Archives for category: politics

trump Sanders

I have been baffled and full of consternation over the polling front runners of the 2016 race for the Whitehouse. Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are filling stadiums and topping the polls for their respective political parties. Surely no one will take them seriously –my immediate thought- as they threw their proverbial hats into the ring.

Their rhetoric is shocking, irreverent and- dare I say- revolutionary. They are far from the straight-laced pundits of previous presidential elections. America is eating it up.

Sanders, the Democratic front runner, is the neo-socialist whose platform is to use new laws, taxes and more government intervention in the lives of Americans to “fix” inequalities of wealth, race and gender.

Trump tops the polls in the Republican camp and daily increases his distance from the other 15 (yes count them) vying for the oval office. Mr. Trump is separating himself from the field by being the least politically correct politician of all time. He proposes outrageous solutions to our country’s ills, like building a wall to keep illegals from crossing the Mexican border-(oh, and getting the Mexican government to do it by threatening economic sanctions against them). He also wants to amend the Constitution so that citizenship is no longer a guarantee of American birthright.

As I marvel at the success of these two caricatures of American politics and try to understand it, my conclusion is that America is mad.

They are mad at never-ending wars and empty promises of economic reform. Decade after decade, and president after president, have driven us into a less free , less economically viable nation. They have given up on our political system and their approval of these nonconventional candidates is the proof.

America has “Silly Slate Syndrome”.

When I was a student at UC San Diego in the early 80’s, I ran for a student government office on the Silly Slate. Students were fed up with a student government that was increasing its power by instituting more and more regulations on campus reducing student freedoms. In reaction to that, a few of my friends and I formed our Silly Slate. The candidate for president on our slate could daily be seen wandering the campus in his bathrobe. I, as the candidate for Communications Officer had a platform of “I Linguini Major (actually Linguistics) I love shoes”.

The students loved us and we won by a landslide over more serious candidates with more serious promises of campus reform.

America apparently has its own brand of Silly Slate, but will silly fix America?

The Silly Slate of UCSD made a few reforms but one by one we lost interest and abdicated our rule to our less interesting opponents. Reform was more difficult than we thought and bureaucratic red tape more daunting.

My suspicion is that the outrageous promises of these outrageous candidates will be as empty as most conventional candidates.

If America wants true reform it is time to engage as citizens and take back the power that has been given to us by the constitution and stop waiting for our elected officials to do what we have been given the power and ability to do in restoring the Republic. We the people…

oscar statue

I blogged a few weeks back about how depressing the Oscar nominees were this year and how in the midst of wars and beheadings, protests and murders all over the world, Americans just want to escape.  This is evidenced by the fact that the biggest money makers  for Hollywood were all fantasy and sci-fi fare.

More than any other Oscar Award Ceremony  in history, this year’s show was charged with the reality of the world situation despite what the American movie goers voted for with their hard earned American dollars.

The first dose of reality for me was the winner for best short documentary Crisis Hotline Veterans Press 1. This was a humbling moment for me because I had entitled my previous Blog on the Oscars “And The Winner Is…The Suicide Prevention Hotline” not knowing that this film was up for an Oscar.  Making light of such a serious subject made me ashamed.  The fact that I am a mother of a veteran who suffers emotional issues, made me horrified at my blunder.

The next reality check was the winner for Best Documentary, Citizenfour-the story of Edward Snowden and his revelations about the NSA.  Seeing Glenn Greenwald holding an Oscar moved me to tears as, I reflected on how much was risked and the price that was paid to inform the American public about the immense breach of privacy that they suffered by the US government.

Laura Poitras, the Director said in her acceptance speech ,

“The disclosures that Edward Snowden reveals don’t only expose a threat to our privacy but to our democracy itself,” Poitras said in her acceptance speech. “When the most important decisions being made, affecting all of us, are made in secret, we lose our ability to check the powers that control. Thank you to Edward Snowden, for his courage, and for the many other whistleblowers. I share this with Glenn Greenwald and other journalists who are exposing truth.”

