Mitt, My Good Man





Romney: Rivals’ attacks a ‘good warm-up’

copyright © 2012 Betsy L. Angert.  Empathy And Education; BeThink or  BeThink.org

Dearest Mitt . . .

I am unsure if we have had the pleasure of an in-person exchange.  I too travel in political circles.  However, I do not recall.  Perhaps we met in the past.  I trust I have done business with you and your firm, Bain Capital.  Bravo on your successes.

Please allow me to introduce myself by way of this letter.  This morning, I caught a glimpse of your Today Show interview with Matt Lauer.  I heard you speak of the exaggerated envy now heard on the campaign trail.  Oh, my friend Mitt, how I relate. If I might; well stated my man. People do want what they do not have. First Bain, then the White House.  Indeed, one Chief Executive position ensured that you were a world power.  The other is but a natural transition. Instead of having a seat at the table of global influence, as President of the United States, you, old man, will own the table.

I concur with the thought expressed in the title of a Wall Street Journal Mitt.  The Bain Capital Bonfire. Romney has a good story to tell, if he’s willing to tell it. Might you have read the account my friend?  The treatise speaks of the gains and losses, signature events in our glorious Capitalist system.  You know the tale dear Mitt and I trust you will articulate it well. I look forward to the day when you share it with me personally; perhaps, over dinner.  Until then, may I offer my own anecdote.  It speaks of why I do not envy you.

Mitt, my man, I am an extremely wealthy individual.  Granted, financially, I have had my share of ups and downs.  At birth, I was born into money.  My father, Michael, had been a very poor young man.  One of thirteen children, the son of first generation Americans, Michael had to work his way to the top.  

Michael enrolled in University. He may have been the first in his family.  He completed his degree in Accounting.  Michael sought and realized Certification.  Then, “visionary” that he was Michael opened his own business. The man was an expert at making money.  He made millions for his client and much for himself.  Ultimately, his firm grew and grew.  

At the time of my birth, my parents lived in a large house on a hill.  The estate was built only a year before.  “Mother” designed the private residence herself.  She chose the neighbor and the acreage.  It was a beautiful plot of land, rolling hills, a deep forest to roam through.  I used to  wander the woods for hours on end.

As a seedling, conceived in a Waldorf Astoria Hotel suite, you might correctly imagine that, as  a child, my clothes were all New York designer collections.  My backyard playground was furnished with the finest swing sets.  We had two.  Sliding boards, climbing bars, and seesaws as well.  Among my favorite toys was not a plaything at all.  Made of wood, large and spacious, a cabin graced the grounds.  Outside of my little log home was a sandbox.  The container for tiny grains did not sit on a lawn. No. the box was built deep into the soil. When I sat within, a portion of my body might appear buried below the surface of the land.  Did I mention the whirly-bird? Oh, Mitt, my life was a child’s delight . . . or so it might have appeared.

I trust any child would have been envious of me, all that I had, and did daily. We vacationed often. A skating weekend here, days away at a resort . . . Sun and fun. Snow and frolic.  ate at the best restaurants regularly. My “father” owned one, that is, in name only.  The Penthouse was an investment made on a client’s behalf.   Taxes, title exchanges. . . shelters and such.   I am sure you understand old man.

My Mom too lived a lovely life. She had no need to work.  Philanthropic endeavors were her want.  Dressed to the nines, she volunteered hither and yon.  At times, the women would play. Bowling. Cards. Shopping.  Mommy was active in many an organization.  Religious affiliations were a wondrous source of shared pleasure.  Father’s career was furthered through the associations.  Mother made friends with the women during daylight hours.  In the evening, the men would join their wives at a club.  On countless occasions, a bigger bash was planned.  

Often, my parents hosted these.  The best china, the finest crystal, and oh the food.  Catered gourmet delicacies filled every room.  As a tot, I would sneak out of my room and “steal” a snack. Sure to be noticed, I was met with a smile and “Is she not so cute?”

Cute? Charming? Endearing? So it might seem. Reason for envy? Absolutely!  That is, if it were true.  Yes, the tale is accurate.  The account is my life.  However, as blissful as it might sound, as beautiful as it might be or have been, it was not.  There were hidden hurts.  

I was a spoiled child. Not spoiled, overindulged or a tike with too much.  I had nothing! There was no love. My parents had no time for me. The two hired a woman to raise me before I was born.  I was given everything, anything my little heart desired, except a connection.  Try as I might, I could not bond with my parents.  I had elder sisters. However, they too abandoned me prior to my first appearance in their home.  

The pair was forever busy.  Each had friends who were surely more fun than a baby sibling.   Fine fabrics hung in their closets and were worn on their backs.  Their bedrooms were as full as their lives without me.  While it may seem that only I was unhappy in this home, in this family, at the age of eight and one half, I discovered the truth.

Ten days after my parents wedding anniversary, my Mom walked out!  I was eight.  My sisters were much older.  It was a Sunday. The five of us were it the same eatery we dined at each Sunday, just as we had for years.  We just ordered dinner when my eldest sibling asked for her allowance.  Mother said she could not have it until she cleaned her room.  Father, on the other hand, assured her she would never need to clean.  He would forever furnish her with a Maid and of course, her pocket money  

I will not bore you with the details or the drama, my friend.  Suffice to say, my mother looked across the table at her selfish children, her moneyed husband whose sincerest interest was to have more, and decided she wanted none of it.  Mommy rose from the table.  Walked towards the door and then, through it.  She left!  Stunned, the rest of us sat there for a minute.  I wonder; was my father thinking of the food that had yet to arrive, or . . .

I will never know. He never spoke to me much.  The next day he did tell us to clean our rooms. We did, but it was too late.  Mother was determined to make a life for herself and any of us who wished to join her.  For a time, there were two of us children.  My eldest sister and I elected to be with our Mom and her new husband, the man I finally felt I could call Dad.

While Mommy was awarded child support and alimony, she refused each.  Barbara wanted none of Michael’s “Dirty Money!” She had had enough of what she characterized as “ill gotten gains.”  That was the reason she chose to give it all up.  We moved to another State and to other than a wealthy suburb.  Our family of four lived a far different life than the one we had always known.  We were poor, dirt poor.

Living on $1500 a year . . . Yes, you read that right. Fifteen-hundred a year for a family of four.  Welfare knocked on our door and said, “You need to apply for financial assistance.  You are eligible.” However, my parents refused.  Mommy wanted no handouts.  Daddy yearned to make it on his, our own.  Mommy gardened.  Daddy did all our household repairs.  Logan returned to school and also worked for meager wages.  Mother too secured a position.  You might recall the once vibrant five and dime, W.T. Grant and Company. Mommy’s employee  discount helped.  The woman who for a score purchased her lingerie at Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor, Bonwit Teller’s and other  exclusive establishments bought my first brassiere at Grant’s.

As a child in this newer reality, I was allowed one new outfit in the Fall of the year, for the first day of school and one in the Spring.  Chic, expensive, exceptional and elegant designs? Not anymore.  There were no dollars for such fabulous duds.  Next to nothing at little cost would have to do.  This was true in every aspect of life.

Mommy grew vegetables. Daddy helped.  All our produce was fresh grown.  Breads, pies, cakes and cookies all came out of the family oven.  Store bought goodies were a luxury we could not afford.  Later, Daddy took up fishing.  Even before that, all our entrees were prepared from scratch. Meals were a time for conversation and connections. At last, I was connected!!!!!  That is rich; a richness I envied whenever and wherever I saw it.  Ultimately, I had it! With not a dime to my name, I had love!  I was loved!!!!!!  Mitt, I trust you likely think you have love as well, and money, and that is the reason others feel envious.  Again, I relate to your reality my friend Mitt.

Over the years, wealth once again became part of my life, or perhaps more accurately, in my Mom’s life, by extension, I too had enough. The family moved to another magnificent house.  A panoramic window looked out onto the ocean. The neighbors were highly educated, esteemed, experts in their respective fields.  You know Mitt; they were our kind of people.

While our life was similar to what it was in earlier, years it was not as it had ever been. The difference; this time was our greenbacks were clean!  We laughed often at our lot in life as we do now upon reflection.  So my friend, I do not envy you.  I have and want not.  Oh certainly Mitt, I, as most humans might, enjoy nice “things.”  I acknowledge that is far easier when earnings are great.  However; while I never expected to quote Governor Rick Perry, in this moment I will.  “There is a real difference between Venture Capitalism and Vulture Capitalism.”  My personal experience Mitt is: A vulture capitalist eats children and families.  A venture capitalist feeds people so that they might prosper.  A free market Entrepreneur wishes to ensure that every person, one and all, have the earnings necessary to live well.

References and Resources . . .

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How Much Money is Too Much?

Recent reports reveal a reality that invites further questions.  If money can’t buy me love, can it buy me happiness?   “When has having more money made you less happy?” asks The Take Away, America’s Conversation News Program.  I share my answers.

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

From birth to the ripe old age of near nine, I was very well-off, and yet, not very happy.  Later, after having been extremely poor and ecstatic, I became well off again.  The two experiences of being with and without wealth were as dissimilar as can be.  Bliss, I learned, is not a by-product of affluence.  I share the story.

I was born into a wealthy family.  My natural father and Mom made much of their lives.  Together they started a business.  The firm, with my natural father at the head, grew.   The person who was never emotionally, ‘Dear Old Dad’ to me, was skilled at what he knew.  He knew how to calculate the numbers and create great wealth; however, not necessarily ethically.  As much as this troubled my Mom, who had stopped working with him almost from the first, for twenty years and ten days, she stood by his side.  For her, the last eight and a half were a struggle.  The reason; I was born.

