Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

The Election’s Immutable Truth

There is neither rhyme nor reason as to how the November 6th Presidential election turned out as it did. There will be a variety of hindsight quarterbacking with a variety of causes. Some will say money and a machine bought the win while others that the Republicans had the wrong VP candidate in Paul Ryan. The one certainty is that this is a Nation divided and that division is deep and seemingly irreconcilable.

That certainty is the only thing that matters and it needs to be our unwavering focus.

Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Former Soviet Union Premiere Nikita Khrushchev knew it when he said, “You Americans are so gullible. No, you won’t accept communism outright; but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of Socialism until you will finally wake up and find that you already have communism. We won’t have to fight you; we will so weaken your economy until you fall like overripe fruit into our hands.” Russian foreign policy expert and former KGB analyst Igor Panarin knew it when he predicted economic, financial and demographic trends will provoke a political and social crisis in the U.S. When the going gets tough, he said, wealthier states will withhold funds from the federal government and effectively secede from the union. Social unrest up to and including a civil war will follow. The U.S. will then split along ethnic lines, and foreign powers will move in.

No? Listen to the Obama supporter who, during the campaign, expressed that she was supporting Obama because “I never thought this day would happen. I won’t have to worry about putting gas in my car…I won’t have to worry about paying my mortgage…because if I help him he’s gonna help me.”

We have two challenges ahead of us. The first is to quickly educate the American people that throughout all of human history abdication of personal responsibility always ends in bondage. The second is that we are not separate, we are One. Only the illusion of separateness, perpetuated by the few who would have power over the many, can cause us to see one another as adversaries and enemies to be destroyed or upon whom to seek revenge.

It may be too late for the former. It is not too late for the latter and should we get there, be certain there will be nothing and no one left to rebuild or restart.

Personal responsibility and Oneness.  A recipe to save a nation on the brink.

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Barack Obama: Father-in-Chief

I watched Michelle Obama’s speech to the DNC tonight. There can be no doubt that she loves her husband and is proud of him. There is also no doubt that she thinks he is a wonderful father and from all appearances he is.  She choose wisely 23 years ago.

Now, come November 6th, we have to choose wisely as well.

When I practiced law and taught a seminar for women on the divorce process from beginning to end, I always told them that they needed to retain a lawyer only after they had educated themselves on what the issues in their particular divorce were, understood how the law applied in their case, and then interviewed three lawyers that had been recommended for their skills in the particular issues that mattered. My joke line was, “If you aren’t educated, you’ll pick a lawyer based on looks or personality. That’s a good way to pick a date. You aren’t looking for a date. You’re looking for an experienced guide to take you through uncharted waters.”

Four years ago we, the nation, chose on looks and personality. The problem, it turns out, is that we were looking for a President and Commander-in Chief for the most powerful nation on the planet undergoing unprecedented economic and foreign policy challenges and what we got was a great husband and father.

Great for Michelle, Melia and Sasha. Sucks for us. In fact, just this week the President admitted that he did less than he could in his first term because of the time and attention he gave his family. What? Did he not contemplate the demands of the job, his priorities and how he’d balance them before he accepted it?

Now, as with all things in life, the “test” comes ‘round again. We get to choose again.  Those of us who are conscious and willing to accept personal responsibility for our choices, cannot possibly make the same mistake twice. We cannot afford to…figuratively and literally.

I think that the appropriate and sensible thing to do is to allow this extraordinary husband and father, Barack Obama, to do what he apparently does best. Let’s send he and his family home to Chicago so he can husband and father.

Then, after doing our due diligence, conclude that with a failing economy dragging us over a financial (and perhaps societal) cliff, we need a leader who understands how to cut the fat, cut the spending, and revitalize a failing economy.

I don’ know about you, but my educated choice is Mitt Romney.

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Obama To The Supremes

This post will be shorter than most. Mainly because I am speechless (perhaps “wordless” is more accurate under the circumstances).  I just read the headline story on Fox that President Obama issued the following “stern warning” to the Supreme Court regarding their decision on Obamacare due in June. It reads, in part as follows:

“I’m confident this will be upheld because it should be upheld.”

“Ultimately, I am confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”[…] and compared the court’s rejection of the law to “judicial activism.”

The definition of “arrogance” in Wikipedia will now necessitate a photo of the President to accompany the definition. In fact, why don’t they drop the “Of Hope” from the next printing of his autobiography and just title it “Audacity.”

Where I come from its called “chutzpah.” Whatever you call it…exactly who does he think he is?


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Why Prepare for the Worst?

