Answering Readers.

Here’s something from Jeff I’d like to address because I think there is a lot of confusion over this subject among many Americans especially oder Americans and those who are more conservative in their bent.

jeff

Hi Denise, I’m a recently new visitor to your blog. Your politcal pursuasions are obvious. Isn’t it wonderful we live in a free country where you can say and write about just about anything you want. For that, I know we are both thankful. However, with all due respect, I must say that the socialist countries I have traveled to all have a HUGE gulf between the rich and VERY poor – and if there is a middle class (European countries) it is not nearly as broad of a spectrum as it is here. I am not saying capitalism is the answer to everything. It does however encourage personal responsibility much more that socialist idealism (hence the whole mortgage bailout here in the U.S. will discourage personal responsibility). I really feel you are being dishonest by painting republicans with a broad brush (many of them have very socialist tendancies) that they want the rich to get richer and poor to get poorer. That is ridiculous and dillusional. Please tell me one socialist or communist country where a poor person has the opportunity to better their life than the U.S.A. Do you know any Venezuealens or Cubans that live here in the U.S. who are anxious to return to their homeland? I do not. These are socialist countries where the leaders always speak about the “common good”, yet their intentions are really more about their own power and insecurity. Please Denise – do some soul searching and be honest about this subject. You know very well that human tendancies, whether they be conservative or liberal will veer selfishly out of control if there are no checks and balances. As you also know, the wisdom (of check and balances) our founding fathers had in writing our Constitution and founding documents was influenced by the Almighty himself. By the way, as perhaps you can tell with your psychic abilities, I am a sole provider supporting a family (a wife and 3 small children) and I have come from very modest beginnings. Respectfully, Jeff

 

Hi Jeff,

I’m so glad you brought up these points. Firstly Cuba is not a socialist country it is a Marxist Communist state. And so are the other examples of countries that you noted. They are not actually socialist countries. Socialism is very different from Communism and Communism is horrible. Marx and Lennon didn’t take into consideration people’s greed and need for power over other people. I totally agree that people in (actually I think all of them) nations which are Communist not only fail their people in the most basic of principles but also generally turn into dictatorships. Marx didn’t take into consideration that politicians once they are in office, are not likely to spread the wealth but rather let their darker nature take over and hog the wealth and they literally rob their own people. It is disgusting and I revile it.

What I advocate is a socialist Democracy closer to what the Europeans and Canadians practice, where there is a built in eject button and safety measures against abuse of power. I am a staunch supporter of our constitution unlike the people in the Bush administration. Here’s a short definition of socialism: social security, the fire department, police department, public education, the library system and in other democracies it includes health care, college education, maternity & paternity leave, guaranteed paid vacations for anyone who works, arts funding, psychological services for those who need them. Socialism can be worked into any other system of government like a democracy or theoretically even a dictatorship but of course it isn’t because it is based on compassion for humanity which dictators usually don’t posses. Communism is based on the writings of Karl Marx from a book called the Communist Manifesto. His ideas were later championed by different dictators as a way to get into power only to have everything change once they got in. Marx’s ideas were (as I see it) psychologically naive and childishly idealistic.

I actually have traveled around the world many times over. I’ve been to pretty much every western European nation numerous times, have been to Australia a couple of times, and have traveled to Indonesia and of course Mexico and Canada, so I’m not speaking from an abstract point of view. According to reality and against many people’s desire to say that America’s always #1, the standard of living is visibly much higher in Scandinavian countries than it is here and that’s a fact.

Here’s a link to the ranking in terms of standard of living you can check out. We have 92% of the world’s wealth controlled by just 5% of Americans. Many countries with GDP’s much, much lower than ours rank higher than we do in quality of life because of that, even though technically they have less money. This is what I’m talking about. We are ranked at number 10 for standard of living.

 http://skeptically.org/economics/id21.html

I advocate eliminating poverty and giving all of our people the respect and help they need to contribute in the most useful way they can, not becoming a communist dictatorship. Ironically, the closest we have ever gotten to true corporatism (which by Mussolini’s definition was what fascism was) and thereby a dictatorship was via George W. Bush. Not only did he bow so heavily to corporate interests and put everything into the private sector including warfare, but also went ahead and finished deregulating everything in the corporate sector so corporations didn’t have to play by the same rules that we as individuals do.

