Government Regulation: Socialism On The Move

Death by a thousand cuts shares much in common with the end of home ownership through excessive regulation.

jefferson

In the previous post by Steve Clark, Real Estate Ownership, mortgages and taxing authorities are identified as the culprits in constraining private home ownership. The post sees the trend by Millennials as a possible change of direction, if not a solution.

I think the move towards ending private ownership of property has less to do with financing government than it has to do implementing Socialism, which eschews private property ownership. The entire redistribution of wealth scheme that is at the heart of Socialism is really a means by which an elite few can take what rightfully belongs to some and give it to others without cause. Well, without cause other than if you have too much under Socialism you’re a greedy, bad human being lacking compassion. And so, the government will cure you of those shortcomings by taking away what has otherwise been rightfully earned by the sweat of your own brow.

This is what should concern everyone about Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Socialist crowd. Be assured, they will retain their wealth and their possessions. It is your property that will be redistributed. No, they will not suddenly get into office and come with the military to take what is yours. They won’t have to . They’ve been laying the ground work and the means for almost one hundred years.

Its called regulation.

The EPA, the IRS, Homeland Security, the Department of Education…regulatory agencies are death by a thousand cuts to a liberty loving people and, certain death, to our Republic as it was created and intended to be. Just as no one is going to knock on your door in a Clinton Administration and demand that you turn over your guns so, too, no one is going to physically remove you from your home and declare it the property of the Federal government.

At least not at first.

In the gun example, first they will  ban certain types of guns. Then they will prohibit anyone who is on a no-fly list (rightfully or wrongfully as was the late Senator Ted Kennedy) from purchasing or owning a gun. Then they will pass legislation that says anyone who is mentally ill cannot buy a gun. Then anyone who has ever been treated for a mental illness. Then anyone who has ever shown mental illness tendencies. Then anyone who has inappropriately exhibited anger. Then anyone who is on anti-depressants.  The anyone who is on pain medication …well, those last two cover about half the adult population in this country.

Its a slow, slippery slope.

In the home ownership example, first the government will hold 95 percent of the mortgages in the country (√).  Then if you default, your mortgage holder can foreclose and take/sell your property (√).  Then if you’re delinquent on your property taxes the tax lien can be sold to a third party and that party has first priority on any foreclosure (√). Then they will say that certain neighborhoods are discriminating because they are not enough minorities living in that neighborhood and so they will force sales to minorities whether they can afford it or not (√) and if those default, well, more economic downturn for the area and more government owned property.  In fact, Obama plans on addressing “geospatial discrimination’ of minorities by ‘mapping’ every neighborhood in America in regards to it’s racial make-up and financial strength.  Then, HUD will impose new rules that will go out to suburbs that are not racially diverse and demand “affirmatively further fair housing” in the suburbs for minorities. Grantees who fail to comply will be denied federal funding.

Then….oh, and lets not just worry about Hilary Clinton. Donald Trump, proponent of the Kelo decision and Eminent Domain thinks the government (or a private individual as Trump did) should be able to take private property for the benefit of another or even social experimentation, as Obama is doing in addressing “geospatial discrimination.”

Yes its a slow, slippery slope.

Its also why each of us has to take a stand someplace along that slide or we’re all going to wind up in quicksand. It may be something small…like an overreaching Homeowner’s Association Board in your community. Or Common Core in your school system. Or an out of control taxing authority in your county. Or, it may be something big, such as your conviction that a Convention of States under Article 5 of the U .S. Constitution is the only way to save the Republic.

Whatever raises your ire, whether large or small, take a stand. Socialism sounds good in theory but it sucks in practice. In fact, its fatal to a free society.. of which we still have enough to do something about politicians who want to use the “free stuff and common ownership for all” lie to make themselves rich and powerful by taking what is yours and…well…taking what is yours.

Carole

contact@carolegold.com

Real Estate Ownership

For years, the financial industry and media pundits have told us that the way to wealth is through real estate. So what do we really own when we buy a house?

Many people feel that once they buy a house they own it; but, if you have a mortgage, its the bank that owns the house not you. Forget to pay your property taxes? The tax man will take your house regardless of who “owns it.”

real-estate-businessThe real estate industry has an entire machine that promulgates the benefits of home ownership. From the ads on TV to radio commercials… the average consumer is inundated with messages assuring that real estate is the way to achieve financial success. Yet, when the real estate market crashed in 2008, many people were wiped out.

What happened?

Real estate prices had become so over-inflated that it was no longer economical to buy.  Without any more buyers entering the market, prices collapsed. It got so bad in some cities such as Detroit that houses could be bought for one hundred dollars!

In fact, business colleagues of mine started a company to capitalize on the rock bottom prices in Detroit.  Because of the huge downturn, the city was literally giving houses away. The municipality was going so far as to raze certain neighborhoods because there was just too many vacant houses. In fact, wilderness began reclaiming parts of the city with deer actually showing up in Detroit!

It wasn’t only houses that were on sale. Skyscrapers in parts of downtown Detroit were selling for under five million dollars. This was crazy when you realize that prime apartments in major cities such as Miami were being valued at the same amount as skyscrapers in Detroit.

The funny thing was that even at rock bottom prices, Detroit had a hard time finding buyers.  If you think about it, it makes no sense that a house could sell for so little.  But, if you truly understand how housing works and the role government plays in that equation, it makes perfect sense.

