Sunday, August 23, 2009

Orb of Fools

According to an excerpt from Bob Woodward's book, STATE OF DENIAL, President Bush and Karl Rove "shared an array of flatulence jokes." Apparently, the previous leader of the free world likes to cut one loose on occasion.

This may be funny in junior high or at a Yale frat house, but it's a sad commentary on the state of our nation.

In our infinite national wisdom, we sure do a lot of dumb things. For example, it costs 1.7 cents to produce a penny. While not exactly a big deal, it's typical of the stupidity forced upon us by those who make the rules.

We change our time clocks twice a year for daylight savings time, except in Arizona, Hawaii and portions of Indiana, for no logical reason other than Benjamin Franklin thought it might be a good idea in 1773.

California has a population of 37 million and Wyoming has a population of a half a million. Alaska has 663,267 sq. miles and Rhode Island has 1,045 sq. miles. They each have two U.S. Senators representing them. Our political system, including the Electoral College, may have made sense in 1776, but not in 2009.

Some $50 billion is spent annually on a "War on Drugs" to prevent people from enjoying a substance that makes them feel good. Booze and tobacco, which kill millions of people, are legal while less harmful substances (lacking lobbyists) are outlawed. In the process, we lose our most precious freedom, our individual state of mind.

In spite of encouraging free markets, the federal government doles out $17 billion in farm subsidies annually, primarily to wealthy agribusinesses, including millions to farmers for not growing crops. About 8 percent of farmable land, the size of the state of New York, is not utilized for crops because the government pays for it to be idle. Guaranteeing payments for commodities encourages overproduction, driving down market prices, forcing even higher federal subsidies.

The Social Security system is a pending disaster. More people are entering the system, and people are living longer. By 2014, the system will be paying out more than it takes in. Plus, it's all smoke and mirrors. Social Security withholdings aren't set aside for future benefits, but rather go directly into the general tax fund.

Members of the U.S. Congress, who vote for increases in their own salary, earn $165,200 per year and have enough perks to choke a horse. They have no concept of how the average American struggles or the importance of controlling costs because their objective is getting reelected by mandating pork projects to their constituents.

The USA spends more money on military expenditures than all other countries on earth combined. We have a permanent military presence in over 150 countries and consider ourselves to be self-appointed global police force. Much of the rest of the world despises us. Go figure.

We contribute about half of our earnings toward taxes, yet our national debt exceeds $11 trillion and continues to grow daily. Presently, there's $640 billion of U.S. currency in circulation. If we collected and applied every dollar in existence toward the national debt, we'd have to repeat the process 18 times just to get to zero.

Bigger isn't always better and spending oodles of money we don't have is financial suicide for this country.

In our closed two-party political system the only two options each require excessive government, thereby suppressing freedom and undermining personal responsibility. Two costly alternatives isn't much of a choice.

We endured eight years of Clinton, with his tawdry behavior and slick excuses, followed by eight years of Bush, with his in-your-face diplomacy and questionable decisions. Enough is enough already.

Now we are saddled with King Obama, who is under the childish illusion that government's function is to manipulate and control every aspect of finance, commerce and human existence. He lives in a fantasy world, completely oblivious of the unintended consequences of his actions.

When Medicare was first created in 1965, the politicians projected the cost in 1992 would be $3 billion. The actual cost in 1992 was $110 billion. Politicians are big on promises, but grossly lacking in common sense, accounting skills and foresight. In 2009, the Obama public health care plan is projected to cost somewhere in the multiple trillions. The real cost will turn out to be in the gazillions, or whatever the numbers are beyond trillions.

Obama's health care plan will be written by a committee whose head says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn't read it and whose members will be exempt from it, signed by a president who smokes cigarettes, funded by a treasury chief who did not pay his taxes, overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that is broke. What could possibly go wrong?

Being President of the USA is a difficult task, not always appreciated, but the world is a very dangerous, flawed place requiring mature leadership. One of these days, we should consider electing an actual grown-up for the job.

We also need take a deep look at the global elites who really pulls the strings in this world. There are those behind the scenes, a powerful elitist bloodline, who are manipulating global affairs in an attempt to create a New World Order, controlled by the global elites who create it. These forces deliberately create conflict and profit from human misery. Wars and financial meltdowns are manufactured. They create a global crisis that requires a global solution. We fail to recognize the magnitude of our enslavement by those in power because we are being distracted by greed and fear and entertainment and consumption of useless things and manufactured conflict.

Yet in spite of the lack of coherent leadership at the top, we're one of the more advanced societies on the planet. Elsewhere, people are dominated by dictatorial tyrants or prisoners of collectivism. Disease, starvation and genocide are rampant in the third world. In many places, women are subjugated and innocent people are murdered in the name of religion. Many organized religions are simply organized bigotry, promoting superiority of self and hatred of others, worshiping the messenger while ignoring or distorting the message.

We're all stuck on a spinning orb, hurtling through a vast void, destination unknown. The human race has great potential but we are fools. We lust for power and possessions, and demand conformity to our individuality.

On this orb of fools we elect leaders who recklessly squander our wealth, slowly deny us our freedom and encourage us to work, work, work, work so we can keep the great economic engine going at full throttle.

Sooner or later, enough fools are going to figure it out and put an end to it.

Quote for the Day -- "My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you'll join with me as we try to change it." Barack Obama

Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and yearns for sanity to prevail. His blogs appear on several websites, including

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