Monday, February 28, 2011

Bail out versus corporate welfare, which is most appealing?

Bail sounds very fitting, considering that at last night's Oscars, the winner for the documentary, "Inside Job," questioned why the financial executives were not in jail. The financial executives should be in jail and they should be released in the monetary amount of bail that they received from the bail out funds.  I have a feeling that won't be happening. It is logical, it is consistant with the justice system, but there is always an exception to the rule and corporations are usually the exception. The corporations' indiscretion shows their influence over the government and sometimes makes me question if they are running the government. That previous statement conjures memories of Halliburton and Cheney. . . 

It is all in the language that we use. A corporation receives "bail out funds" but let us instead use the term welfare. Because, in reality, that is what is happening. Corporations file bankruptcy and receive welfare paid by courtesy of the American taxpayers. I have often heard people complain about the welfare recipients being supported by their tax dollars, but I have heard very few complain about the corporations doing it. These corporations fare very well, indeed. So well, in fact, that they make huge profits and fail to repay the money.  Some, such as Bank of America, don't even pay taxes. How is this legal? Corporations are some of the most heavily protected entities under the law. Yes, they function better than being a human being. I have considered becoming incorporated myself and that way, I can receive money and not be stigmatized for being on welfare, but rather, filing bankruptcy in my corporation's name. I would not do that because I have integrity.

The teachers and other social assests to the nation are suffering. Why are they not receiving money? (Does taxation without representation sound familiar? Bingo!) I want them to fare well more than any large company. The most famous social asset, who was a welfare to billions story in the UK, is J.K. Rowling. She was a single mother on welfare and she wrote the Harry Potter series and reversed her social conditions. Rowling got children and people of all ages to read. I would see people of all ages reading thick her books. If the corporations had such a positive impact on society, I would not have an issue with them receiving money, but when it is reported how much their CEO and other top employees are paid, I wonder what is their contribution to society.

The corporations have greedily taken too much of the public's money. It is time to resuscitate the areas in the most need. The people in Wisconsin and other U.S. states are appealing to the government for what they need. The protests in other countries seem to be effective, but do we have people power anymore? Or do we have to be a corporation in order to receive money?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Save the banks, kill the schools.

I sometimes forget where I am. I am in the system: capitalism, and I am probably the worst capitalist. I grew up in a lot of different countries with different systems and I was able to understand their systems, for the most part, a lot better than I understand capitalism. This is the reason behind the military member and their families moving so frequently because supposedly, if not moved, their loyalty will remain with that specific general, country, etc and they will adopt that ideology. Once again, it is rooted in history. I love being American. The Americans that I know are very tolerant of different cultures, religions and ideas. The best part about capitalism is that artists can profit from their work. I cannot stress the importance of the arts. I think critically about most song lyrics, visual arts--television and advertisements, and musical compositions. One thing that I fail to understand, however, is how to think like a true capitalist--money-centric. I am still building on that.    

Being in a capitalistic society, it should have been immediately apparent that the bail out money would go to the banks, instead of the schools, but I have always believed in doing the right thing, and that seemed very wrong to me.

Kanye West, who obviously gets it, wrote in his song, "Power": "the system's broken, the schools closed, the prisons open," and that is the most succinct way to describe what is happening. America's incarceration rate is so high that we have private prisons. That, in my opinion, is probably one of the worst ideas in the history of this country because it is an incentive to incarcerate people. How else would the prison profit? Whenever "overcrowding" is stated as the reason for Lindsay Lohan and other celebrities' reduced sentence time, I have a suggestion: utilize the private prisons! In a private prison, "the more the merrier!" Imagine if those private prisons were instead homeless shelters, orphanages, or shelters for victims of domestic violence. That is how I imagine things, but this is capitalism and private prisons are good for business. I still believe that criminals should receive a reasonable sentence and rehabilitation services, but profiting from prisoners seems like a conflict of interest.

Congratulations, Lindsay! I dedicate so many blog entries to you. I do truly hope that she gets help, though, and every other addict in the world because it is the rehabilitated that can help the current and future addicts. I do believe that she received special treatment and that is my major disagreement. A wrong will always be a wrong. There is no justifiable reason that some have been prosecuted for lesser crimes and she has received such lenient sentencing.

