Monday, September 28, 2009

Sprinting to the Start; Crawling to the Finish

A opinion writer for The Wall Street Journal, no name for the writer is given, has brought to my attention that Democrats are now attempting to bring HR 3200 to vote within the next six weeks. A noteworthy excerpt:

The six-week limit also happens to fall—conveniently—before the gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey, both of which the GOP has an even-to-better shot of winning. Democratic losses will terrify the Blue Dogs, who are already wavering in their support for an extreme health makeover.

The title of the webpage is "Health Care Deadline Is Arbitrary", and rightly so. As was noted before, this specific piece of legislation, if passed, would not go into effect until sometime in the year 2013. That means that politicians are sprinting to pass something which they will then crawl to put into effect. Along with the above information in the quote, it is conclusive now that our representatives are trying to force this legislation onto the American people before opposition becomes too great.

Now would be a good time to send a reminder to your representatives about your views on this piece of legislation. You can find your appropriate contact forms here. Here is my letter for a reference, which I give permission for anyone to take and alter (but not to copy verbatim):

Dear [representative],

I am writing to remind you that I am opposed to the medical care reform legislation HR 3200, and that I have asked you to cast a vote against it. If you should cast a vote in favor of it, I will not consider voting for you as a candidate for political office again, as this issue is cardinal.

This legislation is not either impractical *or* immoral, but *both* impractical *and* immoral. Any degree of government intervention in the medical industry, whether it be a full nationalization or something as simple as insurance mandates, has been a recorded failure in the multiple countries that tried it, including the United States (referencing Massachusetts in particular). The results of such interventions have been longer waits for appointments, skyrocketing costs, a declining number of doctors, decreasing quality, lack of innovation, and, immorally, the prohibition of a doctor and patient to voluntarily contract on payment and treatment options since the government holds the threat of physical force against them.

The legislation, as it currently stands, gives arbitrary power to bureaucrats, imposes higher taxes on individuals, imposes rationing, and places multiple agencies it establishes above the jurisdiction of the courts:

Big government is the cause of our current medical care ills, and has always been. Only a free market, and I mean an *absolutely* free market that contains no governmental controls, can fix this.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Lies Against Reality II

Robert Tracinski provides an insightful article as to how Barack Obama's considerably consistent lying is dissolving his credibility, particularly in the debate about medical care legislation HR 3200.

This is the way an article about lies should be written. All too often it seems like those who put forth political arguments leave assertions hanging in mid-air, which leads to only the like-minded, rather than a general audience accepting such an argument. In this article Mr. Tracinski does not merely accuse Obama of lying, he takes note of what assertions Obama has put forward and then cites the facts of reality that contrast his words, thereby proving, rather than just saying, that Obama is a liar by chosen nature.

It is much too good to post any single excerpt. Read the whole thing.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Introducing "Musing Aloud"

One of the frustrations I run into when maintaining this blog is that I sometimes come upon something that I would wish to blog about but will not since it is outside the theme (epistemology, ethics, politics), style, and formality of this blog. In short, I refrain from ever using this blog for anything personal since it was not established and is not used for such a purpose.

This is why I am going to open up a brother blog titled Musing Aloud. This is where I am going to locate my personal writings, writings about my personal observations, the values I hold, or questions that arise in my mind (in hope for discussion from commenters). I have also relocated my Twitter feed to that page, as that is something relevant to the theme of Musing Aloud, not of Benpercent.

I do not plan on, at least currently, adding it to the Obloggers blog network, so that means my posts from that site will not show up in the blogging feed. Instead I will have a link on the upper right hand side titled "Brother Blog" and may periodically link to posts from this site.

Oh, and I know that the proper terminology would be "Sister Blog" since all inanimate objects are usually referred to with female pronouns...but I arbitrarily decree my blog to be a boy blog.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Invading Your Myspace?

Ken Boehem informs us that the White House is apparently secretly soliciting offers for someone to mine data from various social networking websites:

NLPC has uncovered a plan by the White House New Media operation to hire a technology vendor to conduct a massive, secret effort to harvest personal information on millions of Americans from social networking websites.

The information to be captured includes comments, tag lines, emails, audio, and video. The targeted sites include Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr and others – any space where the White House “maintains a presence.”

First there was, and now this. Again the question arises: For what purpose?

Now I know that this article may seem too much like a conspiracy theory in the negative sense, but it is valid. If one will click the link presented in the article it will go to an official government website which confirms the contents of the article.

Could this be an attempt to restrict free speech by means of intimidation?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Before They Can Even Think....

It has been announced that Obama plans on addressing a special speech to students on September 8th, Tuesday. There seems to have been quite an upset over this, so much so that some are calling that day to be a national "Keep Your Kids Home Day". The charge being leveled is that this address amounts to indoctrination, but is it?