The glamour and glitz of the fantasy world of Hollywood was breached by the real world.

We were confronted by the suffering of those with ALS through the story of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, which won the Best Actor nod and those with Alzheimer’s Disease with the Best Actress win for Still Alice.

We wept during the powerful rendition of the song “Glory” with the realization that the fight for racial equality is not over. We were admonished to continue the fight for gender equality in the workforce by the Best Supporting Actress winner who portrayed the struggles of a single mom in Boyhood.

We were faced once again with the struggle against suicide in a cruel, ridiculing world because of The Imitation Game, which won best adapted screenplay.

It may have been the most political Oscar Award Ceremony in history, but it was also the most meaningful.  The hope is that we as individuals will take these messages and do our part to continue the fight. Just maybe, then we can have the America of our dreams and not our nightmares.

la-na-rand-paul-berkeley-20140320I had the opportunity to see Rand Paul give a presentation and interview on campus at the University of California at Berkeley on March 19, 2014.  I was curious to see him for a variety of reasons. As a product of the liberal/progressive indoctrination of the University of California, I was curious to see how the spawn of the father of the Libertarian movement would be received.  As a supporter and fan of his father Ron Paul, I was curious to see how he compared.  As a former Republican, I was curious about his relationship to the much maligned party.  As a libertarian, I was curious about how real is his message of liberty and a return to the constitution.  As an American citizen, overwhelmed by government abuses (i.e. NSA spying, Obamacare, drone wars, executive orders) I was curious to find out what is his plan to end them.

I must say that prior to this event, I was underwhelmed with what I had read and seen of Rand Paul.  I did admire his filibuster in opposition to the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA. I admired his lawsuit filed against the NSA and President Obama over the unwarranted surveillance of American citizens.  I was not impressed with his belief that Edward Snowden should not be pardoned for leaking information about the NSA.  I was not impressed with his endorsement of Mitch Mc Connell whose record, it would be safe to say, is not liberty oriented.  But I digress….

The UC grad in me was shocked when as his name was announced, the 800 plus crowd of mostly college students stood to their feet and gave Senator Rand Paul a standing ovation.  There were no protest signs outside the venue and no boos of dissent in the auditorium as he made his way to the stage from the back of the hall.  I was on the aisle where he passed and snapped a picture before putting my hand out to receive a handshake from the man. He gave me a friendly smile. He managed to receive two more standing ovations before the event was over.  This in itself gave me pause, that there is a new America, and perhaps, it is in the hopeful hearts of these young adults.  Change is a comin’ and none too soon.

Senator Paul’s speech focused on his outrage over the abuses of the NSA in obtaining the private information of millions of Americans through the surveillance of their phones.  The crowd cheered and clapped as he railed against a government run amok.  The angry American citizen in me resonated with his talk of reform and retribution needed for these offenses.

The next phase of the event was an interview led by a young Cal (correct local vernacular for UC Berkeley) student.  This is where it got interesting.  Although Senator Paul has been accused of “borrowing material” for his speeches, I knew he has a good orator.  What would he be like unscripted, and how would that be received?

The disillusioned Republican in me was vindicated when he compared the Republican Party to Dominoes when they admitted that they had bad crust, in that it is time for a reformed Republican Party or( maybe and abdication to the Libertarian Party?)  As he discussed a run for president he called himself a libertarian or liberty minded Republican.  The Libertarian in me likes this!

I must admit his flat tax platform was not something that impressed me, but his call for a reduction in everyone’s taxes sounded promising. It seemed in every question rather than focusing on the bi-partisan dynamic he focused on common ground issues.  He talked about working with his opponents on the two or three issues they do agree on rather that squabbling over what they don’t agree on.

My perception of him was as more of a moderate than a dogmatic like his father.  He may share the same principles but he communicates them differently.  He communicates them in a way that could move those from the left and the right to a more libertarian mindset that could embrace a freer America for all.

