Friday, November 27, 2009

Democracy vs States Rights

In the previous post "What Will Happen?" the subject of possible scenarios as population demographics evolve was discussed. Some of this ties in with previous discussions about States Rights and other supplemental reading I did at that time and recently when investigating Wilber's analysis based on Spiral Dynamics and recent IQ trends. I apologize for the long post and encourage you to read the previous blog if you missed it so you have the proper context for this discussion. I think you will find it worthwhile.

1. Here is a link to some data on IQ trends.... The trends and the analysis support a Wilber-like conclusion of a societal breakdown if current trends continue.

2. States Rights. One of the biggest impacts to States Rights over the past 100 years was the passage of the 17th amendment. See brief synopsis here.... and here. When directly electing Senators by the general population vs by the state legislature the Senators became less focused and accountable to the states since the general electorate is not cognizant of state needs at the level of the state legislatures. This has had a devastating effect on states rights.

3. Wilber's catastrophic scenarios in relation to the ascendance of democratic principles when the Greens percentage increases to above 10% could be the tipping point to a reversion to Nazi-like actions as the larger majority Reds take over government power/policy-making and exercise of power. Right click to launch picture in a new window...

In conclusion, my point is that those of us who consider ourselves better educated and more enlightened than the general masses and that have thought democracy the be-all and end-all model should rethink their position. The USA's founding fathers were wise way beyond what I thought possible. Their strict approach to States Rights and, in a way, reticence of democracy and a more egalitarian approach to government looks very wise to me at this time. The centralization of power in Washington DC has directly caused many current crises and resulted in burdens to the common person that would have not been tolerated by the original founding fathers like a Federal Banking system, income tax, huge federal programs, expensive and not publicly supported foreign policies and wars, etc.

With that amount of centralized power if we have a take-over of government by the less enlightened majority the very real possibility of a fascist government arising with devastating effect to our cherished life, liberty and justice could happen in an instant.

What can we do now? The first step is understanding how we got here. Then we can start to take steps to undo past mistakes and get back to the principles this country was founded upon.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What will happen?

Ken Wilber talks about current sociological trends using spiral dynamics as the lens to view the forces, expectations and possible outcomes. There are three clips (1st one voice only, 2nd is video, 3rd uses voice only) that talks about the various scenarios.

Here is the link to the media....

If you are not familiar with Spiral Dynamics then check out what the colors mean for describing the reality view of various parts of the world population. Link to Spiral Dynamics overview....

I am interested in how Wilber's views might correlate or not with other predictive models like The Third Wave by Toffler, Daniel Quinn's books, etc.

Please post your comments on the blog!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Did You Know Video Series

These are really cool vids and show the evolution of the internet, video on the internet, social media sites, and advertising to name a few.




Saturday, November 21, 2009

What is Twitter?

Very interesting article on Twitter and its potential use(s). One use explored was in the business world though Enterprises would be very reluctant to use because the information shared could not be controlled. The question is whether the control of that information really buys the business anything or not. It seems obvious that you would not want competitors to know early what your next product is going to be but have studies been done to see if this is actually true?

Link to article here.

Avalanche Video From Alaska Backcountry

Video of a guy skiing the Alaskan backcountry with a helmet cam on. He gets caught in a avy and slides around 1500'. This guy was real lucky.

Avalanche Skier POV Helmet Cam Burial & Rescue in Haines, Alaska from Chappy on Vimeo.

Link to website with some good commentary and Q&A blogging here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Video : What is that?

Heart melting video of an elderly father and his grown son.......

Link to original website post Video : What is that?

YouTube Link (about 5 minutes)

Posted using ShareThis

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Healthy Places to Live

The south is bad for your health according to these statistics. Become a Yankee and live longer!

Link to article

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Religious Right - Leftist Atheists

Why can't we have a civil discussion and not try to change everyone to our belief, or, worse - label them evil to justify violence? Frank Schaeffer, former Religious Right advocate talks about his reformation and the problems he sees from Sarah Palin and Jerry Falwell on the right to Richard Dawkins on the atheist left.

Monday, November 16, 2009

How Will a New Political Party Form?

This video of Clay Shirky (bio below vid) is good since the man lives in a technological world that most people over 50 do not participate in. The interesting bit about how a new political party could evolve in the US is around 15 minutes into the vid. That is not to say the first 15 minutes is not worth watching.

Guys and Girls - I recommend watching this. We are already part-way there and you might as well get on the train or at least know how to buy a ticket and board when you need to make the trip.

or, if that link does not work watch it in three parts on youtube...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Palin Rising

This is really bad of me but I cannot resist. The two sides of Sarah Palin.

1. WSJ....

2. ???.....

I guess all media coverage is good!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Proposed 28th Amendment

"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United
States that does not apply equally to the Senators or Representatives,
and Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators or
Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the
United States."

This could get health care and social security fixed quickly!

Independents on the Rise

More data and opinion on the rise of Independents in the US. The Republicans have completely marginalized their party and Democrats are doing their best continuing the giveaways to Wall Street.

Look for another mainstream politician besides Lieberman to go Independent. I believe Lieberman is too much of a neocon to be viable, but, someone with charisma will emerge. Too bad Ron Paul will never capture the attention of America.

