Sunday, January 31, 2010

Can We Help?

I have never felt I've had to really listen when someone on the radio or in Government tells us something. But last night I heard on Cable FOX news that some school board, in North Carolina, is advocating a radical change to their 9th grade history books. They want to rid their books and teaching plans of Early American History, They want to focus on American History after 1877.

Apparently this means students will not have to study the history of our Founding Fathers, our Constitution, our Bill of Rights or why America stood up against the King of England,their onerous taxes placed on Americas without representation and a Parliament that would not listen to us. They will not learn what we as a people did in the early years that makes us unique from other societies of the time.

Today on Glenn Beck I heard that on barackobama.com, Organizing for America, a new Children's Outreach Program is being touted by the White House. Apparently the web site's audio instructs children to become involved so they can help parents understand what the government is doing. Hm mm. Shades of European History. Check it out.

You might think that all I do is follow politics now. But I don't. Sure I listen to conservative radio and television news because I have found, more often than not, they give a back story to the news. A back story which explains the why? and the what? of things that are happening today.

I am also concerned that 15,000,000 people are unemployed. I am worried that Trillions of dollars are scheduled to be spent by a government that seems to look at the dollar as monopoly money. I am worried that there are people in high places who don't like us or who may not have our best interests at heart.

I am worried that those who have been elected and those Department Heads confirmed to protect us are intentionally kept out of the terrorist arrest loops. I also worry about who we are becoming as a people. I worry about our government emphasizing distinct American populations. Rich vs poor, pitting one against the other.

I've spoken of my past life as a Community Developer. I specialized in Minority Communities. In my experience most Community Organizers work closely with focus groups. Community Organizers provide on site leadership to ensure that progress on an issue is maintained. They do not stand outside of the group and wait for information to be collected. They do not wait for focus group information to be channeled to them.

It appears the intent of government focus groups is to collected information intended to help those sponsoring them to identify areas for implementation of future legislation, policy or policy change.

We the People should know more about these groups, than we do. Their work affects us all, i.e. in all probability we will have to abide by the result of the decisions originating from the work of these groups. Therefore, our elected officials need to know who their group leaders are.

They need to know their education, background, ideology, their experience with group work, and what written Policies and Procedures govern their work. What oversight is provided and by whom.

Policies and procedures seem like a little thing but they are important because they formalize what the facilitator and the focus group can and cannot do. Such as how much hidden agenda can the facilitator use in leading the groups during their discussions.

What problem statements and objectives are identified and by whom prior to the time of the group meeting. I see a need for Congress to have access to these people, particularly at the management level. Those seen should include those who identify participants of the focus group. We should also know the background of the selected participants.

The work of the group should be in the open. Management and facilitators need to ensure that bias does not interfere with what should be a place of free expression and exploration rather than a place to endorse a particular agenda or to support one stream of thought alone.

It is also important to memorialize these meetings by written records so that an abridged source of expressed positions can be identified. Focus Groups can be a good thing if used properly but they should not be the only source of information. Data collection is important as is leadership.

It appears that White House's, forty or so advisers, have not been confirmed by our elected representatives in Congress. This in spite of the fact that they weigh heavily on the public purse, make decisions that affect the American People, and work on projects without congressional oversight.

Oversight that Cabinet Secretaries are required to meet. It seems an awful lot of people are in the picture when the president meets in the cabinet room. Who are these people? Why haven't they been required by the congress to appear before them. If they wanted to the congress has the power to ensure they appear.

Congress and the people need to know what standards these people work under? Who pays them? How are they paid? On what budgets do they appear? If money is transferred from one budget to another to fund them and their activities; whose budget loses money, and what had to be given up to support them?

I have listened to video and audio tapes made by several of these people. I have seen them and heard their words and I believe in several instances, they should be questioned by Congress before they are free to advise our President.

I have been asked to balance my statements. I do not see my positions as a negative but rather I see them as a positive. This has been a terrible year for the American people. Events are progressing rapidly and the American people need to join the conversation, not to throw roadblocks at the Government but to reach out any way we can to ensure that America remains America.

I truly believe that our Government needs help, many of our legislators have served way too long. There are those who appear angry and/or out of touch with us and need to reconnect with the People.

