Tag Archives: America

FACTS AND FICTIONS: Who is to blame for America’s failing schools?

The most recent national study shows an education system that hasn’t improved in spite of high-level government attention and vastly increased funding. The only bright spot is the performance of charter schools. There is a message there. Increased funding and government hands-on programs and the imposition of national goals do not result in improved student performance.

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Is it the teachers’ fault? I don’t think so. Teacher ranks are not filled with stupid cast-offs who just can’t do anything but teach. Anyone who has stood in front of a class knows teaching is hard work that takes constant dedication and an ability to identify with student needs each and every day. Would more pay and benefits attract better teachers? Again, I think not. American students are quite capable of excelling in any international ranking system. Let’s rule out the problems of teachers who can’t teach and students who can’t learn.

I have heard people blame the Teacher’s Union. Why is that? I don’t remember the Teacher’s Union claiming they would improve student national scores. Like all unions, their concern was and is with the members of their union. They have improved teacher pay, working conditions, and benefits. Who does the Teacher’s Union negotiate with? No one owns our educational system. Therefore, they do not have to bargain with owners as do the steel or auto worker unions with the owners of their industry.  Like all public service unions, they do not negotiate with people who have financial skin in the game. That is a problem. But it is not central to the failure of our public education system in America.

Why do charter schools have a better record of educating our children? Are the teachers better? Do charter schools have more resources, better school building, teaching materials? Better pay and benefits for teachers? Again, the answer is no!

We, the parents of the children, are the problem. We have allowed the centralization virus to run rampant in America’s educational system. The reason, I believe, charter schools have better records is because they do not have so many regulations that govern how teachers teach in our public schools. Charter school teachers have far more flexibility in designing teaching programs that motivate students to learn. Charter schools can promote teachers based on merit, not longevity. They can also fire teachers who are not meeting their local standards.

Whether on a local, county, state, or national level, we have allowed the centralization process in our public schools to grow to the point it is unmanageable. More power must be given to local school systems, especially to the teachers. Let the teachers teach.

It is my top priority to develop captivating stories that people will want to read and talk about. But I also want my stories to give readers a deeper understanding of issues that may — and possibly already have — invaded their world. There is truth within every fiction if you know where to look. All of my stories, and the characters within them, are based on actual events and people. Like I have always said since my days in the CIA, were I permitted to talk or write about real-world intelligence activities, no one would believe the tales. I resort to fiction, hoping the readers can read between the lines.
Blog: factsandfictions.com | Twitter: @factsfictions80

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INSIGHTS 212 — THE ADVISOR AND THE PRESIDENT’S “HIDDEN’ LEGACY

Advisor's vault door

 

The Advisor wasn’t pleased with the way The Council controlled and published his essays. They took far too much time to publish them and many had been censored or slightly rewritten. At times, they said, his essays were so unique that people would wonder about the sources of the essays. The title under which The Council published his essays had grown upon him. EIGHT DECADES OF INSIGHTS wasn’t bad and the web page was very well done. It came right up when he Googled it. The pages of the website made it sound as if a group of elderly scholars sitting around a gentleman’s club had pooled their collective wisdom and published it for the benefit of the American people. The images used called up the deep roots of American history and their fierce rallying around the banner of freedom. Actually, it was better than he could have done. If only they weren’t so fearful and bureaucratic.

He busied himself with tidying up and getting ready for the president’s sudden notice that he would come down after ten o’clock tonight. At ten he heard the coffee finish brewing and a few minutes later his screen showed the president and Chris, his Secret Service escort, coming down the subterranean passageway. Like most people, the president was a creature of habit. He always sat in the same chair, pulled the ashtray a bit closer, and lit his cigarette with the same series of  steps, the tapping of the pack to get a single cigarette to pop out of the pack, a few quick taps of the cigarette’s tobacco end, a strike of the wooden matches he liked to use, and the deep satisfied inhale of the blessed nicotine-filled smoke. Only then was he prepared to talk.

“Tonight, I want to go over my accomplishments going into my last phase of the presidency. I know nothing I say will leak out of here, unlike my above-ground world where everyone is thinking ‘spin and leak.’ My first goal was to seize as much of the economy as I could from the private sector and bring it under the control of the central government. The first big move was the Affordable Care Act where I brought nearly 7 or 8 percent of the economy under government control. I chose Cabinet officers who would follow my lead without question and begin to craft and disseminated a deluge of regulations to destroy capitalism and the free market. Nothing as big as my health care move but perhaps more effective due to the incremental steps of agencies like the EPA, Treasury, the IRS, and Energy.

