Wednesday, May 4, 2016

And which end game is it??????

So let’s pretend Mr. Trump is going to win not just the Republican nomination, but the Presidency. And our good friend Senator Cruz (oh yeah that is right, it is Senator Cruz) heads back to the Senate with his tail between his legs especially after how brutal things have been so far and what may come about in the Convention this summer. What happens next?

Does Senator Cruz pull together all his buddies in the Senate and block everything Mr. Trump wants? Probably good for Mr. Trump that the Senator has never really won Miss Congeniality in the Senate. There are some die hard Tea Party members and maybe even a few establishment Republicans that may decide not to play nice in the sand box. Or does everyone jump on the Trump bandwagon till he actually does something that either ticks off the donor class or actually alienates his current supporters. It may take much for the latter to happen, but sooner or later like the rank and file tea party members that are upset at the current Congress for not passing what they feel was going to be passed; Mr. Trump is actually going to have to produce. Or convince all these riled up supporters who voted for him, it is not his fault, but the obstructionist Congress… wait doesn’t that sound familiar.

Oh and speaking of Congress, how does all the Super PACs for the two parties in Congress feel about Mr. Trump? Does the Senate Leadership Fund decide to support Cruz? These Super PACs like having the people they choose to win, win. Do they feel a Trump presidency interferes with all their hard work to get the “right” people elected to Congress?

This will be interesting to find out. Am I right in my fear that Mr. Trump is a false prophet and since he comes from the billionaire world he will eventually support the 1% agenda. Or are his supporters correct and he will actually try and dismantle the free trade agreements, follow through on his put America first agenda, reduce what he thinks is unnecessary military spending and a few other of his ideas to “make America great again”.  The wall on the border scenario is a pipe dream that even if he really wants is not going to be the first item on Mr. Trump’s agenda. Much less anything that is accomplished in the infamous first 100 days.

So do we have a battle royal between the Trump presidency and Congress? Does he actually have a few pragmatic ideas that by popular will Congress acquiesces and some of Trump’s agenda is passed? Or will the donor class (1%) through the super pacs completely shut him down by their control of Congress?

How much does the Democratic side of Congress get to play into this? Will their donor class clamp down on them and they support an agenda more in line with what the establishment wants with Trump on their side as mentioned above as my fear.

So if Trump wins, who wins?

Ms. Clinton is a known evil. There will be lip service to a few social agenda items that make some headway. Unfortunately for her, one of the biggest liberal advancements has already happened when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage. This one kind of stole her thunder. So how far to the left in social issues will she have to go to appease the left wing of the party. We all know the status quo in DC and Wall Street will be allowed to continue their undue influence over our government. How well does she hide it from the newly inspired Bernie Bros in her party that we aren’t going to see much of what Mr. Sanders has been campaigning on?  Will they bolt before November if they wake up to that truth in time or can she fake it enough to win their votes? I think most of the Bernie Bros are already attuned to the truth about Ms. Clinton which hurts her dramatically in a head to head with Mr. Trump.

One oddity that might happen is the Bernie Bros turn out for Trump and the establishment Republicans turn out for Clinton. Headlines to this effect are starting to pop up quite frequently so I do not claim any personal triumphant breakthrough on this idea.  How much this happens is yet to be seen, but it would not surprise me that it happens so strongly it creates a wash so it boils back down to how well Trump supporters come out to vote vs the Democratic mainstream holding their nose long enough to vote.

Going back to the original question and thoughts, how much will Cruz cooperate now that Trump has insulted his wife and Dad and who knows who else before it is all over. Can Cruz muster enough support among Congress to wreck a Trump presidency? Will anything he does matter going forward if he is pushed aside for the rest of the primary and then out of the convention?

It is not a complete definite yet, but the drama maybe over and the Republican convention may end up being a civil acceptance of the fact Republicans on main street are ticked off at the establishment and the establishment may just have to wait four years to get their party back. Or will they ever get it back? My guess is yes. The super billionaires et all have way too much at stake for one crazed ego maniac to ruin their dreams. They still own Congress so our hope rests in taking over Congress or any Trump presidency will become a side note in populist history.

