Some Friends of Mine say Happy Thanksgiving! Alice’s Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie

Some Friends of Mine hope you and your family and friends have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Remember all that you have and keep those less fortunate in your thoughts. We are one consciousness, and anything is possible if we believe that and work together.

Happy Thanksgiving! Just press play and listen to Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant.” It should be a Thanksgiving tradition for you,  and if it’s not, start it now.

-SFoM

“Alice’s Restaurant Massacre” by Arlo Guthrie (1967)
Alice’s Restaurant Massacre (LP Version

(Will open in MySpace)

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If you still want to rock, check out SFoM Music.

Peter G. Peterson…The Man Behind “Hugh Jidette”

Hugh Jidette (say it out loud and you’ll get it) is a fake presidential candidate. Not in the same sense that Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal are fake, but inasmuch that he doesn’t really exist. However, the ironic main plank to his platform isn’t fake. Perhaps it’s no less ironic than what really happens in Washington.

In one of the “campaign” commercials, Hugh Jidette says America should double or even triple its national debt, which as of this writing is approximately $13.7 trillion. He says to forget about it because our children will pay for it. Whereas real-life politicians dont talk about it, he talks about his disregard for the debt.

The Hugh Jidette fake campaign is a knock on Washington politicians and their fiscal shortsightedness and lack of leadership in light of their constant bids for re-election. Indeed, tackling such an issue as our deficit and national debt would be political suicide in the reality-TV political circus we have.

The campaign is an attempt at going viral with a message about the U.S. national debt. Like the Pickens Plan, it’s essentially a philanthropic billionaire making a run at saving the world with his fortune in the twilight of his life. Unlike T. Boone Pickens‘ plan, this one aims to go viral without showing the man (with the money) behind the curtain.

So who’s behind this campaign? If you go to the web site in the commercials (www.oweno.com), you’ll find that it’s funded by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.

Peter G. Peterson, an investment banker, served as Richard Nixon‘s Secretary of Commerce in the late ’60s and early ’70s.He also served on the Bi-Partisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform in the ’90s, and was named to the commission by Bill Clinton.

Peterson is a fiscal conservative, which is why he has long identified himself with the Republican party. However, during the George W. Bush presidency, in which fiscal responsibility went out the window, Peterson started to push back against his own party. In a 2004 BusinessWeek article, he said “I remain a Republican, but the Republicans have become a far more theological, faith-directed party, not troubling with evidence.”

Peterson became a billionaire in 2007 when the investment management firm he co-founded called the Blackstone Group when public. Through the fortune he amassed there, he started working on philanthropic causes, and in August of this year, he made “The Giving Pledge,” like his billionaire peers Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.

Now, through his foundation, he champions the cause of fiscal sustainability, and in a 2009 Newsweek article he wrote entitled Why I’m Giving Away $1 Billion, he said,

“For the first time in my memory, the majority of the American people join me in believing that, on our current course, our children will not do as well as we have. For years, I have been saying that the American government, and America itself, has to change its spending and borrowing policies: the tens of trillions of dollars in unfunded entitlements and promises, the dangerous dependence on foreign capital, our pitiful level of savings, the metastasizing health-care costs, our energy gluttony. These structural deficits are unsustainable. Herb Stein, who served alongside me in the Nixon White House as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, once drily observed, ‘If your horse dies, I suggest you dismount.’And yet, we keep trying to ride this horse.”

It’s hard to disagree with this man. Granted, as a billionaire, he will never see the same financial problems many of us do. But in this country we have to look long and hard at what our government does – and what we do in regards to our national spending habits. We are all culpable, and we can’t ignore $13 trillion in borrowed money like it doesn’t matter. We’re culpable because we want more and more, and we elect politicians who tell us what we want to hear. But in reality, they’re just singing us lullabies so we can sleep while they secure one of the 537 jobs in Washington that aren’t going anywhere…Rock-a-bye, baby…

But when the bough breaks, the cradle will fall… we all know how it ends.

Happy Veteran’s and Armistice Day From SFoM

November 11 is Veteran’s day. It is also known as Armistice Day. Armistice Day commemorate the cessation of hostilities in World War I, and it is observed around the world. WWI ended on this date in France with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

Today we honor those who serve and those who have served as veteran’s, putting themselves in harm’s way, and doing difficult jobs that no one wants to do. To those who serve and have served, and to those we’ve lost in service to our nation: Thank you.

Where Does America Go Now?

So are we just going to change our government in this country every two to four years? I get it, people are upset with the direction the country is headed. However, the people need to stop blaming the government, and take some initiative for change on themselves.

Currently, we’re fighting two wars costing us millions of dollars a day. Our national debt is over $13 trillion, and ten years after having a budget surplus we have a trillion dollar budget deficit.

