Asleep but needing to go pee

“He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.” – Aeschylus

Have you ever woken up after a night of drinking and thought, “I really don’t want to get up right now… but I simply have got to use the bathroom… I really want to go back to sleep, and I’m afraid if I get up it will be the start of my day… maybe I’ll feel better in another 10 minutes… God, I sure wish I didn’t need to go pee…”?  I don’t know about you, but I have felt that way before – resistant to get out of bed and use the bathroom, the hard day ahead looming, the desire to sleep a little longer trying in vain to overtake my body’s need to urinate.  And that’s the impression I have of Us, as I begin to open my eyes, shake off the fog of our previous night, and look around the room…

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” – Buddha
 
$16 trillion in debt?  Really?!  It can’t be true… but it is.  We destroyed ourselves?  Really?  Bill Gates has 60 billion, Warren Buffet amasses 40 billion, and yet, we owe 16,000 billion?!  Their vast fortunes not even the proverbial drop in the bucket for what we owe… with the bucket exponentially expanding in entitlement programs, social security, retirements, and medicare… while we continue to lower taxes on our wealthy… and borrow more?!  As the truth of the financial disaster around me sets in, as I look at my nation of debt, entitlement, and angst, our children’s dismal future, I start to get pissed off – pardon the expression.  Or maybe we should go the other way America – maybe it’s time we embrace the expression, we get pissed off, and we wake up to go take a freakin’ piss!  How ‘bout that? 
 

Yeah it’s true, I feel like a man who drank way too much until way too late, then stayed up after I got home watching God knows what until who knows when, and now it is 6am and I got to pee like its tomorrow.  Like Forrest Gump I tell ya America, We got’s to go pee.  But We can’t wake up… Our Body knows it should… We need to… but We drank too much wine until way too late into the dark hours… and the day ahead seems so hard.

There it is America, that’s how I feel about you…about Us… there, I said it.  My fellow Americans I implore you, as hard as we are all working these days, as dire as our situation is, as bankrupt as we have become, see that it is time to wake up.  Realize that it is time to respond to the pressure our Body is experiencing, get off our asses, and release the toxins that are polluting us.  Urination, the removal of waste – maybe it’s the Lean/Six Sigma practitioner in me, but yes America, that’s what we need.  We have got to take a leak, leave the contaminants of past decisions behind, and then re-hydrate with something healthier for us.

“The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.” – James A. Garfield
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I’m not sure where this road, this Lean/Six Sigma political project into America will leave me, will leave Us… I’m guessing that we’ll just sleep until well after noon and then wake up in a puddle, and this is what motivates me to write.  Perhaps God has called me to be our alarm clock.  At times I begin to realize that one man can’t make a difference… but then I think, well, I’m not sure of that.  Who knows?  Then I call out to God, at the top of my thought, and pray:

“Dear God, if you’re out there and you can hear me, please know that you still got one man, right here and now… yeah me, over here in the back row, the one waving here… (oh good he saw me)… yeah, what?  No, no question, no… sorry, just wanted to make sure I didn’t miss role… you know, if you’re counting to see which ones of us see the crap around us and long for something better for our children.  Sorry about the distraction all, didn’t mean to make a fuss – you know, new guy and all… but God, I just had to make sure that You knew you still had one of us out here who still cares… who is still longing to create a more perfect union… still desiring to find the best way for your country to work.”

Sometimes the thought that I am alone starts to bring me down, but then I realize that there is a whole bunch of us out there… out here.  Yes, I still believe We are good (or still good, depending on where you are in life).  As for me, I think that We are just lost…we need to open our eyes and look around for a second.  Sometimes that’s hard, particularly when you don’t like what you see.  Me personally, I like to sleep.  I justify my naps with things like, “well, it was a hard day yesterday,” or “you know, those redeye flights really throw your timing off,” but the simple truth is that I like naps, I like sleep, and I like ignoring politics.

So here’s the deal America:  If things have gotten so bad around here that I opened my eyes to look into it?  Well, then you know that it’s time to get up.  I have the distinct impression that, if we don’t wake up now, we will wake up in a pool of our own piss.  Or maybe… maybe you all woke up before me, saw that the mattress was stained yellow, and then decided that it’s no use anymore, so we might as well just sleep on it…  I don’t know, you tell me?  Have we decided to bequeath our children a yellow mattress, or are there Americans out there with the strength to stand?

“I’m tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn’t work. Of course it doesn’t work. We are supposed to work it.” – Alexander Woollcott

 

Little Red Riding Hood

“Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.” – 2 Corinthians 12:14

“Grandma?” the girl began.  “I have a question.”

“What can I help you with sweetheart?”

“Well, it’s about Medicare – you know, the program where we pay for your procedures and medicines.”

“Yes,” said grandma hesitantly.  “But you really shouldn’t phrase it that way.”

“Why not?” asked the girl innocently.

“Well, because we aren’t paying for my medicines, we’re paying for a –”

“Oh, you’re right grandma,” the girl corrected herself, “I should have said borrowing.  And that’s my question – shouldn’t we pay for your medicines now, while you are alive?”

We?  Now?” said grandma with slight recoil.  “I think you are too young to understand, don’t worry about these things.  We pay into a system you see, it’s all very complicated.  But don’t worry sweetheart, this same system will be available for you when you are older.”

“You mean, I will indebt my grandchildren just as you have indebted me?”

“Yes, too young to understand,” said grandma, the curl of her lip revealing what could be a smile.  “You know you can trust grandma right?  My generation is not stealing from yours, it just seems that way because you’re young.  In 10, maybe 20 years, we’ll talk more about it then.  Goodnight honey.”

“Have you ever saved money to pay for the medicine program that you voted in?”

“You ask too many questions my dear.  If you must know, then you will have to go look somewhere else…  But I really would rather you close your eyes now…”

“I have looked,” the girl started, and then thought to herself, “maybe I can pay off her debts…”  After a quick calculation, she resigned herself to a life devoted not only to providing for the next generation but also the previous ones… Settling into her ill-gotten fate, she continued, “Ok grandma, but can you tell me why?  I just want to be sure I don’t make the same mistakes you did, that’s all.  How come you borrowed so much money during your life, more than you could ever possibly pay while you’re alive?”

“My dear, whatever do you mean?  I don’t owe anybody anything.”

“I know you don’t.. it’s just that I do now, and I haven’t even started working yet.  To be honest grandma, and maybe I shouldn’t say anything – but it seems strange to me that, even decades after you go to heaven, I will still be…. paying for you.  Is that how a family is supposed to do it?  I spend my life trying to pay for you… and then, when I’m a grandma… I vote for someone who will in debt my children to pay for me?  It seems –”

“Really child, it is so late you may see light soon.  You really should stop asking these questions and go back to sleep.”

“But Grandma, I read our family is in debt over 15,000,000 million dollars… and there are only 306 million of us total – that’s including you, me, and others who can’t or don’t work, including everybody?!  This means our family owes… oh my God grandma, this can’t be true, can it?!”

“Well yes, it’s true.  But don’t you worry dear, God will provide for you,” grandma replied, grabbing her dentures off the nightstand and inserting her teeth into her mouth.

“Hmm…” the girl thought for a moment, and then offered.  “Wouldn’t a better system be one in which we saved during our own lifetimes to pay for ourselves?  One in which we didn’t borrow?  Wouldn’t that be a better way to run a family?”

“Sweetheart,” her grandma said as she looked over to her, “you really must stop asking these questions.  Please go back to sleep.”

