US Heading for Currency Crisis

While having learned to cover their butts by adding some modest modifiers to their generally rosy forecasts, the administration's shills (Geithner, Bernanke, Summers, et al.) are unified in telling us that the worst is over. The fact is that the U.S., nay, the world, is headed for fiat currency crash. Let's push forward with some evidence in support of that contention.

In this fiscal year, the U.S. government will run its second trillion-dollar-plus deficit. Concerned about the political heat going into the November elections, the Democrats have been making noise about cleaning up their sloppy spending. A couple of months back, El Presidente of this banana republic intoned that his government...[cannot] continue to spend as if deficits don't have consequences... as if the hard-earned tax dollars of the American people can be treated like Monopoly money.

Which is to say, he acknowledged that the deficits have consequences. And what might those consequences be? For starters, rising interest rates. Because in order to finance its hyperactive spending, the government will have to sell a lot of debt - and because all the developed nations find themselves in the same boat, they'll have to manage those sales in an increasingly competitive environment. Of course, higher interest rates put yet more pressure on the many businesses that rely on access to capital to sustain themselves. And higher rates crush borrowing for houses and other large-ticket items... which means, they crush the economy. Especially one perched on a foundation of debt.

Inflation is another consequence, because when the prospective debt buyers begin to stay home or, more likely, agree to show up but only for a more attractive yield, the Fed will increasingly be forced to monetize the debt. Leading to the demand for even higher yields. Once the monetization begins in earnest, and in plain sight, Obama's high-speed spending train will find itself on very wiggly tracks, leading in relatively short order to a debt-fueled currency crash.

The point is that the only real hope for the country starts with deep cuts in government spending. Now, I am not talking about cutting spending - you know, where you stand in front of a warmed-up audience and talk about spending cuts. But honest-to-goodness, real spending cuts. Which brings me to Mars.

Yesterday the president gave a speech at Cape Canaveral where, ahead of time, it was advertised that he would announce serious cuts in the space program. That was the fiction spun out to the pundits. Instead, when it came time to stand and deliver, Obama delivered a $6 billion boost in NASA's budget, then offset the cancellation of a program that would once again send men to the moon by announcing a new program to land astronauts on Mars... and drop in on an asteroid as well. Over the course of my days on this remarkable planet of ours, I have had the opportunity to get to know all manner of personality types. One of the most troubled have been the serial spenders... deluded individuals that simply can't help but buy all that their hearts desire, no matter how much pain results from their debt-financed spending. That describes today's political class. Unless and until you start hearing the president making speeches about not going to Mars, followed by wishing legions of government employees the best of luck as they enter the private sector, the only conclusion to be drawn is that a space ship isn't the only thing headed for outer space, but government debt as well.

The spending is unsustainable and so won't be sustained.

Comments

The spending is unsustainable and so won't be sustained.

That's not correct. The spending already is not sustained, in fact, it isn't happening at all. Obama didn't spend anything to say what he said, not even political capital.

In addition to the "spend" personality you describe, there is a "pessimist" personality too. You and I both quality.

That said, it is a good thing we are not in charge of anything, truer for you than for me, I think. Because if we were, our decisions would exacerbate a downward spiral that would likely be catastrophically destructive. Some might say it already is, what with our insane wars on brown people, heathens and drugs.

The optimists are making a bet. Spend common dollars (yes, I know they are obtained by coercion) and do it hard and fast. WPA for the 21st century and all that. Use that debt financing to reestablish an employment base, outsourcing as much as possible to private companies while trying to stabilize the public sector workforce at as many levels as possible. Aim for a vision of the future in which the new normal looks as much as possible like the old normal, with a vibrant mix of public and private spending working together to keep as many people as possible out of dire straits. The optimists see this spending as a bridge to recovery, where growth fuels surpluses that claw back the deficit.

My own preference would be for a radical restructuring of taxes that did two things:

1. Everybody pays something one way or another, even if that something is universal service (military or otherwise). Nobody has zero taxes.

2. Everybody pays more.

3. Those at the tip top of the income ladder pay MUCH more.

All that said, I'm not in charge and neither are you. This is a good thing. Our approach would guarantee instant collapse and suffering. The optimists have at least a chance at doing something less destructive to an entire generation of human beings.

Socialism isn't hurting you, not one bit. Yes, maybe you're shelling out more in taxes than you want, but beyond that, what's the problem? What freedom are you itching to exercise that you can't ... or is this all about money?

The So-Called 'Optimists'

Well, first of all, this isn't about "my" money or "my" success, since regardless of direction We the People decide to go, you and I will most likely succeed. I'm making some unsupported allegations here, but my best guess is, you and I will be just fine either way, since our success doesn't depend on whether or not I live in a truly free market, socialist or communist economy. My success depends on my ability to recognize where I need to apply my energy and what I need to do to make money and be successful, not on government.