We are addicted to foreign oil, spending God-knows how much annually to gas up our cars, bottle our water and Mountain Dew, and make plastic grocery bags. This is billions we send to other countries annually. Many of the people in those countries hate us too; several OPEC member states are even openly hostile to the United States.

This foreign oil addiction is akin to throwing money in the street. You gas up, and aside from whatever little amount per gallon the convenience store takes off the top, you’re taking that money you earned out of the American economy and sending it overseas.

On top of our deficit, the national debt, and the financing of our way of life by sending dollars overseas, the country wants free healthcare. The country wants more without examining what it has. The United States wants to have its cake and eat it too.

But what does it do to achieve these ends? It puts its faith in a group of career-minded politicians concentrated in a small district between Virginia and Maryland. The people of the US vote new people into the house and senate every two years, and then sit back and wait for the change to come. Then two years later, the other side says the change didn’t come, so the people of the US repeat the process.

Einstein defines insanity as doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. What this country needs to do is pick a path, stay on it, and get involved with steering itself down it.

The most important thing right now is finding a path of progress and sustainability. Progress beyond the problems du jour, and sustainability so that we can continue having a high standard of living for future generations. This isn’t going to be something any group of politicians can deliver, it’s gonna come from a reappraisal of our values, and from personal and societal sacrifice.

Prior to and into WWII, this country was in a great depression. What carried us out of it weren’t the dramatic social programs enacted by president Franklin Roosevelt, but the country’s production and sacrifice. This got us through the war, and lifted us out of the depression. When our armies returned home they had the means and an economy to build a new infrastructure, and to start a new society.

We also want jobs and a strong economy in this country. What better way to secure our future by creating something that is ours, and that produces money, and keeps it right here in the United States. I’m talking about ending our addiction to foreign oil, and building a new industry of clean homegrown energy and sustainability. This is the war we can fight to bring production back into this country. This is how we can get a leg up on all the foreign investors we’re selling our future to.

This is the kind of vision and path our country will have to take. These are the values our leaders need to instill in us, and need to adopt themselves. Enough with the finger pointing! The politicians who were replaced were the politicians who were doing what they were elected to do in 2006 and 2008.

Keith Olbermann said, both parties now own the economy. So let’s stick with the government we chose now and take a look a ourselves and what we can do rather than start over with a new government every two years.

As John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

On The 2010 Midterm Election

This Dia De Los Muertos election told me one thing: America is still a long way from thinking about progress and sustainability. That they were able to get swindled into voting against what they voted for two years ago.

Not all of America lost sight of its goal. Indeed, the senate stayed in democrat hands, despite taking it in the gut by losing five seats. The tide is still rolling, but it’s in danger of washing back out to sea.

The tea party didn’t meet with any nationwide success, but it showed it has its strongholds. There are large swaths of backwards-progress thinking folks who really just want to be a roadblock in the way of what must be done.

Rand Paul is a senator now. A liberal protestor got stomped by a volunteer at a Kentucky senate candidate debate. Paul came out against the civil rights act, saying companies should have the right to determine who their clientele can be based on any number of prejudiced factors. This is a rather unwelcome stance for this cultural melting pot in which we live.

In recent years, there has been a worldwide shift towards cultural intolerance. Little over a decade ago there was major ethnic cleansing in eastern Europe, and currently there is major legislation being enacted at curtailing Muslim culture in parts of Europe, like France and Germany. With the problems along the Mexican border, as well as our on-going war on terror, that’s a shift we as a country can’t afford to make, if we want to ensure we are living in an open society in our not-too-distant future.

I don’t necessarily see the country going down that road, or at least, not without a knock-down, drag-out fight. But I do see this as a possible nuisance to progress, after it overtakes the national dialog…even more so than it presently has on talk radio.

What good can come from this partisan shift in the house, and this absent-minded referendum on Barack Obama‘s first two years in office? Well, Obama now has the chance to be the great uniter he pledged to be in his campaign; an easy promise to break when your party has absolute control of the federal government. What choice does he have to be effective, but to either be deadlocked in Congress, or to find a compromise to push a embattled agenda through.

Based on the campaign commercials I saw, there’s going to have to be a lot of backtracking, as well as a spawning of good faith in the intentions of the parties across the aisle.

Back to progress and sustainability; these should be the ultimate goals in Washington. Not party control. Not derailing the president’s agenda. To paraphrase my good friend Isaac Rodriguez, Obama is acknowledging and facing up to issues no president before him has ever faced; due in parts to ignorance, politics and ideologies. Things that shouldn’t be ignored, and can’t be ignored, but were ignored. To be obstructionist to that will not reflect well in history, and would give our country less momentum to get up the hill.