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Opinion

After watching the two reality shows known as the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, one word comes to mind – scripted. Though the outcome of their respective nominees were already decided, the party bosses nevertheless made sure that any dissent would be squashed like a bug approaching the windshield of a speeding 18-wheeler.

On a voice vote, the Republicans amended their rules for selecting delegates, limiting control on a local and state level while increasing power on a national level. Controversial stuff to be sure, but it was addressed quickly as if it was a vote between turkey or club sandwiches for lunch. The ayes and nays sounded about the same, but the fix was in and the chair automatically announced that the resolution had passed. Of course it passed, because House Speaker John Boehner had the teleprompter words in front of him before the “vote” was even taken. Those pesky cell phone cameras can sure be a pain for a carefully scripted event.

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Everyday we are bombarded with the unemployment numbers; they are up, they are down; the number of jobs added and/or lost. Numbers are wonderful things if you are trying to prove your president is doing a good job or you can use the same numbers in a different way to prove he’s not. Besides, they can only track people who have actually worked at a job and are eligible for unemployment.

I contend that the numbers do not tell the whole story. It doesn’t even tell the part of the story that matters: People that are really and truly out of work; people who have no intention of working; people who cannot find a job they are qualified to do and people who are virtually unemployable.

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Publisher's note: A very wise man wrote these words in November 2004. They are still important to remember today.

Buckle up, America!

According to reports by our deadline Wednesday, it appears that our incumbent president, George W. Bush, may have been re-elected.

If so, we've given a vote of confidence to a President that ...

• Misled America into a war that we didn't need to fight.
• Has not changed abortion laws in the first four years of his presidency.
• Has created the largest deficit in U.S. history.
• Has launched a pre-emptive attack on a third world nation, costing the lives of more than 1,000 U.S. soldiers and killing an Iraq coalition estimate of 100,000 mostly innocent Iraqi citizens.
• Has done very little to lower health care or provide affordable insurance to our citizens.
• Has taken no action as the economy dragged and jobs were outsourced to foreign nations, with the large companies receiving tax breaks.
• Has conducted a secretive administration that has been less than honest with the American people, yet has been intrusive in the personal lives of its citizens.
• Has done very little to protect the environment.
• And most of all, has left the American people divided more than ever after promising to be a uniter four years ago.

If the president had done just half of what he said he would do in the first four years, we probably wouldn't be so pessimistic.

But if, as the Bush supporters chanted at their convention, "Four more years" is what we'll get, then we expect a bumpy ride for the next four years.

So buckle up America and hang on.

— Gary L.Gooder

The “Tragedy of the Commons” is an environmental term coined by ecologist Garett Hardin back in 1968. The basic premise and dilemma is that when a resource is shared, or held in common, it can lead to depletion, since those utilizing it have a greater incentive to profit from its use rather than to conserve the resource.

A similar dilemma seems to be in place when it comes to government spending. With the national debt north of $15 trillion and climbing, there doesn't appear to be any serious effort to change the mindset that the wealth of the country is a “commons” that can be strip mined at will. Tapping into government money is like a communal ATM machine if you have the right pin number.

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published: 10/18/2013
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