Sunday, January 30, 2011

Progressives vs. Regressives

The world is not static. If you're not going forward, you're going backwards. Progressives favor progress, positive change, and improvements. Regressives want to undo progress, move backwards and return to the past.

In American politics, progressives and moderates want to maintain the rights and standard of living of the average America and the middle class. By doing this they seek to maintain and improve the strength of America.

Regressives, conservatives, and Tea Partiers want to roll back America to the way it was a century ago. Whether their motives be ignorance and stupidity, or arrogance and greed, this is just plain crazy.

The realities of the world: the global nature of economics, communication and technology simply make this policy and vision for America a surefire way to turn America into a Third World cesspool. You see, the rest of the world is not going to regress with us.

It is very important to remember that the policies of the New Conservatives got us into the situation that we are in and it is insane to think those same policies can get us out. Remember, both Reagan and Bush ignored fiscal responsibility, personal freedoms, and indulged in international adventurism. The spending of the Obama Administration was necessary to "stop the bleeding" and bolster American over the long run.

I don't work in an academic environment, so my information comes from reading and viewing a broad spectrum of media, as well as meeting and talking to people. With our manufacturing base, all but gone, a significant portion of American business is targeting wealth that was created generations ago when America had strong manufacturing, unions and pensions; wealth that will never be replaced. Since manufacturing is gone, and America cannot continue to act like a snake eating its own tail for much longer, it is imperative that we develop a "new manufacturing", by encouraging ideas, technology, innovative services, and engineering breakthroughs; things that can be exported; and, at the same time, discourage endeavors that extrapolate wealth from the past and the future; wealth that doesn't exist. This approach coupled with a rebuilding of our infrastructures and the institution of alternative energy sources may save our country.

Finally, there is a saying from Sun Tzu, "Know Your Enemy". I have been trying to understand the New Conservatives for over a decade. Initially, years ago, I thought the ideology was based on Social Darwinism; you know, "pull yourself up by your bootstraps." But upon continued observation over the years, I believe even Ayn Rand wouldn't approve of the fraud and theft and exploitation that occurred during the Bush years. And where does Christianity fit into all of this? Can anyone help me understand?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rights, Responsibilities, and Red Herrings

One day, early in my adulthood, my father took me outside into the woods behind our home in rural Connecticut. He brought with him an antique over-under Remington rifle. He fired a shot at a red oak about 30 yards away, handed me the rifle, and told me to shoot at the mark. After I fired, he took the rifle back from me, and we walked back to the house.

I am sharing this story to convey to you that I am not opposed to mentally competent citizens owning firearms for the purpose of hunting, sport, or even self-protection. I am opposed to a misconstrued interpretation of the Second Amendment for the purpose of 'arming' the masses, with weaponry that goes beyond hunting, sport and self-protection, for the purpose of creating a red herring of chaos and fear.

The Second Amendment grants the right of a well regulated militia. Implicit in this statement is the notion that the right to bear arms requires responsibility. The right of ordinary citizens to bear arms is for the purpose of forming a well regulated militia should it become necessary to do so. And the purpose of the militia is to provide emergency law enforcement, to protect a community, its territory, and laws. The Second Amendment does not give ordinary citizens and crackpots the right to bear arms for the purpose of committing acts of terror and sedition.

Currently, gun laws are regulated, often not so well, by individual states within the framework of existing federal firearms laws. Since no one, including Palin, Huckabee, and McConnell, wants to violate the Constitution, and put weaponry in the hands of crackpots and anti-government individuals, let's set up a militia, similar to the ROTC, in each state. In order for an individual to exercise his right to bear arms, he or she must serve in a WELL REGULATED militia. In these times of economic woe, I'm sure all states will welcome the voluntary services of these American patriots.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

"These Are the Times that Try Men's Souls."

What is going on in our country right now is unique in the history of our country. Our democracy is being attacked by an thug, ersatz "grassroots" movement that is being orchestrated and funded by the super rich and global corporations. For the first time in our history we have a "news" station, professing to be fair and balanced that, in actuality, is a propaganda machine for this movement. I'm sure that the Third Reich would be in awe of their tactics.

