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When Dogma Eats Your Karma

By Valerie Maez 

A bumper sticker that could be seen on vehicles around Santa Fe a few years back, read  “My Dogma ate my Karma”.

 Webster’s unabridged Dictionary defines:

dogma-a system of principles or tenets.

karma-action, seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad.

I believe the purpose of the bumper sticker was to serve as a useful reminder to check one’s actions and balance that with your soul. Otherwise, you risk becoming someone you don’t really want to be. This, of course, assumes one has a system of principles or tenets to begin with.

As humans we should be aware that our emotions are susceptible to manipulation, so wariness becomes a matter of prudence rather than any disdain for any individual. Many of us seem to have lost that natural protective instinct and have become all too willing to sacrifice principled values for a perceived goal which definitely could have consequences for your karma. Certainly there is always an effort by well-funded movements to lull folks into accepting giving up freedoms for a perceived good.

Velvet chains, so to speak.

Imagine a governmental entity, such as a county. Leadership wants to fund more than existing revenues bring in. Bigger projects, bigger salaries, more personnel to hire, better benefits. So, they turn to grants and outside funding sources to live beyond the means of the county taxpayers. Now your karma tells you that there is no such thing as free money, but dogma tells you are doing right by the people to give them these nicer things. They can pay more later as the economy booms from the increased spending. Problems multiply when reality comes crashing down as people begin to see the manipulation and decide maybe they don’t need all those things after all.

 Or maybe, that county budgets need a vigorous review.

 Recently I had a conversation with a person who maintains our political parties have been reduced to little more than crime syndicates vying for the right to raid the U.S. Treasury for their respective business associates. When seeing the annual price tag considered necessary for the operation of the U.S. government, the man had a valid point. After all is said and done, it is the U.S House of Representatives in Congress that is tasked with appropriations of the money and it is those elected officials who should be held accountable. Sadly, they rarely are. Politics over principles. Those velvet chains are getting tighter and squeezing your wrists.

  As a nation, we are supposed to operate under the rule of law, with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as the basic foundation.  Today, an analogy of a football field with those foundational principles as the 50-yard line might be illustrative. In this hypothetical example, each team comprised of 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans take the field. Although this isn’t a football game where both sides adhere to the nation's foundational documents on the fifty yard line.  Instead, it has become a game of moneyball with fewer and fewer players who consider the 50-yard line even relevant to the game.  Instead, it is who can grab more money than the other team and maybe poach some of their players in the process.  Or if not poach them, remove them under any means available. Sometimes justified, sometimes not. This analogy also has a curve ball known as the House of Representatives with 438 members that provide additional mayhem.  It too, is also equally divided between the two major political parties. Throw in some multinational corporations and tech companies with oodles of cash circumnavigating loopholes in the U.S. tax laws and the ability to manipulate social media. The result is a national debt level that currently sits at 34 trillion dollars. Yet, little is made of this by a complacent media, and a passive electorate, as they too, apparently, want to settle for a slice of that pie.  Congress obligingly raises the debt limit rather than stare bullies down, partly because there are too few players who really give a damn about that fifty-yard line, but mostly, they want to get re-elected. Out of 438 members of the House of Representatives we have about a baker’s dozen that get it. In the Senate, just a pitiful few. Really sad.

Every year, for the last nine years, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has issued a report on December 23 to the American people that he titles Festivus; a tip of the hat to a popular 1990’s situation comedy Seinfeld meme. His December 2023 report listed 900 Billion dollars in wasteful spending. One item was for research funds on a study walking dogs on a hot day.  COVID money for dead people, lobster tanks for the Pentagon, and so on. The 24-page report is available through the U.S. Government Printing Office, or Senator’s Rand office. Consider it required reading for those who say they care.

Are there enough voters left to care enough and smart enough to start demanding changes that will prevent us from becoming serfs to a debt that cannot be paid off? A system that exploits us by policies enacted by an increasingly obvious public/private partnership that is so corrupt it makes Don Corleone of Godfather fame look like a jaywalker?

 One such example is conservation easements and carbon credits. A tax scheme that really does nothing for the environment but has increased wealth for already wealthy land barons at government expense. Recently, the New Yorker Magazine printed an article by Heidi Blake titled, “The Great Cash-For-Carbon Hustle” that detailed those origins. Those velvet chains are now around your neck, and that velvet coating is disappearing.

Historically, Americans felt that when Congress failed in its inherent responsibilities, either elections or if necessary, the Judicial system would provide an even keel to ensure fairness and stability.

Not anymore.

The reality is that America has now become an oligarchy rather than a republic, with brinkmanship the name of the game. A game that Democrats excel in. Their pursuit of open borders and “rights” for illegal migrants is but one example of how far they will go to “fundamentally change America.”

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, local “leadership” needs more revenue to solve budget problems within the county government. The Commissioners now believe they can sell a public safety tax on their friends and neighbors, especially in the aftermath of the tragic murder of Sergeant Moran. Our commissioners were aware of the declining revenue from the Oil and Gas industry for years, yet little effort was made to rein in spending and the County pursued an aggressive Road and Bridge improvement plan. Our roads did need attention, but nobody said a program of road work needed to be accomplished within a commissioner’s term of office. It is noticeable that recent road work has needed maintenance. County Road V being one such example. The speculation is that the road base has too much dirt to gravel, and numerous people have complained about the width of the road being narrowed  as to be hazardous under certain conditions.

 A letter in the Cortez Journal on January 10, 2024 addressed deficiencies in the Assessor’s Office and her overvaluation of citizens property assessments. The Assessor had 558 protests filed over her 2022 valuations. She adjusted 268 and denied 278 with 12 either voided or stipulated. It was only recently that new members were appointed to the Board of Assessment Appeals, as previously it was the BOCC who served as members. A conflict of interest to be sure, as the possibility of undue influence is obvious, especially given a budget shortfall. The newly appointed BAA might be well advised to institute a review of the denials that the Assessor issued that the Commissioners upheld.

 At the very least, the public deserves answers on the competence and fairness of our local government overall, and whether the Assessor denials were perhaps reflected by mere indifference to who the taxpayers were, especially since they want more money from us.

Anything less would be inexcusable arrogance, and another visible sign that our local administrative state cares more for itself than the citizens they serve.

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