Thoughts Concerning Society

Americans are pessimistic, despondent     Why We Hate       Religion        Patriotism      America's Economic Future

Education       Better Education Won't Help Many        Interesting Thoughts Concerning Education From Economists   

Politics     Taxes     Taxes Thought Question       We are all Communists in Disguise?     Tea Party     Welfare      China    

  Health Care      Social Security     Federal Debt     The War on Terror     The Drug War    Global Warming     Political Correctness  

     National Service    Don't Trust The Experts     Slavery    Sexuality     America's Biggest Mistakes of the 20th Century          

Cognitive Biases That Screw-up Decisions

Please                   e-mail the author Walter

Prelude: 3/6/17 More than five years ago I began a study of political economy because it was a popular at my free Economics Notes. A look a early US history was followed by other Political Economy  Stuff. Here is what I think is the cause of the fourth terror episode to hit the U.S. in the last hundred years.

Fear and consternation are higher than normal because white middle class men and women are no longer in the middle of the food chain. This is a once in a century event. It happened because blacks got some of our economic and political pie, Asia was next to get some followed in close proximity by women.  Lastly even heterosexuals lost ground. Education added to the problem with the belief that the normal curve did not exist and education would  be the solution. Everyone was equal so failure was the government's fault. But equal chance is not enough. Unbiased observer know the nature and nurture are not equally distributed..

 

The bomb began building with the Great Society though the explosion was delayed by the Reagan Revolution and fifteen years of economic prosperity ending in 2000. Then  9/11 lit the fuse. Accelerants were added by The Great Recession which hit many economically and Gay Rights which really put a psychological hurt on many middle income whites. Finally a black President’s health care took us back to the beginning, the Great Society.

Democracy is supposed to be troublesome. Those most unhappy are raising hell and the Oligarchs running the world must be forced to give up more of the ever growing pie. This should avert an event as devastating as the Civil War, the Revolutionary War and the King Phillips War. Successful Baby Boomers are putting it to Millennials who must start to vote a larger share. 

Pre 9/11

Upper Income people realize that as each recession becomes more and more a white collar phenomenon, sending children to the best schools does not guarantee success.

Middle Income people realize that the large increase in college graduates rates causes oversupply and means that many are making a poor economic investment.

Lower Income people realize education is designed for the very academic so education does little to help them advance, live a better life advancement and
to make matters worse, many will die before they collecting Medicare and Social Security.

China
1) China is about the size of the U.S. and has about half the roads we do, cost to catch up 2-4 trillion dollars for 2,000,000 miles * $2,000,000 per mile.
2) China has about half the subways that the U.S. does with four times the people, cost to catch, lots!
3) U.S. has seven of the top ten commercial airlines with 3,154 planes, Air France has 362 planes, Air Canada 339, and China Southern 328. 
4) U.S. has 15,000 of the world's 45,000 airports, tenth place was 683, China wasn't listed, cost to catch up, lots!
5) China is building 2-3 (planned about 5) ballistic missile submarines, U.S. has 18, our allies France, England and India)  4 each.  Each cost about $5 billion carries 16 missals each with eight warheads cost to catch lots
6) U.S. has 11 nuclear power air craft carries at a current cost of 22 billion dollars. Most of our allies have one or two, Russia has one, China is building one.
7) China has serious problems with parts of her population, like in Tibet.
8) The Internet will make it impossible for China to be overly restrictive on her liberal population thought she will use patriotism/nationalism to hide freedom problems.
9) “Absent continuing reforms,” the economists argue, “Chinese growth is likely to slow down sharply, perhaps leaving China at a level less than Mexico’s” — an outcome  that would be a hard on the China-as-future crowd. Is Mexico China’s Future? 12/29/    10 3/2/16 China's growth appears to be slowing

 Hating Big Government
1. Budget balancers think only spending for want they want is useful and refuse to compromise. 
    Like defense and Medicare yes.  Education and Obamacare, no. 
2. Some wealth seekers hate big government because they don't want any governing force interfering with the wealth creating process  though research they can use is Ok.
3. Some Protestants hate big government because they want the bible to be the major governing force.
4. Some Roman Catholics hate big government because they want the Church to be the major governing force.

Why I don't fear the debt but do fear future Medicare Expenses
1) Debt was higher after WWII and it never had to be paid back, just the interest. It was refinanced.
2) Interest will stay low because developing countries always save more and the $ is where they put saving. As of 3/2/16 rates are still very low.
3) The country has many more assets than it did after WW II and assets help determine GDP and income which determine acceptable debt levels..
4) None of the problems that caused the inflation of the 1970's are here, inflation psychology, oil socks, little foreign competition
5) In the 1970's Japan was just beginning to create a supply glut. Now we have South Korea, Chins, and many other Asia countries and to supply keeping prices low.
We are in the phase where the competitive adjustment of increasing supply goes beyond equilibrium causes a loss. That's why salaries are stagnate.
6) Social Security is projected to peak at 6% of GDP from the current 5%.
    Medicare keeps rising.  Politics won't work until there is a crisis and Obamacare might just be that crisis..

 

Tea Party Members Must Not

      1) Follow University of Alabama football because it is one on many  colleges and universities started as Land-grant colleges  with the federal funds for education.
         

      2) Receive employer sponsored health insurance because that's a fat cat program to help the rich.

        

Key Questions Concerning America's Economic Future
Please e-mail me with suggestions. Thanks!  Walter Antoniotti, President of 21st Century Learning Products.

Question Analysis Current Data

1. What will the expected Federal debt
do to long term interest rates?

If long interest rates rise, it will be  because foreign investors require it and domestic investors plus the Fed don't pick up the slack as they did during and after WWII. The result will be a long recession/depression. As long as things around the world are getting worse, the flight to quality will keep rates low. Then What? The flight to quality and efforts of the Federal Reserve are keeping interest rates low.12/5/08
China is making noisy about the value of her Treasury holdings.. 3/14/09
Demand for Treasuries remained high at recent auctions. 8/20/09
Interest rare continue low and the economy is expanding. 5/31/13
 

2. Will the auto unions and managers finally make the concessions necessary to make U.S. auto makers competitive?

About 30 years ago, sales of foreign autos passed those of domestic autos in California. Auto companies and workers responded by doing everything politically possible to keep their wages and benefits as high as possible for as long as possible. Management and Unions for both active and retired workers are making no meaningful concessions. 12/05/08   UAW agreed with Ford to lower wages to $55/hour, cut employee benefits, eliminate cost of living increases, and accept up to 50% Ford stock for the union run health plan. 3/14/09 GM President fired. 4/3/09 GM cuts white collar by 1/3. 7/8/09 Government bailout saves the day and auto industry is on its feet. 5/31/13.
2B. What will be the affect of President Obama's save the auto industry decision shafting of the creditors in favor of the workers. Siding with the union against the creditors is sending a message to Wall Street. "Neither a borrower nor a lender be." None, pensioners suing to be ahead of creditors at liquidation. 9/20/08.
Pensioners lost, couldn't prove it to Supreme Court, most felt bonds were worthless without government help. Completed!

3. Will President Obama redirect education by giving more emphasis to training/public service and redirecting current expenditures in the area of academic education to those most qualified?

The U.S. has many more college graduates than she has college graduate jobs. Many college graduates are not academically oriented, have loans they must pay back with low earnings from non-college graduate jobs. There is a shortage of college graduates that require substantially above average academic ability. Because the "World is Flat", our top students face more competition than ever and making finance their education easier is necessary. It is important to understand the Departments of Labor's definition of college-educated workers. It is those working in one of two groups of college graduate occupations. In "... 'pure college' occupations', at least 60 percent of current workers aged 25-44 have a bachelor’s or higher degree, fewer than 20 percent have a high school diploma or less education, and fewer than 20 percent have taken college courses but do not have a bachelor’s degree." BLS projects that pure-college occupations will provide about 6.9 million..." [about 12.5% of the total openings]. For the other group visit 2004-2014 Job Growth by Required Education and  Occupations. In 2013 Bill Gates lobbies for more foreign worker visas  to keep wages paid by Micro Soft as low as possible.

