Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Scrutinize yourselves

I just read that Herman Cain may be dropping out of the presidential race. Apparently, there has been another round of allegations of sexual misconduct. I don't know what the deal is. Frankly, I've paid very little attention to the candidates this time around. I know I'm very political but I don't see politics in politicians anymore. I see commercials, money and smear campaigns. I don't know what they stand for, and neither to do you. They stand for what you want them to until they get elected. They're all crooked.

Anyway, Herman Cain has been accused of harassing women over and over, to varying degrees. I have a huge problem with that and hate the fact that he may be dropping out of the race over it. I'm not particularly a Cain supporter. I support everyone's right to see their dream and run for office if they damn well choose. I don't support money hungry assholes trying to snake a free lunch out of the guy. Maybe he's the best guy for the job. Maybe he's decent. Maybe he's just enough to be a good competitor. I haven't a clue.

What I do know is that all of the women that claim he harassed them in one form or another, all claim it happened years and years ago. Where were you then? Why didn't you say anything when it happened? Does the phrase "speak now or forever hold your peace" mean anything to you? Some women say, "we were afraid then." So now that the guy is nearly a household name campaigning for the presidency and on the verge of having tons of power, you're no longer afraid compared to when he was a relative nobody?

And how many does this latest one make anyway? 4? 5? More? Are you telling me that he went around harassing a handfull of women (pun intended) and nobody found out, not even once? They didn't come out with it and he didn't slip up and get caught all on his own. And then he just stopped because, as far as I know, nobody has come out and said anything about any recent events.

So you knew Herman Cain a while back. So maybe he made a pass at you. Maybe he asked you up to his apartment after a drink. Maybe he did something that you once didn't like but it didn't mean all that much to you. But now he's running for the Republican ticket to try to become the President of the United States of America and you bottom feeding, sons of bitches need to drag him down. You need to get your 15 minutes of fame (by looking like an asshole), grab a few bucks of hush money, and ruin his career. He beat you to the punch, quit possibly. Before you got the chance to destroy him, he's all but totally decided to drop his bid anyway.

And what if these harassment and adultery charges are true but he can fix the country? What is more important? We have ridiculously high unemployment rates, no money, a rising deficit, war, and a million other problems and you give a shit if he grabbed the ass of a woman that's not his wife. Is the honest, faithful candidate (if that exists) going to be able to fix our issues? I'm not saying that Cain can. I haven't a clue. But who are YOU to decide he can't? And if you think he can't - vote against him. Don't tear down his character.

The bottom line is that I think you are all full of shit. I think you are bottom feeding, money grubbing, coattail riding, filthy, moral-less, assholes that just want your slice of the pie the easy way. I know nothing about the guy, but I think he's innocent. There's no way so many women were harassed and NOBODY said a word, he NEVER got himself caught and this went on for years. I don't buy it.

Quit casting stones and try casting a vote.

Too big to ignore

With so much changing in my near and midrange future, I can't help but think about events in the country and world over the past few years, especially the fall of 2008. It is particularly troubling for someone preparing to restart life geographically and professionally. As a business owner, it is that much worse. The economic events were so vast and deep that I am continually amazed that nobody saw it coming.

When we look at what actually took place, it is all so simple. Everything we did was predicated on the fact that the price of houses would never go down, yet we did everything in our power to drive them down, even if not purposely. Saturation of areas with houses and constant buying and selling invoked the law of diminishing return and an inflation at a rate that no balloon could possibly withstand without popping.

I speak often of intentionality and while it may not have been in the plan for bankers to disrupt and freeze credit, they plan of making more and more money alarmingly fast had so much collateral damage that there was no way it could have been prevented - once the ball got rolling anyway. There was so much greed and grandeur on Wall Street that even capitalists with deeply rooted beliefs, such as myself, cannot begin to imagine the soulless actions that went on. People can say that the homeowners should have known better than to buy a house they couldn't afford and definitely should have known better than to leverage that dollar and tack on a boat and a college tuition. One dollar cannot go three ways and still be worth a dollar each time. Yet, when the average Joe is handed the American dream by a professional, it is likely that "Joe" will put heartfelt trust in the answer and go with it.

The reason these Americans lost their homes, really is their own faults and it's not because they believed the banks. It's deeper than that. It's the lack of information I speak about so often. To this day, I can name, probably on one hand, but definitely no more than both, the amount of people that can explain how the greed that led to bundled mortgage backed securities, insuring the sold off slices and moving the risk of their books as well as the arrogance of AIG nearly sent us into the depression of the 1930s at an unfathomable speed (obviously generalized and truncated for this post).

