Political Ideology is the last thing we need right now

Ideology is fine and dandy at political rallies and cocktail parties.  It is also acceptable in the early stages of the debating process.  However, as our elected representatives are driving us all headlong towards the “fecal cliff,” let’s raise our voices to let them know that we’re really not interested in their ideological posturing.  It’s up to us to make a lot of noise and wake them up because they just don’t get it.

I don’t know about you but I really don’t want to go over the cliff.  Actually, I believe that most non-thrill-seekers feel the same way and, at a minimum, have no desire to go anywhere near the edge … especially since we have very little confidence in their ability to accomplish anything worthwhile and on time.

It’s a little like Egypt right now.  The Egyptian people are protesting against their President declaring his absolute authority.  Hopefully, we don’t need to take to the streets but, if the usual partisan gridlock continues and we go over the cliff, it will mean that we — yes, we — have all failed.  We are all a part of the problem and we need to make the voices of “We the People” heard.  Call your Senator and Representative and let them know that their ineptitude is unacceptable. 

We need mathematically correct solutions not ideology!

My Mindset

My intention is to be as apolitical as possible when I post to this blog but, just in case you are wondering, here’s a sense of how my political heart and mind converge:

  • I am sick of political ideology, talking points, intransigence, gridlock, and the “blame game.”
  • I have become disgusted with the self-serving behavior of our elected representatives.
  • I am astounded at the sheep-like partisan mentality of “We the People.”
  • I couldn’t care less who is a Republican or a Democrat, a liberal or a conservative.

The things that truly matter to me are …

  • Are our politicians working together in our best interests instead of theirs?
  • Are the nation’s economic indicators improving on a predictable path?
  • Are people’s lives – their financial health and welfare – improving?
  • Are our elected representatives delivering on the promises they made?
  • Are they serving us – “We the People” – with honesty and respect?
  • Are they conducting the nation’s business with transparency and accountability?
  • Fiscally, I will usually tend towards a more “conservative” approach.
  • On social issues, I will probably lean the other way. However, I can be all over the place depending on the issue.
  • I believe our children should inherit a better place than we did.

Our elected representatives + the media + “We the People” have done a miserable, if not criminal, job as stewards of the economic and financial health of this great nation.  Notice … everybody is to blame. 

It’s time we enlisted the help of our young people.  For more on this, read “Mission 535+2″ at www.Mission535.com.

The print Edition of “Mission 535+2″ is now available.

It’s Official! The book is now in print.  All versions are available here: www.Mission535.com and can be found on a growing number of other sites.

It took a wee bit longer than I would have liked because, being a self-published first book, it presented a learning curve on which to do battle.  I could ramble on but let’s just say that various rounds of proofing and editing also exercised my hyper-critical side which let to a little re-writing during the process.

It’s now available at the above link and will start showing up in Amazon and elsewhere in 5-7 days.

As you can probably tell from time gap since the last blog it distracted me for longer than I would have liked. Once the Thanksgiving holiday is over I’ll get back into the rhythm again.

Stay safe, enjoy the rest of the weekend, and I’ll see you at the next blog post.

Wake up, media, wake up!

The election is finally over and now we are suffering through your experts’ mind-numbing post-election analysis.  Hey, media geniuses … it’s over! 

Why don’t you start pressuring the Washington establishment to tell us how they are working together to fix the problems facing this country instead of wasting our time providing a forum for political types to get things wrong again?  Oh, that’s right, you’re a part of the problem, aren’t you?  They need you and you need them. 

Because you’re afraid that, if they don’t have a comfortable interviewing experience, they won’t grant you interviews in the future, you fail to insist on real answers to real questions.  Sadly, that just demonstrates that you have a miserably poor understanding of human nature. 

They need you to provide television coverage so they can look good and/or blame their political protagonists.  Duh!  Take the camera away from them and where do they go?  You’re actually in control of the standards of broadcast excellence and you don’t even know it.

A few days before the election, I heard the most amusingly insulting interview segment ever.  The television personality asked a simple multi-part question and the politician had the balls to say, “That’s a great group of questions” and then proceeded to talk about something completely unrelated.  The interviewer, of course, said nothing.  They exploit your weakness, regurgitate blah-blah talking points, and get away with meaningless spin on almost every occasion.

You know the old admonition about rewarding bad behavior?  Well, that applies to you too.  Don’t you think it’s about time you increased the standards and changed the way you do things?  Let me help you wake up for the this one.  The answer is “YES!”

One can only hope!

Intentionally, I keep personal politics out of my posts because I have no desire to be the target of pointless discussion.  As a rule, I want to engage in nonpartisan discussions regarding the future of this great nation. 