“Most of my moves went unnoticed by most but they have been very effective in inhibiting national energy production. The constant delay of the Keystone Pipeline, even against the wishes of organized labor, has sent a clear message. Now we have to kill the recent surge of natural gas and oil, through fracking and drilling in privately owned land. I don’t want the United States to become energy self-sufficient. Nor do I want to use America’s potential to be a major exporter of natural gas, gasoline or crude oil be used to further American nationalistic foreign policy objectives. I want to end Western domination and change the existing world order. Iran and Russia are pleased and the Sunni old world order is very unhappy. Good!

“My efforts to further spread America’s wealth through international agreements on climate change and international trade agreements needs more pushing but they are progressing. Both of these measures will enhance the strength of the United Nations and world law. I will continue in the next year to support Iran, China, Russia, and Cuba in ways that level the world playing field and re-distribute wealth.

“The last, large, and most important step in diminishing America’s power to project selfish nationalistic goals is still incomplete. Even though I have severely weakened the American military, it is still far too strong. In what’s left of my tenure, I will continue to weaken America’s military so that they cannot do anymore evil in the world.

“You have been very quiet. Any comments?”

“No, Mr. President. I believe you are aware that your goals are unique for an American president in our history.”

“Yes, I am and am proud to be doing what so many have neglected. I’ll be happy to discuss this with you next week. Now I have to go.”

“Goodnight, Mr. President.”

The above is a fictional account of the writing of a legendary but fictional Advisor.

“ISIS: Quiet Justice,” a new Jack Brandon novel by Barry Kelly dealing with ISIS in America, is now available nationwide from your local book store, This is the fifth novel in the “Justice”series. Follow the author on Twitter @factsfictions80.

 

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INSIGHTS 211 — THE ADVISOR’S LETTER TO AMERICANS

 

Advisor's vault door

The Advisor turned away from his multi-screen display of world events in disgust. It was hard to watch the fall of American prestige and respect in all quarters of the world.

Like it for not, Mr. President, he thought, the American people expect you to be a leader. Leading from behind is only a fiction that obscures the fact nothing is being done, even from behind. What world power, in history, has ever so willingly given up a leadership role? The world may not have always liked the way we used our power, but the vast majority of nations recognized the world was safer when America was willing to be the the policeman when the need was dire.

There is also no leadership in domestic America. Look at the disgrace of the riots in Ferguson and Baltimore. The White House and the Justice Department led the racist riots by both their actions and rhetoric. The only sane thing for individual policemen to do is to avoid aggressive enforcement of the law. To stay out of questionable areas. To not take risks. It is not a matter of teaching people a lesson, it is a matter of the survival of every policeman and his or her job. Who would be willing to take real risks under national, state, and city admininstrations that pander to the mobs and professional race mongers?

Still disgusted, the Advisor turned off his screens that displayed the news and got up from his chair, pacing around his room.

On the foreign scene, what soldier is willing to go to war for a commander-in-chief who not only doesn’t have a bit of military experience but who actually despises the American military and is doing his best to destroy its former effectiveness while he tells lies about his successes? Iran, Russia, the Middle East, China, North Korea, Cuba, Iraq, and Syria have all profited by a feckless exercise of appeasement diplomacy conducted by emissaries who were and are ideally suited to enthusiastically play their assigned feckless appeasement diplomacy role on the world scene. How dumb can they be? A beginner’s understanding of history just before World War II clearly shows appeasement diplomacy leads to war not peace. To make matters worse, most of our once-respected media ignores the truth and supports the slide of American power and respect in the world. Where are the cries for things like justice, peace, truth, and honest leadership instead of a series of big lies told over and over?

Even from my traditional position of being an unbiased advisor to the president, I can not tell him these truths for he already knows them. Our president counts what I call failures as successes. In historical perspective, he is a destroyer not a builder. And from this strange ideology he is leading the charge to transform America. The real problem is not the president. He told us what he was going to do. The problem is the people who voted for him not once, but twice, and still think he and his former Secretary of State are and will be the best for the nation. As a nation and a civilization we are at a tipping point. If we tip much further it will be impossible to stop the decline. When the takers outnumber the givers, the odds are not good.