What may be even more upsetting is how many people not only do not know what happened, but are grossly unaware of how close we all came to it. If I told the population at large that we were 5 days away from having no economy left, what would they say? Would they know that was the case or even believe me? Would they understand the concept of a credit freeze so sweeping that trucks stopped moving, shelves stopped getting stocked, things and money literally disappeared. A post-apocalyptic country would have emerged. January 2009 would have marked the beginning of a decades-long recession.

It's not that hard of a concept. The Street has been running on emotion and not on numbers for as long as I can remember and probably longer than that. No bank in the world can honor its debts if all creditors made a run on it. It's all based on trust and banks trust in each other. The absorption in our own personal worlds creates our own success bubble where we mostly don't think about all the moving parts involved. But all these moving parts have a profound impact on our own personal success bubbles. Our knowledge is limited to the news ticker on the bottom of the news channel that we see as we fill our coffee mugs and begin our transient day.

Our lack of information enabled all of this. I'm not exonerating the guilty parties, but it's hard for people to be guilty of immoral practices without people who conduct business with them. It's not entirely dissimilar to Nigerian scam artists "just trying to get your help moving money." They are wrong for doing it, but if you don't see yourself getting fleeced then you have enabled them to a large extent and should not have handed over money to a total stranger. How did you not see that coming?

So thanks to the greed of the bankers and the ignorance of the average American, my future success is potentially muted. I'll overcome the obstacles, whatever the cost. The point is, that I shouldn't have to. So America... read a fucking newspaper, balance a checkbook and pay attention to the world around you once in a while.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Automatically cut his salary

So President Obama says he will do nothing to stop these automatic budget cuts. I'm no stranger to the need to save money in my personal life and I can't begin to truly fathom what it would take to get the United States out of this mess. Frankly, I'm not interested in what or who caused it anymore. It's here. Plain and simple.

Because Congress is incapable of doing anything right at this point, they failed to come to a solution to out deficit issues. Automatic budget cuts will go into place. Things are going to get slashed across the board, but the thing about automatic is that the actions are not weighed and considered. It's automagic. This is not a time to make brash moves. Let's consider, for once, the consequences of our actions.

To that end (and I'm admittedly biased about this), the Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta made a statement. He said, "If Congress fails to act over the next year, the Department of Defense will face devastating, automatic, across-the-board cuts that will tear a seam in the nation's defense." To that a scorned President replied, much like a kid denied a lollipop, that he would veto any measure taken to circumvent the automatic cuts. This will, in effect, create "a hollow force incapable of sustaining the missions it is assigned," to use more of Panetta's words.

As someone who has spent time in a variety of military locations both domestically and overseas, I can tell you that we need the money. There is never enough. Our national security deserves the best at all times. I've seen soldiers without enough body armor before convoys. I've seen training suffer. I've seen students piling up crammed into small rooms because we cannot pay people. There is a bubble developing in the training pipeline that will create a force lopsided in terms of rank and hierarchy which will persist for many years to come.

All of that aside, how can anyone not see the importance of money spent on national defense. Should all the "We will never forget" bumper stickers be replaced with "September what?" Have we forgotten that the horrific 9/11 attacks were the second try by these pieces of shit on THAT location. Does February 26, 1993 ring a bell for anyone? A truck bomb in the underground parking lot of the North Tower of the World Trade Center went off, but the building stood. The destruction was minimal so they came back for more. Do you think they're done?

Do you think that the beefs with North Korea, Iran, Syria, Egypt will subside and there will peace and happiness in the world? If you buy that, I have a bridge you can buy. This was supposed to be posted a few days ago, but I got sidetracked and lost my train of thought. There is a good by-product of that though. Between the start of it and now was Black Friday. The heaviest day for consumerism and shopping. Some of the videos and news associated are the exact reasons the rest of the world hates us. Materialistic, shallow needs for possessions is not something that is agreeable to our enemies. The point is that without protection, we are going to have a major problem.

Our military is the greatest in the world. It has created and protected us for over 200 years. It also has helped out the rest of the world in times of need. We cannot cripple it with budget cuts. Find other ways to save money. Congressional salaries for starters. How about the presidential salary? What the hell does he have to pay for anyway? The man has no expenses.

All I know is that automatic budget cuts that erode the foundation of protection this country has relied on for so many years is disgusting and needs to be completely rethought.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Spreading joy via the evil corporations

It's Thanksgiving night and I certainly have a lot to be thankful for. I have an amazing family and wonderful friends. I have a good job. I have been very blessed in many ways. I understand that many are less fortunate than I am. I also would love to help every person who has had bad luck befall them. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to do that. I heard something tonight that infuriates me more than anything else. Actually, it's two things.

