes through the roof. Mountains of snow trapped people in their homes and many are feared dead. The waters of the Black Sea froze quite a distance from the shore. Wave protection dams froze in the port of Constanta.

In the meantime, in Virginia, the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission was making municipal preparations for sea-level rise caused by climate change. According to the Washington Post, “a well-organized and vocal group of residents has taken a keen interest” in the proceedings, opposing planners and politicians who promote man-made global warming.

“The residents’ opposition has focused on a central point: They don’t think climate change is accelerated by human activity, as most climate scientists conclude.” (Washington Post)

The truth is that most scientists do not conclude that climate change is caused or accelerated by human activity. One thousand scientists, some of whom had received the Nobel Prize in science, took a one-page ad in the paper stating their disagreement with the faux proclamations of global warming.

Darryl Fears describes the area as having “historic geological issues.” “A meteor landed nearby 35 million years ago, creating the Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater. In addition, a downward-pressing glacial formation was created during the Ice Age. These ancient events are causing the land to sink, accounting for about one-third of the sea-level change, scientists say.” How science can ascertain with such accuracy the one-third cause of sea-level change is as suspect as the premise that global warming/climate-change is man-made.

Municipal planners redesigned the area as a future flood zone. Officials, who use name-calling to discredit the opposition, called the citizens against the plan, “activists acting on a hoax.” The hoax in question is UN Agenda 21.

“Agenda 21 is the least thing they should be worried about,” said Patty Glick, senior climate-change specialist for the National Wildlife Federation, “It has no legal or policy implications for local governments in the United States.”  Yet 600 communities around the U.S. are members of the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), the implementation organization of UN Agenda 21.

According to Shereen Hughes, a former planning commissioner in James City County, “The uprising against smart growth is ridiculous and a conspiracy theory imagined by fear mongers.”

“In Gloucester County, planners sat stone-faced as activists took turns reading portions of the 500-page UN Agenda 21 text, delaying a meeting for more than an hour.” (Washington Post)

As usual, progressives find the opposition of conservative citizens annoying because they object to ideas and smart growth plans that Americans never voted on or agreed to.

“Agenda 21 is an agenda in name only, environmentalists say.” If UN Agenda 21 is a “conspiracy theory,” environmentalists are spending vast fortunes and UN resources trying to implement it across the globe, with conferences in Rio attended by 179 countries and thousands of delegates both in 1992 and in June 2012.

If UN Agenda 21 is a figment of the Agenders’ imagination, why did President Clinton sign Executive Order 12852, creating the President’s Council on Sustainable Development to translate UN Agenda 21 into public policy administered by the federal government? Why did the President’s Council create the first “Sustainable America” with 16 ‘we believe’ statements with the end goal to abolish private property, control education, control and reduce population, and control the economy?

In the absence of a global treaty to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, a gas that plants need to grow, environmentalists have now switched to two other possible shorter-term culprits that “drive climate change,” methane and soot, also called black carbons.

The suggestion to slow global warming is simple, say Brian Vastag and Juliet Eilperin, “to get people in Uganda and India to adopt cleaner-burning stoves,” and to convince farmers in third world countries to plow agricultural waste under instead of burning it. Could we also cork volcanoes from burping ash occasionally into the atmosphere?

According to Washington Post, computer simulations by a 24-member international team claim, “reducing methane and soot would slow global warming dramatically – by almost a degree Fahrenheit – by the middle of the century.” I am skeptical of this precision since meteorology science cannot even accurately predict what the temperatures will be tomorrow.

U.S. has spent $60 million to support methane reduction projects overseas and pledged $50 million more, including $5 million to the Arctic Council Initiative to reduce black carbon emissions in Russia. (Emily Cain, State Department)

“Environmentalists have always had an agenda to put nature above man. If they can find an end to their means, they do not care how it happens. If they can do it under the guise of global warming and climate change, they will do it.” (Donna Holt, Virginia Campaign for Liberty)

Chantell and Mike Sackett’s not yet built dream house in the Idaho Panhandle has become the latest battleground against the EPA and the enforcement of the Clean Water Act. According to developers, corporations, utilities, libertarians, and conservative members of Congress, their fight has become a prime example of the EPA’s “abominable bureaucratic abuse.”

The Supreme Court will decide on the four-year battle (Sackett v. EPA) over the 0.63-acre lot, located in a subdivision with sewer hookup, a lot deemed wetlands by the EPA. The EPA has an “important environmental mandate which we don’t deny, but the agency is out of control and has been for some time.” (Damien M. Schiff, the Pacific Legal Foundation)

Whether it is EPA onerous powers over wetlands or environmentalists affecting local planning and redesigning properties as flood zones, we are fighting a war against federal regulations and against the implementation of UN Agenda 21 mandates.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Smart Grid and Smart Meters Health, Privacy and Cybersecurity Issues

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine advised on January 12, 2012 in a letter addressed to the Public Utilities Commission of the State of California that they opposed “the installation of wireless smart meters in homes and schools based on a scientific assessment of the current medical literature. Chronic exposure to wireless radiofrequency radiation is a preventable environmental hazard that is sufficiently well documented to warrant immediate preventative public health action.” (

“Exposure to levels of radio frequency RF (3KHz-300GHz) and extremely low frequency ELF (300Hz) produced by smart meters warrants immediate and complete moratorium on their use and deployment until further study.”

