Main Street Out Loud - www.MainStreetOutLoud.com

Essays 2010 and 2011

2011

DECEMBER 31, 2011

"DYSFUNCTION IN 2011 DIMS THE LIGHTS, BUT NOT THE LAWS, IN 2012"
Tonight, the ball drops in New York at the stroke of Midnight.  The people of this nation generally focus on what is going on, in and around Times Square at the stroke of Midnight. New York is America's most populated city and since it is on the East Coast, the New Year begins in that time zone before it reaches across the continent and beyond. 

For many--NO--let me rephrase that; for most Americans, 2011 has been a frustrating year to put it mildly (as well to put it  in words acceptable for radio and public print).  No matter how the main stream media, national or local political leaders, talking heads, blatant and/or not so obviously biased pundits or the slickest of speakers try to wrap this one up---year 11---in this century---may be remembered for a lot of things, but positive adjectives won't be among the descriptive ones used.  No, this has NOT been our "finest hour".

Americans kept a steady pace as they walked away for places that were once their homes due to the continuous foreclosure situation that drove so many people out.  The banks, seemed to be impervious to the crisis that they helped create and their offer to alleviate collateral damage was non-existent.
 

The jobless figures rose, unemployment benefits went out to record numbers of those that had lost their only means of income and the food stamp program hit a record high, going to one out of every 6 Americans.

The economy kept moving in the wrong direction and the Federal Reserve kept showering the nation with newly printed money.  The world downgraded the credit worthiness of the nation.  The interest rates for the big banks and big businesses were at a historic low, often settling at ZERO percent.  Cuts were made to many programs, including education, welfare and health benefits.  Yet, consumer costs continued to rise on everything from food to fuel and all the necessities in between.

More and more people became aware that most of these issues were the result of a congress that is as dysfunctional as some of us have been suggesting.  The congressional leaders and the parties, to which they pledge their loyalty, seem to be the worst of our problems, not the best answer to any of them.

We could go on and on about the problems of this year that will end, mercifully in just over 5 hours on the east coast while some of us will suffer a few hours longer as we stand poised, anxious and more-that-ready to close the lid on this year.

Let's look at what we can expect, not from what might come about due to changes in the nation that would lend the members of congress to a cooperative attitude that might be productive and cause this nation to rise from the debt pile created and fueled by a dysfunctional congress hell bent on over-spending.  Over spending and unfathomable debt, brought about by careless management, personal agendas, influential lobbying interests, coddling of Wall Street and Big Business and every bit of it done without the first rule of common sense or economical prudence---working within a budget.

But that is not the only focus for the new year.  Oh no, we have much more to look forward to, dim as some of it may be.  Yes, dim! You see Congress, while not able to get a grip on any issues you and I felt were important, they were able to post a new law that should surely solve most issues---we won't be buying regular 100 watt light bulbs any longer.  Congress can't come together to work on the unemployment issues, the mortgage crisis, how to feed the hungry or any other national concern that would benefit this nation, but they could reach an agreement that you and I were no longer entitled to light bulbs we have used for over a century.  This is their focus---or lack of it---the term "dimwits" seems apropos.

And this is only one example of bad legislation----not for its concern on energy savings, but because it is an intrusion of government into the private matters of citizens, from the front door all the way to the corner of the room where the lamp sits on the end table.

We'll have other laws and actions that are questionable, such as tuition costs favoring illegal aliens over American citizens, (they call it a DREAM ACT), a raise on the national debt ceiling (how else do we continue runaway spending), controversial acceptance of insider trading by political figures (another example of privilege in Congress), exemptions and entitlements for big business (gotta keep the fund raisers happy), curtailing exploration of energy sources and stalling energy independence for 300 million Americans (we'd rather depend on Arab nations that hate us, while favoring the natural habitat of a rare bird or a rat).

And not to be outdone, the more junior representatives---those that take their cues from and give their views to the national leaders---yes, our state legislators, they that have led their respective states into crisis after crisis, while on a smaller scale---BROKE IS BROKE!   Most of us are well aware of practices in state and local government that, too often,  consist of over-spending, improper management of economic conditions, unreasonable government pension programs, runaway inner city project costs, favoring contractors and reaping the rewards from heeding the whims of their local lobbyists.  Aren't these players the ones we should be able to trust?   They are our neighbors!  Well they were before they were elected and somehow, gained great wealth and moved to bigger and more expensive digs--in the blink of an eye.
 

These state legislators, in the year 2011 were a busy lot, making it a point to pass law after law for every state within this union---but only the 50 states you know.  No matter what a President tells you, it's still just 50 states.  The laws range from cooking with shark fins, to caffeine in beer, to health on the football field, to highway tolls, to clothing worn to a polling place, to more lenient laws on voting, Easing up DUI Penalties--guess drunk drivers aren't killing and maiming enough, to education that now must including contributions by gay and lesbian persons, to prohibiting the use of E-Verify by private companies, acceptance of illegal aliens, and oh, so many more laws.
 

After all the laws we have, on the state levels, how many more could we possibly need?  Hasn't the cry, from the people, been less government and smaller government?  If there are more laws, doesn't it make sense that there has to be more government?  After all, someone has to make sure that the laws are upheld and that people and commerce are punished when they break these laws?  How many laws.  Grab a seat.  You'll want to be sitting for this one.

In 2011, state legislators, in 50 states created, sponsored, argued, passed and signed into law, more than 40,000 new laws.  FORTY THOUSAND NEW LAWS: AN AVERAGE OF 800 NEW LAWS PER STATE.  IF THESE LAWS WERE SPREAD OUT, THAT WOULD AVERAGE OUT TO BE ABOUT 3 LAWS A DAY, FIVE DAYS A WEEK, FOR ONE SOLID YEAR.

How could anyone keep up with that many new laws a day, even if they had been spread out over the year?  Create, amend, argue, rewrite, eventually argue again, vote on and have signed into law--the process takes time.  And they aren't spread out over a year.  Most state legislative branches generally average somewhere between 60 and 140 days.  Therefore, the bottom line is clear: Other than those that added to the bills, most of these bills are never read completely and many, not even in part.  Yet, we continue to accept more and more laws.  Many of these---yes, of these 40,000 new laws, many will go into effect January 1, 2012---tomorrow.  Are you ready for them? Can you even cite just one?

As for me, turn out the lights, I am tired just trying to visualize the senseless efforts and the time wasted in adding an additional 40,000 laws to the books.  This surely takes the meaning "a nation under the rule of law" to a whole new level.

As I said, I can't even fathom the volumes now added to the endless shelves that contain the laws of this land.  Now I think I understand the "light bulb law".  When Congress passes any laws, there seems to always be something else within the interpretation---and I think I just figured this one out---it is as thought the proverbial light went off in my heard.  The real deal here is that government has now taken away our right to cast enough light on the pages to read and understand what they have wrought upon us.  This is their way of trying to keep me in the dark.

In 2012, knowing that you and I (we Americans) are a resourceful bunch, they will probably forego the lesser important issues again, such as the economy, unemployment, national defense, safety and education. Instead, I wouldn't be surprised if this dysfunctional group will unite, to go the extra mile, and tackle passing a law that will limit the candle power in a flashlight.  Stock up while you can. They don't have a federal form, that you have to fill out, for that-----NOT YET!

                                     Still think you don't need to get involved?

                                     Just before they turn the lights out on us---

                                     Here's hoping that Americans pursue their own enlightening. 

                                     Make it a Happy New Year---                                   

                                     Educate yourself---you're paying for the lessons!

NOVEMBER 16, 2011

"IF YOU THREW A PARTY AND ONLY ONE OUT OF FOUR GUESTS SHOWED UP--WOULD YOU BE HAPPY?"
Preface:  The following comments, regarding a recent political election and a newspaper article about the results, have nothing to do with my preference of one candidate over another.  I did not have a vote in this election since it was outside of my district.  I did follow the debates and the candidates' views, but I did not endorse nor openly support one candidate over the other.  

I bring this political contest up for two significant reasons. One deals with the elation over voter turnout, that I want to focus on.  The other deals with the way the candidate ran his campaign.

First, let's look at the headlines and the declarations made about the election of the next mayor of Phoenix, Arizona.  The headline read:  "Phoenix voter turnout sets city-election record".  As I then looked at the article, I read on the first line: "The 2011 Phoenix election will go down in city history for record-breaking voter turnout".   And, in the third paragraph, I read:  "..smashing the 1983 record for most ballots cast in an election by about 18,000 votes,.."

Surely, anyone reading this article at this point, has to be thinking that the people of Phoenix have taken a strong interest in their government and have moved in the direction of voter involvement.  After all, look again at the previous paragraph as to what was written--it says it all.  What else could these words mean?

As to the turnout, finally, in the article I saw the percent of eligible voters that, did, in fact, turn out to cast a vote.  Historic, smashing, high interest, to go down in history has now become descriptive for a 28 percent turnout.  TWENTY-EIGHT PERCENT?

What have we done to our self-image?  How deep has our apathetic attitude, toward elections and voting, taken root? When did we agree to compromise to such a low standard of acceptance?  If 28% now garners accolades and headlines today, to what praise worthy position will we lower the bar in the future? 

We exhibit our apathy, as voters, in most elections; we're not too informed (if informed at all) and we're definitely not involved. So when it comes to the elections, we generally wind up with exactly what we deserve.  To ask for more than what we gave to the election, makes us sound unwilling to accept responsibility for our lack of actions.  If we want more, we have to work for it. Isn't that what we teach our children?  We have to be informed, we have to be involved, we MUST vote.  That's the crux of democracy in action.  That's the essence of FREEDOM.  To leave this process up to 28 percent or less, of the eligible people and then to wait for the fruits of their efforts--that's not American.  That ideology is far from what brought this nation, from infancy to its greatness.

Should 28% be considered a reason to cheer, in school, 28% is failing.  Phoenix might have the right man for the job, but it isn't because the people deserve him---the residents of Phoenix failed to deliver all they should.  As to the future of Phoenix, the mayor-elect has a long and somewhat lonely task ahead---he can't count on more than 28% of the residents.

What about you, what about America, will the country's future be determined by just over one-fourth of the people?  Isn't that what we are tired of---, those we elected to lead this nation aren't listening to us.  Us, in this case, is over 315,000,000 people.  Maybe our political leaders, that we accuse of not listening, really are listening.  Could it be that they are listening to the few that are informed, that get involved and that do vote. 

Maybe they do hear the one out of four.  And, just maybe they don't hear you because you only rattle your sword after the day is done.      