They say actions speak louder than words. The action that did warm me a little  more in his favor was when his car rolled passed  me and I saw that his window was down-I asked him if I could give him an article.  He said “Yeah I’ll look at it” and made the driver stop the car so that I could hand him an article by my friend Robin Koerner of the Blue Republican http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robin-koerner/rand-paul_b_2770800.html.  I gave him my card too with my blogsite on it so just maybe he will read this too!

I don’t have an answer to the question in my title, but I have a few more years to decide. I do have a better view of Senator Rand Paul than before his visit.  Maybe- just maybe, he is the man.

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There is a new Civil War in America.  It is a war between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.  There has always been some animosity between these two parties.  The tentacles of power of our bipartisan government now entangle and strangle our country with the mammoth growth they have seen in the last few years.

These are just a few of the statements made by our elected officials:

America will be far safer if we reduce the chances of a terrorist attack in one of our cities than if we diminish the civil liberties of our own people.

Nancy Pelosi

House Republicans want to pass a strong border security, illegal immigration bill. We want a bill. There is no ifs, ands or buts about it.

John Boehner

If the administration wants cooperation, it will have to begin to move in our direction.

Mitch McConnell

The laws they have passed have increased our National Debt, eliminated our privacy, and increased the cost of health care while reducing its quality.

In the midst of this battle of the behemoths there is a growing movement.  It is a movement toward a return to the inalienable rights of the people, and a government of the people and for the people-not controlling the people.  It is called the Liberty Movement.  It consists of the Libertarian Party, Independants and those members of the two larger parties who are pulling away from the established mores of their leaders.  They are returning to the Constitution and the laws that protect our freedom as Americans.

If we are in a Civil War, the Liberty Movement is the blockade runner.  Like Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind, the blockade runners travel freely between the opposing factions keeping the country in motion while the battle attempts to lock it down from progress.

Rhett Butler and his fellow blockade runners insured that goods and services continued to pass between the North and the South to keep the South financially viable.  Great Britain had a vital role in the blockade running business in order to protect their investments in America.

The Liberty Movement has its own British representative in the person of Robin Koerner- a British born permanent resident of the US (and soon to be US citizen), who founded the Blue Republican Organization. As the name implies, the Blue Republicans seek to break the Blue-Red paradigm to promote liberty. www.facebook.com/BlueRepublican

As the blockade runners did during the Civil War, the Liberty Movement is able to communicate to both of the parties. They find allies of liberty and form coalitions with them for policy changes. They promote candidates that will be a pillar for the will of the people, not the agendas of the Red-Blue Leviathan.

And like them, they are able to keep the US government moving forward (or a return back) to freedom from the oppression that has overtaken America.

Rhett Butler had something else in common with the Liberty Movement-no reputation, as he describes:

“Until you’ve lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was or what freedom really is.”

Which reminds me of someone else:

5.Philippians 2:7

but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

May the Liberty Movement continue to grow to break the chains of Party Politics to build a stronger, freer America.  May we never face the consequences of the battle.

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

Abraham Lincoln

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There is a growing dissatisfaction with the American so-called two party system.  The power of the Democratic and Republican Parties has reached an all-time high.  With this power has also come unprecedented abuses of American citizens.  Legislation passed by representatives of these parties within the last couple of years have dramatically reduced liberty in the U.S.

In 2001, following the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on 9/11, the Patriot Act was passed.  This was presented as a means to improve government protection of Americans against future terrorist attacks.  This legislation was passed, as with most legislation, without full disclosure to the American people.  This Act was meant as a temporary emergency legislation to handle the crisis of 9/11.  Most of the provisions were set to expire in 2004.  We are now in the year 2014 and extension after extension continue to keep the laws in force.  The provisions of this Act, as recently disclosed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden allowed for mass surveillance of internet and phone records for all Americans-a complete violation of privacy.

In 2010, the two-party dominated representatives passed the Affordable Health Care Act.  This Act of Congress has led to a huge debacle in the health care industry. Promises were made that could not be kept. The legislation sent private health care premiums soaring and enrollment and provision of care in the new health care exchange have been riddled with problems. This legislation, like the Patriot Act had very little transparency available to the American people.  It is like an onion with each peel revealing new and horrendous consequences that are imposed on the citizens.

