Monthly Archives: December 2008

Private Property Ownership, Real Estate, Your Money (Issue 144)

As the credit crunch tightens, the price of houses decline, and mortgage payments still remain high, the housing market still presents problems for many.
 
I live in a town in Northeast Georgia by Lake Lanier—the nation’s largest man-made lake—an area where real estate was a large booming business for many years. Hundreds of very expensive homes were built around the lake, which covers five counties. Now, many of these homes in the million-dollar range and upwards are on the market with no takers.
 
Aside from the tanking of the housing market, the lake level has been so low the past couple of years that it’s difficult to lure buyers to this area. Consequently, there are many in this region holding the bag for an expensive house with a “for sale” sign and no buyers.
 
I hear about the moaning and groaning of holders of such properties. Many are in a state of denial still thinking the property is worth the original cost or more. Most any property could be sold in today’s market if the price was low enough. But so many hold out for a price and wind up in foreclosure.
 
I live on a street designated “historic” and many houses on this street have a “for sale” or “for rent” sign out front, many of which are overpriced and stand empty.
 
It seems the value system and thinking of the average person is behind the current market.  Some still believe their house purchase was an investment that will always appreciate. The value of anything is always subjective. To transfer ownership always depends upon what the seller is willing to sell for and the buyer is willing to pay. But for some, they are stuck with this idea that worth is what they determine it to be . . . some fixed amount. Many refuse to admit they made a mistake and paid far too much when they purchased the property.
 
It’s a difficult position for some to admit they made a foolish mistake when they purchased the property and are unwilling to take the loss, thinking someone else will come along and be as ignorant of the value as they were and bail them out, for which they hold on until they lose it all. Compounding the dilemma is the exorbitant cost of taxes on real estate property.
 
In my situation, I moved to this area a couple of years ago and leased the property, which was for sale at that time. Recently, my two-year lease came up for renewal and the owner wanted me to sign another two-year lease and I refused. He said the taxes would increase next year and if I was under a two-year lease I would not have that to be concerned about paying more. I’m not going be concerned about it whether or not I’m under a lease. If the price goes up because of taxes I can relocate to a less expensive place and buy or lease another property. There are plenty available in this area.
 
It’s an interesting phenomenon. So many people think the home they purchased to live in is like their personal bank. They think the money they pay on it every month is a deposit into their future, guaranteed to be there if and when at any time they decide to vacate and transfer to someone else. They think they would withdraw from the sale all they paid into plus a profit on their monthly payments. As if there is some invisible FDIC arrangement guaranteeing some kind of cashing in policy any time they needed it.
 
On the other hand, conditions in this country—economically speaking—are not what they appear to some and are changing so rapidly it’s not easy to keep up with what is taking place.
 
It helps to return to principled standards and separate truth from all the propaganda. Assume the responsibility of not falling into all the traps of the entanglements of semantics. The double think, double talk of modern day medicine men, hawking out verbiage and fostering ignorance of what is actually going on. We live in an information era where things are easily available and there is enough to read about to be informed to make sensible decisions about our lives, money and property. There’s so much deception and trickery it’s not easy to avoid the pitfalls. And conditions are such today it takes greater vigilance to be aware of all that goes on which effects our lives adversely.
 
I equate such happenings to quicksand. I recall growing up on a farm and walking quite a distance to catch the school bus. I had to walk by an area, a large hole, for which my parents warned me was quick sand. It looked like an area of pretty green ground covering, but they warned me it was actually a body of water covered with a layer of growing greenery and if I fell in, I would be sucked under, unable to get out. Quicksand is a pretty deceptive trap. I have always remembered that experience of walking by on a regular basis on my way to school.
 
From time to time, I have faced experiences in my life that reminded me of quicksand. And in today’s economy, there seems to be a lot of quicksand schemes, a proliferation of all kinds of quick money making schemes on the internet, on television ads and through emails. Presentation of ideas that appear to be so tempting all dressed up with flowery promises of “get rich quick” schemes.
 
Some now that are surfacing, which have been in operation for some time, like the Madoff exposure, reveal stories of how he has milked others out of $50 billion in his fraudulent financial schemes. We are living in a time that requires us to be more cautious, more thinking, more careful and better informed to avoid these quicksand schemes.
 
Fasten your seatbelts. We are in for a bumpy ride this coming year just around the corner.
 
Let Freedom Ring!

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“He Who Knows and Knows that He Knows is Wise—Follow Him” (Issue 143)

A Persian Proverb:

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Freedom: What It Is and What It Is Not (Issue 142)

During the long political campaign for a new president of this country, I became a sort of news junkie listening to all of the speeches, which began with dozens of candidates seeking the office of power.
 
I kept listening to hear one of them talk about freedom, but no one ever did, except one. And that was Sara Palin, the governor of Alaska, running on the Republican ticket for Vice President. She did speak of her love of freedom and was the only one I heard mention it. After awhile, I noticed the absence of any mention of the word, and concluded it had become a taboo word.
 
After concluding it has become unfashionable to talk about it, I realized there’s a lot of confusion about its meaning. In my blog articles, I write more about the meaning of freedom than any other subject. I write about what it is. In this article, I will write about what it is not.
 