4. What will happen when the U.S. stops paying  former insurgents, mainly Sunni and called The Sons of Iraq, to turn against al-Qaeda and other extreme Sunni groups. Eventually The Sons of Iraq will be folded into the Iraq army and local  police. Success is a predicate to our leaving.

Iraq took over paying The Sons of Iraq ( about 100,000 men) in late 2008 and U.S. Financing was to stop in April of 2009. The question has always been can Shia and Sunni govern together.

1) President O says fighting troops out in 18 months 2/28/09
2) March 28, 2009 saw heavy fighting in Bagdad because Sunni insurgents were unhappy with the arrest of their leaders and because they had not been paid lately. 3/28/09
3) Troops out of cities as planned by Bush 2 6/09.
4) Down to 50,000 non fighting troops 10/01/10
5) US pulls out in late 2011 and by 5/31/13 there may be a civil war raging?

5. Will Obama take on the Military Industrial Complex?

United States competitiveness with Germany, Japan, and now China has suffered. Investment in infrastructure, basic research, and other needs has been neglected. Our GDP is less than NATO's yet we spend 70% more on military.
World Total $1,470,000,000,000                          
in 2008(100%)
NATO
$1,049,875,309,000                                                 (71%)
NATO without U.S. $420,124,691,000 in 2009
United States spending $713,100,000,000                        (48.5%)
List of countries by military expenditures
1) Gates proposes big cuts in programs plagued by cost overruns like the F22 fighter. Plans to stop at 187 rather than 750. Cost is 191,000,000 each. Senate cuts seven planes at 250,000,000 each. 556 planes to go. 07/22

2) By 2013 the 10% sequester is lowering military spending so if Congress doesn't reverse it, the Tea Party has a victory..

6. When will people move terror down the list of public concerns?

Terror is a cost of Westernization. It began with Christopher Columbus who brought the west and its unique disease to the Caribbean. People die for many reasons and eventually we figure a way to solve the problem. In the 1950', the number of people killed in auto accidents was about 50,000 per year at it made the news after every holiday weekend. Now, with four plus times the driving, about half that number die and total annual  auto deaths do not make the news. If we want to maximize the number of lives saved, there are many more productive ways to invest resources than  the war on terror and homeland security. Annual Deaths
Heart disease: 652,091, Cancer: 559,312, Stroke 143,579

Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 130,933

Accidents (unintentional injuries): 117,809

Diabetes: 75,119 Alzheimer's disease: 71,599

Influenza/Pneumonia: 63,001 Nephritis, nephritic syndrome, and nephritis: 43,901

Septicemia: 34,136 Source: Deaths: Final Data for 2005, Table C

In May of 2013 President Obama who never talks of a War on Terror began to ask if the U.S. to terrorism.

7. The Federal debt is about 8 Trillion dollars, what is the value of Federal  Assets?

Our cash basis budget system measures total liabilities but not total assets. Seems to me the federal highway system, national park and monument system, post office systems, military, buildings, and other assets are worth a lot. Can't find a total or even a list.
8. Who will pay for the tremendous increase in the Federal Debt being created to stop the Great recession.. The first time we increased the federal debt a lot was before WWII. FDR was afraid of the original axis of evil. Total debt increase about six times. Result: most everything we bought to  prepare and fight WWII was destroyed and by 1950 we faced another axis of evil. Who paid these debt? No one they were refinanced!
RR took on the Soviet Union in 1980's  and debt tripled. Result: By 1990 the Soviet Union had dissolved. Who paid the debt? No One. Refinanced.
Then Bush II decided we were facing another axis of evil and the debt increased by almost 60% over seven years. Result: To be determined. Who will pay the debt? TBD
Now President B wants us to borrow again so we can stop an expected serious recession and become more competitive.  Result: To be determined. Who will pay the debt? TBD.

Editors Note: The 2008 fiscal year started on October 1, 2007.
End of
Fiscal Year
US Gross Debt
in Nominal USD billions
US Gross Debt as % of GDP Question Answer
1940 43.0 52.4 No One
1950 257.4 94.1
1960 290.2 56.1
1970 389.2 37.6
1980 930.2 33.3 No One
1990 3,233 55.9
2000 5,674 58 TBD
2005 7,933 64.6
2007 9,008 65.5
2008 10,699.8 74.6 (EST)
2009           11,046.2  

           TBD

United States public debt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
President Obama continued the Bush policy of fighting the Great Recession with debt and by 5/13 this policy seemed to be working better than the austerity policies of Europe,
9) What will be done to lower the chances of another breakdown in our capitalistic system? People were given the power to manage the system without personal risk. High ranking corporate officials were given entrepreneurial power without ownership risk. That is, they were employees of a company but were given the rewards of owners, large salaries with golden parachutes, with no capital at risk! Same logic applies to Wall Street. 12/18/09 Paul Volker is not being listened to. 
12/18/09 Passed with most of Volker Rule in tact.

13/5 TBD as some say we have come a long way and are moving forward  and some believe we still have too big to fail.

10) What changes will be made to the Mark to Market Accounting Rule that has been the primary cause of our current banking predicament and will it help bank balance sheets? The ASCPA passed a very structured version of Mark to Market that required corporations lower the value of mortgage  assets to their current market value rather than the higher of said value and the current value of future income streams from said assets. With the later rule interpretation and a grouped approach to valuation, if ninety percent of a group of mortgages were being paid, then only a 10% valuation decrease would be required. Congress has just begun to discuss the rule. Did they wait so long because they needed a crisis mode to allow them to rescue their banking friends or was the crisis needed to enhance the possibility of their passing their massive social agenda. 3/12/09
Rule liberalized. 4/3/08
AICPA allows banks up to a year to institute new tougher procedures. 12/18/09
Banks given 8 years to recapitalize. 9/1/10
5/13
bank finances much improved, is it enough?
11) How will America deal with a "Flat World" when she realizes that the free movement of resources includes people and this means competition for America's best and brightest students.   For certain kinds and level of talent, there are probably many more Asians with this talent level than Americans. The recently passed Stimulus Package included an amendment prohibiting companies receiving funds from hiring foreign born people.  Will this spread to additional restrictions to those receiving any government funds. Our need for talented people will increase dramatically as baby boomers retire. The Bank of America rescinded the hiring of foreign born members of this years college graduates because of this law. 2/09

5/13 Congress considers law to double allowed foreign visas for STEM cell jobs, opponents say people like Bill Gates are pushing this law to lower salaries.

 

12) When will Americans realize there is a difference between the government spending a trillion dollars on the Iraq War and  spending one trillion dollars on the Term Asset Backed Loan Facility (TABLF). You can argue about whether the Iraq War expenditure was worthwhile or not but everyone must agree that the money is gone. The TABLF fund is to restart the funding of loans for autos, student education, small business and credit cards. There is a good chance it will be paid back in full plus some interest. This is one of many federal assets.  I can't seem to find the total of these assets. See question  total seven.

Looks like TABLF will be paid back. 09/01/10
BY 5/13 most TABLF loans paid back. Indirect cost of banking crisis were immense.

13) Who will write the book explaining how the law is being used to hinder restrictions being place on the financial community by the Federal Reserve  and Treasury? Many Written By blaming almost everyone, it may end up as no one. 09/01/10
By 2013 only one minor banking official prosecuted.
14) Will President Obama use the lack of affective military help from Europe as a reason for a military pull out of Afghanistan. 4/3/09 People Against More Troops
George Will, Tom Friedman, America's
Afghanistan Ambassador
More troops to be added with a surge, slow pull out to begin 07/11.   
5/13
pull out continues.
15) When will President Obama draw the line on the Auto Industry, and Iran. 4/26/09 Some say if the unions and bond holders don't adjust, they will be allowed to go bankrupt.  Agreed to talks and allow Iran (no response from Iran) to continue processing uranium. 5/13 Auto industry saved, loans paid back.

Iran continues to process uranium.

16) How will President Obama react when he has his first big failure such as GDP not growing at 3 or 4% in 2010. Blaming Republicans and appears to be losing whatever neutrality some though he had. Economic recovery continues to be very slow though typical for a balance sheet recession. Obama reelected.
17) Is President Obama's giving Pakistan  Development/Civilian aid the beginning of the end of the Military/Industrial complex controlling our foreign policy. Eleven billion dollars of military was just give to the Pakistan military by Bush to and they bought military toys, probably from U.S. military manufactures. Pakistan not happy, want freedom to do what they want with funds. Floods of  2010 hurting efforts of US efforts though overall ability of terrorists seems to be dwindling.  9/15/10

5/13 Pakistan manages a free election though many died during the campaign.