“But Grandma, it’s hard for me to sleep, knowing that with every minute our family owes more and more and I will have to pay for it.  The debt’s interest alone is becoming our largest expense.  Shouldn’t we stop doing this?”

“But I’m still alive my dear.  You wouldn’t want your lovely grandma to not get her medicines and procedures now would you – of course not.  Now off to bed sweetheart, it’s late.”

“Of course I want you to get your medicines grandma – it’s not that I don’t care about you.  It’s just that I want to love my grandchildren… and if I’m to do that… Oh Grandma, I can try to pay for you for all my life, but I don’t want to leave my grandchildren in debt.  Grandma, I don’t like this system at all!  Wouldn’t a better system be one where I save for my own medicines?  I really do want to take care of myself – I can’t imagine a heaven where I look down to see my children and grandchildren working every day to pay for me.  That would be horrible!  Anything but that – loving a child and then forcing them to slave their entire lives to pay for me… oh my soul, it could never rest like that, I can’t imagine it.”

“You can and you will,” her grandma said flatly.  “Now seriously, I must insist you stop this line of questioning or there will be hell to pay.  You are supposed to sleep now, you’ll see the game when you get older… er, I mean, you’ll understand later my sweet child.”

“I won’t Grandma – I see now.  I’ll never want this for my grandchildren, I’d rather die first.  Am I alone, or have others in our family ever tried to put the children first?  Have we ever tried to make it so that our family had to balance its budget?

“Ok, if you insist.  Yes.  Yes, they did try… since the beginning they’ve tried.  In fact, it was Thomas Jefferson’s one regret.  But with enemies on all sides, what could they do but borrow?  In 1999 they almost succeeded, but fell one vote short in the Senate – just one vote short, can you imagine?  Oh, so close they were to defeating me.  So close… and now my dear, you can’t say that I didn’t warn you… you really do ask too many questions.”

“Wow Grandma, what big eyes you have… what big teeth you have…”

“I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution.  I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government.  I mean an additional article taking from the Federal Government the power of borrowing.  I now deny their power of making paper money or anything else a legal tender.  I know that to pay all proper expenses within the year would, in case of war, be hard on us.  But not so hard as ten wars instead of one.  For wars could be reduced in that proportion; besides that, the State governments would be free to lend their credit in borrowing quotas.” – Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1798.

 

Letter from the 1%

“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” – Harry S. Truman

From:    The 1%

To:         The 99%

Subj:      New Deal 3 Memorandum of Understanding

Dear Sirs and Madams:

It has come to our attention that visionpresident.com has proposed a “New Deal,” an agreement to avoid collapse – what the business world calls a controlled bankruptcy plan.  This written response is intended to define us 1%er’s understanding of New Deal 3.  What follows is our non-lawyer, plain speak, man-to-man statement of understanding of our collective future together.  But first, I feel it beneficial that you hear our perspective, before you hear our terms…

No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.” – Abraham Lincoln

First, you should know that we are not ashamed of being 1%ers; on the contrary, we are proud of it – for we have worked hard to get here, making many difficult choices and overcoming a multitude of challenges along the way.  In the process, we have come to understand, appreciate, and respect hard work.  Make no mistake, we hold a profound admiration of our hard working middle class – our teachers, our military, our nurses – we treasure the work you do.  In fact, we would like to pay you more, for we fully recognize that it is the middle class which makes America work.

The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes.” – Aristotle

We recognize that the middle class in America is shrinking and the wealth gap widening.  We understand that you need more than simply enough to get to tomorrow – you need to support a family, plan for your retirement, help your children to learn and to grow, enjoy time with family, and assist the needy in your community.  And we are more than ready to provide the hard working 99%ers out there with more.  But not with the old New Deal, not with the remnants of a previous generations’ programs, not with a government determined to pay the non-working, provide for the retired, and engage in a “War on Poverty” via government “relief” programs.  These programs no longer encourage a working middle class by combating discrimination and abuses in America; quite the contrary, they abuse and discriminate against the working middle class by encouraging people to leave it and file for government benefits instead.

The New Deal is plainly an attempt to achieve a working socialism and avert a social collapse in America; it is extraordinarily parallel to the successive ‘policies’ and ‘Plans’ of the Russian experiment. Americans shirk the word ‘socialism’, but what else can one call it?” – H. G. Wells
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My fellow Americans, for this New Deal to succeed, you must understand that the reason hard working Americans are unable to garner wealth, provide for your future and your present, prevent your children from being overburdened in federal debt obligations…  the reason you are now relegated to an endless existence of work and toil just to get by… it is not due to our greed.  It is due to the funneling of your pay into the coffers of government wars, policies, and programs.  It is due to your forced participation in a retirement program that takes 12.4% of your pay and, in return, provides you only with vast debt obligations that your children must shoulder.  It is due to your obligation to pay government employees, including members of Congress, a defined benefit from the age he or she “retires” until some future date many decades into the future.  It is due to your mandatory participation in medical and welfare government aid programs that ensure the hard working among you pay for those who have retired from the workforce and those who fail to participate in it – a segment of the population that is expanding rapidly, and why wouldn’t they?
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Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” – Winston Churchill

We, the 1%, still whole-heartily believe in the vision that is America – a place where a person is free to excel, encouraged to innovate, and provided an opportunity to live well. But as such, we cannot support our current course.  Yes, we know that trickle-down economics is a failed philosophy, we’ve told you as much.

The rich are always going to say that, you know, just give us more money and we’ll go out and spend more and then it will all trickle down to the rest of you. But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on.” – Warren Buffet
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And yes, we are ready to pay our fair share of taxes, to return to the day where the rich pay a higher percentage than the poor.  And yes, we understand that we have an obligation to use our wealth to support our fellow man.

Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse.” – George Washington
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But my friends, for us to move forward, you must understand that it is not the greed of us 1%ers that is at the root of our nation’s problems, it is the system itself.  This is what you must recognize if you wish to avoid collapse.  We simply will not support a system which continues, in today’s day and age of equal rights, to identify the government as the proper mechanism to provide for the citizenry – for it is not, we have always known this.

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” – Thomas Jefferson

The former Soviet Union, modern day Greece, and a look at our own Welfare State demonstrates that it is time to resume our proper course.  A society which gives its wages to the government and expects the government to provide for the people, whether said government is democratically elected or not, is left with a broken people and a broken nation.  Throughout history, this has been the case.  So make no mistake, we will let this failed philosophy implode before we bankrupt ourselves supporting it.

The reason why men enter into society is the preservation of their property.” – John Locke

Although we are prepared to handle the financial collapse of our great nation should we fail to reach an agreement with you, we sincerely hope and pray that we can work together to foster a different outcome.

 
It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
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We see the inevitable result of our current course, and we will not be a party to it.  Our current end state is a citizenry reliant on an inefficient, ineffective, and corruptible government, one catering to special interest organizations, one unable to meet its obligations to the people, and one imposing ever increasing taxes on its working and ever increasing debts on its future generations.  Our course of government subsidies for our citizenry will leave us destitute, with a divided nation pitting those who receive government checks set against those who work to provide them.  Our current system is destined for failure, destined for collapse, and we will not support it.  You must vote to end it.

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” – Alexis de Tocqueville

It is the lesson of the ages, and we will simply no longer allow our great country, this noble idea called America, our most-treasured experiment… to fall to the bureaucrats.  We love you, Us, too much to let that happen.  If you wish to plot a viable future together, if you wish to balance our nation’s budget, if you wish for America’s children to have a chance at success, you must abandon the notion that the government provides for the people.

