Friday, August 28, 2009

Uprooting the Wild Rose Bush

I know that I usually write about politics, but I thought that this week I'd switch gears and write a little something about gardening. I used to have a little garden of my own that I'd take care of, but as life would have it I have lost my home and now live in an apartment, so I have a garden no longer. My mother, on the other hand, still lives on an acre of wooded land out in the country and she has several large and small gardens on her property. A couple times a month I try to get out there and help her maintain her gardens. It is more work than hobby anymore, but there is still a certain amount of satisfaction to be gained from working with the land and growing pretty things.

I've worked with both flower and vegetable gardens. I really like vegetable gardens. There's nothing more satisfying than harvesting a crop at the end of the year and munching on fresh veggies. Nothing tastes better than your own vegetables fresh from the garden, grown from nature's grand design with a little help from your own sweat and toil. It is your personal work, your own time taken to lovingly care for and tend the plants, going into your tummy. Unfortunately I haven't tasted such a treat for a long, long time, but taking care of a flower garden has its own rewards. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to step out into your yard and mark the passage of time by taking note of the different colors of the blooms as they open and to know that happens by your design. I had been, until the recent economic downturn and the loss of my property, working with my own flower gardens, although maybe not as much or as thoroughly as I would have liked. Over the last couple of years I have helped my mother tend her gardens.

Recently my mother decided she wanted to work on the front of her yard. This area of her property had been a little bit neglected as we had concentrated on other areas. She had planted a few things there, but nature had decided to give her a challenge. Many weeds and unwanted vegetation had taken root in the rocky soil near the road, blocking from view most of the domesticated plants that were growing there. Among these was a giant white wild rose bush that was now dominating the vista.

For those that may not know, a white wild rose bush is not like a regular rose bush one might find in a domestic flower garden. For one thing, the flowers are not as nice or as blossomy as the full blooms of the domestic plant. They are far smaller and more plain. The leaves are also not as big nor as glossy as some of the more popular varieties developed for gardens. The wild rose bush is more vine like than many domestic varieties. The thorns, however, are just as sharp and dangerous. In short, the white wild rose bush is considered more of a weed (at least by my mother) than it is a desirable or prized plant in the garden.

This particular white wild rose bush was huge. Like many rose bushes, it will climb up other plants if not cut back on a yearly basis. This bush had not been trimmed back in forever. I knew it was going to be a dangerous job to get rid of it. I put on my gloves and grabbed some gardening tools.

The thing about taking out a bush like this is you must pull it out by the roots if you are going to get rid of it once and for all. If one just cuts it down, even if it gets cut down to ground, it will simply grow back. Cutting the plant down is not so simple with a rose bush. The wild rose bush is one plant that will fight back when you try to take it down.

This particular rose bush turned out to be much bigger than I originally thought. I had taken shovel and was hoping to be able to just get in there with it and dig it out. That was not to be. Many branches grew to the front of the plant in a thicket. They were bent over and lithe and protected the trunk of the plant with their thorns quite well. I took a look at the growth and decided I was going to need a pair of clippers to tackle this job, so I dropped the shovel and grabbed a clippers.

I started by clipping back a little at a time. One has to be very careful when trimming back such a plant. The thorns will stick you whenever they can. It's almost as if the plant has a mind and is trying to hurt you in order to protect itself. Soon I began to see the base of the bush better. I began to think about going at its base and trying to get at its roots. I decided that wouldn't be such a good idea. There was still a lot of outgrowth. I then noticed that the bush I was working on trimming back had vined out and was in the process of wrapping itself around several other nearby plants, including a nice but still small oak tree. Some of the vines had grown pretty thickly and were choking and threatening to kill off some of the other nice bushes around it. I sighed and decided these branches had to go.

As I clipped and pulled, clipped and pulled, I discovered just how difficult it is to get remove something that had grown so large and become so intertwined with the rest of the garden. The branches of the rose bush clung to the branches of the other plants they had wrapped around. Even after they were cut they had to be pulled forcefully to remove them from the nearby plants. At times they had to be gently unwound to keep them from damaging other more fragile plants. I did not wish to tear apart something that was desirable to get rid of something undesirable.

When one first starts such a project it may seem an impossible task. It certainly is an undesirable one. Still, I was persistent. I refused to give up. Yes, I wondered how we could have let something get so out of hand. Yes I wondered how something that seemed so innocuous could grow to be such a monstrosity, but I didn't let such thoughts slow me down. I know that had we paid more attention to it, that had we pruned the bush every year and made sure it didn't grow into places where it didn't belong, than it could have been a nice, pretty little bush adorning the garden. But this little bush that may have at one time been quite nice had taken over everything. It was choking the life out of the rest of the plants and now needed to be removed. I saw no other option. I certainly didn't want it there any longer for fear that even if it was pruned to a nub it might just grow back stronger.

