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Posts Tagged → nuclear

is Penn State for real?

I know, I know, PSU alum are not supposed to criticize our Mother Ship, Penn State University. But the cold hard facts are material, and it is important to at least raise one’s voice about important things.

For the record, I do not hate Penn State, though I have severed my commitment to PSU football because of the brutally unfair way the PSU board treated my hero and universally admired icon  coach Joe Paterno. No, the opposite is true, I care very much about PSU.  I am grateful for the stellar undergraduate education I received there. In fact, I received as good or better an education at PSU as or than available at supposedly elite Ivy League schools. That is because PSU is so large, has so many facilities and professors, that anyone who really wants to be educated, to talk with their professors, to spend time debating and studying with like-minded students, can spend all their time as a student being educated. If they but want to.

Which is pretty much what I did there. I served on the Student Senate, ran for student body president, engaged in all kinds of political activism, and studied, studied, studied. My professors, notably Art Goldschmidt, Jackson Spielvogel, Jim Eisenstein, and especially Ed Keynes, helped me grow as only a devoted educator can do. I served many of my best professors as a teaching or research assistant. They each studied me, saw my strengths and weaknesses, and challenged me in ways and in areas where I needed to grow the most, and where that growth would matter the most to my eventual debut as an educated adult.

On the other hand, my impression of Ivy League schools is that they are so one-dimensional and politically correct, that one must only gain entry and then spend four years parroting and agreeing with one’s professors to get out with a degree. No growth, no challenge, no self-development at the Ivy league schools, just indoctrination by the staff and parroting back by the students. Where is the value in that?

So what the hell is going on at Penn State with the sky-high tuition? At $38,000 a year IN STATE tuition, PSU ranks right up there with many private schools as well as public universities OUT of state.

Being run now strictly as a profit-loss bottom-line business, as opposed to an educational institution, PSU sets tuition fees that are affordable only to wealthy students, crazy parents, foreign students backed by foreign governments, and  the children of PSU employees.  Ye olde regular American or Pennsylvanian family simply cannot afford the Pennsylvania STATE university.

This situation is exacerbated by a so-called professional caste of elected officials, state representatives and state senators, who tell us all the time that they are professionals and they know what they are doing. What they are doing with PSU is constantly shoveling into its gaping maw more and more taxpayer money, with zero strings attached. No special scholarships for highly qualifying Pennsylvania students. No accountability to the taxpayers, no service to the Pennsylvania public.

And for those who justify this unfair situation because PSU is a big research station, OK, you name the program and let’s look into it. Some are pretty good, and some are worthless. For example, PSU has its own breeder reactor, so we know the PSU students of nuclear physics are probably getting cutting-edge education from nuclear physics researchers there. On the other hand, fake “climate researcher” Michael Mann was just hugely discredited in a court of law, and ordered to pay big legal fees as a result. Mann could not produce in court the data he used to make his name peddling phony science. As we all know, science is totally about reproducability, the ability to reproduce experiments and outcomes that other scientists have claimed. Mann cannot do that. Mann has been a political activist first and foremost, and has besmirched PSU’s good name as a research institution.

Maybe Mann can be now sued by Pennsylvania taxpayers for his fraud, and compelled to create a scholarship fund with his many ill-gotten gains.

We can call it the “Penn State Real Science Scholarship Fund.” And if it has only five bucks in it, it will still be a hell of a lot more than PSU has so far designated to supporting qualified in-state students who want to study real subjects.

 

People ask me why

For some people, politics and political activism are their bread and butter.  Politics pays their bills.  With the right clients, they can make millions of dollars out of politics as a business model.

For me, politics is about personal liberty, freedom, opportunity and many other inspiring principles behind the founding of America.  It is also about the little freedoms we have that emanate from the bigger ideas:  The freedom to drive or walk somewhere without having to prove that you belong there, the freedom to choose where to live, the ability to select from a wide assembly of fresh food, to name a few popular ones.

Call it an innate sense of justice and right and wrong, which family and friends have said I’ve had since I was a little kid, or call it a lack of patience, an inability to watch, participate in, listen to, or tolerate BS/fluff/empty slogans/lies/self-interest, whatever it is that motivates me, I am passionate about good government.

