Sunday, August 2, 2015

An infrastructure idea for Bernie Sanders, Solarize the schools

Here is an expansion of my idea to Solarize the nation's power supply. Now I admit it cannot be done solely by the government, however the government can spur the process along through a judicious use of demand side. Specifically I believe over the next five to ten years the federal government should spend quite a bit of money to install solar panels on school buildings throughout the Deep South and southwest, the so-called Sunbelt.

These units could run anywhere from 400,000 to almost 2 million dollars per building depending on the size. (As seen here). " where would we get the money" you ask.  Well let's start withThe hundred twenty to 200 million dollar that the US government has been spending on tanks that the military does not want or need.
And there are other places in the military budget where Congress buys things the military does not want, and these items can easily be transferred to a project like this. I'm sure we could scrounge up between 500 million and a billion dollars each year for 5 to 10 years if we were honestly willing to consider it.

Now let's look at the benefits of this project. I will start with the direct economic benefits.  First off we would create a demand for New Labour and put people directly to work. Secondly those school districts who had the installations would now have the ability to hire more teachers or teachers aides and/or cut the local budget.  Thirdly, if we put in a requirement that perhaps 70% of those solar panels were manufactured inside the continental United States we could double or triple the number of new jobs created.  Additionally by creating this demand in the short to medium term we would spur investment into these sorts of projects.  Investors venture capitalists and the like would jump on the bandwagon to invest in companies that were either installing or manufacturing solar panels if they saw a medium term demand that was guaranteed.

However there are two other benefits that often get lost in discussions like this.  The first is that a decentralized power grid is in this nations self defense best interests.  If another nation ever attacked us it would be far harder to knock out our power grid if our power generation was decentralized in this fashion.

The other benefits is also economic, and that is the economics of scale... by creating a massive demand for solar panels over a decade or so we lower the individual cost of those solar panels which then makes it more economical for homeowners and small businesses to likewise invest in solar energy, which would again increase the demand and increase the economic activity thereof.

Let's do the math... $1b for 10yrs is 500-1000 installations per year.  If we figure 100 people per location, that is 50-100k DIRECT new jobs (installers and support). If we add in the 70% manufactured in the US requirement, that can perhaps double that amount... however that also does not include the ripple effects such a project would have, which would include more teachers and teachers aides, and all the spending that those 100,000 to 200,000 well paid middle class workers did over those 10 years.

However we wouldn't even need to stop with the schools... military bases almost require their own independent power source so Solarize our military bases in the United States... we could even use those projects to train military personnel who are leaving the military so that they have job skills when they get out.  And after the buildings have solar panels on their roofs we  can move toSolar carports with car battery charging and turn the millions of acres of useless parking lots into energy creation, while eliminating much of the oven effect of parking your car in the Sun.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A More Perfect Union Part 1 Improving Voter Turnout, and the Voting System in General.

I had intended to post this on Election Day, but things being how they are (and me not having an organized workspace) I have put it off.  Well I sm trying to Remedy the situation.  This is the first part of a series on Ways I have come up with to Improve the working of OUR government, and the state of our Democracy as a whole.

For Years I have heard lamentations about Voter Turnout and complaints about things like Gerrymandering, both parties being sides of a coin, politicians being dishonest and more worried about their own hold over the reigns of power, etc etc, ad Nauseum.  For the most part I agree with all these statements and feelings.  Our system IS broken, the 2 parties are more worried about being AGAINST the other side than actually being FOR something.  the 2 Party system makes Us v Them partisan politics the norm and a vital part of each sides propaganda machine, and We, the People all too often come out as loosers in the process.  So I would like to put forward a few meagre proposals on how we can fix or alleviate at least SOME of these problems.

1: Direct election of the President

This is a fairly straightforward proposal, and one that I think will go FAR to remedying a few of the problems.  Eliminate the Electoral College.  The EC was, to my way of thinking, a much needed and creative way to deal with the election of the president in the colonial period.  It was an innovation or compromise that dealt with the Technological Limitations (quite nicely I might add) faced by the Founders and the Many States.  In a time when sailing ships, horses, and canals were the fastest mode of travel, our nation NEEDED a way to collect the votes from the districts up to the state level, and then transport them to a central point from which to tally them at a federal level and declare a winner.  However those technological limitations are no longer in place.  In this time of instantaneous communication around the entire world, we do not NEED to hold onto this archaic system.  nor Should we Want to.