As carefully as I could I trimmed back the vining branches and pulled them from the other vegetation. I was scrapped and cut up a little, but it was no big deal. I knew I was making the garden better. I realized I was giving the other plants more room to grow. I understood that once this bush that fought to strangle the other plants was removed it would be replaced by something else, something better, prettier, easier to deal with. The job was long and arduous, but I kept at it. Soon the once huge and entwined plant was laying in a pile of thorny branches on the ground. I carefully picked up the debris, put it in a wheelbarrow and took it to the burn pile to make sure it couldn't hurt anyone that happened to be passing by.

As I returned I was able to admire my work. Already the bushes, trees and shrubs that I had removed the imposing vines from looked more vibrant and were ready to grow healthier. The area was clearer and ready to accept more wanted growth. I got in with the shovel and was quickly able to dig up the stubs of the bush that were left. The ground didn't want to give up the root system as easily as I would have liked, but with some loosening of the soil and lots of pulling I was able to rip out much of the root system which was larger than I imagined. When all was said and done, it was quite a job but one that was well worth the effort. Next spring we will decide what to plant there in place of the bush.

One thing I noticed about gardening, you have to keep up with it. If you leave a garden go, it will quickly be taken over by weeds and undesirable plants. Some of them will get quite large and quickly take over, destroying the plants you wanted to grow. You have to pay attention to the garden or it will quickly become a nightmare to try to repair the damage that might be done. It will become something you did not want. Sometimes, things might grow that will hurt you when you try to remove them. But, even when things get a little out of hand, you can still take control and bring the land back to the way you desire it to be. After all, at one point in time the land was completely wild and we humans managed to tame it. Still, a little care in the garden, a little bit of attention all the time means we will avoid a big job at a later time.

Gardening is a nice pass time and I hope that more people can take the time to enjoy it in the future, even if they can just tend a tiny piece of land or a few flower pots. I hope you enjoyed my little essay on my gardening experience. I can now return to concentrating on writing political op/ed pieces once again.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gun Propaganda and the Health Care Reform Illusion

I'm getting very upset by what I've been seeing since this health care issue has come to the fore. I'm becoming really angry by how much my intelligence has been insulted. I'm beginning to feel like the man who has to explain to his friends that Criss Angel is not really defying the laws of physics. He's in the business of creating illusions. He does not really float above buildings, pull ladies in half, climb through closed, solid windows without breaking the glass, walk on water, or do any of the things one might see him do. These are illusions. They are parlor tricks. They are elaborate, complicated, well designed, well executed, likely expensive illusions, but they are nothing but illusions nonetheless.

The power elite are also in the business of creating illusions. They use their politicians and the mass media to try to create a perception of reality they would like us to see. The illusions they create are elaborate, complicated, well designed, well executed and likely expensive, but they are illusions nonetheless. The difference between the illusions the power elite create and those of Criss Angel is that Mr. Angel creates his illusions strictly for entertainment purposes, the power elite are creating theirs so that they can control mass consciousness and hence make it easier to control the population in general. The problem for them is that many people are beginning to realize exactly what's been happening.

One of the ways to create a good illusion is to get the audience to look over there while something is happening over here. Another is to keep things hidden and produce them when you want them seen. Still another way is to make the audience believe something isn't what it appears to be, or that something is what it doesn't appear to be. Or any combination of these things can help produce a good illusion. Of course, if the audience looks where the action is and detects the slight of hand, or if they see the hidden element before it is produced, or if they are not convinced that something is or is not something else, then the illusion is ruined.

There was a man in New Hampshire recently who came to a protest against the proposed health care legislation open carrying a gun. His name was Mr. William Kostric. He was also carrying a sign that read “It is time to water the tree of liberty.” This protest was near where Mr. Barack Obama was having a town hall meeting. What's wrong with that? We have a God given right of self defense, don't we? The second amendment of our nation's constitution still applies, right? Holding a sign at a protest is legal, so no big deal, right? Open carrying in New Hampshire is legal, so no big deal, right? Wrong. The media jumped all over it. They made it a big deal.

Many of the news organizations immediately freaked out at the sight of a citizen open carrying a gun to such an event. When I first heard the news I got the impression that someone had brought a gun into the venue where Mr. Obama was speaking and was waving it around in a threatening manner, at least that's what it seemed judging by how big of a deal they were making of it. As the reports came in I began to wonder what kind of nut would do such a thing. Then I began to get the details of the situation, that it was in New Hampshire, that it was on private property, that the man wasn't in the venue with Mr. Obama, and I began to realize that, as usual, the media was making a bigger deal out of a situation than they should. Finally, I got to watch the interview Mr. Kostric did with Chris Matthews on Hardball.

Mr. William Kostric, a man I met at this year's Liberty Forum who struck me as about as average a guy as there is, held up very well under the heavy handed questioning of Chris Matthews. I don't know that anyone else could have done a better job and I doubt I would have held up so well. He remained very calm and thoughtful even as Chris Matthews did his best to inject anger and emotion into the debate. As my brother observed about Mr. Kostric's appearance on the show, he made Chris Matthews look reactionary and bizarre. In his attempt to get Mr. Kostric to lose control, Chris Matthews was unable to maintain control of his own emotions.