Good government has been a passion of mine since I was a teenager, when I first got involved in political campaigns.  Back then, I was horrified at the way abortion-on-demand was changing our culture, I was against gun control, and nuclear missiles scared me.  Later on, watching police beat non-violent pro-democracy marchers in South Africa motivated me to put my voice behind change there (note that now the monumentally corrupt and un-just African National Congress government there is hardly better than the overtly racist apartheid government it replaced).  Age, paying taxes, and work experience have a way of shaping political views for normal people, and I was no exception.

So here I am, living a life that has meaning for me, trying to shape Pennsylvania and American politics in ways I believe are healthy, necessary, and just.  The citizens and taxpayers who are supposed to be served well by their government (of the people, by the people, for the people) are not being well served today.  This is why I am involved in politics.  That is why I will not go away, at least not until things are fixed to my satisfaction.

Ukraine: Obama batting zero, his cheering section still loud

Math was not always my strongest interest (although I did self-learn calculus in graduate school), so disregard the headline here. Obama’s foreign policy is such a catastrophic failure that he is way in the negatives; he is not at zero.  Being at Zero would actually be a success.

Here is a partial list of countries and peoples seeking freedom from tyranny who have had the rug of American promises pulled out from underneath them by Obama:

Poland (defensive missiles).

Georgia (South Ossetia, invaded by Russia).

Israel.

Iranian citizens.

Syrian citizens.

And now it’s Ukraine that has learned the hard lesson of Obama’s recklessness. Whatever promises were made to get Ukraine’s nuclear weapons, like protecting Ukraine from Russian imperialism, have been openly tossed out the window by an Obama administration bent on destroying America from within.  Wrecking America’s international standing is one way to destroy America at home.

Allowing aggressive imperial powers like Russia, China, and Iran to  willfully expand their spheres of influence and domination lets Obama off the “aggressor” hook.  He can claim he’s no “warmonger.”  But his inaction and failure to live up to his own red lines and promises of American protection have created a vacuum into which the aggressors, the real warmongers, have stepped.

Growing up in a pacifist household, I used to ask the hard questions that no one could answer, like Why should someone not actively oppose an Adolph Hitler and a Nazi Germany?  Answers were hard to come by, because there are no substantive answers to these questions.

Pacifism is evil because it legitimizes evil.  Pacifism equates doing nothing with active aggression, imperialism, domination, subjugation, tyranny and all the barbaric cruelty that goes along with them.  By failing to act, by failing to confront evil in a meaningful way, pacifists lend credibility to the aggressors.  If Russian imperialism in the form of subjugating Ukraine is not confronted and thwarted, then it must not be so bad. Such is the message from Obama and other pacifists, intended or unintended.

This unwillingness to act creates a vacuum, and this vacuum is seen correctly as  weakness.  It invites even more aggression.  History is replete with examples, so an Obama would have to willfully ignore the obvious historical truth in order to do what he is doing (and not doing) now.

I know Obama has his cheering section.  That is the greatest sadness of all, because those same people claim to be ethical, humane, loving.  So strong is the messianic love for this charlatan among his believers, that they will forgive and forget his greatest deceptions, his greatest failures, the trail of destruction and misery in his wake.  Other people, other families, then pay with their lives, at best to be the subjects of pity by groups like OxFam and Rotary, intent on picking up the few broken pieces later on.

For shame.

Obama abandons western civilization

If anyone had any questions left about Obama’s loyalties, tonight’s state of the union speech should have clarified that this man is at war with western civilization.

Pledging to veto stronger sanctions on Iran means that Obama is now openly aiding and protecting Iran in its rush to build nuclear bombs.

Obama has now openly broken his pledge to faithfully defend America.  Time is now for this dangerous charlatan to go.

 

The end of 215 years of American tradition

Early in America’s youth, a rule in the US Senate was established that recognized minority rights.

By setting a higher threshold for confirming federal judges, US senators had a chance to seriously consider judicial candidates, who serve for life and can only be impeached for serious crimes.

Today, the US Senate majority changed that 215-year-old rule, no longer allowing filibusters for extreme candidates. Now, judges will be voted for confirmation by a simple majority.

