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Feb 9 10 7:13 PM

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You can get 1% back on every purchase using a mastercard.  The financial institutions also get 2.5% from the merchant.  The merchant has to keep his prices high enough to cover these costs so all the customers pay to support the credit card users.

Looking at this from the usual "mainstream" way of thinking, or Jay's zero-sum game idea, one should continue using the credit card to get almost 1% lower cost of everything for oneself, while only slightly increasing the cost for everyone else.

Looking at it from a position of personal responsibility, however, it is clearly 100% wrong to use the card because, for a person to subtly get the 1% transferred from everyone else, the financial institutions take a big piece of it away from all of us.  The zero-sum gamer may note that everyone else is doing it so if you quit using the card then you'll "lose".  The credit card user wins the mainstream game of "get more money from others".  But those who exercise personal responsibility are on an alternative path, and it leads to freedom.

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#1 [url]

Feb 12 10 12:46 AM

Catherine Austin Fitts, a financial guru, former govt insider, and now whistleblower extraordinaire, caught my attention years ago with her "Coming Clean" checklist for those who think political and economic changes are needed.  The checklist is for changes we can make in own lives first.

She's also used the motto "Know Your Farmer" for many years because of food supply issues, and then "Know Your Banker" to withdraw support of the most criminal banks, and now "Know Your Sheriff" because county law enforcement is supposed to be the most authoritative in your area and can trump state and federal law enforcement according to the 10th amendment.  Of course nowadays the federal agencies have their insidious ways to control things but if you could have an honest sheriff who obeys the oath of office then that would be a defense against unconstitutional intrusions like forced vaccinations or death marches to federal detention centers.

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#2 [url]

Feb 25 10 2:30 PM

Islandnotes 'ditty', about removing licensing requirements for some professionals, mentions personal responsibility. as "you and your community must have it together enough to cultivate the sensibility to recognize competence — in doing or making things that people have traditionally done without licenses."

I agree but would go further with the proposed legislation and remove mandatory licensing requirements for all professions.  We can choose to hire only those with appropriate licenses and/or track records and they can obtain their licenses voluntarily rather than because a big brother gov't forces it on them.  As it is now, doctors' track records (other than lawsuits) are not even allowed to be known so how can we exercise personal responsiblity in choosing?

One exercise of personal responsility is to maintain freedom by being vocal about it while we still can.  When most shut up due to fear then the few that speak out can be targetted and that is how we could all lose free speech.  So, let me say:

1) obama has not done one good or positive thing since he was elected but he has done very many very bad or negative things such as generate more war, destroy economy with unrestrained spending/debt/bailout/stimulus, and appoint monsanto/gmo/goldman-sachs/wall-street minions throughout the gov't,

2) the federal gov't is little more than a criminal enterprise and the sooner we can get along without it the less suffering will be imposed on ourselves and everyone else in the world before we finally learn to exercise personal responsibility.

3) everyone, please feel free to chime in :)

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#3 [url]

Feb 27 10 10:52 PM

Way back in the 70's, college degrees had a federal requirement for a course in civics, where the primary lesson was the notion of political “efficacy” which means that citizens can affect their gov't to make it work for them.  The purpose of the course was to make students believe in efficacy, i.e. to have faith in their gov't. It took me another 30 years to learn that what is taught in school is almost all based on false assumptions, especially when it comes to politics.  Nowadays we have zero efficacy and, what's worse, gov't is not merely oblivious to the needs of citizens but has become their main enemy by being a potent tool of elite bankers and worse, against the citizens.  Gov't operatives, especially former vice president dick cheney, gov't allies such as izreali spies and security agencies, and gov't assets such as the supposed 911 hijackers, were all orchestrated to perform the 911 show, with dick as the conductor. (see “Crossing The Rubicon” by Michael Ruppert for complete details).  When only one senator, Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, voted no to the subsequent patriot act, he was promptly assassinated.  Then dick was on TV waving a vial of anthrax saying how we're all threatened (by someone other than himself of course), and then it turned out that all the anthrax that was mailed was created in US military labs.  Then evil dick shoots his friend in the face with a shotgun and nowadays we still see and hear of sick dick in the mainstream media.  Why?  My guess is that since he is likely our most hated villain, the media shows him in order to increase hate and anger, lowering everyone's vibrational frequency further away from love and health.  This is also why most headlines during the olympics for example, are about mishaps or fallen heros rather than about the new heights of performance by the champions.  Lowering our vibrational frequencies is a key aspect of the plan for our total enslavement.  Plus, it has the side effect of creating more customers for the medical and pharmaceutical industry.  This is a true description of our shared reality.  But I digress.