Judging from his questions, it seems to me Chris Matthews was trying to maintain the illusions that had already been set up. The illusion is that people who carry guns are crazy, emotionally unstable, fringe, violent or anything other than mainstream. There's also an illusion as to the dangers of guns. While I wouldn't say that Mr. Kostric shattered those illusions with his interview, I would suggest that perhaps he opened the eyes of some more thoughtful people who may have seen him. Perhaps some of the viewers may have caught a glimpse of something hidden under the cloth of the mainstream media propaganda and perhaps for them the illusion is not quite as spellbinding anymore. Perhaps now some people may understand that the talking heads on television can and should ask more pertinent questions of newsworthy people in these situations rather than trying to demonize them.

It seems to me that perhaps the wrong questions are being asked as these situations arise. As Mr. Kostric wisely pointed out on the Chris Matthews' television program, the question shouldn't be why would he wear a gun to the rally, the question should be why weren't more people wearing their guns to the rally. Indeed, if people don't exercise their rights then those rights will likely atrophy and perhaps die. Chris Matthews pointed out the history of presidents, guns and violence in an effort to shame Mr. Kostric for exercising his God given right, but he neglected to mention that this was a history of men who would conceal weapons and did not want attention drawn to themselves for fear their intent would be discovered. Mr. Kostric made the observation that a gun is a defensive tool. It is not a show of force as Chris Matthews would have you believe, but a warning that one is willing to defend himself should trouble arise. Indeed, if Mr. Obama feels so threatened when he goes out in public to address the American people, perhaps he should take some personal responsibility for his own safety and self defense and start wearing a gun himself. After all, he has the God given right to self defense as does any other human being.

The media wishes to maintain the illusion that it is covering news in a fair and objective manner when in fact it is trying to manipulate opinions the establishment wants you to hold. They have to walk a fine line to keep the trust of their audiences, maintain or improve ratings, and keep the power elite that finance them happy and their agenda hidden. The Internet and sites like Youtube have more or less corralled mainstream media's attempt to completely control the information we receive. This could be the reason we are hearing stories of ACORN and SEIU activists showing up in busloads at these town hall meetings. The Democrats are without a doubt and with verifiable evidence doing exactly what they were accusing the Republicans of doing at the recent tea parties. Even worse, these people have been caught on video threatening and actually beating some of those who are against the proposed health care legislation backed by the Obama administration, something the tea partiers were never even accused of. They've admitted that they were paid.

Do these people think we're stupid? Do they think we'd actually listen to hired thugs? Do they believe we'd pay more attention to masses of mindlessly chanting, similarly dressed people that have obviously been paid over average men and women who have taken time off work to try to get their voices heard? I don't know the answers to the above questions. It certainly would seem that the political elite do, in fact, believe these things and were hoping they could get away with creating an illusion that there was more support for the proposed health care legislation than there was opposition to it. I have to wonder, however. Even though I don't seem to have a lot of respect for politicians and their media cronies in my writings, I never thought they'd be so blatantly open about their corruption. At least, not without a reason.

There is another illusion in this country that many, many people believe. Quite a percentage of the inhabitants of this land called America believe there is actually a difference between a Republican politician and a Democrat politician. They still think that there are partisan battles taking place. It is therefore easy for some to believe that Republicans (conservatives) are against free health care for those who can't afford it and Democrats (liberals) are for providing free health care for everyone and making the rich pay for it. This situation certainly does help keep that illusion alive.

Perhaps this health care debate is academic. Perhaps most politicians holding federal office couldn't care less about whether or not this particular bit of health care legislation is passed. After all, many of the common folk that are protesting this proposed legislation likely identify with neither party, while some identify with Republicans and others with Democrats. I'm certain you could find people of all political stripes standing against the health care legislation just as I'm sure you could find people of all political stripes standing for it. I think numerically the majority is against this particular proposed legislation. I believe that perhaps most people have come to realize that such a program would be too costly, would likely bankrupt the nation (as if it isn't already), and that it puts too much control of our personal health care into the hands of bureaucrats. Many people are angry at insurance companies and don't trust them, myself included, and yet they trust the government even less. In fact, I would venture a guess that most people want government completely out of their lives, and so they certainly don't want them nosing around in their personal health care business.

I really don't believe that any of this theater is about health care. It seems to me that it's about control. It's about power. It's about making everyone dependent upon government and so ensnaring them in a trap that makes the common class slavish to the power elite political class. As long as the illusions that politicians care are maintained, than they can manipulate the masses, divert attention away from their previous follies and create conflict amongst different groups that they define. People are beginning to see through their illusions, however. They are catching glimpses of the hidden. The old tricks that were at one time so effective at mesmerizing aren't working as well as they once did. People are beginning to walk away from the shell game the politicians and the power elite are playing. They are spotting the slight of hand. The masses want their independence, their power, and their money back. No illusion, no matter how well thought out, elaborate or expensive, will change that.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Derelict Politicians Aren't Reading the Bills

Are you paying attention? Have you been listening to what the politicians have been saying? Have you been listening and noticing the mainstream media's twist on recent happenings? I don't mean have you been simply hearing the words and seeing the images, I mean have you been truly listening and paying attention? Have you taken the time to really think about what's being said? Have you thought about what it all might mean?

