Tuesday, February 28, 2012


One of my favorite MASH episodes is L.I.P.'s. It's in the second season and consists of Hawkeye accomplishing two missions. First, he hooks up with the girl he wants and second, he helps a soldier marry an L.I.P. or Local Indigenous Person. The part that sets this one as a favorite starts at 22 minutes. When Hawkeye rejects the girl because of some unsavory ideas. Go ahead and watch, I'll wait.

Pretty awesome, huh?

The real point of this opening is one of the main reasons I like to watch MASH. Hawkeye sees everyone pretty much as equals (except women which he learns in later episodes). There is no reason that Kim in the above episode should not be allowed to marry an American or why Klinger shouldn't be allowed to walk around in dresses or the gay guy in another episode be allowed to continue to fight after he is outed to his unit and they beat the shit out of him.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Portugal, A Shining Example?

As a continuation of my post Other Options, I offer  you this.

The NYTimes offers up an example of what could be in store for Greece who is currently playing obedient child to the IMF, it gives us Portugal. According to the article, Portugal has done everything it has been asked, chopping social welfare and raising taxes. Yet, its debt ration keeps getting worse due to the fact that its economy continues to shrink partly caused by the austerity cuts imposed by the IMF to help pay back its debtors.

Without growth, reducing debt levels becomes nearly impossible. It is akin to trying to pay down a large credit card balance after taking a pay cut. You can slash expenses, but with lower earnings it is hard to set aside money to pay off debt.

This kind of goes without saying, but yea. If all your measures are focused on cutting the debt and not worried about bringing back some growth and occupying the millions out of work, there won't be any money to actually pay those debts down.

The Times this time shows a precedent, and though it is not offered as an alternative, that is historical and shows how things are most likely to be played out. These situations have been confronted before. There have been countries that simply could not pay back their debt. There were those who tried the austerity cuts and those who wouldn't. The example is there to follow, if we will.

If Portugal and other European debtors find it increasingly difficult to pay off their creditors because of slow or no growth, some experts predict they, too, might eventually need to negotiate debt write-downs. That was how things played out in Latin America in the 1980s, once it became clear that the I.M.F.’s relentless austerity push was impeding the growth that countries needed to pay down debt.

Of course, the IMF would never bring these ideas or happening up its too busy worrying about its own self interest. The austerity cuts are not meant to help the country in debt, rather they are meant to get as much money out as possible before they are cut off.

Vote for You!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Educational Disparity

Let's take a trip in the way back machine.

Way back as in mid 2000s. There was a huge push for an education voucher system. This system would allow parents to take a voucher from the state and use it to pay for private schools. Essentially allowing the state to use public funds to pay for private education.

I quickly pointed out that this "idea" was not a good one, nor was it new. Rather, the education system in Chile, where I had resided for some years had used a voucher system for a long time. Almost all schools in Chile are privately ran. The "public" free schools are the ones that people who are barely able to eat on a day to day basis attend. The voucher system effectively means that if you have money or come from money, you get to go to an awesome school that will get you the chance to go to university and then acquire a job that will pay you enough so that you can send your kids to school.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Other Options...

OK. Here's the road map.

The other option.

Then this happens.

There are alternative options. These are not new situations. It is best to learn from the past.

In solidarity with the Greeks.

Vote for you!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Targeted Killings

I would throw my hat in that ring as well. As an American citizen I would like to know the criteria used by my government to decide to kill me without trial, without public debate. I find it interesting how up-in-arms  this country will get over simply gun licensing but won't make a peep about the government violating any citizen's right to a fair and speedy trial.

As part of the current system of government (at least the way I was taught it was supposed to work in grade school), the whole thing was supposedly set up to keep the power out of the hands of one person.

Little is known about the process by which the US determines whether killing an American citizen suspected of terrorism abroad is justifed. Just last week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told CBS' 60 Minutes that the president himself signs off on targeted killings when aimed at American citizens. 
The president himself signs off on targeted killings? That is disturbing. I know I couldn't sign off on such a thing. That is a power that no man should have.

Full article here.
If you haven't heard of the National Defense Authorization Act, you may want to come out from under your rock and read this.
And since the "long memory is the most revolutionary idea in the country," if you haven't yet, you should learn who Mother Jones was.

Vote for you!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Master of the Obvious

Rich patrons are a major source of Romney's cash, are you serious? That's like reporting that the Japanese Tsuanmi did a lot of damage when the huge wave rolled over its beaches. I didn't check, but I'm guessing the NYTimes doesn't have a "Master of the Obvious" category for their news. It goes without saying that a party that, for the past year or so, has done nothing but try to convince everyone that taxing the wealthy is a bad idea would have very wealthy patrons funding their campaign. At least here in the good old US of A where wealthy individuals and corporations have full access to donate whatever money they want to influence the American public as part of the election process.

Anyway, here's part of the role call:

All told, the group, Restore Our Future, raised about $18 million from just 200 donors in the second half of 2011.
Millions of dollars came from financial industry executives, including Mr. Romney’s former colleagues at Bain Capital, who contributed a total of $750,000; senior executives at Goldman Sachs, who contributed $385,000; and some of the most prominent and politically active Republicans in the hedge fund world, three of whom gave $1 million each: Robert Mercer of Renaissance Technologies; Paul Singer of Elliott Management, and Julian Robertson of Tiger Management.
Not to be out done, the other half of our one party system has also raised a huge sum of money.

But as Mr. Romney sailed to an overwhelming victory in Florida’s primary on Tuesday night, fund-raising documents filed by President Obama showed the kind of financial juggernaut he will face if he becomes his party’s nominee: Mr. Obama reported raising a total of $140 million in 2011, far eclipsing the $57 million Mr. Romney raised for his campaign for the year.
So between the two front runners for dictator there has been a total of $197 million dollars raised. $197 million to do what? Influence the American public to allow those who are in power to remain in power so the status quo doesn't shift. I can think of lots of things that would be a more worth-while use of those funds. Like paying for health care for millions of Americans or improving our education system, but I guess those aren't worthy causes or, better yet, good investments.

Vote for you!