Sunday, 29 May 2011

Irony: Wiretaps and Goldman

Combining my two most favorite subjects lately...

"The successful prosecution of Raj Rajaratnam suggests the difficulty prosecutors would have against Goldman Sachs. At this point, the big question for prosecutors is less about what they know to be true and more about what they can prove. And "to make a criminal case out of the mortgage activities, prosecutors would need at least one credible witness from inside the firm to point the finger at Goldman and its executives to show the company's culpability, proving that it was more than just a sharp operator."

Investigators do not have that one credible witness from the inside, and it's doubtful it will find one. Omerta will likely hold.  Unfortunately, investigators do not have wiretap evidence--something that would prove superior to a bunch of suggestive but not definitive emails."

The Obama Administration seems hellbent on renewing PATRIOT and violating the rights of average Americans even more than the Bush Adminstration.

Now there's a scenario this constant surveillance might have actually been very useful, and we've hit a wall. Instead of trying to catch a bunch of lunatics who leave other very obvious intelligence signs, we could have been wiretapping the banks, and getting enough evidence to stop what amounted to something terrorists have always aimed to do---bringing the American economy down with clandestine activities.

I guess that's irony, folks. 

Terrorist or freedom fighter?

Saturday, 28 May 2011

A historical precedent: a robot signs PATRIOT Act extension into law.

With President Obama in Europe, an "autopen" has been assigned the dubious task of continuing the legacy of constitutional excesses of law, and civil rights violations.

While most of the provisions of the PATRIOT Act are permanent law (a sad fact indeed), the most controversial facets, and the ones most vulnerable to abuse and violation of the Constitution, are subject to periodic review. This includes the following three provisions: roving wiretaps that follow targets within US borders and may pick up civilian information, searches of business records, and conducting surveillance on "lone wolves"; individuals suspected of terrorist-related activities but not officially affiliated with any extremist group.  

All three provisions have been re-approved by the autopen. 

This appears to be the first time that a robot has been used to sign a law into application, and it appears to set a precedent that is still in a legal gray zone.

I for one do not welcome our new civil-rights, warrentless wiretapping overlords.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Get Palestine to Peace Talks-Mission Failed.

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel returned from Washington on Wednesday to a nearly unanimous assessment among Israelis that despite his forceful defense of Israel’s security interests, hopes were dashed that his visit might advance peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

One of the widely articulated goals of his trip, where he met with President Obama and addressed Congress, was to find a way to lure the Palestinians back to direct negotiations, thereby preempting their plan to approach the United Nations in September for recognition of statehood within the pre-1967 lines.

Instead, the Palestinians now say, Mr. Netanyahu’s speeches persuaded them that they had no negotiating partner. They plan to intensify their United Nations efforts, leaving Israelis worried about increasing international isolation and pressure, especially in light of the popular uprisings across the Arab world. "

Score one for oratory rhetoric.

Score negative one for Middle East peace.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Efficiency with Aid Money

Picked up a really good article on one of the most efficient ways to give aid. I like donating money to charity, but as an economist, the question of efficiency and whether or not this money actually makes a difference always sadly passes through my mind.

Now with at least some field-tested studies, my mind feels a whole lot better.

maybe you'll feel a whole lot better too

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Dark Side of the N.S.A

Binney expressed terrible remorse over the way some of his algorithms were used after 9/11. ThinThread, the “little program” that he invented to track enemies outside the U.S., “got twisted,” and was used for both foreign and domestic spying: “I should apologize to the American people. It’s violated everyone’s rights. It can be used to eavesdrop on the whole world.”

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Goldman Sachs: How They Fleeced America and Why They're Gonna Get Away With It.

 "[Goldman Sachs] weren't murderers or anything; they had merely stolen more money than most people can rationally conceive of, from their own customers, in a few blinks of an eye. But then they went one step further. They came to Washington, took an oath before Congress, and lied about it.

The legal definition of financial fraud may be murky and complex, but everybody knows you can't lie to Congress. The punishment is up to five years in federal prison.

Former MLB pitching great Roger Clemens is indicted for almost the exact same thing.

Will it happen again, this time to the "1100-pound medical emergency" that is Goldman?

