Life is a Revelation…be encouraged


I am not one who enjoys proclaiming his political views. I know there are those who find it fascinating and God bless them, but I am not of their ilk. I have my opinions and for the most part I prefer to keep them to myself. Airing my thoughts in public I find to be counter-productive to what I hope to accomplish in bringing people together in peace. Politicians no longer (if they ever did) speak for me I don’t find comfort in either the right or the left. There are elements of both I like and a good deal more that I don’t.

But while I was playing catch up  after a weekend of interviewing acrobats, fire eaters, sword swallowers, glass eaters, contortionists, unicyclists, trapeze artists,  and a couple of other unique performers (trust me this is a whole series of posts in and of itself) I came across Terri’s blog at The snapshot above was one of many about those who serve in the military for our country. My official disclaimer is I am somewhat biased in my opinion regarding the military. In my youth I was a hippie and not inclined to be supportive of those who served, but life often has ways of turning a person’s thinking around. Our youngest son is career Army and there is not a prouder parent in the United States than this old hippie.

Take a moment to think about this information. Perhaps there are some things that should drive us into the streets, waving our placards again.

Be encouraged!

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21 thoughts on “Politics

  1. I agree. What a surprise! : )

  2. Dave on said:

    I’m with you on almost all points, but I have a few minor clarifications about points on this chart that aren’t entirely accurate.

    An ex-President actually gets a pension equal to whatever a level 1 cabinet member’s salary is (currently that’s in the $190K range), and some reimbursements for travel, mail, and office expenses.

    Ex-congressmembers’ benefits are a bit confusing to me, but they’re not equal to their in-office salary, and they become greater the longer the person served in congress.

    Also, if we’re looking at benefits for the military, there are several of them, like the GI bill, etc, that should be taken into account.

    I’ve thought long and hard about politics, and have found myself leaning slightly to the left since about 2000 (since I think the right went too far to the right at that point). More than anything, I’d like to see people forget about party and getting re-elected and start focusing on reasonable solutions, representing their constituents, and doing the right thing. For me – as someone who used to be actively involved in politics and once was elected to a very minor position on the national level within the past decade – I think that the best thing to do is to do as you said: focus on our common ground and unity, and try not to let party or divisive issues come between us. A lot of it just starts with respect and openness, in my mind.

    As far as my thoughts on government employees’ pay, I think it’s a tricky one. George Washington was initially thinking of not accepting a salary as president, but was urged not to do so because the founding fathers thought it would set a bad precedent that would only allow fairly wealthy people to become president. I think it’s always important to err on the side of not giving government employees exorbitant salaries, but at the same time, it’s kind of odd that the President makes less money than most CEO’s of mid-sized (50-200 people) businesses, and less than even the worst NBA basketball player.

    Although I think we’re overextended with our military, and could save some money there (not by reducing servicemembers’ pay, but by cutting unnecessary allocations of defense spending), I think the biggest problem is far greater – the tax benefits given to big corporations, especially those that ship jobs overseas.

    WalMart is a good example: people buy at Walmart, and a large portion of the money goes to China. We have a very poor trade ratio with China – for each dollar going to China, we get less than 35 cents back, so in essence, whenever people decide to “save money” by buying cheaply-made foreign goods, we’re actually taking money out of the United States. That means less income for people, fewer jobs, and more shopping at WalMart. You can see how that got out of control in a hurry.

    Sorry for the manifesto, haha! I used to talk a lot about politics and don’t anymore, so I guess I had some things I needed to get off my chest. I hope you don’t mind.

    Last thing: Regarding the economic things I mentioned two paragraphs ago, Arto (from the funny names blog) was a lead editor of this recent book, written by his father-in-law, about that exact issue. It’s a worthwhile read:

    The really interesting thing: the book has been endorsed by big players in both parties. On the left, it has gotten endorsements from Ralph Nader and the leader of one of the biggest unions in the country, on the right, it has been endorsed by far-right congressman Duncan Hunter, and Congressman Brian Bilbray. It’s a pretty amazing idea that I hope to be part of, because I think it could significantly help make our country (and the world) a much better place.

    Be encouraged! 🙂

    • Wow Dave…who are you? What a great well balanced, well thought out, reasonable response. I greatly thank you for taking the time to compose your comment.

      Thank you for your clarification of the Presidential after office benefits, Congresspersons benefits, and the insight into service men and women’s benefits.

      The fact that our President makes less money than most CEOs of mid-sized corporations and less than even the worst NBA player only supports my feelings that we should pay less to the members of those groups, not more to the President.

