NASA Image of the Day

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Third World Debt Forgiveness, and Keansian Economics

I thought a fitting way to celebrate the official last day of school would be to discuss a light issue: third world debt. All the kids who don't have summer jobs, because they didn't start looking for them in February, or scanning the available grants for selfemployment opportunities, might find this one interesting, when they apply for their student loans next year.

A long time ago (eons, really, when you think of it) in a place far, far away there was an Associate College Professor who had a brilliant student. He always had an opinion. In fact, one of the things that made her classes in which he participated so interesting was the fact that she allowed - nay, ENCOURAGED - him, and others, to have opinions about things, and, in a structured, prepared way, and in an atmosphere of expectation, present those opinions, in order to develop a capacity for oral communication. Indeed, she hoped, secretly, that some of them would even come to love that activity which, officially, is feared more than death.

Way back in 1991-1992, when "Professor Nervills" (who was serenaded by a class of Social Services students once with the theme from Gilligan's Island, for instance - "If not for the courage of the fearless class, Ms. Nervills would be lost"...ahem), one such student introduced, discussed, and passionately railed about the idea of forgiveness of third world debt as a harbinger of social and economic stability in impoverished third world nations.

"Excellent", said Ms. Nervills. "Now research it as a viable possibility, complete with solid economic theory, and present it as your project."

The student, aghast at having to do research, normally, and suitably, and predictably annoyed with Ms. Nevills at expecting him to come up with an actual SOLUTION with something, instead of just representing the problem about which everyone had heard countless times, and who was usually at odds with Ms. Nervills, despite the fact that she constantly baited him in order to get him to speak in class, which he was loathe to do, unless he was really ticked about something, was shocked that she would actually let him discuss this idea in class. He set about preparing the most brilliant conceptual solution to third world debt, Ms. Nervills, let alone the other members of the class, (many of whom had no concept of either macro or micro economics, let alone balancing a chequebook), admitted ever hearing.

Complete with backing from the famous John Keane's theory of economic stability, in conjunction with the misunderstood, and relatively unknown concept of "creating money", in which current banking institutions currently engage - based not on Treasury funding, but on projected growth, primarily, in a nutshell, and used as an economic base for incoming loan payments, for instance, although it really amounted to nothing more than "inventing money from thin air" - this student outlined a program of "forgiveness of debt" which actually saw, as its primary goal, the possibility of complete global ecnomic stability.

The principle, regardless of what scaremongerer you talk to, is a simple one: with the forgiveness of third world debt - not current market or loan payments in conjunction with commodity exchange or resource trade - would come an immediate restoration of fiscal independence, a need for internal responsibility for funds gleaned from resources - including tourism, for those Caribbean and other nations whose main commodity is tourism, rather than fossil fuels or "actual objectual" resources - and an inability to blame larger world powers for misuse of those funds, lack of development of social and infrastructure programs, intrusion in governmental affairs within that nation, an inability to expect outside nations to restore order when chaos ensured from mismanagement and poverty, and the insistence upon exclusion of violence as a means of internal control, rather than responsible, intelligent governmental administration of programs and services for its nations. Internal implosion due to simple greed and mismanagement - avoidable with the actuality, and institutionalization of democratic, or sociodemocratic governmental structures whose immediate focus was the responsible development and use of these resources, as well as the insistence of freedom and individual development of natural talents and abilities - and the rewarding of those same, within it - primarily, and immediately, and involvement of global industry leadership whose corporate ethic was inherent on development, rather than exploitation, on a consultancy basis, would mean an end to "blame of greater powers" for internal failure, on these fronts.

With no "enslaving debt" which meant a continuing lack of progress, despite the presence of resources in these countries, a lack of development would place blame squarely on those governments whose main concern was the abuse, exploitation and lack of ethics towards its own populace, not the lack of funds caused by escalating, and crushing debt.

The war machine would no longer be the primary profit maker.

"Non-THC Hemp hefty" industry introduction into mainly agrarian based, starving third world nations, for example, might very well eradicate starvation and a lack of "offshoot industries - like textile, building material, and simple flour production from hemp seeds, for instance - in a matter of years, not decades, establishing an immediate source of activity, sustenance, and creative impetus for its people not based on control of limited resources, but empowering its natural tendency towards the development of its normal creative, industrious, and healthy impulses towards its own welfare and success, and the inclusion of programs to support and bolster those needing a little help. Dignity would be a renewed concept not discussed enough, these days.