The FCC guidelines that deem smart meters safe are obsolete because they study only “thermal tissue damage and overlook genetic and cellular effects, hormonal effects, male fertility, blood/brain barrier damage, and increased risk of certain types of cancer from RF and ELF levels similar to those emitted by smart meters.”

As each home becomes a “wireless telecommunications facility,” children are particularly at risk
for altered brain development, impaired learning, and behavior.”

Current safety limits on pulsed RF are considered “not protective of public health” by the Radiofrequency Interagency Working Group (FDA, OSHA, EPA, FCC).  Emissions of smart meters have been classified by the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a possible human carcinogen.

The Congressional Research Service and its legislative attorneys prepare reports for Congress on various issues. Two such reports were issued on smart meters. “Smart Meter Data: Privacy and Cybersecurity” was published on February 3, 2012 and “The Smart Grid and Cybersecurity – Regulatory Policy and Issues” was published on June 15, 2011.

The writers agreed, “unforeseen consequences under federal law may result from the installation of smart meters and the communications technologies that accompany them.” In addition, the information “generated from smart meters is a new frontier for police investigations.”

The Fourth Amendment requires police to have probable cause to search areas in which people have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Courts deny protection to information a customer gives to a business as part of their commercial relationship. Thus, police can access bank records, phone, and traditional utility records through the “third party doctrine.” Technology can erode an individual’s privacy even more.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 gave stimulus money to electric utilities to accelerate the deployment of smart meters to millions of homes via the Department of Energy’s Smart Grid Investment Grant Program. Developers thought that the old patchwork infrastructure did not interface, was an arcane system of electricity delivery, and had to be replaced by a nationwide system called the Smart Grid that could be easily controlled and manipulated from a central location.

Smart meter technology is part of the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). It records near-real time data on electricity usage, it transmits data to the Smart Grid, and it “receives communication from Smart Grid such as real-time energy prices, or remote commands that can alter a consumer’s electricity usage to facilitate demand response.”

In case you misunderstand what demand response is, here is the official definition. “Demand response is the reduction of the consumption of electric energy by customers in response to an increase in the price of electricity or heavy burdens on the system.” Notice that the reduction in consumption is not defined as voluntary when there is a heavy burden on the system, and it incorporates the promise by the President that our electricity prices will skyrocket.

Smart meters are designed to decrease peak demand for electricity by turning off electricity to customers by remote. Remotely controlled thermostats will also turn off air conditioning units.

HVAC contractors are required to install programmable thermostats on all systems in areas where city officials have inspection authority created by city councils. Thermostats can be overridden by the smart meter so that a home’s temperature can also be remotely controlled. RFID tracking tags will be gradually installed in all items purchased, including digital thermostats. Non-digital thermostats cannot be tracked and will thus be banned.

The Department of Energy used the $4.5 billion stimulus to reimburse up to 50 percent of smart grid investments, including the cost to electric utilities of buying and installing smart meters. As of September 2011, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) funded 7.2 million smart meters and partially 15.5 million. The Institute for Electric Efficiency (IEE) expects 65 million smart meters in operation by 2015.

The issues for those who generate, seek, or use the data recorded by smart meters are varied.

-          Privacy of electronic communications
            -          Data storage
            -          Computer misuse
            -          Foreign surveillance
            -          Consumer protection
            -          Cybersecurity
            -          Hacking
            -          Health issues
            -          Higher energy costs for consumers
            -          Solar flares
            -           Electromagnetic pulse (EMP)

The myriad of legal entanglements cannot be predicted. According to Richard J. Campbell, Specialist in Energy Policy, “It is unclear how Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizures would apply to smart meter data, due to the lack of cases on this issue.”

Smart meter technology measures usage as frequently as once every minute, which appliances a consumer is using, what time of day, if a residence is occupied, how many people reside there, if it’s occupied by more people than usual, daily schedules, including times when they are or away from home or asleep, if homes have alarm systems, if they own expensive electronic equipment such as plasma TVs, if they use certain types of medical equipment.” (Department of Energy)

Utility providers match data on electricity usage with “known appliance load signatures” and daily schedules by observing when residents use most electricity. U.S. v. Kyllo subpoenaed electricity spreadsheet records because they suspected an indoor marijuana growing operation. Imagine how much easier it would be today with smart meters.

According to Jeffrey Carr, “Health insurance companies could determine if a house uses certain medical devices and appliance manufacturers could establish if a warranty has been violated.”

Smart meters collect and store data on names, service address, billing information, networked appliances, meter IP address, transactional records, and identity of the transmitter. Data is sent to the grid via twisted–copper phone lines, cable lines, fiber optic cable, cellular, satellite, microwave, WiMAX, power line carrier, and broadband over power line. Wireless costs less but cybersecurity becomes a huge issue because data is stored within the grid and within the physical world.

Smart meters can give police access to eating, sleeping, showering habits, appliance use and when, TV use, and exercise equipment use. Does this uphold the Fourth Amendment that the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.”

