Marshall in the Middle

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ideas Worth Sitting In For: Common Sanity

Last blog, I suggested the protest "sit in" on Wall Street lacked logical boundaries.  What do they want?   As an Independent, I have ideas from the center that work towards resolving the failures of government attacking both the left and the right. 

In this blog, I have some suggestions of what I would demand of our government.  Demanding anything from Wall Street ignores the fact that corporations are focused on their bottom line only.  Just in case anyone misunderstood me in my last blog, this is neither a good thing 'nor a bad thing..... it just IS.  

If I was a Wall Street Sit-In protester, here is what I would demand of the government.

1)  End all money involved in elections.  A play-off system shall be established whereby each state supplies candidates brought up from local officials through local play offs.  The candidates shall  present their points of view through debate, speeches, and media interviews.   There shall be no advertising,  no placards, and no phone solicitation. 

2)  All primary elections shall be "open" elections.  Anything else limits some citizens (those that are not members of either major political party) from their constitutional right to a representative government.  

3)  Corporations are hereby forbidden from hiding profits overseas through bogus headquarter claims.

4) All corporate taxes shall be reduced to a level reflecting the current world-market tax- rate, but all loopholes shall also be plugged. 

5) The federal government will balance its budget.  Whenever there is an emergency such as a war that calls for more money, then all citizens (except active military) will be taxed at a flat rate to pay for said war or occasion.

6)  All subsidies for any specific industry are eliminated.  If an industry can no longer sustain itself profitably then it needs to be allowed to fail. 

7)  All manufactured products sold will show at what rate the labor was paid that produced the product. 

8)  Income tax will be set at a pre determined flat rate for all citizens because all citizens benefit from federal programs.    A national consumption tax and a luxury tax will be added to state sales taxes to make up for any short-fall that the flat tax does not cover.  

9)  There will be a full assessment of all jobs, projects, roles that all departments of all governments that govern in the United States.  Any role or job that is being duplicated will be consolidated to realize efficiencies and save money. 

10)  All American military presence shall be re-assessed as to its relative need for the protection of American liberties and freedoms.   If it is found to be unnecessary to protect these liberties of American citizens then it will be eliminated within a reasonable timeline.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Wall Street "Sit In" Needs Mr. Spock



So most of you are aware of the Wall Street "Sit In" that began a couple of months ago and has grown to a world-wide protest, demanding...... something.   At the beginning I watched a Fox News reporter try to get some of them to talk about what it was they wanted.  Now, granted Fox probably edited out any reasonable answer, but Lord almighty it was painful to watch these people babble answers to the reporter.  I mean it was bad.  It was "please don't continue to talk anymore, because it's awful watching you"  bad.  Yes, bad.  Now, the rest of the world has joined in with this protest, but does anyone understand what it is that's being demanded?

So......Citizens of the "stop Wall Street from being greedy movement",  I have some advice.  If you want to get the public to react, have some clearly defined goals and understand that (regardless of what the Supreme Court says)  corporations are not "people",  they are monolithic, non-thinking masses of money and their reason for existing is only to increase their shareholders' wealth.   The human beings within the corporation, even the very man running the corporation,  might care very much about you and your dirty sleeping bag, but the corporation itself does not.  Think of it as if it's the Borg on the old "Star Trek, the Next Generation Series".  No one person controls it, and  it's all interconnected.  Resistance is futile.

Now that you understand your target of rage is not capable of computing or adjusting itself AT ALL to your protest, consider that it does have a weakness.  That is the source of it's money..... the source of its feasting.  That would be the government, the shareholder and the consumer.

So, faithful readers, in my next blog I will suggest some boundaries, some issues that our young idealistic friends might consider to get them closer to what I think they want.  I would also like to suggest that there is a part of all of us that is with these people and their demands for a more just and decent society.  My suggestions will be neither right 'nor left.... just logical like Mr. Spock.

Live long and prosper.... In My Humble Opinion,

Chuck Marshall

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Christian Face


As I have referred to a few times in this blog, I'm a pretty religious guy.  I go to church nearly every week, my kids are active and my wife sings in the "praise band".  I attend the Presbyterian Church, which sits well with me with its very long history, tradition, and tendency towards a "logical" approach to scripture.  Sometimes we're accused of being the "frozen chosen" because we're so traditional and somewhat unemotional.   I have to say that I have never looked forward to church as much as I do these past years.  The reason?  Because of our pastor.  Pastor Shawn has great insight into the meaning behind scripture and he offers ways of looking at verses that help in my week to week life.   Pastor Shawn gleans meaning that I think very effectively reflects what Christ was trying to communicate to people.  Not only that, but he walks the walk with adamant support for missions to help people in the community and the world and an unswerving determination to encourage more youth participation.  The man is the real deal. 

Our church has recently split apart due to the hierarchy of the "Presbyterian Church USA" denomination making a decision to allow homosexuals to serve as pastors, elders, and deacons in our church as long as it is approved by the congregation of each church.  Many members of our church simply couldn't take that entire concept.  So, they left.

As with most issues that get an emotional rise out of me, I always try to look at the core issue, "what is it that bothers me so?".  So, here it is;   In the New Testament Jesus Christ mentions the evils of judging, hypocrisy, disobeying the ten commandments and his actions were always towards healing the sick and feeding the poor.   These things are "what He's all about".   Not once did he mention homosexuals.  Not once.  But the evils of judging other people are very, very clear in the New Testament. 

1st Corinthians 4:5 

"So don't make judgments about anyone ahead of time--before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due."  (New International Version 2007)

Pastor Shawn had a sermon this week that concluded with the allegory of a talented wood carver who does remarkable work creating very realistic looking dogs.  When someone asks him how he does that... he replies "it's not that hard really, you just remove everything from the block of wood that's not a dog".   Shawn then concluded that when we need to make tough decisions in life that maybe "it's not  really that hard after all",  we just need to remove everything from the decision that is not love.

