Thursday, November 24, 2011

Being Thankful

For many years I have been thinking about family and what makes it. I have been thinking about the ties that bind, love, responsibility, forgiveness, and care. I love my siblings dearly because I know them intimately. I trust them. But is there something greater than trust which allows us to give of ourselves freely without recrimination or fear? While wisdom is the principle thing, love is its guide and it needs no history, just familiarity. We are one. Happy Thanksgiving. I love you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Being a Police State

A Police State has one purpose: to protect the powerful. And there is only one reason to fear peaceful protestors: if the powerful are threatened.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Being Partisan

While we fight the not so good fight of partisan politics, those who are defending on the same side. How do we know these? We know them by the millions they receive as former congresspersons now consultants and lobbyists, and the apparent quid pro quo of present congresspersons exonerated by the body that governs itself. Newt Gingrich (R) served as a consultant for Freddie Mac receiving $1.6 million from this quasi-government agency marred in the subprime scandal. Kent Conrad (D), along with former senator Chris Dodd (D), were handling the negotiations for Country Wide while apparently receiving personal favors from this embattled institution. The Senate Ethics Committee saw no wrong doing. There is nothing new about any of this, but what is old is our ongoing fight of who's better when both parties have repeatedly failed us.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Being Open to the Opinions of Others Matters

Much to my surprise I was called a "leftard" this morning after questioning a photo that included the caption "socialism has a documented record of colossal failure. World history has proven that. Socialism is NOT AN OPTION in America. Capitalism is how America became a super power." These early morning discussions are probably not for me as I would rather not do such ideological battles so early.For example:

"It is an inescapable fact of life" that "all wealth comes from thrift and productivity" I was told in a discussion about the ills of socialism in praise of capitalism. I pointed out that historically the statement was patently false. The Wealth of Nations has been built on centuries of free labor and indentured servitude, and that big banks and big business have always run the government. I included the Theodore Roosevelt quote that "behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people." I identified this "invisible government" as big business.

In the praise of American capitalism and the decline of socialist states in Europe, I countered that we are presently in economic decline because of a system of capital sanctioned by the government that allows "too big to fail" and disables us from making our own toilet bowl brushes. I noted that there are no pure -isms of any sort. I pointed out that Iceland had a booming economy, clean energy initiatives, and a great educational system. Then entered Goldman Sachs. I quoted Nassim Nicholas Taleb that we "socialize debts and privatize profits."

Regarding big business and small business, I made the distinction that "thrift and productivity" has been the hallmark of small business success, but not so much with big business. Government through trade policies tinker with productivity (often immorally when you consider the success of companies like Apple's production in Asia--as I type on my MacBook--sigh!), and bailout to the likes of GE to the tune of billions when thrift has long not been a hallmark of business and the engineering that once made that company great has largely been replaced with financial engineering tantamount to Wall Street gambling.

There were several replies that insisted that after all of the above and more that I had not answer the "simple" question about where wealth comes from. The discussion ended for me with jingoism about freedom and capitalism, and how Beijing after embracing capitalism soars. Differences of opinions I do not oppose, but often our differences are packaged in idealism and ideology which do not move discussions forward. How do we extract ourselves in order to really hear what others are saying? I suppose humility is a big factor here. I will examine myself further.