It's a tough job but somebody's gotta do it...

 Barack Obama 

How can we help grow rural businesses? Here's a by-the-numbers look: 

     You figure it's gotta be exhausting, for one, and pretty thankless as well to run the grandest conglomeration of populist spirit held together by bureaucratic mesh, chugging along at a (as viewed from space) sloth's pace. The 'government,' 'infrastructure,' the rebar inside the concrete, the myths we believe it, the things we only learn through antithesis (you realize you've upset the 'balance' of the ruling class/party/mob when you get searched by the fuzz, put in the slammer, banished to some category of rehabilitation before being endorsed for safe re-entry into society.) I digress for a moment on that point. Thinking about how many 'creative types' fall apart when they get clean. How many detox/rehab 'patients' end up dying so close to the time they decide to go cold turkey (like Jerry Garcia, maybe Amy WInehouse, who else now?) -- makes you wonder if detoxing too fast is just a fatal shock to the system. That leads to a book idea: Death by Rehab, but that's another story.
       I started by thinking of how the President spends his day. He faces an insurmountable amount of tasks, legitimately must have some response for the biggest problems we face as a species, is expected to be calm, cool & collected, always appropriate, never discriminating (yet all we do in life is refine our beliefs based on a process of differences -- of opinion, experience, lifestyle, upbringing, social and economic standing at birth and beyond, parents' influence, teachers and others who shape our minds, loved ones, co-workers, those on the other side of the stage at their own sanctioned podium, stolid in their beliefs, hemmed in by doctrine, lobotomized by dogma. This is de rigeur in political discourse of the day which seems to waste a lot of (finite) time and (precious) energy with the incessant cock-blocking that goes on over bills, amendments, rules & regulations, who gets what first, what fears are held most dear, what absurdities are grasped like life preservers in a swell.
          The president (and his crew, but somehow it never seems that the collective unconscious -- or maybe just un-conscience? -- never puts onus on the legislature--they're just there like clerks filing legal briefs, making sure somewhere in there I, as their constituent, don't get so screwed I actually realize it and choose not to 'renew their contract' for another term; the backlash seems to have a ripple effect in terms of % and #s but the outcome is remarkably consistent no matter who's got the majority; more yelling and screaming about one societal ill versus another, one party has a penchant for little boys in public bathrooms while the other prefers girls gone wild -- their suppressed libido seeps out at the most inconvenient times and then, poof, their 'career' expires. Consultant? Fundraiser? Lobbyist? Downsize the range of the office -- from Representative to County Council ad hoc, etc. -- but rarely do people 'blame' Congress, perhaps because it's behemothic qualities are understood, for things like jobs, the economy, the stock market, interest rates, our status as worldwide ass-kickers who also foot the bill for the security of continents & borders. Somehow, even though it is assumed that we will be the world's 'policemen' for 'freedom,' when we expose our profit-loss statement and admit we need an extension on our payback, the numbers panic, the financial chart goes into cardiac arrest and we stand alone.
        Much like (I presume)  how the leader of a fractured nation -- 'beleagured' to me implies beat up, just tired, done. There's still a fiesty spirit here but, at times, it's as if we're chasing our own tails. I agree with the concept of debate and am the first to brag about my 98% score on the 'analytical thought' portion of the GREs. I love logic, reason and rational deduction. The problem is it's impossible to have this when we've gotten to a place in our 'national debate' where we can only 'take sides' (you will often be challenged, in a black or white manner, not multiple choice, to prove 'you're either with us or against us' from either 'side; what if I am pro-2nd amendment but also support public works like upkeep on our infrastructure, social decency that is proactive (which includes NEITHER 'handouts' to the presumed 'lazy' no-good recipients of assistance NOR corporate welfare that largely goes un-cited); a country where we live up to our 'ideals' [for the most part] and get with the 21st century.
         But we're like the good ole days when Hamilton brandished a gun in the halls of the most 'civilized' discourse of the day and the first few rounds of our founding democracy were raucous and largely irrational. We may come from the very stoic and disciplined British rules of conduct and thus adapted our Puritanical parameters to make sure we keep judging others alive and well. 
         When really what would happen if we put our heads together and tried to work for a common purpose of getting our country back -- on track? What exactly does that mean to any one American? What does it mean to you?

