Thursday, April 28, 2016

The American System of Government


  • Obama has done us all a favor. His administration has finally proved 'there is no free lunch'. Big government, big debt, and more bureaucrats is a poor substitute for the government established by our founders. The original intent and meaning of the Constitution can't be changed without destroying the finest government system yet devised. The Constitution, somewhat like The Ten Commandments of the Christian religion, are complete without any change. F.D.R. wasn't the first to try to unbalance the structure of our government but he's the first within my memory. Obama wasn't the first to say "if congress won't do it's job, I will".  Under completely different circumstances, F.D.R. said the same thing almost as soon as he was elected. What both of these Presidents were really saying is that Americas tripartite system of checks and balances is nonsense. The idea that a president must usurp the delicate relationship between the executive branch, the congress and the judicial branch of our government in order to gain efficiency and effectiveness is absolutely contrary to the Constitution. In F.D.R.'s time the reason given was that the advance of science and industry and the complex threats to our national identity required immediate responses. There was on longer time for the deliberations and debates of either the congress or judicial establishment. In fact this idea is faulty to it's core. The separation of powers is the main protection of individual citizens rights. To force an increase in the powers of the executive branch can only happen if the other two branches are diminished. By granting the executive branch additional powers, unchecked by the other two branches, presidential power is no longer Constitutional, the President becomes no more than an authoritarian monarchy. Review if you will, a few of President Obama's assertions: 
  • He has modified provisions of the Affordable Care Act without even a presense of authority.
  •  He has ordered the attack on Libya without  the approval of congress. 
  • He has appointed "czars" in order to avoid the Consitutional requirement that the Senate is to confirm the appointment of high level officials. 
  • He has  asserted the right to kill American citizens without due process of law. 
  • He has stated that "Middle class families can 't wait for Congress to do stuff. So sue me". 
  • He has been substituting "executive actions" for "executive orders" making it legally cumbersome to challenge the president's decisions. 
  • He has instructed the executive branch to offer temporary legal status to millions of illegal immigrants without consulting congress. 
  • Note: This executive fiat was cancelled by a three judge panel of the Fifth Court of Appeals.
  • To critics of the immigration policy change he has said; "What you're not paying attention to is the fact that I just took action to change the law'. 
  • Note: Under the Constitution Congress is to write laws and the president is to enforce them.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Defending Fox News

I just read a most disgusting article written by a clown in New York named Cody Cain in the Huffington Post. He claims that Fox has destroyed the Republican Party by blatantly supporting anger biased reporters pushing the Conservative, Libertarian, and radical right wing pressure groups like the Tea Party. This guy is just terribly upset that America has been, and continues to be, inflamed by right wing biased opinions. What a jerk. It's as if the entire media spectrum isn't even more biased toward a radical left wing agenda. 

The Huffington Post apparently approves of this Cody Cain defaming more than 50% of the American population that is, desperately now, trying to return honesty and integrity to our government. That's right. More than half of our population has been steamrollered by our broken political system and the corruption of our elected representatives. The system over time is self destructing because it has allowed greedy self interested pressure organizations to gain a foot-hold of power over our historically well thought out federal government. 

The Huffington article rants against all right wing thought. You would think the Tea Party has reborn the Birch Society, our Capitalism is irreligiously wrong because it rewards incentive and competition, and that our three branches; The President, The Congress, and the Supreme Court are no longer capable of efficient, effective and correct decisions. They claim our ponderous government can no longer keep up with the pace of the modern world. Cody Cain  writes that Rupert Murdoch, with his 12 billion dollars is attempting to take over. That America is in danger of a radical right wing revolution, and that resistance to radical socialism is a deadly sin. There is no room for controversial comment or attempts to repair the Founding Fathers concepts of a free and democratic republic.

The Huffington Post and Cody Cain  should be dipped in hot oil, rolled in sand and forced to spend ten days in jail reading the Constitution, Declaration of independence, and Bill of Rights.

dw   

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Born-Live-Die

Just read a most interesting book, "Being Mortal" by Atul Gawande. The author discusses the aim of medicine today -  and makes a significant suggestion to improve it.

1. The aim now, so to speak, is to preserve life as long as possible.

2. The author makes an excellent case for preserving a reasonable quality of life as considered by the patient, close family, and the medical people involved.

