Sunday, November 8, 2009

Where is our focus?

What is the focus of our politics? mine is not on any one party line or platform, I believe in Jesus, and so His principles are the basis to my political stance. I believe in true freedom, in the idea a true free market system. no give aways, no government handouts. Minimal taxation and minimal regulation. It is the churches place to take care of the widows and the poor. Government never had or has the authority to deal with it, nor the capacity. Education also is supposed to be community and faith based, not state and federally regulated and funded, enough of that. Well I could go on forever, enough for today.

presidential quiziness

Learning some US Presidents trivia is an important part of the education of any student who goes through the American school system. The American presidents from the first to the most recent have each played an important role in the shaping of the history of the country. Learning about them helps anyone to understand the sacrifices that were required to birth the country, as well as the principles which it was founded on and has been governed under.

The first part of any US presidents quiz must concern George Washington. Washington became the first president of the country after the American Revolution. He helped build all of the basic building blocks of our government, and advocated a strong government and neutrality in foreign affairs.

Tomas Jefferson, the third president, is equally important. Generally accounted one of the country's greatest presidents, he was one of the most important figures in the creation of the declaration of independence (although that event predated his presidency.

The sixteenth president is generally accounted one of the two greatest presidents the country has ever had. Abraham Lincoln was the first republican president, and was responsible for, above all else, bringing about an end to the tradition of slavery in his country. Lincoln's assassination, like that of JFK's, is an important part of the US presidents trivia that everyone learns in today's school system.

Not all of the items that show up on a US presidents quiz are about these heroes of the past however. While there are many more of those, such as Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan, there are also those which have left a less impressive legacy.

Richard Nixon, resigning because of the Watergate scandal, is one of the more infamous chapters in the history and trivia involving American Presidents. The sad stories of both Presidents Harrison and Garfield are also important to recognize, as the two shortest serving presidents. Harrison died after a little more than a month in office, and Garfield was shot four months after being named president.

Trivia regarding the American Presidents also can look at what has happened in recent times politically in the country. The election of President Barack Obama marks the historic event of the election of the first African American president. He also recently became a member of a very select group of American presidents who have received one of the world's highest honors, the Nobel peace prize.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

monetary policy

With all the recent talks of the dollar dying and no longer being a dominant currency in the world, I decided to break down the monetary policy of the government. The Monetary Policy of the United States basically means controlling the rate of growth of the money supply, which can alter credit markets, employment, and rate of inflation. The Federal Reserve is the agency that oversees the money in circulation as well as regulates banking institutions. The Federal Reserve is its own institution, and does not have to listen to the president or Congress. The goal of the Feds is to stabilize economic activity, but as you can see this has become a problem.

Ben Bernanke is the Federal Reserve Chairman, and is being pressured to step down in the midst of the economic crisis among other things. The Federal Reserve has two major monetary policies, they have what is referred to as loose and tight monetary policies. The loose policy means that money is more accessible to people, and the interest rate is substantially lower. Businesses invest in new opportunities and the economy begins to grow. On the other hand a tight policy means money is harder to obtain for individuals, and the interest rate is higher. Businesses don't implement new investment opportunities, and the economic growth slows. So it's make you wonder why they would ever want to have a tight monetary policy in this country.

Well the problem is without adjusting back and forth between tight and loose policies, the inflation would skyrocket. The value of the dollar would drop, because there is a large amount of currency circulating. The problem today is the government is spending so frivolously to help the economy, but they are hurting it at the same time. The value of the dollar is steadily dropping, while gold is at an all time high. The government has began to just rely on the loose monetary policy to dig us out of a hole, without taking into consideration the importance of the dollar. On a side note, it cost the U.S. Mint 1.4 cents to make a penny, and 7.8 cents to make a nickel. It goes to show that the system could use an overhaul!

do not confuse a government with the people

Orwell once wrote in the book 1984 about the concept of Doublespeak. This means that a word's meaning will be changed depending on how one wishes it to be perceived. In this article I will be discussing a few terms: government and citizens, regimes and administrations, nations and people. While these are commonly used terms it has become increasingly important to recognise the rhetoric involved and the confusion it can muster.