Notable Recipients of Goldman Sachs political donations (2008)

D-Barack Obama ($995,745)
D-Hilary Clinton ($401,950)
R-Mitt Romney ($235,275)
R-John McCain ($234,695)
R-Rudolph Giuliani ($111,725)
D-John Edwards ($71,650)
D-Rahm Emanuel ($42,350)

Notable Recipients of Goldman Sachs political donations (2010) 

D-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ($44,300)
R-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor ($27,650)
R-House Speaker John Boehner ($15,000)

R-Senator Roy Blunt ($51,692)
D-Congressman Jim Himes ($40,750)
R-Senator Marco Rubio ($35,092)
R-Senator Richard Shelby ($34,600)
D-Senator Charles E. Schumer ($31,900)
R-Congressman Robert Dold ($23,800)

Notable Past Donations
Former President George W. Bush (R)---(2004, $390,675---2000, $137,499)
Former President Bill Clinton (D)---(1996, $43,384---1992, $99,275)
Presidential Candidate John Kerry (D) (2004, $304,750)
Presidential Candidate Al Gore (D) (2000, $97,050)
Former President George Bush (R) (1992, $68,250)

Former and current Treasury secretaries previously employed by Goldman or with substantial links to Goldman
Appointed by Clinton (D), Robert Rubin (1995-1999)---former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs
Appointed by Clinton (D), Lawrence Summers (1999-2001)---paid $135,000 for a speaking engagement for Goldman Sachs in 2008, appointed Obama Adminastration's Director of the White House National Economic Council.
Appointed by Bush (R), Henry Paulson (2006-2009)---former CEO of Goldman Sachs
Appointed by Obama (D), Timothy Geithner (2009-present)---former head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

American taxpayers deserve better. It is clear that the banks cannot be trusted to regulate themselves, and that the unchecked power and influence such firms as Goldman have in Washington have come at the cost of graft and perjury that has cost American children the opportunity to live debt-free, and American workers the chance at a secure and prosperous job. I sincerely hope for justice, but I know there probably won't be any because...

 Goldman Sachs-the most bipartisan organization in America

The Deep Cut---Republicans Cutting Away All The Way To Clinton

"After campaigning on the promise to roll back spending to Bush-era levels, House Republicans have overshot their mark and landed in the last years of the Clinton administration — at least in the case of cuts from labor, health and education appropriations important to poor and working-class families."

Would asking for a reversion to Clinton-era tax rates not be reasonable now?

Monday, 16 May 2011

Behind the scenes in Afghanistan-The Battle for Bomb Alley

I found this documentary; it's a compelling film about the losses of all sides in war, and a behind-the-scene looks at how American military units operate, and how that may alienate locals.

You gotta feel for everyone involved in this, from the Marines who have lost their comrades to the Afghans who have lost their houses. 

Tinkering with democracy.

Just a few thoughts I had.

The one vote/person thing works somewhat, but like a few philosophers have noted, not everyone deserves the vote (nor, as some would say, should everyone vote). The Western democracies are also facing a rise in voter apathy and needs something to spur voters to well---vote.

1-Assign votes based on level of education. Something like completed high school=1 vote, bachelor's degree=2 votes, completed master's degree=3 votes, PHD=4 votes. This will give a huge incentive to education, and though it would be imperfect, it would as least give us some measure of ensuring the most intelligent and well-informed of the populace wield the most influence. As for the high school thing---you could also give 1 vote to whoever completed remedial classes as well, for those thinking of dropouts stuck in a cycle of powerlessness.

2-Assign votes to people based on the number of children they have. Something like .5 votes per child, which should balance out given you kinda need two people to make a child. This might encourage more long-term thinking in politics, and totally change the perspective on things like sustainability and climate issues, by working on the theory that children who will have to bear the brunt of selfish short-term policies are going to have at least somewhat of a say in this matter.

3-Give out those nice shiny "I VOTED" badges, and make them good for something.

4-Add on a vote for good election participation (3 elections voted in a row) and dock one for bad participation (3 elections skipped in a row)---if someone loses all their votes, they must reapply for the right to vote.

5-Hand out tests before the vote which would quiz people on their knowledge of the candidates and key issues, and based on scores, hand out votes accordingly.

6-Make certain government benefits tied to participation in civic life---including participation in elections.