In Ontario, introduction of license-based growth of Non-THC Hemp, along with the development of hemp-related industries, to impoverished tobacco farmers is a nobrainer. They already have all the necessary equipment, and the skills. All they need is the development of a Marketing Board, and couple of farmers' wives to reestablish the textile, food products, and creative arts products directly related to the growth of this healthy, not damaging, agricultural commodity. The result? Instant cottage industry, tourist destination (read Sparta candles, Stratford, Ontario, and other places, for examples of "build it they will come".) We have done this before. Where do you think Madonna learned how to reinvent herself? The government, having issued licenses, needs to establish fair taxation of the commodity for payback into the healthcare, and other taxbased programs, and brothers and sisters, we have a recipe for success in the making. Better recycle all those garbage bags you used to throw out the tobacco on the curb: you'll need them. Besides, the newly-hired agricultural standards inspectors will want to know that there are no bugs inside of them, too....

Ms. Nevills gave him an "A." She agrees that it would not destabilize the economy, but, in actual fact, make it MORE stable, with the involvement of the United Nations in a role which truly uses its original agenda for sustainable development, not simply the "World Bank" issue with which so many have grown angry and ill-informed, regarding.

Once again, the artists and "creative impulse minds" among us - along with the reemergence of the entrpreneurial spirit which has created so many possibilities in this life, and in business, in conjunction with a kind of "green generation" which sees, for instance, garbage as an endless, free commodity, rather than an ongoing problem, - would soothe those damaged by war, even as it gave them a new hope to live, and work, and succeed, in years to come. The recycling plant would naturally be the natural next employer, one would think.....

Now all we need is the concept of the desire to reinvest a simple one percent of profits back into the restrengthening of a grid system, for instance, by the computer industry which has exploded, even as it has forgotten that the original grid system was designed for the needs of, and the demands of, the population of 1957, not 2008. This is not communism; it is good business, along with a plan in place to use parts from "old models", as part of the "reclamation of materials", to alleviate at least fifty percent of concerns that with every new gaming device comes three billion pounds of landfill contribution. This is but one example of the idea that industry, expansion, and responsibility for output, as well as a need to rely on a grid as the result of the idea that public utilities should be privatized, and nothing else, when CEO's are getting million dollar bonuses and ratepayers are still incurring "charges for incurred and unpaid debt in the system" on their bills. We don't reward these things with bonuses, in the public sector, Mister. You get audited.

We can do it. Gilligan would be proud. Then we'd all be part of an "A" team that has nothing to do with the Antichrist, and everything to do with the Sacred idea of responsibility with which Our Creator has endowed each of us, and which will ensure that that spark of idea in each young mind, and each older mind, not yet ready to settle into either decrepitude or inactivity, is not a fire of destruction, but a glimmer of tomorrow's gentle, enduring heart's glow.

Happy Summer, Academia! ...Have fun, kids. We'll see you in September. There'll be lots of work to do!!!! Wink. Class dismissed....Early.

.....and congratulations, Greg. You made my blog, if not the news. Smile. Well done.Sorry I didn't get around to it until fourteen years later. I've had a few little projects on my plate, since then......

Ms. Dawn M. Nevills
June 24, 2008oa

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Watering Down Myself

This life shimmying,
This sweet sweat from inside out
That melts the years of loss from me
With its wish wash of movement,
This dance of swaying trees, this subtle swish of hip,
As breath and age bemoans the passage of time,
Leads sweetly
To the less of me
That is,
I suppose,
Or More,
Or Sadly, Slimly Slighter Site Sights(remembering smoky suppressing moments)
Me Before.
The Tears are Exorcised,
But not the
I bow, refreshed,
Surprised by a
Downsized Version of
Songs of Myself's Self.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Over-40 Wardrobe conundrum: Shorts

Well, it's finally here: eighty degrees in the shade, you have laundry to hang out to dry, you've soaked another t-shirt cleaning the house, and as you step out of the shower, you realize one thing: it's time to consider if you'll wear shorts again.

Harkening back to the days you visited Venice in your twenties - mostly by looking out the window, as various famous sites flashed by the speeding bus, as you clutched your stomach cautiously, whilst hurtling at breakneck speed into the next tunnel - you recall watching young American tourist girls getting kicked out of churches, by dour-faced security guards who peered suspiciously at their knee-length walking shorts. Your postcard collection attests to this phenomenon. They are much better than the various views of your thumb, blocking the whir of building flying past......

