Saturday, December 6, 2008

Education Take II - Bringing Everyone Inside the Society

The last post that was on Global Gleanings was written in disgust of the way that school children of a certain social status were being continually deprived of their civil rights that guaranteed them an equal education. While this problem is not new, these times are, and without an education in today's world life gets tough pretty damn quick.

Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short is how Hobbes described the outcome of empowering the common man back in the 1600's, it turns out that history proved him to be perfectly wrong, that is exactly the fate of an uneducated man in the age of Capitalism. We know now because of Jefferson for one, who knew that for any Democracy to survive and thrive the population had to be literate. The US, with policy based on those principles became the best place on earth to be average.

It holds forth then that for Democracy to be fair, every citizen must be provided the opportunity to become equally literate. Despite the 3rd President's best efforts we still have children being sentenced to a life of mediocrity for no other crime than being born in a bad school system, not having a parent that can pay for better schools or provide an alumni advantage into an Ivy.

Imagine the world of the future where nutritional advantages are gone, education is as free as broadcast television and the lessons that are to be learned fit each child like a well made glove. The benefit to all of mankind would make the middle class, or even the rich of the last century appear deprived, there would be few limits to what can be accomplished with an entire globe of educated people. Education won't solve every problem, but it will allow everyone to participate in the effort to solve every problem. It will bring about the real decline in exploitation of populations and it will bring everyone into society.

Bringing people into society sounds like a odd goal, what does that do for an individual, does it feed people, cure people, end bigotry and bias? The answer to all of those questions, somewhat surprisingly, is yes. History has shown that the initial ingredient of empathy is inclusion, newspapers in the 1700's never covered poor people's problems, they didn't cover slaves deaths, or the problems of people that were deemed to be exotic or foreign.

We still do this today, we call people aliens when they live 50 miles south of San Diego, because the Hutus and Tutsi's have funny names and live in Africa we ignore their slaughters while we make movies and build museums about the Holocaust, a slaughter of people that were "outside of society". We don't enslaves people of color in the US anymore because we work, serve in the Army and now even elect them President.

Education has always been an exclusionary device, and still is today. We need to end it soon so we can become the world that we should be, breaking down all barriers for all individuals, lineage, economics, geography and ethnicity is what we must do.

Until we do this the US and the world will be less than it should be, and in the future be looked at as "the dark ages" are today.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Taking Learning to the Streets

I realize that anything I write will pale compared to my last post, President-elect Obama's acceptance speech, but there are important issues at hand, so I'll do my best.

The last two weeks have been a blur of excitement, besides the election my every waking moment, and there have been a lot of them, have been taken up thinking about a company, Apangea Learning, that can help change the world. It is a learning system that teaches math over the Internet very, very well. The world needs this right now, and I'm going to tell you why.

In the guise of SWS Network, our Model Based Marketing firm, we have discovered things about the education system that belong in a Dickens Novel instead of the 21rst Century. We weren't looking at the shining successes we are all familiar with, but rather the underside of the system known in the vernacular of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 as "Failing Schools".

The NCLB Act has been praised by some and trashed by others, but after a while one thing is perfectly clear, as a country we are guilty of a perpetuating a terrible wrong to a class of citizens for decades. Children born into districts with failing schools, those which are defined as being unable to teach their students at a level that allows them to compete for positions in colleges and jobs, are essentially given a life sentence simply for being born.

How in the hell did we let this go on so long? I've spent many hours this week crying with joy due to Obama's election and crying with the pain of the suffering that we have let continue generation after generation. The reason we can't do anything about this travesty are as long as Donald Trump's Xmas list, everyone gets blamed from teachers, parents, neighborhoods, government, God and the devil and most wrongly, even the Kids.

You can read a million reasons why things can't get better, not enough good teachers, not enough money, even the evil comments that imply they just can't be taught, a sickening comment that once came out of the mouth of a man that headed the United States Department of Education.

