Time and again, those who opposed Jesus would quote Scripture. They would remind him of the Sabbath law, the requirement to fast, the provision for divorce, and the penalty for adultery. Jesus seemed unimpressed with a person’s ability to quote Scripture. His interest was in a person’s ability to hear God’s voice. He said, “He who belongs to God hears what God says” (John 8:47). To limit the word of God to the written word is to muzzle God.
Gulley, Philip; Mulholland, James (2009-03-17). If Grace Is True: Why God Will Save Every Person
No slick lawyers, or income tax experts can get you out of a national sales tax. It’s so much on the dollar on every luxury you buy. Then, if you live in luxury, the poor fellow knows you are paying for it and he will even encourage you to buy more so it will help out the government. — Will Rogers November 2, 1924
Most of us, and especially my very conservative friends at least during Democrat administrations, have in our minds how government simply can’t do anything right. Whatever it does is most likely screwed up and can be done much better in the private sector….
In direct contrast is one thing most conspiracy theories contain is the idea of a hyper-competent government doing things way beyond any concept of normal activities.
It totally amazed me that there are so many popular conspiracy theories around today. If you want to see a list go to Wikipedia by clicking on the name.
Lets look at the area of extraterrestrials to get a sample of this hyper-government beliefs. Here is what is in the above link about that:
A sector of conspiracy theory with a particularly detailed mythology is the extraterrestrial phenomenon, which has become the basis for numerous pieces of popular entertainment, the Area 51/Grey Aliens conspiracy, and allegations surrounding the Dulce Base. It is alleged that the United States government conspires with extraterrestrials involved in the abduction and manipulation of citizens. A variant tells that particular technologies, notably the transistor—were given to American industry in exchange for alien dominance. The enforcers of the clandestine association of human leaders and aliens are the Men in Black, who silence those who speak out on UFO sightings. This conspiracy theory has been the basis of numerous books, as well as the popular television show The X-Files and the Men in Black film series. The X-Files based the plots of many of its episodes around urban legends and conspiracy theories, and had a framing plot which postulated a set of interlocking conspiracies controlling all recent human history.
In order to even begin to accomplish anything in the order of conspiring with alien abduction and manipulation of U.S. citizens would take much more than a handful of people. I worked for the company that invented the transistor many year ago and if it was given to us by aliens instead of being an idea of William Shockley and a few others it is one of the best kept secrets in that company. Not a single person has come through with any proof of alien cooperation in over fifty years!
It is totally unfathomable for me and I think the vast majority of us to believe that so many government employees needed to pull something like this off can keep this massive secret for all these years. But it would be kind of nice if some of my friends who are haters of government, any government, would latch onto a small dose of the hyper-competent government idea. Everyone who draws a public salary are not complete blithering incompetent idiots as so many seem to think.
This is going to be one of those totally off-the-wall unrealistic posts that pops off the top of my head. But it sure would be great if somehow, anyhow it could be accomplished. So here goes.
We all know that profits are the total 100% driver for American businesses for the last thirty years or so. Ever since the MBA’s took over during the Reagan years profits are the god of business. Of course directly linked to profits are CEO’s pay. I believe that other things besides global competition have contributed to the income inequality now in this world.
When I started out in the corporate world employees were considered assets to the company. A well-trained, well-educated workforce was the driving factor between a struggling company and one that thrived. Because of this belief, and the fact that worker’s unions were part of the mix, a strong middle class developed in the U.S. Everyone could afford what they were making and they were very loyal to the brand their company produced. In that respect those were indeed the good old days…
But, let’s get back to my off-the-wall dream. Now that profits are the sole mantra for American capitalism, let’s just accept that fact as future reality but with a twist. It seems that almost all companies want to hire their workers at minimum wage. The money they used to pay in livable salaries is now directed towards profits. Here goes my fix, so get ready! What if companies were required to share their profits between their workers and their owners? It could go something like this.
Go ahead and reduce all workers pay to minimum wage but require half of last years’ profits to be distributed the next year to supplement that wage. According to some calculations that would raise the median income of workers almost 50%. Wouldn’t that be something. Finally the workers would actually get some of the benefit from their labors.
