Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lets Evolve in the New Year...

Another New Years day is upon us...and while it will hopefully be full of good friends, good football, and celebration of life...hopefully it will also launch some real New Years resolutions that will improve our outlooks.

I had another theme prepared for this blog...but last minute have decided a more IMPORTANT message is preferable and succinct. I wrote a whole spiel on "being positive and not focusing on the negative all around us" to keep us going in forward motion. Now I think a better message is the following:

The UNhappiness in the world is primarily about people NOT evolving from their primordial roots and being manipulated to imitate previous generation`s UNhappiness or bitterness about the past...which keeps them from moving forward. Most of our inability to function anywhere near full capacity is based on living daily with the recorded "tapes" in our minds of people and institutions telling us who we are or what can or cannot do. Until we can throw off the yokes of mental slavery of our past experiences, we will not excel, evolve or be free to reach our potentials.

Here is to a happier, more evolved New Year :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Panama Invasion

December 20th is a somber date in Panama`s modern history. Only 22 years ago this month the USA invaded this small country of around 3 Million people in order to take out its dictatorial leader, one Manuel Noriega.

While many may say that Panama of today is totally different and has "boomed" since its "liberation" from dictatorial leadership...I have to question the "totally different" claim. After almost 7 years living here, while I see billions of dollars of new skyscrapers going up everywhere on the skyline...I am not convinced there is much change in the Panamanian people or culture over all. Sure, there are currently more jobs and a higher standard (cost) of living for many people here...but I am not seeing much of the sense of "liberation" in the words and attitudes of my host country.

As is a common theme in my global blogs, I question many of the assumptions and media hyped manipulations of what is and isn't going on here as well as the rest of the world. While many of us who are somewhat educated or come from a more wealthy perspective may find Panama to be a nice calm place to settle in for either retirement or investment, there is a sick underside to what is going on in this country that should be examined in balance to the superficial buildings and gigantic projects such as the Canal expansion and the Metro. The GNP and employment statistics look wonderful for such a small county of still less than 4 Million people. The new "Cinta Costera" boulevard around the bay and the new island being built before our eyes off Punta Pacifica makes this place appear to be the new "Dubai" of the western hemisphere.

Yet, as I read the local papers, listen to the news and talk to Panamanians I am trying to make friends with...I find that among the regular working or poor classes in Panama...they are not in the loop or benefiting much in the long run from these past two decades of "change". If anything, their cost of living is rising significantly compared to their wage base...and with the recently passed TLC trade agreement with the USA and Colombia, many of their agricultural products may end up competing poorly against the higher production and lower prices of the trading partner's goods. If that happens, the locals will be getting less profit on their products, and paying higher prices in the local markets for those same goods. There is no such thing as true "free trade" in today`s markets...and Panama has little or no manufacturing of products outside of agricultural. Most other products (cars, materials, tvs, computers, etc...) are imported and higher priced than they are in the USA or other global markets. This surely does not help the average Panamanian get ahead in this scenario of modern day Panama.

So...what was accomplished on those dark days of December 1989? Pictures and videos speak much louder than words on what took place. The justifications of why are what I think much more complicated...and unfortunately has little to do with the Panamanian people. There are a number of books out there to read perspective by, and I must admit I have been more busy learning and living in Panama in the first person than pursuing many of those third person written accounts or interpretations. I have been reading more from the faces, words, memories and attitudes of typical Panamanians I have met over these years.

While no one I have met admires or wants a return of the likes of Manuel Noriega in leadership, there are many who still prefer his comradeship to that of the oligarchy and political powers of today. Corruption is STILL hugely rampant in this business and in politics. There is no independent judiciary to speak of, so justice is based on who you know and how they like or don`t like you as a local or a foreigner. Supreme Justices are appointed by the President, so that makes justice a very political exercise. Having protection because of WHO you know is comforting for those within those circles, but lets face the fact that a majority of the population are helpless and at the systems mercy if all they know is WHAT their rights SHOULD be. I don`t know what the USA expected to happen post invasion on this front...but from what I have seen...and observed/read about in other places like Iraq, Nicaragua, etc...the results of our invasions and global "policing" are pathetic in comparison to the price in lives and dollars we have paid.

We typical, everyday Americans have no clue what and why our government does these things. We wake up one morning...such as it was in December our leader telling us we have ALREADY invaded a foreign land. No warning, no DECLARATION of war, not invited by any internal leadership group. Immediately we Americans get on our flag waving, Bible toting bandwagons in support of what our government has decided...without our participation or voice. I truly hope after this past decade of demise in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan that we are finally learning our lesson. Our military actions are NOT appreciated. The collateral damage of our actions are NOT acceptable. We the people can no longer afford to blindly agree to the machinations of our flawed leaders, political or military. We truly should become the moral, righteous nation we claim to be...even a Christian nation if that is what you want (see my recent blog on that topic).

Poetry in life continues to rear its sometimes ugly head. I cant claim to know why the various country leaders got together to bring Noriega back to Panama just before the anniversary of that unfortunate invasion this month. What politics are in play for passing this Noriega "hot potato" back and forth in the international justice arena for over 22 years? We (Americans and Panamanians) paid a huge price to "take him into custody", and now nobody wants this ugly bundle of human tragedy and waste.

For me the question always is...why does my country spend the money and lives on taking out some of these tyrants in the "bring them to justice"? What happened with justice for the hundreds and possibly thousands of innocent Panamanians who were killed during that short invasion and assault? Why is the guy we were after still alive almost into his 80s, while so many young, poor and middle class Panamanians are forever lost to their families and hopeful futures? Millions of dollars have been spent in international courts and tribunals and sustaining this one pitiful life in jail...for justice...while no one seems to care about the justice of all those Panamanians seen in the video above. How does this make sense to anyone?

These issues are not very comfortable for typical Americans to discuss or rationalize. We dont want to face the facts of our own barbarianism in world affairs. We don`t want to face the hypocrisy of our hidden agendas and power brokering ways that do not particularly defend the rights of all men and women equally. Yes, we have done many noble things in the two World Wars of this century. Our country has spent considerable money and resources on famine relief and rebuilding countries we have helped tear down through the ravages of war. The question we should ask ourselves is WHY do we continue this cycle of tearing down and building up again...and in most cases getting no respect or appreciation for it? I think we have to face the music that much of the world looks at Americans in a very different light than we see ourselves. We might want to start considering that it IS important how the world views us from a standpoint of trust and stability. Most Americans back home that I talk to have very little concern about how foreign countries view us. As long as WE feel good about ourselves...that seems to be the only thing that matters. Yet, I would argue that in the new globalized world we live in with huge reliance on interconnected economies and ruling international institutions...our reputation and true morality is more required than ever before in protection of our OWN interests and sustaining our future in the US of A.