I heard Representative John Conyers speak with sarcasm and derision about members of congress who ask that the bills going through congress be read before being voted upon. I will let his own words bury him. While giving a speech at the National Press Club he said, “I love these members, they get up and say, ‘Read the bill.’ What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?” This is a brilliant observation of what is completely wrong with our system of government today. This is a wonderful illustration of just how corrupt the system is and how much disdain the political elite has for the people they deign to rule over.

Representative John Conyers, while thinking he was excusing himself from the burdensome task of reading the bills, gives us a wonderful reason as to why we should demand that he and all congressmen do exactly that before voting in the affirmative on any bill. It is, in fact, no good to read the bill if it's a thousand pages long and takes two days to read and two lawyers to translate. That's why you should vote in the negative on any bill that is that long and that hard to understand. Why would anyone want to vote in the affirmative on any bill when they don't know what's in it or what it means? The only reason I can think of is because instructions to do so come down from someone on high, someone who does not care for the best interests of the people but only care for their own best interests. Can you think of a better way to show utter disrespect for those one is supposed to represent than to foist laws upon them that have unknown consequences and misunderstood elements?

Well, Mr. Conyers, I would remind you that it is your job to read the bills. You are the one who has been elected by your constituents to consider these measures for their benefit, not your staff, not your lawyer. You have decided to be derelict in your duties. You have decided to betray the trust the people placed in you. While you decide to delegate your duties to staffers and accept their interpretation of the bills, however, it seems the people of this country have finally decided to do your job and they have started to read these bills for themselves. Perhaps that's at least partially responsible for the outrage that has been expressed at the proposed health care reform in recent town hall meetings across the nation.

More disturbing still is the attitude many politicians and some of the media have taken toward those who have been protesting the proposed new health care legislation in America. Representative John Dingell asked a man who had been yelling at him because he was concerned that his cerebral palsy son wouldn't get care under the proposed Obama health care plan, if it would be okay if the bill was amended to specifically address that problem. He gets booed by the crowd when he suggests that. Mr. Dingell doesn't get it. People have read this bill. It is a bad bill. The common man is tired of getting this kind of legislation shoved down their throats. The bill does not need to be amended, it needs to be scrapped.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi came out with a statement to the effect that these protesters are un-American. I have seen some media personalities echoing this sentiment. This congresswoman, who supposedly represents the common man, and those in the media who echo her are calling the middle classes un-American. She must not realize just how out of touch that makes her appear. She must not realize how patently ridiculous her statement sounds. This country was founded by protesting government. What does she think the founders were doing with their British masters? Before there was violent revolution there were protests that the British government refused to listen to. It is not the protesters who should be feared, it is those with power who speak against them who should be feared. These are the same tactics used by the Nazi propagandists in pre-war Germany to quell dissent against their rise to power. It is those who would chastise the protesters who are un-American. It is those who wish to supplant free market enterprises with socialized models and government run institutions who are un-American. Americans are finally waking up and attempting to take back their government and reclaim respect for their freedoms and liberties. It is the un-Americans who have grabbed power and are now trying to bind everyone into a forced soviet style society.

Arlen Specter, who can't even decide what party he wants to be affiliated with, after being heckled by many protesters who did not like what they had seen in the proposed health care legislation, decided to try to somewhat placate his constituents. He said he felt that their opinions should be considered, but he didn't think they were necessarily representative of America. What country does he think they're representative of, Zimbabwe? As far as I'm aware, there are very few foreigners at these town hall meetings. Maybe some of the foreign press, but I doubt that any of the protesters are anything other than American.

I suggest that the protesters are very representative of America, Mr. Specter, and that unlike you they understand the foundations on which America was built. This nation became prosperous by encouraging free markets and enterprises, not by introducing government intrusions and mandates into every aspect of our lives. This nation was made prosperous because of hard working individuals looking to make better lives for themselves, not because of people seeking favor and entitlements from government. This nation became prosperous because its government stayed out of people's lives and allowed them to interact and do business in a voluntary manner, not by setting prices and dictating what products and services can and can't be sold in the marketplace. This nation became prosperous because of rugged individualists taking responsibility for their own lives, not because of frightened collectivists looking to government to take care of them.

One of my own senators, Mr. Dick Durbin, refuses to even try to host any town hall meetings. He has said that he feels that no meaningful dialog would be achieved over all the shouting. I guess that's politically more acceptable than saying that he refuses to listen to the concerns of his constituents. I guess it's more politically acceptable to simply dismiss masses of protesters before they even get the chance to gather than it is to stand before them and tell them that you've already made up your mind, and their collective minds along with it, and that you don't care what they think or how they react.