As to how one of the candidates ran his campaign, I'll make this brief.  Greg Stanton, the WINNER of this election, was quoted, in part, as having said: "We decided early on that grassroots was the way to win this race." "We didn't rely on television ads, we didn't rely on signs." "We relied on individual contact and looking voters eyeball to eyeball and asking for their support."

To think, a politician, that feels that going face to face with the voters is a better way to get support than just doing fund raisers and running radio and television ads and doing the occasional "hands off" town hall or staged debate.  Could this be the start of what once was the way of a politician---humbly asking, in person, for a vote instead of sending out those bold flyers and Emails that ask for money.  

In a time when voters know only what they see in print, hear and see on the airwaves, this man chose to forego the convenient and costly and instead, went to the people--he became accessible.  If for no other reason (an impressive reason, it is), my hat is off to Mayor-Elect Greg Stanton.  The merits of his efforts deserve to be noted.  Just imagine if we had state and federal representation by individuals that actually cared enough to know you, to walk among you and your neighbors---to be accessible to more than just big money, party think tanks, cameras and advertising firms. IMAGINE.

OCTOBER 25, 2011

"EMPTY PROMISES"
At the Republican National Convention in 1988, George H.W. Bush, uttered these words:  "Read my lips, no new taxes".  We are well aware as to why that statement echoes loud and clear every time we look back on campaign promises that go unfulfilled.

In the current campaign, we are hearing the same promises made for more than a generation regarding border security, taxes, the economy, production on American shores and many more.  Maybe these promises should be met with:  Read my lips--No new campaign promises that you won't keep, that you can't keep and/or that you have no clue on how to make them happen.  Read MY lips:  Stop the empty promises.

Ronald Reagan, during his inaugural address in 1981:  "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem".

Most of us would agree with that statement, but do we understand the identity of "the government".  When we think of government, we don't think of you and me, we think of Washington and all those people that occupy the House, the Senate and the White House.  We don't think about the bosses that put the people into office.  The true government is you and it's me.  It is the American People.  America, a land where the government is OF the people, BY the people and FOR the people.

In a speech made in 1964, then popular Hollywood actor, Ronald Reagan said: "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to.  This is the last stand on Earth".

With the ever deepening debt of this nation, the uncontrolled spending, our unsecured borders, the housing crisis, the economic conditions on Main Street, the lack of production on American soil, the dire unemployment picture, the ever looming tax increases, the ever present threat of a double-dip recession and leaders in Washington that waste good productive time blaming past administrations, the current administration and each other for all the woes of the world, we are being drawn to the edges of that last stand. We must not continue to buy into the misguided spending programs that result in less than lack luster results for everyone except a select few privileged entities and individuals.

We can no longer allow the next wave of leadership to offer a new dawn with the same rhetoric heard in political campaign after political campaign.  It has gone on for more than a generation.  This nation is being threatened---but more from within than from outside forces.  We cannot afford another administration or another Congress that is just a dusted off, polished version of the last one or the one before that.  Our nation is much too precious to send it down the road with another set of retreads---we need a core we can trust and depend on, not an outer layer that just looks shiny and new.

There needs to be a  time of reckoning and that time is now.  We need to make a conscious effort to become informed and involved.  We need to be diligent in our studying of the issues and we need to be responsible for our actions.  We must insist that today's politicians stand firmly to the promises they make.  Debates, campaign speeches, fund raisers and voter petition drives must be viewed as more than passing moments that lead up to an election that, once won, gives way to a privileged life style, rewarded through personal agendas and entitlements, beyond comprehension or reason.

We, the people, must hold every candidate to his or her word.  We need to make a conscious effort to hold them accountable, if they say it, they need to prove that they can back it up.  Otherwise, we call it what it is; an EMPTY PROMISE.  The time of hearing broken records, of contributing to the notion of "Play it again, Sam" has worn out its welcome, it has to end.  Read my lips:  NO MORE EMPTY PROMISES.

Again, to quote President Reagan:  "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to.  This is the last stand on Earth".

America---"sweet land of liberty"---our beloved land may not survive the future storms if all we have to rely on is are the EMPTY PROMISES, heard in the haunting echoes of the winds of time.
(Note:  This essay is a slightly altered version of the commentary expressed on the Oct. 22, 2011 broadcast.  To hear the program and get the background on this summary, please visit the archives page of this website and replay that broadcast at your leisure.  We ALWAYS appreciate hearing YOUR views.  Write us at:  talk@mainstreetoutloud.com).

AUGUST 8, 2011

EXCUSE ME, I WAS WONDERING:  "WHY IS CONGRESS ON VACATION?"

As the arbitrary deadline drew nearer, congressional leaders argued over tax cuts, tax increases, spending cuts, spending increases.  Congressional leaders warned of a looming doom, if debt limits weren't raised so that America could meet its financial obligations.   The message was presented over and over:  Increased limits and authorized added borrowing was the direction needed or America could default and her creditworthiness would be in jeopardy.  Many interviews were given by politicians on all sides, numerous secret, closed door meetings were held, but there was little of substance offered.  In the end, the debt limit was raised immediately, spending cuts were held off for the near and distant future. 

This is what America wound up with?  We are to accept a broken system that added more pieces that would contribute to the malfunctioning, out-of-control spending of a government that is much too big and much too controlling?  The waste continues, the debt increases, the nation moves in the wrong direction.  After weeks of orchestrated media exposure to the dog and pony shows, American taxpayers wind up deeper in debt and, to date, there isn't a program that has been successful at the grass root levels of Main Street America.
 

The same problems exist, in the same or greater proportions:  Unemployment, a lack of manufacturing on America soil, a sluggish economy, a near-closed credit market,  a foreclosure debacle of epic levels and a list of other items that seems to just go on and on.

Now after the hype, over this issue, had ended, surely the nation's leaders would take up the real issues for most Americans:  Jobs, manufacturing on native soil and boosting the economy within the nation.  There was also the immediate issue of over 4,000 FAA employees now out of work, as well as thousands more that relied on the airline industry, and tax revenues, running into the billions, were being lost.  Congress needed to weigh in and address this issue.  Many other issues sat as additional agendas to be moved upon.  The nation needed their representatives to deal with matters that concerned all of Main Street.  And this Congress needed to get it together before the ego and in fighting completely stalled this process of government, the government that was formed of, by and for the people, to benefit the common good of all Americans.  Instead, without further ado, the business of the nation would be laid aside for more than a month.
 

The members of Congress decided they deserved to go on ANOTHER PAID VACATION.

America's woes continue today with leadership or without.  Standard & Poor's makes an assessment and drops a bomb on the U.S.   The same S & P, along with Moody and Fitch, that graded certain future derivatives (all nicely bundled to hide the truth) so high.  The same rating agency that stood behind its ratings as the financial, investment and mortgage industries were exposed as having dealt in fraud, deceit and otherwise unsound practices, came crashing down and put this nation in a tail spin. Now the financial markets are falling again and more politicians are outraged. 

Even though the President has the power to call Congress back into session,  the politicians and this Administration aren't dedicated, concerned or outraged enough to go back to work.  They're vacationing and giving media interviews with carefully scripted statements that they hope will garner them favor with the lobbyists, big business and the uninformed, gullible, easily swayed voters.  For too many politicians, raising money for another political campaign is a greater priority than the mounting unemployment issues, the stalled economy, non-existent budgets or ending a war--one way or another.

Are the problems of American taxpayers really that important to our leaders?  Then why is Congress on vacation?

As for the heads of  investment banking and the super wealthy of the world, they are smart enough and in the pipeline, to know that the fallout from the deals made in Washington, would go this way.  Those in extreme power, with extreme wealth are not ignorant.  Watching the inability of Congress to set aside egos and party, the mega powerful saw that the arguments offered by some representatives along with the different concessions and compromises had no chance of being accepted;  not until the 'right deal' came along.  And that 'right deal' was the one orchestrated to lead to the results it was intended to bring about.  To think that the subsequent actions were a surprise or shock to those in power is too absurd to believe.   Congress went about the business of raising debit limits and now the battle begins to get in on the newly created avenues for graft, corruption and wasteful spending that will surely take place.  Add to this an unstable market with antsy investors jumping ship and you have all the ingredients for some world powerhouses to become even wealthier and more in control--and all in a relative short time span.

Are the problems of American taxpayers really that important to our leaders?  Why is congress on vacation?

It is no surprise to anyone that has ever been in charge of a household budget or that ever applied for a loan, that with the downgrading of America's credit worthiness, the American markets would take a dive and world markets would start jumping off the bridge also.   And as the orchestrated scenario plays out,  the mega, mega rich and powerful are busy buying up super bargains that they will hold and, later sell at a premium.  Life continues as now, another distraction has forced the need of jobs and manufacturing on American soil, to the back pages.  Politicians now are able to campaign on what they will do about things that are 'if comes'.  You see, 'if comes'  are easier to address than answering questions on why things haven't been done about 'what is'.

Are the problems of American taxpayers really that important to our leaders?  Why is congress on vacation?

The system of capitalism is no longer the American way---it's a con job.  And if you don't think the timing of recent events isn't an orchestrated masterpiece, controlled by the puppet masters, think again.  Watch where the money goes and who has the big war chests in the upcoming campaigns.  Look at the power in the world and look at the debt.  Look at the growth of some businesses and the speed-of-light  increases in wealth for some.  Why, during a near world crisis, are some gaining wealth beyond comprehension, while so many comparables and opponents fail?  Who is in control and what is the fate of America?

Are the problems of American taxpayers really that important to our leaders?  Why is congress on vacation?

This nation is becoming a manipulative tool for those that advocate a one world power.  Is this the precursor to the sales job for a one world government?  A government that convinces the people that it should be the provider for all people, the government knows best, the government is your friend.  Has big brother seen enough and seeing a weakness in leadership, has decided to make a substantial move?

Are the problems of American taxpayers really that important to our leaders?  Why is Congress on vacation?

And all the while, our troops continue to volunteer to serve.  These selfless men and women stand between us and the enemy, on foreign soil,  and they give their lives for the cause of freedom.  Freedom---do you remember?

 The problems are mounting and they affect you and your family.  SO, PLEASE TELL ME, WHY IS YOUR REPRESENTATIVE ON VACATION?

Rudi's note:  After I wrote this, I had a few added thoughts that I couldn't get out of my head.  Needless to say, this was during a restless and mostly sleepless night.

