Saturday, October 23, 2010

It Is Time For A Change.....again.

I'd love to be one of those people who says, "Get out and vote! Make a difference!", but I know that there isn't much of a difference to be made. With the open and all encompassing nature of the mainstream media, along with the internet, I think we all should be able to see by now that our political system is corrupt. It's not necessarily that all the people in politics are corrupt, but the system in which they work is, and thus corrupts them in ways I'm sure they did not think would happen.

In Kentucky, we have two guys running for the US Senate seat being left (thankfully) by Jim Bunning. Bunning was a good representative for Kentucky for quite awhile, but I'm not a fan of anyone being long in tooth in politics. Anyhow, I see and hear Rand Paul and Jack Conway being demonized and demonizing each other every single day. Are these men evil? Of course, far I know. They hold positions of ideology which are different from one another and that doesn't make them bad people, it makes them opponents. Because Paul holds a libertarian view of personal property rights doesn't mean he's a racist. Because Conway supports abortion, it doesn't mean he wants to kill babies. We have to raise our consciousness on many things in this country and politics is one. It serves no purpose to be hyperbolic, when discussing the future of our nation, in regards to individual politicians and parties.

The Democrats are not out to ruin American. The Republicans are not out to make this a fascist country. It's all about difference of vision. But, the system we have is to archaic for the development of our society. Two choices are not enough. Too much polarization and venom has corrupted how we view those who disagree with us on almost anything. It's like Cowboys and Steelers fans or U of K and U of L fans hating each other. There is no basis for that other than who a person roots for in a sport. It's mind numbingly stupid. It's great to have fun with and pick at each other over such things, but we have taken things too far. I question whether we even consider ourselves to be Americans anymore. Seems like we are a country where we are defined by our politics more than by the common ground we stand on. We really do need people running for office that are less locked into ideology and more inclined to compromise and see solutions that most people can live with if it moves us forward and helps us to solve problems.

But, we punish those who are not in lockstep with the platform of a party or go full tilt with the ideology of being a liberal or a conservative. For example, would a Republican ever get nominated by their party for the position of president if they were openly gay or was not staunchly opposed to abortion, in any case? Would a Democrat get the nod if they supported abortion restrictions or wanted to restructure entitlement programs? We all know that's not going to happen. And why? Because there is a refusal to understand the other side of a belief we hold or a position we take. There isn't any room for us to bend. It has to be our way all the way or nothing. Rudolph Guliani would have been a very good presidential candidate. But he didn't last long in the Republican primaries, because he was moderate on a few social issues that the far right didn't like. No matter that he did a masterful job of getting New York city back to a place that people felt safe and good about. Never mind that he showed brilliant leadership after the 9/11/01 attacks. He wasn't for repealing Roe V. Wade, so he couldn't run as a Republican, even though most of the national security and economic positions he held were in line with what most Republicans wanted out of a candidate. So, what we got was a guy, McCain, who pandered to every right of center group in the country to get the nod, and then had the balls to call himself an outsider and a maverick.

Change was coming in the last election and by putting McCain on the ballot, we gave up choice. Obama was a good candidate and the situation was ripe for the picking. I believe any Democrat was going to win in '08, if they were not having to run against a moderate. Obama was the far lefts dream candidate and the right gave him the election, basically unchallenged. Obama has done some things that this moderate agrees with and has done some things I don't like. I simply don't believe he is the leader that we need, but I'm not willing to call him a Muslim appeaser or weak on foreign relations. Nor will I call him a Marxist. He seems to be a good family man.

Point is, we need real leadership, right now. We need politicians who will not throw their fingers in the air to test the political winds. We need change, real change. We need a revolution in how we choose candidates. We need to encourage third parties such as the Tea Party, Green Party, and Libertarians. Even if we don't agree, it can't be a bad thing to have them in the game. Competition breeds excellence and we only have two games in town and even though they are on different ends of the spectrum, they perpetuate one another and want it to remain that way. I guarantee you, the Republicans or Democrats don't really ever want to see a strong third party. It would weaken them both and limit the amount of power and wealth they can obtain. So, we are going to continue to get politicians instead of leaders until we decide we are not going to stand for the status quo any longer.

A candidate I will vote for doesn't need to be all things to me. Just reflect some of my values and be willing to compromise on things where progress can be made and be tough enough to stand up to special interest groups, who only want things one way.....their way.

I want to see candidates that support things that I believe can bring our system some integrity and give us the freedom to explore new ideas as a country and how to move us forward, towards prosperity for the greatest number of people. Things I would like to see a candidate do or things I'd like to see happen at the national level in our politics;

Support term limits.
 2 to 3 terms in the senate or congress is plenty. We need those who are willing to help out the country, without becoming locked in to endless campaigning.

Cap campaign contributions.
There should be a hard limit on contributions. I don't believe any corporation should be able to pour millions into any candidate. Limit for profit companies to a certain amount that has to go to the general fund of a particular party.

No gifts to any politician from lobbyists.
Our politicians are being bought left and right. It's almost to the point where nobody cares and that is tragic. This issue alone has had a tremendous impact on our nations ability to function at a level where everyone really does have a chance at prosperity.

Third trimester abortion, illegal. First trimester legal. A national debate on the second trimester.
This is an issue that is very polarizing. But, there has to be a way to compromise. I truly don't believe ANY person wants more abortions to happen. So make it a rare option. This is a subject of much nuance and should be treated that way. It's simply not black and white.