When the other party had control of the senate, and the present majority engaged in filibusters, it was business as usual. Now, the majority wants absolute control. No forced debate.

Now what happens when this majority is in the minority? Will they whine, moan, and cry about not having the filibuster at hand to stop or slow down judicial nominees they strongly oppose? Probably. And the sense of irony will be ignored.

Their friends in the mainstream press will take their side, and it’s up to us citizen journalists to get the word out about how serious this is.

A political tradition lasting 215 years must have been worthy. Now we see a huge power grab by one party. What will you do about it?

September 11th, A Day of Remembrance, Reflection & Resolve

September 11th, A Day of Remembrance, Reflection & Resolve
September 11, 2012
By Josh First

September 11th is an American day of national remembrance and reflection. We remember the attacks on our defenseless civilians by Muslim terrorists, who used our freedoms against us on this day.

We reflect on American heroism, an innate trait seen most graphically on Flight 93, now memorialized at the crash site in Somerset County, Pennsylvania (which I had the honor to help create, leading the first two years of real estate protection there with the National Park Service, Somerset County, the local townships, the Families of Flight 93, PBS Coals, CONSOL Energy, the Mellon Foundation, and others, not to mention the many supportive landowners).

Should the American character of inclusiveness be continued in a way that invites these kinds of attacks? An inclusiveness at any and all costs?

Based on his experience in both world wars, British leader Winston Churchill quipped after World War II that the Americans wouldn’t show up to a fight until it was almost too late to win it. Will our generation of Americans languish in our non-judgmentalism, uber-inclusiveness, and moral relativism until it is too late?

The “too late” will be when Iran obtains nuclear bombs, which is in the end-process of happening with an American and European acquiescence that is exactly how the West dealt with Hitler before 1940. Pacifists call this avoidable prelude to widespread death “peace,” but what do they call it after the bombs start going off? They call it someone else’s failure.

Many people believe that those Iranian bombs will be directed at Israel only, but Iran fears and hates America more than Israel. To Iran’s Muslim leaders and most of its citizens, America is the epicenter of everything they oppose. It’s a clash of civilizations that they intend to settle with nuclear bombs and that we currently intend to resolve through endless discussion.

America’s porous borders and inability to fight back against Islamic supremacism at home or abroad mean that at least one Iranian bomb will find its way into a large American city. The devastation and economic fallout will be unimaginable. What if two or three bombs are snuck in, and detonated? Is it “peace” to ignore these questions, and is it “warmongering” to ask them?

The oft-quoted historian George Santayana said “Those who forget history are destined to repeat it,” which in the context of September 11th means that Americans who are forgetting what happened that day, and why, will be surprised the next time we experience a huge domestic attack. The problem is that the next attack will be with a nuclear bomb, maybe several, America may not be able to recover from the damage, and we don’t have to be surprised; we can take steps to stop it from happening.

So on September 11th, the modern equivalent of remembering the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, let us not just recall the pain that we felt, but rather also resolve that it won’t happen again. Let us take the small and big steps necessary to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, the personal ones, the professional ones, and the political ones.

Follow us on the web at joshfirst.com and our Facebook page, Josh First for Senate

Ron Paul’s tinfoil hat

U.S. Congressman Ron Paul is a candidate for the U.S. presidency, a serious endeavor with big implications.

But if you listen to his foreign policy positions, as I did in last night’s Republican debate, you realize that he is not a serious candidate. Ron Paul is in the same category as racist David Duke and other wackos who run for office to promote their extreme, bizarre beliefs, not to win.

Ron Paul blames America for why Muslim leaders around the world hate America. It’s a flawed position, but it plays to a group of angry citizens on both the far left and far right of the political spectrum.

Ron Paul’s position on American foreign policy may be flawed, but it is more than that. It is a potentially fatal flaw that could spell the end of the United States as a nuclear-armed Iran uses conventional and unconventional nuclear bombs to destroy our great nation.

Cartoons that capture Ron Paul’s awkward, dangerous policy positions might show a man wearing a tinfoil hat, the kind of “protection” lunatics need to keep the CIA from reading their minds.

Ron Paul is a cartoon of a candidate. Enjoy your tinfoil hat, congressman. We believe you, sure we do…..