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The Angry Liberal White Guy

Words to think about…or not.

Malevolent Misinfotainment

“Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn’t mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.”

Edward R. Murrow

Today there is dissatisfaction with the information coming to the public from the so called “Fourth Estate”.  In times gone the very term did not exist.  In antiquity there were three estates utilized primarily to place persons in classifications within in a society, these being: the clergy, the nobility, and lastly the commoners.  In America this delineation took on a fiscal slant: the wealthy, the middle class, and the poor.  Class systems have always plagued mankind and will continue if we persist in the belief that society must be categorized in order to succeed.

Then came the “Fourth Estate” described as “…a societal or political force or institution whose influence is not consistently or officially recognized.  “Fourth Estate” most commonly refers to the news media” (Wikipedia).  A further subset of this estate is the “Misinfotainment” estate which defined in the Urban Dictionary as “a class of media propaganda where entertainment combined with journalism developed for 24-hour television news networks is designed to instill emotional responses from viewers instead of providing facts.”

There was a time when every evening one could sit down and watch the “news.”  Usually for an hour each night, and perhaps after the evening shows air, we could watch reporting on the major events of the day.  For those who did not wish to wait until evening, newspapers were available in the AM and many read these tomes with their morning coffee or during breaks in the days work.  For the most part it was, as an old slogan from a 1950’s police procedural would state, “Just the facts.”  Little embellishment, and straight forward dissemination of information was the order of the day.  Mavens of the Media like Edward R. Murrow, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, Walter Cronkite, Harry Reasoner, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Diane Sawyer, and Dan Rather let us know what was occurring, and were not squeamish about the effect it had. Reporting the facts stood as the purpose, and the corporate sponsors would just have to listen as if they never wrote the checks that kept these people on the air.

At one point, it became about what was the best sounding story and not what the story actually said.   Anderson Cooper recently made a public announcement about the state of his sexuality that spread around the world like wildfire.  Yahoo news has had it as their lead piece in the TV section of their online feed for three weeks.  A Google search will force someone to go to the third page to find out what he has reported on that is not about being gay.  Are a person’s private predilections or beliefs so important that we ignore things that he might have done which are of value?  Obviously it is, as evidenced by the piece he did on a low level character actor marrying a well-endowed sixteen year old singer detailing for us that her endowments are all natural.

One question to ask might be about the “naturally endowed” teenagers in the world who are victims of sex trafficking or repeatedly raped in their home countries by soldiers of the opposition in civil wars currently being fought.

The totality of the inanity that is being offered in our news media proves that we have corrupted our minds with a plethora of nonsensical rants that fill our lives and guide the focus of all of day to day life.  Is it truly anyone’s business what two people do within the confines of a personal relationship unless that same affiliation creates distress or harm to either partner or others?

The recent outrage in a movie theater is an issue that has been growing for many years.  Some person of obvious mental deficiency decided to make final judgment on a group of strangers, and was allowed to do so because nobody noticed, or cared that this same disturbed individual was equipped as well as, or better then, a United States Armed Forces Special Operations soldier in combat.

Must we be forced to endure the follow-up story about the incident that has no relevance?  Do we really need to know that the President went there and did some visiting, and made some decisions that we would normally expect from the Commander-in-Chief.  Does the upcoming election really need to show how good a guy the President is.  Do we really need to know that both candidates have suspended character assaults in unity over letting the victims know they are thought of and prayed for? Character assaults that should not even have been there in the face of real problems and issues such as a madman killing people with the impunity offered by the Second Amendment?

Granted, the Second Amendment does not call for the murder of people, but the interpretation we have allowed of it has absolutely caused the situation.  Gun lobbyists scream from the rooftops every time someone speaks about putting checks and balances on purchasing a gun.  Is it better to know that a person is receiving his rights, then to allow someone who is using the law for his own benefit, and not exercising his rights, to murder and maim?  How can a rational population believe that citizens, not at war, must have the right to own a machine gun?

They can because the news media, in the guise of reporting allows it.  They continually communicate stories that might please the corporate sponsors, or fulfill a political agenda.  It is not the horror that is important, but how many commercials might be crammed into a given report.  It is about how we can get this done and report on really vital stories like: a small time character actor marrying a sixteen years old girl who is copiously and naturally endowed.

When are we going to be able to watch substantive reporting that is not driven by greed?

