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Ok, so I created a little dust-up on Facebook with a post about the latest Harris poll, which shows that 67% of Republicans believe Obama’s a socialist, 57% think he’s a Muslim, 45% think he wasn’t born in America, 38% think he’s in some way an equivalent of Hitler, and 24% believe he’s the Anti-Christ. You got that right: About 1/4 of registered Republicans thinks the Devil currently lives in the White House.  If you’re in disbelief and think the poll must be an outlier, a Research2000 poll taken several months ago came up with some similar results. So in this Facebook post I sorta suggested – ok, I really flat out said it – that folks who think these things are insane, specifically bat-shit insane. This drew umbrage from several friends regarding the socialist question, saying there were numerous reasons to believe Obama is a socialist. So I thought about it for a bit and realized they were right and it was a tad over the top to call the socialist believers insane. I then apologized for it (but not for calling insanity on the ones that said yes to the other four questions).

What I should have said is that calling Obama a socialist is meaningless without some context. There’s many versions of socialism. The Swedes and the old USSR fall under the huge umbrella of socialism, but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that would claim those governments were cut from the same cloth. There’s totalitarian socialism, a.k.a. communism, democratic socialism, Marxism, mixed socialism, market socialism, libertarian socialism, Utopian socialism, scientific socialism. The list goes on.

So I came up with what is basically a one question quiz to find out if you have even a minimal amount of socialism flowing in your blood. Here’s the question: Removing any questions regarding fiscal solvency, is our Social Security system bad policy?  And again, it is not a question of whether we can afford it in its current configuration. From a philosophical standpoint, was the implementation of Social Security wrong? If you answer no to that question, then you have some socialism in your soul. Don’t worry though, 88% of your fellow citizens are on the same boat with you.

If you honestly believe that a Social Security system is bad policy, and you consider yourself a free market capitalist through and through, that’s ok. But you have to own it.  That means you don’t believe that government should ever regulate the private sector. That means you believe the government has no place regulating lead or arsenic levels in drinking water. You’re good with food producers not having to label the ingredients in their products. Credit card companies can charge whatever interest rates they want. The markets will work everything out. Financial institutions, corporations and manufacturers will always do the right thing – the marketplace will force them or they won’t survive. You agree with all those things, right? No?But government regulation has its roots in socialism, so if you see the need for at least some regulation, then you must have some socialism in you. Deal with it.

So does Obama hold socialist views? Hell, yes. The same could be said for every one of his predecessors dating back to at least Teddy Roosevelt in 1901, probably much further, but I’m too lazy to look. The reality is that the U.S. and every European country has a mish-mash of political ideologies, some having a higher mix of socialism than others. The U.S. falls on the lower end of the scale. Since the days of Reagan, Republicans have been very successful at scaling back regulation, saying it was bad for business. Sometimes that’s a true statement, but government regulation is not an all or nothing issue like many Republicans wish to frame it.  Republicans in the late 1990’s, along with the help of Bill Clinton, threw out the Glass-Steagall Act, which had been enacted following the Great Depression to regulate financial institutions.  Guess what? The repeal of that act was a significant contributing factor to our recent financial meltdown.

So I shouldn’t have called people who think Obama’s a socialist insane. But along the way to this conclusion, I realized that I’d fallen for the meme, hook, line and sinker. What do I mean? When I saw the word socialism in the poll, I immediately considered the extremes of socialism, which is exactly what Fox News and the McCain campaign wanted when they started pushing the notion of Obama being a socialist. Socialism in their world is basically a code for communism and totalitarianism. They couldn’t use those words to describe Obama because they are so easily disprovable, so they played on people’s ignorance and lack of curiosity. They made socialism a bad word, just like the right did with the word liberal in the 80’s. And I fell for it.

So friends, accept my apology for lambasting those who thought Obama has some socialism in him. He does. I do too. And I hope you do as well.

ABC has announced that Christiane Amanpour will replace George Stephanopoulos as host of “This Week” on Sundays. Personally, I think this is a great pick. Amanpour is a real journalist and not a television personality. She is a dying breed in television news – a reporter who digs deep into a story and tries to educate the viewer on the complexities and nuances of a given situation. She doesn’t rely on sound bites or let conventional wisdom – which is so often wrong – into her reporting. She also does an excellent job of explaining both sides of an issue, but does not allow herself to become a megaphone for unfounded talking points. So kudos to ABC for the pick. I look forward to her debut.

