Thursday, September 13, 2018

Power Corrupts

Watching the Kavanaugh hearing we can see that power corrupts.  Understand that I am a Nobody.  The  only power I can wield is my vote because I don’t have the funds necessary to buy (the ear of) congressmen.  How did we get to this point.  We all point to others as the reason the country is in such a mess but we need to see how both sides have taken the route of wanting more power rather than what is best for the country.  If we want more power than a single vote, we have to send money to special interest groups, including the political parties.   The special interest groups I belong to, (AARP & Boat US) both get a substantial amount of their revenue from insurance sales making them insurance lobbyists as well.   As an insurance executive I was asked to make a payroll deduction to the Company Political Action Committee.  The slide in my career coincided with my refusal to do this.  I didn’t like the idea of the foreign owners of our holding company looking at the use of these funds and the folks in control were anxious to impress these foreigners.   With the ability of special interest groups to finance unlimited campaigns without disclosing the source of the funds is it any wonder that the largest PAC’s are screwing the country the most.

   When we see Democrats championing getting government out of our lives and Republicans voting to increase the deficit to record levels it can be only because of a desire to hang on the power they already have.  Instead of railing against George Soros and the Koch brothers we have to realize we are acting just like them when we send money to politicians we can’t vote for.  We need to learn that talk about the opposition includes many lies, and we should learn to listen from the horse’s mouth rather than the hatemonger’s interpretation  of what the horse said.  The current situation only benefits those on the campaign gravy train.  They are the only ones able to correct the situation.

 Democracy is designed to give the power to the people.  By letting anyone  contribute to any political contest, we allow power to reside with those with the funds and not the voters.   This new method of carpet-bagging can only be stopped with a Constitutional Amendment.  I would suggest:

  Notwithstanding the First Amendment, efforts to influence elections to public office in the United States and its’ subdivisions shall be limited to those who are able to vote in said election.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Proud to be a Deplorable?

I keep wondering what happened to the Party of: family values, free trade & markets, cutting taxes,  and fiscal responsibility?  Why have they turned into a band of people proud to be deplorables?  Could it be that the Democrats have alienated a bunch of old white people that have only known black people  through Amos and Andy as a child?  I know, as an old white man, that I still have many racist sayings in my head that I never equated with racism as a child.  Should one of these slip out inadvertently at any minute, I would be instantly branded as a racist pig.  While ignorance is the root of the problem, our hatefulness amplifies people into believing that they are what we tell them they are.  Can we please start complaining about ideas instead of people?

Natering Nabobs of Negativism

It’s obvious to me that Mr. Agnew’s  “Nattering Nabobs of Negativism”  have taken over our National dialogue with their divide and conquer tactics.  I, and I believe many others,  don’t fit into the tidy  “Red-Blue, Conservative-Liberal, Democrat-Republican” labels.  I have never met any of these people that we are told are trying to bring this country down.   From my personal experience, this divide in our nation is a largely made up affair, leaving us with one really important divide: Negative People or Positive People.  As happiness is a trait of positive people, in the hope of helping people increase their happiness, I have listed twenty traits of positive people in the hope that we can reduce the hatred our leaders are spawning.   In no special order, Positive People:

1. Don’t look to blame others for mistakes, they seek to understand them so they  can be prevented from happening again.

2. Realize that people make mistakes and that doesn’t make them a bad person.

3.  Realize that arguments are lost as soon as name calling begins.

4. Criticize ideas and not people.

5. Admit to their mistakes as soon as they are aware of them and try to fix things.

6. Realize they are dependent on many others for their continued existence.

7. Work on fulfilling dreams, either their own or others.

8. Are aware that others will disagree with them and can be good people.

9. Seek revenge only by living the best life they can..

10. Hold integrity as an important trait.

11. Don’t tell others what to believe, or how to behave.

12. Know that the hate mongers have agendas that don’t include all of us.

13. Live in the present and for the future, not in the past.

14. Realize that prosperity comes from unifying:  E Pluribus Unum, Out of Many--One!

15. Know what they don’t know and aren’t afraid to admit it.

16. Know that the gift of a smile costs nothing and is returned.

17. Know that “an eye for an eye” leaves everyone blind.

18. Know that war’s winners didn’t win anything, they just lost less.

19. Realize that bad people sometimes do good things and good people sometimes do bad things.

20. Know that power shared is power gained.


Monday, April 30, 2018

Media makes things worse.

When the state of our political discourse appears to be “Your guy is more corrupt than our guy”,  I can’t help but wonder how we got this way.  I believe the “Media” in all its’ forms have caused much of our angst.  The effort to capture readers with their attendant profits has lead to; misleading headlines, opinions appearing as news items (often on the front page),  pictures that don’t have to do with the action being cited, (usually unflattering), as well as making the impossible seem a realistic goal (taking away guns or eliminating abortion).  One of the worst things the media does is to name the deranged shooters that continue to crop up.  We have no need to know their names and the only result that comes from publishing the names is to glorify the idiot that picks up a gun because he can’t get attention any other way.  I can’t help but wonder how many mass shootings wouldn’t have occurred if the shooter knew they would only be referred to as negative adjectives.  Putting dates on photos, as well as statements as to whether or not they have been altered would also do a lot to let us know what is fake and what is not.  Fear and anger lead to hate and all three leave reason in the dust.  I can only hope the media will take some responsibility to tamp down the hate that permeates our society.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

We all lose when there are "winners"

Watching the Vikings win Sunday night made me realize that our political process has transformed itself into an athletic contest.   Our parties have adopted an attitude of “win at all costs” and “If you’re not with us on everything, you are against us”.  I am reminded of sailboat racing where the designer will make a boat go one knot slower because that will make the handicap two knots slower thus winning on corrected time. It’s called “designing to the rule”, and it’s exactly what our politicians have become very good at. 

