Monthly Archives: November 2011

Reinstate the DRAFT! – We need a few good men & women… in Congress

I have been watching the US news lately and been inundated by sound bites  of the Republican presidential candidates ranting about what “that guy in the White House” has or has not; should or shouldn’t; could have or could not have done and what “THEY” would do differently.

While we, the American public are being entertained by this floor show, our ship of state is sailing into the middle of a category 5 financial hurricane. AND who is working to avert potential disaster?

It is simplistic to blame the current US president; he is after all the “Leader”… but let’s get real… just read the headlines:

“Republicans and Democrats clash after U.S. debt crisis plan collapses”

“The supercommittee fails”

IT IS CONGRESS not the President we should be frustrated with. Congress was tasked to come up with solutions… THEY are the ones who pass the legislation after all.  

THE failure by Congress’s joint select committee to produce a deficit plan was greeted with widespread disappointment, but little shock. Voters had long expected failure. –“Why the supercommittee failed – The last best hope”, The Economist 

We, the voting public, really did expect nothing. Because we know our government is not working. The congress that is supposed to provide the means for the government that is supposed to protect and serve does nothing… as another headlines screams “Republicans and Democrats Dicker While the Deficit Yawns and Rome Burns”. Like so many NEROs both sides of the political aisles are fiddling around while the country is on the verge of spontaneously combusting.

AND why don’t these guys in Washington DC do something? Anything? … Simple… They are too busy trying to get re-elected. They know that is their best hope to personally escape any personal effects of an economic meltdown. Once elected, they have nothing to worry about. They have voted themselves lifetime benefits that will see them through the most severe of economic downturns and have been accepted onto the last of the roads to wealth. Lobbyists for corporations seeking favors will lavishly support their re-election efforts and even provide “consultant” jobs if they happen to not be re-elected” and of course they can always go to a news network and become the latest talking head.

It is time for a change!   Instead of electing the prettiest faced, smoothest talkers with the coolest ads –

DRAFT OUR 535 CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES!

Let’s make the service of our country in Washington DC akin to service in the military … something that requires INTEGRITY, HONOR and SENSE OF DUTY!

A national Draft registration for all citizens over 35 could be held to establish a pool of potential draftees and from that pool each state would draft its representatives.

The Draftees would be sworn in to a service term of 5 years. The first year, ‘basic training’ or ‘boot camp’, will prepare them for the rigors they will face keeping this country secure and fiscally sound. Once BOOT CAMP is complete they are sworn into a 4 year term of “service to the country”.

The draftee congress would be required to act in accordance to the military codes of conduct. Sworn to uphold the constitution and to “follow orders”, they would be duty bound to actually solve a problem even if the solution is not what they would personally prefer when ordered to. The President (who incidentally represents ALL of us… and we can still elect him or her) provides a list of problems that need solutions … establish a deadline …follow up to assure  they meet the deadline (not allow them to “recess” or run away when things get tough as is currently a popular way of avoiding doing something)…  Of course the President would only identify the problem(s) to be solved not insist on preferred solutions.

At the end of a single four year term congress people would automatically be “honorably discharged” and returned to their normal lives. No provision would be made for “career” politicians (that is what got us in this mess to begin with).

Millions of tax dollars would be saved as the same salary and benefits of active US military members would be offered.  Since the draftee congressional representatives are “one- termers”, they could be housed in military style barracks, fed in military style mess halls and transported in military style transportation, further saving the taxpayers. Also, there would be no danger of them voting themselves a pay raise as they would not be in office long enough to really benefit.

Being “one -termers”, the representatives would be able to focus on the tasks at hand and not ever worry about being re-elected. HEY! That would mean FEWER POLITICAL ADS!!

Of course there would be some downsides also. The roles of the unemployed would briefly swell as thousands of paid lobbyists, news network talking heads, and national political party staffers would suddenly be forced to find honest and productive work. Sadly also, news organizations would have to scramble to find some real news.

Certainly, it could be argued that such a draft system might induct the morally corrupt into Congress (WHOOPS! Too late!) or people lacking in critical thinking skills (okay, I don’t really need to say anything… just think of your least favorite politician).