I have known people that have been to prison. I used to be very closed-minded about a lot of issues, and then, through a self-imposed exposure therapy, I opened myself to many different ideas and people. What I learned was that the only way that most people discover someone has been to prison is through a background check, job application, or disclosure. The better looking someone is, e.g., Lindsay Lohan, the less likely it is that one will suspect that they have been to prison. Hollywood employs known prisoners regularly and it is one of the best paying industries in the country. I wonder if their applications ever have a check box for if the applicant has been to prison or been found guilty of a misdemeanor. . . Save the arts, or the arts may save a prisoner. Ironic.     

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Living the tax-free American dream!

That sounds impossible, because everyone knows how persistent the IRS can be, but there is a glitch in the system and some people-- living in the states with the highest tax rates-- are living the tax-free dream! Please, change this, Obama. Enter permanent residency. Permanent residency is used by a lot of people from other countries in order to act and operate as Americans without the tax burden. Some of these permanent residents have lived in the U.S. for decades but they are exempt from paying taxes because? Well, I cannot fathom a plausible reason that anyone is allowed to live tax free but receive the same benefits as American tax payers. With the national debt at its highest level in history, shouldn't there be an end to permanent residency? Shouldn't they have to file back taxes? I am sure that some would be willing to return to their native countries before they were hounded by the IRS as some Americans would be. I hope to not sound conservative. I consider myself logical. I try to consider the validity to each side of an argument but this bothers me. I disagree with taxation without representation. I do not understand all of the taxes that I pay. I do not understand billions in foreign aid to rich countries. As a law abiding American citizen, I know that I must blindly follow the rules. I have to pay taxes. I do not have the money to plead my case in front of a court. Therefore, permanent residents should pay up, too. The military is well taken care of. The largest amount of money is issued to the military and then. . .? Blank. I need to find out but until then, I think that their money should go to rebuilding the education system, paying off the national debt, research and other areas that will benefit Americans and humanity. There is a book by Daniel Pink called "A Whole New Mind". The book focuses on the shift from MBAs to MFAs---from a Master's in Business, to a Master's in Fine Arts. I believe in the arts but they are often neglected. Joseph Campbell's, "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" is a favorite of mine because it draws on classical themes. This goes back to history and the collapse of the Roman Empire: save the Middle Class. We need to focus on helping the poor and saving the Middle Class. The rich will usually be able to buy themselves out of any issue and buy people that make decisions in their favor, but no matter how many protestations there are against the rich, there are not enough solutions for uplifting the impoverished and establishing security in the position of Middle Class. I think that it is time for the permanent residency status to end and for such individuals to file back taxes. Feel free to leave any comments, suggestion or arguments related to this issue.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Job creation

The unemployment papers: this blog continues. . . I was thinking about how Obama can create jobs. I thought that since we have public libraries, we can also have public gyms. Maybe I suffer from delusions of grandeur, but I find this a great idea. There is an obesity epidemic in the U.S. and this could help target it. Some people cannot afford gyms. Every military base that I have ever been on has a gym--some have several gyms and they are free. Obama will often frequent the gym on the Marine Corps base during his vacations in Hawaii and I think it would be great if every American had access to a free gym. I can anticipate those saying this is Socialism but it is far from it. There are dietary guidelines set forth by the government. They stipulate the amount of meat, grain, etc that people should eat and the government also says we need so many minutes of physical activity a day. The people in the green food movement say that this mandates how we should eat; that argument is logical, in my opinion. A gym would create construction jobs, personal trainers and so forth. It is healthy and the only caveat is that some may become injured due to the equipment, overexertion or another cause. I would propose this to Obama, Congress, and whoever else who supposedly listens. I think that they listen a lot closer during elections. I have written to all of them because without a job, there is not much else to do and the only response that I received did not answer my question. I was upset. I had believed in the democratic system. I eschew politics, religion and other issues in order to make and maintain friends. I know that sounds apathetic but it is not because I chose to instead write directly to those members of Congress and the President, who could make amendments but ignored me. I hope to one day have public gyms become as prevalent as the public libraries. I think that there also has to be some way to compensate the stay-at-home parent. Parents have a very hard job: raising children. I had seen a calculation done of how much a stay-at-home parent would receive annually if he were compensated for his hours at work and it was a substantial amount of money. Granted, it is not a traditional job, or something that is revered but a stay-at-home parent is an asset. I was a latch key kid. My parent was unable to spend time with me because he was a widower with a full-time job in the military. I used to admire those kids that were able to have their parent on the field trip or other events where the parent could attend. I think it is great if a child is able to have the support and time with the parent. If anyone would like to elaborate, please leave a comment. Sorry for always having such anecdotal/stream of consciousness posts. I hope they will become better organized and more logical in the future.  