In our history, from the many protests and acts of civil disobedience to the American Civil War, never has there been a movement whose motives and objectives have been so obscured and hidden. I have to admit that the assault on our democracy on two fronts is ingenious.

As I stated in the last post, I believe people are becoming aware of what's going on, on some level, and a backlash is beginning.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Terror Within

Upon arriving home from work, the headline on my MSN homepage informed me that Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, a moderate, and members of her staff, along with a federal judge, were shot during a "Congress on Your Corner" meeting in Tucson, Arizona. My first reaction was to pen a vituperous rant blaming the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party. Fox News stated that an examination of the gunman's Twitter and Facebook sites reveled ramblings that expressed discontent with ratification and interpretation of the Constitution as well as the fact that US currency is no longer backed by gold or silver. Sounds like Beck and Palin. I threw the draft in the wastebasket.

Today's tragedy is an example of the price we pay for our democracy. Hopefully this action will end, once and for all, Palin's political aspirations, dissuade the most intelligent minions of Beck,  and accelerate the Revolution of Sanity in America. My prayers and condolences go out to the families and friends of these casualties of our noble struggle.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Is America Morally Bankrupt? Degrees of Separation

In our country, over the last decade or so, the zeitgeist appears to have been a unique combination of robotic selfishness driven by complex  fears coupled with a denial of any knowledge or data that would dissuade that behavior. Blinders, energy drinks, and treadmills.

Realistically, we all have to make a living and provide for our families. I have a friend who writes computer code for major banks and some municipalities. He is a decent man, works hard and though we have not discussed it, I'm reasonably sure he never considers the workers he is displacing.

Today, American corporations are doing well and expanding overseas. They are hiring overseas. The markets are doing well. Yet many, many Americans are unemployed or underemployed. One consequence of sustained high unemployment will be an increase in poverty from the bottom up, in this country of ours. Note: I am not one to advocate tariffs.

Florida should serve as a lesson for the rest of our country. An economy based solely on population growth is doomed to fail.

As the degrees of separation diminish, things change. Americans act "morally" when their own physical or psychological preservation, or the preservation of those close to them, requires it.  Comedy Central's Rally to Restore Sanity, Oprah's recent statement that Americans are too smart to elect Sarah Palin President, and the inception of the No Labels movement- which incidentally was started by  young members of both parties, illustrate that the Revolution of Sanity in America may be underway.

Finally, I have been bemused for sometime by the fact that the most un-American politicians wear the loudest American Flag lapel pins. Don't they manufacture oil derrick or dollar sign pins?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Darkest Before the Dawn

People are imperfect creatures and life and politics are full of paradoxes.  In our society, many Americans are on a diet and many Americans are food insecure. According to 2009 statistics, approximately 60 million Americans are obese, and, at the same time 49 million Americans don't get enough to eat. Reactionaries want tax cuts for those with plenty and to cut benefits for those with not enough to eat.

Reactionaries believe our government should intervene in the lives of individuals and outlaw abortions and also stop the termination of terminally ill individuals who have no chance of recovery. The Bush administration failed in its attempt to use drug law to accomplish this this in Oregon in 2001, in the case Gonzales v. Oregon.

At the the same time they hold these "Christian views", Reactionaries are strong advocates for the death penalty. Bush was known in enlightened circles as the "hanging" governor.

In the recent midterm elections, we saw a Republican surge. Most Americans, still stultified by the effects of the Bush years, sought change again and elected some GOP and Tea Party candidates. In actuality we got a slightly different breed of dog with the same strain of rabies. We elected people who are hell-bent on enriching the wealthy and global corporations at the expense of the middle class.

Rand Paul, in his mystical, pseudo philosophical way is arguing that the average American owes his very existence to the rich and should make sacrifices and do everything to accommodate the rich and powerful. He stated that they buy things from us and give us jobs. Huh? I wonder if this is the same argument that some plantation owners used to placate slaves during the Antebellum South?

In Florida, Rick Scott is assembling a team of lobbyists and longtime insiders, many from former governor Jeb Bush, to help him govern. Same dog, same rabies.

What is truly insane is not the deception and politics, but the fact that the Conservative movement has metastasized into a movement whose agenda will destroy America. To put ambition, wealth and power above America and its people is both un-American and unchristian.