With nothing else to do, the Advisor decided to make a fresh pot of coffee. He wasn’t sleeping much these days, anyway.

The above is a fictional account of the writing of a legendary but fictional Advisor.

“ISIS: Quiet Justice,” a new Jack Brandon novel by Barry Kelly dealing with ISIS in America, is now available nationwide from your local book store, This is the fifth novel in the “Justice”series. Follow the author on Twitter @factsfictions80.

 

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INSIGHTS 202 — THE ADVISOR AND WHAT’S WITH THE IRAN THING?

Advisor's vault door

 

The Advisor had worked all week in getting ready for tonight’s discussions with the president. There was a lot to cover.

The entire negotiation process with Iran was filled with false starts, new beginnings, and endless private discussions by various participants.This was going to be a hard session. The Advisor had serious reservations about negotiating with Iran, but he knew the president was dead set on doing some kind of a deal with Iran. But the president had told him he wanted to hear his candid appraisal of the Iran initiative.

A soft bell rang and the Advisor glanced at his hall monitor screen. Sure enough the President and Chris were on their way to the old iron door to his chambers and only 25 minutes late. The president gave his usual murmured greeting and sat down at the conference table in his usual seat. The Advisor poured him a cup of fresh cup of dark roast while the president was lighting a cigarette.

“I know I’m not going to like what you’re going to tell me, but you’re the smartest person I get advice from and you don’t have an agenda. Of all the things I’ve told you over the years, nothing has leaked. You and I have opposing political beliefs but no one hears them except me.”

The Advisor thought, No one hears them but my successors for as long as this nation endures will be  able to read them. The president nodded and said, I’ve got 45 minutes, so let’s get started.”

“Mr. President, the Iranians or Persians are a great and proud people. They’ve slipped over the centuries from the pinnacle of being a dominant world power. They want to reclaim their heritage. They don’t have the population or the economic base to be even a regional power. They have correctly analyzed their position and have concluded that becoming a nuclear power is the quickest way to improve their status. Under their religious leadership they will not be redirected. No matter the price, they will pay it. Keeping economic sanctions on will only delay their journey to nuclear status.

“Nothing they say or promise will change their push for nuclear weapons. So you cannot trust them to keep their word. Short of changing the Iranian leadership or very heavy military strikes at their nuclear facilities and military centers nothing you or others can do will stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

“Now for the downside of negotiating with the Iranian leadership. You know better than your White House staff, the political ramifications of the Sunni/Shiite division. Our traditional Middle Eastern allies have been the Sunnis. Our dealings with the Iranians have driven a stake of mistrust between us and the Sunnis that may never be removed. In addition, the Israelis believe America has deceived them. Their trust in America has been seriously eroded.

“The other downside of a deal with the Iranians is that until now we have successfully kept the Russians out of the Middle East. You have already seen the Russians move to sell first line air defense hardware to Iran. More weapon sales will follow. Your European friends will not agree to reimpose economic sanctions. They want Iranian treasure for their goods more than they worry about Iran becoming a nuclear power. They have always been appeasers when faced with a choice between future dangers and the promise of prosperity now.

“One last point. when Iranians get the bomb, they will use it. My time is up.”

“Good. I’ll tell you now, while I agree to some of  your analysis, I do not agree with your overall conclusions. My plan is to use Iran to change the world order in a way that will ensure a more peaceful world based on a partnership between nations in a playing field I have leveled. At our next meeting, it will be my turn to talk.”

The president ground out his last cigarette and left.

The above is a fictional account of a president meeting with a legendary but fictional advisor.

 “ISIS Quiet Justice,” a new Jack Brandon novel dealing with ISIS in America, is now available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble in print form and nook and kindle formats. Follow the author on Twitter @factsfictions80.

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INSIGHTS 196 — CONSISTENTLY DESTRUCTIVE

If it is consistency you value in a president, Obama is your man. He hasn’t changed his goals or his policies to reach those goals since he was elected twice by an electorate desperately wanting change.