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Loquacious Lethargy

“The difference between death and taxes is death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.”
Will Rogers

So we come to yet another diatribe on the loathsomely illogical debacle that is the election system in America. It has become glaringly apparent that the public in general is being pathetically and intentionally bamboozled. The campaign is in full gear with invectives and inconsistent truths tainting the information mainstream. Each side has gotten to the point of, and this is an oversimplification, ignoring the genuine issues that affect all of America and its noble citizens. We are once more in the grip of the pundits spreading falsehoods, and misdirecting the public opinion about what is actually happening.

What we do not know is the depths at which we are being deceived. Is there a point where someone can stand on some metaphorical soap box and scream…Enough!

While this is a vision that would bring great relief in many while eliciting great strife in yet others, it is not likely to occur. We have come to a place where it is much better to fear then to act with rectitude towards that which reveals our true feelings, or continue the mendacity rampant in the crusade to achieve high office in this the “greatest of nations.” The rhetoric on the prominence of this country is deceiving in that the authenticity of the claim is dwarfed by the magnitude of information revealing the reality of what we have accomplished in the light of the rest of the world. Some disturbing facts show us where we have foundered the American Dream:

• The United States has the largest prison population and the highest rate of incarceration in the world
• The United States has highest crime rate
• The United States leads the developed world in child-abuse deaths. More than 20,000 American children have died over the past decade in their own homes attributable to family members. Seventy five percent of these deaths are children under the age of 4 and almost half under the age of one.
• America is 178th in infant mortality
• The United States has highest rate of teen pregnancy
• The United States has highest divorce rate, twice the rate of the next country (Sweden)
• The United States is ranked twelfth in the world for college graduates
• The United States is ranked 49th in Reading, Math, and Science among fifteen year old children.
• The United States ranks 23rd in per capita literacy rate.

Disturbing as these ratings are (all are verifiable but only to those who are fortunate enough to look it up and be able to understand what is being read) the most veracious of explanations comes down to a simple idea…it is our own fault. We have supplanted the responsibility of citizenship and for the safety of our children, and the education of the population to persons otherwise ill-equipped and unskilled.

Children are regularly and increasingly being educated by overuse of the news media that fears drops in ratings in lieu of factual reporting. Real education has been hobbled by legislation derived from elected officials who, historically, have not included educational professionals into the writing of educational legislation. We have allowed the system to be guided, funded, and administered using standardized tests which have consistently been found to be miserably ineffective yardsticks of things such as imagination, creativeness, and ability to succeed.

We have allowed our government officials to perpetuate the criminal justice system by allowing right and wrong to be secondary to conviction rates. We abuse and kill the very children who we have a moral mandate to protect prior to even giving birth in the first place. This is categorically attributable to the fact that, with few exceptions, judges are elected or held responsible to political agendas by those who appoint them.

The United States federal legislative branch costs the American public $30,275,229 per day to operate. That same body that is affirmed every first Tuesday after the first Monday in November has spent these funds to attack Universal Healthcare 33 times without success. What would be the normal reaction be in the average person being told no 33 times? Would the message ever get to the point where the ideal would become clear?

Is it a wonder why we spend billions of dollars trying to deny healthcare services such as education to young people about birth control? What of realistic care for battered family members who end up in the criminal justice system never to receive assistance that assures safety for the abused? Why not require these elected officials do something about literacy rates, and real education instead of engaging in character attacks against campaign opponents?

The question begging an answer is: why has it come to this? Many rejoinders might be offered, but the answer might still be elusive. Perhaps there is but a simple explanation. The complexity of the process has created an environment of fear. Dread of the future and what it begets. Fear of the forthcoming is certainly a realistic trepidation given the lack of altruism and the mendacious slant of modern electioneering.

While there are probably reasons that number legion as to the truth behind the situation faced in the election, there is little in way of understanding. We listen to polls, and wait for the next scandal while allowing massive amounts of funds to be wasted in the effort to choose who governs us, but is that actually what we want? What explanation can there be for fear? Perhaps we need to go to antiquity:

“To fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise, without being wise: for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For anything that men can tell, death may be the greatest good that can happen to them: but they fear it as if they knew quite well that it was the greatest of evils. And what is this but that shameful ignorance of thinking that we know what we do not know?” Socrates

Mrs. Sparkly’s Ten Commandments Award

I have been nominated for Mrs. Sparkly’s Ten Commandments Award

by – Raani York,  http://raaniyork.wordpress.com  Thank you so much Raani!

I need to answer some questions about myself, and here we go…

*Describe yourself in 7 words: Thoughtful, irascible, curious, caring, obstinate, hopeful, humorous

*What keeps you up at night? The next story I am writing

*Whom would you like to be? I am good with who I am.