First of all, Facebook is full of people complaining about the Black Friday hours. I have worked from 4:30am until midnight in a retail location. It's long. It's hard. I get that. But to bitch and moan and have arguments amongst friends about who has it worse, is so ridiculous. You know who has it worse? The people who can't get a job. The people who can't pay the rent and keep the lights on. You don't like retail? Get a learned trade. Get an education. Get some motivation and drive and learn to monetize your passion. Find a way to change your circumstances. OR OR OR OR... be the 1 in almost 10 who don't have a job. It's Thanksgiving. Be thankful that you have a job... and get your ass to work.

Here's the other thing. Apparently, people are outside stores picketing. It's a new sub-movement called "Occupy Black Friday." Their stupid ass signs say things like, "Stop supporting corporations, distribute your money among the poor." First of all, there are people, like those above, that have to work ridiculously long hours and it does suck. Those that are grateful for the opportunity, deserve the money they make. You don't deserve it for being outside with a fucking sign. Grow up and get a job. Apparently, there are people working that don't care to and maybe you can trade positions with them. Anyway, you clearly missed the point. People spend money, which stimulates the economy. It creates commerce and then the corporations make more money and make more products and the cycle goes around and around. I guess that's what pisses you off, but you missed a very key component to all of it. You see the whole thing as just a corporation, but let me ask you something - who do you think works in the corporations? Is it all fat cat rich people? Maybe there are the laborers who create the products in factories, drive the products to stores, stock them on shelves and ring them up. Maybe the people buying them are just poor people scraping to get by themselves and are pinching pennies to get gifts for their families.

Maybe, even if you had a legitimate cause, you're not going to be heard at Christmastime. It's not the time to pitch your silliness. It's Thanksgiving and people are doing Christmas shopping. People are joyful and buying presents to spread the joy. Stop pissing on everyone's parade and bringing your stupid fucking raincloud to a happy time. Get a job, buy something, spread some joy and stimulate the economy.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Partisanship and employment

I'm tired of ranting and raving about Occupy Wall Street from a pure belief standpoint. I have mine, they have theirs and they will never see that mine are right. I'm not trying to be arrogant, but if I didn't believe mine were right, they wouldn't really be beliefs in the first place, would they? So I stand by my beliefs. We'll even call them convictions. I'm not wishy washy. However, being staunch is not enough to sell others on my position. So let's look at it in better, more factual detail, shall we?

Disclaimer: Nothing I say here speaks for the entire group. I also don't feel I'm making blanket statements. This is generalized simply to be able to keep it a reasonable length and I can't speak for individuals.

In looking at the overarching theme of how they feel (the protestors). They feel the rich get richer and the upper 1% has too much. They feel they are entitled to more opportunities. They want caps on the high and low end of the pay scale to minimize inequalities. Suffice it to say, none of them are extremely wealthy and self made millionaires. Many do not have jobs or, at a minimum, not full time, structured/rigid jobs. The principles of who they are and who they are fighting paint a clear distinction about partisanship. Would you say that these folks are closer to right wing, conservative, capitalist, big business loving, Republicans? Or do they fit the left wing, share for the common goal and greater good, everyone deserves a chance, help our fellow man, liberal, Democrats? I think we can all agree that they are, by and large, the latter.

Since we are speaking in large, generic polarized categories, let's continue that trend. Conservative Republicans will often gravitate toward more pragmatic degrees (B.S., M.S.) vs the loony lefty liberals who are generally more artsy (Bachelor of Arts) and lean toward careers that allow free expression. This is where this whole thing is leading to. Careers, success, and employment. The Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce has compiled data to see the employment rate by major. Keep in mind that across the board, the unemployment rate (as of October 2011) was 4.4 for people with a college degree (inclusive to all levels of degree - Baccalaureate, Masters, Doctoral). Here is the list of the top 10 most employed major from least unemployed down:

1. Actuarial Science - 0 percent
2. Astonomy and Astrophysics - 0 percent
3. Educational Administration and Supervision - 0 percent
4. Geological and Geophysical Engineering - 0 percent
5. Pharmacology - 0 percent
6. School Student Counseling - 0 percent
7. Agricultural Economics - 1.3 percent
8. Medical Technologies Technicians - 1.4 percent
9. Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology - 1.6 percent
10. Environmental Engineering, Nursing, and Nuclear Industrial Radiology and Biological Technologies - 2.2 percent

There are the top 10 most employed majors. The least employed of that list is half of the percentage of college grads unemployed overall. 9 of those 10 are very specifically scientific, measurable, fact based majors. No expression. No art. They are jobs that require people to show up at a certain time, meet measureable standards and performance benchmarks. Not dissimilar from the structured, numerical world of banking and finance. The only one that stands out among the rest is School Student Counseling; however, I would be willing to bet that the 0 percent belongs to those who have gone past a 4-year degree. More education ups the chances of continued employment, of course.