I think Democrats were worn-out from fighting with Republicans and the Reactionary media, by the midterm elections. Instead of accentuating their accomplishments and successes since 2008, they reverted to attacking their opponents.This did not prove to be a successful tactic when trying to win the votes of traumatized moderates and Conservative Democrats.

Finally, Sarah Palin told students that Pennsylvania's plan to limit the number of sweets allowed in classrooms is an example of the "nanny state run amok." Implicit in her statement is that it is their (the students') right, almost patriotic duty, to consume sweets and risk obesity and possibly become unhealthy citizens. If she truly cared about the future of America, instead of bringing cookies to class, she might suggest students read a book by one of her fellow conservative Republicans, Bill Bennett: The Book of Virtues.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

States' Rights

This post should be read with Taylor Swift's inspirational song Change playing softly in the background. I humbly submit this proposal as a peace offering to John Boehner, John Cornyn, and Mitch McConnel. Since they have no plan, here is one for them. Though I could be wrong, I believe they will adopt and embrace it since it encompasses their political philosophy in its purest form. Heck, they may even make me an honorary Tea Party member.

Let's abolish federal taxes altogether and let our federal government send a bill to each state based on the population of that state. It will be up to each state to take responsibility for collecting the taxes and, through this plan, all citizens will pay equally for the costs of maintaining our country. We already do a census as mandated by an act of Congress signed by many of our founding fathers, so this plan will save lots of money.

And, since we don't want any more bridges to nowhere, the federal government will also bill the individual state for federal projects that the individual state is not able to complete on its own. This should put an end to special interests and pork!

The possible downsides to this plan are that the leaders in a lot of red states would have to grow up in a hurry and deal with the economic realities of running America. And, the cookie jar would be a lot less accessible to them. And, a lot of strip bars on K Street would probably close.

We could have one big census before enacting this to prevent states from "deporting" citizens to neighboring states and, using the Bill of Rights, the federal government could enact and enforce huge economic sanctions and penalties against states that practice this and don't pay their fair share. It wouldn't be long before we had a balanced budget again.

Wake up America. See you on the Marrakesh, I mean Tea Party Express with Sarah.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Is America Being Purchased?

Just when I got over the fact that Sarah Palin was the vice presidential nominee in the last presidential election, along comes Christine O'Donnell. Damn you Tim Leary, when will this end?

Like Palin, only to a greater degree, if that is possible, O'Donnell lacks depth, substance, insight, integrity, et al. Like Palin, what she does possess is a folksy charm tethered with a certain amount of grit, that is disarming and causes some people to embrace her. But you just have to ask yourself, "How can any sane person view her as competent to be a Senator?"

Though many will cry conspiracy theory, this caliber of candidate is cropping up all over the country via the Tea Party. These candidates have accomplished little academically, little professionally, and often have trouble with the truth. O'Donnell had to dip into her campaign contributions to pay her rent. And with recent revelations about the United States Chamber of Commerce using foreign contributions, as well as huge sums of money from people including Rupert Murdoch, to run attack ads against opponents of these candidates; it may not be so far fetched to theorize that global corporations and the super rich are trying to buy control of America.

I never thought that I would ever agree with Donald Trump on anything. But in a recent television interview,  he acknowledged that, in the last decade, America has been hoodwinked by China in business and international trade. Trump failed to mention that China bought a lot of bad paper- specifically mortgage backed securities- from the powers-that-be over time. This supports my point. The American people are the real losers in all of this. Sorry, Donald.

Global Corporations and the wealthy cry for less regulation and lower taxes. Through their "Stepford" candidates, they argue that with the fragile state of the US economy, it will have a crippling effect to do otherwise. The reasoning behind this is the tinkle, I mean trickle-down approach to economic policy. And this is just complete balderdash.

During the Bush administration, consumer spending, including sales and related services, accounted for roughly 70% of all economic activity. Insane? It wasn't so long ago that many people spent money they didn't have and, with hindsight, were/are not able to pay back.The crux of the problem is that under Bush, the economy became dependent disproportionately on consumption, and, at the same time, a significant number of Americans were loosing their real disposable income.