This is unacceptable and so wrong you can taste it, feel it like a cold wind on bare skin, it is as wrong as apartheid, as wrong as slavery, as wrong as the holocaust and we can't tolerate for one more second, one more minute, certainly not one more generation.

You say we can't fix it, then you weren't listening over the past year, you weren't listening the last month, and you sure weren't listening last Tuesday night because you would know this, "Yes We Can".

Starting with Apangea Learning we are taking learning to the people and we are going to teach them Math, that's right Math. Math is the key to knowing how to solve problems, how to reason , how to compare, how to calculate, how to measure, how to be fair, if you know Math you can do almost anything. Math will take you more places than any car, will keep you warmer than a coat and give you more confidence than a beautiful woman or man on your arm.

Yes We Can give every child born into that life sentence early parole so that we can hear their voice, they won't all be scientists or chemists or accountants, but with the confidence that they will have by passing those same tests that kids out the suburbs pass without a second thought. And we will all be better for it, and another age of slavery will end and a new era of equality can begin.

I need to go now, there is much to do to make this real, but we have the tools now and as long as we work these tools and we can find people who embrace this effort like Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, MLK and JFK embraced theirs with help and support and yes a little money we make this happen in our lifetimes and the last generation will look back on educational inequality with the same distain as any type of slavery.

Yes We Can!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Remarks of President-elect Barack Obama, as prepared for delivery

This is the most inspiring speech I've heard since I was 9 years old and listened to JFK, I'm so excited I couldn't sleep, really.

Remarks of President-elect Barack Obama, as prepared for delivery

Election Night

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Chicago, Illinois

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled--Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation's next First Lady, Michelle Obama.

Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House. And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics--you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to--it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington--it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime--two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.

Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor's bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America--I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you--we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as president, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years--block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek--it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers--in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.

Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House--a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity.

Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends ... though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn--I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your president too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world--our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down--we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security - we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright--tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America--that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing--Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons--because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot.

Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves--if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth--that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people.

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The fallacy of the innovative free market

In my nearly six decades of life there have been many amazing changes but few have been more mind boggling and wrong than the shift in the 1980's to the idea that all Government intervention in economic matters were bad and that the free market was able to solve all problems with little or no regulation and guidance.

This myth was was put forth from the most unlikely of sources, a washed up B actor that was Governor of California (we know know that California has a tendency of electing unqualified people to that position, e.g. Brown, Schwarzenegger) and a quirky, incomprehensible Ayn Rand groupie, Alan Greenspan. They told us that individual people were better than groups of people, although Church and American History had taught us the exact opposite.

It was an attractive proposition, that was at the core of the blind evil to come, resulting in the situation of an unqualified, unregistered plumber who never has made $50k in one year becoming the symbol for the fight against even a small tax increase for the rich.

My own experiences in the work place also went against this idea, working for NASA in the 70's it was clear that the amazing accomplishments of that organization could never have been reached in private industry, just now nearly 40 years later companies are approaching that industry with private funds.

How could it be that we were being told that government inhibited innovation when almost every key development that drove out economy for the next 40 years came from this large government funded work program that would have had no chance of being implemented today without people screaming about Socialism and Marxism?

The reason of course is that it was a big lie, a Jim Jones kind of lie with this Kool Aid being forced down our throats with the celebrations of Rock Star CEO's and hyperbolic radio personalities.

As for innovation, let us look at the record, government funding gave us computer technology, material sciences advances like Teflon, communications technology to enable the Internet and sensor technology for advanced medical equipment. All of these have created millions of jobs in the private sectors.

Free Market innovation has given us Sub Prime mortgages, Hedge Funds, CDO's, HMO's, and the most painful economic failures since the great depression.

People compare Barack Obama to Jack Kennedy and I hope the comparison holds true, a person brave and smart enough to know that as a people together we can be great again, maybe through an energy initiative that is funded by the government, releasing the innovations to the market for it to do what it is really good at, developing and executing business plans around formed ideas.

