The Truth And The Untruth Lay On The Same Level.

canstockphoto22825948.jpgThe title of this post comes from something I recently heard on GPS with Fareed Zakaria. The topic was how the Internet puts things out there with no clear distinction between truth and untruth. If you have the wisdom to discern the difference then the info you gain from instant communications is invaluable to you. If you don’t then it is difficult to decide just what to do with opposing information.

The very heart of this topic lies in the question, how does a person gain wisdom? Besides putting truth and untruth on the same level, the Internet also makes it very easy to only expose yourself to one particular view of the world. We can pick and choose which sources of info we read on a daily basis and never be exposed to anything we might not agree with. That is not the way to gain wisdom but instead to have tunnel vision.

As is the case with most things in life, the Internet has a bright side and a dark side. Nothing is ever totally black or white. I do agree that it was simpler in my youth. If I wanted to know something all I had to do was visit a library and look it up in an encyclopedia. I knew that the info in that document was parsed through many filters to make sure it was valid and truthful.  But, since this method of intelligence gathering took hours of work instead of seconds most question were simply left unanswered.

There is a lot of info out there for instant retrieval but much of it contains unfiltered lies and untruth. That fact is especially true when selecting which cable news outlet to view. In another area, it doesn’t cost anyone to set up a blog and post whatever you want. Of course, I am an example of that. Except for vulgarity, there are very few filters around what is posted.  Then there is Twitter, where anyone can rant about anything, truthful or not. Of course, that is the primary means of which the current Oval Office occupant puts out his distortions and lies.

2017-12-10_08-09-23.pngI am not old enough to have actually heard any of FDR’s “fireside chats” but I understand that they were very inspiring and upbeat to the millions who listened. Now we have, as one of my Facebook friends pointed out “Trump’s toilet seat tweets”. Somehow I just can’t see anything inspiring about any of them.  Most are definitely untruths trying to sit beside truths, but anyone with an IQ over 50 knows at least in their heart what they are.

 

The Thing About Socialism..

2017-12-10_09-14-12.pngSocialized medicine seems to be dirty words for many of my RedAmerica friends. To them, it and communism are one and the same thing. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Since there seems to be nothing in this world that isn’t a simple black or white to them, I’m not sure they will ever accept any other definition but that doesn’t stop me from trying to show you how the rest of us should see socialized medicine.

The purpose of this post is to tell you a little about other country’s versions of medical care so that you can decide whether they are evil or maybe that is a prejudice that some need to overcome.

To begin with, it’s worth pointing out that the single-payer system is hardly a step towards “socialism,” as Mr. Graham claims. The United Kingdom, Canada and Germany — all countries with different forms of universal health care — are safe bastions of capitalism.

2017-12-10_09-15-32.pngSecondly, the U.S. has the most inefficient medical system in the world, based on health care spending and outcomes. America spends much more on healthcare per capita than any other nation in the world and gets less health for it.

The differences are not trivial at all. The median per capita spending on health care in wealthy countries is $4,700 per year, according to research by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (That means that half of the countries spent more than that and half spent less). For instance, Canada‘s spending was just at the level of the median. In contrast, the U.S. spent more than twice as much, at $9,900 for every man, woman and child.If we had Canada’s system we could save no less than $13,600 per average household. That adds up to a walloping $1.7 trillion dollars for the U.S., about as much as last year‘s after-tax profits of all U.S. corporations combined.

Source: PBS Newshour 9/23

It is a well-known truth that our medical system is the most expensive in the world and only mediocre when it comes to results. So, why don’t we look at what the rest of the world does to make their’s less expensive and more effective? There is a myriad of examples of how it can be done better. But to my RedAmerica friends, they are all socialism in sheep’s clothing and to be avoided at all costs.  But, what my RedAmerica friends don’t seem to understand is that almost half of us are already in socialized medicine plans.

