Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Need to Compromise and "Something to Believe In," a Short Story


Here’s a belated Thanksgiving story from my “archives” and a few words about the necessity of compromise in present day America.  You’re about to read what I have to say.  Now, let’s hear what you have to say about this.


What Happens When You Can’t Compromise

For compromise to occur in any area of disagreement, differing sides must not be firmly committed to ideological purity.  They have to be willing to give in on some portion of what they want, so long as they can walk away from the bargaining table with something that they do want.  If this is not possible, then rationality gives way to violence.

The Englishmen in England and the Englishmen in the thirteen English colonies on the western side of the Atlantic Ocean could not agree on the basis for taxation in these colonies.  Neither side gave in, and as a result, the colonies revolted, resulting in the Revolutionary War and the establishment of the United States of America.

During the following century, slavery in southern states paradoxically co-existed with the freeing of slaves in northern States.  (The Dred Scott Decision complicated this issue by declaring that a southern slave freed in Wisconsin was still nonetheless a slave elsewhere.)  And meanwhile, because of the economic dependence of the southern states on slavery, numerous areas of conflict arose.  The two sides were not so far apart, however, that compromises could not be reached.  The Compromise of 1820 and the Missouri Compromise held the nation together until the extreme positions of both sides in regard to slavery, states’ rights and economic issues prevented further compromise in the late 1850’s.  And then the bloody War Between the States, the Civil War, ensued.  America has not been the same since then.


For the past two years, opposing sides in Congress have been unable to compromise on important economic and social issues relating to taxation, government spending and so-called entitlements.  In the absence of rationality, the beginnings of violence have appeared.  That is what the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations are all about.  In another age, civil insurrection or revolution would be a definite possibility in the absence of compromise. Today, instead, we have young people peacefully complaining about lack of jobs, unmanageable debt and unfair wealth distribution.  They claim to be the 99% who are not receiving the more favored treatment that the top 1% of income earners routinely get.  



The United States must find a way, other than pepper spray, to deal with these demonstrators, whose arguments are no less valid than those which led to the Revolution and the Civil War.  The House of Representatives, the Senate and the President must find a way to compromise.  Otherwise, the slippery slope that we are on can result in our country having to face certain very undesirable consequences.
Jack Lippman
                                         
                                                  ***   ***   ***

Happy Thanksgiving

Something To Believe In    (From Jack’s original short story archives)

Wang looked up in amazement at the gigantic balloons which floated down the avenue above the paraders.  Some were in the shapes of elephants and clowns and characters he recognized from the TV shows he had been watching.  And the music!  There were blaring bands from all over the country interspersed among the floats.

“But, Mom, what is this parade all about?  Who are we paying homage to?” the thirteen year old asked the middle-aged woman who held his hand tightly.  “I remember parades like this in China, but they were always in honor of the Party or the working man.  I know you have tried to explain Thanksgiving to me, but who are we thanking?  Where are the leaders we should be cheering, like we did in Tiananmen Square on May Day?

“Wang,” she answered, “We are giving thanks for having the things which make our life so happy.  You know, the food on our table, our clothes, the nice apartment we live in.  Americans give thanks in many ways, some even thank God for what they have, but Wang, God personally won’t be part of the parade.”  Max, on the boy’s other side, gave Louise a jaundiced look.

“Oh,” the boy replied.  But it was clear that he was still confused.  “You mean I won’t be seeing Jesus in the parade?  He’s the one I usually thank for that kind of stuff. That’s what Reverend Lee taught us to do.”

“No, but if you want to be thankful to him, you can, Wang.”   

When Louise and Max had gotten Wang from the Mission Adoption Society less than a month before, they had been told that the Mission people who had taught him English also converted him to Christianity, once they had gotten him out of China where proselyting was illegal.  One of the things they had agreed to was to raise the boy as a Christian.  Neither Louise nor Max really practiced any religion.  They decorated a tree at Christmastime, but had never set foot in a church in their entire lives.  Max was born Jewish, but he lacked a religious background and was totally non-observant.  Louise came from a family of atheists.  So, when they paid the $25,000 adoption fee to the Mission Society, they didn’t object to agreeing to raise the boy as a Christian.  And the Mission people didn’t really care.  As far as Louise and Max were concerned, decorating a Christmas tree and hanging up a stocking Christmas Eve would suffice for his religious upbringing.  But Wang’s constant questioning was getting to be a bother.