Timothy Egan - A New York Times Blog
November 11, 2009, 9:30 pm
The Betrayal

ST. LOUIS – So long as Budweiser, the King of Beers, was enthroned in this pleasant and nobly resilient middle American city, the blows of corporate condescension from the other giants who abandoned the Gateway Arch could be endured.

But then, last year, came a kidney punch that still hurts: Anheuser-Busch, which had survived Prohibition and the micro-brew craze, was sold to a Belgian brewer. Bud was now Euro-beer. Next they’ll tell us Huck Finn had a taste for éclairs as he floated down the Mississippi.

Board members, those solid citizens of St. Louis, made a pile in the merger that created the world’s largest brewer. But everyone else lost, including more than a 1,000 longtime employees given pink slips.

I heard the Bud buyout mentioned in the same soured breaths that exhaled expletives regarding the upcoming bonuses that will be passed around this holiday season by Wall Street firms saved by taxpayers — $30 billion in bonuses to the top three investment banks.

It takes quite a bit for Americans to say that the social contract is broken, or look upon concentrated wealth as anything except a virtue.

But we may have reached that breach. Our politics are not simply left and right, conservative and liberal. Never have been. Every once in a while, the great middle of independents are stirred to one side. My guess is, if the drift caused by recent actions continues, the United States will be consumed in the coming year by the politics of betrayal, and the winner will be ahead of the rage.

Right now, a time when only 20 percent of Americans call themselves Republicans and Democrats are shrinking as well, the independents are disgusted with both parties. In large part, it’s because neither one seems to be on their side.

The early warning shots came on Nov. 3, against an ineffective former Wall Street executive, ousted New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, and the billionaire mayor who barely bought himself a third term, Michael Bloomberg of New York. Both felt the back hand of an electorate that feels as if the system is rigged against them.

A year ago, most people were open-minded about the ground-shaking changes that came with the economic collapse. Polls found a slim majority in favor of Wall street bailouts to save the economy. They would listen, watch, wait.

By this fall, the majority were not only against the bailouts, but in favor of curbing pay on Wall Street, and tightening government regulation of same.

The continuous drip of perceived unfairness continues. One day it’s news that Goldman Sachs seems to have stepped ahead of the line of those waiting to receive H1N1 vaccines, prompting questions about why investment bankers were getting doses rather than children or pregnant women. This week, Gallup found one in five parents saying they were unable to get swine flu vaccine for their children.

Another day brings a report that the top banks are raising credit card interest rates – some as high as 29 percent, which would shame a Mob extortionist — even against people who have always paid on time. This is the thanks we get?

If Congress steers through the Great Recession without responding to the thousand points of pain among average Americans, people will see them for what they are in bottom-line terms: an insulated club. Proof, just recently, came from a Center for Responsive Politics report that 237 members of Congress — 44 percent — are millionaires, compared to just 1 percent for the country as whole.

In theory, there’s nothing wrong with a Congress stuffed with people who don’t have to buy health care on the open market, or worry about meeting a mortgage payment. But in practice, it’s a prescription for misrepresentation. And though Congress is now trying to curb Wall Street excess, the reform effort seems headed for K Street strangulation.

Two things will define which way the rage goes next year: health care, and the fate of the feeble economic recovery. Again, forget liberal and conservative labels. In recent Gallup polls, 54 percent of Americans perceived Barack Obama’s policies to be “mostly liberal” and an identical margin approved of his presidency. This in a country where only 20 percent are self-described liberals.

If health care reform gives people a choice, and doesn’t just fatten the rolls of insurance companies, it will be something to run on. If the recovery helps millions of people who don’t have a well-staffed lobby in Washington, it too will be a plus.

History, as always, is a guide for these American moments.

There was once a political party that came out against concentration of wealth. They called for regulation of food, drugs, and big corporations. Called for “square deal” for the average American. And their robust spokesman, the leader of their party, said this of his countrymen:

“There is not in the world a more ignoble character than the mere money-getting American, insensitive to every duty, regardless of principle, bent only on amassing a fortune.”

That party was the Republicans, a bit more than century ago, led by Teddy Roosevelt.

The next governing majority will be guided by independents, and include liberals, conservatives and people whose great-grandparents left the Republican Party a century ago. It will also include a whole lot of Budweiser drinkers, wondering how the world changed so quickly, without them.

Friday, November 6, 2009

What Do Independents Want?

The Op-ed piece below from David Brooks articulates want he believes Independents want. His points at the end about less government intervention in the economy and reduced government deficits are most likely true.

I am not so sure about the strategy for a politician winning back the Independents. Most Independents don't want to be "won back". They are going to stay Independent once they make that decision to go that route. And, I believe the Independents of this country are going to start voting for Independents. Look at the Lieberman example in Connecticut. He won as an Independent though his long standing as a Democrat certainly made him well known to the electorate.

Look for more well-known politicians and celebrity/business icons moving into politics to do so as Independents. Be ready to fully embrace the good ones and work for them. It is the only way to shake up the current too-cozy, two-party, too-awful-to-talk-about political system today.