When I was in law school, my closest friend had a philosophy by which she lived. “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best” was her motto. When I asked why she felt as she did, her reply was “because I want to stay positive and if I am prepared for the worst I can then put it out of my mind and focus on the good.”  As someone with a propensity to worry, I took it as good advice and have lived by it ever since.

So I find misguided all the condescension toward people who choose food storage or a contingency plan for their family in case of emergency. At best it’s misguide but at worst it’s irresponsible. After all, we are living in rather precarious times.

Economic chaos, terrorist threats, and natural disasters hover, most days, just beyond the horizon. Any one of them is enough to cause worry and stress yet all three remain immanent and ongoing potentialities. But for being motivated by intolerance or political agenda, I see no good reason to disparage anyone who chooses to provide for themselves or their loved ones in the face of potential harm.

I am willing to bet that most of the people who seek to condemn or condescend others for preparation, carry comprehensive coverage on their auto insurance. You know, the coverage that assures you that if your car gets stolen, burned, vandalized, weather damaged, or is in a riot or missile attack etc. you’ll be able to return it to its pre-damaged condition with the assistance of the insurance company’s funds.  So let’s see. It’s not crazy, in fact it’s prudent, to prepare in advance for your car’s well-being but not for that of your life or the life of loved ones?


This is about intolerance and politics. It’s about divide and conquer. It’s about “us” against “them.” It’s primarily about Progressives against Conservatives…since it’s mostly Conservatives who do this kind of preparation. As for me, I’m an Independent. Not just politically but in my thinking as well. I live life as I see fit and draw my own conclusions after a reasoned and thorough study of the facts.

It seems to me that in a nation where Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve print money as if life is a game of Monopoly, a world where terrorists plot globally to destroy the values and principles upon which this country was founded, and where Nature has had just about enough of humankind’s lack of appreciation and disregard for balance…a little extra food, water, protection and a contingency plan seem to fit just fine into my law school colleague’s philosophy.

Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.


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2012: Polarization and Paradox

Never before in my lifetime has this nation been so polarized, with the divide most evident in the rhetoric and posturing of our elected officials.  The run-up to the 2012 Presidential election seems like a war rather than a competition. But perhaps war is the inevitable result of competition in the extreme.

Admittedly, this is a tricky topic to approach. Our society, especially our economic life, is based upon competition. To in any way disparage competition raises the ire of all who believe capitalism and free markets to be the best system for economic prosperity. This same group tends to bristle at the whole concept of “participation trophies for everyone” in academics and sports, rather than acknowledging, and rewarding, only winners.

At the other end of the spectrum are those who advocate equality as an end result rather than equal opportunity as a starting point.  This group favors social justice rather than equal justice and would, among other approaches, redistribute wealth so that everyone has a “more balanced outcome” regardless of input and effort.

It seems an irreconcilable morass. But here’s the good news. Life is paradox.

It is the vast distance and seemingly conflict-laden discrepancies between these two positions that will eventually lead us to resolution. Extremes cannot exist for long without self-destructing. Such tension defies the Universal Laws of Balance and Wholeness. It is out of such destruction that we, as a nation and as a people, will emerge stronger and wiser.

It will not be an easy time transitioning to a better way of leadership and conflict resolution. Old patterns die hard.  We are all living the tension that must exist when polar opposites tug at one another for dominance. Many of us also understand that the “chrysalis” stage in transformation is not an easy place to be…however temporary. But dominance is what brought us to this evolutionary moment.

Those in positions of power who arrived there through dominance, deception and greed will not readily release their grip.  Make no mistake. There is war being waged. It is a spiritual war for the soul of humankind. And so we must experience the discomfort and uncertainty of profound change in order to arrive at the comfort and certainty that awaits us on the other side of this transition and expansion of human consciousness.

Take heart. Seek your own internal balance. It is worth the challenge and the wait.

It always has been. It always will be.

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Ron Paul’s Appeal

There is a priceless lesson from the 2008 Presidential election if you want it. The Nation voted for “Hope and Change” presumably because that’s what we sought. I think it’s an accurate assessment to conclude that we’ve actually lost hope and gotten change we never anticipated. Why? Because we each abdicated personal responsibility for maintaining hope and affecting change by instead believing that one man, promising to give us both, would do what we were unwilling to do ourselves.

Enter Ron Paul.

I have been asking myself “What is the zealous appeal he ignites in, particularly, young voters?” I’ve concluded that young people are yet idealistic and believe, in theory, what is tremendously difficult to accomplish in reality. This is not a bad thing. It is, however, a perspective that is usually tempered by life experience. Hence, most people become more conservative in their views as they age and have those life experiences. So Ron Paul, in his straightforward and honest way, reflects the idealistic views of the young…but he also reflects the best in us regardless of age. He is the out-picturing of our Higher Selves.

