SWITCH THE PARADIGM! Why We Really CAN Make a Change for the Better

(Editor’s Note: This inspiring essay comes just in time for the July 4th holiday.  Enjoy the holiday but take some time to reflect on what it really honors…IA)

~~By Grail Guardian

I’ve been reading a lot of internal squabbling on various web sites lately about whether or not people can or should vote for Republicans in order to restore the political balance in Washington. I’ve “listened” to both sides of the argument and for those who have not been paying attention (or living an actual life instead of following the blogs) I offer this brief summary of each:

Pro: Voting Republicans in is the only way to offset Obama and the idiots in Congress that are bleeding the country dry. The Democratic majority is killing the American economy and Constitution and is out of control. No third party candidate will be able succeed in the current system, so we must hold our noses and vote for all Republican candidates and hope they induce a stalemate in Congress.

Con: The Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats, and we’ll just end up swing from far left to far right (then back again) if we vote them back in. I can’t vote for someone that supports everything I have fought against all my life just to stop the Democrats (i.e.: abortion rights). Replacing one form of evil with another does no good, therefore I must look for the least offensive Democrat to support despite the fact that they will likely vote along party lines (think Kirsten Gillibrand in NY).

I must confess that I can find some truth in both of these arguments, but there’s something I need to point out here: These are not the only options!

That’s right – I said it! There are other choices. To wit, we need term limits and alternative candidates that don’t belong (a totally accurate term in every sense) to either political party. But, but…Grail, you say, how could that be? No Congress critter will ever vote for their own term to be limited and everyone knows that no third party candidate can possible get elected!

Wrong! Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to play Switch That Paradigm! The exciting game show where you, the American public, actually get to choose the winners! No, it’s not American Idol. Not even close. It’s a nifty concept I learned about from commenter Practical Madman over at Logistics Monster, and it’s called Get Out of Our House. Here’s the concept: If we want to stop the insanity in D.C. we must clean out the political lifers in Congress; the Obama administration (or any other administration for that matter) cannot pass legislation without the support and complicity of Congress (at least as of the writing of this piece), no matter how many mouth breathers support him. The easiest way to do this is in the House of Representatives, since the whole barrel of monkeys is up for re-election every 2 years under the Constitution (yes, all 435 members are up in 2010). Besides, the Senate isn’t exactly a cohesive majority, and if the bills can’t pass in the House they aren’t making it to the Oval Office for signature. Get Out of Our House, or GOoOH (pronounced “go”) wants to dump all 435 members at once and replace them with ordinary citizens that actually (gasp) vote for what their constituents want. That’s right – you and me for Congress!

Here’s the deal: if enough regular Americans are willing to participate, they group can raise enough money to support candidates in every district. People who wish to run for office complete a comprehensive position questionnaire that is posted on line. There are no right or wrong answers, no political philosophy you must adhere to, no liberal or conservative viewpoints required at the door. You answer the questions, and sign a legally binding pledge that if you are elected you will vote the way you answered on the questionnaire or abstain from the vote if there is fuzzy or unrelated material attached to the bill, as Congress is wont to do. (Note: there is an alternative option wherein you can change your vote if you post your intent to do so online at least 7 days in advance and a majority of your district votes that it’s OK for you to change your vote.) Once the candidates have locked in their answers, a series of Selection Sessions are held where members get the chance to vote for or against candidates that best represent how they would like their Representative to vote. Sessions are held until there is only 1 candidate per district, and that person becomes the GOoOH nominee for the district. The whole organization is based on the concept that the candidates will not follow any particular school of thought; for instance, voters in New York City would probably tend to select a candidate with more liberal viewpoints, whereas voters in Butte, MT would be more prone to select a candidate with conservative views that fit the local political consciousness.