Unlike our Founding Fathers, I doubt I'm in a position to fire upon my own home and destroy every ounce of wealth I've accumulated in pursuit of an ideal, but that doesn't mean I'm not concerned with the principles of liberty or the plight of my family, neighbors and friends.

I don't like to think of myself as either an optimist nor a pessimist, merely a realist. The reality is the so-called 'optimists' you speak of are doing exactly what they desire to do; sustain an unsustainable lifestyle and using every means available to them to do so. The realist in me understands that this is very much human behavior, and I'm invested accordingly. I'll make money and be successful because I know professional politicians will do everything they can, in the short term, to appease the angry mobs to the very peril of our country and economic system. Hopefully, I will also recognize when it is time to move investments prior to the inevitable crash of our fiat currency system. Markets always correct themselves, and corrections only take longer, resulting in more pain and suffering to the average Citizen with extreme government meddling.

I'm probably more of a 'progressive' than you, in that I'm willing to consider a system with even more liberty and freedom than what our Founding Fathers imagined, and have even more trust and faith in the ability of man to govern themselves, without regressing to systems that have been proven time and time again to be nothing more than failures.

My own preference would be to:

1. Repeal the 14th Amendment and make everyone equal and sovereign Citizens thereby putting the People in charge of our government instead of begging for privileges and special recognition and protection from our professional politicians. We would all have our inalienable Rights instead of watered-down Civil liberties.
2. Repeal the 16th Amendment and end slavery once and for all. No more would any Citizen have his or her labor taxed.
3. Limit the federal government to only those duties and responsibilities delegated to it as listed in Art 1, Sec 8.
4. Return our currency to the gold standard and end reckless spending once and for all, thereby ending the endless printing of worthless fiat currency.
5. The People through their States can tax and provide whatever 'safety nets' the People of their respective States determine.
6. Wealthy people always consume more than poor people, therefore they always pay considerably more taxes. Without the unconstitutional income tax, the wealthy will pay the vast majority of tax through property tax and sales tax, etc. etc.. I have no problem with paying tax because I benefit from the very system I support. The sad fact is, poor people suffer the most from income taxation since it is confiscated and withheld without their permission. When I was a child, I was taught this is nothing more than stealing - and stealing is wrong.

You're correct, socialism isn't hurting me personally, nor will it ever. It is, however, hurting the least able among us, because it is a failed 'regressive' political system that is unsustainable and reduces sovereign individuals to nothing more than indentured servants and slaves of professional politicians and government. One only has to look around the crowd during any campaign season and watch as the slaves 'beg' and 'ask' their elected masters to take care of them, and what they are going to do for them. It is a pitiful sight. Perhaps people deep down have a yearning for slavery, since it is always easier to defer the consequences of choice to someone else. Our current government controlled compulsory education system teaches intellectual dependency and group-think. It was designed to create docile factory workers. Government compulsory education isn't designed to turn our children into philosophers, authors, educators, poets, artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, politicians, statesmen, or men of science.

The history of our scientific schooling in not debatable. Between 1896 and 1920, a small group of industrialists and financiers, together with their private charitable foundations, subsidized, and spent more money on schooling than the government itself did, with the aim of bending schooling to the service of business and the political state. Why is this important, because it effects our entire system and explains the political leanings of average Americans today. It is truly impossible to find the 'rugged individualism' that America used to pride itself upon. Government compulsory education is actually designed to maintain unevenly spread wealth amongst the 'haves'. Read the views of an insider of modern schooling, H. H. Goddard, chair of psychology at Princeton. He said that government schooling is "the perfect organization of the hive." He wrote that standardized testing would cause the lower classes to face their biological inferiority (sort of like wearing a public dunce cap), which would discourage their reproduction and [influence within society].

I want to free the People from this absurd societal engineering and dependence on government. I don't believe neither you nor I determine what 'success' is or what is 'good' or 'bad' for another individual. I think most Americans have bought into what they've been taught or become accustomed to. Modern progressive'ism ought to challenge the status quo and continually reject the notion that government is the answer to all of our problems. 18th, 19th and 20th century solutions don't always work for 21st century problems. It is time to have an honest discussion on how we save this country, or we will inevitably fail as every other empire has before us.

Sometimes I read your stuff and wonder if you've really

given any real thought...I mean REAL thought...to what you're saying. I also wonder why you're so focused on constitutional changes and the gold standard when other things going on in our world are likely to have greater impact on your life and all of our lives. Be that as it may be...or not...you might want to consider the perhaps unintended consequences if you got your wish.

Lets start with the "gold standard." There's about 147 Million oz of gold in Ft. Knox. There's about $800 Billion of US currency in circulation. That doesn't include the huge amount of electronic money floating around or money stuffed in mattresses, etc. My guess would be you'd have to value gold at well over $10K an ounce...and I'll leave it to you to ponder the consequences.