*What am I wearing right now? Shorts/pajamas

*What scares you? Not being able to communicate.

*What are the best and worst things about blogging? The best thing about blogging is that the ideas and thoughts in my head have a place to be read by everyone.  The worst thing about blogging is trying to get more traffic to the site.

*If I could change one thing about myself, what would it be? My obstinacy in the face of things I do not want to do.

*Slankets, yes or no? Okay, I’ll bite – no?

*Tell us something about the person who nominated you. Raani is a true pleasure to read and her comments on my blogs have helped me when I am down.

My next step in this award is to nominate 10 others…Here we go…

http://www.fundsforwriters.com/

http://readlearnwrite.com/

http://linneann.wordpress.com

http://www.makealivingwriting.com

http://thewritepractice.com

http://tom-gillespie.com

http://www.wavygravy.net/

http://www.khanacademy.org/

http://annerallen.blogspot.com

http://www.freedomwithwriting.com

Other than Raani’s and a few others I am not a big follower of many blogs, but I have listed the ten that help me the most.   Thanks again Raani!

 

 

Kakistocratical Knavery or Karmic Kakorrhaphiophobia?

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

We face yet another major, life changing, destiny defining event in the near future. Once more we are tasked with the duty of selecting the next “Leader of the Free World.” It is a particularly problematical and potentially irksome task for anyone to take on. Given the reality that we are woefully misinformed about the issues and where the candidates stand on these matters, it can be said that the entire process is an exercise in futility. Yet, we must engage in this seemingly useless exercise or face the results of allowing the world to fall into anarchy.

If this were another time or place the idea of anarchism might not necessarily constitute an illogical or outlandish proposition. Unfortunately, this is not the idealistic world that might support such a reality. Most anarchists advocate the discipline from the point of view that the practice of this ideology is the only path to true freedom. We live in the most democratic of countries and freedom is the cause cèlébre of any and all candidates for office in this most “free” country. However, is there veracity to the principle of freedom or? Do the ideals we will be listening to in the next several months actually exist, or are they just snake oil being hawked from the back of a horse drawn wagon?

Exactly how free are we? There are a number of laws on the books that inhibit freedom for the individual. The Patriot Act can be used to deny us what the founding fathers would call “unalienable rights” in the name of National Security. Based on ethnic profiling, we have detained many people who fit the description of being an “undesirable” person. The definition derived for this type of profile leaves no room for intelligent discernment. The same lockstep requirements that have been used to imprison people of color and ethnic origins from the Middle East, detained the famous actor Michael Caine because he fit the description on the screen in front of the security person at an airport where the two time Oscar winner, Knight Commander of the British Empire, septuagenarian white man was attempting to board a plane. Our current president would suffer the same indignity if he were to travel a commercial flight and did not have Secret Service detail with him everywhere he goes.

Further exploration into the concept of freedom reveals a massively disturbing fact. There is more slavery in the world today than at any time in history. An estimated 12 to 27 million persons in the world live some form of existence that could be considered slavery. Indentured service, human trafficking, child prostitution are the terms used today to describe a most disgusting practice. No matter what you call it, the problem is there and the question that begs answering; what are the candidates for the highest elected post in the country going to do about it. The CIA has announced there are 1,000,000 people in America currently living as slaves. Child prostitution is the most prevalent cause of enslavement being perpetrated in this most “free” of countries. How can a person’s decision on who to marry be more important than that? The most candid answer is hidden from us and represents an appalling certainty; because, there is no money to be garnered from the cessation of this heinous act. The 2008 election had a bottom line of close to 6 billion dollars and this one will definitely increase that number by 20-30%. Has there been any thought to taking that same money and using it to fight slavery? 7-8 billion dollars could find the termination of the teenage sex trade and other forms of enslavement. Then, there would be a few more million people who, having been given a second chance at life by a compassionate president enforcing the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America, that might just participate in the election process. They might make choices based on relevant issues and not on whether or not same sex partners should be allowed to do what people all over the world have been doing forever.

Slavery is but one of the societal problems facing the country today that the next president, could possibly delve into, or ignore. It might be nice if a candidate would take stances on our real problems. A good place to start would be slavery, or homelessness, or equal treatment regardless of who you sleep with. Gay marriage is the banner flown in this election, but what of the decades of discrimination and torture endured by people that are not easy to spot? Gay Pride is actually both an extremely patriotic movement, as well as revolutionary. A group of people, not afraid of telling the truth attempting to exercise the rights our founding fathers envisioned for us. The right to assemble and the right to express an opinion openly are our foundational principles and should be practiced.