Oh, and did I mention that all candidates agree in advance to a few interesting conditions:

· To run for no more than 2 terms (it was originally 1, but was changed due to input on the site)

· To disclose in advance of each Selection Session if you are an attorney (originally excluded, but again changed due to commenter input)

· To disclose in advance of each Selection Session if you are wealthy (a multi-millionaire)

· To resign within 72 hours and pay a fine if you vote contrary to your stated positions (per the questionnaire)

· To resign within 72 hours and pay a fine if you accept funds “other than your federal paycheck”

Are there drawbacks to the system? Yes. Some of the bigger ones are: the $100 membership fee (that is used to fund the candidates that are eventually selected, the fact that at least 500,000 members are needed to make it work, and the inability for people not on the web to participate in the upfront process (we all get to vote eventually, but you must register online).

Some of the other advantages are: the ability to join an existing organization that is prepared for the political process, regardless of your political views, the ability of average Americans to have a “hands on” role in actually choosing the nominee from a large pool of candidates (rather than just the guy who has lost the last 3 times in your area), and the inability of political interest groups (lobbyists, PACs, unions, or even religious groups) to influence the candidates. I personally believe that America is at a “do or die” juncture as a free Republic, and GOoOH may just provide a way back to the basics. We are at a crossroads that our Founders predicted and feared:

“If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.” –Samuel Adams

“A government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have… The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.” –Thomas Jefferson

Now is the time for all good PUMAs to put up or shut up. We all agree we want change. We all agree that the current system is not working. We all agree that the time to stop the juggernaut poised to crush our nation is extremely limited. We call agree that 2008 ended the political process as we knew it forever. And who better to change things than us? And who are we? Simply average Americans that have seen the road the political corruption and corporate greed of the current government is leading us down and wish to return to the Constitution as it was written. For those of you that need a bit more background, I offer this excellent video courtesy of Diamond Tiger at Logistics Monster that explains the current political situation in concise and frightening terms. Take 10 minutes and watch it all the way through; if you are not scared at the similarities between circumstances preceding the fall of Rome and the current fall of America at the end, then go in peace and enjoy your final moments of freedom. If you are disturbed and unwilling to take any more, take a serious look at the GOoOH site and see what you think. I know it is not the ideal solution, but if we wait for perfection our economy will be collapsed, there will be record inflation not seen since 1920’s Germany, government will have taken an extraordinary amount of power away from We the People, and our country as we know it will be gone.

Change is inevitable. The only question is: which side of it do you want to be on?

This:

clip_image002

Or this:

clip_image004

These images should remind us of a few very simple concepts:

· Ordinary people can make a difference if they believe enough to fight against tyranny

· You can speak truth to power, no matter how well ensconced it may appear

· Women can and do lead the way

· We have what everyone else in the world wants, and we are letting it slip away with little more than a whimper

· “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” (This quote is generally attributed to Edmund Burke but the true source appears to be unknown.)

The truth of the matter is simple: the concept that we, the people of the greatest nation in the world, cannot alter our destiny or stop The Powers That Be from destroying our Republic is nothing more or less than the same mass-marketing advertising scam that has been used to brainwash the masses into thinking we need the latest bright, shiny object on the market to distract ourselves from reality. It’s a sales job – that’s all! If enough of us are disgusted and use our votes, any candidate can be elected and any party can be successful. When you get right down to it, isn’t that all political campaigns have evolved into? Never-ending infomercials! And now the very office of the President of the United States of America has been turned into the world’s largest infomercial. (I’m surprised he doesn’t have a Guthy-Renker logo on his backside!) But that’s really good news, because that means that we don’t have to buy it! We can shop around for what we really want, no matter what they tell us on the tee vee! For cryin’ out loud, when have they ever told us the truth? Isn’t that the whole concept of Madison Avenue (and K Street)? Lie big, lie often, and then lie some more and eventually people will buy what you tell them because that’s what Charlie and Katie and Brian tell them to do!