7-Give an extra vote to people who volunteered a certain amount of hours, or who have given a certain amount of money to (non-political) charities.

Yeah, it's treating votes like a currency---but maybe people will then respect the inherent power behind the freedom to vote.

works for those inherently worthless green slips of paper

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Hunger statistics in real time---stop the hunger.

I've always thought it a crowning shame how many people died in this world of malnutrition.

the numbers are just so big and sad.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

A few thoughts on dirty oil subsidies, and clean energy.

The following quote was a forum response of mine to someone who derided long-term thinking in terms of energy sourcing.  I think it sums up my thoughts in this crucial area quite well.

"I'm not even envisioning an utopia either, just a place that uses less dirty fuel or hell, less fuel.

Considering the massive riots caused by mounting food prices (largely caused by the fact that our food infrastructure is entirely based on subsidies and unsustainable use of resources) and fuel prices, one has to wonder what happens during peak oil?

Narrow short-term thinking with regards to this will lead to many deaths (if it hasn't already with the pressing food shortages in the Third World) and the greatest epoch of human suffering. just trace the implications of sky-high oil prices through and through. Add the fact that governments, either through political pressure or fiscal imbalance, will be unable to tamper these effects eventually. look, oil prices now are causing people to starve and riot, what happens when you increase them 200%? What happens when the resources simply run out? Are you ready for an age of climate migrants, and resource migrants? apathy works for the moment since only millions are dying (6 million annual child deaths linked to malnutrition for example) but what happens when these millions become billions?

We have to plan for this eventuality. While I am normally not a fan of subsidies, sometimes enterprise is slow and stuck on whatever makes them profits in the interim, even if it is to the detriment of all of us. Congress subsidized telegraph lines, and then when change was needed, subsidized telephone lines, such that private enterprise could be re-shifted to adapt to pressing, and needed changes. Hell, it doesn't even have to be active subsidies for clean energy, I'll settle for Congress dismantling the system that currently keeps the oil industry so well insulated from the winds of change that are battering at its' doors."

Some thoughts on solutions to the deficit problem.

Just jotting down some "progressive" and "not-so-progressive" ideas I've had. Many have been expanded upon before, but it doesn't hurt to reflect on these. I also borrowed ideas from quite a few people and sources---notably the People's Budget, which I hope gets more awareness with each passing day. These focus on America, which has some of the worst problems, but can be applied generally to other Western countries as well.

1-Slashing military budgets---while maintaining care for veterans, and certain research programs, the large standing armies of today are more or less obsolete. A lot of savings can be acheived here.

2-Legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana. Not only would this allow freer access to medical marijuana (which has a ton of benefits), it would also curtail the stupidest way of inhaling THC (through smoke inhalation which is the deadliest) since now regulated, legitimate businesses would be responsible for marijuana rather than fickle criminals. Would reduce violent crime, expand government revenue, and curtail governmental expenditure on shutting away small-time weed dealers and users.

3-Limit Pell grants/financial aid programs to science/business/engineering etc.---i.e professional pursuits. I'm sorry, as much as I love the liberal arts, we've got to cut somewhere, and a slew of English literature PHDs is going to get the country nowhere. If this incentives students to pursue mathematical-related/more productive fields, than so much the better.

4-Legalize online poker, and tax it. I'm a strong advocate of gambling being a tax on the stupid, but I also know a lot of very skilled people make a killing on those sites, and being somewhat of an avid poker player myself, I think it's more of a sport with a degree of fluctuation rather than gambling. Realistically speaking, it's also one of the fairest games out there, even if you deem it to be gambling (at least the probabilities are somewhat known to you, and not tilted 70/30 to the house). Also, if you're like Australia, and you're leaving it legal, but not taxing it, well...

5-Start taking credit-default swaps on a government's bonds, than bomb the s*** out of that country.
---well, it would be a good money-maker.

The Speaker of the House John Boehner Criticized For Being "Anti-Life."

In an interesting turn of events, professors from several Catholic universities have sent a letter to the Republican Speaker alleging that his policies go against the heart of Catholic morals.

As the article says, "more than 75 professors at Catholic University and other prominent Catholic colleges have written a pointed letter to Mr. Boehner saying that the Republican-supported budget he shepherded through the House of Representatives will hurt the poor, elderly and vulnerable."