Here is the big surprise to those who understand risk, the more diversified and shared it is the better the outcome, and that is a role for government, my hopes are with Obama to end the long mistake made by the fallacy of innovative markets and get back to what has always worked, WWI, WWII and NASA are all examples of innovative high risk endevours that spawned great technologies for our markets to do what they do best, execute.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The ""New" New Deal"

It is interesting to see the theme of the "Great Depression" woven into so many of the news stories, blog posts and response posts. It is important to remember there are two parts of that story, what was lost that is the current focus (correctly and understandably) and another part that seems impossible to imagine, what will be gained by the transformation of our economy and naturally our society.

Currently we are at the part of the story that feels like the feeling you get when you are stuck in car after too much coffee looking for an exit or strip mall, you can't imagine the relief. But by the time that your hands are drying (hopefully) you will have moved on barely able to remember the discomfort.

So many posts and articles also talk about how the "wealth bubble" was built on an unsustainable model, where the selling of "packaged" money was worth more than "unpackaged" money, with the truth being that it is until someone has to open the package. We are currently opening these packages one by one and finding something very different than we has hoped (wished?) inside. It exposes the fallacy of the wealth created by home prices mainly, it turns out we were never that rich, we just went through another period where we pretended we were, like the bubble.

In many ways the housing bubble made much less sense, and that may be because it was intentional, where as the bubble was more irrational. While there were irrational decisions made in both cases but the difference is in you finding a piece of rock and thinking that you are rich, which was the case in the bubble, it is easy to see how people over-valued things like bandwidth, online commerce, and business efficiency gains. And there is some serious and persistent value in company's like Google, eBay and Amazon, there is still money being made and will be for a long time.

The Housing Bubble was more like running into a well dressed man (Blue Suit - Red Tie - Italian Loafers and a watch with a name you can't pronounce (he can't either), with a Rock in a very nice box labelled GOLD (or Platinum, which ever is higher that day) and being told that the price paid for these rocks are going up and have been going up since Moses came down with the tablets inscribed with the terms of the first CDO. Now you can't afford this really BUT, since it will go up in price forever you can pay us when it goes up. He goes on to say that they aren't making these fast enough for demand and buying a second one will make it twice as easy to pay for the first one. You can see the difference, in one case you make an optimistic appraisal of mankind ingenuity and you were a little wrong on scale and timing, it has happened over and over and will happen again. In the other case people were convinced that a house was more than a house, some how in a country with slowing population growth and stagnant middle class salaries houses were going to be worth more because when population was growing and wages were out pacing inflation they did go up.

The good news is that we were never that rich, so we lost nothing that we ever actually had except for our own misguided and often innocent expectations of ability to access and use that wealth to provide for our retirements, educations and health care.

Understanding this so quickly after the fall should help us to attack the root causes of the systems problems and redesign something that works better, not perfectly because that is impossible, but something that is measurably (by our current almost certain to be flawed but better than guessing methods).

On thing to consider is that the last recovery, the New Deal, was built on a set of firm principals that spread the opportunity, which spread the wealth through a more palatable manner than welfare payments. Jobs, training and yes, even loans were used to allow businesses to thrive.

Now that model would be hard to replicate, but not impossible, because new businesses that can support people need to look for new ways to create value to present to the market. Whereas corner stores and restaurants used to work at local ownerships level that is no longer true.

Regulations and restrictions could work but that would be the wrong application of Government, innovation into other things that people can do, maybe some based on the cheap communications and data portability enabled by the Internet.

What ever the case it will require an entire country (and world) of people that care enough about the future and other people else to think about the long view, if we get that right the old New Deal will pale in comparison to the New New Deal.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Party Paradox

With the election drawing near we see editorials from both parties claiming that they have the economic solution to help those folks losing their homes, watching their 401K get eaten by fees and dropping asset prices, doing the same job for decades with no increase in pay. Both parties claim the same goal, creating the right balance of government and market power to satisfy both groups customers, taxpayers.

