Spiritual ethics in today’s world are not as easily recognizable as they once were in ages past. Essential, spiritual ethics means that a man or woman is able and more than willing to incorporate their religious or spiritual beliefs into all part of their life and daily living.
It is interesting to note, historically, how religious beliefs and politics do not often mesh well. In today’s political race in the U.S., women’s issues are of utmost interest to me, personally. It is interesting to me, for example that Mitt Romney, a member of the Mormon Church, is going to have to deal with political issues that could affect his standing in the church, or, at least, his conscience with regard to his religious beliefs.
In Mormonism, there are three degrees of “heaven”. Should a husband pass away first, then when his wife dies, she goes to the first level. While the husband is likely to be in the third level by that time, it is his choice to call the wife up to the second and finally, third heaven to be with him and family. This is a simplified version of the process, as explained to me by two Mormon missionaries in the late 1930′s.
Inn the Mormon Church, there is a strict and well ordered system of male leadership. A woman is not allowed to become a Elder, nor a Bishop, and never be considered to become an Apostle. In Catholicism and other religions, still to this date, women are not allowed in the Priesthood. I am sure there are other examples in other faiths.
It would seem to me that all this inequality with regard to the sexes to be an inhibitor where a political candidate is concerned. If the candidate, is truly involved with his/her church and commitment to the principles, teachings and dogmas of that church, then going again same in the political arena would certainly affect their “salvation”.
I do not “belong” to any religion organization, per se, as I see them as institutes of humankind and not of God. I do however, follow a spiritual path toward enlightenment and ascension as a Mystic.
Looking at all of the issues at stake in the US Presidential election, I am more concerned, as a woman, with the spiritual ethics behind a Mormon President. I could never, for example, vote for a candidate who does not see and value women as equals with men. I believe in shared responsibility and team-work between the sexes. Any religion that treats women as second class citizens is off my radar in terms of who I would vote for in any political race.
For certain, I cannot vote for a Mormon president, nor for a Catholic president. I watched John F. Kennedy, a professed Roman Catholic, go against his Church’s teachings privately via media reports and have little or no respect for how he meshed his so-called faith with his political responsibilities. I cannot vote for Mitt Romney because I do not want to live in a country where a President’s belief systems put woman in secondary roles and does not allow them the same opportunities within the church as a man.
The Age of Aquarius will eventually work past these inequalities and bring the feminine ray and the masculine rays to their equal and shared empowerment. As a voter, I think spiritual ethics should play a huge role in how we consider important issues and which candidate we choose to vote for. I continue to pray for the best possible human being with the highest practice of spiritual ethics to take the reigns in the coming four years…on all levels of government, both Federal and State.
Organization of Professional Readers & Astrologers
Psychic Sage Phone Line
http://www.psychicsage.org (opening soon)
At a time when barking dogmas are snarling loudly and crapping up the airwaves with dogma doo, here are two very promising conferences coming up. Even if you can’t be there in person, you can follow them on Facebook, read about them, and at the very least send them your intention, encouragement and prayers. The first event is the Coffee Party Conference to take place in Louisville, Kentucky the weekend of September 24th-26th. In contrast to the very partisan Tea Parties seeking to “take America back,” the Coffee Party is a transpartisan movement designed to bring all sides together to take America forward.
In addition to my friends and colleagues Frances Moore Lappé, Joseph McCormick and Jim Rough being present, there will be a Transpartisan Dialogue and a “Mock Constitutional Convention,” the first step in reconstituting the Constitution and putting the “people” back into government of, by and for the people. You can find out more here: http://coffeepartyusa.com/content/about-us
The second important event this fall is the Global Summit II: Humanity Uniting for a Sustainable Future, to be held at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, November 8th to 10th. Sponsored by Empowerment Works, featured speakers include Global Exchange’s Kevin Danaher, visionary Barbara Marx Hubbard, author John Perkins (“Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”) and many more. The event calls forth a “collaborative forum” to address the all-important question, “What will it take to create a sustainable future?”
Imagine … Think Tanks Where They Think About More than Tanks!
In a new era of global leadership, The Global Summit presents an exciting opportunity for everyone to participate directly in “Solution Councils”– mini think tanks creating global solution-based citizen-direct actions. More than an event, The Global Summit is a beginning – providing a worldwide partnership framework for bridging ideological, social, economic, and technological divides between artists, social entrepreneurs, non-profit and for-profit businesses, educational institutions and responsible media groups with policy makers-enabling mass collaboration for a sustainable future.
If you’re ready to be part of the collaborative solution and weave your own mission, vision and heart’s desire with an emerging Humanity, please go here to register now and get 20% off.
As my friend and co-heart Caroline Casey would say, “Co-operators are standing by.”
Wilbur “Will” Allen, a former White House employee and Air Force One engineer under U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, has stated that Everett Bellamy (Senior Assistant Dean of Georgetown Law Center), on behalf of John Podesta, who is a full-time faculty member at Georgetown Law Center, a former White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton (1998-2001) and Co-chair of the Obama Transition Team (2008-9), told Mr. Allen that the frequent UFO and extraterrestrial over flights and landings on the U.S. Capitol that Mr. Allen is able to document photographically using state of the art high definition equipment could, if made widely public, “destabilize society,” and urged Mr. Allen to cease his activity documenting these UFO/ET over fights and landings.
Ironically, at a November 14, 2007 press conference at the National Press Club, John Podesta himself called for public examination of the UFO phenomenon, stating, “It was the law.”
Mr. Allen is a professional photographer who was trained in photography and photographic analysis at a CIA film laboratory and has produced photography for major motion picture companies such as Warner Brothers and record labels such as DefJam.
Mr. Allen’s declarations are made in a wide-ranging exclusive radio interview with reporter Alfred Lambremont Webre on ExopoliticsRadio.org.
Mr. Allen’s photographs of UFOs flying over and landing on the roof of the U.S. Capitol on July 16, 2002 were taken 50 years from July 16, 1952, when UFOs were photographed over the U.S. Capitol. Mr. Allen’s historic photographs of the July 16, 2002 event together with UFO sightings and landings by U.S. Senate buildings, and the Washington Monument are set out a Slide Show in the article below.
In his in-depth Exopolitics Radio interview (available to Examiner.com readers in the article below), Mr. Allen, who grew up on U.S. military bases and now resides in Washington, DC, reveals that at age five he was visited by a group of “four to five grey extraterrestrials in silver spacesuits” who implanted him with a device.