The $100 price was an only an illusion of the true price of the home. If you bought the home, there were bills that had to be paid; mainly the ongoing tax bill levied by the government that ran north of $5,000 dollars per year. So what my colleagues were really buying was a $5,000 annual liability that they would have to pay.  In addition, in order to buy the house, the old tax bills (tax liens) had to be paid off to make the house current.

This is why Detroit had such a hard time selling its houses for rock bottom prices. Nobody likes to buy a liability, particularly one that would likely increase if more people continued to leave Detroit.  The people who remained would have to pick up the shortfall in property tax revenue created by everybody else who moved.

Detroit became the epicenter of the lie of real estate. There is no such thing as home ownership in the U.S.  We are all tenants. Our landlord? The government. And their claim on your land has first priority as a lien over all other creditors.

Tax liens are all the proof you need to know to prove that the real owner of your house is the government. If you fall behind on your mortgage, the taxes on your property don’t get paid. When that happens, the local tax office will auction off the unpaid taxes that you owe to investors for double digit returns. If your tax bill remains unpaid for a long enough period of time, the tax lien holder owns your house. In terms of debt structure, tax lien holders are senior to mortgage debt.

So for example, if you fall behind on a $300,000 mortgage and a tax lien holder buys a $3,000 tax lien on your property, that tax lien holder now has a lien senior to the mortgage holder. If, by chance, you default and the bank cannot/will not pay off the lien holder, the tax lien holder can be awarded the house. So, even though the mortgage company took the biggest risk and lent most of the money, by law, they are junior to the tax man.

I give credit to the millennials. They see first hand the dangers of owning too much real estate and the stresses it can cause. They have shunned home ownership and seem less concerned about material goods. Out of the crisis in 2008 came the movement to own your own home; but, without having the government as your landlord.

Tiny houses are the solution to owning your house free and clear. The way that that they get around this law is by building small houses and placing them on a trailer. Because the house can be moved by vehicle and house never touches the ground, the government can not tax it. Although the houses are small, they are fully functional and can be bought for as little as $35,000 dollars.

tinyliving

Life in the U.S over the last fifty years has revolved around living in a communities. Home ownership has been a way for politicians (and municipalities) to tax homeowners to achieve their objectives. Public education has been the main selling point for living in these communities and the means by which politicians sold their plans. But look at what happened in Detroit. Citizens rejected the notion that it was worthwhile to stick around for a public education…one that was sub-par at best. Having lived in New Jersey for many years, I know first hand how run down many of these public schools have become.

The tiny house movement, home schooling and the move to online education courses have all become threats to the notion that we need to live in one community and have our tax dollars used for public education.

Man’s natural inclination is to be free… especially from the tyranny of government. Because government uses tax payer monies to pay for local, state and federal employees its fair to conclude that government employees’ lives and their income are more important than us non-government employed citizens. The fact that the government can take away our houses because of a tax bill,in order to keep funding its own sustenance and growth,  just goes to show you what governments’ and politicians’ priorities are.

The tiny house movement might just be the first step toward a nation of true home ownership. Bravo to the millennials on this one! They looked around and saw that more is never enough so they’ve concluded that…less is more.

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com

 

An Open Letter To Senator Ted Cruz

NOTE: Last week I posted an Open Letter to radio talk show host and author Mark Levin. Ironically, I am re-posting it here with one minor change. Its now an Open Letter to Senator Ted Cruz.

I was a Cruz supporter early and to the bitter end. I defended my support of him to my many friends and colleagues who could not comprehend why standing on principles was more important than winning. Now, sadly with Senator Cruz’s endorsement of Donald Trump, it seems the Senator doesn’t understand the distinction either.

In response to Senator Cruz’s justification, articulated this morning on the The Glenn Beck radio program, that its a “binary election” and therefore the reason he has decided to back Trump, I direct the Senator to my post to Mark Levin (re-posted below) who also perceives this to be a “binary election.” 

One week ago I was able to use Senator Cruz’s memorable speech at the Republican Convention to make my point to Mr Levin. I believe that the content of the speech still stands as truth. The only change is that Senator Cruz abandoned that truth.

I have a great deal of respect for talk show host Mark Levin.  As a lawyer, author of several outstanding books on the U.S. Constitution, cabinet advisor in the Reagan administration, chief of staff to Attorney General Ed Meese, secretary for elementary and secondary education for the U.S. Department of Education and deputy solicitor for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Mr. Levin can claim an impressive resume which garners him respect and credibility on matters of politics and policy.

Recently, on his syndicated radio show, Mr. Levin followed through with his promise to announce, post-Labor Day, for whom he would be voting in the upcoming Presidential election.  Early on, he had been a Ted Cruz supporter; but, once Cruz’s candidacy ended, Levin spent months railing against the weaknesses of both Clinton and Trump, so I was eagerly awaiting his announcement.

It came, as promised, earlier this week. Levin is voting for Donald Trump because this is a binary election. It is a rationale that, for me, is flawed.

We owe “binary thinking” to Aristotle. He was the progenitor of the concept of absolutes and dualistic thinking. Black or white…yes or no…up or down…summarized mathematically as “x” or “not “x.” (or think of it as X or Y).  It was, and still is the basis for decision making in Western cultures. In fact, its where we get the word dilemma, “di” meaning two and “lemma” meaning argument or choice.

It is in the West our method of thinking; but, it is not the only method of thinking. In fact, its a very limiting approach to problem solving. It is just such an approach that has caused Mr. Levin to think there are only two choices in November, making this the “binary” election he perceives.