And as I always ramble on about, we need a new party that represents the middle class and takes on the dismantling of the current establishment in DC long enough to enact legislation that actually benefits you and I. This is something that would take a few election cycles to accomplish and at the very least would put a hold on the 1%’s march of the ruination of democracy, our constitution, our country, and us.

Long live the Constitution, the Constitution is dying.

No question about this… it is one beautiful spring night here in North Texas. I am still ticked at the Mavs for losing the last regular season game against the Spurs bench.  Did ya see how things turned out for Portland? Sheesh!  Anyway the Stars are moving along and the Rangers are doing a few things right so hopefully the Dallas Sports world will have a good May and June. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Social Security Part 3 continued

Part of the Preamble discussed the need to take care of aged, crippled children, blind, child welfare, and unemployment compensation. Pretty much everything that is anathema to the Republican party, well at least that is the way the Democrats feel about it.

And a side note question here, why just the blind, what about the deaf or other disabilities. Who knows right now, the times were different then.

And like the medical aspect (which led to Medicare and Medicaid) these programs are a cost to the government. Okay Medicaid is, technically your salary is contributing to you having Medicare.

We need to look at the big picture though. Since we accept we live in a society where people can make money we have to understand there will be so called winners and losers. Much as we want it to happen, not everyone can be the richest person on the planet. And that is okay as long as we also realize if we allow for people to be successful there will be others that have a need. The goal then is to allow for both; people to be successful without leaving anyone behind. The immediate example of this would be unemployment compensation for people who might be laid off due to a company struggling etc.

Why should the workers be hurt because management either mismanaged the business or the industry or times are changing and the company is losing business?  People should be allowed to continue with their lives. Yet is just giving them checks for 6 months the answer. Sometimes it might be. Many workers or even managers may be able to find jobs within that time frame. Other times they may not be able. So what happens when they cannot find a job within 6 months, does the government keep extending benefits like what happened post the 2008 recession? At what point do they stop?

This is where there has to be a transition plan, not just help. If we believe that all people are created equal then we need to make sure all have equal opportunity, but this should never be an ongoing cost to the people via the taxes we pay to the government.

So now look at the big picture of all welfare programs. One criticism my so called conservative brethren say is that we can’t hand out entitlements all the time. The “other side” create programs that help people such as food stamps, but it creates a need to continue on food stamps if you do not help people move on in life. And this has created what is now being called generational welfare. Children growing up with this expectation in their lives and no one willing to step in and help them learn to be self-sufficient.

Last week there was an article by Rachel Sheffield about Kansas and Maine creating work requirements to get food stamps found on a site called CNSNEWS. And I do know you always have to be careful about news sources nowadays since so many are so biased they mix facts/news with opinion very liberally. Yet if the statistics mentioned in the article are even somewhat close to real fact then this is a good example of what I am looking to get people to understand. Quoting from their example from Maine: “Within the first three months after Maine’s work policy went into effect, its caseload of able-bodied adults receiving food stamps plunged by 80 percent, falling from 13.332 recipients in December 2014 to 2678 in March 2015.” Honestly this is a very large decrease in a short amount of time so I wonder if there were other factors involved. Finding ways to institute more of this to see if it could be duplicated would have benefited the premise of the article. Only two states were mentioned and one was Kansas which right now I would be dubious of any facts coming from the Right in Kansas right now. So why do I quote from this article.  One reason is because they mention something I do feel is needed and that is work programs provide opportunities such as job training and employment search services. These would have to be mandatory for any work program to reduce welfare to be successful.

In implementing the work programs though I feel there will be a need to increase spending at first. One business axiom is you need to spend money to make money. In my opinion it works backwards in the welfare situation using work programs. You are going to need to spend money to save money/reduce the budget in the long run. The trade-off being once people are able to remove themselves from food stamps and welfare they become tax payers hence reducing the cost while increasing revenue. The key is you are going to have to really make the commitment to the job training and other education aspects including basics like teaching people how to manage money, run a budget, and make proactive health decisions. People who have grown up on welfare do not have the education level, not just of high school etc, but off making healthy life decisions some of us take for granted.

It sounds so basic to some of us about eating healthy and seeing a doctor regularly. Many on welfare have never been given the opportunity to plan ahead or even understand what it means to save. Some of us take for granted to do comparison shopping or know how to make informed shopping decisions. Welfare recipients, especially generational recipients, by and large have no idea what we do on a daily basis.

