It’s About You – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday September 17, 2008

I did an absolute no no in the blogging world today. I purposely tagged this article with the names of a number of famous people to shamelessly attract you to it. My reason will be clear in a moment.

We are a culture that invests a lot of time and energy on fame and celebrity. We’re obsessed with the latest fashions worn by stars and by stories of their luxurious lifestyles or tragic slips. We are obsessed with sports stars, movie stars, singing stars, and Dancing with the Stars.

We’d never consider missing the big game. In fact, we’ll rearrange our lives to watch it. But spend three hours quietly reflecting on our lives, where we are, and where we’re going? Well, maybe we’ll have time for that next week or next month or when we’re older.

You visited this article in the hopes of finding out some little tidbit about the celebrity you were searching. Instead, I’d like to hold up a mirror and remind you that your life is about you not about them.

There is nothing wrong with diversions. In moderation, they are actually quite normal and healthy. The danger comes when they prevent us from doing the one thing we are here to do.

The truth is you are here to learn about you. You are not here to be a follower; having your thoughts downloaded to you every day by talk radio or becoming a slave to this season’s fashions. As long as you are, you will never be free.

You are here to take the circumstances and abilities you have and make the most of them. You are here to express the uniqueness that no one else living on this planet can. You are here to think for yourself and be yourself.

Here is a challenge. This week spend as much time on you as you do following sports scores, fashion, the music charts, or celebrity gossip. You may just rediscover this amazing person full of potential and ready to take on new dreams.

Fame and celebrity, even for the few lucky enough to catch it, are a fieeting morning mist. You cannot grab it and hold it because the Sun burns it off in the blink of an eye.

You, however, are substantial and worth time and effort you now put into other things.

Stay inspired!

Ray

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Sarah Palin’s Moment – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday September 4, 2008

Ok. Let’s set the politics aside for the moment. Many Americans thought and hoped this might be “The Year of the Woman” in American politics. Most people entertaining that possibility envisioned Hillary Clinton as the next President of The United States.

This evening the country was introduced to the woman who still has a shot to wind up in the White House this year.

She is Alaska’s little-known Governor Sarah Palin. This evening Mrs. Palin burst onto the American political scene with a fiery speech full of partisan hooks sure to please the Republican faithful and a fresh style certain to worry political opponents. John McCain’s running mate made a clear statement that she is a force to be reckoned with in this campaign.

Her optimistic tone is inviting and infectious. She displayed an ability to draw the viewer in – agree or not. Her irreverence and humor adds a new dimension to this campaign. Joe Biden will have his hands full in their debate.

Tonight was only a speech. A long campaign lies ahead. It’s impossible to predict at this moment whether Sarah Palin will be the first female Vice-President of the United States or join Geraldine Ferraro as an interesting historical footnote.

As with Barack Obama, Sarah Palin represents the appearance of change. However, we cannot be satisfied with the same old messages being delivered by new messengers. Coca-Cola can change its packaging, but it is still Coca-Cola.

This country, I believe, is thirsting for a change in direction. It has demonstrated a willingness to listen to Barack Obama and Sarah Palin. It hopes that their talk of reform and change are more than just talk. Time will tell if they are truly new products or simply a repackaging of the same old products.

Three things are certain. After tonight, Sarah Palin has earned the right to stand on the stage and take her shot alongside Barack Obama. The Year of the Woman in American politics is alive and well. And, the inauguration ceremony in January 2009 is going to be historic – one way or the other.

Stay inspired!

Ray

5 Positive Things You Won’t See at the Democratic Convention

Quote from George Washington’s Farewell Address, 1796

“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.”


Freedom demands empowered and informed thinking. Following is a list of five positive things you could, but will not see at this week’s Democratic National Convention. While the balloons are falling for Barack Obama and Joe Biden, much more is really going on.

I’m not picking on the Democrats. We will the same missed opportunity for positive change at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis in a couple of weeks.

