Thursday, June 21, 2018

THERE MAY BE HOPE



  After the early morning clouds cleared Thursday was a most delightful day for the first day of summer.

  Best of all my maven got my balky tablet to function.

  Most of the nation continued to be revolted by the heartless separation of illegal immigrant parents from their children at the time they were apprehended except for Sessions and other members of the Trump inner circle.

  However Trump yielded to external public pressure and accompanied by fake news of his own repugnance of the process; signed an executive order which the day before he had claimed would be illegal that would prohibit children from being taken from parents.

  Indication are that there is no intent for grandfathering. In fact there is a great deal of concern that the various agencies involved have little idea   where many parents and children are.

  Kenneth Wolfe, a spokesman for the Administration for Children and Families, told the New York Times, “There will not be a grandfathering of existing cases." But later, Wolfe's boss said he "misspoke" and that no decision had been made.

  "It is still very early and we are awaiting further guidance on the matter," said senior director for communications Brian Marriott. "Reunification is always the ultimate goal”

  We will have to wait.

  I was heartened by the TAP news relating to the new superintendent of the Plainfield schools plans for the coming year and the future. He is quoted: “With 70% of the students failing, is this what the parents really want,” he asked, saying parents must demand better for the students. “You can’t accept kids graduating illiterate”.

  A teacher in comment remarked; “When a student has failed all year long, there is no reason why they should be promoted when assessments and progress already show their ability,” she said.  “It is our professional responsibility not to move that student forward until they are prepared

  Will the Campbell controlled BOE with promote and get them out philosophy support him is a question?

There may be hope that Plainfield will truly pay attention on how our children should be educated and not focusing on costs.



Wednesday, June 20, 2018

IS DIVERSITY CRAP??


Please read this with an open mind. It is controversial especially in Plainfield.

Is Diversity crap?  A would be Trump Republican Congressman, Seth Grossman, from South Jersey has so stated.

I cannot agree with Grossman’s politics but perhaps there is truth in his contention.

Grossman . During the primary campaign is quoted as saying; “We believe the government should be color-blind in its treatment of citizens. If that results in diversity, fine. But it is not the proper role of government to seek diversity.--- “In my view, the best way to bring diversity to the Republican Party is for Republicans to openly say that the whole idea of diversity is a bunch of crap and un-American,”.

He went on to criticize quota systems.

“You know, women, African-American, Hispanic; they’re chopping us up in these different pieces and getting us fighting against each other instead of spending our time saying everybody should be judged by their own talent,” Grossman said.



Unfortunately I agree with him about quota’s either to limit certain ethnic groups, which I myself, may have been a college victim, or to assure that a certain racial and economic percentages regardless of ability are included.



The later tends to lower an institution’s level, even if students from a substandard system receive special coaching. In other words the standard has become the level of the poorest student not the upper tier. In addition this practice tends to exclude many very qualified individuals of other ethnic groups because spots available to them are limited.



The argument that urban children need the above help to get a post high school education is not a valid one. The net result has been a reduction in persons able to compete in today’s cyber-society.



The focus should be on raising the  level of the school systems in the poorer urban communities so that their students have not only the basic criteria but the extras such as  more choices of languages, special classes, workshops, music programs, etc. that are the norm in the affluent districts. This can only be done within sufficient state subsidies instead of today’s minimal assistance.



Plainfield once had one of the best school systems in the state. In 1962 Booker vs City of Plainfield BOE resulted ultimately in mandated desegregation of the schools. The Wolff commission had found that 37 % of the school population was African-American but the black percentage in Washington School was over 95%, while Emerson, Stillman, Bryant, and Lincoln had well over 50% Blacks. At the same time, the Black population in Cook, Cedarbrook, and Evergreen was between 0% and 2.7%. The Commission recommended redistricting on a north South basis rather than East-West. The Board rejected any plans.



With the ultimate busing desegregation of the schools there was an exodus of whites with a switch from one majority in a diverse city to exactly the other. And Plainfield no longer was the Queen City a center of commerce. So much for forced diversity.



The latest on “forced diversity” is New York’s Mayor Plan to have mandatory percentages of students from sub-par schools admitted to prime high schools by class rating not by academic achievement.  This criteria will be applied to all elementary schools and potential transfers from private and I assumed charter schools.



That means that many highly qualified students will be excluded from the best high schools. This will affect mostly Asian ethnic students as well as whites. Should not desire and results be rewarded? There is no attempt to raise to education levels of the poorer schools by offering better diverse choices and equal instructors so all can compete.



Yes certainly in education “Diversity is crap”.


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED, I HOPE


 
SsStill having computer problems, but without permission I thought that this article from Power Point in the Washington Post today might explain why I have little regard for today’s PONTUS and fear for the future. It is long.
BY JAMES HOHMANN
with Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve

THE BIG IDEA: The buck does not stop here.