I think Greenspan showed either his stupidity or his immense naivete when he said that he believed corporations would self-regulate. That worked so well in early 20th century America, and Dickinson’s England and now is working wonders in China. Unchecked capitalism is just as naive and stupid as communism because both fail to take into account human nature, greed, power plays, corruption, selfishness, nepotism and just general psychology. This is why we have laws to protect ourselves from one another. We are not made of love, purity, light, goodness and angels. We all have our darker natures which I talked about in the entry about the shadow self. 

My husband’s parents are very conservative. They are wonderful people who, I’ve come to realize, see America through the fixed lens of their own childhood imaginings. Where everything is black and white, good guys and bad guys, and we are always on the side of good. Although they mean well, there is a general lack of self reflection about how our government works. It is not a fixed entity but a living organism that changes and grows. The America of 2009 is not the America of the 1950s when they were coming of age and it never will be again. We have grown, changed and become intricately connected to all the nations of the world in ways we never could have imagined back then.

It has been my observation that conservative people tend to have a sentimental view of America and constructive criticism about making it a better place is greeted in the same fashion a nasty comment about their mother would be. Liberals on the other hand are a diverse group, have different agendas and often not only criticize the government, the opposing party but their own party as well. They are by their very nature self-reflective and idealistic. And it doesn’t always serve them well because often they can get too far out on a ledge and all the petty bickering can lead to a lack of seeing the bigger picture. 

I actually see myself as a pretty moderate person. I’m compassionate, empathic and want all people to have a good quality of life. I really don’t think that’s too crazy considering we can do a lot to accomplish this with very little sacrifice. I don’t think that a 36% tax going up to a 39% tax on the 5% of people who control more than 90% of the wealth is anything close to socialism. One of the richest men in the world is the founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad and since he lives in Sweden pays at least 50% income tax, yet he manages to do just fine without belly aching because he knows that his money is going to make his country a better place and he has more than enough for generations of his family to live like royalty.

I personally think if you make 10 billion dollars a year you should pay the government half of it because it is your karmic duty to give back when the Universe has given so much to you. And if you are so greedy that you’d rather step over people living in tents with their kids by a river who are slowly starving to death so you can have that extra 1 and a half billion dollars you are a despicable human being who deserves to trade places with that person in the tent. Anyone who can tell themselves that people should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and buck up is not only uncompassionate but naive. There are many people in this world who don’t have the same advantages that everyone else has, such as the mentally or physically handicapped, or even people who are of below normal IQ’s. Should they just shrivel up and die because they can’t do it alone? Ronald Reagan the great advocate of this ended up with Alzheimer’s, if he had been dealt a couple of hard blows and lost his fortune, who would have taken care of him? He got rid of all the halfway houses for people with mental problems back in the 1980s when he was president.

As a mystic I see this issue as much bigger and perhaps one of the greatest tests of human character. We are meant to help one another, learn from one another, have compassion for each other, love each other. Those are the messages of Christ. His message was clear and ringing yet instead of the compassion, non-judgement and love he preached Christians and our “Christian” country has taken a very old testament view of things. When Christ said, “I am the way,” he meant follow his example. But this is a tall order and one that requires intense spiritual, psychological and emotional work to accomplish. It’s a whole lot easier to turn the other way when your brother is starving and say, “It’s his own damn fault. He should pull himself up by his bootstraps. Look at me I had it hard, blah, blah, blah.” Yet that person has no idea the struggles the homeless person they are judging endured and if the right set of circumstances hit anyone could end up in that situation as so many are finding themselves now. And then would you want people to judge you? Having not walked in your shoes? Or would you want compassion and a helping hand.

We come into this world dependant on our mother. Our whole life is intertwined with other people and we are given things, opportunities, education, and countless other things, even just support and love from our families, yet we seem to forget this. No one does anything alone. No one person is better than another. No one person more valuable. We all have something to give and we all have something to learn. It is a sin of vanity that makes a person judge another and a sin of selfishness which allowed capitalism to run amok just as communism did before it.

Both have fallen.

Now lets move on and stop playing this game, the game of division, lets stand together and help one another become a strong tribe, watch each others backs. Let’s take this opportunity to reinvent ourselves so we maybe born again into a greater version of who we are, let’s face our nation’s shadow self squarely (and it does have a shadow as all living things do) and grow into a more evolved, compassionate, educated, civilized and decent people. This is all I advocate. You can call me a lefty, a communist, a socialist or whatever makes you comfortable. But the truth I’m writing about here will make itself known. I only hope you learn the lesson before the hammer comes down and this lesson is learned the hard way.

