Council on Aging Makes Scarecrows

Council on Aging Makes Scarecrows

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Fernandina Beach, FL – The Council on Aging Adult Day HealthCare seniors spent a lovely Amelia Island fall day making scarecrows with Fernandina Beach High School students recently.

Ace Hardware, located in Fernandina Beach, donated the hay for the scarecrow project. The high school students worked hard to create two scarecrows and shared stories with the seniors about scarecrows and Halloween.

They also learned that scarecrows have been in existence in farmer’s fields for more than 3,000 years!

Our new scarecrows proudly stand guard at the Council on Aging Senior Center in Fernandina Beach

The Council on Aging is a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency, the highest level of charitable organization.

We cheerfully deliver critical services to Nassau County seniors in five categories including Meals on Wheels, COA Transportation, In-Home Care, and Adult Day Health Care, while operating two senior recreation centers.

We are partially funded by government grants and donations from private individuals.

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Dock Hooks Ride to Key West Includes Fernandina Beach

Dock Hooks Ride to Key West Includes Fernandina BeachSearchAmelia received this message a little later than we would prefer, but this is such a great cause we just had to share it with our wonderful community!

Here is the message:

“On November 23rd, 2012, the day after Thanksgiving, New Bern, NC native Dock Hooks left Emerald Isle, NC on a beach bicycle to ride to Key West, FL. Two years ago, Dock Hooks lost his only child, Charlie, from addiction to alcohol and drugs. Charlie was in his 20’s at the time of his death. The trip is in memory of his son and to bring attention to the devastation alcohol and drugs can reek in a family. With this ride, Dock hopes to raise $20,000 for the Charlie D. Hooks Leadership Award which is overseen by CCSAP (Coastal Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention).The Charlie D. Hooks Leadership Award provides scholarships and training for CCSAP’s youth advocates, who call themselves SAPHE (Substance Abuse Prevention Helps Everyone).

Contributions to the Charlie D. Hooks Leadership Award help provide leadership and advocacy training for SAPHE youth. SAPHE youth have been a major influence in their communities since shortly after CCSAP’s inception 5 years ago. Youth from the 5 NC counties that make up the Coalition (Carteret, Craven Jones, Onslow and Pamlico) have been both models for and mentors to their peers, advocating for prevention of underage drinking and against misuse of prescriptions drugs. Recognizing the easy accessibility of alcohol for youth, they have worked with retail purchase outlets which sell alcohol to urge them to properly ID their customers, and not sell to those underage. They have advocated for parents and other adults who entertain young people to lock up their alcohol and prescription medications so that they will not fall into the hands of underage youth. To highlight how alcohol and drugs affect the adolescent brain, they worked with a research scientist from Duke University and then spoke to the Legislative Women’s caucus urging them to raise the beer tax. They have researched the economic impact of underage drinking to the community. The SAPHE youth have written letters to the editor, spoken to many civic and political groups and presented at two national conferences gaining recognition statewide and beyond.

To follow Dock Hooks ride to Key West, please go to cdockei2kw.tumblr.com/, or like S.A.P.H.E. or CCSAP on Facebook. Funds raised from his ride will directly benefit our SAPHE youth. In addition to training and travel, six college scholarships from the Hooks Leadership Fund have previously been awarded to SAPHE boys and girls who left home to further their education in college.

Please give this worthy cause some consideration. We are attempting to get broad coverage and hope that you will give the event some exposure. Thank you from the Hooks family, Coastal Coalition for Substance Prevention and the youth of SAPHE.

You may contact me (Shirin Scotten) at publichealthfeet@gmail.com or contact Dock Hooks directly at:

Dock Hooks
CDR/SEAL (Retired), Attorney at Law
PO Box 2390
Atlantic Beach N.C 28512
252-725-2434
dockhooks@mac.com

Thank you!

Shirin Scotten, MPH
Media Coordinator
CCSAP (Coastal Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention)”

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Annual Chamber Awards Dinner and Nominations

Annual Chamber Awards Dinner and NominationsAmelia Island, Florida – Do you know a business or organization that has gone that extra mile to meet your needs or an employee who always offers service with a smile?

Now is your chance to get their hard work recognized!

The Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for its awards saluting achievement by the local business community in 2012.

Nominees will be evaluated on how they fulfilled the Chamber’s mission to promote responsible economic growth, employment opportunities, government and excellence in education and quality of life.

Nominations are sought from the public in seven categories:

    Large Business of the Year (25 employees or more);
    Medium Business of the Year (11-24 employees);
    Small Business of the Year (10 employees or fewer);
    Green Business of the Year;
    Business Leader of the Year;
    Young Business Leader of the Year; and
    Customer Service Representative of the Year.

Nominees must be members of the AIFBY Chamber of Commerce.

A Chamber membership directory and nomination forms with complete nomination criteria are available online at www.islandchamber.com. Nomination forms also may be picked up at the Chamber, 961687 Gateway Blvd., Suite 101G, Amelia Island.

Nominations must be returned to the Chamber by Friday, December 7.

Winners will be chosen from among the qualified nominees by the Chamber’s Board of Directors and announced during the Chamber’s Annual Awards Dinner which will begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday, January 11, 2013, in the Grand Pavilion at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Racquet Park.

Several other awards also will be presented January 11:

    The 2012 Chairman’s Award, given to a Chamber Board of Directors member for outstanding service on behalf of the Chamber;
    The Dr. Harry Halley Bowtie Award, bestowed annually on a longtime Chamber supporter; and
    The Ambassador of the Year Award, honoring a member of the Chamber’s corps of volunteer Ambassadors.

Admission is $55.00 per person for Chamber members through December 21; $75.00 afterwards Members may purchase tables of 8 for $430 through December 21; $600 afterwards. Admission for non-members is $100 per person. Cash bar.

Payment in full must be received by 5 p.m. Thursday, January 3, 2013. No payment or walk-ins will be accepted at the door. Cancellations must be received by 5 p.m. Thursday, January 3, 2013, to receive a refund.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for the Awards Dinner. Contact Chamber Business Development Coordinator Lynne Starling at (904) 261-3248 or lynne@aifby.com for information about spotlighting your business at the awards dinner.

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Holly Festival of Trees 2012

Holly Festival of Trees 2012Mouth of Amelia invites you to The Holly Festival of Trees Gala on Sunday, December 2, 2012, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.

WHERE: Amelia Community Theatre, 207 Cedar Street, Fernandina Beach

WHAT: This festive event features an array of wonderful food catered by “Dinner at Your Place.” Wines and live musical entertainment directed by Jill Dillingham, with silent and live auctions of spectacularly decorated themed Christmas trees, wreaths, and other seasonal items. The dress is casually elegant attire!

WHY: This event is designed to kick off your holiday season and to raise funds for the Amelia Community Theatre Guild which, in turn, supports the theatre in significant ways.