Nagarjuna, Hindu turned Buddhist philosopher, lived about 500 years after Aristotle. He put forth the concept of a “tetralemma.”  Tetra means four and, as stated above, “lemma” means argument or choice. So in an Eastern approach to problem solving, there are four possible choices or resolutions:  (1) X;  (2) Y;  (3) both X and Y; (4) neither X nor Y.  Such an approach widens and opens up the possibilities and creative thought process for problem solving.

Back to Mr. Levin’s binary election. In the dilemma approach that Mr. Levin applied, he had two choices: X=Hilary Clinton or Y=Donald Trump. But in tetralemma problem solving we have (1) X=Hilary Clinton; (2) Y=Donald Trump; (3) =both Clinton and Trump; (4) = neither Clinton nor Trump.

Obviously number (3) is not an option. But number (4) is!  Mark Levin, and every other voter who thinks that neither Hilary Clinton nor Donald Trump is fit to hold the office of the Presidency, has other options. There are other candidates running. The Libertarian, Constitutional, and Green Parties all have candidates in this race. There is a write in option as well. I know the “dilemma” knee jerk reactions. People say either (1) a vote for any of those is a wasted vote or (2) it won’t matter anyway because the Electoral College elects the President not the popular vote. Again, thank you Aristotle!

I’d like to take a broader and longer view of the problem. I’d like to look at it as something other than an absolute and from a higher perspective as well.

When Ted Cruz spoke to the Republican Convention, he angered many Republicans by suggesting that people vote their conscience. He did not explicitly endorse Donald Trump and his suggestion was interpreted as having the effect of a vote for Hilary Clinton. But Cruz was doing what we say we want in our leaders. He was standing by his conviction. He was following his conscience and suggesting others do the same. He stood with his country, and his party, but would not overtly and in good conscience endorse a man he did not believe to be fit for the office. We would all do well to listen to our own internal guidance system, which some call intuition and others call “gut”, and act in accordance with its prompting.

Further, have we not learned by now that there are as many choices in or lives as we have the courage to make? Have we not yet come to understand that media and politicians and people who lust after power want us to believe we have only the choices they put before us? Have we not yet grasped the true blessing of free will… as well as the responsibility that accompanies it and the consequences of abdicating it?

I hear only one voice publicly espousing and living the broader option. Radio host Glenn Beck has held firm in that neither Clinton nor Trump is fit for office and so he is voting otherwise. Beck is more focused upon voting his conscience than on limiting himself to what externals tell him he must do. I get that. I didn’t vote for Barack Obama in 2008 because I had an intuitive feeling that he was not what he appeared to be.  Almost everyone I knew voted for him.  I look back knowing I did the right thing for myself and my country. In the end, that’s all we have. Our word and our conscience. I want to be able to live with both. I suspect so does Mr. Beck.

AI and technology are teaching us, at warp speed,  just how little we comprehend about reality and the limitless boundaries of human creativity and consciousness. We are on the cusp of experiencing just how literally we create our reality. And so, Mr. Levin, I already live in a world and have an understanding of the critical importance of my thoughts and my actions.

Therefore, Mr. Levin, this is not a binary election. To the contrary, it is much more than that. It is an opportunity to be the best we can be by refusing to settle for the least among us.  That is the future I and others are creating and we ask you to join us in that creation.

Carole Gold

comtact@carolegold.com

 

 

The Danger of The Drew Magarys of The World

My co-blogger, Steve Clark, texted me a link earlier today with the following comment: “This is what passes for journalism!” So, naturally, I had to click through.

love-and-hate

Where I landed was at GQ online and an article by, correspondent and author, Drew Magary titled, “If You Vote For Trump, Then Screw You.”  Creative and engrossing title, don’t you think?  Yeah, me neither. Not so much. But, in all fairness, and since I respect Steve, I read the article. So I fully understand Steve’s incredulity.

It’s an adolescent, vulgar, profanity-laced rant by…well, an adolescent. I’d say more about the “correspondent” but that sentence pretty much sums up space occupied by nine paragraphs of filth and unrestrained emotional immaturity. I’d much rather write about how Magary’s rant is symptomatic of something much larger.

We are a nation divided and that’s not a bad thing. From true diversity of thought comes new ideas. When it comes to problem solving, difference is the petri dish of creativity. The catch is that each side of the divide has to honor the differences of the other so that they can communicate and, hopefully, zero in on the merits of each others’ arguments. Name calling, accusation, disrespect, hyperbole…these are impediments to problem solving. All they do is cause the object of their slings and arrows to defend positions rather than remain open and receptive to possible solutions.

The real harm of the verbal filth spewed by Magary in his self-indulgent tirade is not done to Donald Trump. To give him credit for his honesty (evidenced by the article’s title) Magary makes his intention pretty clear. His hatred is directed at anyone who sees merit in the candidate or who would vote for him. So, Magary hates his fellow Americans who disagree with his particular political preference.

Where does such intolerance and narrowness of thought leave us?

If we take the Magary approach, close to half the country needs to hate the other half. To me, this is a bit like using your left arm to beat up your right arm if you have an irritation. While it may, in the moment, address a superficial and temporary annoyance, in the long run (and we need to think about the long run) you will have done serious damage to a part of you that needs to be functional and cooperative.

You see, there is only one of us. Yes, you read that correctly, There is only one of us. We are all branches on that one tree called humanity. It serves no one, and nothing, for us to treat one another as if harming someone else never comes back to harm us.  Hatred, whether its the fuel for Islamic terror or fuel for a so-called “correspondent”… is still hatred.  Hatred is a cancer of the soul and does as much damage,  perhaps more, to the host than it does to its intended object.