Both parties want government to pay for something, with the Republicans talking up small government, strong business performance and a powerful military. The Democrats want more government social programs, more regulations for business and less guns. There are certainly other issues but most people would be able to identify the party from those policies.

The problem for the customers (citizens) of what these parties are selling is that when we make our purchase at the polls and bring the box home it often seems as if the contents were mixed up. As an example, if Republicans are the business party why has the stock market performed almost twice as well under Democrats? According to the Stock Trader's Almanac the market's average annual gain since 1901 under Republicans (56 years) has been 6.9%, a return we all would have loved to have over the last 7 years instead of the loss we have incurred. But under the Democrats the market has grown 13.3% (48 years) on average per year over the same period.

Republicans are also small government advocates, while the Democrats are argued as being big spenders, throwing your money at every problem they see. In reality the parties only varied by .5% in the growth of government as measured by budget growth in the four budgets passed by both parties prior to 2000, with the Republican Congress's growing government by 13.9% and the Democrats growing the budget by 14.4% (source GAO).

From 2000 on government has grown at unforeseen rates but factor that out if you like to blame everything after 9/11 on that event, and use it to justify the huge growth of government.

Finally look at free markets, Republicans have fought tirelessly to convince us customers that we have the best health care system, educational system and financial system because we let free market forces do our thinking for us, leaving us to reap the benefits of Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand". The results of these experiments are now in, and we pay the most of our income of all countries for the 32nd ranked health care system, our children are 3-4 years salary (gross) in debt if they have to borrow for school, both groups raise prices at over twice the inflation rate. Competitive price pressures are no where to be found.

The banking system has been de-regulated and the results are mixed at best, it now appears that risk has been moved to the citizens, we are picking up $5.7 Trillion (that's a T) of Sallie Mae and Freddie Mac after years of quarter billion dollar a year bonuses for the fine job they were doing. It may seem strange for one small rich group to get the profit and another larger poorer group to take the risk. So Republicans like government to pay bills but like Wall Street elites to make all of the money, Democrats just don't have much to say here, they get a deer in the head lights look when you see them yelling at naughty executives on C-SPAN at hearings (no one hears anything in these get togethers so the name "hearing" should be reconsidered).

So what do you do? Ignore the facts, vote the bums out (the other bums, not your own bum), vote the other party ever other election so you can always take the high road in conversations about politics?

What you must do, what we must do, is remember Lord Acton's warning from over 100 years ago, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." So the next time you see a politician shooting basketball, pretending to like people that they would never invite to dinner, changing their position on a heartfelt issue every week, disowning old friends after a negative news story, remember what these politicians are really saying, "Help Me Before I Lie Again".

Friday, July 11, 2008

Free Markets - Free to who?

As the religion of free market grew during the Reagan years, continuing through the Bush I, Clinton and now Bush II, one genius financial minds after another has preached from the pulpit of Wall Street a sermon of confidence. Confident that the US was infallible, confident that everyone from an Ivy school from a "good" family was a genius and confident that the Invisible Hand of Adam Smith would guide them through the storms. 

The idea was the Government was wasteful and inefficient, welfare queens were driving Caddy's in the Ghetto and there was no incentive to work if you gave someone a little less than needed to live, mediocre health care and school lunches.

Now the truth is clearer, the private managers are far more corrupt than government, the guys from the Ivy's are mostly inbred 3rd and 4th generation guys that are dumb as a stump and feel entitled to, well, everything.

This country was built on the backs of immigrants and the middle class, the hard working people who didn't think about Country Club memberships, status cars and getting into "elite" schools. Now we are being asked to bail out the all of the organizations that were put in better hands by the neo-economists in the last two decades. The IPO's are over, the money is in off shore banks and now pension funds and common shareholders are being asked to pay for the failures of the best and brightest.

Remember when you hear the talk on private management of Social Security, that would be the last goal of the neo-conservatives, elimination of the inter-generational contract that has tied one generation to the next since the 1930's. The plan will fail, but not until all of the money is stolen by Wall Street, and then we will be England with better teeth and a new royalty.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What do you expect?