You see I was an unexpected and unplanned birth.  My parents did not want another baby.  My sisters were older and could be left with sitters.  My natural father had come to love the social scene.  Mommy, years earlier, realized that her husband was not the man she had hoped he would be.  The thought of having his child . . . Well, let me just say, this possibility did not appeal to her.

Nevertheless, the two brought me into this Earthly sphere.  However, neither spent time with me.  A woman was hired to raise me.  Kind as she was, Mary was not Mom or a semblance of a Dad.  All the material goods I could ever want, and more were bestowed upon me.  After all, the man I might have wanted to call “Daddy” had big bucks.   Perhaps, this papa figure thought he could buy love.  I know not with certainly.  We barely ever spoke.

Thankfully, Mommy divorced the person who never was my Dad.  She refused all child support and alimony.  Mommy said the “money was dirty.”  She wanted none of it and took nothing.  We moved far away and were extremely poor.  Ultimately, my Mom married again.  At the time my true Dad, the person who cared for me and chose to live and act as a caregiver to me, was a student.  Neither he, nor my Mom made enough money for a single person to survive; let alone a family.

We grew our own fruits and vegetables.  Mommy cooked and baked every meal from scratch.  We purchased food fare when whatever we needed was on sale.  Bulk prices were the best bargains for us.  Mommy, Daddy, and I ate all our dinners together.  Conversation flowed freely.  We traveled to State and local parks for entertainment.  The company was good.  The quality of life was better.  

Years passed.  Each parent finished graduate degrees and went on to earn large sums.  Life remained glorious.  I realized the difference between the” good life” and greater is not found in dollars and cents; it is in dignity and sense.  Daddy had the ethics that my natural father did not.  Mommy never lost her moral principles and honorable practices.  Their values and habits were ones I consciously adopted. Thankfully, these have served me well.  I hope, as my parents taught me to appreciate and act on, I have served others.

Related Research and Reports . . .

Every Woman; Elizabeth Edwards



GMA – Elizabeth Edwards on Oprah

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

She is an eloquent speaker, an expressive author.  Elizabeth Edwards is effervescent, effusive, and has an excellent mind.  She understands profound policy issues as easily as she prepares a sandwich.   Her memoir appeared on The New York Times bestseller list.  Few think of Elizabeth Edwards as every woman.  Other daughters of Eve might say Edwards is exceptional; surely, she is not as I am.  Yet, life experiences might have taught Elizabeth Edwards otherwise.  Just as other ladies, she is brilliant, beautiful, and not nearly equal to a man.

For years, millions of Americans thought Elizabeth Edwards could be a political power in her own right.  However, friends aver, Elizabeth never had an interest in that.   First and foremost, the role Elizabeth Edwards has said is most significant to her is that of Mom.  She was happy to support her husband, glad for the opportunity to speak on his behest.  However, Ms Edwards was content to be behind the scenes.

The wife and mother believed as much of the country did.   Her spouse, John, was quite superior.  Not only was he an accomplished attorney, as was she, He was a Presidential candidate in 2008 and a Vice President aspirant in 2004.  John Edwards had a following, as did Elizabeth.  Each was “stunningly” successful in their work.  Certainly, the two were characterized as a powerful pair.  Neither could be called common.  Average Americans, they were not.  Still, John was the one who could command an audience, or a country.

He was handsome.  Granted, in her youth, Elizabeth was also smashing.  However, by 1998, a woman told an Edwards pollster the lovely ‘Lizabeth looked like his [John’s] mother, or older sister.  Indeed, this casual observer said of the then future Senator’s spouse, “I like that he’s got a fat wife.”   In the new book, “Game Change,” which documents the doings within the 2008 Presidential campaign, it is revealed that the aforementioned anonymous woman remarked in relief, “I thought he’d be married to a Barbie or a cheerleader.”  Perhaps these verbalized thoughts were the first reported glimpse into the present.  Elizabeth Edwards is every woman.  Infrequently, is John Edwards spouse looked upon as a separate individual.  Ms Edwards is regarded as unequal.

Ostensibly, Elizabeth and John were thought to have an exceptional life.   In truth, they were as you and I are.  Elizabeth Edwards and her husband are never free from human emotions.

Humans, adult men, women, adolescents, and sandlot age persons tell others a tale.  People weave a yarn that helps to inform others it also instructs the storyteller.  Dan P. McAdams, a Professor of Psychology at Northwestern and Author of the 2006 book, “The Redemptive Self” states, “(T)hese narratives guide behavior in every moment, and frame not only how we see the past but how we see ourselves in the future.”  This may explain why no two persons are alike.  However, the thought might not help to explicate what is real for a woman and not necessarily for a man.

Either might think themselves a failure if a relationship is severed.  Each could characterize himself or herself as someone who is not good enough. Perchance, societal standards will cause a woman greater stress.  A female might believe herself, damaged goods.  While Americans state that they have progressed beyond such suppositions, in actuality, any or many a label can classify a divorcee as undesirable.  Some will say she could not satisfy her man. Her age might ensure that she is thought to be an unattractive asset.  Perchance, some will say, she was too forthcoming, overly friendly when in the company of other men, a flirt, a floozy, and a femme fatale.  

Then there are the financial ramifications and considerations.  Men, before a divorce and after fare far better fiscally than their counterparts do.  Interestingly, a study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology shows that men who think of women in a more traditional, some would say sexist manner earn more money than those chaps with equalitarian views.  The variance is vast.  The more old-fashioned a gent might be, the greater his rewards.

Women, on the other hand, make less on average than men do.  Parents may posture that an excellent education will nullify the gender gap.  However, the Pay Gap Persists; Women Still Make Less, than men do. Surely, most surmise, Elizabeth Edwards will be amongst the exception.  She need not worry.  Once separate, the conventional wisdom is, Elizabeth Edwards will be equal.  The accepted thought is Edwards is not every woman.

After all, Ms Edwards graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a degree in English. She went on to study American literature and ultimately secured her degree in law. She certainly is set for life. However, her status as a “professional” person, one out in the work-world became less of a priority.  Elizabeth Edwards, as her friends will attest to, thinks of herself as the proud mother of four children: Catharine, Emma Claire, and Jack. Her first child, Wade, died in 1996.  Time away from the office takes a fiscal toll.

In truth, even if Ms Edwards had remained a fixture in a solid firm, she would have experienced as most every other woman has.  Women Earn Less Than Men, Especially at the Top.  No matter the tale Elizabeth or every other woman might tell themselves, there are some facts that females know they must face.  Emotionally we can evolve.  Economically, the road is rougher for the “fairer” sex.

Only the desire to treat someone of a different sex fairly is great.  Parity is not the reality. Be it a former spouse with whom we have feuded, a friend, male or female by nature, wives wronged, and women righted, wish to achieve equality.  This may be why many women welcomed the prospect of “no fault” divorce.

While it is fine to think that we might not wish to place the onus on one or the other partner, in truth, the notion of a “no fault” divorce has done much harm.   A blameless split severs more than a legal bond.  It presents “perverse consequences for women,” says Lenore J. Weitzman, Associate Professor of Sociology at Stanford.  Divorce for women is just different than it is for men.  Perhaps, “There are enormous financial ramifications” even if you are Elizabeth Edwards.  Potential economic woes must worry any woman who contemplates the disillusion of a marriage.  The appearance of wealth, for women, maintained while married, will not warm the cockles of a heart hurt.  Nor will the façade fill her coffers.  Frequently, females face financial ruin, realized in divorce.

That truth has power.  Does a wife such as Elizabeth Edwards weigh the practical and or parse the paradox of a deceitful philanderer.  This may depend on the missus, the mistress, the money, and more.  In a moment, the yarn spun may be sufficient.  In the next minute, the same saga may sound silly, insincere, or just more of the madness.  If a husband is All apologies and earnestly expresses remorse, a couple could come to terms with what occurred.  An admission could kindle forgiveness, or after a series of confessions, one too many might be the permission to leave that a scorned wife sought.  Elizabeth Edwards stated she was “relieved” and hoped husband John’s long delayed disclosure would end the seemingly eternal drama that had become her life.

What we do not know; nor does the soon to be footloose and fancy-free Elizabeth, is how her saga will evolve.  While Elizabeth Edwards is every woman, she is like no one else.  Her tragedy, comic relief, travel, and she are uniquely her own.  This is true whether one’s name is Ellen, Emma, Eileen, Eve, or even Rielle.  What differs is who directs our performance, the stories told.

What might matter most to someone such as Elizabeth Edwards is how the eventuality of a divorce will affect her health.  Will this woman, who loves her life as a mom, be able to help her children?  Divorce, It Seems, Can Make You Ill. Indeed, the research reveals Divorce undermines health in ways remarriage doesn’t heal.  What is a aggrieved Eve or Elizabeth to do?

A captive American audience awaits the details, the decision, or knowledge of the direction a resolute Ms Edwards will take.  For months, or perhaps years, observers asked of the screenplay that appeared often on American television screens, in tabloids, and in books.  Some wives expressed sympathy for exactly what they witnessed in their own marriages.  Singles also empathized.  Elizabeth Edward’s experience is not isolated to the institution of wedlock.  The similarities scream out.

Women pose.  They posture.  Females hide the pain, and the shame. They may shout, shriek, or calmly express distress.  “I am so determined. This time I will lose 40 pounds,” said Elizabeth Edwards as she greeted a guest at the door of her home.  Did she wish to present herself at her best for her husband?  Might Ms Edwards words “show a lack of pretense,” or, as her critics say, was the statement but another act on Elizabeth’s. part.  What role did and does Elizabeth play in this drama?  Can anyone know for sure?