We got change. Only, it was change the left-wing progressives wanted, a very vocal group. A very high percentage of journalists, editors, and publishers welcome Obama’s transformation of America. When you add the Teachers’ Union, university professors, and Hollywood’s entertainers to the power of the press, it is no wonder so many Americans wonder what is happening. What is actually happening is so far outside the American experience that those of us who try to explain the goals of radical progressivism seem like right-wing conspiracy nuts.

How is it possible that a president who handily won two national elections is dedicated to destroying the America he took an oath to protect? By any of my standards, the nation is weaker economically and militarily and more divided than it was before anyone ever heard of Barack Obama. None of the problems that need fixing have been addressed by President Obama. They are not part of his agenda. He uses the issues of immigration, health care, welfare reform, taxation, military strategy, education, racism, jobs, energy development, and international affairs to destroy domestic or foreign opposition, increase government control of all aspects of our economy and way of life. He doesn’t seek to problem-solve. He only wants to move forward with the development of socialism in America under the control of a progressive elite.

There is no other way to explain his actions. It is clear to me that he has corrupted the civil service of all government agencies to support his socialist agenda. Energy is a perfect example. He has done and is doing everything he can to hamper the development of natural gas and oil production in the United States. He mouths the words of national self-sufficiency in energy but uses the EPA and other agencies to block and delay efforts by the private sector (capitalism) to produce and export energy.

The Keystone Pipeline gave him a chance to create jobs, improve national self-sufficiency in energy, help our Canadian neighbors, reduce China’s control and stockpiling of energy, and improve the safety of transporting oil by ships, trains, and trucks. Even most radical environmentalists admit pipelines are safer than ships, trains, or trucks in the transportation of oil. The truth, I believe, is that our president does not want America to be energy self-sufficient. He wants to weaken our economy and our military by reducing our forces to pre-WWII levels and forcing us to rely on the United Nations to establish a new world order. You need to look no further than look at the president’s Iranian policy.

He has no intentions of bringing Congress into the agreement he is begging Iran to sign. President Obama will ignore the Senate’s Constitutional right to ratify an Iranian nuclear agreement. Instead, he will display his one-world ideology by taking any agreement to the UN. By the way, what the president is calling an agreement is, in fact, a treaty that must be ratified by the Senate. Whatever is good for the pre-Obama America, either domestically or internationally, he will remain consistent in his drive to move the country toward socialism and the traditional one-party rule. There will be no problem solving. But he will continue to befuddle Republican leaders. That is also a consistent part of his imperial presidency.

Written by the author of the Jack Brandon thriller/suspense novels and “Insights: Transforming America — Is This What We Fought For?” available now as an e-book, in paperback or hardcover on Amazon.com or BN.com. Another analytical book on the transforming process, “Insights: Stepping Stones to Tyranny,” is now published and available in paperback at $9.95 and on nook and kindle at $3.99. Follow the author on Twitter @factsfictions80. “ISIS: Quiet Justice,” a new Jack Brandon novel dealing with ISIS in America, will be out in early April.

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INSIGHTS 190 — THE DANGER TO AMERICA IS WITHIN

It is time to recognize the truth.

For the first time since the Revolution and the Civil War, I believe the greatest danger to our nation is coming from within. The outside threats to our way of life are formidable, but we can handle them once the danger from within is defeated.

This danger from within is the Obama administration. It has a drive to destroy the America so many of us have fought and worked for and died for.

It is hard to blame President Obama solely. He did tell us exactly what he was going to do. And it was clear. Obama’s transformation of America was nothing less than substituting a republic that encouraged the growth of a fledgling colony into a world power with a socialist, elite-led system of government.

People get the government they deserve. We are all to blame but not equally. Those of you who voted twice for the Obama progressive regime and who still are making excuses for his actions bear most of the blame.

We have a strong socialist percentage of citizens in America. These are the people who welcomed Obama as a transcendental leader who would cure all of America’s faults, starting with the transfer of wealth among citizens and also among nations. The core of the progressive philosophy is to share the wealth according to a long-held dream of Marxists. It makes no difference that this scheme has never worked on any scale.

Without wealth, nations can have no physical power. Obama is dedicated to making America just another nation in an international organization. I believe Obama intends to destroy our military power. He believes his words can bring about a much better world than we had before his rise to power. He’s had four secretaries of defense in six years. I believe he has wasted more American blood and wealth than any other president — and he isn’t done yet.