The parade was drawing to a close, and the level of tension was increasing.   Wang felt it and didn’t know why, but suddenly, the final float of the parade came into view.  Mounted on a sleigh pulled by eight animated reindeer, and waving to all, was Santa Claus, resplendent in his white-trimmed bright red outfit, his snow-covered beard cascading down over his chest.  A loudspeaker boomed out his cries of “Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas to All!   Ho, Ho, Ho,”

 

Wang’s eyes opened as wide as they could, as Santa rolled by their curbside position.  The cheers were deafening.  

“That’s Santa Claus.  I saw him on the TV yesterday.  Is he the one we thank for everything on Thanksgiving?”

This time Max answered him.  “No, Wang.  Santa may bring the gifts, but he isn’t the one who gets them for you in the first place.”

The boy looked puzzled.  “If I shouldn’t be thanking Jesus or Santa for the gifts, should I be thanking you, Mom and Pop?”

“Well, sort of,” Louise replied, but obviously, she wasn’t happy with that answer and the thirteen year old wasn’t either.

“Look,” he said.  “I know you two aren’t Christians, and until last year, I hadn’t even heard of Jesus.  So whether or not I believe in him really doesn’t matter. I can take him or leave him.  But now you’re telling me that I shouldn’t be thanking Santa either.  This is sort of like what things were like in China.  Everyone used to thank Mao for everything.  Now, that was before my time, but then they told everybody to thank someone else, and finally, just thank the Communist Party, and that’s what I did in the orphanage, but that was okay since they ran the place.  But who do I thank here in America?  I certainly have a lot to be thankful for, what with you adopting me and all.  I just don’t feel it’s enough to thank just you two for all you’ve done for me.

My God, Louise thought.  Perhaps we should have waited for an infant, not this boy with his inquiring mind.  Maybe he’ll end up being a scientist or something, she mused.  

Later that night, in bed, she turned to Max.  “Max, do you believe in some force that controls the universe, some original cause or something?”

“Like God, you mean?  No … let’s leave it at some kind of power that started it all, and forget the divinity part of it.”

“You’re more of an atheist than my Dad was, Dear,” Louise replied.  “I’m beginning to think, if only for the boy, we have to believe in something.”  Max answered, “Well, Miss Atheist, you’re not going to get me involved with Jesus or back to the smelly old shuls I remember from Brooklyn.  Let’s find something nice and non-religious to credit everything to, and give that to the kid.”  “At least then,” Louise continued, “He’ll have someone … or something … to thank on Thanksgiving.”

And so it was that Louise and Max joined an introspective philosophical group, which met in an apartment on the Upper West Side on Tuesday evenings, in the hope of learning some answers to the questions the boy was raising.  Wang eventually started accompany them to the meetings, and perhaps because of his Chinese background, quickly took to what was going on, and understood the discussions in perhaps greater depth than the adults there.   And he never again had to ask about whom to thank for the blessings which he received, but he did give great thought to whether the bounty he shared was indeed a blessing, or perhaps it should be looked at in another light.  He loved to talk about these things with Louise and Max.

Louise was very happy with the outcome.  Max turned to vodka.
JL

                                                     ***   ***   ***

More on Self-Sufficiency 

The item on this blog's last posting dealing with self-sufficiency really said that we might be looking forward to an era of austerity in the foreseeable future.  This will definitely happen in Europe, and because of our worldwide banking ties, it could spread to our country.

Many European economies (Greece, Italy, Portugal, etc.) are struggling because of a decrease in their gross national product resulting from (among other things) their inability to sell their products or resources outside of their borders.  Traditionally, countries in such a fix devalue their currency, making their exports less expensive.  This creates jobs and the resultant consumer spending and domestic debt reduction which salaries make possible.  In Europe today, however, this is not possible.  Greece, for example, cannot by itself devalue the Euro.  They are stuck with it.  The only way, then, to make their exports less expensive is go the route of austerity, which means less money for workers and fewer benefits, making Greek exports competitive and helping their economy.  In fact, European bankers are insisting on such austerity if they are to participate in "bailing out" Greece.

