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Saturday, June 30, 2012

The only thing. . .

. . . that should be polarized is the electrical plug on your appliances. . .

 Karl Rove, David Koch, Grover Norquist, Mitt Romney,  Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld,  Ted Nugent, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Chris Christie,  John Boehner and Rick Santorum please take note.


(from http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-11-21/news/30424409_1_david-frum-republican-party-tax-cuts)
" . . . Republican commentator David Frum, who recently mortified many members of his party by suggesting that Paul Krugman might be right about the US economy, is back with a long essay in New York magazine.

This time, Frum expresses dismay about how the Republican party has lost touch with reality.

In the space of only a decade, Frum observes, the GOP has gone from being a party dominated by reasonable right-of-center pragmatists to being hijacked by right-wing extremists.

A lifelong Republican, Frum sums up his views this way:

I’ve been a Republican all my adult life. I have worked on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, at Forbes magazine, at the Manhattan and American Enterprise Institutes, as a speechwriter in the George W. Bush administration. I believe in free markets, low taxes, reasonable regulation, and limited government. I voted for John ­McCain in 2008, and I have strongly criticized the major policy decisions of the Obama administration.

And then he looks at the views one has to have to be a loyal member of today's Republican party, and he's appalled by what he sees:

America desperately needs a responsible and compassionate alternative to the Obama administration’s path of bigger government at higher cost. And yet: This past summer, the GOP nearly forced America to the verge of default just to score a point in a budget debate. In the throes of the worst economic crisis since the Depression, Republican politicians demand massive budget cuts and shrug off the concerns of the unemployed. In the face of evidence of dwindling upward mobility and long-stagnating middle-class wages, my party’s economic ideas sometimes seem to have shrunk to just one: more tax cuts for the very highest earners. When I entered Republican politics, during an earlier period of malaise, in the late seventies and early eighties, the movement got most of the big questions—crime, inflation, the Cold War—right. This time, the party is getting the big questions disastrously wrong.

Specifically:
It was not so long ago that Texas governor Bush denounced attempts to cut the earned-income tax credit as “balancing the budget on the backs of the poor.” By 2011, Republican commentators were noisily complaining that the poorer half of society are “lucky duckies” because the EITC offsets their federal tax obligations—or because the recession had left them with such meager incomes that they had no tax to pay in the first place.

In 2000, candidate Bush routinely invoked “churches, synagogues, and mosques.” By 2010, prominent Republicans were denouncing the construction of a mosque in lower Manhattan as an outrageous insult.

In 2003, President Bush and a Republican majority in Congress enacted a new ­prescription-drug program in Medicare. By 2011, all but four Republicans in the House and five in the Senate were voting to withdraw the Medicare guarantee from everybody under age 55.

Today, the Fed’s pushing down interest rates in hopes of igniting economic growth is close to treason, according to Governor Rick Perry, coyly seconded by TheWall Street Journal. In 2000, the same policy qualified Alan Greenspan as the “greatest central banker in the history of the world,” according to Perry’s mentor, Senator Phil Gramm.

Today, health reform that combines regulation of private insurance, individual mandates, and subsidies for those who need them is considered unconstitutional and an open invitation to “death panels.” A dozen years ago, a very similar reform was the Senate Republican alternative to Hillarycare.

Today, stimulative fiscal policy that includes tax cuts for almost every American is “socialism.” In 2001, stimulative fiscal policy that included tax cuts for rather fewer Americans was an economic­-recovery program.

Frum's observations are far from radical. A couple of weeks ago, we noted that the Great Hero of the Republican party, Ronald Reagan, would not likely be able to get elected today, because of, among other things, his willingness to raise taxes when he needed to.

Frum attributes the GOP's drift to the extremes to the influence of talk radio and FOX News, ethnic competition, and the pain of economic stagnation. He observes that, once he raised his views on FOX News, he was immediately banned as a commentator.

The America championed by the current Republican party would be a brutal country with even more extreme wealth inequality and poverty and an even more powerful and richer ruling class. And, unfortunately, the extreme views of today's party will alienate many of the more moderate Republican ideas --or, worse, cause them to have to get extreme or risk getting excommunicated.