Liberties in the Constitution apply only to actions by the state and federal governments. Utilities can be privately owned, publicly owned, federally operated, and non-profit cooperatives. Under “public records theory, law enforcement can request smart meter data since public records are not afforded Fourth Amendment protection. Law enforcement access to state public records is unrestricted.” (Slobogin, Nilson v. Layton City)

Each state has different rules on whether utility records are public records. For example, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina consider a person’s utility records as public records.

“Third party doctrine,” words told to another person, informant, agent, gave police access to documents in the past such as phone, bank, cell phone, hotel records. Utility records were treated similarly, leaving room for smart meter records abuse.

Hackers could easily capture data from the outside with a hand-held device, sell the information to the highest bidder, or establish patterns in order to rob the house.

A court warrant should be required to access the data but neither the Supreme Court nor any lower federal court has ruled on the use of  smart meters.

Utilities may sell or share data obtained from smart meters with others in order to increase revenues. Utilities are monopolies and customers cannot switch providers in order to avoid the invasion of privacy. Electricity is a necessary component of modern life.

“Advancement of technology threatens to erode further the constitutional protection of privacy.” Individuals face a higher risk that activities inside their homes will be monitored by the government. (Congressional Research Service)

Perhaps people should think twice before they accept the $100 check offered by their utility companies in order to “save the planet” and reduce electric bills. Ask the Californians who have filed a class-action lawsuit against PG&E after smart meters were installed and their electric bills have skyrocketed. Is a small $100 bribe meant to help you or hurt you?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Welcome to Sustainable City"

As I walked through Washington, D.C. Ronald Reagan National Airport Terminal C on my way to the gate, a large electronic billboard caught my attention. It was so large that my cell camera could not capture the entire surface. It was a touch screen with the Siemens Corporation logo, announcing, “Welcome to Sustainable City.” (

Capturing the site on my iphone, the typical fare of environmentalism popped up, presenting Siemens as the leader in “sustainable development,” “green buildings,” “intelligent buildings,” “smart grid,” “sustainable urban development,” “sustainable communities,” “environmental care,” and health care.

As our environment and neighborhoods get “smart,” “sustainable,” and “green” around us, we seem to become less intelligent, more gullible, and willing to accept euphemistic schemes of power and control over our lives.

Familiar with the UN Agenda 21 propaganda and its buzzwords preceded either by “sustainable” or “green” everything, in the name of saving the planet from human behavior, a clever and devious attempt to control every facet of human activity and life, I stopped immediately.

Three touch screen icons inside the billboard displayed games:

-          Green Building Challenge
      -          Urban Mobility Challenge
      -          eCar Charging Challenge

The latest attempt to indoctrinate and propagandize “Green Growth” and demonize urban sprawl as well as fossil-fuels, stated, “Like most cities around the world, it’s growing at an incredible rate: But there are already ways it’s becoming more lasting, livable, and prosperous. See if you can make the city more sustainable.”

My first thought was, of course, that few of the buildings we have built in modern times are that lasting. Europeans can name thousands of beautiful structures that are hundreds of years old. Italians have a couple of Coliseums from the Roman Empire that have survived many earthquakes and are still standing in Rome and Verona. They may not look perfect since thieves who had built their marble palaces and churches had dismantled large chunks over centuries, but they had endured without clever schemes or protection from the “sustainable” crowd.

The game, Urban Mobility Challenge, invited the player to put as many people as possible in public transportation (trains). If the player failed in a timed period, the streets filled to capacity with cars and he/she lost the game. Disgusted with the overt and not so subtle propaganda, I stopped playing the other two games.

A sinking feeling of dread overcame me when I realized the pervasiveness of UN Agenda 21 indoctrination at every level of society without Americans taking much notice. People were passing by the billboard as if it was another advertisement.  To them, it was just a nice way to save the planet from the “irrational” behavior of humans who are going to destroy Mother Earth with their daily living if not told by “progressives” what to do in order to rectify it.

By now, every facet of human life and activity has a “sustainability” or “smart growth” plan. It must make Maurice Strong and his environmental/”progressive” fellow travelers from third world nations very happy. In the past fifty years, they have been feverishly and doggedly, devising, planning, and implementing thousands of ways to capture the wealth of first nations and re-distribute it through clever schemes, initiatives, and “programmes” to third world countries. In spite of writings by “Agenders” like me, domestic and international “progressives” have been very successful, nearing the completion of their “smart growth” dream of total control of our lives and resources, thanks to Americans who are asleep and blissfully uninformed.

I see more and more evidence of UN Agenda 21 irreversible success. The United Nations is not the bumbling idiotic organization that Americans believe it to be. Nobody can escape now being “green” and “sustainable.” It is the progressives’ religion, “green” is the new Marxism.

How did we possibly survive for thousands of years in the absence of “sustainability” agendas, plans, initiatives, and bureaucracies, without progressives telling us what to do? Apparently, we are doomed unless we do what the wise UN says.

Here it was, United Nations pushing mass transit, the abandonment of conventional cars, the forced acceptance of electric cars that catch on fire and nobody wants to buy, in a clever electronic touch screen game intended to appeal to the young generation of Americans who are easily brainwashed into compliance, done with the generous advertising dollars of Siemens, a German corporation.

