I Know Nothing….

September 9, 2013

DunceNo, I’m not mimicking Sargent Schultz  from Hogan’s Heroes with the title. Instead it is to proclaim that I know nothing about the latest round of young stars especially the singers, if you want to call them that.  I guess you can call me one of those out-of-touch old people if you want.  I vaguely know some names like Madonna, Lady Gaga, Ice Cube and maybe a few others but I have no idea what they do that made them famous.

I know more or less than nothing about the music scene of the last 20+ years. I know about that time that songs were rapped, whatever that means?  I am guessing it is kind of like when Sabastian Cabot read some of Bob Dylan’s lyrics as if they were poetry. I still have that album by the way.  I wish I could pull it out and listen to it once in a while. It was kind of neat.

In this 1960s when I had relatively good hearing in at least one ear I was a folk song type guy. I played the guitar and memorized many songs from Dylan, Joan Beaz, Simon and Garfunkel, Peter, Paul & Mary, Donavon, McClean and several other. I liked some of the Beatles, Stones, and a few other rockers but folk music was my thing. When I lost all my hearing in the 1980s all that went away. I still remember many of the lyrics but the tunes have totally vanished from memory now.

I guess I am truly an old person in this regard. Most kids today wouldn’t have a clue about any of the names above. It sometimes startles me when I tell some of the young volunteers at the soup kitchen I that was on the team that invented the Trimline telephone and they have no idea what that is! I have to try to describe it to them and at least some say yeah they think maybe grandma had one of those.

I know nothing about much of what goes on in the world today and some of the things I do know I wish I didn’t. I wish I had never heard of Iraq, Iran, Syria and for that matter almost every country in the Middle East.  I wish I didn’t know so many of the games the politicians play today. My world would be a much more pleasant place I guess if I knew more about Lady Gaga than I do about that dysfunctional group of yahoos in Washington or even in my local Statehouse for that matter I would probably have a more soothing life.

Maybe I need to tune in on all the teen scene so that it might drown out some of the stuff I do know…..

“Mixing religion and politics is like mixing ice cream and manure. It doesn’t do much to the manure but it sure does ruin the ice cream”, my friend Tony Campolo likes to say.
No one would vote for Jesus.
  • Seriously. Firstly He’s one of those boat people. Well, at least one of those “donkey people”.
  • According to the second chapter of Matthew’s Gospel his family were refugees who in the middle of the night had to flee and seek asylum.
  • He’s also a Middle Eastern man. Oh, and he’s not Christian. (Yep, he’s Jewish) He was involved in repeated seditious civil-disobedience and the religious right of his day repeatedly accused him of partying too hard and with all the wrong people.
  • Politicians and religious leaders today still find it convenient to scapegoat, alienate and demonise all the people Jesus loved hanging out with.
Source:  Jarrod McKenna: No One Would Vote for Jesus | Red Letter Christians.

Mixing Religion And Politics Is Like Mixing Ice Cream With Manure….

Centrist 2

Centrist Movement – Un-botching Politics

The current Democratic Party is too skeptical of business, too hostile toward wealth creation, and overly abusive of America’s most productive citizens—often because there are votes to be had by poking the rich in the eye. Yes, a modern economy needs regulation, but that regulation needs to be targeted and have minimal costs. Like a good physician, we want to fix the problem—because there are problems that need government fixes—without messing anything else up. 

– The Centrist Manifesto (Wheelan, Charles)

Some folks, especially my more conservative friends (yeah, I got a few), don’t think I criticize the Democratic party enough so I thought I would bring up a quote about them here and say a few words about it. Now, I realize that this won’t be enough for them but it is the best I can do right now.

As shown above these words are from the Centrist Manifesto which is the new party that I hope will someday bring some sanity back into our political processes. If I were to put a flag on myself, and I really don’t like doing that, I would now call myself a Centrist. I hope they become a very viable third-party or maybe even replace on of the two around today.

I spent thirty years in the corporate world in various middle management positions. The company I worked for was for years the largest in the United States. That is until those yahoos in government split them up into a dozen pieces. For the first fifteen years I felt a strong loyalty to them. I would never have purchased a competitor’s product. The last fifteen year due to cultural changes brought on by the MBAs some of that loyalty became tarnished. But I never lost respect for my employer and appreciated the compensation I was awarded. I have been on a pension from them now for thirteen plus years.  The pension along with Social Security allows me to live a pretty comfortable life.

So I agree with the statement above. The Democratic party is just too hostile toward America’s employers and even more hostile toward those who create wealth. I certainly admire those who started out with little means becoming wealthy due to offering a better product or service. Thank heavens for them or the American condition might be quite different. I wish my Democratic friends would get over their apparent contempt for people who are successful in their lives.

I believe that regulation is totally necessary to reign in  capitalist abuses as were evidenced even in my lifetime.  But, the Democrats just get too corrupted by their power in government and go overboard. Yes, we need government to provide for the general welfare of our citizens as stated in our constitution but many times the Democrats need to reign in their reigning in… if you know what I mean.

There is nothing wrong with becoming rich because of our contributions and the Democratic party needs to understand that fact. Inherited wealth, well that is a different matter for me….

More criticisms coming soon. :)

Congressional hearings

But has Obama damaged the power of the president by allowing Congress its say? Is his decision, in fact, a “historic American retreat” – at least within the context of domestic politics?

Certainly, he’s doing something that no recent US president has done. Ronald Reagan invaded Grenada in 1983 and bombed Libya in 1986 without congressional approval, and Bill Clinton committed US forces to NATO air campaigns in Bosnia in 1995 and Kosovo in 1999 and launched a missile attack against terrorists in Afghanistan in 1998 without congressional backing. When Obama signed on to the 2011 Libya operation without involving Congress, he appeared to be endorsing an increasingly clear doctrine of presidential power: Congress was needed only if the military engagements would be long and involve significant ground troops – as in the two Iraq wars.