The point is that there is no political efficacy with the US gov't.  The faith is all based on the false assumption that in a representative democracy, a representative actually represents something other than his or her own self interest.  The exceptional cases, where a representative does this, have become fewer and farther between.  Anyone allowed into politics that turned out to have the dangerous combination of intelligence, honesty, and courage, became a target for investigations, lawsuits, blackmail, or worse, assassination.  An interesting side note is that today, according to the National Intelligence Director, dennis blair on Feb 3, 2010, american citizens can be assassinated at the govt's discretion.  An unnamed person in the administration can declare someone a threat and order their assassination saying the evidence is secret.  Is anyone so naïve as to think that this is done for some notion of 'national security'?

At the level of president, my guess is that Kennedy was the last one to attempt to represent something other than his own self interest and so had to be assassinated.  Another interesting side note is that the guy that obama selected to head the office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has stated that he would rewrite the first amendment, limit freedom of speech, censor the internet, and outlaw conspiracy theories such as the assassination of JF Kennedy, even though 90% of americans believe that oswald did not act alone.  Obama selected a guy who wants to outlaw any idea that is not approved by the gov't.

We are taught that we are victims and need leaders to rescue us, many still believe in political efficacy, and some even think obama represents the interests of the people.  Some of what I see him doing, such as impoverishing us all by helping the ongoing transfer all monetary assets from the citizens to the elite bankers, is like an entertaining comedy.  Other actions, such as more war and killing of innocent civilians, support for and use of radioactive weapons and foreign torture camps, and police state control over food and healthcare with new rules made by his selection of monsanto minions to gov't positions, are not so funny.

We're supposed to believe that the world is too complicated to do the right thing so a president could never declare:

1. no more deliberate aerosol spraying of chemicals throughout our skies by military aircraft,
2. no more war, bring all troops home now, and stop spending most of our money on war,
3. repeal of the patriot act and cessation of all unconstitutional gov't activities,
4. repeal of the bailout and spending that is transferring all wealth away from the people,
5. no more bombarding the entire oceans with US naval sonar that negatively affects all sea life,
6. stop using depleted uranium weapons that kill civilians and the environment by deadly radiation,
7. stop producing nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons,
8. no more secret gov't or gov't secrets, open all information for public review,
9. shut down the cia and all other repressive, oppressive, or subversive gov't agencies,
10. stop protecting and sponsoring the spread of gmo pollution throughout the biosphere,
11. stop the support and usage of torture by proxy in foreign detention centers,
12. stop the support of war and genocide by proxy in the middle east.

The world may be complicated but, contrary to what we're led to believe, the president is no better informed about reality than many of us.  A president could theoretically make such a declaration before being assassinated but the deeply ingrained false idea that “the end justifies the means” makes even a well-meaning official choose instead to stay alive to continue his well-meaning to some other end.

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#4 [url]

Feb 28 10 1:09 AM

Noman, I'm getting so tired of you monopolizing this thread.  Some might think you have secret code to limit the nay-sayers from contributing.

Personal responsibility is not calling other people names, especially the President.  I have no idea what kind of dork Obama is, but I have a sense he knows more than you and has to deal with it: "what?" ever it is.  And, I must admit, it is difficult to figure out how one becomes so much of an expert on the constitution he can teach it to lawyer wanna-bees, but can't seem to practice what he preaches and presumably "knows". History, will likely, judge the man poorly.  It is hard to figure what "change" is.  Where does he go from here?

I'm with you on tricky dicky two.  He reminds me of "Chucky" (the unkillable block of wood) - enough said (no complaints, with your preaching from the top of the soap box on the matter, here). History has already condemned him.  He is the worst of the worst of the worst of this world and pure evil for the American way of life: the American Fascist.

And, that looser Bush two - history will judge him very poorly.  A true puppet.  He makes a block of wood look smart.

But, personal responsibility is not us dwelling on them (these three poor examples of personal responsibility), but rather us ignoring their actions when we decide what our's will be.