Assuming I’m ‘compos mentis’ at the time, my blog posts will alert you to anything political in my writing.  Otherwise, you may assume and must demand a nonpartisan presentation from me.  So, with that introduction, and with the election season over, it would seem silly not to offer a political comment or two.  Unexpectedly, the election result has left me feeling a wee bit conflicted.  Although I feel that the economic destiny of this nation would be better served by a Romney victory, I also feel that the Supreme Court leans far enough to the right and his victory, in that context, would have made me uncomfortable.

As far as the future economic health of the country is concerned, it can be affected by any legislation at any time and we have an opportunity every couple of years to influence that balance of power.  The Supreme Court, however, is different and, in the opinion of many, is critically significant since those appointments are for life.  Of course, depending on your political persuasion at the time, that will either be a good thing or a bad thing.  (I have always been fascinated by the stories of conservative Justices whose court decisions turned out to be more liberal than predicted – and vice versa.)

Remember that the very foundation of our legal system is based on an unbiased starting point from which evidence and debate produce a conclusion.  Preserving the purity of that starting point is crucial.  It’s not healthy to have a court system that is already leaning in a certain direction.  With the unpredictability of the appointment process, we should be just fine.

Having said that, my liberal friends are experiencing nirvana and my conservative friends are going to leave the country!

What I hope all of them figure out is that their states of mind will change – sooner than they expect – because things are never what they seem to be or what we want them to be.  Assuming an awakening occurs, I hope they will focus on making their political representatives accountable

Just a reminder …

Tomorrow, you will vote for a President and a Vice President.

On Wednesday, since things are so close, you will most likely be relieved or morose. 

From what I’ve seen and heard over the last many months, the adjectives normally associated with electoral results — “happy” and “sad” – won’t make it into general conversation.  That’s pretty pathetic when you realize that 5.8 billion dollars was spent to influence the American voting public.  By the end of the day … get over it because …

On Thursday, remind yourself that the mind-numbing interviewing process is over.  You know who got the jobs.  Given the state of the economy and the ever-increasing national debt, the only thing of immediate importance is that these geniuses all start working together to further the best economics interests and financial health of our nation which is made up of “We the People.”  For the foreseeable future, THAT IS THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS. 

Remind yourself that, once elected, their party affiliation is irrelevant.  We don’t care.  They work for us.

Remind yourself that it’s no longer about them …. IT’S ALL ABOUT US.

Remind yourself that they have a responsibility to run the joint responsibly.

Remind yourself that they have a responsibility to behave with transparency and accountability.

Remind yourself that they work for YOU.

That’s enough for now!

My Regrets – Part 1

Only four more days of political pollution to go.  What a blissful thought.  The blatant pandering, hypocrisy, misrepresentations, and flat-out lying will come to an end on Tuesday.  Silly me.  The commercial air waves may revert to marginally EPA-acceptable standards but the political talk shows, interviews, editorials, etc. will perpetuate the never-ending, mind-numbing pretense at reasoned discourse way into the foreseeable future.

 As this election silly season has been nearing its end, I have had some selfishly negative thoughts and I have to admit that they fall into the category of “regrets” – not something with which I have much familiarity.

 I wish I owned TV stations in Ohio.  With the electoral college determining the outcome of the Presidential race and Ohio arguably being the most important battleground state, those Buckeye station owners must be enjoying a long-lasting McDonalds “I’m Luvin’ It!” moment that I wished I shared.  The Center for Responsive Politics projects that total campaign spending will hit 5.8 billion dollars.  With just a little piece of all that moolah, I could buy a new kilt and retire with a life-time supply of oatmeal, haggis, fish ‘n chips, deep-fried Mars bars, shortbread, and, don’t forget, several variations on the theme of single malt whisky … in Santa Barbara, of course, not Scotland!

 So … I’ll be happy to consider any television station offers prior to the next election.  In the meantime, I’ll just suck my thumb and hope for the best.  I mean, regretfully, what else can one do?

It’s time to dig deep – electrically speaking.

Our ever-increasing reliance on electricity is frightening to say the least.  For quite a while now, I have commented to any one with spare time on their hands that this country is becoming more and more vulnerable to terrorist threats and natural disasters, as each day goes by.

Do any of the geniuses running the joint even care?  It certainly doesn’t look like it because, if they did, they would exercise their powers of strategic thinking and rebuild our power infrastructure with security as a top priority.  Sadly, strategic thinking has been relegated to the political endangered species list … along with common sense and integrity… values we expect even from our children.

Enduring the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, individuals and agencies are grappling with the repercussions of having no power.  A couple of New York hospitals evacuated their patients to other facilities because, even with plenty of warning of the impending event, their backup generator systems didn’t work properly.  Gas stations can’t pump gas because they don’t have power.  A few ‘what if’ questions along with a little common sense might have preempted such embarrassments.