The Center also has found that all these scientific degrees will earn significantly more money. One such example is that a petroleum engineer major will make three times as much, over a lifetime, than that of a psychology major. The psychologist/counselor has less risk, which means they will make less money but a higher guarantee of it - once employed. Still a 0 percent unemployment rate for 5 scientific degrees sounds like a worthwhile effort.

At the end of the day, all of this data leads to one meaning - inferred or stated. Scientific, numerical, data based, technology, banking or similar career paths will always provide a greater chance of professional and financial success. Even for those who have chosen to skip the degree process and choose to work from the ground floor in these industries, it is a better bet than being on the other side. This is not my personal partisanship. I'm not going to strap a dead panda to the front of a Lincoln Navigator and run over every liberal artist I can find. I'm taking a stance based on real data from Georgetown (not a fly-by-night organization).

So OWSers, you want change. Here's a suggestion, make it happen. The choice is yours. The programs are available. The information is publicized. Want the money? Make, don't take, the money. Once you have it, use it for good not evil like you believe everyone in lower Manhattan is doing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

OWS demands and commentary

Here is what the OWS movement has decided they want. This is not an official list. This is built from items submitted by members of the movement so far. I've provided commentary on each. Enjoy the show.

- Repeal the Taft-Hartley Act. Unionize ALL workers immediately.
Not all workers WANT to be unionized. Forcing a union on people is the same as banning unions for the people that it makes sense for.

-Raise the minimum wage immediately to $18/hr. Create a maximum wage of $90/hr to eliminate inequality.
And who is paying for this. Is the profit margin at Office Depot high enough to pay the 16 year old stocking printer ink $18 per hour? Or will Office Depot have to double the price to account for that. It's already cheaper to buy a printer than to refill the ink in some cases. That's just one example. What about people that respond to "CLEANUP IN AISLE 6" when some numbnuts kid knocks pickles off the shelf? $18/hour to push a mop. Makes perfect sense to me.

-Institute a 6 hour workday, and 6 weeks of paid vacation.
$18 an hour to NOT work for 6 weeks? Employers have no discretion anymore? I'm not sure I even understand the purpose of this one. They want opportunity but don't want to work for it? "We want jobs, but we don't want taxing hours. Let's make it easy." It's not supposed to be easy... it's WORK!

- Institute a moratorium on all foreclosures and layoffs immediately.
So if people can't pay their mortgages, they should do what? Just keep the house? For free? No layoffs? How is a business going to buy products to sell if they're paying all of their employees and bills and having a hard time selling what they already have in inventory?

-Repeal racist and xenophobic English-only laws.
In Italy, they speak Italian. In Germany, they speak German. The language of this country is English. I'm well aware it is not declared as an official language, but let's face facts, it damn well should be. Or pick a new language. Make it Spanish for all I care. I'll learn it if that's the way it goes. Making a standard makes it easier to communicate. It goes on in the tech world constantly. We institute a standard do everyone can interact and communicate.

- Open the borders to all immigrants, legal or illegal. Offer immediate, unconditional amnesty, to all undocumented residents of the US.
The borders are open. People can come in, just like my family did. Sign a paper, become a citizen. Have some allegiance. Nothing wrong with that. Amnesty for illegal residents makes NO damn sense. If they are illegal, then they've broken a law. I want to drive a car with no license. I'll be an illegal driver. Give me amnesty. You can't do shit to me. At that rate, let's just dump laws altogether if there's no accountability for them.

- Create a single-payer, universal health care system.
It would be awesome to have 20%+ sales tax to cover that cost. I mean I totally want to pay $7 for a half gallon of milk so someone who doesn't work, feeds off the system and has no moral compass can stay healthy. This it takes a village to insure a lazy sack of shit doesn't work with me. I work. I'm compensated. You work. You're compensated. No such thing as a free lunch or free healthcare.

- Pass stricter campaign finance reform laws. Ban all private donations. All campaigns will receive equal funding, provided by the taxpayers.
So if I make a ton of money and become Oprah rich and truly firmly believe in a candidate, I can't support him/her?