I perceive a few reasons why.  1: Direct election would improve voter turnout.  Whenever Direct election gets brought up, many people will say something like "then the major cities will be the ones electing the president, and all the (read conservative) heartland will be out of luck"  well, that might be a valid point IF the major cities were completely homogeneous.  however, in truth, they are not.  Most STATES aren't even as homogeneous as they seem.  People who argue with that point neglect to consider the large population of NYC who are Conservative (or for that matter the Upstate NY conservatives, or mid state Jersians who are conservative... or the Tennesseans, Texans, Georgeans, etc who are Liberal.)  as it stands now, Many States are considered "safe" due to their historical EC

2: RunOff/ Preferential voting system for President

This is a fairly simple idea, that I imagine would improve voter turnout AND open the doors to third (and fourth, fifth and sixth parties)  Instead of voting A OR B OR C... the voters would rank them A then C Then D Then B.  a threshold would be set (perhaps 65%) that would be required to elect the president.  IF, in the first round of tallying, no candidate crossed that threshold, than the candidate witht he lowest total would be eliminated, and all of his or her voters would have their SECOND choices tallied into the total... rinse and repeat if noone crosses the line, until ONE candidate obtains "the prize"

Under this form of national election (or state election for that matter) there is NO problem with 3rd parties "wrecking" an election.  Perhaps Perot would have won in 92, if enough Rs and Ds put HIM first, THEN their party candidate... or Nader, or Stein. or Johnson... etc etc.

Now there IS one problem I forsee with this idea, and that is getting the same candidates on Every Ballot, therefore I would propose that "Any Candidate who obtains a place on 15-20 state ballots is AUTOMATICALLY placed on EVERY ballot"  Thusly allowing smaller parties, who might not have a big bankroll the ability to obtain national status and at least a chance at the Highest office

3:Proportional Representation in the Senate

Now, I will grant you that this one is a stretch, Honestly, I am not even 100% sure I like it, not to mention it would require a Constitutional Amendment... However i think it is an interesting idea, and one that we should at least have a vast DISCUSSION about.  AGAIN this is aimed at undercutting the stranglehold that the 2 parties hold over our government.  Psychologically it would foster a sense of cooperation, conciliation and compromise, not only among our elected leaders, but among the people as well.  It would ALSO serve to strengthen our Third parties, preparing them to field Viable Candidates for national and state wide offices.

This would work fairly simply, instead of each state electing its pair of senators, there would be a national senate referendum BY PARTY, and any party that passed a certain threshold (perhaps 5 or 10%.. we would want it fairly low) would gain a proportional representation in the Upper House of the Congress.  This would allow third parties to amass a coalition across state lines, and among the ENTIRE population and have an easy path to having a voice in the Federal Government.  Instead of a third party needing to get 40-50% of a statewide vote, they would only need that SIGNIFICANTLY lower bar, nationwide.  Libertarians, Greens, Social-Democrats, Family Rights parties would ALL have an equal chance to get a "seat at the table".  Further more, IF we wanted to go "full parliamentary model" we could grant portions of the Federal Government/ executive branch power to this portion of the government, (say the FBI, EPA, Natl Guard, FEMA, and Boarder Patrol for examples) leading to a majority of the senate having direct control over those offices... however that would ALSO allow for multiple minority groups to form COALITION governments and override whichever party was the Majority.  Once Again, fostering unity and bi (or Tri) partisanship and cooperation within the halls of power.

4: End Gerrymandering and long term Incumbency

This is a Big one.  As far as I am concerned, all congressional districts should be computer drawn, based SOLELY on population, and not on race, creed, or political affiliation.  There are a couple of computer models that would also work (see them HERE) that can take other things into consideration ( completely balance the parties within districts, making them always competitive, hewing closely to existing political divisions like county and city lines, etc)  The Ideas all have some merit, and should probably be left to the individual states to choose which one is best for the states itself... albeit limited by Computerized, and making individual districts competitive, not organized to favor one party over another... and I would make "bug splat" districts prohibited (you know the ones with multiple 'fingers' and big swirls... in other words, districts should be as contiguous and 'basic geometric shapes' as possible.  A straight Population style could look like "pie slices" in each state, or another pattern.

