Letters to the editor 2-17-12

-A A +A

Discipline and respect
When these two are missing, you have chaos, kids gone wild and a society that is in a downward spiral. Any decent person is disgusted with the recent stories of a young man being brutally butchered and murdered by classmates, and the recent beating on the school bus. Some still fault the bus driver, even though he was forbidden to “lay a hand” on these vicious kids. It is understandable why he quit, no one deserves to be put in that position.     
Perhaps the saddest thing about this situation is that the vast majority of our youngsters are good kids, but they are sacrificed on behalf of our school misfits since we are now afraid to prohibit bad behavior in our public schools and on the busses. If kids know such behavior will be severely punished, most would behave themselves. There is mp excuse for allowing known trouble-makers to ride on the bus, which is a privilege, not a right.
If we citizens would stand up and say enough is enough, and insist on having a zero tolerance for lack of discipline and respect in our schools, the problem would be fixed immediately. I remember, as older Americans do, when the teacher had control of the class.
When he or she said sit down, we sat!
When we had a classmate who would not play by the rules, they were sent to detention the first time, parents were called in the second time, and if there was any more trouble, the student was removed from the school and not allowed to return.
We didn’t sacrifice the 90 percent for the 10 percent, and things worked out real well. If today’s schools would implement the above, without parental interference, we could again have order in the classrooms of our public schools. Let’s allow the teachers to teach, not be policemen. It is not that hard to fix, it just takes our taking a stand of not tolerating bad behavior, Period!
Unfortunately, many of today’s parents do not teach their children the meaning of respect and discipline. They blame the schools and everybody else for their failures in being good parents.
Parents need to understand that having children is a great responsibility and calls for teaching them right from wrong, instilling discipline and respect for others. It begins at home!
Wayne Rackley

Strategy-Spending Mismatch
Last month, with much fanfare, the administration rolled out a new defense strategy. (Actually, it was not a strategy, but a “Defense Guidance.”) In it, the administration stated it would not have a hollow force, but one that the president said would “focus on a broader range of challenges and opportunities, including the security and prosperity of the Asia Pacific.” (sic) The president further said: “ … we will ensure that our military is agile, flexible, and ready for the full range of contingencies.” Frequently, documents like these provide pithy sound-bites and well-meaning ideas, but when they are pitted against the realities of the budget, they are just empty words.
This week, as the administration’s budget is released, we will see whether the DOD adheres to this “guidance.” Already, we know the budget will be significantly smaller – by about 10 percent. If the military is going to concentrate on a broader range of challenges, then much must change with 10 percent less money. If the Asia-Pacific region is a priority, we should look to see if more forces are dedicated to the region – not just in temporary status – like marines exercising in Northern Australia, but permanently stationed. We should look to see if funding for each of the services – Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines – is adjusted according to the strategy … and not on an equal basis. We should look to see what is being acquired and which acquisition programs are cut.
I, for one, am skeptical about the results. I believe the cuts will be about equal to the departments – that while the Army will take more cuts, it is already the largest – accounting for 35 percent of the defense budget (Navy, Marines 25 percent and the Air Force less than 20 percent). It remains to be seen if the final allocation follows the strategy. It hasn’t in the past.
Mike Emig
Air Force Association


Re-elect no one
Last week the U. S. House and Senate began creation of a law to limit their member’s ability to conduct insider trading in the stock markets. Their action on this matter may have been prompted by a November 2011 top selling book from Peter Schweizer. Schweizer is a Fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, and his latest work is a revealing look at how these politicians use their power and position to enrich both themselves and a selected group of friends. Insider trading is only one of their money making schemes.
The book is titled “Throw Them All Out: How politicians and their friends get rich off insider stock tips, land deals, and cronyism that would send the rest of us to prison.” The title is a hint to the book’s contents but the facts on the amount of money, the number of participants and the number of schemes involved is astonishing. Schweizer identifies our elected officials as permanent political classes who have transformed our Capitol into a gold mine for get rich quick entrepreneurs.
Members of both the Congressional and Executive branches are involved in these activities and the techniques they use show the utter disregard they and their selected friends hold for our country. Schweizer notes that industrial leaders have learned that investing in congressional and executive campaign activities will provide very large returns on their investments. Influencing who the government buys from, who it loans money to and who it grants money to, has become a very big business.
Schweizer’s book is in the Marion County Library and it’s a good read to prepare for the upcoming elections. The leaders and members of both of our political parties are all involved in these schemes. They are more interested in helping themselves than in helping our country. That makes a bumper sticker seen in Ocala last week very relevant. The sticker read; “Re-elect no one.”
Bill Farthing