Donald Trump declared after meeting Kim Jong Un last week that he trusts the North Korean leader and believes he will give up his nuclear weapons program. “I may be wrong,” the president said during a news conference in Singapore. “I may stand before you in six months and say, ‘Hey, I was wrong.’” Then he paused and corrected himself. “I don’t know that I’ll ever admit that,” Trump clarified, “but I’ll find some kind of an excuse.”

Trump’s aside may have been in jest, but it is also one of the more self-aware statements he's made during 17 months in power. Time and time again, the president has sought to shift the blame for his own decisions and their consequences to his political opponents. He’s doing it again this week by falsely blaming Democrats for his own policy of forcibly separating migrant children from their parents at the border, which he could stop with one phone call.

“Immigration … and all of the problems that we’re having … I say it’s very strongly the Democrats’ fault,” Trump said defiantly at the White House on Monday, even as every Senate Democrat formally signed onto a bill that would overturn his unpopular policy.

The president added on Twitter: “Why don’t the Democrats give us the votes to fix the world’s worst immigration laws? … It is the Democrats fault for being weak and ineffective with Boarder Security and Crime.”

In fact, the separations are the result of the "zero tolerance" approach announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month to prosecute all adults who cross the border illegally. Once they're detained, their children are declared unaccompanied minors and handed over to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Republicans also control both chambers of Congress, of course, and the failure to pass legislation – which really is a separate issue from Trump’s executive decision to break up families – is the result of intra-GOP divisions over how welcoming the United States should be to immigrants.

During the 2016 Republican convention, Trump famously declared: “I alone can fix it.”

Defending the president’s family separation policy on Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen insisted: “Congress alone can fix it.”

-- Many Republican lawmakers were uncharacteristically willing to go on the record to call Trump and Nielsen disingenuous:

·       “The administration’s decision to separate families is a new, discretionary choice,” said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.). “Anyone saying that their hands are tied or that the only conceivable way to fix the problem … is to rip families apart is flat wrong.”

·       “To blame previous administrations for a wrong committed today is not acceptable,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

·       “The White House can fix it if they want to,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). “I don’t think there’s any question about that.”

-- This is a feature, not a bug, of Trumpism:

Trump chose to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but he then falsely blamed Congress generally and Democrats specifically for putting the “dreamers” at risk of deportation.

The president even tried to point the finger at Democrats for not passing tougher gun laws after the shooting in Parkland, Fla.

Trump also blamed Democrats when Republicans could not unify to repeal Obamacare, even though they didn’t need a single Democratic vote to do so. “We'll let Obamacare fail,” the president told reporters at the White House last summer. "We're not going to own it. I'm not going to own it.”

Since then, Trump has methodically gone about disemboweling the law – by repealing the individual mandate, discontinuing the cost-sharing reduction payments and ordering the Justice Department to stop defending in court the law’s requirement that insurance plans cover preexisting conditions. Premiums are expected to spike again this year, but Trump has said explicitly he deserves no blame for destabilizing the system. “Any increase in ObamaCare premiums is the fault of the Democrats for giving us a ‘product’ that never had a chance of working,” he tweeted.

When it looked like the tax cuts might not pass last October, Trump declared matter-of-factly during a Cabinet meeting: “I'm not going to blame myself, I'll be honest.”

When a federal judge blocked Trump’s first travel ban last year, the president suggested that the Republican appointee would be to blame if there was a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. “If something happens blame him and court system,” he tweeted.

When Navy SEAL Ryan Owens was killed during a botched covert mission in Yemen last year, Trump did not just resist accepting responsibility for authorizing the operation. He blamed the generals. “They came to see me and they explained what they wanted to do, the generals, who are very respected,” Trump said on Fox News. “And they lost Ryan.”

Trump has claimed credit when the stock market goes up, and aides have said he does not bear responsibility when it goes down.

Asked in 2016 about whether his overheated rhetoric was to blame for physical clashes and violence at his rallies, Trump replied: “I don’t accept responsibility.”

-- Harry Truman kept a plaque on his desk in the Oval Office that said: “The buck stops here.” In contrast, Trump appears to see taking responsibility as showing weakness. To be sure, every president tries to deflect blame to some degree – though many have also been willing to take responsibility when they blow it. As John Kennedy quipped after the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, "Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan."