But of course the devil is in the details. In order for this to happen the owners, those who hold the company stocks, would have to get by with half their usual dividends. While they are doing that they could also reign in the CEO and upper management pay to something that is not as absurd as it currently is. What is he likelihood of stock owners agreeing? Well, probably very close to zero. After all, they spend millions, and hide millions more away in foreign bank accounts, to get out of paying their fair share of taxes. Why would they give up some dividends for the greater good? I kind of got an idea about that too. ;) Since many of these owners were true believers in Reagan’s trickle down from the 1980s maybe we can convince them that lowering their dividends will actually raise them. Wouldn’t that be a win-win for everyone!!
OK, now it is time to get back to the world as it actually exists, not how I sometimes see it inside my head. But, it is kind of nice to dream that we could ever get back to the good old days where employees were actually appreciated.
I’m just a simple guy so what do I know…..
Do the best you can, and don’t take life too serious.
This is one of my favorite quotes from my hero Will Rogers. He just had a way of finding humor at almost all situations. I try to emulate him in that regard. I often mention that much of what I say has a certain level of jest in it. I just love pulling people’s chains because some just take life too serious.
Some of my readers and especially one who was once a frequent commentor seemed to often forget that. She took almost everything I post here with the utmost seriousness and her comments reflected that mood. It seemed when I was trying to smile she put a frown on my face. I guess I hurt her feelings with a recent reply and she has vowed to never come back. I don’t like to offend people in any serious manner, after all I like my hero have never met a person I really dislike. But if everything to you is serious then maybe this is not the blog for you. I kind of like to poke fun at almost everything! Some call that disrespectful; I call it not taking life too serious…
Maybe I should end every post with the quote above? Will Rogers lived in some of the most serious times for our country. He made jokes about living during the Great Depression. Since he was one of the most famous during his time I think he got it right for most people. I hope I am taken the same way. Yeah, some of my comments might seem disrespectful to some but just don’t take life too serious and you can see my underlying message.
Do the best you can, and don’t take life to serious.
Conformity is kind of a dirty word for me. I think of myself as anything but a conformist. A big part of conformity is accepting what you are told without questions. That makes good soldiers but I don’t think it makes good citizens. Here are a couple of quotes from one of my heroes on this topic.
To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.
The important thing is not to stop questioning.
– Albert Einstein
When we quit questioning we allow others to tell us what to think and do. We become sheep following the latest demigods, the latest social and consumer trends.
Some parts of our lives demand more conformity than others. One of those areas is our religious beliefs. For the most part almost all religious organizations demand that we strictly tow the line. They demand homogeneous compliance. One of the versions of religion that I most admire for their dedication are the Amish. But they are also demand the highest level of conformity. You are told you must totally submit to the authority of your elders with no questions asked. You are not to stand out from the crowd. If you don’t follow these rules you are often shunned by the community.
To me the opposite of creativity is conformity so that is why it is a dirty word to me. Creativity is how we have advanced in almost every area of life in the last 2,000+ years. It took a brave Belgium doctor hundreds of years ago to question if going from one patient to another without washing your hands was actually doing more harm than good. It would take decades of being chastised for his “radical” beliefs before physicians would finally scrub up between surgeries. Let’s face it, if conformity were the only possibility we would very likely still be living in Middle-Age conditions.
We in the United States pride ourselves in being a unique nation but in reality we at least in recent history are for the most part just bowing to conformity. We allow talking heads, especially those at Fox News and MSNBC to tell us what to think and do. It seems for far too many people if Rush says it then “ditto”. We jump from one social and economic trend to another without really thinking of the consequences. Aren’t we really for the most part just a bunch of conformists? Yes, thank heavens, there have always been few of us who are not afraid to stand out from the crowd. They are the ones who are always asking questions and as a result moving us forward. But I am afraid that given our current stands on educational conformity we might even lose that in future generations. If our kids don’t conform to our current standards then they are likely to be given a prescription of Ritalin to force them to stay in line. From my study of biographies of Einstein I’m sure he would have been one of those chosen for a dose of that drug if he were growing up today.