Most of you will not understand the lyrics to Ruben Blades song above. Most of you will not connect with the images of the charred out buildings and bodies on the ground if you have not been in Panama City and met these people face to face. I will tell you though...that we continue to live with the fallout of this action. We Americans living or working in Panama are the face of those who invaded. The few locals who are "happy" about our invasion are those who profited or took power from the vacuum we produced when we left a short time later. A majority of people here RESENT the fact of our invasion...even if they are also happy that Noriega is gone. Their question justifiably is...why did we have to kill so many innocent people to do so? Why could we not have just paid someone to take him out individually? Why could we not have worked behind the scenes politically and otherwise to replace him or get at him? We may never understand the answers to those questions...but I have never identified with the USA policy of non-assassination of despot leaders in the world or in-clandestine operations...yet we readily defend our carpet bombing, strafing skills and expensive Drone planes firing on indiscriminate targets. Something is hugely askew with our perspectives on morality.

As we Americans enjoy our holidays and contemplate a New Year, I hope we spend some time thinking about the motivations and results of our actions as a country...and hopefully commit to a more peaceful, patient, and yes...Christian...approach to our problems and conflicts throughout the world.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Panama, France and "laissez-faire"

Recent political news in Panama features conflicts between President Martinelli of Panama and France`s leader President Sarkozy. It seems that just after Martinelli`s visit to France to review among other things the terms and conditions for the release of former dictator Noriega for return to Panama custody...Sarkozy chose the following week to claim that Panama is not cooperating with them on collecting taxes from their countrymen or corporations in Panama. I guess the meetings in France did not create good karma for whatever reasons. Now Panama authorities are retaliating by cancelling business and finance deals with French sources on some of the major projects going on in Panama.

Regardless of France`claims, I as a foreigner living in Panama can attest to the fact that Panama and its banks have made it much more difficult to open accounts and do business as foreign entities in this small Latin country. It strikes me as somewhat disingenuous of France to make this claim based on what I have seen first hand of the changes and increased taxation taking place in Panama.

What might be more interesting on this front has been the many comments and reactions I have read internationally to this charge. It is quite obvious that France, the USA, Great Britain, and many other Western countries have found themselves in more desperate hard times than they are willing to admit. There is no doubt that there is significant cash flow LEAVING these high tax countries. Of course, the real issue is that it is not foreign money leaving these former economic powerhouses...but significant domestic funds are leaving for better opportunities and lower taxation as well. While it is no shock that these countries are trying to stop that exodus of is still arguably immoral and illegal for these governments to do so. What they are in fact admitting is that they have allowed their systems to become upside down in debt and social entitlement to the point where their governance is unsustainable. It is much easier to blame a country of less than 4 Million inhabitants for your troubles than to accept blame and take REAL measures to give your constituents real incentives to stay the course behind your leadership economically and otherwise.

While few of us really understand the powers that function behind these superpower trading blocks, there is no doubt that Centralized global funds are running scared. There are huge discrepancies between the economies of many of these main political and governmental partners. They have truly grown "too big to manage" versus "too big to fail". The "Superpowers" of current western persuasion are trying to unite in their efforts to stop the bleeding of funds leaving their losing propositions for more upside elsewhere in the developing world. If people`s votes in these supposed democracies vote against investment and for highly taxing retained profits...the money will find a way to go elsewhere. And yes, you can see a lot of it in the Panama construction boom and rise in domestic and international financing here.

Outside of losing military protections in the canal zone, I find it hard to identify motivators for Panama to work WITH the USA and other superpowers in sustaining their high tax systems. Cant any of these players just admit that "globalization" is here to stay and that tomorrows winners will be those countries who offer the best incentives and lifestyles for living, working and investing within those few countries? Must the world continue to bear the saber rattling and cries of "fowl play" from governments that have been upside down economically for decades now? Must countries like Germany, Switzerland and even Asian countries like China, Taiwan and Singapore continue to bail out the former empirical powers of the West?

Western Civilization has overall lost its edge on managing productivity and profits. They continue to fail in legislating moralities and redistribution of wealth. Technology and globalization has now irrevocably taken away any monopolistic opportunities for superpowers to hog resources or control global money flows. Even the recent unconstitutional taxes that the USA has passed will ultimately fail to rescue their sinking ideology. Only continued market competition between regions and states will keep a real score on who wins the global competition on profits and upward mobility. I would argue that Latin America is getting set to realize significant, sustainable growth primarily because they are now more independent of the superpowers to do so. The USA has lost its insider relationship with these countries...primarily because it has been so preoccupied with fighting terrorism. Unfortunately, they have gotten so caught up in the fighting that they have forgotten it takes money and productivity to create and sustain the machinations of warfare. It is a losing proposition I am afraid. Just look at the lack of fanfare over the USA`s complete pull out of Iraq. Where are all the bands and flag-wavers on this one?

So, this brings us back to little Panama. While all of this global hoopla has been going on over terrorism and EURO meltdowns...Panama and other countries in this region have been growing fast and furious. Banks are full of cash, and unemployment rates are next to nothing....and now the likes of Sarkozy and USA voices come out of the woodwork crying about their loss of revenues and investment to these little Banana Republics.

While all is not perfect in Panama...and I fear they are living and investing in the same track as the USA did historically with big debt against irrational income expectations and is little wonder Panama and other democracies in this region are garnering such huge upticks in economic growth and production. France and other Western powers should simply focus more on encouraging their citizens and domestic companies to become more productive and competitive. Quit making it so easy for the Panamas of the world to pick your pockets of prosperity. After all, "laissez-faire" is a French word and concept...meaning an environment "in which transactions between private parties are free from state intervention, including restrictive regulations, taxes, tariffs and enforced monopolies...and literally means "let do", but it broadly implies "let it be", or "leave it alone."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Why the Average American Investor will always get "shafted"....

--These guys...Paulson and Bernake...are the biggest manipulators and culprits in the manipulation of markets that were supposedly regulated and "free"--

This article about how the US Secretary of the Treasury Paulson gave hedge funds advance word of the government bailout of Fannie Mae is just the latest of many instances where government and SEC insiders get a huge advantage in the American markets over the average American investor. The people MAKING the rules are continually BREAKING them...without reproof.