How do the parties involved in this latest clash of cultures explain the benefits of their actions to the citizens, the people that wake up and go to work, find food, pay for shelter, educate the young and old, get sick, make people well, start businesses, write plays...

How do these weapons that take so much of our money, crazy things that are either designed to destroy,  which they do very well, or to protect, not so much in this case. Both projects are insanely successful in one area, the conversion of your hard earned taxes into a corporate welfare system that supports the military/industrial complex that Ike warned us about in his parting speech. 

He warned us that the appetite for the type of power and wealth that can be gained in that area was not likely to be self limiting, like any addiction the demand increasing, the lengths that the individuals in the system would go to to preserve the rush of that existence would make a junkie blush. 

We now have sitting Vice Presidents on the payroll (yes we know that it OK now, every press secretary has rolled their eyes and tried to explain how this person is above reproach to those skeptical of a former Defense Secretary who walked into a CEO position as his first job in private industry) of a defense contractor who was awarded the largest no bid contracts ever to serve in a war that he started. 

Noam Chomsky predicted the escalation of the stereotype of the Islamo-Terrorist as the next reason for massive investments in military platforms, although to avoid the retooling costs the platforms (militarese for a technological system design to destroy, the opposite of things like MRI's, cars and plumbing, which are technological systems designed to sustain and enhance our lives as opposed to ending them horribly and in great amounts.

Now we are working hard to raise tensions with Russia just as Korea becomes impossible to represent as a threat due to wide spread starvation. Iran, which spends a tenth of a penny to every dollar we spend on defense is the last remaining Global Threat, and they have raised toothless ranting to a new level of absurdity.

The good news is that people are able to see the foolishness and demand more accountability from the ego maniacs that call themselves leaders, produced through the new media moment mentality that puts more and more emphasis on manipulation and less and less on information. 

Obama is a product of the system, but all change agents  are, how else do you get in the position to make change, but with his new administration maybe we can grow to expect something else.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Anti-America Oil Use

When people look for Patriotism it is often seen as a uniform, a public display such as singing the National Anthem or flying the Flag at their home or the rear window of their car???

In the public forum lapel pins are the clearest way to detect a patriotic person, at least judged by the TeeVee News folks, making the natural assumption that if a person is willing to spend $2 for a lapel pin there is clearly nothing they wouldn't do for the Mother Land USA.

But for those with more than $2, there is an even more Patriotic action one can take, buying the biggest, most fuel inefficient vehicle they can but. Nothing extends a middle finger to the world, especially the Middle East, than a 200 pound person using one gallon of gas to go 8 miles. If you drive with the abandon you deserve as an American you can get the milage down to 5! Take that you oil barons and sheiks. 

Now the fact that we get most of our oil from Canada and Mexico, with less than 20% coming from the Saudi fields, should make us turn from the east and look North and South for the evil doers that are trying to change our way of life. 

In the 70's we were the evil ones, we built smaller cars, even doubled our average milage. And what did we gain from this self inflicted humilation? We reduced our oil use so much that oil dropped from $40 to $15 a barrel and stayed there for 20 years, until the true Americans told us that we deserved to use more oil and drive not only large cars, but GIANT cars, Suburbans moved from the farm to the suburbs, Hummers were hatched from the Army, showing that they could design and build ridiculous items for the commercial sector also.

So here we are, losing our homes, jobs and pumping our paychecks into our huge cars that no one will buy anymore. The support the troop ribbon is a little tattered, deep down we figured if we went into Iraq, we could leave with the oil. The reality is we were sold a false dream, one of hubris and grandeur, we felt like kings in our big cars.

The right dream is one of humble striving and caring, not just about our wants, but the future generations needs. Humility is not weakness as some would have you believe, it is strength and belief in the large responsibility that we have for being born so lucky. We can do this people, we did it before many times when we were in dark times and we are in those days again, we can be the beacon of the emerging global family or we can put out the lights for good.