Medicare, Medicaid, and veteran’s benefits are all systems that are run by our government and in most cases more efficiently than the private sector alternatives. And if our RedAmerica congress would just allow it, they could see even lower costs more by using their size to bargain down the cost of our prescription drugs.  It really wouldn’t take that much to move the rest of the country to this system and finally get a hold of our ever spiraling medical expenses.

I truly believe that someday we will go this route, but right now I just don’t know what it will take for RedAmerica to swallow this very effective pill??

 

Something About Maine…

2017-12-06_10-16-55.pngThere is just something about Maine that makes them different.  Maybe it is the fact that there are basically no roads on the northwestern part of the State.  Maybe it is the fact that they are really more Canadian than American? I don’t understand how we stole that land from Canada in the first place?

I have been in Maine a couple of time in the past decade or so. The last time was returning home from Nova Scotia and PEI. By the way, I love Prince Edward Island especially the mussels! If it weren’t so cold up there I would consider moving there on a pretty permanent basis. But, I am getting off topic here.

There is something different about Maine that maybe the rest of the country needs to follow and that is that neither Republicans nor Democrats have a majority in their State government or federal representation.  They now have a centrist group of independents that control what legislation will pass.  Here is a little about that from the Centrist Project.

Casas, who has been active in organizing the centrist coalition in the state says that one of the largest benefits of serving as independent is the ability to work exclusively for the people he represents, instead of working for partisan interests and his constituency.

A small group of independents can have a lot influence by denying both sides a majority.  This forces both sides to make compromises to get legislation passed, and prevents either side from imposing their most radical ideas along partisan line votes.

Sources:  Independents Shake up Maine State Legislature – Centrist Project

Wouldn’t that be something, to have representatives in government who are only beholden to the people who put them in office! That is a radical concept that needs to become contagious if we are ever again to flourish as a country.  No, you can’t make America great again by telling lie after lie after lie.  It seems that every piece of legislation that comes up now has 99% of the people of each party voting the same. How can that even be considered representing your constituents?

I know I talk about RedAmerica and BlueAmerica as if the people in those States are much different.  But in reality, most States have about a 60% – 40% (or 40 – 60) split between conservatives and progressives, so in some ways each State had both RedAmerica and BlueAmerica within their borders. The exception to that might be the Deep South who has still never forgiven the Democrats for civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Closing out this rambling post, I think Maine has it right when it comes to their politics. I have to spend more time in the State to get to know them better.

 

Tribalism & Democracy..

The article below got me to thinking a little more deeply about our time in the USA and if we can survive them as a democracy. Tribalism is how we as humans survived to become the thinking creatures we are.  It is at the core of our human experience.

2017-12-04_09-18-39.pngTribalism, it’s always worth remembering, is not one aspect of human experience. It’s the default human experience. It comes more naturally to us than any other way of life. For the overwhelming majority of our time on this planet, the tribe was the only form of human society. We lived for tens of thousands of years in compact, largely egalitarian groups of around 50 people or more, connected to each other by genetics and language, usually unwritten. Most tribes occupied their own familiar territory, with widespread sharing of food and no private property. A tribe had its own leaders and a myth of its own history. It sorted out what we did every day, what we thought every hour.

Source:  Can Our Democracy Survive Tribalism?

Tribalism takes us back to our beginnings but what about democracy? In many ways, democracy and tribalism are exact opposites. Tribalism focuses totally on your small group and democracy is about everyone, despite what group they may be in as being equal in status and character.  That is one of the things that makes the U.S. unique in all the world. Of course, when our constitution was written almost 250 years ago we were struggling with tribalistic tendencies and to some extent we still are today.

Tribalism even today is very dominant in many places in the world.  The Middle East is the biggest example. Every country seems to have one tribe battling another for control of the country. The Sunnis and the Shiites have been battling each other for many centuries. Yugoslavia was once a single country but has since been broken up into  Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro. After the fall of the USSR, Russia claimed that they were now a democracy.  Well, that worked out to some degree for a decade or so until Putin consolidated power back to a dictatorship.  