Is she a caricature, stereotyped as a spouse?  What is the story Elizabeth tells herself and others? A women’s place is in the home, on the campaign trail, to pale in comparison to her husband.  

Might her yarn be the same is true if a dame is a professional person, a politician, a plumber, or a Professors wife.   A women’s work is never done, be it that of a domestic, a doctor, a lawyer, a baker, or candlestick maker.  Elizabeth Edwards, as many women can attest to the notion, when you are of the fairer sex, praise pours in sparingly.  Disparagement is distributed frequently. At times, the two are synonymous.  

The former North Carolina Senator’s erstwhile aide Andrew Young exemplifies this.  In his tome titled “The Politician” Elizabeth Edwards is described as the wife and mother could not keep her man.  She “became intoxicated by power, and sometimes looked the other way.”

The Edwards Adviser, as do most, at least in America, acquiesced to the old adage, there is a good woman, behind every man.  A gent does not act alone.  Certainly, John Edwards did not.  Mister Young, in his writings, marvels that Rielle Hunter and Elizabeth Edwards each moved John to do as he has, or perhaps the two damsels did as all people do.  

With societal standards in mind, they pen a tale that reflects their truth.  The title; This is your life (and How You Tell It.)  Men might have opportunities that allow for a more sensational, secure, and solid plot.

Woman work on a screenplay more mired in woes.  She persistently updates the plot.   Just as Elizabeth Edwards, she transforms the treatment of our own life.  She learns and finds Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers. For some, the saga was audacious, and certainly not what they expected from an authority on the law.  Others saw them selves.  Every woman might relate to the reality, Elizabeth Edwards has learned every woman is as she., effervescent, effusive, bearers of excellent minds.  We all experience hurts and heartaches, many of our own making, many more that are not.

“I am a woman.  Here me roar.”  Watch me soar.  I may occupy the planet “in numbers too big to ignore,” but will I ever realize the heights, or have rights equal to those of a man.

Every Woman; Elizabeth Edwards . . .

New Years Resolve; Binge or Be

FdBrn

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Another year has come and gone.  Everywhere she goes she hears people speak of New Years resolutions.  They all say this time will be different.  I will decide to do as I had not done previously or at least had not done well.  Countless commit to a life of calorie counting.  Others merely muse that they will exercise more.  Drugs, drinking, there are also discussions of these concerns.  People are confident.  This year I will deliver myself from what I think evil.  A few philosophize as to their personal career path.  Change is the objective.  A greater goal is thought to be golden.  As Author Mary Anne Radmacher reflected and now millions whisper as their mantra, “Live with intention . . .  Choose with no regret. . . . Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.”  Therein lies the problem.

For persons such as she, her habits are all there is.  “Normal” people, whoever these might be, experience as she does; however, the circumstances and consequences are less obvious. For many a perpetual stroll down the diet path is customary.  An occasional drink, two, or three, of the organic compound known as alcohol satisfies the soul, or so they say.  Decisions to imbibe less are made daily.  These declarations are often announced publicly.   Yet, for a bulimic such as she, much must remain hidden.  Her hurts are not thought to be tolerable.

Each year, indeed each day, for decades now, a determined Little Bit, as her Daddy calls her, has pledged to detach herself from her burden.  She does not wish to be led by temptation.  She tries to curb her appetite.  She goes for hours being “good.”  She eats in moderation for a moment.  Then, the mound that sits solidly in her stomach reminds her of her hurt, physical, psychological, physiologically.  It, the food, the failures, and the feelings, are all consuming.  The hope is she will again see food as nourishment, not a means to nurture herself.  Hitherto, what she believes she loves, food, is exactly what she loathes.  

The fodder itself is not the subject of her disdain, how this fare has taken over her life is cause for her contempt.  Some believe she seeks control.  These individuals trust that this lass thinks she has power over nothing but her weight.  Ha!  That is humorous.  To binge and purge is to never know what your body mass will be.  

The lyrics from “Que Sera, Sera,” what will be will be bestow no blessings.  Nor does the tune provide answers to the questions that forever beckon this forlorn being.  Will I be pretty? Will I be puffy? Will I be rich?  She has learned the lesson; if I am bulimic, none of these will be.

There is no sense of control when a person such as she, consumes vast quantities of chow.   Cash is drained, as is the corporeal being.  Vitamins and minerals are voided from the system.   Health and happiness are canceled in kind.  Electrolytes are eliminated exponentially.  If the heart continues to beat, that, medical professionals say, will be a miracle.  Rather than wield authority over any or all aspects of her life, She is only sick and tired.  This woeful woman is sick of being sick, and tired of being tired.

The hours devoted to the dance are endless.  Day and night, she dreams of food.  In her sleep, sadly she sees herself heave.  There is little time for slumber.  If firm, yet fragile female is to eliminate every morsel, she must completely cleanse her stomach.  Eat. Drink.  Wet the palette.  Moisten the most minuscule particles in the stomach.  Indeed, saturate these.  All-the-better to slide food upwards my dear.  

Even still, any good bulimic knows, until there is nothing but bile, the belly is not truly empty.  If the tummy is to be left untouched by vitals, one must work to create a vacuum within.

Thus, the cycle continues.  Binge.  Purge, Resolve to be healthy.  Plan to pop huge quantities of supplemental pills, without puking.  This is the perpetual plan.  It has been for what feels as eons.  “New Years Day,” She says to herself, “is every day?”  

She ponders what people think, what physicians profess, and the many conversations with her cousin who believes the bulimic lifestyle is her choice.  Each seems to espouse a similar philosophy; with consideration to fodder, bulimics are fully in charge of what enters and exits their mouths.  She has the power to stop.  All that this dame does is in her control.  If this is control, She bellows, I want none of it!

It is fine for others to say that her actions, the chain of gorge and eliminate all that she ate, is her personal preferred  alternative.  She has come to understand that what we select to do is not so easily defined . .  . that is except by others who think they know better than she of what is within her.  Fascinated, she reflects on what has more recently been discovered as a scientific reality.  Rarely do humans grasp what is within them selves.  

People eat sweet, fatty, or salty foods for pleasure; only to be pained by pounds gained, a compromised immune system, or guilt.  The agonies these cause encourage greater indulgences.  In search of gratification, countless place bets.  Gamblers win.  They lose. With little left to show, some sell what the have left.  Surely, the next wager will bring that welcome success.   Triumph will be theirs.  Crapshooters, card sharks, and boneshakers will then have the cash to “invest” once again.  Certainly, there are dozens who do drugs with delight.   The trip is a high.  The down is so low.  The desire for another buzz builds, as does the appetite for more dopamine.  

The number of activities people engage in to increase the rates at which dopamine is released in the brain are unlimited, neuroscientists now realize. Several studies published over the last years have examined the effects of monetary rewards and the chemical compound generated in the brain. Currency, while an abstract, in the gray matter that guides us, is as concrete as cocaine, food, sex or anything a person envisions as a reward, Doctor Hans Breiter, a neuroscientist at Harvard noted near a decade ago, people crave what they think will bring them comfort.  Little Bit sighs and smiles.  She knows this is true for her.

If only the brain and body were independent entities.  Then perchance, people and their physical, physiological realities would not be so reliant on irrational predilections, or the false hope that a New Years resolution will offer the necessary willpower.  This is not meant to excuse what she does; nonetheless, She reads the copious research.  She wonders whether the countless socially acceptable eaters do.

Sugar, salts, fats, starches, and the abundance of these in an American diet, interact with the cellular structures of mind and matter.  The effects of Food on the Brain some say is folly.  Scientist have disputed that false notion as a  myopic myth and still most people deny that dopamine decides much for us, be we bulimic, or a person who appears to be beautifully balanced.

The brains of beings are akin.  The difference is bulimics do what is offensive.  Surely, Little Bit does.  She beats herself up day after day, evening after evening, before, during, and after she engages in the-engorge-and-eliminate process.  She tells herself she is not resolute enough, not strong enough, and not sincere enough.  As a person, She believes she is surely a failure.  How else might she explain why she is not successful, she does not live a wonderful life.  

She lives with intention and regrets her every choice.  She has the goals and inevitably grave misgivings.  She passionately pursues her bliss, be it food or foolishness.  These, in truth, are one in the same.  

Thus, once again, on the traditional New Years Day, she reflects on what is her forever truth.  She is fond of what is wise and worrisome.  She longs to be free from her habit.  She also yearns to feel the food flow in and out of her body.  Finally, the lovely lady hopes to resolve, if life is to be different, she must do other than resolve.   It is vital for Little Bit to realize her brain and body are one.  She can conclude and act upon the choice she had not considered in previous decades.  She can regularly recharge her present neural pathways, or change her pattern.  Perchance, were she to embrace that truth, this year will be truly New, nice, and nicer.

Dear reader, you may wish to peruse Chapters One through Seven. Please do. These reflective diaries discuss my life as an anorexic, bulimic, a person.

Or Similar Discussions . . .

Resolve to find a finer reality.  Resources . . .

More on money




To view the original art, please travel to More on money

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

The economic meltdown continues. This week’s take, “Money Talks” (Archive 0834), is the latest in my dollar-bill series.

Back in seven . . .

Andrew

toon@offthewahl.com

National Public Radio Lowers the Volume [Boom] On Dennis Kucinich

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

Dear National Public Radio . . .