I continue to believe that investors in the American markets will never get a fair shake while the market manipulators or their lackies are running the SEC and Wall Street. The "old boys club" continues to be alive and well as it always has been. A very small fraction of inside traders get caught or convicted. It is only the middle level or small time players who get taken to the cleaners when someone accuses them...while the guys at the top like Paulson always have a finger to point elsewhere or run under the cover of the most expensive lawyers Wall Street can afford...which are the "best".

I was a licensed investment broker in the mid 1980s and have seen this stuff from up close and personal. It sickened me then, and it sickens me now. These machinations are a big part of the reason I got out of the broker racket. Unless you are part of the inside track machine, you might want to reconsider the idea of investing in direct stocks.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ephebophilia, Paraphilia or Pedophilia at Penn State

Collegiate sports has been rocked recently with an evolving scandal regarding Ephebophilia activity by a long term coach at Penn State University. It seems that a number of victims have now come forward to indict one Jerry Sanduskey, their former defensive coach...who is now defending himself against his accusers. The report that another staff member observed him in the showers with a young boy years ago doesn't seem to phase his claims of innocence. Of course, anyone with experience with Pedophiles or "Paraphilias" knows this is part of their psyche. They can never acknowledge the power or control of their addiction. Many of them are married with children...which is usually more about covering up their true nature than for any real drive towards women and family.

First, lets clarify the differences between Pedophilia and other Paraphilias per Wikipedia...
In research environments, specific terms are used for chronophilias: for instance, ephebophilia refers to the sexual preference for mid-to-late adolescents, hebephilia refers to the sexual preference for earlier pubescent individuals, and pedophilia refers to the sexual preference for prepubescent children. However, the term pedophilia is commonly, but incorrectly, used to refer to any sexual interest in minors below the legal age of consent, regardless of their level of physical, mental, or psychological development. Acting upon ephebophilic preference is illegal when the adolescent is below the legal age of consent.

The nature of where these "philias" come from are up for debate. Up until 1973, homosexuality was deemed an illegal sexual deviation. Obviously most fundamental religions denounce it as deviant and sinful sexual behavior. While I have no first hand understanding or experience in homosexuality...I have learned that there are many adult "homosexuals" who function quite well in society and based on the frequency of those leaning that way, I tend to say "live and let live" in people`s private sex lives. On the other hand, when it comes to children and minors as sexual is time to draw the line. I have had enough first hand experience to know the devastation experienced by victims of these Paraphilias. I fear that these conditions are much more pervasive than most of us can imagine...and to that end we must all make ourselves aware and help minor children or family members avoid the potentially devastating experience of being a victim to adult predators.

Until recent years, I think most people unfortunately ducked their heads in the sand on these issues. Sex and sexual deviations have traditionally been "hush hush" as topics of conversation in traditional society. It has always struck me as ironic that while a majority of people are uncomfortable in a serious conversation about their sex-lives or preferences, these same people can be the quickest or most entertained when it comes to sexual humor. Perhaps we cover up our sexual insecurities by making fun of that which is most core to our being as humans and part of the animal kingdom.

Admittedly, I am not a professional psychologist...or sexologist...who specializes in these things. Yet, being a rational and "worldly" guy, I think I have some pretty solid guesses on causes and effects of sexuality and some of its deviations. I have two core theories...some of which was gained by reading on the subject...and some others...well, by experience...

1)Sex can be casual, or sex can be relationship based. These are the same actions based on different drives or needs. Some people are comfortable limiting their sex lives to long term relationships...while others thrive on variety and short term liaisons. I will leave the morality issue of all that to others for judgement...but I think both applications are common and not necessarily damaging unless there are unhealthy motivations behind the actions. Most people are passive and some are aggressive regarding their sexuality. I suppose some people have bigger "sex drives" than others...but I also think repression and guilt are associated with many people who have little sexual outlet. Consensual sex between any two adults is their own business.

2) The cause and effect of sexual repression and guilt will often lead to deviant behaviors such as we see in Hebephilia and other paraphilias. Many people who I have read about or talked to on this subject have come from some seriously "Victorian" cultures or families. Many were rejected sexually by "normal" sexual prospects or had general inferiority among members of their own sex in competing for the opposite sex. With homosexuality, I think there is something to genetic tendencies in this regard while others may be won over to the practice over time and peer pressure integration. Its not a simple "black/white" issue in my mind...and I think the paraphiliacs are in the same boat. Some act on their tendencies and others don`t...but I think there is a much larger percentage of our population who have these tendencies than anyone is willing to admit.

If that is the case, I think we are just seeing the "tip of the iceberg" when it comes to this Penn State case. While this one case is probably being way overblown and over-reacted to by the IS about time society took a realistic view and stance on protecting the young victims of these crimes. To a degree, much of our society is as guilty as the whole coaching staff who supposedly "looked the other way" when they found out about these reported actions by their fellow coach. I have personally seen "up-close and personal" the denial and ignorance of the average person and the legal authorities on this issue. It is definitely time we do something about the pervasive ugliness of this problem and not only prosecute perpetrators...but get them help to deal with their serious illness while also educating children on how to defend themselves against potential aggression.

I think we don`t talk to kids about this because we want to "protect their innocence" on the subject...and in many cases we don`t want to acknowledge their own sexual awakenings at earlier and earlier stages of their childhoods. But, the cat is out of the bag...and it is my belief that it is better to risk a conversation ahead of time than take responsibility for something happening to a child that you could have avoided.

Here are some suggested guidelines I have read about towards having this conversation with minors... (some taken from this helpful article on the subject...)

First, you should be suspicious of someone who seems overly interested in your kids, especially if they're always angling to be alone with them. Unfortunately, this can go overboard to where parents don´t allow their kids to have any meaningful relationships or physical contact with adults. Our culture now seems quite paranoid about hugging, touching or kissing on the most casual basis...and even among family members. The hard part of parenting a child will be knowing what is inappropriate while allowing the child to experience family intimacy...and eventually sexual intimacy...without a stigma or guilt feelings. After all, guilt and repression in my observation leads to other forms of sexual deviation and lack of normalcy.

Tell your kids to never get close to a car if someone stops and asks for directions, lest they be snatched.

Make sure you know what your kids are doing on the computer. Tell them never to meet privately with anyone they have met online and never to give out personal information, like where they live.

Children should also know what to do if they get lost. It's helpful to give them a prepaid calling card to use if this happens: They should memorize their phone number and address. Tell them to call the police if they can't find you or reach you on the phone, and never to accept a ride or wait alone with an adult they don't know. If you're coming to fetch them, tell them to wait in a store or restaurant -- someplace where there are plenty of people around.