Also we would actually need to raise food stamp levels and at the same time limit what can be bought with food stamps. The problem poor people and apparently my conservative brethren do not see is eating healthy takes more money and time. And yet if they can be taught better nutrition they end up having less medical costs. Hate to be a food big brother, yet it is not against the concept of helping people if we lead them in a better direction. It is taxpayers’ money we are using for welfare so using it wisely for the government budget and more importantly for the recipients is the right thing to do. I hate using the word entitlement because the right wing throws it around as a four letter word, but when the government is helping people through welfare programs current recipients tend to take advantage of the system. Holding them accountable for their actions is a reasonable criterion to receiving benefits.  This leads me back to the article I mentioned. How do we make this an actual reality throughout the country?

This is one primary goal. Welfare should be temporary. And at the same time we have to accept it is going to be needed. In a system that relies on a division of wealth, there will be poor people. They are not inherently bad because they are poor so we need to make sure they retain their dignity. Helping them get back on their feet with what is now called welfare should be the primary goal. We should not expect this to be the answer for them though.

The next item is we help those who cannot help themselves. This is where the Medicaid disability help comes into play. Sometimes the cost of taking care of someone or the mental illness issues of someone are so extreme that a family or even extended family cannot take care of the person by themselves. It is not a burden to the taxpayers via the government to have programs to help families in these situations. As a people who believe in the dignity of life it does become our responsibility to have programs in place either directly from the government or the government supporting programs for these people.  We all contribute either through taxes or the current social security payments to support this need.  And we need to make sure we understand the problems so we give the proper care. When you deny people this support you are taking a step backwards in social evolution. Bad things can happen and it is no one’s fault so we cannot judge a person with a disability as someone less than us. We create better judgment for ourselves when we help them.

And going back to my original ideas of helping the retirement aspect of social security we do need to start consolidating the various acts, government procedures, the number of departments involved etc so we can better utilize the money for the people who need it. This is whether it is work programs; food and medical for children; disability, programs that help those with disabilities participate in society where they can; high school, trade school, or other education to help people become better prepared for jobs (and we can support people being trained in jobs that are needed and this does not take away anyone’s rights); and even life education for people who especially now have spent a lifetime on welfare learning how to take care of themselves, their money and their health. 

These are just some ideas to show you what can be done to turn the current welfare situation into a more manageable service program that benefits the recipient and society at large.  

Going back to the preamble, does this all need to fall under the social security administration? Maybe. We do need as mentioned above really sit down and define what help we can and should give and consolidate the bureaucracies to better manage the programs, learn what works and what doesn’t (being flexible is a good thing), keep costs down, and a better understanding of who we are as a people.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A post script to what are our priorities

I was reading George Orwell’s Animal Farm again. I say again, but it has been decades since I last read it. It is that damn library card acting up again.

The book I got though had some commentary on the story, the times, and background on the story.  You might recall it was written at the end of WWII so according to the commentary I am reading there was some effort in getting the book published since the story was very anti Stalin/USSR. The war was winding down and there was still wartime censorship going on and the commenter discussed this in detail before and after the actual story.

A couple of sentences though can be applied to today’s world: “If publishers and editors exert themselves to keep certain topics out of print, it is not because they are frightened of prosecution, but because they are frightened of public opinion. In this country (remember England) intellectual cowardice is the worst enemy a writer or journalist has to face, and that fact does not seem to me to have had the discussion it deserves.” *

Now indirectly apply it to our modern press. The corporations that own “the press” seem bent on making sure there is no real discussion on how bad the establishments of the democrats and republicans have failed their constituencies. Occasionally you might see an article from a news site blog, but a real discussion on what they haven’t done for this country is very absent. This isn’t cowardice of public opinion though (read Trump and Sanders’ campaigns) but cowardice to their masters yet still advertising we have freedom of the press.

