Thursday, September 22, 2011
Ron Paul continues to run a strong 2nd place in most polls…and first place in straw polls…in the race to become the Republican nominee for President next year. Yet, as in this article today regarding the New Hampshire primaries…even Sarah Palin who is NOT running gets more mention from the press than Ron Paul.
Let’s examine for a minute why this might be. Yes, Dr. Paul is the oldest candidate running at 76 years of age and his is the only revolutionary message of all these politicians from either side of the proverbial aisle. Yet, I think there are other more sinister reasons he does not get the traditional coverage and respect of the media that all politicians tend to count on.
Could it be that the media moguls who control the networks along with their political pawns are purposely black balling Ron Paul’s message? I could understand it if they are since Congressman Paul is the only one prescribing the distasteful medicines and about faces to rescue the economy and save the dollar from the machinations of the Federal Reserve. He is the only one advocating taking big money out of the political election process and bringing powers back to ALL “the people”. He also is advocating pulling back our troops and government from illegal foreign actions that were never authorized by the US constitution. This could create some enormous news vacuums as war and conflict abroad tends to sell more newspapers or TV viewing time...as well as make more money for the huge industrial complex manufacturing weapons.
For me Ron Paul is the only sane voice in the pack of Republican candidates…or Democratic for that matter. The rest seem to be content falling back on the typical “God and country” empty metaphors and more big government to solve every American`s problem. I have yet to hear a reasonable position on taxation against the deficit and social programs that are going broke. How can you REDUCE taxes when you owe everyone in the world. Then again, how can you INCREASE taxes on those you owe the debt to? After all, almost 60% of the Federal debt is owed to the American people…19% alone of those trillions is owed to the Social Security fund which it would seem the repayment would rescue its insolvency. But…none of these politicians besides Ron Paul is talking about these realities.
So, do Americans really want another Hollywood type character as the head of our country? Will good looks and “image” really solve our huge problems and deficits? I think it is time for some strong medicine…and while I may not agree with 100% of Mr. Paul’s views…it comes much closer with him than any of the other candidates in the running. With or without the media support, I hope Ron Paul and his followers continue diligently on the path of leading our country out of the political and economic morass we now find ourselves in.
(Extra credit...read Ron Pauls wikipedia bio and compare his experience and qualifications with any of the other Republicans running. Then I challenge everyone to vote on the issues...not the "image" of these slick politicians.)
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
One freedom that is universal among humans is the freedom of “Decision”. We humans of sound mind are making decisions almost every waking moment…what to eat, who to spend our time with, even deciding what we are going to think about. The core of our beings and levels of success reached is in direct relationship to the decisions that we make. Obviously some decisions are more momentous than others.
As I have been writing frequently these past years about the continuous erosion of freedoms represented in this world where the institutions and governments want to continuously usurp their controls and values over the individual rights and sovereign freedoms of people…it is often comforting to realize that at least up until now they cannot control our minds or the decisions we make…unless we let them. To that end, it is important for each of us to realize the freedom…and power…we each have in our abilities to think and decide for ourselves.
Even prisoners of the state or in war zones have freedom to decide. They can decide to give in to their captors, or they can decide to look for ways of escape. Even prisoners under torture can “escape” within their own minds if they have the will and training to do so. There are many stories of POWs who under extreme hardships and torture were able to focus on other thoughts apart from the pain and deprivation they were being put under in order to survive and eventually prevail over their circumstances.
Of course we can`t take lightly the great “deciders” of our time such as former President George W Bush and the current President Obama who have made some huge “decisions” on our part as to what role and rights government should have over us. So many decisions have such huge consequences…not so much for the decider…but for those affected BY the decider. The decisions by the USA government over the past 10 years based on the 9/11 catastrophe continue to shape and change the world and our country at a very rapid pace, not necessarily for the better. These leader`s actions and reactions…their decisions…have led to the loss of thousands and thousands of lives all around the world…and not just the “bad guys”. Having read the book of former President Bush and observed his interviews during his “book tour”, it continues to alarm me how shallow and “matter of fact” his attitudes seem to be over some of those key decisions…such as Iraq and Afghanistan invasions.
