Archives For Off The Top

Random things that fly off the top of my mind

2014-08-14_07-49-36I have been accused by some who have come to this site primarily in the antagonist mode to be anti-capitalism.  I hope that is not the general persona that I put forth.  It is true that I don’t think that unfettered capitalism is a good thing. If left to its own capitalism would morph into a survival of the fittest mode or something even worse. But I don’t think those beliefs make me against capitalism.

I thoroughly recognize that capitalism is the primary driver that has made the U.S. and much of the industrialized world what it is today.  Without capitalism we might all be in the survival mode as found in much of Africa and other third world countries. Constrained capitalism simply brings out the best in us. Without the Robber Barons of a century ago our country would look much different. But at the same time without the Republican president Teddy Roosevelt taking down the Robber Barons things would probably have looked just as dreary.

Here is a little about what Wikipedia says about capitalism:

Capitalism is an economic system in which trade, industry, and the means of production are largely or entirely privately owned and operated for profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets and wage labor. In a capitalist economy, the parties to a transaction typically determine the prices at which assets, goods, and services are exchanged….

Proponents of capitalism argue that it creates more prosperity than any other economic system, and that its benefits are mainly to the ordinary person.Critics of capitalism variously associate it with economic instability, an inability to provide for the well-being of all people, and an unsustainable danger to the natural environment. Socialists maintain that, although capitalism is superior to all previously existing economic systems (such as feudalism or slavery), the contradiction between class interests will only be resolved by advancing into a completely social system of production and distribution in which all persons have an equal relationship to the means of production.

Having a “completely social system of production and distribution in which all persons have an equal relationship to the means of production.” is simply not workable as proven by history. Without the possibility of advancing your personal situation there is simply no incentive to make things better. But at the same time I realize that capitalism so often results in extreme greed, corruption, and worse if it is not controlled and regulated.  That is where our governmental functions come in.  Someone needs to be at the reigns of capitalism so that it doesn’t destroy itself. We seem to have lost that sense of governmental responsibility in the last few decades. Hopefully we will get it back before it is too late….

All About Coveting…

September 15, 2014 — Leave a comment

When I think of the word covet I think of the tenth commandment. Here is what that says

2014-09-04_18-44-59“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

I know covet is an old word so let’s be sure of the meaning.

Covet – wish, long, or crave for

So this last commandment means you should not wish for or crave anything that your neighbor has. But isn’t craving things that others have kind of foundational to the capitalistic system? We are all supposed to want the latest gadget, clothes, houses, you name it. If no one craves anything how can we survive.

Let’s face it, at least this commandment if very anti-American…

I’ll bet if I go through the other nine I will find others that just don’t jive with our current American culture. Things like loving money, cursing that is found in almost all of our movies, lying on the resume, or even war for that matter seem to be no-no.

Maybe we should put the ten commandments the law of the land. That would radically change things or at least change the makeup of our prison population….

2014-08-24_14-35-11I am getting up there in years (approaching seventy) and it seems I have a different sense of what is important to put into my brain now than I have had in previous years.

I spend about a half hour every morning going through my selected new feeds on the Internet. Several of those feeds have various stories about this person or that.  For the most part they are celebrities of various ages but they tend to be in their teens and twenties I think. The stories are usually about some outrageous thing they have done or worn lately. Some are heirs to vast fortunes and spend it like they don’t know the value of money or hard work and I’m sure they don’t. I just don’t understand why so many are so enamored with this crowd?

Another thing I just don’t get are selfies. Why would someone want to take so many pictures of themselves? I was recently on a New York City tour bus, you know the kind that has the open upper deck. We were  two rows behind a couple. He was in his seventies and she appeared to be about thirty or so.  She kissed and hugged him frequently. Getting to the point now, she took probably 100 or more selfies during the hour ride. I don’t think she ever took a “normal” picture during the whole time.  Now I must admit that I have an inborn prejudice about narcissistic things such as selfies because I had a very self centered mother who abandoned her young family to find someone with more money.  So, given this story you might understand why I groan whenever I come upon selfie people.

Getting back to the main story here, There seems to be hundreds of people who are followed by millions of adamant fans now days on Facebook, Twitter and probably dozens of other social network feeds. I take the view that they don’t know my name so why should I bother to learn theirs or spend my precious time reading about their frivolous activities….

 

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LOL – From my Facebook friends over at Living Blue in a Red State.

Maybe We Got It Wrong…

September 1, 2014

2014-08-09_19-13-53This is probably not a good post for a U.S. national holiday but here goes anyway. Fools rush in where….

A few hundred years ago, which is a very short amount of time in world history, we were part of the Great British empire. We bowed to the king and paid our share of taxes. Then some hot heads came along and convinced us that we would be better off on our own.  They, like many Californians today, just didn’t like the idea of paying taxes and found every excuse to avoid doing that.

Long story short here we are today with one of the worst, and the absolutely most expensive, healthcare system in the world.  A murder rate and gun ownership one of the highest in the world. Of course those two items are not unrelated.  Spending more on our military than all the other countries in the world combined let alone being so stressed out we seem to have no time for family.

While over in England they were recently judged to have the best healthcare of a first world country. Their gun ownership is a small fraction of our and they have less murders per capita l in a year than we do in a month. They, like most other countries spend miniscule amounts on their military.  They take the time for afternoon tea and meals with family. Britain also seems to learn from their mistakes much sooner than we do. They outlawed slavery many years before we did. They never tried to get rid of their alcohol as they realize that it is an integral part of their culture. They didn’t practice segregation to nearly the extent we did.

Maybe we got it wrong all those years ago. We let a few hot heads convince us that what we had was not a good thing.  Canada which is our neighbors to the north also rate pretty much as well  as England in all the mentioned categories. It is always fascinating to me to consider the results of various decisions both corporate and personal and to think about the consequences if we went the other way.

I know you can’t unscramble an egg or re-join a country so the above thinking is a total fantasy but it is interesting to ponder about how different my world would be today if we had not listened to those hot head rebels so many year ago. Now before you begin to flame me please realize that I love this country but we could learn a few lessons about doing it better from some of our neighbors, especially our British ones.

Problem: Your right-wing brother-in-law is plugged into the FOX-Limbaugh lie machine, and keeps sending you emails about “Obama spending” and “Obama deficits” and how the “stimulus” just made things worse….

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SOURCE: Three Charts to Email to Your Right-Wing Brother-In-Law Updated | Dave Johnson.

In the old days, that is the time before I gave up on all the cable news channels I used to get a weekly dose of Fox News.  As they say keep your friends close and your enemies closer. It was anything but news……

That’s all I want, or need, to say about this topic. It is too toxic to go any further into the idiocy of it….

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Just what we don’t need in this country, another ultra extreme right wing narcissist vying for a leadership position.

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Its hard to tell just who we are at war with in any given moment. But it seems we always gotta be a war with someone…  Blessed are the Peacemakers….

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The above image is a clip from the July 28,2014 issue of Time magazine page 12. It seems very hard to find what percentage of the population is gay in the U.S.  The most often cited by those who don’t have an interest in the issue is about 1%. That seems to align somewhat with the Census Bureau numbers found above. But of course I realize even today that there are those who have homosexual tendencies who adamantly refuse to be  identify themselves as such.