A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.” – Thomas Jefferson

In this century’s New Deal, we will accept a tax system designed to target us 1%ers for the overarching limited government necessary to promote our society.  We will support legislation and tax code simplification that eliminates tax breaks for us, as well as encourage smart government regulatory bodies to provide the necessary check to our capitalist nature.  Our businesses will bid on competitive government contracts to provide energy, infrastructure, and societal advancements for us as a whole, but not for individual government handouts or mandatory government programs.  All government expenditures should be investments in our future, programs that potentially pay for themselves, not taxes to provide government backstops and entitlements to certain segments of the population.  Government can invest in our youth and unemployed by promoting job training, advanced education, and proven work programs.

Join me in a national commitment to train two million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job.” – Barack Obama

In this century’s New Deal, the government must again be removed from the charity business, eliminated from the retirement planning business, and extracted from the drug subsidy business for the elderly. This is a part of the deal some of you 99%ers may think you don’t like, but you will find America is stronger as a result.  Medicare, Social Security, all Government Defined Benefit Retirement Programs, and all government welfare programs are eliminated.  Bankruptcy style court proceedings will be used to determine the payout to those who have had their wages garnished for years, to those who have spent their lives as public servants expecting a government pension, and any other creditors claiming liens on America’s future.

It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes.” – Thomas Jefferson

Going forward, America will offer no future obligations other than the debt determined in court proceedings.  Going forward, all federal employees, to include Congress, military personnel, and any government entity, will be enrolled in a private sector retirement program that pays as it goes into a citizen owned and managed retirement account.  These will be regulated by the government, but not guaranteed by the government… the people… our unborn.  Going forward, each generation will be responsible for ourselves.

There are no easy answers but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.” – Ronald Reagan

Those who work hard will find that they have enough to provide for their well being, save for their retirement, support a family, and have money left over with which to assist the elderly, disabled, and struggling in our society.  The elimination of the government programs designed to “help” us will, in fact, help us.  We will find that we are all better off when the common man is allowed to live independent of government, rather than forced to pay into a government system designed to provide for his well being.

I’m a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: That Government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.” – Barack Obama

The private sector can provide unemployment insurance for those who wish to purchase it.  The private sector can and does provide retirement plans and elder care health plans.  The government can and should regulate these industries – that is its purpose after all, to regulate – but that is the extent of its role here.  The government should create a fair and just business environment, ensure workplace and environmental standards, and punish those who deceive, manipulate, and try to operate outside of the law.  It should not, however, attempt to raise more taxes in a vain effort to continue to promote a failed political vision.  Defense of our community, regulation of our industry, and investment in our future – Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – this is the full extent of what the government should do for the people.

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” – George Washington

So that’s the New Deal 3 as we understand it:  Social Security, all Government retirement programs, and Medicare are ended via a lump sum payout to contributing parties, as determined in bankruptcy court, of some amount that our society can possibly afford.  Government Medicaid, Housing, and Welfare Aid is ended, and all charity will be left to the private charities, many of which we 1%ers have already started.  If you cannot agree to this, then We 1%ers will be forced to let the impending bankruptcy occur.  Your pyramid scheme of borrowed money that is tied to nothing more than the paper it is drawn on will be allowed to run its course…  and then we will try again with your grandchildren to develop a sustainable society.

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” – Ronald Reagan

My fellow Americans, we hope you will accept our offer at increased taxes on us 1%ers to balance our budget.  But you must couple this tax increase with the shared understanding that government is not meant to ensure that everyone, regardless of work history, health condition, or age is “taken care of” by the same government that polices, taxes, and administers the aid.  Such a system will never work – we are $16 trillion into the midst of this truth, and time is running short.

To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” – Leonard Bernstein

Take these charitable and unquantifiable responsibilities out of the hands of Government.  Agree to limit it, as you know in your heart it must be.  Let the government set a fair playing field, let them regulate Us, let them inspect Us, but let not their police confiscate our hard-earned monies to pay for unsustainable health, retirement, and welfare programs, particularly when these programs aren’t even being paid for as part of a balanced budget.  My brothers and sisters, let us continue to grow as One Body.  Let us get through this downturn by re-embracing the notion of an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work – a square Deal.  Do that, and we can once again work to encourage a vibrant middle class and a better America.

The middle class is teetering on the brink of collapse just as surely as AIG was in the fall of 2009 – only this time, it’s not just one giant insurance company (and its banking counterparties) facing disaster, it’s tens of millions of hardworking Americans who played by the rules.” – Arianna Huffington

With heartfelt love for you, our country, our world, and our future,

The 1%ers

America, Land of the Slave?

“Time is Money.” – Benjamin Franklin

I have a corollary to wise old Ben’s proverb that I wish to share with you today, and it is this:

“Time is Money, and Debt is Slavery.

My friends, time is what we are stealing from our children, our grandchildren, and our unborn with our mountains of National Debt – they lose their time in this world as we enslave them in debtWe are stealing their freedom, that is the truth.  Our children will not be born free in what was once called the “Land of the Free” – they will be born with an obligation of debt and interest, the largest the world has ever seen, more than the rest of the world combined… yes, our children will be born as indentured servants, and I find that unconscionable.

“Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.”George Washington

It is why I started this blog, this vain mission of hopelessness, to do otherwise would be to walk blindly into the slavery that awaits us.  I felt I owe my grandparents, and my one day grandchildren, something better.  So here I am, exercising my right to speak, in hopes that somehow, in some way, we can come together to take our country back.

“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”George Washington

There is a word for what I felt last week on the 4th of July – as I reflected on our great country, as I remembered what our forefathers fought for, as I thought about what Independence Day means… and the word for what I felt is Shame.  Has our national debt caused you to feel it yet?  Have you begun to believe that we owe our forefathers a profound apology and our children a complete change of course?  I have.  I do.  And then I think, so what are we waiting for?

“I do not look upon these United States as a finished product. We are still in the making.”Franklin D. Roosevelt

I feel like our forefathers are in the afterlife now, watching our story unfold, seeing what we are doing with the baton they fought so hard to be able to hand us… and they are shouting “NO, Booo!  You know better!  Don’t do this to Us!  This is worse than reality TV for crying out loud!  What in the hell is wrong with you people?!”  I see them throwing their drinks and popcorn at the screen, wondering if there is any way they can get their money back – get their time back.  Time is Money… and debt, debt is slavery.

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”Abraham Lincoln

So true, so right you are Abe.  I watched the movie “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer” the other night.  I don’t know if it is going to win any awards, but it’s theme resonates with me in our time.  Abe Lincoln, honest Abe, a good man… a man who sees the bankers, the politicians, the slave owners for what they are – comfortable men feeding off of the blood, sweat, and tears of others for their well being – Vampires.  And then he sets off to destroy the Vampires of his day, to attempt to restore our great nation to the ideal that inspired it, to champion liberty for all even though government officials, business owners, and many of his fellow citizens despise the notion.