The relationship with your child is paramount to having them trust you. If they trust you to tell you even "bad things", it is more likely you will know about anything untoward happening to your child. I think it important to tell your kids at an early age that strangers, even other "kids", should never touch their genitals. Hopefully this is done in such a way as to make the child feel comfortable with their genitalia while being protective of themselves at the same time. There are many books and articles written on this subject for helpful suggestions.

Finally, what to do if these actions are observed or suspected... Obviously the staff at Penn State did NOT react appropriately. Pedo or Hebephilia when observed or reported by a minor should never go unreported. Police and various medical and psychological practices are available in most countries to deal with this crime. Knowing and not reporting is part of the crime. It is not going to be pleasant...and one wants to be quite sure of the charges before making them...but if there is little doubt about what has happened, it needs to be reported and dealt with immediately.

Remember, pedophilia and other psycho-sexual addictions are not curable. There can be treatment and/or incarceration, but a person who is mentally sick in this way will not change and cannot be allowed alone time with minors.

Here are some linked public sources of support and help on this subject:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thoughts on "Inequality"

Recent world publications have been profuse on the theme of fighting "inequality" between the rich and poor of the world. There is no doubt in my mind that the differences between rich and poor are far greater than they were just 30 years ago. The reasons for that are too multiple and complex to go into for this simple blog...but lets just accept it as our current assumption in global economics up for discussion.

As I have been reading a bit lately concerning the United Nations and its sub agencies on this issue, it seems quite obvious that they see bigger government programs and World Bank type intrusions to be the quick answer to this obvious problem. The biggest problem I have with this is that they primarily work with domestic governments who are actually primary players in perpetuating this reality of disparity between the haves and have nots. Most leftist leaning governments have destroyed regular enterprise by taking them over and trying to redistribute the goods to their massive supporters of poor, uneducated voters while keeping the best for their "own".

I have spent my adult decades trying to better understand global economics as it relates to the poor and uneducated. I have purposely traveled and exposed myself to some of the worst neighborhoods and ghettos...from the USA to Mexico to many of the rest of Central and South American countries. One thing has been uniform in all of those countries, including my own. No matter whether markets or currencies go up or down...the poor and disenfranchised live pretty much the same reality. Even if they get more assistance from public or non profit funding somehow, the distance between them and wealth remains the same.

It is quite interesting to observe the past few years the number of governmental overthrows...especially in some Middle East Arab states. While there are varying causes for these the bottom of most is the inequality of distribution within their country or system. Rulers, especially from third world countries, seem to all read the same book about how to "rape and pillage" their own country for self and live like royalty while "in office". It continues to amaze me how long the huddled masses put up with this obvious hording for personal or family gains in their various countries for decade after decade. In most cases this has gone on so long, it would be challenging to take over and know what assets are where within many particular governments.

It seems quite clear to me that there is an insidious and conscious cooperation between various nation states to support so many of these ruling tyrants. Between the United Nations, and the various sub organizations such as the "Group of 77", UNESCO, the "G20" group of nations...and even tack on the block trading zones of NAFTA, the European Union (currently "dis" union), and various summit groups all over the see on a huge scale the inter-operable network of states and their global organizations working to "organize" and arguably manipulate a world order that are not necessarily based on the majority of people`s better interests.

Lets face it, there is POWER in leading the huddled masses...whether as a benevolent dictator, or a barbaric totalitarian. When so many states have controlled so many global industries and resources for so is hard to wrest away the control buttons and codes from those few global leaders who control them. Spoils go to the "victors", and this last century of two World Wars and various global "conflicts" between nations has led to some pretty dire consequences for those nations or regions that "did not win".

The carving up of the world between the "Allies" of post WW2 divided nations and cultures into unnatural and inhumane borders between families and religions. From there quickly went up the walls between East and West, North and South. The rush was on for statist domination of the world as the USA continued to expand on its role as the global "policeman" and superpower...while Russia and China moved in kind to protect their "interests" and share of global assets and resources. In my early years, the leaders of note were Nixon, Nikita Khrushchev (a man named "Stalin" preceded him), and the worlds largest population was lead by Mao Zedong and after him by Chiang Kai-shek. Beyond the superpowers we saw the rise of revolutionaries such as Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein, the Shah of Iran, Gaddafi in Libya and various mini kingdoms on the continent of Africa. At the macro level, you had three "Super Powers" using 3rd world countries as battlegrounds for their economic, cultural and geographical controls of resources...whether it be people, oil, water or other advantages pursued. Of course, the arms race that resulted from this global competition has turned into the major population control tool. One can imagine these leaders agreeing behind the scenes saying who, what, and where can be bombed or allowed to enter Civil War in order to have less poor mouths to feed down the road.

Again, this scenario is so huge and multifaceted, we can`t begin to adequately analyze it in a simple blog. The main point I am trying to illustrate is that "inequality" is a largely "institutionalized" reality of global powers and dictatorial regimes who control the worlds resources...and DISTRIBUTION of those resources. If those powers REALLY wanted to get together to help the poor and uneducated catch up a bit on their own advantaged families and royalties...they could. The poor are not "institutionally" stupid. They are just without money or position to change the structure of distribution and spend significant portions of their measly incomes supporting those powers that be in the form of "taxes".

Changes are quickly taking place I believe in today`s world. Some of these changes are good and welcomed. The advancement of technology via cellphones, computers and the internet has allowed the global masses to have almost equal access to information and communication that used to be reserved only for the states, military and global corporations. Self education is more readily available through these modern tools for those who really want to pursue it. Enough of the poor and disenfranchised are doing so to make a difference in political and economic waves of today. We will soon see mobile money and other transaction options allow the majority of people who have no bank accounts or credit become major factors in their region`s economic reality and GNP.

Inequality in today's world will not remain dormant or accepted. The question now will be to what ends and legal processes the newly educated and connected poor will go to claim their equal access to the worlds assets and resources? The "natives" are getting more restless than ever before...and with today's global economic meltdown, I predict there will be more significant exchanges of fortune than in any other time in recent history. There will be economic wars, cultural wars, and yes, outright wars between powers to gain advantage over the next reshaping of the worlds borders. There will be more governments toppled before this new parity is in place...and less "centralization" or isolation between countries and peoples...primarily because islands are no longer profitable or sustainable.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, a new "world order" is coming...and while it is too early to say whether it will be better than the old one...lets hope that it is...because the old one cannot endure. There is a current vacuum of true leadership...and this fact alone could more quickly contribute to the rise of individuals within the world to hopefully foster more inter-connectedness around the globe and a more even distribution of opportunity. I think the new equality will center around some form of new globalized agreements...connected to more localized community and cultural governments. The model of city and state versus "country of origin" will make a lot more sense going forward in governing and protecting the "rights of the people". The pyramid of power has been upside down too long...and I personally welcome more activism and controls from the family and local community on DOWN to the "Federal" level of controls. We can start by simply re reading and reinforcing the Constitution of the USA which first presented this concept in ways that are still malleable and practical.