In the United States, if devaluing our currency doesn't work, and the Federal Reserve's present monetary policy amounts to that, the only alternative is asking Americans to adopt more self-sufficient measures, which translate as austerity.  Our present unemployment rate, in effect, accomplishes that.  Should the present rate of unemployment become a permanent fixture in our economy, it will become an "institutional" or strategic tool to promote austerity.  If that happens, an expanded government "safety net" will be needed, funded by tax increases, to catch those whose lives are already "austere" and will have to reduce their standard of living even further.

There was no Euro in the late twenties and the thirties in Europe.  Countries could devalue their currency, as Germany did drastically during the Weimar Republic.  But it didn't work.  At that time, economies were on "the gold standard," and if currency reforms were based on fiction, rather than on the yellow metal, they failed.  The resultant austerity in Germany laid the groundwork for the success of Adolf Hitler in gaining political support.   Monetary policy is a complex matter, something about which learned economists often disagree, but it can have a great, and often not fully understood, effect on history.

                                                     ***   ***   ***                  
                    
Most readers of this blog are alerted by Email every time a new posting appears.  If you wish to be added to that Email list, just let me know by contacting me at Riart1@aol.com.  Also, be aware that  www.Jackspotpourri.com is now available on your mobile devices in modified, easy-to-read format.

 
JL

                                                        ***   ***   ***

To send this posting to a friend, or enemy for that matter, whom you think might be interested in it, just click on the envelope with the arrow right below the  dotted line at the very bottom of this posting.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Thanksgiving Story, Self-Sufficiency and Politickler #6



Self-Sufficiency?


The continued growth of manufacturing in China compared with our minimal growth in that area makes it a certainty that the Chinese will replace the United States as the world’s leading manufacturing nation shortly if indeed that has not already happened.  There is only one reason for this and that is the low cost of labor there as compared with what labor costs in this country.  (Any other explanation is secondary and only serves to reduce unemployment among economists.)  The major result of this is an increase in unemployment in the United States, and the diminishing of compensation for those with jobs.  The price of China’s success is being paid by the American working person.


The first approach to dealing with this challenge which comes to mind is protectionism whereby tariffs on imports keep foreign-made goods outside of this country, creating jobs here when we manufacture those goods ourselves.  Unfortunately, in a world committed to a global economy, this course of action is impossible.  We are already too far down that path to go back.  The global nature of treaties, trade agreements, banking and finance will not allow it.   Therefore it appears that for our economy to flourish in a global setting, the price will have to continue to be paid by the American working person.  It is an oversimplification, but the availability of jobs for American workers is inversely proportional to the degree in which an American worker receives higher pay and better benefits than does his counterpart elsewhere in the world, including Asia and areas where workers have far lower standards of living.


If our economy manages to flourish in such a global environment, and I believe it can, the government must step in to make certain that a relatively decent standard of living is available to the American working person, whose compensation will be significantly reduced, if he or she is even employed, to a level in the direction of that received by the Asian worker.  To do this, extremely high taxation of businesses and individuals will be required.  This is an undesirable solution and one to be avoided.


Sooner or later, the answer will be found and I think it rests in a concept known as “American Self-Sufficiency.”   Whether it is on a local or national level, Americans must learn to depend on themselves, and those in their communities, for the food they eat, the clothes they wear and most of the things they buy.  “Self-Sufficiency” may be thought of as a gentler brand of protectionism.   

Certainly, some items will always have to be imported, but they will be the rare exceptions.  We will not have to withdraw from the global economy, but we should be less dependent upon it than we are now, even if things we make ourselves cost more. To succeed on this basis, we will have to live more austerely, making do with what we have, spending less and devoting ourselves and our resources to developing “American Self-Sufficiency.”  Think in terms of more backyard gardens, more sewing machines in homes and more cars with odometer readings in excess of 100,000 miles on our roads.  If someone has a particular skill (plumbing, electricity, etc.), there will have to be a willingness to share their skills with neighbors who will respond with whatever they are good at. I may grow corn in my yard and you may grow tomatoes; we can swap vegetables. This will amount to a communal approach to building a self-sufficient America.   

More about this will follow in future postings … and your ideas are welcome, since I really don’t know where I am going with this train of thought. 


Jack Lippman


                                  ***   ***   ***
 


Politickler #6


Okay, the Super-Committee threw in the towel.  Hence, in 2013, in order to deal with the deficit, tremendous cuts in spending will be mandated to occur.  President Obama has said that he will veto attempts by Congress to reduce these spending cuts.  It’s odd that the Democratic President ends up on the side of new spending cuts and the Republican House seems to be aiming at reducing them.  Of course, the cuts the G.O.P. wants to avoid making are not in the area of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, but rather in future military budgets.  But the President is sticking to his position because, at the end of 2012, the Bush tax cuts, which benefited the wealthy, are scheduled to expire. 