They claim that the deficit reduction methods the Republicans will employ to balance the books are "anti-life"---and in that, they are quite right. Slashing money from low-income nutrition programs, and maternal health, instead of useless F-35s or reversing tax cuts, is about as "anti-life" as you can get short of directly imploring women to get abortions.

Modern Catholicism, and the fundamental principles Jesus gave us, demand that we not only seek to preserve life, but that we also seek to make these preserved lives better. What point is there in preventing abortions, if the child and mother have miserable lives?

Oscar Romero, former bishop of El Salvador, was assassinated for being a proponent of liberation theology, and advocating for the poor and human rights. The sign reads as follows: "If I die, I will be reborn among my people."

Uganda's anti-gay bill pushed back amid outrage.

A good victory for human rights.

However, the struggle is not over. Sign the petition here and call your leaders.

Together, we can make a difference.

A timeless truth.

"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

China gets petty and blocks Norwegian salmon, in return for Liu Xiaobo Nobel Peace Prize.

China is wielding its' economic prowess and trying to punish Norway by denying it access to its' markets. This is all in retaliation for the Nobel Prize Committee deciding to grant the award to noted Chinese human rights advocate Liu Xiaobo. 

This not only causes Norwegian producers to suffer, but also hurts Chinese consumers. Of course, Chinese trade theory has never really considered the Chinese people (the depreciated yuan comes to mind), but I suppose that this should not be much of a surprise considering how the average Chinese citizen has about as much right to free expression, as I have access to front row Habs playoff tickets.

I hope Norway has the political courage to not give in to China here. China is in the wrong, and the CCP should know that. While China's meteoric rise in economic power is something to admire, I think the transition to a state that grants its' citizens fundamental rights, and respects and protects them, would be something altogether more beautiful.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

NATO leaves 61 migrants to die of thirst and starvation.

NATO has been accused ignoring distress calls from a boat filled with adrift migrants.

If this is true, NATO is in clear violation of international law, and this represents a shocking neglect of the sacred responsibility of upholding human life.

I fear that this isn't the worst of it. A tide of those who are left to flee the upheaval will soon be flooding through Europe, and Europeans will have to ask themselves some hard questions about whether or not they can deploy resources to aid these poor souls.

It's the beginning of what I can see as a pressing issue of the 21st century---namely, how developed nations will deal with the wave of people fleeing unlivable circumstances in the Third World. Tied into this is the First World's partial culpability for these circumstances (global warming, subsidies and supports to dictatorships etc.) but, sadly, the fact that many developed nations in this world do not have the political willpower or ability to deploy resources to help their own people, never-mind people that are considered "foreigners", has to weigh in the decision as well.

These hard questions, as we can see in this example, will entail the difference between life and death. It is a heavy responsibility to bear for the developed democracies of the West, but it is something that must be acknowledged, and debated, before it is too late to save any of the lives we could have saved.

I hope events like this spark the debate, and lead to people acknowledging the sanctity of HUMAN lives, rather than constantly dividing the world into meaningless subsections of Americans, Europeans, and Africans.

The New Sheriff in Town

Because sometimes, it's good to divert yourself from the worries of the world.


Even if he might be faltering this playoff series, I think his natural combination of skill and size, and of power and finesse, means that the NBA will soon be his league to own, if it isn't already.

A new sheriff is in town.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Why does America seem to be on the wrong side of international freedom?

A country in the throes of revolution. An oppressive state known for jailing dissidents is going to fall soon. However, America happens to find itself in the awkward position of being a patron of this dictatorial regime. America soon defines an ambiguous position---the rebels might be a terrorist organization after all, so it is best to tread carefully.

You can apply this scenario to so many countries it isn't even funny. In this case, I think the sobering story of South Africa is a vivid illustration of hypocrisy in action.

Congress only declared that the ANC and Nelson Mandela were not terrorists in 2008.

America also tacitly supported the apartheid regime and gave military support to South Africa in the South African Border War---though this should also be framed in the context of a Soviet-American proxy battle, it also once again shows how millions of people must suffer in the pursuit of some military goal that does not make sense (let's make a war on words and ideas!).

