Monday, July 25, 2011

Pledge to Eliminate Political Office Holding as a Career

I want to start a grassroots effort to have any candidate either agree to and sign or disagree and not sign the following Pledge;

  • I will initiate or in the least support any effort to impose strict term limits for any national, elected office.
  • I will initiate or in the least support severe reform to the laws governing campaign finance;
    • Only Registered Voters can contribute Only to campaigns.
    • Political parties, as not-for-profit entities, may collect contributed funds as needed to sustain minimal obligations, but again, only from Registered Voters.
    • Political Parties may NOT spend donated funds on any advertisements used in specific candidates campaigns.
    • Contributions to Candidates or Parties will be immediately disclosed and the information will be easily accessible to the Press and Public.
    • No "war-chest" donations may pass from one candidate to another.
  • I will initiate or in the least support efforts to repeal laws concerning the life long pay and health benefits provided to retired members of Congress.
I believe that these reforms will work to remove those who hunger only for political power from the political mix.  Removing the lifelong access to power and ending the influence of money and lobbyists is the first step to regaining the confidence of the citizens we are sworn to represent.

I truly care more about the well being of my Country than I do for retaining office merely to accumulate personal power.  When my term limits approach, I will happily return to the community I represent and resume my duties in the workforce.

This pledge addresses the real issues at the core of nearly all our political problems in this great Country today.  The elimination of political office holding as a career will be at the top of my agenda if elected to the national office I currently seek.

*Me Again!...Print this out, copy and paste it into email, then send it to every congressional and senatorial candidate.  Make these rich pricks choose, to actually serve our best interests or to keep on with business as usual.  I'd love to see them take this seriously and sign, but I would just as soon see them decline and use this as a tool to point out those who impede our progress.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Back in Business!

I finished working on a business plan for an advertising/marketing service I found accidentally (like there really is such a thing as an accident, right) a few weeks ago.

The founders of the company ( were in Times Square in New York City and were struck by where people's eye's were.  If you've ever been there, Times Square is the ultimate example of advertising overload. Everything is big, loud, bright and shiny.  But these guys noticed that the place most people were focused on was the tiny 2 inch screen of their own cell phone.  From this experience, they decided to find a way to capitalize on this untapped (at that time) marketing opportunity.

(If you click any of the iZigg links in this article, you will be taken to an informational site with details and statistics, the size and growth of the mobile market is amazing.)

The concept centers around making SMS text marketing affordable for small businesses, groups, and organizations.  Simply, for a monthly subscription fee a client can own the rights to a unique keyword that their customers, clients, or members can text to 90210 to receive text message coupons, special deals, enter drawings or contests, receive notice of events, really the possibilities are endless.

Within the past few weeks, part of the deal includes a mobile web optimized site that the client can build with a few clicks, with pictures and descriptions.  This is a very nice, free addition to the service.

Now, I'm working up a list of prospective clients to share the concept with.  While I know it's not common, from the first time I worked at a job with sales duties, I always tried to see selling more as "helping" someone find what they need.  I've always tried to imagine that my customer was my Mom.

I have also always had a strong interest in Economics and what measures a local, small business can take to overcome the prevailing circumstances.  This malaise we've been stuck in for a few years now is the closest thing to a full scale depression we've ever seen.

Small businesses need better resources to retain and attract loyal customers.  After reviewing the services offered by iZigg, I truly think they are on to something that will revolutionize how businesses engage their customers in conversation.

You can even use the built-in features of the service to pick and notify randomly drawn raffle or drawing winners.  Also, the lists of subscribers belongs to the business, they can save and download it at any time and use it in future marketing efforts.

If your business, organization, or group does any of the following you should seriously consider subscribing to the services that iZigg has to offer;

  • Events to announce
  • New products or services to share with existing clients
  • Do you want an easier way to notify clients of upcoming appointments?
  • Musicians gig schedules or CD releases
  • Real estate pictures of a new listing
Truly, the possibilities are endless.  All the business needs to do is promote the keyword, grow the list of subscribers, then start talking to them via text message.  In all the early markets, this grew exponentially on a scale that puts the term "viral" to shame.

If you want a small sample of the simplest of what iZigg has to offer, text "brianmerrill" to 90210.  You will receive what they call an mCard.  Essentially, this is a paperless business card.  It has links to my individual iZigg page, my Facebook page, email, and phone number.  Information on levels of service and pricing are available here, if you have any questions, please text my name to 90210 and use the information on my mCard to contact me.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A milestone has been reached...

I've doubled my follower count.

That's right folks, I now have (drum roll please). .. . .....


I'm not sure, but it looks like someone hit my blog from a Yahoo search for "letter of resignation" and found the one I wrote last month.

Or it my have been the post where I summarized the idiotic response from said former employer.  The one where he accused me of being an Anti-Semite for comparing him to Hitler.

If you haven't kept up, feel free to browse back through my greatest hits.  I'm still job hunting and trying to figure out how to put a "Donations Appreciated" button.

Wish me luck,

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Television evangelism taxes, lifestyle excess, taxation & term limits!

For the sake of giving you a contextual point of reference to see what I'm reacting to, here's the original post...