We now live in a very different world whether we realize it or not. It is now for each of us to “decide” how we will live…in relationship to all these other decisions that were made for us. My observation is that most people tremendously undervalue the power and affect of THEIR decisions. A majority of Americans I am quite convinced have made NO decisions about what they think or feel about the status of their country in the world…either economically or politically. Most of them have made no “decision” to read and study the issues that affect them so. Most have decided that they can`t do anything or impact change on that which they don’t like or agree with. Many have decided to let others like the “Tea Party” or one party or another decide for them what positions should be taken on the many huge issues our country and world faces. A majority of the world have relinquished this core freedom of thinking and deciding for themselves. Many of them have decided that eating, drinking and escaping these realities is the best reaction for them. It is this majority who will enable the quiet and ominous minority who seek to control the masses and macro economic factors we all live under.
I challenge every person reading this to examine themselves as to how they have handled their core freedom of “deciding”. Have you decided to control your own fate, or just to ease on down the road with the rest of the masses? Have you decided to live long and healthily, or have you decided to live abusing yourself and rejecting the notions of self control and discipline that might improve one’s quality of life? Have you decided to live off society and entitlements, or have you decided to take pride in a self sustained and planned outcome of economic self sufficiency? Have you decided what and why you believe in something beyond yourself…or have you decided to just not care or capitulate to the society around you?
Fortunately for all…the freedom of “decision” is never completely lost…and is often times rediscovered…simply by deciding to do so.
(This video features many important current and former government members who have seen the ugly downside of our government`s war against rights and freedoms…in the name of fighting “terrorism”. It is worth an hour of your time to review it.)
This past decade in America has been the most devastating in regards to American freedoms and privacy since the American Constitution was ratified in 1787. We have allowed our government undo powers in the name of “protecting” American interests which are both alarming and crippling of our individual sovereignty and independence of both movement and finance. We have repeated the mistakes of the past such as when we incarcerated Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor and Germans during WW2...or for that matter "communists" during the McCarthy era. How is it we Americans have become so fearful and weak in the face of adversity?
Here are just a few of the rights lost via the so called “Patriot Act”…initiated by the Bush administration and extended by the Obama Administration:
FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION: Government may monitor religious and political institutions without suspecting criminal activity to assist terror investigations.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION: Government has closed once-public immigration hearings, has secretly detained hundreds of people without charges, and has encouraged bureaucrats to resist public records questions.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH: Government may prosecute librarians or keepers of any other records if they tell anyone that the government subpoenaed information related to a terror investigation.
RIGHT TO LEGAL REPRESENTATION: Government may monitor federal prison jailhouse conversations between attorneys and clients, and deny lawyers to Americans accused of crimes.
FREEDOM FROM UNREASONABLE SEARCHES: Government may search and seize Americans' papers and effects without probable cause to assist terror investigation.
RIGHT TO A SPEEDY AND PUBLIC TRIAL: Government may jail Americans indefinitely without a trial.
RIGHT TO LIBERTY: Americans may be jailed without being charged or being able to confront witnesses against them.
Another indication of the times is our government`s use and budget for private armies and bounty hunters who replace our troops in foreign countries in pursuing terrorists. So...we not only pay for a huge traditional defense budget, but taxpayers also pay a lot of "dark forces" to do the "dirty work" that our regular forces might not do "legally". This morality reflects back to domestic policy of our government as well. Justification of "the ends justify the means" is contributing to the immorality and lack of justice and freedom within our own borders.
Now, while many of you are probably saying “what is the problem if I am not a criminal and have nothing to hide?” I would suggest that if you study the history of tyranny from Nazi Germany to present day dictatorships such as Venezuela and Cuba…the same reasoning by autocratic leaders is used to get their way over individual sovereignty. Benjamin Franklin was so right on when he wrote…”Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”.
I need to state for the record that I have no problem with taking strong actions militarily and otherwise to defend our country`s borders and the freedoms contained within those borders. Yet, I do not think those methods should include limiting rights of ALL Americans within our own borders. If we do not take action soon against this invasion of freedom and privacy in our own country by our own government, it will soon be too late…just as it was in Hitler`s Germany and Stalin`s Russia. That wasn’t so long ago…and it seems America could be going down that road of government controls and autocracy featured by our former enemy states. I personally don’t think it will take long to get there. It will be in my lifetime unless we reverse this NOW.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Probably THE most game changing event of my 5+ decades of living happened on 9/11/2001. While the shock of what we viewed that morning on our television sets around the world stays etched in our psyche probably for the rest of our days, I believe it is what has happened in the 10 years since that will be determining the true meaning of that fateful day.