His weakness and failure to see the world as it is has brought us closer to global conflict than anytime since the end of WWII. Peace doesn’t come from weakness. It comes from strength and the principles that made us what we used to be. Obama and his progressive followers would have been right at home in England when Chamberlain returned from a meeting with Adolph Hitler, saying to great acclaim that he had assured “peace for our time.” Obama, I believe, has given us enough signals that he is approaching Iran with the same Chamberlain mentality. Hitler’s armies paid no more attention to the Chamberlain agreement than the Iranians will to any agreement with Obama when they get nuclear weapons and mate them with their developing ICBM missiles. Seeing the world as you believe it to be instead of what it actually is is only a great danger if you are the president of the United States.

President Obama’s dealings with Iran, ISIS, and Putin’s Russia can only result in more aggression and a greater threat of war. One thing is certain — we cannot survive a war with this president as our commander-in-chief. My belief that Obama is the greatest danger from within we have faced since the Civil War is based on more than just his international failures. He is corrupting the civil service, the military Joint Chiefs structure, abusing the Constitution, the separation of powers doctrine, and is deliberately handicapping economic recovery to further his divisive messaging of class warfare and racism. He cannot be impeached with nearly half the population still in favor of his presidency, a media that is friendly beyond reason to Obama’s progressivism, and a republican leadership that is no match for Obama’s messaging.

The next two years will be very hard. We need to do everything legally possible to delay Obama’s brand of transformation.

 Written by the author of the Jack Brandon thriller/suspense novels and “Insights: Transforming America — Is This What We Fought For?” available now as an e-book, in paperback or hardcover on Amazon.com or BN.com. Another analytical book on the transforming process, “Insights: Stepping Stones to Tyranny,” is now published and available in paperback at $9.95 and on nook and kindle at $6.99. Follow the author on Twitter @factsfictions80. “Quiet Justice,” a new novel dealing with ISIS in America, will be out by mid March.

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INSIGHTS 176 — WHO IS TO BLAME?

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Pulling the lever at the polling place for your party or candidate is a citizen’s duty. But it doesn’t begin or end there. When you vote for a winning candidate, you own a share of the candidate’s successes and failures. After all, you helped put them in office.

Being president of the United States is the most difficult job in our world. The decisions or lack of decisions the president makes affects the very existence of our nation and the continuation of life on planet Earth. How do you select a man or woman to move into the White House?

It is your responsibility to make an effort to size up the candidates, separate facts from fictions, and understand the difference between your emotional inclinations and the actual observable facts. You may believe your candidate would make a great president  but recognize  your candidate does not have the experience to be a president. You also know no one, no matter how cool or smart, can learn enough after taking office to be a good president. This is not a position for basic leadership nor ‘on the job’ training. Even highly qualified candidates have much to learn. The good ones have had years of management experience, are natural leaders, and realize their limitations require them to surround themselves with very good people who know how to do their jobs.  A good staff makes a good president even better.

The qualification of experience is easy to judge. A candidate either has had years of command experience in management of large organizations with thousands of people or not. They have either learned the importance of keeping their word and know their actions will define them or they don’t know it. They either realize they are not defined by their speeches or they believe their speeches make their presidency a good one.

As a rule, senators and representatives do not acquire leadership or management skills in the performance of their responsibilities. They manage by manipulating individuals and playing one group against the other. These are not the primary skills a president needs. In their world, words are the tools they use, not actions. They are used to saying one thing when later say they meant another. When a candidate uses the words “I” and “my” many times in every speech, you know this person is not a leader and does not understand how to manage large numbers of complicated missions.

In American political life, leaders come from being governors, high-ranking military officers, and captains of industry. You still need to be careful in selecting from these ranks, but at least you know they have had the required management and leadership experience.

One of the things I have learned from life is that no matter what a job requires, people do what they know how to do. If that happens to be giving speeches, fundraising, and playing one group against another, that’s what you get.

Written by the author of the Jack Brandon thriller/mystery novels and “Insights: Transforming America — Is This What We Fought For?” available now as an ebook, in paperback or hardcover on Amazon.com or BN.com. Another analytical book on the transforming process, “Stepping Stones to Tyranny,” will be published before Christmas. Follow the author on Twitter @factsfictions80. 

 

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