Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Reality Percentages

All throughout history, some folks have said over and over things like "The youth are going to hell in a hand basket".

I was reading the newspaper years ago and there was a great big long tirade about this very subject. The author was talking about how the young people of that day and time had lost all respect for their elders. How they were beyond redemption and hope and needed to be handled with an iron hand to relearn these things. It was quite a long piece and as I was reading it, I thought to myself that the author must be some politician or the other mouthing off to get people to vote for him, so he could be the one to force these wonderful changes on our wayward and misled youth, to make them good, contributing citizens again. Well, when I finally got to the end of the piece, guess who the author was? It was Adolph Hitler! Turns out that was one of the main themes of his political platform back then. He was saying that a lot of people and especially the youth were falling apart and losing their humanity. He was saying if the people elected him, he would whip all those discontents back in shape and save their way of life. Well we now know how well that worked out, don't we?

Years later, I found out that Socrates pretty much said the same thing about people in general and especially the youth way back in his time also. I pretty much discovered that some people, mainly politicians, ultra religious groups and others have been saying these things throughout the history of mankind. Of course they want you to join their agenda or affiliation and mainly give them money to solve this pressing issue.

One of the cool things about my business is I get to talk in depth with lots of very intelligent folks in all walks of life. I've learned that in general the theory that "most" people, young or older being bad or slowly going to hell in a hand basket has always been and is today bullshit. As proof, ask any teacher anywhere if most students are screwing off, not paying attention and generally causing nothing but problems and he/she will gladly tell you that it's just not true. He/She will tell you that it's true for a very small percentage of them only. They'll tell you that the vast majority of students are serious, caring, studious young people who are trying most of the time to do their best.

Look around you at everyone you personally know in your life. Look around at those you see in your normal workday and weekend. It's pretty easy to see that the percentage of bad/good people is probably on the line of something like 95% good and 5% bad. That means that 95% of people are hard working, caring, honest, compassionate folks who are generally happy with life and would be willing to help a neighbor, friend or even a stranger if the opportunity or need came about and they could. I'm going to step out on a limb here and say this is most likely true everywhere in the entire world, not just in America.

Now that leaves the reality of that other 5% percent who are truly bad. In the student world, those are the ones who are our future denizens of the juvenile justice system and eventually our prison system. The only other alternative for those types without some serious medical, psychiatric or social help would be death, one way or the other.

So, is this the reality you see in your life? Are most people you know pretty good folks?

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008


This is something I've thought about often through the years as I watched or read another story on the news about some gang or the other raising hell out in our country. Usually it's a story about a bunch of punks running around shooting guns, killing each other or killing innocent bystanders, who had nothing to do with it.

To make my thoughts clear on this subject, I would have to go back to when I was a teenager in high school. Back then, when someone had a problem with or just didn't like someone else, they would "call out" the other person to a fight, usually after school at some agreed upon location. After all the details of the fight were worked out, the rumor mill started and before the end of the day, half the school knew there was going to be fight and everyone that could, tried their best to show up to watch.

Here's how it would come out for everyone. The two combatants would come together and all the people who came to watch would form a huge circle completely surrounding them. The two fighters would approach each other face to face, take a good stance, put up their fists, dance around for a while and the whole thing would start as soon as one or the other thru the first punch. At that point, the whole crowd of onlookers would be yelling and screaming for one or the other.

Now lets get some very important things straight here. There were some plain as day, completely understood, unwritten rules involved in this whole planned affair. Fairness was everything. Only straight ahead fists were allowed. No kicking (this was before Karate), no hair pulling, no use of sticks, rocks, knives or ANY thing other than fists. The ONLY brave and honorable thing was to stand there face to face using only your fists to pound the opponent into submission. I have to proudly add here that if anyone did pick up a stick or anything, the whole crowd would not only start yelling, they would grab the stick and you and put a stop to the whole thing right then. Now the second the other guy fell to the ground, honorable people would stop and let the other person back up before continuing. The second one or the other gives up or says "I give" or lets it be known by one and all that they want to quit. IT'S A DONE DEAL! Game over, everyone walks away and the whole thing is finished.

