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American Idle PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Keith Johnson   
Tuesday, 23 November 2010 08:57

“Live every day as if it were your last ... and then some day you’ll be right.” – H.H. “Breaker” Morant

History is not likely to speak well of today’s Americans. While the people of nations around the globe stand up to their oppressors, Americans sit idly by as their government runs roughshod over their life, liberty, and property.

As we speak, large-scale protests and mass demonstrations continue in more than a dozen countries as citizens strike back against injustice, criminality, and brutal austerity measures imposed by their corrupt governments.

In the UK, more than 50,000 students recently took to the streets to protest a spike in tuition costs.

In Greece, workers clashed with police outside the Finance Ministry over frozen pensions and cuts in their salaries.

In Germany, tens of thousands demonstrated to protest government policies and social inequities in advance of Merkel’s Democrat party’s national meeting.

First Steps for Branstad and the Iowa Statehouse PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Jonathan Narcisse   
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 05:14

An Iowa Worth Fighting for was created to serve as a future firewall against entrenched status-quo power following the November 2010 elections. On August 17, 2009, the content of this comprehensive review and recommendations debuted on the Jan Mickelson radio show in Des Moines.

It spoke to some basic principles, and addressed core governing concerns – like government is best that governs least.

But it offered more than platitudes. It offered specifics that included strategies to reorganize, reduce, and re-prioritize state government; to create accountable, efficient local government; to rebuild our economy based on tax reform and citizen – not government – stimulus; to reform our education system; to promote a healthy Iowa the effective way – not through government mandate; to affirm core rights, such as the right to property; to protect Iowa’s citizens; to interdict Iowa’s severe drug crisis; to reform illegal immigration; and to advance real leadership principles.

On November 2, 2010, the political pendulum reversed course. Republicans again control statehouse politics. It was not even a decade ago they controlled both the House and Senate in Iowa. Which is to say: It was not a decade ago that they fought education reform, welfare reform, and the introduction of sound fiscal and management practices. When Terry Branstad left office, he had a Republican House and Senate. He did not fix welfare, education, our prisons, our courts, taxes, or our economy. While he managed the status quo much better than Governor Chet Culver – thanks to dozens of tax hikes and data manipulations – Branstad and the GOP did not repair, restore, or rebuild Iowa.

Now that he and Republicans have returned to power, simply invoking a term such as “conservative” isn’t good enough. This group of statehouse leaders must lead, but to lead they must first have a plan. This means not just an agenda, but a specific vision of how we fix Iowa.

Constitution Day: Celebrate the Bill of Rights PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 07:25

At the time of their adoption, the Bill of Rights represented the high point of a courageous struggle to pass on the relatively new idea that rule of law must forever stand as a check upon governmental power.” – Bernard Swartz

The Bill of RightsOn September 17, 1787, the final draft of the Constitution was adopted by members of the Constitutional Convention. It was a momentous occasion in our nation’s history – one that we continue to pay tribute to today – and yet it pales in significance to the adoption of the “Bill of Rights.” Without those 462 words of the Bill of Rights, there would be little standing between average citizens like you and me and governmental tyranny.

The Real Curriculum of "Public" Education PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Kevin Carson   
Wednesday, 08 September 2010 07:55

An August 28 article at the privacy-rights Web site Pogo Was Right argues that schools are "grooming youth to passively accept a surveillance state where they have no expectation of privacy anywhere." Privacy violations include "surveilling students in their bedrooms via webcam, ... random drug or locker searches, strip-searching, ... lowering the standard for searching students to 'reasonable suspicion' from 'probable cause,' [and] disciplining students for conduct outside of school hours ... ."

"No expectation of privacy anywhere" is becoming literally true. The schools are grooming kids not only for the public surveillance state, but also for the private surveillance states of their employers. By the time the human resources graduate from 12 years of factory processing, they will accept it as normal to be kept under constant surveillance -- "for your own safety," of course -- by authority figures. But they won't just accept it from Homeland Security ("if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear"). They'll also accept as "normal" a work situation in which an employer can make them pee in cups at any time, without notice, or track their online behavior even when they're away from work.

This is just part of what rogue educator John Taylor Gatto calls the "real curriculum" of public education ("The Seven-Lesson Schoolteacher," 1992). The real curriculum includes the lesson that the way to advancement, in any area of life, is to find out what will please the authority figure behind the desk, then do it. It includes the lesson that the important tasks in life are those assigned to us by authority figures -- the schoolteacher, the college instructor, the boss -- and that self-assigned tasks in pursuit of our own goals are to be trivialized as "hobbies" or "recreation."

Rethinking the Corporate-Income Tax PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Mark W. Hendrickson   
Thursday, 19 August 2010 05:19

It is hard to find anything positive to say about the corporate-income (i.e., profits) tax. Economists across the ideological spectrum agree that the corporate-profits tax is woefully inefficient:

1) It warps corporate decision-making, inducing expenditures made only to reduce a company's tax liability.

2) The compliance costs are astronomical, often exceeding 60 cents for every dollar of revenue that the government raises from taxing corporate profits. How would you like to spend $6,000 per year calculating that you owe Uncle Sam $10,000?

3) It fosters over-reliance on debt. Corporations often need to borrow money to replace funds that government taxed. In fact, the tax code encourages debt, making corporate debt tax-deductible.

The corporate-profits tax is also ethically problematic.

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