I woke in the middle of the night wondering about the debt ceiling issue, the default hype that led us to the rotten bill that has us now deeper in debt, the S & P rating, Wall Street, Dow dropping, world markets following suit, serious
unemployment, stalled economy, FAA issues and so much more. And I wondered what our Administration and The Congress were really up to. Is there a  bigger picture, that leads to a dark, sinister plan for our beloved America?

Keep in mind, in midst of all of this, CONGRESS IS ON A PAID VACATION. Politicians are smiling and lying as they give local TV interviews. What about America?? What about the American taxpayer?? Do those elected to serve---serve anyone but themselves?? I think not. The power of government is not in the hands of the people. Our past apathy and our naivety and subsequent acceptance has let it slip away.

As for recent years, we haven't been exactly sailing along. but we were still a nation deemed as self-sustaining. We were not dependent on foreign supplies or money, nor were we influenced by other world leaders or world organizations when it came to the policies of our own government.  We led the way, we were the lantern of free enterprise, the solid symbols of growth, strength and prosperity through the most precious status of all---FREEDOM.

What if the downgrading of America's credit worthiness was a get rich scheme, so powerfully manipulated by such a cloaked and controlling hierarchy, that the road is impossible to follow to the top?  What if the downgrading got the big and small to sell off world holdings, so that the mega wealth and power could take more control in order to bring the world to a new order and a new one world government with a new currency.  What if?

I'm talking wealth and power that is so strong, it is unfathomable to even contemplate such manipulation or even the mere existence of such a power.  If we dismiss it, without further thought, then surely it doesn't exist, does it?  Not suggesting it does, but definitely wondering.  Is it really that far fetched?

Remember, if there is a sell off, someone is doing a buy up.  You can't sell something you have if there are no buyers.  You can give it away--but only if someone will accept it.  Smart money buys low and sells high.  If there is nothing to buy at a bargain, then maybe a seemingly disconnected and remote prodding creates the bargains that didn't exist during more stable conditions.

ARE YOU LOSING SLEEP, ARE YOUR NIGHTS RESTLESS?  THEN, TELL ME--WHY IS CONGRESS ON VACATION?

July 25, 2011

"The Citizens' Family Debt Dilemma" (A lesson in debt reduction and priorities in spending)

Democrats and Republicans, the President, his advisors, the Treasurer, the Federal Reserve Chairman and all the other individuals that make up the brain trust on the hill---need to get back to reality.  This crisis about the debt ceiling isn't that difficult to get a handle on.  We don't need this dog and pony show; it just isn't impressing anyone and it's starting to really get old to more than a few of us.  This group of do-nothing, jockeying, positioning and posturing egomaniacs with self interest agendas and an experience track record that spells failure in great big capital letters, needs to take a lesson from John Q. Citizen and Mary Jane Citizen. 

Here's the lesson:

John and Mary got married.  John decided he would be the one that worked outside of the home and his checks would be the revenue they would have coming in.

Mary and John agreed that Mary would then be in charge of running the Citizen's home and expenses.

John's checks amounted to a net revenue figure of $5,000.00 each month.  For some time, Mary was able to make do and even had some extra that she would add to fixing up the house, by adding new furniture, rugs and wall hangings.   

John and Mary continued to live without any real money issues.  They had some bills, such as the mortgage, car payment, a couple of credit cards payments and the standard monthly expenses.  In time, John and Mary had a baby.

John's income was the same, but another expense had been added, and with that obligation came even more expenses until the time came that there wasn't enough money to cover all the expenses. They decided to take out a loan, pay down some debts, pay off the doctor and hospital bills and buy some added things for their new baby.  They spent all they borrowed, but they were making the payments.

One winter evening, John had an accident on the way home.  He hit a patch of ice, the car spun out of control, flipped over and eventually came to a stop at the bottom of a small hill.  John had been wearing a seat belt, the air bags deployed and John, luckily, walked away with only a broken arm, two broken ribs, some scrapes and bruises.  John's car was a total loss and he was out of work for nearly a month.

 John and Mary received an insurance settlement on the car and the family's medical plan paid for most of the hospital and doctor bills. The money paid off the car, but it didn't leave enough for a  pay off the car and replace it. They had a deductible to pay on their health insurance and they also needed to buy another car.  They borrowed some money for the medical bills and also to put a down payment on a new car.  The car loan came with a higher payment than before.  With all the previous bills and these two new ones, there was barely enough money left over at the end of the month for anything else.   

John went back to work, but now, his $5,000.00 check no longer paid everything as it had before, and a few of the credit card bills weren't getting any extra paid on them.  

The couple decided to take that dream vacation they had been talking about for so long.  They visited Mary's relatives in England and also took a tour of France, Germany and Switzerland.  All of this was paid for by credit cards.   

The baby was growing and needed a bigger bed.  John and Mary went out to buy a bed and some other furniture for the baby's room. They went to the store, picked it out and went to the office to sign the papers and pay for it.

Unfortunately, their credit cards had been maxed out with costs of the trip and purchases while on vacation.  They called the credit card companies until they got one to increase their limit so they could add the furniture. 

When they got home, they realized they were in financial trouble and when all the bills came due, they would not be able to pay all of them.  They made desperate telephone calls to both of their parents, pleading for help.  One set couldn't help them and the other set of parents told them that, according to what they were sharing about their finances, they just couldn't lend them anymore money.  The parents were on a fixed income and they hadn't been paid back any of the money John and Mary had borrowed for They still hadn't paid back the last amount they had borrowed.  

John and Mary had a stark awakening.  They couldn't borrow another dime, there was no answer but to face facts and make every effort to keep what they had worked for, to retain a strong credit rating and to get out from under the mountain of debt---on their own.

It was then that the Citizens sat down and prioritized their needs and their wants.  They needed a roof over their house, so they had to pay their mortgage.  They needed transportation, so they would budget their car payment.  They had a couple of loans, credit card balances and they a personal loan with their parents.  They knew they had no choice but to make good on all of it and keep a positive credit rating.  

John realized that the weekly night out with the guys, if stopped, would give them a few extra dollars a month.  He also saved quite a bit more by taking a lunch to work, instead of going out for lunch.  And, by joining in an altering car pooling, he could save on tires, oil, gas and minor service costs.   Plus, he cut back on some of the services with his cellular telephone and he gave up his golf membership at the Country Club.

Mary decided she could wash and style her own hair, give herself an manicure and let the spa membership go.  She even decided to do some of the laundry and ironing instead of sending it out.  They both decided to pitch in and clean the house instead of having a cleaning crew come in once a week.  And, they both agreed that dinner out, once a week, could be cut back to one a month or further, if need be.  And as for the box seats  to the games, well, that wasn't a luxury they could afford any longer.  So, if they went, it would be general omission or it would be to watch the games at home.

John Q. and Mary J. Citizen went on to make even more cuts.  They not only were able to pay their monthly obligations, but they were actually saving a few dollars too.  They were pleasantly surprised to find they didn't need to raise their debt limit, they could cut back on a lot of things that weren't necessary and had just gotten out of hand.  They reigned in their spending, they lived within their means and they were just as comfortable, if not more so, as they were when they were spending money without regard as to how it would one day have to be paid.

John and Mary Citizen lived happily ever after---they paid off their debts, they bought a new home, sent their daughter to college, took paid-for vacations and built a respectable retirement account.  John and Mary didn't just live the American Dream---they were an example.    

John and Mary Citizen want Congress to know that there comes a time when everyone hits the wall.  The time comes when decisions must be made, that choices are non-existent or very few.  In their case, they had no other choice: They had no options or additional money.  They couldn't borrow any more, they couldn't just print it or pull it off of a tree, there was no more money.  It was now time to be take ownership of the mess they were in, be responsible and determine their priorities. They understood what was important:  Family, a home and the future of their child. 

So it is with Congress:  Own it, take responsibility and set priorities.  Don't cut waste, end it.  End graft, eliminate luxury entitlements, curtail spending and be reasonable---live up to your commitment to Americans.  Understand what is important:  The American People, America and our future generations. 

July 6, 2011

Is it Reasonable to Doubt?

From the outset of the verdict, the area around the courthouse in Florida became a hot bed for dissention, disenchantment, demonstrations and even resentment by people that had no connection to the events or circumstances that had transpired three years earlier or even to those in the last few months.  It made me wonder about them, the system and more, much more....

Why are so many people absolutely livid over the verdict in the Casey Anthony case?  They aren't part of the family, they aren't family friends, they weren't called to the stand to testify, they weren't on the jury, they weren't part of the prosecution team or the defense, and for that matter, they weren't even in the courtroom.  But, they are livid, sad, overcome with emotion and/or full of vengeance because they "KNOW" she is guilty.  Based on what? 
  

Why are so many people absolutely livid over the verdict in the Casey Anthony case?  They aren't part of the family, they aren't family friends, they weren't called to the stand to testify, they weren't on the jury, they weren't part of the prosecution team or the defense, and for that matter, they weren't even in the courtroom.  But, they are livid, sad, overcome with emotion and/or full of vengeance because they "KNOW" she is guilty.  Based on what? 
  

Why are so many people absolutely livid over the verdict in the Casey Anthony case?  They aren't part of the family, they aren't family friends, they weren't called to the stand to testify, they weren't on the jury, they weren't part of the prosecution team or the defense, and for that matter, they weren't even in the courtroom.  But, they are livid, sad, overcome with emotion and/or full of vengeance because they "KNOW" she is guilty.  Based on what? 
  

Why are so many people absolutely livid over the verdict in the Casey Anthony case?  They aren't part of the family, they aren't family friends, they weren't called to the stand to testify, they weren't on the jury, they weren't part of the prosecution team or the defense, and for that matter, they weren't even in the court room.  But, they are livid, sad, overcome with emotion and/or full of vengeance because they "KNOW" she is guilty.  Based on what? 
  

Why are so many people absolutely livid over the verdict in the Casey Anthony case?  They aren't part of the family, they aren't family friends, they weren't called to the stand to testify, they weren't on the jury, they weren't part of the prosecution team or the defense, and for that matter, they weren't even in the court room.  But, they are livid, sad, overcome with emotion and/or full of vengeance because they "KNOW" she is guilty.  Based on what? 
  

Some people demonstrated and shouted outside the courthouse.  People lined up to do on-camera interviews in which they gave heated comments and even threatened to make sure Casey paid for the rest of her life.  Who are these people?  How does the world view our judicial system when it witnesses the reactions of individuals, in circumstances such as these?