That implant device went undetected during all the years of his military and White House service, and now signals him to go to specific locations in Washington, DC where he is instructed to photograph extraterrestrial craft and personnel that through hyperdimensional Star gates at extremely high speeds. Mr. Allen, who has reported some of these UFO/ET landings to the U.S. Capitol Police states that the police have told him his photographs confirm ET/UFO landings their officers are also encountering.
Mr. Allen believes that his photographs, which are forensic in quality, document that the same intelligent hyperdimensional civilization was behind the July 16, 1952 and the July 16, 2002 flyovers of the U.S. Capitol. These UFO/ET flyovers are continuing into the present. Mr. Allen states that the civilization communicating with him and directing his photographic documentation of their hypervelocity landings on the U.S. Capitol are “grey and human-hybrid.”
Seattle Exopolitics Examiner
An open letter to Republicans from Michael Moore. The great thing about the health care law that has passed? It will save Republican lives, too.
To My Fellow Citizens, the Republicans:
Thanks to last night’s vote, that child of yours who has had asthma since birth will now be covered after suffering for her first nine years as an American child with a pre-existing condition.
Thanks to last night’s vote, that 23-year-old of yours who will be hit one day by a drunk driver and spend six months recovering in the hospital will now not go bankrupt because you will be able to keep him on your insurance policy.
Thanks to last night’s vote, after your cancer returns for the third time — racking up another $200,000 in costs to keep you alive — your insurance company will have to commit a criminal act if they even think of dropping you from their rolls.
Yes, my Republican friends, even though you have opposed this health care bill, we’ve made sure it is going to cover you, too, in your time of need. I know you’re upset right now. I know you probably think that if you did get wiped out by an illness, or thrown out of your home because of a medical bankruptcy, that you would somehow pull yourself up by your bootstraps and survive. I know that’s a comforting story to tell yourself, and if John Wayne were still alive I’m sure he could make that into a movie for you.
But the reality is that these health insurance companies have only one mission: To take as much money from you as they can — and then work like demons to deny you whatever coverage and help they can should you get sick.
So, when you find yourself suddenly broadsided by a life-threatening illness someday, perhaps you’ll thank those pinko-socialist, Canadian-loving Democrats and independents for what they did Sunday evening.
If it’s any consolation, the thieves who run the health insurance companies will still get to deny coverage to adults with pre-existing conditions for the next four years. They’ll also get to cap an individual’s annual health care reimbursements for the next four years. And if they break the pre-existing ban that was passed last night, they’ll only be fined $100 a day! And, the best part? The law will require all citizens who aren’t poor or old to write a check to a private insurance company. It’s truly a banner day for these corporations.
So don’t feel too bad. We’re a long way from universal health care. Over 15 million Americans will still be uncovered — and that means about 15,000 will still lose their lives each year because they won’t be able to afford to see a doctor or get an operation. But another 30,000 will live. I hope that’s ok with you.
If you don’t mind, we’re now going to get busy trying to improve upon this bill so that all Americans are covered and so the grubby health insurance companies will be put out of business — because when it comes to helping the sick, no one should ever be allowed to ask the question, “How much money can we save by making this poor bastard suffer?”
Please, my Republican friends, if you can, take a quiet moment away from your AM radio and cable news network this morning and be happy for your country. We’re doing better. And we’re doing it for you, too.
P.S. I’ll have more to say on this tonight, live on CNN, at 9pm ET. I’ll be talking with Larry King about the health care bill and where we go from here, considering we still don’t have universal health care.
P.P.S. In case you missed these photos in yesterday’s NY Times Sunday Magazine… That’s the results of seven years of madness. The Iraq War began its 8th year this weekend. How can we remove more of those responsible for this tragedy in November?
A Letter to the President:
Dear President Obama,
How outstanding that you’ve been recognized today as a man of peace. Your swift, early pronouncements — you will close Guantanamo, you will bring the troops home from Iraq, you want a nuclear weapon-free world, you admitted to the Iranians that we overthrew their democratically-elected president in 1953, you made that great speech to the Islamic world in Cairo, you’ve eliminated that useless term “The War on Terror,” you’ve put an end to torture — these have all made us and the rest of the world feel a bit more safe considering the disaster of the past eight years. In eight months you have done an about face and taken this country in a much more sane direction.
The irony that you have been awarded this prize on the 2nd day of the ninth year of what is quickly becoming your War in Afghanistan is not lost on anyone. You are truly at a crossroads now. You can listen to the generals and expand the war (only to result in a far-too-predictable defeat) or you can declare Bush’s Wars over, and bring all the troops home. Now. That’s what a true man of peace would do.
There is nothing wrong with you doing what the last guy failed to do — capture the man or men responsible for the mass murder of 3,000 people on 9/11. BUT YOU CANNOT DO THAT WITH TANKS AND TROOPS. You are pursuing a criminal, not an army. You do not use a stick of dynamite to get rid of a mouse.
The Taliban is another matter. That is a problem for the people of Afghanistan to resolve — just as we did in 1776, the French did in 1789, the Cubans did in 1959, the Nicaraguans did in 1979 and the people of East Berlin did in 1989. One thing is certain through all revolutions by people who wish to be free — they ultimately have to bring about that freedom themselves. Others can be supportive, but freedom can not be delivered from the front seat of someone else’s Humvee.
You have to end our involvement in Afghanistan now. If you don’t, you’ll have no choice but to return the prize to Oslo.
P.S. Your opposition has spent the morning attacking you for bringing such good will to this country. Why do they hate America so much? I get the feeling that if you found the cure for cancer this afternoon they’d be denouncing you for destroying free enterprise because cancer centers would have to close. There are those who say you’ve done nothing yet to deserve this award. As far as I’m concerned, the very fact that you’ve offered to walk into the minefield of hate and try to undo the irreparable damage the last president did is not only appreciated by me and millions of others, it is also an act of true bravery. That’s why you got the prize. The whole world is depending on the U.S. — and you — to literally save this planet. Let’s not let them down.
I’m a home grown American citizen, 53, registered Democrat all my life. Before the last presidential election I registered as a Republican because I no longer felt the Democratic Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. Now I no longer feel the Republican Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. The fact is I no longer feel any political party or representative in Washington represents my views or works to pursue the issues important to me. There must be someone. Please tell me who you are. Please stand up and tell me that you are there and that you’re willing to fight for our Constitution as it was written. Please stand up now. You might ask yourself what my views and issues are that I would horribly feel so disenfranchised by both major political parties. What kind of nut job am I? Will you please tell me?