The whole point of my little story here is back then these things were handled in a civilized and honorable way with both sides showing respect and bravery to each other. The purpose was not to kill or maim your opponent, it was just to prove you were brave and perhaps worthy of being a "man", in those times.

Now back to those punks in the news shooting each other and anyone else who get in there way. I'm announcing right now, right out loud and clear that all those punks are god damn chicken shits. They are like little baby pigs, pretending to be adults. They are too chicken shit to stand face to face with anyone. They sneak around shooting from moving cars or hide behind something to make their kill. They have no real guts at all. In fact, they are the scum of the earth and should be shot on sight by our law enforcement, who we have given the right to wipe out human infections.

Somehow we lost sight of what bravery, honor, respect and personal responsibility means in this new society we find ourselves in. I wonder if it's possible to somehow get that back in our children's realities before it's too late.

What do you think about all this? How do you define bravery, honor and respect? Is there a way you can think of to reach the youth with these truths and create change?

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

The News

After catching the morning Television News and National Public Radio on the way to work the other day, I made a decision I'm hoping to be able to follow up on. By the time I got to work, I was damn near depressed. Now normally, I'm a pretty glass half full, upbeat, positive type of person but as I'm sure is true for most normal people right now, it's pretty hard to remain true to my natural attitude, what with all the crap going on in the world right now presented on the news.

Speaking of that, I know that the news did not and does not directly cause the economic problems the world has going right now. The truth is though, the news by feeding the doomsday ideas so expertly and incessantly, is making and keeping everyone nervous about spending any money until things get better. The problem with that is our entire economic system is built on consumerism. Money being spent by everyone around the whole world is the grease that makes the economic machine go around. So even though it's not the cause, it is like a giant anchor dragging everything down. If we stop buying products, the companies have to lay off or fire employees. Then those employee's don't have the money to spend and the whole thing just starts to feed upon itself.

So, here's my grand plan. I'm going to give it my best shot to not watch or listen to ANY news for quite a while. I've wondered for years if everyone might just be a whole lot better off not watching the daily barrage of negative garbage they call "the news". I've heard their lame attempt at an explanation for the negativity time and time again. They say good news doesn't sell. They say the public grows bored with anything positive but bad news catches and holds their attention. So that's what we deserve and that's what they are going to give us. It's kind of a sad commentary on our real needs and desires huh?

You know, back in the past, before television and mass media, people got by just fine day by day without knowing anything at all about most of the rest of the world and it's many problems. I really wonder if someone living in a small town in America has any need at all to hear all the crime statistics and details in some large city such as New York. Does it do their lives any good at all to know those things? I doubt it.

So, I'll let you know how successful I am with my new resolution. I'm as bad as the next guy with turning on the box as soon as I walk in the door and usually it's the news that's on, so it really has became a habit for me as I'm sure it has for most folks.

Christ, maybe I'll actually use that time to pet the cats, talk to my wonderful wife, take the time and energy to make a great meal, relax with the new found peace and quiet without the blaring box. I know the few times we have lost our power, it was amazing to realise that life went on just fine and the piece and quiet was pretty cool.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Government Giveaways

I'm been wanting to bring this up for years now but something I read in yesterday's paper finally knocked me off the fence. Again, I saw a little tiny mention, not more than a half an inch in size telling about the Unites States Government giving Mexico something like $135,000,000 dollars for something or the other. HOLY SHIT!!! What the hell are our idiots in the suits in Washington think they are doing? Didn't I see on the news that we are in the grips of the worst economic crisis since the great depression here in America and we're giving god damn MEXICO millions of dollars?

I've been knocked off my feet probably once or twice a month for years and years by these little tiny notices in the papers or television news talking about our stupid ass government giving away millions of dollars to every little crap country in the world. Not just the little ones either. Seems we are so rich that we can even give to Japan, Russia, China and all the big boys out there also.

Part of the insanity of it all is how unimportant and trivial they obviously consider these "gifts" that they don't even bother to try and make us understand why their doing it. I've heard the term "financial diplomacy" used often from our inapt leaders to give it some kind of legitimacy. Ok, lets see now.........If we can't have everyone in the whole world love us to death, then we'll just bribe them into being our friends huh? So, the next time our children won't do what their told, just give them $50.00 to do the right thing. There ya go. That'll teach them the ways of the world. Actually the other day on the news I saw that is exactly what some schools are doing. If you stay in school and get decent grades, they have a pay scale depending on how often you do and how high your grades are. My oh my, has life changed and left me in the dust?