While on the plane, I was flipping through the glossy passenger magazine. The CEO was talking about “creating a sustainable future” with Eco-Skies, their commitment to “reduce the impact on the environment in the air.”

In November 2011, “United operated the first commercial flight in the U.S. powered by biofuel.” While the effort is laudable, the CEO admits that “biofuels need to be both scalable and salable (producible in large quantities at a price comparable to traditional hydrocarbons) to be successful commercially.” “I’m proud of our initial steps to help improve the capabilities of this environmentally friendly fuel source.”

I wondered about the reduced food supply and the high price of corn that people around the world had to pay because of shortages created by the use of corn as biofuel.

The government is imposing values held dear by “progressives” onto the majority of Americans such as diet, living quarters, exercise, sex, transportation, Mother Earth religion, property rights, health care, abortion, land use, and redefinition of marriage. It is our objections, our resistance, and our non-compliance with their dictates that outrages “progressives.”

“Do what we want, there will be no fuss, and we will not try to squash you.” “Progressives” are the true aggressors in the culture wars and they seem to be winning. At some point, measures that are more forceful will be used to override our objections and the will of the people. The gentle persuasion of now will disappear.

Executive orders and regulations by non-government organizations will be replaced by re-interpretations of the law without due process, rule making, orders, and decrees of public-private partnerships with no opportunity for redress.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Agenders and Right Wing Conspirators

A recent article in the Atlantic Monthly, “Is the UN Using Bike Paths to Achieve World Domination?” by Andrew Cohen, drew my intense attention. It was not because I particularly cared for the author’s writings. It was his vitriolic description of people who oppose ICLEI and the United Nations-driven “sustainability initiatives” regarding land use in the United States as “right wing conspiracy theories,” promoted by “Agenders.” 

Cohen calls ordinary American citizens who oppose the UN Agenda 21’s goals “Agenders,” people who object to “sustainable land uses” not on the merits of the plans themselves but on the basis that they are “beyond the realm of mainstream political thought.” In progressive language, “mainstream” is what they believe in and wish to impose on the rest of society because they are smarter and we are the dumb masses who can be manipulated by a Gaia-worshipping environmentalist minority.

Cohen continues, “the loudest argument is the most bizarre…a vast international conspiracy, orchestrated by the United Nations, which would ultimately result in international domination over the way Americans both live and breathe.” He paints the majority of Americans as Agenders who are not interested in sanitation, biodiversity, “sustainable growth,” renewable energy, and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. According to Cohen, Americans want their constitutional rights “to rape the land, foul the air, dirty the water, and sprawl development wherever the hell they feel like it.”

Aside from the direct insults, Cohen does not mention the numerous bankrupted renewable energy companies such as Solyndra, Evergreen Energy Inc., Beacon, Ener1, Amonix Inc. that squandered billions of taxpayer dollars while failing to deliver any affordable renewable energy to American households.

The author misrepresents the intents and goals of UN Agenda 21, as well as the role of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) at the local and state governments in terms of rezoning of private land in the U.S. In his view, we are no longer a “Big Sky Country,” we are now a “Big Lie Country” because we have become aware, informed, and are fighting back, stopping some of the UN Agenda 21 driven initiatives around the country.

He continues to demonize “Agenders,” the “Tea Party crowd,” and their disdain for large government.” The majority is against big government not because it is our tradition as Americans to be self-sufficient and independent but because Glenn Beck, a former Fox News star, told us, “Sustainable development is just a really nice way of saying centralized control over all human life on earth.” Apparently, we are so simple-minded; we cannot think for ourselves or stand up for less government control when we see it.

To defend his argument that we are not intelligent, Cohen uses the La Plata County, Colorado as an example of “why smart professionals don’t want to be in government,” and as a “reminder of how much damage the Tea Party has wrought upon even local government.” Following his logic, then only dumb non-professionals comprise our government.

In La Plata County, Colorado, a “diverse, 17-member working group had the ambitious “vision” to rein in sprawl, encourage bicycling and public transportation, protect agriculture and promote sustainability.” “Responsible stewardship” of Mother Earth failed in this case because of pressure from “Agenders.”

Cohen sees “Agenders” as opponents of “sustainable growth” who will be able to “succeed all over the country in scuttling such plans without having to make a coherent, substantive argument against the actual initiatives contemplated in the plans.” He sees most Americans as unwilling to “cut back on pollution, the dangerous misuse of land, or just plain old-fashioned over-development.” Again, a minority of “progressive” Americans knows best what is good for America and what bogus science it presents to the rest of us.

I would like to make several coherent, substantive arguments against “sustainable growth” driven by UN Agenda 21 presented in Rio in 1992.

James  Gustave Speth, chairman of President Carter’s Council on Environmental Quality, head of the World Resources Institute, member of President Clinton’s transition team, and head of UN Development Program said at a conference called “Rio +5 meeting in Rio de Janeiro in 1997:

            Global governance is here, here to stay, and, driven by economic and
              Environmental globalization, global governance will inevitably expand.”

Global governance was defined in the 1999 UN Human Development Report: “The framework of rules, institutions, and practices that set limits on behavior of individuals, organizations, and companies.”