After all, there are only two emotions. Love and fear. Every negative emotion, including hate, is a derivative of fear. So in the end, the Drew Magarys of the world are afraid. Of what, I don’t know. But so much hate is really so much fear.

So, I would recommend that Drew Magary re-think what’s eating at him ( literally I might add) and perhaps understand that there are people out here who seriously disagree with him but who love him all the same.

 

Carole

contact@carolegold.com

What al-Sisi Knows About Obama

This isn’t the first time I’ve written that I didn’t vote for Barack Obama in 2008 or 2012.

soros

I had my reasons. But today I listened to a caller, an African American man, who explained why he didn’t and it struck me like a ton of bricks.

My reason back then had been based upon a book I read by a former NY Times African American writer who, having been raised in a mixed family similar to Obama’s and shared significant other similarities, set forth the reasons why Obama didn’t know who he was. Wasn’t sure if he was Black or White. Didn’t know in which community and culture he belonged. The book was so well written, and reasoned, I closed it after the last page and knew Obama wasn’t fit for the job.

The rationale of the African American who called in today was quite different. He said, simply, “Obama was trained to be a community organizer. He was trained to play upon discontent, stir it up and use it to create civil unrest to accomplish a political agenda. This is who he is and this is why, eight years later, he has done just that to the nation. It is the unrest and violence that has erupted everywhere. It’s the effect of Alinsky-like tactics that he and those he surrounds himself with were trained in.”

Whoa!

It isn’t as though I didn’t know Obama was a community organizer or that he was friends with Bill Ayres, Bernadine Dorn, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Vann Jones and others.  Or that they all have Socialist leanings. Or that George Soros is funding the whole game. It’s that I never connected the dots in quite the way this guy had done it.

Suddenly, even the Muslim Brotherhood connection and support made sense.  After all, doesn’t radical Islam in its early stages (before it gets to the beheadings) use community organizing tactics to foment discontent within the Arab world? It would be a natural for Obama to find common ground with such organizations that were using the same, or similar, tactics and strategies he had learned to “help liberate oppressed” communities both inside and outside the U.S.

So the riots taking place across the country and the blood in the streets, such as tonight in Charlotte, North Carolina are the direct result of the down and dirty tactics of a community organizer dressed in Presidential garb and wrapped in an American flag.

He’s had, by the standards of the radical Left, a great run. He’s brought the nation within a stone’s throw of Socialism, brought bloodshed to our streets and imported enough radical Islamists to assure the inevitable, massive, terror attack just waiting to happen.

However, by the standards of freedom loving, independent, hardworking people everywhere, he has been a plague upon us. His protégé, chomping at the bit, wants you to elect her to continue his “legacy.” If we are blind enough and dumb enough to do so, it won’t be a legacy as much as a terminal metastatic event that will eat away at what pockets of health and sanity still exist within our Republic.

Sometimes the only way to really see ourselves is in the reflection of another.

Today, President al-Sisi of Egypt went public, having met with both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. No one knows the Muslim Brotherhood better than the Egyptians who, despite Obama and Clinton’s ill-devised support of the Arab Spring, unseated the Muslim Brotherhood and have been keeping them at bay ever since.  Al-Sisi and other high-up Egyptian leaders stated that they don’t trust Hillary Clinton and that they have suffered under the non-support of the Obama Administration as it cozied up to, and supported, the Brotherhood against the will of the Egyptian people.

So, if you’ve been unable to see Obama and Clinton for who they really are (and I am not a Trump supporter) take a look at our reflection in the eyes of the Egyptians.  For the moment, they are a lot closer to the problem, and far enough away from here, to have a vantage point you may not have considered. Looking through their eyes may open you own.

Carole

contact@carolegold.com

Rolling Joints Saved My Life

I was stuck in a Mexican prison.

bud-in-joint-paper

I don’t look Hispanic even though I am. At the time, I had blond hair and blue eyes and weighed 140 pounds soaking wet. I was in here because I had been caught by the Mexican police for carrying marijuana and sentenced to thirty days for my crime. I was stuck in a massive prison pen with hundreds of other inmates who were hardened criminals. They were all thick and dark with a multitude of tattoos covering their bodies. I didn’t look like any of them, which only made me stand out even more.

It was early and I hadn’t been beaten up, as of yet, because the prison guards were still around to keep the prisoners away from me. But once it got late I was done for… and was told so by many of the prisoners. I needed to formulate some type of plan. Quickly. There was a good chance I’d be dead by morning.

As I scanned the prison floor, I saw a group of inmates rolling joints. They all had short fat fingers and were clumsy in the way in which they rolled. They were spilling the leaves all over the ground and the joints ended up being too fat and loosely wrapped. I approached the leader of the group who was supervising the activity and told him that I could roll the joints tighter, smoother and faster. In addition, I informed him, the joints would reduce the spillage by 20% thus increasing his profits. Shocked that I spoke Spanish, and eyeing me with disbelief, he told me to prove it. So I rolled him the tightest and most perfect joint he had ever seen.

Right then and there I fell under his protection and started rolling joints for him. During my short time in prison, I was never harassed and got my own bed to sleep in. I spent the next thirty days rolling joints morning, noon and night and showed his crew the right way to roll them as well. Ah! what irony.  My misspent youth that had caused me to end up in prison was the same thing that saved my life.

My friend, Henry, told me this story years ago. He had just been passed over for a promotion. His time spent in jail came up on an old police report during a background check.  He knew he was living on borrowed time with the company. He was ultimately let go. But, today he is at a new company doing just great.