World War Two was a perfect example (on both sides) of propaganda and rhetoric. Germans were evil, Japanese were evil. Axis forces were the enemy and Allied forces were the heroes. Unfortunately this is how history is written although that attitude is changing with more and more in depth historical analysis being made. It can be said of any nation or people there are (as the cliche puts it) many shades of grey.

A free thinking individual would realise that these ideas of black and white are archaic and do not represent the reality of our existence. We see on the news declarations about certain nations and governments as if a collective voice has spoken. We hear about the Americans, the Iranians, the British, the Chinese, the North Koreans. Sadly this generalisation still places many people who live within these countries under the same umbrella even though democratic countries throughout the world are far less free than we are led to believe.

In countries like the United States and Australia we are told we are democratic while countries like China are non-democratic. The key difference being that those in Australia and the United states have two major political parties to choose from while the Chinese have one. Do any of these governments really represent its people? The short answer is no. The longer answer is that governments (democratic or not) can only really represent a portion of the population. It is the size of this representation that determines if a government will be called a 'regime' or an 'administration'.

A regime indicates force, lack of choice, and a general removal of the populace from the political process. What we see in Western Democracies is slightly different in that we can participate in the political process but still have a limited choice due to the structure. America has the Republican party and the Democratic party. Australia has the Labour party and the Coalition (liberal, national parties) and Britain has Labour and Conservative parties. This is the old structure of left and right. Can anyone really believe that there is only ever two sides to a political discussion?

Already in this article you can see that the actual people become less and less important as the political party structure dominates. The general population has little or no understanding or access to these structures there-by making politics itself highly un-democratic. This is a terrible situation considering that these are the lawmakers and representatives of the people. It makes it even harder for a commentator to discuss a nation when government representation and accountability has diminished so much.

Ask yourself this question: Who is your local government representative? Most would have no idea of the name of the person, perhaps only knowing the political party they represent. I am sure you would agree that there are good candidates in political parties even though none can truly represent what you believe. This is the eternal problem with any representation: they can only be the few governing the many. The many never govern the few.

A country such as China with one political party is the perfect example of the few governing the many Even though the Communist forces took power through a popular movement, those who are in power now are far removed from the general populous. Even though we are told that China is a Communist country, it is still a dictatorship that does not represent its people. Rather it is a dictatorship because it tells the Chinese people who they are. This means the China that is mentioned in the media is not the Chinese people. The Americans themselves were victims to this problem under the Bush government where all of the governments actions were viewed as actions by the American people abroad.

A nation does not mean the people who inhabit that nation. Rather it means the regime or (as is the case with the 'good guys') administration that is in charge and calling the shots. The difference that can be seen between a dictatorship and a democracy is that the people can still speak their minds. In a dictatorship independent thought and expression can be a cause of imprisonment and even death. However, the problem we face in modern democracies is the weakness of the media as it is increasingly reliant on corporate structure and profit. The media is now here to entertain rather than inform. The entertainment factor has meant that people with a genuine grievance are able to speak but no longer have an audience.

You see less and less mobilisation of the people in democracies since the end of world war two as governments only role is to subdue the population rather than represent them. A poor man has little access to the government which means the rich minority are represented while the majority of people are represented only as much as it serves the political party in power at the time. Perhaps the increase in web based discussion in all nations on earth may at least give back the access to government decision making people used to enjoy. Perhaps there are even politicians that would love to put the people they represent back into the decision making process.

I hope this discussion has been thought provoking. Democracy should be about protecting and helping those too weak to protect themselves, not about holding onto power for another political term.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Craigslist, Politics or Rant n Rave

They are essentially the same... there is no real discussion or debate. all I ever see is propaganda and lots of name calling. I do not believe that there is no common ground for Americans to meet on. While we sit and bicker about small details the major players in business and government are simply raping us of our resources. Does that bother you? Are you willing to do something about it? Can we do anything at this point? Honesty? is it found anywhere in our government, media, our schools, workplaces? Is it even valued any more? Wake up America! Do something, however insignificant it may seem, all together we do make a difference.