So many people carried signs and shouted that they wanted justice for Caylee Anthony.  They also said they would not rest until they knew Caylee's murderer was punished.  How do these people know that this little girl was killed?  How do these people know who killed her?  The police thought they knew, arrested a suspect, the prosecution brought a case forward and the end result was that a dozen peers of the accused found her "not guilty", according to the verdicts read on the count of murder, manslaughter, accomplice or involvement.

Should our judicial system be subject to public opinion?  Would it be better if the media wasn't allowed into our courtrooms?
 

What beneficial properties do you and I get out of hearing second hand trial information?  If we aren't part of the system, if we aren't part of the trial, if we don't take due diligence to be in the courtroom of a case we want to follow, if we aren't affected by the outcome of a case, do we really care-----or do we become engaged, enraged, sympathetic, compassionate and demonstrative through clever media manipulations and their reporting.
   

When it comes to a family matter, a personal tragedy, a matter that just isn't deemed necessary for public knowledge, or a matter of life and death---when it involves the core foundation and principles of our judicial system--should we allow media members and others that compete for ratings and viewers--- in our courtrooms?
   

Should the media and the talking heads, the publicity seekers, the sensationalists and the media hounds be able to give their slant on things as though they are telling us exactly what happened, just as it happened, without any personal added glamour, glory, gore or Godless details.
 

Can we really trust the reporting that comes to us, after it has gone through the hands and minds of an observer, writer, proof reader, legal analyst, producer, editor, news director, anchor and media host?  These are paid individuals that are charged with the job of presenting the public with information in such a way that it whets the appetite, perks the interest of the public---increases viewer, listener or reader interest.   Should this drive to acquire ratings and circulation, give us cause to question the information or the manner in which it is presented?
 

If we weighed the facts, would there be reasonable doubt?  Would our verdict be "unreliable"?

This isn't about freedom of the press, freedom of expression or the right to know, it's about none of that and yet, it's about all of that and the rights of a family, a person, a victim to have privacy and a reasonable amount of discretion about gut wrenching, grievous, sad or very private details of situations and events.  Just because a person is in a courtroom, does that mean they have been stripped of every right that someone outside of the courtroom holds dear?
 

If you would have been on trial, in the place of Casey Anthony, how would you look at our legal system?  What would you think of those people that are demonstrating and making their rounds through the media outlets?  What do you think of our method of selecting jurors?  What would you think of the media and its handling of the reporting at your trial?  As for the verdict---do you understand why our system of justice insists on "beyond a reasonable doubt" when assessing the facts and evidence of a case?
 

Reasonable doubt--it's part of our judicial system.  Accept the system, in part and as a whole.  Respect it. 

As for Casey Anthony; I won't attempt to second guess the collective consensus formed by 12 of my peers, nor the rule of law under which I am fortunate to live, in this great nation with "liberty and justice for all". 


June 13, 2011

"AM I STUPID?"
WE HAVE DECIDED TO HOLD OFF ON THE POSTING OF THIS ESSAY.  We have had many favorable comments on the part that we aired Saturday, June 11th, in the second hour.  TO REPLAY THE PORTION OF "AM I STUPID"? you may access the broadcast on the archives page. Thank you for your understanding. 

Jan. 24, 2011

Sound Bites, Cameras, Ratings and Memorials Equal Reality?
Who Are We? Just maybe, w
e need to slow down and take our time.  Look at how we speed through life today.  And by the way, don't tell me you have to do things this way, because there isn't enough time in a day.  Possibly we need to stop for a moment and take a look at what we have set as guidelines for an example and standard of living.


Some of us have decided that we could depend on a TV reality program to show how we can pick life partners in a few short weeks by taking approximately 300 people on a date, at the same time, (okay, only 20 people at a time).

Some of us have agreed that the way to better health is to bare all (literally and physically)  on a TV program that embarrasses us into losing weight in front of millions of viewers.  All in the name of reality TV.  Oh and some money.

Some of us think that the answer to our personal problems and family issues are resolved by going on drug rehab programs and celebrity "psychologists" shows and baring our souls, the most intimated details of our private lives and doing so in front of glaring cameras and an audience of strangers. And these people, sit in a counseling session, in front of only a few million viewers.  And this is done for what?  A few brief minutes of what?  And those that watch this, do so because of what?

Some of us have decided that dealing through the regular legal system is no longer adequate, these people can't let a court decide their fate anymore.  Instead, the lure of standing before celebrity judges and TV lawyers that will hear our cases (stupid, petty and childish) in front of those glaring cameras and a national audience.  People stand and proclaim how the car they stole, the credit cards they stole from a dear friend was an okay thing to do because the friend once used their comb (or some other asinine made-for-TV drama).  And the judge who listens to screaming, swearing, cross talking and waits as the tantrums stop, then lays down the verdict, with humor, sarcastic rhetoric and anything else that will cause a rise from the  gallery.  As if this is how courts conduct business.  Let's face it, it has to be this way or it wouldn't sell.

Recently, some of the media, mainly those that air their "news" on television, seemed to be caught up in what the victims of Tucson are thinking and how they feel about the parents or the monster that killed six and injured thirteen.  And the push to be first with those interviews, to cover that story seems to be, to some, a "need-to-get-it-first" project.  Case in point---

Most recently, one of the injured, a man (name omitted on purpose--this isn't about him)  went to the home of the Tucson monster just one week after he was injured on a "mission to forgive".  The news covered the "mission"----how did the TV crew know he was going there?  The cameras captured the event and broadcast him, getting out of his vehicle, standing at the perimeter of the property and recorded his words as he spoke to a member of the TV crew. 

Later, the same man was taken into custody and held for mental observation, after he made threatening comments to a person in a town hall meeting with some of the injured and some of the loved ones of those deceased. The following day, after the incident, print headlines and TV coverage carried an account of how sorry the man was for making such comments to the President of a Tea Party organization, based in Tucson.  This was a man in for observation; how was it that the media had an immediate report from the girl friend?  The access, by his girlfriend, to him and the subsequent relating of comments, makes things seem just a bit ingenuous and contrived.  

Yet, many took them as breaking news and when I went about asking people what they thought about this man and his news coverage---they had all kinds of opinions and none of them were based on an actual account of knowing anything about him, save what they saw on TV.  That's not amazing, folks, that's pathetic.

But, let's hurry and forgive, the media needs to move on to the next story.  There's a fatal accident up the road, there's a suicide watch at the overpass and someone found a gun at school.  And when the next tragedy occurs, the rush to get out the sound bites and cover the what, the why, where, how, when and who---it'll start all over again.  And what did we take the time to learn from the last tragedy, that might help us come together---absolutely nothing! 


And as though it is something that has to be done quickly, there is a movement to build a monument to the memory of those that were slain.  We have yet to process this tragedy.  The families are in mourning, some of the slain are yet to be laid to rest (at the time of this writing) and we are contemplating a monument.  There is nothing wrong with the idea, but, beyond strong emotions for a moment, what is the lasting message we want to eternalize?

Why not put up a monument for the two Army soldiers and the Marine that fell on the same day of this tragedy?  Why not put up a memorial, in every city of every state for every military man or woman that was laid to rest as their family mourned the loss of that special one that fell during combat---throughout the history of this nation?  Why not a monument for every first responder and every lawman that fell in the line of duty?  What would be the lasting message we would want to convey?  While monuments may be a gracious and noble gesture for loved ones and for communities, wouldn't a true resolve to close the gaps between us mean more?  Possibly monuments depicting that "All men are created equal" would be a fitting tribute to be placed throughout the nation. 

In the meantime, back to reality and how to cope.  Today, the psychologist has gotten two sets of neighbors who say they "hate" each other  to come on the set and relive their latest fights  "to him".  This is so disgusting that he promised to spare them any humility.  He is protecting their identities. The soon-to-be ratings fodder are wearing wigs (for the women), mustaches (for the men) and the camera 'almost' blurred their faces.  Yes, the studio audience sees them, but that is irrelevant.  There are uniformed security guards on the set also,  in case a fight breaks out (the producers can only hope their questions have been structured to trigger a few outbursts).  But, remember, this is an intimate counseling session intended for the guests to  tearfully air their dirty laundry, mix it up a bit, get help resolving the feuds and to entertain---oops, I mean to educate the viewers.  In the meantime, the producers are hoping things get spicier for the next show that features a trio of sexual deviants, that originally met on the set of a reality courtroom program ---that should really draw a huge audience of "drive-by-accident-gawkers".

It is as though we have become just the mirror images of an electronic observation implement--as SOMETHING that no longer has a soul.  

2010

November 22, 2010

ENTITLEMENT vs. EQUALITY (Security Measures---Unreasonable and Not for the Privileged)
I have been asked more than a few times,  if I will join in (as a participant) the airport protest this Thanksgiving week.  Let me make this clear: No, not this one nor any coming up.  I am against most forms of demonstrations that are intended to be disruptive to the normal course of lawful business or gatherings, whether they are organized or not. I do not feel that the demonstrations of the disgruntled (myself included) should cause unhealthy apprehensions, discomfort, disruption or bring about a sense of trepidation in others. In this case, pushing the agenda of those demonstrating upon those that are traveling is wrong. They (the demonstrators) and their agenda is no less abusive and intrusive than that of those they target. The old adage is alive and well: "Two wrongs don't make a right".

Now, as far as the recent security measures go, I totally disagree with the misuse of power by the TSA.  To begin with, security is not a crap shoot.  Security measures are extended across the board or they are defined to a specific target.  With that in mind, why is a congressman/congresswoman privileged enough to forego security measures including the x-ray or the pat down when you or I, as Americans, have given no cause for alarm and having no background of threatening the safety and security of other Americans or this nation, are not given equality of treatment?  If an American, who happens to be a congressional leader or some government official gets to show an ID and move on, then why can't you or I, also Americans, be offered the same standard.  Last I heard, I was part of the "all men are created equal" deal.  My mother and your mother as tax-paying, law-abiding women are subjected to a stranger's hands groping over private areas of their bodies; but some tax-evading, lying and disingenuous congressional member (I am not suggesting, in this article, that all elected officials or government employees are unscrupulous, deceitful, coniving, selfish and aloof) or other government employee simply gets a pass, not having to subject themselves to the same rigorous and abusive examination.  And the exemption is justified because of a sense of entitlement---really?

Who would you feel safer flying with; a grandmother with her daughter and grandchild, your next door neighbor, or some recently censured congressional leader who was caught in a scandalous relationship or evading payment of his/her taxes? Who has the ability to easily acquire explosives, your neighbor or some congressman? As if we haven't seen enough of scandals in Washington to make us suspect about the mental stability of some congressional members. We elect them, they form laws for us to follow and they add a provision of entitlement, privilege and immunity for themselves.