All the other changes you want...again...think of the potential unintended consequences as the amendments /articles you enumerated are repealed. Let's end all the social programs just as you wish. I assume you mean now...immediately. Hope your parents aren't depending on Social Security to help make their mortgage...they'll soon be living with you...or someone's parents will be living with their kids. I could go on for pages. Are many things wrong? You betcha! It's wrong that Nancy Pelosi spends $1M/year of our tax money flying back and forth to CA...and that those monies include $35-50K a year for booze for her flights. Did other speakers, regardless of party, do other things just as heinous? I'm certain they did.

I personally don't think the above, or anything you're worried about or you've recommended fixes for, means diddly squat compared to the other problems we have associated with our diminishing energy supplies, the trashing of our planet, and the extinction of many species...and so on.

Like James, I too suggest you take the longer view. What are the real problems affecting us today...beyond taxes and wasteful spending? What about the drug cartels in Mexico...and our drug laws? What about a nuclear Iran? What about energy and our crumbling infrastructure? What about the billions we spend on highways that will soon have no automobiles (as we know them) to travel them? What about developing local food supplies and farm to market capabilities...? What about pure drinking water?

We need to go to the moon again, or an asteroid, like we need a another hole in our heads. We have real problems here, now. No one in either party...nor the "tea party" is talking about these things. It's all BS...just words...no action.

Finally, you're really hung up on public schools. In fact you're downright insulting sometimes to those of us who attended such places. (I guess you're a private school guy?) Anyway, if you want to talk about things that might make private schools superior, that's a good topic and I'd likely agree with much anyone had to say about better discipline, better this and that...but this conspiracy stuff you spout is downright foolish.

Stan Bozarth

Considering Fiat Money

Lets start with the "gold standard."

That's an excellent place to start. The consequences you speak of began on August 15, 1971, when then President Richard Nixon took U.S. currency off the gold standard. From that date forward, there has been no link between the U.S. currency and gold (or any other commodity) except the nation's credit. Our current system is one of fiat money - a system in which the government claims a value but does not back it up with gold (or other) reserves. Before that date, the U.S. currency was backed by silver so dollars were called silver certificates. Today, however, a bill of our fiat money is identified as a Federal Reserve Note - not a certificate worth redemption in silver or gold, but literally an IOU issued by the Fed. In practice, prior to 1971, in most of the world - including the United States - currency had been backed by gold for more than 100 years. The gold standard was a useful and important economic tool. The fact that gold itself existed only in limited supply meant that it served as an inhibitor in the rapid increase of currency in circulation. The government could not simply print all the money it wanted to, because it had to be backed by silver in terms of dollars issued, or in gold in terms of purchasing power internationally. At the time, the dollar was valued at $38/ounce of gold. It is easy to see how far the dollar has declined in value. Today, a mere 40 years later, it takes nearly $1,200 to buy that same ounce of gold. It doesn't matter where the powers to be decide to peg the value of a dollar, but if it isn't backed by gold (or other commodity) soon, it will eventually reach its intrinsic value of $0. This not only affects you and me, but every holder of U.S. currency. Those least able among us, such as retirees and others on fixed incomes, will see their entire life savings wiped out in seconds. The question you ought to be asking is, why did the U.S. and the rest of the world back their currencies to a commodity for all those many years, and what will be the consequences if we don't return to what works sooner rather than later.

Why gold?

Why not carbon or copper? Why not zirconium?

Gold vs. other metals

I don't consider myself an expert on the commodity backing of currency, but needless to say, gold is probably used due to its long history as 'real' money throughout the ages. It is also a limited resource that has always been in high demand. I suppose one could say that oil enjoys a similar status today as well. Perhaps gold is preferred since copper, zirconium, silver and many other metals are primarily used for industrial purposes.

If you want rare and hard

Iridium would be good. Platinum would be good if you want less rare. Stay away the transuranic elements. Some of those babies are really rare but have a short half-life; nature's version of a Credit Default Swap (CDSium).

b.

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There cannot fail to be more kinds of things, as nature grows further disclosed. - Sir Francis Bacon

You didn't read a darn thing...

just parroted a bunch of commonly known facts. I asked if you ever thought about the stuff you say. Obviously you don't. It's just the same stuff you can hear on Glenn Beck...the witless wonder.

Stan Bozarth

Getting to 'Em as Fast as Possible

I'm not ignoring your points, Stan. I'm getting to 'em as fast as possible. It is the weekend and I've got the 'honey-do' list to contend to as well. I just got done pulling some old red tip hedges from the side yard and I'm beat. I enjoy reading your posts and will do my best to respond. Everything I type is my own, which probably explains why much of it is considered ridiculous by most. With that said, I do, however, think that progressives ought to consider every possible choice and brain storm for new and innovative ways to fix our problems. I don't pretend to have all the answers, and actually know with certainty that I don't, but that doesn't mean together we can't consider options and possibilities that have never been tried before. I've responded to the gold standard and social programs and will be addressing the next issue shortly. Again, thanks for the participation and your thoughts.

