Thursday, December 31, 2009
We have given way to sensational coverage that diverts us from the real. Balloon Boy and Tiger Woods affairs. All the things good and bad the government does gets ignored and lied about. The beautiful things that we do get ignored and we see "birthers" and all this garbage.
And with the pending death of newspapers all this online media and blogs (hehe) are just making it worse. One blogger says something silly and it gets picked up by a "news" organization then spread out like its important. Andy Warhol Mao is make up Christmas ornament means that Obama loves Mao. Sigh, this stuff makes my sick.
I don't foresee it getting any better. Even the BBC has a better news show then anything we produce, it actually has information that matters! We talk about Jon and Kate when the students in Iran are being killed and arrested.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Last night, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) delivered an hour-long speech on the Senate floor condemning the Democratic health care reform bill and accusing Democrats of displaying “the arrogance of power” in trying to pass health reform before the holiday recess. Hatch predicted that if Republicans had 60 votes and control of all three branches of government, they would “get this country under control”:
This will become one more example of the arrogance of power being exerted since the Democrats secured a 60-vote majority in the United States Senate and took over the House and the White House. I dream some day of having the Republicans have 60 votes. I’ll tell you one thing, I think we would finally have the total responsibility to get this country under control and I believe we would. But we never come close to that. There are essentially no checks and balances found in Washington today just an arrogance of power with one party ramming through unpopular and devastating proposals on after the other.
Watch it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWn0Ex4_exg
Republicans controlled Congress for 12 years — eight of which had a Republican president — but their agenda of tax cuts for the super rich did little to “get this country under control,” so to speak. Throughout the Bush administration, “the median household income declined, poverty increased, childhood poverty increased even more, and the number of Americans without health insurance spiked.”
Republicans ignored the health care crisis. Throughout the years of Republican dominance, the rate of uninsurance grew and employer-sponsored insurance continued to erode. “When Clinton left office, the number of uninsured Americans stood at 38.4 million. By the time Bush left office that number had grown to just over 46.3 million, an increase of nearly 8 million or 20.6 per cent.” Between 2001 and 2005 — when Republicans had majorities in both chambers of Congress — the number of uninsured employees grew by 3.4 million and employer-sponsored health insurance premiums grew by no less than nine percent each year, while wages only grew between 2.2% and 4.0% each year. (In fact, the share of Americans who received health insurance through their employer declined every year of his presidency.)
In fact, during a recent exchange on CNBC, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) asked Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) why Republicans didn’t address the health care crisis during their years in power. “I will have a moment of bipartisan agreement,” Ryan said. “We should have fixed this under our watch and I’m frustrated we didn’t.”
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
In response to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and part of its overall Cold War strategy, the United States responded by arming and otherwise supporting the Afghan mujahideen, which had taken up arms against the Soviet occupiers. U.S. support began during the Carter administration, but increased substantially during the Reagan administration.
Following the removal of the Soviet forces, the U.S. and its allies lost interest in Afghanistan and did little to help rebuild the war-ravaged country or influence events there.
After years of infighting, a village mullah organized a new armed movement with the backing of Pakistan. This movement became known as the Taliban. By 1996, with backing from the Pakistani ISI and Military of Pakistan, as well as al-Qaeda, the Taliban had largely defeated the militias and controlled most of the country. Since 2001, with US-NATO intervention, the Taliban were ousted from power and a new Afghan government was formed. Many of the former mujahideen gradually were incorporated into the new Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police.
Now lets not forget that Osama bin laden was a member of the CIA trained and funded mujahideen and 1988, bin Laden had split from his associates and started al-Qaeda.
Sooooo we find ourselves still in Afghanistan. We have two choices in front of us now. Counter Terrorism or Counter Insurgency if I may take some coined terms. We are beyond just leaving the people of Afghanistan, and we must come to the realization that we will be there for a much longer time then I fear our population has the stomach for.
If we go the counter terrorism route, one in which we are just there to clear out the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, let me offer this analogy. They will be the criminals and drug dealers in a local area of town, and we are the city cops (not much of a stretch for an analogy, but whatever.) Once the cops go in and do a sweep, without continued presence of support from the community the crime and the drugs will just ooze back in.