I have always held to the conviction that we get the leaders we deserve. This explains Barack Obama. We wanted a free ride and someone else to row the boat. He promised both. Well, we got our free ride, only now the boat is careening down the rapids and controlling the oars is a man who cannot, or will not, change course.

Ron Paul’s rise to the status of serious Presidential contender is a good sign whether he is the nominee or not. Under the “leader we deserve” theory, it bodes well for our awakening to the necessity of speaking truth to power and the need to make tough decisions.

But let’s not deceive ourselves yet again.

Neither Ron Paul nor any elected official can do it for us.  A leader can inspire and can point the way but each of us must do the heavy lifting for ourselves. Unless we are willing and able to grow up and accept this truth, we’d better take one last look around at the scenery because this boat is going down.

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The Importance of Madonna

In advance of the Super Bowl, there was a great deal of media anticipation and speculation focused on Madonna.  Now, she is scheduled to perform in Israel during May 2012 and Israeli fans have asked Prime Minister Netanyahu to postpone any attack on Iran’s nuclear program until after the concert.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has established a “War Room” to monitor potential crime with high tech equipment and surveillance because “we are targets on our own soil” and have to be prepared

President Obama signed into law the ability to arrest and indefinitely detain American citizens on U.S. soil without trial under suspicion of terrorist or seditious activities. The criteria for such activities include behavior that you probably participate in.

Government dependence is up 23% since President Obama took office. Currently, the average welfare recipient gets $32,700 annually while the average disposable income for wage earners after taxes is $32,400. Its more financially lucrative to stay home and do nothing than work which is why 67 million Americans receive government assistance.

The Gross National Product is now exceeded by the United States National Debt which means… we owe more than we produce.

Only 29% of Americans are concerned with, or following, the 2012 election run up and many college students interviewed don’t know who the Vice President is or what countries border the United States. But they’re out there in Zucotti Park and elsewhere demanding their college tuition be paid for by someone else and that wealth be redistributed.

The list of absurdities goes on but time and space constrain me here.

If you doubt that we have become enslaved to a perverse system of priorities re-read the above list. How is it possible that so many Americans are still asleep? Still refusing to face reality? Still thinking that by not looking at the train wreck headed their way it will not impact them?

We are at a crossroad in human history. We can choose consciousness and personal responsibility or unconsciousness and enslavement. But make no mistake about it.  Each of us must choose and choose now. For as Dietrich Bonheoffer, German Pastor and Resistance fighter said, “Not to choose is to choose. Not to stand is to stand.”

At this critical crossroad, Choose and Stand. It is the only road that will lead you to personal power and end in a free citizenry.

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The Cartels, The Economy & The Election

Three stories you may have missed.

First, the President of the National Association of Former Border Agents, Zachary Taylor, has made public photographs of mutilation, torture, rape and indication of terrorist connections on the U.S. Mexican border with more to come on our northern border with Canada. He further referenced a possible entry into the U.S. during October 2100 of a weapon of mass destruction (WMD), possibly 4 pounds of anthrax.

Second, Pepe Rojas Cardona is a prominent casino owner in Mexico, where he is suspected of illegally pumping $5 million into political campaigns and allegedly connected to the murder of a competitor.  His brothers, Alberto and Carlos Rojas Cardona of Chicago donated $200,000 to President Obama’s re-election campaign. Now, only following a Wikileaks disclosure of this connection, the Cardona brothers are getting their donation back.

Third, a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is traveling in Egypt telling Egypt (and the world) that in drafting a new constitution they should look not to the U.S. Constitution but rather the Constitution of South Africa.

If you are focused on your personal financal situation and the economy…wake up! We are faced with challenges that threaten the future of freedom as we have known it in our lifetime…and our very existence.

None-the-less, I’m hopeful. Why? Because as I write this post a decent and honorable man, Rick Santorum, has swept three of three caucus vote wins in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado.  In a political environment awash in deceit, corruption and lack of character, Rick Santorum is our best hope to turn the tide of bloated, intrusive government once again in the direction of respect for the individual and nurturing of the free market.

There is no politician with whose policies you will agree 100% of the time.  But there is a politician with whom you can have trust in the character of the man. That politician is Rick Santorum. He says what he means and he means what he says. How refreshing that is…and how necessary. It’s necessary because in order for us to regain trust in our nation, we have to start with trust in the people who administer the nation.

I know your personal economic welfare is of importance to you. But it is time that each of us rise above our personal challenges and aim for the highest good for all concerned.  If, as I did, you listened to former Senator Santorum’s speech from Missouri after the caucus results were in, you too saw the sincerity and heard the kind of straightforward language we are all in search of.