How sad is that??
“The time to worry about debt is before you get it, not after you got four-fifths of it.” – Will Rogers, 21 December 1932
These words of wisdom were just as ignored in Will’s day as they are today by almost all of us and especially by our government.
When will the USA become the DSA? Will it be in my lifetime or further out? I don’t really think I have an answer to this dilemma but if things don’t change soon I think that, like the Russian professor who generated the map shown here, the DSA is a very distinct possibility. I am proud that our forefathers had the wisdom to create a constitution that has allowed us to flourish for more than two-hundred years. But that does not insure that the USA is a perpetual entity.
Division seems to be the way of the world right now. If you look at a globe made fifty-years ago you will find many new country names now. And then there is the sectarian violence in so many other parts of the world right now. No one seems to be able to get along with their neighbors anymore. Everyone wants regime change but the biggest problem with that is there is almost never a new regime even close to being able to take over for the ousted one so therefore only turmoil results. Because of that the world is actually getting messier because of all the unrest.
We in the United States are fractured along political and wealth lines. But, unlike so many other countries our fracture has yet to result in violence or death in the street. Will we be able to buck the current trend of change by violence? I pray we will but kind of expect we eventually won’t .
The Russian professor who made up the map above predicts that the U.S. will be controlled by foreign sources. I can’t imagine that happening. It is more likely that like Europe before its union, we might divide into separate countries with individual governments. I only use the map above to get you to thinking about this possibility. If we do split it will probably be more like a north/south/west thing or a red/blue one.
Sometimes the idea of a Divided States of America is not that fearful to me. There just seems to be two very distinctively different worldviews in our country right now. Will those very different views come to a compromise as has been our history or will we fracture as so many others have done? The issue of slavery divided us for much of the first half of our existence. For the last one-hundred years our basic differences between humanity and money have torn us into two distinctive camps. Will our fate be the DSA??
It would be so much easier if God spoke to us through burning bushes or from boiling clouds, or even just sent a text message. But unfortunately, we’re expected to discern what God’s call is on our life, without specific, written-down instructions, custom made for each of us on what to do.
We live in an age disturbed, confused, bewildered, afraid of its own forces, in search not merely of its road but even of its direction. There are many voices of counsel, but few voices of vision; there is much excitement and feverish activity, but little concert of thoughtful purpose. We are distressed by our own ungoverned, undirected energies and do many things, but nothing long. It is our duty to find ourselves.
Woodrow Wilson, Baccalaureate address, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, June 9, 1907
It is funny how somethings are very different than they were one hundred years ago and how some are very much the same.
Let’s face it, everyone is a liar to one degree or another. Lying is so prevalent in our society that we are assumed to be a liar until we prove ourselves honest and even that proof has a limited time span. We all have serious scars from being lied to.
We lie to ourselves — We say we did the best that we could when we really never even put up much of an effort. We invent stories in our distant past so that our lives sound more interesting. Sometimes we lie to people to make them feel better. Sometimes we lie to ourselves for the same reason. We convince ourselves that everything is fine when our personal world is falling apart. We lie to ourselves on a daily basis.
We lie to get ahead — We pad our work resumes to make it look like we have accomplished more than we did. We lie to take credit for something that someone else did. We lie to inflate our egos and to advance to that next level job.
We lie to those we love — We lie to our spouse because we don’t think they can handle the real truth. We tell many “white” lies because it is easier than confronting the truth and we don’t want to hurt our loved ones feelings.
In fact lying is a necessity of life. If we told the truth in many circumstances we would probably be without friends. I think I am more truthful than many in this regard. Some people call me blunt. Some call me rude. Now don’t get me wrong, I lie just like everyone else but it seems that I often let the truth slip out of my mouth without thinking of the consequences. Sometime I just don’t take the time to see where a lie is more tactful than the truth.