Even in good economic times how about the United States taking care of it's own citizens first and foremost and THEN, IF we have extra money, maybe we could think about helping the truly needy in the rest of the world. In those good times, I mean taking care of the huge important issues we have right here in america, like health care for instance. Things that we sometimes think are too costly for the government to handle. Well, if we weren't giving away most of the pie, maybe we could afford to help our own people with their medical needs among other things.

So maybe it's time we get back to a little of the "us first" isolationism of the past. Like the whole health issue, you need to first be healthy yourself before you can do anyone else any good huh?

So, whatchathink folks? What do you think about our government giving huge money to other countries on a regular basis?

Tell us what you think.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Regular Folks

People sometimes ask me where I get all the bull#$% I write in here. Good question. In my business I am forever amazed at the intelligence of the average Joe or Jane who comes in. Naturally the talk of the shop is whatever is happening in the world at that time.

Everyone usually has some kind of opinion on most any subject. The wild part is no matter how complex, convoluted and deep the problem of the day is, the average regular person usually has some kind of super simple, logical, easy to understand and implement solution. It blows my mind how often this is true. I ask myself how come our politicians, powers that be, educated, learned and certified people out there with huge important diplomas on their walls don't seem to know shit. These are the very people who should be bringing up these super important issues and presenting concrete ideas and solutions on these things for us peons.

It really makes one wonder who might be better able to run our country. Our present system relies on anyone with a suit and tie, who has gone to universities and lays claim to great knowledge. Well as Dr. Phil would say "How's that workin out for ya?"

I've thought after listening to regular folks for years and years that quite possibly the best person to run our country might just be someone as simple as " Joe the Farmer (and his wife of course). Now good old Joe knows how to handle the realities of a working farm. He has to make super important decisions everyday that effect whether the farm makes a living this month or year in order to stay in business for the long run.

Lets take a few examples to help make my point.

How about the subject of "crime and punishment"?.
Old Joe has a favorite dog he just loves and is quite possibly his best friend up to this point. Now all of the sudden Joe's special buddy starts chasing and maiming or even killing Joe's prize money making sheep. Well, Joe has a huge quandary now, doesn't he? Using the "farmer" logical thinking, he has only one choice if the farm is to continue making a profit, so he can feed his family and keep the farm going.
The last thing in the world Joe wants to do is put the dog down but he has no choice. It's the dog or everything else he loves. So with a tear in his eye and a heavy heart, he makes a special place up on the hill for the dog and he does his duty.

How about "helping the poor"?
Some new people come to the area of Joe's farm and they are about as poor and run down as can be. Does he offer to take supplies, food and equipment from his farm, give it to them and continue to give to the poor family, so they can have a life there? No, he contacts them and offers to teach them how to live off the land and helps them make whatever they need to get by for themselves. In the end, he is one hell of a good neighbor, a good man and has helped the new people make their own new life with a great pride of accomplishment.

How about "credit"?
Unfortunately, Joe's tractor breaks down. Does he run into town to the local bank and beg the banker for a loan to get the parts to fix his tractor as soon as possible? No, he has other choices, which take longer but don't require him to borrow at all. The first logical choice is to start saving the money and with time be able to pay for the parts himself. Another way would be to sell some of the products he produces on the farm to get the money or trades labor with other farmers or any number of other ways he can and will think of. The last thing in the world old Joe would want would be to "owe" anyone anything.

I think you get the point by now. Old Joe and his wife are just normal folks, just like you and I by the way, who think with logic (remember that odd concept) and use good common sense (another one of those odd concepts) in their decisions and try at all times to make due with what they have or can produce. As long as they can keep the overeducated suits away from their children, their children have a more than fair chance at happiness also.

By the way, old Joe and his wife are quite happy with their life, which is pretty darn hard at times. You know what though? They have no problem getting a good nights sleep without all the tension, worry and strain most people have to live with in our self caused complicated, complex lives.

What other ways could old Joe handle everyday problems? Do you have common sense ideas?