As Heard on Beck?

Stan, I'll be the first to concede that I don't watch as much TV as I probably ought to in order to keep up with what the 'talking heads' are saying, but on those few occasions that I do watch, I've never heard anyone promote the repeal of the 14th, 16th, and 17th Amendments. I would probably fall out of my chair if I ever heard such, since the media has long been in bed with government and the professional politicians and I've never seen any of them engage in critical thinking skills. If Glenn Beck is pushing for the repeal of the 14th Amendment, then good for him! Evidently, I'm not alone in realizing that this Amendment is nothing more than a modern version of slavery.

I'm not arguing for or against "fiat money."

My question was...do you really give any thought to what you say?

Most folks know everything you mentioned above. It's history and it's in the books.

You want to return to the gold standard...so, without lots of suppositions, that means every dollar needs to be backed by some measurable, obtainable, amount of gold. You should be able to go to the bank with a $100 greenback and get your equivalency in gold (in some reasonably timely manner.) With current inventories, currency vs gold, that means the treasury would ask you for about $10,000 and give you in return a one troy oz gold disk. On the way home mama calls and asks you to pick up a pound of bananas and a gallon of milk. At checkout you find yourself short of greenbacks and hand them the gold disk. They say...sorry sir, we're low on $1000 bills so you'll have to take your change in ones and fives. Will you need help carrying your change to the car, sir?

Absurd...right? So, thoughtfully, one might say...our current money isn't worth anything of enduring measurable value, and that's a problem. So...how do we fix that? Honestly, I don't know. But the answer is not as simple as saying a "return to the gold standard" and that's my comment to you...about many of your statements: It's not that simple, and there are unanswered and/or unconsidered consequences you never mention or seem to consider.

Think about all the unanswered questions if one repeals the parts of the Constitution you so glibly call for. What's the likely scenario? I'm not saying change isn't needed...I'm simply, again, saying it's not that simple...as you so often want to make it sound. Let the states run everything not specifically given to the Feds in the Constitution and repeal the tax laws.... There's a recipe for utter disaster.

State A decides to raise monies and spread the tax load evenly by taxing toilet paper at $10 a roll. Neighboring State B decides to raise monies by taxing gasoline $5 a gallon. People is State A buy their TP in State B and State B people fill up in State A. Pretty soon State A issues tax stamps to be affixed to toilet paper and you're subject to arrest if found with illegal toilet paper....and so on. (Sound familiar? Liquor? Cigarettes? Etc?)

State B see's it's in deep shit because gasoline sales fall to nothing and decides to repeal the gas tax and instead tax toilet flushes, requiring all toilets in the state to be equipped with electronic flush counters... Once a month your flushes are transmitted to the state and you're billed. Meanwhile, Acme toilets develops and sells the 300 gallon (subFloor) holding tank toilet that flushes only once about every 100 times a normal toilet needs to be flushed... and State B throws its hands up and mandates the toilets allowable. Acme sues.... There's shit everywhere...

Silly? Sure! But think about the insanity that comes out of our state legislatures. I seem to recall something about a mandatory eye exam law passed by a NC Optometrist legislator... Our problems need to be solved...not magnified by 50.

So, why don't you pick a topic, THINK about it, and tell us what you think needs to be done...or ask for ideas...and stop gibbering the same old poop spouted by Rush and Glenn and Sean and Neal.

Stan Bozarth

Rush, Glenn, Sean, et al Aren't Progressive Liberals

I've already covered this, but will again for your benefit. Neither Rush, Glenn, Sean, Neal, or any other of the talking heads on TV and radio are Progressive Liberals, and therefore WOULD NEVER advocate the freedom and liberty I espouse. They do NOT support the repeal of the 14th Amendment or a truly free society, where people are free to be whom they desire, or engage in activity that makes them happy. So let's stop comparing me to so-called conservatives that are against gays, gay marriage, abortion, etc. etc..

Social Programs More Efficient at State Level

Let's end all the social programs just as you wish. I assume you mean now...immediately. Hope your parents aren't depending on Social Security to help make their mortgage...they'll soon be living with you...or someone's parents will be living with their kids.

I don't see any need for ending all social programs, unless of course, that is what the people of a particular State desire. All social 'safety nets' ought to be handled at the State level for a variety of reasons. First, and most importantly, because We the People never delegated that responsibility to the federal government. However, probably the best reason, would be because they would be much more efficiently run at local levels. States would also be able to see what works and isn't working in other States, and be able to tailor their individual programs to the specific needs of their State. As far as those reaching retirement age, I hope nobody is still paying a mortgage at age 65, or attempting to live a decent life on the pittance they receive from SS. As far as moving back in with the kids, I see no problem with that either. Families routinely do this anyway, and in most cultures (not ours unfortunately) families regard their elderly with much respect and it is an honor to have grandpa and grandma living at home passing on their life experiences and wisdom to the younger generations. In America, we generally prefer to put our elderly away in old folks homes to die lonely miserable deaths at the hands of poorly paid CNAs. Many of us have had to care for our elderly parents in our homes, and though it can be difficult, is always worth the effort. I suppose grandfathering those that are on the federal dole now would be easy enough, but allow the younger generations the option of participating in State systems if they so desire.