You have three pairs lined up on the counter in front of you:

One pair you bought twenty five years ago, from Tabi International, and they look as good as the day you bought them off the rack, moaning about paying twenty dollars for a piece of clothing which was really only "half of something." The sales woman kept saying things like: "timeless", "crisp", "chic with flats", and "very Jackie O, with the right classic sleeveless blouse". You saw pleats, high waist, and pockets, grabbed the things - in your usual daring colour combinations of black, navy, khaki, and white, and bolted for the door, without trying them on, waving away the blouses rushing towards you, even as they leered menacingly towards the budget holder called a wallet, which you had already busted wide open, purchasing the shorts. They, however, fit perfectly, when you got them home, (like most things you could count on fitting, according to size, in those days,) and actually made you look like you had both a waist, and normally-shaped hips - and neither belonged to a ten-year old boy. Again; this was a good thing, in days past....

The second pair were one hundred percent cotton, and their most endearing quality was their ability to scrunch completely into a ball with your Tilley hat, and dry completely - while you were wearing them, usually - with the single back pocket holding something, without falling out, even after almost drowning, falling into a pit, or getting trapped in an elevator for three days, until you got the trap door up top open, like they do in the movies.

The draw string waist only added to their attractiveness, really, from an Army perspective, anyway - especially after a full steak dinner, a sunburn, (during monthly bloating), or that special feeling you get, after three beers and staining a deck, while you try not to fall over, while wearing kneepads. The drawstring gives, inch by inch, ever so gently, as the kneepads bite into the back of your legs, and the sun scorches the rest of you: real comfort for those "join the construction guys" days. But....ah! At least you're not cinched in by the next best thing to a corset! Yes, these babies are your midriff abdominal best friend, even as they suck up all that perspiration dripping down between your legs, and down the back of your underwear. You won't even look like you've peed yourself! Now THAT'S attractive. You've been decidedly daring, having succumbed to pastel shades of both "lilac" and "light leaf" - whatever the hell that is. You had no idea they made shorts that looked like a pot leaf, but you were proud, darn it, that you knew that handy-dandy little bit of colour knowledge, by cracky.....Yves St. Laurent, God Rest his soul, would be proud of you, you feel certain.

It still didn't particularly make you feel "light and fresh as a flower" - unless it was a plastic one, at the moment - but at least you didn't absorb the heat like a tar roof, anyway. That was ten years ago, and they were still scrunching strong.

...But the creme-de-la-creme is the most recent shorts purchase, in two "I'm over forty and I don't care anymore, mister" shades of fuschia and turquoise, reminding you of all those pictures of people looking really cool and happy, underneath umbrellas, where everything around them - including the water - sort of looked like those two colours. The turquoise one involved vacations, and the fuscia one involved your activist activities with Green Peace, Love Canal memories, and huge banners with "Toxic Poisoning Sucks, you Bastages", although you don't believe in damaging anything, or anyone, for any reason, unless it's revising a painting you've screwed up, and have to repaint.

With that in mind, you buy both, imagining yourself as something more than "Bwana Dawn" whilst encased in them, and experience the freedom, after forty-four years, of having your Australian-shaped birthmark located just slightly below your belly button - exposed, finally, to the open air. You feel naked like never before, humming "I come from a Land Down Under" with wild abandon, even as you realize you will never be tanned enough to completely erase the thing from sight. The shorts, complete with draw string, and hanging off your butt like a pair of abandoned pyjamas, sit around your hips in a truly alien way, even as the bottom of the shorts legs skim your knees, making you suddenly want to race out to the nearest summer festival to purchase a pair of "buffalo sandals", and paint your bra to look like a bathing suit top, reviving Madge's conebra look, for all full figured women determined to keep gravity at bay. (There is a limit to looking relaxed, and abandoning your underwire isn't one of them....)

For just a second, you close your eyes and think about men, who get the built-in underwear in their shorts, for winky breathing safety, and sigh: lucky bastards. Wind, netting, breeze: some things just aren't fair at all.

Maturity might just be okay, though - so long as they don't fall off....especially with the pocket on the inside!


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Clinton and Obama: America's Ticket back to Prosperity

As we near the close of the US Primaries, "coaching" of a particular sort rears its ugly head, and along with it, the worst aspects of behaviour deemed to achieve this, through a combination of character assassination and/or bullying, showing us, once again, the worst of the Democratic Process.

Were it not so!

America has the best potential Presidential/Vice Presidential combination for the Democratic ticket, arguably, in history, and what is the country subjected to, by those who should know better? A combination of Gloria Steinem and memories of Martin Luther King Jr? Pray, no.