This thing has really gotten turned around, hasn't it?  The Constitution states that the power of government lies with the people and our representatives have only that with which we entrust them.  Once we were the power of the government, today we are becoming the subservient----have we lost the concept of, by and for the people.

Why are you and I considered a potential threat to our fellow passengers, to fellow Americans, when someone in power or their friend  gets a pass?  Have I, have you, have we, as a nation, demonstrated that Americans are potential threats to the airlines, those passengers flying aboard the commercial aircraft or to this country?  Let's examine who the threat seems to be and put measures in place to thwart their actions.  To catch mice, you set traps to catch mice, baited with enticing items for mice.  You don't flood the town hoping to drown what mice may exist.

Why should my brothers and sisters who wore the uniform, stood before the colors in service to our country, be pulled aside and subjected to full frontal scanning or manual groping.  Was our service not a testimony to our love of our country.  Can we say the same for those that did not serve and yet, get a pass?   

Exceptions for the privileged few is not the American way---no matter how often congress tries to convince you otherwise.  Entitlement vs. Equality---I haven't agreed to be looked upon or treated as a second class citizen by those with a sense of entitlement: I insist on equality.  I still believe in government of, by and for the people.

I covered this same issue on Saturday, Nov. 20th. The replay of the broadcast is available on this web site, in the archives. (CLICK HERE)   As always, I appreciate receiving your comments and views.

October 31, 2010

TIME TO VOTE AND NOT A THING TO WEAR
In light of the recent brouhaha (or should I have said brew ha ha?) over T-shirts that have references to Tea Party Organizations, I thought I would let you know where this could go and may have already gone.  More and more cases, around the country, are filed for emergency hearings over the weekend or on the Monday before the general election.  Have we lost our minds?  Are those in some official capacity for this election so drunk on power that they need to display their importance by heading up the CLOTHES "POLLITHE"? ("POLLITHE"---the newly self-ordained enforcement arm to tend to the inane, hyper-superfluous and inconsequential concerns of busy bodies and thereby this arm allows the REAL POLICE to tend to matters of greater concern to Americans that take the time to exercise the privilege of voting and the duty of being a part of government according to the U.S. Constitution).

I am having lots trouble trying to find something to wear to my polling station.  It seems that I have to be rather stark appearing and can't wear anything suggestive towards a political party, an American organization or association, a candidate, a former candidate,  a former office holder, a noted quotation of a political figure or a noted quotation of a supporter of a political figure or a noted quotation of a family member of a political figure.  And I can't wear anything that would suggest that I know anyone in politics, running for political office and I certainly can't mention (they're watching and listening) that I like one candidate over another or wish to see one proposition passed and possibly another fail.

It seems that T-shirts, hats, bandanas or any other article of clothing with a name on them could be linked somehow to a person in office, running for office, linked through supporting a candidate, a party or just shook hands with someone politically connected or sat on the same airplane on which a political hopeful once sat.  And heaven forbid I have the "Route 66" shirt on, because that route, surely, has been traveled by many hopefuls, past and present.

I can't wear the colors of an organization that is known for its political views or the colors of an organization that might have mentioned to someone that they have supported a political candidate by raising funds at a pancake breakfast.  So green is out because of the green party, red is out for the symbol of the former communist party, blue is out for the environmentalist protecting ground water, yellow is out for the environmentalists supporting solar energy, black is out, as it may suggest support of coal production, miners' unions or ceasing dependency on coal and brown or tan is a no-no because of the previously mentioned pancakes served at the campaign fund raiser.

I can't wear a sombrero because it suggests I might be for or against amnesty and I can't wear a straw hat because it suggests I might support those that want a right to work visa to pick lettuce or against the right to pick anything   grown in the fields.  I can't wear a baseball cap with anything on it because of the possibility that I would be suggesting the team be supported because the owner may have expressed political views, support or the team may have, once upon a time,  had a sitting politician or a political candidate throw out a pitch at a game.  And, I can't wear a plain baseball cap because of the reasons mentioned earlier about colors.

Shoes are out of the question because of the color rules.  The shoes could suggest I advocate stomping out some organization, party or candidate.  Pants or shorts fall under the same "POLLITHE" action as the shoes.  I may be suggesting that we sit on someone and smother them to end their political career or prevent it from ever getting off the couch.  Women, your dresses, skirts, shorts and blouses are no exception either.   

Had I known that we were headed to such an egregious act that surely does require "POLLITHE" ACTION, I would have asked for a MAIL IN ballot.  Because the way I see it, my only option is sans clothing and you can bet that if the polling places are this strict on colors, messages, sayings, logos and signs; you can also be assured that the polling "POLLITHE"  aren't going to put up with nudity either.  After all, that shows support for the naturalists.

I would try to dress up in a hot dog suit but I would offend the vegetarians and the vegans.  I can't go as a head of lettuce because I would show support for the united farm workers or I would be protesting against some cattle, hogs, dairy or fowl lobbying groups. 

I would suggest that I might be stuck at home and can't go vote and therefore, I'll have to settle with continuing to accept putting up with the same old, same old---which is: POLITICS AS USUAL.  Come to think of it, looking at some of the candidates, listening to their negativity and less than truthful accusations, it looks like we just might wind up with the same old  anyway.

Now if we could just come up with a way to end the relentless grab for our cash we could all replace our wardrobes with poll-appropriate clothing.  And do anyone have a way to end those terrible ads that we are subjected to for what seems as an eternity.  Here's a rude thought on which to end this particular commentary:  We'll do this again in two years and the campaigns will start all over again in about 12months, with the politicians in office and the newcomers hawking their hats, T-shirts, pennants, bandanas and--well you get the idea.

MY BOTTOM LINE: 

Could it be that we are deemed (we, the common folk of Main Street) to be so simple minded that the mere presence of someone wearing a shirt or holding a sign can alter our behavior, our character, our conviction  and/or our mindset as to what we feel is right for this nation, our self, our family and our future? 

Are we really that lost or is there some underlying movement making a subversive attempt to hold us in check, to control us?  Come to think of it, isn't that one of the things we are protesting by some of the votes we will cast?  I recall Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggesting the health care bill be passed so we (the American People) could find out what is in it?  I guess they do think we are that simple. 

Be informed----Get Involved!  Oh, and one more thing; tell the CLOTHES "POLLITHE" that this is America, and at last check: America isn't a police state and Chairman Mao's clothing line isn't mandated here.

 
September 21, 2010

OH BOY, I JUST GOT THE MEMO!

I'm having rather conflicting feelings about how I feel versus how I should feel.  I was given the good news and I should be smiling and whistling a happy tune, but, due to the ongoing circumstances around me, I just can't muster the pucker for a carefree whistle.

Unemployment continues to hold at staggering numbers, people around me have used their savings, had their unemployment benefits run out, are now having to depend on food stamps and many families have applied for mortgage modifications, only to be told that they don't qualify and now they are on their last leg before the bank starts foreclosure procedures.

Then there those that have already lost their home, are living in over-crowded shelters and willing to do any kind of work, for any hours and for the most minimum of pay, but there aren't any jobs to be had, even at such low criteria. 

And all the while, the banks say 'sorry' at every turn.  They learned their lesson with the mess they created and it won't be cleaned up for a long time to come.  So, the banks have decided to keep the money they got from the government, tighten the screws on Americans and hold out until the government gives them more money, as an enticement to loosen the reins on lending.  After all, the banks have most of our money, they figure they might as well try to get it all.  In the meantime, neighborhoods are looking more like ghost towns as the foreclosures continue to mount faster and faster, surpassing any previous time since records were kept.  I could go on and on about this issue, but I am trying to connect with my "got the memo" happier side.

As for small businesses, unlike those that are too big to fail and get TARP money, stimulus funds and other considerations, there are bankruptcy auctions being held daily,  on main streets all across America.  The Federal Reserve has issued some warning statement and though not foreseen at this moment, there is the nagging threat of a double dip.  A double dip, as in the economy; not ice cream.   And again, no one seems to be able to enjoy the good news.

I'm not even going into the national debt, all the foreign loans we owe, the budget that isn't, the ever increasing size of government, the inattentiveness to our Constitution, the under-funded and under-appreciated services of our military, the disregard for our flag, our laws and our borders.  I should focus on the good news memo.

Oh boy, I almost forgot to mention the good news.  The government just released their report that the recession ended over a year ago, back in June of 2009.  Isn't that just like those in office.  If you recall, they held out, for about a year, that we had entered a recession in December of 2007.  Wait, come to think of it, we, the residents of main street, knew we were in a recession before they told us.  Now all of this awareness seems so unfair. 

We knew we were in a recession and told the government about it before they told us we were in one.  But, they didn't let us in on the end of bad times until they had fifteen months of private parties and revelry.  Is it any wonder the President and the First Lady took so much time off this year.  Heck, had we known, we could have taken mega-expensive trips to Spain or France or played golf and relaxed at some of the most elite spots in the country. 

I am so fed up with being last to know, aren't you?   How selfish do they have to be to party for nearly 15 months before letting the rest of us in on what  they already knew.  No wonder they have had so many lavish vacations while turning a deaf ear to Americans that simply begged for jobs.  No wonder the money flowed freely to buy votes in backrooms, making deals with congressional representatives from states like Louisiana and Nebraska.  And all the while they did this because they knew we were out of the recession and happy days were here again.

And as for the way they let us know, well that isn't settling too well, with me,  either.  They just let the evening news anchors inform us. 

If you will recall; when they wanted to spend billions to save us, I mean save some banks, some investment firms, and some other pet projects of Wall Street that were quickly tagged as "too big to fail", they held press conferences and interrupted regular programming to let us know what they were going to do and had done---all against the will of the people.  In other words, to give us the bad news, there are gala events of lights, cameras and action, but to give us the good news, we just get a sound bite on the evening news.  Why is that? 

Are they too worn out with all the private partying to make another public appearance?  Or--could it be--that Washington, this administration, needs to put out the news to try and sway voters in the upcoming election.  And maybe, they don't want the cameras rolling, because they don't want you to see the blank, unbelievable expressions on their faces either.

I suppose I just haven't had time to adjust to the good news yet.  But, if they really cared about you and me, they could have sent us the memo long ago and just maybe, we wouldn't be so bummed right now.  After all, we would have had a whole year plus a few months of celebrating under our belts by now.  Just think how happy they we would have been, had we only known.  

As for me, I am sending them my memo, in reply, on November 2, 2010.  Let the good times roll! 

