is a web log (Blog) which I created to share with you things that I have found that folks, like you and me, can do to help us feel better about our own future. Some things are deceptively simple to do. Some things are exceptionally difficult. None are radical. None are fringe activities. None are illegal. All are just straight forward activities that we law abiding folks can do to take charge of our future.
This site is still under construction. As events in our country unfold and certain insights make themselves known, I will report on what you can do to take charge (in a little or big way) of your own destiny. You do not have to feel like events are affecting your life without your input.
(The most recent entries are at the bottom of this page)
To Get Started:
It is clear that since the Attacks of Sept 11, we have to learn to be more vigilant of our surroundings. It is not necessary to become a recluse in order to survive in these times. I live in a small (30,000 pop) community and eye contact is the norm. I have lived in big cities where eye contact is avoided in order to survive. Times have changed. Seeing who is around you, what is out of place, or what is not normal, is going to be one of the keys to feeling in control of your future. If you see something that is not 'right', identify an authority that you can report it to. Do not take things into your own hands. Keep out of harm's way. Make the authorities do their job. They know how to handle things and still preserve others' individual rights while protecting you. If they can't or won't handle the situation, then you have yet another 'not right situation' to report to yet another authority. Most of this kind of reporting can be done by email.
Since reporting these 'something is out of the ordinary' observations by email require destination email addresses, it seems like a really good idea to have your local newspaper publish the email addresses of as many community government agencies as they can identify, IN EVERY ISSUE. Some papers are already doing this, to a greater or lesser degree. Is yours? If not, start sending emails to your local paper, have you friends and
colleagues do the same. Ask the Editor to publish the email address of every member of community government, from the Mayor, down to Animal Control on the front page of EVERY ISSUE. You need to know who they are and how to get in touch with them if ever you should have to report something 'out of the ordinary' that you observed.
There isn't anyone that I know who is comfortable with the war. It's not a lack
of patriotism. It's not that they don't support our
troops. It's just that there's this huge amount being spent, in both monetary and human terms, which is getting harder and harder to justify for even those who initially favored the attack on Iraq.
Make no mistake, this war is about oil.
If our checks and balances were functioning normally, Congress should have intervened on
behalf of We, the People, to restrict the President's war powers. But instead, bent over from carrying all the money that big oil has donated to their campaigns and pocketbooks, the House and Senate decided it was in their best interest to wage war and secure profits for big oil. Exxon announced last week that their
US PROFITS from oil are at 100 MILLION DOLLARS PER DAY!
Ponder this for a moment: Do you think that if you had the money, you could reasonably expect to be able to buy off the vote of a Representative or a Senator for, say, a million dollars each? I know that you would certainly have my attention if you
waved $1 million under my nose.
Consider that we have 435 Representatives and 100 Senators in the US. That's a total of 535 Congressmen, or $535 million in potential payoffs or about 5 DAYS' PROFITS FOR JUST ONE OIL COMPANY!
I'm not telling you that all of Congress is on the take (you get to decide that for yourself). What I am illustrating here is the shear POWER that the oil companies have. And we know that power corrupts.
Now I can't come up with 100 million dollars each day to try to counter the potential oil company payoffs, but I do have a vote. And one thing that will clear a Congressman's mind about who is in charge, is if he thinks that he is going to lose his seat in an election. Because that also means that he is going to lose any chance of payoffs if he is out of office.
So if you are feeling powerless, you really don't need to. You have at you fingertips that ability to make it clear to your Congressmen through emails, that you won't vote for him/her unless
(s)he shows you that (s)he is work
diligently to eliminate our dependence on fossil fuel, and thereby make the war
The Iraq war is costing us $275 MILLION PER DAY.
The money (not to mention, the lives) we could save by eliminating our presence in Iraq can be put to good use. If Congress had resisted the President's Big Lie about weapons of mass destruction, had authorized a restricted police action aimed at eliminating Sadam for the Iraqi people, then got the heck out of Dodge, it could have invested that $235 Million per day for the past four years (it took us a year to find
Sadam) in developing renewable fuel resources.
It took Brazil less than three years to ramp up ethanol (alcohol) production from zero to enough to satisfy 80% of the nation's fuel use. That includes creating a viable efficient sugar beet crop, building distillation facilities (analogous to an oil refineries) and distribution points (E85 can be dispensed by regular
gasoline pumps). Detroit has been making E85 (85% alcohol fuel) compatible automobiles for Brazil for the past 10 years (yes SUVs too)! They are already on the assembly line - zero ramp up time.