And, if you expect the current crop of B-school graduates to put community above immediate profits and their personal success, your expectations are way too high.  The future will likely provide more "citizen managers", who are more ethical and sensitive to all aspects of their companies' actions - but, don't hold your breath, it may take awhile for them to move into positions of power.

The current crop of politicians in this country do seem to have a bit of the gangster mentality too.  It is hard to figure how good people with good intentions get ground up in the system while getting rich with no particular source of ongoing income that should create wealth.  Seems like there might be a personal responsibility issue with anyone making too much money - what ever that is.

Once upon a time, I claimed to be a Libertarian.  I was criticized by an acquaintance for being one of those anarchist who believed in selling drugs to elementary school kids on every street corner in the city.  How ridiculous, I responded back, I want drugs to be legal and adults to be free to use them in their own personal space.  And, all adults to take enough personal responsibility to treat every child, as their own, teaching them about freedom on every street corner, not drugs.

But alas, many adults get trapped in a bottle, or a pipe or some other poison of their choosing, fail to function in society, pushing on society looking for a Utopian crutch to do all their bidding while pissing on the foundation.  If that weren't bad enough, the other side of the coin has high minded people judging and convicting alternate lifestyles by use of the legal system.  Morality has be legislated. Laws, laws, laws. 

Every law curtails freedom.

We (I guess I mean me, and maybe you) then judge all the morons, top to bottom, with our (mine and maybe your's?) values system. Welfare based baby maker on crack all the way up to the President, hard to find any personal responsibility, any where.  Sure, there are pockets of it here and there, but mostly out of the lime light.  People exhibiting personal responsibility are usually too busy doing what they should be doing to be noticed.

I took a tour of Folsom prison once upon a time.  Every prisoner that approached me claimed to have been wrong by the legal system and was soliciting assistance in righting the wrongs.  After the pattern set in (25 cases or so) I realized most people are unwilling to accept their mistakes even under overwhelming evidence.  Most people are victims or their own actions in a prison they made for themselves.

If we (definitely meaning me, and again, maybe you) want more personal responsibility in the world, we need to stop bitching and start being, because no amount of complaining is gonna do a dam thing to improve the situation (or condition in others) - it is what it is.

I, for one, am not going to get involved in the fight to the bottom by forcing conformity (or non-conformity, for that matter) on the mass of my peers - in general, I don't think they're worth it.  I prefer to find a community with similar values and hope I can live in peace where I feel comfortable while exhibiting a reasonable amount of personal and community responsibility.

We need to widen our range of what seems responsibility, in others, given their circumstances.  We need too judge less.

I realize there are some big issues in the world that seem to need immediate attention, but high expectations for immediate change seems highly unlikely.  We need to just, keep at it, ...

Scream at the policy makers a bit and often enough to be at least annoying.

And, ...  there is help on the horizon.

Eventually, the country will run out of wealth, and some of the macro behavior you mention (crimes against the world) will be curtailed (or eliminated) outright as money becomes to tight to try to rule the world.  I think that will be a good thing, even if it might be hard to get used to.

I'm ready to get used to it, are you?


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#5 [url]

Feb 28 10 2:07 AM


We live in a paradise of freedom with a prosperous future (when compared to Yemen).  I saw this article and wonder about all the people in the world dreaming about heaven and the potential for a "Western Standard of Living" and political freedom at as high of level as we experience daily.

What is happening in our country is not right, but ya gotta keep it in perspective.

If you want to feel much much more better about your lot in life, see this link:

Yemen really is the proverbial slow moving train wreck.  Can ya imagine what it will be like there in ten years?????

At least we have "Hope" here.


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#6 [url]

Feb 28 10 2:56 AM

Sam, thanks for your reply.  So far, we're the only two contributors to this thread.  We need "nay-sayers" even, to start discussing personal responsibility.  Admittedly, my last posting said little about it other than to mention  it's opposite which is victim consciousness wanting to be "rescued" by "leaders".

You're correct that obama knows more than me, but not about what matters.  He knows more about the path to total enslavement.  The path of personal responsibility, on the other hand, does not appear to have him as a traveler. so what he knows is irrelevant.  Our interests are better represented by my 12-point declaration.

