Friday, November 20, 2009

Please Truth, Come Set Us Free

The truth shall set you free. Religion, history and philosophy agree that knowledge of the truth is an important component of enduring freedom. Dictators and oppressive governments rarely have an interest in talking truth to their citizens.

It therefore appears logical to think that a society that values freedom, such as the United States, would be very good at detecting lies and deceptions and strong on the truth. Our forefathers, through our constitution have given us powerful freedom of expression rights that strongly support the pursuit of truth.

Then why is the US awash with such a confusing mess off half-truths, deception and outright lies?

One night, after a particularly painful evening of trying to sort out truth from the cacophony of noise from TV, the internet, politicians and just plain conversation my mind was exhausted. I tried prayer as I went to sleep.

“Please God, we are so confused. Could you intervene and help us know truth?”

To my surprise I had a dream that night with a reply. Not directly from God, but from a spirit who identified himself as the Apostle of Truth. I know that skeptics will attribute this to an overactive imagination or midnight pizza but I choose to take it as a legitimate answer.

It started as a light entered my bedroom and a voice began speaking. After introducing itself the voice offered the reason it could not intervene.

“As you know, your universe is special in that it is very complex and tightly balanced. God is reluctant to make changes. I knew he would not allow me to directly intervene for you. I did describe your prayer and he was glad to see you were working hard in the right direction. He also gave me permission to pass on to you the explanation he had given me a long time ago

About one million years ago God decided to give man the very precious gift of creative thinking. After a short time I noted that your species (humans) were abusing the gift. You were overwhelming my presence with your own imagined fabrications. God said that the gift of creative thought was absolutely essential to reach the high goals he had set for your species. Under no conditions would he limit this power. He had provided balance, however, by adding higher cerebral functions to your brain. With this power you can search the universe for information and apply reasoning that allows you to identify the actual truth over imagined events. These processes had only been in place for a short time. Natural selection would eventually strike a balance between the two competing processes and those based on truth would surely do well.

So God has given you the tools you need to win. Diligently use your cerebral processes to seek out the truth. Win your debates by truthful statements in which you can have confidence, not lies. You must put great effort into it if you are to be really free.

The United States is a great favorite for those of us who have been watching you from this side of the black hole. Although we have been a little disappointed in you recently, we think that you will eventually replace the people and their values that have weakened you. You will once again be great. Even though you have many friends here, however, you must do it yourselves.

Good luck. We will be following you with hopefulness.”

The light slowly dimmed and I was again in a darkened room. I was awake and apprehensive. This was advice that it was reasonable for us to follow. But would we?

Friday, November 06, 2009

Citizens Need Proof that the Cozy Big Finance /Government Relationship is Over

It has been 16 months since we posted on the silliness of the media continually placing high net worth New Yorkers in front of cameras to be asked if they thought the country was in a recession. We pointed out that if they had talked to a reasonable distribution of small businessmen around the country it would have been obvious we were in a very painful one.

Since that time not only have the lost jobs and personal financial nightmares increased but we now realize the magnitude of betrayal we have suffered from the financial sector, the government, and our elected officials.

We have the sick feeling of being completely hoodwinked by both our private and public institutions. Most people now realize that in the dealings of these entities there was no concern for the United States or its citizens. The common good was simply not a consideration. This realization has triggered a great wave of discouragement toward the entire American system. This feeling is independent of the politics of the citizen. The vast majority of Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Independents feel that the entire system is owned by the special interests and Washington insiders through their control of the Government.

Go to almost any gathering of what used to be the middle class and you will find that there is universal anger and even hatred toward the following entities:

· The financial institutions that wasted trillions that could have been used productively for our country
· The banks that won’t risk lending to small businesses but want to pay high bonuses to executives.
· The elected government that passed laws that protected these disastrous actions.
· The lobbyists and special interests that influenced and really bought the elected government
· The lying financial rating agencies

The disheartened American is sick of blowhard politicians seeking to gain by the situation. The citizens desperately need to see real evidence that the country will at some time be run for the common good. The strength of these feeling is not fully understood in the Washington and New York power centers. If not fixed the country will face major changes.

The citizens require a strong program that will absolutely guarantee that the psychology and ethics that led to the betrayal is completely disgraced and placed outside the American system forever. It is critical that those in the entities who were responsible for the meltdown are publically identified and punished. There must be significant retribution with large sums recovered for the people who innocently suffered. The public consequences to those that caused the situation must be adequate to prevent any thoughts of ever returning to similar behavior.

If the public were to see these events embedded into prompt institutional action it would demonstrate that the cozy relationship between the perpetuators and congress has ended and patriotic faith in the system might return.

Can this be done with the current elected government on whose watch many of the events occurred?

Both the House and Senate are circulating draft bills that are supposed to re-regulate the financial sectors so that the disasters will not be repeated. If normal history is repeated, however,they will be passed after usual lobbying oftains built in loopholes

In May of 2009 Congress formed the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC). It was given broad authority to determine exactly what happened to create the disaster(s) and to identify any incidents of law breaking they discovery. It has subpoena power. There is even a direction to compare salaries in the financial sector to those of equal responsibility in other sectors. Six members were appointed by Democrats and four by Republicans. The commission is to submit a final report to Congress in December 2010-safely after the 2010 elections.

The commission had its first public appearance on September 17. The introduction of members and their introductory remarks are described here. As would be expected, they are almost entirely insiders. Congress prided itself on the ground rule that only private citizens could be members-no one connected with the government would be on the commission. It turns out that although none have current government positions almost all have had deep earlier government connections. The commission is largely split between former Clinton and Bush appointees, with one former senator. There is no representation from the damaged citizens.

Reasonable results will take a lot of citizen intervention.