Once again, with Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, we are forced to wonder whether or not America is on the right side. I think this is particularly important, since America is the one world power that tries to claim its' legitimacy by offering itself as a luminary of human rights---which it should be said, it does follow up on sometimes.

However, certain policies it pursues seems to undermine these long-term strategic goals. How on Earth can we be so short-sided to see that depriving people of their freedom might stop a terrorist attack or two, but will generate enough anger to create an infinitely larger amount of terrorists? I also question America's ability to delineate between freedom fighter and terrorist, which seems to be firmly based on whether or not you are trying to achieve strategic American military goals, whatever they may be.

It should be pointed out that while South Africa has its' problems, you cannot argue that it is more unstable than the carcasses left behind by American military intervention (North Korea situation, Khmer Rouge, the current Iraq/Afghanistan situation). I am all for Realpolitik---but is it not realistic to say that change does not happen overnight, cannot be forced by killing and looting a country, that we must truly support the long-term aspirations of people around the world over our short-term security needs, and that America's stated willingness to help people around the world be free is what truly makes it great?

Friday, 6 May 2011

Let freedom ring, and justice scream.

May the Syrian people get the freedom and dignity they deserve, and may their leaders get what they deserve for firing upon their own people.

Ahmadinajead under pressure from the Ayatollah for sorcery.

I feel like we've descended into crazy town with Iran. Not sure if I like the fact that one of the most oppressive leaders in the world might be kicked out of office by someone as equally oppressive and devious. Can't say the reason didn't make me chuckle though.

"Allies of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were arrested this week for being "magicians" and invoking spirits, Iranian website reported on Wednesday."

Watch out Penn and Teller! 

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

On how me and a friend could have been Canadian MPs.

Just a footnote before we delve into more stuff, since I thought this was an amusing story to share to everyone.

Basically, for people who don't know about the wonderful mess that happened in the Canadian elections and specifically Quebec, the NDP ran up from one seat in the province to 58, crushing the separatist Bloc Quebecois by unseating their party leader, and pretty much reducing the Bloc to the hinterlands by stealing all of their seats.

The Orange Wave In Action


How this happened is still a little beyond me, though it seems to indicate that Quebec has finally tired of the Bloc and that the NDP had the right message and platform. Social justice has always been a strong theme in Quebec. It also doesn't hurt to have a charismatic and positive leader like Layton.

I volunteered for Mulcair's campaign in the Outremont riding, which had been the sole NDP seat after the 2008 elections. I met a few other volunteers---some of which are now MPs. Quebec elected a few student MPs, a bartender who doesn't know how to speak French and was vacationing in Vegas during the campaign, and other assorted randoms. It's a bit hilarious really. One of the MPs is the youngest MP ever elected to office at nineteen years of age, which I guess means you can't exactly say the youth are apathetic anymore when they're actually running our country.

I joined the campaign a bit too late, but I had a friend who was going to submit candidacy papers---but he didn't want to be sent to a random district.

Well, guess what happened to the people sent to random districts? They won overwhelmingly, despite the fact that sometimes they never stepped foot in the riding, were actually told not to speak in the media, and forbidden to actively campaign. Basically, they were a face and a name, and a nice still photo to put on posters and websites, but somehow they still carried entire districts. They beat cabinet minsters and parliamentary veterans despite the fact that many came into this race never expecting to win. I guess the old saying is true---a rising tide raises all ships.

If I had joined the campaign just a bit earlier, and if my friend had submitted his papers, this might have been a blog that would be written and frequented by two members of Parliament. While there's probably some Churchillian bit about the stupidity of the average voter embedded in the moral of this story, I cannot help but say that on that election day, Canada proved me to me that there truly were no barriers to election (age, race, sexual orientation, some would argue merit with how the orange wave progressed). Perhaps the one thing we can all take from this is that in Canada and other developed democracies, we are rapidly approaching the point where nothing will stop a good set of principles and ideas from blossoming into action and power.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Five Economic Myths I Would Love to Shatter-#5 (The Time Machine/Interest in a Bank Scheme)

 I'm feeling real good about things lately, so let's get into some more humor-provoking stuff.

You've all seen it before. Guy goes into some kind of slumber, wakes up, and then he's like "OH GEE WOW, I'M RICH NOW, CAUSE THE BANK BE GIVIN ME INTEREST WHILE I BE DEAD".

