Legacy over Growth in CT

This is a longer version of an op-ed I submitted to the CT Post. Will the Post publish it? Doubtful.

If this is to make any sense, read this first: CT Post editorial on the prospect of more casinos in the state.

Ok, now lets get to it. The prospect of more casinos in this state can only bother three different sets of people.

  1. Pure, 100% Connecticut Yankees who are desperately hanging on to some semblance of neo-Puritanism in an attempt to maintain a facade which seems to only to appeal to blue-bloods that are already living in the state. (The author of the editorial linked above, I’m guessing.)
  2. People who are worried about the influx of gamblers and their monetarily motivated, vice-enabling support staffs. Basically, traffic.
  3. CT residents who are more concerned about how the state appears nationally, rather than how it’s economy can benefit people locally. (Malloy)

The editorial linked above is a perfectly benign opinion given a whitewash of sentiment covering the governor’s keister. What is the most alarming sentence in the entire article? You probably picked it out already but in case you were dozing off during your reading of it, here it is; “But Malloy has not guided public rhetoric on casinos as he seeks to put his stamp on the state’s character for decades to come.” I even underlined it for you. I am not going to pretend that elected officials aren’t at least partly motivated by their own over inflated egos but to observe Malloy in the context of the casino issue, we can only draw one conclusion: he’s already moved on to damage control.

Malloy has repeatedly contradicted himself and if nothing else has at the very least shown the rest of the country what not to do with taxes. So he’s got that going for him. In a way, he and the state should be used in every anti-socialist attack ad that Hillary runs against the rapidly fading Sanders. We’ve got it all! Crony capitalism operating under the guise of, “we’re all in this together!” type rhetoric and exorbitant taxes all facilitating a mass corporate and private exodus. It floors me that anyone living in this state can support Sanders after they’ve seen what a far-left governor surrounded by lefty leaning legislators and their tax proposals can do to a relatively small economy.

It is no secret that private companies are leaving CT at an alarming rate. The most recent blow to the state was the announcement that GE would be picking up shop and moving to Massachusetts by 2018. GE began rattling that particular saber last June and made the announcement 6 months later that they were going bye bye. The reason behind the move was simple; taxes in CT are unfriendly to business. I suspect that is only part of the reason to move. I’m sure proximity to Harvard / MIT didn’t hinder their decision as Massachusetts looks very much like Connecticut in terms of taxation.

So people and businesses are leaving. The state infrastructure is crumbling, or if it is being fixed it’s work rate rivals continental drift. (See; I-95 corridor through New Haven) Our taxes are being raised regularly to offset the financial crisis we find ourselves in. Everything is peachy. Who can blame anyone for supporting the building of a casino which, if it is anything like Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun, will employ 10,000 people? Apparently our governor can. We know that a casino won’t solve the state’s economic downturn but when faced with the prospect of more jobs and more money coming into the state from surrounding states, no one can be blamed for their enthusiasm.

So, whats his problem? Mainly this; the character stamp he is attempting to put on the state, eluded to earlier by the author of the CT Post editorial, has already been sealed in wax. And it’s not good. The damage control portion of Malloy’s tenure exists now to alleviate the pressure put on him by CT residents who are trying to avoid the image of, “Las Vegas East” or even more horrifying, “Atlantic City North.” If he can’t figure out the state’s fiscal woes, which he obviously cant, then the least he can do is attempt to salvage the perceived character of the state, which by the way, hasn’t existed outside of the gold coast in years.

Don’t worry though, he’ll figure it out. And he’ll get reelected.

Legacy over Growth in CT

Family. What is that Again?

From a Teacher,

It may come as a surprise to you, or it may not if you’ve been paying attention to this country over the past 20 years, that the majority of our problems as a society can be directly correlated to the break down of the family. This has been the premiere criticism of minority communities when crime stats in the United States are discussed and when pundits / talking heads exhaustively attempt to explain the problems facing the specific communities. I do not think it is an unimportant viewpoint. I do, however, think that the problem is more politically obvious within the middle class as a whole. Perfectly illustrated by our government when we are adults and by our school system when we are children. We simply don’t understand family but we desperately want it.