  1. Democracy – there has been a lot of talk of a last-minute Hillary coup at the convention. I’m not saying that would be a good or a bad thing. I’m just saying it’s not going to happen.
  2. Pro-Peace Speeches – wasn’t one of Mr. Obama’s original appeals his opposition to the war? Now he seems to be doing a bait and switch on the war. Afghanistan is a good war and Iraq is a bad war. There will be no questioning of whether or not the U.S. should cease pursuing war around the world.
  3. A Call to Undo Domestic Spying – Mr. Obama could pledge to undo the abusive expansion of the internal spy apparatus, but he will not. He put crazy talk like that to rest with his vote on FISA reauthorization.
  4. Freedom of Speech – the practice of setting up free speech zones far from cameras and politicians continues. The premise here is you can have your First Amendment as long as it is where no one can hear you. It seems vaguely reminiscent of what the Chinese did at the Olympics for protestors.
  5. Lower Taxes – you’re not going to see calls to lower taxes on ordinary Americans dealing with high fuel prices, high food prices, and high healthcare costs.

I bring up these things not to be negative, but to point out that we have a lot of room for positive change in the American political system. We have slowly drifted from our core values of freedom and there is no place like the political party conventions to be reminded of it.

In a couple of months, we will see the power of the two major parties again. They will deny third, fourth, and fifth parties (parties that may receive hundreds of thousands to millions of votes in November) from standing on the same stage and engaging Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain in open debate. Open debate and discussion, isn’t that what freedom is all about? Why are they so against it?

Maybe this year more people will want an answer to that question.

Ultimately, I’m optimistic. I believe the American people are becoming aware of what they have lost and are going to demand it back soon.

As this empowered thinking and tide of wisdom grows, I can only wonder if the Democrat and Republican parties will adapt to a more open system or become historical relics.

Stay inspired!
Ray

Giving Barack Obama His Due – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday February 26, 2008


Thank you for visiting The Affirmation Spot. Your comments on the blog or this article are always welcome. Please click here to comment on today’s blog.




ray_launchpad.jpgWhat Ray’s reading right now:

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (Oprah’s Book Club, Selection 61)




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obama.gifBarack Obama. His name seems to be on everyone’s lips these days. He has definitely been successful in (ugly marketing phrase coming) “creating buzz”.

Four years ago when he gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention there was talk that he might one day be a strong presidential candidate. No one anticipated it coming in this election cycle.

Afterall, Hillary Clinton was to be the next Democratic nominee and nothing in heaven or earth was going to stop her, if you listened to all the experts.

The experts did not anticipate Barack Obama. Mr. Obama is an outstanding orator. He is one of those rare speakers who can take a crowd and lift their spirits and raise their hopes. As he sweeps across the country like a Spring twister, he is doing just that to audience after audience.

What now seems inevitable is that Hillary Clinton has run into a buzzsaw of hope and optimism. The people are demanding something new and Senator Clinton only has more of the old to offer. Obama has taken 11 primaries and caucuses in a row and seems poised to leap Hillary Clinton’s Ohio-Texas firewall on his way to an historic nomination.

In previous posts, I have made clear my support for Ron Paul in this election cycle. His no nonsense and truthful description of the problems facing the United States are, in my mind, the best way forward. The Democratic big-government prescription proposed by both Obama and Clinton (as well as the big empire prescription proposed by McCain and mainline Republicans) seems to defy the Federal Reserves’ ability to print the money fast enough.

Still, I’ve listened and watched Mr. Obama with growing interest. He really does have some highly admirable characteristics as a speaker and a motivator. Many of us working in the field of human motivation and inspiration could take master lessons from him.

As Obama is now famous for saying, “Words really do matter.” People do need more voices out there offering the promise of a better tomorrow. Obama is filling a need for our nation right now. We have been desperate in recent years for a voice of hope and he is delivering. We’ve been existing on a steady diet of fear and more fear. That is toxic for a person and toxic for a nation.

Obama’s latest transgression, that has the establishment in both parties grimacing, is that he might actually talk to people on our “no talk” list. On this count, I am cheering. You cannot have peace or prosperity in the world when there are people you refuse to converse with. It is a ridiculous old line stance and Obama is rightly promising a new approach.

