Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Build a wall or restore the draft? @realDonaldTrump

Donald Trump is promising to build a wall to stop the flow of immigrants who are taking away American jobs and terrorizing our nation. What happens if we build the wall and it does not work? 

Illegal immigrants may find ways around the wall by air, sea, and tunnels. They could also take jobs that no one else would want. The immigrants who are willing to take these risks and work this hard are the ones who are most likely to take American jobs. Illegal immigrant children may go to other countries where there are less barriers. They may also choose to stay in their country.  But, children immigrants pose no threat to taking American jobs.

People need to tease out the reasons for building a wall in the first place. We have gone from one income families to two income families. We are beginning to sacrifice time to work three jobs and incomes. It may come to a transition for both husband and wife to work four jobs. This difficult transition represents our response to a lower standard of living. Our income is currently not meeting our standard of living. The squeezed out priority to maintain this standard of living is too often attention to our children. People are unhappy about neglecting their children, so they are voting for Trump.  

Higher pay American jobs may have been lost for other reasons than illegal immigrants. The workforce needs people who have high levels of technical skill training. Many of these skills can be acquired by employing people Online in countries with a lower standard of living. Some companies have also recruited immigrants to come from other countries to work for them. The need for technical skills will continue to drive immigration.

So, instead of building a wall there are other simple alternatives. A Democratic Party solution could be to revive depression era programs like the W.P.A. A Republican Party solution might be to require military service for two years where people can receive intensive technical training. These are easy solutions to the complex problem of illegal immigration which goes deeper than just building a wall.

I am sure that if Mr. Trump began talking about restoring the military draft and using it to retrain the workforce that his solution would not be very popular. However, if we are going to pursue a simple solution to a complicated problem this is one way for it to work. Is this the end game Mr Trump?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Pop Trump! #election2016, Let's make America Great Again!


 

-Populism revolves around a charismatic leader who appeals to and claims to embody the will of the people in order to consolidate his own power. It is leadership from the rear. For this reason polling is a favorite strategy of populists. The campaign of Donald Trump can be considered a populist movement. He is playing to the emotions of the electorate. There are good and bad things about populism. Populism increases voter turn out. Getting more people involved in the political process will normally make a democracy stronger. There are also bad things about populism. The rest of this post will focus on these negatives.
We have had other populist candidates in the past. Andrew Jackson was a war hero who people admired and looked up to. He was quick to make decisions from the gut, and used little restraint. In the capitol building he once blunted a man with a cane to unconsciousness. Jackson pragmatism accomplished the founding of the modern Democratic Party. This can be contrasted with the leadership of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln forged coalitions by investing time and effort into building relationships. Some of his most productive relationships were his political enemies that he appointed to cabinet positions. He was the founder of the modern Republican Party. In the publication, "Rating the Presidents" by William J. Ridings, Jr. and Stuart B. McIver, published in 1997, president Lincoln was ranked first among the presidents by 719 professors, attorneys, historians and authors. Abraham Lincoln signed into law the Homestead Act, the Morrill Act, the National Banking Act, and a bill that chartered the first transcontinental railroad. He signed the Emancipation Proclamation that led to the 13th amendment outlawing slavery. Perhaps his largest accomplishment was holding our union of states together in the midst of a civil war. The comparison of Jackson and Lincoln is as different as their leadership style. Jackson led from the rear. Lincoln led by taking us to a place where we did not want to go, and then we thanked him for it. 


Populists need a common enemy. The abuses of Wall Street are a common enemy in many populist movements just as they are today. Back in Jackson's day the New York syndicate at Tam-minty Hall was just beginning. For this reason the candidates of 2016 should be wary of discussing the stock market during this election cycle. During the American Revolution Thomas Pain wrote Common Sense, and then went on a crusade against loyalist to the crown in the colonies. This made sense at the time, but unrestrained passion directed against our neighbors never makes sense in the long term. Neither does it make sense to hate all Latin American people because they are attempting to come over the border for a better life. They are not the enemy, but to the unemployed factory worker it can feel that way. Building a wall is a simple solution to this problem.


Populists answer complex problems with simple solutions. Donald Trump's wall between Mexico and US is a great example. The real problem is not people crossing the border from Mexico. The real problem is what President Obama and others have addressed. The middle class is shrinking. People are underemployed and stuck in a changing economy that they cannot adapt too. Technology has outpaced our training and tolerance for change. This is a complex problem. When analyzed it also encourages us to get training for new skills in a new economy. It is much easier for me to agree with someone else that our problems are all because of a common enemy. This is especially true when that someone is a populist candidate running for President of the United States.