Well over a week ago, I was elated when I first heard broadcasters on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition state they would host a Democratic Debate. I thought; finally, Presidential hopeful, and an authentic Progressive, Dennis Kucinich would actually have a chance to speak.  People would hear the words of the most mainstream candidate for more than a minute.  Congressman Kucinich could truly discuss the issues in some depth and possibly detail.  Perhaps, a publicly supported media service would at least grant Dennis Kucinich equal time.

The announcer encouraged audience members, nationwide, to submit questions.  I raced to my computer and eagerly typed my query.  As I clicked the button to post, I realized I neglected to do as the instructions advised.  I did not include my hometown.  Troubled by my error, I telephoned the main National Public Radio switchboard.  I was transferred to the person in-the-know.  The producer and I discussed what I had done, how I could correct my mistake, and my excitement for the upcoming debate.  I was told to resubmit my question and I did as directed.

Expectant as I pondered the possibilities, I wondered.  Might this be the debate of my dreams?  I hoped this panel discussion would be as the Heartland Presidential Forum.  During that event, citizens of the region had an opportunity to hear from each candidate.  With the exclusion of one unscripted, unforeseen technical glitch, that allowed Hillary Clinton to speak for moments more, every Presidential hopeful had equal time to address what matters to the common man.  Aspirants stood unaccompanied by adversaries.  Face-to-face with real people, contenders for the Office of the President heard the tales folks told and answered their questions.  It was a beautiful assembly to behold.

Then, on December 3, the day prior to the National Public Radio Democratic Debate, my dreams were shattered.  I listen to a lengthy program, where the journalist discussed their plans.  My heart sank.  As the correspondents described the format, I was certain, this get-together would be as all those seen or heard on “popular” media, slanted towards the supposed front-runners.

I chatted with a friend that was also looking forward to the transmission.  We shared our sorrow; yet, we hoped we would be wrong.  Indeed, my interpretation for what was to come was accurate.

On December 4, 2007, I scheduled my life around the National Public Radio debate.  As I listened, again my heart sank.  The speakers were as they have been in each mainstream program.  Hillary, Obama, and John were the focus and featured prominently.  The powerful three are so well known, Americans recognize and address them by their first names.  Joseph Biden was the sometimes foil.  Mike Gravel was the candidate not-to-be-taken-seriously, and Dennis Kucinich was to-be avoided-at-any-cost.  If the Congressman were allowed to speak, he might connect with the listeners in an authentic manner.  Then, what would this nation’s powerbrokers do?

What, a listener might say, National Public Radio is pure.  It is the people’s choice.  Are there not studies or polls that state this is the least biased broadcast service.  Perhaps there were or are; however, we must consider an image built in the past may linger.

[L]ittle evidence has ever been presented for a left bias at NPR, and FAIR’s latest study gives it no support. Looking at partisan sources-including government officials, party officials, campaign workers and consultants-Republicans outnumbered Democrats by more than 3 to 2 (61 percent to 38 percent). A majority of Republican sources when the GOP controls the White House and Congress may not be surprising, but Republicans held a similar though slightly smaller edge (57 percent to 42 percent) in 1993, when Clinton was president and Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. And a lively race for the Democratic presidential nomination was beginning to heat up at the time of the 2003 study.

Partisans from outside the two major parties were almost nowhere to be seen, with the exception of four Libertarian Party representatives who appeared in a single story (Morning Edition , 6/26/03).

Republicans not only had a substantial partisan edge, individual Republicans were NPR ‘s most popular sources overall, taking the top seven spots in frequency of appearance. George Bush led all sources for the month with 36 appearances, followed by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (8) and Sen. Pat Roberts (6). Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Secretary of State Colin Powell, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer and Iraq proconsul Paul Bremer all tied with five appearances each.

Might we consider another  account; NPR Touts Pro-Nuke ‘Environmentalists’ Network’s own nuclear links undisclosed.  In August 2007, a likely too scant readership learned of what some sharp listeners surmise.

One factor that is relevant to NPR’s cheerleading for nuclear power is its own financial links to the industry.  According to NPR’s website, between 1993 and 2005, the public radio service received between $250,000 and $500,000 from Constellation Energy, which belongs to Nustart Energy, a 10-company consortium pushing for new nuclear power plant construction.  During the same period, another nuclear operator, Sempra Energy, donated between $50,000 and $100,000 to NPR.  This potential conflict of interest was not disclosed in the August 15 segment, or in any other of NPR’s recent largely industry-friendly reports.  (NPR has, in the past, insisted that the corporate “underwriting” money it receives has no bearing on its coverage–a defense that would seem to undercut the rationale for NPR’s existence as a noncommercial broadcaster.)

To think, no one, no organization is influenced by those who allow them to survive is an interesting notion, although common sense would tell us this is quite a stretch.  Without money to endure, there is no National Public Radio.  Do listeners not hear that claim during each fund drive.?

National Public Radio may hope we will believe that the evidence is only circumstantial; however, there is ample reason to believe “Public” radio leans towards monied moguls. Curious souls who search, further discover there is much to call into question.  Why might the once six-year Wal-Mart Board member,, Hillary Clinton be allotted so much more time to speak than a less well-connected candidate?  Perchance it is because National Public Radio receives major, as in Million Dollars Plus, donations from this corporation.  Wal-Mart, a company that more than profits from the National Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA], obviously would not wish for Congressman Dennis Kucinich to speak.

The people’s candidate, Dennis Kucinich advocates an end to the “free” trade agreement, just as the American workers do.  Representative Kucinich understands the harm this contract caused and the hazards that will befall laborers in this country if the policy continues.  However, Dennis, a lifetime Union member was not given an opportunity to speak on the topic, although he tried to.

Inskeep:  Candidates, we’ve just been doing some reporting in the last few days from Marshalltown, Iowa, a city that I know many of you have visited. This is a city with a lot of immigrants, a number of illegal immigrants. There have been immigration raids there. And that raises questions about citizens in places like that all over America.

Some citizens in Marshalltown turn in illegal immigrants, some take them in. There’s actually a person who’s been indicted for sheltering immigrants, which raises a question that I’d like to put to you: What obligations do American citizens have when it comes to illegal immigrants?

And let’s start with Senator Obama. Would you expect Americans, if you’re president – January 2009, immigration reform, whatever you want hasn’t happened yet. Would you expect Americans to turn in illegal immigrants when they come across them?

Of course, let us begin with Barack Obama.  He is in the same league with National Public Radio backers [bankers].  Time Warner is among the corporations that fund the broadcasters and Barack.  The Illinois Senator loves their financial support [contributions or backing], as does NPR.  Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan Chase & Company, and Morgan Stanley, who contribute to the Obama campaign, certainly, these institutions are sensitive to the immigration situation.  Barack Obama takes the expected strong stance against immigration, and then reminds the business brass they need not fear a loss of laborers.  The individuals already in the States will realize a pathway towards citizenship.  

Corporations are consoled and the candidate confident all will be well.  As long as we do what has been done there will be no change, and after all, is that not the truest issue.  Profiteers do not wish to relinquish power.

Mister Inskeep understands this idea.  What is ideal for the powerbrokers is perfect for his employer.  Thus, in the spirit of judicious journalism the moderator moves on to an aspirant not thought a likely nominee; however, Christopher Dodd is not a threat to the system or the status quo.  Inskeep inquired.

Inskeep:  You interview a number of applicants. They all seem very nice. They seem like they would take care of the kids, but it would appear that their documents may not be in order. What would you want an American to do?

Senator Dodd responded.  As he spoke, he dared to include the unthinkable issue.  He referred to trade agreements and how as a nation we must consider what we do on both sides of the border.   Christopher Dodd offered . . .

Instead of improving the quality of working conditions that would give people in these countries a chance to stay in their own nations, which most of them would prefer to do, we’re encouraging people to come here by not having trading agreements that don’t insist upon –

Corporate sponsors may not wish to discuss that topic.  Low wages, high profits, that seems sensible to those that benefit from such inequitable practices.  Aware of the delicate balance between big business interests and that of the immigrant and American worker, moderator Steve Inskeep redirected the discussion.

Inskeep:  We’re going to talk more about that, those issues, as we go along here.

Unexpectedly, the host dared to turn to Dennis Kucinich; however, he carefully crafted his approach.  National Public Radio must broach the discussion of trade with caution, if at all.  Inskeep, as he posed his inquiry, reminded Congressman Kucinich of the limits.  He was kind enough to acknowledge that Dennis might know of real people.

Inskeep:  But sticking with real people, Congressman Kucinich, the real person in that situation, what should they do?

Representative Kucinich: Rely on the Constitution.  You know, we don’t encourage vigilantism in this country.  We have a Constitution, we have due process, we have equal protection, we have habeas corpus.  This administration, as – like – you know, would like to shred the Constitution and deny people all those rights.  But when we get into that, what we do, we take the path of denying constitutional rights, and we’re back to Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and all those other violations of rights that we’re ashamed of now.  And I’m saying that we have to realize that these are economic refugees from NAFTA.

You know, I’ve said it over and over.  Cancel NAFTA.  Negotiate a new trade agreement with Mexico based on workers rights, human rights, [and] environmental quality principles.  Give a path to legalization for the people who have been here.  You can’t send them home willy-nilly.  You have to have a way in which our immigration policy resonates with the deeper principles of inclusiveness in America, as symbolized by our Statue of Liberty.

Inskeep: We may get to NAFTA as well, time permitting.

