Can the United States and its partners rely on Iran to keep its word on not developing a nuclear weapon? This summary in the latest edition of The Week magazine should be enough to doubt that Iran is an honest player.
Following is PBS listing of the top 10 positions of Senator Ted Cruz who announced his candidacy for president today.
The Budget and debt: Mandate a balanced budget.
Cruz supports a Constitutional amendment mandating that Congress pass a balanced budget. He argues that this is the best way to cut down deficits and the debt.
Corporations: Slash corporate tax rates to 15 percent. End some programs like the Export-Import bank and federal subsidies for renewable fuels.
Common Core: End it.
Immigration: Block any current effort that lets undocumented immigrants legally remain in the U.S.
The Internet: Do not tax access to the Internet and block “net neutrality.”
Obamacare: Repeal it.
Social Issues: States should be allowed to define “marriage” and set strict abortion limits.
Taxes and the IRS: Move toward a flat tax and abolish the IRS.
Iran: Increase and toughen sanctions. End current nuclear talks until Congress approves the outlines of a deal.
Islamic State: Don’t send U.S. ground troops, yet.
Meanwhile there is an initiative proposal being circulated for signature in California that calls for the state to secede from the United States. it will take just 365,880 signatures for an initiative to be placed on the ballet in 2016.
Common Core standards were created during the George W. Bush administration. It was, in my opinion, the wisest decision made during his presidency. We now have a list of expectations for every grade level throughout the United States. Those that denounce the setting of standards are supporting mediocrity in our schools.
On December 3, 2013, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced yet again that American students were doing terribly when tested, in comparison to students in sixty-one other countries and a few cities like Shanghai and Hong Kong. Duncan presided over the release of the latest international assessment of student performance in reading, science, and mathematics (called the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA), and Shanghai led the nations of the world in all three categories. Of the 61 nations the United States came in as “average” or 31st place.
I know that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people have written about America’s educational system. Here is my take.
The average American family faces a daunting task sending their children to college. Those children in poorer families where neither parent has a college education has a very poor chance of going to college and if they do, they have no support to reach completion. The problem isn’t just student ability there is a challenge of cost. Rather than provide everyone with an opportunity to obtain a college education we refuse to tax ourselves sufficiently to offer even a free community college education.
The cost of state run universities is high with a cost reaching $3,300 at the University of Oregon per semester to the University of California Los Angeles $6,800 per semester. Obviously private universities cost significantly more.
Is it any wonder that we have a poorly educated society? Those that want the education, whose families lack the money, will simple obtain student loans that will take decades to repay.
Where does this leave America? The U.S.A. is the giant that no longer wants to make the sacrifices to lead the world. The consequences will become apparent in the next few decades.
“If there is one lesson American Jews will learn from Israel’s election, it’s this: they’re not us.
Israel is not New York. Or LA. Or Chicago or Boston or Miami or Philadelphia. It is a Jewish “community” unlike any in America.”
Those are the opening words by Rob Eshman in today’s Jewish Journal.
We just don’t appreciate the perceptions of Israelis. They live under the constant threat of war with their neighbors. They live in fear of their lives. No one in the United States lives with those kinds of fears. Many American Zionists will evolve in their view of Israel. The reason is that Americans favor the idea of a two state solution to the Israel-Palestinian problem.
I suspect that the ongoing enmity between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu is the result of the prime minister’s refusal to negotiate a two state solution. In other words Netanyahu told Obama his one state position years ago. He only just told the world two days ago.
Netanyahu and his American supporters may still change the course of the Iran nuclear negotiations. Those Americans who favor supporting Israel in all situations no matter what that country does will work their will through Congress. There is no doubt that Israel’s path will be unpleasant over the next two years.
Israelis are a resourceful people. They will find a way to have their way.
Who can we believe?
( Bloomberg) — March 12, 2015 / Household wealth in the U.S. increased from October through December by the most in a year as stock prices advanced to an all-time high at the end of 2014. Net worth for households and non-profit groups rose by $1.5 trillion in the fourth quarter 1.9 percent from the previous three months, to $82.9 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Thursday from Washington in its financial accounts report, previously known as the flow of funds survey.
A report like that would make you believe that Americans are all richer and feeling quite confident about the future. The rest of that Bloomberg article was just as upbeat. It proves how numbers can give a distorted view of the world. Those numbers were provided by the Federal Reserve.
Wait this really isn’t what it appears to be. USA Today offered this additional piece of information: But the wealth gains are flowing mainly to affluent Americans. Broad stock market averages have jumped more than 150% from their trough in the spring of 2009. But roughly 10% of households own about 80% of stocks.
The reality is that millions of families live paycheck to paycheck. The majority do not have significant savings for their retirement. The Median Value of Assets for Households in 2011 was $68,828.00. Married couples over 65 years had the highest wealth at a Median Value of $284,790.00. Take away the value of their home and you realize that many senior citizens are primarily relying on their Social Security income. The source for this data is the U.S. Census Bureau.
This data says two things to me. 1) You cannot rely on the reporting from just one publication for complete information. 2) There is a great economic divide in this nation.
Female Mountain Lion looking into a camera
New photographs of a mountain lion and her offspring are giving park rangers a closer and more intimate look at how the animals are surviving in the Santa Monica Mountains. The report in the Los Angeles Times does not detail the location of the camera that caught these pictures. The Santa Monica Mountains start just north of Hollywood and extend west and north bisecting the city and ending in Ventura County. The famous Mulholland Drive and Highway starts near the Hollywood Bowl traverses the ridge of the mountain range.
My theory is that Speaker of the House John Boehner invited Benjamin Netenyahu to speak to Congress is an effort on the part of the GOP to prove to Jewish voters that the Republican Party is the party that supports Israel. It’s not that their votes will change an election. The GOP would like to attract more Jewish donors.
I believe Benjamin Netenyahu really does fear for the existence of Israel. His intention is to go where ever he must to obtain the support for what he believes are Israel’s needs.