First, let us make our terms clear. Indoctrination is the process of instructing a person in a doctrine or an ideology. While this definition is harmless enough and does not set off any alarms, it is the who that it applies to that matters. If one were to indoctrinate, say, a thinking adult, then that would be fine as he would possess the capability to critically assess what he is being presented with and would be able to reject or accept it accordingly. A young child that has not learned how to think, however, is an inappropriate target for indoctrination as he cannot properly do a critical evaluation of the information before him, and will therefore have few other options than to accept the presented doctrine on faith.

The proper function of a school is to train a child in how to use his mind. Certainly the intellectual content is very important in that training, but the intellectual method holds primacy. Instruct a child in the proper methods of gathering data and thinking and you will have a child that will continue learn throughout the entirety of his lifetime, as opposed to the kids today who are being instructed in brute memorization and coming out of schools explicitly stating they hate learning.

Also, how morally bad a particular case of indoctrination in a school is to be regarded depends on what level of schooling is being considered. On a college campus the students should have developed to the point where they at least *should* have had some basic instruction in proper thinking methods, so indoctrination in a college classroom should be considered in bad taste rather morally wrong. In an elementary school, however, it is to be considered morally despicable. Indoctrination at that age is not to be considered wrong merely because it may happen against a parent's consent or because it may enforce unjustified prejudice, but because doing so hinders the minds of the children. Since they do not possess the ability at that age to rationally think about the doctrine they are being presented with, they have few other choices but to accept it on irrational grounds and thereby learn methods of non-thinking which could hinder or stunt the growth of their mind for the rest of their life. To fail to teach a child how to learn is the most condemnable failure any teacher could allow to happen.

Now, what evidence do we have that Obama may be presenting a speech which is a shielded attempt to indoctrinate students? First, we have evidence directly from official White House sponsored documents. From the prek-6 PDF file listed under the heading "Classroom Activities" in the link presented above:

During the Speech

  • As the president speaks, teachers can ask students to write down key ideas or phrases that are important or personally meaningful. Students could use a note‐taking graphic organizer such as a “cluster web;” or, students could record their thoughts on sticky notes. Younger children could draw pictures and write as appropriate. As students listen to the speech, they could think about the following:

What is the president trying to tell me?

What is the president asking me to do?

What new ideas and actions is the president challenging me to think about?

  • Teachers could ask students to share the ideas they recorded, exchange sticky notes, or place notes on a butcher‐paper poster in the classroom to discuss main ideas from the speech, such as citizenship, personal responsibility, and civic duty.

  • Students could discuss their responses to the following questions:

What do you think the president wants us to do?

Does the speech make you want to do anything?

Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us?

What would you like to tell the president?
[All emphasis is mine except for bold on heading above bulleted list]

As Michelle Malkin has noted, this has a rather heavy activist type of wording to it, especially that which I have put in bold. Why should an American President be telling anyone to "do" anything? Given the nature of a proper government, it is highly inappropriate that he instruct children in "civic duty".

But we still have yet more evidence. Take into consideration this four minute video, which some schools have already showed in classrooms (although not at the behest of the Department of Education):

The use of celebrities in this video indicates that it is directed at the youthful crowd. Many of the pledges made in this video are obviously tinged with politics, and the last portion where they state "I pledge to be a servant to our president and all mankind" in unison drips of the philosophical doctrine of altruism and of slavery.

So, to conclude, yes, the probability is that Obama is going to use his address as a means of indoctrination. Regardless of whether or not one thinks the content of Obama's ideas is true, it is still not proper to present them in this format, let alone present them at all, to children.

Furthermore, this would not be proper no matter which President wished to do it and what his intentions were. It is not the job of the government to instruct its citizenry, using involuntarily extracted funding (taxes) from which the original owners may not approve of its usage.

What of opting out?, one may ask now. Surely if a parent disapproves of a certain activity he can submit his refusal and have the educators accommodate with an alternative activity. Not in all cases, states Michelle Malkin:

Reader Ernest emails a link to the notice on the Broward County FL school district site, which informs parents that they cannot opt their kids out of the president’s speech on Tuesday because the administrators are committed to “encouraging civics education in the broadest sense.”

Who controls your kids?

This amounts to physical coercion in public schools. It is a law that children must receive education in some form, whether it is via home schooling or attending an educational facility. Taxes for education may make it so that parents cannot afford to home school their children, as they may have to work, nor afford to send them to a private school, so the government forcibly limits their options down to government-run public schools.

Let us call it then: Tuesday shall officially be Keep Your Kids Home Day.