Archive for December, 2007
Could this be your life?
QUESTION YOUR REALITY.
What is at stake in this 2008 election? It seems that someone, in every election, reminds us that we are at some crossroad…..that this is a critical time in history. Some could say this about every moment in time however, since at each moment each of us is making a choice about something, whether small or large, that will affect some future outcome.
I know. “Where is she going with this”? Believe it or not, taxes, fiscal accountability, and healthcare. This has been a subject that I have been avoiding due to the simple fact that I really don’t know where to start. So, let me just start with myself.
Let’s say my life is the country. I have my mortgage, insurance, set asides for maintenance and upkeep on the house (infrastructure and security). Then I have transportation, education, health care cost. You see where I am going with this, I hope. These are all the things that we face as a country and a community. Now, if I could just print more money as I needed it, or if I spent more money than I had, you and I know where this would put me. Yes, on the street or in jail.
Well, this is what our government is doing. I think that we all know this, but we just keep our heads in the sand and hope for the best. I wonder how we would approach this issue with an evolved consciousness. My hope is that, first we would begin to be honest about our situation. We would not look to blame others or seek an easy solution, but proceed to resolve our financial planning the way that we as individuals do in our everyday life. How do we get back on track so that we can have a prosperous, healthy and sustained future?
David Walker, the Comptroller General, of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has been traveling throughout the country trying to educate the American people regarding the status of our fiscal health. He is a glowing example of one who has placed citizenship over partisanship demonstrating an evolving consciousness.
Where do we come in? One would hope that we would not take the extreme approaches of “spend more” or “no taxes”. Each of these approaches alone would only serve to separate us and leave us in a stalemate to creating a solution. We would also need to elect people with keen perspicacity and sound judgment who would utilize resources like the GAO and act with courage to move us into a future that reflects well on those of us who can actually make a difference at this place in history.
Let’s be honest, we will have to:
Cut spending in places that will be painful.
Insist on more transparency in government spending to eliminate waste and corruption.
Invest in our future to invigorate productivity. Invest more in research and development, education, and infrastructure to stimulate the growth that we need to support a robust fiscal recovery.
All of these things will be required. Do not let our ignorance, egos and fears prevent our descendents from experiencing the American dream.
A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to Farce or Tragedy or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.”
James Madison (1788)
According to the The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education:
“In 2003, U.S. performance in mathematics literacy and problem solving was lower than the average performance for most OECD countries. The United States also performed below the OECD average on each mathematics literacy subscale representing a specific content area (space and shape, change and relationships, quantity, and uncertainty). There were no measurable changes in the U.S. scores from 2000 to 2003 on either the space and shape subscale or the change and relationships subscale, the only content areas for which trend data from 2000 to 2003 are available. In both 2000 and 2003, about two-thirds of the other participating OECD countries outperformed the United States in these content areas. In 2003, males outperformed females in mathematics literacy in the United States and in two-thirds of the other countries”.
An issue that is at the top of my list for rating candidates in the 2008 election is EDUCATION. While I freely acknowledge the threat of terrorism in the world, the challenges facing US global competiveness has the potential to affect my day to day activities to a much greater degree than Bin Laden.
The Republicans focus on parental choice, “No Child Left Behind”, and testing. Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee presented comprehensive plans supporting these ideas.
On the Democratic side, Bill Richardson, Barack Obama and Joe Biden presented the most visionary plans. John Edwards and Chris Dodd also stood apart with plans to reform “No Child Left Behind”, expanding national preschool, and making college affordable.
Bill Richardson was the only candidate that said that he would do away with “No Child Left Behind”. Richardson approached this issue with a broad brush which included the following:
Create 250 Math, Science, and Innovation (MSI) Academies
Beyond School: The Richardson Plan for Promoting Life-Long Learning and Adult Education
Oppose Private School Tuition Vouchers, Increase Public School Choice
Barack Obama focused on more of the structural barriers to education such as attracting, retaining and supporting good teachers. He also addressed our math and science deficits. Joe Biden addressed teacher retention but also focused on moving from a twelve year system toward a sixteen year system.
I rank the candidates on this issue:
The NPR Democratic debate in Iowa was a smashing success. I personally think that this format allowed in depth discussion and rebuttal from the candidates. The moderators, Robert Siegel, Michele Norris, and Steve Inskeep of NPR posed thoughtful and serious questions. The topics were narrowed down to three: Iran, Immigration, and China.
The ideas of Dennis Kucinich on the enormous trade deficit with China that is funding the Iraq war and his consistent stance against the war in Iraq were front and center. I am beginning to take him more seriously. Many of his positions have been seen as extreme left wing positions in the past but are beginning to be at least discussed by the “mainstream candidates”. He is one of the candidates, along with Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, John Edwards, and Chris Dodd who present ideas outside of the box.
Hillary Clinton did not fare well with a discussion regarding Iran and the just released NIE. Joe Biden described the designation of the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization as self defeating because we continue to alienate the rest of the world.
Biden, Dodd, and Kucinich always present the most consistent views on foreign policy along with Bill Richardson who was not present at this debate.
I hope that you will take the opportunity to listen to the debate or read the transcript.
Thanks to NPR
I am sure that you have probably heard that the National Intelligence Estimate was released today and it suggests that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003. There is much discussion out today about the administration being wrong and what our stance on Iran should now be.
I am going to take a break from the election today to ponder another thought. I doubt very seriously that Iran has halted their plans for nuclear weapons. Why? Because, basic common sense tells me that it would not be in their best interest to do so. Let’s discuss this on a very personal level.
- I (IRAN) live in a community (the world) where my neighbors (US, Israel, Europe, ect) tell me that they can have weapons but I cannot. The reason given is that they have better controls than I do and that I shouldn’t worry because they will protect me should someone threaten me. Now, I have a history with my neighbors that clearly do not coincide with what I am being told. Currently, my pit bulls are being threatened because even though they are fenced, my neighbors believe that they have been sneaking out at night. They are not for sure; but there is a hint fear. Just last week my neighbors blew up the guy’s house next door over a hint of fear (weapons of mass destruction). I didn’t get along with him anyway, but that’s not the point. My neighbors have also told me that if I make any move to try and secure my home, they will prevent other people from conducting business with me. Oh Yeah…..a while ago, they gave the guy next door (the one that they just blew up) support to kill off several members of my family. I know that if I get the weapons, I would probably be a lot safer, because the other guys up the street who have weapons, are left alone.
I have just never been able to rationalize how we could tell other countries that they should not have nuclear weapons but we (and our current allies) can. This just makes no sense to me. It would be one thing, if we worked to get rid of all nuclear weapons, but that is kind of unrealistic since the genie has been let out of the bottle.
It would seem that we would benefit more by:
- Being better neighbors and working in a larger community to form a “community watch” like organization to police ourselves since we all have weapons.
- Should have some international laws and an international court that would hand out stiff penalties for any of us not handling our weapons in the safest way possible.
- Staying out of other countries affairs unless someone makes a request of us and other members of the national community.
- Taking seriously our role as a member of a larger community and working more effectively with organizations like the UN.
This is just something to ponder.