Well, these are briefly my views and issues for which I seek representation:
One, illegal immigration. I want you to stop coddling illegal immigrants and secure our borders. Close the underground tunnels. Stop the violence and the trafficking in drugs and people. No amnesty, not again. Been there, done that, no resolution. P.S., I’m not a racist. This isn’t to be confused with legal immigration.
Two, the TARP bill, I want it repealed and I want no further funding supplied to it. We told you no, but you did it anyway. I want the remaining unfunded 95% repealed. Freeze, repeal.
Three: Czars, I want the circumvention of our checks and balances stopped immediately. Fire the czars. No more czars. Government officials answer to the process, not to the president. Stop trampling on our Constitution and honor it.
Four, cap and trade. The debate on global warming is not over. There is more to say.
Five, universal healthcare. I will not be rushed into another expensive decision. Don’t you dare try to pass this in the middle of the night and then go on break. Slow down!
Six, growing government control. I want states rights and sovereignty fully restored. I want less government in my life, not more. Shrink it down. Mind your own business. You have enough to take care of with your real obligations. Why don’t you start there.
Seven, ACORN. I do not want ACORN and its affiliates in charge of our 2010 census. I want them investigated. I also do not want mandatory escrow fees contributed to them every time on every real estate deal that closes. Stop the funding to ACORN and its affiliates pending impartial audits and investigations. I do not trust them with taking the census over with our taxpayer money. I don’t trust them with our taxpayer money. Face up to the allegations against them and get it resolved before taxpayers get any more involved with them. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, hello. Stop protecting your political buddies. You work for us, the people. Investigate.
Eight, redistribution of wealth. No, no, no. I work for my money. It is mine. I have always worked for people with more money than I have because they gave me jobs. That is the only redistribution of wealth that I will support. I never got a job from a poor person. Why do you want me to hate my employers? Why ?? what do you have against shareholders making a profit?
Nine, charitable contributions. Although I never got a job from a poor person, I have helped many in need. Charity belongs in our local communities, where we know our needs best and can use our local talent and our local resources. Butt out, please. We want to do it ourselves.
Ten, corporate bailouts. Knock it off. Sink or swim like the rest of us. If there are hard times ahead, we’ll be better off just getting into it and letting the strong survive. Quick and painful. Have you ever ripped off a Band?Aid? We will pull together. Great things happen in America under great hardship. Give us the chance to innovate. We cannot disappoint you more than you have disappointed us.
Eleven, transparency and accountability. How about it? No, really, how about it? Let’s have it. Let’s say we give the buzzwords a rest and have some straight honest talk. Please try ?? please stop manipulating and trying to appease me with clever wording. I am not the idiot you obviously take me for. Stop sneaking around and meeting in back rooms making deals with your friends. It will only be a prelude to your criminal investigation. Stop hiding things from me.
Twelve, unprecedented quick spending. Stop it now.
Take a breath. Listen to the people. Let’s just slow down and get some input from some nonpoliticians on the subject. Stop making everything an emergency. Stop speed reading our bills into law. I am not an activist. I am not a community organizer. Nor am I a terrorist, a militant or a violent person. I am a parent and a grandparent. I work. I’m busy. I’m busy. I am busy, and I am tired. I thought we elected competent people to take care of the business of government so that we could work, raise our families, pay our bills, have a little recreation, complain about taxes, endure our hardships, pursue our personal goals, cut our lawn, wash our cars on the weekends and be responsible contributing members of society and teach our children to be the same all while living in the home of the free and land of the brave.
I entrusted you with upholding the Constitution. I believed in the checks and balances to keep from getting far off course. What happened? You are very far off course. Do you really think I find humor in the hiring of a speed reader to unintelligently ramble all through a bill that you signed into law without knowing what it contained? I do not. It is a mockery of the responsibility I have entrusted to you. It is a slap in the face. I am not laughing at your arrogance. Why is it that I feel as if you would not trust me to make a single decision about my own life and how I would live it but you should expect that I should trust you with the debt that you have laid on all of us and our children. We did not want the TARP bill. We said no. We would repeal it if we could. I am sure that we still cannot. There is such urgency and recklessness in all of the recent spending.
From my perspective, it seems that all of you have gone insane. I also know that I am far from alone in these feelings. Do you honestly feel that your current pursuits have merit to patriotic Americans? We want it to stop. We want to put the brakes on everything that is being rushed by us and forced upon us. We want our voice back. You have forced us to put our lives on hold to straighten out the mess that you are making. We will have to give up our vacations, our time spent with our children, any relaxation time we may have had and money we cannot afford to spend on you to bring our concerns to Washington. Our president often knows all the right buzzword is unsustainable. Well, no kidding. How many tens of thousands of dollars did the focus group cost to come up with that word? We don’t want your overpriced words. Stop treating us like we’re morons.
We want all of you to stop focusing on your reelection and do the job we want done, not the job you want done or the job your party wants done. You work for us and at this rate I guarantee you not for long because we are coming. We will be heard and we will be represented. You think we’re so busy with our lives that we will never come for you? We are the formerly silent majority, all of us who quietly work , pay taxes, obey the law, vote, save money, keep our noses to the grindstone and we are now looking up at you. You have awakened us, the patriotic spirit so strong and so powerful that it had been sleeping too long. You have pushed us too far. Our numbers are great. They may surprise you. For every one of us who will be there, there will be hundreds more that could not come. Unlike you, we have their trust. We will represent them honestly, rest assured. They will be at the polls on voting day to usher you out of office. We have canceled vacations. We will use our last few dollars saved. We will find the representation among us and a grassroots campaign will flourish. We didn’t ask for this fight. But the gloves are coming off. We do not come in violence, but we are angry. You will represent us or you will be replaced with someone who will. There are candidates among us when he will rise like a Phoenix from the ashes that you have made of our constitution.