August 19, 2010

IS IT REALLY ABOUT THE FIRST AMENDMENT OR IS IT ABOUT MUCH MORE?
Is it about a mosque/cultural center near the site known as 'ground zero'?  Maybe this isn't about the right to assemble, freedom of expression, right to worship, free speech or any right that some would suggest is denied.  Maybe it's more about shouting fire in a crowded theater.  Could this be about open wounds that haven't had time to heal, about sufferings that continue and about 300,000,000 people whose lives were altered forever by the events of 9/11/01?  On that date, professing to follow the teachings of their religion, individuals, in the name of their god Allah, invaded America and before the smoke cleared had killed nearly 3,000 non-militant and innocent men, women and children.  Today, followers of that same religious order now want to erect a place of worship, including other venues, within the shadows of what once housed the offices, shops and meeting grounds of thousands of workers and millions of visitors that, undoubtedly, practiced faithful observances of every religion in the world. 

Is this really about a religion that claims protection under the First Amendment or is that argument simply to serve as the detraction for a more devious and hidden sleight of hand?  While some would argue that religious freedoms are the obvious issue here, in some cases, they are not always at the core of what would seem to be a denial or denials of the right of religious worship or observance of those tenets.  I state the case of the Branch Davidians, not as a comparison, but as an example of a faith that fell outside of the First Amendment.

I agree that we have a Constitution that must be upheld.  And that we do so without respect to person, race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sect, etc., but we are also bound by duty to act within reasonable, respectful and moral parameters for the good and well being  of all mankind.  Is this structure, the mosque, the issue?  Is it really about religious right?  Or, is this more than meets the eye at this very moment?  Is there a future consequence that is veiled beneath the over-active stand on our First Amendment?  Is this about manipulation and an "IN YOUR FACE" attempt to compromise our principles based on the broad interpretation of laws---without exception?  Is this an attempt to weaken from within?  We now are well aware of the events, the deaths, the torn lives and even the subsequent wars after 9/11, what would we have thought had someone suggested a few days earlier that such tragedies would happen?

Slowly and steadily, we have lost the right of prayer in public places, at public events, the right to display the Ten Commandments in or near judicial halls and other public places.  We have been denied the right to display the religious icon of a cross in a public place or on private property if the public would be exposed to its existence.  Churches and municipalities have been baned from displaying nativity scenes since the religious implications may offend a non-believer or someone of a different faith.  We now are told we have to stand by as others desecrate the flag of this nation because they are exercising their right of expression.  And, today, our federal government opens a suit against a state within this Republic Union, because that state wants to exercise its sovereign right to protect its residents and its right to uphold federal laws.  We, as Americans, are now denied many things that our forefathers would deem as immoral and unconstitutional and they may even suggest that these losses of certain freedoms would constitute a revolt---but we Americans, upon American soil are expected to permit a mosque hiding behind the amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America?  We, the people, who are denied the right of religious expression to display a nativity scene on private ground, are told that we have no right to deny this structure, symbolic of a certain religion, to be erected at this time on this place?  

Have we become so weakened by the loss of our own right of religious expression that we no longer have the will to rise and demand a sensitive  and just observance of our pain and loss?  This group that now owns the land and wants to build the mosque, are they not members of the same religion that harbored the zealots that openly professed their intent to destroy us because their interpretation of the Koran specifies it is Allah's will?  As long as the loss of lives and the cries of those who were left childless, motherless or fatherless echo from the place known as 'ground zero', there can be no reason for a structure within the vicinity, other than for the reasons of CONTEMPT, DISDAIN and to DISHONOR.  Have we totally lost our right of American sovereignty, dignity and respect?  How much more erosion of American values will we tolerate?

If we consider all things, great or small, as creations of the Almighty, we could make an argument to tolerate the termite.  But, as for me, I will not allow the termite its due, not when it could bring down my home.  Some issues attempt to cloak themselves, so as to fit within the right to be defended by the law.  Yet, upon close and thorough examination, the essence of the issue, its improperness and the subsequent consequences are revealed.  Then, with the aid of moral guidelines, we can make a decision that, under our laws, is just and fair.  "Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you"--now that's a yardstick by which we could measure things more often.

Our sense of liberty allows consideration be given to the possibility of this representative structure, but our sense of judgment denies its being built within the vicinity of this landmark.

We don't need to find someone that was affected by the tragedy on 9/11 in order to walk a mile in their shoes.  We need only to put on our own shoes:  We were all affected and we share the responsibility to "NEVER FORGET" and to never compromise our land or our flag.  We will show respect for our land and our flag and we will always honor those that died in defense of it.  We are Americans!  We are strong and we stand as "....One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

July 8, 2010

MOST JOB SEARCHES DO NOT INCLUDE BEGGING FOR MONEY AND SLINGING MUD


Political election campaigns will soon be entering what is known as 'the political window'.  Depending on the election day for the primaries in a state, that time starts forty-five days before the primary election.  So, in Arizona, where I reside, that window starts July 10th

If history is to repeat itself and there is no reason to suspect it won't, then the fur will start to fly.  If you live in Arizona and are reading this, you might be shaking your head, rubbing your eyes and rereading this to make sure you read it right---the part I said about 'the fur starting to fly'.  You read it right and I wrote it with what should happen.  But in Arizona, the smear tactics have been going on for some time already.  There are a couple of candidates (one incumbent and one former politician) that have been bombarding the internet, print media and the air waves with an onslaught of charges that are anything but in the conscience of good campaign strategies or examples of adult behavior that serve as role models for the youth of this nation to follow.  

While the 'he said---he said' comments seem to just become more petty, the charges of improprieties, the falsehoods and the lack of commitment to party principles become more egregious and severe.  But, no matter the tasteless route these political foes have staked as their way of winning over the voter, there is one thing they both have agreed upon.  They plan to inundate us with their lack of integrity, character and respect as long as you and I continue to send them our money. It still amazes me, the arrogance of the process to political office.  

The basic truth is that politicians campaign to land a cushy job that affords them lots of off-time, benefits and perks that will leave them set for life after only one term, no more than two and they do all of this on your and my dime.  The country has a real unemployment problem.  People are laid off, people have stopped receiving benefits, people are on food stamps, people are losing their homes and some have lost all hope.  But, the politicians are asking you and me to pony up millions upon millions of dollars for them to spend while they try to convince us (their prospective employer) that they are the best choice for the job.  And they do so with seemingly utter disregard for such admirable qualities such as principle, honesty, ethics or integrity and fair play that most employers look for within a potential employee.

I still have every email that these two have sent me in this short period.  The file is huge.  Some days, I receive multiple emails from each of them.  They call me their friend, they invite me to their birthday party, they ask that I check out their websites, they invite me to fund raisers at exclusive halls and homes and, above all, they ask for money and they ask for money and they ask for more money.   

I have been on the air suggesting that I am not a pawn in this type of campaign tactic and that I do not have any intention of supporting such a despicable lack of decency.  I have suggested that they try something different:  "Try running on your merits, not my money".  A couple of things are blatantly clear.  One:  They probably didn't hear a word I said.  After all, politicians are so busy with their own agendas these days that they have no time to listen to those they represent (or hope to represent).  Two:  They did hear me and they could care less.  They prefer I simply send money and keep my thoughts to myself.  What I think is insignificant to them in the big picture of things--their agenda. 

Well, I decided I should clear up any misconception as to my agenda.  It isn't political, it isn't personal, but it is that which I think to be in the best interest of my neighbor, my community, my state and my beloved country.

The conditions in Arizona and other parts of this great nation  did not evolve on their own and no matter what party was/is in office, no matter the party member; we face a serious crisis.  We stand at the crossroads and now decisions MUST be made.  We can't afford any more mistakes. While I am not singling out any particular politician or politicians, I am referring to  the miscast votes on major issues of spending, budgets, security, health, housing and pork-laden, personal agendas that have brought us to the brink of the abyss.  And it is the collective political members that have to own up to their part in this crisis.  The politicians we have elected and re-elected, time and again, in their leadership roles have made promises over and over, but the proof is in the pudding and the reality is that the problems we have been delivered today are anything but delicious.
  

I happen to respect and admire a few leaders within our political arenas, both national and local.  But, our dilemma seems to continue to worsen in recent years and our leaders have stopped listening to the will of the people.  I believe it is time that we look outside of the political arena to find true "representation of/by and for by the people".  I believe it is time that we revert to the principles of our founding fathers and look among ourselves for leadership that is consistent with the will of the people and insist on leadership that is fundamental and in direct contact with the people and businesses of Main Street.   And that can surely come about by electing those from within our own communities; not by sending in more politicians looking to take the next step up in their political careers.  We need to stop funding this cycle of indifference. 

To those seeking political employment:  As I have suggested many times and although no one has taken me up on my proposal, allow me to restate:  "TRY RUNNING ON YOUR MERITS, NOT MY MONEY".  Try getting out in the heat and meet some of the people, on their ground and walk their neighborhoods.  You ask them to give you money and then youo ask that they bring it to you at some fancy venue you have reserved for your "appearance".    Try remembering the names of those that you look at in the eye, time after time, at your fund raisers.  You see them, you speak to them but you can't remember who they are unless they sign a big check.   If you care about the people you would represent, then you would get out and meet them so you can truly understand the will of the people.  If you ask the unemployed individuals that goes out daily to look for employment, they will tell you it doesn't cost millions of dollars to go door-to-door.  If you truly plan to represent the people, get out and walk with them. 

And as for the despicable campaign tactics we see on television, hear on the radio, read in print and on the internet, stop it.  America is tired of the hypocrisy, arrogance, willful neglect and 'holier than thou' attitude.  If you truly want to be employed as our representative, earn our trust; stop eyeing the trust funds. 

Bottom Line:  If elected officials actually looked for a job in the same manner that the people they represent have to do, they might actually appreciate the privilege of representation more.  And, just think, they might even listen to their employer and do what is asked of them.  And just maybe, so many of Americans would not be out of work, looking for a job.  Here's a campaign concept for those running for office (high brow statement that means looking for a job):  Stop spending our money to get elected, to then increase our taxes to pay for the promises you made to special interest money that funded your election.  Now that would be a change that we would all be willing to support. 

Until then---keeping in mind the conditions in America today and the fact that were paying more for less---I'm not buying.


March 15, 2010

How Bad Is It?  State Law Presented as Substitute For Parental Control and Direction?

Recently, the Arizona Senate proposed a bill that would prohibit writing, reading or sending text messages and e-mails WHILE DRIVING on a state highway.  The bill was defeated, revived for review and passed and is, at present, waiting for a full senate vote. 