This time around, contrary to his questionable 2010 position, the President will be fighting to let them run out, bringing taxes on the wealthy back to their Clinton administration levels.  The President’s insistence on the mandatory spending cuts occurring starting in 2013 is tied to the additional revenue expected from the expiry of the Bush tax cuts. His is not a leftward leaning position but rather a centrist position. Together, increased revenues from taxes on the wealthy (leftist approach) and broad spending cuts (rightist approach) will be giant steps toward deficit reduction.  I am certain that if the President is unable to succeed in letting the Bush tax cuts expire, he will change his mind about going along with spending cuts.  This is the issue over which the Super-Committee failed to come together. 


Some people think that the best way to solve this would be with a giant super-committee, not consisting of Congressmen and Senators, but with a committee of all Americans making the decision.  I believe such a committee will indeed meet in November of 2012 to solve this problem when they elect a full House of Representatives, one third of the Senate and a President for the next four years.  Vox Populi, Vox Dei.

(I note that a lot of Democrats are blaming lobbyist Grover Norquist, who has exacted a pledge to constituents from most Republican Representatives and Senators that they will absolutely oppose any and all tax increases, for the Super-Committee’s failure. Be that as it may, please note that many months ago, this blog told its readers all about Grover Norquist, with all of his blemishes, including his Islamist activities.)
JL


                                                              ***   ***   ***



TURKEY DAY

Harvey Sage

(author of Tuna Food, available at Amazon Kindle.  Please feel free to forward this story to your friends.) 
Blessings!        

Nana shot him a glance of disgust. “ You should be ashamed of yourself. Don’t you have any feelings?” She continued mixing the corn bread in the large bowl while telling her husband of forty five years, “It’s murder. That’s what it is. Murder!”

No,” said Papa, squaring his large shoulders, “it’s killing. People gotta eat and meat is what we eat. It’s God’s way.”

“There are other ways Papa. Murder or killing. What’s the difference? He’ll be just as dead.”
           
Papa was resigned to his task at hand. He was a man and this was a man’s job. He looked out the kitchen window and clenched his teeth. There was Tom, strutting his stuff, thinking that the world was all his. Papa walked by Nana, her attractive body bent over as she placed the bowl into the oven. Normally he would have pinched or patted Nana. But her mood was anything but playful. His stomach growled in anticipation of the Feast. The tray of candied sweet potatoes garnished with roasted pecans smelled too delicious. Dinner was hours away and the main entree was plump and ripe for pickings.
           
“Papa, do you really hafta?” Her plea was almost a wail.

“Yep. It’s only right. We’ve been raising Tom since he was a young ‘un. Now it’s time for harvest. Time’s wasting Nana. I gotta pluck and clean him. That’ll take an hour. It’s getting on toward noon.”
           
She snorted, “Harvest! Tom is Part of the family. Yer gonna commit murder. Shame on you Papa.”

He walked to the box near the door and got “it”. Still feeling the heat from the confrontation he strode outside, weapon in hand. He approached Tom with leaden steps.

The pickup truck came around the house and skidded to a halt in front of Papa. “Hi Pop,” Jethro called as he bounded out of the cab. He gave his father a hug.

“How’s the missus?” Papa asked.

“Amy is fine. She’s resting a bit. Being a mom is draining. So I brought the kids over to see how you old timers put together a feast for Turkey Day. ”

“Papa! Papa!” Two cherubs and a dog flew out from the other side of the truck’s cab and ran over to grandpa. As he knelt to hug and kiss them, Pooch turned to run over to Tom. The greeting they shared was a dance paradigm, practiced over the years. Pooch crouched low in front of his friend Tom, barking and wagging his tail in a frenzy. Tom proudly spread his feathers and scratched some gravel in a makeshift aggressive posture as they playfully circled each other.
           
“Watcha got there Papa?”

There was a spate of silence till Sammy, the older child stated “That’s an ax Bella.”

“An ax,” Bella squealed in horror pushing away from her grandpa. “Papa, you’re going to chop Tom’s head off?”

“I. I….” Papa dropped the ax, weakened by her outburst.