So he we are, all warm in the glow of the “stuff that America is made of” while ignoring other issues just as important because they do not have a politician who will risk everything to make a point, as President Obama did with his announcement on gay marriage. Who will speak for the fourteen year old runaway who has to perform sex acts for a dry place to sleep and perhaps eat whatever the cheapest takeout her/his pimp will give them. How about scared women and children from other countries who, do not speak the English language and are forced into servitude cleaning American houses and providing domestic services for lazy Americans who wish to save money on the hired help? Who is going to stand up for them? Whoever is elected Democrat, Republican, or Independent needs to do the revolutionary thing. So what’s it going to be, Kakistocratic Knavery or Karmic Kakorrhaphiophobia? Dudes, step up!

Jeffersonian Jibber Jabber

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Declaration of Independence – Chief author – Thomas Jefferson

It is time once again to exercise some of the rights that have been bequeathed by whatever God, deity, or otherwise identified form of idolatry that can be practiced. In the next several months we will be inundated with commercial advertisement, interruptions of Prime Time television shows, and a proliferation of guest appearances on Late Night talk shows. The culmination of these activities will become apparent in the early part of the eleventh month of the Year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Twelve. We “fellow Americans” shall attempt to choose another president.

By attempt this means that some of the “All Men Are Created Equal” crowd will engage in the necessary functions in this miasmatic practice in futility. They will register to vote, if not already registered, listen to the banality that is political rhetoric, locate the polling place, and, on the appointed day go to that balloting location to cast their vote for the next “Leader of the Free World.” Some may have the extra opportunity to express themselves in such things as Primaries, which are nothing more than an open admission by the political party that they have no idea who is their collective leader.

Along with the struggling masses who engage in this “election activity,” there is the Electoral College. This is a body who ultimately decides who will be the next president. Members of this “college” are chosen from each state and their number is directly related to how many congressman in that state plus one for each senator. Mostly nominated by political parties, it is easy to see that whatever party is in control of that state legislator would choose like-minded members to this body, thereby skewing the results. Has this ever been exploited? Four times in history has the popular vote gone to a candidate and the Electoral College elected someone else:

• Andrew Jackson lost to John Quincy Adams for lack of enough Electoral votes.
• Samuel Tilden (1876) lost to Rutherford B. Hayes by one electoral vote
• Grove Cleveland lost to Benjamin Harrison in 1888
• In 2000 Al Gore lost to George Bush after a protracted fight going up to the Supreme Court who stopped a Florida recount and thereby awarding the state’s electoral votes giving Bush the needed votes to defeat Gore.

If there is any validity to the words in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence then the practice of the Electoral College is most assuredly flawed and should be dissolved. There is an initiative in the public domain with petitions and assorted other activities to dissolve the Electoral and select president by a majority of the public vote. According to polls, 72% on Americans are in favor of this idea. Thirty one states have passed legislation in favor of this initiative. It has been endorsed by 2110 state legislators. Nine states have passed it into law, and 22 more states have either had legislation introduced or have held hearings on the matter. Popular Vote laws have been ratified by states possessing 132 electoral votes, which equals to 49% of the 270 electoral votes needed to activate it.

There is a groundswell of support for this idea and those who oppose it desperately rage against what could be their good night. The Republican National Committee ratified a declaration to oppose the National Popular Vote. The Democratic National Party has been quiet on the topic with endorsements coming from individual elected members, but no general statement on either endorsement or rejection. At least, that is, no definitive endorsement/rejection that can be found in an online search engine.

Removing from the need for validation that statistics attempt to offer, it comes down to the crux of the situation. Are we really a democracy? The sad answer is that while it would be nice if government adheres to the principles of the founding fathers, we are not a democracy. We are either a constitutional or representative republic.

The saddest part of this realization is while that the politicians have pounded at us about the democratic way of life being the best, their rhetoric is decidedly weak. In the face of truth we have constructed a fantasy world where those noble principles are being observed while they were not even practiced when delineated in the Declaration of independence.

“All men are created equal.” The man who wrote these noble words, Thomas Jefferson owned 147 slaves. George Washington owned 216 slaves. Twelve of our presidents owned slaves with eight of them owning slaves while serving as president. A true showing of the principle of equality the “Founding Fathers” spoke of, is it?