 It’s common knowledge that our representatives vote on measures they haven’t read and many couldn’t understand if they did read.  We have become so obsessed with “winning” and “losing” that we have forgotten that synergy in interactions can lead to gains for both parties.  We are told that business transactions have winners and losers.  In my experience deals don’t get done when there are losers.  If you are going to lose on a transaction you walk away from it prior to it being done.  Both parties have adopted divide and conquer strategies, when what we really need is a unite and prosper strategy.


Friday, November 3, 2017

Parties of Hate, Anger and Blame cry for a new party

Our current political parties are both heavily involved with the spreading of hatred, anger, lies, and personal attacks.  The Parties lack of faith in Democracy is best exemplified by the sources of money running our elections.  Money decides the candidates and then we get to vote for the richest ones. Those that give the money are only concerned about their own specific issues, that are frequently at odds with those doing the actual voting

I would suggest a new party embracing the values of honesty, transparency, personal integrity and compromise. The platform would be flexible and allow votes on either side of the isle.  Issues to hold dear would be:

1.      Acting in the interests of our children and grandchildren, to not saddle them with huge
amounts of debt in the form of the deficit and college loans.
2.  Actually fixing Social Security and Medicare now before it gets more expensive.
3.   Taking climate change as a serious matter.

4.      Providing quality health care to everyone, (not necessarily insurance). 

5      Taking campaign contributions only from voters that have registered and are able to vote for the candidate.

6      Refraining from negative personal attacks on their opponents.  Attacks should only  be on the issues.

7.      Remembering that taxing, spending, and compromise are what politicians are supposed to do.

8.      Focus on uniting the county by embracing diversity.

We will only be able to affect change when we stop blaming others for our situation and accept the responsibility that we are making matters worse by enjoying the hatred and anger that permeates our society.

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Terrorists have won

It’s becoming more and more obvious to me that the terrorists have won their game.  The object of most terrorists is to take down a government.  Ours hasn’t been a functioning democracy for some time.  Both political parties are so wrapped up in building and maintaining their power that they have forgotten what power is supposed to be used for.  Small groups of activists in power in each party are convinced that a divide and conquer strategy is the best one to use.  By spreading fear,  hate, anger and blame to the other party they think they can consolidate their power.  I haven’t voted for a candidate for a long time and I bet you haven’t either.  We vote against the candidate we think will do the most harm.  We have equated money with power and believe you need one to get the other.  We have stopped listening to the “horse’s mouth” and instead listen to the pundits misinterpretation of what was said.  Instead of discussing ideas, we bad mouth people.  One group blindly agrees with what they are told to believe and another group thinks they know what is right for everyone and that everyone should agree with them without discussion.  We are  told to see things as good or evil with no in-between.  We are led to believe that all relationships fall in the category of winner or loser and the thought that a transaction could benefit both sides and even result in synergy is not a possibility.  We are taught to believe that if the other party gets its’ way, the country as we know it will implode.

As an old white man who wears a feed hat, I am tired as being portrayed as a racist, and I am sure that black people are more tired at being told their lives don’t matter.  When Archie Bunker came on the scene we all thought it was funny when he said things that people thought but didn’t say out loud. Now it seems people just want to say the most outrageous things they can to be noticed. People rant against “political correctness” when it is really just being polite.  We used to be taught that “if you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say anything at all”. 

The media has found that using outrageous headlines is what garners them the most attention and money and have turned to using opinions as headlines.  We are left not knowing what to believe as we are told that truth has two sides now.  Even the most reputational media provides opinions when they decide to report only the bad things, (or good) that a politician does.  With all the cacophony going on I would suggest that no one knows what the country wants, and anyone that says they do is only pushing their own agenda.  We no longer provide any importance to a politicians’ integrity and many even think the best liar makes the best politician.  This championing of mistrust is perhaps the most harmful aspect of our current climate as all business and politics require trust for anything good to happen.  It’s gotten to the point that when I hear one party accusing the other of distasteful actions, I know that the accusing party has already taken part in those same actions.  The names politicians give their bills always seem to describe what the bill will not do.

The phony stories about entitlements, income redistribution and takers really gets my craw.  I am entitled to many benefits because I have paid for them!  Income redistribution is seen as awful when the rich are to give to the poor, but the recent past shows the largest income redistribution in over a hundred years going from the poor to the rich.  Being accused of being a taker when the accusers are usually promoting tax cuts is the largest folly.  When one politician gets taxes cut, politicians in other governmental units end up raising taxes in order to keep the services that government provides.  I would suggest that the tax cutters are the biggest takers in the way they pass on larger and larger debt to future generations while continuing to spend. It’s the same story I heard in corporate life: We get some good benefit now, and when the it hits the fan it won’t be on my watch!

As long as we let the drug, finance, insurance and other fat cats finance our electoral system we will see no change.  It is in their interest to keep everything as it is.  Lawmakers have made it illegal for Medicare to negotiate drug prices while we are flooded with opiates,  Bankers can continue to rip off their clients without facing jail, and the Federal government will continue to subsidize health insurance premiums.  Meanwhile all our Congress people stay the same, arguing that government is either the only problem or the solution to all our problems.  Voters have to realize that when you elect clowns you end up with a circus.  We must unite to prosper.