Brexit is also a return to tribalism in one degree. Many Brits just don’t like the idea of being part of a bigger group in the EU. They want more control over their lives, and isn’t that what tribalism is all about? How that is going to work out is undetermined.

Maintaining a democracy is hard work and that is why so many countries seem to fail at it.  I liked the thought in the quote above that the founding fathers assumed that we could overcome tribalism as a country.  We have at least to some degree managed that for a couple hundred years now, but will we continue that trend? As far as I am concerned the jury is still out on that answer.  Will we eventually, maybe sooner rather than later, reverse back to tribalism.  It seems that RedAmerica/BlueAmerica is a step in that direction. When we start thinking almost totally about ourselves tribalism is soon to follow.  I guess time will eventually tell…

 

Turn, Turn, Turn

I’m pretty sure most of my viewers are older folks who might remember the song written by one of my folk song heroes Pete Seegar in the late 1950s.  Much of the lyrics came directly from Ecclesiastes and goes something like this:

7f77e34624fc4d8041962c660d8f20cb.pngTo everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

All of this is interesting but it is not really at the core of this post. 🙂 Instead, this post is about cycles in just about everything in life from politics to business ventures to love and life.  Everything cycles.

Economic cycles go something like this.  When people cut down on the amount of red meat they eat, suddenly there are too many cows for the demand and profits fall. This makes many get out of that business. When too many leave the marketplace demand outstrips supply.  Turn Turn Turn.

Let’s go to entertainment for another example. When a particular TV show becomes popular there are often imitators soon to follow. It is much easier to copy a successful show than to invent something different. In the 50s and 60s, it was westerns, in the 70s and 80s it was T&A. Thank heavens the “reality TV” cycle is almost over now.  Turn Turn Turn.

How about government. In the 1950s and before the southern States were almost totally Democrat but when civil rights boomed upon the scene the south quickly turned Republican. The GOP used to be the party of fiscal constraint and deficit hawks but then they got total power and have abandoned that principle in favor of more wealth for themselves and their donors with the debt going to future generations.  Democrats used to be the “people’s party” but then somehow they changed into something else.  Turn Turn Turn.

2017-12-03_14-37-31.pngSometime in the  1980s, the Republicans decided “trickle down” was the solution to all our economic problems.  Just give enough money to corporations and the top 1% of the population and it would eventually trickle down to a little more pay for the rest of us.  In light of the fact that it never happened with Reagan’s tax cuts, trickle-down lost favor but here it is again with the same fury that it had 40 years ago.  Will the middle class get some scraps off the table this time? It’s hard to say but my guess is it will result in the same thing as the last time. The rich will simply get richer. Turn Turn Turn.

Our world goes in cycles, sometimes it is progressive and sometimes it is populist.  Sometimes we have prosperity for all and sometimes the rich selfishly rake in all the gains. Turn Turn Turn.

 

Life Lesson # 102.. Don’t Work for Assholes

One of the goals of RJsCorner it to maybe teach the younger generations some lessons so they don’t have to make the same mistakes I did. If maybe one of my over 3,000 posts has helped one person in that regard then all my efforts here were worth it.

0121d58cef6505864893e9e1769037ab.pngWith that in mind, I am going to start a series here on some of the life lessons I have learned in my seven decades on this earth. It would have been nice to have been forewarned about some of them but I really had no one to teach me these lessons.  I hope that by putting them here I, in a small way counter that.

The big problem with many of us is that we just don’t know any better when it comes to life’s decisions. Unfortunately, the primary way we learn is by our mistakes and that is a rough way to go through life.  Enough of the lead-up, let’s get to the topic at hand.

 

Life Lesson # 102  Don’t Work for Assholes

First a personal story. I know the title is a little crude but isn’t so much lately. I was pretty fortunate that for the most part, I worked for some pretty good people.  But, there were some who simply made my life more difficult than it needed to be. One, in particular, promised me that I would be part of a team to write the code for a new telephone answering system but it ended up a team of one doing the work of three.  I went into his office almost weekly to find out when the rest of the team would come on board.  Long story short, it never happened and I ended up working 80 hour weeks over a five-month period to try to do it myself.  When I failed to meet the project deadline I was given a low rating and no pay increase for the year.  I simply don’t know why I let this guy off the hook so many times. I should have spoken up, but I didn’t.