Here are a few reactions of note written today either in my emails or on Facebook:
Taking nothing away from the solemnity of this date nor to politicize it...but I do believe we Americans must continue to examine the results of our actions-reactions to this travesty. Has war, retribution and revenge really solved anything so far? At what cost have we responded...not only economically, but emotionally and morally? Is our country truly safer and better off because of our government`s actions post 9/11? Sometimes the "human" or emotional reaction may not always be the BEST one. More questions than answers for me...
My friend Dave wrote:
It has been 10 years since Osama bin Laden changed America forever. He changed it for the worse because the United States on 9/11/2001 went from being a United States into being in the Fearful States. We, the citizens of the U.S. have given politicians unprecedented power to undermine the freedom, liberty and ideals that the all true U.S. patriots believe are the essence of our uniqueness and strength as a country.
We are now subjected to more searches and seizures while our Constitutional protections have declined. At Airports the norm of business today is to be searched like a common criminal, the IRS has tightened down to the point where U.S. citizens and banks must report all foreign banking and our financial transactions are being watched by “Big Brother” continuously . There are now warrantless electronic surveillance on all U.S. Citizens including electronic eavesdropping on cell phone calls and emails by the National Security Agency (with the total knowledge and agreement of the President). If anyone points out that privacy rights are being taken away the politicians call them “political agitators” or “potential terrorists” and not a true American.
In 2004 Osama bin Laden in a videotaped message said that his policy was to take “America to the point of bankruptcy” America has allowed this, through the politicians in Washington D.C. to turn this prophecy into a reality.
What can all “patriotic Americans” do to turn the tide on what has taken place over the last 10 years? The idea that many Americans have shared are simple and takes courage. True patriots must become active in promoting the same principles of our Founding Fathers by restoring the spirit that all individuals are endowed with the unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The only function of government is to insure those rights. If the politicians don’t see this as their mission then we need to hire new ones, through the power of the ballot box, who are dedicated to this purpose.
In the famous movie, “Network” which was made in 1976, Howard Beale (played by Peter Finch) said,
“I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth, banks are going bust, and shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be …All I know is that first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING….My life has VALUE!' …I want
you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE'…Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis.”
Now is the time for us to get mad and take back our country. We need to restore the essence of America which is so eloquently put in the Pledge of Allegiance, “'I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”.
In pursuing a balanced perspective and voice about what has transpired this past decade in reaction to 9/11...I quote former President George W. Bush from his farewell speech at the end of his term:
“As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before 9/11. I never did.”
“Afghanistan has gone from a nation where the Taliban harbored al Qaeda and stoned women in the streets to a young democracy that is fighting terror and encouraging girls to go to school.”
“Iraq has gone from a brutal dictatorship and a sworn enemy of America to an Arab democracy at the heart of the Middle East and a friend of the United States.”
“Under one (belief system), a small band of fanatics demands total obedience to an oppressive ideology, condemns women to subservience, and marks unbelievers for murder. The other system is based on the conviction that freedom is the universal gift of almighty God, and that liberty and justice light the path to peace. Advancing this belief is the only practical way to protect our citizens.”
“If America does not lead the cause of freedom, that cause will not be led.”
“Good and evil exist in this world, and between the two there can be no compromise. Murdering the innocent to advance an ideology is wrong every time, everywhere. Freeing people from oppression and despair is eternally right.”
So many emotions, so many viewpoints and so much that is still not clear about status in our war against "terrorism". After almost 3 years of President Obama and a new administration, the outcome in Afghanistan in restoring order and long term stability for ALL people there seems none too sure. While both Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden have been "taken out" by our much more powerful military complex...we continue to be under yellow and red "security alerts" at various times.
We still have a Patriot Act that has been extended basically eliminating Habeas Corpus provisions of our historic legal code. While on one hand we don`t want Terrorists and foreigners using our liberty against us within our borders...it is quite another thing to limit the liberties of your own citizens to "protect them". Our federal government unfortunately has used their increased unlimited powers to attack privacy and financial freedoms of its own citizens, and now quite frankly finds itself in a very defensive position of keeping up it entitlement programs to its masses of citizens including the thousands more maimed or supporting the survivors of those brave soldiers who have lost their lives in foreign battle...primarily because so much money and resources have been expended to hunt down and kill terrorists abroad. The collateral damage has been HUGE.