The Author, a Medical Doctor himself, has noted a trend developing as the scientific community is experiencing an exponential growth of pharmaceutical products, nuclear medicine and other curative treatments that are increasingly able to extend life, but with essentially disastrous consequences. The advancing fight against cancer illustrates what he considers an undesirable trend.

It is now possible to extend a persons' life to a non-reversible point where the patient is no longer aware of his existence, surroundings, family or friends. The patient is technically alive in that there is a pulse, the heart is beating, and the blood is moving. The patient at this point is no longer aware of any pain, and there is no hope that a reversal of any of these characteristics is possible now or in the immediate future.

The patient is technically alive but any sort of positive life is gone. The Doctor might say that he brought the patient into the world, provided health care for years,  and then extended the patients life well beyond any reasonable possibility of any activity except death.  The Doctor, instead of claiming to be a hero, should be ashamed.

The Doctor should, under the direction of the patient, family, or medical community,  extend life only as far as there is a hope of reversal to a reasonable and enjoyable lifestyle.

The ability to return to a minimum quality of life should be a major factor.

dw

Monday, March 28, 2016

Religious War Again

Americans are avoiding the obvious. We are thoroughly enmeshed in a  religious war with the Religion of Islam that threatens us and most other nations of the world. It's guerrilla type war rather than a conventional one, but  war nevertheless. Battles usually involve a small number of victims, but not always. The attack on 9/11 for example, resulted in a very large death toll. There are have been several other large and vicious attacks as well. Usually they involve a few perpetrators led by an independent leader and designed to murder as many people as possible. Americans persist in referring to each attack as an "isolated terrorist incident", or some other even less disturbing woods.  Actually, they are the attacks of a singularly vicious enemy. An enemy like no other we've seen looking back in time several centuries.  It is a large war that has two alarming characteristics: 

1. The support and attacks are largely coming from people who have nothing to lose. They lead impoverished lives of overwhelming poverty, and the foot soldiers are often suicidal fanatics. They are for the most part still unorganized and have no real leadership structures although this is beginning to change.


2. These people, our enemy, turn to the Religion of Islam to justify butchering those that resist, and the large scale killing of innocents. For simple atrocities they claim their actions to be sanctified by Sharia Law. They claim the murdering is sanctified by their Holy Book, the Qu'ran.


We have been blaming "radical Islam" and not the overall causative agent, The "Religion of Islam" itself. With one mistake we have excused the 80% or more of the peaceful people that practise the "Religion of Islam"
Isn't this rather stupid? 

Peaceful Muslim millions should be the most vocal, most powerful, and most effective enemies of Islamic Terrorism - but they are not They ignore their responsibility. Why is there no adequate response from peaceful Muslims?





Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Finally Trump Comes To Town

I'm a very slow reader. When a blustering Trump first hit the political road I thought he was some kind of joke with his ridiculous red hair mop and a Jersey boy gutter speech pattern. During the following weeks he firmly, and not very politely, proceeded to accuse the establishment of gross corruption and dereliction of duty. He put his clumsy and angry voice to all of the national problems he could think of.  He focused on very progressive liberal Democrats whose actions have led us to the mess we find ourselves in. So sayeth Mr. Trump.  

He went on to establish his starwars ambitious  plan to:  
  • 1. To take back the White House from the Obama/Hillary types
  • 2. To shake up and remove the corrupt politicians from the establishment
  • 3. Return America to invincible stature among the worlds nations.
  • 4. Bring back monetary support of our enemies. (Egypt?)
  • 5. Withdraw our military protection of nations that can protect themselves. (Japan?)
  • 6. And from those nations that do not support our humanitarian efforts in the world.
  • 7. Temporarily slow or halt immigration and put immigration policies under the control of law.
  • 8. Provide a timed path where illegal immigrants can become Americans. (Mexican?)
  • 9. Deport those who do not complete the path. 
  • 10. Return to a planned immigration quota system.
  • 11. Insist on English as America's our only official language.
  • 12. Eliminate attacks on the second amendment. 
  • 13. Prohibit private ownership of explosive type weapons used by our military forces.
  • 14. Restrict rapid fire weapons (over 12 units per cartridge) by increased taxation.
Hillary Clinton, despite being a proven liar and accused criminal, simply can not be elected President. She of Benghazi inaction fame, top secret e-mails, and Travelgate is unworthy of Alcatraz.