But there was a shining end to this particular episode in my life.  After my low job performance review, I quickly asked for a transfer to another organization.  I ended up moving from engineering to an information technology area and discovered that was my perfect job. A year after my “no raise” I got a perfect rating score and the biggest raise I got during my thirty years of service.  So, in reality, I am thankful that my previous boss was an asshole. Now onto less personal examples.

I am now a car guy. That is I enjoy watching shows about building are repairing cars. The Velocity channel on satellite is the primary source for this venue. Several of those shows, particularly American Hot Rod and Graveyard Carz who were run by assholes. These guys constantly berate their employees and blame them for mistakes that they themselves made.  Life is just too short to have to spend each day with someone who doesn’t respect your contributions.

Abusive bosses are becoming quite a topic lately, especially the sexually abusive ones. It seems that every day lately another abuser is outed.  Life is just too short to work for one of these guys or gals.  If you run across one in your life just keep on moving. It is a simple as that.  The way to make that possible it to keep yourself up on the talents needed to do the work you have chosen.  That way there is always another place to join.

 

A Special Tax Cut For Beer Makers??

I’ve been pretty busy lately redoing my study. It needs a refresh after 17 years I think. I may miss a few posts here and there and some may seem kinda rushed. So, pardon me if you will, .. or won’t…

At this point, we can only hope and pray that enough Republicans vote on their principles rather than taking small measures offered to them in this monstrous 515-page tax bill.

canstockphoto2634021.jpgA BREAK FOR BOOZE: The Senate bill contains a special tax cut for makers of beer, wine and spirits, for no particular reason. (Perhaps it’s because these companies are doing their patriotic duty of keeping Americans in good cheer.) It would reduce levies on beer, wine and liquor produced in or imported into the country, and, while described as a boon for “craft beverage,” it would benefit the entire industry, saving it about $4.2 billion over 10 years. This is particularly galling because taxes on alcohol have not increased since 1991 and are calculated without an inflation adjustment, which means they have already shrunk substantially over time.

These policy changes, smuggled into the bill to please big Republican donors, would never survive a more transparent process. History will remember them for what they are: smaller scams aimed at winning support for a much bigger one.

Source: The Senate Is Rushing to Pass Its Tax Bill Because It Stinks – The New York Times

I’m just an ordinary guy but it seems to me that it would be a pretty easy thing to reform our taxes below the 515 pages in the Senate version. Those guys are back at it, putting in these loopholes to get a vote or two. If you want to simplify the income taxes then just do it.  If you have income, you pay taxes, it doesn’t matter where that income is from. The rich folks get their income from dividends and such but how is that really any different from the guy who has a 9-5 job to get his? Forget all these deductions. I know it would be hard to swallow for some of us, but let’s just go cold turkey.

I think I could write a tax reform bill that would fit on a couple of pages. It’s easy to simply the hell out of it and then add back what is absolutely needed than the other way around.

I am a fiscal conservative and a deficit hawk and since the GOP seems to have abandoned that idea and the Dems never had it, where is a guy like me supposed to go?

I hate to be a broken record but my solution is the Centrists.

 

Capitalism Is Proving Unpopular Among Those With No Capital..

I ran across the title of this post in an article by Fraser Nelson of The Daily Telegraph which is a popular British newspaper. It basically talks about how the Brits are now leaning to the left despite the relative win of the rad-cons in the recent election. This leftward trend is evidently being pushed by the young voters in the country.

I kinda think the Brits are smarter than us when it comes to government and I  hope our young people are doing the same. The basic definition of capitalism is that it is an economic system based on private ownership of capital.  Dropping back to look at a broader view of this system, when all the capital ends up in the hands of a relative few then it morphs into an oligarchy and that is something that the Brits also know about.