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Bread and Circus

Study History. That is one subject that I feel strongly about because of the trite saying, "History repeats itself". History may not repeat itself in the contemporary in the same manner as it occurred in the past, but there will be certain recognizable themes: the classics.

The Bread and Circus refers to my least favorite celebrity: Lindsay Lohan. Sadly, Lindsay Lohan has become a classic. Let us forget about poverty, health care, unemployment, war and every other international and domestic issue in order to focus our attention on Lindsay Lohan and the Prince's wedding.

Ancient Romans were mesmerized by the welfare system that provided them with food and entertainment in order to divert their attention from the circumstances that would eventually topple their empire. Entertainment has sold many things--including death.

As a child, I used to watch cigarette advertisements on t.v. granted, this was before the counterarguments about cigarettes were introduced, but there were fewer anti-smoking campaigns than pro-smoking ones. Cigarettes looked like fun. I wanted candy cigarettes until I could get the real thing. There is a lawsuit against the mass killer: Phillip Morris and the corporation of death is deciding to defend themselves.

Cigarettes should be classified as an accessory to murder. I smoked for half of my life. I started overseas at a very young age. My hatred of cigarettes crossed over that thin line to a love of them. I was under the impression that it would be fun and relieve stress. It only created stress. I lost a friend of mine in her 20s due to a smoking-related illness and that made me realize that I was willingly killing myself for cigarettes.

Smokers often speak about the psychological aspects of smoking: associated with good times, certain people, memories and so forth. President Obama has quit smoking and has publicized it because he mentioned his struggle to quit for good while he was still bumming cigarettes. To think that cancer is not a strong enough reason for some to quit shows the power of the addiction. However, because there is not a formal intervention or rehabilitation center for smoking and it remains legal and despite the risk of death and the social stigma, people continue to smoke. I told a friend that she was choosing her addiction over me when she went outside to smoke a cigarette because I treat cigarette and alcohol addiction as serious as an opiate or prescription drug addiction.

Death is also sold in the form of synthetic medicines aka prescription drugs. I grew up overseas and for the majority of my life, I had only 3 channels and no commercials. The commercials were replaced with information about the military, history and other related topics: "Practice good OPSEC" how to conduct oneself in a foreign country and as a representative of the U.S. country and military. I was shocked when I saw one genre of commercials: Drug commercials; once illegal, are now ubiquitous.

The drug trend is sleeping pills. I have friends in the U.S. military who have been to war zones. They have developed severe PTSD--post traumatic stress disorder, alcohol issues and other forms of anxiety. The cure-all is sleeping pills--it used to be motrin. I grew up under the "care" of military hospitals. I believe the military does not care at all about dependents--I even heard that the pentagon does not keep numbers of dependents--but I was fortunate enough to have health care, which is a luxury today. Anything that ailed me, was supposedly curable with Motrin. I was cured so well that I continue to have stomach problems because I was administered Motrin for everything. Years later, sleeping pills is the trend.

Sleep away everything. Sleep away PTSD because you may be teased if you express that you have it. Mental health is ignored and numbed with sleeping pills. There are too many young people that I have seen return from a war with the war zone thousands of miles away but still at war in their mind. In military culture, stoicism is regarded as strength. PTSD is supposedly for weaklings because it is in the title, "The Departement of War," that your job--your mission-- is to be the war hero. Sad, but as a perpetual optimist, I think that the government will add more jobs that will help military members and families that suffer from such mental anguish. I think there will be more anonymity, so that the sufferer does not become a social pariah or teased by their superiors and co-workers. I think that there will be more scholarships and grants given to those who would dedicate themselves to helping rehabilitate these indispensable members of society.

