Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Obama's Economic Turnaround

Thesis: Republicans have blocked and slowed the passage of anything that would create jobs.
Their goal is to block a recovery until they have more power and can take credit.

Their two methods are to slow job creation and to increase uncertainty.

In that context.  Obama achieved economic results.

I will be posting all the highlights here to build the full case based on data.
Videos of those screaming loudest against him now, though they were for what he was doing at the time, will also be posted.

I will try to show the general picture and then the specific elements - like Stimulus... health care spending drops effect on GDP, impact of 50 year lows of tax revenue on the debt, and other key elements of the puzzle.

This will draw heavily from previous posts and will be focused on factual economic data I collected along the way.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fix the High Divorce Rate

First, understand the scope of the problem and where it is heaviest.
Then train the capacity to proper conflict resolution.

I will begin with a statement that may reduce your fears.

Yes, the divorce rate is about 56%.

No - that doesn't mean everyone gets divorced.

In reality, a majority of all divorces are happening with people who have only a high school education.  Often, those people get married younger in their early 20's.

Some relationship experts argue that a person isn't themself until they are 30.

So, if you have a higher degree of education... your odds of divorce are much lower.

Source of the problem:

Not conflict, but how conflict is handled.

I will go into this later, but you will see that this blight on society can be solved.

Divorce is actually one of the most costly of all things in society.

I will try to post numbers soon when I have time.

But, the rewards for solving that problem are massive in dollar amounts... not just personal feelings and lives.

Unmask. Show us your face.

At the core, I will focus on one element that allows people to disassociate themselves with the actions they are about to commit on others.  The mask.

And therefore - I challenge the global community to find ways to remove the masks of our enemies.
Because the mask is at the root of what allows them to take the actions that they do.

As a regular person.  If you see someone in a mask in the news.  Be it the Iranian's brutalizing their citizens, Hammas, the KKK, the Taliban.  We need to inoculate ourselves against any moral relativity between a masked group - and ourselves.  And we must keep to the higher ground.

This presentation captures a broad spectrum of the roots of evil.
All other times I have seen Zimbardo - he has been in a suit.  Highly paced.  And looking truly professional.  Watch him when he steps out of that uniform.  It changes him too.

In one section he shows the likelihood of atrocities and abuses of power when someone wears a mask and thus their identity is covered.  It jumps to 90%.

Thus, Israel's primary diplomatic objective should be... not to get Hammas or the PlO to be friendly to them.  Or, to accept Israel as a state.

The primary objective of Israel to the Palestinians should be  - "Take off your masks permanently and we will talk."  Because the mask is at the root of what allows atrocity.

The same should be true between Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Taliban.

No negotiations should persist while people wear masks that cut the root of their moral humanity.

Thus: I declare a solution to the World's Problems is through all means possible to either persuade, or force the removal of these masks as the primary goal of actions.

After watching Zimbardo.

Now look at the various groups wearing masks and what they are capable of.


The Iranians when brutalizing their citizens.  Look at images of the atrocities, but scroll down to the third item.  Below the video.  Again.  The mask.

The KKK and their masks.

Al Quaeda
Masked again.

Consider... what image pops into your mind when you think of a bank robber?
That mask allows cover so they might not get caught after being on video.
But, the mask is also what unlocks the side of their human nature... allows them to cross the line - to carry it out.

Consider that in Syria - during their current atrocities - they add another mechanism.  Hidden snipers.  Who can disassociate themselves with their actions because they are hidden far away behind a wall.

Because the social-psychological mechanism that allows the structuring of a system where normal people will create atrocity.  We should be on a mission to find ways to get these groups to remove the masks.

We should not allow them to hide behind a veil that gives them permission to ignore their humanity.

How is this most useful now?
Well - we want to solve these major issues.
First, military leaders, political leaders, and the general populace should become aware.
Any time you see a masked player in a military scene - that is a marker that atrocity will soon happen and intervention may be warranted.  The mask is a precursor to one's ability to carry out the atrocity.  When they are wearing it... know that they have already received their orders!

Later - I will put the images and studies directly into this article.  For now.  Use the links!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Government Spending Solutions

1) The budgeting process.
Currently, if it is not spent in that budget cycle you may not get the money back next year.
So, parts of the government will spend all the money to make sure they prove they need it next year.

Example: A soldier told me that he happened to be in a smaller training squad.  And that the size varies every year.  The squadron leaders order the ammo that uses up the entire budget.  But, they also have to use up all the ammo.

After a training mission, when there was ammo left because they had fewer guys in the squad, what did they do?  They had to take about 11,000 rounds of live ammo and fire it off.  Then they could get the money next year.

Consider the problem if the budget was cut because in 2011 they didn't use it all.  Then in 2012 they have a squadron to train with twice the number of people and they loose their money in 2012 because they had too much in 2011.  Well, the way it moves creates a financial mismatch.  The money may be too much, or two little at the time, and the way it is adjusted will cause people to waste resources, or not have enough next year.

Top priority for fixing government money... Allow groups to bank money that they don't need this year and then  use it whenever they want.

What else does this solve?  Consider you have a recession.  Everybody flips out because it looks like whomever the President is, is spending like crazy because taxes paid to the government drops heavily.

Well, if different groups had money in their bank accounts that they did not spend... during a recession... maybe under the circumstance that their regular budget needs to be trimmed... they don't have to stop doing what they are doing.  They have money in the bank.

It creates a more resilient government, cuts down on wasteful spending, and maybe if they build up a little in the bank they can think of important things to invest in that they couldn't do with just a little bit of money.  And we might take some leaps forwards that way.

Bank money that is not needed.  Keep budgeting levels the same next year.