COST: $70.00 per person. Reservations may be made on line at www.ameliacommunitytheatre.org and selecting “act store” OR by contacting Shelia Davidson at actguild@comcast.net, or by calling the theatre at (904) 261-6749. Leave a message with a phone number and you will be called back!

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: www.ameliacommunitytheatre.org.

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Meet the Farmers at the Fernandina Market Place

Meet the Farmers at the Fernandina Market PlaceFernandina Beach Market Place honors the American Farmer each Saturday at the farmers market in historic, downtown Fernandina Beach, Florida. The Market Place, held from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM year round on N. 7th Street, provides the community with a location to purchase healthy fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meats, cheese, jams, breads and more directly from farmers and small business owners in and around Nassau County and NE Florida.

Not all farmers are the same. A crop farmer grows fruits, vegetables and grains while a livestock farmer will raise poultry, cows, pigs or goats, and the horticulture farmer brings a variety of flowers and other plants to the market.

Farmers till the land, plant and feed their the crops, care for animals, repair barns and pens, and work long hours to make sure you have access to a fresh supply of food for your family. Come meet the farmers who come to the Fernandina Beach Market Place; they love to talk about their businesses!

December 1st includes all of your regular, favorite vendors plus a new holiday exhibit of hand-made wreaths. Entertainment will be provided by the Fernandina Beach Middle School Band Students and you can learn everything you want to know about local non-profit, Amelia Island Parent Cooperative Preschool. Parade for Paws is this Saturday as well, and the Market Place welcomes your leashed and well behaved pets.

For more information visit AmeliaIslandMarketPlace.com or call (904) 557-8229.

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17th Annual Holiday Craft Show

17th Annual Holiday Craft ShowMouth of Amelia invites you to the 17th Annual Holiday Craft Show at the Atlantic Avenue Recreation Center feature crafts and vendors of all sorts.

WHEN: Saturday, December 1, 2012 from 9:00 to 4:00

WHERE: Atlantic Recreation Center, 2500 Atlantic Avenue, Fernandina Beach, Florida

WHAT: A huge craft show with artisans and vendors selling Christmas decorations, Guatamalan crafts, woodworking, jewelry, quilts, baby gifts, needle works. Billie McCray will be there with her vast array of birds, pin cushions, baskets, quilts, dolls, and Christmas ornaments.

WHY: To help you with your holiday shopping and give these artisans a nice venue to show off their wares!

COST: The event is free and open to the public.

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Breakfast and a Christmas Show by Theatre Guild

Breakfast and a Christmas Show by Theatre GuildSaturday, December first, the Amelia Community Theatre Guild is hosting breakfast and a Christmas Show!

From 9 to 11:00 AM this fun event also includes a visit and photo with Santa, and a silent auction.

Every child will receive a gift from Santa!

The ACT Guild loves to include children in its activities and this is also an opportunity to raise money for the theatre, too.

Tickets are $20 per person and reservations may be made on line at www.ameliacommunitytheatre.org or by calling the theatre at (904) 261-6749.

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13th Annual Parade for Paws

13th Annual Parade for PawsNassau Humane Society will host the 13th Annual Parade for Paws on Saturday, December 1st, with the walk beginning and ending at the Old Railroad Depot in downtown Fernandina Beach.

Walk 1/2 mile along Centre Street beginning and ending at the Old Railroad Depot. Enjoy fun activities before and after the parade. Late registration begins at 10:00 a.m. and the parade begins at 11:00 a.m.

Registration fee is $10.00 per dog. Awards announced immediately after the parade.

Pre-register online at www.nassauhumanesociety.com/events.html, Second Chance Store (321-0022), Redbones Dog Bakery (321-0020), or the NHS Dog Park (491-1511).

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Ron Paul’s Farewell to Congress

Ron Paul dishes it out to Congress in Farewell Speech

Ron Paul dishes it out to Congress in Farewell Speech

Today, 2 weeks ago the only member of congress whose motivation and ambition I totally trusted gave his farewell speech after 23 years being a member of that institution over a 36 year timespan. Dr. Ron Paul was not only eloquent in the delivery of his speech, he also touched on all the things that are wrong with today’s America.

I know that many of you readers will not sit down the 30 minutes to read and absorb Dr. Paul’s farewell notes, mostly because you have been effectively deceived into thinking that the economy will turn around and give us back the liberty we thought we deserve and we all be living happily and prosperous ever after and that once a bipartisan agreement on the “fiscal cliff” has been reached, this country will return to its former greatness.
I’m not a supporter or believer of that fallacy and facts tell me that at this point there is only one way to go for the middle class; through the ringer.
I have been writing stories on SearchAmelia of politicized economic impact since the great meltdown in the fall of 2008 and for decades before for a large variety of national and international magazines and websites and after reading Ron Paul’s Farewell Note I am now wondering with him: “How Much Did I Accomplish?”
Ron Paul’s consistency throughout his political career has been astounding as far as politicians go. I for one will miss his honesty and efforts to tell America the truth of the State of the Nation.

Dr. Ron Paul’s Farewell Speech Delivered on the House Floor November 14, 2012

This may well be the last time I speak on the House Floor.  At the end of the year I’ll leave Congress after 23 years in office over a 36 year period.  My goals in 1976 were the same as they are today:  promote peace and prosperity by a strict adherence to the principles of individual liberty.

It was my opinion, that the course the U.S. embarked on in the latter part of the 20th Century would bring us a major financial crisis and engulf us in a foreign policy that would overextend us and undermine our national security.
To achieve the goals I sought, government would have had to shrink in size and scope, reduce spending, change the monetary system, and reject the unsustainable costs of policing the world and expanding the American Empire.
The problems seemed to be overwhelming and impossible to solve, yet from my view point, just following the constraints placed on the federal government by the Constitution would have been a good place to start.

How Much Did I Accomplish?

In many ways, according to conventional wisdom, my off-and-on career in Congress, from 1976 to 2012, accomplished very little.  No named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways—thank goodness.  In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues.  Wars are constant and pursued without Congressional declaration, deficits rise to the sky, poverty is rampant and dependency on the federal government is now worse than any time in our history.

All this with minimal concerns for the deficits and unfunded liabilities that common sense tells us cannot go on much longer.  A grand, but never mentioned, bipartisan agreement allows for the well-kept secret that keeps the spending going.  One side doesn’t give up one penny on military spending, the other side doesn’t give up one penny on welfare spending, while both sides support the bailouts and subsidies for the banking and  corporate elite.  And the spending continues as the economy weakens and the downward spiral continues.   As the government continues fiddling around, our liberties and our wealth burn in the flames of a foreign policy that makes us less safe.

His words will be remembered by all of us

His words will be remembered by all of us

The major stumbling block to real change in Washington is the total resistance to admitting that the country is broke. This has made compromising, just to agree to increase spending, inevitable since neither side has any intention of cutting spending.

The country and the Congress will remain divisive since there’s no “loot left to divvy up.”