Honestly, I worry that our country still hasn’t really gotten what’s going on and it’s going to have to get worse before it gets better before the lessons of compassion can be learned. I also worry that President Obama will be too pliable and take a long time to slowly change things to where he wants them, but for many on the left they may feel disheartened as he won’t go quickly enough for them. And for many people who are desperate right now, they too might be upset because they need quick help, not a slow moving tortoise approach while they are drowning. 

Best wishes and blessings,

Denise

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Answering Readers.

10 thoughts on “Answering Readers.

  1. jeff says:

    Hi Denise,

    Thanks for the response and I agree with several things you said about the role of mankind and the example Jesus gave us to follow. I do respect you and appreciate your viewpoints. They are very interesting and good for me to consider.

    Also, thank you for clarifying the difference between socialism and communism. Help me here: Is Venezuala a socialist or communist state? Do you advocate a one party rule system? Sometimes your comments seem to indicate you have full and complete faith in democrats and absolutely zero faith in republicans. This is where where the lines seem to blur for me when reading your comments. Sometimes your comments seem so balanced, and then the next sentence sounds like your shadow self is taking over. You have mentioned several times in terms of conservatives seeing things in definitive terms – either black or white (you’re insulting my mother comment). Again, with all due respect, this common viewpoint of yours makes me believe that you, in fact are seeing this issue in black and white terms. I have met MANY thin skinned liberals (and conservatives) who very often take offense and are so judgemental – controlled by their passions more than reason. I know you come across these people also. They judge things as right or wrong, moral or immoral, weak or unforgiving, righteous or selfish, etc (Judas maybe?). Instead of seeing that every single person (except Jesus) is imperfect… is a product of imperfection and needs (we both agree) the kindness, forgiveness and help of others. I believe this type of attitude is most often the result of inner wounds unhealed and unresolved anger. I really do understand this first-hand. I have been beaten down by the pressures of life. I do suffer from the affects of being abandoned by my father as a young child. I do need and depend on the compassion and help of others. I understand that 80% of men in prison come from fatherless homes. I have empathy. I want to and seek opportunities to help make a difference in the life of a child (or adult) who also was (or is) abandoned by a parent(s). I also can say, I have friends (both conservative and some more liberal) who are no different.

    The big difference between us (and perhaps conservatives and liberals in general) is that liberals believe government should – and effectively will fullfil this compassion for our fellow man better than the collective individual. Conservatives have less faith in the government and more in the individual. Jesus definitely did not advocate giving this responsibility of compassion and mercy to the government – but instead it is our individual responsibility. I also believe the goodness of the individual is more powerful than anything (in terms of charity) that the government will ever be able to provide. This is generally true about conservatives, because MOST of us who have been successful understand our success is a result of the compassion of others (individuals we have interacted with — not the government) and feel compelled to do the same for others. It IS our responsibility to ourselves and society. Conservatives (incomes being equal) in fact contribute much more to charitable causes than liberals.

    See the following:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/03/conservatives_more_liberal_giv.html

    In my opinion, this is one of the things that has in fact made this country great. Many, many Americans are very compassionate people. This is why we are an entreneurial people – driven to see others be successful and find their potential in life. Socialism will slowly change this and in my view make people more complacent.

    By the way: Did you see that Obama in his budget wants to tax charitable contributions? Why? I personally think it is because he wants to discourage charitable giving amongst Americans. He would rather the government have that role. Is this dignity? Maybe he sincerely (with good motives) in what he is doing. I just think he is sincerely wrong. I mentioned to you in another posting about the estate tax (death tax). My point is: Where is the dignity if the government will tax you on what has already been taxed – when you are dead? Where will they stop. Like the greedy billionaire who is driven to succeed at the expense of others, how is this any different?