So Congress could have (actually still can) spent all that war money helping the farmer harvest new alcohol crops, could have spent all that war money helping all those companies that want to build new distilleries, could have spent all that war money helping the auto industry kick start their E85 changeover, could have spent all that war money helping independent gas stations make the changeover to E85 distribution, could have spent that war money helping engineers design retrofit kits for all the gas
burning vehicles that are sitting in our driveways.
But Congress didn't have our best interest in mind and caved into the Bush administration. Shame on them.
The result would have been E85 fuel alcohol which costs $.25 per gallon to farm, $.25 per gallon to distill, and $.25 per gallon to distribute (that's $.75 per gallon cost to you at the pump)! Again, too bad, shame on them. And shame on us for letting it happen.
So here are three things that you can do:
1) Email your Congressmen and instruct them to sign on to a renewable fuel resources plan that
weans us off of gasoline within THREE years, or you won't vote for them. Simple as that. We don't need ten years to get away from oil dependency, all that does is allow big oil to buy up failing farms so that they can control the alcohol prices like they do oil prices,
2) Email the CEOs of Wal-Mart, Costco, Sam's Club, Home Depot, Lowes, Target, and any other big merchandising business in your area that has large parking lots (typically under utilized) and tell them that they can vastly improve their esteem in the community (they all worry about that) if they simply installed a single E85 pump somewhere in their parking lot and dispensed to their customers. After the first pump paid for itself, add another pump, then another, then another,
3) Email the President of every College and University in this and other countries, and explain that they would immeasurably improve their incoming funding (either by grants, licensing or direct sales) if their
(engineering and computer) science departments could design and develop conversion kits for
older fuel injected gasoline engines to use E85 ethanol.
You Get The Idea.
I will report soon on more opportunities for you to Take Charge of Your Future.
Housing Bubble Collapse
The Housing crisis
is simple to understand. People got greedy. Folks who normally couldn't
qualify to own their own home, were given loans anyway. Can you blame them
- they wanted a piece of the American Dream, too.
But unlike most who
came before them, they didn't have to pay their dues. They weren't asked
to scrimp and save until they had the proper income, savings and credit
score to qualify for a real loan.
admittedly under pressure from the fed) were having a field day approving
loans for which there was insufficient collateral (or character) to secure
the loans, and selling off those mortgages ('paper' as it is called) to
high risk lenders at a cash discount.
Banks knew this was
wrong, they knew the market was overheated. But making money is their
first obligation to their stockholders.
We've had seven
recessions since the gas crunch of the 1970's. All but two of them came
from overheated real estate markets. It is a phenomenon well known in the
banking community. Each time, folks tighten their belts and make due. A
small percentage couldn't make it and foreclosures were inevitable.
But a huge negative
impact of these Housing Bubble collapses were ameliorated by the fact that
most home loans where awarded to folks who had enough capital stability to
sustain a 'hitch in the git-along'. So that even when housing prices
folded back, there were far fewer foreclosures.
Not so this time.
These 'thin' loans all but evaporated as housing prices folded back,
sending hundreds of thousands of homes into instant foreclosure - why
would anyone continue to make mortgage payments on a $500,000 loan on
property that was only worth $250,000? Only to be bought up by those who
had the wealth to withstand the collapse. Making the rich richer, and the
We are going to
continue to have housing bubble collapses. The secret to survival is no
secret - don't allow banks to loan against purchases that folks cannot afford, no matter how enticing the
banks make it look. Trade that need for instant gratification (of owning
your own home) for the long term stability of not losing that home through
an economic downturn by paying your dues - making sure you have the money
in the bank, you have a stable job, and a backup reserve before making the
Risk is fine, but
Russian Roulette is simply crazy.
I don't think that
Greenspan or the rest of the Fed for that matter, realized how delicate
the balance is between consumer confidence and government (miss-) action.
Greenspan says in a
CBS (I think) interview that he didn't know about the Housing Bubble until
'just recently'. Now, no one will refute that he is a really smart man,
and has led the treasury with great skill over the years, but honestly, he
had no idea that the number one economic engine in the US economy was
overheated and underfunded? Sheesh.
We, the People,
probably could have held up under one or the other, either the Gas Crunch
or the Housing Bubble Collapse, while the war was holding a gun to our heads (or
those of our children), but it is clear that we lost confidence in our
government when we were hit by both at the same time.
Then it was like dominoes falling:
-The war effort continued hampering our national infrastructure
(education and health insurance) development,
-Gas prices went through the roof (simply because the Emirates could do
-Consumers naturally cut back spending,
-Banks, holding billions in 'thin' (underfunded) notes, started up their
-Businesses cut back purchases in response to tighter money,
-Manufactures cut back durable goods production in response to consumer
-The poorly run auto industry, crippled by union contracts fabricated in
another era, but due and payable now, started to crash and burn, seeking government bailout
-The fed uncovered Wall Street's two largest scams in its history,
-Banks, seeing what the auto companies got, started crying their own tune
of 'we can't make it without help' while continuing to post
consistently high profits,
-And We, the People, can't afford health insurance to protect our families
in this, the richest country in the world.