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.” – Thomas Jefferson

As I look at America today, I see the parallels to Lincoln’s day – the chains of slavery are not as overt today, but they are there just the same, shackling our children to years and years of servitude. Our slaves these days are not defined by color, but by age – the younger you are, the longer you have to live under this mountain of debt.  And sadly, regretfully, shamefully, I see the Vampires abounding in our day.  Whether red or blue, artery or vein, they suck the life out of us so long as we let them.  First we enslaved ourselves under mountains of credit card, mortgage, and student loan debt… and after we were in debt up to our eyeballs, they went to work on our children.  And, as I see it, so long as we continue to vote red or blue, they got us right where they want us…

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”
Thomas Jefferson

I can’t speak for you, but I am one good man who is wise to the game of debt, the game of slavery – so I choose a different course, I choose to be Independent, and I reject the notion that red or blue are the only colors I can choose.  My friend, I have been bled white.  I reject the notion that an onerous government and welfare society, or a jaded tax code favoring the wealthy and a lack of regulation on our financial industry are my only two choices in this life.  I submit that we should not tax the hard working to pay for expanding federal government aid programs for our unemployed, elderly, and “less fortunate,” leave that to the states.  Nor should we embrace policy allowing our wealthy corporations and bankers to be “free” to destroy us.  Federal regulation is needed to set the environment, federal programs are not.  Further, I submit that our government officials should not have a defined benefit retirement and healthcare program that our children pay for, for as long as they shall live – they should have a 401k style retirement program where they scrimp and save to pay for themselves just like the rest of us.  I submit that the upper class should be taxed to pay for our limited government – after all, they reap the largest benefits.

I reject the notion that a fair tax system is achieved by taxing the dividends and stock capital gains of our wealthy at a lower tax rate than our working.  I believe the middle and lower classes are owed nothing more than a teacher, a doctor, and the opportunity to work.  I submit that taxing any American and simply giving his money, his time, as a paycheck to another is an affront to freedom, liberty, and justice.  I believe a man must choose to give his time, his charity, his efforts to the benefit of another.  Federal taxes should go to improving the community at large via projects farmed out to the private sector, not to giving paychecks to those requiring charity.

To say that any people are not fit for freedom, is to make poverty their choice, and to say they had rather be loaded with taxes than not.” – Thomas Paine

The middle class and the unborn American, they are the slaves of our day.  The hard working honest among us seem to stand little chance, or we don’t care about our children, I’m not sure which.  Our non-working file with the blue government to tax the working man to pay for their livelihood, and our blue government applauds and champions their cause.  Meanwhile, our wealthy make shady financial deals to inflate the cost of living, fleecing the working man of his hard earned money – MF Global, Bernie Madoff, and the 2008 financial collapse to name but a few.  The blue and red together not only making us powerless to stop them, but worse, insuring their dealings with our children’s yet-to-be-earned incomes.  And a hard working honest man who refuses to give his wages to the bankers, he is fleeced by the government through targeted inflation – the paper he is paid with made more and more worthless with each passing hour.

“These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people.”Abraham Lincoln

I’m with Mr. Lincoln.  Abe knew that most of the men in government were not seeking to combat slavery, only to provide a different avenue toward attaining it.  He heard our founders, and he knew that liberty, freedom, independence, a timeless Constitution – they are the only shield against those who wish to enslave us.

“Mankind, when left to themselves, are unfit for their own government.”George Washington

I see the Vampires in our government, passing Banking and Pension Guarantee legislation to “insure” our bank accounts and retirements are given to us.  It sounds good until we peel back the onion, and see that the bankers and monied corporations keep our deposits, and our “guaranteed” wages are simply another government claim of debt on our children and grandchildren.  What a sham.  Thanks but no thanks government – how about you prevent the capitalists from fleecing me, instead of guaranteeing me that my children will pay for it?  I’m sorry Thomas, it appears the banking institutions have won.

“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”Thomas Jefferson
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I see how our government fleeced the Social Security Trust Fund of everything, of all those hard earned wages – all that time, and instead filled it with IOU’s that force us to look to our own children to pay for our retirements.  I watch them as they lower capital gains and dividend tax rates on our business owners, our stock holders, our wealthiest.  I see how they shift the tax burden of what is supposed to be a limited federal government to the middle class – the one part of society who has little use for it, and how they try to eliminate inheritance tax by calling it a “death tax.”  My eyes are open to the fact that our highest income tax bracket and rates are approaching the lowest since we passed the 16th Amendment, even while our debt surpasses all historical levels.  I see our government celebrate as they enlarge federal “aid” programs to include more and more Americans at the expense of others, deciding that a government program is better than a local charity – statistics proving otherwise be damned.  I notice as they discuss a Balanced Budget Amendment to pacify the masses, but never manage to actually pass it, each year borrowing more and more on the heads of our grandchildren and unborn.  I understand that fighting pretend and ill-advised wars only bankrupts our great nation to creditors – our “War on Drugs,” “War on Poverty,” and “War on Terror” to name a few, but see us embark upon them just the same.

“Don’t forget what I discovered that over ninety percent of all national deficits from 1921 to 1939 were caused by payments for past, present, and future wars.”Franklin D. Roosevelt

I hear you FDR, but am I powerless?  Are We powerless?

“Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.”Franklin D. Roosevelt

Well Sir, I am trying.  But I believe we are becoming a country of Vampires – each one of us trying to get blood from our neighbor best we can and then, when they are bled dry, from their unborn via national debt.  And just as folks in Lincoln’s time thought that slavery was necessary – just as their vision was blinded by the fact that their life would become more onerous without enslaving another, so too are we blinded today by our desires to live beyond our means.  We feel that we are “owed” something from those who have succeeded, from those who managed to scrimp and save, from those who decided to employ us, or from a government we decided to serve – and so we tax our great grandchildren to get our due.  Rather than do what we know is right, rather than pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to ensure our children are not slaves to our desires, rather than forego the notion that we are owed anything at all… we lie to ourselves to keep what we have, and we tell each other that it’s Ok to borrow more money on our children’s heads – to keep them as slaves to us for just a while longer.

“Blessed are the young for they shall inherit the national debt.”Herbert Hoover

It’s not a rosy message on the 4th of July I know, but it is the truth just the same – Shame on Us America.  John McCain called it “generational theft,” I call it enslaving our grandchildren, you call it what you will.  But please America, stop pretending you don’t understand the facts.  Take a look at our national debt, a real look, and then ask yourself – my fellow Americans, my fellow good men and women who have been chartered to helm this great experiment called America, it’s time for Us to take a look in the mirror and see if We have a reflection.  It’s time to ask our self, am I good with being a Vampire?  I for one, am not.  I am ready for change that my children can believe in… are you?

“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”Thomas Jefferson
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Yours in Faith for a better America and a better World.

Old Glory

“The American flag, Old Glory, standing tall and flying free over American soil for 228 years is the symbol of our beloved country. It is recognized from near and afar, and many lives have been lost defending it.”Jeff Miller

Today is June 14th, Flag Day, so I can’t think of a more apropos time to talk about Old Glory.  I’ve been thinking about her for a while now… in my humble opinion, the Red, White, and Blue of our national flag tells a story that we must hear again in our day.  My fellow Americans, the Red, White, and Blue of our national ensign are not just some colors our forefathers decided looked good.  They encapsulate the Vision of our nation, they symbolize the One Body that our founders understood, and they tell the story of how our political system is meant to work, to function, to endure.  The Red, White, and Blue – they are meant to represent our lifeblood.