Now of the counter insurgency way. This way must have the support of the population behind it. That population must have trust in its government. Much like gangs, the people look to who will protect them the most. And we MUST get the afghan people to trust in their government to keep them safe and not the Taliban or others. Now for us to work well in Afghanistan we must have a government there chosen by the people, to ensure that the people will be behind our efforts in securing their safety and our protection domestic and foreign. In a country as mountainous and tribally controlled as Afghanistan, support of the people is a MUST.
Both of these choices require time, money and troops. So I'm going the troops route. We are a volunteer military and our pool of candidates is growing, not in the number of available heroes but in our waist sizes. One way to offset that is the automation of our power, which we are working on.
Next, troop allocations. The current climate in the "news" media is that we must commit troops now! Do it now! Our troops are dying while you sit and twiddle your thumbs! What is so wrong with working on a fully comprehensive plan on the future of our affairs in that region. We have Afghanistan to worry about, a nuclear Pakistan under attack by al-qaeda and the like, Iraq is still being attacked from within, and a possible nuclear Iran to contend with. What is so wrong with not just dropping some 40k of our troops without a proper course of action.
Where are we to get these troops immediately? Pull them from our bases in from the surrounding areas? We are removing troops from Iraq and expect to be fully out of there by the end of next year. What in the hell is so wrong with giving our soldiers time to come home and be with family and relax before us armchair quarterbacks send them back into the tray.
I heard the other day on the radio paraphrased cause my memory is bad at times "I hope we can just sustain long enough in Afghanistan until we can get a better president who can make the grown up decisions."
Time to digress more because I'm already starting it. Why is it that we demand military courses of action told to us on national television? Why is it that we demand to know pending troop activities and asset allocations broadcast on the public airs? Is it really that hard to think that someone over seas with a satellite and sit and watch everything that we say in the "news" media and not use that against us? "HEY! We are sending 10k troops into your town in a week, so go ahead and get ready for us, set up your traps and IED's,"
... Anyways. In the end we are there for a while and will probably end up in other countries because we are down that path now. It is all for our solidarity in finance, resources and protection. But remember this, one can destroy the body but you cannot destroy the spirit. No matter where we go, how much money we invest and countries we help... the religious and philosophical views that align against us will never go away.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
As quoted from wikipedia "Exceptionalism is the perception that a country, society, institution, movement, or time period is 'exceptional' (i.e., unusual or extraordinary) in some way and thus does not conform to normal rules or general principles"
I would like to look at it this way, what is our standing in the world? And by standing, I want to look at the quantifiable data. So lets establish a few categories that we can compare our nation to the rest of the world. And I refuse to just take the viewpoint of "We are America, We are the best in everything, Excelsior!, Exceptionalism defined"
All from NationMaster.com. This data set will be long so I wont type anything after it. Just look at our rankings in the world and know that we MUST do better. We are leading in the wrong ways! Our number ones shouldn't be plastic surgery and obesity and crime, it should be in education and others areas!
Education spending (% of GDP) - 5.7% [39th of 132] Cuba with 18.7%
Literacy > Adults at high literacy level - 19% [9th of 17] Sweden with 35.5%
Literacy > Total population - 99% [20th of 160]
Mathematical literacy - 493 [18th of 27] Japan #1
Reading literacy - 504 [15th of 27] Finland #1
Scientific literacy - 499 [14th of 27] South Korea #1
Student attitude > Dislike of school - 35% [5th of 17]
Student attitude > Find school boring - 61% [2nd of 17]
Abortions - 1,210,880 [2nd of 19]