Life is funny that way.  Random skills that you pick up along the way are the ones that can save your life.

As a kid, I spent my summers in Ecuador away from my friends and the things that I knew and liked. But along the way, I learned Spanish and developed relationships with people I still do business with today.

Knowing Spanish and helped me in many ways.  That one skill made me millions of dollars in compensation trading in international markets. The thing I liked the least about my childhood wound up benefitting me the most.

Nowadays, I spend lots of time on soccer fields with my kids and it is quite common to run into second generation Mexicans who can’t speak their native tongue. The looks I get when they see an “American” speaking their native tongue is priceless because they know they themselves fell short in that endeavor. They had the same opportunity I did but they just never took the time to learn their language.

But, my experience and prosperity from being able to speak Spanish has broader application. Many successful people have created fantastic careers incorporating their supposed “unproductive times” into creating new ventures.

The sports writer Bill Simmons incorporated his love of TV, movies and sports and merged all three to become one of the top personalities at ESPN. In his youth, while his friends did their homework, Simmons would watch TV all day. It got so bad that he has said that there are some movies he has watched over one hundred times. Not all of them classics.  The Karate Kid is one such movie he has used to incorporate into his articles.

Simmons was so adept on the forefront in writing about the merger of sports and pop culture that he became the leader of this new genre. His approach was unique and humorous. An article about the Boston Celtics, his favorite team, might have analogies and references to One Hot Wonder songs and characters from the TV show The Real World. The juxtaposition of those two themes was so hilarious and over the top that his articles were a delight to read!

At the time he indulged in TV and  movies he felt he was wasting his time; but, instead of using it as an excuse he used it to his advantage. His depth of knowledge of pop culture gave him a window into the soul of America and his writing tapped into that movement. Simmons used his time to become a curator of all things pop culture and combined that with his love of sports to become one of the most interesting sports writers of our time.

The acquisition of seemingly useless skills also benefitted Mick Jagger, lead singer from the Rolling Stones, who became the front man for the group even though he had no musical skills. As a child, Jagger was on a TV show produced by his father who was a physical education teacher.  On the show, Jagger would demonstrate and go through the exercises his father had taught him. Little did he know that he  was learning how to preform! He learned where the cameras would be and how to enhance his presence on screen…skills that would benefit him years later when he became the singer who would achieve fame and fortune.

Often in this super competitive life we lead, the dead times, the seemingly unproductive times, can be the seeds of a new venture hardly imagined. And, at times, greatness can come come from the intersection of two skills, like pop culture and sports to create an entirely new genre as Bill Simmons showed.

Then again, maybe one day that random skill you acquired along the way might save your life.

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com

In Response To Mark Levin

I have a great deal of respect for talk show host Mark Levin.  As a lawyer, author of several outstanding books on the U.S. Constitution, cabinet advisor in the Reagan administration, chief of staff to Attorney General Ed Meese, secretary for elementary and secondary education for the U.S. Department of Education and deputy solicitor for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Mr. Levin can claim an impressive resume which garners him respect and credibility on matters of politics and policy.

options

Recently, on his syndicated radio show, Mr. Levin followed through with his promise to announce, post-Labor Day, for whom he would be voting in the upcoming Presidential election.  Early on, he had been a Ted Cruz supporter; but, once Cruz’s candidacy ended, Levin spent months railing against the weaknesses of both Clinton and Trump, so I was eagerly awaiting his announcement.

It came, as promised, earlier this week. Levin is voting for Donald Trump because this is a binary election. It is a rationale that, for me, is flawed.

We owe “binary thinking” to Aristotle. He was the progenitor of the concept of absolutes and dualistic thinking. Black or white…yes or no…up or down…summarized mathematically as “x” or “not “x.” (or think of it as X or Y).  It was, and still is the basis for decision making in Western cultures. In fact, its where we get the word dilemma, “di” meaning two and “lemma” meaning argument or choice.

It is in the West our method of thinking; but, it is not the only method of thinking. In fact, its a very limiting approach to problem solving. It is just such an approach that has caused Mr. Levin to think there are only two choices in November, making this the “binary” election he perceives.

Nagarjuna, Hindu turned Buddhist philosopher, lived about 500 years after Aristotle. He put forth the concept of a “tetralemma.”  Tetra means four and, as stated above, “lemma” means argument or choice. So in an Eastern approach to problem solving, there are four possible choices or resolutions:  (1) X;  (2) Y;  (3) both X and Y; (4) neither X nor Y.  Such an approach widens and opens up the possibilities and creative thought process for problem solving.

Back to Mr. Levin’s binary election. In the dilemma approach that Mr. Levin applied, he had two choices: X=Hilary Clinton or Y=Donald Trump. But in tetralemma problem solving we have (1) X=Hilary Clinton; (2) Y=Donald Trump; (3) =both Clinton and Trump; (4) = neither Clinton nor Trump.

Obviously number (3) is not an option. But number (4) is!  Mark Levin, and every other voter who thinks that neither Hilary Clinton nor Donald Trump is fit to hold the office of the Presidency, has other options. There are other candidates running. The Libertarian, Constitutional, and Green Parties all have candidates in this race. There is a write in option as well. I know the “dilemma” knee jerk reactions. People say either (1) a vote for any of those is a wasted vote or (2) it won’t matter anyway because the Electoral College elects the President not the popular vote. Again, thank you Aristotle!

I’d like to take a broader and longer view of the problem. I’d like to look at it as something other than an absolute and from a higher perspective as well.