One simply can't ignore that this country is ripe for revolution. Not
the one with guns and bullets (although that may be an element), but one
of congressional 'Throw the Bums Out".
If Ross Perot taught us anything, it is that you CAN get the attention
of your government by threatening to take their jobs away.
The Economy Eases
Could it be that after only three years, our economy is showing signs
of recovering from this awful recession? Looks like it.
It is interesting that for the last 12 months, the oil companies have
held a lid on fuel prices at the pump to under $3/gallon throughout most
of the US. That is indeed promising.
Not so much of a mystery, though, since the alternative was going to be
for the oil lobby to have to 'retrain' a huge crop of new congressmen
(some even with a conscience) in the ways of the oil companies. That's
risky, even for big oil.
So, We the People, got to see what flexing our muscles at the polls
could really produce. We have the longest period of gasoline price
stability in years. Congratulations to you all.
And, of course, we really didn't have to do all that much flexing -
just threatening to, had the same effect.
Couple that with the fact that the Fed has made gobbling up these foreclosures,
from the housing bubble burst, so darn difficult and time consuming, investors are beginning
to return to more conventional opportunities that present more tradition
funding mechanisms instead of short sales, bank sales, etc.
This means that money is just beginning to find its way back into the
middle class, which up till now has been sucked dry at every possible tax
turn. The rich (because they have no need) and the poor (because they have
no voice) do not determine when the economy finally eases. It is the
middle class that is the engine of the economy.
Big business can build all they want, but if the middle class isn't
buying, the economy is not moving.
Health Care Reform Act
Now We are going to have to grapple with the Health Care Reform Act -
probably the single most damaging piece of legislation ever passed by
congress. The debate (or circus) over the provisions of the act all but
stopped any chance of economic recovery taking place while the bill was in
Now that it has passed congress, we'll see if it can pass its
constitutionality tests. Doctors will be hard pressed to participate in
the program even if it does remain law, and lawyers are wringing their
hands in disbelief of their good fortune. Meanwhile, those of us who need
the Health Care Reform the most continue to pay extortion money to
insurance companies for our coverage, and many more still have no health
care umbrella at all.
It is clear that the dynamics of the old Health Care system have been
pretty much lost on the inventors of this new law.
The old system wasn't broken, it simply didn't have the sensibility to
protect itself against greed.
We could have completely repaired the old Health Care System with one
simple decision on the part of congress - and that would have been to cap
the amount of money that lawyers could extract from Insurance Companies
for their clients in a single court action.
In return for this awards restriction, victims' lawyers would be allowed to
return to court every 3 years to revisit the amount of compensation
required by their clients. If the client needs more money to survive the
next three years, the courts could authorize it, again limited by the same
cap. The court protects the victim and allows recourse should their
survival requirements change, while at the same time keeping the insurance
companies from having to pay lopsided lump sum lifetime annuities.
The immediate effect would be the lowering of the Health Insurance
premiums for We the People since Insurance companies would no longer have
to pay out huge lump sum lifetime annuities to victims.
See, courts award these huge settlements because they need to be sure
that victims are compensated for their entire life, if their injury is
severe enough (because they can only come to court once). So lawyers end up
arguing with each other on who can best guess as to how long the victim is
going to live, and how bad their client's quality of life can get. Ridiculous when you think of it in those terms, but
So if our system removed the 'lifetime' element of the payout, and
allowed victims to petition the courts to revisit the adequacy of a payout
every three years, the uncontrolled balloon expense to insurance companies
could be reined way back in and result in way lower premiums for the rest
of We, the People..
What that means is the We the People, individually, would not have to
shoulder the responsibility of paying for a victim's lifetime of expected
needs payout all at one time by an insurance company.
A lump sum lifetime award of, say, 600 million dollars to a victim has
to affect an insurance company's bottom line. And protecting their bottom
line is, above all else, their most important function. That means We get
to pay the bill either with a massive premium increase all at once, or
significant (and disproportionate to the services offered) increases in
the short term.
The courts would benefit with significantly fewer and shorter court
battles, the number reduced to those special cases that address valid
award requirements beyond the cap limit.
The cases that require revisiting at the end of the three-year period,
would be extremely short, not having to litigate fault, only demonstrate
victim's changing need. Kinda Cool, huh?
Covenant With America?