Barack Obama himself is holding public forums to try to “sell” us on his version of health care reform. He says he wants to “clear up” some of the “misconceptions” about the proposed health care reform that have been circulating lately. I guess that's politically more acceptable than saying he wants to gently force this legislation down our throats. Well, Mr. Obama, perhaps if this bill was written in plain English rather than in legalese there would be no misconceptions. Perhaps if it wasn't fourteen hundred pages or so long it would be easier to understand and less tiresome to wade through. Perhaps if the lawmakers were required to read the laws they voted on and abide by the laws they pass as the people of this nation are required to, perhaps then so many of the American public would not need to be “sold” on any particular piece of legislation. Personally, I believe that less government involvement in health care and less restrictions on the industry would allow for an infusion of entrepreneurial competition and innovation that would drive down prices. But if this type of health care reform is what the politicians feel the American people want, then perhaps they should write several short, concise bills, read them and let each portion stand or fall in public debate on its own merit rather than wrapping the whole thing in a behemoth bill and forcing us all to accept the bad, potentially deadly merits with the good.

Laws in this country should be easy for all to understand. If you speak English, you shouldn't need a lawyer to tell you what the law means. It used to be that way, and the law used to be obvious to all, that's why it was said that ignorance of the law was no excuse. The law wasn't broken unless an individual was being harmed or his rights were being violated. We have fallen a long way since that time. Individual rights no longer matter to those who exercise power over us. They don't care about our rights or our power, they only care about control, their power and their privileges. A law that would require them to read the bills before they voted on the bills, that gave the people of this country time to read the bills and that gave us time to express our views on the bills would go a long way toward restoring the freedom and prosperity that was once prevalent in this nation. has a simple, easy to understand “Read the Bills Act” already written and ready to be introduced to congress. After all the protests over health care legislation this summer, it would be a perfect time for some representative to introduce such a bill when the summer break ends. Perhaps if enough people encourage him, your representative will be the one that introduces such a bill.

I just touched on a few of the comments these collectivists have been heard to say in the last few days. There are many, many more examples of the disdain for the people many of our “representatives” are expressing. If it is not obvious to you by now that these political elite don't care about you or what you think, Barack Obama included, then perhaps you think as they do and don't care for freedom and personal responsibility. Perhaps you do not wish to grow up and maybe you like the idea of someone taking care of you from cradle to grave. Perhaps you enjoy being obedient to your masters and have no desire to be self determined and independent. I wish you the best of luck and hope you find happiness in your servitude, but I doubt very much that things will turn out well for you in the long run.

This episode should also have made it clear the importance of passing a law requiring lawmakers to read the bills they vote on. The last few years have seen some of the most ominous tomes ever become law. These bills that are thousands of pages long and impossible for anyone to completely understand need to be stopped. The ones that have been passed need to be repealed. Government needs to shrink, not grow. Its power needs to be curtailed, not increased. The people of this country, for the most part, have had enough. Mostly, if they are like me, than they just want to be left alone. More and more often I am hearing this when I talk to people. They just want government out of their lives. They just want to be left alone to live as they see fit. Is that too much to ask?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Politicizing Healthcare and Diverting Attention

I watched some videos on Youtube recently and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. Thousands of people across the nation have been attending town hall meetings to express their concerns, vent their anger and demand that their representatives vote no on the proposed health care bill, AKA Obamacare, making its way through congress. It seems that this particular issue has been the one that has activated the people. It seems that the proposed total government takeover of health care is the straw that has broken the camel's back. The ire of the common man has been aroused and we are letting those who are supposed to represent the interests of the average Joe know that with this issue they had better listen.

There has been quite a bit of news coverage on this subject and divergent viewpoints have been expressed. There are even some pundits who have taken the conspiratorial position that these town hall protests have been manufactured by right wing Republican groups to make President Obama look bad and that ordinary people aren't really that upset about the bill. Yeah, right. As if people can't think for themselves. As if people won't protest such intrusions into their private lives unless they are paid or prodded. These pundits don't consider that maybe the common folk have figured out that government has failed massively time and time again. They don't realize that perhaps people consider health care just too important to put it into the hands of politicians and bureaucrats. They don't seem to believe that maybe the masses actually realize that the costs of totally nationalizing health care would be far too much for out teetering economy to bear. They don't seem to understand that many people in this country realize that their very lives and the lives of their loved ones could be put at risk by restricted and rationed health care overseen by a coldhearted bureaucratic system rather than by personal physicians and other caring professionals. The people protesting at these town hall meetings couldn't possibly be ordinary folk worried about health care being brought under government control, they have to be Republicans trying to sabotage the Democrats and make the president look bad. Please.

