Robert A. Teegarden's Blog

June 29, 2012

A Silver Lining?

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Robert @ 8:31 pm
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­­Trying to rise above the disappointing display of our leadership in America, and pondering our future, I started to think about this Mandate v. Tax situation.  Obama is on record over a long period of time proclaiming to the heavens that this new healthcare law is NOT a tax. Image What was really revealing was Obama’s treatment of an interviewer who had the temerity and gall to produce a dictionary and read the definition of “tax.” The interviewer was insulted, demeaned and otherwise attacked for schooling the fellow sitting in the Whitehouse.

Then I pondered the inventive language of the Supreme Court’s decision.  It seems that we have a pattern here. Whenever there is a controversial subject, the court ignores both the Constitution and most dictionaries in favor of a new language that only they can parse.  It happened in Dred Scott (1859) where citizenship in America was defined to exclude any slaves or former slaves.  It happened in Roe v. Wade (1973) when the court rewrote the Bill of Rights to include yet another right, the right to privacy.  And hidden behind the curtains of this privacy was the mandated practice of infanticide for which all Americans are taxed.  It happened in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) when the highest court of the land, acknowledging the abolition of slavery with the 13th Amendment and that one’s status as a “citizen” was not a function of culture or color in the 14th Amendment, they still found the language to accept those same distinctions as lawful at the (southern) state level.  Now we have The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2012 and more commonly called “Obamcare”).  The high court not only invented language that wasn’t there, they took the liberty to insert it into the law.  Even though Congress never said it was a tax, the Supreme Court said, “That’s ok. Maybe they didn’t know what they were doing.  It is. So it’s okay.”

There are a whole bunch of questions that immediately come to mind.  Like… what does a 3.8% investment TAX have to do with health care and patient protection? That’s another new tax coming your way.   If I went into a store that advertised a certain product for sale at $4.99 and upon arrival found that same item listed at $9.99, I believe they would call that “bait and switch.” Oh, I must have missed the small print that said, “Subject to a prior sale.”  Well, the store (Whitehouse) advertized a mandate, lied about it and sold a tax. How can you have a representative government when the representatives lie about it so much?  Shouldn’t it be thrown out because it is bait and switch?

If the IRS is the collection agent on this one, how are they going to assess premiums from the 50% of Americans who don’t pay taxes?  The new law says, buy insurance or pay a penalty tax. If folks don’t pay taxes in the first place, how will this collection agency make sure that everyone is being treated fairly?  Is everyone buying insurance or paying their “tax?” I couldn’t find it in the bill, but I’m wondering if this applies to members of Congress. Oh, I forgot; they have their own separate but equal health program. Where’s Plessy when you need him?

But then I started to wonder.  Hmmm… taxes are deductible in America.  The real mandate in this law is either have insurance or pay a tax.  So, aren’t they being treated equally?  Insurance or tax, your choice.  There’s nothing in the bill about the relative value of insurance premiums and the penalty tax.  So, it seems they are equal with regard to the mandate.

This means that individuals and businesses can deduct all the costs for insurance premiums from their tax liability.  Now this might just spark up further interest.

A post scriptum about what is Constitutional.  While our jurists are bound by the letter of the law and case histories, they are also bound by the spirit with which it was written.  Now we’ve witnessed the court dodge the letter of the law on several occasions and rest their gerrymandering  and contortions on the so-called “spirit.”   Whenever they do this either-or, scorched-earth policy of one or the other, they fail miserably to exercise justice in America.   American citizens (the “unum” in e pluribus unum) look for justice in our courts, honesty from our leaders and right-thinking by our lawmakers.


June 28, 2012

In Lieu of Flowers, please send your gift to my political campaign

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Robert @ 9:53 pm
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Can you imagine your local politician requesting that any gifts you might give to another should be redirected to a political campaign?  Absurd?  Bizarre?  Well, it happened this past week.  This unprecedented and rather crass request borders on the absurd when you think about it.  In fact, I cannot imagine how this effort could raise any money at all.  Think about it.