The alternative "clever" version of this is someone from the future coming back into the past and actually setting up a bank account for themselves and therefore making mad amounts of profits in the future. This, fittingly enough, was proposed in Luke Wilson's Idiocracy, which we'll deal with later.

Yes, hi, I'd like to open up a savings account. I plan to deposit my money for three thousand years.    

The reason why this doesn't work

Actually, it's quite simple if you realize the first rule of economics/finance---namely that the banks are always out to screw you.

Three thousand years, you say?

Any interest rate the bank offers you is nominal, and does not account for inflation, or the loss of purchasing power that comes with it. One of the first things anyone learns in finance classes is how to calculate the real interest rate. For simplicity's sake, that can be aggregated, for discussion purposes, into this simple expression: real interest rate=nominal interest rate-inflation, which fully reflects the fact that any money you get is balenced out by the decline in purchasing power of this money.

The rate of inflation varies from country to country. In the United States, it typically hovers around 2-5%, although in the past (especially in the 1980s), it has shot up to around 14%.

So what did Bank of America offer its' regular savings customers?

0.05% Annual Percentage Yield. Seriously. You minus inflation from that (averaged out to about 1.5% for the whole of 2010), and you're actually losing 1.45% a year in purchasing power (but gaining 0.05% in green, official-looking paper!). I was so shocked that I actually had to ask a Bank of America Live Chat representative whether this annual percentage yield was in nominal or real terms, which he had no idea about. Finally, I asked him whether it accounted for inflation (how is it that I know more about banking than a bank representative? o_o)---and he quite simply said no.

This doesn't take into account the fact that you are sacrificing opportunity cost by not investing your money into stocks or hell, risk-free bonds, that would offer much higher average returns (and in the case of risk-free bonds, essentially, well the same risk). It doesn't take into account the fact that if America continues her current policies, the American dollar will be further devalued and lose purchasing power relative to other currencies. Finally, it doesn't account for a world where the bank you deposit in will have collapsed, or one where alien overlords have enslaved mankind.

basically, you're getting screwed

Your face, after realizing you can only afford 20% of the Big Macs you would've been able to afford before you thought up this terrible plan. Also your face after realizing Future Earth's alien overlords don't make Big Macs.

Canadian Elections-A Conservative Majority over the Orange Wave

It's a shocker. I volunteered for Mulcair's campaign and I voted NDP but I never expected this...

In brief, the Conservatives have a majority because the Liberals collapsed. Quebec went Orange CRAZY===to the point where I don't even think they realized who they were voting for, not that it mattered anymore.

Sovereignty is probably dead with Duceppe gone---

Change is in the air, and all that good stuff. 

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Osama is dead.

I'm happy that a guy who murdered so many civilians has faced the wrath of justice---but not exactly ready to announce world peace. It's about time they got him. Hopefully, this means America can finally cut military budgets and gradually pull out of troubled Middle East areas. A true test of America's strength and character lies just ahead.

The People's Budget

An interesting alternative to the Obama plan (which I do not think cuts enough) and the Republican plan (which I think cuts in all of the wrong places).

The budget proposed by the Progressive Congressional Caucus aims to balance the deficit by substantially reducing runaway military spending, and reinstating the estate tax, and higher tax brackets for the wealthy (as well as letting the Bush tax cuts expire.) It purports to be able to balance the budget by 2021, which is about 10 years before the Republican budget (a notoriously anti-progressive program that focuses on cuts from education, low-income services and welfare for the elderly). Of course, these are all claims, and politicians are notoriously bad at delivering on their promises---but this is a bold approach to balancing the books that should be acknowledged. At the very least, I hope this puts more pressure on the Pentagon to slash military spending.

Even the Economist, which usually leans to the right, hailed the Progressive Caucus on taking a fresh, bold approach to reducing the deficit.

One thing's for sure---we can no longer ignore the catastrophe that is slowly unfolding before us.

America needs to solve that problem---without resorting to this.
 Pictured: "The Path to Prosperity." 
Pictured: America after the "Path to Prosperity"








here's to hoping, in all the languages of the world, that someday everyone will be able to choose their leaders.

going to vote tomorrow, with all those who cannot in mind