Archive for January 27th, 2010

For consumers, it’s not the free market. It’s the Wild West.

| January 27, 2010 | 2 Replies
For consumers, it’s not the free market. It’s the Wild West.

Bob Sullivan is quickly becoming one of my heroes, based upon my reading of his new book: Stop Getting Ripped off: Why Consumers Get Screwed and How You Can Always Get a Fair Deal (2009). Bob also offers a blog called the Red Tape Chronicles, where he reports on numerous consumer issues. It’s well worth your while.

I recently mentioned Bob’s book on a post focused on America’s profound case of Innumeracy.

I’m a bit deeper into the book now, and I am highly impressed with Sullivan’s ability to write clearly and persuasively with regard to consumer issues. I am also impressed with his ability to give an evenhanded account of many consumer issues. He doesn’t deny that consumer greed has played a role in modern-day screwing of American consumers. On the other hand, consumer greed is only part of the story. The other big part of the story is that our federal agencies that we have had set up to serve as watchdogs for Americans, are doing a pathetic job. Consider the case of Bernie Madoff. The securities and exchange commission (SEC) was presented with overwhelming evidence that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme way back in 1999. They did nothing about it. Sullivan as “if the SEC isn’t hunting down folks such as Madoff, do you really think it’s protecting you?”

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What’s wrong with ME, God??

| January 27, 2010 | 15 Replies
What’s wrong with ME, God??

Why doesn’t God like me?

I have an acquaintance who has been enlightening me recently about manifestations of the supernatural, both good and bad. He has told me frightening stories of people using occult practices to summon dark spirits and actually touch them.

More often I hear believers talk of their personal experiences with dreams, visions and the clear responses they get from God that cement in their mind His existence. These are not imagination, they assert. These are real events. Palpable things.

So, what’s wrong with me?? I have been alive for almost 50 years and never ever, not even once, had any experience that was so unexplainable that I felt it HAD to come from another realm.

“But you have to seek God out before you will find Him,” the believers will say.

I have been very open to belief at times in my life. I was raised Catholic, left the church in my teens, returned to the church in my 20s, ready, open for and desiring a spiritual journey…and felt nothing. I’ve had hard times, lost loved ones to disease, been divorced and lost all my money, been alone, nearly became addicted to painkillers for a time and contemplated suicide on one occasion.

Nothing. No signs from God.

There were times when I really needed help and would have welcomed a vision or two, but not one experience did I have during all that time that I would consider other-worldly. I just said to myself “enough of this”, and eventually moved on.

My agnosticism comes from my practical experience. I’ve lived this long and been through what I’ve been through and have never experienced a manifestation of any kind. Do you blame me for not believing?? Why should I believe in something that gives me no sign of its existence? If there is a God, why is he holding back?

So, what’s wrong with me, God? Didn’t I deserve a vision or two along the way? Wasn’t I good enough for a manifestation that I could see and touch? They say that faith is knowing in the absence of proof. You gave proof to these other believers. Why not me?

Is there anyone listening?

Seems not.

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How you say it . . .

| January 27, 2010 | Reply
How you say it . . .

How you say it matters, which is beautifully illustrated by this five-minute film, which was the short story winner from the 2008 Cannes Festival.

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