When do you give gifts? At the birth of a newborn or a birthday, at a wedding, for Christmas, Hanukkah, at a Baptism, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, for a graduation,  as a house warming, for Baby Showers, for an Anniversary, and for the funeral of a family member, friend, or acquaintance.  These are times when gifts are given to another to mark an event that is special in their life and no one else’s.  Yet, our politician wants to include all these events into his political statement!  It’s almost as if our politician is saying, “These people are mine.  What’s theirs is mine. They ought to be thinking of me.”  Those arguments echo from a pretty shallow stage.  How low can you go?

It’s difficult to imagine the temerity of the soul that would suggest such a thing in the first place, let alone that anyone would take this offer seriously.  It’s almost a strange and nefarious joke.  Gifts are given because of a relationship, a relationship with the intended, the recipient/s.  Our politician inserts himself into those relationships and scolds, “Don’t forget me.” My God, how lonely and empty this person must be.  It’s as if he has no identity, no reality, without a political position.  Without this role he’s nothing.  Well, it’s all dust and unto dust you shall return.

I don’t believe there will be many in lieu birthday gifts. Imagine ten or twelve classmates around you at your sixth birthday.  You’re hoping mom and dad remembered your love of Tonka trucks or Barbi dolls. There you are in the middle of your friends ripping through the giftwrap that surrounds your present.   You tear off the ribbon, shread the balloon-decorated wrapping, open the box and discover a small card inside.  “Dearest Son/Daughter,” the note begins, “instead of that Tonka truck (or Barbie doll) we decided to donate those monies to the political campaign of Mr. B.S.” Gee, thanks mom/dad.  If it were a gift from your friends, you’d know that they did do the picking, it was their parents.  Now you’re going to have to find a whole new cadre of friends before next year’s party.  And since our candidate doesn’t believe in the sanctity of life anyway, these life-affirming events like birthdays will probably go by the wayside.  Our politician’s own daughters can’t wait for their in lieu donations coming up this year. I see a new custom is in the offing.  Instead of a birthday cake and blowing out the candles, they get to lick the stamp that forwards their contribution.  I can remember wanting to lick the spoon after mom made the icing for my cake.  Now the kids get to lick the stamp.

We noted that the advertisement didn’t include religious events like Christmas, Hanukkah, a Baptism, Bar/Bat Mitzvah or even Kwanza.  These were implied but not stated because our politician’s so-called “religious” associations are only of convenience and those he does frequent border on a cult whose purpose is destroy the former anyway.  So much for religious gifts.

Now imagine you’re the bride or groom, just starting out in life and you receive an in lieu wedding present.  What if you didn’t want to direct those funds to begin with?  What if you don’t agree?  What if you got too many?  At which of the government offices do you go to make an exchange?  Now that would be an interesting line to observe.  But because our candidate also doesn’t believe in the sanctity of marriage, the notion of a bridal registry doesn’t even make sense.  Maybe they could exchange their honeymoon plans and costs for a contribution instead.  That would be a fascinating.  Instead of a week on Pago Pago, we’re going to donate to…

Graduation gifts range from the simple and sublime to the ridiculous.  In lieu graduation gifts definitely fall in the latter category.  Instead of a new pen set, a summer trip to Europe, maybe even a new car, an in lieu gift arrives.  The new wave pre-school and Kindergarten graduations just don’t make any sense to begin with, let alone giving an in lieu gift to these kids. But to suggest such a gift to a high school or college graduate would seem to negate the work that was just celebrated in the graduation ceremony.  After all that studying and discovering that politics is one of the lowest forms of occupation and one fraught with duplicity, deceit and raw power,  someone gives you the political gift that supposedly “keeps on giving.”  What it gives they didn’t say.  Check your boots, buddy boy!

There could be a problem with gifts received by someone who didn’t register accordingly.  Maybe this won’t be a problem in the future because the Card Check program will obviate everyone’s political position and gifts will flow (or not) appropriate to those union tactics.

It would seem that anniversaries wouldn’t matter because of the tendency for married couples to cancel out each other’s political persuasion.  And it couldn’t happen in families where mom and pop see things similarly. Giving that gift would exercise unnecessary power over one’s other in a relationship that is supposed to be give and take.