Gingrich's Contract With America from the
80's, I see, has been dusted off and is being renamed by a group of
somewhat forward thinking (and worried) congressmen. I'm going to guess
that by the end of pre-Election month, We are going to witness another
Deer-In-Headlight press conference by congressional leaders guaranteeing
that all of congress will sign this new Covenant with America, "but
please don't throw us all out of office"!
Yet another sign that the
decision of We to adopt the election policy of 'Throw the Bums Out"
is working. Congratulations!
The new Covenant With
America is going to have to pay more than lip service, or the next round
of elections may not be limited to replacing congressmen, but installing a
new way of doing business. That would be sad, because it will mean that
this experiment of We the People has failed, and failed miserably due to
Component One of any Covenant with America has to include the flat out elimination of the foreclosure mess
that the gov put us in. For the next six months, downsize the military
foreign deployment to that of non-combat advisor status (i.e. answering questions
from the Afghanis via the internet, from cubicles at the pentagon) and
that money buying every foreclosure on the market in the US. Then give those
foreclosed homes back to the folks who originally owned them with easy to
handle repayment loans ($100 per month, if that is all that they can
afford). With the foreclosures off the market, We the
People who have to sell our homes in order to make ends meet for the near
term have a chance to do so at fair market values, instead of at fire sale
The result is that within days, the economy will restart
since folks who want to pay their bills, will be able to, people will
invest in their future now that they believe that there will be one, and the
resulting trickle (or gush) up will put small business back in the drivers
seat of a healthy economy.
Component Two of the Covenant will have to be
a 2-year crash program for Energy Independence.
dependence on oil to disappear overnight. None of us small business folks
would ever demand that that kind of strain be put on several of our
biggest of Big Business and Big Money (we understand the need for their
inertia) - but seriously how many lifetimes will it take to spend a
billion dollars? Isn't time for Big Oil (isn't it all Big?) to belly up to
the bar and throw a huge chunk of earnings back into the Great Society
that made it possible for them to make those billions, to build the infrastructure that will allow
safe efficient non-fossil fuel distribution?
Here's a surprise:
None of us would even care if We ultimately had to purchase the new
alternative fuel from the same Big Oil companies to whom We are feeding our
hard-earned dollars to right now! That's right. But ONLY if the
Alternative Fuel Manufacture and Distribution Rule clearly states that any
alternative fuel business HAS to be a DOMESTIC business. It's the only way
that We can exercise a certain level of
control of the industry through our government, unlike our present
situation of foreign oil, where we have zero control and not a lot of
Now, Big Oil
(which means Big Money and Big Business) might not make as much for their
stockholders as they made before selling us fossil-fuel, but that's the price for
getting the economy moving so that they can make any money at all. Trust
me, We the People don't need vehicles when We are ALL out of work!
Three of the Covenant with America must include the repeal of the HealthCare reform act and
return to the previous system, but with ADDED provisions to arrest the
greed that ran rampant in the old system, creating a new system that is
fair and profitable to both We, the People and the healthcare systems our
government is supposed to be helping. The healthcare system was not broken before, it just suffered from
no controls for greed. (See my article above on fixing the health care
Component Four of the Covenant with America has to put a solid plan in place
to rebuild our education system. How does our government expect to nurture
and generate new and innovative thinking with which to regenerate itself,
if all of our young people are working at MacDonald's to the exclusion of
going to colleges, business or trade schools, or Junior colleges, or...?
however, is not something that the Fed can mandate. But it must spend the
time and money educating a generation or two of PARENTS as to
the value of education in this society. There is a real question whether
Generation-X or -Y or -ALL understand this fundamental rule to survival.
If education doesn't matter to parents (and right now it doesn't), then it
isn't going to matter to their kids no matter how much government
intervention is involved.
Is There a Leader
Left Who Knows How to Capture Our Imagination?
guessing that that would be Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House.
now I hear that he is considering running against Obama for the
Presidency. He has my vote. I am struck every time I hear him speak - how he can make some of the most complicated parts of Washington mechanics
do not agree with everything that he says, but he is one person who I
believe can capture the IMAGINATION of We the People.
Imagination is what We have suffered a serious lack of for a very long
at our Education System. We have increasing population with falling
enrollment in our high schools for the past ten years. Isn't that just
plain crazy? These kids aren't transferring into private schools or
trade schools, they are simply quitting because making tacos at Taco
Heaven is way easier (and cheaper) than gutting it out through some form of
higher learning. And the double whammy, here, is that these kids are
leaving school EARLY - not even graduating from high school! Is this nuts
undereducated kids are the folks who are going to make sure that our
Governmental machinery continues to work as We get to the age where We
won't be able to fix things by ourselves.
