Archives For November 2011

Source:  John Boehner: ‘I did everything possible’ – USATODAY.com.

I want to start this post out with a quote from my favorite epistle in the Bible and that is the Book of James

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 

Mr. Boehner, and for that matter all the other members of Congress, needs to be quick listen  and slow to speak.  If John was really listening he would know that 77% of his constituents  are in favor of putting the tax rates for the 1% back to where they were before Mr. Bush gutted them. Maybe he is counting on the other 23%  who agree with him to keep him and is friends in office but that is not exactly how a democracy works is it? I’m sure Mr. Boehner is a very well intentioned guy but he needs to get over this fixation with keeping the wealthy among us, well, wealthy.

He says if we raised the tax on the upper 1% back to where it was before 2000 we would be taxing the “jobs makers” and then they would not have enough to hire more workers.  Its been a few years (well actually a lot of years) since I took an economics course but I seem to remember that jobs are created by demand, not out of goodness in the hearts of the 1%.   But, even if I take what he says as true then where are all those new jobs in the last ten years since they got that big tax break?  John, please listen more. With more and more people dropping at or near the poverty line in this country that “demand” is drying up for anything except the very basic necessities.  If there is no discretionary money coming in then it is hard to buy much besides a place to live and some food to eat. Yeah the 1% can occasionally order a new $100,000 car but how many do they really need and even that they are more than likely ordering them from our foreign competitors instead of their fellow citizens.

The mantra of the Republican party  in recent years seems to be “I got mine so screw you”. Maybe John needs to talk to his historian buddy Newt about some history lessons in this area. A couple of hundred years ago the 99% had a solution to the hording 1% in France. It was summed up in four words, “Off with their heads”.  I’ll bet Newt would even charge Mr. Boehner less then the $1 million or so he got from Fanny Mae for that history lesson. But obviously, from his own rhetoric, Newt fails to even listen to himself let alone anyone else. Or maybe he is just playing on the old time statement “Don’t do as I do, but do as I say.” But then again why would I want to do what Newt says?? :)

But what do I know…

Satisfaction….

November 29, 2011

 

Last week I used a Will Rogers quote to basically say that if you are satisfied you are successful. But just what is satisfaction?  The first thought I had was the Rolling Stones song, “I can’t get no satisfaction…and I tried, and I tried”. That is kind of the story of my life I guess. I have never seemed to be able to accept the possibility of being satisfied with much of anything. I am always expecting more of myself than I seem to be able , or at least want, to deliver. I just can’t seem to get no satisfaction.

I don’t expect I am much different than many people in that regard. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means a perfectionist. I am a firm believer in the old saying “you get 80% of the results from 20% of the work”. In that regard I am not one to spend hours and hours doing something when minutes will product almost the same effect. But I am always striving to do better than I am presently seem capable of. That is not a bad thing but it does sometimes limit my feeling of success.

My wife on the other hand seems to be quite satisfied with a very simple life. As long as she has her computer card and board games, her garden, her favorite TV shows, and of course her naps she is satisfied.  Simplicity is the cornerstone of her life. I envy her in that and many other regards.

As for me I am trying and trying to get some satisfaction in the simpler things in life but that is a constant struggle for me. Here I am in my senior years and still can’t seem to decide what I want to do when I grow up.

Across The Great Divide….

November 28, 2011



Sanity, Insanity..

Forming a New Government….

November 28, 2011

Greek Leaders Reach Deal to Form a New Government – NYTimes.com.

This post is not so much about Greece’s problems than it is about forming a new government. Greece, like so many countries before it, is in the process of forming a new government as they lost confidence in the current one. Forming a new government is a more peaceful resolution of a bad situation than an all out revolution that also seems common place today.

Forming a new government sounds like the perfect solution to our present problems here in the U.S.  I wonder how that would work with our form of democracy? With the partisan divide that currently stifled our bringing some level of prosperity to the other 99% of us we it seems we need a new government, the old one seems totally unrepairable!

Let’s investigate just how forming a new government works. Greece is the epitome of democracy so it must have some democratic (with a small “d” for all my Republican friends) principles behind it?