Firstly, it is important to understand that while politicians laboriously explain to their droves of admiring fans that everything is going to be better once we start manufacturing goods again, what they are doing is drawing a symbiotic relationship between the economy and the family. I am not naive enough to assume that financial strain doesn’t have a detrimental effect on a family as the two are not mutually exclusive. Therein lies the problem. They play such a large role in one another that there is no distinction. What needs to occur to fix the problem is simple; one simply needs to outshine the other and become the backbone for the other. How does that happen? Easy. Basically; teach your kids to work, to ask for nothing, to expect nothing and to have a desire to achieve which rivals and prevails against their own dreams, thus facilitating them. Let American families dictate their own lives and the economy will follow. But teach students about the changing economic landscape first. I address that in the last two paragraphs of this post. The problem is that we can’t even understand our own economy as I mentioned earlier in this paragraph, let alone our own families. We are under the thumb of the idea that we don’t make anything in this country anymore and therefore we are failing as a whole and that the American family is suffering by proxy. As pointed out by Kevin D. Williamson in the March 28th issue of the National Review:

“Americans have false beliefs about manufacturing for a few reasons: One is that while our factories produce much more than in the past, they employ fewer people; another is that we tend to produce capital goods and import consumer goods — you won’t see much labeled “Made in the USA” at Walmart, but you’ll see it on everything from the aircraft flown by foreign airlines to the robotics in automobile factories overseas.”

America produces and continues to produce. What this country is not producing anymore are people who have a vision for their own futures which conform to the realities of a constantly changing marketplace. In my view, this is principally because; Americans no longer have a concrete idea of family let alone it’s importance. If they did, they’d be more concerned with how to produce and compete in the future, in anticipation of being able to afford and care for a family rather than hanging on to assembly line jobs which are rapidly disappearing. Case in point; the liberal left. Regardless of progressive rhetoric and an overall whiny narcissism, the greatest achievements of the American left in recent times have been: the legalization of same-sex marriage and ersatz nationalized healthcare. The ideas of a progressive may stand in stark contrast to the ideas of a cultural or even philosophical conservative, but their ideals are oftentimes more similar than either would like to admit. Ideals concerning the desire for stability and extolling the virtues of normalcy and family. The fact is; regardless of changing the variables in the institution of marriage, the initiative to make gay marriage part of the norm in this country was purely based on the belief that all people should benefit from family. It was blanketed in, “equality” when in truth it was practically driven by it being more of a tax issue than anything else. But consider for a moment the relation between equality and family. Both are so sought after in this country that we are all convinced we know what each term means to a letter. However, if that were the case, gay marriage would have never been an issue. We are a long way from consensus. Two fathers, two mothers, three fathers, a mother two fathers and the electrician, whichever recipe creates a family is a-ok in the mind of a progressive. The question at that point has to be; are these people really interested in changing the family dynamic permanently or are they simply looking for a dynamic which makes sense to them because they have an overwhelming desire for family? We are by and large, a royally confused country.

When it comes to healthcare in this country; the progressive left has decided that the government has the responsibility to care for it’s citizenry’s health. This belief should not shock anyone not aligned with the left’s agenda. For years, minorities living in cities which mine as well be Democratic citadels, have been told that they are screwed from the moment they are born for no other reason than they were born. (I am not going to examine racism in the United States in this post, that can come at another time.) We are told constantly by politicians that we are incapable of making our own decisions. After a long enough exposure to that sort of spirit crushing condescension, it is natural for a person to start to believe it. When it comes to ObamaCare, the powers that be, have convinced themselves that they are working for a greater benevolence, a common good, which is worth the disenfranchisement of nearly half the country who simply didn’t want the law in the first place. The realities of ObamaCare are far more polarizing than unifying. It is true that people’s wages have gone down on account of it. It is true that people who would otherwise not receive certain treatments have benefited from the current system. What is also true, however, is that regardless of the flowery language used by both sides of the aisle; America is not supposed to be a day care. If nothing else, America is supposed to offer equal opportunity under the law, dictated by the auspices of personal freedom and guided by the stark, unpleasant realities of the decision making process of personal responsibility. No more, no less. I’m sorry, but the government is not your family, no matter how much you’ve been brainwashed into thinking it should be.