- Institute a negative income tax, and tax the very rich at rates up to 90%.
To become the super rich, you have to be educated and a hard worker. Bottom line, the lazy ones that work 15 hours per week or can't spell the word spell, don't make millions. So those that learn a business, get educated, put in 80 hours per week and rise to become the cream of the crop should be taxed 90 cents on the dollar. At that rate, they won't be the super rich and end up in the negative income tax bracket. Additionally, negative income tax? So these people should work at low paying jobs at less hours a week and be rewarded for their efforts? Produce and contribute and be rewarded.

- Pass far stricter environmental protection and animal rights laws.
I won't even argue this one. I agree with the concept and the demand is very vague, so we will see how it plays out.

- Allow workers to elect their supervisors.
This may reduce the number of Peter Principle-esque bosses out there and that's not the worst thing in the world, however, this is a stupid solution overall. You already have that right. Are you a slave? No. Don't like your boss? Quit. Start a company. Be your own boss? Don't know how? Should have gotten educated. Can't afford it? Grants, loans, scholarships. You can get SOME FORM OF EDUCATION, you ignorant asshole.

- Lower the retirement age to 55. Increase Social Security benefits.
Oxymoron. Social Security is hemorrhaging money as it is. People are living longer. Starting them earlier with more money is impossible. That's like opening the drain, lowering the faucet and expecting the sink to fill.

- Create a 5% annual wealth tax for the very rich.
Define very rich and tell me where the money will be appropriated to and we'll see.

- Ban the private ownership of land.
Dumbest combination of words in the English language. I refuse to dignify this with a response.

- Make homeschooling illegal. Religious fanatics use it to feed their children propaganda.
I actually support it 10000% but for different reasons. School teaches more than books. It teaches social maturity, interaction, how to learn, how to teach, how to be a person in a multi-cultural society. I do not support homeschooling. I know more than one person homeschooled so I don't judge them, but in concept, I'm not a supporter.

- Reduce the age of majority to 16.
There are 18 year olds joining the military now that I wouldn't trust with a sling shot let alone a gun. You want to lower the bar? If a student can't pass a test, the fail. We don't write a test they can pass. Rebuilding the system doesn't work. Lowering the bar doesn't work.

- Abolish the death penalty and life in prison. We call for the immediate release of all death row inmates from death row and transferred to regular prisons.
Because people that are on death row are just misunderstood? Some people are bad eggs. Not everyone is capable of being rehabilitated. Abolish the death penalty? Maybe. Life in prison? Better not do it, some people don't belong in society; they are just dangerous.

- Release all political prisoners immediately.
Purpose?

- Immediate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Do me a favor and pull the emergency brake in the car while going 90 mph down the highway. Let me know if you have a smooth exit from the vehicle.

- Abolish the debt limit.
Germany and Austria are establishing debt limits because they see how that'll save them and you want to get rid of ours? Let's just keep piling up the debt. Let's never make good on what we owe. Forget reconciling and being positive. Borrow, borrow, borrow. Until we are borrowing on (and losing) YOUR money. Then you'll be PISSED!

- Ban private gun ownership.
Constitutionally protected right. Part of the values this country was founded on. This is not a change to a rule. This is an effort to turn this country into a different country. If you hate this country so much, there's a much easier solution - MOVE THE FUCK SOMEWHERE ELSE.

- Strengthen the separation of church and state.
Fair enough. My religion is not your religion, but my state is your state. Nothing against Jewish people, but I believe Jesus Christ is the son of God. I don't feel that a Menorah should be on top of a public building either. However, putting a cross on the side of the road where a Christian person died in an accident is not the state on a crusade for Christianity (pun intended). It's commemorating the life of a Christian that has died and the state is not involved. Free exercise of religion, brother. You should be looking at traffic and not the trees anyway. Mind your business sound familiar?

- Immediate debt forgiveness for all.
While I would personally love this because nobody WANTS to owe anything, it goes back to personal accountability. You spent it, you pay it. That's a choice. You didn't NEED the TV, you chose to buy it. I have absolutely ZERO DOLLARS in necessary debt. Whatever I owe comes from choices.

-End the 'War on Drugs'.
So now the super rich are paying for degenerates to have better, legal drugs. They are unhealthy. They are destructive. If you want to smoke crack in your apartment and fry your brain all day, I'm all for it. That's less of you wackos to make lists like that. However, when the drug addiction becomes greater and money gets slimmer, you have to venture outside to get your fix. Too often, a step in that process requires the violent acquisition of that money. Now your problem becomes someone else's problem. Cannot work.