However, astute listeners grasp there are only moments enough for what works well for the corporate sponsors and contributors that offer enough cash to shape the agenda.  Perceptive persons acknowledge time is a fascinating construct.  Man makes time for what he or she thinks a priority and has not a second for what might cause great concern.  Correspondents understand conflicts of interest are ill-advised.  Sponsors would not wish to air dirty laundry.  Hence, if National Public Radio broadcasters are to direct a question to the one Presidential aspirant that could provide the people with a voice, they must remember, Dennis Kucinich must be silenced swiftly.

Norris: Representative Kucinich, very quickly.

Dennis responds speedily.  He reminds the audience that he was not late to realize we are a global community.  Every nation is connected to the other.  We must understand the effect of every given decision.  Our actions cause reactions.  Dennis Kucinich helps us understand that we can no longer react belatedly.  We must do more than read briefs.  Before a President devises a plan, he or she must look at the broader picture.

Representative Kucinich: Yes.  And I may be the only one up here who actually voted against China trade because of the concerns I had that the U.S. was not going to be able to maintain its manufacturing base, which is central to maintaining a middle class.  What we’ve seen is that without solid trade policies, we’re undermined.  Without a strength-through-peace doctrine of rejecting war as an instrument of policy, we’re going to keep borrowing money from China.  Let us not forget we’re borrowing money from China to finance the war in Iraq.  And in addition to that, the speculation on Wall Street has weakened our economy.

We need a policy of constructive engagement with China, stop the arms race with them, work to make sure we have a global climate change treaty with China, get them to transition out of nuclear and coal and oil.  You know, I’m talking about a whole new direction that’s based on a doctrine of strength through peace, and I have a voting record up here to back it up, unlike some of my esteemed colleagues.

The hosts listened without much enthusiasm or interest.  Each knows which side of the bread holds the butter.  Without any caution or concern for the minutes the Senator from New York might need to make her point, moderator Michele Norris offered Hillary Clinton more than enough moments to explore as she might.

Norris: Senator Clinton, do we need them more than they need us?

Apparently, in the hearts, minds, and pocketbooks of National Public Radio and its corporate sponsors, America needs the Former First Lady Clinton more than we need, [or want] Dennis Kucinich.  Regardless of The Nation Magazine Poll, the Democracy for America (DFA) survey, or the Progressive Democrats of America sample each of which places Dennis Kucinich as America’s first choice among those that gather information from more than mainstream sources, citizens of this country are told Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards are the only candidates of note.

Indeed, Dennis Kucinich is not a recognized name.  Many Americans ask, “Who?”  We need not wonder why.  When the media does mention Presidential hopeful Kucinich, they frequently misrepresent the Congressman.  Rarely, was our possible President, Dennis Kucinich, given an opportunity to speak during this skewed NPR Democratic Debate.  In truth, there were very few occasions in which Presidential hopeful, Kucinich, was granted a chance to speak.  Once more, we might muse, do the Journalists at National Public Radio think America might wish to hear from Congressman Kucinich, or will these broadcasters tell us what the Representative believes, that is, if they have the time.  Perchance, the former Senator Edwards will articulate for Dennis Kucinich, or ensure that the Congressman cannot express himself.

Mister Edwards: Well, everyone – everyone at the table would acknowledge that Iran represents a serious issue for the Middle East and for us –

Representative Kucinich: No, I do not acknowledge –

Inskeep: Congressman Kucinich does not, but –

Mister Edwards: Let me finish, if I can.

Representative Kucinich: Let me characterize my own remarks.

Mister Edwards: If I can just finish, Dennis, for just a second . . .

Siegel: And I’m Robert Siegel. We’re discussing Iran, the lessons learned from the war in Iraq.

A moment ago when Congressman Kucinich objected to or interrupted the statement from Senator Edwards that everybody agrees Iran is a threat, you say, Congressman Kucinich, I misinterpreted your earlier remarks that Iran is not a threat.

Representative Kucinich: All I did was raise my hand.  I wanted a chance to respond.

Siegel: Yes.

Representative Kucinich: Thank you.

The point that Senator Clinton made was a valid point with respect to the comments of Senator Obama and also the comments of Senator Edwards at the Herzliya conference. See, when people say all options are on the table, as the three senators have, they actually encouraged President Bush and licensed his rhetoric.  And what I’m saying is that I’m the only one here who in Congress repeatedly challenge, in every chance and every legislation, repeatedly challenge this mind-set that said all options are on the table and that Iran had nuclear weapons programs.

Siegel: OK. Cleared up.

Representative Kucinich: I’m the only one who can make that claim.

Siegel: Clarified . . .

What is clear to me is Americans are not able to hear an open, honest discussion between the candidates, not even on National Public Radio.  If the people are to truly know of the one and only candidate for change, they will have to find a source of information that is truly fair and accurate, one that is not sponsored by corporate bigwigs [Archer Daniels Midland Company, Wal-Mart, AT&T], insurers [Farmers Insurance Group of Companies, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America Allstate Insurance Company, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company], financial institutions [Prudential Financial, T. Rowe Price, The Hartford Financial Services Group], energy companies [Sempra, Constellation Energy], car manufacturers [Acura, Honda, Ford Motor Company, Saturn Corporation], petroleum interests [ConocoPhillips Company] all of which have an interest to serve, other than the American people.

Oh dear, National Public Radio I had such hopes.  I still do, although I realize the media giants and the conglomerates that give them life have substantial clout.  

Nevertheless, I continue to believe as Dennis Kucinich espouses when he quotes Spanish Philosopher and Writer, Miguel de Unamuno  . . .

“Only he who attempts the absurd is capable of achieving the impossible.”


Thankfully, Progressives such as I, and Presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich will continue to create opportunities.  We will challenge conventions and accomplish what many think not viable.   National Public Radio  perchance, we might meet again at the Kucinich inauguration.  I look forward to your interview with President Dennis Kucinich.  I will tune in on January 20, 2009.  My hope is then, you will have the time to speak with the people’s President.

References and Reasons for this Reaction . . .

Costly Happy Meals; Hillary and Mitt. Healthy Menu; Kucinich Plan


Dennis Kucinich *I Am Mainstream.* MSNBC. August 7, 2007

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

I am obsessed with weight, as are we all.  My physical bulk or yours do not concern me.  Money tips the scale.  In America, financial wherewithal is the food of choice.  Much of what we crave and consume is flavored with dough.  We savor what dollars deliver.

During the dinner hours last evening, three supposedly unrelated bits of information filled my plate.  I was flooded with much food for thought.  First the appetizer appeared, The Real Price of a Big Mac.  Then the main course came, Kucinich Calls Out Clinton’s Nuclear Blunder.  Finally, after a full meal, dessert was served.  Stuffed, I could not fully digest this delicious delicacy until the morning.  Romney Wins Iowa Straw Poll by a Sizable Margin.  The taste of money melted in my mouth.  I was satiated with an overwhelming feeling, nausea.

The illness began as I prepared my repast.  I gathered the vegetables together.  I chopped fresh garlic, then the ginger.  I took dry spices off the cupboard shelf, one by one, and sprinkled them into a wok.  Olive oil was added to the mix, as were mushrooms.  As the spices seared, tomatoes went into the pan.  I sliced and diced more greens, red and orange produce.  The steam rose and my appetite sank. 

The entrée, one that I eat each evening would be scrumptious; it always is; however, on this occasion my eyes and mind were filled with fast food.  As I cooked, I watched a film I always meant to view, Super Size Me. 

Super Size Me documents the effect processed food products have on the human body.  As someone that has had infinite reason, and a reality that inspired much research into the study of food, I was not surprised by the results of this experiment.  I can attest to the validity of the Morgan Spurlock’s experience.  I understand to my core what occurs when sugar and simple carbohydrates fill our stomach, travel through our blood stream, and are absorbed by our cells. 

The body’s reaction to large quantities of sweet and fatty foods is infinitely interesting to me.  I am intimately familiar with what occurs when one, such as the filmmaker Spurlock, who is unaccustomed to such fare, eats fast food.  The involuntary need to purge is as expected.

What astounded me, although I knew this in abstract, were the dollars devoted to promote poor health.  Chow, cheap and low in quality, is a cash cow.  Junk food junkies are persuaded to dine as they do; dollars deliver a message that mesmerizes.  Store shelves are stocked with victuals that adversely effect our physiology.  Subliminally sent memorandums fill our screens, radios, and periodicals.  We are well trained.  Our habits are established at birth, and reinforced throughout our lives.

In “Out of Balance,” released on the eve of the summit, Consumers Union and CPEHN use just-released data from Advertising Age to analyze the amount of money spent on the unending barrage of food brand advertising.  The groups found that food, beverage, candy and restaurant advertising hit $11.26 billion in 2004, compared to a mere $9.55 million to advertise the Five A Day campaign, which promotes eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily.  The ad budget for the top-spending fast food restaurants alone came in at $2.3 billion, roughly 240 times greater than the communications budget for the 5 A Day campaigns combined.  The advertising budget for Snickers, a single brand of candy, is nearly eight times greater than the advertising budget for the entire 5 A Day California and federal programs.

The $11.26 billion total does not include any expenditures for less traditional marketing such as product placements in television and movie content; brand internet environments; special promotions; word of mouth marketing; and cell phone and text messaging ads.  Therefore, the $11.26 billion overall advertising figure highlighted, thus, vastly understates the true extent of marketing expenditures by these companies.

The “5 A Day” program started in California in 1988 as a pilot funded by the National Cancer Institute.  The California pilot became a federal public-private partnership program in 1991, with the National Cancer Institute joining forces with a new “Produce for Better Health Foundation.”  The program aims to promote healthful eating, prevent cancer and other chronic diseases, and curb weight gain by increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables.  Public awareness of the program’s dietary recommendation has grown from 8 to 36 percent since the federal program began in 1991.  Produce for Better Health has declared September 10-17, 2005 “National Five a Day Week”.