Breast cancer incidence - 21.2 per 100,000 females [17th of 26]
Death from Cancer - 321.9 deaths/100,000 [9th of 16]
Heart disease deaths - 106.5 per 100,000 people [13th of 26]
Life expectancy at birth > Male - 75.29 years [48th of 226]
Life expectancy at birth > Total - 78.14 years [46th of 225]
Maternal mortality - 8 per 100,000 [121st of 136]
Obesity - 30.6% [1st of 29]
Physicians > per 1,000 people - 2.3 per 1,000 people [31st of 148]
Plastic surgery procedures - 90,992 [1st of 34]
Spending > Per person - 4,271 [1st of 133]
Suicide rate > Females - 4.4 per 100,000 people [40th of 80]
Suicide rate > Males - 19.8 per 100,000 people [30th of 80]
Teen birth rate - 64 [1st of 40]
Teenage pregnancy - 494,357 births [1st of 26]
Assault victims - 1.2% [11th of 20]
Car thefts - 1,246,096 [1st of 46]
Drug offences - 560.1 per 100,000 people [4th of 46]
Executions - 42 executions [7th of 22]
Gun violence > homicides with firearms - 39.5604 [7th of 32]
Murders - 16,204 [5nd of 49]
Murders with firearms - 9,369 [1st of 36]]
Police - 941,139 [1st of 47]
Prisoners - 2,019,234 prisoners [1st of 168]
Prisoners > Per capita - 715 per 100,000 people [1st of 164]
Rapes - 95,136 [1st of 50]
Robberies - 420,637 [2nd of 47]
Total crimes - 11,877,218 [1st of 50]
world's largest consumer of cocaine, Colombian heroin, and Mexican heroin and marijuana; major consumer of ecstasy and Mexican methamphetamine; minor consumer of high-quality Southeast Asian heroin; illicit producer of cannabis, marijuana, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and methamphetamine; money-laundering center
Debt > External - $12,250,000,000,000.00 [1st of 136]
Economic freedom - 3.2 [7th of 156]
Economic importance - 197.9 [1st of 25]
Exports - $1,148,000,000,000.00 [3rd of 189]
GDP - $13,201,820,000,000.00 [1st of 203]
GDP > PPP - $11,628,083,000,000.00[1st of 163]
GDP > Real growth rate - 2% [167th of 198]
GDP per capita in 1973 - $16,607.00 [2nd of 52]
Gross National Income - $9,780,000,000,000.00 [1st of 172]
Income distribution > Richest 10% - 30.5% [54th of 114]
Population below poverty line - 12% [41st of 46]
Public debt - 60.8 % of GDP [26th of 121]
Technological achievement - 0.73 [2nd of 68]
Tourist arrivals - 47,752,000 [2nd of 152
Car production - 5,016,310 [3rd of 49]
Electrolux CO2 emissions - 377,678 metric tons [1st of 25]
Heavy truck production - 258,257 [4th of 36]
Iron ore > Mining - 54 [7th of 14]
Light commercial vehicle production - 7,000,350 [1st of 42]
Manufactures exports > % exports - 81.54 % [22nd of 156]
Manufactures imports > % imports - 71.83 % [44th of 155]
Manufacturing, annual % growth - 5.21 % [64th of 156]
Manufacturing, current US$ - 1,545,400,000,000 $ [1st of 167]
Motor vehicle production - 12,274,900 [2nd of 35]
Ores and metals exports > - 2.7% [54th of 154]
Patent applications, nonresidents - 171,935 [1st of 96]
Patent applications, residents - 185,008 [2nd of 97]
Components > Corporate income tax - 6.7% [20th of 28]
Components > Goods and service tax - 17.6% [30th of 30]
Components > Personal income tax - 37.7% [5th of 30]
Components > Property tax - 10.1% [3rd of 18]
Contribution by middle 40% - 28.4% [13th of 14]
Contribution by poorest 30% - 6.3% [9th of 14]
Contribution by richest 30% - 65.3% [3rd of 14]
Customs > % of tax revenue - 1.82 % [48th of 82]
Highest tax rate, corporate> % - 35 % [9th of 108]
Highest tax rate, individual >, income greater than - 326,450 [1st of 93]
Highest tax rate, individual rate > % - 35 % [27th of 102]
Tax revenue > % of GDP - 11.2 % [65th of 98]
Taxes on income, profits > % of revenue - 55.26 % [2nd of 98]
Total tax rate > % of profit - 46 % [87th of 171]
Total tax wedge > Single worker - 30% [21st of 29]
Total tax wedge > Single-income family - 19.4% [21st of 29]
Total taxation as % of GDP - 29.6 % of GDP [17th of 18]
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
"Throughout human history, as our species has faced the frightening,
terrorizing fact that we do not know who we are, or where we are going in
this ocean of chaos, it has been the authorities, the political, the
religious, the educational authorities who attempted to comfort us by
giving us order, rules, regulations, informing, forming in our minds their
view of reality. To think for yourself you must question authority and
learn how to put yourself in a state of vulnerable, open-mindedness;
chaotic, confused, vulnerability..."
Think for yourself. Question authority.