Where have all the Politicians gone? Long time passing…

Where is Eric Cantor? John Boehner? Paul Ryan? Hmmm….

The news is about everything except them and their Obama blasting. In fact, if it weren’t for Sen. Cruz there would be no discussion of Congressional figures at all.

Where have all the politicians gone?

Maybe I will have to turn on Joe Scarborough again. Perhaps they are hanging out with him. Then again, maybe elections are coming and nobody wants to be in the news right now. Perhaps we will see a lot of unnamed sources for the next few months….

Also, where are the low life scandals that we had earlier this year? Where is the outrage that we once had over everything partisan?

Hmmm…

Where have all the politicians gone?

What a triangle: Constitution, Capitalism, and Democracy

When the purpose of one is to set the rules for governing our country, while the second describes how businesses access capital and markets, and the third is a method of controlling the first via politicians who are beholden to the wealthy to get them elected.

Capitalism, it appears, has all of the benefits from Democracy and none of the responsibility for maintaining the Constitution.

What do “We, The People” do?

Our three-legged stool has a bit of a lean, doesn’t it?

Thanksgiving 2013

This is the day when we say ‘Thanks’ to the Creator for all that we have. We do not thank the US government, the banks, the businesses, the US Military, our parents, our spouses, or ourselves. This is the day you and I give Thanks to the Creator.

If you do not believe in the Creator, you have no one to thank on Thanksgiving. It is meant to be a personal thanks to a personal Creator, a day imbued with recognizing that all that we have comes from a power greater than ourselves. No institution, no commercial operation, nothing that exists on this Earth is responsible for giving you what you have today. Only the Creator has done this.

Thanksgiving is uniquely North American although many countries have a harvest festival. Canada and the US give thanks to the Creator for the harvest. In those early times, it was the harvest alone that allowed people to live through winter. People did not control the bounty of the field. Only the Creator had that power and it was right and proper for people to give thanks for what they had received.

We no longer live and die because of the harvest from our fields. Today we live by the work that we do for others and the compensation we receive. Yet all things come from the Creator.

This is the day for you to say “I am thankful to the Creator for what I have been given.” This is the day for you to recognize that you owe something to the Creator and Tomorrow is for you to begin paying Him back.

Give Thanks today. Give Yourself tomorrow.

Shopping on Thanksgiving? You betcha!

My wife and I decided to shop Thanksgiving night.

I just read that 20% of people (in an unofficial poll) said they would shop Thursday night. We will be two of them.

Let me see if I get this right: We can either go shopping Black Friday with tens of thousands of other shoppers seeking special deals OR we can shop Thursday night for the same discounts and have 80% less people around grabbing our goodies.

Guess what we picked…..

RC’s Proposed Constitutional Amendments

Many years have passed since the Constitution has been adjusted to reflect changes in our society. And this is as it should be because too many changes indicates instability. However, as a result of technology changes and abuse of the legal system, it is necessary to adjust the Constitution or to write laws that clearly spell out safeguards for our Republic and its citizens. Here are some ideas for change:

Amendment 28: The people of the United States hereby declare their inalienable right to personal privacy and do hereby require warrants of probable cause by any government agency for:
1. the interception of, collection of, or analysis of personal communications.
2. the surveillance or identification of individual persons in public places.

Amendment 29: The people of the United States hereby declare their inalienable right to privacy in conducting their personal affairs and do hereby assert that ownership of personal information resides with the person. Information collected by governments, organizations or businesses, as a result of their public or private interactions with that person , shall not be distributed, stored, bought, or sold without permission; or without a warrant of probable cause; or except in those instances related to property ownership, business ownership, and criminal records.

Amendment 30: The people of the United States hereby declare that government and private electronic surveillance of open public spaces shall be posted. Such posting shall be visible to the public and all electronic surveillance of public spaces shall be made available in real time by electronic means to all persons.

Amendment 31:  Amendment # 17 is hereby repealed.
The people of the United States hereby declare that the Senate of the United States shall be composed of three Senators from each State, two  will be elected by the people thereof, for six years; and one will be appointed by the chief executive of the State for a 4 year term. Each Senator shall have one vote.
For Senators elected in each State the electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

Amendment 32: No federal sales tax or commerce transaction tax may be permitted or collected within the states of the Union.

Amendment 33: The people of the United States hereby declare that the seeking of reparations shall not be approved for events or conditions that were not illegal in the time period in which they occurred, when a period of 100 years has passed since that event or condition .

Amendment 34: No senator or congressmen may cast their vote on any legislation unless and until they attest to reading the legislation and have taken a proficiency test to demonstrate they know the content of the legislation.

Amendment 35: The people of the United States hereby declare that Congress may not pass new legislation that has not been previewed by the Supreme Court or its designated authority. The Supreme Court or designated body shall have 30 days to develop a Constitutional Impact Statement prior to a vote in the Senate or the House of Representatives. The legislation shall not be amended or changed during the review period.  The Constitutional Impact Statement, signed as affirming or denying the constitutionality of the legislation or elements of it, by each Justice, shall accompany legislation submitted to Congress for a vote and shall accompany the bill submitted to the Executive Branch for signature.