“The 5 A Day program has demonstrated success, even with an extremely limited communications budget, but 64% of Americans are still unaware of the importance of eating five or more servings of fruit and vegetables every day,” noted Betsy Imholz of Consumers Union.  “What can we expect?  The 5 A Day message is at best a hushed whisper compared to the persistent din of unhealthful foods advertising.”

“The epidemic of obesity tracks the `epidemic’ of junk food advertising,” said Ellen Wu, Executive Director of California Pan-Ethnic Health Network [CPEHN.]  “The imbalance in advertising between healthful and unhealthful messages must be addressed if we hope to stem the obesity epidemic hitting communities of color with particular force.”

Indeed, the imbalance of information overwhelms Americans.  Vigorous communication that would advance the wellbeing of the world is thwarted by the unhealthy habitual rhetoric.  Consider the Presidential campaigns and the coverage.  Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards to a lesser degree receive much media attention, and perhaps, deservedly so.  These contenders bring in the big bucks! 

The Senator from New York, Hillary Rodham Clinton as of June 30, 2007 has raised $63.1 million dollars in campaign donations.  The junior Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama garnered a mere $58.9 million buckaroos.  Former Senator and Vice Presidential Candidate John Edwards collected only $23.1 million greenbacks.  Then there is the congressman from Ohio, Dennis Kucinich.  Shorter in stature, and less sensational in the minds of many has little cash to speak of.  Kucinich, a man with a brain bigger than all outdoors, and plans more profound than the other Presidential hopefuls has only $1.1 million George Washington’s in his pocket. 

Hence, we might expect just as is evident in the food industry, Congressman Kucinich , the man with the healthier plan is passed over.  What Dennis declares is not seen as sexy, strong, or endearing.  Kucinich is frequently the fruit or the vegetable left off the menu.  The nutritional value of his words may be high.  The substance of a meal with Dennis may be divine and it would definitely sustain a peaceful planet.  However, information as it relates to the recommended daily allowance of such sustenance is void. 

Just as film Director Spurlock could not easily locate the mandatory dietary charts at McDonalds, a citizen cannot effortlessly retrieve much of the wisdom that flows from Presidential aspirant, Dennis Kucinich. 

After my evening “feast,” the festivities began.  I discussed the political campaigns with a friend.  We spoke of events we attended during the day and organizations we are familiar with.  We navigated the World Wide Web and stumbled on news not heard on any channel.  Periodicals did not widely print, radios and televisions did not broadcast what we each thought important.  In an interview with Congressman Kucinich, Journalist Kasia Anderson realized what we may know, and yet ignore.  More accurately, assessments are muted, muffled by promoters and those that understand power. 

Such a “conversation” would not serve the Clinton campaign well.  Thus, it was not placed on the media menu.  Marketers and media moguls know which side of their bread is buttered.  Senator Clinton has been decidedly inconsistent during the course of this campaign.  What she once thought a wise statement she now determines detrimental. 

What was Hillary’s Happy Meal becomes a Mac attack.  Might we consider even salads served by the those that market well, such as the bountifully funded McDonalds, are filled with sweeteners.

A year ago, Hillary Clinton said she “would certainly take nuclear weapons off the table.”  She spoke these words as she discussed the need to confront Iran and its possible expansion of a nuclear program. 

That comment is contrary to the recent and conspicuous statement offered on August 2, 2007.  Illinois Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama strongly suggested in response to a hypothetical query pertaining to terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan, for him, nuclear weapons were “not on the table.” 

Hillary Clinton, possibly in a desire to exploit the belief Obama is inexperienced, lashed out in retort, “Presidents should be careful at all times in discussing the use and nonuse of nuclear weapons.” The well-funded and abundantly followed Clinton continued, “Presidents since the Cold War have used nuclear deterrents to keep the peace, and I don’t believe any president should make blanket statements with the regard to use or nonuse of nuclear weapons.”

Conventional wisdom dictates the Commander-In-Chief must be strong.  Senator Clinton knows this and appeals to this notion.  She capitalizes on the notion, ‘silence is golden,’ while she complains of secrecy within the current Administration.  More and more, this money magnet gives the people, particularly, politically connected cash donors, exactly what they want.  She presents an image of power.  Her message sells, even to a self-proclaimed Progressive populace.  Perhaps, money matters. 

If a candidate wishes to be considered, they need the green that does not grow on trees.  The price of attendance for this Presidential banquet is astronomical.  Condiments may enhance the flavor; nevertheless, how often is relish served with caviar? 

Dennis Kucinich, the salt and pepper that brings out the taste, has a plan that compliments what the people say they crave.  The Congressman is ready to carry out his program.  He can and will deliver a swift exit from Iraq.  The prospect of peace permeates the Kucinich menu.  Yet, this tidbit is not on the proverbial table.

During debates, Kucinich is placed at the children’s’ table. This Presidential contender is seen; however, he is barely heard.  Without the dollars to deliver his message, the Kucinich challenge remains hushed.  Yet, just as mustard left in the kitchen, or sauce still simmering on the stove, if we choose to, we can smell the scent of success.  Truth Dig brings the fare for us to savor.

Kucinich Calls Out Clinton’s Nuclear Blunder,
Posted on Aug 11, 2007
By Kasia Anderson

Kasia Anderson: What’s your reaction to Sen. Clinton’s comeback to Sen. Obama about the possibility of using nuclear weapons against terrorists in Pakistan or Afghanistan?

Dennis Kucinich:  I think that that single comment by Sen.  Clinton raises questions about her fitness for the presidency.  In a week in which we observe the [anniversaries of the] tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, any American presidential candidate who rattles the nuclear saber must be viewed with the greatest amount of skepticism.  Given Sen. Clinton’s commitment to the neocon doctrines of pre-emption, unilateralism, and first strike, all Americans should be very concerned about how she would use the power of the presidency.

There’s another question here, and that is: Is she unaware of the fragility of conditions on the Asian subcontinent with respect to nuclear parity and first-strike concerns?  Does she really mean what she says, and is she ready to take responsibility for potentially catalyzing a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan?  Has she really thought this through?  This really raises questions about whether she has the thoughtfulness to be able to lead the nation.  Given her willingness to attack Iraq without any evidence whatsoever, without having read any of the documents, without having done any of the research-is she that susceptible that she’s willing to reach for the nuclear football?

Anderson:  Can you say more about first-use doctrine in this context?

Kucinich:  There’s a doctrine of first use, which really is a violation of international law.  The first-use doctrine is the prelude to Armageddon.  We live in a time where the entire world understands the imperative of getting rid of nuclear weapons, and Sen. Clinton’s lack of awareness of the danger of that kind of rhetoric legitimates the first-strike doctrine among all nations.  And so, in some ways, her comments necessitate a deep discussion within the Democratic Party about what we stand for.

I believe in strength through peace, through enforcing the [Nuclear] Non-Proliferation Treaty, which at its heart calls for nuclear abolition.  We should be talking about nuclear abolition, not about first strike.  This desire for aggressiveness with nuclear weapons is chilling and requires the most intense scrutiny of someone’s position on the most basic issue of survival of the planet.  Jonathan Schell was writing about these things decades ago-about the effects of the use of nuclear weapons.  I don’t understand why [Clinton] feels this need to look tough with respect to weapons.  What kind of calculations could she possibly be making?

Everyone knows that there is no survivability from a nuclear attack, and that the use of nuclear weapons brings about ecocide.  At a time when we’re worried about the health of the planet, that someone would talk about using nuclear weapons shows a willingness to misuse power that could lead to the destruction of the planet itself.  We can all have these discussions about global climate change, and we all want to work together to improve the quality of life on the planet.  But the first-strike doctrine changes everything, because it invites the use of nuclear weapons, which destroy not only the target nation but the nation that uses them.

I think that what we’ve seen in the past is a real weakness that comes from a willingness to use deadly force without regard to the facts.  This is not only a political question; this is a question of character.

Perchance character is the greatest question.  As we watch each of the Presidential hopefuls posture, we must realize that much of what we see and hear is personality.  The pretty or seemingly powerful prosper more than most.  In the Republican Party, this too is evident.  Mitt Romney, who some say comes with much baggage has done well financially.  This former Governor from Massachusetts, and multimillionaire, entrepreneurial investor raised an awesome, $44.4 million dollars.  This amount far exceeds what other contenders have gathered. 

Romney is said to “look Presidential.”  He has the smile and charm of a President.  Notwithstanding, many verbal faux pas’ the campaigner has a lasting charisma.  Wherever, Mitt Romney goes, people follow.  Tens of thousands are paid to join the Romney train, the campaign. Nearly one hundred family members were deployed to demonstrate their support.

Romney’s Cash Beckons Iowans To Straw Poll
By Michael D. Shear and Alec MacGillis?
Washington Post
  Friday, August 10, 2007; A01

DES MOINES, Aug. 9 — As thousands of Republican activists prepare to descend on Ames, Iowa, tomorrow for the straw poll meant to gauge support for the GOP’s presidential contenders, the event has all the markings of a historic mismatch.

One candidate, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, has assembled an unrivaled operation for the event: a statewide corps of 60 “super-volunteers,” who have been paid between $500 and $1,000 per month to talk him up; a fleet of buses; more than $2 million in television ads in Iowa; a sleek direct-mail campaign; and a consultant who has been paid nearly $200,000 to direct Romney’s straw poll production, which will include barbecue billed as the best in the state.