18) What will be the long term affect of Pres. O stopping the central Europe missile defense program? What did he get from Russia and was it enough.  H. Clinton says we no longer have a cold war attitude toward Russia. Conservatives are not happy! Seems quiet 9/15/10

5/13 Still quiet though US relations with Russia seem to be worsening.

19) Will Bush Tax cuts be extended. Bush-only for middle class which would make them permanent. Some say extend all for two years so they expire at a better time. 11/10 Extended for two years

4/13 Tax cut on rich was ended, payroll tax cut reversed, most other Bush tax cuts extended

20) What will be the result of the bipartisan fiscal commission reporting after the 11/10 election.
 
Many fear gridlock as Republicans wait until 11/12 election.  
21) Will Europe's cut in government spending have an affect on how the US handles her budget? Early in 2012 European Central Bank guarantees sovereign debt relieving banking crisis but company borrowing is low and economies are  slowing. 5/13 Europe in recession, southern PIGS in trouble and France appears to be joining them. Iceland's recovery has been costly but successful.
22) Will Federal Government be asked to bail out states in 2011? Stimulus has stopped. Wisconsin, Minnesota and NJ are cutting budgete.7/5/11 5/13 recovery helps states budgets including California.
23) What will be the result of al the Private Equity Fund  debt coming due in 2012? 5/13 Not in the news?  
Please e-mail me with suggestions.

Note I now consider myself a David Brooks republican rather than a centrist democrat. 09/15/10

 

Why We Hate

Many people hate by race because they need someone below them on the social ladder.

Tea party patriots hate government assistance because it allows them to believe their economic well-being was achieved without government help.

Wealthy people hate paying taxes more than is justified by the tax laws because it allows them to feel they did it on their own.

Agnostics hate the religious because it allows them to feel academically superior.

 

Thoughts on Health Care

David Brooks on PBS News Hour after Senate agrees on a bill. 12/18/09

DAVID BROOKS: It does essentially balance the budget. And there are going to be tax increases. They are going to pay for it with Medicare cuts. So, there's a lot of good enough stuff in there, and there's a lot of reform for the current system.

My fundamental problem is that it is a slow, gradual building on the current system. But the current system is so fundamentally messed up. The incentive structure is such that providers are penalized for being efficient. Everybody's got an incentive to get more and more care. We're all separated from the consequences of our choices, and that you can't build reforms on top of what is really a rotten set of incentives.

And so, at the end of the day, the question is, can you pass this and get toward real reform down the road? And I fundamentally don't think so. One of the Medicare actuaries reported I think last week or within two weeks that health care spending is just shooting upwards. Was 15 percent of the GDP. Now I think it's 17.7 percent of GDP. It will be up to 22, 24.

This bill will make it increase slightly faster, not slower. And if you care about things like preschool education, state spending on any other projects, that's all going to be swallowed up by health care. And if we don't address that problem, we have missed the central problem.

DAVID BROOKS:  ... I'm not sure it is a great thing for Democrats to pass this. And I will tell you why.

They are going to pass -- I assume they are going to pass it. In the next several years, really, no benefits will kick in. But everyone -- but insurance rates will go up. Everyone will be blaming the Democrats.

And then, when the benefit do kick in, we will see this surge in demand for health care, no surge in supply of health care, because the same number of doctors and all that stuff will be the same. When you get higher demand, same supply, you get a price increase.

And so then it's another four or five years of people seeing their costs go up. And the political pressure as a result of these two periods I think will be such that they will gut all the good parts of the bill, which are the cost control, and will keep -- will -- they will entrench the expensive parts.

 

Editors Thoughts on health care

I. Prelude
   A. Federal government WWII wage controls interfered with our free markets.
   B. Companies circumvented these controls by paying employee health insurance.
   B. It was decided these payments were not taxable income.

II. Many people, myself included, have had government sponsored health care for most of their lives.   
   A. Until retirement, I was covered by very expensive company/government sponsored by being tax free health/dental plans.        
       1. My companies didn't care about controlling insurance costs because they were passed on to our customers, the students and their families.        
       2. The Insurance companies didn't care because they all agreed not control costs.
           a. Controlling patient claims is expensive
           b. Costs from claims, many not needed procedures were simply passed on to insurance company customers (my companies).
       3. Individuals didn't care because the insurance benefit was paid by their company and not taxable income.  
   B. By 2008, insurance cost in the U.S. were higher than comparable industrialized countries by 6% of GDP.
       1.For 2008, this was over $2,500/person/year.
       2. Average higher cost for the 35 years I worked was about $2,000 per years
           a. This is just a guess.
           b. It was very low in the beginning and over $2,500 in 2008.
       3. The total individual extra cost was $2000 per year  X 35 years = $87,500.
       4. A family's total extra cost was about $2,000 X 2.5 people X 35 = $175,000. (Just a guess.)
       5. The automobile industry couldn't compete with the low health insurance cost for
            employees and retirees incurred by countries like Japan and South Korea.
            a. As a result, companies down sized for many years and many workers lost their job.
            b. New, younger workers were paid less and middle class living standards began their 30 year decline.
   C. Because someone else paid, many people, myself included, didn't take responsibility for my own health.
        1. As a result, like many Americans, I was overweight for much of the time and smoked for too many years.
        2. Now find myself trying to control high levels of cholesterol, blood pressure, and Glucose. 
   D. I am on Medicare and paying about over $3,000 per year to the Government and BCBS.
   E. The future?
        1. Will the government do it right, probably not.        
        2. Health care will definitely cost me more for the first few years.
        3. Do I want them to try?        
        4. Yes
             a) I can afford it partly because for many years  I have been getting a free ride with free with health care, deductable home interest,
                  and retirement income tax brakes.
             b) That which is not getting better, is getting worse!
        5. Three alternative possibilities if Obamacare passes.
            a) A extensive effort to control of health care costs will follow as we follow the recommendations of a bipartisan health/SS committee report.
                1) Medicare will be pushed back to the same age as 100% SS for those under 60.
                2) Because we are living longer100% SS now given at 66 and 67 will be increased for those under 60 to 68-70.
                3) Medicare tax, which applies to all income, will go up by one or two percentage points.
                4) The SS tax will apply to all income. This might not have happened but Wall Street greed after the bail out
                     will help it gain support from some conservatives.)
                5. These will probably happen even if Obamacare doesn't pass.
            b) If cost savings changes come too late, are too small, or are ignored completely, interest rates in U.S. will rise dramatically and a depression follows.
                1) The middle class will get physical similar to their actions during the French Revolution.
                2) Something radical like a progressive tax tied to an inequality index will be instituted. Income inequality recently passed the 1929 high.
            c) Same as b only the managed decline of the middle class of the last 30 years will continue.
                1) A slow increase in interest rates causes continuing income/benefits stagnations.
                2  Asset prices in the U.S. will drop despite the outstanding efficiency of American Industry.
                3) Eventually high growth will return but we are talking many years.
III. Epilogue
      A. The unintended consequences from government interference in health care during WW II have been devastating.
      B. This unintended consequence has resulted in conservatives want the government out of health care.
           1. This means no Obamacare.
           2. It doesn't mean government getting completely out by taxing employee sponsored health care.
               a. Once this welfare program, like other liberal entitlement welfare programs passes, it will become a conservative
                  "rights or middle class entitlements".
                   (Medicare, 401K's, home interest deduction, farm subsidies ...)
               b. All government employees, including legislators, would have to pay taxes on their health benefits. "No Way You Say!
      C. All bets are off for the near future if the Dow goes below 6000 during 2010-2011. It's over 15,000 in 2013 but there is no gain until you sell!
           1. Low interest rates may be causing another stock market bubble. It did but in 2013, high profits despite slow growth have helped keep the market high.
           2. If the carry trade reverses too quickly as the US reverses monetary policy, the 6,000 figure is possible. As of 2013 this is not as likely as 2009.
      D. All bets are on for the near future if congress passes a compromise less expansive health care bill to help
           while we work out of this economic mess

 

We are all Communists in disguise?