Not so

First, and most importantly, because We the People never delegated that responsibility to the federal government.

Of course we delegated that responsibility, otherwise it would not be so. We can undelegate it, as would be your preference, but to pretend that our current interpretation of laws is "wrong" or accidental is silliness of the highest order.

Article 1 Section 8

I took an oath some time back to "uphold and defend the Constitution". Because I took that oath, I figured I'd better read the thing. I also read quite a bit of books with regards to the Constitution and can assure you that we've never delegated social safety nets to the federal government. If you find it in there, let the rest of us know, because none of us have been able to find it. The 'commerce clause' won't cut it either, even though the federal government uses it exclusively to justify all sorts of mischief.

Sometimes you are really dense

If we haven't delegated social safety nets to the federal government, then how did it come to pass that the federal government is now largely responsible for them? Was it an illegal takeover? Says who? You? Was it the invisible hand? Was it voodoo? Fairy dust? How did those damn safety nets get where they are?

You're still pretending as though Constitution has intrinsic meaning, true meaning ... and that you're one of the chosen few who understand that meaning. That's crazy. The holy Bible itself is open to wild interpretation - a text that's supposed to be from god's lips to our ears. Why would the hastily crafted prose of a few privileged white guys be any more definitive than god's word?

For a person who purports to be a realist, you sure have a fantasy view of how things ought to be. But sharing that view over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again doesn't make it any more relevant or useful.

It's a Written Legal Document

Fortunately, for all of us, the Constitution was written down on paper, therefore one only needs to read it. If social safety nets have been delegated to the federal government by We the People, one could merely point to the specific text and demonstrate. It is no different than any other contract. If you are a business man, or not, I'm sure you've entered into many contracts. Perhaps you've secured a loan, or a mortgage on a home, or purchased insurance, or any other arrangements under the law of equity, whereby you are accountable to the agreement that you entered into and signed. The Constitution is no different. It isn't even that long of a document that one couldn't easily find the part you claim is contained within. Just show us where that has been delegated and I'll cede my position.

Natural Resources

the other problems [such as] our diminishing energy supplies, the trashing of our planet, and the extinction of many species...

I remember a story I heard about those living in New York City complaining about the amount of horse manure on the streets, and forecasting the amount of dung the city was going to have to cope with as the city continued to grow. What happened? We invented the automobile! I guess what I'm trying to say is, free market capitalism has proven to be the most innovative system in the world for both new technologies and protection of our natural resources. That doesn't mean we should forget about taking care of our environment, but the U.S. does a pretty good job with balancing our economy with preserving the environment. Again, Americans don't need to be coerced to do the right thing. We recycle at my house. I think most households are the same. We re-use what we can, even with new construction. Solar, wind, hydro and geo-thermal energy is catching on and many are converting their homes to re-usable energy sources. We're even considering putting some panels on the roof at our house. It won't take care of all of our energy needs, since we have a full house of 5 and sometimes 6, but it will certainly pay for itself over time. Many States are offering incentives for the conversion, and if a household produces more than it uses, the utility buys the extra power. I don't worry much about this since I've traveled the world and I'm pretty confident we are doing very well here at home. What we don't need is more taxation to support a bloated bureaucracy based on controversial junk science. We live on on evolving planet, this includes humans, animals, landmass, and seas. New forms of life evolve and some become extinct. We shouldn't hasten the process and always do our best not to interfere, but bottom line is, volcanoes, earthquakes and temperature changes happen.

War on Drugs = Waste of Resources

What about the drug cartels in Mexico...and our drug laws? What about a nuclear Iran? What about energy and our crumbling infrastructure? What about the billions we spend on highways that will soon have no automobiles (as we know them) to travel them? What about developing local food supplies and farm to market capabilities...? What about pure drinking water?