An oligarchy is pretty much the opposite of a democracy in that the people without capital have little or no control over government decisions and actions. That happens because money controls information as it does pretty much everything else in a capitalist society.

2017-11-23_10-31-06.jpgThe general feeling today, at least among RedAmerica, is that anything that is not driven by capital (read money) is somehow an enemy of the state. To them, it seems logical that a capitalist state should be run by a billionaire as they are the only truly successful ones among us. I’m sure that logic was part of what got us into the trouble we are now facing.

Going back to the original thoughts on this post, I hope our young people have a similar attitude as those in Britain.  I know I started out in the opposite mode and as I grew in wisdom I turned left to a more people-oriented view. My votes during my first three presidential elections were for the GOP candidates. It was not until Reagan and his brand of conservatism that I basically made the switch.  Of course, seeing where we are today I would love to go back to Reaganism, even with his trickle-down politics.

I do still believe in capitalism but we need to have reignes on that horse or it will morph into an oligarchy.  There just seems to be something about wealth accumulation that once you have a certain amount it turns into an urgent rush to get even more.  In my mind, that is where the dangers occur.  It is hard to remember that the 90% estate tax along with excise taxes were once the primary source of revenue to run our governments.  Taxing the workers didn’t occur until one hundred years ago.

In today’s world where 1% of the population control the majority of the wealth, its time for some “real” tax reform. The current proposal being ramrodded through Congress is in no way a real reform.  We will never get that until our political parties can come together with compromise solutions.  I think our young people today can see this much more clearly than I did when I was their age.

If you are one of those who don’t have capital, it’s hard to gung-ho about it…

 

Live and Let Live…

2017-11-23_11-03-24.pngThe words in the title above have been around for probably eons, but I kinda think they have been forgotten in today’s world. It seems that everyone wants everyone else to live their life as they do. Christians can’t tolerate non-Christians, Muslims think they need to kill anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs. And then there is the RedAmerica vs BlueAmerica, that divide is becoming too wide to even think of breaching.

Live and let live seems to be a forgotten phrase today, but I kind of think it is the solution to most of our problems we face. Let others believe whatever they want as long as it doesn’t hamper our ability to do the same. Quit jumping on your high-horse in order to reform the world to your liking.

2017-11-23_10-57-07.pngOf course, I need to practice what I preach. Some of my posts are just too judgemental of others. I tend to criticize when their worldview does not match mine.  I try to be constantly aware of this but sometimes it leaks through.  I have a bumper sticker displayed on my vehicles with the word “Coexist”. It refers to asking all religions to live and let live with each other. But I kinda think it should be expanded to other areas of our lives too.

I will try to do better with this idea if you will too.  All major movements start out with a few people sharing an idea. Who knows, maybe sometime in the future, this phrase will be the motto of the world. 🙂

You Have My Permission To Kiss Me..

This is an extremely hot topic that I want to pursue delicately if I can.  It just seems like the words “Sexual Harassment” has come to mean something quite different than I had imagined.  Having had limited opposite-sex contact even in my youth,  and my Aspie characteristics even then limited my experiences in this area.

canstockphoto41767487.jpgTo be honest, whenever I had even a casual contact with a female in my young adult years it was most often an intimidating experience. Not for them but for me!  I just didn’t know what to say or how to act. As far as I was concerned the female of the species could just as well be from a foreign plant.  I wasn’t immune from teenage hormones so, yeah I dreamed of the time when I would take someone in my arms and give her a big kiss. Part of that dream was not to ask permission before the encounter.  That didn’t happen in any of the movies or TV shows so why did it need to happen in real life?

I have been sexually harassed on two different occasions in my life.  The first was when I was a pre-teen and didn’t really know what was going on.  The second time was as a young adult when a girl, who I really didn’t know, came up to me and gave me a big sloppy kiss when I was least expecting it.  I suspect that the kiss was a dare from her friends as she rushed away giggling

Were things different in my days in the 1960s than they have been for the last few years?  Maybe you now need permission to kiss a girl and if you just come out and kiss someone without permission it is sexual harassment? Are you liable to lose your job thirty years later because of this “assault”? Maybe these kinds of contacts are even more difficult than I imagined?