One hopes that, by bravely speaking out on these issues, David Frum will galvanize what might be called the Great Silent Majority of Republicans to take back their party. Because the sooner America returns to having two reasonable alternatives, the better. . . "




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Friday, June 29, 2012

Speaking. . .

. . .  Wednesday in Virginia, (Mitt) Romney said that "if the court upholds it, if they say look it passes the Constitution, it still is bad policy and that'll mean if I'm elected we are going to repeal it and replace it."



“LOOK IT PASSES THE CONSTITUTION”?????  (Is that the best you've got MITT???!!!)

(from factcheck.org)
With the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act on June 28, voters are guaranteed to continue hearing the same old false claims about the law from politicians. And President Barack Obama and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney wasted little time in taking to the airwaves to rehash plenty we’ve fact-checked before. Obama even threw in a few new claims.

    Obama reiterated his “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” refrain, despite the fact that at least a few million workers won’t keep their employer-sponsored plans, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

    The president also exaggerated the benefits of the law, such as the number of young adults who were able to join their parents’ plans, thanks to the law, and the number of individuals who will receive rebates issued by insurance companies that didn’t spend enough premium dollars on health care.

    Romney repeated a number of distortions, saying that the law would “cut Medicare” by $500 billion and that it “adds trillions to our deficits.” That’s a reduction in the future growth of Medicare spending over 10 years. And CBO says the law would reduce the deficit.

    Romney said the law is a “job-killer.” But CBO says the law would have a “small” impact on jobs, mainly affecting the amount of labor workers choose to supply. Those getting subsidies, for instance, might work less hours since they’re paying less for health care.

    Romney claimed the law “puts the federal government between you and your doctor.” The law would set minimum benefits packages, but medical services will not be government-run, nor does the law allow for rationing of care.




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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Plain and simple . . .

 . . . but gets the point across. . . 
 (from The Science of Mind by Earnest Holmes)
". . . the whole end and aim of evolution is to produce a man who, in his self-conscious state, may depict the Divine Nature. . . '      




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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

This guy is actually a businessman. . .

. . . wish he were running for president, or just my next door neighbor, or even simply my friend. . .

(from joelmanby.com/the-seven-principles/)
"The seven principles explored in Love Works actually come from one of the oldest and most respected authorities on human behavior: the Bible. In 1 Corinthians chapter 13, the apostle Paul writes, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

From this verse, HFE created a leadership model that would embrace love as a behavior, not an emotion.

Patient
Have self-control in difficult situations.
Leading with love is not an excuse to be “soft” on people. As leaders, we must hold people accountable. Yet at the same time, we must always admonish with patience and respect. Our objective isn’t simply performance; it’s to protect the dignity of the people on our team. Whether we correct and train our employees in public or in private, our goal is always to do so with respect and love. After all, that’s exactly how we want to be treated.

Kind
Show encouragement and enthusiasm.
Kindness is intentionally creating and maintaining the right environment in your organization so employees can deliver an enthusiastic guest experience. The goal is to make deposits in people’s emotional bank account, operating on a 3 praises to every 1 admonishment ratio. With this model, management is kind to employees, employees are kind to customers, and customers are loyal and enthusiastic. Everybody wins.

Trusting
Place confidence in those around you.
Leaders must trust their employees to perform their best. You can show trust in your team by listening well and not interrupting with your own ideas. Letting employees make and be involved in decisions they are responsible for is another sign of trust from leadership. Trusting the people we work with is crucial to building a climate of positive morale and results.

Unselfish
Think of yourself less.
Being unselfish isn’t just for individuals—it’s for organizations too. The gift of leadership brings with it the awesome responsibility of giving properly of our time and resources, part of which includes delegating.  A leader who delegates not only becomes more efficient, but also displays a great level of selflessness. They are demonstrating a willingness to allow others to make decisions. Leadership also entails being a steward of giving for the organization. At HFE, we have established the Share It Forward foundation to help our employees in need. It all starts with the selfless donation of employees and is matched by the selfless donation of the company. This foundation has now helped thousands of employees.

Truthful
Define reality corporately and individually.
Leading with love means caring enough about an individual or a team to give and solicit truthful feedback. Sometimes this feels foreign and out of our comfort zone, but it is healthy and sets in motion the opportunity for great things to happen. When leaders provide their teams with the truth about their performance as well as the tools to be successful, regardless of personal feelings, this is a sure sign of leading with love.