Global governance can be further defined as those policies created by non-elected bureaucrats from international institutions that “limit the behavior of individuals, organizations, and companies.” (

Government control of land use is a fundamental principle of global governance. The rules of global governance limit the behavior of individuals, organizations, and companies before the community understands what is happening. Many in Congress support the principle of global governance.

Signed in 1992, Agenda 21 is not a Treaty; it is a soft-law document of 40 chapters with recommendations covering every facet of human life. The recommendations have been implemented mostly administratively with little Congressional input; however, some have been included in legislation.

Federal agencies, EPA in particular, developed and awarded “visioning” grants to communities and to the American Planning Association. The “visioning” process at the local level was usually initiated by a local planning agency, a non-government agency (NGO) or ICLEI. The International Council on Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) is the international NGO created by the United Nations two years before the 1992 Rio conference, in order to advance the concept of “sustainable development.”

“Sustainable development” is a plan of action for bike paths, walkways, greenbelts, conservation areas, high-density areas, urban boundary zones, and other buzzwords that “progressive” environmentalists have developed.

The 1976 UN Conference on Human Settlements in Vancouver declared government control of land use as “indispensable.” The same document recommended government mandates for population redistribution to accommodate the needs of biodiversity.

We are familiar with the Wildlands Project and its map of protected land areas required by the Convention on Biological Diversity: Core reserves (roadless areas), Corridors (extensions of reserves, several miles wide), and Buffer Zones (gradation of human use). Dr. Coffman showed this map to the Senate.

Farmers often sell some of their land to finance retirement to city dwellers who want to commute because they do not want to endure the chaotic city life. “Government control of land use enforced through comprehensive land use plans, deny farmers the right to sell their land to city dwellers because of an urban boundary zone, or greenbelt, or conservation area designation, or because of ‘unjust compensation tax.’”(

My response to “progressives” is that we do know the truth, we do have cogent arguments and we would like to preserve our freedoms while protecting the environment in a manner that does not fundamentally alter our way of life or rob us of our property and sovereignty to the benefit of UN third world nations who have devised such transformative plans for Americans without our approval.
The United Nations cannot govern us because it contradicts our historic system of freedom and self-governance. Government is not the source of our individual rights; rights cannot be given or denied to us by a benevolent government in the interest of the community.  Our Creator is the source of our unalienable rights.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Inflation the Economy's Code Blue

In ordinary parlance, when there is a lot of paper or “fiat” (Latin for “let it be”) money in circulation, prices go up and our dollars buy less. This is inflation. In two famous photographs of 1923, a German housewife burned “marks” in her kitchen stove because it was cheaper to burn money than to use them to buy firewood and a gentlemen pushed a wheelbarrow full of cash to buy a loaf of bread.

The U.S. government issued its first money in 1862. They were called greenbacks because of the peculiar green ink that distinguished them from gold certificates. Before greenbacks, banks used paper money called scrip. The dollar could be exchanged for fractions of its stated value.

Dollars were backed by gold and silver reserves and, until 1963, U.S. bills were called silver certificates.  Today dollars are called Federal Reserve notes and are backed by the economic integrity of the U.S. government. In 1971, the Nixon administration ended the backing of the U.S. dollar by gold and silver.

The oldest surviving paper money is the Kuan, issued in China by the Ming dynasty in 1368. Sweden printed the first European bank notes in 1661 and France had paper money in wide circulation in the 18th century. The British issued promissory notes in place of paper money. Massachusetts soldiers received these promissory notes in 1690 after the siege of Quebec. There was not much to steal in order to pay the grunts.

The Federal Reserve keeps a count of the paper money in circulation by M1, M2, and M3 (money stock). M1 includes all money in spendable or liquid form: cash and money in checking accounts. M2 includes M1, savings, and short-term deposits such as CDs (certificates of deposit). M3 includes M1, M2, and the assets and liabilities of financial institutions such as long-term deposits.

In a strong economy, demand for currency goes up without any Federal Reserve intervention and the money in circulation goes up. In a weak economy, demand for currency goes down.

When the Fed (Federal Reserve System of banks) follows an easy money policy by increasing the money supply, the economy tends to grow, companies hire workers, consumer confidence grows, consumer spending grows, and the economy improves. It would stand to reason that our economy should have rebounded long time ago since the government and the Fed have been spending and printing money as fast as presses, or electronic transfers could go. Unfortunately, money has been going to Europe, the Middle East, and other overseas entities instead of boosting and creating new jobs in the U.S. The rest was squandered on TARP, bailing out GM and Chrysler to the benefit of Fiat and unions, bankrupt green energy companies, unions, Democrat re-election campaign coffers, United Nations, wars, and fomenting “democracy” in the Middle East.

When the Fed adopts a tight money policy to slow or combat inflation, the economy worsens, spending typically slows, and unemployment increases. As our economy has worsened, unemployment has climbed, inflation grew, but the Fed did not adopt a tight money policy and the government spending has not slowed down, while consumer spending has declined.