“The American flag is the symbol of our freedom, national pride and history.”Mike Fitzpatrick

But our flag is more than that, it is our road map… did “We the People” forget Old Glory’s message?  And did we forget why it is called the “White” house?  Today, this Flag Day, I will share with you a perspective on Old Glory that you most likely haven’t heard before.  My sincere hope is that this will inspire you to open your mind to a different political perspective, to allow a third color to not only re-enter the political field, but to dominate our discourse, and cause us to think outside of the “red and blue” box of our political parties – for I believe neither party contains our proper course forward.  My fellow Americans, when our founders created this country, when they penned our Constitution, when they formed our system of checks and balances, they entrusted Us, We the People, with a critical role – the crucial role.  And if we are to fix this broken and bankrupt nation, we must remember our purpose, recognize our role, and then act upon it.  We cannot continue to rely upon the Red or Blue, the Republicans or Democrats, to fix our great nation.  We cannot continue to wear the wrong jersey and expect to win the game.

“There is much more to being a patriot and a citizen than reciting the pledge or raising a flag.”Jesse Ventura

So my fellow Americans, for any of you who have believed the Great Lie that you must be Red or Blue, for any of you who have resigned yourself to the “fact” that we only have two political parties and two possible solutions, lend me your ear to make a case for Old Glory.  You see, there is a third color, our color, one which matches the Red stripe for stripe, one which dominates the Blue with 50 bright stars, one which symbolizes the goodness in Us, and one which displays to you and I the role “We the People” are meant to play.  We used to play our role.  We used to force the Red or Blue into submission, selecting not a political party, but a Vision.

“Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God.”George Washington
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The three colors of Old Glory are not by happenstance.  The Red and Blue are our arteries and veins, the lifeblood of the Body of Us.  And the White is the goodness, the purity, the health of our nation – it is why a body has “white” blood cells to fight off diseases.  You see, you and I, We the People, we’re not supposed to be Blue or Red, we’re supposed to be playing for the White team.  We are supposed to be the thinkers of our political system, the ones who remove the contaminants from our Red and Blue parties, the ones who select the good and proper course for our nation.  It is why we named the Executive Office the White House… for it is supposed to be our home.

“I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House – with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”John F. Kennedy

My fellow Americans, our nation is diseased, our Body is rapidly decomposing, and I honestly believe that it will not survive without intervention from us.  Our government has accumulated nearly 16 thousand thousand million dollars of debt – do We even understand how much that is?  This expansive burden, if We are to live, is to be borne by some 70 million working Americans – a generation consisting of 2 grandparents, 2 parents, and 2 children owes over $300,000 worth of government debt today.  This in addition to the mountains of individual credit card, student loan, and mortgage debt we’ve accumulated.  Are We simply waiting to die, to declare bankruptcy and start over?  At times I believe we are, and most of the time I can see no other future for Us.  But then I see Old Glory, I remember that America has been historically strong and resilient, I envision the hardships that our forefathers faced… and overcame.  And it helps me to remember our goodness and tenacity, it makes me think we can pull out a win, and it brings me a glimmer of hope… hope for Us.

“If you want a symbolic gesture, don’t burn the flag; wash it.”Norman Thomas

In Masonry, a man is taught to achieve balance by dividing his life into threes – a third of his life spent in his work, a third spent supporting his community, and a third spent in rest and rejuvenation.  It was under this same philosophy of Three, this vision of a triad, a three legged stool, that masons created our great nation.  Government, Economy, and Religion… Political policy, Social interaction, Individual freedom… the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost… the three branches of government, Executive, Legislative, and Judicial… and the Red, White, and Blue of Old Glory – they are how we achieve balance in this world.

“Our flag is not just one of many political points of view. Rather, the flag is a symbol of our national unity.”Adrian Cronauer

My fellow Americans, if we forget our role, if we continue to fill the “White” House with captains from the Red and Blue teams, if we choose to play the game without the White referees that you and I are supposed to be – We will fail.  We, you and I, and more particularly our children and grandchildren, We the People will lose the game.  For our Body will not survive without White blood cells.  It is why 2/3 is the number of the beast, the symbol of destruction – for it represents the absence of goodness, the elimination of the white, the holy, and the good from our Body.  It represents the takeover of our Body by our politicians and special interest, the absence of you and I in the process.

“Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.”Thomas Jefferson

I suspect we are getting close to that tipping point.  We have 1 Independent Senator and 0 Independent Congressman.  Most candidates for public office must agree to a Red or Blue political platform before even appearing on a ballot, and special interest money and influence nearly all but determines our government officials.  This is not how our balance is meant to be maintained, I assure you.  We the People were given the power for a reason.

“Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

So please, as you look to Old Glory this Flag day, remember who We are, what team We are playing for, and what our role is meant to be.  Consider voting for a solution this year instead of a political party.  Entertain the notion of an Independent candidate, a representative with the vision for the White Team, the good team, our team captain… or, as I like to call him or her, a Vision President.  Not since George Washington did our country elect an Independent to the White house, but I submit we are in dire need of it again in our day.  Consider the White stars and stripes of Old Glory and, instead of voting against whichever broken political platform you fear the most, vote for a course that will make America strong, pure, and vibrant again.

“Sometimes I wake at night in the White House and rub my eyes and wonder if it is not all a dream.”Grover Cleveland

Yours in Faith for a better America and a better World.

History of the Us

It is not living that matters, but living rightly.” – Socrates

The purpose of our existence in this world is to try to answer the question of the ages: “What is the best Way for us to live?”  This great riddle applies not only to us as individuals, but to Us as a group of individuals as well.  Determining exactly how that is best done is not as simple as it may sound.

“A President’s hardest task is not to do what is right, but to know what is right.”Lyndon B. Johnson

As an individual, my body will decay unto death, but as a group, our Body is meant to live.  We are One Body, growing, evolving, trying to determine how best to form and function – trying to determine how We can “live rightly.”  And so We must ask our Self:  If We, knowing everything we have discovered up to this point, if We were to attempt to form a society today… if We were to, once again and in our day, embark on a holy mission to create the “Great Society”… if We were to clear the board so to speak, and implement today’s best answers to age-old societal questions…  What would We do?  How would We best attempt to build a more perfect union today?

Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

Would we create a government over us?  And if so, what functions would it perform?  How would it pay for itself?  How would We, the Body of Us, in our day and in our time, strive for a better Life?  How would We encourage our productive cells, shepherd our struggling, care for our disabled and elderly… all the while ensuring, first and foremost, that our Body is healthy?  Because, for our Body to continue to live, for “Us” to have a future, we must ensure that our efforts to preserve old cells doesn’t prevent new ones from growing, that our efforts to aid failing cells doesn’t prevent productive ones from excelling, and that our efforts to reward productive cells doesn’t prevent our struggling from being able to blossom.   And above all, if we prefer living to dying, we must ensure that our individual desires to live well today don’t trump our Body’s desire to live well tomorrow.

“If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”Thomas Paine

So how best can we do that?  It is a timeless question whose answers change and evolve in time and space.  Philosophers like Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Cicero, Marx, and Rand have pondered them.

“It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgment.”Marcus Tullius Cicero

Pharaohs, Kings, Caesars, Tsars, Prime Ministers, and Presidents have tried to implement answers.  And Great men, whose names are too many to count, have given their very lives to allow us to continue our pursuit for the answers.

I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” – Nathan Hale
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Through it all, from cave drawings to internet blogs, from chariots to spaceships, and from spears to nuclear missiles, one thing has changed very little – the nature of Man.  This is why, as we ask our Self the same questions in our day, we must look to history for guidance.  By looking at our past, by examining what succeeded, what failed, and why, by understanding what decisions were made by our predecessors, why they made them, and then examining the results of those decisions, we can better determine our course forward today.