“Papa,” she continued to scream, “No. Not Tom!” Her young body did a 180 as she ran to where Pooch and Tom were playing. She threw her little arms around the big turkey’s neck. “No Papa, no!” She began to cry, shaking violently as rivers of tears washed down her pudgy cheeks. Pooch and Tom joined in, adding to the cacophony with a series of howls and gobbles.
           
The old man’s face had turned into a stone mask. Shouting over the din Jethro asked “Pop. Do you really have to do this?”

Papa gazed at the ax at his feet. “I dunno. We’re supposed to have turkey for dinner. We’ve been fattening him up just for that.”
           
“But Pop, that’s Tom. You gonna kill ol’ Tom?” Jethro was choking back tears.

In a quiet voice Papa said humbly “I was supposed to. It’s the man’s job. I guess we could buy one in town. That OK with you?”
           
“No way Pop. That’s abetting murder. Remember, ’Thou shalt not kill.’ Why don’t we just feast on vegetables, soup, bread and cider.”
           
“Vegetables. Since when did you start eating vegetables?”
           
“For about a month now. Ever since we saw a TV special on animal cruelty.” Jethro cleared his throat. “Look. Mom and Amy can cook up a bunch from our fall harvests. We don’t need no turkey.”
           
“That’s right Papa. We don’t need no turkey,” chimed in Sammy. “We can have veggies. Mamma says they’re good for you.”
Bella ran over. “I love veggies Papa. I don’t want to eat yucky turkey meat ever again. Besides,” she cried, “turkeys have a right to enjoy Thanksgiving too. After all, it’s Turkey Day. Think how happy Tom will be when you give him some extra corn to eat.”
           
Papa leaned over to hug his granddaughter. His tears mixed with her tears. Tears, the elixir of love. Sammy and Jethro joined to make a sacred circle.           

Looking out from the window, Nana wiped tears from her cheeks. “Oh God, if only you would change the hearts of men from killing, just like you did Papa’s.” Then she bowed her head, lit up by the noon day sun, the promise of a beautiful day.



                                                           ***   ***   ***                  
                    
Most readers of this blog are alerted by Email every time a new posting appears.  If you wish to be added to that Email list, just let me know by Emailing me at Riart1@aol.com.  Also, be aware that www.Jackspotpourri.com is now available on your mobile devices in a modified, easy-to-read, format.

 
JL

                                                           ***   ***   ***

To send this posting to a friend, or enemy for that matter, whom you think might be interested in it, just click on the envelope with the arrow right below the  dotted line at the very bottom of this posting.




 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"The Meeting" (Originally Posted 8-10-11) Reposted with Commentary


“The Meeting” first appeared on this blog on August 10.  Some have asked me if it is fact or fiction.  It is fiction, but that does not mean that such a meeting could not have happened!  Certainly, tremendous amounts of money have been raised to support the conservative agenda.  Aided by the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision which said the First Amendment prohibits government from censoring political broadcasts in candidate elections when those broadcasts are funded by corporations or unions and that these entities could be considered as “people” protected by the First Amendment; that would justify the way the money was raised in this story.
In this version of the story, I have added (in red) a few comments on the methodology which was developed at the meeting for gaining support.  If you have not read this bit of “fiction” before, please read it now.  And if you have read it before, please re-read it and note the comments in red.  After re-reading it myself, I am wondering if, unknown to me, such a meeting actually did take place.


The Meeting
                                            Jack Lippman
 

The meeting was held in a secluded and luxurious chalet in the foothills of an isolated mountain range.   A private airstrip was the only access to the place other than a rugged unmarked road used to bring in the staff, food and housekeeping essentials from the nearest town, sixty miles away.  A number of private jets were parked at the end of the runway where the hangar and fuel depot were located.


The men, all casually dressed as if they were there for a weekend of hunting or fishing, sat around a large conference table.  They shall remain nameless, but suffice it to say, each one represented personal wealth in excess of the 300 billion dollar level, which made their eight figure annual salaries almost meaningless.  These were the wealthiest men in America.   If I were to identify them, you would not recognize one name.  Each had gone to great lengths to preserve their anonymity, a quality common to possessors of wealth of this kind.
“Gentlemen,” intoned a short gray-haired man sitting at the table.  “In order to get to our agenda promptly and tend to business, I want to remind all of you of what our group is all about.  I am sure you all already know this … that is why you are here … but these ideas bear frequent repeating.”  No one said anything.  A few of the men nodded their assent.