It is months before the election and the ugliest primaries in memory are drawing to a close. Bernie Sanders is not going to win over Hillary, therefore it will be her on the Democrat side.

There are three Republicans left standing right now and one of them will probably be the one to stand up and win over Hillary. And maybe not.

Trump. The leader. Coarse, crude and clearly not a polished diplomat nor a political history scholar nor an accomplished military strategist.

Ted Cruz. Accomplished, literate, stubborn, infuriating, conservative pain in the ass. An excellent debater, a skillful political negotiator and generally disliked by all of his peers. 

John Stasich. Probably the best Presidential candidate but clearly lacks nationwide support, nor does he inspire confidence that he can win a debate or argument with Hillary. Even if he did it is not likely that he could win a Presidential election over her.

Once again our illustrious political leaders have given us a choice between badly flawed candidates.

Once again or leaders have displayed a miserably complicated election procedure that cries for an overhaul.

No wonder most of those I meet are thoroughly disgusted.






Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Grand Old Party Isn't Anymore

The GOP has an impressive history. It's ancestry more or less started with Abe Lincoln and ended most recently with G.W. Bush. Along the way there were some stalwart fellows and some duds, but overall the Grand Old Party evolved to stand for small government, the least footprint on citizens, to favor states rights where ever possible, and the common sense attributes: "spend less of what you don't have" and "maintain a strong military for protection".

At the moment (2016) the GOP seems to stand for very little indeed. 

Several Republican candidates are contesting to be President, and with the exception of Gov. John Kalish, and before he dropped out Dr. Ben Carson, the others have degraded campaigning to the most disgraceful level since the days of duels. Meanwhile, the agenda, policies, plans or programs of the GOP remain hidden in the mist.

The greatest amount of campaigning time has been spent by the leading three candidates to criticize illegal immigration and how big the wall should be. The distant fourth candidate, John Kalish, has steadfastly refused to denounce immigrants at all, and doesn't want to talk about walls, period. These positions typically confuses the electorate. 

  • Apparently Mr. Trump favors a complete halt to any immigration,
  • Sen. Cruz agrees to tighten our immigration laws to prevent illegal immigration, 
  • Sen. Rubio appears to favor none of the above, and 
  • Gov. Kalish prefers a route to legalization and otherwise doesn't want to join the others in the immigration gutter. 
What, pray tell, is the position favored by the GOP?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

We, The Dummies

The Republican Party is almost out of business and they deserve to be gone.  Something happened to the Grand Old Party that turned them useless.  They slowly became corrupt just like the Democrats and bought the idea that "you can forever spend more than you have".  They swallowed idiot pills and our entire Federal Government went wacky about 250 years ago, Democrats 300 years ago. There is no single cause. The tendency right now is to blame President Obama for all of the ills we are facing. That's not fair or true.  He has contributed more than his share to the problems, but there were many other contributors before Obama. Where to start.

Not Long After 1776 Who first decided that we could borrow from future tax collections to finance the problems of the day.  My (ill informed) guess is when the nation was founded. If the Revolutionary War was, perhaps in a very small part, financed with money from the public treasury, that may have been the beginning. Regardless, certainly by WWI the system had become the normal way to finance spending money expected to come in sometime in the future. By WWII our industrial revolution was well under way and the demand for our war machines increased astronomically. 

The Two World Wars Thousands became millions, millions became billions, and now 250 years later, deficit borrowing has become the tool of politicians to fund anything at all. This would be fine if someone stood up and said "whoa", we must have to insist on spending no more until most of the debt is paid off - and we had a clear-cut plan to retire the balance. We, as a nation,  now stand about $20,000,000,000,000 in debt. This is well more than we, plus our children, plus our grandchildren, plus their children - can pay without disrupting the lives completely and destroying America as we know it. 

No Silver-No Gold-No Standard.  Everybody knows it, at home and abroad. The historic attempts to address the problem usually involve devaluing our currency. President Nixon's administration decided this method had reached it's limits, and simply separated our money from the silver standard. That action freed the federal government from anchor of our essentially worthless script and in it's shadow we could artificially say, with no backing or support, that our dollars were worth a dollar of good in trade. Actually, we lied. This separation from a world valued standard did indeed devalue our money.

A Nation In Trouble. Today America faces making a decision. We've reached a fork in the road and don't know which to take. In political terms we are supposedly represented by two political organizations; Republican and Democrat. In fact, there are many splinter groups as well. The Republican Party seems to have spawned the Conservative Party,  and the Democrats have spawned the Liberal Left. Now we have essentially four factions, and a Presidential election coming up. How might the votes be determined?