The further concentration of American wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer, including foreign interests, while passing the expenses of America on to the vast majority that have less and less is beyond insanity, and a recipe for the death of democracy. Additionally it will facilitate the creation of poly-economies. You see the wealthy need only so many toilets. The responsibilities and obligations of this country should be shifted from those in the middle to those at the top. Our democracy, like any structure, needs to maintain it's foundation or it will crumble.

We need to create and keep high wage jobs in this country. We need laws and regulation. As Montesquieu said of democracy, "In the state of nature all men are born equal but they cannot continue in this equality. Society makes them loose it, and they recover it only by protection of the law." To paraphrase Warren Buffet, "The wealthy are obliged to take responsibility." And we must get stronger in international trade and the way we do business in the world. As Trump pointed out, America- the country- is getting "body slammed" in the world arena.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Is America Stupefied?

The most visited post on this blog is "The Stupification of America" so perhaps I should elaborate on that. First I did not mean to intimate that many Americans are playing dumb on purpose, only a few, a very few. I started writing the posts for this blog shortly after I read a lengthy report  that detailed the Bush Administration's proposal to sell the Port of Miami to the United Arab Emirates almost 4 years after 9/11. I had heard little about it when it occurred. After finishing the report, I nearly fell out of my chair. Not so much because the Bush/Cheney team tried to pull it off, but because there was little press coverage and virtually no public outrage.

The theme that I have tried to weave through the posts in this blog is: What has been going on for some time in this country is crazy and we better realize that and stop the insanity, or we will loose the American way of life soon and surely for our posterity. It is lunacy, in a democracy, for people to support or even allow, policy that is detrimental to their children and the future of this country. I have no definitive answers for why this is going on but will posit a few ideas.

(1) Television and the World Wide Web     I will not get into the Wilde/Aristotle controversy on whether life imitates art, or vice versa. However, it goes without saying that television and the internet have a profound impact on young people and many adults. And it appears that much of the content is escapism and void of moral guidance or intellectual stimulation, more so than it was decades ago.
(2) My Time Will Come     A significant number of Americans believe the notion that they are impervious to what goes on in the world and that by staying focused, ruthless, and by working hard, they will make it.
(3) Some Americans are Doing Well and Living Full, Rewarding Lives.     Until a crisis disrupts them, they are too occupied to get involved.
(4) Some Americans are Stupid.     And if you tell them an untruth, in a very simple manner, over and over again, they will eventually believe it to be the truth. Flatter them for their brilliant insight and patriotism, and you have the supporters for reactionary movement in this country.

Finally, support not liberal but sane causes. It's OK to have fun doing it. All comments, including ones that call for my head on a stick, will be posted.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Time of the Newspaper

My first job, as was the case for many boys during the early 60's, was a paper route. I was compensated for delivering newspapers with a monthly salary and a commission based on the number of customers I delivered papers to and collected money from. The newspaper I worked for was an evening edition. I delivered the paper Monday through Saturday. For most of my customers, this was one of two or three newspapers that they subscribed to.

In those days, newspapers were virtually everywhere: on the counter of the local hardware store, in the break rooms of factories, in the offices of physicians, and on the coffee tables of neighbors. Most of the people I was familiar with, regardless of their occupation, religion, or politics, read newspapers, kept up on current events and formulated opinions. Whether a plumber, a teacher, a foreman or an accountant, it was just something one did. And, reading the Sunday paper was almost a ritual.

Today, few of my neighbors subscribe to any newspaper. Though most of them have an opinion, few can articulate a reasonable argument for why they hold that opinion, or enumerate facts to support the position. Since the 60's many newspapers have gone out of business and many newspapers are loosing their prominence. We have a new breed of television and we have the internet, mediums where anyone can voice their opinion or position without being encumbered by facts or truths.

Back in the time of the newspaper, it seemed to me that people were more informed and more patriotic. And most of the people I knew in the time of the newspaper took real pride in their jobs. They felt good about themselves if they performed their jobs well.

Today we have a faux patriotism, a love of America because it affords some individuals the opportunity to get rich by subjugation and exploitation. Multi-level marketing has spawned multi-level employment where the product or service is of little matter. The object is to derive income from many subordinates, who do the work, without regard for their future or welfare. The big picture or long term health of American is not a consideration.