I know we formed a new government the first time by calling a continental congress in Philadelphia. That definitely wouldn’t work this time around for very obvious reasons.  Here is what the folks as WikiAnswers have to say about this topic.  Some of you, heck maybe most of you, will want to just skip this part :)

When can the governed form a new government?

Short answer: Whenever.

Longer answer: There are several ways a government can be overthrown, some legal within the particular governments framework, some not. First let us look at the republican democracy in the United States.The US constitution provides a few clues. First, the entire House of Representatives comes up for election every two years, it is possible though unlikely that all of the incumbent members fail to get reelected and a new House is formed. What happens more often is some members do not seek reelection, some fail and some succeed, and the composition of the House changes. In the Senate, one third of the members are elected every two years (remember Senators serve a six year term). This causes a more gradual shift in the composition. Dramatic examples of what can happen can be seen the the 2006 elections where the Democrats took control of both houses and thus all committee seats and in the 1994(?) campaign where the opposite occured. The US executive (President and Vice President) are elected every four years and this change can arguably have more impact than the legislative elections. The constitution also provides for impeachment proceedings, which allows the populace to remove the executive, albeit by proxy through the House and Senate.

Many of the democratic nations use the Westminster system of government, wherin the sovereign (if one exists) or other head of state calls for a parliament to convene. The members of parliament are elected by the populace, the party in the majority then get to form the government. If no majority exists a coalition must be formed. This system can see a much higher rate of change as elections are not on a fixed schedule.

Then we have the non-democratic nations. Dictatorships, monarchies, and single-party rule. Peaceful change in these nations is much less likely as the rulers often do not rule with the consent of the governed…. When does it become appropriate for a populace to forcibly change their government? There is no clear cut answer for this, no real benchmark where a person can say “Yep, those are freedomn fighters, not terrorists (or whatever).” … Start out with the Federalist Papers. Ask yourself why did some in the colonial US feel it was appropriate to use arms and violence to establish their own gevernment. Why did others feel that was wrong? Also, read up on the Jeffersonian idea of how the US should be governed, compare that with what Hamilton had to say. and compare both to how it actually turned out. 

Getting those yahoos in Washington to give up some of their power and start acting in a more cooperative seems impossible. Power is mainly what drives Washington these days so letting loose of some of it will take a GIANT  GIANT effort. So short of a wholesale removal of all representatives there is not a lot we can do with our republican (little “r” for all my Democrat friends) form of democracy. Maybe its time to shift to a Westminister system? :)

It is obvious from all the polls taking place today that a vast majority of our citizens have  no confidence in our current representative. Why can’t we have a “no confidence” vote in our government like so many others seems to have.  We certainly need it, especially now.

But what do I know….

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:

  • to look after orphans and widows in their distress 
  • and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
In regards to keeping a tight rein on your tongue this is a continuation of yesterday’s post.
To look after orphans and widows is to be your brother’s keeper.
The second lesson being polluted by the world is really about forgetting the first lesson.

Religious Malevolence…

November 26, 2011

It greatly saddens me to see the degree of religious malevolence in the world today. I am particularly saddened by the Christian variety; Jesus taught us otherwise. I need to go no further than my Facebook page to see a proliferation of it!. The Christian Bible, like most other religious documents teach us to love one another; to take care of each other. So to see those who call themselves Christians spouting off mean spirited and sometimes even hateful words at those who they disagree with either politically or philosophically is very painful for me. It is just as painful as seeing what Al Qaeda has done with the words of the Muslim Koran. Since I am a follower of Jesus Christ I expect Christians to rise above malevolence.

While Facebook is a valuable resource for us to stay connected with each other it also unfortunately provides a forum for words that do nothing but harm human relationships and institutions. I am not talking about those few wackos out there that spend their lives focused on hating others; instead I am talking about my friends, my neighbors, my fellow Christians. I am focusing on the supposedly Christian ones in this post. I daily read the words of Jesus and they tell me to love everyone, even my enemies. It tells me to act in a way that makes others wonder why I have so much joy in my life. When I see other Christians trashing people in the public forum of Facebook and similar sites it puts a bad face on the person of Jesus. When I see other Christians using malicious words towards others I wonder what those in the secular world think of that.  I imagine it is something like  “Oh those Christian hypocrites are going off the deep end again!!” So instead of projecting God’s love on others they are espousing the opposite with their public words.