Citizens are sovereign, and therefore can do what they will with their own bodies. If someone wants to do drugs, as so many choose to do, who cares? All I can tell you, is I've been involved in the so-called War on Drugs, and it is a complete waste of resources that has unintended consequences as seen in Mexico and elsewhere. Drugs should be legalized and taxed. Iran will get a nuclear weapon, just as N. Korea has, and the world will be fine. The U.S. has no business determining what another sovereign nation decides to build in order to defend itself. If N. Korea or Iran plan on attacking the U.S., then they will be annihilated and they know that - real simple. We need to stop being the world's police force dispensing our ideas of right and wrong upon the rest of the world. Don't believe the sword rattlers. Our military might is unsurpassed in the world. There isn't a military force in existence today that can match our armed services. As far as crumbling infrastructure, perhaps with limiting the federal government's responsibilities and ending all of the unconstitutional forays, the States can easily rebuild America with the latest technology. Local food supplies and organic small farms are on the increase as Americans are quickly learning that corporate farming is bad for their health. No telling what effect our overuse of chemicals and hormones are having on our youth today. I think folks are catching on, and I recommend everyone start a small garden and start growing their own fruits and vegetable. It's cheaper, better for you, and an excellent learning experience for the youngsters. Water catchment systems are catching on as well. Lots of people are putting on metal roofs and collecting rain water. High tech toilets and even flushless toilets are becoming popular in some areas. Again, this is America and I don't see any reason to fret about our inability to solve problems. Free market capitalism always has answered the call in this respect.

Can't Afford Space Right Now

We need to go to the moon again, or an asteroid, like we need a another hole in our heads. We have real problems here, now. No one in either party...nor the "tea party" is talking about these things. It's all BS...just words...no action.

We're in complete agreement concerning NASA! I'll be the first to tell anyone that space travel is cool. We just don't have the money for it right now, and there isn't anything on the moon that's gonna fix our immediate problems. If Obama had a set of brass ones, he'd just shut down NASA until we're back on solid financial footing again. Unfortunately, he won't.

Public Schools = Gov't Jobs Program

Finally, you're really hung up on public schools. In fact you're downright insulting sometimes to those of us who attended such places. (I guess you're a private school guy?) Anyway, if you want to talk about things that might make private schools superior, that's a good topic and I'd likely agree with much anyone had to say about better discipline, better this and that...but this conspiracy stuff you spout is downright foolish.

I went to a mix of public schools and prIvate schools. I was completely bored out of my mind. School was nothing but a complete waste of my time. College, for that matter, was also a complete waste of my time, and I went to a very nice private university too, but all they fed me was someone's opinion about a source. Thank goodness, I love to read and had a library card. Why read what someone thinks of Mills or Kant? Why not just read Mills or Kant? Why read somebody else's pre-thought thoughts. Just read the source and come up with your own thoughts! I don't feel sorry for either you nor me. I do, however, am absolutely terrified about our children that have to endure the public school system. It isn't a conspiracy, it's fact. Public schools are big business no different than any government contracting operation. One ought to look at public schools the same way someone looks at Blackwater. The amount of money poured into this never-ending abyss is mind boggling with hardly a cent reaching the intended source. Success in the public school system is getting promoted away from having to teach our children. Think about that. The amount of money spent doesn't equate to the quality of education. Back in the 1950s, many schools were one room buildings with a wood burning stove for heat and those kids learned calculus and latin! I'm dead serious about ending the miserable government monopoly we call compulsory public education. It is a failure and the science behind its creation and inception is obsolete and a proven disaster. Personally, I homeschool my boys and they are way above their peer group in every area, without much effort. Kids teach themselves and merely need to be exposed to life in order to learn. This subject is near and dear to my heart. Fortunately, homeschooling is on the rise again in this country. It is of the utmost importance for the survival of our republic. Without a well educated citizenry, we are doomed. We need folks that are risk takers and aren't afraid to think outside the box. We need inventors, musicians, scientists, poets, et al.. We need to encourage our children to start their own businesses; be entrepreneurs and inventors, not wage slaves for the Department of Labor. Do some research in this area and I'll think you'll be excited about what some families and various organizations are doing with regards to educating our youth today.

Personally, I homeschool my

Personally, I homeschool my boys and they are way above their peer group in every area, without much effort. Kids teach themselves and merely need to be exposed to life in order to learn. This subject is near and dear to my heart. Fortunately, homeschooling is on the rise again in this country.

I'm glad your experience with home schooling has been a success. I've taught students in a public school that had previously been home schooled. I've seen a fairly large number of them in fact. Some of them were excellent students, some of them were pretty much average, and some of them were extremely weak academically. None of them were "way above their peer group" though sometimes almost always their parents thought they were. I've also coach academic teams that have competed with teams from charter, private, home school organizations, and magnet schools. Guess what! Our regular ole, poor, rural, public school students have won a whole heck of a lot more than they lost. The truth is motivated students will prosper wherever they are and unmotivated students will struggle. I would lay odds that if your boys are as strong academically as you present them to be they would have been in whatever academic setting you place them in.

I'm a moderate Democrat.