When Ted Cruz spoke to the Republican Convention, he angered many Republicans by suggesting that people vote their conscience. He did not explicitly endorse Donald Trump and his suggestion was interpreted as having the effect of a vote for Hilary Clinton. But Cruz was doing what we say we want in our leaders. He was standing by his conviction. He was following his conscience and suggesting others do the same. He stood with his country, and his party, but would not overtly and in good conscience endorse a man he did not believe to be fit for the office. We would all do well to listen to our own internal guidance system, which some call intuition and others call “gut”, and act in accordance with its prompting.

Further, have we not learned by now that there are as many choices in or lives as we have the courage to make? Have we not yet come to understand that media and politicians and people who lust after power want us to believe we have only the choices they put before us? Have we not yet grasped the true blessing of free will… as well as the responsibility that accompanies it and the consequences of abdicating it?

I hear only one voice publicly espousing and living the broader option. Radio host Glenn Beck has held firm in that neither Clinton nor Trump is fit for office and so he is voting otherwise. Beck is more focused upon voting his conscience than on limiting himself to what externals tell him he must do. I get that. I didn’t vote for Barack Obama in 2008 because I had an intuitive feeling that he was not what he appeared to be.  Almost everyone I knew voted for him.  I look back knowing I did the right thing for myself and my country. In the end, that’s all we have. Our word and our conscience. I want to be able to live with both. I suspect so does Mr. Beck.

AI and technology are teaching us, at warp speed,  just how little we comprehend about reality and the limitless boundaries of human creativity and consciousness. We are on the cusp of experiencing just how literally we create our reality. And so, Mr. Levin, I already live in a world and have an understanding of the critical importance of my thoughts and my actions.

Therefore, Mr. Levin, this is not a binary election. To the contrary, it is much more than that. It is an opportunity to be the best we can be by refusing to settle for the least among us.  That is the future I and others are creating and we ask you to join us in that creation.

Carole

contact@carolegold.com

 

 

 

Sarah Palin vs Barack Obama

“Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.” Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals

Barack Obama-SarahPalin

In the 2008 election, the power of ridicule was out in force and on full display.  It was the main tactic used by the left to help Barack Obama ascend the Presidency. During that presidential season, John McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, was mocked relentlessly by the main stream media concerning her qualifications, demeanor and intelligence. It was done in order to destroy her party’s chances of winning.  Democrat advocates who produced and starred in the comedy show Saturday Night Live went to great lengths to her with the infamous Tina Fey impersonations.

The viciousness and scope of these attacks were so pointed and over the top that even commentators began to question the relentless assault. The hubris of the media and leftist Hollywood in thinking that it was their duty to educate the American voters on how unqualified Palin was and, to be blunt, what an ignoramus they deemed her to be.

Personally, I thought that the attacks on Sarah Palin were so extreme as to be indicative of the fear the Left had regarding the danger she presented to their chosen candidate, Barack Obama. Plain was actually quite an accomplished person. She had been a newscaster, small business owner and governor of a successful state. She had held real positions of power and  done well in every venture that she undertook.

Normally the focal point of any presidential election is the Presidential candidate themselves given that they are the one who, if successful, will wield the power. For all intensive purposes the Vice President has no real responsibilities and is seen more as an aide and, in some cases, advisor to the President And yet the most pointed attacks were directed at her and not McCain. Given the fact that she was not running for President but rather Vice President,  the attacks seemed disproportionate to the role she was playing in the campaign and would play as VP.

Knowing that Barack Obama, by any measurable standards, was untested and unqualified for the office, they attacked Plain for the qualities that their candidate did not posses. And it worked. In the end, Palin was branded as “not qualified” by the public. Ironically Barack Obama, with zero experience, was seen as infinitely better prepared to handle the office.

In order to elect Obama, the media did their part to bring down Sarah Palin. Obama’s lack of qualification was stunning and apparent for all to see; yet, incredulously, he was not the subject of their scrutiny.  Any halfway decent journalist could have scratched the surface of Obama’s history to find a paper thin resume.

  • Although Barack Obama’s academic institutions’ credentials are impressive, Columbia undergraduate and Harvard Law, he has refused to release any of his transcripts. His actual performance is unverifiable. If his claim was that he should have been elected President due to his extraordinary intellectual  acumen, then why not release the transcripts in support of that claim?  In addition there have been real questions raised about his time at Columbia given that no students in his program have vouched for him. Not one student or professor has gone on record to say they knew him or saw him there.
  • After Harvard Law School, he worked as a professor and a community organizer.  That was followed by a term in the Illinois State Senate and a term as a U.S. Senator whereupon he immediately ran for the Presidency.
  • The Lefts’ attacks on Sarah Palin were relentless because they feared her. By shifting the focus and the narrative to Palin, the Right was put on the defensive without ever having had the chance, or media support, to investigate and bring up Obama’s lack of experience. “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.” It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign.” Again….Saul Alinsky.

History is written by the victors. This has always been the case and recent history is no different. In many minds, the 2008 election was between Palin and Obama. Obama was smart…or his handlers were. He/They knew that Palin was the threat… not McCain

Irony is that Obama obtained the qualification he desperately needed but at the nation’s expense. His was clearly a case of on-the-job training. We erroneously put so much emphasis on the status of being President as an unparalled accomplishment that we bestow upon those who get there gifts and skills they may or may not have. Remember candidates for President are first and foremost better at one thing more than any other: getting elected.