Health care is a very important issue to many people. That's why they came out to protest. It has nothing to do with Democrat or Republican partisanship. Any representative who came out in favor of this bill was confronted by their constituents if the chance presented itself regardless of their party. It's an important issue for me, also. That's why I'd like to keep the government out of it. I believe I can best determine for myself what's best for me and my family when it comes to health care and insurance. I don't want it to be mandated by the government what type of insurance I need to get nor do I wish to be told by them which medical procedures are available and when I can get them, etc. I take this position as a person who has no coverage since I've lost my job. Personally, I think I'd be best off if I had just major medical insurance that would cover any catastrophic event that may occur. For myself I don't go to doctors much anymore and can take care of myself for the most part when it comes to common maladies. I believe that trips to the doctor for a yearly physical and such would be much, much cheaper if it wasn't for all the government mandates the medical community is already saddled with.

I think people are beginning to realize that they want government out of their lives, particularly federal government. That's why they came out against the bailouts. That's why they came out against cap and trade. That's why they're coming out against federalized health care.

Mr. Obama and the Democrats have declared that there is a mandate to provide government health care to all simply because they were voted into office last year. No such mandate exists! Their political victory was not a result of their promises, nor was it a result of anything positive they had done for the American people in the past. Their victories were a direct result of the incompetency of the Bush administration, the unwillingness of the Republicans to prevent the growth of government, and in fact their direct involvement in growing it despite their insinuations they would do the opposite. It seems to me that most people didn't vote for Mr. Obama or any candidate running under the Democrat party banner, most people voted against Mr. Bush's big government policies and the Republicans who supported those policies. They voted for what they wrongly perceived was the only viable alternative.

Mr. Obama was sufficiently vague enough and contagiously charming with his promises of “change” and “hope” to win over an increasingly wary and jilted electorate. Many voters hoped they'd see a reversal of Bush era policies. They hoped against hope that Mr. Obama and a Democrat majority would end the unconstitutional Bush era wars, repeal the unconstitutional Bush era laws and bring back sanity and some semblance of the free market to our economy. Not only did this not happen, but just the opposite occurred and its beginning to look like it will never happen. The people are frustrated that their screams have fallen upon deaf ears. They are angry that their voices continue to be ignored despite the fact that they are trying to use the system to effect the change they want to see and are stonewalled at every turn. Now they express their righteous anger at these town hall venues because they feel they have no other way to make their congress critters listen and the politicians still show no sign that they are paying attention and that they are ready to enact the will of the people.

It seems to me that the establishment is still in control. It seems to me that they couldn't care less what the common man wants. Yet it also seems that the public has perhaps become more energized than they thought. Perhaps the politicians are running a bit scared as they see their constituents begin to protest their actions en masse. There is the possibility that the establishment may have miscalculated the public reaction to their attempted takeover of the health care system. It is also a possibility that this is just a diversion meant to distract the public and the few politicians that may care for them so that other important legislation might be forgotten about.

Let's not forget that there is a cap and trade bill that has already been passed by the House and is scheduled to be considered by the Senate. Many voters have expressed concern over this bill. Many understand that this huge bill, unread by many of those who voted for it, does nothing to help the environment and is just a hidden tax on the middle class. It does everything it can to help destroy the economy and funnel more money to the already overly rich elite at the very top of the heap. Could the political elite use the news coverage and the hotly charged debate surrounding the health care bill as a smoke screen to sneak through this legislation unnoticed by most? The possibility does exist.

There is also an important bill with over 280 cosponsors being proposed in the House that would audit the Fed and bring transparency to their operation. It was getting quite a bit of press and gaining momentum until this health care controversy came along. Now all of a sudden that bill and the refusal of the Democrats' leadership to bring it to a vote is back page news as the furor over the health care bill grows. This seems awfully darn convenient for the Fed which wishes its secret dealings to remain hidden from the American people whose money supply they control. I do hope this bill and its significance is not lost in the mayhem created by Obamacare.

Let's also not forget the promises made and perhaps already broken by the Obama administration and the Democrats elected to help ensure passage of his agenda. Was it not they who promised to help bring about a more transparent and receptive government? I remember something about not rushing bills through in such a hasty fashion. I remember something about bills being posted online for at least three days before being voted on so that the American people as well as the representatives in congress could get a chance to read them and voice their opposition or approval. What happened to that? Where has that attitude gone in the last few months as the deficit has skyrocketed?

It's been a long time since there's been this much uncertainty in the atmosphere. As a child in the sixties I remember this feeling, but back then I wasn't exactly sure what it was all about. As an adult I can say that this uncertainty, when thought about, has a tendency to leave an uneasiness in the stomach. It is both an exhilarating and slightly scary feeling. There are too many directions in which this can go. The political elite can once again decide to ignore the masses, push through this unpopular health care bill and risk a wrath they have never experienced before. Or the masses could then just shrug their shoulders, become once again apathetic and discouraged, go back to sleep and fade away into insignificance under the auspices of happy servitude. Or the politicians could give into the masses of humanity protesting this issue, finally decide to do the will of the people, and then turn around and pass more unpopular legislation and block popular legislation as the people celebrate a hard fought victory and forget to pay attention to other important political happenings. Or the people could finally wake up, realize their true power and understand that the only way to get the elites to do what is good for the masses is to keep a close eye on them and demand transparency and an approach to politics based upon the principles of freedom and liberty this nation was founded on even if it comes from the unprincipled persons currently holding political office.