Barack Obama’s success, I believe, can be attributed to the fact that he is spreading rays of hope across the countryside. Even many Republicans now regard the Bush administration as years spent in the proverbial wilderness. Bringing hope in this envrionment is no small feat and deserves tremendous thanks. People are responding to Obama – the man – like flowers to the coming of Spring.

It is unfortunate that Barack believes government is the source of that hope. But for that one flaw, he might be the real deal. If we had a cabinet level position for motivation or inspiration, I think Barack Obama should be confirmed 100-0 by the Senate. There’s an idea – Secretary of Inspiration.

I wish Barack Obama only well. There is an increasing possibility that he could be the next President of the United States. From a domestic policy standpoint, that worries me. He seems a little nebulous on his position to undue the Constitutional damage created in the last few years. His spending proposals simply are not realistic given our monetary situation.

He does offer hope of a new direction in foreign policy. That is a positive that brings hope to millions. I hope he will follow through on those commitments.

However, I want to give him his due. He has added a positive perspective to this year’s election. For that, I salute him and offer my gratitude.

Be peaceful Be positive!

Ray

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Positive Political Poll Update – The Affirmation Spot

campaign08.jpgAbout four weeks ago, I began taking an unscientific poll asking readers a political question not being posed in the myriad of professional political polls being conducted right now.

The question was:

Which major presidential candidate do you believe has the most positive message for America in 2008 and why?

 Here are the results to-date. Please note that I began the poll before the slew of recent withdrawls. Nonetheless, the results are somewhat surprising for two of the five candidates still in this race.

Candidate with the most positive message:

  1. Barack Obama          43%
  2. Ron Paul                 21%
  3. Mike Huckabee        12%
  4. Hillary Clinton            6%
  5. John Edwards            6%
  6. Mitt Romney              6%
  7. John McCain              3%
  8. Rudy Guiliani              0%

As to the question of why the selected candidate is the most positive in this year’s campaign.

  1. Believability            18%
  2. Integrity                15%
  3. Hope                     15%
  4. Policies                  12%
  5. Truthfulness           12%
  6. Vision                    12%
  7. Principles                 9%
  8. Faith                       3%

If you’d like to add your voice to this discussion, click the following link to take the poll.

Take the positive presidential poll


Take a hypothetical presidential election poll




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Who Is The Most Positive Presidential Candidate in 2008? – The Affirmation Spot for January 26, 2008


copy-of-ray_hawaii1.jpgWhat Ray’s reading right now:

Mindful Politics: A Buddhist Guide to Making the World a Better Place




campaign08.jpgToday’s post is short and sweet.I want to know who you believe is the most positive major presidential candidate in this year’s race. I’m trying to get a sense of who people believe is the most positive (not necessarily who they plan to vote for) presidential candidate in 2008.






Quick two-question poll. Who is the most positive candidate remaining in the race? Why do you believe this person is the most positive candidate?

  • Mitt Romney
  • John McCain
  • Barack Obama
  • Ron Paul
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Mike Huckabee
  • John Edwards
  • Rudy Guiliani
  • None of the Above (write in your own candidate)



Cast your vote by leaving your comment here.

Be Peaceful Be prosperous!

Ray

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Integrity of the Political System Prerequisite for Freedom – The Affirmation Spot for Friday January 11, 2008

Touchscreen Voting MachineIt is not my intention to write on the subject of politics so regularly on this blog. The primary focus of The Affirmation Spot is positive thinking and motivation.

However, what is happening in our political system does have a huge impact on our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren. To remain silent and not try be a voice for proactive positive change, seems not an option. 

The freedom to choose our own government representatives is a rare thing in human history. The process should be something we cherish, something motivating not demotivating.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich announced this morning his intention to call for a formal recount of the Democratic primary in New Hampshire. The Kucinich move follows that of Albert Howard, a minor but principled candidate on the Republican side, who initiated the process in that party yesterday.