It is not the government censoring our press such as wartime England, it is the cowardice of our writers and journalists to attack the very people they should be the most wary which unfortunately has become the people writing their checks and buying our elections.  Self-censorship by omission is as dangerous or more so than what made it difficult for George Orwell to get Animal Farm published.  “….intellectual cowardice is the worst enemy a writer or journalist has to face..” says much

* Appendix 1 from Animal Farm with introduction by Julian Symons

Saturday, April 23, 2016

What are our priorities

It is becoming harder and harder to determine where we stand as a people.

It is even hard to determine where to begin.

Here is a headline for you: "Ex-congressman send letters asking for leniency for Hastert". In case you have forgotten Mr. Hastert use to be Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. He is now being sentenced for some violations of bank fraud. Now did Mr Hastert get busted for accepting bribes? Actually no, he was the one bribing people to cover up heinous actions in his past. The back story is the real issue, but he may go to jail for the follow up crime. This story from the headlines about all the people who wrote letters to the Judge asking for leniency for Mr. Hastert. Reads quite the who's who in Republican politicians. They had written before, but the Judge said he would not read them unless the letters were made public. On a side note some of the people that wrote letters pulled 'em back when they had to make it public.

History is rife with stories of the abuse of ethics and in many cases serious abuse of people of lower economic classes by the sons and daughters (mainly sons) of elitists when there is no curb on power in a society. Basically our Constitution has been a fair check on elitists rum amuck. I won't say a complete check, but does allow the people a chance to keep an attempt at balance. As history has shown over time; the less the ruling class has to answer for their actions, the more heinous they act.

Distractions are wonderful. If you can keep people occupied with trivial matters they tend to ignore or forget what is important. Or they may just not realize what is important anymore. So let's pretend something called freedom of the press exists. And that freedom though is owned by the same group of elitists that want you to be distracted. What do you think you are going to get?

Now tell me; what is more important, the values that eminate from our leaders or the sixth round draft pick of your favorite football team or exactly what did so and so wear on the "red carpet"?  And if you believe actions speak louder than words....hmmmmm.....

It is hard. Everyone has a right to pursue what makes them happy.  Or do they? Huge question. Do you draw hypothetical lines?  Well.. as long as no one gets hurt.... Or well we can just move these lines around as we see fit because well you know...we need to make sure no one is offended.     So what does it mean no one is offended? Quite frankly I am offended by a few things which may be different from what offends you. I think child abuse at all levels is pretty damn offensive, or rape even date rape is horrendous and you may also.  Just what upsets our little apple cart of pursuing our happiness. I like football. I have lifelong favorite team yet I do not have a need to become obsessed with 48,000 mock drafts. Yet some people love doing this. Is it wrong?

And who am I to judge? So, how do we, as a people a society balance pursuit of happiness versus a responsibility to each other in society. I think it shows we are evolving as a species when we make those incremental steps in doing what is right overall and still being able to enjoy our lives. My fear that even with our technological achievements we still are lagging in our social evolution. Again yet who am I to judge.

So when I read a story that has many of our countries leaders asking for leniency for someone who for the majority of us has done horrendously despicable acts and only caught because of the follow up crime, what am I to think? Especially when there are more stories about the football draft or the red carpet or some other trivial matter that well can be fun or entertaining, yet pull us away from the deeper issues of our world. Where do we make the determinations to decide when I pursue happiness and when I wear the cloak of responsibility and address what is wrong in our world?

Obviously my fear is we are more obsessed with the trivial than what is happening in our world. If we can spend hours worried about a draft pick for something that is only entertainment why can't we spend hours drafting better people to run our country. Funny thing about it is; no matter who we want for our team we have virtually no impact on who the team selects yet if we exercise it we would have direct impact on who we choose to be our leaders. Irony? Or worse?

We are close to having two presidential candidates from the two parties that according to most polls are more despised than liked by the majority of the people. How on Earth does this happen?  And on top of this insanity you read leaking through the news of a constant stream of misbehavior at all levels of government. We know more why Jennifer Aniston is on the cover of People than knowing the people spending our tax dollars.

It is a beautiful spring night here in North Texas. I wish the thoughts in my head were just as beautiful.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Trying to stay within context

On the edge of the abyss.

I woke up this morning planning on finishing up my Social Security posts. I have a nice neat quick package on how to pull together the concept of the welfare aspect of the preamble and fix our useless bureaucratic way we are going about trying to solve real problems. I am going to come back to it again.