 Carl Norman 
 by rona65

 Katherine Walker 


          To me, it means having a vision. It means those that 'have' need to support those 'in transition' to build the strongest commitment between those with talent, energy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and the ability to analyze this into meaning that then needs the people of action, the investors, the patrons of the arts and sciences, the 'backers' without whom many breakthroughs would never have seen the light of day as the artist would have died before he created his masterwork and advanced the soul of humanity, one step closer to our ... perfect assimilation into the world around us? Total integrated consciousness? No longer destroying our 'habitat' like the elephant, but actually turning our existence into a positive pulse for continuing life and regeneration. 
         The hippie-dippy dream of the over-charging new age life-coach consulting tarot reading crystal ball Secret-sucking fraud who channels Shakti Gawain as enlightened great one who tells you to get off her land overlooking Secret Beach even though she's supposed to allow public access. That's only for certain souls and beings of light. Net worth has a direct effect on that prism.
          Imagine all the 'truths,' 'hard facts' and 'opinions' the commander-in-chief must hear on any given matter. How can he ever check off on a to-do list? How can he ever feel a sense of accomplishment when the economy is going to hell in a handbasket and because he's the one who happens to be pitching this inning, it's all his fault?
         It must get demoralizing (if you let it) and perhaps those who actually make it into that office don't have that quality where they let much 'get' to them. Thick skin -- like an armadillo in the Knights of the Round Table. 
         You have to wonder if he ever can relax. How does one grapple with the 'economy' and fiscal disorder that is like a runaway train at this point. It seems 'under control' or at least -- the worst is over -- and then the next day, all hell breaks loose. Because, why exactly? They barely tell you (it's all speculation anyway) but some days is Greece, others it's Spain, or Germany is nervous it's paying the bill. Social unrest somewhere far away (but that's constant so we grow indifferent) and politics elsewhere altogether--in our land of the free, home of the brave, the bickering and squabbling wreaked such havoc worldwide that mere mental masturbation in the form of bipartisan 'debate' caused the raters of such things as whether a nation that has consumed the most can actually pay its tab when the party's over. That remains to be seen and maybe the world leaders know something we don't (ignoring the financial ramifications of defaulting because it's actually meaningless, we're going to be gone by then, might as well party like it's 1999 til the aliens come down and collect the gene pool or a meteor strikes or the sun burns us up).
           But the answer would be, well, not simple, but we need to find a way to create sustainable life, a web that extends outward from the smallest exchange in a small town or a city square block, to the larger hub of a society. We need innovation and investment in ourselves. We need to maintain our infrastructure and give all kids the same basic quality of education, support research & development, support manufacturing and creation of products and value in our society and share abroad; acknowledge that American workforce means paying off debt, means 'consumer spending,' means someone can afford to go to the doctor. It's all in our best interest to support one another in building a cohesive nation, instead of one fractured over petty differences instead of working with shared, common goals, which should be building the strongest country we can in this global chaos where we will be left behind, and Apple computers, Exxon-Mobile and Warren Buffet will be the last men standing. 
            It's speculated that Apple is rich enough to pay our country's debt, so if this is true they could solve the looming panic by signing a check. Everyone could be accounted for on their iAccessory and pay a .99 surcharge to contribute a solution for some category of over-zealous spending before acquiring. Employers expect you to do that all the time--front your expenses incurred by their expectations of you and then wait to be reimbursed. Work without being compensated for the accrued value your skills and experience bring to their project and ultimately, not-shared, profit. There should be a curve where you get some kind of assigned bonus value bi-monthly for progressing a company that you have no stake in. We don't even get residuals in our end of the game, it's a 'den of thieves,' as that crusty character in the Panama Hat who'd written a screenplay someone stole years ago and he never got over, it became "Brother from Another Planet" through attrition, how fitting, but that was the moniker he gave Tinseltown, simply 'a den of thieves.'
            So good luck Mr. President fixing this economy and I wonder what you'll say about jobs in your Labor Day speech. I want work, a barter system, a way to add value and meaning, a path to progress so life isn't just a cycle of stupidity where we never really learn from our mistakes and re-build a nation worthy of its pride. Truly mindful and accountable to future generations...I know it's possible, with just 63% of the population putting effort in, hopefully another 18% dissenting and then a split in the remaining 18% between the enforcers and the element of subterfuge. That's what it means to have that first amendment, you take the bad with the good, you hear different points of room in the same room and you can actually listen to different points of view, accept and move on. 
            What would you most like to see Made in America in the next year?
            What is the most important invention of the last century, to you?
            What do you most need? What do you most want?
            What's a skill or service you could offer that's not being utilized but could earn you income in-kind or through cash value?
            If you could do anything that helped the overall economic situation with less than half of your time (and survival was no issue), what would it be?
            I sure hope someone reads this.

         Barack Obama