Sunday, July 17, 2011


Many people have been overwhelmed by the "business mind set" - if it works for business, it works for government. I believe this mindset is un-democratic and short sighted.

I'm a retired businessperson. I've worked for small companies, Fortune 100 corporations, and finished my career as a business owner. As I watch politicians try to cut their way to "strong" states and a "strong" nation, I find that there is much confusion between the purpose of business and the purpose of government.

The purpose of a democratic government is to provide the programs and structure that allow the people to be the best that they can be. The purpose of business is to provide products/services that generate a profit. Both share the need for efficiency. Both must generate revenue. Both must control their expenditures. However, their purpose, their reason for being, is very different.

A business can achieve its purpose by charging a price for its products/services, expanding its market and controlling its costs. A business can start up or close down at will. It can have products/services that are aimed at selective segments of its selective market.

A democratic government can achieve its purpose by listening to the people. It must decide what the people want/need. It must then raise the revenue to accomplish these wants/needs. It can't close down or start up at will. It must serve the majority of the people. It must look at the long term and assess its actions on future generations.

People in a democratic society - WE THE PEOPLE - expect to pay taxes and fees. We expect services. We expect efficiency. We expect fairness. We don't expect special treatment for the richest. We don't expect bribery in the form of "campaign contributions". We don't expect to be treated less fairly than the people who hold political office. We expect a government of, by and for the people - not just the richest people, not just the business people - all of the people. We are a state and a nation, not a business.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Memorial Day - 2011

Memorial Day - for some it's the start of the summer season and a holiday. For others it's a day to wave a flag and go to a parade. I’d like to see Memorial Day be a day for dialogue on issues that really matter for the future of our children and for this country as a whole.

There are many things that can be discussed. Here are some suggestions. Why do we have war? Why do we so proudly send our children to kill other children? Why are weapons our number one export product? Why do we have over 700 military bases in over 140 countries? Why do almost half of our tax dollars go to the war industry? Why do we cheer when the government chooses to assassinate someone instead of using the rule of law? Why do we ignore the Geneva Convention and the voices of experienced interrogators and use torture? Why do we allow those in power to demonize entire nations or cultures, or religions? Why do we think we are better than the rest of the people of the world? Why do we let the corporate owned media tell us what to think and do? Why are we so afraid of everything? Why do we read so little and watch TV so much? Why don’t we know our history?

So, while you’re grilling your hot dogs or standing at the parade, bring up an issue, get other viewpoints, engage in dialogue. The children and this country are depending on it.