Finally we come to funerals. “In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to…” The shear number of people turning over in their graves would be tantamount to the Second Coming.  Oops, I forgot. That’s a religious reference and… wait a moment, here.  There’s a counter clause from the scriptures, isn’t there?  “Leave the dead to bury the dead,” but send your in lieu contribution to…

Haim G. Ginott’s quote from “Teacher and Child: A Book for Parents and Teachers” (Haim G. Ginott):

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Robert @ 12:47 pm
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Haim G. Ginott’s quote from “Teacher and Child: A Book for Parents and Teachers” (Haim G. Ginott):

Dear Teachers:

I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no person should witness. Gas chambers built by learned engineers. Children poisoned by educated physicians. Infants killed by trained nurses. Women and babies shot and burned by high school and college graduates.

So I am suspicious of education. My request is: help your students become more human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths, or educated Eichmanns. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more human.

Haim G. Ginott

Grounds for a Revolution

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Robert @ 12:28 pm
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“No taxation without representation” is a slogan originating during the 1750s and 1760s that summarized a primary grievance of the British colonists in the Thirteen Colonies, which was one of the major causes of the American Revolution.” (Wickipedia)

In other words, the citizens risked their lives, their fortunes and their honor because taxes were foisted on them without their having a say in the matter.  They didn’t like it.  Thomas Jefferson referred to this as a form of tyranny.  Their rights of representation were being trampled on by a monarch 3,000 miles away.  An entire war was fought and people lost their lives because they believed that the chicanery, duplicity and deceit of this monarch and his minions violated fundamental human freedoms.  It was taxation without representation. The folks had no voice in the matter.

A similar event occurred in 1935 with the passage of the Social Security Act.  The Whitehouse proclaimed from the rooftops that this is “not a tax.” This is an investment in a social insurance trust fund.  It was described as a great umbrella that would assist citizens in their old age.  But it wasn’t a tax.  Now we had representatives at this point in history. Congress and the courts were told over and over again that this wasn’t a tax; it’s an investment in your future.  As the saying goes, you know the rest of the story.  Because a trust fund was never established for each of those “investing” in social security, it was clearly defined as simply a tax.  And as a tax, then the officials in Washington can treat it as any other tax and we all knows what that means: spend it. And boy did they spend it… so much so that what was promoted as an “investment” became a giant Ponzi scheme.  And because the authors didn’t live up to their promises and intents, those investments-nee-taxes are now seen as an entitlement. But is it really? Just ask the folks whose money was invested how they view that.

But we had representatives.  And it seems at least some of them were duped right along with their constituents.  But at least they had representation. No revolution here.

Now we have yet another monarch only a few miles away who glaringly proclaimed his new health care bill “is not a tax.” In a rare challenging interview he defensively repeated that this new health bill “is not a tax.”  This is what he told our representatives.  Being dutiful, they wanted to examine the details and verify that this was the case.  But our representatives were told that they’ll have to examine the details only after the bill had passed. It seems there is no difference between one tyrant 3,000 miles away and 1,000 tyrants just three miles down the road.

And today, this sad day in America, we are told by the high court that even though the people were lied to about it being a tax, they are nevertheless obliged to pay this new tax exactly because it is a tax and levying taxes is within the job description of members of Congress.  The supreme court argument defies logic and common sense; it concludes that just because they didn’t call it a tax doesn’t mean it isn’t.  Forget how it’s described, forget how it’s written, forget how it was sold.  Just because you did call a justice an idiot doesn’t mean they aren’t.

So what do we have?  We have a tax bill that we were told wasn’t.  We have our duly-elected representatives being told to first pass the bill and then discover its content and meaning.

How about a bill doing away with Congressional representatives who don’t measure up to a particular set of standards.  But they have to pass it first and then find out its content and application.

Now if this is a tax, then all monies in this program will be treated as a tax.  That means they’re part of the general fund and can be used for ANYTHING.  If you’re sick about what’s happened with Social Security, you’re going to die over this so-called healthcare mandate/penalty/tax.

As I read it we have taxation without representation, pure and simple.  The history of this legislation is one lie built upon another.  Joseph Goebbels (creator of Hitler’s spin-zone) was right twice in his life: if you lie loud and long enough people will believe it.