In the last decade, we essentially have been strip mining or overfishing, the middle class. If we continue to drive Americans into poverty, soon there will be no coal to mine and no fish to catch. For the Republicans the race is on. In the time of the newspaper few cared about celebrities who forgot to wear their underwear and most cared about the future of America.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Stupification of America-Oyasuminasai Jeff Greene

Over the course of the 56 years I have lived on this planet I believe I have witnessed the ever-so-gradual "stupification" of America. I am pretty sure that I do not have Alzheimer's yet. Anyway, recent polls suggest that a surprising number of Americans believe that our sitting president is a Muslim and at the same time believe that he attended Reverend Wright's Christian Church for 20 years. I do not consider myself an exceptionally intelligent man, but somehow this does not compute. As much as I detest Dick Cheney, I did not give credence to the testimony that he is the product of a secret sperm donation from Goebbels' father. Nor can they convince me that Glenn Beck is a distant relative of Himmler.

One of the things that I learned as a child is that it requires a great deal of self-discipline to live well in a free society. The teachers and adults in my life inculcated me with this notion. And I think somewhere this notion has been lost. Perhaps, over time, teachers and adults have given up. We better realize soon, that without the discipline and investments in ourselves, we will lose the freedom. The recent success of the Reactionary and  Tea Party Movements is evidence that con games work extremely well when they are based on the flattery of the victims and the victims are neither open-minded nor informed.

I would like to apologize to the dozen or so people that have visited this blog for my endorsement of  Jeff Greene. Though I am a student of government, I am by no means a tactician and there will be no future endorsements, only discussion of critical issues. Ted Kennedy, Jr.  attended the college I graduated from. Though I personally found him aloof, and there were many "questions" surrounding how Joe Kennedy had amassed the family fortune,  I was taken by the family's decades of commitment and service to the "average" American, something that separates our country from all others.

I don't think Jeff's drop in the polls can be attributed to the "colorful" people he associates with. I don't think voters who prefer the WWF hold it against him for associating with socialites. I know that I would rather associate with Kim Kardashian then say, Hulk Hogan. I don't think voters hold it against him because he ran as a Republican in California. For honest decent people, wisdom comes with age and experience. And also, remember Joe Lieberman ran for Vice President as a Democrat and then won the senate seat in Connecticut as an independent and supported McCain. Though he essentially changed parties, his philosophy and politics shifted only slightly.

Finally, any thoughtful, discerning person could not hold it against Jeff  for recognizing that the adjustable rate mortgage boom was a Ponzi scheme. Isn't it American, to protect your business, and to make money, especially as contrarian, acting against the insanity of the "herd"? The predatory mortgage brokers and the regulators and the Cons in the White House were the true perpetrators. In the Republican primary, Rick Scott isn't apologizing for ripping off Medicaid and Medicare. And he is ahead in the polls. Greene did nothing illegal, committed no fraud, and is running, not to enrich special interests and pick the taxpayers' pockets, but to improve the quality of life for Floridians, help the middle class and small businesses, and make a difference. Alas, he may be guilty of lofty ideals and goals.

The old adage is that "politics is the art of the possible."  I recently read an article stating that low paying call center jobs in India are being moved to the US. India doesn't need/want the jobs? I hope we have not passed the turning point.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Jobs for Americans and Preservation of the American Way

The most important issue in the upcoming elections, for many Americans, and all citizens that are concerned with preserving the American Way, is the creation of jobs for Americans. As a result of the practice of failed policies and erroneous thinking by previous administrations over time, America is in trouble. And there are no simple solutions. But it is certain that if we continue to implement the same failed policies and propagate the same "logic", we are doomed.

For everyone that truly cares about this country, this issue transcends party lines. And the blunders and flawed ideologies are not exclusive to any one party or administration. My father, who was a conservative man in most regards, almost to the point of being a martinet, once told me that the greatest way to predict future behavior is to look at past behavior. If we look at the record and compare the two most recent administrations we see a startling contrast on this issue. During 8 years of Bill Clinton, 23 million jobs were created and the growth of government was held in check. During 8 years of George Bush 5.8 million jobs were created and federal employment skyrocketed. It should be noted that the Clinton administration is credited with the longest period of peace-time expansion in American history. And I hope the pundits will forgive me for not including the jobs created in India, Bangladesh, Panama, and Mexico during the Bush administration in the numbers.