That would go a long way to ending the plague of incumbency and 'safe districts' that undermines the BASIC PROMISE of the Democratic Process.  If that was coupled with a "hard" or "soft term limit law (soft would be a limit on # of terms in a row a senator or congressman could serve, with a single or double term "break" in the middle... like 2 or three in a row, with a single term break before running again)

Once again, I don't have a complete preference among one or another plan for this one, so perhaps it would best left to the "many states" so that many options are tried.  Honestly, this one would be a great idea for a national or statewide party to make as a cornerstone and enact within their OWN party, without the force of law, IMHO that party could make some SERIOUS political hay out of doing something that might HURT the party in the short run, but which was in the best interests of the PEOPLE and our democracy (to be Honest, I only see one party doing this, since the other one already has a very strong base and power platform for that base... but that MIGHT be my partisanship showing through)

5: Presidential Incumbent Ticket

This is something that I have been toying with for a few years now, and something that could add a VERY interesting dynamic to the political landscape.  However it would only work with the first two (specifically the second) change already in place.  With this idea, any incumbent president would run on a separate ticket to the ticket of his party.  As i said, it would only REALLY work with Run-Off style elections, to avoid a 'perot' style problem of splitting the ticket, or splitting Support.  But, I think it might serve as a VERY interesting "vote of NO Confidence" in a sitting president, if they were forced to face, not only challengers from OTHER parties, but from within their own.  (McCain v Bush v Kerry in 04?? might have had a different outcome... especially if Wes Clark was another option... Or Even Romney v Obama v ((shudder)) Hillary in 12)

 Over the last decade as I became more politically active and astute.  I started out with nothing more than a deep seated sense that Something was Wrong and I have been seeking out ways to fix those problems ever since.  These are a few of the ideas that I have come across, gleaned from other political systems, writers, thinkers... ideas that i gleefully appropriate from a multitude of disparate sources of every possible political stripe and try to work into my OWN complete Synthesis of a 'MORE perfect Union" of man and government.  A BETTER form of government, or at least one that learns from the lessons of the past and attempts to FIX those mistakes and problems that have come from the weight of two centuries of lawmaking (and all the attendant Social and Technological advances that have happened in the intervening years)

This Kind of reflections and advancement is what the Founders intended when they laid out rules on how to change and amend the Constitution.  For us to be able to Modify and Change the structure of government and Fix, completely the problems that have accumulated within our legal system and Governmental structure.

What Say You All?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Did we REALLY loose the "Independant spirit of America"

In spending so much time floating around the internet, I repeatedly come across the idea that over the last few decades (or more) we have collectively 'lost' the "independent spirit" that 'won the west'.  Articles and Pundits, Politicians and Commenters have seized on this idea like a lifeline, an explanation for all our ills.
A Holy Fact that we are somehow less than those idealized pioneers who crossed the plains seeking a better life, the glamorized cowboys, the Poly Express riders, and all the others who created this nation solely by their sweat of their brows and their plucky independence.

This rhetoric was in full view during the Bundy Ranch Standoff, with the Militia members (and Bundy himself) taking the role of "Heroic Americans reclaiming their birthright".

However, is that view really correct?  Was that the driving force of the west, and did we REALLY loose it?  to both questions, i answer a resounding no.

The summer before my Sr. Year of HS, My parents took me on a 2 week road trip through the northern mid west states.  Wall Drug, Cody Wyoming, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Mt Rushmore, the Crazy Horse monument and elsewhere.  Of course my mothers love of museums and historical sites came to the fore.  In the museums, and the inevitable book purchases (fiction and non) i saw a different picture, learned a different story.  It seemed to me, then and now, that the 'independent spirit' was more of an 'Interdependent' one.

So much of the settling of the west was a story of group effort, communalism, mutual support for mutual benefits...  the single biggest influence on the western expansion was probably the Homestead Acts which were (grab onto your chairs folks) SOCIALIST know, the federal gvmt buys something then gives it away...

however they WERE a prime motivator in the settling of the west.