      Everything else you wrote we are pretty much in lock-step.

      Thanks for the book tip…always looking for a good read.

      Again thanks for composing a wonderful response…your balance is greatly appreciated.

      Be encouraged!

  3. Food for thought, although as one commenter points out effectively, it’s complicated. I also have a policy of staying away from blogging about politics, with just one slip-up so far. I couldn’t help myself! If I have to have a rant from time to time, I’ll try to stick to Canadian politics and leave the US ones to its citizens. Have fun. 🙂

  4. Oh, and don’t forget, insider trading is LEGAL for members of the congress. I’ve seen so many “civil servants” retire early and take a contract job for the same position they just left. So now they get their full salary from their governement position AND they get the contractor money on top of everything else.

    • Yes and let us not forget lobbyist either. Suddenly you are representing a company or industry that had given thousands of dollars to your campaign fund.

      Be encouraged!

      • i’m all for any politician (left or right) willing to take a pay cut or reduced benefits.

      • Ditto…(not as in dittohead ala Rush)…but I’m thinking it wouldn’t be too wise for either one of us to hold our breath. 🙂

        Be encouraged!

      • BTW…Christoph Strasser was 2nd in RAAM 14.85 avg mph/2993.24 miles/ 8 days, 9 hours, 34 minutes…FREAKIN’ AWESOME.

        Be encouraged!

      • that is FANSTASTIC!! congratz to Chris and his crew. Oh and also to the wonderful host family that takes care of all of them when they are in town! Thats some crazy numbers

      • Amazing numbers…but only good enough for second place…can you imagine?…

        As for the wonderful host family…I wouldn’t give them too much in the way of props…they are only doing it for the glory, bragging rights, and a shot at somehow working their way into Strasser’s will…hahaha.

        Be encouraged!

      • Levanah on said:

        …or worse, vice-versa! @.@

      • Exactly…thanks for commenting…enjoy the holidays.

        Be encouraged!

  5. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words on said:

    Being one of those olde hippie’s and a VietNam vet…I agree ….
    though the benefits are not so great with the GI Bill’s and so on….
    there are many strings attached to them, unlike the congress and such they have time limits on them, use or lose and sometimes life gets in the way where school would be great, paying bills better….
    How sad that Congress has forgotten the constitution and they are sevants of the people not us serving the lifestyles they become accustom too..
    I don’t usually share political views either, for I think we shoud start with those 500+ jobs and get people who serve their country including a president that Believes in America…..but then why would an honorable person want the job…the media …ahhh never mind LOLs..
    Good Post Stephen….

    Take Care…

    • I share your pain regarding the frustration of hoping that someday, somehow, someway a decent human being, who understands what servant leadership is, will rise to the highest office in our land, defeating a myriad group of lobbyists and special interest groups.

      I’ll stay in the trenches trying to change the world one person at a time. 🙂

      Be encouraged!

  6. Basically the entire system, political, financial and social is broken. I honestly believe that in our life times we are facing a collapse of civilisation. It is a system built on greed and is one which will consume itself. I’m not political, for me there are no politicians with the answer and if ever there was, the system wouldn’t allow that person to change anything. Society is actively promoting social darwinism, isn’t it ironic that those who promote it the most, often consider themselves to be God fearing people. How perverse is that?
    The family is the basic unit of society and when it is weak then society also becomes weak and begins to crumble, everything we see today is about creating division and the promotion of individualism. Some will take my comment to mean that I’m a socialist or a commie. I’m neither, I simply believe that we are more than animals and we have a duty of care to our own species. I’m a christian but my maternal grandmother was Jewish and my education included studying the ancient laws. One such, was the law about gleaning, the idea was that nobody was to be destitute, Every 70 years there was a Jubilee, debts were cancelled, land inheritances which might have been lost due to misfortune were returned, basically everything was rebalanced. This is what modern society has lost, its balance.

  7. Pretty incredible when we think of all of those folk who have no food to eat…

    • The world’s daily waste could eradicate all hunger, poverty, and malnutrition. Moving resources around to where they are most needed is one of the biggest issues we need to resolve. I wish I had the answers to resolve it, but I trust there are those who do. Hopefully it is only a matter of time until we strike a way to ease life’s harsh realities for our brother and sisters around the world. I realize I sound terribly naive and new age-ish, but I think as the global economy and markets continue to create synergy, we will see individuals first, then companies, and finally corporations begin to move to raise the world’s standards. It would be a win-win-win for everyone.

      Until then, we just keep our nose to the grindstone.

      Be encouraged!

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