60% of our college and university attendees are foreign born. We the
People understand the need for opportunities for the foreign born - weren't we
all foreign born not too long ago? But
it also means that most of the Inventions by our Scientists and Engineers
will not necessarily be for the good of We, but prioritized for the
benefit of another country. It is a super simple problem with a tough
solution: US Educated and US Employed Aliens are sending most of their
money to their families in their native country. It is not fair to try to
stop them, so the only way to get things balanced out is to compete -
create an education society that trains the children of We in top science
and education pursuits so that they can compete for the US Jobs and keep
the resulting money (power) here in the US.
ponder our Energy Plan (or lack thereof). Because of greed, we are at the
mercy of other (some benevolent, others not) governments because of our
dependence on their foreign oil.
like having all of our grocery stores buying milk from one farm in Middle
What if that farm, recognizing its grip on We, decided to charge in
excess of what the milk was worth, just because it could, and used the
excuse that it wasn't clear how much longer their cows were going to
be able to produce milk, so they want to
make their money now.
could diversify and buy our milk from other Middle America farms, but our problem
doesn't go away if all the farms in Middle America belong to the same co-op
which holds one
common pricing structure.
having a diversified Energy Plan is a dangerous place to be for We.
this distills down to our balance of trade. Lots of countries are holding
US Paper (Loans), enough that they could bankrupt the US within days
(maybe even hours) if they found a need to. We have been lucky so far. But
it doesn't take a genius to understand if China is holding a note for more
money than we have gold or silver in our vaults to cover, it is going to
be exceedingly difficult for We to influence China's Nuclear Arms
The problem, here,
is that We are a nation that has lost its Imagination. A dynamic element
unique to the human nature of our country, that our Government no
longer understands about We the People (or maybe they do, and they are
intentionally trying to kill it). Doesn't that make you mad enough to
are plenty of examples of the power of this concept of Imagination. On
911, it astounded the world around how we could pull together as a nation,
how it was possible for the most fractured people on the earth, for a few
weeks, to be able to speak with a single voice, a single heart.
911 was supposed to demoralize us, it backfired. It scared We, but it
didn't demoralize. We the People have demonstrated again and again how
strong this otherwise fragile
experiment of a Volunteer Union of minds and bodies into the Common Cause is.
is this ethereal concept of capturing the Imagination of We the People, that
otherwise good people, who go to Washington
and seemingly take their stupid pills after becoming congressmen, have lost sight of -
have lost the sense of.
had it. Kennedy had it. And arguably, Reagan had it. But for some reason,
recent professional leaders have forgotten it, and its power.
is why Perot, with virtually no political machinery in place, was so
effective at changing government from his position as a self-proclaimed
political outsider. He understood the absolute power of capturing our Imagination.
wonder if We are going to see another Leader who can capture the
Imagination of We the People, in my lifetime.
economy is like a huge freight train sitting on a track. It is true that
it is creeping, ever so slowly, forward, but only slightly.
is it that actually can get this train moving again?
and Big-Business have cash, but that's all they have - and because these
two entities are just that, machines, their job is to protect their
investors. It is not in their genes to separate themselves from their
gazillion$ just to benefit the quality of life of We - I don't see any
Fortune 500 company offering to help me pay for my health insurance during
this recession, or make sure that I have gas in my car when I carpool to
low or no income class has the physical might, the shear numbers, but is
helpless because it takes way more than just collective brute force to get this puppy to
start moving faster.
is only one thing that can get this train moving and that is the might of
the middle class (that would be a huge part of We the People) through
their middle class assets - their imagination, technology, and innovation.
money owns the tracks and maybe the cargo onboard, but the tracks are
rusting and the cargo isn't going to get purchased unless and until the
middle class is allowed to participate.
Government (bought and paid for by BM and BB) wants us to believe that
painting the freight train so that it looks nice will make it move faster.
The reality is as ridiculous as this analogy. A pig with a bow is still a
pig. Spending time and money to make the train look better is an exercise
in futility, unless, for heavens sake, the gov doesn't have any better
solution!. And that's what the American people see. There is nothing more
demoralizing to an economic engine than to recognize that its government is
powerless to fix it.
what has to happen to bring the middle class to exercise their innovation, creativity,
imagination and power to bear against this
economic freight train idling on the tracks?