I know I wanted a list. I wanted to see their goals. Now I'm sorry I did. Actually, scratch that. This list is amazing. It is SO farfetched that I cannot imagine anyone taking it seriously.

Ideas for additional items:
- Make the moon be ACTUALLY made out of cheese.
- Cats should have opposable thumbs.
- Polar bears should come in more colors.
- Bring back the Delorean car (with or without a Flux Capacitor, your choice).

We can ask for any ridiculous thing at this point. Thank you OWS for writing your list from so far out in left field that you are now a joke.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The new generation of choice

Pepsi said it was the choice of a new generation. That's my generation. Personally, I chose Coke, but that's neither nere nor there. They were right about one thing. It was a new generation and choice was a key word there. We have been given more choices than any other generation - in all areas of life, including the choice to take no responsibility, have no accountability, shift the onus or pass the buck. Maybe I was just lucky in how I was raised, but I don't do that. Not to day I've never done that, but when I did I was young. I didn't know better. I was an adolescent. If you want to compare my mistakes as a teenager to those of adults, go for it, but it doesn't help your case.

Maybe it is not  ALL our fault. We are, after all, products of the Baby Boomer generation. They had more to give and subsequently we got spoiled in a way no generation prior to us ever had. But surely, we can't place all the blame above us. I had too much. I won't lie. I was spoiled at every turn. When I was younger I took that for granted and didn't appreciate it, but how many 14 year olds do? The sense of entitlement plaguing my generation is what gives the rest of them this "right," in their own minds to deserve everything, sometimes without working for it or putting anything in.

I saw a sign held up by someone that spoke of the debt generation. He was $80,000 in debt and said now he'll never be able to pay it off. He chose to take that money. It didn't arrive in his bank account unexpectedly. This is not the first five minutes of the movie "Eagle Eye." I don't know his choice of major for school or if he even finished his degree, but if it's in something that ends in B.A. the chances are that he will have a harder time paying that off. It's not that I have no respect for the arts, but it's fact that unless you catch a big break, they are generally (overall, averaged) not as lucrative.

You know what is? Being a doctor. These are the people that don't have choices in their tough times ahead. One of my best friends is just about tying up his 16 year process of becoming an orthopedic surgeon. He's not wiping snotty noses. He builds and fixes bones. He is fortunate in that he's a huge nerd and has had scholarships for most of his time spend in academia so his loans are minuscule compared to some others. Regardless, he should have been living high on the hog within a couple of years and taking his best friend on vacation, right? Instead, let's take a magic carpet ride through the mentalities and choices that leave him worried about finances with a wife and child - as an ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON.

The liberal, commie, pinko, hippies want everyone to feel better and be ok. Everyone deserves a fair shot and equal treatment (wrong. Jim busted his ass for 16 years to have more. Not everyone is equal). So we give away healthcare to people that are breaking the law by sneaking in - that costs money. The cost is going up to doctors, more and more people don't have the money to pay it, they lean on insurance companies who can't keep up. They are paying less to doctors and the docs have to eat the rest. Of course, the hospital wants their cut. The average Joe gets all he or she needs, the insurance company gets to pay less since they have no damn premiums coming in with everyone shaking them down for free healthcare and the highly trained, brilliant, educated doctor is left holding Herman. Let's not even talk about the price of malpractice insurance that doctors have to carry because people sue every time they see the doctor for a cold and sneeze once afterwards (must be the doctors fault for not curing them, SUE SUE SUE).

You chose to get that degree in philosophy. You chose to go for psychology which can make tons of money, but stop after a Bachelors degree. The Ph.D. at the end of the name of every psychologist means you need to stay in school to make money on it. You chose a career path with no ROI. You spent and overspent by going to a school you couldn't afford. Why should the government pay your way out of your debt? If you commit a crime, should the community do your time?

Let's also keep in mind that functioning, productive members of society take drug tests to get and keep a job. Welfare recipients don't have to. I have held a security clearance for almost a decade and have never been in a lick of trouble, yet I have to prove myself several times a year to the government that has approved and vetted me in every other way. These people can show up, grab a check for doing absolutely nothing and have no accountability for their actions in between.

I support small businesses. I'm going to make one. We will sell candles that smell like dog shit. When it doesn't do well, I want the general public to rally around me and pay my debts, even though everyone told me it was a disgusting idea and would never work. Fair?

I want to take a job that doesn't pay as much as bankers, complain how much the bankers are making, threaten to block them so they can't get to work, shit in a privately owned park, create the need for extra police, strike their vehicle and complain when I get my ass beat, file for an injunction when the city has me removed from someone else's private property and at no point try to find a solution. At a minimum, were they ever going to outline their requests and fight appropriately or just run around and bitch. Did anyone have a clear plan or organization?