As a means of restraining the unbridled power of these two parties, there is a wind of change in the political climate.  It is called Top 2 legislation.  At first glance, it appears to be yet another system to keep the powers that be in power.  A closer look, and a deeper understanding reveals an opportunity to give smaller parties and independent voters more voice in the government.

Three states have implemented this with more soon to follow.

Statistically 95% of election results are determined by the results of the primary election. The primary election, therefore, is critical in determining the direction of the country. Prior to Top 2 legislation, all primaries were bi-partisan vehicles for determining the front runner that would represent the Democratic or Republican parties.  These primaries cost tax payers $400million in 2012 and yet did not represent independent nor third party members. (From www.Endpartisanship.org )

The Top 2 laws disallow private partisan primaries because of their exclusionary nature and cost to taxpayers that do not benefit from them.  In order to make the primary equitable, these laws allow for only one primary for all candidates regardless of party affiliation.  All registered voters are eligible to vote in the primary and are not mandated to vote based on party affiliation.  The Top 2 candidates will move to the general ballot for final election.  In California, voters register as party preference only, there is no party affiliation status.

The passing of Proposition 14 in 2010 in California instituted the Top 2 Law.

The passage of Proposition 14 changed the way that elections are conducted for all statewide offices in California (including the Governor and other executive positions, members of the State Legislature, and members of the State Board of Equalization), as well as for United States Senators and members of the United States House of Representatives. Proposition 14 does not affect the election of President and Vice-President of the United States, local offices, or non-partisan offices such as judges and the Superintendent of Public Instruction.[3] Instead of allowing each political party to hold a primary election open to just its members (and independent voters, if the party chooses to do so) to determine its candidate for the general election, Proposition 14 proposed to create a single primary ballot that would be identical for all voters. All candidates running in the primary election, regardless of their political party preference (if any), would appear on that ballot. The two candidates with the most votes would then qualify for the general election, regardless of which party they identify with (if any) (Wikipedia).

Although it would appear that these laws pave the way for more domination by the Blue-Red regime, there are significant features that allow smaller parties an opportunity that they did not have before.

One benefit to the Third parties is the opportunity to garner the vote of independent voters.  Independent voters have grown to 42% of the population, based on the latest Gallup Poll (Jan.8, 2014). An effective campaign to reach these unaffiliated voters could easily by pass bi-partisanship.

Another opportunity for Third Parties to succeed is through forming coalitions to support like-minded candidates.  Green and Libertarian Parties, for instance, could join forces to support candidates in their respective parties.

The fact that voter turn-out is significantly lower for Primary vs. General Elections also allows an advantage for Third Party Candidates to make an impact on the election results. For instance, in 2008 7million voted in the California Presidential Primaries Combined vs. 13 million in the General Election. A high turnout of voters who are Independent and Third Party preferenced could provide a distinct advantage to the Third Party Candidate.

This change in our election system is new, so the results may not be too evident yet.

There is one instance in California that shows the impact it can make.  An incumbent 20-term Congressman Pete Stark was unseated by 31 year old Eric Swalwell.  Although they were both Democrats the wide discrepancy in their campaign financing demonstrates how an underfunded underdog can prevail under the new law.

Swalwell also credited his victory to the election reforms, calling the top-two system and redistricting “a game-changer for California politics and I think it’s a wake up call for all of us. You have to talk to a broad base of the constituency now. You can no longer be relying on politically drawn, gerrymandered district.”(SFGATE Pete Stark issues concession Posted on November 7, 2012  |  By clochhead@sfchronicle.com (Carolyn Lochhead )

It is time to give the people the voice in America.  The fact that the fastest growing segment in the political sphere are the Independents shows that those in government are not representing its citizens well and they are rejecting partisan associations.