However, in truth, the great gentlemen were in fact trying to assure that all men were treated equal. This is hard to understand in the face of the owning of slaves. It is a delicate balance sitting on a pendulum that allowed for a re-definition “men.” In colonial times the term “Men” signified property owners of Caucasian heritage. Anyone of color was considered to be 3/5 of a man and thereby not entitled to full consideration as a citizen, or a man. Women were not included in the mix and would remain that way until the 1920’s.

How is this possible? Simple, they lived under a constitutional republic that enabled laws to be enacted re-defining the broader definition of what a man is to exclude people of color and those of mixed race lineage. No problem with the women, they were there to shut their mouths and produce the next generation of “men.” I wonder how Jefferson felt about his children…those born as a result of a relationship he had with one of his slaves.

So enlighten us, based on founding principles, who should be the next “elected” president?

Idoneous Idiots

Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.” ~Author Unknown

Today let us take a look at the convention of writing. There is much ado about everything where it comes to some valued scribe sitting down to let the art within him/her flow from their cranium down the writing arm and through the fingers onto the page. Some would call it bleeding on the page, while others speak of using a God given talent. Many would tell you that it is a noble profession. And still others will tell you that it is a wonderful dream. They will all be correct. They will also all be wrong.

That writing is something to be admired is a safe supposition. It is safe to say that sitting at a writing table, or taking your laptop to a coffee shop with Wi-Fi and penning (or rather typing) a story while you gulp down copious amounts of high priced caffeine, is a relatively honorable way to earn a living. What no one will tell you is what the cost is to you. Will what you’re writing be of enough value to sustain you? Will the content and theme end up as you thought it would? Do you care about what you just wrote, or did it occur for the paycheck? Do you have an emotional attachment to the work?

These and many other questions can be answered by stating that the story you tell is what is important and nothing else. “Of course I have an emotional attachment to the book” might be the lie you tell others. The emotion you feel is commensurate to what the story is. Truman Capote, an enormously popular writer, wrote a hugely successful book which earned an astronomical amount of money and inspired movies and films galore…stopped writing.

This legendary tome is the story of a pair of convicts who kill a family of four in the course of a home invasion. What many do not know is that, as a part of the research for the book, Capote interviewed the men and got to know them. After they were executed the book was published. With the exception of a few magazine articles Capote never published another word. What emotion went through him to stop the creative process and force him into a self-destructive lifestyle of an alcoholic? Where did the writing he was doing take him after he had the knowledge it took to write the book in the first place? Beware of your feelings when inspired to write…they will tell you things you do not want to hear, or make you see things you do not wish to see.

Sometimes, though, it is impossible to do anything else but write. Anyone who writes can tell you that ideas come from everywhere. If all the ideas in the world ended up as books, the entire world would be in the publishing business. It is only the writer that gets to view the world and decide what needs to be shared. It is only the writer that has the love of words so acute that they are given the gift or ability to string them into coherent, attractive narratives.

So where is the idiocy in this? Not in the very action of writing. What is idiotic about writing is the part of it where one must, if they choose, attempt to receive payment for their efforts. In the modern world of electronic miracles, hard economic times, and rampant reaching-for-the-stars that is having a book published, the odds of attaining fame and fortune are astronomical. There are so many hurdles to leap along the way that frustration might take over. Writing is its own reward, getting people to read what you write is more work than the actual writing.

The Internet has been a huge boon to the writing world and, regrettably, it has also become a quagmire of anger, frustration, and exasperation. Yet, hope springs eternal in that persistence will allow a writer to reap rewards and find a voice for the masses.

The appropriateness of the tradition comes in the knowledge or belief that the world would be a little less than wonderful if writers ceased to amaze the public with their musings. This wonder is a necessary part of life. The insincerity of other forms of expression can have deadly effects.

We live in a world that has no foundational moral code. Yes, there are those that would dispute this, but the real question is why then is there so much horror in our daily lives? Each and every day, any major news feed has more reports of violence then beauty. A better method of proving this fact is out there. It is in the minds and fingers of writers, so too, is the answer to the horror, and the promotion of the beauty. It is in seemingly appropriate nitwits that the truth can be seen.

So what must these cretins-of-the-pens do? They must “endeavor to perceiver” (Forrest Carter in “The Outlaw Josey Wales”) and soldier on. The real corruption in society today is the apathy and seeming meaninglessness of life. It is the scribe that infuses hope back where it has been lost. It is this same illuminator that allows for the dreams that shape the future, and honor the past.