From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.
My good friend X and I began working about the same time, he as a barber, me as a college administrator.
K met a Y who's husband had died so she and her young son were collecting Social Security.
X and I both worked more than the 25 years used to determine Social Security benefits.

I was fortunate to earn enough to pay the maximum amount into social security. I have no reason to believe that
X reported more taxable income than the average barber which at best, is less than half of the maximum income for social security.
Now comes the Communism part.
Social security is based on an index number calculated from social security taxes paid. Low payers get 53%, medium 43%, high 34%.
So Dennis paid on a lot less income and receives a just a little less benefit. But it doesn't end here.
X and Y got married about the time her son went off Social Security and  she was eligible for a spousal social security benefit at 62 even though Dennis kept working.
Of course you could say that I didn't need as much because I earned more and because of SS, Barbara never worked, she and X had more need.
My guess is Y has been on Medicare for quite a while. Everyone is eligible, even those who never worked.
Like I say, we are all communist in disguise.

Patriotism


 Americans will have a Cain-Able attitude concerning President Obama's decision to publish the memo's concerning "water boarding" of prisoners. The Cain's will ask what was accomplished and fear for our security and the liberals will hope it helps to repair our Nation's image as the land of the free and the home of the brave. The real problem is the people who have an American flag on the car will not think about this at all. Unless we make them! 4/22/09

When I watch Americans clapping at a Memorial day celebration, I think they are clapping for themselves and not our fallen veterans. I haven't done much to make our country great. Pay taxes. Went into education which may be admirable but it was  to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam war.  Why do I feel this way? Guilt?

Too many Americans attribute the greatness of what our country has accomplished over 300 years to themselves, like every single person contributed to our greatness.
Our greatness is the result of sacrifice. Today, the sacrifices we are not willing to make include
 1) Increase gasoline taxes increases would make us less dependant upon mid-east oil--now we kill tens-of-thousands of Arabs every decade or so to keep oil less expensive.
 2) Making employee health care costs paid by employers taxable income so people would develop more healthy life styles and the savings would provide funds necessary to provide
     all Americans with health care.
 3) Pass a national sugar tax to make us healthier.


History tells us the quest for oil was a major cause of WWI and  WWII.
It will tell us oil was the a major cause of two or more U.S. wars in the middle east.

"...Dutch hegemony during the 17th and 18th centuries was built on its unmatched  ability to harness wind  power.
Coal came along. Oops, global power gone. from

 British hegemony during the 18th and 19th centuries was built on coal powered railroads.
Along came oil, Oops, global power  gone.

Now it seems to me that  the United States hegemony of the 20th and 21st centuries is based on gasoline.
An alternative power source will be found for oil. Oops, global power gone.

 from Capital Reader Political Book Summary of American Theocracy:
The Perils of Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st century

 



Most people questioning what American does are not anti-American or unpatriotic.
They are trying to insure that our heritage continues to be honorable.
 


Every time I see an RV with big tires and an American flag on the bumper waiting in line with the motor and air conditioner running at a
Hardy's fast food restaurant, a bank,  and picking up children after school, 
I wonder how many Muslims we had to kill to keep oil prices low and thus lower the expense of RV's.


I get goose pimples watching the Memorial Day fireworks.  
It is a good feeling for those living and dead who fought for my right to write these thoughts.


These thoughts are in no way intended to minimize the sacrifices made by the men and women who gave their lives, were injured, or had their lives seriously interrupted serving America. We can't do enough, and budget constrains too often preclude us from doing enough. It is too easy to cut back on  budget items for people and add to the budgets for armaments.
Why these are separate budgets is beyond me.

 

The War on Terror

Something must be wrong when one billion people dislike the United States. 


If growing Poppies in Afghanistan is funding terrorism, why not pay them  not to grow Poppies like we pay our farmers not to grow crops? Its cheaper!


Why are the Russians and Chinese, who have much more to fear from radical Muslims than we do, not fear the Iranian nuclear program? 


Almost 2,500 people died on 9/11. Terror is one of many preventable causes of death..

From Actual Causes of Death 2000 printed by 2004 AMA


There is a natural direction to the flow of history.
Little is required to ensure an end result.
The secret is in knowing when a disruptive force can reverse this flow and
cost society so much that action is needed, regardless of the cost, to eliminate the disruptive force.
When society decides to bear the cost, too often the cost has been war and the decision has been incorrect.

America has been in too many wars. Should some of them been avoided?

Revolutionary War-Canada didn't need a war to break from England.
Civil War-England didn't need a war to end slavery.
WWI-Whoever won was going to control the oil rich Middle East.
WWII thank God FDR got us in.
The Cold War- In this case, the natural flow of history is for democracy and freedom for people. This would have happened without a Cold War.
A cold scuffle would have been enough. A little time and the VCR would have done the rest.
Koran War, I have no idea although the area has been peaceful for 50 years. With no war, Japan would have had to militarize earlier and to a greater extent.
Vietnam War- Russia was a third world country and eventually would not be able to keep up. I blame the CIA for inadequate information and LBJ who media really poor decision.

The terrorists could wage an economic war causing a sever economic depression to decimate our consumer oriented society. Avoiding this cost is worthy of tremendous sacrifice. 
This economic catastrophe which would make the great depression look like the roaring twenties will happen if terrorist take control of Middle East oil supplies, force up the price of oil,
and then created a second front by attacking  America's consumer spending sites. 5/13 That is what Syria is all about and I think bringing back the draft tied to a national service program should be a prerequisite to action. 3/2/16 has changed the calculus and before long only Israel will be of interest.

George W Bush knew that in a democracy voters will not make a large sacrifice unless a gun is put to their head. Nine-eleven was the gun and George II chose a the military solution to make sure terrorists can never take control of Middle East oil. Not during his watch. This was easy to do as most American voters do not mind sending someone else's children to war, especially if it means keeping their own personal economic sacrifices to a minimum.  Defending our boarders against terrorist infiltration became the second front on our War on Terror.  To understand follow the money

There is also a time constraint on how long it will take technology to solve our oil dependency problem. Technology could take "fifty years" and George II is proposing we stay the course for how ever long it takes. It could be a while. There should be a third front to rid our dependency on oil.. 9/13 Is it Fracking?

We could lower our reliance for foreign oil by affecting consumer demand. Why doesn't George II do this. Some say it is his ties to the oil industry but in 1952 newly elected President Eisenhower didn't have ties to oil when he agreed to work with Churchill's British government to remove democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh because he was trying to nationalize Iran's oil which was controlled by British Petroleum. No, it is not just his oil ties. George II knows that in a democracy voters will not make a large sacrifice unless a gun is put to their head .

Before the WWII gun went off and against the will of many voters and politicians, FDR was able to slow down Hitler enough to insure that German did not become our native language. We need another FDR.


Will the United States kill more Muslims in the 20th and 21st centuries than she killed Native Americans in the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries. Genocidal activity against Native Americans began with our Pilgrim forefathers, included "scalp bounties" of up to 100 Pounds sterling during Nat Bacon's Rebellion. These actions were interrupted briefly to conduct the Salem Witch Trials, which resulted in 19 "witches" being hung.


I would feel a lot better about this war not being about oil if our politicians would agree to double the real price of gasoline and heating oil over the next 20 years.

Does anyone think Israel will allow Iraq, or any nation in or close to the Middle East, to build nuclear weapons? 5/13 Current thinking is Israel may not have the fire power as Iran's program is deep under ground!

I wonder how the number of people killed on 9/11 compares with the number of additional people killed since the United States dropped the 55 MPH national maximum speed limit?
9/11 The National Safety Council wants to save 6,000 lives annual by lowering the illegal alcohol level for driving to >= 0.5 of one percent. Where are you FOX News personalities?

The Defense Department and Department of Home Land Security should become The Department of Human Safety with money distributed accordingly.
Why should saving a life from foreign attack receive more money than saving a life from a car accidents, health problems, child abuse?  Is a suicide resulting from Bullying a more tolerable death than one at a marathon in Boston?

We need a middle east Marshall Plan funded by 10% of the defense budgets of all NATO countries with the money coming from big ticket defense hardware.