Both men and a growing number of Americans are concerned about the integrity of the voting system and the specific results in Tuesday’s 2008 New Hampshire primary. After the 2000 election and the spectacle of hanging chads in Florida, the federal government funded a program to replace all non-electroinic voting methods with electronic machines. That program is still underway, but has been rolled out to most non-rural precincts nationwide.

Despite concerns by technology experts, privacy advocates, and other concerned citizens many of these machines are “paperless” meaning there is no non-electronic trail to confirm votes. Even the viability of a recount is questionable if there are problems.

Several technology experts have demonstrated that these machines can be hacked. This can happen without well-meaning poll watchers (our traditional method for ensuring the integrity of elections) even knowing it. Many of the people with the time to volunteer for poll observer positions are not familiar with the new technologies. This is a bad combination for open and transparent elections.

amflag2.jpg

There are several things driving this to a head in New Hampshire right now. First, is the apparent 10-15 point last minute shift away from Barack Obama towards Hillary Clinton. Second, is awareness (even vigilence) about this issue among Ron Paul supporters many of whom believe his numbers were skewed. Third, there is tremendous distrust out there among the electorate on voting system integrity after the 2000 and 2004 elections.

It is baffling how so many pre-primary and exit polls could be so wrong on the Democratic race. National pundits are at a loss to explain it other than to conclude that voters must have been lying to pollsters. CNN political analyst Bill Schneider did go so far as to include vote fraud as a third and reluctant possibility to explain the situation.

Logic dictates that it was Obama supporters, many of whom do not fall into traditional polling samples in such large numbers, would tend to skew polls more in Mrs. Clinton’s favor. Could so many people change their minds so dramatically so quickly?

On the Ron Paul side of the fence, many questions exist. One town – Sutton, NH – had to restate its vote totals after some local voters confronted them with what they knew to be faulty results. The town’s vote totals were turned in with zero votes for Paul. A family who had voted for Paul saw the results and contacted election officials. It turned out that Paul had actually received 31 votes and that there had been “an error” in transferring numbers over to the official tabulation sheet.

Anecdotally, there are numerous voting areas in the state with hundreds or thousands of voters where Paul received zero votes – something unlikely for a candidate consistently receiving around 10 percent of the vote.

There is also a huge discrepency for both Obama and Paul in parts of the state using countable paper ballots and those using electronic machines. Some of the disparity, no doubt, has to do with the “political geography” of the state. Nonetheless, it is discouraging that vote counts with verifiable means are so different from vote counts more difficult to verify.

kucinich2.jpgIn his  comments on a nationally broadcast radio show this afternoon, Mr. Kucinich stated that he was not calling for the recount to benefit his campaign. He admitted his results would probably not change significantly. He said he hears concern about vote integrity on the campaign trail, “more than any other domestic issue”.

I have personally been following this issue for several years and there is so much more to what is going on than there is time to share here.

Kucinich feels like the integrity of the voting system is paramount. I whole-heartedly concur. Democracy, real democracy, is a positive in global society. The ability of ordinary people to choose leaders and direct their own lives is the foundation for any citizen wishing to enjoy “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

It does not matter what candidate you support there must be integrity in the voting system. They say perception is reality. The perception on the part of millions of Americans (participants and non-participants in the system) is that our political system is broken.

Voices like Ron Paul’s, Dennis Kucinich’s, and it would appear Barack Obama’s are not very welcome in the circles of status quo. They enjoy broad support among people committed to reforming things. The status quo prefers things to remain, well, status quo.

Every positive stride we have made towards a more just, a more free, a more open nation and world is put at risk when we fail to question. Thank goodness there are some people still willing to do it.

Who knows what the recount will reveal? This is definitely an issue that needs to be in the consciousness of every American voter – Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Independent.

If there was even a chance your favorite sports team was being treated unfairly, you’d be upset. Why tolerate even the possibility or appearance of impropriety in our political system?

Every voter, whoever your candidate, has a right to be assured that your vote is counting in The United States of America.

I wish Barack Obama or Ron Paul had chosen to challenge this directly. Thank you, Dennis and Albert, for taking a stand for every American who wants to believe!

Be peaceful Be prosperous.

Ray

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