While it feels quite human for us to want revenge for the blood spilled on our soils that fateful day of 9/11 2001...I continue to look for continuity in our national moral compass. Many people in my network say the USA is a "Christian" nation. This has always made me uncomfortable since I was very young, as even then I realized that many "Americans" were not "Christians"...and I thought our country had equal rights for ALL. The other paradox for me on that issue is my historic understanding of Jesus teachings...such as "turn the other cheek", "love your enemies and do good to them who despise you" and "revenge is mine sayeth your God". Yet...revenge and anger is a very vivid part of our national psyche...and I admit that day I wanted revenge as well.
Now, 10 years later, we have killed off most of the leadership of that day`s events. It seems for every one we put away, perhaps 10 more become "operatives" right behind them. As has often been said and written about this conflict, this is an "ideology" war of religions and ruling systems. As I see us so terribly weakened economically and otherwise after this ten year struggle, I have to wonder if it really HAS been worth it. Have we truly avenged those thousands of Americans who died that terrible day...OR...have we fallen right into the sacrificial hands of the Bin Ladens and other ideological enemies who stated from the outset they planned to take us down from the inside out?
I fear we may not be winning this war as simply or clearly as we like to think. I am beginning to think President Bush` quote Murdering the innocent to advance an ideology is wrong every time, everywhere. Freeing people from oppression and despair is eternally right...needs to be turned around in support of the American people. It is time to release the American people from the oppression and despair inflicted by this huge beast of government and institutions who have taken over our lives...in response to 9/11. And we have let them...
Friday, September 2, 2011
It has been an interesting almost three years of the Barack Obama administration and its affect...or lack thereof...in the world. Even though I didn't vote for him, I truly thought he would with the help of a Democrat controlled Congress have more impact for better or for worse than he has proven to have. For whatever my core political differences with him and his party...I really thought his intelligence and the momentum of his landslide election would propel him into SOME kind of key changes for our nations government. Unfortunately, the result so far from my perspective have been dismal...and his lack of true, effective leadership has allowed the vagabonds of Congress to continue their running our country into the ground through their politicking and infighting. Unfortunately, the people paying the cost of this failure are the taxpayers and the powerless masses who have no true representative voices in their government.
Unfortunately for this President, the combination of world events and decades of governmental abuses of power and mismanagement of budgets from both major parties has caught all of us in its powerful vortex of financial disaster, an entitlement system that cannot be paid for, and continued power mongering as the only response these "leaders" have for the extreme problems that ail us. Obama has been isolated in his White House tower and I think surrounded by a lot of people who had no breadth or scope for handling the leadership of a melting pot country like the USA. While I have been chagrined by the nasty, oftentimes racist attacks by his critiques to the Right...and many "Christian" leaders even...it is obvious to me that our nations ills cannot be completely placed at the feet of this one man or administration. We the people have to take our share of the blame for lack of involvement in our governments and blind appeasement of what the government or media has commanded of us to think or feel on these issues. Each of us has to take our own level of responsibility to be up on the issues that affect OUR daily lives. To leave these things in the hands of representative government without our input or comment is simply irresponsible. We all vote not only at the ballot box, but by which TV channel we tune into, where we spend or invest our money and where we choose to live.
For all his charm, intelligence and "message of hope" for the disenfranchised, I think this President had no clue what was waiting for him on the other side of the past election. Perhaps he had his head in the sand. Perhaps he was so blinded by his own message or ambition that he hadn't taken the time to take stock of what connections, ammunition and money he would need to execute his plan for America. I think his biggest discovery was how pathetic and weak his own party leadership was in handling the tasks at hand with him. There seems to me no continuity or teamwork between his administration and his party`s leadership. All of these people for the most part have clearly exhibited their hubris and hyper egos of position to where there has never been room for agreement, bi-partisanship or unity for the American people to follow.