Am I the only person who thinks the terrorist are laying off the U.S. until after the election because they think a democrat president would be less likely to fight than a republican president.
They are wrong! 5/13 Interesting but wrong!

How much of the hype concerning the war from MSCNN news is caused by a desire for ratings and the fact that it is owned by large provider in antiterrorist equipment  General Electric?

Is there an antiterrorist expert being interviewed on TV who does not have a financial interest in our continued fear of  terrorism. Does this make them bias?

The Sky is Falling

On August 11, 2006, a sports show I was listening to decided to spend the entire show
 talking about the liquid explosives terrorist plot uncovered in England.
I was amazed at how unanimous the sports commentators and callers were in their fear of terrorism.
They really went after the loan caller who said the host and callers were overreacting.
Reports were unclear as to how close the terrorists came and
what would have happened it the Pakistan government had not informed us of their detecting the terror plot.

Got home, went to MSNBC on the Internet and found nothing. I was right! They were overreacting acting. Then I watched MSNBC Crossfire
and they were acting like it was the end of the world. I was Wrong? Maybe not.
TV news is extremely biased  because everyone's salary is based on ratings.
Maybe MSNBC wanted pestory on the advertising supported evening news

On Crossfire, NBC anchor Brian Williams was interviewed by Chris Mathews.
He  lamented that our pour poor citizens would not be able to bring carry on their own drinks and I Pod onto a flight,
and would be forced to partake in the free stuff provided by the airlines.
 General Electric, a parents company of  MSNBC is a big time player in the anti terrorism business.
Then MSNBC brought in an Expert who talked about how easy it is to use liquid explosive to blow a plane out of the sky
because our anti terrorist equipment technology is falling behind the ability of terrorist to make bombs.
Does he too work for General Electric? Who was this expert? He was author of the Blow the House Down. Was he trying to sell book? Is he unbiased?
Is there anyone on TV talking about this that doesn't have a vested interest in scaring us?

Interestingly, there was little mention of Pakistanis original involvement in uncovering the terrorists.
Could we have done this with out them? A lot of credit was given to for English and US antiterrorists.
Also, turns out that MSN owns Fox Sports radio.
Now I would love to say that the sports radio show I was listening to near Tampa Florida was a Fox Sports show, bur I don't know.

We now know there was no immediate threat, a dry run was not  scheduled,
and many believe the overall success of the British undercover operation was compromised  by the George W's
insistence that the arrests be made earlier than planed to affect the US primary elections.

 I write this while listening to This Week With George Stephanopoulos, former Chairman of the 9/11 Commission and former Gov. Thomas Kean, R-N.J.
is defending The Path to 9/11 ABC Docudrama . Who do you believe when everyone involved has a financial interest in preserving their opinion.
 

The Drug War

What is it that makes American so afraid of drugs?

From Actual Causes of

Death 2000 printed by 2004 AMA

It does appear that spending a vast amount of resources on the Drug War did lower the number of deaths.


What would happen if we lowered our Federal military and War on Terror spending by 10% to lower taxes and then
moved another 10% from these two areas to areas that would decrease the number of deaths depicted by the above chart.

Don't Trust The Experts
Just because someone is articulate and knowledgeable, doesn't mean they are correct.

Lester Thurow, former Dean of the MIT Sloan School of Business was often seen on 
Public Television, CNN, and the networks during the 1980's and early 1990's 
explaining how the United States economic and educational systems were losing the battle with the Europeans and Japanese. 
He had it exactly wrong. Their economies tanked and ours took off.

Fred Barns from the Fox News Special Report With Bret Hume panel of experts emphatically said winning 
war in Iraq was difficult and winning the peace would be easy. 
I can't believe that anyone with reasonable knowledge of Middle East history would feel the peace would be easy.
Didn't Fred realize the war began over a thousand years ago and is far from over and 
how can you win a peace that has not begun. Does the Bush administration realize the Crusades are over.

Experts Say Medicare Spending is out of Control
Data from Bureau of Economic Analysis

            Social Security Medicare Medicaid
1970 29.61 6.8 2.7
2003 470.6 274.2 160.7
 Billions of Dollars

The Real Story 
Spending as a Percent of Gross Domestic Product

  Defense International
(Foreign Aid)
Social Security Medicare Medicaid
1970 8.1 0.04 2.9 0.7 0.3
1980 4.9 0.5 4.3 1.2 0.5
1990 5.2 0.3 4.3 1.9 0.7
2000 3.0 0.2 4.2 2.2 1.2
2003 3.7 0.3 4.3 2.5 1.5
Percent Point Change 3.7-8.1  = -4.4 0.3-0.4=-0.1 4.3 - 2.9 = 1.4 2.5-0.7 =1.8 1.6-0.3 = 1.2
Combined Change

-4.4 + (-0.1)= -4.5

1.4 + 1.8 + 1.2 = 4.4

 


Education

Education is like politics, if you really want to know what is going on, follow the money.


President Eisenhower once warned us of the waste involved of what he called "the Military Industrial Complex.
It is time to be concerned with the waste involved with the "Educational Industrial Complex."


Paul Krugman and Bill O'Rilley were on Tim Russert show last night (08/04) hustling their recent books.
Mr. Krugman wanted to blame the poor job creation on the Bush administration and Mr. O'Rilley wanted to blame it on 9/11. 
Actually, poor job creation was caused by the outsourcing of white collar jobs made possible by the Internet
and the computer finally increasing the efficiency of American workers.
This process represents the most recent form of Schumpeter's Theory of Creative Destruction.

Many experts believe a better educated workforce is the best way to create high paying employment.
There are two reasons education is not the answer..
We can not educate average Americans to the extent  they can 
compete with very well educated, highly intelligent people from countries such as India and Ireland.
We can not educate average Americans to the extent  they can compete with computers.
The number of countries using in sourcing  to enhance their economic well-being will grow at an ever increasing rate
and computer will continue to replace blue and white collar workers at an ever increasing rate.

From a policy standpoint, there are two things we can do to help people losing good jobs because of "Creative Destruction.
Many of the people being replaced lose their health insurance.
Everyone in this country should be covered by Medicare and like Medicare. 
Those that can afford additional, better health insurance should be allowed to buy additional insurance from private sources. 
Such additional insurance could be paid by a person's employer and if paid by an individual, the cost would be a tax deduction.
Secondly, no child left behind should be changed to a job for every child. If this were done, data of interest would, education contained in   
1998-2008 Job Growth by Required Education and  Occupations,

Not All College Majors Are Created Equal, and
Many Without A Bachelor's Degree Have High Earnings
could be used to make educational decisions.

Every college student choosing a major should be required to sign a document stating they have read Recent Earnings Data By Major.

Walter's 8/23/06 concerning the Learning Internet Libraries for Students and Teachers and the Education Improvement Internet Library  


Standardized tests mean large profits to testing companies and require new curriculums. 
Changing from a two-part Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) to a three-part test has made a lot of money for a lot of people.
On page 14, 2005 of Business Week reports that "Kaplan, a unit of The Washington Post, saw SAT-related sales jump up to 50% in the later half of 2004...."SAT companies got a similar hike in 1994, when tests were last modified."
New curriculums mean large profits for curriculum design companies  and textbook companies. 
The academics who advise these companies receive substantial consulting fees plus ego enhancements.
Standardized test exists to create a better life for young people but these tests  hurt young people economically and emotionally.


There are three reasons for the  tremendous increase in the number of people attending junior colleges over the past 20 years.
1) Their vocational orientation is needed by society and are of interest to many potential workers.
2) Students can live at home.
3) A $4,000 plus Pell Grant minus about $1,000 in tuition charges leaves students, 
many of whom have little interest in education, with $3,000 spending money. 


More education has become politically correct.
A parent looking for educational advice from teachers, academics, and the media is 
like a teenager seeking used car advice from a used car salesperson.
In both cases the parents and teenager want to buy and contacted sources want to sell.


Turn the curriculum pyramid into a curriculum diamond. 
Now, everyone begins the educational process at the bottom with a curriculums designed 
 to give everyone the education necessary to reach a very high point at the top. 
Instead, a curriculum should start at a point centered upon an individual's ability and learning style and 
educate to some reasonably acceptable middle. 
Then the curriculum should lead to a high point based upon an individual's aptitude.