John Taylor Gatto

In the state of North Carolina, students that learn at homes are required to receive annual testing by an outside source that compares them to their peer group (grade equivalency). You are right that my children would prosper wherever they were, but obviously prosper more at home for a whole host of reasons. Most importantly they aren't subjected to the many 'ills' now prevalent in public school. I've taught school as well, but none of your points refute the fact that our government controlled education system is the worst compared to the rest of the industrialized world. We can and ought to do more to fix this cancer and remove the 'special interest' that has a stranglehold on our schools. If you are interested in this subject, I'd recommend starting off with John Taylor Gatto. He is a professional educator and is quite funny to read.

You talk a good game but the

You talk a good game but the truth is NC pretty much lets home school parents do whatever they want. The annual testing you mention is whatever the heck you pick and can't be used to compare with students in the public schools since they don't take the same exams. Home school students should take the EOG and EOC tests if we want to start making statistical comparisons. Additionally your assessment that US public schools are the worst in the industrialized world is incorrect. We aren't the at the head of the pack but aren't in the back either. Your points just continue to hit on the same old talking points we have heard for years and serve to mislead and misrepresent the truth.

I'm a moderate Democrat.

We will inevitably fail as every other empire has before us

There is no "or" about it. We will fail, unquestionably, as well we should.

I don't share even a sliver of your reference for the founding fathers in any way, shape or form. They were aggressive imperialists launching a grand experiment on the backs of an enslaved population, while effectively annihilating indigenous peoples. They may have done better than most who preceded them, but that is faint praise. There is nothing magical or sacred about the documents they created. Nothing. They were simply another bunch of guys trying to make a buck.

The country they created has been, in my view, toxic on nearly every front from its very beginnings. Runaway "freedom" allowed those before us to piss on the rest of the world, exporting the moral pollution of capitalism, socializing risk and privatizing profit at every turn. You admire that, while deigning to wrap yourself in the cloak of progressive philosophy? That's pretty funny. You are, at best, an enlightened anarchist.

And for a guy (?) who eschews labels, you sure throw them around a lot. As a writer, labels are just fine with me. Indeed, every word itself is a label. There is no intrinsic meaning in anything. Not in the US Constitution, not in the North Carolina Constitution, not in anything. Indeed, in the final analysis, here is nothing but interpretation. Life itself is a conversation. He said, she said. Whatever. It's all noise, and the team with the loudest and most persistent bullhorn usually wins.

Look at your list of preferences for how to move our society forward. None of them, not a single one of them, will ever happen.

And you call yourself a realist?

PS

There are a lot of not-free people in China. How come you're not over there complaining? What's magic about the People (I note your capitalization) who happen to be lucky enough to be born in the geographic area currently defined by the borders of the United States of America. Why are we so special?

PPS

Modern progressive'ism ought to challenge the status quo and continually reject the notion that government is the answer to all of our problems.

You need to retire that canard. I have never met a progressive who accept the veracity of your assertion. I KNOW government is not the answer to all of our problems. So do you. See? We agree.

Here's a tip: Using the words none, all, never, always is rarely productive.

True Progressive'ism' vs. Reality

I don't share even a sliver of your reference for the founding fathers in any way, shape or form. They were aggressive imperialists launching a grand experiment on the backs of an enslaved population, while effectively annihilating indigenous peoples. They may have done better than most who preceded them, but that is faint praise. There is nothing magical or sacred about the documents they created. Nothing. They were simply another bunch of guys trying to make a buck.

The reference made concerning the Founders was that most died penniless, since they were willing to put their wealth on the line for a cause. Your assertion that they declared independence for a "buck" is unsupportable and contrary to the facts. I would suggest doing some study on what happened to the Signatories. They were already wealthy men of prominence within the current system, and when they decided to sign the Declaration, they did so knowing it could very well mean dying as penniless traitors. Many slaves did in fact fight in the Revolutionary War, on both sides, and for the Confederacy during the Civil War, but neither conflict was fought on the backs of slaves, nor in support of, or to rid us of the institution. I agree with you that many indigenous peoples are annihilated and continue to be annihilated to this day. Again, I agree with you that there "isn't anything magical about the documents they created", but then again, I never claimed they were "magical". They were certainly special, however, since they correctly embodied the notion that sovereignty resides with each and every individual rather than a monarch.

The country they created has been, in my view, toxic on nearly every front from its very beginnings. Runaway "freedom" allowed those before us to piss on the rest of the world, exporting the moral pollution of capitalism, socializing risk and privatizing profit at every turn. You admire that, while deigning to wrap yourself in the cloak of progressive philosophy? That's pretty funny. You are, at best, an enlightened anarchist.