The other big factor is the continued wimpishness of the American masses overall. In previous generations the American people have been able to unify and even demand of their government actions that would protect their interests or reel in the egocentric ways of their leaders. It is my observation that these strong American characteristics are in hiding. I don`t know if it is because we have just gotten too calloused, jaded and cornered by the normal ineffectual actions and traits of our government system...but I can predict that if we don`t get a grip on our country soon, there will be no semblance of the power and independence we all grew up with. We are quickly becoming a sea of "munchkins" ruled by the "Wizard of Oz" (unfortunately there are probably a few million kids in our country who have no idea who those characters are or from what book...part of the problem). We are letting all the extremists like the Tea Party, ultra right or ultra left voices control the whole conversation. I would suggest that a majority of Americans don`t fit any of those profiles that the rest of the world judges us by. MOST of us are "moderates" in one way or another. This COULD have been our President.
But I digress...I think this desperate President is now doing too little too late what he should have tried from the beginning. Instead of participating in the usual game of politics upon his election, he should have truly taken the reigns as Franklin Roosevelt did at the end of the last Depression. Not that I agree nor think that everything that came out of FDRs leadership has served our country that well over the long haul. Many emergency actions were taken during that time of government takeovers that were meant to be temporary on an emergency basis...but then the government got heady over its growing role in economies and increased control of revenues that were not even constitutional...and never relinquished back to "the people" the powers and freedoms to self govern or retain their private freedoms, including expecting taxation WITH representation. Unfortunately the American people got too used to the government programs "taking care of them", and it grew over 70 years into this behemoth of entitlement programs that there are now no resources to cover. Bushes administration did the same over reaching with the "temporary" Patriot Act and taking on even MORE controls or powers than the USA Constitution has ever permitted of our government. Big government has siphoned and borrowed against 70 years of entitlement funds of the American people...and continue to do so without a yelp from the people. We sacrifice "freedom" for our safety...and our government has us right on the track they want us on. Just "trust them" to work it all out for you.
I think Obama had a mandate and COULD have implemented solutions early in his Presidency that the people would have supported. Had he followed through with his promises to immediately pull out of all our conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and reeled in the power and irresponsibility of Wall Street sooner...he would be in a different position and light today. While the "bail out" of major financial systems was probably required at the moment partly due to the legacies of the Bush administration, he continued to leave in the same leadership of people such as the FED and various Wall Street firms to continue manipulating and controlling the flow of money in our system. This to me was his first step in compromising and becoming a "moderate" from his earlier positions. Instead of being "Robin Hood" and taking from the rich to give to the poor, he directed good taxpayer money from the relative "poor" to bail out the rich...not only in our country, but in the international money circles that now invisibly affect and control our country`s currency and credit ratings. And lets remember that both parties pretty much went along with this plan...since they had no better morals or ideas. Unfortunately, three years later the jobs have still not come back in force and our country continues to go broke while politicians just point fingers at each other and work overtime to make the other side look bad.
The other area in which President Obama has looked weak is in the recent budget compromise he did with the Republicans and his continuing the tax cuts of the Bush administration. I am not judging at this point that issue...but his problem is that he ran on a totally contrary platform than what he has executed and has now significantly lost core support he had from his own party and many independents because of his "moderate" stances with the Republicans. Perhaps he is being extremely smart as a fox politically for his own political future or private plans and into the next election trying to shore up a NEW base of support...but it seems to me if you are going to trust somebody in this role, they have to be more predictable and of stronger principle than just playing politics within the system, risking potentially the whole power and position of the country you lead just for political or personal security.
Perhaps we DO need more of a moderate, centrist leader in this day in age...who can breach the gap of ideologies and the various institutions that control us and unify Americans of all persuasions. The Republican line up so far gives me no sense of hope for improvement from extremism in government. The problem with this President is that he did not run on a moderate platform, and in his apparent aim to "please" or succeed at all cost, he has become perceived as having less backbone and strength than the Democratic President FDR who has been revered for bringing America out of its previous darkest hour economically. And that President did all this from a wheelchair.
True leadership is not "given"...it is earned.
I have to agree in summary with Paul Krugman, a Liberal columnist with the NYTimes who wrote recently...
We’re in a world in which conventional prudence is folly, in which playing it safe is extremely risky. And we have, alas, a conventionally prudent, play-it-safe president — the kind of president who might have done fine in the 1990s, but not now.