I got up ate breakfast etc and starting reading the news first. Oops.  This sent my brain sideways after reading a couple of different articles and I am still debating internally if I want to say which articles slapped me upside the head.

The issue is one that is hard to discuss. If you read my blog regularly you know I can get on a semi high horse and be a bit moralistic. Or I will say go look at yourself in the mirror and think about it. Well today I have to tell myself to look in the mirror and am still struggling with it. Yet the insanity is crawling up the spine and will not rest until I at least make the attempt to rectify what I read, what people were commenting, and just what does it all mean.

And even though I can get up on that high horse, I do try to temper myself because none of us really know any absolute truths. And in some ways trying to at least learn what they might be is one we way we, as humans, evolve.

And I hate moral absolutes, does as much damage as having no morals. Well maybe not that bad, but it ain’t good.  Think about it, there seems to be some moral high ground or utopian moral society that everyone should grow up, go to college, get a job and after a year find someone to marry with both of you being virgins. Oh yeah and live happily ever after. And if you have ever been 16 years old, you tend to think of this as being a bunch of crap. And as I have also mentioned in previous posts, there is no utopian society and that goes at any level. Yet having no moral compass or set of values leaves us in a vacuum that honestly does destroy us at many levels of society and us as people.

People do not want to talk about this topic and if you have gotten this far I commend your bravery or at least your curiosity. At some point though what do we do to define ourselves?

Catholics are told when they go to confession to do an examination of conscience. And Catholics are given all sorts of literature and instruction as to what that means.  Try it sometime, like most of us you will probably find it very difficult, impossible, or phooey. Yet we fail to examine ourselves in any light with our relationships, our interactions with society, a value system, our family, and whatever else you might indulge.  If I say, you must go to church and become right with God. It turns people off. Or you will get up and say exactly how a person is to get right with God. Both ways fail you.

So where am I going with this. The two articles were about sex. Sex in the news and yep there were thousands of little posts to those stories. And the gambit was run, everywhere from the moral extremes to people saying sexual repression needs to be eliminated and we should all just leave each other alone and everyone has the right to do what they want.

Well……..       let’s take the practical immediate problem with doing what we want. Both in moral and the secular world we tend to have some agreement that doing harm to another person is wrong. Defining that harm in our sexual relationships becomes real tricky or some people tend to think it is. Is it okay to view pornography, or is it okay to view some types of pornography, should a 16 year be allowed to date a 26 year old, when does the age difference become pedophilia, where is the intent, how much sex is healthy and how much is promiscuity, and what is acceptable behavior just among a normal married couple?  And when do we as a society jump in and say enough is enough?

Yet we do nothing/very little about even the horrible aspects of these questions. Why isn’t the sex slave trade more of an issue than the immigration question? This is significantly worse. The level of harm being done to people sold into slavery and especially for sex purposes is one of the worst crimes against humanity there is and it never makes the news nor our politicians to do lists. Why are we afraid to tackle something that if presented the problem most rational people would agree this needs to stop?
Or pedophilia? Or even child abuse? The harm to young children is unimaginable, yet we assign the task to agencies that are under-funded or given no clear mandates or public power to truly fight the problem.  We make a headline every now and then catching some ring of child pornography, but large scale public commitment to fight something most people say is horrible is very lacking. Who are we afraid? And for both, there are serious issues that need to be addressed. Is this mental illness? Is this just a pervert? Is this a deviation from the human norm? Can anyone actually answer these questions and yet we need to know so we can actually combat the problem and hopefully end these horrors.

If we cannot muster up the public will to fight the worse of our atrocities how are we to define what is a normal relationship? This is a problem. What is a healthy relationship? I am betting most people cannot truly answer the question. And this is not your fault. We, as society, just do not try. Some people hide behind a moralistic truth, but that fails because we, as humans, are given hormones and a brain that can go in an awful direction in a heartbeat. Is this a free will argument? In some ways, yes. That is a different argument for now though.  The real concern is we just do not teach healthy relationships. You can read volumes of literature on the subject and do you have an answer. No. The experts all have their theories.

You gotta love the word “theory”.