Here`s to earned equalities...protected by international laws.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

On the Rich Serving the Poor...

Since my last post on "Prosperity Doctrines", I have had a number of updated thoughts on money and the contemporary culture we live in.

It seems obvious to me that the current world economic system has created a global version of "class warfare". We have the "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrators demonstrating in many major cities of the USA currently. We have syndicates and labor unions demonstrating in the streets of North America and Europe against government cutbacks or limitation of powers because of economic realities that don`t allow for the entitlements and securities that these groups have grown to count on. We also have broken government coffers in Europe, such as Greece and Italy, who now have the masses in the street demonstrating against austerity measures forced upon the whole country by their creditors throughout the European Union.

It is quite understandable to me that the poor masses would be angry at their leadership for squandering their GNP and on top of that billions of borrowed funds to sustain an unsustainable socialist model. I´m sure there is also considerable corruption and misappropriation of state funds by the systematic leaders of those countries...and the poor and working class are mad as hell. Yet to me the problem always comes down to...we all get the governments we deserve when we hide our heads in the sand or blindly accept whatever filters down to us common people from the institutions we either elected or willfully submitted to with our tax dollars.

Lack of wealth is not because there is none, but because a majority have not EARNED any. In many cases this is not the fault of the masses as they have historically been lied to and gone along with false promises based on false pretenses...which is usually about the powerful holding on to offices they don`t really deserve. Many of these leaders have skewed the systems so bad with high tax and inflation to where there is little incentive for anyone to get creative and try and make things better. Instead they have been told that if they just "tow the line" and support the government, they will somehow be magically taken care of in their old age and or infirmities. This to me is like your child telling you to give them all your money now and they promise to take care of you when you are old and can`t work anymore. This never works...hasn't in the history of governments or ruling systems, and isn't working any better in the US of A.

As often happens during hard economic times, revolutionary figures and voices arise to try and manipulate the times to their wants and needs. In major revolutions and wartime, morality gives way to passion and anger. The masses are overcome by a sense of injustice and then begin to repeat some of the immoralities that were previously used against them. Blind revenge and anger overcomes rationality and reason.

There is no time for due process of law in lawless regimes. For sure there is no money for justice on behalf of the poor or disenfranchised. It usually comes to a point where masses have to physically revolt and sacrifice lives and livelihoods in order to reestablish order and justice within their borders. We are currently seeing this in many Arab countries whose poor have for so long lived at the end of the bread and information line. One would be foolish to think these events could not happen in Western first world countries. The masses are definitely restless in this day and age...for good reasons.

I think the best answer for the majority of humanity is to be uniting their voices and actions more in order to reestablish values and wealth systems...starting from the ground up. A new economic order has to start with individuals in localities who are willing to stand up for themselves against tyrannical leadership, whether that be a dictator or a whole statist institution. While everyone likes to hope this can be done peacefully and over time through due process of laws...most people don´t have the patience...or the freedom within a pursue these changes peacefully. When the world is so marked with governments willing to use the defense systems and armaments of the people against these same people...there is usually only a bloody and violent alternative. We have unfortunately seen it many times this past century, and we don`t seem to have learned much from these conflicts and keep heading back down that same path of cause and affect. Some people make huge profits from war and conflict...but the majority lose big time.

Most countries in the world are run by the moneyed elite. Even in the USA, probably still the best current system of government and justice the world has as an example, the leadership has evolved into a two party money-fest where the prize of leadership and controls goes to those with the most money. Elections are bought and sold through this system every couple of years. There are really no realistic financial controls on the election process that allows a leader without wealth to successfully run for office. This creates a corrupt system of "good ole boys" and entitlements of privilege that are definitely not resembling of "justice for all". In today`s system, justice is bought and paid for in way too many cases. The poor and uneducated do NOT get the same level of representation in our courts of law...and it is little wonder that a majority of our governmental leaders are lawyers who constantly study how to interpret and use their own advantages and interpretations.

So, now in response we have the revolt of the poor and middle classes, not only in America, but throughout the world. Is this any big surprise? Not if you have a basic understanding of world...and American...history. Inequality and false justice are fueling the fires of revolution and discontent. Many strings are being pulled in political and economic circles that lead to wars and "cleaning the slate" of injustice and inequality. Unfortunately, in my view many of those "strings" are being pulled by some immoral and hideous manipulators who can and will gain from upheaval in the worlds economic and political makeup. There are some powerful forces BETTING on the demise of free trade and true democracy. Hitler started his rise to power with the poor and working class who were disenfranchised from the bad ending of WW1, and we would be foolish to think another similar type of leader cannot arise in today`s scenario, maybe within our own country.

When the masses start believing that they are entitled to instant resources and power...there will be revolution. When the masses start believing they are entitled to jobs and equal pay for unequal work or ability...there will be revolution. When governments start reneging on their promises to their citizens based on heavy taxation or regulations that supposedly were going to bring security and peace to those masses...there WILL be revolution.

I personally see little hope of staving off major global revolutions. You can see in the recent bloody coups of taking out Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya what extremes tyrants will go to in order to hold on to power. I believe this same power sickness exists in many of America`s governmental leadership...and they will not go away quietly either.

The only hope to avert this revolution in my opinion is a new attitude of the rich and entitled. While it is not moral to "steal"...even from a rich is also not moral to "hoard" or place a blind eye on the plight of those less fortunate. There has to be a measure and movement of wealthy, educated persons and companies in our world to reach out and bring up the poor masses behind them. There are many RESPONSIBLE ways this can be implemented in the world.

True community in the purest sense of the word says "charity begins at home". The biggest problem with wealth distribution is that the walls continually go up between the haves and have nots. The poor must ask themselves what they have done to cause the wealthy to be afraid and separate themselves from them in community. The wealthy on the other hand need to examine the reasons why they have become afraid of the poor and those less fortunate. Tax deductible contributions are nice...but they have obviously not solved the problems of unequal opportunity and access to justice. I believe it is in rich people`s best interests to help those less fortunate more often and more directly. In my observation, governments and church institutions filter aid and support through so many hands and bureaucracies that very small percentages of that which was given to the cause actually gets directly in the hands or coffers of those who need it the most.

