Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings by Chuang Tzu, Translated by Burton Watson

Chuang Tzu: Basic WritingsChuang Tzu: Basic Writings by Chaung Tzu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Over the years I have read many books about Tao, and I’m more than a little embarrassed to admit that this is the first book I have read by Chuang Tzu. Chuang Tzu was one of the earliest and most prolific writers on Tao/Taoism. Several of the stories in this book I have heard/read versions of in other books. Some of my favorites are “The Useless Tree”, “3 In The Morning”, and “Training a Cock to Fight”. Even though these stories along with several others were already known to me it was nice to read them as written by Chuang Tzu (translated by Burton Watson). Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings is poetic, humorous and will help direct the reader to the Way, it also left me wanting to read more of Chuang Tzu’s writings.

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Our Psychopathic Government

After reading The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronsom, which among other things, investigates whether psychopaths are running the world.

I decided to do my own “research” and see what score our government representatives (as a whole) would get on the Hare checklist.

First I’m not a doctor or qualified to give the test ( I just did it for entertainment). Second I didn’t rate each person individually. I just took congress as a whole and went through the checklist.

I ended up giving our elected politicians a scored 31 (to be diagnosed as a psychopath you need a score of 30 or more). I would be interested to see what score you ended up giving them.

After my 2 minutes of research I have concluded that if the most powerful country in the world is run by a psychopathic group then, as a whole, the world is run by psychopaths!

There are 20 traits on the checklist. To score you give either 0, 1, or 2 points for each item (0 for not at all, 1 for applies somewhat and 2 definitely fits).

The twenty traits assessed by the PCL-R score are:
glib and superficial charm
grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
need for stimulation
pathological lying
cunning and manipulativeness
lack of remorse or guilt
shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
callousness and lack of empathy
parasitic lifestyle
poor behavioral controls
sexual promiscuity
early behavior problems
lack of realistic long-term goals
impulsivity
irresponsibility
failure to accept responsibility for own actions
many short-term marital relationships
juvenile delinquency
revocation of conditional release
criminal versatility

American Conspiracies by Jesse Ventura

This book was a really nice surprise. I’m not a huge fan of conspiracies nor am I a fan of Jesse Ventura. However, after seeing an interview with Jesse on Larry King I thought I would read the book, the interview piqued my interest.

The book is filled with some very interesting, and lesser known, facts. Facts that I think should be more widely known. Even though the book failed to convince me of all the conspiracies it did make me stop and think, which is never a bad thing for people to do. One of the biggest surprises was that the same “groups” kept coming up throughout the book from trying to overthrow FDR to the wall street mess and beyond.

Since everyone knows that power corrupts, why do we believe those in power so easily?

Overall I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. And Three cheers for Smedley Darlington Butler!

Global Warming/Climate Change

When it comes to climate change/global warming, why do we always ask and argue over the wrong questions? Is it real? Is it caused by man? We use present events to prove or disprove points that makes no real sense. Washington D.C. had a blizzard so that proves climate change is a hoax or this is the first time in recorded history that Minneapolis had no snow in the month of March (usually their second snowiest month) which proves it’s real and we need to do something now.

Lately my answers to these questions and arguments has been “SHUT UP!” The questions should be, Are we polluting? Is pollution a good thing? Are we capable/do we have the technology that would allow us to pollute less? Most people can agree on the answers to those questions.

Arguing over the affect humans have on the world weather is a waste of time. If they do, then making the changes necessary could save future generations and countless lives. If they don’t then we as a species just did the good/right thing by polluting less.

“Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it”.
Henry David Thoreau “

Stopping DWI’s and Other Alcohol Related Problems

A few months ago there was a story about a man getting his 20th DWI*. That, along with some other problems that drinking contributes to, like domestic abuse got me thinking there has to be a better way to handle the problem.

Losing your drivers license doesn’t seem to stop people from drinking and driving.

Since a business has to have an alcohol licenses to sell alcohol I was thinking why not have it mandatory that you have to have an alcohol license to buy alcohol. A  photo alcohol  I.D that anyone of drinking age or older must get in order to purchase alcohol  (yes this means that even grandma and grandpa would be carded.) If you get a DWI, or involved with any alcohol related problem (i.e. domestic violence or supplying alcohol to anyone not licensed to have alcohol) would lose their alcohol license  for a period of time. Other punishments would/could still apply.

If you get a DWI and the state takes away your alcohol license for (let’s say) 6 months, after your 6 months is up you would have to buy a new license for double the original cost. So if your first license cost you $10 after a single DWI your costs would be $20 for each renewal (for life) and if you get a second offense your next license would be $40 then $80 after the third and so on or it could be three offenses and then lose your alcohol license permanently.

The State could charge you $5 – $10 for your I.D. And you would have to renew it every 4-5 years. Money the state could use for a number of things including to help pay for more law enforcement.

(Yes, I drink and I even get drunk from time to time, and yes I think this is a great idea and I would be willing to do it.)