2) Contractors.
We get great contractors, highly educated, who run in and do a good job.  This is a large part of how government work gets done.  The benefit is that it keeps the government a bit more flexible.  It is easier to move contractors in and out than government employees.

But, what happens when a company that is contracted by the federal government reports that they have four people doing a job, when they only have one.  And they bill for four people.

Well, lets just say I have heard of this occurring more than once and it needs to be looked into deeply.
Because out of the limited number of people who work for the government who have been close enough to tell me things like this... well, they all seem to say it!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Liberal, Conservative, Libertarianism

No, I am not necessarily always moderate.  Some of my views lean heavily in one direction, or another.
This post will illuminate how I approach my decision making.  The perspectives that I choose.
In sociology, we study the various perspectives to look at a problem.
Then we use all the perspectives together to find the best solution.
We look solidly from one perspective.  Then we look solidly from another.
We keep learning by seeing a structure of society from all sides and then making the most in depth thought possible before a decision.

Often, I end up somewhat centrist.  And a position of mine may end up quite moderate.  But, that is not nuanced enough to understand my approach.  I may be centrist in that I take a highly liberal idea and find a conservative libertarian way to carry it out.  I end up with a solution that looks somewhat centrist, but I may fully adopt a liberal, or even a progressive position on one side of an issue and run with that - tempered with a conservative side of the issue.

Here is my philosophy:

I am not some bleeding heart.

While I believe that at some times people truly need a hand up and solid support.  There is often a time when they need just as severe a push from the safety of the nest.  They need to fly on their own.

My problem with conservatism is that in the extreme they don't see how sometimes people need a hand.  

My favorite example is a fox news female reporter who was adamantly against maternity leave, especially if states funded it, because it was a giant handout to her.  Well, a while later, she had a baby - and there is a video of her raving about her maternity leave.

Well, the Republican party tends to attract privileged people.

They want small conservative government (though in practice they just enlarge in other ways) and they don't like the social safety net.

Well, that is until they need it themselves.

So, when you hear someone rail against a part of the safety net ask them… what if you actually needed it?  You are against it now, but you have also never needed it.  What if the person who needed it was you?   

My problem with liberalism is not the ideas.  It is the execution.  Liberal as an ideal is a belief that by working together we can overcome obstacles, achieve goals, and achieve greater results.  The military… is filled with Republican leadership, but as an idea it is a highly liberal one.  By joining forces of 50 states we can form a much stronger military.  By doing so we have formed the strongest military in the world.  Well, I believe we can do that on many fronts.

What is my problem with the execution?  If it is all too much heart.  Some situations eventually require tough love.  I want liberalism that gives someone a helping hand when they fall on their face, solves real national problems, and then finds a way to bring people back to conservative self reliance… as well as libertarian lack of involvement of the government. 

Consider the FDIC.  The organization that backs your bank deposits in case a bank fails.  Well, what a great solution.  It prevents runs on banks.  It is a national solution.  Liberal in that we solve a big problem by working together.  It is conservative in that banks have to pay consistently into the FDIC fund to help cover the costs.  So, it isn't just blindly funded by tax payers.  It is liberal because it is a national solution.  It provides stability and comfort.  It is libertarian because it only provides comfort in the background until we need it.  And it is a fantastic example of a public and private partnership.  A liberal working together approach  that is handled conservatively and helps the individuals stay financially solvent - individually - as national crises hit - and we never see it until we need it.  So it is libertarian and not involved in our lives. 

Do we let our hearts bleed and go all the way liberal and take care of everything for someone.
Do we say, "I am conservative!" Stick to an ideology at all costs.  And say… we should handle all things by ourselves!!
Do we say, "I want government out of everything… I am libertarian!" Or, do we consider carefully where the government can be a true help.  Scale liberal programs to be a bit conservatively launched… and figure out where the government should step back. 

What if we did that with our military?  And said we will handle this all ourselves individually?  Hmmm… mightiest military in the world?  Or, wild west? 

What if we said, lets give unemployment forever!  Why would someone work?  See unemployment is a great idea, but taken too far… it prevents someone from working.   The impending deadline... knowing the unemployment check is about to run out... is what drives someone to panic and make their life happen.  The objective is to give people enough time so that their dizzying fall has ended and they can now see the world around them and function sanely.  Then, slowly withdraw the net that caught them.

Liberal, conservatism.  Progressive, moderate.  Libertarian federalist.  These are all shades along a spectrum.  Each viewpoint should not be used as a label to define us that all must stick behind.  These are types of viewpoints we should use as a tool to see from every vantage point when making complex, nuanced decisions.  

In other words.  You will find me agreeing with "liberals" and "conservatives," to an extent on every issue.  Then you will find an edge where the ideology went too far.  And another perspective provides a stronger solution.

These are tools for viewing from multiple perspectives!  When you hear someone labeled as a liberal, or a certain bent... consider that that is the wrong use of that tool.  Begin to use these tools to look at all angles to form your opinions.  I will post tools later that illustrate the spectrum as it exists, so you can see how things really slide around and should not be stagnant.  


When you see something like that, you can bet they are:
1) Pandering to a base
2) Hiding half their real views
3) Exciting that base to go more towards the extreme
4) Dividing the nation because it will be harder for people to work with that person.

When you see someone acting like that trying to impress with how stuck they are to an ideology, walk away from them.  They are not open for conversation.  You will get talking points.  No matter what you say, you will not convince them of anything.  In the face of facts to the contrary of their beliefs, you may actually strengthen their beliefs.  At this stage - it is beyond logic!  You are better of dialoging with a brick wall.    


Benjamin Corey Feinblum
ps.  Remind me to find an example from cspan.org of a committee hearing in Congress from decades ago where all the perspectives were working together in cooperation to find the best solutions.

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