As explained by Michel Thomas in one of his Spanish language cds: in Spanish, an apology is given as, "lo siento," from the verb, 'sentir, to feel'. We must begin to feel instead of simply offering an apology.  

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The American education system is worthy of an elegy

At a time like this, I wish that I could write poetry. I write words that rhyme but I can't follow iambic pentameter or any of the formal poetry writing styles. As anyone watching the news knows, Detroit has closed down close to half of their public schools. I cannot fathom what the teachers and students are doing to compensate for having their rights taken away from them. Despite this blog's name, I do believe that public education is a right. My issue is with higher education. I believe that it is too expensive and does not give everyone the advantage of a better paying job and the so-called success that they sell to you in school and on the television. For instance, my parent had a Master's degree upon entering the military. Usually, this would have secured him a position as an officer; however, he was not offered that opportunity-- neither am I when I speak with recruiters-- and did not "pick up" officer despite putting in the application for the officer program. I can barely write a complete sentence, but I was able to make the Dean's List and graduate with that fancy title for having good grades--that is a problem. Grammar is being compromised by text and other forms of communication and at the college and university level it should not be tolerated. Grammar does not always compromise comprehension, but there have been lawsuits over something as simple as a comma changing the entire meaning of a contract and that is why I stress proper grammar (and continue to lack it). I go astray but this is the point I wanted to make today: teachers are professionals; they should not be regarded as baby-sitters and other forms of day care. A woman mentioned that it was a half day at her daughter's school and that it was inconvenient because she needed to have someone watch her child. I often hear that--during summer and other breaks because parents have to find someone to care for their child while they are at work. However, I find it personally degrading. I had planned on being a teacher. I paid to be a teacher. I would love to be a teacher. Teaching is a profession that is truly based on gratitude. I knew that teaching would not make me rich, but yet--despite protestations of "you are smart enough to be a doctor"--I chose to be a teacher. Now, I am an unemployed teacher and regarded as a baby-sitter. It is disheartening that teachers are disrespected with low pay and the lack of prestige that some professions are automatically granted. A fat cat CEO can sit on top of hundreds of millions and be respected and successful--without education beyond high school. A teacher can have a degree, license and any other certification available and still be treated as a baby-sitter. That is irony.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Civil Unions

The next legal hurdle that the U.S. Supreme Court must make revisions to in order for our country to progress is civil unions. This is not simply about homosexuals having the right to enter into marriage. This is also about other relationships where one party wishes to give their benefits to an heir. For example, my parent was in the military for 20 years. To the best of my knowledge, if that parent wished to bequeath me any of their benefits, it would not be permissible. However, as the military so often does, the spouse is automatically granted access to such benefits. Spouses divorce, but children are forever. That is unfair. My parent has told me that they had wanted to give me the G.I. Bill but at the time, and even today, was unable to do so. I have to research this because there have been a lot of revisions to the G.I. Bill and other benefits but that is what I was told the last time that I questioned it. Someone who has earned benefits or other assets should have the right to distribute them as they please. I would also like to see homosexuals with the right to enter these unions because I want everyone to have the same rights as me. I would also like it so that someone who has earned something can have true ownership over its legacy. With the Middle Class in a crisis, we must adjust the laws so that the Middle Class does not disappear entirely. The Constitution was written ambiguously in order for change. I hope that President Obama considers such changes.   

Monday, February 21, 2011

English as an official language? Not in America.