Without this recognition the spenders in Washington will continue the march toward a fiscal cliff much bigger than the one anticipated this coming January.

I have thought a lot about why those of us who believe in liberty, as a solution, have done so poorly in convincing others of its benefits.  If liberty is what we claim it is- the principle that protects all personal, social and economic decisions necessary for maximum prosperity and the best chance for peace- it should be an easy sell.  Yet, history has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely if ever fulfilled.

Authoritarianism vs. Liberty

If authoritarianism leads to poverty and war and less freedom for all individuals and is controlled by rich special interests, the people should be begging for liberty.  There certainly was a strong enough sentiment for more freedom at the time of our founding that motivated those who were willing to fight in the revolution against the powerful British government.

During my time in Congress the appetite for liberty has been quite weak; the understanding of its significance negligible.  Yet the good news is that compared to 1976 when I first came to Congress, the desire for more freedom and less government in 2012 is much greater and growing, especially in grassroots America. Tens of thousands of teenagers and college age students are, with great enthusiasm, welcoming the message of liberty.

I have a few thoughts as to why the people of a country like ours, once the freest and most prosperous, allowed the conditions to deteriorate to the degree that they have.

Freedom, private property, and enforceable voluntary contracts, generate wealth.  In our early history we were very much aware of this.  But in the early part of the 20th century our politicians promoted the notion that the tax and monetary systems had to change if we were to involve ourselves in excessive domestic and military spending. That is why Congress gave us the Federal Reserve and the income tax.  The majority of Americans and many government officials agreed that sacrificing some liberty was necessary to carry out what some claimed to be “progressive” ideas. Pure democracy became acceptable.

They failed to recognize that what they were doing was exactly opposite of what the colonists were seeking when they broke away from the British.

Exactly my sentiments

Some complain that my arguments makes no sense, since great wealth and the standard of living improved  for many Americans over the last 100 years, even with these new policies.

But the damage to the market economy, and the currency, has been insidious and steady.  It just took a long time to consume our wealth, destroy the currency and undermine productivity and get our financial obligations to a point of no return. Confidence sometimes lasts longer than deserved. Most of our wealth today depends on debt.

The wealth that we enjoyed and at times seemed to be endless, allowed concern for the principle of a free society to be neglected.  As long as most people believed the material abundance would last forever, worrying about protecting a competitive productive economy and individual liberty seemed unnecessary.

The Age of Redistribution

This neglect ushered in an age of redistribution of wealth by government kowtowing to any and all special interests, except for those who just wanted to be left alone.  That is why today money in politics far surpasses money currently going into research and development and productive entrepreneurial efforts.

The material benefits became more important than the understanding and promoting the principles of liberty and a free market.  It is good that material abundance is a result of liberty but if materialism is all that we care about, problems are guaranteed.

The crisis arrived because the illusion that wealth and prosperity would last forever has ended. Since it was based on debt and a pretense that debt can be papered over by an out-of-control fiat monetary system, it was doomed to fail.  We have ended up with a system that doesn’t produce enough even to finance the debt and no fundamental understanding of why a free society is crucial to reversing these trends.

If this is not recognized, the recovery will not only linger for a long time, it may never get here.  Bigger government, more spending, more debt, more poverty for the middle class, and a more intense scramble by the elite special interests will continue.

We Need an Intellectual Awakening

Without an intellectual awakening, the turning point will be driven by economic law.  A dollar crisis will bring the current out-of-control system to its knees. If it’s not accepted that big government, fiat money, ignoring liberty, central economic planning, welfarism, and warfarism caused our crisis, we can expect a continuous and dangerous march toward corporatism and even fascism with even more loss of our liberties.  Prosperity for a large middle class though will become an abstract dream.

This continuous move is no different than what we have seen in how our financial crisis of 2008 was handled.  Congress first directed, with bipartisan support, bailouts for the wealthy.  Then it was the Federal Reserve with its endless quantitative easing. If at first it doesn’t succeed try again; QE1, QE2, and QE3 and with no results we try QE indefinitely—that is until it too fails.  There’s a cost to all of this and let me assure you delaying the payment is no longer an option.  The rules of the market will extract its pound of flesh and it won’t be pretty.

The current crisis elicits a lot of pessimism.  And that pessimism adds to less confidence in the future.  The two feed on eachother, making our situation worse. If the underlying cause of the crisis is not understood (and accepted) we cannot solve our problems. The issues of warfare, welfare, deficits, inflationism, corporatism, bailouts and authoritarianism cannot be ignored.  By only expanding these policies we cannot expect good results.

Everyone claims support for freedom.  But too often it’s for one’s own freedom and not for others.  Too many believe that there must be limits on freedom. They argue that freedom must be directed and managed to achieve fairness and equality thus making it acceptable to curtail, through force, certain liberties. Some decide what and whose freedoms are to be limited.  These are the politicians whose goal in life is power. Their success depends on gaining support from special interests.

No More ‘isms’

The great news is the answer is not to be found in more “isms.”  The answers are to be found in more liberty which cost so much less.  Under these circumstances spending goes down, wealth production goes up, and the quality of life improves.

Just this recognition—especially if we move in this direction—increases optimism which in itself is beneficial.  The follow through with sound policies are required which must be understood and supported by the people.

But there is good evidence that the generation coming of age at the present time is supportive of moving in the direction of more liberty and self-reliance. The more this changes in direction and the solutions become known, the quicker will be the return of optimism.
Our job, for those of us who believe that a different system than the one that we have had for the  last 100 years, has driven us to this unsustainable crisis, is to be more convincing that there is a wonderful, uncomplicated, and moral system that provides the answers.  We had a taste of it in our early history. We need not give up on the notion of advancing this cause.
It worked, but we allowed our leaders to concentrate on the material abundance that freedom generates, while ignoring freedom itself.  Now we have neither, but the door is open, out of necessity, for an answer.  The answer available is based on the Constitution, individual liberty and prohibiting the use of government force to provide privileges and benefits to all special interests.

After over 100 years we face a society quite different from the one that was intended by the Founders.  In many ways their efforts to protect future generations with the Constitution from this danger has failed.  Skeptics, at the time the Constitution was written in 1787, warned us of today’s possible outcome.  The insidious nature of the erosion of our liberties and the reassurance our great abundance gave us, allowed the process to evolve into the dangerous period in which we now live.