Beyond that, individuals banded together, for the good of all, in wagon trains, towns, communities... the towns of the west were created for the purpose of mutual support.  the 'individuals' recognized that their lives were improved with the support of other 'individuals'.

so much of the history of the west is a history of communal good.  the water wars, the fight between ranchers and free range cattle herders, the state and local funding of railroads....

throughout our national history, communalism, interdependence has been a driving force.  Ben Franklin, held up as an ideal of the "self made man" was a communalist at every stage of his life (just read his autobiography)... from reading groups, to lending libraries, to fire departments.... yes his version had an "individual" style of "buy ins".... but it still recognized the interdependence of humanity.  A similar Idea to JFKs "a rising tide lifts all ships"  Franklin wanted MORE educated and literate people so more people would read his newspapers.

one of our national quotes is "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately"  What is this if not communalism?

Why is it that today, all we hear about is individualism... which seems like code speak for "i got mine, you can all go pound sand" or "ill take what i want and dont care if it hurts you"

while greed and selfishness has always been (and probably will always be) a part of human society, Was it and SHOULD it be something we hold as an ideal? 

I say no.  American history is chock full of stories about groups of people fighting against single greedy people who want to benefit off the sweat of others, and at almost every turn, Americans have resisted and smacked them down... until today.

Today we are stuck in a Gordon Gekko view of reality... "greed is good"... but its NOT!  Greed, at least unfettered greed,  is one of the basest and most destructive concepts in the human psyche... it destroys, devours, and debases the human spirit and soul for purely material benefits.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Thoughts on the Minimum Wage

The minimum wage has been in the news a lot as of late, and as any one of my friends can attest, I am firmly in favour of the minimum elders fought and died for it...

However that doesn't mean that there isn't room for improvement.

Allow me to present my ideas.

1:I like the Australian idea of different minimum wages for different jobs...dishwashers don't have the same "customer service" aspect as a counter entry level job in a mine is different than an entry level job in a convience store... I think it is perfectly reasonable for an entry level job in (let's say) a foundry, or machine shop to pay a lower wage, with the reality being that those workers will have a better learning curve and more opportunities for advancement...
The skills they learn are easily transferred to other jobs...

But what about the store clerks? do you tell New employers that you learned the skill of staying calm when you have a line of 10people, all wanting a deli sandwich, and you could engage 3of them @the same time....keeping their orders seperate... one in the microwave, one in the toaster, and starting the next....switching effortlessly between them????  Isn't that a skill???   How about maintaining a smile, regardless of your personal shit.... another skill ...

The debate about min wage thrives on the lie that fast food and supermarket and convenience stores run on US kids...

Take a moment to go in and look around...there are LOTS of middle age people in those stores.

Which brings me to my second point.

2:The minimum wage should have a progressive base.

Hs and college age kids are STATISTICALLY less reliable, less capable, and work less...more likely to goof out...etc...

Give a 20yr old a kid of their OWN to support and care for...he or she is More likely to be in every day...responsibility and all that...So shouldn't we recognize and reward that???

Same with older people,Late 20s, early 30s are again, more likely to be on time, and less likely to call off for partys, because they are hung over.... or even Sick.

So, here is my proposal...
We make the minimum wage progressive...

Taking the current wage as a base...
7.50 an hour... 16-18yr olds...basic wage
18-20.... more likely to be out of the extra $40- $80a week goes a long way during those "party years"...So is 9.50 all that onerous? Or even 8.50.... One to two bucks more...(I would lean towards one)

20-25...mostly doing the same but a little more responsible...more likely to be living on their own... but with a roomie or that they are in the "workforce" shouldn't they get a bit of a raise????

How about marriage???? Insurance companies recognize marriage as a stabilizing concept ....why not the minimum wage???? A married person is more likely to be on time, and do more work than the minimum required.... so why SHOULDN'T they be justly compensated???

And THAT isn't even bringing up things like Shift Differential....hs kids CAN'T work at night... college kids need sleep...30yr olds can... and 3rd shift has more responsibility...

Make the minimum wage laws progressive in this way, and we could employ more teens, and give the "working poor" more money in their pockets...which means less welfare,and more money going into the economy....

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hindsight is 20/20....or The Supreme Screwup, Blowback, and Foreign Policy.

