29 August 2012

I regard this place as a refuge;
They call me the hermit sometimes.
Wine makes my poems graceful;
the zither brings me that special tingle.
I thread mountain valleys in search of medicinal roots;
I transplant flowers, I sit and enjoy the spring.
This will do until I’m old;
I’ve no wish for the dusty world.

Such’ŏ Sŭnum (1590-1668)

21 August 2012

Let's get real

Nearly 40% of the federal budget comes from payroll taxes which every worker pays. No corporations pay 35% taxes unless they have really stupid accountants, there are so many write offs...many corporations not only don't pay taxes, but the
y are subsidized. Those are facts, but then as Reagan stated, "Facts are terrible things"...all income should be taxed as income regardless if it is made on capital or on labor. Without labor there would be no capital.

The U.S. economy is predominantly driven by consumer spending, which accounts for approximately 70 percent of all economic growth. But if consumers are to continue to drive the economy, they must be in a sound financial position...businesses slit their own throats when workers have no money to spend. Henry Ford understood that..."One's own employees ought to be one's own best customers," Mr. Ford said. "Paying high wages," he concluded, "is behind the prosperity of this country."

15 August 2012

Coincidentally, Warren Buffet has an ingenious way to rid the nation of debt

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers an interesting plan regarding the debt ceiling:

"I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of
GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971 - before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land - all because of public pressure.

Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.
Congressional Reform Act of 2012

1. No Tenure / No Pension.

A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6.. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 12/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women.

12 August 2012

Slow down, you move too fast....

I've found that when I slow down, really slow down...I see so much that I would have otherwise missed in the natural world. I suppose it's true in human societies, as well. 

The first year Cheryl moved up here with me she had just finished a holistic therapies degree at The College of St Catherine's and had been working as an addictions nurse on night shift. Her pace was quick.

I had a path which meandered quite a distance through the woods to the house...which was invisible both from the road and the drive way. An arched gate was at the head of the path, made from naturally bowed tree limbs/branches...it mimicked the bottom chord and radii of a spider's web...although that wasn't my intent when I'd made it.

We were returning from a drumming gathering on my motorcycle, when a sudden thunderstorm drove us off the road...the hard rain fell and left as the sun was setting...quite beautiful. We were within a mile from home. Walking up the path with the sunset streaming through the trees, I stopped ahead of Cheryl. There, blocking the path, was a spider's web which looked very much like the gateway. Droplets of rain glistened like small prisms along the web and the large barn spider/orb weaver was at the intersection of the radii along the bottom chord. "How am I going to get around this, limbo?" I said to Cheryl while she looked in awe. She had a fear of spiders back then. Poison ivy and heavy brush lined the pathway. I no sooner had asked the question when the spider lifted the bottom chord pulling it to the top of the web, creating a perfect arch..."Oh, that's how!"...and I walked beneath it. She refused to walk through, believing the spider would drop on her head as she crossed...instead opting for the poison ivy...I looked back and saw the spider return the web to its original shape.

Cheryl also learned that white oak bark is a remedy for poison ivy that evening.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan? REALLY??

The middle class was burgeoning, an interstate highway system was being built, we sent people to the moon...all when marginal tax rates were much higher than they are now.  And still, there was a wealthy class, but the gap was not as great as it is now, with increasingly an upper elite class and everyone else falling behind.

One worker households were common, housewives/stay at home moms were common, higher education (state universities) were very affordable, pensions were common as was employer supplied health care.  Families could even afford their home, a car or even two, vacation for the entire family, etc...on a bus driver's wage...(this is my personal experience, a family with 4 children and a father who was a bus driver, and a mother who was a stay at home mom, den mother, PTA member, volunteer registrar of voters, etc...none of us children ever went to day care, and I don't even remember ever having a baby sitter.)  The top marginal tax rate under Ike was 92%, 
 The tax reform passed after Kennedy’s death cut the top marginal tax rate from 90 percent to 70 percent, twice today's top rate of 35 percent. Kennedy explicitly called for a top rate of 65 percent, but added that it should be set at 70 percent if certain deductions weren't phased out at the top of the income scale.
– Kennedy called for U.S. corporations to be taxed on all their profits, earned anywhere in the world, rather than the current system of allowing them to defer taxation until they bring those profits home. "The undesirability of continuing deferral is underscored where deferral has served as a shelter for tax escape through the unjustifiable use of tax havens such as Switzerland," Kennedy said in 1961. During Kennedy's time in office, corporate taxes made up more than 20 percent of total revenue. Today, it's less than ten percent.
– Kennedy called for cutting tax preferences for the oil and gas industries, saying in 1963 that, "while these are complex as well as controversial problems, we cannot shrink from a frank appraisal of governmental policies and tax subsidies in this area." Republicans have been adamantly opposed to cutting subsidies for oil and gas companies.
– Kennedy called for limiting itemized deductions for the rich, saying that they should receive the same benefit for things like charitable giving "as everyone else," instead of preferential treatment (which they still receive). President Obama has called for the same system since he came into office, but the GOP has derided Obama's proposals.

05 August 2012

Materialistic Christian Elitism...a danger to our society

How about the modern Christian Pharisees? The Pharisees looked around and said, “There are lots of people in this country who have degenerate moral values. In order for us to put a stop to it, we’ll have nothing to do with such people. We will not eat at table with them. We will not talk to them. We will ostracize them completely. In this way, we will faithfully uphold the highest possible moral values.”

Jesus pushed the boundaries of religion to their limits. He was also a fierce critic of the priestly temple system of His day, decrying its wrongs.

If you examine Jesus’ exchanges with the Pharisees, you’ll discover a common thread. The Pharisees would ask a question on one level, and Jesus would answer it on a completely different level. The contrast was sometimes so stark that it would appear that Jesus was answering a different question.

Why is this? It’s because the Pharisees’ questions were coming from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And Jesus’ response was coming from the tree of life—the life of God. Jesus went to the people who were shunned by the temple priests: the lame, the blind, the infirm, the lepers, the prostitutes, and even the tax collectors—all of whom were notorious outcasts of society. (The common view of that day was that if you were sick, you deserved it.) Jesus quickly became the champion of the poor, the ostracized, the oppressed and dispossessed. He ministered to those who were marginalized by society, those regarded as valueless.

By doing so, the Lord upstaged the temple system, shaking all of its cages. He rattled the Pharisees by overturning their social customs, norms, and structures. He outraged the priests by claiming to speak for God. He broke down many of the barriers that separated people. And in the process, He was put to death by their collapse.

Regrettably, there is a great deal of pharisaism in the Christian family today. That is elitism.

03 August 2012

This morning


Shameless product placement...but we do believe this is the best vacuum sealer available...hand pumped/no electric.

Freezing paste tomatoes for later canning.  Apples are compliments of the raccoons.
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A few more

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Around the homestead during the August full moon

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As the world burns

Vietnam: As an advisor and liaison I lead native troops but nonetheless was looked upon as the "supreme local power", way too muc...