The Worst Candidates Lead In The Polls. It's been a long time since we've had such a poor selection of Democratic candidates. 

       
      1. Hillary Clinton who is a proven liar, and cheat, and considered an unethical person, is the leading Democratic candidate.  Her opponent is Senator Bernie Sanders, who is 76 years old and has admitted to being a far left Socialist. Both of these candidates favor large governments, political controls, and greatly enhanced welfare systems.
     
      2.  The Republicans still have four candidates.  


  • Donald Trump who almost everyone agrees is not qualified to be President. He is currently ahead in the vote count.
  • Senator Ted Cruz who seems well qualified but follows the conservative agenda rather than the Republican establishment.
  • Senator Marco Rubio who is not  well qualified and who has a poor (almost invisible) record in the Senate. He is, however, believed to be closer to the long time Republican establishment.
  • Governor John Stasich  who is  the most qualified political executive of the group. He is a conservative - but the most likely to consider all opinions and make "common sense" decisions. 
In my opinion the first three candidates mentioned should NOT be selected. I believe Paul Ryan would be an outstanding Vice President, and there are many others that would improve the Secretary of State,  Attorney General, and other appointed positions. 

Another position should be assigned to: 
                     1.    Eliminate duplication in the way the government works. 
                     2.   Find ways to suggest more effective applications of technology to government
                            departments. 

Other positions should be considered to:
                       1.  Close Homeland Security and assign tasks to F.B.I.
                       2. Close A.T.F.  Assign tasks to individual States. 
                       3. Improve Immigration Laws.
                       4. Assign the National Guard to enforce the Immigration Laws.


dw
                 









Monday, February 29, 2016

Academy Awards

Watched the academy awards last night. The show was one of the worst I can remember. It began with the usual pre-ceremony red carpet celebrity walk, and the interviewers from Channel 5 were excellent - but what is that entire two hour part of the program all about? The known and unknown are captured as they supposedly arrive and walk the torturous five hundred foot red carpet path headed to their pre-assigned seats in the theatre. This display on the entry path consumes more time than a Republican political debate - and is twice as meaningless. Year after year the pampered celebrities wander aimlessly towards the theater, bumping shoulders with their fellow pretty people and stopping at each microphone held by a Hollywood Press person. The press people are strategically standing in the middle of the surging crowd. They stop as if they have no choice, and proceed to prattle about the beautiful multi-thousand dollar dresses and tuxedos that almost defy describing. 

There are some who simply don't want to be noticed. They arrive, at a press microphone, usually alone but not always, invariably dressed like a designers nightmare. Black dark glasses, overlong green hair, sky blue pants or skirts worn with chartreuse underwear on the outside of the garment. This confection is often topped off with a bright red hat bearing a slogan like "save the whales" embroidered in sparkling silver. These shy and bashful people almost always have to be pried away by two big bouncers so the next guest can get in the spotlight. 

The next guest, and his or her partner for the night, is invariably blond and dressed in red, white or blue. If a male star, he will have forgotten to comb his unruly hair and will twist and turn  his neck as he is interviewed to wave at his fellow artists. It a female she will have a garment on that carefully uncovers as much skin as possible. Up top the girls have two ribbons of fabric descending from their shoulders to their waists and each fastened modestly with Gorilla adhesive tape to their breasts. More specifically to their nipples. Presumably the politically correct rule has been changed. Breast exposure is acceptable provided the nipple is thoroughly covered with some kind of pastie. This, of course, is designed to attract the opposite sex - in Hollywood, this seems to include any other sex whatever.  

Two or more hours later the guests enter the theatre itself and find their assigned seats. The more rich and powerful are in the front rows and the lesser folk are up there high in the back near the ceiling.

And the show begins with the black host with the big smile tells everyone that the show is biased against black people. There are no black artists as candidates. Regardless, he will press on because he needs a job. Meanwhile, outside the theatre, a black crowd salted with a white face here and there, has formed a large and vocal mob of "rap artist speaking" morons. They are led by the Reverend (of what) Al Sharpton and his minions.They lead the amplified (spontaneous)rabble with their pre-printed signs, posters and hand-out folders.