When education is like playing, kids and parents like it. 
With time, education becomes more like work because it is beyond a student's academic ability 
and does not match their special intelligence, 
so children begin to drop out of the process.


Puberty interferes with education for many young people.


From an economic standpoint, a college education is for the academically gifted and the wealthy.


There are 8 kinds of memory. Some are good for education as practiced today, 
some are needed for work, and some needed for life. 
Academics love the first because they have it and too bad for the rest!


An attempt should be used to improve the speaking ability of elementary and high school teachers.
During a recent visit of three teachers, I found that two could not express a negative thought with only one negative word.
In addition, one of the negatives was usually isn't like in I isn't got no time.
These same two teachers, one a retired elementary school teacher and the other a high school teacher, could not 
distinguish between the proper use of the words good and well. They were always doing good. 
For some reason, the cheeseburger was never described as well!


Presidents and Academic Deans control quality and raise money.
Academic Deans say Department Chairs control quality and act like the mayor in a city run by a city manager.
Department Chairs say Professors control academic quality and take the job for a year or two.
Professors have Academic Freedom and do exactly what they want.

"The quality of education depends on socioeconomic, structural, and policy variables, such as expenditure per student, the teacher-pupil ratio, and families’ background.
When these covariates are excluded, the relation between the strength of constitutional educational rights and the quality of education is negative and statistically significant."
My guess is that the degree to which an educational system is a meritocracy and test scones is high and negative as is  constitutional rights and being a meritocracy.

Better Education Won't Help Many

Global competition will continue to cause the trend of stagnant wages in the United States  for all members of  society except the very, very, very special. 

0550_50news.gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chart from page 51 of the 12/12/05 issue of business week.

German wages have been stagnant for years in spite of an outstanding educational and training system.

Read the Article at
Rise Of A Powerhouse
How the young knowledge workers of Central Europe are pushing the region to a new level

Related material Looking For Innovation In The East, Where The Engineering Pool Is Deep

Even the rewards for the very, very, very special may go down.


Davos (Switzerland World Economic Conference) Will Be Different

"The traditional format -- plenary and sessions, dinners and parties -- will continue at the 2006 World Economic Forum, but the conversation is changing dramatically."

"... the content of the 2006 meeting will be a far cry from that of recent Davos gatherings. Previously, discussion at the World Economic Forum revolved around two main economic themes: outsourcing and China. This year innovation replaces outsourcing and India replaces China in the dialogue. These changes are significant because they signal a new stage in global economic development. CEOs are starting to move beyond their obsession with cutting costs by outsourcing their supply chains" (mainly to China).

"This shift in agenda reflects the fact that CEOs and the corporations they run can no longer generate value by competing solely on cost and quality, so they are turning to innovation."

"Enter India, which is throwing the Saturday night bash this year as it launches its own global brand, "India Everywhere." Western companies are outsourcing knowledge-economy production to India, and that increasingly means outsourcing innovation as much as basic software writing. Indeed, many top managers equate India with outsourcing innovation in the same way they equate China with outsourcing manufacturing."

Even the special From page 96 of the 1/23/06 issue of Business Week
IDEAS -- VIEWPOINT

By Bruce Nussbaum
Selected
sentences

Read the entire article at Davos Will Be Different.

For the entire Business Week article click Information Technology.
 

Preparing people of average intelligence for a college education and training of people
with average ambition is a big waste of time and money.
The money can be better spent.  

My Number One Educational Movie

Until recently, Stand and Deliver, Educating Rita, and To  Sir With Love 
were tied for first as my favorite educational movie.

Then I read where Stand and Deliver was about a school system and not a school, and that a feeder program was developed
to educate students from a number of middle schools for the advanced program. 
That and because calculus is not overly useful in this age of finite mathematics caused me to dropped it from first place. 
It will always be great though because they went after "the man".

Then I decided to drop Educating Rita because her interests were too academic 
for a world in which career related education is so important.
It will always be a great movie because it accurately portrayed the work expended by the 
bottom third of our college professors.

It's difficult to drop To Sir With Love because it makes me cry every few years.
But it has to go because this is a list of top educational movies and "Sir" was about creating proper social attitudes.
It will always be a great movie because it shows you can't educate those who are not civilized.

Watching School of Rock ended my search for the top educational movie. 
Unlike Stand and Deliver, relevancy is proven by it correctly depicting that people learn by practicing what they do well.
In addition, it doesn't have to go after "the man" because "the man" is "the teacher".
Unlike Educating Rita, School of Rock is more practical than academic and treats all types of intelligence equally.
In addition, it demonstrates that a bottom third person can turn into a top third person given an appropriate career match.
Unlike To Sir With Love, School of Rock is an Educational Movie because it demonstrates the proper direction for our educational system.
Education centered upon real life problems solved by interested students based upon their particular kind and level of intelligence.
In addition, this environment creates civilized students who receive credit for important experiences 
such as student government, community service, sports, and other life related organized activity.


Marion Brady reported on page A19 of the May 22, 2004, Orlando Sentinel
 how a Chicago 5th grade class in a poor Chicago neighborhood
 used education to attack their real life problems. 
For more information visit www.projectcitizen405.com

For more information on Marion Brady's thoughts concerning a real life centered curriculum visit 
Marion Brady's Homepage 


Watching Erin Brockovich I wondered how any business could be so callus and pollute knowing they were killing people. Then I thought about all the college presidents and admission people who know the economic return from a college education for average academic students is minimal, 
and yet their marketing literature implies otherwise.

Politics

 I wrote the following in response  to a conservative ranking of some recent presidents

I think Dr. Li mixes up totalitarianism with communism.
The first is a political system, the second an economic system.
Oligarchy is government by the wealthy. The U.S. started as an Oligarchy, as only male landowners could vote, now we have a representative 
democracy and may be moving toward direct democracy (i-phone required, no swing states allowed).


Remember, a high IQ does not correlate with high understanding.
Major decisions determine the value of a leader, a great president.

Greenspan thought government regulation was not needed because 
banker's self-interest would result in self-regulation and good decision making. Right!
He didn't understand that one Greed in the hand is worth two Greeds in the future.

Obama decided to go ahead with Obama Care, in spite of the Great Recession, which means taxpayers have more contingent liability added to those of SS and Medicare.
 For small business it means more cost and less full-tine employees. Question, will this make Obama the next Hoover?

Bush II also added to health, but with no increase taxes; two wars he refused to pay for, and he created a the contingent liability for an extremely underfunded VA benefits.

Clinton was lucky to have no major decisions and will be treated OK by history unless sociology decides that he and Monica did extreme harm to the morals of our country.

Ford just visited.

Nixon opened China and history will the determine the political significance of Watergate.

LBJ, a conservative, started moving the U.S. in a liberal direction. 

JFK could have acquiesced to conservatives, his generals, and LBJ by bombing Cuban missiles. He decided to blockade Cuba. History indicates K planned a nuclear retaliation. One for one?

Ike warned against the military industrial complex, built the interstate highway system, and didn't use the bomb.

Truman dropped the bomb on a Japan,  MacArthur, and McCarthy and recognized Israel. Four for four?

We have the Tea Party to slow down socialism and Democrats to slow down oligarchs. 
A dictator like Singapore maximizes the maximum except when it maximizes the maximum regret. See Germany.

Advise to the Obama's

Mrs. Obama should
1) Get the major super market chains to stop giving away sugar cookies.
2) Get Coca Cola to partner with a yogurt company to include Fat Free Yogurt in their sales coolers which often are located a the check out corner.
3) Help people cut calories.
Institutes a product of the month in which she would explore substitutes for major sources of calories like soda, ice cream ...
Push for a sugar and unprocessed flower tax.

Calculator to help cut calories.
  Online Calories Counter    Nutrition Data's Nutrition Facts Counter  The Fast Food Nutrition Fact Explorer  Product Substitution Calorie Counter 

President Obama
1) Delay the repeal to the Bush cash cut until unemployment goes below 8% for the rich and 7% for the middle class.
2) Delay additional Obama Care coverage improvements until unemployment goes below 8%.
3) Give small business a tax credit equal to their portion of payroll taxes minus business losses.