But, lying is not just on a personal level. Here are some words from Jane McCrath about the The Ten Biggest Lies in history
Supposedly, the truth can set you free. But for many, deceit holds the key to money, fame, revenge or power, and these prove all too tempting. In history, this has often resulted in elaborate hoaxes, perjuries, and forgeries that had enormous ripple effects.
There are our personal, some might say “little” lies and then there are those that have grievously harmed or world. This article counts down what the author deemed the ten biggest lies in history. The number one liar was without a doubt Hitler.
Like never before, anti-Semitism was manifested in a sweeping national policy known as “the Final Solution,” which sought to eliminate Jews from the face of the Earth.
To accomplish this, Adolf Hitler and his minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, launched a massive campaign to convince the German people that the Jews were their enemies. Having taken over the press, they spread lies blaming Jews for all of Germany’s problems, including the loss of World War I. One outrageous lie dating back to the Middle Ages claimed that Jews engaged in the ritual killings of Christian children and used their blood in the unleavened bread eaten at Passover.
Using Jews as the scapegoat, Hitler and his cronies orchestrated what they called “the big lie.” This theory states that no matter how big the lie is (or more precisely, because it’s so big), people will believe it if you repeat it enough. Everyone tells small lies, Hitler reasoned, but few have the guts to tell colossal lies. Because a big lie is so unlikely, people will come to accept it.
Getting back on a personal level, we all discover the truth about the truth and that is that oftentimes the truth hurts and lying is just easier.
This just popped up on my Facebook page. I don’t know if the figures above are valid but they are rather sobering. Yes, the church should be taking care of all these things and obviously they are not. But they could be if we forced them to do it via taxes.
What an interesting thought!!!
What they haven’t been doing is giving extra cash to employees, despite s a year of solid – and often record – profits and huge cash hoards. A survey by Aon Hewitt on compensation trends for 2014 shows that companies plan to raise salaries by just 3% this year – the highest since 2008, when the average raise was 3.7%. Economist Ed Yardeni notes that employee compensation and capital spending as a percentage of GDP has been the lowest since the mid-1950s.
But suppose each company with $1 billion in cash took 5% of that stash and give it to employees as a bonus. Unlike a raise, which is an ongoing cost, a bonus is simply a one-time payout – a way of thinking workers for a good year. What would each employee get?
What happened to the idea of the three legged stool concept of corporate governance? It used to be that there were three pretty equal priorities for American business: Owners, Customers, Employees. All were considered of equal importance to the well being of an American corporation. It seems in the last thirty years that the owners have become far and away the only leg. Of course this trend is also analogous to the accumulation of wealth at the top end of the economic scale.
I can remember in the 1970s getting year end bonuses. They were never even close to approaching the ones given out on Wall Street and board rooms today but it was always a good feeling to know that we got a little extra for our contribution to our company’s economic health. It made us feel we were appreciated.
There are thousands of companies today that have mammoth stockpiles of cash sitting in company coffers. Their employees have worked hard and made the company a success. Why aren’t they thanked the same way as those who buy their stocks? If that were to happen maybe at least a small amount of company loyalty would return to American business. Everyone likes to know that their contributions to any effort are appreciated. A little pat on the back both physically and economically will go a long ways.
The source article goes on after the above quote to show that it would mean about $3,000 to each of the S&P 500 companies. It would mean about $270 for each McDonald’s employee. That is almost the equivalent of one week’s pay at the typical minimum wage that most earn. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you are appreciated even for flipping hamburgers?
The vast majority of donations come in from middle-class-to-poor people who give twenty-five to thirty dollars a month and often even less. The vast majority comes in from this class of citizen, and not just in number of people giving, but in number of dollars given. Sure, I have people on our list giving hundreds. Some churches dropped four figures on our project, but most of our donations stream in every month from faithful people like you and me whose “little acts done with great love will change the world.”…
It’s the obscure old woman living on a fixed income who donates her 401k to a Christian college when she dies. It’s the poor college student who goes in with his dorm buddies at ten bucks a pop to give a total of $400 a month to some missionary. It’s the sea of people who decide to live on less so that starving children can live on something, anything. We trick ourselves into thinking that earning more money equals more dollars given, but typically more sacrifice equals more dollars. Even the megachurches that give big gifts tend to have had more given over the entire course of their existence by average people rather than by the rich. That’s not saying rich people shouldn’t give, if anything this is a prompting for the rich to give more, but only after admitting that total dollar amount flows directly from total sacrifice amount. Sacrifice is functionally more effective. That’s the only thing connecting the random group of donors who have committed to our work: we all stand at the intersection of God’s prompting and our obedience.