He has the courage of his convictions. Now, let us have ours. We say we want change for the better.  The question remains, “Are we willing, and able, to see it when it’s in front of us?”

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The Gingrich Con

There’s an expression among con artists that refers to a habit or gesture that gives away the con. It’s called, if I am correct, a “tell.”  Newt Gingrich has a tell.  I’ve noticed it every time he is questioned by either another Republican candidate during debate or when asked a question by a reporter. He sort of furrows his brow, squints his eyes, looks somewhat askance and gets a quizzical look on his face as if to say, “huh?” A noticeable uncertainty for a man so eloquent and ready to respond.

I most recently saw that look last night during the final Republican Presidential debate when Mitt Romney accused Gingrich of “influence peddling” and “lobbying” based upon Gingrich’s financial relationship with Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac, the federal mortgage giants.

I’ve written about why Newt Gingrich should not be President in a prior blog post. Then, it was based upon his rather unseemly behavior with ex-wives and paramours. Then there’s the whole ethics violation charges while he was Speaker of the House and his inability to garner sufficient votes within his own party to maintain that position. Now there’s Freddie and Fannie.

What is astonishing to me are the amount of people who seem willing to make the same mistake in 2012 that was made in 2008: Take the candidate at face value and rhetorical eloquence even if it flies in the face of reason…not to mention past behavior and/or accomplishments.

I think there are three reasons so many are on the “Newt Wagon.”  First, they want to see him verbally crush President Obama. Gingrich is a heady match for any opponent. But it would be darn close to entertainment many would pay for to see the teleprompter dependent and manipulative Obama have to go up against Newt. Second, many people want to believe that words are the same as action and since Newt can speak a good game they want to believe he will deliver one.  Finally, too many want to abdicate personal responsibility by looking past the surface razzle dazzle and do the homework it takes to know where a candidate really stands and what he or she has actually accomplished. All together, these three reasons combined make for a tragic outcome for the nation.

If the choice is ultimately Obama vs. Gingrich, we will have to choose between two very flawed men. Gingrich is flawed in both his personal and professional life. Obama is flawed by lacking anything resembling leadership capability. Both men lack integrity.

What’s the solution?

Let’s support integrity over show and values over theology.  If we do that, we’ll at least have to choose between either Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.

Then, at least, we’ll have a fighting chance to turn this sinking ship upright.

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Its Not The Economy, Stupid. Its Us.

I read a startling statistic today. Consumer debt increased in November to a decade long high. Not counting mortgage debt, Americans owe $2.48 trillion. Consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 10%, with credit cards rising 8.5% annually and auto or education loans growing at 10.75% annually. I can only assume it was mostly due to anticipatory Christmas shopping.

So let’s see.

In memory and tribute to the birth of Jesus and all that he lived and died for, most people decided to increase their enslavement to materialism…not to mention China.

Is this possible?

Can it be that in a world of disintegrating global economies and a national unemployment rate that translates into 23.7 million unemployed who are unable to find work, our collective response is denial? That’s precisely what more debt signals. It signals denial of reality by all those people who are increasing their indebtedness. Denial of what it means to the economic health of the nation…and therefore, freedom and liberty.

I know something about debt. I know what it does to an individual. I also know what it can do to a marriage. I once lived with credit card. Only when it reached a point that was personally intolerable did I do something about it. Now, I use no credit cards and only purchase what I can pay for at time of purchase. The difference is undeniable. Without debt, there is an absence of anxiety and a feeling of security…not to mention responsibility and autonomy. So it’s easy for me to project the exponential threat to our national well-being and autonomy that the effects of exorbitant consumer debt will have. On top of that, heap our national indebtedness to China with the tenuous state of the dollar and, well, you get the picture.

Or do you?

If you’re reading this post and have debt, stop buying and stop borrowing. Do everything you can to free yourself from enslavement to that insatiable monster. Consumer debt and credit cards are like betting chips at the crap table in Vegas. It a fun ride while you’re on it, but sooner or later someone taps you on the shoulder and reminds you that 1) the chips aren’t real money; 2) they represent real money and 3) since you kept asking for more and adding interest to “borrowing”…here’s an offer of repayment you can’t refuse. Pharaoh started this game thousands of years ago and the end game was ugly then and will be again.

Let’s not be distracted by all the hype over the 2012 Presidential election.  Our way out of this mess isn’t by way of one single individual. Each of us has to personally step up and disengage from the illusion that has enslaved us to forever needing more.

Disengage from it…not deny our continued participation in it.

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