Moving forward I do hope that these protests are taken seriously by the political elites. I do hope that they result in more than just lip service from the current cadre of control freaks inhabiting the halls of power in Washington, DC. As Thomas Jefferson said, “When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” I don't wish anyone to fear anyone else, but it would be nice if for once freedom would prevail in the federal legislature.

One last observation I'd like to make, I don't think the political elite can go about their business as usual anymore. It doesn't matter whether these protests were spontaneous, as I believe they were, or were spurred on by certain organizations or personalities as the power elite would have you believe. One way or another, I believe they are going to have to deal with their constituents and start answering some tough questions. I believe the righteous anger exhibited by people in the last few days is a sign that they have shaken free of the malaise that prosperous years have infected them with and they are beginning to come to the realization that it is best to decide things for themselves rather than leave important decisions to the whims the unaccountable political elite in Washington, DC. Those holding political office are going to have to start to work, for a change, and likely they're going to have to decide whether to empower the people of this great nation once again or fight to keep the power in their hands. Let's pray they make the right decision.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ron Paul and Alternative Leadership

I realize I write a lot about Ron Paul. I make no apologies for that. He is out on the forefront of a new freedom movement, a movement that is gaining strength as more and more people begin to understand its true nature. There are two divergent ideologies at odds in the world today, collectivism and individualism. Unfortunately, collectivism and group thought seem to be the dominate ideologies guiding politics in modern times. Ron Paul has emerged as the most prominent leader championing the virtues of individualism. This ideology is the spirit which drove the founders of our nation and was codified into law via the Bill of Rights in an effort to ensure that it would be the guiding ideology in perpetuity of the people who would come to these shores seeking freedom. Over the past few decades it seems that most people have forgotten this as we struggle and experiment with different collectivist political schemes, most of which have already been tried and have already failed in other parts of the world. Not only has Ron Paul reminded us of this, he has brought to the forefront of our consciousness ideas that innately make sense to many of us, the ideas of freedom and liberty.

In the fall of 2008 there was great hope and exuberance in our nation, indeed perhaps throughout the world. I didn't share in the exuberance, but of course I could feel it exuding from so many others. Still, I feel as if even back then many who praised the new “change” and “hope” that was being touted understood deep down that there was something wrong. We've all seen this song and dance before. With the exception of the most ardent and brainwashed amongst us, I think that most realized as they voted for “change” and “hope” that they were grasping at straws. They were simply so indoctrinated into this unfairly positioned two party collectivist monopoly that they either couldn't or they refused to see any alternatives. The mainstream media helped to maintain the facade, of course.

The common folk know when they're being lied to. More and more people are beginning to realize that they have been presented with illusions all these years. They are discovering that they have been given false choices, that they have been shown a false version of the way things are and the way they have to be. Many are getting tired of being told how and what to think by talking heads and politicos who are just different sides of the same collectivist coin and have come to the realization that they can determine for themselves what opinions to hold. They have stopped reading newspapers and tuning in to television news not because of convenience, but in search of an alternative source of information that more conforms with the reality they want to create. Many may not even realize that they are searching for an individualist philosophy, they only know that they wish to find an honest news source they can trust, one that shows some common sense.

Things seem to have gotten a bit worse lately. I've been hearing about how the economy is recovering. I've been listening to these talking heads spouting off about production and credit and liquidity. I've been hearing numbers that can't be true. These people think you and I are stupid. They believe they can pull the wool over our eyes even as we stare into the abyss. The means of production have been shipped offshore. Unemployment is soaring. Everywhere you look people have been laid off. Those who still have jobs are working longer and harder for less money. Private businesses are hanging on by their fingertips. No one's buying anything because most people are trying to pay off their debt.

Think about your own life. Are you better off than you were last year? Five years ago? If so, do you have to help out more people or take on more responsibility because of it? How about your family and friends, how many of them are having difficulties? Yet the mainstream media continues to try to paint a rosy picture, put on a smiling face and tell you that everything is going to be alright while the establishment politicians give all the money and power to the already incredibly wealthy (who seem to be hoarding it) in the form of bailouts and then increase taxes on the strapped middle class. The whole time they're doing this they try to divert our attention by ranting and raving about global warming and expensive health care. Is it any wonder people have started looking elsewhere for sanity? Is it any wonder people have lost trust in those who were once, long ago, considered paragons of virtue?

The political leadership of this country has been as disappointing as the mainstream media's fluff filled news coverage. They also apparently believe you and I are stupid, or perhaps that we're simply not paying attention. They seem to believe they can do whatever they want to us and not have to worry about the consequences of their actions. They can get away with spending or giving our money and our progeny's money to the undeserving because we continue to re-elect them, not to mention many of them don't have to worry about their own circumstances anyway. They get away with passing unconstitutional laws because no one calls them onto the carpet about such details.