Facing off against this are a half-dozen candidates whose combined Iowa expenditures through the end of June did not match the $1 million Romney had spent by that point, not including his many TV ads.  Tommy Thompson, the former Wisconsin governor, advertised in the Denison Bulletin & Review at a cost of $297.  Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback has been luring voters to Ames by sending out “brown bracelets” to wear around town (“a great conversation starter with friends and neighbors”).  Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.) is offering a tour of Washington — dinner included — to anyone who brings 25 friends to Ames.

It was not supposed to play out this way.  Romney’s vast investment in the straw poll was designed to outmuscle former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) in the GOP’s first real contest of the election, and to give Romney a needed early boost as he works to build national recognition. But his preparation may have been too impressive for his own good.  Watching Romney spend so much, Giuliani and McCain dropped out of the straw poll in June.  Romney plunged ahead anyway, setting up a mismatch of almost Gulliverian proportions . . .

Romney, a former venture capitalist and multimillionaire who has lent his campaign $9 million of his own money, has hired buses to travel the state, picking up supporters.  It will cost his campaign hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay the entry fee when they arrive.  Romney snared the prime spot for his tent — space at the event is auctioned off by the state GOP — reportedly by bidding $10,000 more than rivals.

Aides will not reveal details about his spending, including how many of the tickets Romney will purchase.  (Every Iowan with a ticket can vote, though historically not everyone does. President Bush bought 11,000 tickets for his supporters in 1999.  About 7,400 of them voted for him.)

But rival campaigns report-seeing multiple, glossy — and expensive — mailings during recent weeks.  “Glossy, big, die-cuts,” one staffer said.  “Autopen stuff.  Really high-quality, high-class mail.  They are filling Iowans’ mailboxes.” . . .

A Democratic source who has tracked Romney’s ad buys said Romney had spent about $2.4 million on TV ads in Iowa, beginning in February and running consistently since May.  The source estimated Romney had spent an additional $2.5 million on campaign materials other than television in the state.

Romney’s latest ad went up on Wednesday.  “Washington politicians in both parties have proven they can’t control spending, and they won’t control our borders,” he says in the ad, which flashes a toll-free number for free straw poll tickets.  “I will, but I need your help to do it.  So, come on to Ames.  After all, changing America always starts in Iowa.”

There was little change jingling in Iowa.  The sound of crisp bills passed from hand to hand.  Transformation was not apparent.  Indeed the status quo dominated the scene.  The person [or product] that received the most attention was the one prominently placed in every market.  Advertisements moved the masses.

The Big Mac, the Happy Meal, the Super Sized Venture Capitalist Mitt Romney used his money and magnetism to sway the crowds.  He invested in self-promotion and ultimately successfully sold himself.  When Romney won the vote in the Hawkeye State, he reminded America of its long-standing tradition.  Marketing matters more than quality or substance. 

Advertisements influence what we accept as edible, attractive, electable, and essential in our lives. 

Others might muse name recognition has a greater effect on the electorate than mailers or precinct walkers do.  The tried and true can be counted on.  Senator, and former Vietnam prisoner of war, John McCain and Mayor Rudolf Giuliani of September 11, 2001 fame had hoped so.  However, they had their doubts.  Neither chose to participate in the Iowa straw poll. 

Perhaps they recognized as entrepreneur Romney understands.  The “image” of a bigger and better candidate can be beneficial for a Presidential hopeful.  One that reminds us “Change Begins” with him or her can be persuasive.  Romney strives to be the more “right” Republican.  Hillary intends to be the “new and improved” Clinton.  The Senator suggests citizens could “double their pleasure; double the fun” with two Clintons in the White House.

Each is able to be omnipresent with thanks to ample funds.  Iowans witnessed Romney at work in recent weeks.  I experience Hillary Clinton each day.  The Senator sends her supporters, former followers, and donors, electronic mail daily.  I know.  I continue to receive communiqués years after I relinquished my endorsement.  The frequency of snail mail correspondence is less, although still abundant.  These formidable well-funded front-runners are as McDonalds.  The restaurant has “31,000 of the best locations on the planet.” None may be the healthy choice; however, each has money enough to ensure they are viable.

Perhaps it is just I.  My preference is for meals that are nutritious.  Candidates that I trust will create and sustain the peace, for me, are more appealing fare than those that think nuclear warfare is an option.  When I cast a ballot for President, I will consider far more than familiarity.  I will read the menu carefully.  Those that advocate recipes for a shared prosperity will receive my vote.  I will feast with aspirants that return power to the people.  Lobbyist pork will not be my meal of choice.

A Super Size snack may be  inexpensive.  A Happy Meal is perhaps, downright cheap.  However, the cost of saturated fat is high.  Sugary words may taste sweet; nevertheless, they are without substance weakens the system.  I will take a healthy and wise Dennis Kucinich anytime, and you?  Bon appetite.  I will see you at the polls.

A Happy Meal. A Healthy Menu.  Does Money or the Message Matter Most?

  • The Real Price of a Big Mac.  Newsweek. By Brian Braiker.  Newsweek. January 29, 2004
  • Super Size Me.  By Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock.  2003
  • Food Industry Advertising Overwhelms Government’s “5 A Day” Campaign to Fight Obesity and Promote Healthy Eating.  Consumers Union. Tuesday, September 13, 2005
  • Out of Balance. Marketing of Soda, Candy, Snacks and Fast Foods Drowns Out Healthful Messages.  Consumers Union.  California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN)
  • Clinton Discussed Use of Nukes Last Year, By Beth Fouhy. ?The Associated Press.  Washington Post.  Thursday, August 9, 2007; 6:42 PM
  • pdf Clinton Discussed Use of Nukes Last Year, By Beth Fouhy. ?The Associated Press.  Washington Post.  Thursday, August 9, 2007; 6:42 PM
  • Kucinich Calls Out Clinton’s Nuclear Blunder, By Kasia Anderson.  Truth Dig. August 11, 2007
  • Romney Wins Iowa Straw Poll by a Sizable Margin, By Adam Nagourey and Jeff Zeleny.  The New York Times. August 12, 2007
  • pdf Romney Wins Iowa Straw Poll by a Sizable Margin, By Adam Nagourey and Jeff Zeleny.  The New York Times. August 12, 2007
  • Romney Wins Iowa’s GOP Poll, Victory Highlights Strategy Difference With Giuliani.  By Dan Balz and Michael D. Shear.  Washington Post. Sunday, August 12, 2007; Page A01
  • Romney’s Cash Beckons Iowans To Straw Poll, By Michael D. Shear and Alec MacGillis.  Washington Post. Friday, August 10, 2007; Page A01
  • pdf Romney’s Cash Beckons Iowans To Straw Poll, By Michael D. Shear and Alec MacGillis.  Washington Post. Friday, August 10, 2007; Page A01
  • Russert cited “business and CEO experience” in claiming Romney “looks presidential” Media Matters. May 30, 2007
  • Romney, Winner in Iowa, `Misspoke’ About Sons’ Military Choice, By Avram Goldstein.  Bloomberg. August 12, 2007
  • Economic Experts Lose Money ©

    When discussing private, individual retirement accounts, President Bush, and his buds tell us that we merely need to invest wisely.  They say that this option will afford us the opportunity. Bush is often heard to say, “It is just that simple!”  He tells us  . . .

    “I think people like the idea of being able to take some of their own money — in other words, government says, you can decide, as opposed to, we’ll decide for you, you get to decide if this is in your interest.  And you get to decide whether you want to set some of your money aside in an account that will earn a better rate of return than that which will be earned in the Social Security system.  That’s an important part of making sure the system works for the individual.

      I repeat; personal accounts do not permanently fix the solution.  They make the solution more attractive for the individual worker.  And that’s important for people for understand.”

    However, The Los Angeles Times tells another tale.  In an article titled, “Experts Are at a Loss on Investing,” Nobel Prize winners in economics and academicians look at their own financial history.  They speak from experience, personal experience.  Each admits that they did not invest their money wisely.  They had the choice, the cash, and the knowledge and yet . . .

    Mr. Bush assures us that we will be safe, we will be secure, we will be wise, and we will do well; better than we would under Social Security.  However, when we consider the personal experiences of economic experts we find reason to doubt.

    The father of “modern portfolio theory,” Harry M. Markowitz is a Nobel Prize winner in economics.  He is best known for his theories on diversity.  However, admittedly, he ignored his own advice; he did not diversify his investments.  His own portfolio was limited.  He placed fifty percent of his cash in stocks and the other fifty percent in a conservative, low-interest investment.  Markowitz, now 77-years-old said, “In retrospect, it would have been better to have been more in stocks when I was younger.”

    Daniel Kahneman of Princeton University is another Nobel Prize winner; he won this award in 2002.  Kahneman mused of his monies, “”I think very little about my retirement savings, because I know that thinking could make me poorer or more miserable or both.”

    Then there is 2001 Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz.  He is a professor at Columbia, and a former Clinton administration economist.  In reflecting of his own financial history he quips, “Retirement is not like buying a cup of coffee.  It’s not something you get to do over and over again and learn from your mistakes.”

    Mr. Bush if the economists, the experts, stumble, stall, and do not save well, then what of us, the rest of us?

    Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus ©

    Please tell me that it is not so!  Is it, as I heard twice today.  Is all the anger that we are hearing of in the news, reading of in the newspapers, and seeing at the stores, not really a rail against the retailers for saying "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas?"  Is it, as a devout Christian told me today; Christians truly believe and are upset because  “They, “the Jews,” are making money from the Christian holiday of Christmas?”  Please tell me, is this the true cause for all this commotion?  Do Christians believe that all merchants, manufacturers, and marketers are Jewish?  Are only “they,” the Jews, profiting from and commercializing the birth of Christ?  Are all those that express “Happy Holidays” condescending, criminal, or coddling the Christians; or is it only Jews that do these dastardly deeds?