Forgiving
Release the grip of the grudge.
Forgiveness is sometimes agonizing, and it doesn’t always lead to a happy ending. I am not suggesting that we toss out our organizational standards and goals—but simply keeping our hearts soft enough to be open to forgiveness. It may not always be the easiest thing to do, but it is always the right thing.

Dedicated
Stick to your values in all circumstances.
If you choose to lead with love, others around you may not “get” what you’re doing. Do it anyway. This type of leadership is more important than the temporary approval of your coworkers. Choosing to lead with love is the single most difficult decision a leader can make, but a wise leader dedicates him or herself to it because it is also the single best way to lead an organization
_____________________________________

Leaders who are dedicated to the attributes of love outlined in Love Works, do not only get strong financial results—that would defeat the purpose of these principles.  Leading with love not only results in positive business outcomes, but also will certainly place that leader in a unique yet very successful minority in business, government and the nonprofit world. I encourage you to lead with love today, tomorrow and forever."



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Well I'll be . . .

. . .  a monkey's uncle. . .

 . . . I guess she doesn't believe in evolution NOW. . .

(from CNN)
"Leah Libresco, who’d been a prominent atheist blogger for the religion website Patheos, announced on her blog this week that after years of debating many “smart Christians,” she has decided to become one herself, and that she has begun the process of converting to Catholicism.

Libresco, who had long blogged under the banner “Unequally Yoked: A geeky atheist picks fights with her Catholic boyfriend,” said that at the heart of her decision were questions of morality and how one finds a moral compass.

“I had one thing that I was most certain of, which is that morality is something we have a duty to,” Libresco told CNN in an interview this week, a small cross dangling from her neck. “And it is external from us. And when push came to shove, that is the belief I wouldn’t let go of. And that is something I can’t prove.”

According to a Patheos post she wrote on Monday, entitled “This is my last post for the Patheos Atheist Portal,” she began to see parts of Christianity and Catholicism that fit her moral system. Though she now identifies as a Catholic, Libresco questions certain aspects of Catholicism, including the church’s positions on homosexuality, contraception and some aspects of religious liberty.

“There was one religion that seemed like the most promising way to reach back to that living Truth,” Libresco wrote about Catholicism in her conversion announcement post, which has been shared over 18,000 times on Facebook. “I asked my friend what he suggests we do now, and we prayed the night office of the Liturgy of the Hours together.”

At the end of the post, Libresco announces that she is in a Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults class and is preparing for baptism. She will continue to blog for Patheos, but under the banner, “A geeky convert picks fights in good faith.”

According to Dan Welch, director of marketing for Patheos, Libresco’s post has received around 150,000 page views so far.

“Leah's blog has gotten steadily more popular since she arrived at Patheos, but a typical post on her blog is probably closer to the range of 5,000 page views,” Welch wrote in an email. “Even now, a few days later, her blog is probably getting 20-30 times its normal traffic.”

Libresco’s announcement has left some atheists scratching their heads.

“I think atheists were surprised that she went with Catholicism, which seems like a very specific choice,” Hemant Mehta, an atheist blogger at Patheos, told CNN. “I have a hard time believing how someone could jump from I don’t believe in God to a very specific church and a very specific God.”

Mehta says that Libresco’s conversion is a “one-off thing” and not something that signals any trend in atheism. “The trends are very clear, the conversions from Catholicism to atheism are much more likely to happen than the other way around,” he said. . . "




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Monday, June 25, 2012

I Can. . .

. . . always Hope

. . . You can't take
That away from me
In deepest solitude
It's one thing
There's no fear I'll lose
I see and I hear
All around me
What seems to
Be some frightening news

No it's confronted me
Just hit me
Right between the eyes
So I must choose
From these reactions
Here at hand
Will I blame somebody
Who isn't there
Or rationalize that it's
Just part of some plan

I want to be up
When light first
Breaks over the trees
I'd like to be
One of the lucky ones
To know what it means
The what and the how
Of our journey here
Which way that we look and which
Way we should be seen


HOPE from AMBIENCE & WINE
©2011 Raymond M. Jozwiak




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Sunday, June 24, 2012

You May . . .