Well, I’m here to tell you the sad news: Edward R. Murrow is dead and so is the “fourth estate”; John F. Kennedy was barely elected (and probably only then because of “creative” voting in Daley’s Chicago) and there was no “magic bullet” (no matter what Arlen “Which party am I in again?” Specter wants you to believe); aspartame and fluoride are actually toxins sold to us to make profit off of useless chemicals; and the United States Constitution does not grant the government the right to tax income or sales, no matter what the IRS says. They are all advertising scams designed to persuade compliant Americans to buy the “official” version of a convenient fabrication. The idea that no third party candidate could ever win a national election is another such ad campaign, and we have bought it lock, stock and barrel. We even preach it to each other. So the time has come to shift our paradigm and alter our vision of “reality” (whatever that is). Dorothy eventually looked behind the curtain and discovered that Oz was nothing more than a two-bit carnie hustler, and that the ability to return to where she wanted to be was always within her own power. We, too, must accept that we’re not in Kansas anymore and take a good hard look at what’s behind that curtain.

You can save this nation. You can be a US Representative. If you believe in the Constitution of this Republic, I propose you owe it to America to step up to the plate and either be a candidate or at a minimum support the system that may just be capable of returning every day, common sense Americans to the business of running this country.

The choice is yours; what will you choose?

In Search of the American Personality: Warnings from the Nuremberg Trial Rohrschach Inkblot Tests

By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Last week as I waited for nearly two hours to see the doctor, I picked up a magazine called Monitor on Psychology.  This publication is issued by American Psychological Association and I was intrigued by a the title of one of the stories inside — “In Search of the Nazi Personality.”

I took a lot of notes, figuring that the article wouldn’t be online. But, to my surprise, it was.

It’s a fascinating overview of how psychologists and psychiatrists have attempted to analyze the minds of the Nazis who took inkblot tests while in Nuremberg prison during their trials.

From Monitor on Psychology – Time capsule (the bolding is mine):

In search of the Nazi personality

The Nazi Rorschach responses have captured psychologists’ imaginations for decades.

By Nick Joyce
Print version: page 18

It’s true: Hermann Goering, among others, took inkblot tests in Nuremberg prison. What’s less certain is what the results of these tests mean.

In the aftermath of World War II, Allied forces captured and detained many of the remaining Nazi leaders, including Goering, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Rudolf Hess and Albert Speer. The Allied leaders in charge of the Nuremberg trials sought psychological profiles of the Nazis and asked psychologist Gustave Gilbert, PhD, and psychiatrist Douglas Kelley, MD, both Americans, to collect the data using psychological tools such as the Thematic Apperception Test, Rorschach Inkblot Test and the German translation of the Wechsler-Bellevue Intelligence Test. Even though the tests played little role in the trials, the scientists were searching for answers to a question that still lingers today: Were the Nazis evil men or merely ordinary people who did horrific deeds because they were ordered to do so?

Both examiners found all of these men legally sane, but had different views on how to interpret the data.

…Gilbert was attuned to the socio-cultural context of the Nazi leadership. He claimed that the Nazis were raised in a culture that had a primary value of deference to authority to which all other reason and intelligence took a backseat. He concluded that democratic leaders should be trained as critical thinkers to prevent that same kind of blind obedience.

In his 1947 book, “Twenty-two Cells in Nuremberg” (unknown publisher), Kelley wrote that although some of the Nazi prisoners showed some pathology of personality during the examinations, he did not believe they were mentally ill. Kelley cautioned that a Nazi-style government would be possible even in America because it was a “socio-cultural disease” and not a product of insane leaders…

At the time Gilbert and Kelley were publishing their analyses, Molly Harrower, PhD, a Rorschach authority, tried to gather a panel of 10 experts to add their insights, but none agreed to do so because at the time, there was little chance that the world wanted to see these men as anything but pathological.

Thirty years later, Harrower believed the political environment had changed enough to allow for an objective evaluation of the results. She used a double-blind procedure to have 10 Rorschach experts interpret the Nazis’ results and matched control responses from clergy and hospital patients. Harrower arranged four groups of reports, two with all Nazis, one with clergy and the last with patients. The responses of the experts noted no similarities in the Nazi protocols nor signs of mental disturbance, indicating that Nazi leaders were seemingly no different from average Americans.

Harrower’s findings are not definitive and there has been discussion about methodological problems and other factors. But, she published her final work, as part of a book called  “The Quest for the Nazi Personality” in 1995, more than 60 years after VE-Day.