Democrat, Republican, independent, libertarian. Understand this. We don’t care. Political parties are meaningless to us. Patriotic Americans are willing to do right by us and our Constitution and that is all that matters to us now. We are going to fire all of you who abuse power and seek more. It is not your power. It is ours and we want it back. We entrusted you with it and you abused it. You are dishonorable. You are dishonest. As Americans we are ashamed of you. You have brought shame to us. If you are not representing the wants and needs of your constituency loudly and consistently, in spite of the objections of your party, you will be fired. Did you hear? We no longer care about your political parties. You need to be loyal to us, not to them. Because we will get you fired and they will not save you. If you do or can represent me, my issues, my views, please stand up. Make your identity known. You need to make some noise about it. Speak up. I need to know who you are. If you do not speak up, you will be herded out with the rest of the sheep and we will replace the whole damn congress if need be one by one. We are coming. Are we coming for you? Who do you represent? What do you represent? Listen. Because we are coming. We the people are coming.
An Open Letter to President Obama
By People For Change
Firstly the warmest and most resolute of Congratulations to you for your success and appointment as the 44th President of the United States of America. Possibly the most people ever united simultaneously in our country will join you in spirit and cause for your Inauguration, all sharing in your personal belief for change and a better way.
There is no more important role than the call to public service you have answered, and may your term in office be blessed with all the wishes for success and prosperity that the country behind you can muster. To the hard work by your growing team, the tireless efforts of your staff, and the direct sacrifice of your family and friends – our heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you for working to make a difference.
The principles of your campaign, the admiration and loyalty of your staff, and your testament to change has already served and inspired many to new levels of service and hope before you have even begun. It is within this spirit that I contribute the below, with the hopes that anything useful – however significant – can make a difference.
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There has been an unarticulated rumor long in America that any Presidential Candidate, by nature of them moving into the position of even being considered for the Presidency, has already compromised their position to effectively serve as such, simply because of the collective baggage and pledged obligations they would have inherited during their trek for the oval office itself. Your personal evolution and the pathway you have taken seem to be the first in a long time that has shaken this philosophy, and many hope that it provides the catalyst to truly challenge the establishment and rock its traditional mold.
Hopefully to the core where real change has been so long overdue.
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For a time that will find you perched upon many difficult crossroads, my prayer is that you will be able to avoid the information filters that have plagued other leaders, and that you will constantly search for new interpretations and ways to measure and grow the macro for which you will be responsible. Already your cabinet selections are forming, each with their own unique experiences and respective philosophies. The culmination of which combined with your leadership direction can have a magnificent bearing.
While none of us are in possession of the crystal ball that lets us see cause and effect from a range of varied actions, I would urge you: Seek out from above that which our society in past has taken for granted. Your objective interpretation of internal views of the macro will be in many ways the most important ally you have through the creation of policy decisions and recovery plans. Challenge the facts that are presented to you. Find new ways to quickly cultivate data that you can navigate through for accurate decisions.
The power and success of your administration will rest in being able to phrase and ask the right sets of questions, which will allow for a refined and better look at the assumptions that are too often at the core of our current difficulties. These basic assumptions are the factors that are undermining most policy decisions within today’s day and age, and unfortunately most leaders cannot decipher the difference.
This is not the lesson that you will want to reflect upon 48 months from now.
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To many the perception is clear: nearly every facet of our political, government, and legislative bodies in our country are seemingly corrupted, or serve as little more than commercial representatives prioritizing the needs of their underlying contributors. Many politicians have furthermore been hand placed, not due to their work ethic, or objective capability for cooperative advancement of a random goal, but for their specific known field of vision and reliability to move in an expressed direction on a relative topic.
Our government still very much resembles a throw back to the days of frontier discovery, whereby land tycoons and development groups would groom, finance and place their selected “Yes Man” on the basis of a singular vote or lobbying movement. All these years later, and the best we can still seem to do is pave the way for rampant fraud, criminal corporate activities, deregulation for profiteering, and some of the largest wealth transfer schemes perpetuated in the history of our globe.
It would be nice if the next phase of our country’s transition could embrace a higher ideology than just capital contribution rates. Our new foundation should read: any public servant, by nature of the importance and significance of their action and activities, and the dire consequences that can befall a great number of people through abuse of these privileges, will subject themselves to be held to a higher level of accountability.
It seems very clear that our leaders, expressed generally as politicians, can cause fairly significant damage when using their influence and legislative powers to pave the way for change that opens doorways to deceit and decadence. To be further compensated for it – openly or otherwise – only makes it worse. We can only hope that one day history looks back and laughs kindly at the irony of government officials in modern age initiating and voting on platforms that actually prevent their open disclosure requirements on corporate contributions and the platforms for which they serve.
Maybe anyone that continues to serve in public office past 2009 can take a new oath?
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Economic Recovery Plan
I for one hope that as our new President you never forget that the Obama the people were drawn towards and put their faith into was the one standing tall long before discussions of economic demise, bailout requirements, stimulus packages, and banking pay offs began to saturate and cover every media channel in our country. It is an absolute shame to see such a well articulated and bright bridge-builder and natural leader having to completely adapt their administration to deal with such a troublesome time. Especially when world wide the necessity for a clear-headed moral leader has never been graver, and none of your supporters ever wanted a 2009 Bailout and Recovery plan to define you.
With respects to the depth of talent you are assembling to meet this challenge head on, your tactical plans under counsel, and the level of significance it plays for our future, the following are submitted with due respect:
1. Firstly I would recommend that you work as quickly as you can to separate the bailout initiatives attached to the stabilization bill of 2008 far from your broader and more directly managed recovery and stimulus plan for 2009. You should have a clean and clear precedence that escapes all connection with the prior activities and decision making of the former administration.
2. These concepts of hurry, must rush, no time to waste, immediate, swift, dire consequences, etc., with regards to your implementation strategies and timelines represent the vernacular of two terms of misled guidance we have already stomached in the past. I would personally do away with them, as no one is questioning the capability or authority by which the new administration will be led. There is no shortage of confidence that you are coming with gloves off.
3. The real questions and concerns that most people have will be how measured and intelligent will the new administration be in their approach and execution of newly formed stimulus plans, and will you truly be able to implement smart management over common government realities of waste, misappropriation, biased contract allocation, service cost inflation, and the ingrained feeling that anything the government buys costs twice as much. Even harder to calculate are the things that they buy in a hurry.
The single greatest fear that many people now collectively share for the short term has somehow morphed into unease at the ambition and eagerness that the new administration is showing to throw as much capital as is seemingly possible at the wall, and hope that it sticks with the end result of job creation, economy stimulation, and a recovery plan. One million jobs, two million jobs, four million jobs, it would seem that the numbers fluctuate as needed just to ensure that no one opposing will have the courage to stand in the way of this type of promise for progress.