"Although we as individuals are clearly the most charitable people in the world, our prime objective is wealth preservation.”

“Not exactly,” someone interjected.  “I am not in the least charitable.  I don’t care if people out there live or die or starve or whatever.  I donate for tax purposes.  If the God damn government took away the deductions I get for what I give, and what my foundations give away, I wouldn’t let loose of a red cent.”
“Thank you, George, for your comments.  But let’s get on with it,” the discussion leader continued. 
“Ideally, it would be wonderful if there were no such thing as taxes.  Some of you, I know, have moved a lot of your wealth to countries where there are practically none, but we all know there are limits to how much of that you can do.  So long as we are Americans, we must do as much as we can to keep taxes here to a minimum and deductions and loopholes at a maximum.  We must have a government, for without one, we would lose the protection it provides to allow us the freedom to do what we want with our money.  And of course, at a minimum, we need an army and navy to provide that protection.”
George raised his hand, was recognized, and spoke up.  “Bull.  We don’t need the government to provide us with a military.  We can hire our own.  It’s cheaper that way.  There’s plenty of mercenaries around and no one gives a shit if they get killed.”
“George, thank you for your comments.  That’s something to consider, but let’s get on.  Even though the maximum tax rate is down to 35%. that's still a big hit.  Even with deductions and shelters, it takes a lot out our wallets.  The Democrats would like to see it go back up to 39%, like it was under Clinton.  I would love it back down to 25% or even lower.  Single digits would be fine.  And paying into Social Security is something we must avoid.  That’s a bottomless pit. We only pay into it on a miniscule fraction of our income but I would hate to see that changed, and there are those out there who want to do exactly that.”
“Look at the numbers, though. There are only ten of us in this room and there are maybe another 100,000 top-bracket taxpayers out there who are almost in the same boat as we are, and we are speaking for them too.  Our task is to make sure the government keeps doing it our way.  We have to get the country behind us.  That Norquist fellow did a fine job getting a lot of Congressmen to pledge never to increase taxes nor get rid of our blessed loopholes, but he’s beginning to lose his credibility.  Bush helped him a lot to connect to the conservatives out there, but that’s history now.”
The discussion leader paused briefly, looked out of the massive picture windows at the spectacular scenery surrounding the chalet and continued.  


View looking westward from chalet picture window
“As I see it, we must do everything to promote the idea that tax increases, in any form whatsoever, including removing loopholes and deductions, are extremely bad for the country.  We must drill it into the heads of all Americans that taxation removes incentive to invest and grow the economy at all levels and kills jobs.  That gets them every time.  We have to get that into the schools at all levels, even kindergarten.” 
“Ha,” someone laughed.  “Maybe we should put out an Ayn Rand inspired comic book for kids.”
“Great idea,” the leader chuckled. “But this is no laughing matter.  We must convince America that the Laffer curve, the economic ideas of Milton Friedman and of course, of Frederick Hayek, are irrefutable truths, deserving of as much respect as the Ten Commandments.  And that the Keynesian policies of using government spending and higher taxes as tools with which to manage the economy, and to provide an unearned safety net, are poisonous.”
“The way to do this is to convince a majority of Americans of the validity of our positions.  And this is a great time to continue to do this.  The citizenry is hurting and they, like us, are taxpayers.  We need them on our side. They will buy this argument that taxes are the cause of all of the country’s problems, if we shove it down their throats hard enough and often enough.  Put the blame on the government.  It spends too much.  On anything and everything.  As a wise person out there has said, ‘we have to starve the beast.’ "

"If the funding for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and every government spending program out there were cut at least in half, we would never again need to even think about raising taxes.  We might even cut them significantly.   Frankly, I know people would be hurting and some might even die, and things the government does, like roads and dams and research, would have to be eliminated.  But it is far more important that this nation preserve our freedom to accumulate wealth without having to share it with anyone else through excessive taxation.  It’s our money. We cannot have anything that would even hint at the Marxist concept of wealth redistribution.  That’s what high taxes really are. The French cut off Louis XIV’s head to start this God damn leftist ball rolling and we aim to make sure it is stopped right here.” 
All those around the table rose and applauded the speaker.
“Okay, here is the way we do it.  And it has to be done so convincingly that even the Congressmen and local politicians who come aboard actually believe this stuff with all their hearts.  That won’t be easy, because some of them are really smart, but we need to make them believers.” 