Railing from the pulpit with such delicate sideline comments as "God sent Hitler", and "Hillary thinks she deserves the Presidency because she is white", it's a wonder the two candidates for the Democratic ticket for the Presidency of the most powerful nation in the world, understandably, are not taking a quick quaff of Wiser's before Bible study - just to prepare themselves for the latest "supportive" outbursts.

And these two gems came from what touts itself as "spiritual leadership!" Both candidates must be, understandably, somewhat mildly disturbed, and at the very least, somewhat bewildered, while continuing to slog on, with what they hope will still be the "believable dream" of a true team effort.

Observers, like me - Canadian, (and, therefore, in a world forum (incorrectly) normally deemed "benign" - as a compliment - in an age when "character cancer" seems more prevalent than its physical counterpart, - rather like the "almost compliment" of telling someone they're "not really ugly; just past their prime") watch with growing concern, hoping they find champions before the process implodes in on itself. It's a grudging acknowledgement that you remember, that "oh, there you are", as the quiet hand on the arm of the World Power nearest, smoothing waters and opening doors. It's a reputation hard-earned, at the very least. We know about earned reputation, all right. We are still the UGG company's secret dream market, and Renee Zegweller doesn't want to visit us anymore, because it's too damned cold. The fire is all inside....

And so, this week, we are treated to a pastor wildly throwing about the spectre of Hitler as God's atonement on all non-Christians, and a Catholic priest lambasting, of all people, one who should be benefiting most from what - to most people - is deemed to be the most determined relationship preservationist boxer ever to hit the floorboards. One is perplexed.

The Democrats definitely need some coaches who will not blow the efforts of the combatants, or my nickname isn't "Wild Thing"...and although, at 44, I am a somewhat rounder version of my former self, without symbols to replace either my middle initial or my middle finger, I have assigned myself the task. I hope both of them will not be embarassed at my efforts to defend them both, too. I am, after all, an foreigner. Oh, you know; one of those people across the steadfastly guarded gun border whose own border officers can't point flowers at you anymore, while asking you three times what citizenship you are, just to try and trip you up. (And that's just as you enter.....we took that John Lennon/Yoko Ono weekend in Montreal seriously, Mister, and we're not going to let you forget about it, either. We may even ask you to spell your street name, so you had better do it grammatically correctly, or ELSE. Twice, even. )

America has the perfect political ticket with these two: First Woman President and First Black Vice President. I have placed them in that order, not because I do not want to see America's First Black President, but because, enamored as I am, like many Canadians still mesmerized by the ideal of cultural mosaic, with the romance of the idea, in the same "Camelot friendly" way that most America would love to regard its electoral process again, I have actually given serious, and lasting, consideration to the idea of Who would be Best at the Job. More than any time in history, it would be tempting to ignore this, in favour of an election which concentrates not on the depth of experience IN OFFICE, during a time of acknowledged success, peace and progress in American History, but about the undeveloped characteristics of leadership in office of yet another of America's Possible Firsts: A black man in the oval office.

The thing is, like the astoundingly idiotic accusation incorrectly thrown out by what, one hopes, is NOT a priest charged with family counselling as a natural forte, no one expects to get in because they are either black, or white. They expect to get in because they can do the job - and no one is more qualified, experienced, learned, better prepared and mentally capable, or better able to handle the pressure of The Job, than Hillary Clinton.

When the worst a Catholic priest can accuse her of, is (ridiculously incorrectly) being concerned with the "race" issue - or any minority issue, for that matter, having survived in a vicious and souldestroying arena like politics, with both a sterling reputation, and a decidedly inclusive attitude about who belongs, and why - he had better bring back the accusations of " pantsuit fashion folly": this Woman would be King. The "flawed process" had better reflect the intelligent, considerate, rock solid possibility of bringing back the best of itself, with both of them standing side by side on deck. I sincerely believe she should hold both the wheel, and the pen.

Alongside one of the toughest administrative minds - in a time when America truly needs the kind of concentration on its economic health, its peace policy, and its place in the world's peacekeeping hotspots - should be a man whose natural grace, thoughtful demeanor, and genuine concern for the welfare of a Nation will be fine tuned by the Veteran who will have earned the Veto, and proven why, many, many times.

It has always been so for a woman. Ask the ones who should be voting for Her, now, and aren't, because they are, simply, jealous of the progress. Grow up. Make history. Be empowered.
Your children will thank you.