. . . want to reconsider if this is YOUR current candidate of choice. . .
 (from Michael Cohen guardian.co.uk, Thursday 21 June 2012 13.31 EDT)
"Granted, presidential candidates are no strangers to disingenuous or overstated claims; it's pretty much endemic to the business. But (Mitt) Romney is doing something very different and far more pernicious. Quite simply, the United States has never been witness to a presidential candidate, in modern American history, who lies as frequently, as flagrantly and as brazenly as Mitt Romney. . . In fact, lying is really the only appropriate word to use here, because, well, Romney lies a lot. . .

In his book, appropriately titled "No Apologies", Romney argues the following:  "Never before in American history has its president gone before so many foreign audiences to apologize for so many American misdeeds, both real and imagined. It is his way of signaling to foreign countries and foreign leaders that their dislike for America is something he understands and that is, at least in part, understandable."  Nothing about this sentence is true.

President Obama never went around the world and apologized for America – and yet, even after multiple news organizations have pointed out this is a "pants on fire" lie, Romney keeps making it. Indeed, the "Obama apology tour", along with the president bowing down to the King of Saudi Arabia, are practically the lodestars of the GOP's criticism of Obama's foreign policy performance (the Saudi thing isn't true either).

The economy is really where the truth takes its greatest vacation in Romney world. First, there is Romney's claim that the 2009 stimulus passed by Congress and signed by President Obama "didn't work". According to Romney, "that stimulus didn't put more private-sector people to work." While one can quibble over whether the stimulus went far enough, the idea that it didn't create private-sector jobs has no relationship to reality. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus bill created more than 3m jobs – a view shared by 80% of economists polled by the Chicago Booth School of Business (only 4% disagree).

And the list goes on. Romney has accused Obama of raising taxes – in reality, they've gone down under his presidency, and largely because of that stimulus bill that Romney loves to criticize. . .

Then, there is the recent Romney nugget that the Obama administration passed Obamacare with the full knowledge that it "would slow down the economic recovery in this country" and that the White House "knew that before they passed it". It's an argument so clearly spun from whole cloth that according to Jonathan Chait, the acerbic political columnist for New York Magazine, Romney is "Just Making Stuff Up Now". . .

This is perhaps the most interesting and disturbing element of Romney's tireless obfuscation: that even when corrected, it has little impact on the presumptive GOP nominee's behavior. This is happening at a time when fact-checking operations in major media outlets have increased significantly, yet that appears to have no effect on the Romney campaign.

What is the proper response when, even after it's pointed out that the candidate is not telling the truth, he keeps doing it? Romney actually has a telling rejoinder for this. When a reporter challenged his oft-stated assertion that President Obama had made the economy worse (factually, not correct), he denied ever saying it in the first place. It's a lie on top of a lie. . . "





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Saturday, June 23, 2012

A mystic. . .

. . . is not a mysterious person. . .
(from Science of Mind by Ernest Shurtleff Holmes)
"A mystic is not a mysterious person; but is one who has a deep, inner sense of Life and Unity with the Whole; mysticism and mystery are entirely different things; one is real while the other may, or may not, be an illusion. There is nothing mysterious in the Truth, so far as It is understood; but all things, of course, are mysteries until we understand them.

A mystic is one who intuitively perceives Truth and who, without mental process, arrives at Spiritual Realizations. It is from the teachings of the great mystics that the best in the philosophy of the world has come.

The civilization of to-day is built around the teachings of a few people who have intuitively perceived Spiritual Truth. Our great code of law was given by Moses, a man who through the mystic sense perceived that we live in a Universe of Law. Our greatest code of ethics was given through the perception of the prophets, culminating in such teachings as those of Jesus and Buddha. Who was there who could have taught such men as these? By what process of mentality did they arrive at their profound conclusions? We are compelled to recognize that Spirit Alone was their Teacher; they were, indeed, taught of God.

The mystic intuitively senses Reality and instinctively knows The Truth; and in this way all of the best in literature, music and art have come.

Our great religions have been given by a few who climbed the heights of spiritual vision and caught a fleeting glimpse of Ultimate Reality. No living soul could have taught them what they knew, and it is doubtful if even they themselves knew why they knew. . .




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