I also believe that like you, I pray for our Nation every night. I pray that our Nation will be safe and secure, prosperous and that we as a people be kind to each other. I pray that we continue to be a bright light, a beacon of Right and Justice for the rest of the world. I don't think that is too much to pray for. Do you?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Will They Honor Us?

We'll see this Tuesday if Illinois follows Massachusetts and sends another rather powerful message to Washington. This time from the people in Illinois. Senator Scott Brown's win sent me running into the other room cheering. That win sent a message to congress that the liberal opposition party should not ignore. In this election we have told Washington, we are still here and we're watching..

The elections over the past few weeks, Virginia and Pennsylvania, have been a slap across the face to the liberal dominant opposition party in Congress. For months these elected Democratic Senators and Representatives have screamed that we voters, are bigoted, fascists, misinformed, far right extremists. We have been characterized as gun totting, bible thumping, beer drinking conservative extremists. Speaker p:) even went so far as to say not only are we racists. Hinting that we could, perhaps be capable of crimes such as the murder of the Mayor of San Francisco. Shame, shame!

I am tired of hearing this Legislator has served 30 years 4o years in the Congress. We have elected incumbents for generations on the floor of the Congress. So long in fact I believe we continue to place people in the congress who are no longer in touch with the American people. I don't think Congress was ever meant to be a life long career.

Many of those in leadership positions, including Committee Chairs began their legislative careers in the sixties and seventies. What affected and shaped their world view then no longer applies. That period was a time of social unrest, antiwar, anti Vietnam. Our leaders today came out of that era. That is why they have no qualms and encourage the United States to abandon Iraq and Afghanistan and perhaps Israel. After all they abandoned the Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians to their fate.

How do I know this? Because I shared many of their ideals then. I marched for Women's rights, gay rights, the end of oppression, the end of war. We challenged the establishment. The 60's and 70's were a time of free love, marijuana and Woodstock. A time of youthful rebellion from which many of our legislators have refused to move beyond. In spirit they have refused to progress.

They are the same activists now as then, many push forward the very same causes they celebrated then. However, today there are differences. This is a different America. An America that relies on instant communication, an America that is dependent on the productivity of our people. An America that rewards those who pursue excellence today. An American that is a beacon to many and a Devil to others.

I have never felt so deeply about anything as I do today. It is my belief that we live in a time of great danger. Politicians make fun of us they ignore our anger, they make backroom deals they don't read legislation before it hits the floor.

The last item is interesting because in the past when some odious piece of legislation was discovered after a bill had passed. We were told they had "missed it," "did not see that," "someone must have slipped it in when they weren't looking," etc. How much legislation has Congress passed that no one took the time to read.

Possibly everything. Well now it seems the truth is out they don't read the bills that are to govern us. Their assistants apparently do and tell them what a bill is about. Excuse me did we send their assistants to the Hill to represent us. No!

It also seems that several elected and many unelected people in Washington harbor deep seated resentments against our Constitution and our very way of life.

We have a 17% actual unemployment rate, translated that means roughly 4,000,000 people are not working and our congress and the Democrats in Washington have frittered away the last 12 months behind doors and in corridors to nationalize health care. A lousy idea.

How dare Congress waste time for last 12 months on a give away, a soft program, something nobody wants. They should have focused on jobs, the economy and help for those 0f us who have to pay bills without a salary from which to pay them.

I am positive consumers and creditors are tired of hearing "I can not pay." All my life I have worked and now in the twilight years I have to worry about Congress saying "We have to give him (The President) something for the State of the Union." Good God. Well they didn't. All they gave were ink filled Time Cards showing massive hours of waste on health care, time thrown away on an unpopular piece of legislation.

I believe this monstrosity of back room deals needs to be killed and not restarted until our banks are safe, wall street is making money, our homes have regained their equity, our dollar is sound, we have an unemployment rate of 5.6% and the Terrorists have been defeated or marginalized.

I love my Country, I love the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and the very History of America and the American People. I wonder what the history books will say about us in another 40 or 50 years. I wonder will they think kindly of us, will they honor what we have done.