Restore the Middle Class's Confidence that We the People mean something to
our Government! That protecting We the People, from
extinction is the the first priority of the Government in which We have
placed our trust, for the benefit of all of our American lives.
is the innovation of the middle class (i.e. SMALL BUSINESS) that has fueled
the powering up of our stalled economies throughout our history. Big
Business, evolving from this small business innovation, is supposed to be
the mass (the inertia) that keeps the momentum of the economy going once
it has been kick-started,
so that the economy can survive through the inevitable hiccups along the
in some screwy thought process, Big Business and Big Money has decided
that the middle class (and small business) is a threat to them! It's going
to take an economist of way greater intellect and experience than I to
explain this positively insane upside down thinking. But it is simply not
and BB see the middle class as the only viable machinery that can
effectively restrict the amount of money that BM and BB can make in the
BM and BB realize that deleting the middle class will eliminate any chance
of the innovation or imagination recovering this economy? Of course they
do, and that is why they are investing in, and outsourcing to the Global
They really don't expect this country to survive in its present form.
Greed trumps We the People, again.
that appears to be the plan. BB and BM have purchased the gov to implement
hasn't helped that our president is sitting atop as king of the heap in
pronouncing that his vision is one of socialized everything, ultimately
eliminating the middle class. There are enough examples of
socialized-anything all around us that prove it doesn't work. Take a look
at the Canadian Socialized Medicine program.
(Executive, Judicial, Legislative) had its chance over the past 10 years
to find a way to placate BM and BB while strengthening the position of the
Middle Class in our society. It failed.
I'm afraid, has bred contempt. We the People, are now taking matters in
our own hands (and I am not talking about the Tea Party). All across the
nation, incumbent candidates are realizing that they are out of work,
having been replaced by neophytes that We have voted in. It has gotten to
the point that a congressman with no experience (and no IOUs to BB or BM)
is a better risk for We to take, than 2 or 4 more years of our present
With respect to being more
aware of your surroundings, a reader of this blog sent me some info that I
find interesting. The website allows you to search on any neighborhood and
the resulting graphic will identify what felons are living in the area (by
name), approximately their residence of record (i.e. Public Record), and
what they were convicted of. The website can be found at:
I was sequestered away for a week
during which our family company annually plans its mission for
the coming year. During that week, Osama was located and dispatched
by our elite Seals. I missed the momentous day. No one emailed
me with the happy news, I didn't see any rejoicing in the streets,
and mainstream TV didn't pre-empt their programming with endless
hoopla of giddiness but instead, I guess, simply featured it as
their news program lead - I didn't see it.
After I got back, I did see the
President make his speech announcing that the dastardly deed had
been done, and the somewhat startling news that Bin Laden's body had
been buried at sea, ostensibly to meet the Muslim 24 hour deadline
on burial after death, but may speak more to minimizing a fear by
our government that it would somehow be contributing to the martyrdom
of the Al-Qaida leader if his body was returned from Pakistan.
What was unusual was the
decisiveness with which the President made the decision to bury
Osama at sea. This was not a win/win decision for the good of all
mankind. This was a decision design to specifically to extinguish
the fire in the belly of the Al-Qaida beast. It was a decision that
was pondered, considered, weighed and decided on to the satisfaction
of our political machine (and to the unhappiness, I'm sure, of our
terrorist enemies). Where did this version of our first black
President surface from, all of a sudden?
Isn't this the same type of
leadership that we were hoping to see in resolving the recession
through quality guidance of the government by the President in
easing the housing crunch, and negotiating an enduring energy
program to deflower the Emirates' (and Big Oil's) death grip on gas
prices? Wasn't this the President who held in his hand the power and
might of the US Government to see to it that we had a quality and
fair Health Care system and let it get away? Wasn't this the man
whom we hoped would follow his own promise to extract our sons and
daughters from the Iraq version of our Viet Nam during his first
year in office, but instead sucked us into another Viet Nam in Afghanistan?
I was dumbstruck as Seth Meyers
summed it all up for me at a recent traditional roast of the
President at the Fourth Estate Dinner, when he said "Who is
this President who now serves us? It is not the same man as he was
before the presidency. Mr. President, you would have liked the Obama
who campaigned in '08".
For the 6th straight month,
unemployment fell by significant numbers and for the fourth straight
month, foreclosures are down, indicating that the economy is indeed
trying its best to recover. But still the behemoth of an economic
engine seems to be held back by some intangible. Simply put,
the confidence by We the People is not there, yet.
How is it going to be possible
for We to get behind a President and Administration that owns the
policy of reducing or eliminating the Middle Class (We the People)
in this country? Denial only goes so far, and that is what we are
witnessing right now - for all intents and purposes, the element of
recovery are in place, but the political climate is not right. Can
Obama find some way to connect with We and salvage his Presidency?
Ask me next year.
Extinction of the Middle Class
Now, I'm not kidding anyone, nor myself, that
anyone actually is taking what I write to heart. The logs indicate that I am
being read, but I have no illusion about the importance of what I write. I know
that I'm not even a very good writer. But what I am, is a member of the middle
class of We the People - but I am afraid not for much longer.