Third Party Candidates can learn from Eric Swalwell’s win:

Asked how he won, Swalwell said in a phone interview, “We did it the old fashioned way, went out to voters and told them we wanted the job, and we showed up. I think we drew a sharp contrast between our campaign and someone who just didn’t seem up to the job any more.”(Sfgate)

The Top 2 Laws provide an opportunity to those without party representation as well as those members of smaller Third Parties.  Third Parties can use this as an opportunity to educate the unaffiliated and gain support.  With each win Third Party Candidates who demonstrate their ability to work for the benefit of the people can grow their parties.  As these Third Parties gain strength America will have a government that is as diverse as its people.  This diversity will insure that every voice is heard to make a better America.

I propose that we encourage the Top 2 movement across America.  www.Endpartisanship.org and www.independentvoting.org are two organizations that can be supported in this movement.  They were instrumental in the passing of Proposition 14 in California. With each state that changes their primary to the Top 2 format the Bi-Partisan model of government has potential to lose its power.  If the major parties do not respond to the needs of the people they represent they will continue to lose members or they will change to be more responsive.  Either outcome will change the power dynamics, and we will no longer be at the mercy of the two party system.

It is important that we educate Independent voters how to utilize the new power that they have in the election system.  Every vote does count.  There are no wasted votes in a Top 2 system.  This growing constituency can be a powerful boon to Third Party Candidates that are willing to represent their needs.

As the power of the government reduces our liberty as Americans, we are ready for a change that will restore what was lost.  Those who are willing to take action for liberty will earn the votes and win the Primaries that will lead to victories in the general elections.  We can unseat the power mongers and let freedom ring.

This article was inspired by a radio interview by Robin Koerner of The Blue Republican Radio Show with Chad Peace of the Independent Voter Project on The Daily Paul Radio. http://www.bluerepublican.org/2014/11/16/interview-chad-peace-independent-voter-network/

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……in order to form a more perfect union.  A more perfect union-that is what the writers of the Constitution were creating.  A more perfect union of imperfect people, where there would be Justice, peace, protection, provision and freedom for now and generations to come.  It is a beautiful assurance of a new way of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It was based on inalienable rights.  Rights that were given to mankind by a higher power.  We who are made in the image of that higher power are born to this earth with His power within us.  We are also born with the fallen nature that was rooted in the first act of evil. This Constitution was created to assure our birth rite, while impeding our evil nature.  It is a nature that is self-serving, proud, greedy, and hungry for power.

According to Oliver de Mille in We Hold These Truths to be Self Evident, there are 12 checks in our system of government in the United Sates of America.  These checks are meant to balance the power that would corrupt the government and destroy our inalienable rights.

There have been 11 presidents in my lifetime-11 regimes attempting to promote their interpretation of the Constitution on the unwitting masses.  Each one, because of the Constitution, were unsuccessful in their attempt.  The Constitution lays in the hands of those unwitting masses the power to control the destiny of the United States of America and control it they have.

My first understanding of this power was during the protests of the Vietnam War.  We the people stood up against the loss of life in what some perceived to be a senseless war.  As the protests got louder the votes of the people led to change in leadership that ultimately ended the war.

As an adult, when Clinton came to office, I feared for what his policies might do to our country.  Once again, the checks in our government prevailed.  As the people experienced policies that were detrimental to our way of life, the voice of the people was heard and there was a shift in leadership in the Congress and Senate.  This shift kept the harm at bay.

We are currently under the greatest violations of those inalienable rights that I have ever experienced in my lifetime.  There are more laws inhibiting our freedom, less protection of our privacy, and more imposition of our government.  I had nearly lost all hope for   America.

Once again, however, the people are rising.  The true power of this country has kept us out of war in Syria, demanded our privacy be returned and soon, I anticipate the imposition of the government on our healthcare will be abated.

I am reminded about when Jesus spoke of freedom to the Hebrew people.

John 8

31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

33 “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?