What a serene video. Enjoy!

Trichrome Blue from Lois van Baarle on Vimeo.

Rush Limbaugh says he’s going to move to Costa Rica if Health Care Reform legislation passes, because he doesn’t want any part of nationalized health care. No way, no sir! Never mind the fact that if this legislation passes it will in no way, shape or form resemble nationalized/socialized health care as is currently used in England and Canada. No, the bitter irony for Rush is that Costa Rica has – wait for it, wait, wait – nationalized health care, and apparently it works pretty well. Hey Rush, don’t let the door hit you on your rather large posterior on the way out. Tee hee hee. Hat tip to the theyoungturks.com.

A 2100 page-long flip book by art student Jamie Bell containing a brief history of pretty much everything.

I have been absent from blogging the past several days, as I have spent countless hours getting prepared for the launch of an opportunity that literally will be able to change the lives of everyday folk. I hate that it sounds like hype, but I really do not know of any other way to describe its potential. If this program is successful, it will be a paradigm shift in the way online advertising dollars are spent and paid. So sorry for the teaser, but I am every bit as anxious to tell you about it as you are to hear it. Stay tuned.

An oldie, but a goody. This video of a mass of flying birds is a mesmerizing bit of poetry for me.

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I’m linking up with Technorati by claiming my blog. Is this today’s equivalent of an 1800’s California gold miner staking his claim? Thar’s gold in them Technorati!  Somehow that doesn’t sound right, huh?  Oh well.  For those nice people at Technorati, my code is 437gnjreyb.

Technorati, where be ya?

Technorati, where be ya?

Is the world ready for another health and wellness network marketing company that relies on another Amazon superfruit?  The folks at Maakoa (Maakoa.com) are making a bet that it is.  Maakoa, based out of Orem, Utah, officially launched on July 4th, 2009.  The translation of the name of the company means “fearless” in English, and that is Maakoa’s motto.  According to its website, the company exhibits its fearless philosophy by “taking on bold new challenges and succeeding when others may fail. It’s about building relationships and treating people the right way.”

At the present, the company offers two products.  The first is a juice called Koopuwa.  Like many other juices these days, Koopuwa has Açai Berry, Pomegranate and Blueberry.  But Maakoa is betting that what will set Koopuwa apart from the other juices is its inclusion of the latest Amazonian superfruit to make its way to the United States – Cupuaçu (pronounced “coo poo ahh sue”).  Cupuaçu is the most popular fruit in the Amazon and is used to make jams, cakes, ice creams and a number of other foods.  The indigenous people of the Amazon have used the fruit as a primary food source for centuries and believe that Cupuaçu had medicinal properties to relieve labor pains and abdominal problems.  The Cupuaçu tree grows about 60 feet high and the fruit resembles a coconut.  The plant is a distant relative of the cocoa plant, and while the sweet pulp is used in the Maakoa juice product, the seed of the Cupuaçu is used to make a chocolate like product called culpulate.

Cupuaçu also has a unique type of polyphenols called theograndins, which are a relatively new discovery. Theograndins have potent antioxidant activity and provide cardiovascular protective and immune supportive benefits.  It is also said to improve mental clarity, energy and stamina, libido, circulation and provide a host of other healthy benefits.

Read the rest of this entry »

pulling hairI know many people want to yank their hair out when trying to determine which network marketing company is the best one for them. For some the decision to start a home based business was harrowing enough. Then they have to weed through all the different types of home based businesses to find out which suits them best. Finally, once they decide that network marketing is the route they want to go, they get the pleasure of having to choose from over 500 MLM companies.

Now I know that most people – unfortunately – don’t go through a systematic process like that when choosing a company. Usually they sign up because their Uncle Milton told them that he had the answer to their financial woes or Betty at work is about to quit her day job because she found a miracle juice that makes her feel 20 years younger, and if they sign up too they soon will be following Betty out the door. I say unfortunately because I believe that most people fail in network marketing primarily because they haven’t done their homework and have no clue what they are getting into. Read the rest of this entry »

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