However, it is the responsibility of the writer to detail that which is true. Not what he/she believes, wants, or feels is true, but the absolute veracity from which their words originate. Harsh standards for sure, but the practice offers gifts along with the agony. Writing is its own reward. When the scribe believes this, then they can truly say “I am a writer” and ignore such as this:

“I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.” Unknown English Professor

The Heroism of Heterodoxy

“I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principles of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale”

Thomas Jefferson

 

We live in a world that has no limits or boundaries.  When applied to matters of invention or art, this is a most favorable circumstance. The essence of the American Dream is best taught from a rhetorical sense and not in literal terms.  To say that I am going to be a brain surgeon is a noble quest, but until someone spends the 15 or so years and several hundred thousand dollars it takes to be a brain surgeon, the dream is idealistic, impractical, and improbable.  The time is inflexible.  The money is where the dilemma occurs.  At the moment it cost about $250-300,000.  In a few years that number might double or triple.  Well?  Okay you say you will borrow it.  How much is the interest on $300,000 over twenty or thirty years going to make that number?

Wouldn’t it be nice if a brain-surgeon-to be could approach it the same way the government views debt and loans?  Here are some revealing facts about how the government does it:

12 Scary Debt Facts for 2012

By Jill Schlesinger | CBS MoneyWatch – Thu, Feb 16, 2012 4:44 PM EST

 

1. The U.S. national debt on Jan. 1, 1791, was just $75 million dollars. Today, the U.S. national debt rises by that amount about once an hour.

2. Our nation began its existence in debt after borrowing money to finance the Revolutionary War. President Andrew Jackson nearly eliminated the debt, calling it a “national curse.” Jackson railed against borrowing, spending and even banks, for that matter, and he tried to eliminate all federal debt. By Jan. 1, 1835, under Jackson, the debt was just $33,733.

3. When World War II ended, the debt equaled 122 percent of GDP (GDP is a measure of the entire economy). In the 1950s and 1960s, the economy grew at an average rate of 4.3 percent a year and the debt gradually declined to 38 percent of GDP in 1970. This year, the Office of Budget and Management expects that the debt will equal nearly 100 percent of GDP.

4. Since 1938, the national debt has increased at an average annual rate of 8.5 percent. The only exceptions to the constant annual increase over the last 62 years were during the administrations of Clinton and Johnson. (Note that this is the rate of growth; the national debt still existed under both presidents.) During the Clinton presidency, debt growth was almost zero. Johnson averaged 3 percent growth of debt for the six years he served (1963-69).

5. When Ronald Reagan took office, the U.S. national debt was just under $1 trillion. When he left office, it was $2.6 trillion. During the eight Regan years, the US moved from being the world’s largest international creditor to the largest debtor nation.

6. The U.S. national debt has more than doubled since the year 2000.

Under President Bush: At the end of calendar year 2000, the debt stood at $5.629 trillion. Eight years later, the federal debt stood at $9.986 trillion.

Under President Obama: The debt started at $9.986 trillion and escalated to $15.3 trillion, a 53 percent increase over three years.

7. FY 2013 budget projects a deficit of $901 billion in 2013, representing 5.5 percent of GDP, down from a deficit of $1.33 trillion in FY 2012, which was the fourth consecutive year of more than $1 trillion dollar deficits.

8. The U.S. national debt rises at an average of approximately $3.8 billion per day.

9. The US government now borrows approximately $5 billion every business day.

10. A trillion $10 bills, if they were taped end to end, would wrap around the globe more than 380 times. That amount of money would still not be enough to pay off the U.S. national debt.

11. The debt ceiling is the maximum amount of debt that Congress allows for the government. The current debt ceiling is $16.394 trillion effective Jan. 30, 2012.

12. The U.S. government has to borrow 43 cents of every dollar that it currently spends, four times the rate in 1980.

Do you suppose a brain surgeon has the option to simply verbalize his/her feelings about the monthly loan payment, while neglecting to write the check?  Worst case scenario is wage garnishment, and IRS problems which will remove the surgeon’s ability to pay malpractice insurance, or maintain an office and staff.  The mortality rate for brain surgery surely must be higher than other surgical procedures and the loss of malpractice insurance would probably put the Brain Doc out of business. Additionally, no one does brain surgery by themselves so the staff and the office for follow-up consultation are also vital.  The surgeon will have to pay, willingly or not, in order to continue practicing brain surgery.

Oh, would that the same ideology be practiced where it comes to National Debt.  If the surgeon does not pay, he gets his wage garnished and probably loses his staff and office. If wage garnishment or the loss of office were real and true threats to those who govern us, then we might not owe so damn much money!