I was struck by one commentator’s observation that, following natural disasters, we usually rebuild to higher standards than before.  In other words we – amazingly – learn from past mistakes and shortcomings … except in the case of electrical power.  We replace the old poles with new poles, the old wiring with new wiring, and then we’re done.

Of course, I’m relaying someone else’s observation but it makes sense to me.  His point was that we should be burying all this cable under ground to protect it from Mother Nature and from those who would do us harm.  At the same time, we should involve the people over at the Department of Homeland Security and make sure that the entire grid is as terrorist and disaster-proof as possible.  As their website proclaims:

“Our founding principle and highest priority is to protect the American people from terrorist threats.”

“Department works with industry and state, local, tribal and territorial governments to secure critical infrastructure and information systems. Analyzes and reduces threats and distributes warnings.”

If you look at the progress of the anti-fossil-fuel (pro-electric) lobbying movements in states like California, you will observe a euphoric march to an electrified Eden that conveniently overlooks the negative possibilities such as those discussed above and stubbornly ignores the need for a Plan B. 

With politicians demonstrating permanent ED and non-existent strategic thinking, it’s time they paid serious patient visits to the appropriate physicians.  In the meantime, as a political perk, let’s give them some free medication for the first problem so we can at least pretend to live with smiles on our faces as we contemplate the future.

Ya dig?

I’m not ready to die just yet … please.

Remember the old admonition: avoid religion and politics.  Well, these days, it doesn’t seem to matter what hot subject is under discussion, the conversational format tends to be the same.  One person states his or her point of view only to be met with a rebuttal.  And so the game begins.  As others join in, any attempt at reasoned dialogue is rendered pointless as the conversation degenerates into a heated, meaningless battle of dueling talking points. 

One can usually tell how the conversation will develop when labeling surfaces – comments like “You liberals …” or “Republicans always …” – and the grade-level of the conversation declines.  We shout at, and talk over, each other.  We don’t listen any more and have no interest in learning from the other’s point of view.  We simply wait to verbally pounce and show them how right we are and how wrong they are. 

Sadly, our intellectual laziness has resulted in an incredibly polarized environment.  However, our politicians and the media share the blame for this development.  Politicians have obliterated the honest, straightforward answer from the planet and the media has become incapable of demanding real answers to real questions.  The two have formed quite an unwitting team leaving us to default to our own ideological comfort zone. 

Nowadays, we seem to be interested in listening only to the political flavor we like.  In that way we can feel comfortable with ourselves and believe we are intelligently well-informed people — as we inhale the hot air from whatever sources we have chosen to trust.  When I hear intelligent, educated people say things like: “Why would anybody watch CNN?” or “Why would anybody watch FOX News?” I just want to hug a certain porcelain fixture.  “Critical thinking?”  What ever happened to that?

Many, many moons ago I learned a very useful conversational technique – to ask questions rather than immediately respond.  A question like “What led you to that conclusion?” will help maintain a level of civility in a conversation and, quite often, will elicit information we did not have before.  Naturally, we can still voice disagreement but tolerant and respectful interaction can preempt things from degenerating into an unproductive and pointless battle of twits.

From now on, let’s try different approaches in our conversations because, quite frankly, I enjoy discussing religion and politics with intelligent people but, as someone once said, “words can kill,” and I don’t want to die just yet.

Approaching the “fecal” cliff!

You probably know about lemmings … those little migratory rodents usually characterized as committing mass suicide.  Film-makers have depicted them moving, en masse, to the edge of a cliff and then plunging to their fate below.

My question for you is this:  Which ones are smarter … lemmings or politicians?  My bet is actually on the politicians, but not because they have higher IQs. 

During the next couple of months, we are in for a painful experience as we follow our elected representatives to the edge of the fecal cliff.  It will be embarrassing.  They will continue to play the “blame game” and do nothing intelligent or productive until enough of them, on both sides of the aisle, scream “Oh, shit!” and decide to work together and attempt to avoid financial disaster.  Hopefully, we won’t be staring into the fiscal abyss when they do so.

The only question is … when will they scream the above?  Will it be in time for reasoned negotiations to take place or will they present us with yet another last minute drama?  Given recent experience, they’ll be screwing up their families’ holiday season and distracting us from our “Happy” New Year’s demeanor.

These geniuses need to hear from you.  Once the election is over, please remind your elected representatives that you expect them to problem-solve together and leave their ideological intransigence on the cocktail party circuit.  While you’re at it, remind them that they work for us and that you expect them to behave appropriately – working in OUR best interests instead of theirs

I’m so sick of campaign lies and deception I’m thinking of renting the old Disney film White Wilderness.  Why?  I’d rather watch lemmings than politicians!