Mike Felten owns a record store somewhere in middle America. He also has something most folks have long since given up on - a conscience. Trust your politicians? Better find your common sense first.



So let me get this straight. The Democrats are elected to a majority because of their opposition to the war in Iraq. They vote to fund the war. I'm not saying that the electorate is always right (for instance, we voted for the people who got us into this - twice!). I would expect a little backbone to at least appease a mandate.

I don't think the sequel to 'Profiles in Courage' is being written here.

I am less concerned with Iraq than with the little regard our elected representatives hold for the American people. How many times have I written that line?

So we are over in Iraq pursuing something that most of us just don't get. We just have to have the resolve to offer up more and more of our children. The saddest part on the weekly ABC 'memorials' for me is the phrase '19' (as in years old). I have a hard time believing that even politicians are so callous that they are this uncaring.

These sharks just live for the next election. They check the direction of the wind and not the correctness of their actions. Why else would Senators Clinton and Obama be among the last to vote on the troop-funding bill? If you want to lead, why would you not be among the first to cast your vote? A leader surely knows his/her mind. Does their responsibility lie to their campaigns or to those who are merely described as '19'.

I don't know much about representative John Boehmer from Ohio, but I saw his sound bite. Choking back the tears, Boehmer said, "I didn't come here to be a congressman, I came here to do something. I think at the top of our list is providing for the safety and security of the American people."

All I can do is take the man at his word. A tornado hits Greensburg, Kansas and the governor can't send in the National Guard because they and all their equipment are in Iraq. Are we providing for the common good? I don't know what happened in Greensburg because the TV cameras moved on. I hoped that someone picked up the slack, but if no one is looking it does not serve any politician's purpose. Maybe there is more to Boehmer than the lip service we get from the 'candidates' and maybe someone is moving to help.

Closer to home, the demise of independent record stores can be traced back to the FTC decision to penalize the record companies for attempting to enforce a minimum advertised price. They did not attempt to set a minimum selling price, all they wanted to do was to protect the implied worth of their product. Now that music is the 'loss leader' for Best Buy's of the world and perceived as a worthless iPod accessory, we are all having a tough time. There was no political reason to protect any of these enterprises.

Still, I am a true believer in the American way. If Iraq was not about finding bin Laden (Afghanistan), the World Trade terrorists (Saudi Arabia) or weapons of mass destruction (anybodys guess) it had to be about oil. People even held protest signs that said, "No War for Oil!" I saw the TV news reports where they stuck a fork in Iraqi soil and oil bubbled up. If we were going to fight a war in our best interests, fighting a war for cheap oil would be a valid point to at least raise. So here, we are some 60 -70,000 lives in and our gas is going to US$4 a gallon. The oil companies are making record profits, but I'm paying more for a fill up than my first car cost. I'm looking for a reason, but I'm crossing another one off of the list. Utah Phillips sang in Larimer Street 30 years ago, that there is just one kind of war - the one going on between the rich and the poor. We are investing our 19 year olds and aside from trying to convince the world of our tenacity, we are just getting to pay US$4 a gallon for it.

Is Mr. Boehmer working on this one too?

These sharks just live for the
next election. They check the direction
of the wind and not the correctness
of their actions. Why else would
Senators Clinton and Obama
be among the last to vote
on the troop-funding bill?
If you want to lead, why would
you not be among the first
to cast your vote? A leader
surely knows his/her mind.

So at least we can buy a cat or a dog to keep us company. It is too expensive to go anywhere except to take Fido to the park or sit in front of the window petting Kitty while we watch for terrorists emerging from the Quik Mart across the street. We buy the best food for these animals. Our pets are fed better than most third world citizens. Then our pets start to die. Poison in the food they say. Just another irresponsible, cost-cutting American industry giving us another Pinto with an exploding gas tank.

Bad, but it is worse.

The poison comes from melamine in the wheat gluten. The wheat gluten comes from China.

I sit here everyday and watch the people get off the trains and buses. When I was a kid, the people that got off these trains and buses were wearing overalls and carrying lunchboxes. Now these folks carry briefcases and wear business dress. They labor at intellectual pursuits like trying to find cheaper wheat gluten.

I still drive through Kansas and Missouri and Nebraska and Oklahoma and Iowa and Illinois. Trust me that there are still fields of wheat out there. Amber waves of grain they used to call them. I guess it is cheaper to get it from China now. We can put up some clapboard condos out in the heartland soon.

And, of course, the FTC and the FDA are making sure that the wheat gluten is safe for us. Animal food is something different and the Chinese don't care about a few hundred thousand deaths. There are more people where those dead ones came from, heck they killed off 1.2 million Tibetans just because they were selling incense at the airports.

Our government will protect us.

Well, just before I got out of bed on Saturday morning, NPR told me that there might be lead in Vitamin C. It seems that China is close to cornering the market on Ascorbic acid. They supply about 80 per cent of the world's supply. So it might be OK, if I just brush my teeth instead. The anti-freeze flavoring that they put in the toothpaste has only been detected as far as Panama. (Click here for more.)

How did this all happen? Well, the best and brightest aren't going to Washington anymore. They punch time clocks and do what they are told. The people who make the decisions on hiring and firing the U.S. attorneys who went to the best law schools hold diplomas from Pat Robertson's Regent University diploma mill. The people who make the decisions on the safety of our foodstuffs know that their bosses have received contributions from China R Us (Wal-Mart). They aren't going to make waves.

Maybe Representative Boehmer will protect us.

Hillary Clinton was on the Wal-Mart board for six years. She won't.

Mrs. Obama just resigned from a company that supplied pickles to Wal-Mart. No word where those pickles came from or what kind of cheap anti-freeze flavoring was used.

Barack and Bill aren't shopping at Wal-Mart. You are.

I can't blame you. It is cheaper.

Our government cares about us. There is a reason for Iraq.

Let's count the bodies.

The newspapers tell me that there is a big mattress sale tomorrow.

Happy Memorial Day (May 28, 2007).

Note: Besides operating the Record Emporium and running Wealselworld, Mike Felten also has Landfill Records. Visit http://recordemporium.com for a rockin' good time.

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June 8, 2007