That's what Christianity is all about, Charlie Brown....

In My Humble Opinion,

Chuck Marshall

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Because King Chuck Wishes It: Part 2

Back in April, I wrote a blog called "Because King Chuck Wishes It", and it was basically a rambling soliloquy on what I would like to have happen in the United States if I were to somehow gain absolute power, like a King in the "old days".  So, this has been running around in my head lately because after all it's so much fun to consider having all things go the way you want with no challenge from any other political thought.  (The Tea Party should be familiar with this thought process).  Anyway..... I was in conversation with a customer today over the expense of general elections and I climbed up on my soap box to announce one of my favorite ideas.  So, here is how I put it in the original "Because King Chuck Wishes It".

" Extract money from the process of electing our leaders. We have a system to select the best college basketball team in the country that doesn't require a Billion dollars so why is such a system so impossible for our leaders? Candidates shall be nominated by their peers as being capable and trustworthy in the community. These nominees would then list their positions on all the major issues of the day. Have them present their ideas in the form of a speech. Have them debate each other to defend their positions. Then we all vote. No campaigns, no signs, no TV ads, no daily mailings, no marketing, no polls, no malarkey. Just the candidate and the people."

This is where I stopped on "electing leaders" in "Because King Chuck Wishes It" part I. 

So, to continue this train of thought......why do we have elections where money is necessary? .  Anyone who is elected in this day and age is very much beholden to whoever funded their multi-million dollar "run for office", never mind their claims at being called to do the bidding of the American people.  What a crock that is !   They are concerned with paying back whoever shelled out the big bucks for them to get their "dream job" running our country. (running it into the ground is how its been working).

So, my ideas is a play off system of selecting, nominating and finally electing our leaders.  It would start locally.  We begin by selecting leaders in our communities whether through voluntary organizations or businesses.  Each organization of over 100 members (just for the sake of argument, doesn't have to be 100- but enough people so that the leaders in the group stand out) will nominate one of its members to run for public office.

Once the nominees are selected, each person will be asked to demonstrate what their agenda would be and how they would tackle problems of the day.  The local media would then cover each candidate with published lists of their opinions on LOCAL issues and bullet points on their opinions and solutions.  Each candidate would then be allowed to make broadcast speeches and answer questions from the public.  At that point there would be "primaries" where each party would vote for their preferred nominee.  These primaries would be "open" primaries, that is anyone can vote in any primary, but they can only select one group to participate in.  As an example, the Republicans might have group of 10 candidates, then the Independents and even Democrats can vote for one of these men or women but they then give up  their right to vote in any other primary (ie, the Democratic primary).

With this process, you're getting the best and most qualified leaders who have been observed by people in their community consequently  the person's morals and qualities are personally verified.

Stay tune for another "Because King Chuck Wishes It", as I elaborate on this new way of selecting our leaders.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Chuck Marshall's Humble Opinion ...Published !

Dear faithful readers !

I must apologize for neglecting many of you who probably didn't see my column published in the Orlando Sentinel back in Septbember.  I had meant to copy on to this blog, but totally forgot in all the excitement of my first "guest" column.  Truth be told, I'd like to be a regular columnist (for the Orlando Sentinel or any other periodical) but this blog will have to satisfy my craving for the time being.  Not much money (because none of you ever clicks my ads !) but at least I'm getting an  assortment of ramblings off my chest.  Anyway, here is it in all it's glory.  OR, you can google search "Charles E. Marshall  Orlando Sentinel Sept. 13, 2011" and it should come up.  The Sentinel titled it "Middle Voice Will Bring Wise Government", but I just titled it  "Wise Government"

Happy Reading !

Wise Government (published Sept. 13, 2011- Op-Ed page of the Orlando Sentinel)
As our nation grapples with its next political direction, I have to question why there is such silence and absence of the middle voice? The right is very vocal with its Tea Party wing of the Republican party, the left is ever-present with the clarion call that the government is there to help all of us, whether we want that help or not. Each wing has its rock solid supporters. The Republicans are champions of all things corporate. They fling the door wide open to the corporate lobbyists and encourage all of us that if we just allow the corporations to do as they wish then it will“trickle down” to the rest of us. The left has the labor unions, bureaucrats, the perpetually unemployed and progressive “thinkers” that are well adapted at wrenching money from the faceless government and its never ending supply of money.
The backbone of our country is the small businessman, the low-level managers, the teachers, the entrepreneurs, religious leaders, civic leaders, firemen, police officers, and housewives. These are the groups that really get it all done and form the foundation of our communities. I don’t see anyone who is focused on this group of people. Those who want the freedom to succeed but also understand the occasional need for government involvement. A smart, efficient government that encourages new business ideas and endeavors but does not subsidize large corporations that already have the advantage over any smaller competitor. A smart, efficient government that rules the country in order to encourage individual achievement as well as individual responsibility. One that encourages us to take care of our own families and to make the smart choices in life, always realizing the fact that actions have consequences, always “allowing” us to fail if that is the consequence of our bad choices. Let the broken pieces be picked up by our friends, family and neighbors so there is meaning to help when it comes.
It is my hope that the swelling movement of Independent voters will evolve into a powerful movement that demands a disciplined, intelligent government that borrows from both wings of the political spectrum to allow America to move on to a new level of success. An America that once again governs on compromise, always understanding that no one group is always correct, and all voices have a right to be heard and respected even if those voices don't vocalize our own thoughts. Let America lead the world once again in political thought. It should be an example to all nations that the individual led by a wise government has no obstacles that cannot be overcome.
In My Humble Opinion........Chuck Marshall :)