They, the protesters, do have a justified grevance. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has, for years, avoided mention of talented and deserving minority people in the film community. The Academy deserves condemnation big time. The President, acknowledging the wrong, has promised to correct the situation. She has done so on television, radio, magazines, and newspapers.She did so on the auditorium stage during the show tonight.

What more can she do? The black and latino community knew of the problem 50 years ago. Why didn't they do something about it? The whiners and criers come out of the woodworks for causes like equal opportunity, and they have thousands of film industry agreeing with them. The dummies have much more effective support than the Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson/Malcolm X types. Come on people, hitch your wagon to the right horses.












Thursday, February 25, 2016

Apple Computer Is 100% Correct


Tim Cook has become a folk hero in my book.  The government  has ordered him, as President and CEO of Apple, to effectively eliminate the critical secrecy now inherent in their products. He said "NO", and good for him.  

The FBI says they are only interested in 'how to read the encrypted' data in Apple's IPhone products. They have ordered Apple to show them how to break their encrypted programing. 
  1. Tim Cook says that Apple does not know how to do it.  I suspect they do - but it  makes no difference. 
  2. He also states that Apple does not want to do it and has no plan to try. He feels that to obtain and them make this information public would have terrible consequences to the entire industry of computer technology and information security.
  3. The FBI insists that it do so anyway. 
Apple (rightly) believes that no government entity has the right or the power to make the demand in the first place.

Common Sense

The Government, federal, state or local, has no right to force or pressure any  business to give up  its secrets nor to demand they invent or develop a product for use by a government agency, ie. the FBI.

dw

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Pope Is Wrong - Again!

CAPITALISM. The Pope is an obviously intelligent and devout person. With his knowledge of the Catholic Church and it's history, it is surprising that he is so naive regarding real world economics and it is especially discouraging hat he does not advise the church how to better apply it's assets to help the poor. These two factors are areas that recent Popes appear to avoid.

Capitalism requires "competition" and in my view "competition" is a stimulant to progress. I believe the impulse is part of the human character  at birth, and  stops only at death. The current Pope would rather this was not true.  He has been going around the world preaching the evils of Capitalism vs the benefits of Progressive Socialism.  He has made a terrible mistake. He needs to go  back to school on these subjects. Progressive Socialism, and it's close relative, Communism,  have repeatedly failed when attempted.  They have  always failed and certainly are faulty political systems.  They lack the element of competition.  The Pope is wrong to use the power of his office to promote them.

The fatal flaw in liberalism, progressivism, socialism and communism is the destruction of "competition".  Countries living under one of these systems  tend to eventually collapse.  At this time in history surely some form of socially responsible democratic capitalism would yield a more dynamic society. This, of course, seems to be best expressed simply as "capitalism".

The Catholic Church, can be described as a kingdom with a successive dictator (the Pope) as the leader. In recent centuries the Church has done some marvelous work benefiting it's poor parishioners as well as the poor of other (or no) religion.  It's practical help has been to comfort with education in faith.  Perhaps it is unkind to observe that the church has become increasingly wealthy in terms of real estate, other assets and riches, but  slow to give minimal alms or other needed assistance.The Vatican appears to refute the current Popes' economic preferences.  His current dislike of capitalistic system of government is unjustified. His praise of socialistic systems will potentially do more harm than good.

IMMIGRATION. The Pope also has recently become an advocate of uncontrolled immigration. This is the real world and for it to function there has to be some control - or the rush from impoverished areas to more wealthy ones will bankrupt those that "have" and cause chaos among those that don't.  

This is rather elementary economics and the Pope should be more aware of the damage he is promoting. This last Thursday the Pope injected himself into the American political fray by saying "those who seek to build walls instead of bridges are not Christian".  That he would make such an outrageous statement in the context of the proposed immigration wall between Mexico and the United States brings disgrace to Catholics everywhere. 