Those in authority have tried time and time again to enslave us, but we as Americans stand up and say “We have always been free men and women in the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, we had the power all along in our ruby slippers- better known as The Constitution of the United States of America.

libertarian deodarantI have been told that my new political party has a bad reputation-statists, anarchists, white spectacled geeky males, conspiracy theorists, alarmists etc.  My old political party has a bad reputation too-neocons, tea partiers, racists, homophobes, right wingers, Bible thumpers, intolerants , hate mongers, pro-life, moralists etc.  The other party has a bad reputation as well-bleeding heart liberals, socialists, government leeches, left wingers, entitled,  pro-choice, amoral etc.

When pondering which one to be affiliated with, obviously, reputation cannot be the deal breaker. None is “without sin”.

All parties have common goals to increase their members and strengthen party loyalty among their members.

In order to do this you need to become what I am-a closer.  We are really all closers from the day we are born.  From our very first cry, to our list for Santa, the apple for the teacher, the first kiss, the second date, the ring on your finger, the job offer, the job promotion, we are always selling and someone is always buying.  We are all closers.  I, however, am a professional closer because of my career in sales.  A big part of closing is overcoming the bad reputation, or misinformation of the product or organization.

I have faced how to overcome a bad reputation since I was a child.  I tried to sell my faith in Christ to my Grandpa Amadeo when I was eight years old.  Being a Christian had a bad reputation for him because he came from the “Old World” where the Catholic church was a menace to personal freedom and choice, that ruled with an iron fist.  I didn’t do very well in closing Grandpa.  When I asked him if he had been saved, he  proceeded to tell me story after story of all his near death experiences.  I learned lesson # 1 in being a closer-know your audience and communicate in a language that they understand.

I learned more about being a closer in college.  Your grade was always better if you made time to befriend your professor.  Most professors craved a certain amount of hero worship.  I learned how to do this without compromising my Christian morals. Closing Lesson #2 -make them feel important.

I also learned about closing as the token “born again” evangelical Christian in my college dorm full of atheists, agnostics and non-protestants. I was shy and quiet and non-confrontational, but somehow I would find myself debating Christianity  with my dorm mates. This is where I learned closing lesson #3 -arm yourself with knowledge.  So along with my school studies, I read books like Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Mere Christianity, A Case for Christ and took extension courses on Bible Survey from a Christian Liberal Arts College. This allowed me to give an answer for the questions they had.

1 Peter 3:15

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

This also fulfilled closing lesson #4-an objection is not a rejection, it is just a request for more information.  Give them the information and you might get the sale.

It was when I began my career in sales that I learned the most important lesson in being a closer that overrides all other lessons.  It is “You may be the only Bible some people will ever read”.

You are the best argument for overcoming any bad reputation and getting the sale.  Your job is to be the difference they are looking for. Break the mold of the image that they have of your faith, your product or your political party. When I recently shared my political affiliation with a new acquaintance her response was,” You don’t seem like you would be a member of that party.” Bingo! We can change the image one person at a time.

I wouldn’t describe myself as having any of the characteristics given for any of the political parties.  I am an individual with my own ideas and values and emotions unique to me and no one else.  I believe most people would agree that they are not any label that could be placed on them.  This is the basis of our common ground.   Individualism is the hallmark of humanity.

As the old saying goes “Be the change you want to see in the world”.  Be different by embracing who you are and be willing to embrace the individuality of others. In acceptance, you will find the common ground that will motivate others to buy your product, or organization.

When you are secure in who you are, you are able to accept others for who they are and  a mutual respect is born.  In this mutual respect buds a relationship and as the relationship grows, trust grows.  Trust moves people to enroll in your faith, your product or your political party. With trust there is no guarantee of a close, but without trust you are guaranteed not to close.  Work to build relationships and you will build your organization-the stronger those relationships, the stronger the organization’s success.

The foundation of real trust is care and compassion.  There is the saying “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” In order to earn trust you gotta have love.  If you believe that what you are selling is beneficial to the person you are enrolling, then your care for them is your motivation.  Your care creates the trust that binds the relationship, that will potentially close the sale.

If you are passionate about what you are selling then you must learn to transfer that passion to others.  You cannot move the mountain alone, but enough ants can move any mountain. Be willing to learn the lessons I have learned to become a closer.  Closers can build an army and an army can change the world.