Support a flat tax or a national sales tax.
Isn't it time we stopped all this nonsense and got rid of the bureaucracy of the IRS? We need to encourage the most wealthy among us to expand their business ventures and find ways to put more people to work in tangible manufacturing jobs. People need to keep more of their money, so they can save or invest. More money in the hands of consumers, along with some trust that our economy can rebound will push the need for goods, thus creating production and jobs.

Take the large amounts of money out of campaigning for any office. Candidates should get free time on broadcast TV to make their pitches and articulate their plans. No more commercials. Publicly funded debates, along with radio and TV interviews can be sufficient without all the waste on negative ads.

Limit some of our trade with other nations. We need to create manufacturing jobs here, to put people to work and there isn't anything wrong with making 9 or 10 bucks an hour making clothing. Or 15 bucks an hour manufacturing radios and TVs. Why do I need Nike's made in Taiwan when my unemployed friend could be working in a factory making them. If a company like Nike or Levi's wants to produce their goods in another country, they should have their tax burden increased to a ridiculous level. But, if they keep those jobs here, they should get tremendous tax cuts. The producers in the USA need to not be treated like the enemy.

Stop spending money on anti-marijuana interests.
We KNOW that marijuana is not nearly as harmful as cigarettes, alcohol, or coffee. Yet, it's illegal and 2/3 of the 15 billion dollar war on drugs is focused on law enforcement, instead of education. Go after meth labs. Heroin and cocaine are harmful drugs and we should be putting all efforts into eradicating their use. The health care system has gone amok and people are being priced out of getting quality health care, and quite a bit of the blame can lay at the feet of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and refined sugars. Yet, nobody has ever died from using marijuana.....ever. Not to mention that using hemp in industrial production can cut the amount of harm we do the environment tremendously. Our planet really can be saved if we put industrial hemp to use for fuel, food, garment manufacturing, and paper/pulp goods. We are trying to make one of the most useful plants on earth extinct. It makes no sense.

Look at solar and nuclear energy as the future.
It's time we went full bore into the future with our energy policy. Our "leadership" always talks about dependence on foreign oil, but they never do anything about it. Now is the time. RIGHT NOW.

Re-think our attitudes on crime and punishment.
Should someone with possession of marijuana be in prison? Should someone who cheats on their taxes be in prison? There simply has to be a better, more efficient, and cost effective way of punishing and rehabilitating non-violent criminals. Weekend work programs, mandatory social classes, stripping away of some privileges(voting privileges, driving suspensions, etc) could be far more useful than making hardcore criminals out of people who are of no threat to society. We have started privatizing prisons and security. Wow....I still can't believe that. The potential for abuse is there. Someone is making money off of crime and it's not always Vito Corleone' or John Gotti.

Well, that's my election season rant. I have plenty more but this is already so long that nobody will even make it to here. Folks, I believe we are in for even harder times. We are not making anything easier by being unwilling to find gray in areas we have always viewed as black and white. Serious problems can only be handled by serious leaders and the willingness of those leaders to do what's necessary to find a way to put us on a path to meaningful progress. Hate and dismissive attitudes will not rebuild our nation.

So, vote......or don't. Make them give us something to vote for, not against.

Monday, October 18, 2010

42....think I'll stop and rest awhile

Well, today (October 18th) I turn 42 years old. Most of us probably used to see that the age of 40 was a long way off. That it was an age for the old. Now that I'm starting to get up a head of steam towards 50, I can honestly say that being in your 40's isn't all bad. I've learned quite a bit in my life and one of the things I've learned is that I still have a lot to learn. I thought, since I haven't wrote in awhile, that I'd write some things that apply to me since hitting my 40's, that were not necessarily true of me at younger ages. Some are serious, some not.

I do not know everything about anything, but it seems I know a little bit about a lot.

I don't see myself as invincible, I see myself as an extra in the movie of life.

Shows about space and nature ARE interesting. Who knew?

 I don't care much about clocks or watches. My IPod keeps time.

My mom and dad were right about some things.

I have to take medicine to keep me from dying early. But it doesn't protect you against getting hit by a truck or shot with a stray arrow in the chest from a hunter while you are walking in the forest.

I have to take medicine to keep me from killing.

I realize how good of a show "Seinfeld" was.

I enjoy being around people younger than me in many ways. They are not as set in their ways and have not had their dreams dashed....yet.

Seeing other people's points of view and trying to understand them doesn't mean you are compromising your thoughts and ideas, it means you are interested in truth.

Mowing grass still sucks.

I'm better in bed. It's been years since I've fallen out.

Sleeping means less to me. Learning means more.

I still am not sure if eggs are good or bad for me.

Children should be shaken, not stirred.

"Thriller" wasn't really THAT great.

I have the capacity to change a great deal in a short amount of time.

Baseball is not better than sex. Information I could have used when I was 17.

I still care about the friends that have been close to me at different parts of my life, even though I can't interact with them the way I used to.

I need my kids more than they need me. Although when they were babies, they needed me more. My kids couldn't even feed themselves or go to the bathroom properly when they were babies. They're late bloomers.

What truly matters is who has the best bands on their IPod. I see that now.

Chickens are not very good house pets.

I think life is much more enjoyable at 42 then it was at 22 or 32. But somehow, it's not as fun.

Thanks for reading and caring. Enjoy you life, someday it will end. If I've ever loved you and considered you a friend, I still do and always will in that place and time.

Never do what your told, plenty of time for that shit when your old
Paul Westerberg

Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64
Paul McCartney

Howdy Doody, baseball cards, and birthdays take me back
to a world gone away

Hey nineteen, No, we got nothing in common, No, we can't talk at all
Steely Dan

the cannons don't thunder, there's nothing to plunder, I'm an over 40 victim of fate
Jimmy Buffett

still crazy, after all these years
Paul Simon