If more individuals just worked more to help their own family members who have fallen on hard times or have developed health problems..."society" would have less pressure to fill the gap for the downtrodden. If local or regional organizations had more resources devoted to their own needy populations, there would be less pressure at federal levels to qualify and filter help to those local needy. This was the system in the 1700s and 1800s...what has changed in the capabilities of individuals and families to take care of their own? Whole societies in our contemporary world continue to live this way, but it seems some of the richest and most advanced countries have lost their way on developing citizens who are self sustaining members of society. Western Civilization is falling under the weight of its demanding, overly entitled masses. This is exactly how our enemies want to take us down...under the weight of our own misappropriation of resources and manpower.

For me, the answer is...compassionate wealth with protection of ownership. Those that have must continue to INVEST in those that don`t. Blind giving in the street is not the way to get people off the street. Government programs in upside down pyramid schemes do not get enough resources to the bloodletting. I believe it will take more privatization of programs to turn things around at all quickly. It will take each one of us who are blessed or successful to one by one help one or a few around us to reach our levels of success. The poor will get nowhere tearing down the rich and successful...but the rich will get nowhere ignoring the need and devastation around them. Devastation and conflict will soon creep into their lives also if not addressed.

As stated in previous blogs, I was brought up believing that "to whom much is given, much is required". Hoarding and false pride based on riches is in my opinion not very fulfilling. Helping others in need when we have extra has for me been some of my most fulfilling moments.

One of my favorite songs of John Lennon and the Beatles is "Imagine". I continue to believe his vision of world peace and connectedness in this song is one of the best "hymns" to that effort.

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

(Yep...I`m a dreamer...)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Steve Jobs and "Greatness"

Most every educated person in the world by now knows that Steve Jobs, Founder of Apple Computers, Pixar, and various other companies passed away this week at the all too early age of 56. Most of us are in awe of what Steve Jobs accomplished in his relatively short time on earth. Most of us have no clue what his life was really like or what it took to get where he did in this life.

In an exchange with some friends today regarding Mr. Jobs over an article that was basically saying we all have the potential of success such as Steve Jobs had, I wrote the following:

”I think too much emphasis is put on simple “belief” and “positive thinking” type of messaging. The words that I think caused Steve Jobs successes are VISION and ACTION ( or “WORK”). Many people have great visions of grandeur but no work ethic. Many others are hard, dutiful workers, but are working someone else’s vision or plan. Many people want to think that just by believing hard enough or having a plan or vision is enough. Most people don’t reach their goals or vision…because they don’t work hard enough. In some cases their vision is unrealistic to their capabilities. In most cases they have no vision at all.

Much emphasis is and will be made of Mr. Jobs “vision”, but most will not focus on the hard work and SACRIFICES he made to accomplish his vision. Nothing is easy and nothing is for free in this life. Yes, life is harder for some more than others either because of lack of inheritances, baggage (emotional or otherwise), and just plain “all men are NOT created equal”. But, with hard work and vision we all can reach our own levels of potential…and that is what I strive for personally.”

Another thought I had yesterday when reading Steve Jobs obituary in the NY Times was…”what about these other people who died this week”? Here are SOME of the people who were on the “same page” as Steve…

Derrick Bell, Law Professor and Rights Advocate, Dies at 80

Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, an Elder Statesman for Civil Rights, Dies at 89

Sarkis G. Soghanalian, an Arms Dealer Who Aided U.S. Intelligence, Dies at 82

Bert Jansch, an Influential Folk Guitarist, Is Dead at 67

A.C. Nielsen Jr., Who Built Ratings Firm, Dies at 92

David Mitchell, Broadway Set Designer, Dies at 79

Marv Tarplin, Motown Guitarist and Songwriter, Dies at 70

Ralph M. Steinman, a Nobel Recipient for Research on Immunology, Dies at 68

Everett Ellin Dies at 82; Helped Computerize Art Catalogs

Peter Gent, Football Novelist, Dies at 69

Michael J. Drake, Planetary Scientist, Dies at 65

Mike Heimerdinger, 58, Who Helped to Coach Super Bowl Winners, Is Dead

Joseph Carmichael Jr., a Carrier Hero, Dies at 96

Lee Davenport Dies at 95; Developed Battlefront Radar

My thinking was…which of these people of note that died this week was the “greatest” human being? How would you measure such a thing? By how much money they made (to me that seems to be the number one qualification in modern society)? How many lives they “saved” by what they devoted themselves to? By how many obstacles they had to overcome to reach their final epitaph?

“Greatness” in my opinion is not about money or fame. Greatness is about being a quality human being to all other human beings. Greatness is about having grace and character…about having a balance between expectations of people…and forgiving them. Greatness is about what you do for others that no one knows about. Greatness is about the “motivation” behind your actions. Greatness is about honesty, integrity, values and discipline. Hopefully we all have had someone “great” in our lives…who spurred us towards the positive side of ourselves. Someone who “practiced as they preached” and yet embraced their humanity with all its flaws and imperfections.

Life to me has simply become a challenge of OVERCOMING. We spend our lives overcoming people and obstacles that get in the way of our vision(s). Sometimes it is simply overcoming bad thinking or that "tape recorder" in our heads from our childhood telling us we aren`t good enough or won`t amount to anything. From what I know of Steve Jobs, he overcame MANY obstacles to get to the level he did…yet I have a feeling he would have given every last cent he had to overcome the last obstacle to his future.

The other people on the obit list this week are known but less famous than Steve. This may seem morbid to some, but I read the obituaries once or twice per week. I read them from the standpoint of seeking inspiration. I find the obits to be the best summaries, at least in the eyes of society, of what a person accomplished and what their journey was about. I take encouragement from the inspirational things I read about them, but usually I am also reminded that in every life comes tragedy and trials. People get rich and go broke every day. Some people marry, some get divorced…every day. Some are born and some die…every day. The motivation I take from these obits is that the clock ticks the same for everyone, and no one knows how much time they have to accomplish their vision. So, let’s get on with it…LIVING...and writing our own future obituaries.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Government regulations killing the USA economy

There are probably hundreds of illustrations we could make about ways in which USA federal regulations are killing productivity and production in North America. Yet I think this article read today double underscores some of the lunacy going on within the last 40+ years of our government.