The founders of our country set up the federal government in the spirit that individuals in this country would need protection from the powerful state governments that were to be set up, not to become a hindrance and encumbrance to individual innovation, self determination and personal liberty. This is exactly what the federal government has become in its efforts to be everything to everyone, all encompassing and omnipotent. It was supposed to be a check on competing states to protect individualism, not a tyrant issuing dictates to, demanding money from and regulating the trade between individuals living in this nation. It has stepped outside the bounds of the constitution that was written and adopted in an effort to regulate the power of a central government and the political leadership in Washington, DC couldn't care less. In fact, they wish to facilitate the change toward tyranny and increase their own personal power.

It is time to start looking for new, alternative leadership as the masses have started looking to new, alternative news sources. It is time to start looking for people who understand that protecting and respecting the rights of the individual is the best way to protect the group. “Szandor, how can we do this when it is so far from any major election?” you may ask. There need not be any elections to seek alternative leadership. In fact, elections have proven to be quite ineffectual when it comes to eliminating graft and corruption in the system. Alternative leadership should come from those who understand laws and regulations need not be proposed to control the behavior of the people and the marketplace, they need to be proposed to control and regulate the political and power elite. These leaders need to realize that a federal government should not be set up to mandate how citizens behave, but should be used to make sure that individual rights are protected from abuse by corporate and state agencies. These leaders need to start policing the political and power elite, exposing the secrets they want to keep from the general public and get them to stop trying to frighten us into surrendering our personal power and responsibilities.

Although he wasn't the first, Ron Paul is the most recent to pick up the banner of freedom and parade it in front of the masses. He did so in last year's televised presidential debates. He delivered his message succinctly in plain English so the common man could understand and with great reverence to the Constitution of this nation. While he didn't win the nomination, likely due to the characterization in the mainstream media that he was unelectable and the mindlessness of the American voters when it comes to believing the political talking heads on TV, he did awaken a great many people as to certain political realities taking place in this country and shake the apathy out of them. He gave hope to those of us who believe in an individualist philosophy.

Ron Paul's campaign also managed to frighten the political establishment. It showed them that a large contingent of the American electorate still cares about the ideas of liberty, smaller government and political adherence to the Constitution. The visual nature of his supporters and their enthusiasm gave them pause to think. The amount of money he was able to raise from the grass roots and the innovative ways in which this feat was accomplished left the political establishment and the power elite scratching their heads. They were left wondering how an uncharismatic, old country doctor could attract such a diverse base of support and collect so much from those of us who seem to have so little. The answer is simple, it wasn't the man, it was the message. As Ron Paul himself likes to say, freedom is popular.

Ron Paul showed us just how powerful a lone voice in the wilderness can be. He defied the political establishment and kept touting his message as best he could under hostile circumstances. He showed us in an honest and thoughtful manner that it's okay to challenge the political establishment and to say no to unprincipled policies enacted more for political expediency instead of necessity. He reached a great many with his coy politeness and straightforward common sense despite efforts to paint him as an unelectable crazy fool and a joke. Despite losing the nomination he has kept his name at the forefront of the political scene with his push to pass a measure to audit the Federal Reserve and bring more transparency to that quasi-government organization. His legacy also includes an organization called “Campaign for Liberty” which is helping to spread the message of freedom and garner support for efforts to regain the respect for our rights that government should hold. Meanwhile others such as Judge Andrew Napolitano and Peter Schiff have picked up on delivering the messages of individual personal freedoms and free market enterprise to the general public and are doing a fantastic job at it. These are the alternative leaders we need to pay attention to going forward.

Yet more is needed. These few are not enough to open the minds of those who refuse to listen and still don't understand exactly what it is that we have lost. Yes, more and more people are beginning to realize the growth and prosperity that cutting back government services and returning to a freedom oriented society would bring, but we need to be relentless if we are to bring about the change we in the freedom movement seek. We need more leaders to step forward, more alternatives from which to choose.

Where do we find such leaders? Look in the mirror. We all need to do our part. I saw a youtube video today of a young former soldier at a town hall meeting who demanded an apology from his congresswoman because he had upheld his oath to the Constitution but she was not fighting against health care reform as her oath to the Constitution demands of her. He received a standing ovation. I've seen other videos, read and heard about other efforts to effect change, to exercise rights and to let those who think they rule over us know that we are not going to simply sit by and let them get away with ignoring their own rules and the laws set down by the founding fathers. This is the kind of alternative leadership needed to turn things around and to activate more citizens. People are mad and they're getting madder, now they simply need a direction in which to point their anger.

You will not find these stories reported in the mainstream media. That is why they have lost viewers, readers and listeners. That is why more and more people have turned to alternative sources to get their news. Likewise, more and more people are going to be turning to alternative sources to find their leaders. It is up to us to become those leaders. It is up to us to turn the masses away from the meaningless drivel put out by mainstream media and political sources and show them the significance of individualism in our society. It is up to us to become the alternative leadership. When this happens, then we shall take back the government of the people, by the people and for the people. When we do this, then we shall become empowered and we will know what it is to be truly free and self determined.