    Is it true that in this free market society, one considered “Judeo-Christian,” and one that I thought was accepting and inclusive of more than Christians, people no longer espouse the principles that this country was founded on?  Are religious freedom, free enterprise, and free speech, now a reason for protest and picketing?  Are these principles no longer, as we prefer and prosper from?  If this is true, than I am very confused and concerned!

    Having had a conversation with a beloved Christian, one that states that unless one is Christian they cannot understand how it feels not to be honored for what they believe, for what they practice, and for who they are, I wonder how can this be.  Is there a being alive that has not felt, at some time or another as though they were not being honored for their beliefs, practices, and for who they are?  How must it feel to be black in a white world, Asian, in a world where Caucasian is considered the look of beauty, Islamic, Muslim, Moslem, Persian, Iranian, Iraqi, or Afghani living in America after 911.  How might it feel to be physically less able in a world of the physically able?  We are all different than others, yet, we experience similar.

    If Christians think that non-Christians do not know how it feels when they are not acknowledged and honored for their faith, beliefs, race, or religion, I ask them to please imagine what it feels like not to be Christian in a Christian country, especially during Christian holidays.  One can imagine, if they choose to, how it feels to be in the moccasins of another.  However, in this recent conversation, the moccasins of empathy were empty.  The beloved Christian continued,  “When people express wishes of “Happy Holidays,” to a Christian, they are not acknowledging that this is Christmas.”  She expressed that these supposed well wishes cause Christians, such as she, to feel angry, disrespected, hurt, fearful, or as though they are  . . .?

    I ask; is this not the season of many holy days, some holier than others, depending on one’s personal philosophies?  Is this not the winter solstice, Chanukah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, the time for atheistic, agnostic, Buddhist, Moslem, Islamic, any, and every other being’s holy days?  Are these not the days in which we would wish any of them, all of them, no matter what their beliefs, the happiest of holy days, otherwise known as ??holidays?’
    Merriam Webster defines holy as . . .
    1: exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness
    2: DIVINE  “for the Lord our God is holy,” Psalms 99:9 (Authorized Version)
    3: devoted entirely to the deity or the work of the deity
    4: having a divine quality
    No matter what your faith, are all days not holy?  Would we not all wish to be honored each and every holy day?  Would we not wish for the happiness of others and enjoy well wishes bestowed upon us?  On each and every day, would we not wish to be honored for what we believe, no matter what our beliefs?  Would we not wish for “happiness,” for one, and for all?  Would we not wish to be acknowledged for who we are, as we are, even by persons that barely know us? 

    Are wishes of joy and happiness offensive?  Why is it that Christians, those deeply connected to their faith, to the trinity, to their Lord Jesus Christ, do not choose to practice as the Lord preaches?  Would the Christian community not wish to treat others, as they would wish to be treated?  Yet, I was told that, as a non-Christian I could not, would not, understand how it feels to have others wish them “Happy Holidays!”  I was told that the Jews are using this, the Christian holiday, to help only themselves; that they are patronizing their patronage.

    I understand that billions do not celebrate Christmas.  Yet, the millions that do expect non-Christian persons to be joyous when greeted with the salutation of “Merry Christmas.”  Many assume and presume that because they are, many are, and some are celebrating Christmas, that we are all celebrating Christmas.  Yet, not all of us are.  Nonetheless, in America, Christmas is imposed upon us all, proposed to be the only celebration of importance in this winter season.  Evidence of this is that, it is said, recently shouted, that the only proper greeting during this [shopping] season is “Merry Christmas” and that wishing others their “happiness” is offensive.

    Today I was told that it is tradition, it is just, justice, and that, just for “us,” the chosen gesture must be “Merry Christmas!”  Thus, I ask, "Is today, and are all days from November through December to be celebrated as though they are Christmas Day?”  Does each of these days celebrate the birth of Christ?  I thought that birth occurred only on a day and that Christmas was the celebration of that day.  I have heard that some celebrate for twelve days.  However, I did not realize that once Christians choose to begin partaking in the spirit of their Christmas consumption we must all consume solely for Christmas.  I had no idea that once they began shopping for their spouses, siblings, supervisors, and sweethearts, it is then required that all shoppers must do the same.

    I wonder and ask, be it Christmas or not, is it not true that people shop; they shop for all seasons, for all reasons, Christmas, being one among many.  People need not shop to celebrate Christmas or any other commemoration.  Yet, people are shopping!  I thought that the stores were open to all, always, Christians, and those that are not.  I thought that the stores were open to all, always, even those that do not celebrate this, or any other “official” holiday.

    Currently, the stores, possibly the stated policies or practices of these stores, or those that work within the stores, seem to be the source of such controversy.  Expressions of "Happy Holidays" heard by sales associates and displayed in shops rather than seem to be inciting and inflaming the Christian community.  Yet, the stores, or the sales associates, do not know our practices, our faith, or our preference for a salutation unless we are wearing signs saying, "Please recognize me as a Christian, a Jew, an atheist, an agnostic, a Buddhist, a Shaman, a sage, or a scientist.”  Nor do they have the time to discern who we are and what we want.  They see us once or twice, and even then, only for a moment.

    Would we wish “them” to judge us, label us, based solely on our physical appearance?  Would we hope that, they will attempt to determine our religious practices or preferences, based solely on what they believe or on what they see.  Without personal knowledge of who we are or what we believe how can they address us so as not to offend?  We may be Christian, we may not be.  Therefore, they attempt to honor us and honor a truth that is true for all of us, each day; they wish us happiness, on this, any, and every holy day!!!

    This is what I was saying to the beloved Christian, then, it was said, "The Jews are making money on our holiday!"  I was dumbfounded!!!!!!!  Minutes later, after leaving this discussion with hopes that we came to some convergence, I turned on the radio, an AM station.  The station was advertising one of their programs.  They aired a clip, one in which a famous commentator is heard to express the same, “The Jews are making money on our Christian holiday!”

    Wow, I thought!  Are there not those of any, or many religions that are wealthy?  Are some, several, and even scores of these wealthy ones not Jewish?  Are only Jews profiting and are only Jews proprietors?

    For me, this is fascinating!  The folly of history seems to continue.  Throughout history, Jews were denied entrance into states, colonies, and nations and even when they were allowed to live amongst the others, more often than not they were denied the right to own property, a business, and, therefore, went into businesses that allowed them to survive?  Often banking, medicine, and law were the only opportunities open to Jews
    The Jewish culture thrives on learning, comprehensively, discussing endlessly, looking, and listening, they learn their crafts well.  Are they to be criticized for this?  Can we all not choose to learn our lessons well?  Can we choose to do well?

    Who among us would not wish for abundance?  Is there not abundance for all? Did God not, in his infinite wisdom, create a world that continually creates and creates?  If we take cups of water from the ocean, will the ocean not replenish itself?  Nature, God, creates and creates, consistently!  The universe, nature, the ocean, and God do not know of depleting or deficits.  Consider cancer, insects, and fungi; they grow, strive, thrive, and survive. Abundance abounds and is available for all. Why we would wish to covet our neighbor’s possessions?  Oh my gosh, is this not one of the commandments?  Yet, what of “them,” the “Jews?”

    Please tell me that it is not so; are Christians protesting and picketing the stores, is their desire to be spoken to with respect, to be honored for their Christian faith?  Is the reaction to the words “Happy Holidays” really a reaction to an erroneous belief that Jews are making money on a Christian holiday?  Sadly, I asked.

    I was greeted with grunts of commercialism, capitalizing on the Christians.  This complaint comes from one that loudly voices her love of country, a country that promotes capitalism, free enterprise, and free markets.  How odd this is to me.  Did the early Christian settlers not create this prized system and is it not true that today’s Christians also prosper from these principles.  Thinking of this, I ask, “If you do not appreciate the commercialism of celebrations, do not desire consumerism, materialism, and marketing manias, then why not choose your own path, without accusing, begrudging, belittling, or bemoaning others for their choices.”

    Ah, those others, “them,” the Jews.  I wonder was Jesus not a Jew and did he not profess, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.”  Is there a sin in attempting to honor another and all for who they might be and what they might be celebrating?  Can any of us truly know the minds or motivations of another?  Would it not be best to consider that just as any of us believe that we would, others, even “they” are intending to honor you?

    For me, I know that if you are looking for a reason to be offended, you can and will always find one!  A Christian businessman, Henry Ford, once stated, “No matter what you believe, you are correct!”  If you believe that others are after you, that they are influenced by Satan, that they sin, if you believe that people are basically good, at times making unwise, unhealthy choices, you will be correct.  What ever you believe, you first learn it, and then live it; ultimately, you experience it.  Your beliefs are confirmed in everything you see, do, think, and are.  For just as I can and do, you too will justify your beliefs, rationalize them, intellectualize them, and prove them true.  For, “As you think [to your core, not as you say you believe,] so shall you be.”

    With concern for thinking and being, in 1887; The New York Sun chose to respond to skepticism and cynicism with this editorial . . .
    Virginia, your little friends are wrong.  They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age.  They do not believe except what they see.  They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds.  All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little.  In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.  Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
    He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.  Alas!  How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus!  It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.  There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, and no romance to make tolerable this existence.  We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight.  The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

    Now, Pray tell all “Virginia[s],” what do you wish to think and to be?