How is it that we live in the greatest country in the world and are led by nincompoops? Since 1900 only two presidents have successfully improved the national debt.  Johnson slowed the increase to but three percent, and Clinton stopped it from increasing at all.  Imagine if we learned from their examples and actually did something about the problem.

We owe a lot of money and perhaps we should look at it the way the brain surgeon looks at his/her bills.  If I do not pay my bills I don’t get to cut open anybody’s head. If our leaders do not deal with our bills they don’t get to govern.

Grandiloquent Garrulousness

“The best time to listen to a politician is when he’s on a stump on a street corner in the rain late at night when he’s exhausted. Then he doesn’t lie.”

Theodore H White.

A particular challenge presents itself today.  Putting together a post for this blog that falls within the restraints of the venue, and the parameters set for subject.  In 1002 words it is necessary to expound on the meaning of the events occurring relevant to the choosing of the next leader of the free world.  Being of a daunting nature, the topic is one of but a single question.  Is the foremost authority for the principles of right and reason required to have intelligence or allure?

There is the true crux of the problem.  Are we going to elect someone who can effectively lead the nation, or are we more concerned with oral eloquence and media savvy.  It is a fact that the defining influence in any election in this day and age is the candidate’s ability to gather and spend money.  The cost of the last election for president was astronomical compared to past candidates.  Our current president raised $640,000,000 towards getting himself elected.  Was that necessary, or simply another example of America’s propensity to define quality of effectiveness as being directly relational to the amount spent to achieve the desired level of competence?

Is it antediluvian to think that fidelity to our founding principles should be the values we should strive to achieve?  Did we not fight a war with the largest, strongest nation in the world at the time to ensure our right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness?  The simple answer is no.  We did not fight, at any time for these rights.  They are not rights but simply a line in a document that’s primary purpose was to insult and denigrate the ruling King of England.  Many confuse the Declaration of Independence with law when it is the Constitution that is law.  Debate on this point might state that they are inalienable rights and, as such, are ours by default.  This would be a legitimate claim depending on the values we wish to embrace.  True values or those we find convenient by virtue of the fact that they buttress our personal yearnings.

The factual reason behind the creation of America was economics.  We were complaining about paying taxes, much as we do today, and the answers we received from the powers that be, proved insufficient.  The question today is one and the same as what we faced in 1776.  Do we bow to a system that takes our money and leaves us little choice in the matter?  Is it acceptable to engage in the folderol that is our elective process?  Can we not see the defect in the democratic ideology of equality?  If all men are created equal why must a candidate spend more than a half a billion dollars to be elected?  Why do we only elect multi-millionaires to the presidency?

It is sickening to listen to these selfsame multi-millionaires expound on the principles put down by our founding fathers and know that they are really the only people in America who can actually and truthfully say that they have achieved Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  They have ensured that for themselves with the tax code, and policies that allow them to pay less taxes then the guy that mows their lawn or the woman that cleans their house.

This tirade on the state of America could not be complete without a frank discussion of the manner in which the candidates conduct their campaigns.  Selective values and suspect morals are at the heart of the electoral process.  We cannot even accept that the current president is a natural born citizen.  There is still a large group of people in this country that believe that he is not a true American.  Notwithstanding the legal documents that clearly state that he was born in a state of our country to a mother of acceptable heritage.  By that it is implied that while his mother is acceptable for being white, his father is not because he is black and foreign lineage.  That is the root of the opposition to his candidacy.  This is a point that has been denied but little evidence has been presented to dispel the idea that he is insufficient due to his race.  Where is the “all men are created equal” self-evident right in this thinking? Considering the reality of the fact that these words were written by a man who owned black slaves, there is little confidence in the paradigm.

This is not new information being presented but what should be an old broadcast item.  We should have looked at this when we, as a country, decided to disallow slavery. To do anything else seems as an insult to those who died between 1861 and 1865 fighting to end this abomination.  Oh, but that’s right, the Civil War wasn’t actually about slavery as much as it was about the economics of ending it.

Going back to the election, another troubling aspect is the rampant misdirection that goes on, even within party lines.  It appears that arguing (it really cannot be called debating) about issues is supplanted by talks of money.  Millions of dollars are spent on the candidates telling us how they are going to spend our money.  If there were some way to move those lost funds in the media budgets of major candidates to tackle real issues such as poverty, joblessness, healthcare, and education we might get somewhere.  The same six hundred and forty million dollars spent for the 2008 election by the winner could have paid 14,659 teachers for a year.  Now that would be a pretty good bang for our metaphorical buck!