With all that is going on now, if I were in the workplace and saw a woman approaching me in the hallway I would make sure not to even get close to her.  Maybe I would accidentally brush against her and she would take it in a sexual mode? For sure I would never dream of joking around with a woman now as something I say or do may invoke a sexual harassment charge. I don’t know, it just kinda scares me now. I fear that, as usual with many things, we are going to the extreme on sexual harassment. I hope it doesn’t turn into a “guilty until proven innocent” thing. Since most of these occurrences are a “he said” vs “she said” I just don’t know where the middle ground is?

Given where I am in my life right now, I don’t really need any answers to all this stuff but I am kinda curious. I continue to not really understand the female mind, or at least the female minds I have been exposed to in my life.  Women still tend to intimidate me on the first contact.  I know a lot of this is because of my Aspie characteristics and that fact helps a little but really not very much. 🙂

I just wonder what effect all of these current allegations will have on women in the workplace. Will employers who currently have a predominately male workforce now be even more hesitant to hire females. If he does will sexual harassment allegations inevitably follow? It just seems that this current flood of charges won’t help in getting breakthroughs for women in the workplace. Of course, there are serious sexual predators out there who need to be accountable for their behavior, but some of these current allegations just don’t seem to rise to that level.

But what do I know?

Till Death Do Us Part… Aspie Style..

It used to be that your word was your reputation. If you break your word you suffer the consequences.  But for the words in the title above, the majority of us break our word. Oh, we have all the intentions of honoring them when we say them but then things change for whatever reason.

2016-07-18_17-22-54.pngI think my Aspie characteristics play a part in my response to these words. Most of the time I take things literally. When I say I will be there at 1pm that doesn’t mean 1:05pm. When I said “till death do us part” I meant it literally and still do.  With this prologue complete,  I want to get to the topic at hand and that is marriage, particularly when it involves someone with Aspie characteristics.

I know it is a fact that 90% of those with moderate or severe Aspie traits never marry and those who do divorce more than the norm. I dreamed but never considered it a possible reality that I would get married.  I just never did very well with interactions with the opposite sex.  My mother, who abandoned me when I was ten years old, was like the current Oval Office occupant, an extreme narcissist. Everything was always about her, she had little room in her life for anyone or anything else.  I never learned much of anything useful from her except that I didn’t want to be like her.

My dating history was plainly speaking a catastrophe. I seldom had more than three dates with anyone.  When my future wife asked me out on a date I had pretty much given up on the thought of marriage. For some reason, she liked what she saw and as a result, we were married six months later.

I know being married to someone with Aspie traits is not easy.  Here are some  words about that from Psychology Today: (helpful hint AS=Aspie,  NT=neurotypical)

  • An individual with AS has challenges understanding or predicting the consequences of his/her behavior on others.  Therefore, the Aspergers partner may see the NT partner as irrational or illogical.
  • NT women especially tend to want their partners to understand them and their feelings.  However, they need to realize that this is something they may not be able to get from their AS partner.  Some change may be possible, but..
  • The most basic elements of speaking and hearing are the most important issues that AS-NT couples may have.  AS adults often may have a very difficult time hearing negative emotions expressed by their partner.  They may refuse to communicate, but then end up lashing out in a very hurtful way later on.

via What Everybody Ought to Know About Aspergers and Marriage | Psychology Today

To some degree, I can see myself in all three scenarios above.  We have been married going on 32 years now so I guess we overcame these obstacles to one degree or another. Our marriage hasn’t always been “happily ever after” but that is as it is.  When I discovered that many of my characteristics have a name it helped me to understand some previous stumbling blocks in my married life. It helps me to realize that my wife and I are likely to see the same thing very differently. It helps me to keep my vow of “till death do us part”. It helped me to realize what an amazing person  I have been married to…

Killing Religion With Your Political Cause..