We seem to be in such a hurry to spend hundreds upon hundreds of billions of dollars, simply for the sake of doing so, while ironically most average people do not even understand what they are being “recovered” from. Furthermore, the track history of our government is ill-conceived direction, misinformation for the benefit of others, subtle transfer of wealth to foreign investment firms, and a catalog of shady deals involving politicians, government leaders, and our nation’s best and brightest CEO’s that has even tyrants overseas guilty of the most immoral crimes shaking their heads in disgust.
One thing is for sure: another stimulus check issued irresponsibly in mass is not the answer to any problem beyond thirty days. You cannot initiate handouts under any guise without first changing the way people view their situation, their attitude towards savings, the type of items they purchase in times of uncertainty and depression, and a realistic view point of where they are and where as a country we can go. The concept of savings has been completely eliminated in the US, replaced by campaigns of fear that have caused the exact reverse effect. Hence the irony of the negative reports that every news channels in operation has quoted for five months now. Consumer confidence measured by other methods is actually as high as it has ever been. We just have less to spend.
The machine is quickly outgrowing its capability to be sustained.
Furthermore any research firm worth their salt could tell you that the biggest immediate impact that stimulus checks makes is on the direct reduction of open parking spaces in Wal-Mart. And with a retail system completely designed around selling comfort foods and other items of escapism to as many visitors as they can, this is not part of any “stimulus package” most would vote for with hindsight. There is most obviously individuals who apply it immediately to critical life items, but the ratio of waste over application is high enough to deem another way is needed. The management of the swift macro factor, as an example here, does not positively offset, warrant, or justify the overall loss factor as a non-efficient strategy.
There is always a better way, and we owe it to ourselves to find it. There is nothing in your administration’s mantra that states that in the interests of fast leadership, or the appearance of quickly moving executive decisions, that we must accept the status quo of how industries work and appear in the short term as our only playing cards.
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Thinking Bigger than Ever Before
Had the country known ten years ago that it would one day be facing an “overnight” $3 trillion dollar hole, with potentially ten million jobs to be lost over 24 months, a reduction of service and sales billings by almost 30%, and a staggering lack of confidence and confusion as to what America has become to the world, what would it do differently?
One thing is positive for sure: the ridiculous size of handouts, compromises, and the battle cry of recovery at seemingly any cost has done one thing – raise our tolerances and perceptions of what is possible. Had we known half of what we do now, we could have simply spent an inconceivable $200 billion in 1999 and received trillions in positive feel good factors for two decades, compounded by the aggregate of all the loss and hardship cases it would have prevented through a brand new direction. It would have made the really tough decisions on healthcare, banking reform, Wall Street accountability, and oil imports look like walks in the park. The question is – how much will we have wished we invested today on reflection ten years from now?
And that type of planning and thinking might just set us free.
Oil Drilling / Refinery / Fuel Distribution – At what stage do we consider simply nationalizing a portion of our own fuel supply capabilities? If we will nationalize investments into false securities at double their market value – knowing they will likely never be recovered – certainly we can consider ensuring that a critical infrastructure as precious and important as energy for our nation can be harnessed without the necessity for corruption, extortionist mark-ups, and partnership scandals. When will oil get the real attention it deserves, beyond hand picked past leaders who spend their entire existences working to direct all policies for the expressed benefit of their base supporters?
Green / Alternative Energy Technologies – Nothing is clearer on the pathway we are on than the detriment being created to our Earth and environment. Let’s not wait until we are told that scientists missed the compounding effects of our planet’s conditions, with catastrophic consequences coming within a five year horizon. If NASA can funnel billions with no accountability for years utilizing Arthur Andersen, certainly as a nation we can consider nationalizing research and development into alternative energies, new cell technologies, and the emerging advancements of our time. Simultaneously, let’s have the oversight and common sense needed to ensure that we do not handicap 80% of all investment dollars into this field through waste, fact assumption, and misappropriation (see Green Energy section). This is too important for our future to get wrong.
Healthcare and Hospital Management – If hospitals want to convert to investment funds, pharmaceuticals want to focus on fraud, and pharmacy distributors want to play swap schemes to pull billions away from the unsuspecting, then deal with them head on. How about the investment of a manageable $50 billion fund into the creation of 1 to 2 new nationalized hospitals and treatment centers in the top 40 states needing them most. Ultimately if you are going to subsidize America anyway, you might as well hold more of the cards and subsidize your investment into a platform that actually gives back.
An intelligent supplementary health care system could work like this: 25 million Americans move to a national healthcare program, where they pay a flat fee of $500 to $1000 per year. The health centers can start off by generating up to $25 billion in medical contributions per year for reinvestment back into operation of the providers, growing research divisions, technical capabilities, and specialty divisions to handle ailments.
Of equal importance, we can integrate new technical training and internship programs within each of the care centers, and work towards attracting doctors that do not need a high six to seven figure salary yearly due to their market area or specialty. People caring about people, and there are a lot of them hurting in America ready to pitch in and do their part. There has never been a more important time to deal with this critical facet.
And let’s avoid business as usual, where gouges in real estate development, construction contracts, political zoning, purchasing waste, and logistical issues drive up the price 200% more than is needed. Quality without compromise – without politicians lining palms. While we are at it, make qualification for this health care plan a two way obligation, with citizens who elect to take advantage of its lower cost responsible for common sense upkeep on their own bodies, e.g. moderate exercise and/or some type of commitment to activities that help them enhance the health quality of their own lives.
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At some stage, apparently our country will grow large enough where we will be forced to acknowledge the fact that we will not get through the future without widescale collapse if profiteering enterprises continue their choke hold on us. It is directly evident that the congressional members past elected will not actively work as a team to repair these problems, as individual income sources and obligations stand in the way through clear conflict of interest. At what stage do we recognize that our critical infrastructure components have transitioned out of control, and need to be repaired accordingly?
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Small Steps Make Big Noises
Knowledge Management – You can never have enough intelligent people thinking for you. For every $500 million dollars spent, revisit the way data is collected, stored, harnessed and used, and remember that ten good people constantly thinking outside the box can create an aggregate of positive gain incalculable through a single breakthrough. Many in corporate management already suffer from reduced thinking, simply because they are not allocated (or do not prioritize) time for real thinking. While daily workloads can dictate the requirement for fast executive decisions, more often than not this can breed intellectual complacency, long term waste through lack of efficiency planning, poor channel planning, and ultimately high risks of failure due to poor insight. All the things that your new administration cannot afford during these trying times.
