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Vital Issues, Part II -- Corporatocracy

The United States was founded on the premise that "...governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." (Declaration of Independence)

There should be no "rulers" -- dictators, monarchs, emperors, etc. -- but, instead, elected officials should represent the will of the governed. Hence, such principles as "one person, one vote" have been established and perpetuated.

However, there is evidence that large corporations are exerting ever increasing control over government by means of large contributions to campaigns, the pressure of powerful lobbying groups, lucrative consulting and other employment offers to retiring legislators, not to mention possible out and out coercion and blackmail. The outgrowth of this corporate intervention has been termed "Corporatocracy."

Corporatocracy has no party. Businesses hedge their bets by contributing to candidates of both major parties. Citizens complain that ther…

VITAL Issues, Part I

This is the first installation of my Vital Issues -- that is, issues that are too important to allow our politicians a free pass. These are NOT answers... just questions with some footholds for comments. Please... contribute your comments, get your friends involved... TALK ABOUT IT NOW. Write your opinions -- and then send a copy to you congressman or congresswoman.

The rules -- no name calling, no finger pointing, no buzzword, no talking points. Let's work together to solve some problems and demand that out legislators do the same!

OK... here goes:

The problem: Our mounting national debt.

We would not run our personal lives this way -- why do we allow our government to operate with this incredible debt, currently $13.3 TRILLION and growing. We spend over 9% of the Federal Budget servicing the interest on the debt.

Do you think this is only the Democrats? Republican talking points would have you believe this. But when George Bush inherited a budget surplus, the Republican congres…

S**t or Myth? Or Both?

Are you one of those who believe the mid term congressional election doesn't matter? Folks... believe me... it is potentially the most important event in our lives. You might be like me -- I have a hard time being enthused by the likes of Harry Reid. He's condescending, two-faced -- in other words, a professional politician. However, if you find yourself believing what Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and the other Fox minions continuously spout, then you have a very short memory, and you're allowing yourself to be dangerously deluded. I just want to help you remember... here's some of the dangerous myths being circulated.

MYTH #1: President Obama is responsible for the TARP bailout.

REALITY: 100% false. TARP was proposed in September 2008 by Henry Paulson, George W. Bush's Secretary of the Treasury. Congress passed the Emergency Stabilization Act on October 3, 2008. The intent was to allow the Treasury to buy troubled, mortgage-backed securities, thus creat…

I Did it Lao Tzu's Way

Many things have been happening in my life. Not the little minute toe-stubbing stuff... more the big bolder falling on the head type stuff. It's not my purpose to write about it here -- just to note that it's been happening.

Yesterday, I was thinking about a long held belief I've had -- probably since being cursorily exposed to the philosophy of Lao Tzu, the originator of Taoism. Though I'm too resistant to dogma to become a Taoist in any strict sense, I do feel that many of the ideas of Lao Tzu hit a big ol' twangin' G chord in my heart. In particular, the central concept from which the name is taken -- The Way, or the Tao; and, additionally, the concept of wu wei, which, oddly enough, is well expressed in the AA Serenity Prayer.

"Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can't change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." Note that I left God out of it... you don't need God to use this "pray…

The Constitution on Mosques

First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...

Article II, Section 2: "...he (the President) shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed."

Just last week, Sarah Palin is seen on camera telling an Alaskan woman that she was working to "...elect candidates that understand the constitution."

Today, we hear, a woman who appears to be this same Sarah Palin urging, "Mr. President, should they or should they not build a mosque?"

Does Ms. Palin not understand the Constitution? Congress is prohibited from making any laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion, and the President has absolutely no power to establish laws AT ALL -- not in the Constitution. He should not offer an opinion... he should simply, as he has done, restate the content of the Constitution. Ms. Palin should take the time to read the US Constitution and stop cynically trying to stir up political contro…

The Wheel of Fortune -- America's Spin

About two chapters in to John Kennedy Toole's novel, "A Confederacy of Dunces", the character, Ignatius, cites De Consolatione Philosophiae, considered a cornerstone of thinking following the collapse of the Roman Empire. I had little working knowledge of this manuscript. When I attended school, the Dark Ages were referred to simply as "now." So, I may have forgotten whatever I originally learned.

As a refresher, I turned to my trusted literary authorities: Google and Wikipedia. Quickly, I learned that Consolation was written by the Roman patrician, Boethius, while on house arrest awaiting his execution by axe or clubbing -- the usual stuff of the sixth century. The book is related as a conversation between Boethius and Lady Philosophy. The Lady contends, among other assertions, that "...happiness comes from within." How Un-American... everyone knows that happiness comes from expensive shoes (lots of them), fast cars, rigorous practice of transcendent…

Don't Forget...

I'm not a fan of war as a tool of international relations. I like the saying, "If war were the answer, then there would be no questions." War makes more enemies than are killed or conquered. If someone killed one of my kids through an act of war, I would NEVER find it in my heart to forgive. In our middle eastern exploits, perhaps 500,000 civilians have died... that's a lot of hatred to face.

However... my heart is in a different place tonight. We have sent thousands of our soldiers to fight in Afghanistan. These are sons, daughters, fathers, mothers... friends and family. I can't imagine a lonlier feeling than to be in those dangerous, inhospitible locales, risking one's life daily, and living in the most uncomfortable, unforgiving environment on earth -- believing that Amercan's citizenry had forgotten me, or no longer cared why I was there!

It's our responsibility to know what our country's plan is... and if we can figure that out, then we shoul…

Trivial stuff

Bombers in Times Square, floods in Nashville, financial chaos in the Euro-zone... yes, these things bother me. But not NEARLY as much as this things bothered me today.

1. That one bicycle rider.

You know the one I mean... I'm stopped at the stop sign, a four-way. He's riding on the sidewalk, coming from my right. I start to pull out -- he jumps off the curb, without stopping, rides directly in front of me. I slam on the brakes. He's NOT a pedestrian -- he's on a dang vehicle and that's a stop sign!!! STOP fer cryin' out loud.

2. Probably the same guy, later in his car -- can't seem to find the turn signal.

Ok... I know it's really difficult to work the turn signal. You have to actually move your arm forward a few inches, flex your withered muscles to touch a probably disease ridden lever... and for what? You know you're going to turn so what's the difference. HEY!!! I DON'T KNOW YOU'RE GOING TO TURN! And I'm making potentially life af…

How to Make up Stories for Your Kids

How to Make up Stories for Your Kids (and Grandkids) I'm going to tell you how to make up stories for your kids, grandkids, etc., that they'll love and will forever etch out your place in their lives. In addition, these stories will put ‘em to sleep at bedtime, and keep them quite as a Packard straight-eight when in the car. I don't have an English Degree... never wrote a novel. My skills in this department were initially garnered from my Dad who told me similar bedtime stories when I was a kid, permanently damaging my mind, no doubt. I then honed this creative cutting edge with stories for my own three kids. Now I’ve extended into grandkids, nieces and nephews… even other people’s kids, so watch out. This is a recipe, or a template, not a fill in the blank. You have to make up the characters, plot, dialog, etc. It requires little or no skill, effort, imagination or intelligence… perfect for the average, worn out, nearly brain-dead working parent. 1. The chara…