Some you can mesh around and come up with a working definition of a healthy relationship, but something we instill in our young generation after generation is not happening. And somehow we need to begin this process. And as you are guessing how can you begin without a starting point? I say that without an immediate answer, but I think most of us agree there are some parameters that apply.

Example, does a 16 year old girl need an IUD? (calm down this is an example)

First of all, if she feels she is going to be having sex enough to need an IUD does anyone take the time just to talk about the physiological abuse her body is going to go through. Having a ton of sex may sound like fun, but it takes a toll on your body. And I am not talking about the physical disease problem, I am just talking about the abuse of the body. And why does she feel she needs to protect herself from getting pregnant. Is this because of one relationship? Or what? And the same does apply for males, you cannot have excessive sex without something being amiss.

Forget the moral aspect. Folks when children are exploring this much sex there are some underlying issues that need to be addressed. It is not healthy for children to be abusing their bodies without being fully mature emotionally and mentally. Heck it is not good for adults. The need to satisfy oneself with excessive sexual relationships means other aspects of your psyche are wanting.  We can’t say, oh you are inhibiting his or her free expression because you feel it is wrong for this person to explore their sexuality. The difference is knowing when some young person may have made a mistake and letting their hormones take over (and we all have and it will continue generation to generation so I do not want to sound like a hypocrite, but it is so easy) versus what is this child doing and what are the expectations of a person. We fail our children when we do not define for them what are healthy relationships and helping children when they are substituting sex or drugs or whatever for the lack of a healthy relationship in their lives.

So is this what it is all about? Maybe, we need to learn how to define what is a healthy relationship amongst us all so we can learn to discuss when a child may need help or when an adult may need help. The stories both dealt with young people making poor decisions about relationships and unfortunately it appeared in both stories and in the comments by the thousands that no one seemed to address what was causing the problem. Sex sounds wonderful, and it is, yet it can become a horror when misapplied and we have to accept that truth also. This is more about helping children become healthy adults but since the stories were bad relationship or bad encounters with tons of sexual interaction I jumped too much on that part of the topic.  I hope though you see both points, that we do not need to define ourselves by sex or some type of fairy tale aspect of sexual freedom or social acceptance because of a “liberal” view of sex and it isn’t just something that is okay in all its components and second to truly enjoy each other we have to have a healthy mature relationship with an understanding that our relationships are defined by who we are and what we do; not by an inherent need in our DNA that is necessary for survival. And there is the flip side, its true enjoyment can be wonderful for us in our relationships.

Remember Crosby Stills and Nash… Teach your children    Why is this so hard?

And I apologize for this being all over the map. I fought against writing about this topic all morning and so by the time I did the right thing and stepped up to the keyboard I had battered this around in my head so much I couldn’t recreate all the thoughts that fired off in those synapses inside my head.

So love your family, hug your children if you have any, and remember to love yourself first for this will make loving someone else so much better.

I do promise to finally tie a bow around Social Security with two more posts, one to address the welfare aspect and one to inspire us to proceed with tackling the problem.

Our world folks, it is wonderful when we make it wonderful. Or days like today that were made for us, wonderful warm spring day with a chance of rain here in North Texas

And if you believe in miracles… GO MAVS

Saturday, April 9, 2016

A bit about business

Have you ever read the comments on the stories anytime something happens in Las Vegas? Inevitably someone says it ain’t like it use to be when the mob ran Vegas. Or something similar.

I get amused when I read these comments because how many people are still alive from then that write comments trolling news stories.  According to popular folklore it has been quite a while since a syndicate family owned interests in Las Vegas. Yet someone makes the comment.

And the comments all espouse the theme; the Mob knew how to treat customers, people were taken care of, and everything was better. It is somewhat legendary in history if you read these comments. So what gives?

And I do not want to say anything that someone might take as being supportive of organized crime and yet: are there some truths to these comments? And at what point does fact get separated from fiction?

And what does this have to do with the price of tea in China? EVERYTHING

People do want to be treated well. People including “frugal” people like myself will spend money if we feel we are getting real value.  There seems to be a customer value component the mob had in Las Vegas compared to the current corporate mentality. And this means something. It means something to me, it probably means something to you every time you go out to shop, eat, travel, heck even pay bills.

And in this mixed up scenario you can see another example of how large corporate America is failing us as customers and our Country.