The Obama Simple Steps Program – One of your greatest attributes is the ability to harness technology with your unique symbolism, and for zero (or very low) cost create compelling messages, and special requests that can allow America to embrace and harness the power of collective movement. Whether you do it, or you appoint an entrusted and media-friendly representative to do it for you, the small things with the right leader will add up: water reduction during teeth cleaning, a philosophy of recycling a specific item, adapting routine activities, shutting off lights, etc. With a bit of thought, there are hundreds of such strategies that do not openly conflict or provide detriment to critical industry sectors. Morph and grow them into lifestyle choices by showing people the power of unity and choice. As a nation it is worth billions.
America Must Get Healthier – The fact is we have never been as afraid or as unhealthy as we currently are. More must be done to encourage personal accountability, as estimates for healthcare strains covering the next 3, 5, and 10 year periods relating to this specific problem are grossly understated. With minimal work, a national spirit, and the right leader, millions will embrace small changes if given the opportunity and incentive.
Education at a Terrible Cost – Somehow educational costs have managed to grossly outpace nearly all other forms of inflation, in some cases skewed as much as 400% off what it should be. Real estate developers posing as technology centers and incubators, technology licensing, internally commissioned product representatives, fraudulent money distributions through dozens of non-exposed loopholes, and a tolerance of exorbitant cost allowances have no room in a breaking society committed to change.
Transitional Planning – One of the greatest detractors from modern progress is in fact how often that real transitional planning is missed and overlooked. It undermines past attempts at healthcare changes, stimulus packages, and recovery programs, isolates team members that may be unable to communicate their reservations, and has been a bane of this country’s infrastructure planning for decades. More must be done to consider the unique ramifications of real tactics, and to harness mid to long term planning strategies to truly see all the facets, variables and respective realities that result through execution.
Mechanisms to Fund It – The greatest irony to many of our most difficult dilemmas is that there are a dozen new ways to recover from every problem, and many answers are available for free simply by asking the right person the right question. The base philosophy has to be that no matter what you are doing, you can do more. No matter who is thinking for you, more need to be utilized or retained. No matter what pathway seems convenient due to timing and availability, there is always another available to you that will yield greater results with less potential consequences.
May you have the strength and wisdom to find them all.
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The Green Energy Debacle
Your tactical focus and aggressive stance on Green Energy development would seem on surface to be the easy choice for positive momentum for the future. Understandably it should exist as a sizable platform for any tactical recovery plan for the future.
After all, the right mix of budget allocation with commitment has positive environmental impact, stimulates a new emerging market, enhances our foreign export levels, yields new jobs and employment opportunities, and can reduce reliance on oil imports.
Please though Mr. President – do not let planning and implementation of the Macro within this sector rob you of your ability to identify and understand the largely unspoken challenges associated with this arena. Even a thorough approach to detailed knowledge management against our national progression in this field will not provide the immediate facts you will need at your disposal to determine suitable and accurate strategies.
The industry as a whole has been subjected to investment and trading philosophies that are flatly not sound, as early adopters have explored various outward trading mechanisms to reap more lucrative financial advantages. Subsequently, there has never been a more important time in our history to ensure that our best thinkers are involved, so that you can ensure team leaders can accurately identify and be held accountable for their decisions.
As an example, some of the baseline efficiencies associated with many of the more common alternative energy producers (wind, solar, hydro, etc.) are not accurately being calculated or reported on a consistent basis. In some cases, they are falsely skewed as it relates to their short, mid and long term benefits, with artificial numbers utilized simply so energy credits can be generated for others to offset penalties related to technology upgrades. In other scenarios, separate entities are purposely established to sign purchase agreements for electricity generation that are not backed through a capitalized instrument, simply so parties under new company names can sell, float, and move energy increments around – whether existing or not.
Without a real Green Energy Authority, we again risk falling victim to the same pattern that plagues our country for every emerging new industry: those in the early years profit to such heavy proportions that they can offset a decade of positive gain through their own positioning and greed. Apart from factors that cause components from early R&D and manufacturing to be greater, already many solutions in the green power sector are being billed at three to five times higher than their legitimate cost for implementation.
As example, the popular model of townships being qualified to inherit the “advantages” of being selected for a $50 million wind power plant, that in five years we will expect to cost a quarter of that. It may take two decades to cover any real advantage financially, but the manufacturers in participation with the investment fund holders will work the investment and all parties will be paid. Ironically this same township would often not be qualified to receive a $500,000 grant, so that they could make common sense energy and efficiency adjustments related to insulation, light bulbs, filtration systems, etc.
And the coupe de grace – there would be a good chance that any certificates or emission credits generated by the plant are just as likely to find themselves being sold to the most complacent of anti-environment organizations, to further prolong upgrades of their own.
Can we really afford to go into this without our eyes being wide open? Not even factoring the billions in investment that has already poured into alternative energy investments, many have done so on the belief that the 2009 administration would open Pandora’s Box for capitalization of green-based certificates, credits, and emission incentives.
Any new plan for green energy conversion should also look well beyond the completed technologies that will already be at the table, each with their elected congressman in tow. Do not accept the status quo of currently available alternatives, or the impact of our wrong decisions will be felt so heavily by our children, that the consequences could be flatly immeasurable. Ultimately every $100 billion spent with only 20% value gain wastes $80 billion that grows our deficit further without cause. With real focus and commitment, the innovations of 2010 will supersede everything you have to at your disposal for planning and fund allocation within this year.
As long as the link between our energy providers and our national legislation remains as one utilized for little more than an enforcer of necessity, our real advantages are and will continue to be dissipated through the hands of greed. As it is, even the SEC doesn’t have the manpower or resources to handle the surge of hundreds of pink sheet companies that have launched. Many of them under the guise of green energy and actively using your sound bites to part retirees with their money every day of the week.
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The Myth of Foreign Oil Dependence
Over the past five years, few things have appealed more to the masses than the Golden Affirmation of eliminating our dependence on foreign oil supplies. Known as the battle cry for hundreds of alternative energy companies traded, the protagonist used by our last administration to warrant and pitch lucrative land assignments for domestic drilling, and of course the must-include political campaign tool for all sides during any election.