The interest in the personality of Nazi leaders continues unabated.  One has to wonder what psychologists will be saying about the “Obama culture” — followers and leaders — that we’ve seen take over America over the last year…

 

UPDATE,  JULY 2014

How time change!  Compared to the GOP, Obama looks like a saint….

While Obama Blows Off Women’s Freedom as He Celebrates His First 100 Days, the Saudis He Bows to Clamp Down on Women Even More (UPDATE 1X – Souter Leaving Supreme Court)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

What, with Sharia Law creeping into our Treasury Department, Pakistani women trying to fend off the encroaching Taliban, etc. etc., it’s so good to hear that The One is so clear on the status of women when it comes to  freedom.  Go on over to Not Your Sweetie’s great post for some choice comments about  Obama’s little lecture about morality and ethics ad how the Freedom of Choice Act isn’t a big priority for the Ego-in- Chief:

Freedom of Choice Act – not a priority, and not “freedom” either

While women here in the U.S. bask in our knowledge The One thinks our reproductive decisions should be run past “our clergy”,  let’s see how that works in places like Saudi Arabia.

Here’s the latest indignity to consider:

Saudis clamp down on women’s gyms

(SNIP_

Women’s gyms have become popular in the ultra-conservative Muslim country where the sexes are heavily segregated.

But only clubs linked to medical groups can get licenses and others will be closed, the Arab News newspaper said.

Saudi women were reported to have launched an online campaign in protest called Let Her Get Fat.

Government departments are not allowed to issue licenses for commercial gyms and sports clubs for women, unlike facilities for men, the newspaper reported.

No more hiding gyms behind the doors of beauty salons…

Amazingly, some very courageous woman fighting back:

A group of women launched an internet campaign in protest against the move, saying facilities linked to medical clinics were too expensive, and their health would suffer as a result of the closures.

Woman are so precious in Saudi Arabia that they really MUST go to gyms linked to medical clinics.  The reasoning behind this must be surveillance, right?

As the article concludes:

Women in Saudi Arabia are banned from driving, must wear a head-to-toe cloak when out in public and must obtain permission from a male relative to work, travel, study or marry.

And the Guardian reports that the clergy, of course, consider gyms for women “shameless.”

As a trade-off there’s been talk of letting women vote, but with the half-brother of King Abdullah looking strong as a possible successor, this sop doesn’t offer much solace.  After all, Prince Nayef, who acts as interior minister, said “the kingdom had no need of either women MPs or elections” just last month.

So now, many Saudi women won’t be able to the gym.

Meanwhile, the “President” who bows to the Saudi leader tells us that FOCA isn’t a priority.

I would like to use a string of profanity at this point, but it’s not good for my blood pressure.

By the way, thank goodness I can still go to the gym and work off the stresses of putting up with the insufferable Obama crowd…

UPDATE

With the news that David Souter is retiring from the Supeme Court, do you trust an Obama appointment?? This is the guy who wanted to vote to confirm John Roberts, but didn’t because of political expediency…

Obama could halt a lot of this “interpretation of the Constitution” stuff by pushing for FOCA and getting the court out of the “privacy” issue…but he continues to dance around. His “one hand giveth and the other taketh away” approach to women seems to leave women on the short end as we’re used for bargaining chips.  Well, he’s a misogynist, so why is that surprising?

Money Matters: “Banker to the Poor” In Impoverished Countries Now Lending in U.S.; “Money Goddess” Advises Obama Administration; IMF Bonds Update

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

We’ve often heard about how the U.S. “is becoming a third world country.”  Well, maybe it’s true, if you see the “banker to the poor” doing business in Queens, NYC…with plans to expand!

“Banker to the poor” gives New York women a boost

Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:09pm EDT

By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, known as the “banker to the poor” for making small loans in impoverished countries, is now doing business in the center of capitalism — New York City.

In the past year the first U.S. branch of his Grameen Bank has lent $1.5 million, ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, to nearly 600 women with small business plans in the city’s borough of Queens.