This article features Harold Hamm, his company being one of the most productive oil and gas producers in the USA currently, and it hits so many issues right on the head. His overall view is that America could be energy self-sufficient within 10 years if the same money that is spent on unknown technologies and less regulations were put into drilling the vast oil and gas reserves in Americas mainland. He also claims that the jobs and revenue that would be produced from freeing up the industry to meet its potential would pay off the trillions of national debt in short order. BUT, it seems that the powers that be in Washington are totally focused on new “green energy” sources and undeniably sustaining our “wonderful” relationship with the Saudis and others who gain so many billions from our oil consumption habits.

Now, before you get confused if you have read my other blogs about being pro renewable energy sources…I have not changed my mind about that. The reality is that we are 15-20 years minimum from many people`s estimation who are more informed than me from developing the technology needed to replace fossil fuels. In the meantime we continue to fork over billions of dollars to Arab countries and and the likes of Venezuela, who has all but declared war against American interests, to sustain our unquenchable thirst for oil and gas to keep our engines running…and I´m not just talking about cars and airplanes. Mr. Hamm`s opinion that I tend to believe is that we COULD be oil self-sufficient in just a few years if the federal regulators allowed them to explore and extract the vast resources we already have.

I`m sure many of us including myself are concerned about balance in all these things. I am pro environment though I probably don’t go to the extent of “hugging trees” to make a political statement. I think our government SHOULD have a role in protecting nature and the environment, yet it is unrealistic that we should think that every bird or tree in the country could be protected from development, including developing our own energy. Here are just a few brief clips of Mr. Hamm’s observations of federal mismanagement of the issue:

Mr. Hamm was invited to the White House for a "giving summit" with wealthy Americans who have pledged to donate at least half their wealth to charity. (He's given tens of millions of dollars already to schools like Oklahoma State and for diabetes research.) "Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, they were all there," he recalls.
When it was Mr. Hamm's turn to talk briefly with President Obama, "I told him of the revolution in the oil and gas industry and how we have the capacity to produce enough oil to enable America to replace OPEC. I wanted to make sure he knew about this." The president's reaction? "He turned to me and said, 'Oil and gas will be important for the next few years. But we need to go on to green and alternative energy. [Energy] Secretary [Steven] Chu has assured me that within five years, we can have a battery developed that will make a car with the equivalent of 130 miles per gallon.'" Mr. Hamm holds his head in his hands and says, "Even if you believed that, why would you want to stop oil and gas development? It was pretty disappointing."

Washington keeps "sticking a regulatory boot at our necks and then turns around and asks: 'Why aren't you creating more jobs,'" he says. He roils at the Interior Department delays of months and sometimes years to get permits for drilling. "These delays kill projects," he says.

A few months ago the Obama Justice Department brought charges against Continental and six other oil companies in North Dakota for causing the death of 28 migratory birds, in violation of the Migratory Bird Act. Continental's crime was killing one bird "the size of a sparrow" in its oil pits. The charges carry criminal penalties of up to six months in jail. "It's not even a rare bird. There're jillions of them," he explains. He says that "people in North Dakota are really outraged by these legal actions," which he views as "completely discriminatory" because the feds have rarely if ever prosecuted the Obama administration's beloved wind industry, which kills hundreds of thousands of birds each year.

It's hard to disagree with Mr. Hamm's assessment that Barack Obama has the energy story in America wrong. The government floods green energy—a niche market that supplies 2.5% of our energy needs—with billions of dollars of subsidies a year. "Wind isn't commercially feasible with natural gas prices below $6 per thousand cubic feet, notes Mr. Hamm. Right now its price is below $4. This may explain the administration's hostility to the fossil-fuel renaissance.

Mr. Hamm calculates that if Washington would allow more drilling permits for oil and natural gas on federal lands and federal waters, "I truly believe the federal government could over time raise $18 trillion in royalties." That's more than the U.S. national debt, I say. He smiles.

Another example of our government`s mismanagement of their regulatory spending and role in energy was the widely publicized failure of a California company, Solyndra, which after receiving $535 million in federal loan guarantees built a $733 million dollar plant which has now been closed and shuttered after just opening in January. Its construction featured “robots that whistled Disney tunes, spa-like showers with liquid-crystal displays of the water temperature, and glass-walled conference rooms. "The new building is like the Taj Mahal," John Pierce, a San Jose resident who worked as a facilities manager at Solyndra, said. All of this was constructed during a time when… “about 11.4 percent, or 950,801 square feet, of industrial space was vacant” in the Fremont, CA area. Another nice use of the taxpayers money wouldn`t you say?

The bottom line for me in all this is that America has many available solutions to jobs, clean energy, domestically produced gas and oil and even significantly higher tax revenues…IF we can keep the federal government from over regulating, micro managing and gouging the domestic energy producers in deference to foreign interests. The government should NOT be backing loans with your and my money to benefit one private business entity over another. This power was never granted in the US Constitution. It also seems very clear to me that the government is significantly in the way of economic recovery. Let’s remember that most jobs created by government are paid for by the taxpayer. Jobs created by enterprise and private business generates huge revenues for the government…and SUPPORTS the taxpayer.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Whats wrong with Ron Paul?

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 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 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

The Core Freedom..."Decision"

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.

Amercan loss of freedoms

(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

Reflections on 9/11

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:

I wrote:

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 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 response to 9/11. And we have let them...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Global Taxes

(Milton Friedman`s economic model appeals much more than the Keynesian economic model of Government intervention in markets...which seems to be running on steroids in this scary day and age. This article is prefaced with the video above that cuts to the core of this philosophical issue that has become so important to our future security...and in response to this recent announcement by CEPAL, a division of the United Nations)

If it were not bad enough that most domestic governments have almost unlimited taxation authority without approval of its constituents...we now receive the news that Global taxation is on its way as well. This article published by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC...or CEPAL in Latin America) should sound alarm bells to any free enterprise, free market thinker throughout the globe. While it is obvious there are no true free markets left in the world...those of us who continue to produce, dream and work towards individual sovereignty and self sufficiency should strongly react and prepare to fight this latest round of GLOBAL TAXATION.

This taxation is sponsored by and for the benefit of the United Nations and its various constituencies. While the UN was initially started on noble premises and to support freedom around the globe, I would suggest overall it has turned into an huge global body that represents the interests of the governments of the nations who form it and not necessarily the individuals within those nations. It has been almost powerless in the face of global conflicts and confrontations to unify and fight terrorism or statism. In fact, its policies have been very status quo for sustaining the power of statism more than individual rights for world citizens. More often than not the UN has supported socialism and world government as the solution for the ills of the world versus free markets and individual rights.