The Left is not stupid. Far from it. They are focused, organized and take the long term view of things. They knew Barack Obama had not accomplished much in his life prior to winning so, upon assuming the Presidency, they bestowed upon this unaccomplished individual the Nobel Peace Prize for the “hope” that he brought to the world.  Not accomplishment. Just a feeling.

The Left doesn’t trade in facts. It trades in emotion.

This is not revisionist history and the Left knows it. Immediately following the 2008 election, the  Arizona State Board of Directors rescinded an honorary degree given Obama because they felt he was not a sufficiently accomplished person to speak at the event they were holding. They knew that the merit in the Presidency come from what you do once you are in office…not what you claim you’ll do while on the way there.

The consequences of the 2008 and 2012 elections will be with us for a very long time. I know politics is a blood sport but there should be boundaries.  Any rational person who observed what happened to Sarah Plain in 2008 understands the great personal risks involved in seeking the White House.  Its easy to conclude that only power hungry sociopaths would ever want to subjugate themselves to such madness.

The Left’s motto is “the means justifies the ends.” They lived it in 2008 in getting rid of Sarah Palin, and McCain in the process. But take a moment to think about the price paid. Think about the decent and qualified leaders who will never run for elected office because of what the Left did to her.

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com

Mark Dice Exposes America

“What do you think of the candidacy of Karl Marx? People are excited about his candidacy.”

Never mind that Karl Marx was a revolutionary socialist who died in 1883. This was a question posed by Mark Dice to random people during a street “poll.”  Remarkably, people were excited that Marx was entering into the presidential race!

mark dice

Mark Dice is a media analyst with his own YouTube channel. He regularly goes out on the street with his camera and asks people questions about current topics, especially as they relate to politics.

The questions are not hard. There is always a bit of humor or twist built in to questions that can be off putting. Looking at the videos, it seems that 90% of the population can’t answer some of the most basic and fundamental questions regarding the United States and the workings of our system of government.

Looking at the videos has helped me to get a better understanding of what is happening in our country. Over the last ten years, I have felt completely disassociated from my country. Many of the opinions, beliefs and attitudes that my fellow citizens hold are anathema to me.

The beliefs I held, just a generation ago, would have placed me in main stream America. Basic things such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the right to bear arms are now considered, in many circles, outside of mainstream thought.

Think I’m crazy? Look at these examples:

  • Most universities have implemented “safe zones” whereby students and faculty have areas where all members feel safe, welcome and included. No offensive speech is allowed and people who violate this decree can face expulsion or  worse.  These “safe zones” are the opposite of free speech. I believe this movement, along with politically correct speech, are forces designed to curtail all Americans’ rights to free speech.
  • Obamacare, which was created to give medical insurance to all Americans, has no religious exemption rule. One of the provisions within Obamacare includes access to contraception and abortion. So even religious orders are now being required to pay for abortion services even though this is contrary to their tenants of their faith.  Obamacare seems hell-bent on destroying the religious rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
  • The politicization of each and every shooting seems to have one goal in mind: the abolition of all weapons ownership weapons by the citizenry.

The only reason we have “safe zones, Obamacare, and a push to ban guns is because lawmakers know that Americans won’t object. If you don’t know that these rights are established within the Bill of Rights and guaranteed by the Constitution then there will be no complaint once these things are taken away. There is no opposition because most Americans lack the knowledge required to maintain personal freedoms.

In previous generations, Progressives were very effective at using the court system and the judiciary to achieve their goals. However,  Progressive wins were necessarily difficult to gain and, many times, those gains were reversed. The Progressives learned from their mistakes and now win battles by having injected themselves into the education system and “not educating” scores of children. Progressives knew it was easier to dumb down the populace to achieve their ends rather than trying to fight an educated populace.

Think of the progress the Progressives have made. The generation before us fought the Cold War against Russia, whose main goal was to spread Communism throughout the world. The Cold War ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Yet, twenty five years later with no sense of history, Americans voted in droves to try to elect Bernie Sanders to the Presidency. Sanders is an unabashed and avowed Communist.

Sadly, I have come to the conclusion that Mark Dice’s interviews are not outside the norm. They are the new normal. A friend of mine recently ran for a Senate seat. He told me that his political consultants advised him that in the business of politics only 10% of the electorate has any understanding of the issues.  He was taken aback by the number and did not believe it. But, after a year of campaigning, he realized that the 10% number was correct.

This lack of knowledge being demonstrated by our citizens will lead us to ruin. A Catholic priest once told me that one of main problems he continually encountered when people sought his guidance was a complete unawareness of their moral obligations and failings. In fact, one his favorite scriptures that he used to shed light on this problem was  “My people die due to a lack of knowledge.” In other words, lack of knowledge about one’s faith and moral failings can lead you to ruin.

Not knowing something is not an excuse for bad behavior. I think the priests analogy applies aptly to the current mess in which we find ourselves.  Yes, the educational system has failed many; but, at the end of the day we alone are responsible for educating ourselves.

Given the extreme and immediate problems our nation faces, many issues can no longer afford to be disregarded. A twenty trillion dollar defect…no border…just to name two of the pressing ones.  Both Clinton and Trump have said things that make me think they each have fascist leanings. Fascism holds that right and wrong are just matters of opinion and rulers should do whatever they think necessary to govern and control the populace: no exceptions.  Clinton knows that we have a massive student debt yet her solution is forgiveness of that debt. Trump, unhappy with some of the trade deals, plans to nullify most of them. Neither of these two candidates see themselves bound by their Constitutional limits. Barack Obama has opened that floodgate.