Business is good when business is the key factor behind the company. If you make/manufacture/build something with the intent of selling a good product, good things can happen. It can happen for you, it can happen for the customer, and it can happen for the overall aspect of society. It may specifically benefit the business owner, yet a well-run business does bring benefit to the whole.

Some of the obvious benefits are more successful businesses means more wealth generation; good, productive and paying jobs, dollars circulating through a local economy offering opportunities for other businesses, taxes being paid so governments at all levels can provide the services they should; many times either through community efforts or just charity in general successful businesses will give back to the community such as supporting schools, arts, libraries, and a host of other civic endeavors.  If the owners of the business focus more on the business; they tend to be more involved in the community since they realize how much the community is giving back to them by supporting their business.

And of course we come back to the customer. Where this infamous mob legend seems to receive its’ mythical status. Whatever the product or service it doesn’t matter, as long as the business puts the customer first most of the time the business does well. And we actually want this to happen.

Instead we receive in the modern business world a litany of craziness that does nothing for the business, customer, employees, community and for the country. Large multi-national corporations spend more time trying to meet Wall Street expectations on a quarterly basis, consolidate and merge to create shareholder value, avoid taxes at all costs to the point of spending small fortunes to sway elections in their favor, yet adding no value to anything except a paper bottom line that eventually becomes a merger target and any hard assets (including people) get wacked off in the context of creating efficiencies to make the merger work. All under the guise of another myth:  this is good for business.

And most of you dear readers are pretty attune to the problem described in the last paragraph. There are many articles to literature to pundits that know we have this problem and yet…….

It can be so strange. To go 180° on the mob example. Have you ever eaten at a Chick Fil A? You walk in and the sweetness overwhelms you. It is like all the employees are given the infamous Arnold Palmer drink as a transfusion into their blood stream. You are greeted pleasantly and treated with respect. It is the place with the perpetual morning people. You know the type, the person at your work who never drinks coffee and never has a bad word for anyone and you want to strangle them. I jest and the people are great though. It is a well-run company. Many if not most are franchises and everyone I have seen is doing well. I like the food (the product is good). It is basically run (at least in my eyes) the way a business should be run.

Three very basic components of the Mob myth and the actual Chick Fil A are very similar. It is accepted it is a business that wants to make money by treating the customer as the priority for the purpose of the business. Profit by selling a good product or service that treats everyone well in the process including the owner, employee and customer. And in doing so people talk well of the business which creates the best advertising on the planet hence the mob myth and Chick Fil A reality.

So on a wonderful Saturday afternoon, what is the point you ask.

This is what we need to help turn around our country. It is not a total answer. We need businesses to step up and be businesses. The best business comes from small and medium size companies whether they be sole proprietaries, partnerships, corporations, or how ever styled it is the business that is close to the customer that we need back.  We can rant about large multi-national corporate greed being evil (and it is with some exceptions) and we need to do something.

I do not know specifically how we turn the tables on the current situation. We do need to find ways to bring back to our communities businesses that are viable. The more the merrier. I have a host of ideas in mind so not to overwhelm you, the main idea is how do we reinvest in business throughout our country. My brain turns to the cliché thinking we need to get away from Wall Street and back to main street yet this is so true.

Do you really enjoy spending your money right now? Even if it is something you want, do you feel comfortable buying clothes, electronics, furniture, household goods, and everything else in our modern world? Unless you are super rich and can afford well-crafted items, what is your impression of quality and value for the dollar? Heck I spend thirty minutes trying to decide on what iron to buy, not because I am comparing quality, but because I can’t trust any of them. I have spent good money on an iron before and it didn’t last longer than an inexpensive one. And going back to the store to return something unless it has been like 2 days is impossible to get help. AND THIS IS NOT THE FAULT OF THE EMPLOYEE. They are getting screwed as workers as bad as we are getting screwed as customers.

Corporations are so large they have no feeling for what you want and need. Quality is an afterthought. Customer service is a training video done so badly the employees sleep through it. Heck customer service is a lip service myth by the multinationals bigger than the mob myth. Again not the employees fault. They too, an afterthought, an expense that needs to be reduced.