So Where do schools come into play?

From the very beginning we send our children to school with the hope that they become complete adults one day. The child is put into groups, categorized immediately. Grade, class, activity group, lunch rotation, team, club, new school with different categories, class based on ability, college prep, honors, high honors, teams, clubs, new school with different categories, dorm, grade, class, declared major, fraternity/sorority, teams, clubs, organizations, etc. Confusing, right? Add on top that through the entirety of the student’s academic career, they are being told that they are a, “school family” and not only will you have one confused child, but unless they go home to a relatively classic, stable home-life, they will organically come to the false realization that families are extensively compartmentalized and tracked. Kids are not being taught about the ever changing American marketplace. Kids are not taught about how to compete within their own classrooms anymore. Academically, our students suffer because of the lack of attention to how the child operates when they are not being shuffled around a school like cattle. In my time as a teacher, I have noticed one startling thing. The students who do the best academically when it comes to testing are the students who are the worst at working on their own when it comes to any assignment where they are told to be creative. They are experts at following directions but are helpless when given a topic, piece of paper, pen and a half hour to free-write something about it. That doesn’t bode well for a country let alone a rapidly changing and expanding global market.

We tell children that they are part of a larger school family, yet families are supposed to nurture children and provide for their futures. My students can tell you how to graph a polynomial, but none of them can tell you how to lay out a budget. They can tell you what the names of the different accent marks are in French, but can’t tell you how to make french fries. Is this the fault of the schools? Partly. We are not taking the precious amount of time we have with students and utilizing it to teach real world skills eventually moving into instruction about the wilderness of the future American economic landscape. We are teaching kids about which car reaches Dallas first from New York. So as educators, what is our responsibility when it comes to preparing a child to grow, mature and eventually be able to support their own family? To create a generation of kids who aren’t enthralled by the prospect of a society’s glamorized vision of socioeconomic, evolutionary regression. What are a couple of the many important responsibilities of the family? The responsibility of the family is to firstly, exist. Secondly, be special enough for the student/child to not only draw a clear distinction between, government, school, organization and family, but want to draw that distinction. The best education starts at home.

That is not on me, as a teacher.

Families clearly need to do their jobs, too. But how can they? The institution is so ethereal at this point we’re not even sure what it is anymore.

Family. What is that Again?

Lets Just Burn Down all the Things!

With the GOP race to the nomination now down to three men, it is becoming clear which routes each candidate needs to take in order to secure the nomination and all roads lead to a brokered convention. Which isn’t the worst thing in the world but it does reflect poorly on the party in the eyes of the nation. In any other cycle, this election is a virtual layup for the GOP. This year however, the GOP has done what it does best; shot itself in the foot.

A question that I can’t seem to answer or find a sufficient answer to; why, with all of the plethora of polling data available showing Trump as the weakest candidate in the general election, do those who claim to be the most angry support him? Wouldn’t it stand to reason that the anger would galvanize support around the clear favorite in the general? It didn’t. Resoundingly. It would be too easy to simply blame willful ignorance. Marco Rubio was ultimately done in by his own campaign’s lackadaisical attitude towards the election itself. Not setting up shop in any of the important early primary states was a product of the campaign’s belief that Marco was anointed years before any of this began after ousting Crist in Florida.

The answer to the, ‘why do the angry…’ question is all of a sudden crystal clear today. The anger of the Trump crowd is pointed directly towards… drum-roll, please; their own party. Which I suspect we all knew already. Have you ever noticed that the fights you get into with friends and family are almost always ten times more vicious than fights that you get into with people you don’t care all that much about? The fights within our own groups are vicious because each member involved feels personally attacked, regardless of the authenticity of the claim. It feels better, more satisfying  to punch your friend for doing something which you feel betrays the friendship than it does to punch a stranger who picks a fight with you. Trump supporters feel betrayed. They feel let down. They feel completely disenfranchised by the leaders they had chosen to bring about a united effort against the Obama administration.