2017-11-11_10-04-27I don’t know why the 1973 song “Killing me softly ”  by Roberta Flack got stuck in my head recently. Maybe it has something with my brain bleed of eight months ago but that is pretty much a stretch. 🙂  But those verses put the foundation together for this post.  If you want to see the lyrics click here.

Now on to the purpose of this post. There are simply too many in this world who are killing religion with their various causes. They put God into situations that she would certainly not put herself in. By doing this they are possibly poisoning the well of religion for many generations to come. It is a known fact that recent generations of Americans are much less religious than their parents or grandparents. I’m sure this poisoning effect is much the reason for this trend.

Far too many people put religious spins on their prejudices to try to give them some validity. An example of this is the recent allegations against Roy Moore who is a rad-con candidate for the Senate in Alabama.  He is accused among the dozen or so allegations, of sexual harassment of a 14-year-old girl while he was in his thirties. Anyone who has looked beyond the surface on these allegations has to come away with considering them to be valid.  But instead, some Alabama politicians are putting a religious spin on it.  They say that since Joseph was much older than Mary so it is ok for Mr. Moore. Some are even comparing Moore to Jesus who was wrongly persecuted by his enemies.  Religious spin for political purposes poisons the religious well.

Then there is the KKK who cloak themselves in religion as the reason for their racial hatred. Another radical fringe group who are doing basically the same thing is ISIS and radical Islam. They say their god tells them to kill everyone who is not an avid believer in their version of religion. They are killing religion with their causes.

It is common nature for us to look beyond ourselves for the deepest meaning of life. We want to believe that something or someone much wiser than us controls the high-level stuff. Most of us attach to one form of god or another for that knowledge. When others use religion to justify their radical beliefs they are poisoning the well for the rest of us. I’m pretty sure that God is neither a Republican or a Democrat and I’m absolutely sure he doesn’t hate people due to the color of their skin, or any other flippant reason we humans give as justification for our spiteful ways.

Assets Or Liabilities?

canstockphoto18591396.jpgI wonder how many of you out there remember when a company’s employees were considered assets to be nourished and held on to? Relative to my years on this earth, it was not that long ago. I don’t know why but all of this stuff that I now consider bad, seemed to have happened during the Reagan years. I think that was the beginning of where we ended up today.

It was the early 1980s when the “three-legged stool” was abandoned. This principle was that a successful business was made up of three equal legs: owners, employees, and customers. The second leg was the first to vanish and soon after that and third leg got chopped off at the knees.  Employees who were once considered valuable to the company became liabilities to be replaced whenever lower costs alternative could be found. The owners became king in this environment.

Certainly, I realize that being treated as an asset is a two-way street.  To be valuable to the company you are working for means you must put forth your best efforts for them. That is something that has also been lost for the most part in today’s world.

With a good part of the world’s population making a fraction of what we made during the peek of the middle-class years, employees were soon replaced with a much cheaper labor force.  There are still a few companies out there that value their labor force but they are diminishing quite rapidly.  The stock price and associated dividends have become the DRIVING factor above everything else.

How or when will this change? At some point in the future, third-world country’s prosperity will rise to finally meet the declining wages of today’s US workers. When that happens parity will finally be accomplished.  But can that really happen? Are American worker’s willing to tolerate continuing decreasing wages, especially when the top of the country’s corporations make more in a day than they do in a year?

I think part of what is happening today is the misguided belief that shutting down our current systems and giving total power to the corporate elite is somehow a solution. Of course, that has been the GOP mantra for decades now, its called “trickle-down.  I believe that sometime in the not too distanced future the American workers will finally realize that what they have been fed by the GOP is BS! When that happens I hope there is something around for them to finally flee to.