It’s time for another revolution. Since voting alone doesn’t seem to do the trick, maybe we need to develop other tactics.

One if by land, two if by sea.

June 22, 2012

The Fabricated Man

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Robert @ 1:50 pm
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In 1951 Ray Bradbury, God rest his soul, published a book entitled “The Illustrated Man.”  Here’s how Wickipedia describes the work:

“The Illustrated Man is a 1951 book of eighteen science fiction short stories by Ray Bradbury that explores the nature of mankind. While none of the stories has a plot or character connection with the next, a recurring theme is the conflict of the cold mechanics of technology and the psychology of people.

The unrelated stories are tied together by the frame device of “the Illustrated Man”, a vagrant with a tattooed body whom the unnamed narrator meets. The man’s tattoos, allegedly created by a woman from the future, are animated and each tell a different tale. All but one of the stories had been previously published elsewhere, although Bradbury revised some of the texts for the book’s publication.”

“The Illustrated Man” was an eerie set of tales, all stemming from one man’s individual tattoos, each of which had a life unto their own.  Each tattoo told a story.  The skin-carvings came alive and “lived” on the body and in the soul of this seemingly hapless individual. The nightmares he suffered were real. But these sojourns into terror cannot compare with the sleepless nights and defensive-ridden days of the character in a suggested follow-up story.

 If Bradbury were still wielding his pen, he could create a sequel in 2012 entitled “The Fabricated Man.” But unlike his sci-fi exploration, “The Fabricated Man” would be in the non-fiction or biographical section of the library or your book store. You see, “The Fabricated Man” would be based on the real-life chronology of someone alive today.

 “The Fabricated Man” is based on the life experiences of a rather existential individual because he has no past and no future. He lives only in the moment and for the moment.  The continuity of his life can only be measured after-the-fact by his momentary appearances at various events that occurred in time.  Our fabricated man has an awful lot of secrets and, therefore, no history.

 Our protagonist has no real record of birth. What is offered as that record has been shown to be manufactured; it’s a lie.  Rumors (and his own stories) abound that he was born on an island in the Pacific, a British protectorate on the African continent and somewhere in the South Pacific country of Indonesia.  No one really knows, maybe not even our protagonist himself. 

 His origins and lineage are called into question because he applied for a job.  But this wasn’t just any job.  This job required clearances of the highest order and a very specific political heritage.  You see, he must demonstrate the citizenship of both his parents at the time of his birth.  A major dilemma occurs because our protagonist gets the job before those in charge verify his credentials.  Why they don’t do due diligence is the subject of yet another tale.  But this generates another dilemma because he’s now up for a review and a possible renewal in that position and many have come to question not only his glaring lack of abilities, performance and attitude in the job,  but the very legal requirements necessary for the job in the first place.

 I call the character a protagonist in the classical sense of that term only because he does have an antagonist in this story. There is someone out to destroy him.  Our story begins to border on a sci-fi thriller because the protagonist and antagonist are one and the same person. “I have met the enemy and he is I.”  The problem is that our protagonist doesn’t know it.

 Our “Fabricated Man” is a construct. He’s the product of a thousand sources yet he has no roots or wings. From his several parents to the mentors along his way, our character has been formed into a talented echo, but one who knows not whereof he speaks. He’s been fed with the gruel of sonorous sound-bites and nurtured on the narcissistic musings of Strombolis from around the world.  And like the Pinocchio of old, he doesn’t recognize how long his nose has grown.

 Instead of glimpses at a tattoo in order to read reality, our new character must use a teleprompter to receive input and directions.  His use of this artificial window is judged stellar. He appears larger-than-life and so much in control when he has his cue cards. But he consistently flounders in those moments when the electronic crutch is not available. When he attempts to stand alone without the e-crutch he demonstrates his insecurity and shallowness by not only refusing to answer questions about what he just tried to say, but he defensively attacks the questioner for having the temerity to even ask a question.

