Suggested Discussion Outline

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johnkarls
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Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:43 pm

Suggested Discussion Outline

Post by johnkarls »

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The Suggested Outline follows the topics in the First and Second Short Quizzes that were distributed with our weekly e-mails of the last several weeks. For further information, they are posted on http://www.ReadingLiberally-SaltLake.org.

A. Although Bob Herbert seems to jump around quite a bit, he is basically addressing only three problems =

A-1. Infrastructure,
A-2. Poverty/education, and
A-3. The cost of war (including both the human cost and what economists would call the “opportunity cost” of not employing the same resources on other pressing problems).


B. Re Bob Herbert’s call for infrastructure spending --

B-1. Does his call for more infrastructure spending, which is the traditional call whenever the economy is languishing in order to provide a stimulus, come too late since the economy seems to be picking up???

B-2. If infrastructure spending on Bob Herbert’s “highways and bridges” is so important, then why do we see President Obama proposing infrastructure spending on high-speed Bullet Trains instead???

B-3. Why did Florida reject President Obama’s $43 billion Tampa-Orlando Bullet Train that would have competed on an 85-mile run with airlines and an Interstate??? [NB: 85 miles is almost the 94-mile distance between Philadelphia and NYC.]

B-4. Why did California’s Governor “Junior” Brown break ground 1/6/2015 on President Obama’s $68 billion San Francisco-LA Bullet Train that will compete with 90-minute air travel by providing a 3-hour rail experience???


C. Does Bob Herbert understand the issues of poverty and education???

C-1. Does Bob Herbert view inner-city education and the poverty it perpetuates as a problem of Sociology or a problem of Education???

C-2. Can we “move the needle” on poverty/education without addressing the Sociology = the pervasive lack of a positive role model whom the inner-city child worships (which, unfortunately, usually has to take the form of a volunteer tutor or mentor who becomes a surrogate parent)???

C-3. Will President Obama’s 1/8/2015 proposal to make the nation’s Junior Colleges free (provided that academic courses are fully transferable to four-year universities and that vocational training actually leads to jobs) “move the needle” on poverty???


D. Has Bob Herbert even addressed all of the important problems facing our nation including one which should probably have made the Top Three, if not No. 2 or even No. 1???

Over the years, we have engaged in 24 Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-mail Campaigns imploring the nation’s decision makers to implement specific solutions -- the following is a list of 6 of the 24 which Yours Truly in the Suggested Answers to the Second Short Quiz felt were more important than at least one of Bob Herbert’s Top Three --

D-1. Bring on line thorium fission because it, inter alia, (a) produces no greenhouse gases; (b) eliminates the dependence of the U.S. and its allies on members of OPEC (the long-standing Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries) and, in the case of Europe, natural gas imports from Russia (in addition to oil & gas imports from OPEC); and (c) eliminates the gaping U.S. balance-of-payments deficit and resulting piling up of our foreign national debt?

D-2. Revive 1968 Executive Order 11387 in order to halt the export of American jobs, to reduce if not eliminate American unemployment and to increase the standard of living of American workers.

D-3. Revoke the ability of U.S.-based multinational corporations to capture virtually all of their worldwide profits from exporting American jobs in tax-haven subsidiaries, typically non-resident Singapore corporations.

D-4. Refuse to permit Congress to cause another Economic Meltdown on the scale of 2008-201? by permitting the U.S.-based multinational corporations to pull their accumulated earnings from exporting American jobs out of their tax-haven subsidiaries for little or no U.S. income tax (vs. the normal 35% corporate tax rate) because the net effect of Congress’ earlier action was that the CHUMP American companies that had NOT exported American jobs were forced to REDUCE AMERICAN PAYROLLS AND AMERICAN CAPITAL EXPENDITURES BY $5 TRILLION in order to repay their loans from the tax-haven subs of the American job exporters. [Another $5 TRillion of profits from exporting American jobs has piled up since 2008 in the tax-haven subs and President Obama’s Simpson Bowles Commission, Mitt Romney during his 2012 Presidential campaign and (incessantly) the Fox Business Channel have proposed exempting this $5 TRillion from U.S. income taxation, which will mean ANOTHER REDUCTION IN AMERICAN PAYROLLS AND AMERICAN CAPITAL EXPENDITURES BY $5 TRILLION.]

D-5. Going to war, if necessary, to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons since failing to do so will probably result in 50% of the world’s 7 billion population from becoming unsustainable virtually overnight. [Turkey, Egypt and The Gulf State Six have already announced they will go nuclear as soon as Iran does, the constant comments of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khomenei suggest he will start a nuclear war in no time flat, 50% of the world’s oil & gas comes from the Persian Gulf or downwind from the P.G., and virtually all of the world’s fertilizers come from petrochemicals.]

D-6. Doing everything that is effective to prevent Al Qaeda and its affiliates from executing the fatwā of their Spiritual Leader, Osama bin Laden, to nuke 10 million Americans (about which the Founding Dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government wrote a famous book about how to deal with that fatwā but whose recommendations have been ignored) -- especially since now that Osama is dead, his fatwā can NOT be revoked. Whether or not fighting constant wars against Al Qaeda and its affiliates is effective and whether or not droning their leaders is effective, we should be discussing how much privacy we are willing to surrender to electronic surveillance in order to prevent 10 million Americans from being nuked and the extent to which we are willing to engage in “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as those approved by the European Court of Human Rights (to which 47 European countries are subject) in litigation between the United Kingdom and the Irish Republican Army.


E. Other problems which should have made Bob Herbert’s Top Three.

E-1. The American news media which is the bedrock reason for all of the foregoing problems.

E-2. Bob Herbert and 42 other American news media superstars who refused to permit $84 billion of PRIVATE funding to provide K-12 tutoring/mentoring for 10 million inner-city children with a guarantee of college tuition -- the only method that has moved the needle on the SINGLE-DIGIT inner-city high school graduation rates (90% with tutoring/mentoring and college tuition because the tutors and mentors effectively become surrogate parents).

E-3. A new Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-mail Campaign against Corporate America’s substitution, beginning in the 1980’s, of Sec. 401(k) plans for traditional pension plans, because the substitution will result in the majority of Americans reaching retirement age with little or no savings. [Indeed, we even posed the question of whether the 5 states that currently permit assisted suicide for terminally-ill patients experiencing great pain, will be forced in order to be humane TO EXPAND THEIR CRITERIA TO INCLUDE THE ORIENTAL HONOR TRADITION THAT ONE MUST COMMIT SUICIDE WHEN S/HE BECOMES A BURDEN TO OTHERS, and whether the traditional opponents of assisted suicide will permit this.]

E-4. Any other horrendous problems??? Anyone???

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