Dependency on Government Largesse

Today we face a dependency on government largesse for almost every need.  Our liberties are restricted and government operates outside the rule of law, protecting and rewarding those who buy or coerce government into satisfying their demands. Here are a few examples:
·         Undeclared wars are commonplace.
·         Welfare for the rich and poor is considered an entitlement.
·         The economy is overregulated, overtaxed and grossly distorted by a deeply flawed monetary system.
·         Debt is growing exponentially.
·         The Patriot Act and FISA legislation passed without much debate have resulted in a steady erosion of our 4th Amendment rights.
·         Tragically our government engages in preemptive war, otherwise known as aggression, with no complaints from the American people.
·         The drone warfare we are pursuing worldwide is destined to end badly for us as the hatred builds for innocent lives lost and the international laws flaunted. Once we are financially weakened and militarily challenged, there will be a lot resentment thrown our way.
·         It’s now the law of the land that the military can arrest American citizens, hold them indefinitely, without charges or a trial.
·         Rampant hostility toward free trade is supported by a large number in Washington.
·         Supporters of sanctions, currency manipulation and WTO trade retaliation, call the true free traders “isolationists.”
·         Sanctions are used to punish countries that don’t follow our orders.
·         Bailouts and guarantees for all kinds of misbehavior are routine.
·         Central economic planning through monetary policy, regulations and legislative mandates has been an acceptable policy.

Ron Paul told us

Ron Paul needs to be credited for the largest Libertarian vote in the party's history

Questions

Excessive government has created such a mess it prompts many questions:
·         Why are sick people who use medical marijuana put in prison?
·         Why does the federal government restrict the drinking of raw milk?
·         Why can’t Americans manufacturer rope and other products from hemp?
·         Why are Americans not allowed to use gold and silver as legal tender as mandated by the Constitution?
·         Why is Germany concerned enough to consider repatriating their gold held by the FED for her in New York?  Is it that the trust in the U.S. and dollar supremacy beginning to wane?
·         Why do our political leaders believe it’s unnecessary to thoroughly audit our own gold?
·         Why can’t Americans decide which type of light bulbs they can buy?
·         Why is the TSA permitted to abuse the rights of any American traveling by air?
·         Why should there be mandatory sentences—even up to life for crimes without victims—as our drug laws require?
·         Why have we allowed the federal government to regulate commodes in our homes?
·         Why is it political suicide for anyone to criticize AIPAC ?
·         Why haven’t we given up on the drug war since it’s an obvious failure and violates the people’s rights? Has nobody noticed that the authorities can’t even keep drugs out of the prisons? How can making our entire society a prison solve the problem?
·         Why do we sacrifice so much getting needlessly involved in border disputes and civil strife around the world and ignore the root cause of the most deadly border in the world-the one between Mexico and the US?
·         Why does Congress willingly give up its prerogatives to the Executive Branch?
·         Why does changing the party in power never change policy? Could it be that the views of both parties are essentially the same?
·         Why did the big banks, the large corporations, and foreign banks and foreign central banks get bailed out in 2008 and the middle class lost their jobs and their homes?
·         Why do so many in the government and the federal officials believe that creating money out of thin air creates wealth?
·         Why do so many accept the deeply flawed principle that government bureaucrats and politicians can protect us from ourselves without totally destroying the principle of liberty?
·         Why can’t people understand that war always destroys wealth and liberty?
·         Why is there so little concern for the Executive Order that gives the President authority to establish a “kill list,” including American citizens, of those targeted for assassination?
·         Why is patriotism thought to be blind loyalty to the government and the politicians who run it, rather than loyalty to the principles of liberty and support for the people? Real patriotism is a willingness to challenge the government when it’s wrong.
·         Why is it claimed that if people won’t  or can’t take care of their own needs, that people in government can do it for them?
·         Why did we ever give the government a safe haven for initiating violence against the people?
·         Why do some members defend free markets, but not civil liberties?
·         Why do some members defend civil liberties but not free markets? Aren’t they the same?
·         Why don’t more defend both economic liberty and personal liberty?
·         Why are there not more individuals who seek to intellectually influence others to bring about positive changes than those who seek power to force others to obey their commands?
·         Why does the use of religion to support a social gospel and preemptive wars, both of which requires authoritarians to use violence, or the threat of violence, go unchallenged?

Aggression and forced redistribution of wealth has nothing to do with the teachings of the world great religions.

·         Why do we allow the government and the Federal Reserve to disseminate false information dealing with both economic and foreign policy?
·         Why is democracy held in such high esteem when it’s the enemy of the minority and makes all rights relative to the dictates of the majority?
·         Why should anyone be surprised that Congress has no credibility, since there’s such a disconnect between what politicians say and what they do?
·         Is there any explanation for all the deception, the unhappiness, the fear of the future, the loss of confidence in our leaders, the distrust, the anger and frustration?   Yes there is, and there’s a way to reverse these attitudes.  The negative perceptions are logical and a consequence of bad policies bringing about our problems.  Identification of the problems and recognizing the cause allow the proper changes to come easy.

Trust Yourself, Not the Government

Too many people have for too long placed too much confidence and trust in government and not enough in themselves.  Fortunately, many are now becoming aware of the seriousness of the gross mistakes of the past several decades.  The blame is shared by both political parties.  Many Americans now are demanding to hear the plain truth of things and want the demagoguing to stop.  Without this first step, solutions are impossible.
Seeking the truth and finding the answers in liberty and self-reliance promotes the optimism necessary for restoring prosperity.  The task is not that difficult if politics doesn’t get in the way.

We have allowed ourselves to get into such a mess for various reasons.

Politicians deceive themselves as to how wealth is produced.  Excessive confidence is placed in the judgment of politicians and bureaucrats.  This replaces the confidence in a free society.  Too many in high places of authority became convinced that only they,  armed with arbitrary government power, can bring about fairness, while facilitating wealth production.  This always proves to be a utopian dream and destroys wealth and liberty.  It impoverishes the people and rewards the special interests who end up controlling both political parties.

It’s no surprise then that much of what goes on in Washington is driven by aggressive partisanship and power seeking, with philosophic differences being minor.

Economic Ignorance

Economic ignorance is commonplace.  Keynesianism continues to thrive, although today it is starting to face healthy and enthusiastic rebuttals.  Believers in military Keynesianism and domestic Keynesianism continue to desperately promote their failed policies, as the economy languishes in a deep slumber.
Supporters of all government edicts use humanitarian arguments to justify them.

Humanitarian arguments are always used to justify government mandates related to the economy, monetary policy, foreign policy, and personal liberty.  This is on purpose to make it more difficult to challenge.  But, initiating violence for humanitarian reasons is still violence.  Good intentions are no excuse and are just as harmful as when people use force with bad intentions.  The results are always negative.

The immoral use of force is the source of man’s political problems.  Sadly, many religious groups, secular organizations, and psychopathic authoritarians endorse government initiated force to change the world.  Even when the desired goals are well-intentioned—or especially when well-intentioned—the results are dismal.  The good results sought never materialize.  The new problems created require even more government force as a solution.  The net result is institutionalizing government initiated violence and morally justifying it on humanitarian grounds.

This is the same fundamental reason our government  uses force  for invading other countries at will, central economic planning at home, and the regulation of personal liberty and habits of our citizens.

It is rather strange, that unless one has a criminal mind and no respect for other people and their property, no one claims it’s permissible to go into one’s neighbor’s house and tell them how to behave, what they can eat, smoke and drink or how to spend their money.