Post your comments on the blog please!

November 6, 2009
Op-Ed Columnist

What Independents Want

Liberals and conservatives each have their own intellectual food chains. They have their own think tanks to provide arguments, politicians and pundits to amplify them, and news media outlets to deliver streams of prejudice-affirming stories.

Independents, who are the largest group in the electorate, don’t have any of this. They don’t have institutional affiliations. They don’t look to certain activist lobbies for guidance. There aren’t many commentators who come from an independent perspective.

Independents are herds of cats who find out what they think through a meandering process of discovery. Right now, independent voters are astonishingly volatile. Democrats did poorly in elections on Tuesday partly because of disappointed liberals who think that President Obama is moving too slowly, but mostly because of anxious suburban independents who think he is moving too fast. In Pennsylvania, there was an eight-point swing away from the Democrats among independents from a year ago. In New Jersey, there was a 12-point swing. In Virginia, there was a 13-point swing.

The most telling races this year were the suburban rebellions across the country. For example, in Westchester and Nassau counties in New York, Republican candidates came from nowhere to defeat entrenched Democratic county officials. In blue Pennsylvania, the G.O.P. won six out of seven statewide offices.

Middle-class suburban voters who have been trending Democratic for a decade suddenly lurched out of the Democratic camp — and are now in play.

Why? What do these voters want?

The first thing to say is that this recession has hit the new suburbs hardest, exactly where independents are likely to live. According to a survey by the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, 76 percent of suburbanites say they or someone they know have lost a job in the past year.

The second thing to say is that in this time of need, these voters are not turning to government for support. Trust in government is at its lowest level in recent memory. Over the past year, there has been a shift to the right on issue after issue. According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans who believe that there is too much government regulation rose from 38 percent in 2008 to 45 percent in 2009. The percentage of Americans who want unions to have less influence rose from 32 percent to a record 42 percent.

Americans have moved to the right on abortion, immigration and global warming. Over the past seven months, the number of people who say government is doing too many things better left to business has jumped from 40 percent to 48 percent, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

According to that same survey, only 31 percent of Americans believe that the president and Congress “should worry more about boosting the economy even though it may mean larger budget deficits.” Sixty-two percent, twice as many, believe the president and Congress “should worry more about keeping the deficit down, even though it may mean it will take longer for the economy to recover.”

These shifts have not occurred because conservatives and liberals have changed their minds. They haven’t. The shift is among independents.

According to Gallup, the share of independents who describe their views as conservative has moved from 29 percent last year to 35 percent today. The share of independents who believe there is too much government regulation of business has jumped from 38 percent to 50 percent. Independents are in the position of a person who is feeling gravely ill at the same time he has lost faith in his doctor.

This does not mean that independents are turning into Republicans. G.O.P. ratings are still in the toilet. But it does mean the Democrats have to fight to regain some of their most crucial supporters.

If I were a politician trying to win back independents, I’d say something like this: When I was a kid, I had a jigsaw puzzle of the U.S. Each state was a piece, and on it there was a drawing showing what people made there. California might have movies; Washington State, apples; New York, fashion or publishing. That puzzle represented an economy that was diverse and deeply rooted.

We’ve lost that. First Wall Street got disproportionately big, then Washington. It’s time to return to fundamentals. No short-term fixes. Government should do what it’s supposed to do: schools, roads, basic research. It should not be picking C.E.O.’s or setting pay or fizzing up the economy with more debt. It should give people the tools to compete, not rig the competition. Lines of restraint have dissolved, and they need to be restored.

Independents support the party that seems most likely to establish a frame of stability and order, within which they can lead their lives. They can’t always articulate what they want, but they withdraw from any party that threatens turmoil and risk. As always, they’re looking for a safe pair of hands.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Religious Right Republicans Shoot Selves

Probably the religious right Republicans who got Dede Scozzafava to quit the race and installed an accountant with no political experience as the candidate believe it wouldn't have mattered if Ms Scozzafava won or the Democrat, Bill Owens, who prevailed. They believe both were bad, I guess.

In a district where Republicans dominant it is almost certain that Ms Scozzafava would have won if Rush, Palin and Beck had stayed out of the local politics. They put their noses in it and lost the chance to keep a Republican in Congress. The Fox spin on this is funny - they say it was all good.

I still think that someone is going to create a new party or redirect a current party to the path of fiscal and foreign policy conservatism and leave the religious right behind.

Link to news article here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Republicans Shooting Themselves Still or is This Right?

The current brouhaha going on in the New York congressional race to replace John McHugh who was recently appointed as Army Secretary is a rallying point for Pubs on all sides of the argument. The article on CNN by John Feehery sums up the back and forth drama.

The interesting thing for me were the posts by readers. It seems there is a sizable number of Americans who want a conservative government that stays out of religion and abortion but that believes in small government, low taxes, minimal/no foreign intervention - the things I call conservative.

It will be interesting to see if somehow a real conservative party either emerges from inside the Republicans or forms outside. Or, is the far-right religious conservative wing the future of the Republicans and the USA? When we see who wins this race it may start to answer that question.

Post your response on the blog please!