Welcome

I’d like to welcome everyone to my first ever blog.  Up to this point I’ve had the bulk of my political conversations on Facebook wall posts and thought it was about time to move to another venue more suitable for these kinds of discussions.  Despite the fact that I find politics fascinating I certainly understand that not everyone shares my passion and enthusiasm for the subject.  So here I can engage in political discourse and debate without running the risk of offending someone that is too closed minded to talk about hot button issues with people from the other side of the political fence.  And let’s face it; some people are just too hot-headed to talk about politics in the first place.  Hopefully those types will steer clear of this blog.

I’ve entitled this blog Solfisco which stands for Socially Liberal, Fiscally Conservative.  I picked that name because that’s about as close as I can get to explaining my political position in a nutshell.  That doesn’t mean that this site is only for people of the same inclination.  I welcome everyone that has an opinion, even if those opinions are the opposite of mine (I guess that would be a conservative spend thrift, i.e. Dubya).

I would like this site to be a place where people can have candid conversations about politics, the economy, the state of our country and the upcoming challenges we face.  I also want to focus quite a bit on sorting fact from fiction.  Much of the rhetoric from inside the beltway, as well as many cable news programs, is nothing short of propaganda.  Often there is no truth behind the words our politicians speak.  They say things for no other reason than to get public opinion behind them so that they can win elections and push through their agendas.  Unfortunately, it works.  Many everyday people have made decisions based on that disinformation that ended up being against their own best interests and that of the majority of the people in this country.  I have listed a couple of links on this page for two of my favorite non-partisan, fact checking sites:  Politifact.com and FactCheck.org.  If you have never checked either of them out I highly recommend it.  Let’s put it this way, if everyone in this country took the time to check out those sites, and held our leaders accountable for when they lied and misled us, we wouldn’t have half the problems that face us today and this would be a much better place to live.  Sadly, most people either don’t know where to find this information or they’re just too lazy to look it up.  I’m trying to change that, even if it’s only a person at a time.

So feel free to post away.  All that I ask is that you keep the discourse as civil as possible with the people that disagree with you.  Most of the information that I have learned over the last few years has been as a direct result of research that I did to refute a point someone made on Facebook.  That research was often very eye opening.  Sometimes it solidified my argument and occasionally it changed my opinion.  Either way, I am better and more educated for having had the debate.  So never discount the value of a dissenting voice and always try to keep an open mind because you never know, they might just be right!

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15 responses to “Welcome

  1. Stephen McQuaid

    I saw this video on the philosophy of liberty and thought I’d post it. I think liberty is a concept that people truly don’t understand. We are conditioned to vote in the politicians that will give us the most goodies even though the goodies rarely materialize as promised. Check it out. Do I get a prize for being the first to post?

    • No prize, Steve, but I’m glad it was you none the less. This blog is a testament to all of our hundreds of discussions. Interesting video. I like the use of graphics to tell the story. I even agree with some of it, but the whole point that government doesn’t have the right to take away something from you just because you made it isn’t very realistic. I know it showed property but it inferred money and I hope it’s not insinuating that no one should have to pay taxes.

      • Stephen McQuaid

        Damn. No prize. Oh well. I’ve always enjoyed our discussions as well. I liked the graphics in the video too. I think the music was catchy as well. The video illustrates how government commits theft just like individuals do and that it is no less immoral no matter how you dress it up. Your point of it not being realistic I think is true because we’ve been conditioned to accept the theft as normal and just. And people, organizations, & companies have learned who to manipulate the system to legally commit theft for their own “virtuous” ends.

        The term “Property” is used in the broad general sense to describe anything that is a product of your labor & talents so that includes money. With all that being said, this philosophy is not against taxes. Government is a necessary evil but is essential for freedom. The Greeks said “Without law there can be no freedom”. That is absolutely true. I and many others just think we’ve strayed way to far from what was originally intended and that it is now the norm. There is a balance that must be maintained. The video is right, in that most of the problems in the world arise from the philosophy of freedom not being adhered to. We should be looking at our problems with and coming up with solutions by doing a gut check by referring back to the “philosophy of freedom”.

  2. i cannot help but wonder at your choice of Home page imagery: a cave. After reading your opening blog and contemplating that pretty cave picture I concluded that it must be a subconscious streaming of a Plato Allegory.

    “the prison-house is the world of sight, the light of the fire is the sun, and you will not misapprehend me if you interpret the journey upwards to be the ascent of the soul into the intellectual world according to my poor belief, which, at your desire, I have expressed, whether rightly or wrongly God knows. But, whether true or false, my opinion is that in the world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with an effort; and, when seen, is also inferred to be the universal author of all things beautiful and right, parent of light and of the lord of light in this visible world, and the immediate source of reason and truth in the intellectual; and that this is the power upon which he who would act rationally either in public or private life must have his eye fixed.”

    Quite clever, Derek. Quite.

    • WordPress only gave me three options for a graphic for the site until I find something to upload of my own. I thought this was the best looking option of the three. The symbolism escaped me but thank you for making the connection.

  3. Derek, glad to see you’ve created this site. I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts and engaging in some thought provoking discussions.

    • TJ, good to have you on board. It wouldn’t have been the same without you. I look forward to your comments as well. Feel free to also invite Tara or anyone else you think would be interested in joining the conversation.

  4. Lindsay Parker

    Derek,

    Sounds interesting. I don’t know how much time I’ll have to blog with you, but I will check it out!