In the light of the events currently unfolding in Iraq, I would like to take a quick look back at recent history, and attempt to apply some of the ideas and precepts that I have learned and formulated over the past decade.  Some of these ideas are things I remember thinking at the time, as I learned about unfolding conditions in the initial aftermath of our invasion, and some of them have percolated and                      over the years as I read more, learned more, and began to synthesize what is becoming my own ideas on Foreign policy, specifically regarding the GWOT.  (how stupid a name... war on terror.... that's kinda like starting a war on air strikes, or naval blockades... terrorism is a TACTIC...  this mindset is a BIG part of our subsequent missteps)

Now lets go back and remember Iraq as it was, before Dubya's "shock and awe" campaign (something that at the time and STILL sounds a lot like 'terrorism' to me).  Iraq was stable, secular, fairly well educated and westernized nation.  They had a fairly strong sense of National Identity, with the exception of the Kurds in the North, who have been separatists since Iraq was created by the western powers in the aftermath of WWI.

Granted Saddam was a fairly brutal dictator, although not one of the worst ones, truth be told.  his SONS on the other hand, THEY were bad news, and as Bill Maher suggested this week on Real Time, we should have left HIM in place, and just assassinated the hell out of his sons... Incidentally Richard Clarke, who has served in Counter Terrorism leadership positions in the Bush1, Clinton and Bush 2 administrations (where he was one of the more critical opponents of Dubya's Neo-con Chickenhawks) basically agreed that this was a better solution.  Now if our nation and administrations didn't have such a hard-on for war uber alles, perhaps we could have worked WITH Saddam to have a slow, moderated transfer into a more democratic, freer nation during his remaining years, and after he died.  Not overthrowing him, but working WITH him to make movements toward increased autonomy, increased freedoms, increased civil rights, etc.  But that would be a major diplomatic undertaking, which would require years of effort on our part ( it would have probably been cheaper money wise, and definately in terms of blood)

But that is a pipe dream, so lets apply the tactics, strategies and ideas that I have begun to lay out in previous posts.  to summarise

Bottom Up Engagement
        Remember, a strong society needs a strong foundation upon which to build.  the reconstruction as we did it, both in Iraq and Afghanistan was a top down model, concentrating on the major infrastructure, stock markets, government, constitutions, etc... Major mistake on our part.

Local "Ownership" of Reconstruction.
       Again a major mistake on our part, we brought in outside workers, outside companies to do the work of reconstruction, ignoring the unemployed and skilled modern labor force that ALREADY existed in-country.  localized improvements with local labor improves not only the sense of OWNERSHIP of those improvements, but by putting the people back to work, it increases their sense of normalcy... something that was sadly missing during the aftermath, and somthing that drastically increases the ability of factions to recruit people.

Crossing SubCultural / Religious Lines
        We can learn a lot from history, specifically David Kilcullens writings and the operations of the British Empire in SE asia, that by removing recruits for security, police and army forces from their day to day lives, sequestering them together across factional lines, an Espirit de Corps can be instilled, and this basic seed of stability can be created with a core unity, and common desire/goal of creating a better future for ALL parties.

we do this when training our OWN army, and it works well (the camaraderie and brotherhood of the fighting forces is a basic tenant of the modern army)... why the FRAK did we not follow these time tested ideas in Iraq?

Get out of our Fortresses, and engage with locals on a Civil, 1on1 basis.
        This is another idea that I kinda came up with on my own, from my knowledge of the N.Ireland "troubles" (and a lot of empathy/imagination), and as I learned more, I found the basic concept was one that permeated through a lot of writings, from Richard ClarkeGen Rupert SmithGen Tony Zinni, and H. John Poole to various articles, essays, websites, etc.

You might notice that many of these ideas have a similar focus and function,  Building and strengthening the unity, joint identity and cooperation among factions.  Building a nation from the bottom up, and (much like Habitat for Humanity) creating a sense of interaction, interdependence and involvement within society. This investment by civilians not only gives them a better sense of ownership in their own future, but also the joint future of the country.  It gives them Real Concrete reasons, not only to RESIST insurgents, and factional groups seeking to divide the country, but also kneecaps the radical groups ability to recruit from civil society.

in otherwords, its a win-win.  It combats radicals from BOTH sides of the equation... However, on tho the bulk of things.