Thank you also for speaking your mind.  That is an example of taking personal responsibility for maintaining our freedom of speech.  You mention about judging people.  To judge means to condemn and I try to avoid that.  Even sick dick is only 'evil' by the standards of common people and not by the standards of his peers.  The notion of history making a judgement is meaningless because of who it is that writes and publishes that history.  The verb 'judge' is simply not useful.

Is it your view that to describe negative events is to complain or bitch about them?  Also, how does the notion of 'forcing conformity' on people fit into this?  Describing the world that is unseen due to media blackout, is worthy.  Some people can still be made aware and withdraw their mental, if not physical, support of the planned enslavement.  We need as many as possible to eventually find the path of personal responsibility.  Being a living example  is best but that does not preclude talking about it as well.

The issues that "seem to need immediate attention" have been accumulating as the heat is turned up on us frogs.  It's time to jump out of the pot because of all these issues.  I'm ready to jump but must bring others along and we must all stay alive while doing it.

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#7 [url]

Feb 28 10 4:23 AM

Regarding the article about Yemen, I'm sorry to say that the author has a very poor attitude, caustic and demeaning, seeing only superficial qualities like financial health (which is no worse than our own) and seeing no beauty such as a long history (that dwarfs our short one).  He says nothing about people's lives there.  Are they happier, healthier, or more free than people here?

The article describes how the west, led by the US, has been leading Yemen to ruin.  The US now wants to supply Yemen with more arms to generate more war there.  And you mention how lucky we are to be in the US, the abuser, rather than in Yemen, the victim.  Well, abuser and victim are in the same boat.  Personal responsibility means not being in that boat.  Then we won't be their abuser, they may no longer be a victim, and our "paradise of freedom" can be more than make believe.

I love it here and I'd love it there.  I'd have fled the coming tyranny but, it's global in scope, we gotta transcend it, so let's do it with style and enthusiasm, from Hawaii.

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#9 [url]

Feb 28 10 10:05 AM

Noman, at this site, with this thread, given our group, we are just preaching to the choir.

Buffychick, we will work it out between us,  You might want to steer clear (of the discussion) and warn others to do the same for awhile.  We are discussing a world far far away from "love and health".  If you have found it, you should stay close to it.  We will be there soon to join you.  But, we have a few things to work out first.

Did you happen to leave a trail of bread crumbs back, the last time you were out?  Have a map?  It might speed things up.


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#10 [url]

Feb 28 10 10:51 AM

I again like to frame things in a more practical manner. Personal responsibility does matter, for sure, and our commitment to personal responsibility is either evident in how we live our lives or it's not--which I find it more constructive to discuss the means by which to demonstrate our personal commitment to living "right" than discussing what right might be. It's less divisive and we get a lot further with that focus. We've got plenty to do on that score. We've somehow got to put together sustainable lives in a timely manner to prepare for the future, and somehow survive the present, where we try to co-exist in a culture that lives completely unsustainably and requires that we do too.

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#11 [url]

Feb 28 10 10:52 AM

Buffers and I will go plant a tree for our personal responsibility.  We can air layer some of these peach trees here and make peach pie later.  Then we can be personally responsible about making sure the peach pies are properly eaten with vanilla ice cream on top.  I saw a vanilla bean over at her house yesterday so we'd better get these trees started quick!

Hmm, backyard peaches - no money/credit card.
Backyard stevia (instead of sugar) - no money/credit card.
Gotta plant something to make flour from.  Dried sweet potatoes, perhaps?
Anyone have a cinnamon tree?

Money and those credit cards are pretty pernicious, they are always trying to get involved in anything we do.

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#12 [url]

Feb 28 10 10:56 AM

I think one thing I believe I glean from Noman's posting that I believe to be of value coming through: it's getting harder and harder every day to try to keep a foot in both worlds.

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#14 [url]

Feb 28 10 11:31 AM

Maybe I'll take my own advice:

when I think about the larger political and environmental situation, I feel overwhelmed and I feel either numb or compressed rage. What passes for political action always seems to appear in the form of someone saying, "we ought to...(blah, blah), or "they should..(blah, blah). I celebrate gossip as a natural instinct, and emotionally charged talk is very powerful in a small group setting. But a small group setting strikes me as politically nearly irrelevant.