I would think that the essence of the bill would get nothing but a nod of approval by most of us, but I wonder if that would be true of the comments made by supporters of the bill.  I can't believe that we need this law to begin with, I mean how ignorant might we be to feel that such an activity while driving, is a sane deterent to keeping our eyes on the road as we go 55, 65, 75 miles per hour down the long and winding road?  Have things gotten so bad on the homefront that we need this?  And I am not talking about the homefront, in relationship to war, but instead, I am talking about the homefront as in 'FAMILY AND HOME'. 

How did I get to this place from the bill?  Let's look at the supporters' stated reasons for the need of such a bill.

I have copied, word for word, from The Arizona Republic (afternoon edition) article on Mar. 2, 2010 "Supporters said the bill is about saving lives.  They said parents would be able to tell their children that texting while driving is illegal".  The article went on to quote one of the senators "It's such a dangerous activity to be texting while you're driving that outlawing it would seem to be a given."  We need a law to enforce the words of a parent, we need a law to give credence to common sense?

Wouldn't preoccupation with texting and having your eyes off the road be considered RECKLESS DRIVING?  There is a law against reckless driving on every state, county, municipal or any other such road, highway, by way, lane, drive, street, etc, etc in every state and territory of this country.  In some cases, you can lose your privilege to drive if convicted of reckless driving and, in many cases, your insurance carrier will drop you quicker than a hot potato.  But, above and beyond that, I bring this subject up because of the HOMEFRONT and the RESPONSIBILITY or lack thereof, of PARENTS to EDUCATE, GUIDE and DISCIPLINE their children---in this case---so that they may live beyond their teen years.  I am NOT suggesting that only teens text while driving, but I go back to the supporters' comments that 'parents can tell their children it is illegal'.


Please allow me a bit of sarcasm, coupled with some irony through suggestions.  I think I can put this in perspective.

Yes, there ought to be some laws and here are a few regarding this issue.  There also ought to be remedies for the perplexing issue of children not listening to or obeying their parents when they state the rules of the house, the rules in using the car and other guidelines to aid the child in its development to hopefully become a kind, respectful, productive and contributing adult.

There ought to be a law against people that think that they have to have a law that illegalizes texting while driving. There ought to be a law against allowing people to represent us in local or national government if they really think there needs to be such a law.  Matter of fact, there ought to be a law against anyone to think like this, and if they do, they would be commiting an illegal act if they represent anyone, lead anyone, teach anyone, make decisions for anyone, give directions to anyone or even fix a meal for anyone---anywhere, anytime---in the legislature, in the schools, in the churches, in the grocery store and etc.

There should probably be a law (I'm sure some exist) against children that ignore or willfully disobey their parents.  If the parent and the child can't come to a mutual understanding that taking their eyes off the road, while driving, could lead to a problem, then we should simply revamp the cirriculum of our driving courses and make every licensed driver (those that text today and those that don't) drive at least once, at say, 45 miles an hour on a closed circuit course.  This person would have both hands on the wheel, the speed would be preset on the engine's performance and the only catch is that the driver would be blindfolded and, of course, alone in the car.  But wait, there's more!

The closed circuit would have one other vehicle on it.  This vehicle would be driven by a student driver listening to their ipod and texting back and forth with friends, all the while driving at a reduced speed of only 35 miles per hour (most people probably slow down while texting) in a vehicle with opaque windows.  People that text and read text messages don't look out the windows anyway.

With this scenario, of course, there will inevitably be a crash.  So, after the crash, the two participants would be loaded into the waiting ambulances, taken to a nearby triage center, treated for broken bones, lacerations, internal injuries or other sufferings--provided they lived.  In the meantime, the parents would be getting a lecture on what it takes to be a caring, nurturing, responsible role model.  The parents would also be enlightened on the fact that had they stepped up to the plate and been the parent throughout their child's life, there would have been no need of this course and subsequently, the triage center. 

After the participants recovered, again, provided they lived, they would go home to explain the dangers of texting while driving.   They would educate their parents, their siblings and their friends on this insanity.  The good news of this exercise is that it wouldn't need to go on forever.  After we have about 100,000 (2,000 per state), scared and maimed, but healed participants all repeating the same message over and over, I think we could be pretty sure that we would nip this problem in the bud.

Or maybe we should just have a law that denies a driver's license to anyone that owns or borrows a cell phone.  Of course, there might be a law that would prohibit such a law.  Then there would also be the ACLU speaking against such a law because it would deny freedom of speech or expression for the lonely driver that couldn't call or text a friend at any given moment.  Clearly, this law might not be a good one.

So, let's keep this simple:  We should have a law that outlaws stupidity and everyone has to take the test.  If found guilty of stupidity, the person has to "volunteer" for the text and drive program. We would enact a law that would prohibit any offering of a law that would keep anyone found stupid from mandatorily having to enter that program.
 
And wella----problem solved and the legislative branches of government could fill their time working on things, like, say the unemployment problems, the lack of manufacturing industries, the welfare of the jobless, the securing of our border, the out-of-control budget, the foreclosure and housing mortgage modification issues and a litany of other issues OF GREATER IMPORTANCE TO THE PEOPLE AND THE SMALL BUSINESSES OF MAIN STREET. 

FOR THE RECORD:  Main Street does not consider the sometimes childish and not-so-humorous commenting, debating or voting on an official drink for the state as an issue of importance.  We would suggest that if that is what fills an agenda, as it did on March 8th, the house members might just turn off the lights (cut back on the utility bill), spare us their time-consuming inability to tackle REAL issues, to solve REAL problems and just go home.  While many representatives may have been laughing---The unemployed, the homeowner facing foreclosure, the senior without medicine and the child without food----don't share their untimely sense of humor. 

February 25, 2010

Mental Health May Solve Political Problems


When I first read the headline in the Arizona Republic this morning, I thought someone had found some answers to many of the questions that we are asking in regards to solving problems in our state and national arenas. 

What else was I supposed to think?  Here is--exactly--what the headline screamed with authority:  "Mental-health overhaul clears Senate committee".  And, I thought; it should clear a lot more than just a committe of senators, shouldn't it?  If it would clear a Senate committee then surely it would move on.

By the comments of many, the mental state of some of our elected officials, both at the local and national levels, have been suspect for some time.  How else can some of the acts of  bailouts, spending, runaway budgets, unemployment issues, tax initiatives and mortgage modifications (to name a few) be explained?  These programs were ludicrous in their proposal and they continue to be unstable, creating, among other things, MENTAL stress for a multitude of those on Main Street.

Judging the conditions of the state and the efforts on our state capitol grounds, I would think a mental health overhaul should clear a House committee also. After clearing the Senate and the House committees, it could clear the entire House and Senate and then go to the Capitol building.  Therein could lie the problem, although Governor Brewer seems to support this action. 
If it sails across the desk and gets signed into law, would it then clear the Capitol?  

Let me see, if it clears the House, the Senate and the Capitol, would the business of government in the State of Arizona be in a free fall?  Oh, the horrors of what that might create--budget issues, unemployment crisis, mortgage foreclosures run amuck, businesses leaving the state, higher taxes, etc.  Oops, I seem to have forgotten that that is how things have been for some time.  So, let me back up and make the proper comment:  If the legislative and executive branches 'get cleared' , chances are that it will just be business as usual.

Could the clearing go national?

Let me look at the headline one more time:  "Mental health overhaul clears Senate committee".  I recall, that as soon as I read the headline, I scanned the article hoping to find information about the parade.  But, nothing scheduled; no fanfare, no trumpets, no confetti---oh well, we can all dream.

Reminds me of an old lawyer joke (and the bottom of the ocean), with the punch line being:  "It's a start".

Okay, so the headline was poorly structured and that isn't what the article was about, but it sure brightened my day, gave me a moment of hope and made me think.  And that, my dear friends, isn't all bad.  I guess we will have to clear out some of those that occupy these offices ourselves.   "You might as well educate yourself---you are paying for the lessons"  and then vote----NOVEMBER COMETH!

February 7, 2010

Even Mother Nature Has Heard Enough Snow Jobs

There is a snow storm happening in the mid-Atlantic states, such as hasn't been seen since Congress started looking into the Teapot Dome scandal and the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C.

I am not one to wish the hardships of winter upon anyone and I am not one to take lightly the hardships that extreme weather storms, as this one, can weigh upon the ill-prepared, the elderly, the young, the needy and the homeless.  With that said, I can't resist focusing on a certain location where those affected by this storm are anything but needy.  

How ironic that, at the center of this storm, is Washington, D.C.  It is almost as though that relatively small area is the target.  Could it be that this administration and this Congress have upset more than just the people of this great nation?  Could it be that the arrogance and the deaf ears of those that are supposed to represent the people has gone too far?  And could it be that voters and nature are now working together to send a message to those that occupy the offices on Capitol Hill?

Much has been made of the wealth and contradictory life style of a certain 'environmentalist' crusader; a former V.P. that also ran for President and lost.  There are also some on 'the hill' that have added significant amounts to their personal wealth as they stump for the need to go green, using global warming as their argument to support their cause.  In recent months, much light has been shed through the disclosure of files, emails and other data that involves scientists, activists and global warming environmentalists.  These findings are shocking to say the least.  It seems that proponents of the global warming issue have been proven to have exaggerated, slanted the truth, fabricated facts and figures and, quite bluntly, lied.  This all in the name of science and a more hospitable planet.  

Parts of this administration and some members of Congress have misled the people for a rather long time.  Promises were made during the campaigns that were broken immediately.  Transparency, change, partisanship, special interest groups and lobbying efforts are a few that come to mind.  The representatives of the people, both in the Senate and the House, have ignored the will of the people in regards to bailouts, stimulus packages, mortgage modifications, auto industry involvement and continuous supplies of cash for Wall Street.  Yes, I could name so many more, but you get the idea of the deceptions and the lies.

As the storm approached Washington, D. C., our congressional leaders packed up and split.  Could it be that we are being sent a clue through this storm?  Could it be that Washington is being sent a message? 

Allow me to offer a couple of observations I find apishly coincidental.  One:  The last storm, of this magnitude, in this area was in 1922--the year of the Teapot Dome issues.  This storm is occurring during the time of another event named "tea"--the first Tea Party National Convention.  Two:  Most Americans, and those within the Tea Party movement, adamantly oppose the size of our current government and the extreme debt it has put upon us.  Overnight, this storm has decreased the size of government (just play along with me on this one---dreaming is a good thing).