Pat Buchanan was just let go by liberal MSNBC for what some think are overly conservative views detailed in his new book 
 Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization. I tend to follow Pat more than say George Will
because George ducks behind the Government caused it every time he gets backed into a corner whenever a solution to some serious problem. 
I used to be a big fan of Charles Krauthammer but he keeps moving to the right and never saw a fact he wouldn't misuse. 
David Brooks
is still my favorite conservative, but he to seems to be yielding to pressure and moving to the right.

I'm a  sixty-eight year old centrist who tends to vote democratic because of our need to solve the health care problem, 
a personal need to receive the health benefits  from stem cell research, and women's reproductive freedom "rights." 

Many late 19th century religious American conservatives wanted keep our country free of Irish Roman Catholics. 
The Irish, many named "Pat," came anyway and then they themselves turned against dark-skin Italians Roman Catholics who were the nemesis of conservative beliefs. 
Now this Pat wants to keep non-Christians and dark skinned people out of America to preserve what he thinks is our "America Heritage."
 I'll bet religious conservative native Americans want to keep white people out of their country. 

Extreme conservatives the world over tend to tolerate only one controller of acceptable beliefs and for them, it is their church.


Democrats should try to maximize the minimum rather than maximizing the maximum 
and not run the risk of maximizing the maximum regret. 
Mrs. Obama could have encouraged schools to eliminate all drinks with al lot of sugar (natural or otherwise) and 
fatty foods like potato chips and pastry to be replaced with fruit like bananas and apples, and peaches, and deserts like fat free yogurt.
Instead she spends a lot of money trying to completely change student diets and fall right on her mashed potatoes.


Ronald Reagan and FDR were the greatest Presidents of the 20th century. 
FDR because he convinced America that hungry people deserved government's help.  
RR because he realized that it takes more than government to stop everyone from being hungry.


The more I observe politicians, the more I realize they are just like the "guy" at work or living next door and that scares me.


You would think that as the significance of a decision increases,
the human characteristics of the person making the decision would get better, they don't.


Am I the only one who hopes President Obama's decision to leave prosecuting high Bush Administrations
officials up to the Justice Department is a ploy to provide bargaining chips to get Republican support for health care and a drastic cut in military spending?


Richard Nixon approved the Watergate break-in and other college type election pranks while George I used his influence to delay the release of the hostages, which could of got them killed  to insure Ronald Reagan was elected president and he the Vice-President.


Most companies make it easy to pay bill by credit card.  It saves them paper work and lowers bad debts.
Not public utilities. Because they control the electric switch, they can really push you around.
In Florida, Progress Energy, charges $5.95 per month.
It would be easy to fix, but there are too many crooks in Washington to fix it.


Keeping an eye on George II

 
First he cut the inheritance tax to save the wealthy billions. Then, as this article points out, he decided to cut those auditing estate tax returns to make sure  cheaters are not caught. In the process, cost us collections from the cheats.

Note that the author does not specifically state the  $2,200/hours savings is was made after the tax cut?

These last 3 paragraphs were paragraphs 3, 4, and 5 in the article, I moved them because they were boring.

Solving this problem is not on George the seconds list because CEO's need the money to donate to the Republican Party.

Business Week
October 30, 2006

Up Front

Worker vs. CEO Pay: Room To Run

Average annual CEO pay is $10.5 million, 369 times average worker pay of $28,310. In 1970, before the big run-up, the multiple was 28:1, a ratio that would make today's average worker pay $374,800. Put another way: If CEO pay were frozen now, it would take workers 66 years of 4% annual raises to get back to 1/28th of what the boss makes.

Data: Kevin J. Murphy, University of Southern California; CEO pay rounded and based on S&P 500 companies; worker pay, Bureau of Labor Statistics; ratios rounded to nearest whole number
 

 


Just turned into Larry King who was talking to former president Bush and his wife. 
President Bush answered a question concerning whether Ronald Reagan  was religious by quoting his I have Alzheimer's speech. 
In doing so he left the impression that Ronald Reagan believed in God. 

I am not an historian, but I do know that that Ronald Reagan never went to church and when he gave that speech,
 the disease was advanced and the speech was probably written by someone else.
Even in death, politics prevails.


How can Conservatives listen to Rush Limbaugh an hour or two a day
and still have time to learn the facts about what is going on in our world necessary to have an educated opinion.


FREEDOM OF DOING

The conservative William F. Buckley recently died and some articles about him point to how we are so eloquently deceived in this world. Mr. Buckley was a great and conceptually intelligent spokesperson for the conservative right. As the various articles explained, he moved the discussion from the traditional conservatives position of anti- just about everything, to one of making a point for individual freedom. He was quite well spoken in this debate against the over bearing control of government. And the liberals ranted against him in their claim that without government control the evil in men’s hearts would drive society into oblivion. The conceptual world war of words. How they both miss the point.

Mr. Buckley, and his liberal counter pointers, all spoke of the freedom of doing. Can we do this or that without outside control. Should we be free to choose for our self what is right or wrong? Does some external authority know best what is right or wrong for us to do? But no where in this, does either side ask the question, where does the source of our acting come from? They both assume that our acting comes from the conditions of our upbringing, and with that granted, then the only issue to point out the fallacy of the various types of upbringing. It is an arguing over the conditions now lodged in our brain. And if there are conditions in your brain that say that the conservative view is right, then there is not much that can change that. If your conditioning is from the liberal side, nothing much can change that conditioning. You see, the brain is created in such a way that currently existing conditioning is well defended by lots of rational that is consistent with the conditions already present. New input will be dismissed very easily, either by distorted logic or a rationale that is based on different assumptions than that presented by the opposing view. Do you see this? It is why arguments seldom work.

In my view, there is only the freedom of being. Doing is never free if is comes out of a conditioned state. In other words, if you are conditioned to believe that people of color are a certain way, then there is no other way you can act toward them. You are like a programmed computer that has very few options. And of course, you sincerely believe that your actions are taken out of free will. There is no way a conditioned person has the awareness of their own conditioning. It is only when you can separate you awareness from your thoughts that you can see that you are conditioned. Then you see that you have no freedom to do at all. You just play out the conditioning of your past, all the time thinking you are working from some sort of freedom. Once you have freedom in your being, you see the illusion of freedom of doing. To have freedom of being, is to go to the quiet place of “no thought” and just see how you work. You will see everything I have just described. It is not my opinion. But you have to see that for yourself to understand it. Tom Lane 3/4/08 from wake up is a blog about existence


Concerning Supply Side Economics

Show me a young person who works less because of high taxes and I'll show you someone who will not make much money.


When it comes to war, conservatives tend to act even when there is not a clear need for action and 
liberals tend not to act even when there is a clear need for action.
They must be wearing different glasses.


How big is the U.S. Defense Budget? 

Joe Moneybags , thinking of diversifying into the travel and entertainment  businesses, has collected the following 2002 sales revenue data. 

Industry Sales Revenue
  in Billions of Dollars
Transportation
Air transportation  

22,000,000,000

Water transportation   27,000,000,000
Transit and ground passenger transportation 19,000,000,000
Entertainment  
Motion picture and sound recording industries  77,000,000,000
Broadcasting (except Internet) 73,000,000,000
Amusement, gambling, and recreation industries 66,000,000,000
Performing arts, spectator sports, and related industries 55,000,000,000
Museums, historical sites, and similar institutions 9,000,000,000

Total

348 billion
 
2002 Military Budget 348 billion
Sources: Table 1: Summary Statistics for the US: 2002 of US Census Bureau and Center for Defense Information

Many low and middle class Americans vote Republican because voting for Democrats
would be admitting they are low or middle class Americans.


Who will control the 21st Century

Some people say China as the controlling natural resource will brain power and she has the most people.
Some say India because she may have more people and is more advanced in technology.
For it to be China, she must give up Communism because captive people won't compete.
India, she must give up her cast system because as we have seen in the Middle East, religious intolerance hinders progress.
If either of these events happen, freedom will limit political differences between countries.
The United States? If we make it through the coming oil dependency crisis, we will lead the next great advancement of "world" civilization.
 


Political activity of liberals centers on being allowed to do what they want to do, gays want to marry and women want abortions legal.
Political activities of conservatives center on making gay marriage and abortions illegal.