Yet, rarely is it asked why it is morally acceptable that a stranger with a badge and a gun can do the same thing in the name of law and order.  Any resistance is met with brute force, fines, taxes, arrests, and even imprisonment. This is done more frequently every day without a proper search warrant.

No Government Monopoly over Initiating Violence

Restraining aggressive behavior is one thing, but legalizing a government monopoly for initiating aggression can only lead to exhausting liberty associated with chaos, anger and the breakdown of civil society.  Permitting such authority and expecting saintly behavior from the bureaucrats and the politicians is a pipe dream.  We now have a standing army of armed bureaucrats in the TSA, CIA, FBI, Fish and Wildlife, FEMA, IRS, Corp of Engineers, etc. numbering over 100,000.  Citizens are guilty until proven innocent in the unconstitutional administrative courts.

Government in a free society should have no authority to meddle in social activities or the economic transactions of individuals. Nor should government meddle in the affairs of other nations. All things peaceful, even when controversial, should be permitted.

We must reject the notion of prior restraint in economic activity just we do in the area of free speech and religious liberty. But even in these areas government is starting to use a backdoor approach of political correctness to regulate speech-a dangerous trend. Since 9/11 monitoring speech on the internet is now a problem since warrants are no longer required.

The Proliferation of Federal Crimes

The Constitution established four federal crimes.  Today the experts can’t even agree on how many federal crimes are now on the books—they number into the thousands.  No one person can comprehend the enormity of the legal system—especially the tax code.  Due to the ill-advised drug war and the endless federal expansion of the criminal code we have over 6 million people under correctional suspension, more than the Soviets ever had, and more than any other nation today, including China.  I don’t understand the complacency of the Congress and the willingness to continue their obsession with passing more Federal laws.  Mandatory sentencing laws associated with drug laws have compounded our prison problems.

The federal register is now 75,000 pages long and the tax code has 72,000 pages, and expands every year.  When will the people start shouting, “enough is enough,” and demand Congress cease and desist.

Achieving Liberty

Liberty can only be achieved when government is denied the aggressive use of force.  If one seeks liberty, a precise type of government is needed.  To achieve it, more than lip service is required.

Two choices are available.

1. A government designed to protect liberty—a natural right—as its sole objective.  The people are expected to care for themselves and reject the use of any force for interfering with another person’s liberty.  Government is given a strictly limited authority to enforce contracts, property ownership, settle disputes, and defend against foreign aggression.
2. A government that pretends to protect liberty but is granted power to arbitrarily use force over the people and foreign nations.  Though the grant of power many times is meant to be small and limited, it inevitably metastasizes into an omnipotent political cancer.  This is the problem for which the world has suffered throughout the ages.  Though meant to be limited it nevertheless is a 100% sacrifice of a principle that would-be-tyrants find irresistible.  It is used vigorously—though incrementally and insidiously.  Granting power to government officials always proves the adage that:  “power corrupts.”

Once government gets a limited concession for the use of force to mold people habits and plan the economy, it causes a steady move toward tyrannical government.  Only a revolutionary spirit can reverse the process and deny to the government this arbitrary use of aggression. There’s no in-between.  Sacrificing a little liberty for imaginary safety always ends badly.

Today’s mess is a result of Americans accepting option #2, even though the Founders attempted to give us Option #1.

The results are not good.  As our liberties have been eroded our wealth has been consumed.  The wealth we see today is based on debt and a foolish willingness on the part of foreigners to take our dollars for goods and services. They then loan them back to us to perpetuate our debt system.  It’s amazing that it has worked for this long but the impasse in Washington, in solving our problems indicate that many are starting to understand the seriousness of the world -wide debt crisis and the dangers we face. The longer this process continues the harsher the outcome will be.

The Financial Crisis Is a Moral Crisis

Many are now acknowledging that a financial crisis looms but few understand it’s, in reality, a moral crisis.  It’s the moral crisis that has allowed our liberties to be undermined and permits the exponential growth of illegal government power.  Without a clear understanding of the nature of the crisis it will be difficult to prevent a steady march toward tyranny and the poverty that will accompany it.

Ultimately, the people have to decide which form of government they want; option #1 or option #2.  There is no other choice.  Claiming there is a choice of a “little” tyranny is like describing pregnancy as a “touch of pregnancy.”  It is a myth to believe that a mixture of free markets and government central economic planning is a worthy compromise.  What we see today is a result of that type of thinking.  And the results speak for themselves.

A Culture of Violence

American now suffers from a culture of violence.  It’s easy to reject the initiation of violence against one’s neighbor but it’s ironic that the people arbitrarily and freely anoint government officials with monopoly power to initiate violence against the American people—practically at will.
Because it’s the government that initiates force, most people accept it as being legitimate.  Those who exert the force have no sense of guilt.  It is believed by too many that governments are morally justified in initiating force supposedly to “do good.”  They incorrectly believe that this authority has come from the “consent of the people.”  The minority, or victims of government violence never consented to suffer the abuse of government mandates, even when dictated by the majority.  Victims of TSA excesses never consented to this abuse.

This attitude has given us a policy of initiating war to “do good,” as well. It is claimed that war, to prevent war for noble purposes, is justified.  This is similar to what we were once told that:  “destroying a village to save a village” was justified.  It was said by a US Secretary of State that the loss of 500,000 Iraqis, mostly children, in the 1990s, as a result of American bombs and sanctions, was “worth it” to achieve the “good” we brought to the Iraqi people.  And look at the mess that Iraq is in today.

Government use of force to mold social and economic behavior at home and abroad has justified individuals using force on their own terms.  The fact that violence by government is seen as morally justified is the reason why violence will increase when the big financial crisis hits and becomes a political crisis as well.

First, we recognize that individuals shouldn’t initiate violence, then we give the authority to government.   Eventually, the immoral use of government violence, when things goes badly, will be used to justify an individual’s “right” to do the same thing. Neither the government nor individuals have the moral right to initiate violence against another yet we are moving toward the day when both will claim this authority.  If this cycle is not reversed society will break down.

When needs are pressing, conditions deteriorate and rights become relative to the demands and the whims of the majority.  It’s then not a great leap for individuals to take it upon themselves to use violence to get what they claim is theirs.  As the economy deteriorates and the wealth discrepancies increase—as are already occurring— violence increases as those in need take it in their own hands to get what they believe is theirs.  They will not wait for a government rescue program.

When government officials wield power over others to bail out the special interests, even with disastrous results to the average citizen, they feel no guilt for the harm they do. Those who take us into undeclared wars with many casualties resulting, never lose sleep over the death and destruction their bad decisions caused. They are convinced that what they do is morally justified, and the fact that many suffer just can’t be helped.