    Lindsay

    • Lindsay, you don’t have to comment if you don’t have time. I’m just hoping to be able to share some information that I’ve learned from my research over the years and other people will do the same on here. So it’s a good place to get some good info and opinions even if you don’t have time to add to the discussion. Glad to have you on board.

  5. Martin J Cosgrove III

    your an idiot–welcome to the world of blogging

  6. Derek, congrats on a website. If I might indulge myself, I’d like to throw a topic out there. Who is to blame for the reason Gas is just shy of $4 per gallon? Where is the new Republican House, who was gonna show us leadership, proposing to do?

    • I can address the gas issue but I can’t speak to Republican leadership. All the influx of Tea Party people has made it challenging for McConnell and Boehner to keep the party on the same message. It’s caused the moderates in the party to pull even farther to the right and has made compromising with Democrats even harder.

      On gas, it all comes down to the future’s market. Expectations for the continued improvement of the US economy as well as the unrest in the Middle East and northern Africa has driven up prices. I miss the good old days when the price of gas was just determined by regular supply and demand, not the expectation of demand. That’s no longer the case. You can blame Enron and the big oil companies and their successful lobbying of the Republican Congress back in ’98 for the deregulation of the industry. Clinton signed it into law so he’s not blameless either. Due to that law change the oil that is shipped from the Middle East is bought and sold dozens of times before it ever hits our shores. By allowing individual investors and hedge funds to purchase it as a commodity, just like corn for example, it is subject to speculation and thus prices can be artificially inflated. This happened in Bush’s last year in office where prices spiked and he went to OPEC and demanded they increase supply. They told him that supply wasn’t the issue, it was speculators in the US driving up the prices. That issue still exists today and the only way around it is to regulate the industry again.

      Trivia question: Does anyone have any idea who the largest holder of extracted oil in the world is?

      The answer: Morgan Stanley. Probably wasn’t your first guess, was it?

  7. Domingo Laureano Isasi-Fernandez

    Fubs, I don’t think anyone is to “blame” for the current gas prices. It’s simply a matter of supply and demand. I’m not certain of that, it’s not really my area of expertise. I have heard of traffic jams in China that have taken over three days to clear up because of the emerging middle class and their recent purchases of thousands of cars.
    I am almost certain that the current conditions in the middle east are partially to blame for these current gas prices. (The talking heads here in NYC are saying it will reach six dollars per gallon before the end of the summer!) I do recall that Obama recently travelled to, Brazil was it? They apparently found a VAST amount of oil in some off shore area in that countries jurisdiction. I recall it being massive. It’s just in a very deep part of the ocean/gulf and will require quite a substantial investment before it can be extracted.
    I would like to discuss Egypt a little bit and all the other current countries in that region, that are trying to gain more of a democratic existence. I think I might be on to something. I will ask for everyones patience in following me through my discourse. This is the first time that I’m going through with this whole thought process.
    Basically my thought is this; The U.S.A. is a war geared country. Currently we are fighting a war that is very unconventional and by that I mean that there is no specific country in which we are fighting against. In past wars WWI and WWII specifically, there were countries to bomb and land to conquer. Now it is a war being fought against people with out a country, with a very mobile and elusive leader(s) (Osama bin Laden etc.). I believe that there are people in our government that would like to see one of these emerging middle east countries become a “Home Base” for the radical muslims so that then it can be targeted. They want all these countries to gain their independence so that one, or possibly more, will emerge as a right wing muslim state. Religion has always been a reason why man has gone to war since before the Crusades.
    Just a thought.
    And yes Marty I do agree with you. He can be an idiot.

  8. Derek,

    Everything that you mention is true. I don’t disagree. But neither party has stepped forward and said just that…with the numbers to support those facts.
    Please don’t laugh but I know just enough to potentially be damgerous. I do have a quetsion. If oil prices are based upon the US dollar, why not make the price of crude based upon a more satble economy? I don’t think Switzerland is going to war any time soon? Who has a more stable econony than the Sweeds? Set the price based upon their dollar and not ours!

    Domingo,

    The wars of the future will be completely different. we are fighting religious beliefs and not tangible hard targets. We need to get our fiscal budget in line, we can slash the defense budget BIG TIME. We will need smaller, more highly trained,units that the massive wall of force that we have built up currently. Bring back seperation of church and state…The right wing has hijacked this position and leading us down a dark path.

  9. Good point, Todd. The the Swiss franc is one of the most stable currencies in the world. This is mostly due to Switzerland being one of the most stable countries in the world and them holding a tight rein over their currencies value. The only problem is that their economy is not large enough to handle the influx of money necessary to have the franc used as the world’s oil currency. It would need to be the dollar, euro, yen or yuan.

    China is making a big play to have the yuan replace the Dollar as the world’s reserve currency as well as the currency oil is purchased in. If this happens it will spell bad news for the value of the dollar and will cause inflation and higher interest rates in this country. The only thing holding the world back from switching to the yuan is the political instability of China. If they were to hold a free election, and clean up some of their human right’s violations, the world market might just make the change. Even if they don’t, the rate of increase in China’s consistent GDP growth, and our lack thereof, means they will likely overtake us as the world’s number one economy in about 20 years. At that point the world will have to do what they say.

    There are steps the US can take to avoid this, mostly by aggressively paying down the debt, but given the combative climate currently taking place in Congress I don’t see this happening. With no party holding a clear, filibuster proof majority then it’s going to take some serious collaboration across the aisle to get any real change accomplished. But with each side not wanting to appear weak to the extremes factions of their respective parties it makes it very hard to come to a compromise on anything meaningful.

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