Liberals don’t think much about whether religious doctrine is correct, mainly from a lack of interest, although deciding which religion to analyze makes the task unmanageable.
Conservatives, consciously or not, think a lot about whether liberals are right
because if gays getting married and allowing abortions does not send people to hell, then believing in religion does not send people to heaven.

Me? If there is an afterlife, we all go. If not, too bad, so sad. Of course, if life ends we won’t know because we won’t exist.
Evidence on the subject does not exist so I’m going out for pizza.


Taxes

Many states income tax laws exempt state and local retirement income. 
The federal government felt this was very unfair to others and passed a law requiring all such states also exempt the retirement income of federal employees. 
So much for us commoners.

Many people don't won't government interfering in their lives.
Separation of Church and State is important, especially when it comes to taxes.

Imagine a world with out tolls. Getting to work more quickly. A more pleasant Sunday afternoon drive. Quicker travel in unfamiliar places.
Tolls are state users taxes. The idea is to charge those who use the roads and bridges.
Being local in nature  make them political easy to institute.
The problem is they are economically inefficient. Think of the economic savings involved if they were eliminated with a one cent increase in federal gasoline.
The cost of collection them is government bureaucracy its best and there lies the problem as tolls means jobs for party members and their friends.
Jobs to build collection booths, job to collect tools, jobs to maintain property,  and jobs to administer programs.
Of course these people could be producing something of value other than workers for the next campaign.

 

Religion

My 85 year-old dad asked an interesting question shortly before passing.
If someone who had more than one spouse dies, who is their eternity partner?

Mark Twain had this interesting comment while reporting from Hawaii.
"Think of the multitudes who have gone to their graves on this beautiful island never knowing there was a hell."

Some are religious so they don't have to think about death, just believe and
they will live forever, no discussion. Nice if you can do it!

Conservative religion is very male oriented.
Think Roman Catholics-male priests, Mormons-lack of women rights, Muslim men in family hierarchy vs. women.

One thousand years from now at the beginning of the 4th millennium,
which religion will be described as having been the cruelest during the first two plus millennium?

Here's hoping dark energy and matter which represents about 73% of the known universe is where our consciousness,
our soul, resides and that all religions concepts of life after physical death are correct!

Religious Christian conservatives confuse me?
On the one hand they are against violence, but they really like a big, aggressive military.
On the other hand they want to help the poor, but refuse to pay for social programs!

Why religious people are anti-government
Protestants want one authority-The Bible and don't want it challenged in any way.
Roman Catholics don't want their theology to face competition from other ideologies.

On Purgatory

When it come to sin, Protestants get a Get Out of Jail Free card by accepting Jesus as one's personal savior.
Roman Catholics not only get no such card with purgatory and
 it provides for many those doomed to death by Protestants,
even those who died 
before Jesus was born.

Should a Christian conservative push button A or B.
A conservative Christian was told that by pushing button A their belief that
only those who accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior would have life eternal
This statement would not be true if button B were selected.
  A was chosen.
Turns out had B been chosen everyone who ever existed would have had life eternal.

 The conservative Christian had ended life for
billions of people in eternity, billions alive today, and for many billions to be born.
Our Christian conservative said ...

 

On Life
Once one realized they exist, life is waiting to die
.
The only question is do one continue to exist after death.
All other questions are for second place.

There is good news and good news concerning death.
The good news is we might continue to exist.
The other good news is if we cease to exist, we won't know, we will be dead.

"Only" those who accept Jesus Christ go heaven is a marketing concept
using fear to make Christianity a specialty product exclusive for select users.
Judaism does the same thing by making Jews "God's chosen people"

                                                                                                     Just Rambling

wake up is a blog about existence

Thought Question

A golfing friend, son a medical doctor possessed the enterprise to open his own CPA practice with his son who also was a CPA.
It seems to have been successful as he had the good fortune to later have built a new home.
I see good genes, at least an average nurturing environment, and ambition.
What average federal income tax should he pay?

Global Warming

Oops to Global Warming and Global Power

Since 1991, the average temperature at the Swiss Camp in Greenland is up 10 degrees. Oops, green house gasses are destroying us.
Cores of Greenland ice 110,000 years old show at least 20 sudden changes in temperature by as much as 15 degrees.
Oops
, no green house affect.

A Capital Reader Political Book Summary of American Theocracy:
The Perils and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st century
by Kevin Phillips points out the

"...Dutch hegemony during the 17th and 18th centuries was built on its unmatched ability to harness wind and water power."
Coal came along. Oops, global power gone.

 "Similarly, Britain's rise during the 18th and 19th centuries was fueled by its preeminent coal-base industry."
Oil came along. Oops, global power gone.

Now, "..the United States' emergence as a global empire..." during the 20th and 21st centuries "...has been predicated on an oil-based industrial complex..." fueled by cheap oil.
An alternative power source for oil will be found. Oops, global power gone.

Question! What do we really lose by accelerating the natural change from oil to alternative fuels?
Answer: Nothing of consequence! The inconvenience of increasing taxes on oil over 20 years
would be minimal if we lowered other taxes an equal amount.
Different rich people and companies would donates money to our Washington leaders.
There replacements would be of similar ethics and character.

T
hat is, unless you work for an oil company, own oil company stocks, or work for an industry dependent on cheap oil.
Oops to our children and grand children.

If shale oil and natural gas prove viable you can say Oops to this analysis.

Political Correctness

Would the world be a better place if there was more opposition to the political correct ideas of the day?

Is dangerous is always bad. Why shouldn't some people take human growth hormones?
People ski, play golf within 20 miles of a thunder storm, drive fast, eat too much and live with a Type A personality.

The ending of the teaching of Religion in public schools in 1948 is one thing, removing under God from the pledge of allegiance is another.

How can one set of political correct rules apply to human characteristics which follow a Normal Distribution?

 As someone who enjoys history, I am amazed how little I know about the history of  Atlantic slave trade 7/15/09

.

National Service


A two-year required national service program would do a lot to improve the educations, military, and health need of our youth.
Allowed activities would include
1) armed service
2) teaching
3) international peace corps
4) national piece corps
5) undergraduate bachelors degree in science, mathematics, and engineering
6) graduate degree in science, mathematics, and engineering

America's Biggest Mistakes of the 20th Century


Please e-mail me with suggestions. Thanks!  Walter Antoniotti, President of 21st Century Learning Products.

Mistakes Activity Analysis

1. Defeating socialism in any form was and is part of the Cold War.

The CIA supported dictatorship in the Middle East, Latin America, and South America because socialism is a kind of Communism while Socialism was acceptable in western Europe, it had to be stopped in other parts of the world. Hundreds of thousands were killed and millions injured physically, mentally, and economically. We were really trying to stop totalitarianism not Communism.  Mass communication eventually destroyed Russia as her young people saw what life was like in the West  and insisted on change. Socialism continues to have its ups and downs and the cost of the CIA anti-socialist activities  were and are wasteful.
2. Continuing to believe in The Domino Theory concerning  the spread of communism? We stopped communist expansion Korea and once the Iron Curtin went up, Communist expansion stopped in Europe. We were very insecure about the ability of Capitalism to out produce Communism. What I don't understand is why the CIA didn't communicate how backward they were in all areas except the military. Or did they and was it the influence of the military industrial complex that kept us in the dark?

Slavery

America didn't enslave many black people,
they or their ancestors were enslave by  other black people
as a result of conflicts and then sold, first to Egyptians, then Europeans, and finally Americans.

Our crime is that it took us so long to unslave them. While slow progress has been made, it has been hampered by an educational system
that tries to maximize the maximum by preparing everyone for academic colleges rather than technical and vocational colleges. In the process,
  whites, blacks, and in-betweens who don't want to ware a dress shirt find the going difficult receive much less education.
Because we are less prejudice about our enslaving process doesn't stop t from being slavery.

Sexuality

Diane Keaton had this to say in the 6/13/26 issue of The Week.
"I can imagine having a companion, someone who says 'Good to see you, what's going on?'
But then if it's a man, are you supposed to have a relationship? Share a bed? She shakes her head. "That's not happening."
Editor's Questions: How much of our desire for physical relations has to do with the Pavlov's dog affect society has on out feelings?
Every time I see a women with large breast I feel I should bark! I wonder if Diane like me wishes she had developed this attitude much earlier, maybe in her twenties!
 

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