First off, freedom is not a government grant. It’s a state of being that cannot be legislated by politicians. It is a gift granted to us as an inalienable right by our creator.
 
It is not a commodity that can be bought and sold.
 
It is not a privilege . . . a privilege being a special or peculiar benefit, favor or advantage granted to some by other humans, but not to all. A privilege can be a civil or political grant, favoring some and excluding others. Freedom is not exclusive.

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Freedom is an Inalienable Right Granted to Us by a Creator (Issue 141)

Less than a year ago, I began writing articles on my very own blog site. When my son offered to create a site for me to write and express ideas on, the first thing I did was e-mail a friend to ask her what a blog was. She said it’s taken from two words, Web log, hence blog. That’s how ignorant I was about blogging and still know very little about a computer and the language of the computer world.
 
Recently a friend asked me, “Why do you write articles on this blog.”  My response was, “I write because I can and must.” As far back as I can remember I have been writing. It’s a wonderful way to express oneself. For so many years, I would spend time writing about anything that popped into my head, filing or throwing it away. 
 
Frequently when one has something on their mind that’s bothering them, they seek to find someone to lend an ear to hear them out. Over the years, I have had a number of friends I could depend upon to listen to me if I had this urge. Nonetheless, there were plenty of times when no one was available to talk to, therefore I would sit down at my old mechanical Royal typewriter and start writing out whatever was on my mind. It was a great catharsis for me and a method of figuring things out.
 
As I pursued the Philosophy of Freedom, one of my teachers autographed a book and said, “To Anne, who teaches as she learns.” I thought that was a great compliment. My knowledge is quite limited about many things, however if I understand something, I believe I can explain it to another in very easy to understand language without a lot of affected or exaggerated rhetoric.
 
And so it goes relative to the articles I write for my blog site. I write about a variety of subjects. Admittedly, there are many subjects I have only a smattering of knowledge about. However, I do understand the Philosophy of Freedom and usually find a way to incorporate some facet of it into any writings about other subjects, using easily understood language so that a child or college grad can grasp its meaning and importance to every living human being.
 
I read other blogs, newsletters and a lot of books, and enjoy the expression of ideas by others. However, so much is written in a manner that one needs a dictionary handy to figure out what it is they are trying to convey to the reader. This is particularly true of those with varying college degrees. They just seem to be writing to each other.
 
As far as yours truly, I write to express and not to impress with fancy elitist attitude language. My hope is what I write will strike a note with the reader to stop and think about freedom and truth, a notion that what I write might motivate the reader to seek and search further into the philosophy of freedom. Fortunately, in the mere nine months I have been writing this blog, several have responded with comments that their thinking was changed and their interest in freedom has broadened to want to know more. Consequently, I will continue writing in simple, easily understood language.
 
When I began seeking and searching, I had no idea the avenues it would lead me. Sometimes to teachers with PHD degrees and sometimes to an illiterate farmer who understood the meaning of life and freedom without ever having any formal education. One with an impressive understanding of the soil and earth who knew how to create wonderful products using his innate knowledge and hands. His expansive knowledge about farming had not been derived from books, but from growing up on a farm and working the soil and discovering the nature of things.
 
I recall the time my nephew was attending a State University, I happened to answer the phone when he called home to inquire about how to use quarters to operate a washing machine. I blurted out, “Oh my gosh, they have educated you beyond the capacity to think!!”
 
And so it goes with many individuals whose speech and writings appear to be unthinking and rote stuff. Mechanical repetition of words without the intelligent attention to meaning.
 
Here’s an example of a quote I read today. “Your economy, once celebrated as a guarantor of freedom and property, now seems corrupted by greed, materialism and uncertainty.” What a line of poppycock!! This is tail wagging the dog writing.
 
The truth of the matter is, “our economy” never guaranteed anything. The once free-enterprise system was always risk-taking and never guaranteed anything. Nor does freedom guarantee anything. It offers self-control and self-responsibility. Individual freedom, for the one who has it, offers a path and way of life absent the restraints and control of others to create, make progress, acquire privately owned property and suffer the consequences of mistakes and errors in judgment without forcing others to pay for the mistakes.
 
For one to suggest the economy was once celebrated as a guarantor of freedom and property is ludicrous. Simply not true.
 
We of the homosapien species were created with a mind and a will to do or not to do. To reason and separate truth from poppycock verbiage, which sometimes requires effort to figure out, to separate the wheat from the chaff. A child knows the difference in a lie and the truth unless indoctrinated otherwise.
 
What I attempt to do is be consistent in my writings. No matter the subject, it’s my aim and desire not to be contradictory. If by chance I do write contradictions, I hope someone points it out to me. I welcome the opportunity to correct or explain.
 
In this coming New Year, I hope to retain the readers I have and hope they will refer my blog to others with a suggestion to read and comment.
 
We the people in this country begin a new year with conditions in this country in a maelstrom mess. We are all in this together. It’s up to us, each individually, to figure a way out. Thinking, writing, reading and talking about freedom is a first giant step. A word that has become taboo in many circles. It’s up to us to make it fashionable and acceptable to talk about freedom, once again.  Because once upon a time we had it for a short period.
 
And Let Freedom Ring!

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