This is expressly the fault of Mitch McConnell and  Paul Ryan, in my opinion. McConnell has done nothing but disappoint in his tenure as Senate majority leader. Ted Cruz’s pointing out of McConnell’s penchant for stooping to Harry Reid’s level, while accurate to a certain extent, was a tremor in the discord earthquake which would give rise to the Trump tsunami. That coupled, of course, with Ryan’s caving to Democrats at every turn, supporting bailout after bailout and helping to push a spending bill which supported Planned Parenthood as recently as last October, did a tremendous amount of damage to the conservative brand. The final straw for many, was the disastrous budget deal of last December in which Ryan frantically tried to assure conservatives that there were certain policy victories hidden within. That’s not enough, Mr. Speaker. I don’t blame Republicans for being angry. I am too. However, this throwing the baby out with the bathwater approach speaks volumes about the anger which fuels Trump supporters. Anger, when channeled and focused is an amazing motivator. When it is unchecked, nebulous and is given a figurehead who is brilliant at interweaving deep-seated prejudice into an overall message which reinforces a false narrative, it is down right scary.

The disenchantment with the GOP cannot be completely to blame for Trump’s rise. It is quite simple and has been pointed out by various media outlets already. It is a combination of 5 things;

  1. Unlimited free air time from major networks.
  2. A sense of being fed up with political correctness propagated by their own side.
  3. The unfounded belief that Americans (who are currently screaming for higher minimum wage) will take the low paying jobs that illegals normally take.
  4. A cringed feeling of world-wide ridicule at our perceived ineptitude in dealing with anything which doesn’t have to do with overreaching social policy.
  5. Prejudice.

Now, I am not going to pretend that I don’t somewhat agree with number 4. The United States has routinely, over the past 7 years, shown that we are willing to prefer a lessened status among world powers in exchange for being cast in a more favorable light by countries which couldn’t care less about us in the first place. In the end, Trumpism is more about sticking it to the GOP than it is about any sort of vision for the future. They want to hurt their tribe more than they want to hurt the other. They expect disappointment from the other tribe. Whenever someone becomes overly emotional about a particular candidate rather than the principals by which that candidate would govern, the concern is there in spades. It is the only rational explanation for the complete denial of polling data that shows Trump supporters that their candidate is a huge embarrassment in November.

Either that or its that pesky number 5, rearing it’s ugly head again. But I’m pretty sure most Trump supporters would respond to that much like the boiler plate answer given to the umpteen million questions asked of the closet racist about the hypothetical Black family moving in down the street; we’ll talk about that when we’re alone. 

 

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Lets Just Burn Down all the Things!

Conservatism and Clarification

Last night I was thrust into a conversation about conservatism with an absolute stranger on Twitter. Now, if you have twitter you know that you are not required to respond to anyone, at any time, at all. However, if you know me, you know that I don’t have the ability to stifle myself. As you can see from the screenshot below, it was going nowhere. The question which I answered was, “what is conservatism?” My response; equal opportunity for everyone under the law.

The conversation went nowhere as you can plainly see. This Rhodes Scholar took a page from the, “keep asking questions in an attempt to seem interesting” play which was perfectly illustrated by Steve Carell in, ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin.’ However, the question got me thinking; what is conservatism? Or more importantly, what do people incorrectly see as conservatism?

My party is in complete disarray and is essentially handing the Democrats the White House this year. There is time to turn that around, however that time is rapidly running out. The word, “conservative” is a punchline now. As comedian, author and generally whiney white guy, Michael Ian Black tweeted yesterday; “conservatism is built on protecting white people.” This interpretation initially made me chuckle until I thought to myself; ‘with the advent of DJT’s idiotic fear mongering and vitriol, who could blame him for thinking that?’

Marco Rubio has beautifully explained during a number of debates what conservatism is: limited government, the chances offered to citizens through free enterprise and a strong national defense. He is absolutely right, however, the problem is that is a dissection of political conservatism. If the GOP is to survive the current civil war in which we find ourselves, it needs to embrace the idea that there MUST be a clear distinction between political conservatism and cultural conservatism. It must also recognize that the majority of conservatives are being misrepresented by a pack of rabid nativists. My definition can be found in the screenshot. Cultural conservatism is simply this; the belief that each individual should be held accountable for his or her own actions and the course of his or her own lives and that the course of their lives should not in any way be determined by government, period.