We seem to be in an unusual economic period, which defies the traditional economic experience of the past. The intensive care of the U.S. economy has revealed a comatose patient. New factory orders, new housing starts, durable goods, unemployment figures, M2 money supply, the S&P 500 stock index, and the spread between the 10-year Treasury and the federal funds rate are the predictors for our economy’s health. If you were an emergency doctor with the finger on the pulse of this American economy under the current administration and Congress, you would be calling code blue.

Consumer confidence and business confidence are also at an all time low, further proving that the U.S. economy, the comatose patient, needs a heart defibrillator. Small business owners are not hiring because they are worried about the liabilities imposed on them by the high record of new regulations passed last year and the Obamacare. The looming health care regulations, rationing, uncertainty of fees, penalties for non-compliance, taxes, and costs associated with such a massive bureaucratic undertaking with so many loopholes and exemptions has the potential to bankrupt or destroy many businesses.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is the measure of inflation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) cobbles CPI each month by recording prices of 80,000 goods and services deemed to reflect the expenditures of a typical urban American consumer: housing, clothing, transportation, health care, recreation, education, and others. Currently the CPI is reported at 3.16 percent. Curiously, food and gasoline are not included and Americans know that gasoline prices have more than doubled across the country since President Obama took office.  Food prices have also grown steadily.

The CPI uses a baseline year to compare the current inflation rate to, such as 1982-1984. CPI does not take into account the quality of things consumers buy (which affects price) or a consumer’s change in taste.

In a recession, the Fed creates money to make borrowing easier and keeps interest rates low. As things pick up, sellers sense rising demand for their products or services and begin to raise prices. The rule of 72 is a guide to assess the impact of inflation. Divide 72 by the reported annual inflation rate to find out how many years it will take for prices to double.

The people hit hardest by inflation are those living on fixed incomes such as retirees. Welfare recipients, Social Security recipients, union contract salaried employees, and government employees receive COLA (Cost Of Living Adjustment) remuneration and benefits.

If inflation is slow, it is called disinflation. Deflation is a widespread decline in the prices of goods and services. Deflation does not stimulate employment and production because a declining (contractionary) economy puts people out of work and they cannot afford to buy even at cheaper prices.

Runaway inflation, deflation, or defaults on loans, balance-trade-deficits, and bad economic policies are the sign of an economy and a country in turmoil. Traders manipulate various currencies by trading on the spot, forward, or swap contracts. Some traders have been banned in certain countries for their illegal and overt attempt to bankrupt their currency.

If you think inflation is a modern phenomenon, consider Diocletian’s edict of 301 A.D. to curb inflation. If anyone broke his list of regulations, the punishment was Death. The edict fixed prices for 1,000 items, such as food, raw materials, textiles, transportation, and wages.

When the previous emperor, Valerian, was captured by barbarians in 259 A.D., people all over the Roman Empire, expecting hard times, rushed to spend all their money on goods,  causing  1,000 percent inflation over 17 years.

Diocletian’s prices and income policy did not work but it did not stop him from diverting attention from his government’s shortcomings by putting the blame on speculators and rich people. Diocletian’s edict preamble blames “men who have nothing better to do than carve up for their own advantage the benefits sent by the gods…men who are themselves swimming in a wealth that would satisfy a whole people, who think only of their gain and their percentage.”

I believe that Diocletian’s preamble would please the Occupy Wall Streeters, the unions, people on government dole who pay no taxes, ACORN, the current administration, Hollywood sympathizers of Marxism, and the MSM. They pay constant lip service to “spreading the wealth” and “paying a fair share,” without specifying when that “fair share” is enough and why perfectly healthy citizens do not work and prefer to accept government handouts for their entire lives, from someone else’s stolen wealth. If I think about it, it is a form of reversed slavery, forcing those who work hard to support those who love sloth.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Trip to "Cuban Paradise"

Recently the Washington Post dedicated three pages of its travel section to Cuba. Apparently, since April last year, the Treasury Department’s Office of Asset Control has issued “people-to-people” licenses to organizations such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation and tour operators such as Friendly Planet and Insight Cuba. The current administration has decided last year to reinstate licenses to touring companies for trips to the communist island previously boycotted for 50 years.

The Friendly Planet arranges group travel in “humanitarian activities throughout the world” and contributes to “people-to-people” projects in some countries:

-           Special tours to Cuba since 2010 for “volunteer-minded travelers to interact directly with the Cuban people, and to help people in need by bringing medical supplies and educational materials, which are in short supply and badly needed in Cuba”

-          Kiva Microlending (travelers loan as little as they wish to an entrepreneur of their choice in the country of their choice)

-          Clean water in Cambodia (over 200 wells in villages built by Friendly Planet and funded by some travelers as well)

-          Bicycles and supplies in Vietnamese schools donated by travelers

Visitors have to file a “full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that will result in meaningful interaction between the travelers and individuals in Cuba.” This does not sound to me like a free visit of another country but a state-controlled indoctrination tour.

Mentioning everyday Cuban life difficulties as stereotypes, the author acknowledges the multitude of Eisenhower era American cars on the Malecon, Havana’s 4-mile long boulevard by the sea. Garish murals, pro-revolution propaganda billboards, anti-United States propaganda, and Che Guevara are everywhere. All her stereotypes were confirmed.