The next views of Washington will show it to have a blanket of pure white snow covering the pot holes, the barren trees and the traces left by footsteps from a fleeing congress.  Our capital, Washington, D.C. will be clean and as pure as the driven snow------for the moment.  Unfortunately, it will be business as usual in a few days.

Here's my bottom line: Whether it's about unemployment, the economy, the stimulus packages, health care reform or the environment, this administration and this congress has tried to snow us long enough.  So, Mother Nature decided to show them there is nothing like her snow job.   And when those elected to serve show contempt, arrogance, are hypocritical in their actions regarding the environment and continue to try to snow the public, they will be taught that "it's not nice to fool Mother Nature"! 

________________________________________________________

YOU SPOKE; WE LISTENED AND THEN DELIVERED.  The following is a partial transcript of the program aired on January 2, 2010.  We have published it for those that have asked for a written copy.  Most talk shows and TV news programs have aired or will air their views of 2009.  Typically, they simply recap the year by listing their top ten events or people.  We have taken a different approach to looking back and then defining the major difference for 2010.  We would appreciate any and all comments.  Please send your emails to: rudi@mainstreetoutloud.com

IN RETROSPECT:  A DIFFERENT NEW YEAR----A WORTHY CELEBRATION

January 2, 2010

Did you join the millions that gladly rang out 2009? 
Did you join even more as they welcomed 2010 with an open and optimistic heart and mind? 
Did you feel that this New Year was a bit different than many of the past? 
Did you feel that somehow this one was more special? 
Did you feel that this New Year should be recognized by you, as the clock struck midnight, wherever you were?

It seems as though many people thought that somehow, this one was different and this coming year was one to welcome with open arms.

What was it about this new year?  I think I can sum it up this way.  The past year started off with a dark cloud hanging over it due to the economy and the uncertainty regarding the ever increasing unemployment situation.  There wasn't a whole lot of reason to celebrate the coming year of 2009.

Yes, there was an air of change in the making.  The nation had elected its first president of color, an African-American, a historical presidential event.  He came in, riding the campaign train, fueled by a promise of change in Washington and filled with a dedication to transparency in government.  He vowed that it would not be politics as usual and the good old boy network would not consist of persons making a career out of retreading themselves to serve one administration after another.
 
The nation took on a reverent sort-of feeling as too many looked upon this charismatic individual as a redeemer come to save them.  He was clean cut, fit, handsome and had a smile that lit up a room.  And, he displayed an intellect when he spoke, unlike many before him.  And yet, if for no other reason than his birth conditions, he was deemed as someone that could relate to the common man, the desperate, the desolate, the oppressed and the needy.  It was as though this man felt the pain, whether it was the destitute man at the Los Angeles Rescue Mission or the single mother of 5 living in Harlem. 

The nation had this man and his promises to look forward to and they welcomed the ceremonies of the inauguration with such fervor that it easily rivaled any such ceremony---ever.

Yes, there was a fleeting moment of celebration and then the country had to go back to work, at least those that hadn't been laid off yet.  And the work started out with the administration loading up its employment roster with retreads from past administrations. 
And the work continued as questionable decisions were being made regarding the tax payers money.  It seemed as though it was being used to feed Wall Street while Main Street continued to beg for a few crumbs.

As small businesses started to fail, the administration and congress funneled more money into the abyss that the auto industry had fallen into.  And, as Washington continued to take more control of the banks, the auto industry and the housing market, the American people continued to lose jobs and bank foreclosures seemed to run rampant as more and more Main Street Americans became homeless.

What happened to all of the promises?  Americans had said no to bailouts, no to stimulus programs and no to a huge budget filled with more pork than any budget in history, nearly 9,000 special interest favors.  And, it became even more frustrating when we realized we were no longer being informed.  Transparency had given way to backroom meetings and private deals, because, according to some, no matter what we wanted, they would vote according to what they deemed to be the right thing to do.  We were losing our representative form of government to something that seemed to have totalitarian overtones.

In less than 3 months, many Americans had gotten off the promise train and more got off at each stop.  There were no station stops with promises fulfilled-- and the windows were being replaced by boards--until there was only a sliver of transparency.  People started emulating the image of Paul Revere on horseback and other early founding fathers, warning citizens of looming loss of liberties and foreseeing the inevitable; higher taxes.  In less than three months Washington started losing its shiny image and started to display what seemed to be an ever growing, out-of-control demagoguery that left many Americans with an uneasy feeling of the future.

Out of a seemingly necessary act, people started rallying to save themselves from a government that seemed to have closed its ears to them.  Americans started attending town hall meetings and organizing what became known as 'Tea Parties'.  Americans started speaking out loud of their displeasure, yet the voices continued to be unheard on 'the hill'.
There was a sickness in the air regarding the future of America.  We were taking on more and more debt by borrowing from foreign nations, nations that were sworn enemies not so long ago with ideologies and governing principles in total contradiction to our democracy. 

And we added to this sickness the N1H1 flu that became a true pandemic.

As many had anticipated, the same industry that got billions and billions of borrowed monies wasted away to finally end up in bankruptcy procedures.  Ramroded by the President, a new auto czar and a handful of supporters, the two companies reneged on contracts, lease agreements, employment conditions, pension programs, laid off hundreds of thousands, stiffed suppliers and closed loyal dealerships all across America, shed its rusty liabilities and came out the other side of the miracle pool with a new name and shiny chrome exterior. 
 
We took time to observe the passing of some noted persons, such as Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Walter Cronkite and Edward 'Ted' Kennedy.  We eulogized and eulogized some more, to the point of near canonization, yet, as the death toll mounted of our military sons and daughters, we simply brought them home and laid them to rest without most of us even knowing their name.  And for the latter:  Shame on us. Those that gave their all deserve better.

The banks continued to hold onto our money, refused to extend reasonable credit lines and continued to snub their noses as more and more disclosures came out about bonuses paid and certain questionable practices by the home lending industry.  Foreclosures grew and unemployment climbed. 

And town halls sprung up and the American people started getting louder.  Yet, the agents we had sent to Washington to represent us became increasingly aloof, to the point of calling some of us as unpatriotic, not worth listening to, un-American, misled, an unruly mob and---- some of our elected officials put it this way:  They had too much dignity to stoop to meet with their constituents.  How did that make you feel?

And when things had gone on long enough and we had enough debt laid upon us that we or generations to come will be paying through eventual higher taxes, we were told we would have a health care bill passed before the summer ends and the forecast showed it could cost us trillions.

We cried no, think it over, plan it correctly, but the drive went forward.  Partisan committees formed and partisan meetings took place.  Again a promise broken.  We were promised an end to the bipartisanship politics that Washington had worked under.  So much for another promise.  Bickering became the norm on the hill and a wider division, between parties, became evident.

And it became evident that the administration was shifting gears and a new assertive effort was to begin in 'the other war'.  Afghanistan needed a surge and so the President handpicked a general to assess the situation and bring back his findings.  He did and the nation waited and wondered why we didn't act.  We wondered how could party politics over-ride the general's educated and informed assessment and how long do we wait before we give our troops the additional support they need to complete their mission?

And then one of the most horrific acts took place.  In the history of this nation and  of our military nothing had shocked us more.  We were left numb and then we cried out for a quick justice.  A radical Muslim, killed 13 of our heroes at Fort Hood and wounded nearly 30 more.  I refuse to refer to him by name or rank to this day.  He needs to be wiped from the military records and those slain should fill the pagesthat would have been used for all the accounts written.

I will continue to deny this as an act of terror.  It was an act of treason.  Let us live up to our principles of justice.  Let a military tribunal go through the formalities of a trial (after all we have ample witnesses to his guilt) and then place him before a firing squad or hang him.  America and the honorable men and women that serve and have served her deserve this and they deserve it without any further delay.

As 2009 wound down, the banks started talking about paying back the T.A.R.P funds and the bailout money they had taken to become bigger and wealthier.  And why?  Because in a year of unemployment crisis, a foreclosure dilemma beyond dimensions and small business failures, the banks and wall street firms made near record profits and they now want to compensate their executives with bonuses.  Bonus amounts that would rival the GNP of many nations.

And, that takes us back to the beginning.  We started hearing about quick fixes, we were brow beaten into excepting quick fixes and today we are hooked.  As a pusher gives a taste of a 'feel good' drug to his mark, knowing well that he will get him hooked and then he will become dependent on him and his product, and he will commit crimes to get his fix.  So this seems the goal of some in  Washington.  Give us a quick fix; we feel good for the moment, then we want more and eventually we will have to rely on a government program for our existence.  And if the government doesn't have the money, just as the drug user, we will look for the money elsewhere.   We will take from other programs to fund our new fixes.

Fortunately, this is where the new year comes in and not a moment too soon.  We can break the habit.  We can make resolutions and we can look to a day of less dependence on government.  Instead of going along with the ever growing size of our government, we can start shrinking it.  We have the power---WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT.
 
And one great way to start the cut back process is by going to the polls this year and voting for those that are honest, have integrity, stand on American principles of the Constitution, have a history of listening to the people and a history of promises kept.

Then with our backing; they will serve in our state capitols, serve in Washington,  pass bills to decrease programs, to down size government, to get spending under control and to cut off the easy flow of money to Wall Street and give it to reasonable projects on Main Street that will put people to work.  And to put people to work now, not in the future.

As there was a dark cloud over the beginning of the past year, there hangs one today as more legislation is being considered to put us further in debt.  But, as also was the case last year, there is a freshness in the air.  And this time it isn't because of one man.  It is because of the American people.

No longer is our cry for a change going to Washington, but instead, a change in the hearts and minds of Americans as we go to the polls.  We see past the broken promises even though transparency has been denied us. 

No wonder this New Year seems different.  It isn't about a man riding the promise train, it is about us; Americans and our ability to:

'ACCEPT THE THINGS WE CANNOT CHANGE,
THE COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS WE CAN,
AND TO HAVE  
THE WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.'

AND, AS WE START OFF THIS NEW YEAR--------WE ARE A WISER PEOPLE!
___________________________________________________________________

Tune in to KKNT, 960 AM Conservative Talk Radio
Every Saturday starting at 3pm (AZ/PDT)
or listen on the Internet by clicking
the "Listen Live" banner at the top of this page during the show.

MAIN STREET OUT LOUD
The radio talk show where mainstream America speaks out loud.

WHAT'S ON YOUR MIND?

Rudi listening to
Personal-PR/IamListening.jpg
We ARE different! We actually let you speak without being interrupted.