For the most part I will let the quote above stand alone in this post.
I know that when I write posts such as this one I am accused of not appreciated all the money that some of our wealthier citizen give for the public good. I am told that I don’t appreciate that Bill Gates gives billions of his wealth for curing the world’s illnesses. I am told that I don’t appreciate all the money that celebrities such as Bono give for worthy causes. I want to therefore state up front that I do appreciate the few of those at the top end of our economy for their philanthropy.
But as the title of this post shows to me it is more about the total sacrifice made instead of the dollars given. When the family of four that are just above the poverty level give $20 a month to an agency to feed the world’s poor that twenty bucks come from a very limited discretionary budget. Their “total sacrifice” is many times more than those at the top who give thousands and maybe even millions. So, I appreciate it as much, maybe even more than the millions given by others.
Let’s all remember that it is about the “total sacrifice” that really counts. Don’t get caught in the phrase “I wish I could do more” because for the vast majority of us we certainly could do just that….
“I don’t suppose there ever was a time when everybody knew as little about what they were talking about as they do today.” – Will Rogers, 19 September 1933
I often wonder what Will would say about the current crop of politicians that we now have in DC?
We know that the majority of households now require both spouses to work outside the home. That fact has contributed significantly to the number of seniors in nursing homes and other assisted care facilities. Simply put there is just no one at home to care for aging parents or grand-parents anymore. As a result more seniors are institutionalized than ever before.
Of course this is just another example of the problem with the gross income inequality here in this country and even around the world to maybe a lesser degree. Just when our population above 65 starts to explode there are fewer and fewer of us who will be able to stay with our families. I know from personal experiences with my parents, nursing homes are very expensive. They quickly zap whatever wealth might have been accumulated. After that personal wealth is gone then Medicaid often takes over the expenses and that of course raises taxes for all of us. That seems to be the major Catch-22 of this early century.
When a mother is required to work outside the home she often only adds a small percentage increase to the family income since her children are now forced into childcare outside the home. That eats up much of the income gained. I wonder if anyone has ever done an economic analysis of these type situations?
I suspect that we are actually doing more damage to our society by continuing to squelch income at the bottom end of the scale. While history shows us that when we raise the minimum wage the threat of losing a significant number of jobs does not materialize, that argument continues to be made today. I realize that raising the minimum wage is not an answer to all our problems but maybe it solves more problems than are realized. Raising education levels to meet the requirements of 21st century jobs is also an important part of the solution. But then again, there will always be the need for someone to do the things that are now minimum wage jobs. Those jobs will not suddenly disappear with an educated population or be replaced by a robot. Minimum wage jobs will always be part of our world. We need to make sure that anyone who is working full time has at least the minimum income to sustain sustenance.
He went on: “The answer is to promote views that are open-minded and tolerant towards those who are different, and to fight the formal, informal and internet propagation of closed-minded intolerance.
“In the 21st century, education is a security issue.”
Even though I did not usually agree with Tony Blair’s stand with Mr. Bush on the invasion of Iraq, I always respected his intellect on other issues. Much more so than Mr. Bush. The more I study the history of the U.S. the more I am convinced that our acceptance of our diversity is what keeps us away from all the sectarian violence that seems to dominate much of the rest of the world.
Part of the accepting, maybe even celebrating, our diversity is recognizing that we all have a right to our own opinions and our own versions of spirituality as long as they don’t impact others rights to do the same thing. We, thankfully, seem to be almost unique in that regard. But regrettably that tolerance seems to be frayed in recent years. Let us pray that intolerance is not getting its grip on us as it has so many other countries in the world.