Story * http://www.startribune.com/local/west/80213592.html?page=1&c=y

The results of our current way of handling the problem: http://www.alcoholalert.com/drunk-driving-statistics.html

More can be done.

Change (I Want To See)

Our politicians don’t seem to represent the average person in the U.S. anymore. They are worried more about keeping their jobs than they are about doing their jobs. (Don’t they always accuse each other of being out of touch with the real America?)

I have come up with a solution that I think will refocus their (politicians) attention back to doing their job (and keeping them in touch) and in the process will fix the economy and bring back the attitude that made America great.

Since our politicians are suppose to represent us, shouldn’t their pay also be representative of ours? In 2007, the median household income rose 1.3% to $50,233.00 according to the Census Bureau. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States).

My plan is simple, politicians get paid based on the median income. Right now the current salary (2010) for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $174,000 per year. Senate Leadership:
Majority Party Leader – $193,400 Minority Party Leader – $193,400. House leadership: Speaker of the house $223,500 Majority Leader – $193,400 Minority Leader – $193,400. (http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/uscongress/a/congresspay.htm).

I know they will argue that better pay gets better people (same argument big business CEO’s make). There is a difference between good pay and over pay. Seems to me that the latter gets greedy people not good people. Remember the saying: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I also believe that those who seek power are those most likely to abuse it.

There is also the argument that they (politicians) need to live in D.C. and back in their home state. Well to this I say “Barracks” or some other type of basic government housing and for traveling back and forth I say “Coach” tickets or the upgrade comes out of their own pocket. Remember they are really just “public servants” who suffer from delusions of grandeur.

I will no longer listen to or believe their hype: “The other party is destroying or will destroy America”.  “That candidate is a Washington insider and will continue abusing the system”.  “I am an established politician who knows how to work with the system”.  “This election is the most important election”.  And for post elections, one of my favorite”, ” the people have given us a mandate”, (there are many more).

I know that there is no way they will take a pay cut and I know they will do what it takes to keep their jobs (and not really do their jobs). I also know that the greatest thing about America is that the real power is in the hands of the voters. So if enough of us get together we can change our world. I myself have taken a personal oath that I will no longer vote for any politician that has had 3 terms or more. And if I don’t like the candidate of the other “major party” there is always a 3rd party candidates to consider.

If a politician’s pay was tied to the median income the middle class would start to grow. The economy goes as the middle class goes. To quote Henry Ford: “There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible”. Once when asked why he pays his workers so much Henry Ford replied, “someone has to be able to afford my products”.

Legalizing Marijuana

More and more states are legalizing marijuana for medical use, and there is talk of legalizing marijuana altogether. I’m all for the legalization of medical marijuana. As someone that has suffered from chronic pain, nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss and many sleepless nights I can see the benefits of using pot. I don’t understand how as a society we can accept a prescription from a doctor of morphine, when needed, but not a prescription for marijuana even if a doctor feels it would be beneficial. I’m sure there will be some abuse by patients and doctors but there are abusers to a lot of prescription drugs. Legalization would also mean regulation. For those that say the pharmaceutical companies have already came up with THC in pill form, all I can say is that there is something about a ritual that is far more affective than just popping a pill. I use to have some of my own rituals so I can see the benefit of cleaning, rolling and smoking, just the inhaling and holding the smoke sounds a lot like controlling your breath which is a form of meditation.

As far as legalizing marijuana altogether I have given serious thoughts to both sides. The conclusion I came to even surprised me.

Most arguments against marijuana can be dismissed simply by comparing marijuana to alcohol. For example, for those of you who think that marijuana is the gateway drug, I would argue that alcohol and tobacco would have that distinction if they were illegal. It’s also my opinion that alcohol has caused far more problems than marijuana ever will. In 2008 there were over 13,000 alcohol related driving fatalities in the US, 37% of auto fatalities were alcohol related (http://www.alcoholalert.com/drunk-driving-statistics.html).

After doing some serious thinking about it I came to a couple of conclusions. First, pot isn’t and shouldn’t be a serious offense. Secondly it shouldn’t be made legal unless there are some stipulations attached like age and where and when it can be smoked (just like alcohol and cigarettes). If it’s ever legalized I think there should be pot dens for smokers to smoke and that should be the only place they should be allowed to smoke (I feel this way about cigarettes too). The reason I think we need pot dens is the simple fact that if I’m in a room with a group of people and they are drinking I can still decide not to drink, but if I’m in a room with smokers I’m going to get a contact buzz simply by breathing, taking away my choice. If marijuana was just made legal it would end up being smoked around others who may not want to be subjected to it (this was also my reasoning for banning cigarettes from public places).

Since I don’t see the “Pot Den” becoming a reality I guess I’ll stay on the side of making and keeping marijuana legal for medical use only.

On a personal note, I have done pot when I was younger and after awhile I just didn’t like it enough to continue and I have not used it for medical purposes, but I wouldn’t keep something beneficial away from others just because I haven’t used it.