Szandor Blestman dot com

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We Are the Watchers

Government Propagandists and Tax Cheats

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(This article was originally published on Feb. 4th, 2009.)

I heard an interesting bit of propaganda the other day. According to CBS news, an IRS survey showed that ninety percent of Americans feel it´s wrong to cheat on their income taxes. Ninety percent! That´s a huge percentage. This got me to thinking, "Who are these people?" Certainly if ninety percent of the people believe this, I should know one of them. And yet nearly everyone I know cheats or has cheated on their taxes in some form or another. In fact, the laws regarding taxes are so onerous and so numerous one would think it would be impossible to not cheat on your taxes. People are probably cheating on their taxes and don´t even know it. I had to wonder how this question was phrased or what kind of survey taking trickery or chicanery was used to get such overwhelmingly pro tax numbers from a populace who is decidedly anti-tax.

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The Futility of Hope (or Hoping For Change)

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(This article was originally published on Feb. 2nd, 2009. It's a challenge to not only Mr. Obama's campaign promise of "change," but to the title of the book he wrote which more or less shows his collectivist philosophy.)

"Be the change that you want to see in the world."
Mohandas Ghandi

I was discussing recent events with my mom the other day and she told me not to worry about my unemployment situation, that 2009 was going to be a year of "change." Now, I love my mother dearly, but the problems with that statement are just too numerous to count. The word change and the concept of change are so nebulous, so ambiguous, that every English speaking individual in this world likely carries with him a different interpretation of the word. When these words were uttered by my mom, however, one thing became instantly obvious to me. She had fallen for the propagandistic rhetoric of last season´s political campaigns like so many other Americans.

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A Small Act of Kindness in a Cold World

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(This article was originally published on Jan. 15th, 2009. I had been laid off six days earlier, the day after my last article had come out.)

On Friday, January 9th 2009 I was laid off. It came as a shock to me. I´m in a position in the company where I didn´t think they could afford to lay me off. I know and do things in the company no one else knows how to do. I was the supervisor of a department and we had just started a new project that likely will not get done now. It was a startling and sobering moment, to say the least.

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Courtrooms, Cameras, Police, Kopbusters and Yolanda Madden

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(This article was originally published on Jan. 4th, 2009. It's an example of what one activist is doing to try to bring accountability back to the justice system.)

Here in Illinois, at least in DuPage County, when one walks into the county courthouse one is not allowed to take so much as a camera phone in. I´ve often wondered about this. I´ve thought to myself, at times, "I wonder what they´re so afraid of." It seems to me that this is a public building, so aren´t the citizens of the county the actual owners? If they want to film on their own property, shouldn´t they be able to do so with impunity? If they want to take pictures of their public servants, doesn´t it make sense that they should be able to? Other counties in other states allow cameras and filming in their courtrooms, and if we are to have an open and honest judiciary system it seems to me that the best way to keep them on the up and up is to be able to film and record their activities. And yet, for some reason, the state of Illinois feels too paranoid to allow cameras into this supposedly public venue.

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The Folly of the Illinois Air Team Part 2: Creating Economic Stress Through Government

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(This article was originally published on Jan. 25th, 2009. It tells the story of a man and his car and how the state can create homelessness.)

I am not a rich man. Those of you who read my column likely know this. It seems I have struggled my entire adult life to make ends meet. Although I have always worked hard and have always been able to hold down a job and do it well, it seems I´ve never been able to get ahead. I haven´t lived a bad life. I´ve always been able to provide for my family and we´ve lived an average middle class existence, but I built a pile of debt and I just never seemed to be able to climb out of it. I´ve been behind most of my adult life. Something always seemed to happen to demand more of my money when things started to turn around. I guess I was in actuality living beyond my means and just couldn´t figure it out, often being blinded by what I thought my kids needed or my family wanted.

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Blagojevich, the Media and the Race Card

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(This article was originally published on Jan. 8th, 2009. I wrote it not long after Rob Blagojevich, sitting governor of Illinois at the time, was indicted on federal charges.)

I don´t like to write about politics. That last statement might come as a surprise to some of my regular readers. "Szandor," you might think, "You love to write about politics. You do it all the time." Well, the last part of that statement may be true, but the first part is actually a misconception. I write about politics because I feel I have to. Given the choice I´d much rather write a horror novel or some fantasy. That´s what I really consider myself good at. I love to let my imagination run wild.

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The United States is No Longer the Land of Opportunity

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(This article was originally published on Jan. 3rd, 2009.)

"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

As you likely know, the above quote is from the poem "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus. It is the statue herself speaking at the end of the poem. The poem emphasizes the liberty offered to those who would come to the shores of the United States of America to escape the state regulations and tyrannical laws they faced from the governments of their home countries. It was the freedom from such government regulations that made America the land of opportunity. I´m afraid that kind of opportunity is quickly going the way of the dinosaurs in this country as our government becomes the same kind of intrusive entity our forefathers were trying to escape from.

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