The lives of most Americans are engrossed in family, friends, avocations and jobs, if they're lucky enough to have one. This makes it difficult for the average person to become a truly discerning voter. I hope that an issue that so deeply impacts the lives of people changes this.

Politicians are essentially "vote getters". Some enter politics with good intentions and find they must make compromises to bring about positive change. Others enter politics for wealth and power, that is to enrich their constituents. For most it is a career. Our recent presidential election had "mavericks and outsiders", playing on the public's disdain for the Bush administration. In actuality the race was between a young politician with limited experience, hence he wasn't beholden (much) to special interests, and a career politician; and a career politician, that claimed he was a maverick, and a nincompoop, that governed a state small in population and large in black gold.

In the State of Florida, we have a true outsider running for office and his campaign and ideas are truly refreshing. A candidate of this caliber does not come along often. I would not call him a maverick because he is not bucking anything. He is focused and his vision is beyond the muck. His policies are concrete and make sense. He understands that the future of middle class American depends on nurturing small businesses in Florida, and across the country. Like our Founding Fathers, he also believes in freedom and justice for all. Jeff Greene represents a real opportunity to get Florida going in the right direction and, at the same time, serve as an example for the rest of our troubled country.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

IMAGINE

Just imagine if George Bush had privatized Social Security before the derivative market collapsed. In fact, as a didactic exercise, imagine if there was no government at all! First, a majority of the senior population almost immediately would vanish like smoke in the wind. Without benefits and subsidies and social services and police protection, they would cease to exist. And, for an economy that depends on consumption for 70% of it's juice, this would be apocalyptic.

The wealthy would have to form coops and fund armies to protect the borders from countries that have governments. They would have to fund highways and build and maintain airports for their private jets. They would also have to fund medical research, since they would be the only ones with access to health care. They would also need domestic armies to protect themselves from insurgents that would be sharpening guillotines. They would have to spend most of their wealth just to protect themselves both internally and externally. And there would be no patriotism. The only "allegiance" would be to the coin of the realm. Life would be "nasty, brutish, and short."

The institution of slavery would almost certainly return. This scenario obviously would not accommodate democracy in any form. And I believe, though I could be wrong, this is not what the founding fathers had in mind and what American history teaches us.

Imagine if Rick Scott, the economic pedophile, didn't exist. Imagine if commentators like Beck and Limbaugh; self-proclaimed entertainers that have done nothing in their lives to better this country or its people, didn't exist. Like the well at the bottom of the gulf, they spew toxicity, only in the form of hate propaganda and misinformation. They impede progress (look this word up in the dictionary), and make millions doing it thanks to liberty afforded by our government and the fear and selfishness of some Americans.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Vision for You

The two greatest resources of America are its people and its natural resources. Both have come under attack from conservatives whose only motivation appears to be the accumulation of wealth and the creation of their personal fiefdoms. Education must be a priority and natural resources must be managed and preserved. The gonads-to-the-wall approach must be regulated. Extrapolation of raw materials must be regulated and education must be subsidized. The quick-buck tenor ultimately only benefits the super rich and hurts the future. Isn't it ironic that Bush is out of office but his final actions as president (ending environmental and oil drilling regulations), gravely are impacting the country today.

The conservatives who complain about taxation and the fact that 45% of Americans pay no federal tax perhaps should lobby for unions and increases in minimum wage and labor laws. Then more will share, on paper,  in the cost of our democracy.

With moderate growth, a rethinking of our value system , increased regulation of the harvesting of raw materials,  greater subsidies to education on all levels including  craftsmanship and life skills, and the institution of  law designed to protect average John and Jane, not solely the wealthy, America can persevere. Truth, justice and the American Way will continue. But always remember when you hear the reactionaries rant: "The greatest trick the devil every played was making you think he didn't exist!"

When voting in future elections, we must not forgive and never forget. A simple litmus test is to ask your local, state, or federal representative if he or she supported the Bush Cheney ticket. If they reply: "Well kind of", or, "On some issues", or "Yes but I was wrong", tell them THEY ARE FIRED! The future of America depends on this.