Firstly, and this is something that REALLY bothered me in the immediate aftermath.    Back in 04/05, I worked in a convenience store, and thus i had daily access to lots of newspapers and magazines... which i consumed voraciously.  I kept seeing references to Iraqis having problems with heat at night (deserts are FREAKING COLD at night) as well as having basic starvation problems.  I wondered, 'why the FRELL did we not plan for this'... Its not like destroying their infrastructure (powerplants, refinerys, etc) wasn't a basic cornerstone of the war plan (imo, stupidly, since the GOAL was regime change, which ultimately means the US administering the nation for at least a brief period of transition and reconstruction... but that was probably due to the profiteers having too much of a say in the initial planning).

Would it have been SO difficult to have a container ship or 2 stationed in the Gulf loaded to the gills with Blankets, camp stoves, nutritional staples (rice, grain, beans, spices, etc) space heaters, etc?  that way they would be pre positioned, and all ready to go.  This could have been easily coordinated with NGOs since they have a slightly better capability and much more experience providing for basic needs in war zones (Drsw/oBorders, Red CrossIntl, peace corps, etc...)  It SERIOUSLY bothered me that such a basic, and foreseeable, need was ignored in the rush to war.

Better Tactics for "peacekeeping" patrols... or lessions I have learned from Scifi

 We are about to get into more theoretical areas here.  Just a Warning.

Our basic plan for reconstruction and occupation couldnt have been designed better to increase radicalism and factional insurgency if we tried.  the gargantuan military base we constructed (and which has suffered from cost overruns and shoddy workmanship since day one) served only as a symbolic reminder of what can ONLY be interpreted as American Imperialism.  Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

Rather than that huge permanent construction behemoth that was plagued by cost overruns and shoddy workmanship from day one (mmm... military contractors...) we COULD have used smaller, more temporary bases within "hot spots" and cities.  These would be supported by larger temporary bases  in the desert as central points of strength and supplies, perhaps even using Carriers, not only as mobile airstrips, but as "decompression" bases with witch to rotate troops in and out of the war zone for short periods of "peaceful" work. (perhaps this would have reduced the PTSD issues our soldiers are facing)

Operating from the large temporary bases, miles out into the desert (easier to defend against using IR goggles to detect people approaching against the cold of the desert.) company sized patrols could go into the city, and split into "camping" platoons to "inundate" a larger area within the town and provide security 24/7, unlike the moving patrol and return to base model we did use.  These camping platoons could have integrated squads of my Modified Rangers as 'force multipliers' and Corps of Engineers squads either as integral parts, or as daily "in/out" teams to asses needs, plan future projects, recruit and direct local workers for those projects, and even do some simple cosmetic work, ala the Broken Windows theory of policing.

These Camping platoons would move their camps on an irregular basis, 2 days her, 3 days there, bouncing from business park, to library, to hospital, to school, to strip mall, All within a small area.  A neighborhood, a 10 block square, etc.  while they were there, They would interact with the civilians... buying food from local vendors, patrolling a local park or strip mall for a series of days.  IF (and that's a BIG if, considering the training and propaganda fed to our troops)they interacted with those locals in a respectful and civil manner it would create more good will towards us, AND return a sense of normalcy to the people.  That kind of longer term 24/7 situational and area awareness MIGHT have also reduced the danger of IEDs...

As these Platoons and Companies rotate through the towns and cities, making small daily improvements, plans for the next time they are there, preparing local workers for bigger jobs, etc, they also create Secure zones.  Compare this to the concept we followed, the "green Zone" where we had daily patrols (which ended when night fell) and created ONE SINGLE safe area.  Under MY process, we create myriad smaller "safer" zones, shorter term, sure, but reaching FAR more people in an everyday, "on our doorstep" kinda way... AND with the promise that in a week or so, we come back with the tools and equipment and materials that the LOCAL CIVILIANS can use to improve their own neighborhoods.  or even one group of buildings.   bring in a generator (or, since this is the middle east, a FRAKKING SOLAR ARRAY ) some lumber, tools etc, and the experience to use it.

As these "camping Platoons" move through the cities and towns, they would create "zones of improvement" a building here, a park there....bringing in and INVOLVING the local citizenry in the reconstruction and improvement of their neighborhoods AND future....

Getting the locals involved.  involved in their OWN future... creating it, building it, and (most importantly) OWNING it.... That way, when the radicals blow something up.... they arent blowing up "infidel occupiers" but buildings and jobs and parks that the PEOPLE have worked for....

we should have done this from day one.  any IDIOT could tell you that this is the way to INSURE  long term stability.....