When the street criminals do the same thing, they too have no remorse, believing they are only taking what is rightfully theirs.  All moral standards become relative.  Whether it’s bailouts, privileges, government subsidies or benefits for some from inflating a currency, it’s all part of a process justified by a philosophy of forced redistribution of wealth.  Violence, or a threat of such, is the instrument required and unfortunately is of little concern of most members of Congress.

Some argue it’s only a matter of “fairness” that those in need are cared for. There are two problems with this. First, the principle is used to provide a greater amount of benefits to the rich than the poor. Second, no one seems to be concerned about whether or not it’s fair to those who end up paying for the benefits. The costs are usually placed on the backs of the middle class and are hidden from the public eye. Too many people believe government handouts are free, like printing money out of thin air, and there is no cost. That deception is coming to an end. The bills are coming due and that’s what the economic slowdown is all about.

Sadly, we have become accustomed to living with the illegitimate use of force by government.  It is the tool for telling the people how to live, what to eat and drink, what to read and how to spend their money.

To develop a truly free society, the issue of initiating force must be understood and rejected.  Granting to government even a small amount of force is a dangerous concession.

Limiting Government Excesses vs. a Virtuous Moral People

Our Constitution, which was intended to limit government power and abuse, has failed.  The Founders warned that a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people.  The current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified.

Most politicians and pundits are aware of the problems we face but spend all their time in trying to reform government.  The sad part is that the suggested reforms almost always lead to less freedom and the importance of a virtuous and moral people is either ignored, or not understood. The new reforms serve only to further undermine liberty.  The compounding effect has given us this steady erosion of liberty and the massive expansion of debt.  The real question is: if it is liberty we seek, should most of the emphasis be placed on government reform or trying to understand what “a virtuous and moral people” means and how to promote it. The Constitution has not prevented the people from demanding handouts for both rich and poor in their efforts to reform the government, while ignoring the principles of a free society. All branches of our government today are controlled by individuals who use their power to undermine liberty and enhance the welfare/warfare state-and frequently their own wealth and power.

If the people are unhappy with the government performance it must be recognized that government is merely a reflection of an immoral society that rejected a moral government of constitutional limitations of power and love of freedom.

If this is the problem all the tinkering with thousands of pages of new laws and regulations will do nothing to solve the problem.

It is self-evident that our freedoms have been severely limited and the apparent prosperity we still have, is nothing more than leftover wealth from a previous time.  This fictitious wealth based on debt and benefits from a false trust in our currency and credit, will play havoc with our society when the bills come due.  This means that the full consequence of our lost liberties is yet to be felt.

But that illusion is now ending.  Reversing a downward spiral depends on accepting a new approach.

Expect the rapidly expanding homeschooling movement to play a significant role in the revolutionary reforms needed to build a free society with Constitutional protections. We cannot expect a Federal government controlled school system to provide the intellectual ammunition to combat the dangerous growth of government that threatens our liberties.

The internet will provide the alternative to the government/media complex that controls the news and most political propaganda. This is why it’s essential that the internet remains free of government regulation.

Many of our religious institutions and secular organizations support greater dependency on the state by supporting war, welfare and corporatism and ignore the need for a virtuous people.

I never believed that the world or our country could be made more free by politicians, if the people had no desire for freedom. Under the current circumstances the most we can hope to achieve in the political process is to use it as a podium to reach the people to alert them of the nature of the crisis and the importance of their need to assume responsibility for themselves, if it is liberty that they truly seek.  Without this, a constitutionally protected free society is impossible.

If this is true, our individual goal in life ought to be for us to seek virtue and excellence and recognize that self-esteem and happiness only comes from using one’s natural ability, in the most productive manner possible, according to one’s own talents.

Productivity and creativity are the true source of personal satisfaction. Freedom, and not dependency, provides the environment needed to achieve these goals. Government cannot do this for us; it only gets in the way. When the government gets involved, the goal becomes a bailout or a subsidy and these cannot provide a sense of personal achievement.

Achieving legislative power and political influence should not be our goal. Most of the change, if it is to come, will not come from the politicians, but rather from individuals, family, friends, intellectual leaders and our religious institutions.  The solution can only come from rejecting the use of coercion, compulsion, government commands, and aggressive force, to mold social and economic behavior.  Without accepting these restraints, inevitably the consensus will be to allow the government to mandate economic equality and obedience to the politicians who gain power and promote an environment that smothers the freedoms of everyone. It is then that the responsible individuals who seek excellence and self-esteem by being self-reliance and productive, become the true victims.

Conclusion

What are the greatest dangers that the American people face today and impede the goal of a free society? There are five.

1. The continuous attack on our civil liberties which threatens the rule of law and our ability to resist the onrush of tyranny.
2. Violent anti-Americanism that has engulfed the world. Because the phenomenon of “blow-back” is not understood or denied, our foreign policy is destined to keep us involved in many wars that we have no business being in. National bankruptcy and a greater threat to our national security will result.
3. The ease in which we go to war, without a declaration by Congress, but accepting international authority from the UN or NATO even for preemptive wars, otherwise known as aggression.
4. A financial political crisis as a consequence of excessive debt, unfunded liabilities, spending, bailouts, and gross discrepancy in wealth distribution going from the middle class to the rich. The danger of central economic planning, by the Federal Reserve must be understood.
5. World government taking over  local and US sovereignty by getting involved in the issues of war, welfare, trade, banking,  a world currency, taxes, property ownership, and private ownership of guns.

Happily, there is an answer for these very dangerous trends.

What a wonderful world it would be if everyone accepted the simple moral premise of rejecting all acts of aggression.  The retort to such a suggestion is always:  it’s too simplistic, too idealistic, impractical, naïve, utopian, dangerous, and unrealistic to strive for such an ideal.

The answer to that is that for thousands of years the acceptance of government force, to rule over the people, at the sacrifice of liberty, was considered moral and the only available option for achieving peace and prosperity. What could be more utopian than that myth—considering the results especially looking at the state sponsored killing, by nearly every government during the 20th Century, estimated to be in the hundreds of millions.  It’s time to reconsider this grant of authority to the state.

No good has ever come from granting monopoly power to the state to use aggression against the people to arbitrarily mold human behavior. Such power, when left unchecked, becomes the seed of an ugly tyranny.  This method of governance has been adequately tested, and the results are in: reality dictates we try liberty.

The idealism of non-aggression and rejecting all offensive use of force should be tried.  The idealism of government sanctioned violence has been abused throughout history and is the primary source of poverty and war.  The theory of a society being based on individual freedom has been around for a long time.  It’s time to take a bold step and actually permit it by advancing this cause, rather than taking a step backwards as some would like us to do.

Today the principle of habeas corpus, established when King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215, is under attack. There’s every reason to believe that a renewed effort with the use of the internet that we can instead advance the cause of liberty by spreading an uncensored message that will serve to rein in government authority and challenge the obsession with war and welfare.

What I’m talking about is a system of government guided by the moral principles of peace and tolerance.