SOURCE:  Syria strike delay: Does it make Obama a ‘weak president’? (+video) – CSMonitor.com.

Mr. Obama was prior to politics a constitutional professor so he probably knows more about the constitution than most of his predecessors. He knows that the constitution says that congress is the one to declare war. Yeah, I know that every president since at least Reagan has pretty much ignored that policy by saying they are not declaring war but instead just getting involved in a little dispute.  In fact the only declared war in my lifetime is World War II (I think).

I am probably in a very distinct minority on this (wouldn’t be the first time :) ) but I salute President Obama for doing what he did in getting congress involved in the decision to put Americans lives and  assets into another regional conflict on the other side of the world. While we are cutting aid to the poor we shouldn’t be going into further debt to buy a bunch of million dollar bombs and drones. Why are our priorities so out of whack?  We should make going to war, whether it is officially declared or not,  a very difficult thing to accomplish. It should only be used for the more dire of circumstances. And we should never “go it alone” without consensus of other countries and especially without consensus even within our own citizenry. Who made us the supreme moralists of the world?

Yes, what Mr. Obama did might have weakened the office of president but I consider that a good thing if it keeps us out of a few more “conflicts”.

But I’m just a simple guy so what do I know….

The Hawk’s Delimina….

September 4, 2013

His reasoning, according to officials who were in the room? He wants members on the record, rather than simply criticizing from outside whatever action he takes.

SOURCE:  Obama’s Syria strike decision aims to get Congress on the record – CBS News.

I made a personal vow to try to stay out of the latest saber-rattling from a U.S. president. After Mr. Obama’s strong words against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan it has troubled me to see him seemingly repeat the same mistakes. I just hope that when he does it is of a much smaller scale than his predecessor and doesn’t entangle us into another decade long engagement in a civil war.

After the WMD argument was totally proven wrong in Iraq the logic  from the Bush administration then turned to the fact that 10,000 of Iraq’s citizens (or some number such as that) were killed by the dictator. But we then went on to kill more than thirty times that many as “collateral damage” in the next decade. I just hope that this time around if it happens, and it looks like it most assuredly will, the death rate of innocents will be  drastically lower.

RoosterGetting back to the original purpose of the quote above I do salute the president for his logic of going to congress. It is well known that his most ardent opponents are very strong hawks when it comes to military action. They seem to have never seen a conflict they didn’t want to be involved in. So, they come up against the impossible situation where they either have to support the president, which is something that goes seems to go against their most basic nature,  or oppose the invasion action. They, indeed are stuck between a rock and a hard place :) But, I’m sure they will spend the week strutting around showing how important they are because the president has asked for their permission….

What a bunch of barnyard roosters.  I must have birds on my mind lately….

For two decades close to 40 percent of the highest-paid CEOs in the U.S. have performed abysmally, a new report asserts.

These CEOs, according to the report, “ought to be exemplars of value-added performance,” given the prevailing notion that executives earn their high pay by adding value to their companies and to the U.S. economy at large. “Our analysis reveals widespread poor performance.”

SOURCE: Highest Paid Worst Performing Chief Executives – ABC News.

I generally belive in the saying in the title of this post but obviously it doesn’t apply to all circumstances.

Given that yesterday was a celebration of the American worker I thought today should be about those at the top of the heap.

Why do corporate boards allow contracts for CEOs to contain clauses that basically say “no matter how bad I do, when I leave you will pay me and extra $50 million”. Of course the answer to that is that most board members are also CEOs or wanna-be-CEOs looking for a little quid pro quo. It is widely known that the ratio between the average worker of a corporation and the CEO ratio has gone completely haywire in the last few decades. CEOs make orders of magnitude more than they did decades ago while their workers haven’t seen a raise at all during that time period.

It would be one thing if the CEO actually added value to the company he works for but in nearly half the companies he fails to do that. “You get what you pay for” just doesn’t apply to the top of the corporate heap or probably any other position in that stratosphere.

It is time for all us shareholders with our vote demand that the CEO  must show some value-added before we pay him even close to the exuberant salaries he presently draws. And certainly no more “golden parachutes” for him or all those “yes” men around him. That accomplishment would make for a truly happy Labor Day in the years ahead.

Labor Day 1

Forgetting the real meaning is something that we seem to be very good at in the U.S…

Thanks Dave Granlund for reminding us of that fact…

Labor Day…

September 2, 2013
Labor DayLabor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September, that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers. It was first nationally recognized in 1894 to placate unionists following the Pullman Strike. With the decline in union membership, the holiday is generally viewed as a time for barbeques and the end of summer vacation…
Following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, the United States Congress unanimously voted to approve rush legislation that made Labor Day a national holiday; President Grover Cleveland signed it into law a mere six days after the end of the strike.

SOURCE:  Labor Day – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Happy Labor Day everyone. Here’s to all the current workers out there that contribute to our shared prosperity. As you can see from the above Labor Day was started to recognize labor unions for their contributions to our society.  But as the quote also says it has generally lost its original meaning and is now just used as a signal of the end of summer.

Labor unions were one of the primary factors in creating a thriving middle class society in the U.S. They basically came into predominance due to the gross worker mistreatment during the Robber Baron years almost a century ago.  But, like everything else it seems when the unions become too powerful they lost much of their focus. Many came to be corrupt.

Losing the meaning of a holiday is one of the unfortunate things in our society. Easter and Christmas used to be about celebrating our Christian faith. Now it is more about the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and gifts than about anything else.

“We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.”   -Jonathan Swift, 1667-1745

Sad But Seemingly True…