I made bad choices and got thrown out of college. I went to community college and worked my way back up to NYU. I had a great job that I lost. Whose fault? My fault. The economy was bad, but not EVERYONE got fired. I could have done something better to ensure I held my spot. I went from the New York Stock Exchange and New York University to Best Buy and Berkeley College (the little shitty one in Paterson, NJ). But I didn't stop. I took my lumps and moved on. Now I'm in the United States Air Force. I made a choice to get shelter, income, benefits, education and training. Never asked to have it handed to me.

There may not be any honor in flipping burgers, but there's honor in working for yourself if that's what it takes. Make a choice to be a better person. Make a choice to change your world and enlarge your territory. Make a choice to be an active participant in taking the blame as well as the credit when the pendulum of life swings either way.

At the end of the day, your life is your own. Take control of it and make it what you want. Take the credit when it goes well. Take the blame when you fuck up. It is what it is. Nobody else will be there to fix it for you. People will show up every day to help fix it WITH you, but it's your life and ultimately you are responsible. Hate that the bankers make that money. Feel it should be distributed differently? Become one and affect change from the inside. Or just give your millions away. Don't be mad at them. They recognized a piece of the system that would reward them handsomely for their efforts. They're shady and slimy, but that's the business and they're using it to their advantage. Kudos to them for recognizing the opportunity. They're not the ones shitting in the park with no place else to go, no job that'll have them.

Questions to the OWSers:
- When you put Zucotti Park on your resume who will hire you? The big businesses you fought against or the small business you negatively affected by your presence?
- If a small business hires you, will you take the job or do you deserve more than the man/woman with their life savings invested and more sweat equity in it than there are turds in Zucotti Park?
- If a big business hires you, will you take the job because you need the money and risk being a hypocrite or will you stand your ground and be broke, making another choice but blaming the system?
- Will you reprimand your Oakland counterparts for making weapons and helping ruin your "peaceful" demonstration?

Pepsi or Coke - working or broke. The choices are yours and yours alone. Make them, stand by them and work with them to achieve your goals. The world is NOT your oyster boys and girls. It doesn't spit pearls at you. You must make it happen. I wish you luck. I want everyone to be successful. I'd help you all if I could, but first... you must help yourselves.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

We all have to grow up someday

On the heels of last night's blog, I got to thinking a little more about the protestors and then I spoke to my buddy about it this morning. What I didn't know was a story about a Boston restauranteur who was doing very well so he opened a restaurant in Manhattan. Unfortunately, it's only a couple of blocks from Zucotti Park. The "civil" protestors that have been living in tents have not installed indoor plumbing. So they've been shitting in the park. That's pleasant, right? That means that lots of local businesses have been suffering. This restaurant owner has lost so much traffic that he had to lay people off.

I'm not talking about the big businesses. These are small business owners, not titans of industry. These are the people the protestors claim to represent - the American working man not getting his share. Meanwhile, they are on the way to putting some of these folks out of business. That seems counter productive.

Speaking of counter... let's look at the counterculture of the 60's. Timothy Leary and his "turn on, tune in, drop out" mantra had everyone questioning authority and doing their own thing. People bucked the system and roamed around a la Jack Kerouac. They took drugs, hitchhiked and lived off of whatever they could get their hands on. They added nothing to the system, BUT... they expected nothing in return either. That's the difference. And look at those people and who they became. They are the bankers of today. My father hung out on the corner of Haight and Ashbury. Then he grew up and worked on the corner of Wall Street and Broadway.

I just started a small business that markets primarily, for now, to small businesses. And they are doing well and we are on our way to do well. There's room for the average working man to make his way and do well. It just takes work. Something this spoiled generation isn't prepared to do. It's because we spoil our kids constantly. We give them ribbons and medals for losing and we don't keep score. If you never had your heartbroken you won't appreciate love. If you've never been broke, you can't be thankful for success. The balance between good and bad is important. It helps us appreciate.

I'm sorry you're in debt with school loans. I respect higher education, but it was your choice. My father went to school at night for 6 years while married. You took a $100,000 loan to do it in 4 years? Your choice. Going to a top notch school that you couldn't afford - your choice. Choosing to take loans instead of grants - partially your choice (not everyone gets approved for all grants).