Bus Drivers, Politicians, Legislators, and Government Officials

It struck me that elected officials are similar to bus drivers and the citizens served are like bus riders. Bus drivers are supposed to follow their defined routes.They should drive them on time, too. Yet some citizens think a bus is a taxi and should take them where they wish to go.

We expect that the route of Bus Driver Legislators is to take the American people on a safe and well-planned route that serves the largest number of people to the places that people typically wish to go, like work or downtown, or home or to certain popular places where other people congregate. People who are not served by the bus route should not get on the bus because it will not take them to where they wish. Taxi cabs will take them where they wish to go, not buses. Buses will take one along a specific route and have specific stops where one can get on and off. The bus drivers keep to a schedule as best as weather and traffic allow.

What happens though when vocal bus riders begin to tell the bus driver where they wish to go and when they wish to be there? What happens when the vocal bus riders get other bus riders to join them and everyone begins yelling at the bus driver to go here or to do that or to speed up or to slow down? The bus driver will have to tell everyone that he must follow his prescribed route. If they want to do something different then they need to take a taxi. You can imagine how all that will turn out if the bus driver is weak or the bus riders are stronger than the driver and overcome him. The bus driver has to either take a strong stand and follow his route or do what the people want him to do. One will cause all the riders to hate him and the other will cause some of the riders to love him.

Imagine a bus in which the people at the bus stop elect the driver by popular vote. The bus driver follows the will of the people who chose him and follows no prescribed route but creates  a new one from the feedback he receives from the riders. Some riders will not be happy because they thought the bus driver would drop them off at their office. Instead the driver drops them off a half mile or more away because it is what the will of the people wish.

Imagine again that each time the bus driver stops to allow people on and off that a new vote is taken to choose a new bus driver. Those who got on the bus at the previous stop may be disappointed to learn that the bus is no longer going where they wish it to go. They must either get off that bus and look for another bus or else live with the newly intended route and hope that it does not change again before their stop.

Of course there will be anarchy if bus drivers simply follow the will of the people on the bus and if new bus drivers are selected each time there is a new bus stop. So some of the drivers band together and develop routes that they will take and then begin to sell the idea at every bus stop that these are the best bus policies that should be done. In some cases, the rules for choosing a bus driver are changed so that students don’t get to vote or tourists don’t get a vote to change the bus routes. More ideas are added to control the bus elections and bus routes until anarchy is abated and the people who routinely ride the bus pretty much get the same ride every day. But then neighborhoods change and companies change and seasons change and new roads are added and the Party of Bus Drivers no longer are doing enough for everyone. Many citizen riders are not satisfied with the old routes and they want a new one. Soon a new band of bus drivers emerges promising changes and providing hope that the bus route may be different if only the old band of bus drivers are replaced with a new band of drivers.

Ultimately, the selection of bands of bus drivers occurs once every four years instead of votes at each bus stop. Since more people get on bus stops one and two then at stops 5-15, it is decided that one and two should have representation equal to stops 5 through 15. Otherwise stops one and two are always at the whim of 5 through 15  and that is not fair.

By now you get the idea that to prevent anarchy, there needs to be rules about how to choose who is to govern and some kind of philosophy to guide that choice.

If Legislators are Bus Drivers who follow specific routes laid out for them, then Politicians are those who talk about their bands of bus drivers and the philosophy of bus schedule and bus routes. The government officials who are not elected are like the people who service the bus, serve the bus drivers, and publish the schedules for the bus routes.

So where does that leave the citizens who ride the bus but never vote for the driver or the schedule or the bus route?

You are just along for the ride. Stop complaining. Vote for the band of bus drivers you want, or take a taxi, or start your own band of bus drivers.

But now what do you do if the bus driver and his party serves the businesses along the route and not the riders? What if the businesses begin to influence the bus routes so the riders are picked up and dropped off near their businesses? What if the buses are no longer taking routes to serve the best interests of the riders at all but serve the riders to a minimum and the businesses to the maximum?

What if the two parties of the bus drivers begin to tell individual bus drivers ‘if you don’t support our philosophies and our policies then we will choose other members of our parties to drive the bus’?

Imagine a world in which the Alpha party of bus drivers and the Beta party of bus drivers select only the bus riders who will support their respective parties philosophy which is now determined by the businesses that want the buses to stop by their stores, to stop by their gas stations, to stop for lunch at their locations, and to do it at times convenient to them.

How do the riders on the bus ensure that the bus meets the needs the riders are paying for and not the needs of the businesses along the route?

Would you ride on a bus inconvenient for you that serves the needs of businesses along the route and not your needs as a rider? Would you vote for the Alpha Party or the Beta Party of Bus Drivers who will drive you to places you do not wish to go and will eventually drop you off someplace that meets your minimum needs? Would you choose the lesser of two evil routes that the bus driver is driving?

And what would you do if the Alpha and Beta Party of bus drivers had road blocks set up to prevent the Gamma Party of bus drivers being elected because they will change the bus routes completely?