Then we keep coming back!  week after week, the troops come back.... one time they bring a solar array for the locals to install on a building, the next time some flowers and a couple soccer nets...a couple (locally rented) dump trucks or pickup trucks to remove the rubble....

and this kind of "bottom up" concept of reconstruction goes on EVERYWHERE.... changing home bases every time, building and improving everywhere we go...and turning it over to CITIZENS....

for a good Fictional display of this, i HIGHLY recommend USAF vet (and talented writer) Michael Z Williamsons book The Weapon  (well, I Highly recommend any of his writings.... hes a DAMN talented writer, with a libertarian bent, and GREAT military SF stories.... including one of the BEST first contact books ever...EVER Contact With Chaos .... no seriously, its AWESOME

Sunday, June 15, 2014

MORE education ideas...

I recognize that many of the ideas I have put forth seem to have a big price tag attached... more teachers means more salaries... modifying schools for big "communal" classrooms...etc.  well,ok, however there are also big savings built in as well... using older students as instructors being a big one, another that I haven't made would be WAY LESS MONEY FOR EXPENSIVE SPORTS...  However I would like to take this time to propose another place that the system can not only save money, but also provide Adult education.

Imagine a HS where adults could trade teaching for learning...Or assisting for learning...not just in the HS,but with the community college (or even the state land grant college, like Rutgers in nj)    let's say 1yr of 2classes instructing for 12course credits of college courses, or (and?) Auditing any HS course...

The benefits are myriad... from the continued education of adults, kids being exposed to other ideas (both via instructors, and adults in the classroom...I would love being in a HS history class, to ask about things like the labor movement, Nazis killing socialists,etc...)... but above all, strengthening the bonds of community....

This ties easily into MY concept of "progress by looking to the past" a child, I read not only the "little house" books, but many others that were semi biographical from similar years, and I remember one series (I'm sure my Mother still has them) that was short stories that a girl got from her Gram by looking at grams button collection...each button was a new story....well, there was one about an adult going to the little red schoolhouse so he could learn to read, in his 40s....

Yes, I recognize that this can be angrily called "social engineering".... to which I reply

So Frelling What is....and how is building a stronger community bad??? Will your kids get exposed to ideas you don't share???   Unequivocally YES, sure... however you have just as much possibility of exposing other parents kids to YOUR ideas... and in my NOT so humble opinion, that is a damn good thing...we ALL need to be exposed to ideas we don't hold...ideas outside our comfort zone, it's the very basis of education.....

the Failure of Economic Libertarianism

I pledge allegiance of the multi-national corporation
And to the profit, for which they stand
One interlocking Directorate, under NO government, indivisible.
With monopoly and cheap labor for All.
                              -U.Utah Phillips-

     The main difference between myself,and other libertarians is in the realm of economics.  This is partially due to my upbringing, and also my studies of history and the social sciences.  You see, while I generally agree with them that our nation needs laws that support small businesses, encourage innovation and entrepreneurial endeavors, and don't place too many roadblocks or onerous regulations in the way of those important economic activities... I strongly disagree with the lengths most libertarians are willing to go.

You see, I have NO desire to return our great nation to the Gilded Age.  To me, that would be an enormously bad idea.  However, that is what economic libertarianism leads to.  In fact, I believe that we are quite a ways down that particular path already, with"right to work(for less) laws, the fight against the minimum wage, and income inequality

Libertarians have some valid concerns regarding regulations and the law's interference with small businesses, however, in MY mind, much of that isn't due to well meaning(but sometimes nutty) liberals, but to BIG businesses intentionally perverting the law to stymie competition.  It is in the corporations best interest to limit the market share of competitors

Take the meat packing laws ( Meat_Inspection_Act at Wikipedia )  This was a important bit of legislation, aimed at ensuring a safe and healthy food supply for the American people.  These days, through shrinking budgets for inspectors, and laws upon regulations upon other laws, federal,state, and local... these laws oftentimes serve as protections for the big guys, to the detriment of small farmers and local communities
Michigan turns small farmers into felons
organic farmers fight against Monsanto

When, as is somewhat true today, the government becomes a tool of big business, society, as a whole, suffers.  However, lazzais faire economics would allow either a complete return to the 19th century of child labor, dangerous worksites, and no worker protection... Or a complete take over of government by business...neither option being in the best interest of the nation, or society.