…where Life and Spirit become One!™” Practical Lesson #1

Is Hell freezing over? We actually seem to be having a change in the weather here in Southern California…

The day is overcast and there is something like a 40% chance of rain today and nearly a guarantee for tomorrow. God knows we need it, but I and everyone who thinks about such things is concerned about the burn areas, no coverage and 4″ of rain makes for soup and mudslides.

On occasion, I go on about the press and it’s apparent lack of real news and the dumbing down of America.

When I was a kid, we used to watch the local news for, oh my God, local news, weather and sports. Afterwords the Network news would come on and give us the National and Inter-National stories for the day.

Now maybe it’s just LA (somehow I doubt it) but the lead stories this morning were the latest collection of killings and robberies and “Storm-Watch ’09.” The joke about Los Angeles is sadly true, “LA is the only town where a light sprinkle get a ‘Storm-Watch’.”

The other day I heard a headline that went something like; “State Study Determines Danger of Landslides in Recent Burn Areas.” Someone actually spent tax dollars to determine this? No wonder we are broke in the State of California, which reminds me of the story “Will California be the Country’s First Failed State?”

Do you ever wonder why you hear about Government cutting the funding for Education and then they complain that the students are either dropping out or failing to pass their courses? Hospitals and Social Care programs lose money then more people enter the uninsured rolls and get the majority of their health care in emergency rooms (THE most expensive way of dealing with issues). What outcomes do you expect?

Why is our nation loathe to have business and the more successful pay an equal share with what they tax me? Remember that story a few years ago of an executive that actually announced that he was somewhat ashamed that he paid less in taxes on his 6 or 7 figure salary than his secretary did on her 5 digit one?

Every time someone mentions raising the upper level tax rates, the claim of unfair tax increases for this group gets voiced. Here’s a little research project for you, look at the tax rates of, oh say, 1980. You will find that the tax rate on all income over $88,000 for a single individual was 50%, today the top rate on the IRS rolls is 35%, period (by the way, the maximum corporate income tax is 38%, at least till you get to 18,333,333 when it drops back to 35%) these numbers are from IRS instructions for 2008 1040 and 1120 forms.

When this subject and others like it come up I tend to hear all sorts of bitching about them, but I rarely hear anything constructive, little less relatively solution oriented. So here are a few ideas that could be the basis of a beginning to correct these issues. Lets start a new American Revolution of awakening the masses and striking terror into the hearts of the power brokers…

   EDUCATE Yourself   
My more paranoid and/or conspiracy theory friends and acquaintances believe that the failure of the educational system is a deliberate attempt to keep the common folk from uprising since they are/will be to stupid to do otherwise.

In this age of the Internet and nearly unlimited information, you can become a PhD in nearly any subject you please without spending a lifetime in school. Sure, you need to be careful as far as verifying the validity of information you find on the Internet, but, trust me, so does the information from TV and Radio “Talking Heads” as they nearly all have “their” perspective and biases (does anyone REALLY believe Rush Limbaugh is truly an objective individual on his show?). As I have discussed previously, even our institutions of learning are not exempt from excess posturing and biases by professors, no matter what your perspective.

   Make your voice heard   
I’m not talking about just showing up at protest marches, but writing and emailing the decision makers in their respective fields. Write the News Director of your local TV stations and express your disappointment at the lack of REAL news on the program.

Contact your elected Congress and House of Representative members. I hear people complain about the money and power of the special interests in Washington, but they only have money, YOU have the votes that keep them in office and trust me, THEY know it.

   Show your support financially   
In today’s world of Corporate Culture and Bean-Counters that do nothing but look at the bottom line, hit those you disagree with where it hurts, their pocket books!

I, for example, think that Walmart should offer both full time hours to their employees and health insurance. As it stands now, they expect the public to pick up the tab since they will not offer much of any health-care benefits. They say that it would raise their costs and then the prices they charge the consumer, so explain Costco which offers excellent wages and an excellent benefits package and they do not have nearly the volume of Walmart.

The defeatist will say, how can my little financial protest stop these major corporations and though by yourself it cannot make much of a dent. But, imagine if millions were to join you? How many people walking away from company X and shopping at company Y before company X gets the message? 100,000? 1,000,000? As the expression goes, “it starts with ONE” be it a step or dollar.

   Start with yourself   
In all of these, the point starts with a single focal point, YOU! The simple fact is that the power is yours and only you can give it up.

Do you know how ice forms? A single crystal will form and that starts a chain reaction as more and more crystals form adjoined to the first. The big picture will take care of itself, but you have the knowledge that you are doing your part, others will follow.

   On election days, GO VOTE!   
My mother used to tell me that America is a great country and asks so little of us, it really only asks that we inform ourselves and make our voice heard on election day.

Here’s something you might find interesting, in 2004 George W. Bush was re-elected by a 51% vote amongst the estimated 61% of registered voters that cast ballots (he called this a mandate, gads!). Some estimate that only 60% of people who are eligible actually are registered, that means about 18-20% of the people who could have voted actually voted for Bush.

Think about this, if the people who are dissatisfied with government today could come together and vote as a block to support REAL reform in Washington, it would only take 6 years to perform a complete overhaul of the Federal Government. Talk about a bloodless coup!

People may have to let some of their personal issues take a beating in the short term, but try voting for substance, vote for the big picture; reclaiming the government of the people, by the people, and for the people back to the people.

Sadly, people tend to be a bit like lemmings, they will follow the crowd off a cliff until someone offers another alternative. Stand up and offer that alternative!

The world truly is what we make of it and if we wish to sit on your butt and just whine about “it going to the dump” and refuse to do something about it, then I say shut the f’ up if you are unwilling to be part of the solution. Doing nothing makes you just as responsible, but are you REALLY going to be happy with what you are responsible for?

By the way, I hear people throwing around the word “fascism” and tend to think of the fanatical cult of one, like a Hitler or Mussolini. Mussolini once defined fascism as follows:

Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power

So the gauntlet has been thrown down, put up or shut up, and decide what is more important to you. If you want government to be more responsive to the people than to business and special interests, get off your ass and do something.

All good actions are never in vain, so I ask you to consider these simple ideas and consider joining this small beginning to the new revolution.

Written by R. A. Burgener

After finishing the 850 mile trek of self-rediscovery on California's El Camino Real from San Diego to Sonoma, California, Robert continued, via Greyhound, to Portland, Oregon, where he is becoming familiar with the concepts of weather and seasons after 30 years in Los Angeles.

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