As I flip through the channels and momentarily watch each teleevangelist, it disturbs me that these groups are hiding behind their tax exempt status, while preaching fearful and misleading political rhetoric. The founding fathers left this religious droning out of our nations framework for a good reason!

As an aside, while I did not post all of the following as a response to his initial complaint, he chose to delete my response.  Here's my thinking about that.  If you're not willing to deal with reactions to what you may say in a public forum, find another outlet for your rant.  Otherwise, people may start to think that you're chicken-shit, that you can dish it out but can't take any criticism.

I get what you're saying, but it would be a drop in the bucket.  I understand the frustration, but we TRULY don't want the government making judgment calls concerning which church/doctrine/denomination, etc is WORTHY of being seen as a "legitimate" not-for-profit organization.

As individuals, the heads of these TV evangelistic monstrosities should be held liable for their personal income.  But they're smart enough to hire talented lawyers and accountants to insure that they don't personally OWN anything.  The corporate entity owns the houses, the cars, the jets and the ski lodges that make up the bulk of the luxury that drives us all nuts.  In truth, I would expect a peek at any major televangelists personal tax return to show that the corporation paid him or her $1 or some seemingly small amount.

You may think this is awful, how could someone live like this and not pay taxes, or pay a minimum of taxes?  But honestly, back when the press and entrenched power mongers in Washington DC were mocking Jerry Brown, Pat Buchanan, Steve Forbes, and others for even mentioning a national sales tax or VAT, those proposals would make all these objectionable purchases of luxury items taxable events.

But those in power know that they can exert control or at least appear to through tax regulations and legislation.  A tweak in tax code wording can lead to positive cash flow to politicians who sponsor or support the measures.

Money Plus lack of term limits equals corruption from top to bottom of our political system.  I believe that the one, single thing we could do to fix the mess that our political system has become is to enact strict term limits.

A very close second is campaign finance reform including full, instant, publicly accessible reporting of all contributions.  No Political Action Committees, only U.S. individuals would be permitted to contribute, no war chest hand-me-downs, upon death or retirement.  Actually, I would limit who could contribute even more severely, only registered voters could contribute.

Back from tangent land...By all means, when there are specific complaints with a church or really any not-for-profit, investigate.  But when it comes down to it, all the money these churches receive is from after-tax contributions from individuals.

If you have a favorite charitable, not-for-profit you give money to, would you want the government taking a portion of your donation away in the form of taxes just because somebody doesn't agree with what your chosen charity says or does?

I'm not defending the excesses, fleets of private jets, rolls-royces with chandeliers for turning lamps or the lavish mansions.  But there are some things that we have to choose to see as a necessary evil, because the alternative (government oversight of ALL charitable organizations) will quickly become absolutely evil.

The real cure is to change our whole taxation paradigm, to simplify, to get rid of the power and profit motivations that come from being in a place of power over tax regulations.  Stamp every politician with an expiration date the day he takes office.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Why do we argue?

We argue because we're emotionally invested in being perceived by others (or often we're actually trying to convince ourselves) as being on the right side of the argument.

But seriously, what's the worst outcome of losing an argument?  Ooh, that stings, it's all about our ego isn't it?

If you've read any of my recent posts, you'll quickly figure out that I'm on a bit of a holy war against the ego.  I believe that elimination of the ego is the last, great hurdle to the next stage of human development, evolutionary if you wish.

I'm starting to believe that if we, as a species, do not take measures to rid ourselves of the outmoded, psychological appendage we refer to as our ego, we may very well find that agents of change may bring this much needed development to reality.  In ways we currently perceive as afflictions.

Do you ever wonder what's going on with the seemingly exponential rate of growth of conditions such as autism or dementia.  Is fluoridation of our water to blame?  Maybe it's immunizations?  Or maybe, it's a seemingly harsh method of evolution.  I think if we don't fix our own house someone/thing is going to "fix" it for us.

On a personal level, over the past few years, I have suffered severe consequences because of ego based, lifestyle decisions that seemed quite harsh at the time.  But I'm starting to see that these were necessary to break through the shell that encases me (ego) to reveal a much improved, more aware Self inside.

When you look at the mystic segments of nearly any major religion or form of Spiritual practice, you'll soon find a common thread.  Nearly all mystic practices describe the ideal disciple as being transparent, a clear channel to the greater Spirit that we all are a part of.

As an example, Christian means "like Christ", but honestly, very few of the people who describe themselves as Christian behave in a way we could describe as Christ-like.  Christians (as is also true of nearly every major religion) are taught that their goal is to behave as Jesus would.  Remember the WWJD? wristbands that were so popular a few years ago?  What Would Jesus Do?

But maybe the bigger picture of that, one that works for all of us, not just those who identify themselves as Christian, is that instead of "modelling behavior" at best, or pretending at worst, we should be eliminating the hindrance (the ego) that prevents that universal, essential nature from flowing through us, from the collective source that we all tap into.

Confront it, force it from our way of being, change ourselves instead of waiting to see what random force inflicts that change upon us.

So the next time you find yourself toe to toe, take a deep breath and think of this; "What is the worst thing that can happen of I lose this argument?", if the only thing you come up with is that you hate the feeling of losing, than drop it, stop, walk away, do not participate.  It takes two to tango, stop dancing and move on.