Until the American people understand the difference and see the difference in their candidates we will have more and more Donald J. Trumps cropping up to seemingly clarify, to the horror of some and delight of others, what conservatism truly is.

And that is scary.

IMG_5519 (2)

 

 

Conservatism and Clarification

Explaining Last Night and What Needs to Happen Next

Last night saw Donald Trump perform relatively well in the Super Tuesday contest. Why only relatively well? Because I, personally, thought he was going to sweep with the possibility of maybe losing Texas. There is no denying that he is the man to beat at this early yet mathematically important stage of the game. In this post I will attempt to explain what I took out of last night and what the GOP candidates need to do to derail the con-man in the hairpiece. So who will win the Republican nomination? It’s tricky and nothing is certain as of this moment, no matter how much Breitbart, Drudge and Fox news want you to believe it is.

Marco Rubio: Desperately needs to win his home state of Florida. If current polls are any indication of what might happen; it looks like Trump wins handily. However, we must examine who the polls are questioning. Florida is a closed primary. Which means that polling, “likely voters” and “people who identify as conservative / Republican” is much different than asking registered Republicans. There isn’t enough time to register in the Republican Party if your intention was solely to vote for Trump. So I am dubious of the polls, however not to the point of consolation. Rubio did a bit better than I would have bet two days ago. He took Minnesota and was incredibly competitive in a couple other states with Virginia as the prime example. He can put the blame squarely on Kasich’s shoulders for the loss of Virginia. Rubio has said that he will take this to the convention floor if need be and will not give up the fight until Trump is dethroned. I would like to believe him but it is fairly obvious that March 15th will tell the tale for his campaign. At that point, suspension of the campaign would make sense if he is hoping to mount another attempt in four years.

Kasich / Carson: Go away. Your campaigns are hurting the party and are painfully obvious. They are massive fundraising entities and nothing more. They add nothing to debate any longer. They have no chance and in their better moments I would wager that neither of them are even thinking about the campaign in any sort of forthright way any longer. They need to go and go soon. They have vowed that they won’t which is awful news for the GOP but they haven’t felt the full pressure of the RNC… yet.

Cruz: He hit his peak last night. Unfortunately, taking OK along with TX. I would have preferred a Trump sweep if only to force Cruz to understand that he has not path forward and drop out. A Rubio/Cruz ticket is what The Donald fears the most. A Cruz/Rubio ticket would only stand to be an annoying warm up before he takes on Hillary. He lost his meal ticket with Evangelicals in the SEC. They flocked to Trump. Proving what we have known about Evangelicals all along; they’re the flimsiest kind of Christian. How so? Ask them what they feel about abortion and then ask them to explain Trump’s stance on Planned Parenthood. Then ask them to justify their votes. Make sure you have a bucket and a mop handy if you do, however. His two wins will fuel his fire a little longer unless the projected March 15 polls and enough pressure from Reince can force his suspension. It is highly unlikely. Anyway, he’s done in any real capacity aside from being the key to derailing Trump.

What does the GOP need to do? So, the next two weeks will need to be watched closely. Pressure from the RNC and from conservative PACs need to do whatever is necessary within moral reason in order to convince the two albatrosses to drop from the race. It also needs to convince Cruz of the possibility of a very disappointing showing on March 15th which would spell career suicide for him for the foreseeable future. It needs to coalesce behind Rubio.

What do the anti-Trump people need to do? Forget about trying to convince Trump supporters about the fact that their candidate is more liberal than conservative, the fact that he is a liar, the fact that he is a hypocrite, the fact that he doesn’t have a single comprehensive policy and understand that the majority of them are simply fed up with the government. Don’t even attempt to explain the irony of that to them or you will be told that you and “yer ten dollar college words can go on an’ git!” (That was a joke, relax.) We need to keep up the intense ridicule of the candidate himself, not of them. This is not a war against other Americans. This is a war against one American. A hateful, misogynistic, selfish American. And if the worst should happen and he gets the nomination, which will lead to the loss of the WH, Congress and SCOTUS, it will not be their fault, it will be his.

We’ll see.

Explaining Last Night and What Needs to Happen Next