The Founders were convinced that a free society could not exist without a moral people.  Just writing rules won’t work if the people choose to ignore them.  Today the rule of law written in the Constitution has little meaning for most Americans, especially those who work in Washington DC.

Benjamin Franklin claimed “only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.”  John Adams concurred:  “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

A moral people must reject all violence in an effort to mold people’s beliefs or habits. A society that boos or ridicules the Golden Rule is not a moral society.  All great religions endorse the Golden Rule.  The same moral standards that individuals are required to follow should apply to all government officials.  They cannot be exempt.

The ultimate solution is not in the hands of the government.

The solution falls on each and every individual, with guidance from family, friends and community.

The #1 responsibility for each of us is to change ourselves with hope that others will follow.  This is of greater importance than working on changing the government; that is secondary to promoting a virtuous society.  If we can achieve this, then the government will change.

It doesn’t mean that political action or holding office has no value. At times it does nudge policy in the right direction. But what is true is that when seeking office is done for personal aggrandizement, money or power, it becomes useless if not harmful. When political action is taken for the right reasons it’s easy to understand why compromise should be avoided. It also becomes clear why progress is best achieved by working with coalitions, which bring people together, without anyone sacrificing his principles.

Political action, to be truly beneficial, must be directed toward changing the hearts and minds of the people, recognizing that it’s the virtue and morality of the people that allow liberty to flourish.

The Constitution or more laws per se, have no value if the people’s attitudes aren’t changed.

To achieve liberty and peace, two powerful human emotions have to be overcome.  Number one is “envy” which leads to hate and class warfare.  Number two is “intolerance” which leads to bigoted and judgmental policies.  These emotions must be replaced with a much better understanding of love, compassion, tolerance and free market economics. Freedom, when understood, brings people together. When tried, freedom is popular.

Thank you Ron Paul for your unwavering believe in Liberty

Thank you Ron Paul for your unwavering believe in Liberty

The problem we have faced over the years has been that economic interventionists are swayed by envy, whereas social interventionists are swayed by intolerance of habits and lifestyles. The misunderstanding that tolerance is an endorsement of certain activities motivates many to legislate moral standards which should only be set by individuals making their own choices. Both sides use force to deal with these misplaced emotions. Both are authoritarians. Neither endorses voluntarism.  Both views ought to be rejected.

I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out “the plain truth of things.” The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people world-wide, is to pursue the cause of LIBERTY.

If you find this to be a worthwhile message, spread it throughout the land.




Sixth Annual Holiday Home Tour Benefits Museum of History

Sixth Annual Holiday Home Tour Benefits Museum of HistoryIt is time for the Sixth Annual Holiday Home Tour in Fernandina beach.

Presented by the Amelia Island Museum of History, you can visit five spectacular homes which are decorated by well known local designers in our historic, downtown community on either Friday, November 30th or Saturday, December 1, 2012.

This is the primary fundraiser for the Museum each year.

Throughout the two days, there will be opportunities to buy chances to win great prizes donated by generous community members.

Tickets are still available for $25 per person for the home tour at the museum in advance. Tickets are $30.00 on the day of the evnt.

For more information please call (904) 261-7368 or visit www.ameliamuseum.org.

Tickets to “Creating Christmas with Brett” and the Luncheon at Joe’s Bistro have both sold out, but tickets to the tour are still available!

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It’s a Wonderful Life Opens at Amelia Community Theatre

Its a Wonderful Life Opens at Amelia Community TheatreGet into the holiday spirit, and come see It’s a Wonderful Life at Amelia Community Theatre! Written by James W. Rodgers based on the film by Frank Capra and story by Philip Van Doren Storm, this heart-warming classic tells the tale of Everyman George Bailey, who, with the help of an angel, discovers what the world would be like if he had never been born.

Performances take place in ACT’s main-stage theater at 207 Cedar Street at 8 p.m. on November 29–30 and December 1, 6–8, and 13–15, and 2 p.m. on December 9. Purchase tickets ($20 adult, $10 student) online at www.ameliacommunitytheatre.org or through the box office at 904-261-6749 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday through Saturday (or 90 minutes before curtain).

Presented by special arrangement with the Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Illinois.

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Artist Shawn Meharg Comes to Fernandina Beach

Artist Shawn Meharg Comes to Fernandina BeachWaterwheel Art Gallery is hosting an Opening Reception for Artist Shawn Meharg, Thursday, November 29, 2012, from 4:00 to 7:00 PM in Fernandina Beach.

Shawn Meharg worked in the entertainment industry as a scenic artist and designer for fifteen years. He co-owned and operated a successful scenic art business, which he sold in 2001, allowing him to focus on fine art.

Accordingly, his work shows a diversity of style and subject, all involving the reflection and absorption of light by forms both real and imangined.

Meharg’s newest series comprises a collection of fresh and dynamic abstract works that are a masterful combination of color, texture, and layers, and we are proud to host Meharg’s vibrant and contemporary collection in our new gallery suite.

For more information contact Waterwheel Art Gallery at (904) 261-2535, in the Pelican Palms Shopping Center on 8th Street, in Fernandina Beach, Florida.

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Shopping Madness Continues with Cyber Monday

Shopping Madness Continues with Cyber MondayWhile Black Friday and Small Business Saturday have passed for 2012, we still have today, Cyber Monday, to continue our shopping madness!

Each year shopping online grows in popularity and this year Cyber Monday is new and improved. Some special offers for 2012 will include free shipping, exclusived deals and hourly specials from your favorite retailers on the World Wide Web.

With reported record level online spending over the Black Friday weekend, retailers are saving special deals for the nearly 130 million shoppers who avoided the crowds over the Thanksgiving Weekend while dreams of digital savings danced in their heads.

According to Sunday’s press release from shop.org, “The momentum from a solid Black Friday weekend certainly looks like it will carry on into Cyber Monday,” said BIGinsight Consumer Insights Director, Pam Goodfellow. “Millions of shoppers will be visiting retailers’ websites from their smartphones, tablets, home computers and work computers to check out special Cyber Monday promotions and make the most of their holiday shopping budgets.”

Here is what you need to know to find the best deals on Cyber Monday:

Cyber Monday Deals of the Hour, 2012

Time Slot Retailer
12:00 – 1:00 a.m. Dell Home
1:00 – 2:00 a.m. Tommy Hilfiger
2:00 – 3:00 a.m. Walgreens
3:00 – 4:00 a.m. HP Home & Office Store
4:00 – 5:00 a.m. QVC.com
5:00 – 6:00 a.m. Walmart.com
6:00 – 7:00 a.m. Toys”R”Us
7:00 – 8:00 a.m. The Body Shop
8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Ice.com
9:00 – 10:00 a.m. eBags.com
10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Sears.com
11:00 – 12:00 p.m. homedepot.com
12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Kohl’s
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. OfficeMax.com
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Under Armour
3:00 – 4:00 p.m. RedEnvelope
4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Barnes & Noble.com
5:00 – 6:00 p.m. HSN.com
6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Sephora.com
7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Lands’ End
8:00 – 9:00 p.m. Eddie Bauer
9:00 – 10:00 p.m. Nautica
10:00 – 11:00 p.m. Crate & Barrel
11:00 – 12:00 a.m. Macys.com

Happy Shopping!