“History, in general, only informs us of what bad government is.”Thomas Jefferson

By translating the lessons of yesterday into today’s flat world of genetic engineering, multinational corporations, internet commerce, and virtual workplaces, we can discern some better answers for our day, perhaps even avert the bankruptcy looming on our horizon, and implement the necessary changes required for our Body’s continued health.  So my friends, with the understanding that it is our noble mission, under the humble disposition that we owe our ancestors and our grandchildren more than a bankrupt and broken nation, the following is my reading and interpretation of our history.  If you are a historian, philosopher, politician, or learned citizen with a different reading of history, please help an ignorant man, yours truly, and give me your feedback.  The goal is for us to get this right.

“Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”Thomas Jefferson
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We’ve started societies since the beginning of time, and we are starting society again this very day.. so here we go.

“Study history, study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft.”Winston Churchill

God’s Country, an Age of Enlightenment, and the Mayan Calendar?

“We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”Thomas Paine

I honestly believed, when my Spirit directed me to start this Lean/Six Sigma project on America, I was simply going to be developing and sharing some political opinions with you. I would sift through data and results, investigate the process, look at what we are doing, what we have done, what we hope to do, map out a value stream, and then share my thoughts, ideas, and assessments on what might be a better way to get there.  Period.  I knew bankruptcy wasn’t the best answer, so I thought I’d drop my preconceived ideas and instead, see if I could discover a good solution for us.

It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good.” – Thomas Jefferson

The Spiritual enlightenment that has accompanied this journey, what I now think was the whole point of it in the first place, is not what I thought I was seeking… funny how that works.  In any case, I didn’t expect that I would discover Life’s enlightenment, the message of the Ages, the reason we have religions, and the purpose of our lives – by looking at this complete mess of thing we call politics.  Now I know better…

“Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.”Mahatma Gandhi

I get it now.  I firmly believe that is why we are called “God’s country” – one simply cannot earnestly look at the US, our purpose, our political structure, and our history, without revealing God’s message in the process.  The US is not just some abbreviation for United States, I assure you.  I understand what they meant when they said the US was the beacon for the World and why we called it capitol hill.  For our nation sits like a flashing neon sign, brightly displaying God’s message for the World to see:  “We the People = Us.”

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” – Matthew 5:14

Here’s the honest truth from a fool, yours truly; until recently, I didn’t know what the “enlightenment” of our golden “Age of Enlightenment” was.  For any others out there working so hard every day that you’ve forgotten the enlightened message, here it is:  “We are an Us,” that is the enlightenment, and that is God’s message, pure and simple.

And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” – Matthew 12:25

An Age of Enlightenment is simply an age in which the World recognizes that it is a Body, an Us, it is a period of time in which the Body becomes self-aware, and then good people try to promote the Body.  Early followers of The Way called it the Body of Christ, Emerson referred to it as an Over-Soul, but regardless of what you call Us, an Age of Enlightenment occurs when We internalize that we truly and literally are a Life… and then realize that We should not war with our Self.  

“The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”Thomas Paine

“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”Thomas Jefferson

So what do you say, Us?  You ready to become self-aware again?  Ready to open our eyes to what We the People are?  Are you ready to surrender to the fact that we are all in this together?  Are you ready to accept the white flag of peace, unity, and brotherhood, enter the next phase of our development, the one where we simply grow?  Because Lord knows I am.  Peace is yours, it is ours, if only We so choose it.  Come on my friend, what say you?

“All for One, and one for All.”Alexandre Dumas

There was a point in time when an enlightened We the People recognized that, if we leave it up to us good people, if we do our utmost to take the power out of the hands of our Government and our Wealthy, if instead we rely on the good Spirit our Creator provided us… we will find Peace.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”Lord Acton
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It’s why we tried to keep our Government powers limited, why we must police our Banking industry, why we tried to stay out of the World Wars, and why We’ve been trying to promote democracy ever since.  It’s taken a while, it’s been a long road, but I feel we’re on the cusp… do you feel it too?  Or am I crazy?

A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?” – Albert Einstein

The Arab Spring, the wars abroad winding down, Democracy and Freedom spreading it’s seed… Iran willing to talk, a new leader in North Korea, talk of another Israeli-Palestinian peace conference, our troops leaving the East…  Al-Qaeda’s support diminishing around the globe, it’s leader eliminated, its ideology of Fear, Hate, and Anger destined for deaf ears.

“Every religion is good that teaches man to be good; and I know of none that instructs him to be bad.”Thomas Paine

The connectivity of our flat world, the internet, the worldwide effects of economic collapse, international corporations, UN peace brokers, camera phones, language translators… do you feel Us coming together into another Age of Enlightenment?  My good friends around the globe, black/white, Jew/Muslim, male/female, gay/straight, even/odd, day/night, east/west – all of Us good folks everywhere, could our Body finally be settling into itself?

“An association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which has never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry.”Thomas Jefferson

But it could be if enough of us choose peace and love – for it truly is our decision.  And although I can’t speak for you, I still have the faith…

“Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

So I ask you, has our warring past forever defined our future, or are We finally ready to embrace one another as brothers and sisters in this One World, this One Body?  Could this be the beginning of another “Age of Enlightenment,” a World at Peace, a realization of the New Testament and the end of the great commission… could this be what the Mayans somehow marked as Dec 2012?

“Out of many, One.” – Great Seal of the United States (E Pluribus Unum)

I don’t know, but I’m praying that somehow, someway, the “End of Days” the Mayans spoke of was the end of those days… and the beginning of a New World.

“A people free to choose will always choose peace.”Ronald Reagan

Yours in Faith for a better America and a better World.

Re-discovering our Vision

I believe that I have discovered the proper Vision for our nation, some potential answers to our generation’s questions, and that I now see the next step in becoming a more perfect Union.  For me, discovering our nation’s proper Vision required re-discovering our purpose.  With a new clarity, I now understand what our founders were trying to do when they created US.  If ‘We the People’ are to re-discover the vision of the ‘US,’ if We are to illuminate our society’s path forward, We must do nothing short of revealing the meaning of life, our purpose in this world, what we are meant to do…  We must re-discover that we are One;  We, mankind, our species, One Body.

The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.” – Thomas Paine

It was under this revelation, this belief that all the world is a country, that all of mankind is a body, a Life seeking to reach its destination, a fetus desiring to be born, that America was founded.  We are a nation created in the hope of bettering the body of Us, fostering the health of mankind, furthering the development of our species.  That was the purpose this nation was founded upon, that is why our forefathers fought tooth and nail to ensure our existence, why they insisted so fundamentally on equal rights for all members, and why they formed a constitutional republic as our governing body.  This is what We the People must re-discover if we are to get our country back on its proper course.  America is supposed to be the light, a beacon for the world, the “city on a hill,” the example and the avenue in which the world unites as One.

“We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation, similar to the present, hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The birthday of a new world is at hand…” – Thomas Paine

This can once again become our destiny if we can but again embrace our Vision and act upon it.

“Get action. Seize the moment. Man was never intended to become an oyster.” – Theodore Roosevelt

The world is ready for Us to usher in a new era of balanced budgets, stable currencies, and brotherly peace.  But we are a broken country, a house divided, nearly bankrupt, with both of our political platforms each containing half of the right answer – a portion of our proper vision.  America We must, if we are ever to come together as One people and move forward, simultaneously accept and reject both platforms so as to, rather than accept a political platform, embrace a Vision.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” – Abraham Lincoln

I find it interesting that the right answer is not a solution which seeks to tone down Republican and Democratic rhetoric in an attempt to find middle ground.  Instead, the solution is only found by entirely embracing each party’s view on one issue while summarily dismissing each party’s view on another.  And then I realized something amazing:  This discovery isn’t anything new at all – instead, it is simply re-discovering what our founders and forefathers had discovered long ago.

