Archive for the ‘Political Opinion’ Category

When asked to define pornography Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “I don’t know what it is, but I’ll know it when I see it”. The same principle applies to terrorism, you may not know how to define it but you can and should know it when you see it. It is not always something as dramatic as planes flying into buildings; often the threat of violence is just as effective as the violence itself.

I have a very broad view of terrorism. I don’t limit terrorist acts to Islamic Jihadists. Governments, religious groups or political organizations, almost every group has used terrorism in one form or another, sometimes unknowingly. It is up to us identify and resist the use of terror by any one at any time.

Recently the health care debate has driven the war on terror off the front page but that does not mean terrorism has gone away. Quite the opposite, it is increasing and becoming much more sophisticated. But this blog is not meant to frighten anyone, the more we worry about terrorism the more likely we are to be affected by it, I want to make you aware of what terrorism is so you can arm yourself against it – not with guns but with intelligence and courage. Remember, the first casualty of a terrorist campaign is common sense; the second trust, the third – freedom.

2
Nov

Turn off your TV

   Posted by: Rasputin Tags: , , , , ,

In his 1995 book Abandoned In The Wasteland, former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newton Minow had this to say about television:

“In the 1930s and 1940s, television’s creators expressed their hope that the new medium would be the greatest instrument of enlightenment ever invented, a blessing to future generations. They were wrong. . . . No other major democratic nation in the world has so willingly turned its children over to mercenary strangers this way. No other democratic nation has so willingly converted its children into markets for commercial gain and ignored their moral, intellectual, and social development.”

With cellphones, email and the internet the dumbing down of humanity is getting even worse. Did you know email destroys the mind faster than marijuana?  Watch the video. I will have more to say about the internet as soon as I get done checking my email.

[youtube]

President Harry S. Truman, the man in the White House when the United States intervened on behalf of the millions of innocent people who were being displaced and massacred by Hitler’s Nazi Germany, claimed to have practiced his piano lessons for two hours every morning during his childhood. Likewise, President Warren Harding was said to be able to play every instrument except the trombone and the clarinet. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) played the organ. Of course we all remember President Clinton and his saxophone, but did you know that President Nixon was an accomplished pianist?

And more recently a girl who was a musician long before she became an academic and then a world-famous diplomat, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is a very accomplished classical pianist. As she was growing up in the Rice home music was a family affair, and as early as age 3 Condi played piano at family gatherings. Her Dad was a minister and she often accompanied her organist Mother in church. The name “Condoleezza” is from the Italian phrase con dolcezza, which refers to playing music “with sweetness.” While other kids in her neighorhood were playing outdoors, she was more likely to be found practicing the piano or reading a book.

27
May

Politics and the 80/20 Principle

   Posted by: Rasputin Tags: , ,

We all know by now that the 80/20 principle states that 80% of our business comes from 20% of our customers and 80% of our complaints come from 20% of them as well.

So what do I mean when I refer to an 80/20 principle in politics? If seems to me, and this is just my opinion based on decades of observation – that maybe 10% of the people are on the far left. And 10% are on the far right. That leaves the vast majority – 80% in between.

The 20% get the majority of the media attention, their respective political parties act as if everyone agrees with “their” 10% and hated the other party’s 10% passionately.

The founding fathers, recognizing that our country was too big – even then, for everybody to sit around a big table in Philadelphia, established a representative democracy. We, the people, elect folks to represent us.

These representatives go to our state houses and to Washington as our representatives. They are there to do our bidding. They work for us. They represent us.

Well that was the theory anyway. It turns out that they have a different agenda. It looks like this to me. First they want to get re-elected, forever. Second, they want their party to control things so they (whoever ‘they’) are can do what their party wants and not what we, the people, want. And finally, they want to make sure that whatever the other party does, tries to do, or proposes – fails.

Cage birds accept each other but flight is what they long for.

–Tennessee Williams, Camino Real, 1953

The power to choose how to act and react to the world around us creates our reality, because we have the freedom to control our own lives. It is the choice to turn left or right, to be happy or sad, and it is always with us even at those times when we do not feel free. Its power is enormous. It can be our greatest ally or it can become our greatest enemy. By making the right choices, we can open the doors to lead a balanced life.

Many of us like to think that we are the spokesperson for the universe, that we know all the answers to all the questions of the universe. In our more humble moments, we generally understand that each of us only can be our own spokesperson. However, when we accept the gift of freedom of choice, we must take responsibility and become accountable for everything in our lives.

We must truly and deeply understand that only we are responsible for the decisions we make and the results that manifest themselves in our lives. To be the caged bird or to fly like an eagle; freedom of choice lets us be the masters of our destiny or victims of our fate.