This is a very sensitive topic. I have studied several languages in elementary school, high school and college. I continue to study language because communication is the number one tool of diplomacy. I am a Navy brat and I was also a Third Culture Kid. I studied Spanish in Spain because that is where I lived as a child. My school was a Department of Defense Dependent School, more commonly known by the acronym--as so many military things are: DODDS. I believe that the DODDS school system has some of the best ideas for making children and teens global citizens. Civics is embedded in the curriculum. We had a class called "Host Nation" and it exposed us to the language and culture of Spain. I became bilingual very quickly. I continued with Spanish and went on to learn French and Japanese. I was excited to see a job advertisement from Delta Airlines and was simultaneously appalled when I read that in order to apply, one must be bilingual in languages that have different writing systems such as Japanese, which alone has three, and a language such as Swedish, which has never been offered at my high schools or colleges. At a time when so many Americans are looking for work, is this fair? Who is most likely to speak these languages? I have had advantages in life because I lived overseas for the majority of my life, but some Americans do not have passports or an education system with such advantages. I have retained that ad from Delta and I have written an entire essay on why it should be revised. Large companies can send applicants to language schools--as the US military and other institutions do. English is arguably the most common language in the United States and it angers me that I would be required--emphasis on required--to speak another language in order to work in the U.S. Official languages are of a huge significance because some languages such as Hawaiian and Native American languages, were once illegal in the U.S. In order to preserve their cultures, the Constitution for the state of Hawaii has included Hawaiian as its official language. Writing is legally binding and such arguments should, I believe, be presented at the state and federal levels for reform. The Middle Class is dwindling in America. Corporations with large profits should not be exempt from hiring monolingual English speakers. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Kanye West's "All of the lights" video

Kanye West, in my opinion, is one of the greatest artists in the music industry. The video for his single, "All of the lights," was released recently and it made me realize a few things. Youtube and other sites broadcasts music faster than television. I used to have to wait until MTV or another music channel broadcast the video, but now, the internet is my source for the majority of videos that I search for and watch. Also, it gives the individual the power to change the official video to one that matches their imagination and creativity. I was under the impression that the video was a tribute to Michael Jackson. The video begins with a child walking and candles. I liked this idea because apparently the video takes places in Chicago. The Chicago setting is significant because children have been caught in the crossfire of drive byes and other instances of gun violence. Candlelight vigils are often commonplace to bring awareness to the issue and to pay homage to the victims. I visualized the child walking to light a candle for one of the innocent victims killed on their way to school and Kanye showing candlelight vigils for Micheal Jackson, civilians, troops, an international level of the power of mourning. Reggie Doucet was shot by an LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) officer in January of 2011. His family and friends continue to get tattoos in his memory and question whether it was negligent homicide--on account of the LAPD. I did not know Reggie Doucet, but a friend of mine was very close to him. I would have expected Kanye to have planned this video to where it praised his mother, as well, who has passed on. I hope that someone on Youtube or another blog site can create a video that, in my opinion, lives up to the great song.     

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Update: Don't Ask, Don't Tell

There will be a television show that documents military members surprising family members by returning from deployment and having it captured on camera. Deployments are usually long and information is given on a needs-to-know basis, therefore, it is very surprising when a military member returns without any formal notice. On the preview for the show, there was a man who looked very young. He was in uniform and he entered what appeared to be a high school classroom. The teenager that he was surprising did not look that far in age from the father, brother, or friend who was surprising him. I was proud to hear my friend ask, "Is that his boyfriend?" Through tears from my laughter, I explained that it was probably either a friend or a relative--perhaps a male who had become a father as a teen. Then, she said, "because they ended 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell', so it's legal now, right?" I do believe it is legal now. Progress is slowly making its way into the mainstream and I hope that it continues with civil unions and other rights that are being denied to homosexuals. I feel strongly about homosexuals--despite my so-called "orientation" as a heterosexual--because there are studies that suggest that homosexuality is linked to a gene. Supposedly, on the right hand of homosexual males, their ring finger is longer than the middle finger. Also, it is suggested that the male homosexual has additional estrogen from his mother. I find it very interesting that science can be used for an explanation. I would not stigmatize homosexuals for any reason. They do not need justification, either, but I am proud that our service members can choose to speak of their significant other as they please--gender aside.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Unemployment Files