In politics the middle way is none at all. – John Adams

America will regain her proper Vision and direction only after she makes this discovery:

The historically Republican view of limited government and private enterprise is the best way to promote the general welfare, and the historically Democratic view of government regulation of capitalism and taxes on our most successful is the best way to legislate and tax.

“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. – Thomas Jefferson

“Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The problem is, once we re-discover America’s Vision, We shortly thereafter realize that a vote for either party is a vote to reject our proper course.  Instead, it is a vote to continue the illusion that Government Social programs are the best way to help our poor, or that Trickle Down Economics is the best way to promote our industry.  Whichever way we vote, we are voting for a failed philosophy and a broken future.

“Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.” – Ronald Reagan

Now, anybody who thinks that we can move this economy forward with just a few folks at the top doing well, hoping that it’s going to trickle down to working people who are running faster and faster just to keep up, you’ll never see it.” – Barack Obama

For any of you who believe that both the above statements are true, to all of us who find both of our current political “platforms” lacking, I would love to hear your thoughts on how We the People can re-discover our Vision… and as to how We can find our candidate. Whatever the case, I’ve posted a proposal for our future Healthcare plan on the New Deal 3 page  And of course, my “in-progress” New Deal 3 Summary page is open for the speed version – for all of us who simply don’t have the time to read my pontifications and ramblings.  As always, I welcome and appreciate any feedback, push back, or constructive criticism.

“If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.” – Ronald Reagan

Yours in Faith.

Hero’s Journey

Hard times don’t create heroes. It is during the hard times when the ‘hero’ within us is revealed.” – Bob Riley

I thought my last post was going to be my last post, but alas, here I am again.  I can’t say why I am doing this – I certainly realize that it would take a genuine miracle for some no-named, no-experienced, know-nothing man like me to positively change the world.  At times I still ask, what am I doing anyway?  But in asking myself that very question, I’ve realized something… I like hoping for a miracle, it gives me hope.  That’s why I do this blog.  I’m not expecting to change the world, but I do like feeling that I’m doing my small part.  If this process helps enlighten only one man, even if it is only myself, than it can’t be said to be worthless.  And who can be sure, maybe it will actually affect more than one person, maybe it will start some constructive dialogue that gets our nation back on track.  In any case America, that’s where I am today.  I’m in a good place, thinking maybe Lloyd wasn’t so “dumb” after all…

So you’re saying there’s a chance.” – Lloyd, Dumb and Dumber

Or maybe he was… and so am I.  But I don’t blog because I like talking, and it’s not because I actually think that I can change the world, believe me, I don’t – I know that only We can do that.  But it’s because, in some strange way I can’t quite describe, I feel like I am at least trying to be the good Hero… with the healthy disposition that in the end it isn’t up to me, I figure I can at least share an idea of a better America.  I don’t know if my ideas are Dumb’s or Dumber’s, but I did start writing them down.  And I’m trying to do better than either.  I added a page last week, my “New Deal 3” summary.  Like all things, it’s a work in progress.

An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied.” – Arnold H. Glasow

For me, the “score” in this video game called Life is not calculated by what you accomplish, only on what you tried to accomplish and how you set out to accomplish it.  The score is only calculated on who you set out to be this morning, and thanks be to God, the score resets every morning.  As for me, descending into the depths of politics, charging into Hades armed only with my will, my reason, and a computer – this is how I try to release my inner Hero.  I understand my passions are not everyone’s, and after wading only a short time in the mess we call politics I certainly can see why, but I also believe that we all have an inner “Hero” in us – yes, I still have faith that we are all good at heart.

“I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.” – Thomas Jefferson

For yours truly, trying to be a Hero in this crazy political world simply means trying to actually create an opinion, as opposed to relying on the ones I’ve been given…  Trying to “do good” simply means trying to develop and share a good opinion.  This is where I doubt myself sometimes, and this is where the doubt should occur, as it motivates me to read.  Although I’m ignorant, at least I know that I am… and no longer wish to be.  It’s why we must read and study with an open mind – the hero must have his sword and shield, his sling and stone, his knowledge and reason, if he is to ever slay the political beast.

Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.” – Thomas Jefferson

The only way one does good is by looking for the truth so as to discover the way – that’s the “hero’s journey” in my opinion.  It’s messy and thankless I know.  I was talking with a friend of mine this week who said he made his hero’s political journey a while ago, and he aptly described it like this:  “The problem with looking for answers is that you find them.  And, like peeling away the layers of the onion, the more you discover, the more it stinks.”  He is certainly a wiser man than I.

The only good is knowledge, and the only evil is ignorance.” – Herodotus

I suppose I’d rather stink than be ignorant, rather be a fool than pretend not to be, rather play and lose than not play at all.  Perhaps that will change one day, perhaps I’ll wisen up, but not today… give me the onion, I want to pull off another layer.  I’ve been reading the book “Currency Wars” this week – I would recommend it to any other ignoramus, like yours truly, that wants to begin navigating through all the garbage, sifting through it for what salvageable things might remain, and hoping to answer the question, how would you rebuild this great nation?  How should we rebuild the us?

I know, I know, it’s insane to try, right?  We have been told as much since we were children: “All the king’s horses and all the king’s men, couldn’t put Humpty together again.”  But does that really mean that we shouldn’t try, that we should live in the wise acceptance of hopelessness, that we should no longer even ask the questions?  No, I refuse to live that way.  At least for today, I will choose to live with an ounce of hope remaining – my soul and my country demand that I at least ask the questions.   So my friends, let’s ask ourself:  If miracles could happen, if we could put Humpty Dumpty together again, if we could do it not by using the king’s horses nor the king’s men but by using our minds… if We the People realized one day that we actually were in charge, what would We do?

Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.” – Thomas Jefferson

Yeah, Thomas Jefferson is one of my “Heroes” – FDR and of course Washington as well.  I just discovered them not that long ago, and they have some amazing things to say.

The “Heroes quest,” some might call it the “Meaning of Life,” is simply this – trying to do the right thing at this moment… despite the world of madness around you.  Living life as if, with the clean slate of time beginning at this very moment, you alone were tasked to try to do the right thing.  The hero’s quest is where you stop and say, “Ok.  I’m not afraid of the evil dragon.  I’ll do the right thing.  At least, I’ll try to, hopeless as it may seem.  Hmm… I wonder what the right thing is… Ok, well, for better or worse, here I go.”  And that happens one small step at a time, sometimes 2 steps forward 1 step back, over and over again…

Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.” – Thomas Jefferson

Although I’m not so vain as to consider myself a hero, I am an American, and a person, like you.  And Life in this political world sure seems to me like the hero’s journey… do you feel that too?  The world seems surreal to me, particularly when I look at our political discourse and the TV.  Fox, MSNBC, Reality shows, Opinion shows, Judge shows, Headlines, 30 second TV where we try to shout over the top of each other for 28 of them, conflicts around the globe… no one hearing a thing over all the racket.  $15 trillion in debt, thousand thousand million dollar deficits, wars, unemployment, gridlock, corruption, negative ad campaigns, government ineffectiveness, political maneuvering.. all the while, with the future of our very children at stake.  I don’t know, to me it just seems too Hollywood to actually be happening.  What a mess it is, this surreal world of politics.