 His defense mechanisms are so acute that he spends millions of dollars to protect the shadows of his past.  He refuses to allow anyone into the nether world of his own background.  Of friends he seems to have none.  Of classmates he has identified only one. Of professional accomplishments he has none.  There is no record of origins, lineage, writing, schooling or accomplishment.  It’s as if he just arrived off a slow boat from China.  His only recorded achievement to date was to be “present” when others took votes on important issues. But he did win a popularity contest in 2008.  But that “win” was based on false premises, lies, appearances and the guilt of those voting.

 With each day our character does reveal the vacuity of his person.  He holds so many positions on the same issue that “truth” is only for him, here, right now, and in these conditions.  Our character is consumed even in sleep by the fabrications necessary to defend, disguise, or completely hide what happened before because today is a brand new day and he cannot remember.  The web of deceit is slowly choking his life force.

 Other people in his life are simply tools to navigate the vagaries of life itself.  His own auto-biographical musings were constructed to benefit just him. According to him, his mother of record is almost nonexistent; but his father had some influence.  His friends were made up and, oh, how they loved him; the very love of his life was even invented, but oh how she loved him.  Because of the duplicitous nature of his existence and character, he cannot remember to whom he told what.  So he hires a cadre of minions to glaze over the inaccuracies and inconsistencies and protect him from the reality of his own past, real or made up.  He even pays jurists to protect him from the queries and challenges that come with his new job.

 He once had a choice between statesmanship and politics. He could have chosen a future because it was exactly that–a future, based on a history of learned and lived truths. Or he could opt for the road of machines, manipulation and machinations.  He saw in the former that it meant that he would have to give what power he had away to others in service; only in politics could the power rest solely in him.  He unfortunately chose the latter.  But consistent with his nature, in the world of politics all roads lead to him.  Our Fabricated Man recently began marketing a new, on-line registry program.  Instead of buying your kids a gift on their birthday, instead of giving friends a wedding gift, instead of treating your beloved to a symbol of your love on your anniversary, there’s the new Fabricated Man Registry: you send your gifts to him instead.

 Our wanna-be-king/god also suffers from a bipolar disorder. But his is not just the stuff of everyday, ordinary Schizophrenia (which by definition describes all the decisions he’s ever made), but his disorder stems from his very roots.  You see, our character is the piebald man.  He comes from two very distinct racial groups: one of a color and the other of another.  Reasonable people find nothing wrong in this. But because of his upbringing and narcissistic desires, he’s never come to grips with if he’s really one color and not the other, vice versa, both or neither.  He never rose above it. So it suits his purpose to use even this reality not as a wondrous bridge to bring people together (to stress the “e” in “e pluribus unum”), but as an opportunity to divide and control and enslave once again. 

 Our central character never achieves the status of hero except in his own mind.  His beliefs are a function of time and, as such, they change with the sweep of the second hand.  Tick-tock, what do I believe today?  Tick-tock, what do I believe today? Tick-tock, what do I believe?  His life was captured by a rock group that sang years before he arrived.  But prescient with the insight of many artists, they sang:

 He’s a real nowhere Man,
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his nowhere plans
For nobody.
Doesn’t have a point of view,
Knows not where he’s going to,
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
Nowhere Man, please listen,
You don’t know what you’re missing,
Nowhere Man, the world is at your command.
He’s as blind as he can be,
Just sees what he wants to see,
Nowhere Man can you see me at all?
Doesn’t have a point of view,
Knows not where he’s going to,
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
Nowhere Man, don’t worry,
Take your time, don’t hurry,
Leave it all ’till somebody else
Lends you a hand.
He’s a real Nowhere Man,
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his nowhere plans
For nobody.

 Even with the mystery over his past, the confusion about the present and the hopelessness of his future, our protagonist has lived up to his name. Or has he?  You see, the fabricated man really doesn’t know who he really is.  The ancient ones, the Hebrews, told us of this so many years ago.  They said that if you know the name of a thing (or a person in this example), you then can have an understanding of it; you can have a relationship with it/him.  But our character, true to the existential nature of his being, has had so many names that it’s hard to know who he really is.  On college application he used one name, on job applications he used another.  With a protected and sequestered past and a Schizophrenic present, the future looks bleak for our fabricated man: he’s going nowhere, man.

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