And at what point did you think a philosophy degree was a good idea? Being a philosopher has never paid the bills. So what do you do with a degree like that? You teach a bunch of folks the the theory. Then they teach people. And so it goes. Like a giant liberal arts multi-level marketing pyramid. I'm calling it "Amway for hippies." it might actually be worse than that. It's all built on perceived value rather than real, usable skills. It's like a Ponzi scheme for empty headed liberals who can't find work and protest those who can.

No free lunches. Profound thought doesn't keep the lights on. Quit shitting in the park, get a job ans distribute your own wealth. Until you contribute to what comes in, you can't decide what goes out and where. You are all the equivalent of a spoiled, petulant child mixed with an entitled soon-to-be ex-wife. You don't get half my shit and whining makes it more likely you'll catch a smack than anything.

GET. A. JOB.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Fate or chance?

There was a time when I got sucked into all the new-agey crap about The Secret and the universe giving me whatever the hell I wanted just because I willed it to happen. I clung to the idea that everything that showed up in my life wasn't a coincidence, but rather some immeasurable attraction based on nonexistent radio waves coming out of my brain. I guess I was in a place where I didn't know how to achieve the things I wanted so I convinced myself that I could use some kind of universal magnetism to bring them to me. That's almost like subscribing to some mystical Laissez-faire attitude that physics and hard work don't apply to my world because the universe provides. It really all sounds kinda desperate. Looking back at The Secret I feel as if I was in the outer space version of Occupy Wall Street - Occupy the Universe.

Now I'm in a place where I bust my ass to get the things I want. I work hard at my job, I'm starting my company, my money is in order and none of it has to do with the universe. It's all about reaping the benefits of my hard work. If I don't pitch clients, I can't sign clients. If I don't deliver, they will take their business elsewhere. If I don't show up to work and do what's expected of me, I won't get to keep my job then I can't pay my bills and I'll have no electricity. There are direct, measurable cause and effect actions out there. This is why I hate the OWS movement. Consider all the money the bankers make and will continue to make because they are at work doing what they do all day every day. Consider the occupiers on the street. Collectively, how many hours have been spent? Multiple that by a decent wage and imagine how much money they could have made. Have you heard that the corporate greed mongers are looking out of their windows betting on who gets arrested next? Say what you will about the cops and their behavior, but the truth of the matter is that those who are at work on Wall Street aren't getting arrested. They are too busy earning money. The OWS nutjobs are spending taxpayers money with the increase police presence.

The interesting thing is that none of that is why I'm writing this. It is all just support for the real story. I realized today that I hate OWS just a little less. They want everyone to share success and as socialist as that sounds, I have shared a success from their efforts. See... it started a couple of weeks ago. A friend of mine posted some nonsense defending these lunatics on Facebook. Naturally, I couldn't resist responding to him. We got into a friendly debate. Out of nowhere a friend of his chimed in with the exact same position I have. Seeing the amazing logic of this person, I had to take a closer look. Imagine my surprise when I saw that this person of sound mind was also a Jets fan. Now I know there's a good head on those shoulders. What's more is that this person happens to be the kind of beautiful that stops you in your tracks when you see her. Wait a minute. Is this really a knockout, conservative, Jets fan? Sure is. What do I do? Reference her taste in football teams in a seemingly innocuous flirt that actually got her attention.

The next day, I have a Facebook friend request from the Jets fan beauty. I fire off an email to say hi and break the ice. The subsequent chain of events has both of us still a little dizzy and surprised. It starts on Facebook with messages. Then it goes to text messages. Then we're talking on the phone. Next thing I know, we are in, nearly, constant contact. There is something real brewing here. And you know what? I'm not complaining one bit. I think it's awesome and so does she. We laugh at the same stuff; we're annoyed by the same stuff. We want the same stuff. We formed an instant connection. The future is long and uncertain. Nobody can say they KNOW what will happen, but... we can feel and sense what we think will happen. I'll let it unfurl and not say anything, but it's all good stuff for sure.

So what has that got to do with The Secret? Despite my feeling that I can't will anything to happen and I can't attract it into my life I sometimes wonder if Linda (Yes her name is Linda. Yes I know. Please don't say it) coming into my life was not coincidence. I wonder if something somewhere helped arrange it. It just seems too strong of a coincidence and too random and we have too much in common for it to be happenstance. I don't really believe in fate, but some things are inexplicable and bigger than a random crossing. I'll never know what made 2 people so alike (and subsequently so happy to be around each other) end up meeting in the most random of ways. It'll always be a mystery. Here's the thing. I don't care WHY. The ends justify the means. How it happened is not nearly as important as the fact that it actually happened. We will see where this adventure takes us, but I'm a betting man and I bet it'll be somewhere great.