Pope Francis actually went on to say, regarding the American Presidential candidate Donald Trump,  "I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said that if elected, he would build a wall on the Mexican/American border".  Again, this is another poorly chosen comment -  since Mr. Trump and his family have been (not very active) Presbyterians for decades. The Pope  has no authority to say that Mr. Trump is or isn't a Christian. Also, the Pope apparently believes it his duty to become involved in complicated economic and political  controversies.  If so, he could find better advisors, first.

dw

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Someday It Will End

It must be the season or what I ate last night, but whatever the cause I am disposed to think more about religion. I continue to question the basis for teaching something that more or less defies intelligent study. It is difficult for me to simply accept  any leap of faith.  This rejection automatically leads one to consider a more scientific explanation of human experiences. Admittedly, in many ways this is a desolate picture. According to this view,  the end of life is just that. The end. There is no afterlife. No heaven or hell. Just, the end. While  I do question religions' importance. I absolutely believe that religion has comforted human beings since day one.   It simply cannot be disregarded as a psychological and  philosophical benefit to mankind. I hope that one day I will be able to make that leap of faith so critical to all religions.
Meanwhile, the clock begins ticking at birth,  and  everyday death is closer.  Early mankind apparently figured out that they couldn't answer many of the questions raised by their surroundings and experiences. They ultimately found there were no answers to many basic questions and there never would be.  They became more and more curious as time went by.  For thousands of years mankind believed  the earth was flat,  the sun revolved around the earth, and the earth was the center of the universe. As  knowledge increased and slowly evolved they discovered t there were mysteries that could not be explained. They began to develop theories to explain them.  
  • The sun does not revolve around the earth -  the earth revolves around the sun.  
  • The earth is not flat -  it is not perfectly round either, but we generally think of it as round
  • The sun is not the center of the universe - it is, in fact, a small star in a limitless universe.   
The point is that early theories to explain their surroundings were not always correct, and were changed as knowledge increased.

I believe that (concurrently) religions were established to provide answers and explain the meaning of life and the complexity of the world .

We believe that we may never totally understand the complexity of our surroundings, our experiences, our history and so forth. For those things we can not explain, most of us find comfort in religious concepts.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Dent In The Ego

Failed the old person's driving test. I really didn't,  but that's what the examiner said. Actually, I passed easily - but was marked down because of a difference of opinion involving the interpretation of the test by the driving examiner.

Because I am old (79) and have minor short term memory loss,  a slight cognitive impairment, and a hint that I may have the beginnings of Parkinson's Disease,  my doctor recommended that I take this special test to affirm to the DMV that I am capable of driving a car.  All of this is true and I welcomed the opportunity to take any driving test required to confirm that none of these age or health factors interfere with my driving skills.

The fact is that I drive carefully, know the laws (passed the last regular written test with only one error),  and drive exceptionally well. In  my  reasonable judgement I drive better than my wife, daughters, grand daughters, and almost all of my "over 65" friend's.

Also in my favor (but not considered) I've not received one driving violation ticket in approximately 40 years, and the one accident I was involved with about 10 years ago was caused by another car running into my car which was stopped at a stoplight. The other car was completely at fault.

At this point let me make clear that the Costa Mesa DMV and the driving instructor handled my application and test courteously and efficiently. I have no complaint regarding either.

My complaint involves only the written drivers test and how it is interpreted.

  • The examiner and I  turned right as we exited the DMV driveway. The examiner told me to "turn left at the next intersection". I said "nineteenth street" and the examiner said "no, the next intersection".  I did so without a problem and we went forward with the test. For what it's worth, the next "intersection" was  "nineteenth street".but he marked me down by one point because he had to "cue" me.  Now, that's just not true.
  • I was directed to "pull up to a curb and stop, then back up a couple of car lengths and stay about the same distance from the curb".   As I have always done, I looked over my right fender at the curb as I retreated. Unfortunately I drove a little closer to the curb. I stopped going backwards and said to the examiner that "I was getting too close and would go forward a few feet and then resume my backward motion."   The examiner told me to "use my right side view mirror to watch the curb as I backed up".  My car (SUV) is relatively high and I told the examiner that "from my position the right side mirror I can't see the curb at all" He directed me to "adjust the mirror so that it pointed down and I could see the curb".  I did so and completed backing up maneuver. Because I stopped to move forward a few feet and adjust my travel backward, and because I found it difficult to back up a specific distance from the curb using my side mirror (which I have never done), the examiner marked me down five points. That was not  a fair test. He never said that once started backwards I could not stop and adjust my path. He also would not let me use the method of looking over the hood and watching the curb recede or looking out the rear window and watching the curb as I backed up.  I thought the requirement to use only the right side mirror was not what the test intended. In fact, is a right side mirror required in California at all? The examiner marked me down 5 points.
There were other questionable 'mark downs' but as I review them, they were all simply a matter of interpreting the words on the test - and not worth discussing further.

DW