Finally, Will, poor and lame, says, next time you go to your doctor, take a live chicken if you have access to one.

Separation of Church and State

Though the American Revolution was a political revolution based primarily on economic issues, a component of  the "change" was religious freedom. Many were unhappy with the Church of England. Though they didn't always see eye to eye, and weren't always treated fairly, the population of the Thirteen Colonies was made up of  Episcopalians, Congregationalists, Quakers and Shakers, Lutherans, Moravians, Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists, and Catholics and Jews. And probably some atheists and agnostics. A majority of the population was able to unite for a common cause without requiring all others to accept the beliefs and constructs of their particular religion less they not receive the "blessings of liberty." America was formed as one nation under God, with the key being a God of the individual's understanding.

Thomas Paine, who was a key figure in the birth of our country,  wrote and spoke with the fervor of an old fashion preacher. He said this about religion: "I strenuously support the right of every man to his opinion however different that opinion might be to mine....The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shall. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind and monopolize power and profit."

I am a deeply spiritual person and I do believe in God. But I cannot help but notice that some are using their religion, either sincerely or falsely, to justify the exploitation of many,  mask their true motives and greed, and destroy the fabric and jeopardize the future of this country.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The BIG Picture

In this country, with the emphasis and focus on the rights of the individual, it is hard for many to see the big picture; that is the consequences and effect of their actions on others. In their pursuit of happiness, many inadvertently are destroying the social fabric, as well as the environment, that allows them that pursuit. To rationalize, advocate, and practice behavior that is contrary to the laws of science and academic discipline is just plain crazy.

I recently read a report observing that the world population is starting to level off. Within 25 years the average family worldwide will consist of 2.5 children. For whatever reason this is happening, those familiar with Malthus will cheer this as a small part of the Revolution of Sanity.

A major problem in our culture is that too many Americans have an appetitional structure that far exceeds their worth to the planet. Another problem is that much economic activity is based on business school models that assume exponential growth. Alan Greenspan understood this when he told Congress that the 1.3 million illegal immigrants had a profound positive impact on our economy during the Bush Administration. In layman's terms, they work cheap and are undiscerning consumers.

The point is that if population is leveling off,  we will have a decline in demand. Robots and I pods don't buy anything. We had better start working on some new models as well as realistic expectations; and advocate more productive, proactive lifestyles void of shallow vain endeavors. It is lunacy to claim that high taxes are to blame and we can keep going.

The oil spew continues today. And it is crazy that some politicians, including Joe Lieberman, are amending their position on off shore drilling to give coastal states the final say, but at the same time relaxing regulations on drilling. Don't they see the big picture? The slick from the gulf is already impacting North Carolina and could possibly effect the entire Northern Hemisphere. We have no idea of the long, or short term effects of the dispersants used to deal with this catastrophe.

Finally, and you couldn't make this stuff up, in Florida Rick Scott is running for governor as a maverick, an outsider. His company, Columbia, HCK, pleaded guilty to Medicare and Medicaid fraud and paid a 1.7 billion dollar settlement, the largest fraud settlement in US history at the time. To steal from Medicare and Medicaid is to steal from Americans and constitutes an outright attack on the future of America. Scott, a modern day carpetbagger hopes to ride Jeb Bush's coattails with support from the UnTea Party.

Death of a Salesman

Over the last few decades, manufacturing jobs rapidly have declined in America. And, as a result, America has become a nation of salesmen. We sell each other goods and services that are predominantly manufactured and produced overseas and, more often that not, financed by global institutions. It's a good thing that the manufacturers subsidize our consumption by buying our bonds. But then again this puts us in a precarious position, doesn't it?

With the computer, cell phone, and a whole array of other technological advancements, productivity and competition have soared. And with this greater competition, compensation and quality of life go down. The numbers just aren't there. Even the great Goliath Walmart recently expressed concern over increasing demand for its products.

The tragic thing is that the environment is changing faster than the understanding and beliefs of many.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

TREASON

Lack of regulation and corporate greed have caused the greatest economic/environmental disaster in my lifetime; the magnitude of which we will all know shortly. As the oil spews, it is apropos that  red states will be the first to have their beaches fouled and their economies damaged. I picture with bemusement what the sociopaths will say to each other behind closed doors. Will they dare cry out loudly for federal assistance? Or will they ready their private jets for Dubai?