I'm not entirely sure what is going on around
me. Actually, I pretty well know what's going on around me, it's just that I
don't understand why.
If you stand back and look at what is
happening to We during the past, say, 10 years, it is unmistakable. We have been
systematically losing our power to reckon for ourselves. It has been subtle, but
without question it has been deliberate.
For a huge part, We have done it to
ourselves. We have believed in the moral good of
people, and have elected them to serve us without much in the way of
double-checking whether these employees of We have been following our
instructions. Unfortunately, we have believed what they have been telling us,
that Government is way too difficult for We to understand, and just trust them
that they are doing things for the betterment of We.
Can you hear that echo of history? It's the
thin-sounding rattling of loose change, not the commanding toll of the Liberty
Bell! We have been duped. Arguably, the greatest nation on earth and without
argument, the most powerful, is being run by a group of employees of We, with
their own agenda - and not one shared by their employer, and definitely not an
agenda designed to extend the life of We the middle class.
Why shouldn't We all embrace the vision of a
democratic socialized utopia of benevolent Upperclass managing a penniless
lowerclass and a missing Middleclass? Because it breeds mediocrity. Examine the
nations of the world and history that have taken that route (some by chance,
some by accident, some by design). These are NOT hot bed of new ideas, NOT the
source for creative solutions to the worlds problems, NOT the centers of
economic and moral growth, NOT the power centers of the world. Absolute power
The serious problem is that some of our
employees absolutely believe that they have our best interest at stake, here.
That the only way to save WE is to become a socialized society - that ALL
decisions come from the top (meaning from the position of power, money and
government). These are folks who are oblivious to historical truth. However, if
they are right, then this Great Experiment of We the People, has failed.
The Myth of the TeaParty
Long before the teaparty decided to
capitalize on the tide of public unrest, the members of the silent majority were
beginning to awake to the fact that their lot in life had been systematically
brutalized by a non-responsive employee system of checks and balances that did
no more than to ensure the perpetuation of the employees and not We the
employer. That silent group has been quietly, and without fanfare, gathering
about them like-minded folks (a lot of like-minded folks) who remember that the
gov was supposed to be protecting We the People employer, not Them, the
employees. The silent We struck a sizable blow to the misguided employee agenda,
by resurrecting the "throw the bums out" mentality at the last
off-year election. The result was a new crop of untested (but also un-beholding)
recruits in congress.
The teaparty wants to take credit for the
action. The teaparty didn't mobilize We, it's the other way around. And all
those employees of We are pleased to see it unfold this way, because the
teaparty is doing more harm than good. The trouble with the teaparty taking
credit, is that the momentum that We created may be jeopardized by the rest of
We believing that there is 'someone else' taking care of the problem. There
isn't. The teaparty is toothless without We. The teaparty is following, not
leading. It is therefore incumbent on We to continue to exercise the only
control we have left over our employees, the same control any employer has.
The (Vanishing) Middle Class - RIP
We, the People, formed this democratic republic to test the idea that a free enterprise system, with government involvement limited to protecting We as a group in those circumstances where We could not protect ourselves individually, could evolve into an idealistic community safe from overburdening special interest.
For over 200 years it has, more or less worked to the envy of the world.
All around the world even our most vehement, vocal (and dangerously demonstrative) critics are watching the world unfold before them on their Dish Network driven televisions. If you don't believe me, look at the terrorists footage from CNN. Everywhere there are scenes of dirt poverty homes, families just scratching by, to residences of opulence beyond belief, all with Dish Antennas mounted everywhere!
It was a heck of a risk, this democratic republic test. Think about it, folks would uproot themselves and their families, travel half way around the world to the uncertainties of a land they neither knew or understood to start afresh with little more than a concept to work from as a roadmap. Amazing. Very (very) few of us could generate that kind of courage today.
The result is a country of unprecedented power, wealth and ingenuity. A free system where your rights end at the tip of my nose. Where prosperity has reigned continuously for more than 90% of its year since its declaration from England and monarch rule. Where a free enterprise system (We, the People) left to its own devices launched the Industrial Revolution, beginning with heavy metal products and capping with the miniaturization of electronics and technology to put a man on the moon and bring him back safely. Then We the People launched the Information age where a lifetime of data was poured into different pots, then stirred, boiled and bubbled until enough knowledge was extracted to help We learn from the past so We were not doomed to repeat it, and set our direction for a successful future. Then We share that technology with the world by launching the World Wide Web (the Internet). What a marvelous country.
But all that is in jeopardy, right now, today as you read this. We, the People, are under direct attack and are about to be fed the green weenie (an old west coast phrase I grew up with that betrays my age). It may, I am afraid, already
be too late to reverse the bad thing that is happening to us. I hope not, but I am not too optimistic.