    Have a good night and take care…

    Jeff

  2. Melissa says:

    I relate to things that both you, Jeff, and you, Denise, have written. I was a republican until reading all I’ve read about W, the war, etc. Wanting what is right or rightest for all, means more than calling oneself a republican or democrat. The majority of people in this country put party affiliation above objectivity, and conscience.They’re unwilling to search for what is true, unwilling to admit how many politicians are in there for power and money. Our country is in trouble, and greed is the #1 reason. I’ve realized that republicans are NOT closer to God than others, & that they were clearly wrong,wrong,wrong about de-regulating everything. I haven’t heard one republican yet admit how wrong they were about de-regulation.People need to grow psychologically & spiritually, & screaming “Family Values” is not the way.It starts with the individual, and it is a matter of putting conscience over misguided worship of politicians,plus empathizing with others.I really wish I could move to another country now, & I never would’ve thought I’d ever in a million years feel such. Our country needs a lot of prayers, and a lot of cleaning out of politicians who have put their big contributors over trying to do what’s right/best, and it is true in both parties. Integrity has been stomped on until it’s barely in existence in politicians, & even in many people. Dem/repub and liberal/conservative keep everyone apart. Political parties are a bad thing. Human nature is too often a bad thing. Will people ever unite just to care about right over wrong? Coming from conscience instead of ego, & right vs wrong, would be a start. I don’t mean you two; I mean everyone. Big order, hunh?

  3. Denise, I thought your post was very well done. Also, Jeff, he doesn’t want to tax charitable contributions–he just wants to decrease the amount of tax write-off the wealthy can take for charitable contributions. At this point wealthy people can write off more of their contributions to charity than those who make less money. Obama just wants to even that out. And hopefully, people aren’t giving just so they can have the tax write-off.

    I think that our previous administration gave all of us–liberal and conservative–good reason not to trust the government. Hopefully the current administration can restore our trust. But yes, checks and balances are an important part of that, because power corrupts. I think Denise and others are trusting Democrats more right now because of how Repubs have messed things up in the past, but that doesn’t mean a one-party system would be good for the country in the long run.

  4. jeff says:

    Hi Lori,

    Thanks for clarifying. However, if you are someone that contributes to charity, it is indeed a tax on those contributions. I really do not understand how this levels the playing field at all. Who does it benefit other than the government? It certainly does not benefit those who get help from charities. Considering how much the government is spending (which should outrage everyone) in bailing out poorly run companies, I am highly skeptical they will bail out philathropies that are on the verge of bankruptcy. However, Congress probably will give themselves another pay raise.

    http://www.mlive.com/us-politics/index.ssf/2009/03/will_obama_budget_doom_philant.html

    Hi Denise-

    How are you doing? Can you tell if the Chinese are going to continue to buy U.S. treasuries in the future? We suddenly seem so dependent on them.

    Have a good evening.

    Jeff

  5. Well, it evens it out because why should people who make more money get more of a tax write-off than those who make less? People will still be able to take a tax write-off on their contributions, just not quite as much of one. Plus, I should hope that people are motivated to give to charity by more than just the tax write-off. Certainly charities do good work and they are important, but I don’t think this will have such a dire effect. If anything will, it is the economy itself and in that, I think Obama’s plans will be of great benefit to those in need.

  6. grace43 says:

    Personally, I think America went off track when it became a two party system. I don’t think enough viewpoints are represented. When I was growing up in the 70s, Republicans came in moderate, liberal and conservative. But Bush with the help of several mega churches have pretty effectively driven out all the moderates and liberals from their party. IMO, Republicans need to seriously consider how they are going to surive as a party, because they are becoming repulisive to the majority of Americans. They need to win back the affections of their moderate and liberal wings .

    Some Republican leaders do seem to be embracing this idea. And by Republician leaders, I mean one specifically – Arnold Schwarzenegger. I am not a Californian, so I cannot speak for the people who live there. Arnie has done several things which are very surprising for a Republician. He understands, believes in and is trying to do something about global warming and environmental pollution. I was beginning to wonder if Republicans had some other planet hiddened from the rest of us to run off to when this one turned nasty.

    He’s trying to do something about homelessness which is an enormous problem in his state. It may not be working or the perfect thing, But he is doing something. He’s not ignoring the problem and pretending homelessness is the fault of “sinful” homeless people. He does seem to really care.

    Unfortunately, within his own party Arnie seems to the the fringe and unaccepted by the whole. He’s trying to move past party politics and onto cooperation for the greater good of us all.

    One of my biggest concerns about the Republican party once the conservatives drove out anyone who disagreed with them was their seemingly determine effort to make America a theocracy. If you think Communism is bad, theocracy is clearly much worse. I have seen theocracy in the Middle East in an up close and personal way as a military member serving in the middle east. We in the middle of a war over the power of religion.

    Clearly faith has very little to do with where a person stands politicially, because people of all faiths stand all over the place on many different issues. Having a religion in charge does not make things peachy. Trust me, I lived in Saudi Arabia where religion is in charge and it is not peachy, it’s horrible. Very oppressive to say the least.