The Democratic party seems to have lost their way in being that choice. They now concentrate on a few issues that have little to do with the average American worker.  The answer to this dilemma seems to be an alternate choice.  I see that choice as the Centrist Party.  They will hold the center positions and leave the fringes to the two existing parties.  How much further down does the average American worker have to fall before this is seen as a viable choice?

Faulty Logic….

It seems that too many people come to faulty conclusions about this or that simply because of ignorance.  I know that is a pretty rank statement but in some cases, it applies. One of those cases is the quote below where the author says that the opiate addiction crisis rampant in the country is due to the decline in religion.

As Religion Falls, Opiate Use Rises In America

While there is no direct evidence for a causal relationship, the simultaneous decline of religion and growth of opiate use offers a potentially troubling correlation for consideration.

Source: As Religion Falls, Opiate Use Rises In America

canstockphoto18069415.jpgI think the blame for much of the opiate problem lies in the fact that for the workers our economy has been stagnant for three decades or more. Middle-class jobs are pretty much gone except for those who are willing to do the work to get them. There is simply no easy path to the good life anymore. Things have to be earned now. 40% of the population is doing pretty good, the other 60% not so good.

Because of this, there are many disenchanted people around. They hear stories about their fathers and grandfathers who right out of high school got that good paying job in an automotive factory. They hear how a college education will set them back thousands of dollars with no guarantee of any real payback. They feel cheated and in some ways, I can’t blame them.  But at least to me, this sounds too much like a pity party. Instead of doing what it presently takes they want to blame others because they had it easier.

I recently came across someone’s definition of a terrorist and that is a man unhappy with his personal life and looking for something beyond himself.  That something in too many cases is a religious belief that condones and maybe even insists that others need to be punished for their lack of correct faith.

Everyone seems to be in the business of blaming others for their personal condition:

Religious organizations blame others for their declining membership. Instead, they should be taking a good part of the blame because of their political stands and their exclusion of too many who ask embarrassing questions or won’t blindly believe what they are told.

The politicians want to blame the other party for the low congressional approval rating. Instead, they should be looking at their partisans stands and their unwillingness to compromise for the good of the whole. It is just too easy to find a “bad” guy to blame in their world.

Too many who have not managed a more affluent way of life want to blame others. Instead, they should be looking to see what others have done to better themselves.  They need confidence in their own abilities, not someone else to blame.

It is just too easy to find someone else to blame instead of taking a good dose of that blame on yourself.

 

 

Rules, Rules, Rules…

I know no one likes rules but sometimes they are necessary to maintain a civil society. But then again the very idea of civility is being attacked by some in RedAmerica. They just don’t believe that civility is of any benefit to them and therefore it is deemed useless. I got a dose of this recently from a niece and her teenage daughter. She flat out said that being civil was not “her thing”. I know I am getting off track here so let’s shift back to the idea of rules in a civilized society.

2017-10-24_18-28-17.pngCivility has a pretty simple definition when it comes to interacting with each other. It is about being polite and showing regard for others around you. That definition pretty much surrounds the Golden Rule of treating others as you want to be treated.  Maybe more enlightening in regards to today is the definition of incivility. Here is how Wikipedia explains that condition:

Incivility is the polar opposite of civility, or in other words a lack or completely without civility. Verbal or physical attacks on others, cyber bullying, rudeness, religious intolerance, lack of respect, discrimination, and vandalism are just some of the acts that are generally considered acts of incivility.

All of the things I put in bold print describe a world I don’t really want to be in. For much of my life, we have made social progress on these items. Bullying was finally being treated as physical abuse. Lack of respect for others was declining at least until the current Oval Office holder started tweeting as president.  Religious intolerance is going mainstream now that Islam and to lesser degrees Christianity has been kidnapped by a radical right fringe.

Diversity was being celebrated as what makes our nation great. Now, too many seem to have no tolerance anymore for others different from them. If you don’t look or believe as they do then you are the enemy.

No one likes rules, even rules that have maintained our civil society until now.  I only hope and pray that those of us who have maintained our civility can once again take back control from those who are trying to kidnap our society. It seems as simple as that.