Corporations spend fortunes to try and herd their customers to behave in ways that help them improve their fictitious bottom line. Corporate reward programs that are a maze and keep changing are not the mob myth of hey you’re my customer let me take care of you.

Am I dreaming of a time gone by, something that will never be. This better not be a dream; for realistically changing the complexion of our lives in many ways should be our priorities or we will lose a war that no one ever fought in.

And to remain cliché and valid for the time being: Support small businesses!; to help us get together and develop the real reinvestment we need in our country to truly thrive and continue our wonderful experiment called American Democracy and keep our humanity at a high level. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

It’s not that difficult folks,

It’s just not that difficult.

Let’s start with some premises.

It is okay to be rewarded for hard work, to gain from effort even if at a point you have more than others. In general, that is not a problem.

There is no utopian society, nor will there ever be one.

So what does all this mean. It means we make it much more difficult than it should be.  The real premise is simple. If you respect your fellow man first everything else should follow. No one person is going to solve all our problems yet if we pull together we can solve the ones we need to.

Yet in so many ways we hide from ourselves.  We hide behind God, we hide behind heroes real and imagined, we hide behind monsters. We will run to hell and back to avoid doing what is right. People will try to legislate morality. You cannot legislate morality. Morality is already engrained into our psyche or at least most of ours. Morality needs to be taught not in the same way we teach math and science, but taught, give people the chance to bring out the best in themselves. Legislating morality is hiding behind God and shirking your responsibility to God. God gave us the tools to do what is right. We fail to use them.

Now in solving problems; there will be hard work. Sacrifices will need to be made. Resources will need to be committed. It is the approach to solving them that leaves us lacking.  We can solve them. We let others run away with what is ours and accept the lies because we are afraid.

Our forefathers created a government that allows us to do best for ourselves and our fellow man. It accepted that some people will have more than others, this was inevitable in life. The idea was to let the rule of man make the best decisions for all or at least the majority without infringing on the lives of others. No one is to have a hold on another person’s life, their freedoms, their right to continue to be treated with respect even if their beliefs were different than others. This was not perfect, yet it was designed to allow us to evolve to do more each generation to move man further in our day to day world.

We, as individuals, can be successful and it is not bad. We, as people, can govern ourselves so we can make decisions to benefit the whole of society. Our forefathers gave us the instrument to do both. We fail in our endeavors. It is okay to be successful as long as we do not leave others behind or in need. We have a right to succeed, even if on some days we fail. No one is above another. It is not about sharing or socialism. It is about using our resources to continually give one and all a fighting chance and then helping those truly in need. We are not all born equal, yet we are all equal.

We have been given life to live. It is a gift. Along with this life we have been given resources all the way from our brains to our planet. Why do we let everything that interferes with what we have been given be taken away from us? Why do we make this so difficult?

There are hundreds of good answers to our problems today here and all over the world. So why do the problems persist?  ………………………..Yep, I do not know.

The madness inside today has been strong. What with the choice of candidates, the Panama papers, the greed overrunning our Congress, ISIS, the hate shown by my fellow citizens, and much more has permeated every synopsis in my brain? What foolishness does my mind play on me today? (Fighting the madness I did get a bunch of work completed)

When this next thought is running rampant like a bad hit on AM radio over and over again inside your head you know it is time to find respite.

I tried googling or searching to see if a similar quote has been made, this thought sounded so familiar. A cursory search produced nothing. It did produce quite a few bible verses that were not close which threw me off. Also quite a variety of other insanity, but nothing that had similar verbiage. I apologize if this is a quote and I do not give it proper credit, yet I feel maybe not too many people have been this overcome so today:

They are going to crucify me for I have the innocence of a child and yet I know all too well the ways of the devil.

Strange and true, so if you know of a similar quote or thought, would you please forward it to me. I am trying to make heads and tails of all this madness.

And yet it is not that difficult. We can do what is right. It was one simple commandment, one simple piece of information, one simple thought and if we just begin to implement it in our world we can make our day to day lives a joy, an internalized joy, not just the fleeting moments of happiness, true internal joy. “Love your brother as you love yourself.”

This does not take away from success or riches or being the champion of a sport. It only adds to the wealth of us has humans. A wealth not measured in numbers, but in ourselves.

It just isn’t that difficult folks