1. We must control the media.  We have to have at least one or two major TV networks in our pocket whose programming we can control.  (they have Fox in their pocket.) We must dominate talk radio, (They do. Limbaugh, Savage, Prager, etc. already dominate talk radio.  Liberal talk shows are few and far between.) internet web sites,  (There are hundreds. Ever wonder how they are funded?) newspapers, particularly in smaller cities and towns, and magazines. (Since most national magazines didn’t buy their story, they founded their own. It’s called Newsmax and looks like a real magazine, but it is pure conservative propaganda.) Once they get our message out, it gets E-mailed all over the country, multiplied ten-fold.  


2. We must fund foundations and institutes which provide legitimate appearing material and documentation, telling our story, to be provided to the media.  (Ever wonder how the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, the Hudson Institute, The Eagle Forum, Judicial Watch, etc. get their money?) Generously endowing a few hard-up colleges or universities can result in strong support for our position from the academic world. (Like Oral Roberts Univ. Law School, now Regent Law School, where Michelle Bachmann got her law degree.)


3. We must ally ourselves with groups who seem susceptible to adopting our ideology because they are already single-mindedly devoted to one cause or another.  This blind devotion can be easily transferred to our cause. This will increase our numbers and believe me, this is very applicable to members of Congress and local legislators.  The groups with which we must ally ourselves are endless.  They include pro-Israel groups, (Support Israel, and oppose a separate state for the Palestinians, and they will support *whatever else is in your agenda.)pro-life groups, (Oppose abortion and they will support *whatever else is in your agenda.)creationists, (Oppose evolution and they will support *whatever else is in your agenda.)anti-fluouride groups, (etc.) home schooling and pro-educational voucher groups, (etc.) evangelical Christian groups, (etc.) anti-immigrant groups, (etc.) chambers of commerce, (etc.)some professional societies,(etc.)  sporting groups, (etc.) bankers associations (etc.) and Second Amendment groups. (Oppose *gun control and they will support whatever else is in your agenda.)

*Regardless of how detrimental the rest of your agenda is to their interests!

4.  We must repeatedly attack any opposition to our positions.  Innuendo and stretching the truth can be used to discredit any who disagree with us.  Guilt by association and lies, even ones easily disproven, are effective tools since refuting them takes the opposition’s eye off of the ball. (Think about the resources the Democrats were forced to use to counter the “innuendoes” about the President’s birthplace and educational credentials.) Individuals who are in financial distress can be coerced. Anything questionable in an opponent’s personal life should be capitalized on.

“Gentlemen, to embark on this program, we have established an off-shore funding center with access to all of our accounts in this country.  Everything is cryptographically protected to a degree beyond the capability of any government in the world to decipher.  You will never be identified as being involved in this program. Take a deep breath, gentlemen, for here is the price tag to do this job properly." 

"If any of you are not willing to contribute $200,000,000 to this effort right now and commit to that amount each and every year for the next ten years, you may get up and leave this room right now. All of your jets out there have been refueled and are ready to take off with you if you so choose. Remember though, what I propose is not only for your good, but for the good of the country as we know it.  You see, I am firmly convinced of the truth of every word that I have said.”  
He rose and looked at all of the men sitting around the table, making eye contact with each of them individually.  None of the nine other men even budged nor made any motion to leave their seats.  He paused for half a minute and only then, smiled.

“Okay, then.  Let’s have lunch and afterwards, I want to introduce you to a few people who will make sure every penny of the two billion dollars that you have just pledged is well spent … and turn over the chair of our group for the next year to whomever is next in alphabetical order.  That’s you, George, right?”
Everyone leaned back as white-jacketed waiters entered the room, laid down fine bone china and sterling silver table settings and prepared to serve a lunch which did not come from McDonalds.      

          
 




                            *****     *****     *****    *****

           
                    
Most readers of this blog are alerted by Email every time a new posting appears.  If you wish to be added to that Email list, just let me know by Emailing me at Riart1@aol.com.  Also, be aware that www.Jackspotpourri.com is now available on your mobile devices in a modified, easy-to-read, format.

 
JL

                                                    ***   ***   ***

To send this posting to a friend, or enemy for that matter, whom you think might be interested in it, just click on the envelope with the arrow right below the  dotted line at the very bottom of this posting.