Hold Government Accountable

Holding our Government Administration accountable is now in the hands of leadership in the House and Senate. Republicans allowed Trump to rule over our country and the future of the GOP. They must admit they chose poorly when selecting Trump as their President. It is time for Biden and the Democrats to think “country First” and let’s admit this has not always been the case for Democrats either.

Rebuilding  democracy’s guardrails is in the hands of both party’s, not just Democrats. The guardrails require elected officials to pass legislation that converts into good actions and laws and then control implementation of these laws and legislation. Presently legislatures ignore their duty to oversee implementation of what they legislated. 

Recently, over the last decade or so, our elected officials have focused on fundraising and kissing butt to get re-elected. There are many reasons for this but the ones that stand out are Citizens United and gerrymandering. 

Running for office was once considered a vocation rather than a means of getting extremely wealthy and powerful. This has flipped. Capturing a political office is a very lucrative path of becoming a multi-millionaire and personally very powerful. 

In the private sector once a plan is adopted and implemented, it is constantly monitored by an independent Board of Directors and adjustments to the company’s plans are routinely made in order to better reach its objectives.

This does not happen in government at the national level. All decision makers are too busy raising money for the next election. Until this changes, things will only get worse. Us citizens should require a joint accountability statement from the President and Congress every four months.

Trump: Choose Wisely

Per the dictionary:
Socialism: “a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.”
Capitalism: “an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.”

Per the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….”

The vast majority of citizens oppose a purely socialist form of government, while recognizing that society had, and still has, since the objective has not been fully attained, an obligation to atone for past wrongdoings such as slavery. Further most citizens, having a judeo/christian background, believe in helping the truly needy and misfortuned among us.

The argument today is about whether we have done enough, even though all the problems are not reconciled. In answering that question it seems fair to me ask whether we truly provided sufficient tools and resources in order to overcome are past wrongdoings. There is no real answer but is worthwhile looking at how are government is organized. Herein lies the problem.

We have a government that allocates and disburses resources to address issues and problems. However, unlike the private sector, we have no system in place to monitor and implement changes, as deemed necessary, when we ascertain what was implemented is not working.

Those on the left want to keep spending without making any adjustments. Those on the right say stop the spending it is not working. In the private sector the organization is continuously monitoring results and making adjustments where necessary to bring about the change desired. If a solution cannot  be found the program is stopped and reevaluated.
Citizens United and gerrymandering has exasperated the problem. The big money donors have their own agenda that is not necessarily aligned with what is best for the country and its voting citizens. Citizens United needs to be repealed. We are no longer a country where “one man, one vote” matters.

This needs changing.

Russia Ukraine and Putin

One of the most militarily powerful nations is headed up by Vladimir Putin who for 16 years served as an officer in the KGB. He is 5’5″ tall and an expert in martial arts. Both domestically and internationally many of his actions are considered as nondemocratic. He has a PhD from Leningrad University.

He is acting like a man with an inferiority complex. Perhaps it is his height or seeing the perceived power of his country diminish as the Soviet Union collapsed on the world stage. In the west success of a country is defined by how well its citizens are doing economically, the amount of opportunity they have and how much freedom they have to pursue their hopes and dreams. The military is only present to protect these dreams and aspirations.

Putin’s focus is not on improving the daily lives of Russians. His focus is on bringing back the world glory to the Russian nation. In the United States we see the military as a necessary evil in order to protect our citizens in their pursuit of happiness. Putin sees the power and glory of the state as the number one priority and the hopes and dreams of its citizens are secondary.

We as a people in the United States want other citizens in the world to have the opportunities that we possess. We also recognize their are leaders of other nations that see military might as a means of defining their countries relative success in the world. Unfortunately Putin sees the world this way… http://lstrn.us/1dQ3fhT

Detroit: Save A City Or Save Some Art

I profess not to know the value of all the art held at the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA). Further, I do not know how much of the art is owned by the city of Detroit. I think we should find out  and use it in the best way possible to save Detroit and its citizens.

I  commend all the foundations and the state of Michigan who have stepped up with hundreds of millions of dollars in proposed contributions to save the DIA and the art work that it holds. Is the plan presented to the creditors concerning these donations and the leveraging of the art the best way to save Detroit and its citizens? Is saving the artwork more important than saving the city and its citizens? Continue reading

Middle Class and Saving Detroit

Middle/working class families are the key to success for Detroit. Attracting them will not be solved overnight. It requires incentives and taking care of BLIGHT, CRIME, STREET LIGHTS and SCHOOLS now.

The first three are getting lip service with some plans in place, but Detroit is failing at even addressing its education deficit. Families with children are aware that education is a key to their children’s success. This problem does not get enough press and certainly action. The Education Achievement Authority (EAA) is not doing good enough and as it expands beyond Detroit they will be less focused on the city.

The EAA is using some new teaching techniques that are worth trying, but these are no substitute for an experienced hands on teacher to providing guidance and direction. Many teachers and their unions attack the EAA and call for its disbandment rather working with it to improve results.

Historically there is a short link between a child’s education and parental involvement and awareness. Parents are the ones electing the local School Board. If their child is having problems in school there is a good chance they know someone on the Board they can approach. If they don’t get answers they can vote the member out of office. The EAA is controlled at the state level and the only power of the vote available to the parent is the Governor. He is not an educator and he has many distractions and can afford to allocate only so much time to students who are being left behind. This problem will get worse as the EAA expands to other parts of the state.

Reorganizing the Education Achievement Authority, decentralizing its duties amongst the school districts, needs to be examined. Further, teacher unions need to go through a mental adjustment. Just like the United Auto Workers focused entirely on the betterment of its members even at the expense of the industry that it was part of, teacher unions first focus is improving the life of its members even if it means reducing the product produced by the institutions that they work for; the schools. This needs to change.

Detroit’s schools are under performing other school districts. It is going to take extra dollars to catch up. Some of the extra dollars could have come from better negotiations with the Detroit Red Wings regarding the new arena such as a $5 per ticket surcharge going to the betterment of the DPS. This applies to Ford Field and Comerica Park also. In this way there would have been a direct benefit to the city for having these facilities.

The city also needs to implement two incentives to attract new middle class residence. Give them a house for free,  http://lstrn.us/1ixnt4T, and a free college education for their children, http://lstrn.us/14vQ3Ql.