Somebody asked me about the current choice we’re being given in the presidential election. I said, Well, it’s like two of the scariest movies I can imagine.” – Dean Koontz

The political world is the world of madness, the Hell, run by some god called Hades, Lucifer, or the Devil, with the “system” his tool.  It is a complex labyrinth so deep that only a Hero can penetrate it.  The health of our nation is the “damsel in distress”, the most treasured prize, the seemingly impossible goal.  And this blog allows me to play the freshman, the young squire, the kid from the Lorax movie… the protagonist.  The one ignorant fool who is too stupid to know any better, and starts pursuing his ‘”crazy” notions of trying to discover a better world.  Contrary to all established logic and accepted reason, he actually tries to change the “hell” that surrounds him.

All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

The hero is that loony who decides to try to find out the truth, the guy who says “Uh… does anyone else know that the Emperor doesn’t have any clothes on?”, that “crazy” guy who overcomes his fear enough to talk plainly, combat ignorance, reveal the truth — that’s the hero.   I guess I kind of feel that by blogging with you, not that I have many followers I know – but I suppose it is my chance to pretend to be a hero, even when I’m not one.  Thank you for humoring me on my “quest.”  Perhaps one day you’ll even help me to learn something.

A hero is a man who does what he can.” – Romain Rolland

When I tried to “do good,” when I actually started looking at our nation, at just how broken she was, and envisioning her like a fair maiden caught in the grasp of a Dragon’s talon and gasping for air…  when I saw the world from that perspective, and then when I stopped and asked myself, wait a minute, now seriously for a second, “What should America be doing anyway?”  I had to honestly answer “I have no idea.”  And that’s when I set out to try to create a good opinion… I set out to actually try to answer the question.

Doubt, the essential preliminary of all improvement and discovery, must accompany the stages of man’s onward progress. The faculty of doubting and questioning, without which those of comparison and judgment would be useless, is itself a divine prerogative of the reason.” – Albert Pike

It’s those Lean Six Sigma / CPI courses and projects I’m sure of it, or maybe I’m just a stubborn boy.  But when I try to answer a question, I approach it like the cop Friday from the old days who says, “Just the facts ma’am.”  The first step of a Lean Six Sigma project, the first step to real process improvement of any kind, is to admit that you already don’t have the best answer in place.  The second step, after admitting that you’re not already right, is admitting that you are also not necessarily that smart about it all.  It is in the second step where you doubt your current path, question everything, and go look for the Truth.  Then the third step of course, is to act on what you find, get past your doubts and act.  And then we start over at Step 1 — that’s why we call it Continuous Process Improvement.

When I try to look into our political system, it’s really hard for me not to see it as a “Hero’s Journey.”  Nowhere else in this world is the “madness” around us so apparent as it is in the political arena we have today.  Nowhere else is it this unmistakable.  Like a 40′ Cyclops, a “Titan,” an Elephant in the room so to speak, we can’t miss the beast in front of us.  And you have a choice, we all have a choice, do we dare confront the beast?  Should we choose to become a part of the chaos, work “within the system,” agree that the “unbeatable” beast will destroy us, and then work to maximize the pleasures of life, best we can, until he comes?  Is admitting defeat early the wise choice?  Or should we try to confront it, see if we can rise above it, do the right thing despite the system, and fight the insane evil beast head on?

So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.” – 1 Samuel 17:50

All the comic book heroes tell the same story.  All the Greek demigods, great people of old, all religions tell the Hero’s Journey.  That is what unites us all as One – the desire to be good, to do good, to see good done in this world.  We are good, but we have been thrust into a broken system which, it seems at every turn, is out to stymie us.  The Hero is the one who presses on regardless, who perseveres… that’s the Hero’s Journey.

Here’s to all you Heroes out there.  Whatever your political opinion, if you formed it through reasonable, skeptical, and honest evaluation of data and results, I sincerely salute you.  I’m still working on mine, hopefully I will be until the end of my days.

Yours in Faith.

Excalibur

Knights of the Round Table are Secretaries of the Oval Office.  And the Holy Grail is the Great Society.  It is the answer to the question, how does man best govern itself?  It’s the Riddle of the Sphinx.  The riddle is the question: Mankind, in what state does it best achieve balance?  The drive to dominate, the Lion.  The passion to sacrifice for others, the Cow.  The notion of achieving balance, the Man… the head of the sphinx, the mind, is man.  And the riddle: Mankind, in what state does it best achieve balance?  The eagle, the angel, the end state of mankind – what We will become if we dedicate ourselves to revealing the answer.  It is the riddle of the ages, written into the stars, the meaning of our individual lives.

Our Creator is saying:  “Hey you, here’s what I am asking you to do:  Try to do your best to figure out how to make the best mankind, don’t worry I put that one in you – just follow your spirit, use your mind, and dedicate yourself toward trying to accomplish that.”

That is what we are supposed to do in this life – Find an Arthur to pull the sword from the stone, apply vision, remove obstacles, and once again resume our most noblest and holiest of quests, the “Quest for the Holy Grail.”  It’s Mission Impossible, and the only thing we need to do is accept the mission.

We’re all on the quest you know, whether you want to be or not.  We are all a part of mankind, you and I.  We are One Body, did we forget?  Atoms come together to form molecules, molecules form cells, cells form tissues, tissues form organs, organs form men, and men come together to form… well, Us.

That’s the point, we don’t know yet.  Like our heart can’t see us but still knows to pump blood, so too you and I know what we are supposed to do.  Be good to each other, it was implanted into our DNA.  Anyway, there is some books and stuff on this.  We used to read them.  We used to dedicate a whole day every week to this understanding, just so that we’d be sure never to forget it.

The US.  That’s what we are.  We the People… all of mankind.  We founded an entire nation under this vision.  Our forefathers believed that one day, many cycles in the future, the world would become the US.  Not through military conquest by our individual nation, but through peace, freedom, and the God-given spirit inside of Us.  And so they set out to create a Constitution that would allow us to work on solving the riddle, figure out how best to achieve a Great Society, and find the Holy Grail.

I’m sorry ancestors, forefathers, and grandchildren – I truly am.  I appear to have few Knights to join me.  We forgot what we are, and we bankrupted the US taxing our young to pay for our elderly, taxing our working to pay for our non-working, and then borrowing from our unborn what that didn’t cover… all the while ensuring our wealthy could store their assets.  We hoped that our poor would stop taking free money and apply themselves, our elderly wouldn’t drain our resources, and our rich would, instead of storing funds, create more jobs.

I know it’s broke, we all know it’s a failed vision, but hopefully you can fix it.  You will need some Knights, some good people who care, if you are to have any hope.  But we now leave it to you children, our generation would rather win the argument than be right.  Be smarter than we were.  Question and evaluate.  Count on politicians less.  Rely on yourself more.  Dialogue with everyone as if they know more than you do so that you can learn.  But never internalize that they know more than you do, they don’t.  Read history, and have the courage to remove an idea from a failing vision, even if removing it may cause someone to experience trouble, hardship, and suffering.  Because it’s not about someone, it’s only about finding out what works best for Us… a man, inspired by our Creator, once died upon a cross to make this point.  Hear it.

Grab your good Knights, develop a course, and embark upon it.  Try to discover the Great Society, resume the Quest for the Holy Grail, solve the Riddle of the Sphinx… there will be some pain along the way, and God’s speed.

Yours in Faith.