“President Obama, by his own admission, failed badly during the rollout of Obamacare in fall 2013, more grievously due to the failures of HealthCare.gov,” Vox noted last October. “But he took responsibility and fixed it, launching an unprecedented number of outside programmers and tech specialists to overhaul the site and get it in working order. ‘I take full responsibility for making sure it gets fixed ASAP,’ Obama said at the time. And so he did…

“Here are a few other things Obama took responsibility for while in office: The failed Tom Daschle and Bill Richardson Cabinet nominations in 2009. The BP oil spill in 2010. Democrats’ loss of the House of Representatives in 2010. The attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012. The VA scandal in 2014. Democratic losses in the 2014 midterms. The death of two hostages in an operation against al-Qaeda in 2015. The Syrian government’s atrocities in Aleppo in 2016.”

-- Right up until he became president, Trump talked a big game about leaders needing to take responsibility for their own decisions. Here are some of the many tweets in this vein from before he took office:


WHY ID I GO???????

I  arrived  7pm at the Court House jut in time for the fire alarms to start "sirening". No one seemed to know the problem, there was no fire. Finally the Fire Dept turned the alarm off. The scuttlebutt was that the Corporation Counsel hit a button.

That was the  highlight of the evening with the exception of the  preordained selection of Armady to replace n Freeholder Williams as Councilor-At-Large. The other two nominees were not even voted upon, the were pro-form to fill the 3 slots required.

I think Aemady will be an asset to a rubber stamp Council who ran through the substance  for two Council meetings in less than 1 1/2 hours. Shades of Cibson's Council , there was no discussion.

The best thing was that I lefts just before the storm hit.

WHY DID I WASTE MY TIME? My first meeting in a long time may be my last.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

ABOUT COUNCIL MEETING


Monday night’s combined Council meeting starts at 7pm.

Once again an inconvenient time or those who must eat beforehand. Again the public be damned it is the Council that must be pampered.

Since at this combined agenda setting followed immediately by the business meeting 28 Resolutions and 6 Ordinances (3 for  first reading and 3 for final second reading) are to be acted upon I wonder how many Councilors have  had time to read and digest everything. How many Councilors have studied the 250 plus pages of the Tax Abatement Ordinance changing the name of the ownership of the Elmwood Gardens development of 58 units?

How many know that the latest corporation is a limited partnership of the Alpert Group also LLP? Limited partnerships can separate their ownership from any liabilities other than their own intrinsic value which could be 0.

Interesting the original ordinance  enabling a developer lists as ownership;(1) Elmwood Square Urban Renewal,L.P. 100%, (2) Plainfield  Affordable Housing L.L.C. 50%,(3) P.C.D.C.  Elmwood L.L.C. 50 %. That seems to add up to 200% . Joseph Alpert is listed as the owner (and sole member ) of Plainfield Affordable Housing, and Premier Community Development Corp 0f 510 East Front St, Plfd , Randall M. Wood, Chairman as the 100% owner of P.C.D.C  Elmwood. I believe that Wood is the CEO of the Housing Authority.

There are other items of interest including 2 Resolutions from Corporation Counsel for approval of compensation claims by husband  and wife PLUM for separate claims totaling  $90030.of which approximately  $9500.00 is for their attorney fees. The total cost to us including our legal costs, attorneys, staff and fees remains a secret.
Another resolution is to reject the bids for the Campbell Field Tennis Courts including the one to be awarded to the second lowest bidder although the consultant had recommended the lowest as exceeding our budget.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

T HEY SPEAK FOR MOST

One perfect day with no time to write a blog, so  in its place is a series of political cartoons regarding Trump's triumph at Signapore:













Tuesday, June 12, 2018

POST SIGNAPORE


  Singapore has come and gone. What was accomplished? Nothing substantial.
As far as I can gather it has been a great “Photo Op” with Kim being the winner.
  Our “Deal Maker” blindsided everyone including our own military and our allies when he gave away the farm by cancelling the joint South Korean war games to which Kim had strongly objected.
  In return we received the following agreements:
1.The United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) commit to establish new U.S.–DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
2.The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
3.Reaffirming the April 27, 2018, Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
4. 4-The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
 The only significant one, #3, is repetitious of previous North Korea agreements; no time limits for them and no agreement on open supervision. Just talk.
  On the other hand we are supposed to remove all our protective South Korea weapons.
  It is a fact that Trump has a pathological admiration of strong autocratic leaders such as the three guys in the world he most admires? President Xi [Jinping] of China, [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan and [Russian President Vladmir] Putin." Kim has joined them. Undoubtedly Trump would like to be America’s equivalent.
  As a Washington Post article noted; their demagogic style meshes far better with Trump's own instincts than that of liberals such as Trudeau or French President Emmanuel Macron. “Trump has been saying for a long time things like, ‘I am the only one who matters,’ ” Ruth Ben-Ghiat of New York University told my colleague Ashley Parker. “The idea that his instincts are what guide him and he doesn’t need any experts is part of this.... That’s all typical of the authoritarian way of doing things. 
  We can only hope for the best.