Part of the gift of being an American, is that we can exchange ideas and debate issues freely. The First Amendment guarantees us all that right. However, an individual or corporation cannot disseminate information that causes substantial public harm. Nor can individuals or corporations or politicians deploy policies that knowingly destroy the fabric of this country. For that is treason!

The greatest way to destroy a country is to disable its economy. In only eight short years, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney may have accomplished it! Only time will tell.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Un-American

Recently I was talking to the 10-year-old daughter of a friend of mine. She walked over to me and tugged on my shirt and said, "Bill, mommy says that you are liberal. And liberals are bad...."
I thought for a moment, and reflected. It has been a long time since I considered myself a liberal. A conservative democrat maybe, but a liberal noo. I am for fiscal responsibility, cuts in spending, and the perpetuation of freedoms and opportunities for all citizens.
I asked Melody why she thought liberals are bad and she responded, "Because they take money from peoples' paychecks and they're the reason mommy's hours were cut at work." I gave Melody a hug and led her over to my fish tank, so she could tap on it and annoy the fish; though hopefully not nearly as much as she had disconcerted me.

In the course of my life I have come to understand that all people have different aptitudes and abilities; and are capable of those aptitudes and abilities at different levels of expertise. To the point, many people are not capable of understanding 13 Bankers, and I try not to communicate on that level. I care very much for Melody and her mother but I was unnerved by their vehement stance on a position that they have no understanding of. Where do they get this stuff?

In retrospect the "conservative" Bush administration stultified the American public with its terror warning system. Government grew by leaps and bounds, but to this day nobody is sure what the new bureaucracy did or what, if anything, was accomplished. The three pronged approach of tax cuts- allowing the wealthy to shirk their responsibilities, deregulation- that allowed the derivative debacle and housing bubble to occur, as well as an all out economic attack on American consumers in general, and plunder- obscene deficit spending and rip-off that perpetuated the illusion of prosperity for almost a year after our country had entered the worst economic crisis since the great depression, was downright un-American.

This "conservative" trident sent our economy into a tail spin. I will explain to Margret that when you cut taxes and destroy the economy,  less money is collected by the government because people and businesses earn less money and the deficit goes up and the ramifications are especially hard on simple folks like her and me.

What is even more appalling than the assertive incompetence of many American citizens, is the Un-American disrespect for the American President. Never in my lifetime have I seen so much hate, verbal assault and disrespect for a president. Obama ought to be applauded for his patience and coolness. I afraid that if he gets the economy going, they're really going to hate him. When I was a boy, there was a bumper sticker that stated: America, Love it or Leave It. Perhaps this slogan should be revived and distributed at tea parties and radio stations.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tea Party, Taxes and Terror

The fundamental issue of the original Boston Tea Party in American history, was taxation by the British Parliament on tea consumed in the colonies. Colonists objected to the tax because they believed it violated their right to be taxed only by their elected officials. At that time, colonists were not allowed to vote for members of Parliament. Their battle cry was: "No taxation without representation." Our constitution gives the Federal Government the right to levy taxes in order to "provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." The current tea partiers have the right to vote for the president and members of the congress, unless they have blown up a federal building or committed some other heinous crime. The issue is not whether they are obliged to pay taxes or not.

In addition to the right to vote, contemporary tea partiers have the right to refuse government benefits, decline Social Security Benefits, refuse to congregate in parks that are funded and maintained by the government. They can make huge donations to Black Water. Decline to travel on highways. The list goes on and on. It should be noted that current tax rates are the lowest they have been in 50 years. And current American tax rates are the lowest among industrialized countries. Nobody likes to pay taxes, but the freedom and quality of life that we as Americans have, has a price. No democracy without responsibility.

The fringe element of the tea party is another matter. An armed march on the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing  by a militant group, is bordering on sedition. Anyone that doesn't view the actions of McVeigh  as "right there" with the bombing of the twin towers has got a screw loose. Janet Napolitano may want to institute the previous administration's ingenious color code warning system to protect the American public from this threat of domestic terrorism.

It's bedtime for Bonzo and the insanity in American Politics.