There are only five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (Russia, the United States, China, the United Kingdom, and France), who are all nuclear powers and have created an exclusive nuclear club whose powers are unchecked within the UN. And of course, one would question if anything is "united" about those five states accept for maybe their being the 5 largest producers of global armaments that continue to fuel all global conflicts including both sides of the war on terror and against the drug trade. One could argue that the UN can`t lose a war because it has interests on both sides of the battle. step...GLOBAL TAXATION in ADDITION to the arduous taxes these member states already impose upon their citizens. Personally, I wouldn't have a problem if these nation-states wanted to appoint a percentage of THEIR domestic taxes and incomes to help "global warming" and poverty issues in Latin America or elsewhere. But no, what they are proposing is to IMPOSE new global taxes on the producers in the world who are already taxed to high heaven by those same states. They are calling it a "transaction tax", but rest assured this is just the first inch of a mile they intend to take.

So many issues arise with this proposal. Lets just focus on the Latin American portion of this agenda. ECLAC, or CEPAL as they are known here in Latin America, according to their own website...

"... is headquartered in Santiago, Chile, one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations. It was founded with the purpose of contributing to the economic development of Latin America, coordinating actions directed towards this end, and reinforcing economic ties among countries and with other nations of the world. The promotion of the region's social development was later included among its primary objectives."

Their admitted and historic basis of philosophy is that "Keynesian thought, the historicist school and the Central European institutionalists exerted a decisive influence in the Commission's early years. More recently, the focus has been on a revival of this line in inquiry, along with the new theories of international trade and industrial organization, evolutionary theories of the firm and the new institutionalism.
How comforting...

Lets dissect this for a moment. Keynesian thought is behind all these government "stimulus" programs where governments intervene in everything from markets, to currencies, to bailing out the losing large institutions that have such a poor track record of managing and maintaining themselves. How is this working so far? Has it been helpful and productive to take the moneys of the taxpayers and productive business people or corporations...and put it behind the losing entities and false financial pariahs who have run Wall Street for so long? Oh, and how about those billions that go to international relief in such places as Haiti, Afghanistan and all the other mudholes of the world? A majority of those funds end up in the pockets of the defacto rulers and/or middlemen...who represent those same countries to the United Nations! Does anyone else see this mad cycle of good money after bad and supporting losing causes?

I have news for you ladies and gentlemen...this institutional approach to governing the world and solving the economic "crisis" of the world is NOT WORKING. Money is being filtered and churned through these huge taxing authorities...and very little of it is getting down to the point of need. Sure, you see UN vehicles occasionally on the news delivering food or relief to starving, displaced people in Africa and other desolate places...but I would suggest that each truckload cost 10-20 times more per delivery than if that support was more localized or regional in its source. We truly do NOT have food shortages in this world...we just have a distribution and COST crisis...and the UN is doing little in that regard with all the billions it takes in. One reason for that may be the fact that in 1945, the UN had 51 members. It now has 193, of which more than two-thirds are developing countries. When it comes to the combined budgets of the UN, it is this General Assembly who has authority on how those funds are spent. Each member country...1 vote. That to me reads that the poor developing countries of the globe have control on the UN when they want to...just based on simple math.

A few more UN facts have to be pointed out for the purposes of this blog. Though the US has one vote of 193 members...we pay 22% of the $5 Billion budget. China pays 3.2% roughly. Russia isn`t even in the top 10...yet both China and Russia along with the USA has vetoing power over the whole UN. This whole scenario is whacked out. And now the UN wants to impose global taxes on ALL global transactions? WOW!

I encourage anyone to review-download the 2010 report from CEPAL titled "Time For Equality". While I don´t take issue with the overall philosophy of equal rights for all within a democracy and the world at large...I do take issue with the way and reasoning why institutions like this one perpetuate such a message. So much of what they say here sounds admirable and doable...yet so much of the fundamental philosophy underneath it shouts out "unprincipled equality"...such as suggesting that true democracy equals equality by way of REDISTRIBUTION. This is the fundamental error of the socialistic model. You cannot justify STEALING from the haves in order to support the have nots. Everyone has to learn to "fish". If society dictates feeding everyone equally regardless of their work ethic or entrepreneurship...history has proven that the power will go to the FEW institutional "fishing companies" who will rake their portion off the top and give the rest to the masses. Is this really an improvement over a "corporate elite" model or monopolies? At least monopolies provide REAL jobs and incentives. (no, I am not advocating monopolies...just making an illustrative point).

Where equality comes in is the right to fish...or a competitive environment. Much of Latin America`s economic inequality is actually supported by "protectionism" and foreign worker quotas. No one down here wants "competition" for jobs. They want "protection" of jobs. They want jobs to be a "right", not something that is earned. They want a "status quo" they can always count on. This is just irrational in a competitive, real world. If a nation-state does not allow better educated workers to come in from the outside, they will continue to drivel on way behind the global curve. It is about competition...not rights...that limit many of these countries from thriving in today`s global economies. These markets are so controlled and protected...there can be no true incentive to change or grow with technology advancements. And when government jobs in many of these Latin countries equal 60-70% of the jobs available...there is an obvious waste and stench of bureaucracy and non productivity...since we all know that governments PRODUCE NOTHING. They simply exist to oversee the laws of the land and protect the borders. In reality, they just simply "redistribute" some of what they rake in from productive society. How can this activity require a majority of the country`s workforce? Why doesn`t CEPAL start working on THAT issue?

But no, it is easier to attack and vilify "inequality" of income especially in the private sector, than to look at the extreme wastes and instant millionaires produced by these socialistic states of Latin America. These are not TRUE democracies...and no matter how much tax you bleed out of the economic producers, you are NOT going to bring equality to these masses until you stamp out the cancer of "entitlement" and "redistribution" from your methodology. Instead, focus on freeing and equalizing MARKETS and unleashing the power of innovative INDIVIDUALS to grow businesses and create jobs much better and faster than governments can.

The pyramid of the solution is UPSIDE DOWN. The institutions like CEPAL and the UN are not going to provide the economic answers. Individuals and families are. Allowing them to tax on a global scale is NOT going to help the poor and disenfranchised. It is only going to take institutional dominance and political filtering to a whole new level of imbalance. This is "Reaganomics" in reverse. The trickle down of tax cuts...versus the "trickle down" of tax INCREASES. Governments should not be growing in size...companies and producers should. Until that changes in Latin America and will not see more equality just because you exercised some new taxes on every transaction in the world. My God...get a grip on reality!