One odd part of all this is that I actually find it challenging to find genuine sadness for millions of people I've never met or seen. I can find righteous anger, but...empathy? I have looked, and it's hard to find. I suggest that anyone who is venturing into the realm of "political action" get clear within themselves what emotions are present underneath. For example, when I think about the larger political context, thoughts of unfairness, being neglected, being powerless, numbness... much of this comes from my unresolved issues with my father.

So, personally, I have found two touchstones for my the part of me that wants to leave a legacy:

1)  "move toward what is beautiful, rather than opposing what is ugly"
2)  "Do what gives you energy"

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#15 [url]

Feb 28 10 12:10 PM

549 posts, drwotty, reveal that I am a farmer, a retired teacher , and 
a liberal. I believe the US and world situation is beyond political solutions.
Our focus here needs to  be on survival here , now , today , and in the future.
I can rave and rant about politics but I resist pissing in the wind.

Sam , a world of" love and health" is Noman's fantasy.
I was quoting him and being sarcastic.

Chooks, peach pie sounds good. 

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#16 [url]

Feb 28 10 12:34 PM

I agree, it looks pretty bad. It was looking like it was beyond political solutions back in the 80's. Yep, real bad.

And, there are a multitude of precious responses to this "hopeless" situation. Survival is one of them. Preserving things you love is another. (like community, music, herbal knowledge...) And there are those who just don't want to give up in the political arena. There are plenty of creative jobs to do in this sinking boat.

I also am one who believes in using few words. (to minimize the amount of piss on my feet)

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#17 [url]

Feb 28 10 12:47 PM

An interesting take comes from St John of the Cross in his "The Dark Night of the Soul" which is worth at least an idle read through, as it's thoughtful and provocative--and deals very well with issues of "personal revelations of responsibility." One of the most interesting topics that I remember from a read of that a very long time ago was the discussion of the "sin" of "spiritual gluttony" and its dangers. What?!?! Worth thinking about--we see a lot of that sort of thing in many progressive groups. There is a temptation of course to wallow in the "great grand picture" and "ideology" and all that, to write treatises and manifestos, etc., to talk about our sense of back to nature and oneness with the cosmos. . .sure. Great--but don't let it get in the way of real measurable progress.

A quote from another guy who had a lot in common with old John of the Cross--Aliester Crowley:

    "The only fitting ornament for true profundity is silence."

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#18 [url]

Feb 28 10 2:32 PM

I have two cinnamon trees in the ground! 

As for personal responsibility and all that jive, I too, have given up on a political solution.  I take responsibility for what good (or bad) I can do on the local level here on this island.  As (if) things get worse, I hope to be a part of the solution. 

And dr wotty, I hear ya on that compressed rage.  I try to let it out in healthy, non destructive ways once in awhile.

"If you bring forth what is inside you, what you bring forth will save you. If you don't bring forth what is inside you, what you don’t bring forth will destroy you."

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#19 [url]

Feb 28 10 4:29 PM

Keeping the discussion concrete, I've been reflecting on how unprepared I was for the tsunami yesterday. Not enough water, not enough batteries, not enough canned goods/non-perishable food, probably not enough propane..but lots of coconuts and a few tomatoes. Hmmm...time for old Tim to take stock of the consequences should he fail to prepare for the next big (name your disaster). It's something I have to correct. If I don't, I suffer the consequences. My personal responsibility. The good news is I am a little wiser than yesterday.

It also got me thinking about what we as a group could have done better. Would it have helped to have an "emergency game plan" that would allow us to maximize the strengths of each person willing to cooperate? How would we communicate without electricity (ham radio operators, etc)? Can the more experienced folks educate those of us less competent in survival?

Who felt prepared yesterday?

Just some random reflections...

Your thoughts?

A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions - Confucius

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#20 [url]

Feb 28 10 5:17 PM

I was prepared yesterday, but that's because it was my fourth tsunami evacuation since september :)  At 1 foot above sea level, I have to high tail it every time a fault farts!  luckily I am too lazy to completely unpack & made a list to remind myself what to grab, cuz your brains just stop working when you're stressed out.

Funny story, but my choice to buy mauka was a direct result of 3 tsunami evacuations in the fall.  I was fed up!  It felt good to pack up my car down in vacationland & high tail it to my lot up the hill.  

Tim, you want a copy of my list to get you started?

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