Our country has a rich history of populist movements. Pragmatism can be a good strategy to employ in the short term. But, populism in the long term is leadership from the rear.  It is what Joachim Posada calls, "eating the marshmallow".  Taken from his book, "Don't Eat the Marshmallow Yet" Joachim reviews the famous Stanford University longitudinal study of preschoolers who were promised two marshmallows if they would delay their gratification and wait to eat the marshmallow when the researcher came back. Unfortunately two out of the three preschoolers choose the simple solution and ate the marshmallow. When they followed the success of preschoolers into adulthood the researchers found that the students who resisted eating the marshmallow had the most successful lives. Too many of us today want simple solutions to difficult problems. When we do not sacrifice in present we are destined to fail in the future. Let's make America Great again! We can do this by taking initiative, getting new skills, and using our ingenuity to solve problems. Blame shifting does not work in a successful marriage, and it will never work to ultimately solve our national problems.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Let Carly Debate



I am writing today to express my outrage over the ABC New Hampshire Republican Debate. There were seven candidates on stage and eight who earned delegates from Iowa. The ABC debate rules used a complex formula for qualifying for the debate. This formula included poll rankings in New Hampshire. If polls are the primary qualification, then why bother voting. Donald Trump found out in Iowa that polls do not equal votes. Forbes Magazine and NPR are both on record saying that "Fiorina was the only viable candidate excluded".

I like Carly's platform because she is dealing with systemic problems in a bloated government that need to be unraveled. The primary purpose of government is to protect our borders. The role of government has expanded beyond this objective. Our government makes many laws. Some laws have enforced the delivery of our mail, insured our safety in work, food and water, regulated commerce, transportation, education, protected us from lawbreakers, and negotiated disputes between our states. These activities are important and necessary, and normally competent administrators are placed into the role of carrying them out. Over time however, it is not unusual for a meritocracy to develop into a a bureaucracy. A meritocracy is normally efficient, but the outcome of services provided can change over time. In a bureaucracy the employee of the government and the system that they serve can be prioritized over the actual beneficiary of the services. Some examples can help understand this. A government agency bureaucrat may exaggerate social problems to expand their budget. Unions workers will push for the expansion of employment benefits at the taxpayer's expense. Agency bureaucrats will also hide information that will threaten the agencies expansion or survival.

At Hewett Packard Carly did her best to unravel the bureaucratic tendencies of a large corporation. She did this for the shareholders, but sometimes at the expense of employees. This balance between a competent and stable workforce and an efficient delivery of services is at the heart of what I perceive Carly's message to be. I think she has the leadership to get this difficult and complex job done. It is why I plan to vote for her in the Pennsylvania primary. I hope you will join me New Hampshire. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

2015 Pennsylvania Municipal and presidential primary elections.



Looking over the upcoming municipal election, and the presidential election next year. First of all please consider voting in the municipal election this year. Many people ignore this election. They do not know the names of the politicians. There is little advertising, and interest because it seems like the     significance of these offices are marginal. I would suggest that the election today for the prolife movement is very important. In Pennsyvania we have the opportunity to pick three Supreme Court justices. Two of the three republicans running are prolife. Judy Olson and Anne Covey are your picks for the prolife vote. When few people vote in an election every vote
Counts. Please consider voting for these ladies.

Here is my one sentence soundbite about the presidential candidates...

John Kasitch- Can anyone really trust a banker?
Ben Carson- My taxes would go up too high. 
Donald Trump- Bankruptcy is not a qualification for president.
Jeb Bush- Can he escape his brother's legacy?
Marco Rubio- The isolation of Cuban communism has not worked.
Chris Christie- Will he be vindictive?
Rand Paul- Can not filibuster to the presidency.
Ted Cruz- Good government is not obstruction.
Carly Fiorina- Is my pick for the Republicans.

Bernie Sanders- Is the US ready to become Socialist Europe?
Martin O'Malley- Too many taxes.
Hillary Clinton- My choice for the democratic nomination.

So if my predictions come true we will have a battle of ladies for the White House. What are some pros and cons of a women president?

Pros.                    
Diversity of choice can removes blind spots by the electorate.
Ladies tend to be less ideological and more practical.

Cons.
Men tend to be better risk takers.
Men are interpreted as leaders in the bible.

For the reasons listed above I am still undecided in my choice for president. If the election were today  my choices are above. However, I am still considering my options with the presidential  primary still six months away.



Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Selfless Volunteer Candidate. Donald Trump?

Our country has a rich history of volunteerism. My name is Pat Parris, and I coordinate a leadership program at a cyber school in Pennsylvania (PALCS). Every year 20 of my charges learn to complete a selfless project in their communities that spurs volunteerism, while developing leadership skills. 


There is a rich history of volunteerism in America. The number one reason for government is to provide national security for its stakeholders. Most governments do this by recruiting armies, In the early years of our country we recruited militia. Militia are volunteers that meet this basic need of protecting our citizens from outsiders. But, we volunteer in many other ways as well. 
Perhaps the earliest form of volunteerism besides the militia are opportunities for people to serve in their local churches. Even before we were raising arms against the English we were fighting for freedom of religion. Ironically this freedom could be best described as a separation of church and state. Before the American Revolution the Church of England was punishing Christians in America who disagreed with them. There was a revival of the teachings of Martin Luther on the Princeton seminary campus at that time called The Great Awakening. Salvation by faith. and not the rituals and duties of the Church of England was the drive behind this revival. The Church of England had no separation of church and the state. The English saw this as a direct attack on their government. This is a well known story, but I find the side story even more interesting. The side story is the streams of volunteers who served in these churches with no reward of employment or patronage from their new found faith. They did things like feed the hungry, take care of widows and orphans, care for the sick, and educate the young. Who were these church workers who served so selflessly? They were countless volunteers motivated by a faith that few could understand apart from conversion. In my opinion, this lack of understanding led to overcompensation by our government to make these services into entitlement. 



During this time period we read about famous people like Jonathan Edwards and King George. We seldom consider the unsung heroes who volunteered selfless acts of service. I am writing this post to remind you of them. If these people were memorialized in history, then perhaps we would turn our ambition to be like them. As we travel through the sands of time if we remember these unknown heroes we may see a new ambition for volunteerism that could help unravel the entitlement problems in our country. Entitlements like food stamps. Medicaid, and public education could be provided by individuals motivated a higher purpose. This supplement of volunteer heroes would never take the place of these programs, but selfless acts of service could stem their growth. 

So here is my tribute to a selfless person who has gone before us. My mother was one of those volunteers. I was the 4th born of 5 children. She lost her husband to leukemia when I was 5 and raised our family on veterans checks, and the kindness of others. We lived two doors from my uncle and he watched out for us. My aunt would even remove my stitches to save money from an additional doctors visit. Our church provided an education at Saint Valentines Parish in Bethel Park. The veterans administration provided an earned entitlement of food and shelter for my mother and her family. When I aspire to be like her, then I find my ambition shifting to selfless acts of service.  

Perhaps the antithesis of my mother are self promoters like Donald Trump. Why then is the Donald so popular in his candidacy for president? Isn't he the opposite of the selfless volunteer? Could it be that he has tapped into a longing for transparency in our conversation? Many people have been caught in a period of salary and promotion stagnation, and have grown bitter. When they see Donald Trump saying what they are thinking they feel a sense of vindication, and pay back for wrongs they feel they have suffered. But, is this good government? 

Some people think that he is a joke, a late night talk show act, or a shocking youtube video. Donald will entertain them, and since they feel so disenfranchised by our government, then perhaps they will get something out of the election. If we govern this way then inconsiderate gaffs will become normative, and we will react and not respond. Even more scary we may become flippant about international relations. Presidents should be sober, slow to react and selfless volunteers that walk in the tradition of some of our best presidents. The best presidents in our history have won by a small margin, or have sought the office reluctantly. Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Lincoln, Truman and Kennedy fit this tradition. When a self promoter assumes the office, then the benefit of the whole will be sacrificed to short term selfish gratification. 

Any decent leader knows that short term gratification can be sacrificed for long term benefits. We must take the hard road of self sacrifice to move our country forward. It is true that this will not be a popular campaign speech. However, this is what our country has done to move our people forward into a high standard of living and a peaceful life. That is why the best candidates say very little about complex problems, but solve them by including stakeholders in the process of solving them, and choosing the road less traveled. It can make all the difference. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Nabataens trade and a solution to the Syrian Conflict.



 Mr. President,

The current Syrian Civil War between a loose confederation of militias and Assad’s regime can find mediation through a strategy of increasing trade. Jordan is the wild card that no one is talking about right now. We need to look to Jordan and support King Abdullah II and his Hashemite constitutional monarchy. Jordan is threatened by three things resulting from the Syrian Civil War.
  • Jordan is threatened by a refugee crisis. 
  • They are threatened by the potential for a Sunni Jihadest government forming along their border that will raise sympathies by conservative people in their own country. 
  • Finally they are threatened by Assad himself who sees Jordan as too western leaning and too much maneuvering against him could result in a direct response. 
Because they are vulnerable Jordan will be stimulated to take action in this current conflict. 