“Che Guevara’s face was as ubiquitous as McDonald’s golden arches are here. His mustachioed mien and disheveled locks appeared on roadside signs and posters, a reassuring fist pump of perseverance.” Really? Perseverance in the imprisonment, torture, and killing of people, while oppressing the entire Cuban population for 50 years? Reassuring the rest of Cubans to better behave in lock step with the communist regime or else?

The famous Ladies in White (Damas de Blanco) are not mentioned. A peaceful opposition movement in Cuba, they protest the imprisonment of their husbands, brothers, fathers, and other political dissident relatives, by attending Mass each Sunday wearing white dresses and silently walking through the streets afterwards.

All controversial topics were answered with “according to the government,” or “things work this way in theory.” A Cuban teacher earns 450 pesos a month ($17).  I wonder what the teachers in Wisconsin would think if paid $17 per month. They protested the loss of collective bargaining for salaries upwards of $100,000 per year. Communism is coming this way, with Marxist remunerations “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” needs decided by the government not the free market system.

In the Plaza de Armas square, “vendors sold books and souvenirs celebrating Che, ‘the face of Cuba,’ and the revolution.” It is as nauseating as the American high school and college students wearing Che Guevara t-shirts and bandanas.

The appearance of an old woman begging prompted the official of the City of Havana to explain, “Mainly, they don’t want to work. There is plenty of work to be done, construction, and agriculture. It is hard to find homeless. Maybe one or two people in the evenings, a drunk person.” (Isabel Leon Candelario)

“The government – socialist in its politics, communist in its ideals – guarantees housing and jobs, plus provides free health care and education. Despite ration cards, the Cubans’ biggest expenditure is food.” (Andrea Sachs)

Since this is a travel diary, Andrea does not explain the dismal state of the economy, the tiny dilapidated and shabby state-provided apartments, the communist indoctrination in schools, and the sub-standard and downright dangerous medical care or the lack of basic medical supplies, drugs, and sterile hospitals. Neither is the education of their doctors on par with western doctors in spite of Michael Moore’s propaganda movie, “Sicko,” which presents a state of the art picture of Cuban medicine. The reality is quite different.

Most Cubans cannot support themselves on the government’s wages so they resort to black market dealings, accepting gratuities from tourists, tutoring, translation work, or performing in the streets.

Visiting an elementary school on a “chewed-up street with flaking facades and chipped doorways,” the visitor was enchanted by a bust of the national hero Jose Marti and by a recitation of a Marti poem by fifth graders “by heart and from the heart.”

Jose Marti was a writer and political activist called the “Apostle of Cuban Independence.” He was a symbol of Cuba’s independence from Spain and of Cuban revolutionaries and those reluctant to start a revolution. Marti fought against the threat of U.S. “expansionism” into Cuba. His poem, “Versos Sencillos” (Simple Verses) was adapted to the song, “Guantanamera,” which has become the patriotic song of Cuba.

The fifth graders’ poetry recitation brings to mind the poems we had to memorize by heart glorifying the communist revolution in Romania. I can honestly say, it never came from the heart for most of us. It was something we had to do in order to survive another day.

The author continues, “The first graders were ‘glued to their seats.’ I can attest from experience that we were not allowed to move from a straight, at attention position, in our seats, with hands clasped behinds our backs unless the teacher gave us assignments to write or we had to raise our hands in order to ask questions. Wiggling, giggling, or note passing were not allowed. Behavior was graded harshly on monthly report cards.

The touted Cuban economic reform is dust in the eyes of the Cubans. A few restaurants opened to cater to tourists and their foreign currencies. Cuba, as any current or former communist state, charges a high 10 percent tax on exchanging dollars to peso but none for Euros or Canadian dollars.

Toilet paper is in short supply and tourists are encouraged to bring their own. I remember we had rough toilet paper when we could find it and some of it had visible splinters.

Tourist donations were encouraged to schools and medical centers in the form of pens, notebooks, toiletries, and other necessities. If communism is so exceptional and superior to capitalism, as Castro and his lefty supporters present it, why do they need donations and help from the “evil enslaving capitalists” of the free world?
Part of the dictated tour was the Museum of the Revolution, with its collection of “decrepit newspaper clippings, bullet pocked tanks, and Granma, the fishing boat that brought Castro from Mexico to Cuba in 1956.” The next stop was “a sharp pinch of reality” to an apartment complex on the outskirts of town, what “HUD would call a project.”

“The government had relocated a family recently to a two-bedroom apartment in the projects after their colonial domicile in Havana collapsed like a dollhouse made of dry crackers.”

Many beautiful colonial homes in Havana had collapsed from lack of maintenance under the Castro regime. They were confiscated from the previous owners and allocated to families who lived together, sharing bathrooms and kitchens. They did not have money for upkeep and the government did not provide much maintenance if any.

The tropical paradise, the island with so much potential, brought to its knees by an oppressive “revolutionary” communist government, has a long way to go before any anemic government enacted economic reforms can bring it back to its former glory.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Broken Immigration, Broken Education

Our broken education system and the immigration without integration issues were brought to the forefront once more in the recent fight of a woman in Arizona who wishes to run for a city council seat.
According to the Phoenix Sun, Cabrera does not speak proficient English and uses an interpreter to communicate, in spite of the fact that she is a graduate of Kofa High School in Yuma.