SNIP

Grameen America now operates by lending out money gathered through donations and money from payments on existing loans. The bank is applying for a U.S. credit union license to generate the deposits it needs to make more loans

MORE

And, the bank is a CREDIT UNION!   Way to go!! No derivatives there!

While on the topic of money, American Lassie has discovered the REAL adviser to the Obama Administration on financial matters!!

moneygoddessindialee

This is a Money Goddess.  Pass it to 6 of your good friends, or family and be rich in 4 Days.
Pass it to 12 of your good friends or family and be rich in 2 Days.
I am not joking. You will find an unexpected windfall. If you delete it, you will never know!

SHE WORKS SHE REALLY WORKS!!
***

About a month ago, we posted this…

The Scanner–International Edition, March 24, 2009: Say Goodbye to the Dollar? China, Russia Proposing a New World Currency for “Non-Credit” Based Economies, Echo G-20 Agenda of Expanding IMF; China Will “Consider” Buying IMF Bonds; 10th China Develpment Forum Underway (UPDATE 1X–Geithner Supports China Proposal??)

Notice the story about how China will “consider” buying IMF Bonds?

Well, they’re going to get their chance as the IMF announced on Saturday (4/25/09):

IMF head says it will sell bonds to raise funds

WASHINGTON – The International Monetary Fund will sell bonds as a way to raise funds to lend to struggling nations, the head of the organization said Saturday, in a victory for developing countries.

Emerging economies such as China, Brazil and India pushed for the move as an alternative to providing longer-term loans to the IMF. Those countries want greater voice in the institution before providing additional resources.

MORE

Here are a few stories on more of the specifics:

India Ready to Buy IMF Bonds

IMF chief: Some countries interested in buying IMF bonds

Prior to the Saturday announcement:

UPDATE 2-Emerging nations want IMF bond plan revamped-Brazil

Meanwhile, the World Bank was also holding a meeting and announced this on Saturday (4/25/09):

World Bank to aid poor countries with public works

WASHINGTON (AP) — The World Bank said Saturday it would provide poor countries with more than $55 billion for public work projects left in limbo when the recession dried up capital investment.

The goal is to create jobs and lay the foundation for future economic growth and poverty reduction. Africa is expected to see a large proportion of the investments, given the continent’s needs.

MORE

Will be interesting to see WHERE in Africa the money winds up…

***

Additional Information:

IMF Communique 4/25/09

Original statement by China 3/28/09

The Past Week: April 19-25, 2009 (Pakistani Women Pushing Back; French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde Speaks; Doubts About Toxic Asset Plan; UK Blogs)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

With Pakistan and the Taliban now center stage, I found this story from The Dawn Blog interesting. Women in Karachi are meeting because of their concerns about events there:

Women Push Back

…On Friday, the Karachi chapter of the Women’s Action Forum (WAF) invited members of the civil society to help craft a comprehensive strategy to stem the Talibanisation of Pakistan and respond to the recent passage of the Nizam-i-Adl Regulation 2009. On short notice, about 60 women gathered at the Aurat Foundation’s Clifton premises to brainstorm ideas for concrete action against the spread of militant ideology. Participants included the crème de la crème of Karachi society – revered activists, teachers, artists, filmmakers, professionals and many women who described themselves as ‘concerned citizens’ and ‘mothers’ (I could start name-dropping but someone might mistake this for the social pages and not the Dawn Blog).

The general mood was somber and, as the discussion proceeded, panic and passions flared. As one long-term women’s rights activist put it, ‘we came of age in the Zia years. Then, we were fighting the state. Now, we’re fighting against public misogyny being encouraged by non-state actors who have grown more powerful than the state – and they don’t play by any rules.’ In short, the women assembled at Aurat’s offices knew they were there to put up a fight.

MORE

Let’s hope we don’t see the women of Pakistan have the same fate as those in Afghanistan.

***
Caught a brief segment a few days ago on BBC America’s nightly newscast with the French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, but she’s been speaking about the latest IMF report elsewhere, too.  Here’a link to a transcript of  her inteview on Lateline which airs on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). It’s a worthwhile read if only to get a better understanding of what the people in charge of the money elsewhere are thinking.