This boogey man, however, is in fact used more often than not as orchestrated rhetoric, a dangerous symbol of the times that continues to represent exactly what we are best at doing: shifting accountability on to someone else’s shoulders.
Given the evolution of oil, mining and refinery processes, and the use of United States technological processes to support this chronology over the past eight decades on an international basis, the notion that our future is held by foreign entities that are under handedly controlling us at the pump is ridiculous at best. Especially as many of our treaty pretenses (and Allied structures at that) were focused around management of these critical infrastructure items in the first place.
All the while accountability at home suffers in greater proportions than ever before – all because we have been convinced it is someone else’s fault. While we are told that the high price of oil (partly driven by false demand projections by companies on Wall Street) results in $4.00 a gallon gasoline in the past, US companies post record profits with windfalls of $10 billion to $16 billion every 90 days. Not even counting businesses established offshore or structured under hundreds of subsidiaries to reduce taxes.
When the price of oil per barrel collapses, suddenly the largest of these entities are expressing absolute doom and gloom – even when their last quarter profits would be the equivalent to a decade of normal earnings in traditional times. Not long later, the most illogical of wars and conflict erupts and streams as headlines as substantiation why prices at the pumps do not follow the newly declined price per barrel.
It would also seem from the initial recovery strategies and spending plans I’ve read that you are not in on another secret so here you go: In addition to the monstrous US based profits that are managed to keep up the illusion, distribution companies also buy fuel from themselves positioned as foreign entities. That way they shift large portions of the taxable income as the product appears more expensive to purchase than it really is.
The time to treat our energy concerns as a critical infrastructure is now. The trickle down effect is not working, and the people past entrusted are so busy spending that they could no longer even bother keeping up the illusion of prosperity. We are leveraged thirty times over our true national economic model, and if anything ever in the history of the world needed to be shifted from special interest control, it is the attention and management of a critical infrastructure as important as fuel consumption.
By the way – how much of that first truncheon of “recovery” money do you think was used to cover losses by firms who were buying up all they could at $135 a barrel, convinced it was shooting to $185, and then found themselves with an overnight total company devaluation of 15 to 30%??
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Obligations to the Bailout Plan
Frankly more should be done to demystify and educate the public on the $800 billion recovery package created in September of 2008 under the guise of Stimulus. At best, it risks undermining real planning strategies that could put our country back on course. It is hard to even contemplate the worst given the misinformation, half truths, and key players involved in its creation, especially considering the smoke screen approach used just weeks before most of the key players would be exiting their positions anyway.
Call me a cynic, but I start with the proposal initiated by our exiting Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs (a bailout recipient), who spent 32 years with the firm, and earned roughly $50 million in compensation between 2005 and 2006, not including his $200 million in shares sold so “no conflict of interest would exist”. In 2004, Paulson as the head of Goldman Sachs, joined several other banking leaders (almost all bailout recipients) to convince the SEC to release their investment houses from the net capital rule, a sensible clause that keeps them from spending more capital than they have and leveraging past their financial capabilities.
The banking leaders were aware that an act in 1999 would essentially put them beyond any oversight, and Paulson himself convinced the SEC chairman to dismantle the risk management office that should have processed voluntary inspections as a failsafe.
In 2006, George W. Bush appoints Paulson as Treasury Secretary, and literally two years later Paulson is proposing (and receives approval on) the largest direct bailout package confirmed by Congress in our history. An incestuous trail of recipients is woven, in large representing top congressional and Republic Presidential campaign contributors. And of course many (if not all) of the original banking leaders that lobbied the SEC. The irony of course being that all of them are now in “trouble” – because they were allowed to over extend and leverage themselves past a point of manageable security. Directly related to the fail safes that the Treasury Secretary himself had worked to remove.
With more than a 90% disapproval rating demanding that it be turned down (which is ironic given the fact it has been billed as an economic stimulus plan for the country), our congressional members did what they seemingly do best: they clung to basic party ideologies, positioned for media opportunities, and stuffed the bill with ridiculous additions that should be classified as an assault on intelligence. (NASCAR track building periods, Puerto Rico Rum duty reductions, duty reduction extensions on Wool and Wool research, excise exemption for wooden children arrows, etc., etc., etc.).
Within all of this high profiled reviewing and media positioning, many in politics simply took a safety position, adapting several low profile but common sense inputs on how to minimize potential loss factors. Most didn’t know how to even decipher and respond, and the White House with Paulson in tow played the perpetual fear card without ever really satisfying the lack of comprehension that was common place for the time.
However the following perceptions are puzzling:
A key portion of this “irrecoverable” loss was attributed to declining real estate values, whereby entire blocks of loans were essentially being foreclosed on and the investment houses were eating the difference of the loan default value against the adjusted lower property value. However no matrix for evaluation, analysis, planning, or recovery was ever created, discussed, or shared.
There was no encouragement for open disclosure that would have led 145 qualifying investment houses to output easily accessible data for recovery planning. For example – 30, 60, 90, 180 day default ratios, estimated market declines by regions against non-payments on their books, foreclosure rates by asset value versus current amortization formulas, contributions of front loaded interest accounts against principle reduction techniques – anything that showed a quantifiable base of loss that could be better managed through a tactical and timed approach. And be used to create an equally usable formula to minimize losses across the board through payment negotiations.
Even simple math says that you don’t spend lump sum $20 billion per organization against default write offs, when a detailed and strategic number will always exist where by payment negotiations, foreclosure extensions, and even strategies to systematically extend the default periods in easier to swallow sums could be managed within a fraction of that total amount. Not even counting the fact that the securities that Paulson negotiated with his former firm and other associate groups paid roughly double what a typical investor or shareholder would have ever considered like for.
No accountability – no transparency – and even in follow up reports absolutely no willingness to discuss the transactions with senior media, with nearly all declaring the same practiced spin: “the bulk of the monies was applied against our total operating capital, and there is no way we can isolate or identify how the stimulus dollars specifically were earmarked or utilized within company operations”. Now the pacification strategy we are given for the future is that the next batch will be used more strategically by the Treasury department, and count on more active transparency.