And what do you do if the two Parties then begin to control the taxi business so that it is unable to take you where and when you wish to go?

What do you do when your options are limited because your choice is limited to just the two parties of bus drivers. Your thoughts?

Drive your own car? Does that work for you now? And does it work for the city you live in?

Distracted Living: iPad, Facebook, etc.

I just want to mention that there has been a significant change in my life since acquiring an iPad and getting a Facebook account.

I believe that a portion of the population is addicted to Facebook and that it was designed to be that way. It is an emotional addiction. There is a sense of urgency and importance to seeing ‘how many’ and ‘who’ Likes what you post on your wall. It would not surprise me to learn that their are behavioral psychologists involved in crafting and testing some of these features, layouts, and selections. There is also the social connection to see what your friends and family is abuzz about, too. There is no good reason to check my Facebook page 10 times a day, but I do. It is like a great dark chocolate candy wrapped in foil for the emotional connections it brings to ordinary people. I am sure that it has no effect on the Vulcans in our midst, agree?

What to say about iPad? The darn thing is designed to give you a distraction anytime you want one and even if you don’t. I play 12-20 games of chess on it every day. But not a single game is any good. I hit HINT whenever I don’t like the position that I am in. I am in those positions because there is no value in winning against a chess game. Besting a human opponent, or being beaten by one, is more of a lesson learned than 100 games on the iPad. Chess is fun on the iPad and it is not instructional about territorial control, combinatorial moves, or the use of the pin, the fork, or the check.

Where have both of these cultural icons led me? To distracted living, of course.

My blog posts have been less thoughtful, my actions have become less thoughtful, and I find myself avoiding anything that makes me think. I wanted to blame it on age and a lack of ‘conquering’ testosterone but that isn’t it. It is the distractions that are filling up my days and nights. They interfere with tasks, responsibilities, problem solving, and even with holding a conversation with another person.

Am I addicted to these two emotional implements? And by addicted , I mean it in the classical sense of addiction, i.e. it interferes with your life significantly enough that it is a detriment. The answer is ‘yes, I am addicted but I am not debilitated by it’. (Which is what every addict probably says, too. I am sure that I can quit Facebook and iPad at any time…right?)

I know there is probably an App for breaking addictions but I am not going to look for one for Facebook and iPad…for obvious reasons.

I am not your broken egg

‘You have to break a few eggs if you want to make an omelet”

To the government that thinks the wants of the individual must give way to the betterment of the country, the improvement of  society, or a healthier person:

I am not your broken egg, I am not your unintended consequence, and I am certainly not your collateral damage.

I am. You (the government) are not …unless I say so.

I am alive. You are not.

I have children. You do not.

I choose what is good and right for me. You do not.

Note to people who work for the government: The powers I invest in a government are not powers I invested in you. Remember that.

Reasonable Citizen

 

Where’s the money? Where’s the inflation?

Something is wrong in America.

The US dollar is MIA. The Fed has been printing money for a decade now and not a single hint of an increase in inflation. Why is that?

I have three ideas: first, the new banking requirements require a passel of reserves and some portion is simply being held in banks and out of the economy; second, the stock market is sucking up cash like a Hoover to raise it 25-30% in a single year. Every time the market goes up those multi-million 401K plans spend money to buy themselves more stocks.’ Cash for paper stock’ results in cash going to rich people and companies who are not spending it. They bought gold and silver, didn’t they? It is also going overseas and being held there. Money that is not in the economy and buying and/or selling is not impacting the inflation rate. It is zombie money. Dead, dead, dead.

Where is the cash? What was the money measurement (M3)  that disappeared a few years back? Didn’t it measure the amount of dollars in the world being held in reserve? The measurement has disappeared along with the money. Makes me suspicious.

If the zombie money comes back, it will eat your bank account as it raises inflation.

What is the end game here?

 

I used to care but things have changed…

Ah, Bob Dylan is so trenchant. He wrote Things Have Changed in 1999 and it is exactly how I and many others feel in 2013.

People are crazy and times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m outta range
I used to care, but things have changed.

When and how did I lose it? How in the world did all the good people in the world lose it at the same time?

1. You cannot hold a Washington, DC protest and get anyone to attend.

2. Economy is mediocre (at the best) and stocks are up 25-30% this year.

3. The President poops and then steps in it with the Obamacare roll out.

4. The Fed is trying to create inflation instead of preventing it.

5. All my favorite bloggers have become de-focused and mediocre (like me).

There is a collective mindset to blow America up by action and inaction. There must be something in our bellies that is making us all sick and we just want to expel it…. like green vomit everywhere.

It is almost as if we have given up trying to make things right. As if we have abandoned the dream of a better America. As if we are now collectively accepting SNAFU instead of working to make things right. We talk about our country like we talk about the weather.

“I wonder if it’s going to ran today” has become “I wonder if the government is going to screw up today”. Except that you already know the answer.

These are perilous times. A leader who speaks the common language and can point a finger at something we all dislike now has the ability to get us to do anything he wants by blaming somebody. Another Joe McCarthy? Perhaps.

It is discomforting right now….