But what caught my attention in the BBC segment was her comments about how unimpressed she was with the idea of creating stimulus package after stimulus package without getting a clear idea of how useful they really are.  She noted that France was early in pumping up government spending on infrastructure projects, like public buildings, etc. and programs versus cash payments, but the results were only just beginning to trickle in.  She was very pointed about how the French had started their stimulus efforts earlier than the U.S. and was quite clear that an idea of how effective the spending has been–and if it is getting to the right places–is needed before more spending is approved.  She also pointed out that the money really hasn’t started flowing yet, so it’s going to be a while before anything is really known here in the U.S.

Although Lagarde is “on the same page” with the Obama Administration in many ways, we’ll have to see if the Obama crowd and Congress keep creating more “stimulus packages” in spite of Lagarde’s warnings.

Here’s a something Lagarde said toward the end of the interview:

My personal belief is that this crisis stems from excess, abuses of the system. I don’t suggest, though, that it would be the end of free enterprise. I think that a liberal economy can also have its social dimension and that liberal economy, as liberalism is understood in economic terms, can only survive if it is properly regulated. And I think it would be a complete deterioration if you will, or abuse of liberalism itself, if it wasn’t regulated. So, when he says that government is back and policies are back, I totally agree with him if he means regulation, ownership of the development of a free market economy by politicians, by those who have been elected by the people to represent the general interest and to make sure that proper functioning of the economy is actually respected. And to that end, we need a combination of sensible and strong regulations, but also sensible and strong bodies that will make sure that regulations are actually applied. And if there are violations, that such violations are sanctioned appropriately.

“And if there are violations, that such violations are sanctioned appropriately.”

I’m not holding my breath here in Obamaland, are you?

***

Kenosha Marge spotted this article in the Financial Times….seems like Timothy Geithner still hasn’t dispelled a sense of mistrust among financial leades:

Warning over US toxic asset plan

By Francesco Guerrera, Deborah Brewster, Henny Sender and Aline Van Duyn in New York

Published: April 24 2009 02:03 | Last updated: April 24 2009 02:03

The Obama administration will on Friday get the first indication of investor interest in its $1,000bn toxic assets plan amid fears that the threat of government intervention and banks’ reluctance to sell will deter fund managers from participating.

Applications to become one of the five asset managers charged with raising funds to buy mortgage-backed securities from banks are due today and groups including BlackRock, Pimco and Bank of New York Mellon are set to apply.

However, financial executives warn that the plan is in danger of missing its goal of quickly shifting billions of dollars in troubled assets off banks’ balance sheets unless the government dispels investors’ concerns.

Potential buyers of assets complain that, a month after Tim Geithner, US Treasury secretary, unveiled the public-private investment programme, the authorities have yet to reassure them they would not be subjected to draconian Congressional scrutiny.

The Treasury did say that, aside from the small group of asset managers, investors who receive the generous loans available under the PPIP will not have to abide by restrictions on employees’ pay imposed on the banks that got funds from the troubled assets relief programme.

Yet some fund managers fear Congress and the government may change the rules mid-course, as they did with Tarp. Wesley Edens, chief executive of Fortress Investment Group, said: “The most important thing for the government is consistency.”

MORE

Wonder what Christine Lagarde thinks about all this?

***

Stumbled across this site which is a huge list of UK Political Blog Feeds.  It’s fun to check out what’s on the minds of folks across the pond.

***

THE PAST WEEK

Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (April 25, 2009) The Squirrels Invade

While Pakistan Has Our Attention, Look What’s Brewing in Somalia…

The Financial Filter: How CNBC Handles Howard Dean vs. Susan Boyle

Labour (UK) Facing Poll Meltdown After “Smeargate” Allegations–Brown’s Fmr. “Spin Chief” (Now Political Director of a Union) Involved

The Past Week: April 12-18, 2009 (Newsweek Death Spiral?; Anti-Abortion Wars; Susan Boyle and Human Grace)