The extra layer of irony here of course (as just reported in the latest offshore tax report), is that the nine major recipients between them hold some 1400 strategic foreign entities and nearly 650 specific corporations arranged within tax havens. The fact that we could be handing out this type of capital (or even half of it as commonly retorted as a measure of an improved situation) and not consider this prior should be a crime.
The key point here is: new administration or not, there is an overlapping cast of characters and participants, leaders and followers, voters and benefactors that have already proven at the most vital time that attention to detail would in fact slip. Since September the general attitude has been one of expressed teamwork and cooperative approach to not rock the boat. And no finger pointing!
But then, who would the vacating Treasury Secretary really be able to point at?
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How About “No We Won’t”
In the spirit of No More, Not Wanted, Not in America:
1. The status quo of letting the guise of democracy support and protect free roaming and abusive capitalists, intent on running us into the ground at any expense, without a second’s consideration of the consequences. It seems that we have been converted into a share-crazed nation of index focused retirement seekers, resulting in more than 50% of senior citizen wealth stolen, transferred and demolished every seven to ten years in a repetitive and highly predictable cycle. All the while real questions asked are met systematically as an attack on Democracy.
2. Banks and investment fund groups that are able to leverage their political influence to circumvent and remove traditional checks and balances system that had prior guided percentage rates of fund distributions to minimize risk exposure. For ten years, real estate moguls have driven up artificial values within their portfolios in growth areas, grossly skewing cost of living ratios, value perspectives, and associated costs of managing and retaining employees. Beyond the fact that some areas experienced 1500% valuation increases, few of our national leaders or banking officials seemed to be able to recognize this until the market had already crashed by 40% of their invested value.
3. Many politicians cling heavily to party ideologies, solely because it is the only thing they know they can cement themselves to so as not to be revealed that they are little more than a conduit for the achievement of special interests they are indebted to. It all boils down to the fact that real progress for the people continues to be stifled by groups who still have the capacity to post $15 billion profit levels every 90 days while complaining about market factors, who hide behind tiers of legislative policy they themselves initiated, who squander short term gain in favor of influence control over everything from tax haven laws to the invasion and conquering of other nations, who stand in the way of lower cost alternatives for medical advancements – even to the point of restricting sales of items that offer cures only reserved for the most wealthy. Enough has got to be enough.
4. The magazines, investment groups, and media channels that make it a point through tradition to highlight the wealthiest of us all, as an aspired target to reach. The irony of which is that most wealth is falsely projected against an unachievable value ratio that over leverages worth, and caters and encourages underachievement, false reporting, dubious accounting, short term tactics with no regards to consequences, and some of the most ridiculous decision making and direction that is literally selling any hope of a recoverable future down the river. All for the upside of a short term gain already locked in, received, and processed for protection. The number of legitimate business people making real money from real sales and service without a false valuation factor is rapidly dwindling.
5. The media is charging our collective consciousnesses with a non-stop onslaught of sensationalized headlines, permeating through every portion of our lives, that not only distort accuracies in the interests of ratings achievement, but of more dire consequence they intentionally and falsely subvert their respective readership bases to match finely coordinated agenda strategies behind the scenes. Gross and clear – to the point that if they could be tabulated and expressed within a table against the parties they serve and the motivations they are manipulating, it would create a paradigm within most normal people that would leave them feeling abused and disgusted. We call part of this the art of Politics.
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The economic crisis we face is not just a series of challenges relating to job security, loss reconciliation, sales and service reductions, and re-establishing consumer confidence.
It stands to reason that if we honestly address more spending in an effort to preserve and safeguard the quality of life expectation we aspire to, that it cannot be assessed only against this broken system of self-serving agendas, and the rampant commercial baggage that mires the field of vision and points of concern for our collective leadership pool.
Everything here has the same root: our inheritance of decades of special interest groups that permeate every portion and facet of our trusted government infrastructure, a system wrought with the byproduct of groomed and placed policy makers.
Our action together should extend to drawing a clear and measurable line in the sand, whereby the Voice of America raises with a unified message:
The time for corruption and prioritization of special interest groups is over.
Let the Voice of America ring strong and clear.
Yours in Service,
RSD / Pitfall Planning
January 21, 2009 “PFC”
I am positive we are in deep financial doo-doo.
This should come as no surprise what with our body politic afflicted by Mad Cowboy Disease, Truth Decay, and Irony Deficiency, all of which have led to the most devastating condition of all, Deficit Inattention Disorder. As for the bail out plan, unfortunately most of the perpetrators have already bailed out using their golden parachutes, so when the crash comes they will have nothing to worry about. Meanwhile, according to the most recent Greenspan Report, the average American family barely has enough “green” to span the average month. So those of you spiritual folks who’ve long envisioned a moneyless society, your patience is paying off. We’re almost there!
Friends, the economy is in trouble.
It’s a buy-ological fact. A healthy economy is a thriving multi-sell system that needs buyers and sellers. If we look at buying and selling as energy exchanges, we see that that is what life is about — moving energy. An entity that doesn’t move energy is inert. Another word for inert is “dead.”
So the issue isn’t about whether things will be bought and sold, the issue is what are we buying? We build a healthy economy by buying that which builds health, and the more we buy healthy things the more we focus our energy on creating more health. While it is understandable why one might go into “financial hibernation” to preserve valuable resources, giving and receiving is how life continues.
As we collectively awaken with a terrible hangover from our economy’s long borrowing and spending binge, we might ask ourselves, what is truly valuable? What builds health, sanity and functionality? What in our economy do we want more of, and what do we want less of? Every dollar is a vote, so maybe now is the time to vote for what we are most devoted to. So perhaps the economic crisis isn’t about withholding giving … but rather about giving more authentically. It might mean giving a service, a loving homemade gift. It might mean buying selectively from local, green or organic businesses.
Fortunately, money isn’t wealth. In and of itself, it is worthless. If you doubt that, try this simple experiment. Eat your money. While high in fiber, paper money has little nutritional value. And here is something even more amazing. A hundred dollar bill has no more nutritional content than a dollar bill.
So here’s the real good news. As surely as the sun comes up every morning, we have more abundant wealth than we know what to do with. Wealth is energy, and how that energy is used. Not only have we been given solar energy to grow our food and power our lives, we’ve been given soul energy as well – to use and magnify our resources wisely. With the collapse of the house of credit cards economy, we can finally get real. We can use the two most underdeveloped resources on the planet, love and imagination, to re-grow our Garden and have a heaven of a time doing it.
What are YOU doing to help?