    I wondered when the conservative Christians were going to turn on their moderate and liberal cousins and sure enough, they have. The problem with having a religion in charge is it is only wonderful if your brand of religion is in charge. If you aren’t a member of the team in power, things can go very bad for you. History – current and past – has many examples of this.

    Democrats aren’t the model of perfection, but they are the only game in town if you are an atheist or gay or anything different from the conservative ideal. Republicans could change this if they wanted to, but they don’t seem to want to.

    If Republicans want to survive as a party, they need to reject exclusivism. They need to embrace the issues were they can find common ground with Democrats, moderates and liberals, like the environment. Accept global warming is real. Accept fossil fuels are running out. Accept that it is not the right of the majority to destroy the rights of the minority regardless of who that minority may be.

    And for once actually be compassionate instead of just talking about it. Do something about homelessness. Care more about the plight of homeless kids than corporate big wigs getting their “deserved” (which is really debatable since these bailed out businesses would have died without the bailout, then where would they be?) bonuses.

    And for heaven’s sakes, every single one of those Washington big wigs who knows about or protects a pedophiles in high places should be slapped and driven out of politics and not even be allowed to run for dog catcher.

    I am not thrilled with absolutely everything, but he is doing something. He is not in bed with the oil companies.

    I have voted for Republicans who do seem to care about something besides supporting the “downtrodden” wealthy and forcing their own brand of religion down everyone’s throats. There are good Republicans out there, but they need to get a whole lot louder, because I, for one, can’t hear them over the ranting and raving of Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter, the unelected leaders of the Republican party. More than anything, Republican leaders need to get rid of Rush. He does more to hurt their party than a whole room full of Democrats!

  7. Marlene says:

    Hello Denise,

    I have a question about the boating accident that occured on 2/28/09 where the four guys went fishing and their boat capsized. Three guys were never found and are assumed dead. The one survivor, Nick Schuyler has given 4 different versions of the events that happened after the boat capsized. One version had the guys giving up and allowing themselves to be swept away. Another version mentioned that punches were thrown although he did not elaborate on who was doing the punching or why. Many people feel he may be covering up something. There was only one thing on the hull of the boat to hold onto- the propeller.That the boat capsized and how it happened is not in dispute, what is questionable is how Nick came to be the one who got to hang onto the propeller and survive while the other three obviously perished. Some have questioned if there may have been a battle for the spot near the propeller. Can you shed any light on what really happened out there after the boat capsized? Were the guys hurt and left to suffer? was there a battle for the only spot on the hull to hang onto? Why did Nick keep changing his story? Some also question Nick’s demeanor after he was rescued. He seemed very calm and not too concerned about his friends. He has not spoken about the event since it happened- not even to his parents. Can you shed some light on his mental state at this point? What will happen with him in the near future. His DOB is 1/18/85; time and place unknown although it may be Ohio.

    Sorry for the long question. The story is so tragic and as a boater I can’t help trying to figure out what is plausible and what isn’t.

    Thanks,

  8. Marlene says:

    Hello Denise,

    I have a question about the boating accident that occured on 2/28/09 where the four guys went fishing off the Florida Gulf Coast and their boat capsized about 70 miles offshore. Three guys were never found and are assumed dead. The one survivor, Nick Schuyler has given 4 different versions of the events that happened after the boat capsized. One version had the guys giving up and allowing themselves to be swept away. Another version mentioned that punches were thrown although he did not elaborate on who was doing the punching or why. Many people feel he may be covering up something. There was only one thing on the hull of the boat to hold onto- the propeller.That the boat capsized and how it happened is not in dispute, what is questionable is how Nick came to be the one who got to hang onto the propeller and survive while the other three obviously perished. Some have questioned if there may have been a battle for the spot near the propeller. Can you shed any light on what really happened out there after the boat capsized? Were the guys hurt and left to suffer? was there a battle for the only spot on the hull to hang onto? Why did Nick keep changing his story? Some also question Nick’s demeanor after he was rescued. He seemed very calm and not too concerned about his friends. He has not spoken about the event since it happened- not even to his parents. Can you shed some light on his mental state at this point? What will happen with him in the near future. His DOB is 1/18/85; time and place unknown although it may be Ohio.

    Sorry for the long question. The story is so tragic and as a boater I can’t help trying to figure out what is plausible and what isn’t.

    Thanks,

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