Are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness what our leaders are striving to give the American people?  No…but perhaps it should be instead of misappropriating our tax dollars.

Furtive Feculence

“Seven blunders of the world that lead to violence: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics without principle.”  Mahatma Gandhi

Is it enough to believe in foundational principles and live your life accordingly?  There is a sensation that appears when reading the headlines or attempting to stay current with the state of affairs in the world today that decries the very suggestion that we are a free and noble nation.

Take, for example, the fundamental constitutionally guaranteed Right to Free Speech.  Is that a genuine actuality, or is it something to be used to advantage while denying others of the benefit of such a universally sought after freedom?  Do we have the right to say anything we wish, or does such verbosity infringe on the true nature of society the “Pursuit of Happiness?”  Many believe that this is another of the rights we are guaranteed in the Constitution but, sadly, many are also misinformed.  It is not guaranteed us in the constitution, or any other legal document.  The quote “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” comes from the Declaration of Independence which is the foundational document we strive to guide ourselves by.  Unfortunately, it is not the political panacea it seems.  If one was to read the text of the Declaration, they would find that over eighty five percent of it is a diatribe on the malicious nature of the then King of England.

So that brings one to wonder as to the veracity of any right that is subject to interpretation.  The Supreme Court has allowed that the display of sexual intimacies for profit is covered under the First Amendment and therefore licit.    Conversely, the Court refused to hear a case involving the torture of a prisoner during the Middle East War.  Why is the exploitation of the human body for reasons of commerce important enough to be heard by the Court, and the violation of a human body for the purpose of inflicting inhuman pain not?  Is it that pornography is an issue in California (the location of the largest production and distribution of pornography in the world) whose voters influence much of the political climate in America?  Or is it that the political regime used a little known law to perform atrocities, and the Court did not wish to have its name associated with a heinous Un-American practice.  It made a decision that pornography was, and is, a moral and acceptable practice while refusing to discuss questionably immoral acts.

There is a heated debate raging of a nature that will affect the future of our country. A controversial defense bill that could allow the military to capture and indefinitely detain American citizens on US soil has created a huge stir.  The question goes to denying rights guaranteed in the fight against an enemy that has the luxury of acting as they wish while we must follow principles that have always been suspect.  When has this become such an issue?  The government has always detained prisoners and terrorists without regard to legality.  The government has always done exactly what it chooses and, for the most part, gotten away with it.  This has occurred so many times that they are not even covering it up anymore.  Instead they are writing it into laws to expedite things, or put candidacies in jeopardy for politicians caught in the middle of an unwinnable war. 

The next to last Republican allowed or ordered the poisoning of groundwater in Iran in order to placate a then ally, and future enemy.  What of the women of the suffragette party who were detained in psychiatric hospitals in the early part of the20th century to prevent the vote being given to woman?  It was all done legally, but where is the outrage.  What of the systematic refusal of voting rights for blacks in the south that did not change until violence was displayed?

It is a little known fact that the Civil Rights movement in the south truly did not begin having an effect until an organizations called the “Deacons for Defense,”  a black organization of mostly combat veterans armed themselves and refused to submit to the violence and abuse being experienced by blacks in the south.

The attacks on 911 were a direct result of terrorist taking advantage of our “rights” in order to wage war against us.  They freely lived in our country, took advantage of goods and services that our rights give people living in the United States while planning and implementing the largest attack on American Soil.  Yet we hold on to those rights as if they actually mean something.

One of the beauties of being American is the responsibility to question our leaders the actions they take.  This should not be reserved to just those currently serving, but it must too pertain to those who have molded our nation with the balderdash they perpetrated on us.  Jefferson beseeched us to embrace the ideal that “all men are created equal” while owning slaves and fathering children by those same slaves.  Who do we listen to, the message or the messenger?

Going to one of those iconoclastic leaders, Abraham Lincoln, we hear:

“On the question of liberty, as a principle, we are not what we have been. When we were the political slaves of King George, and wanted to be free, we called the maxim that “all men are created equal” a self evident truth; but now when we have grown fat, and have lost all dread of being slaves ourselves, we have become so greedy to be masters that we call the same maxim “a self evident lie.”

So what is it, wholehearted truth or fanciful lie?  Do we forego personal freedom for indeterminate timeframes in order to avoid attack, destruction, or Armageddon?  It is a slippery slope questioning ones rights today, but what good are those rights if they cannot be held to the fire to determine their veracity.

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