Combine unrestrained leadership  with a citizenry who neither knows nor cares about liberty and personal responsibility but who actually seeks a heavy-handed approach to problem solving, and you can see a deeply disturbing outlook surfacing on our national horizon.

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com

 

Cinema Paradiso Revisited

This past weekend I had the pleasure of watching one of my favorite movies of all time and one the worst movies I have ever seen. Talk about conflict!

CinemaParadiso

The first one is an Italian film, Cinema Paradiso, focused on family and personnel growth. The second is soft porn, Good Luck Chuck, masquerading as a comedy.

Cinema Paradiso came out about twenty years ago. Good Luck Chuck is much more recent.  Chronologically, the time between them is a blip; but, examining them culturally, the rapid degradation of the art form is nothing short of riveting.

Cinema Paradiso begins right after World War II in a small town in Italy. The story line centers around a young boy named Toto and his friend Fredo. Fredo becomes a father figure to Toto as Toto’s father was killed during World War II.

The two develop a relationship around Fredo’s job, where he runs the only movie theater in town. He teaches Toto how to run a screen projector which, at the time, was an actual trade. Fredo teaches and mentors Toto on cinema, generally but more importantly, on life. In so doing, Fredo sees in Toto the seeds of greatness.

When Toto becomes a young man, Fredo forces Toto to promise to leave the town and never return. Toto’s gifts and talents are so great that Fredo knows they were meant to be shared with the world and not confined within such a small community. Fredo tells Toto that if he ever returns, he will never speak to him again.

The scene is beautiful and poignant in that Toto leaves the only place wherein he is truly loved. He leaves  his widowed mother and sister, as well as Fredo, to explore and conquer the rest of the world.

Many years later, having become a fabulously successful businessman, Toto returns to attend Fredo’s funeral.  The town is clearly in awe of Toto’s fame as his dealings are well documented in the press.  He returns a conquer, of sorts, but without family. In essence, that was the price he had paid for the life he lived. His true loves had been formed, and left, in this small town — friends, family and the unrequited love of a girl with whom he had attended school. Toto and Fredo sacrificed much having loved each other as only father and son can. Yet, both knew the price of greatness. The love that Fredo (and Toto’s family) felt for him would have only slowed him down.

There is something special about human nature that compels us to want to keep those we love and cherish close to us; but, to truly love someone is about encouraging, then allowing, them out into the world so that their greatness can be revealed. Cinema Paradiso captured this with beauty and grace..

Fast forward twenty years later to “Good Luck Chuck.”

It centers around Chuck, who at age thirteen, was cursed by a girl for not kissing her during a game of spin the bottle. Chuck’s curse is that women can find their “one true love” after having sex with him. Chuck is forever destined to be alone since anybody he “loves” i.e “has sex with him” then leaves him to find their true love.

As women discover that “Chuck” is a good luck charm, they throw themselves at him with reckless abandon. He begins to have sex with anybody and everybody. He is shown having rampant sex in every conceivable position. So plentiful and frenzied is Chuck’s sex life that the director splits the screen into four mini-screens so that we can fully capture his prowess. In one particularly depressing scene, Chuck goes to visit his friend for advice only to find him pleasuring himself with a grapefruit.

The movie, though billed as a comedy, is really soft porn. I never once laughed during the movie and I was beside myself to think that a director would actually think that a man pleasuring himself with a grapefruit was somehow funny.

Good Luck Chuck” featured Jessica Alba and Dane Cook, both of whom are considered talented professionals. Many people were involved in the to direction, production and marketing of this movie. Yet no one involved intervened to stop this abomination. It is a sad state of affairs that this film made it to the movie theaters. It’s showing only reinforces my belief that our culture has descended to a nearly unprecedented low

I don’t know when sex got linked to humor, but it seems that those lacking in creativity or talent resort to it for cheap laughs. I saw it up close around 2000 when I went to see Susie Essman, from “Curb your Enthusiasm” preform at a comedy club. I thought she was funny and quite talented so I wanted to see her live. Sadly, her whole show revolved around her haranguing a family of ten from Ohio.  Like me, I imagined they came in hoping to see a talented comedian.  Instead she asked everyone’s preference regarding sex (anal- homosexual-positions, etc.). She even asked the elderly mother and father about their sexual history. They laughed nervously, so as to go along with the routine, but I knew they had been humiliated. They had come as a  family to have a few laughs. Instead were psychoanalyzed by a middle-aged-sex-obsessed (now pseudo) comic. Her performance was truly pathetic. I felt sorry for the family that had been unwittingly subjected to Essman’s maliciousness as she tore into them for cheap laughs. Perhaps I should take solace in the fact that not one person  laughed during her entire set.

The degradation found now in our “arts”…movies and television… is truly frightening.  During the last decade or two, television has gone so far as to develop a new archetype, the anti-hero, which is on full display with shows like “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.” These are “heroes” so flawed we root against them.

Our heroes no longer inspire. They are, however, on display as a reflection of our culture and how far we have fallen.

When “Cinema Paradiso” came out it coincided with the end of the First Gulf War.  Since that time, Hollywood has harangued the political class and the military for the wars and violence in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And yet, Hollywood can not, or will not, acknowledge that much of the anti-American sentiment now in full display throughout the Middle East (with the exception of Israel) is also a result of the cultural rot that America exports through its cinema and television  programing.

Movies have the ability to raise us up or tear us down. In service to its own political agenda and cultural demise, Hollywood is hell bent on lowering society’s cultural norms. I only hope that new mediums such as YouTube will seek to inspire a new generation of artists to acknowledge and seek to produce the greatness and power of human creativity.

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com