Lets hear them.

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Government Waste

With all our economic woes right now, there’s a lot of people with answers they think might work to put us back on track. All the big boys in the financial industry are pumping billions into the system to try and jump-start it, as we speak. All the Government heads in all the States are talking about either cutting back on Government spending programs and/or raising taxes to try and solve the quagmire we find ourselves in right now.

I’m wondering if simply cutting out Government waste could solve the entire thing.

Everyone I talk to who works for any branch of the Government, be it the Military, State, County or Local has incredible tales of huge wasteful expenditures they see everyday at work.

Maybe we should invest in a new Government Program heaven forbid, whose entire purpose is to root out waste on every level and get rid of it. I have a strong feeling just getting rid of all the waste would more than pay for an entire new program, by a hell of a long shot.

I would like to take this to the limit however. This is not going to make me any new friends but I think at the least, we as a nation should at least start discussing this theory and see where it might take us in trying to keep our economy solvent on into the future. Obviously, it doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” plan. Maybe something in between would work. If anyone has any other realistic ideas, I sure would love to hear them. As you know, our “Leaders” have no intention of ever bringing this up.

Ok, how about knocking off ALL benefits to everybody who works for the Government in any way. No more medical, health, retirement, transportation costs, special clothing needs, safety equipment or any extra expenses at all to employees who work for the Government, State, county or local. I can see some exceptions on the special equipment part for the Military but no one else.

Now lets get something straight here. I don't mean we should just jerk all the benefits with no alternative. What I'm guessing is, if the government were to stop automatically paying for them, the price would be forced down to a reasonable level. The reason everything like that costs so much is the companies have always expected the government to have "unlimited funds". That enabled the companies to maintain rip off prices in place, forcing everyone in and out of the government to over pay for all benefits. If everyone were to be forced to pay their own way, the prices would have to come down to a level regular people could afford.

My reasoning behind this idea is simple. I as a private business owner receive absolutely nothing from anyone for any of these special gifts. I am required, as all business owners are, to buy all these things out of the profit I make with my business. On top of that, I and all the other business owners have to pay extra taxes to support all those gifts that the Government workers receive.

Is there some way we could pay our government workers a living wage and then expect them to go out and pay for their own special needs, just as we businesses have to? I’m sure you’ve heard that lots of big businesses are already talking about dropping the benefit programs or at least modifying them because they are reaching a point where the benefits are driving them out of business. The best example of that right now is the Auto industry.

I hear from people who work for the Government that they see people all the time setting around doing nothing or just have a hard time signing their name, much less having the intelligence to actually do the work they are assigned. They sometimes see the hiring practices as this foolish: “Are you breathing? Ok, you’re hired”. The other issues I hear all the time is even if someone is plainly not qualified to do the job or just a nutcase, the act of firing is so convoluted and hard that most managers just don’t bother with it.

What these facts tell me is there are probably far too many government, state and local employees. I’m going to make a wild guess that about a quarter to a third of all of them should be let go. Can you imagine how much that would save the rest of us who pay taxes to support these do nothing people?

Again, let me make myself perfectly clear on this. If I say a quarter to half are not needed at all, that means that three quarters to two thirds are doing a fine job and their work is important to us all.

Another crazy program I hear of is the funding process at work with our government. If at the end of the year, they don’t spend every penny they were funded, they would get less next year, and so they make damn sure they spend it, even on plain nonsense crap. What the hell kind of idiotic shit is that? I would think a far better plan would be to give rewards and awards to any department who actually saves us money and spend far less that they were allocated. Christ, give them an all expenses paid weekend in Tahoe for saving us, the taxpayers money.

Ok now, another idea that will get me in some trouble. How about us dropping the whole tax exemption for all religious organizations? How and why should they run their hugely profitable businesses without paying one cent in taxes to help support our economy and way of life? Especially when for the last several years, they have chosen to participate in the whole political arena, by influencing their parishioners to vote one way or the other on whatever issues they bring from their faith and set of ideas. I really do think it’s time religion pays its fair share, since they are enjoying the same benefits and freedoms as everyone else here in America.

Ok, there’s my take on some of our financial problems.

Lets hear yours.

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