Arthur C Brooks calls it statism (it doesn't even deserve the status of a capital "S"). It is the sincere and fervent belief of some (a lot) of those in positions of power and authority in industry and government. The concept of statism has to do with redistributing some of the assets of the rich to the poor. The concept works, albeit poorly on a lot of levels, in countries around the world (Canada, Germany, etc).
The fallout, however is that the middle class is eliminated. Yup, completely wiped out. The system does not support nor tolerate the middle class. It has no place in the statism formula for their utopia.
The sad part is that the Middle Class is where all of the We, People, Free Enterprise System dynamics does its magic - the magic that has pulled this country from obscurity to the most powerful country in the world. The highly efficient, ingenuity-driven machine that is the Middle class ceases to function. There is no incentive to support or encourage that mighty, hidden, dynamo of knowledge and invention. In the statism model, there is no incentive to 'get ahead', in fact independent thinking is penalized.
Look at our Social Security System - productive folks who work all their lives paying into the system, find themselves in need of some financial help nearing the end of their career and ask for a social security stipend, only to find out the if they continue to be productive, continue to contribute to our Great Society, they will loose the social security help the government dangles in front of them. Many choose to take the sure route and quit work in order to secure their Soc Sec checks from the fed each month. What a waste, bright people being penalized for contributing for the benefit of We, the People. That is statism. But more importantly, the result is another Middle class resident of We, the People, who is forced right out of the Middle Class. Get it?
There are two statism motivating forces at work here against We, the People - Greed and Fear.
There are those in Big Business (most of Big Business) who see the opportunity, while the guard of We, the People, is down (or apathy runs rampant), to consolidate their economic position (i.e. increase their already astronomical profits) by annihilating the Middle class, by annihilating the Small Businesses that feed the Middle Class, who are the only threat to their existence (and their uncontrolled or unregulated profits). That's the fear part. Big Business knows that Small Business, operated, by and large, by a knowledgeable Middle Class, understands every time Big
Business oversteps its greed boundary. It is also driven by simple Greed. Big Business is doing this because it can, there is little opposition, because the vast majority of the population has turned inward and are operating, on a day-to-day basis, to protect themselves, and not acting for the good of the bigger community (We, the People). And for the short term it might work to the benefit of Big Business. But it does not make any long-term economic sense.
What happens over the long term? All the new, innovative ideas, all the efficient design, redesign, testing and fine tuning that only small business can do at the owner's expense (with the promise of riches at the end of the new product design/manufacturing/distribution tunnel), goes away. We, the People suffer yet another defeat because yet another member of the Middle Class, the lifeblood of the free enterprise system has just been wiped out. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer because there are even more immigrants from the Middle Class now added to the poor pool.
Nowhere has this statism been more clearly demonstrated than by our government's action, or lack of it, to bring to bear its utterly enormous economic resources to add appropriate corrections to the housing dilemma before it became a crisis. The government was actually ENCOURAGING banks to create poor risk loans to unqualified homeowners at the turn of the century in order to keep the housing market heated. They knew it was overheated and a crash was unavoidable, but by then it would be someone else's problem. Ultimately it became the problem of We, the People. We, fed another green weenie, and another round of Middle Class members who thought that they were living the American Dream, but turned into the American Nightmare when they were banished to the ranks of the poor. What a way to treat We, the People.
Health Care Reform is another example of statism, that even the government couldn't get right. But, instead, has screwed up so thoroughly that no one is actually going to benefit. Doctors are losing valued, low maintenance patients who pay their bills, health care systems at the state level were completely destroyed by the new program's lack of financial and legal support, congressmen looking like buffoons holding the carcasses of We, the People in their hands, totally unable to make healthy decisions to protect We, and finally an ego at the top which will be the sole reason that a black man may never again be elected to the Chief Executive's job, at least in my lifetime.
A sad commentary for this Grand Experiment that We, the People want so desperately to succeed at.
As a permanent board member of We, the People, are you happy with how your employees are handling your company? Are you pleased with the decisions that your CEO is making on your behalf? Does it seem to you that the employees are more interested in robbing We blind, while telling us that the company workings are too complicated for us to understand, and to just 'trust them'? How do you rate our judges, whose job it is to maintain the checks and balances, and protect each of us individually, and collectively as We?
Is it time for another HouseCleaning? There may not be much time left (if any). We have an off-year election coming up in a couple of months. Is it time to start whispering 'throw the bums out" again?
Where the heck are the Leaders that We, the People need, with the vision, confidence and imagination that can propel We back into the age of prosperity, that have the guts to standup to Big Business and reinstate, protect and support the Free Enterprise System, and the Middle Class, for the benefit of We, the People?