Wednesday, June 29, 2011

War is expensive, part 2.

U.S. cost of war at least $3.7 trillion and counting | Reuters

For every person killed on September 11, another 73 have been killed since.

Astounding... I think it's fair to say America has overreacted a little bit.  That is only a rough (low) estimate since the Pentagon doesn't make official death toll announcements for Afghan and Iraqi civilians.  Or indirect dying as a result of PTSD, illness, or other trauma.

The report underlines the extent to which war will continue to stretch the U.S. federal budget, which is already on an unsustainable course due to an aging American population and skyrocketing healthcare costs.

Again, 3.7 trillion is given as a conservative estimate.  That will go higher if America doesn't get out of the war business.  It is time to reevaluate our priorities and end the culture of armed conflict.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mind Your Manners with Mimi

YouTube - ‪BOBSMOKETV's Channel‬‏

This lady is great! I say give her a YouTube Channel and a series of video blogs.  Add some internet buzz and you'll get a Mimi meme.

Monday, June 27, 2011

War is expensive.

Among The Costs Of War: $20B In Air Conditioning : NPR
 The amount the U.S. military spends annually on air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan: $20.2 billion.
That's more than NASA's budget. It's more than BP has paid so far for damage during the Gulf oil spill. It's what the G-8 has pledged to help foster new democracies in Egypt and Tunisia.
I hope more congressmen begin to see our 21st century wars as Sen. Manchin does:
When you have this many people in a country that doesn't want you there — that has no economy, no infrastructure and a corrupt government — and you're trying to stabilize it and build them into a viable nation? I'm not sure we have enough time, and I definitely know we don't have enough money.
America is still spending money for war operations in Afghanistan and Iraq but politicians won't increase revenue from taxes.  That leads to national debt and that, in turn, is hamstringing our national economic recovery efforts.

Politicians make this so complicated...  but it is simple.  When governments fight wars, they have to pay the bill by increasing taxes.  America had huge national fundraising drives during WWI and WWII and the premise is still true today.  Tea party folks seem to forget that.

And nearly all 21st century politicians are beholden to poll numbers, lobbyists, and MSNBC/Fox viewers.  It's never easy to tell Americans, "sacrifice your standard of living", but that is exactly what we need to do in order to pay our debts.

Please understand that I do not support war in Afghanistan or Iraq and would love to bring every American soldier home tomorrow.  But those are already sunk costs and it makes no sense to continue piling up national debt.

In order to buy bullets, we need to bite one and raise tax revenue.

Friday, June 24, 2011

An argument for lowering the voting age

Why should holding office be for old people only? - War Room -
The U.S. Constitution sets strict age requirements for election into federal office -- 25 for the House, 30 for the Senate, and 35 for the presidency. Most Americans probably take these age minimums for granted and don’t think twice about them. But they actually represent an antiquated, imprudent and even pernicious form of state-sanctioned discrimination -- one that undermines our democratic republic more than you may realize.
Here's my summary of John Seery's argument:
1. Many other countries allow young people to run for office and they bring a unique perspective to election debates.
2. Other fields (sports, business) have great young professionals, therefore there may be some great young politicians that are not allowed to participate due to age requirements.
3. There exists a generational gap between Americans and their elected officials.
4. Young people are disenfranchised because they can vote for, but not serve as, elected officials.
Those are convincing arguments and surely debate worthy.  I would love to have some real facts, though.  Canadians may have elected six University students to Parliament, but have they done any good work?  Do young elected officials produce better legislation?  Are there any studies to find out whether lowering the age of candidacy would spur more young people to seek office?
And are there any studies to the contrary?  Since "good judgement" is correlated with prefrontal cortex development, couldn't we say that elected officials over age 25 are better for our country?

Spend money wisely.

There are some good comments at YouTube, here is my favorite.

Barking Cat

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Governor Parnell doesn't know a good thing when he sees it.

Parnell still says he is going to cut the budget by $400 million. I wish he'd give up the heavy-handed threats. Alaska just went through a costly special session in May, partly because Governor Parnell threatened to veto capital spending projects for districts who opposed him.

Of course, I would like more education and social service funding, but this is the best budget our legislature could craft. Governor Parnell, do you really think your judgement is that much better than the collective wisdom of our House and Senate?

Oh, and Parnell... if you are so concerned about balancing the budget and maintaining our $11 billion budget reserve, stop trying to reduce our revenue with your flip-flopping 2 billion dollar-a-year tax cuts. Go ahead and sign the budget already!

Monday, June 20, 2011

"I'm sort of a logical person..."

James Verone has no job and no health insurance, so he decided to get arrested.  He wants the government to pay for 3 years of medical care, food, and shelter.

Given that our taxes are paying for his medical care, shouldn't we demand a cheaper and better alternative for James?

Man robbed bank for $1 to cover jail health care |