She acknowledges her English skills are limited but, in an area where Spanish is the predominant language, it is not necessary to speak English in order to serve the population’s interests.  This statement begs the question, who is going to represent the interests of the American citizens who are here lawfully and do speak English? In addition, why did she receive a high school diploma from an accredited high school if she does not speak English?

Social promotion in our schools on any level is wrong, yet liberal academics have been pushing this issue for many years, diluting the quality of graduates to the point that some are unable to read, write, or do simple arithmetic.

“State law requires elected officials to know English, but Cabrera’s attorneys claim the law does not define proficiency in the language.” (Phoenix Sun)

A socio-linguist expert, who administered three tests to Cabrera, an English-speaking skills test, a reading skills test, and an English comprehension test, deemed her unable to answer questions in English.

“Cabrera’s lawyers said the action against their client was politically motivated.” Whatever the claim, the fact remains that, as a member of the council, she would be unable to serve her English speaking constituents without the help of an interpreter. Taxpayer dollars would have to provide her with an interpreter on a daily basis and such services are expensive.

Liberals love to defend and hinder assimilation into this country in spite of ample evidence from the failed and disastrous European model of allowing immigrants to bring their countries, their customs, and their language with them into self-isolating ghettoes.

President Merkel of Germany and President Sarkozy of France have admitted in separate statements that multiculturalism is a failure in Europe, socially, economically, and politically, and it is not sustainable. “The hostility of young minority men toward authority across communities in Europe” has escalated, the deep-seated antipathy leading to frequent and deadly violence.

Socioeconomic as well as linguistic integration are necessary for a group to progress and thrive within the same borders. Expecting the local population to provide expensive translators to a subculture that refuses to learn the language of the land is detrimental to both groups, preventing inclusion and economic success.

The Roman Empire had established Latin as the administrative language of the conquered lands. They viewed communication as an important ingredient of economic success and governance. Many tribes reluctantly accepted Latin but transformed it to suit their native languages and dialects. The result was the six Latin-based romance languages that are spoken today:  French, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, Portuguese, and Romansh. Romansh is spoken in a particular canton in Switzerland. Interestingly, although the Roman Empire disappeared in the West in 476 A.D., scholars across Europe had used Latin for centuries afterwards to promote writing and learning, while the Catholic Church published documents in Latin and used it ceremonially.

Alfred the Great (849-899), the only Anglo-Saxon scholar king that we know could read and write, was convinced that learning was the key to a better life for all. He commissioned the translation of instructive books from Latin to English. It is interesting to note, although English is a Germanic language, 51 percent of its vocabulary comes from Latin. The Roman Empire disappeared long time ago but its language lives on.

I do not know the status of every person who does not speak English in this country, whether they are here legally or illegally. A significant portion of the 10.8 million illegal immigrants inside the United States entered with a valid visa and stayed after their visas expired. A large percentage hides within enclaves and never learns English, depriving themselves of better social and economic opportunities.

Furthermore, the current administration, by suing various states who passed legislation to enforce immigration laws, is giving the signal that entering the U.S. illegally and staying indefinitely will not be penalized but rewarded through stealth amnesty. When our economy will improve, we will see more illegal immigration since economic need is the primary reason for illegal immigration from Latin America.

A guest worker program would help establish a respect for the rule of law and fill the employers’ needs for seasonal workers. The Bracero Program (bracero means strong-arm in Spanish), a series of laws and diplomatic agreements with Mexico instituted by FDR in1942, worked well until 1964 when it was canceled.

Visa programs for temporary or seasonal agricultural workers should be streamlined. E-Verify system and Self Check to correct errors and issues should be encouraged.

Amnesty granted to 3 million illegal immigrants in 1986 made the situation much worse, encouraging a new wave of illegal immigration. President Reagan admitted the failure.

If the economic situation of a country is good, there is no need to migrate illegally to the U.S. We do not see many Chileans here because their economy is good compared to other Latin American countries. Thus promoting economic development and good governance in Latin America would go a long way to stem illegal immigration.

According to the Heritage Foundation, the “push-pull effect caused by the combination of slow economic growth in Latin America and the need for workers in the United States” is a large contributor to illegal immigration.

No matter how we view or present the legal and illegal immigration issues, the facts and statistics show the burden on the U.S. economy:

-          400,000 illegal immigrant women give birth to “anchor-babies” who become automatic U.S. citizens

-          One in every four inmates in federal prisons is an illegal immigrant (U.S. Government Accountability Office)

-          50-60 percent illegal immigrants are high school dropouts (Heritage Foundation)

-          Illegal immigrants come from Mexico (58 percent), Latin  America (23 percent), Asia, Europe, and Africa (18 percent)

A controversial proposal to grant illegal immigrant students in-state tuition passed in twelve states as of July 2011. As this law attempts to improve and address the education of illegal immigrants, opposing groups highlight the fact that their parents have broken the law in crossing the border illegally and are thus not entitled to same rights as American citizens. The controversy is not likely to diminish, particularly when generations of “anchor-babies” turn eighteen and demand family integration and full rights as American citizens.