Maybe they need to spend more time reading their bibles and less time spouting off in public forums. That is especially true for the clergymen I see there. Yes, there are others of different religious beliefs that are doing more than criticizing those outside their faiths but that does not mean that Christians should do likewise.  An eye for an eye is old covenant talk that was replaced with “love your neighbor as yourself”. Let’s never forget that. Trashing others not only puts a bad face on you it also puts a bad face on the Body of Christ.

The title of the post is coming out of the mouths of many of our military people since the super committee, like the rest of congress,  couldn’t seem to agree with each other on anything. That means across the board cuts in all discretionary spending including the military. Even the newly appointed DoD secretary Leon Panetta is spouting off. Many of the military backers in Congress are trying to find a way to get out of this dilemma.  They say a 10% cut would put us back to pre-WWII levels. That is what they say but lets look at the facts.

In reality since the military expenditures in the U.S. have increased more than 10% in the last two years alone it will only put them back to 2008 levels or so. We spend so much more on our war machine than the rest of the world a 10% cut will do little to disrupt the disparity that currently exists. Here are some numbers from 1020 in that regard:

China has a population of about 1.3 billion people and spent approximately $77 billion on its military. That comes out to about $59/citizen/year.

India has a population of about 1.2 billion people and spent approximately $33 billion on its military. That comes out to about $27/citizen/year.

The U.S. has a population of about 0.35 billion people and spent approximately $690 billion on its military. That comes out to about $2,000/citizen/year.

I am not a big math whiz but it seems like  when we combine China and India they have a population approaching 10 times our and spend less than one-sixth of us. A 10% cut in the U.S. military budget won’t put us into a “war machine” race with anyone. I really don’t think we should panic too much about that.

Would it really be so bad if we had to buy a few less $1 million smart bombs?

Would it be so bad if we put a few less of our kids in harm’s way?

Would it be better to take the money out of our jobs programs?

Would it be better to take the money out of helping those who can’t afford it with healthcare?

Given that we are currently #27 in  the world list of educating our citizens would it be better to fire some additional teachers?

I agree our government spending is pretty out of control and needs to be reigned in. But to me taking it from the military budgets seems to make the most sense of absolutely any of the other possibilities. Can you imagine how prosperous we could be if we aligned with the rest of the world on our military budgets. We would be able to balance our budgets, provide healthcare for all and even have some left for fixing our crumbling infrastructure. Who appointed us policemen of the world anyway? Why do we seemingly carry that burden alone?

But what do I know….

Right Brain Screaming.

November 25, 2011

I have brought up a new blog at RightBrainScreaming.net . This one will be used to flex my creative muscle. As I mentioned before my right brain which controls creativity has not had much exercise in my life. Being an engineer I lived primarily in the analytical world. So my right brain has been screaming for attention lately!

I needed a different format for this one so that is why it is on a new blog instead of a category here.  As well as eventually displaying some of my creative splurges  I will also be celebrating others creativeness in posts. Starting out, until I get up to speed with this new process, I will likely be posting more in the later category. This will definitely be a different type of blog, much more visual and lots fewer words. I hope some of you will enjoy it.

Woodrow Wilson Quote

November 25, 2011

A little group of willful men, representing no opinion but their own, have rendered the great government of the United States helpless and contemptible. —Woodrow Wilson 1919

The only difference between then and now is that the group of willful men is much larger.

Happy Thanksgiving

November 24, 2011

Today is Thanksgiving so I thought I would again share with you a prayer that I have been using the last few years. It is definitely for today but can really be used almost any day of the year. The author of the prayer is Samuel F. Pugh. He died just before Christmas 2007 at the age of 103. He spent more that 70 years of his life in Christian ministry. He was also a renowned poet and author. Let us all be truly thankful for everything we have and also aware that there are those among us who need our help and prayers. Happy Thanksgiving, RJ

 A Thanksgiving Prayer (Samuel F. Pugh)

 Oh, God, when I have food help me to remember the hungry;

 When I have work, help me to remember the jobless;

When I have a warm home, help me to remember the homeless;

 When I am without pain, help me to remember those who suffer;

 And remembering, help me to destroy my complacency and bestir my compassion.

 Make me concerned enough to help, by word and deed, those who cry out for what we take for granted.

 Amen