One of the unifying characteristics of the Arab peoples is world trade. The ancient Nabataens lived in Trans Jordan. They were eventually annexed by the Roman Empire. They were one of the few civilizations that were not conquered by the Roman Empire. They had an amazing propensity for trade, and this characteristic marks these people today. We need to increase trade with Jordan. We can do this by giving them aid with strings attached to increase trade. This will serve two purposes.

  • It will help the refugee population find employment by employing them to deliver goods or services. If you look at the trade routes above you will see that many of these ancient trade routes went through Israel. 
  • This could could change Israel's image into a trading partner instead of a military adversary. 

The Palestinian question is inflammatory in Jordan. The Palestinian peoples could be given preference in regards to any employment generated by increased trade.

What should they trade? In ancient times silk, oil, spices, timber and many other commodities crowded these trade routes. What would be a modern commodity that could be transported by individuals, and is still considered essential? Coffee, sugar, corn, wheat and cotton are the most popular agricultural commodities today. Certainly Jordan's fruit and vegetable farms could be expanded to dispatch goods to these refugee couriers. Eventually, if the wealth of this trade market is successful enough Assad may even be bought out and portions of the country could be annexed to other states.

None of this will happen quickly. The response to the gassing of children and families in Syria is not addressed in this short post. I agree there should be a response, but this post deals with the end game instead of any immediate response to violations of the Geneva agreement. Most US citizens are more concerned about the end game in Syria. If President Obama addresses that, I am sure he will find favor if he takes action in retaliation for war crimes by Syria.

Just my thoughts Mr. President,

Pat Parris

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A thankful member of the 47%


My father died when I was five years old. My mother raised five of us, and during this Thanksgiving season I will always be grateful for her sacrifices. Our government supported my family with monthly veterans’ checks. I was pulled out of a boring English class to go to college free as a track athlete. I entered the work force with a shock. No one provided me with employment as they had provided me food, shelter, and education to this point. I secured a job at a sheltered workshop for 3 ½ years placing the mentally handicapped into competitive employment. I made $8,000 to start and paid no income taxes. This job helped me identify my skills of persuasion, as well as people skills, and an empathetic attitude. It also made me a legitimate member of the 47%. Today, I am a conservative, and do not readily identify with this group. I am empathetic, however.

You see there is an entitlement type of thinking that makes me squirm. Even though I am the recipient of so many handouts over my life, I reject the idea that I will remain dependant on freebees. You see my mom took the entitlements, but she never stopped working. She leveraged her entitlements to create opportunities for her children. I miss her, and think of her often. In the spirit of Thanksgiving I am grateful and want to contribute to this great country that gave me so much opportunity. It is not the handouts that create an entitlement culture. It is the lack of desire for a better lifestyle. It is the selfishness of capitalism that drives most of us to have a better life. When I travel to other countries like Panama and China and they find out that I am from the US it is not democracy that I sense they are envious of. It is not freedom that they seem to long for. I sense that they are more interested in the things that I have, and the opportunities available for both my self and my family. Don’t get me wrong. I think they want the right to express them selves without being harmed. I think they also want what Abraham Lincoln called conceived liberty and dedication to equality. I just think that these lofty ideals are not where people live.

I think that most people are much like my wife. She lives in the here and now and not the lofty ideals of democrats or republicans. She keeps me grounded when I find myself in an idealistic rant. My mother, my wife, and my foreign friends surround me with the reality of the here and now. Human nature becomes industrious when we sacrifice and work to better ourselves. When we get something for free that we don’t have to work for, then we do not value it. We expect more, and become ungrateful for the things we have. The cure for ingratitude is sacrifice. When we must work for something we learn to value it. So we the members of the 47% who have had to sacrifice and struggle reject the idealism of the extreme right wing. Just because someone has given us a hand up does not mean that we are destined to be entitled. We vow to take delight in any help we receive. We will be grateful for opportunities over expectations. When we find ourselves in desperate circumstances we will resist despair. On this Thanksgiving we will identify small reasons to take courage. On this Thanksgiving we proclaim a new breed of 47 percent-ers who will represent those who live in the stress and struggle of the here and now with a can do attitude that rises above our circumstances.