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The Ballad of the Washington Beltway

Monkeys and Pavlov proves there is no solution

A Pavlovian Monkey Test Shows That Radical Change Cannot Be Accomplished

I have been playing with election result numbers for the past several weeks and before I move to the local and regional analysis and consequences on a different day in the near future, I wanted to share some factual numbers of the presidential elections before the Holiday Season unfolds in full force and 2013  is at our doorstep.

When I came to this country in the fall of 1980, Ronald Reagan won the presidency and became the third Californian Republican to become president of the USA. There were only two “Californian presidents before him. Californian politician Hoover did a one term stint in the middle of the Depression and Tricky Dicky Nixon followed Lyndon Johnson and soon faced money problems as the result of a Vietnam War and his predecessor’s New Deal, which he used as an excuse to stupidly move the US dollar off the Gold Standard. These moves were undeniable facts that moved the country to the financial brink it currently faces. It’s also quite ironic how few realize that 30 years ago California, with more than 10% of the entire electoral college votes was factual republican territory. Now 32 years later, the same GOP does not have a single statewide office holder and the party is essentially dead. And that is something to consider when discussing floating facts and secession outcries.

Before the elections friends and foes tried to convince me that Romney was going to win; a landslide some said, but more realistic ones admitted it was probably going to be close. I can’t count the times that statisticians tried to convince me that no president had every won re-election with an unemployment rate over 7.3%. But those were all fictions beyond the realities of where the country has been going for 30 years plus and so…here we are today:

• Obama carried virtually every swing state
• He won re-election with  more than 50% of the popular vote and over 300 electoral votes
Only FDR matched that feat for Democratic presidents in the past 100 years
• He carried 93% of the African American vote which represents 13% of the entire electorate
• He carried 71% of the Latino vote which now is about 10% of the entire electorate (20% in some key swing states). A need to drastically overhaul current immigration laws seems an inevitable demand embedded in this favor.
• He scored no less than 67% of unmarried women and 55% of all women (54% of the entire electorate!)
• He carried 59% (6% less than four years ago) of the Millennial generation that now accounts for 20% of the electorate.(33% in 2020!)

Yes Obama lost percentages in the White electorate and Senior sectors, but these groups are shrinking substantially: whites from 77% in 2004 to 71% in 2012 and seniors…oh well.

Facts are: Obama is re-elected, the Democrats have two more seats in the senate and an all-time high 20 women senators and the country is moving away from what it once intended to be.

All in all I have two conclusions.

1. First there is the fact that issues Romney and the GOP thought did not matter, MATTERED.

It turned out those “binders full of women” do care about women’s health issues and fair pay, and rejected a regression to 1954. Latino citizens and other naturalized immigrants rejected a candidate that passed well to the right of Texas Governor Rick Perry on immigration and unmarried Women do care about economic fairness, not just jobs. Women in general care about equality in the workplace. And gay and lesbian citizens do want to be legally accepted as domestic partnerships and get married and adopt children. And millennials, the fastest growing electoral group do believe in tax fairness, not just deficit control.

All these facts created a colossal misjudgment on the part of the Republican campaign and the American people spoke. And what they said in part was not only that they did not like the conservative positions Romney projected during the primaries, but they also resented the flip flops on abortion, health care, the auto bailout, and so many other issues. One statement I read actually said it made Mitt sound as ignorant as North Carolina State great Charles Shakelford who once said “I can shoot with my left hand and I can shoot with my right hand. I’m amphibious.”

Mitt is the prototype of today’s politician who wakes up in the morning and exclaims, Lord help me to make up my mind, because I still don’t know what I stand for.

2. My other conclusion tries to deal with the sad facts that idiots commit suicide over Obama’s re-election or that a pregnant woman in Arizona runs over her husband with her SUV because he didn’t vote. Never mind that Arizona was solidly in Romney’s pocket.

Facts are undeniable or are they?

Here are three question designed to see how much you know about some worldly facts.
1) How long was the 100 Year War?;
2) What Country makes Panama Hats? and
3) In what month do the Russians celebrate the October Revolution?

I posted the answers at the bottom of this opinion and as far as the word CHANGE is abused as a battle cry for both parties, the following Pavlovian example may shed a light on why it will never happen in a way we can live with.

Monkeys on our Back?

If you take a good sized cage containing five monkeys and inside the cage, you hang a banana on a string from the top and then you place a set of stairs under the banana, before long a monkey will go to the stairs and climb toward the banana.

As soon as he touches the stairs, you spray all the other monkeys with ice cold water.
After a while another monkey makes an attempt with same result … all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water.  Pretty soon when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it, any which way they see fit, but most probably rather aggressively.

Now, put the cold water away and remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one.

The new monkey sees the banana and attempts to climb the stairs.  To his shock, all of the other monkeys beat the crap out of him.  After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys, replacing it with a new one.

The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked.  The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment…… and with a good measure of enthusiasm.

Then, replace a third original monkey with a new one, followed by the fourth, then the fifth.  Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is brutally attacked.

Now, the monkeys that are beating him up have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs. Neither do they know why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

Finally, having replaced all of the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys will have ever been sprayed with cold water.
Nevertheless, not one of the monkeys will try to climb the stairway for the banana.
Why, you ask?  Because in their conditioned minds…that is the way it has always been!
This, my friends, is how Congress operates… and this is why, from time to time:
ALL of the monkeys need to be REPLACED AT THE SAME TIME. And in this political experiment that’s not going to happen; but still it would be a nice thought. Happy Holidays!
Quiz Answers
1) 116 years; 2) Ecuador; and 3) November. Now does that tell you something?!

Open House at Betty Cook Center November 27

Open House at Betty Cook Center November 27Nassau County, FL – Florida Coast Career Tech is holding an open house at the Betty P. Cook Nassau Center in the Lewis ‘Red’ Bean Building on Tuesday, November 27, 5:30-7:30PM. Representatives from the career tech and workforce programs will be available to answer questions.

The Florida Coast Career Tech recruitment van will be on site along with a seventy foot tractor trailer rig used to train drivers in the Commercial Driving program.

Florida Coast Career Tech offers more than thirty programs in a wide range of fields such as:

    Construction
    Automotive and aircraft mechanics
    Distribution, truck driving
    Law enforcement
    Firefighting
    Child care
    Cosmetology
    Massage therapy
    …and health care

Costs are low and training quality is high, with financial aid and scholarships available for those who qualify.

Florida Coast Career Tech is a division of Florida State College at Jacksonville. The Betty P. Cook Nassau Center is located at 76346 William Burgess Boulevard, Yulee, Florida. For directions or more information call 548-4432.

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