I have started to think that people are saving jobs for each other. I do not have a criminal record, I have a (worthless) bachelor's degree; I have many competencies, I have excellent phone etiquette, a very high social intelligence quotient, yet, I have no employment offers and no return calls. The irony of it is that celebrities are allowed to have criminal records and, in some cases, have been offered employment as soon as their time is served. If there is one segment of society where criminals are forgiven and loved unconditionally, it is in the entertainment industry. The stars--placed so high above the layman--can elicit sympathy with drug addiction, eating disorders, allegations of sexual assault and other criminal acts that would deem the average offender a pariah or one who cannot be rehabilitated. How easily forgiven is Lindsay Lohan? She was unable to serve her full jail sentence due to "overcrowding", she was entered into a Rehab facility where she supposedly violated the rules, she was on probation and violated that, too, but she was offered million dollar interviews from the media. I would almost volunteer to go to jail for the same amount of time and with the same amount of star privileges as Ms. Lohan if when I got out I could receive million dollar interviews, employment offers and expensive cars gifted to me. However, I have integrity. I am proud to say that I am unwilling to receive anything as a reward for bad behavior. Even though good deeds often go overlooked, I remain optimistic that one day they, too, will receive compensation. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I do not wish to downplay the protests that have arisen in The Middle East. I lived in a very liberal Middle Eastern country and their politics and cultures are complex. However, I do want to demonstrate how hypocritical the media is when framing such news stories. During the George W. Bush years: 2000-2008, the news media would be strategically placed so that protesters would not be visible to the cameras. The protesters were often confined to an area where their numbers could not be approximated and their signs and effigies could not be seen. The aforementioned description doesn't fit a democratic society. The media will edit certain stories to its advantage. The corporate media is particularly of concern because it has the potential to enter new markets. I do not believe that the media is inherently evil. I think that some people go beyond what is normal when demonizing corporate news conglomerates, but one must question why it is not allowable in the society with the most freedoms and why the protests have managed to be extremely successful in the society that has a stronger handle on their society?

Love Someone: It's Valentine's Day

I have dedicated myself to this blog. I must admit that this is far from my usual political rants, but it has a very important message: we are not taught the most important lessons in life in a traditional classroom; we must learn through trial and error. I had grown up as an awkward looking child. I mastered becoming as superficial as possible, I became an advertiser's dream. I would go through magazines, watch the television shows about how to dress as fashionable as possible and I would make sure that my hair and makeup mirrored the it girls of the moment. It is unfortunate because the more superficial I became, the more isolated I became. I used superficiality as a means of making friends, but the superficial do not make friends, they will only attract fake friends. I am still trying to find love and that is something that I planned on having in life but I was too focused on looks and not on building my personality. I have a large amount of inner beauty but it is unfortunate that I am still overly concerned with aesthetic beauty. I find it to be very immature and I hope that it is something that I will work equally at hard at changing. Enjoy love everyday.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Bullying merits everyone's attention. This topic has been in the news a lot lately and even though I believe that everyone is, will be, or at one point in time was bullied, I do not believe that there is any way that the relentless bullying is justifiable. Technology has these bullies in constant communication with their fellow bulliers and their victims. Facebook and other social networking sites allow bullies to harass in writing and through the use of videos and pictures. I saw a special on the news about these people labeled "vultures". These vultures go online after a horrible or tragic event occurs and they post hateful messages about the hurt or deceased person. I cannot fathom who could be capable of such cruelty, but it occurs. At one point, Youtube had become a popular outlet for teens posting videos of themselves fighting and other horrible acts of violence. It is important for parents and other institutions to teach empathy. Classic literature, poetry, fables and other instructional materials can be utilized in the home or in the classrooms. Also, I believe it would help to examine what is the source of the anger and hatred in the actual bully. It is too easy to have sympathy for the victims of bullying, but we often ignore the pain and hurt inside of the bully. For instance, Perez Hilton was, in my opinion, a bully. He did not discriminate when teasing his victims. However, Perez was considered obese--at one point--and also had to be confronted with gay slurs aimed at him in the comments' section of his blog. It is easier to understand why it was so easy for him to be hateful and continue the cycle of hate, once his life is put into perspective.  Ideally, there would be an anonymous support source--such as a number that one could text in order to quell the pain of bullying. The schools could have some of the most popular and influential students in their school team up with the victims of bullies and help them feel comfortable at and outside of school. Pity only serves to stigmatize the victims. Bullying victims must overcome such adversity in order to help the next victims. My mother always told me, "Everyone gets teased. The prettiest girl, to the ugliest." I believe that to be true, but I also believe that it can be changed.