You and I clearly have very different views of the American People. Like any other people, we certainly have made mistakes, but can't in good conscience, simply sum up the American experience as nothing more than "toxic" and see no evidence of the "moral pollution of capitalism" that you desire to believe. As far as anarchy goes, it is the gentlest of any political system, and certainly is extremely 'progressive'. Centralized control and deferment to authority is 'regressive' because it is the simplest form of human nature that has been tried over and over again throughout history resulting in the same old predictable results - failure! True progressive'ism isn't regressive. Centralized control and deferment to authority isn't going to work any better this time around just because people want to believe that they are more enlightened than their predecessors. It is what Albert Einstein called insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

And for a guy (?) who eschews labels, you sure throw them around a lot. As a writer, labels are just fine with me. Indeed, every word itself is a label. There is no intrinsic meaning in anything. Not in the US Constitution, not in the North Carolina Constitution, not in anything. Indeed, in the final analysis, here is nothing but interpretation. Life itself is a conversation. He said, she said. Whatever. It's all noise, and the team with the loudest and most persistent bullhorn usually wins.
Look at your list of preferences for how to move our society forward. None of them, not a single one of them, will ever happen.
And you call yourself a realist?

Again, perhaps you and I simply will have to agree to disagree. I believe words have meaning. I think the differing "interpretation" you speak of with regards to our Law of the Land is mostly manipulation, wishful thinking, and merely twisting words in order to discriminate and destroy individual liberty. The original intent of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence is so easy that anyone with a library card can understand. It is purposely not taught in public school because the ideas and Rights contained within those documents are contrary to the goals and desires of those sociopaths that seek power and influence over others. Life is indeed a conversation just as you and I are having on this blog. As far as my preferences go, it is why they are labelled "my preferences". You may be right, without a single one ever happening. But then again, that is why they are truly 'progressive'. My preference would be to encourage Americans to go much farther than any 18th century political philosopher or Founding Father would dare go. A true 'progressive' believes in the inherent 'good' of the vast majority of Americans and recognizes that true liberty isn't just an ideal, but an achievable objective. I'm also a 'realist' in that I recognize that human nature dictates that instead of engaging in true progressive'ism', Americans will instead choose the path of least resistance, and regress into the same old tired political systems of socialism, communism, government tyranny and despotism.

Unfortunately, true progressive'ism' and liberty is foreign and entirely too scary for most Americans to even imagine the possibilities.

It's about the frame

When you shorten the frame enough and zero in on the right slope of a variable function, you can find any pattern to define any trend you want. And if you shorten that frame to cover only the history of the US, you might have a point.

I like to broaden the frame a few thousand years in both directions. In that view, one cannot escape the toxic impact of human beings in general and Americans in particular on our planet. If I were religious, I might even say on our spirits.

It's good that we disagree, we may go some distance in keeping each other honest. But I encourage you to reconsider your assertion that there is intrinsic meaning in language.

Language is an indisputably human creation, evolving over thousands of years just as living species do. The idea that there are fundamental or immovable meanings inside that crazy quilt of words we use is silly and beneath you.

You seem attached to the notion of strict construction and fail to realize that such a thing could never possibly exist except at the most elementary levels of machine intelligence.

Keeping Each Other Honest

Disagreement is not only healthy but necessary. I've always preferred team effort to individual ability, and discussion and debate in order to achieve excellence is what has made America a great place to live. Mankind certainly has engaged in some pretty awful acts, but has also achieved some pretty remarkable accomplishments as well. It certainly hasn't been an overall negative experience.

As far as words and their meaning, we live in a nation of laws, and thank goodness for that. Words must have meaning, otherwise where would we be today? The words contained within our laws are not only important, but necessary. We have a mechanism in place to work out whatever differences in interpretation may exist and then agree to live by those rulings until overruled or changed. I'm certainly not a big fan of attorneys, but I think they would agree with me with regards to the importance of words and their meaning, and don't think respect of words and language is beneath anyone. Most spend much time and effort to chose the 'right' words for a reason, because they realize the impact those words will have on others. It is because words do in fact have meaning, and hopefully always will.

Hopefully, the one with the loudest bullhorn doesn't win, but rather the one that best captures the enthusiasm and imagination of the masses due to their choice of meaningful words.

Did I Get It All?

I think I hit every area, Stan. If I missed something, or you have something else you'd like me to weigh in on, just let me know. Hope you had a great weekend!

I'm impressed you gave each area your thoughts...

I didn't mean I expected you to. I said I thought those areas importance far outweighed many of the items you mentioned. I think you and I are juxtapositional on so many things it is silly for me to comment further on your posts. Best wishes...

Stan Bozarth

We Are Simply Progressive

PRO-GRES-SIVE: of, relating to, or characterized by progress: making use of or interested in new ideas, findings, or opportunities: of, relating to, or constituting an educational theory marked by emphasis on the individual child, informality of classroom procedure, and encouragement of self-expression.

LIB-ER-AL: of, favoring, or based upon the principles of liberalism: of or constituting a political party advocating or associated with the principles of political liberalism; especially : of or constituting a political party associated with ideals of individual especially economic freedom, greater individual participation in government, and constitutional, political, and administrative reforms designed to secure these objectives.

When we no longer consider the opinions and ideas of others, we are no longer progressive or liberal.