Just looking at the economic mess the US is in because of the failure of congress to act responsibly, it seems to me that “Joe the Plumber, Frank the Electrician, Janice the Secretary, Mary the Sales Clerk, Bob the Cop, etc.”, the ordinary everyday citizenry, could not screw things up any more than the group we have chose by election!

AND after all…. They might actually accomplish something!

My First Blog! WTH?

I have always wanted to write…  a book, an article just something that others might be interested in reading. So I wrote and wrote and wrote … journals and little stories for myself, occasionally sharing with a few people but…. BUT, I have always found a reason not to put myself out there…a way to avoid the actual task of writing something anyone can read.

Tilly (my lovely and supportive spouse) told me two days ago that maybe I should quit talking about writing and just do some.  After decades of dreaming and thinking and talking about writing, I really need to “do it or get off the pot”.  I hate it when she is right! I could start small; blogging… there we go.But where do I start? 

I thought of my friend Mohammed who has been blogging in French for the last three years and called him for help. His best advice consisted of giving me a link to a 51 minute video explaining exactly how and where to set up a Blog. So I spent the better part of today (about 8 hours or so) registering a domain name, setting up a blog site, picking an appearance theme for my blog site, choosing what bells, whistles and widgets, gadgets, and whatnots to include on the site…

And now I am ready to write…. my fingertips on the keyboard!  OKAY! … HERE WE GO!    READY, SET, BLOG! …

… Um, just a minute let me get my thoughts in order…. maybe a quick cupa tea?

I’m back so here we go now…. da-yammmm! … Sorry, need a restroom break…. BRB!

What the heck happened to my ideas from this morning??  Okay, no panic…I’ll just make a list of ideas and expand on the one that jumps out at me!

Let’s see… the Supercommmittee to address the US debt crisis has failed to reach any sort of agreement… There I go, I can write about all the self-styled NEROs fiddling around while our country burns to the ground… Uh-oh that is old news and besides was it really unexpected? Nah, I believe most voters in the US expected their shenanigans… Everyone knows that the first and foremost goal of any elected official in Washington DC is to be re-elected at any cost ( apparently even if it means the US/World economy collapses). What more do I have to add to that depressing scenario???

I could pen a mushy monologue about  what I am thankful for on this Thanksgiving weekend:   all the people:  mom, dad, my son, my daughter, my wife, my cousins , their families, my friends, my job, my house, car,… SHEESH that could be insanely long and complicated besides insulting and dull for anyone not included. I would be certain to forget someone! Nope… too much potential trouble!

I could discuss the current events in Bahrain; the Arab Spring protests and the release of the BICI report. I fear though, that my opinions would either lead to my being tarred and feathered by the opposition or exiled by the government or most likely both. OOPS, better not.

Weather is always a good fallback topic.  It has been raining here in Bahrain all day… an event only occurring 5-6 times per year. Maybe I could talk about the flooded roadways due to lack of proper drainage and the attendant traffic congestion… only… it hasn’t rained that hard. Roads are clear and traffic is running smoothly. So smoothly that we just returned from a 6k walk around Arad Bay (avoiding writing all the way).

It is only two weeks before we head home to Southern California… GREAT!… even got my title … CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ … nothing like lifting a Blog title from a 60’s hit song. BUT, what then to write about next week???

 Maybe also, I should think about who my audience is. Who am I trying to reach? What are the demographics of my target audience? Young? OLD? Middle Age? Technologically Savvy Or Challenged? Rich, Poor Or Middle Class? Male, Female? Gay, Bi-Sexual or Straight? Atheist or God Fearing… Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist or???? This is more complicated than I thought!

I’ll do some research….

Back again! I now know who my audience is! William Zinsser’s book On Writing Well, explained.

Soon … another question will occur to you: “Who am I writing for?” It’s a fundamental question and has a fundamental answer: You are writing for yourself.

COOL! And since I have now exceeded the length limit I set for my  blog I can end here.

William Zinsser said in his book On Writing Well

 A writer will do anything to avoid the act of writing.

 I have just found lots of ways to avoid writing my first blog. Does that mean I am now a “real” writer?

We will see when I try again next week.