An Open Message to Government

Stop doing what you have always done as you will continue to get what you have always gotten.  Every time all of the members of the same party vote for or against any  bill or law,  ipso facto, some of them have labeled themselves as self serving liars, demagogues, or synchopants.  Where is the one able and honest  man that will put the future of the country ahead of loyalty to party and re-election.  If the Republican party is “fractured” as we so often hear I believe that is a good thing not a bad thing.  We can always hope that the Democrats will fracture as well remembering that very act of construction is proceeded by  an act of destruction.

Here are some thoughts about making progress that I find interesting when viewed as a political commentary.

“Men have become the tools of their tools.”

Thoreau

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing themselves.”

Tolstoy

“All rising to a great place is by a winding stair.”

Bacon

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

Shaw

“Change is automatic, progress is not.”

Robbins

“There are many ways of moving forward, but only one way of standing still.”

FD Rossevelt

“Waiting for Perfect is never as smart as making progress.”

Godin

“We cannot advance without new experiments in living, but no wise man tries every day what has proved wrong the day before.”

Adams

“Without deviations from the norm progress is not possible.”

Zappa

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself, Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

Shaw

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.  To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

Fuller

“You cannot steal 2nd base if your foot is still on 1st.”

Wilcox

“Behold the turtle, he only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.”

Connant

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

Will Rogers

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Posted in politics, Political Correctness, The Future, Society, National Debt, Creative Problem Solving, Cable News, elections | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Taking a Knee

Perhaps the whole “taking a knee” thing could be understood in a Game of Thrones sort of way and it would be less distressing for many people. In the Game of Thrones taking a knee means  swearing fealty.   Like the different kingdoms in the Game of Thrones our society is fractured or is fracturing into various tribes with differing concerns and agendas. Agendas that tend unfortunately to be stereotypical generalizations or labels. Neither of which is the fact or the truth.

Protestors must understand that protest without pain is meaningless. If protestors run no risk then perhaps their cause is not that meaningful. If people who disagree with the protest  are not made to think rather than falling directly into anger perhaps the protest is mis-directed or self-defeating.

Is it possible that the protestors are swearing fealty to the flag by exercising their rights to free speech under that flag, rather than disrespecting it?
I personally do not like this particular protest form just as I don’t like pictures of people burning or walking on the flag but I am willing to accept it as part of the greater good of free speech.

Nor do I believe  people should be punished for speaking freely no matter what the subject but such speakers must also be willing to pay some price for taking a stand.  Asimov tells us that there ,” ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”   If your protest is worthy then you must be willing to pay the price of protest otherwise it is meaningless.

Suppression of free speech is one of the basic foundations  of every revolution that has ever happened.  When the actions of our society anger us and our anger is internalized it sometimes  grows until it becomes very dangerous or consumes us. Protest is a viable outlet for this anger and certainly better than violence.  The fact that some protests draw violent people is not the issue.

Those who would suppress free speech in the United States, whether in  a football stadium or on a  college campus may be unknowingly, even hopefully, sowing the seeds of their own destruction.

Students  on college campuses who shout down the rights of others to free speech chanting “fascist” fairly obviously do not know they are using a tenant of fascism as their method of protest and that is sad.  I almost believe “fascist” has become popular not because of its meaning but because it is an easily chanted ugly and  angry sounding word.

I personally honor the flag, our military and our veterans and take a bow to  the generally heroic sacrifices and  history for which our flag stands.  I do not believe that the current football protests demean our military or veterans although I understand  that sounds good as a sound bite and makes an apparent  association. An association that is an almost pure logical non sequitur.   Our historical actions as a country are far from perfect but in general they have been very good and  we can learn from them, both good and bad,  if we choose to do so.

Perhaps a form of protest that makes us think rather than fall into anger might be a better choice.  I long to see a football team with each player on a knee holding a sign that says, ” I talked to my congressman today,  I discussed problems with a policeman, I volunteered at a food pantry, I voted,  I donated part of my salary to my home town, or I believe in the promise of America.

Perhaps by salving the wound rather than rubbing dirt into it the healing can begin anew

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Every Silver Cloud has a Dark Lining

It is important to remember that we and the media usually notice the exception to the rule, compliance to the rule is rarely noticed or reported and that warps our perception of the world around us in a negative way. In a world where perception quickly becomes reality that is a very dangerous thing.

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Jefferson’s 10 Canons for life redefined for the modern world.

 

  1. Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
    Just forget about it and the problem is solved. 

2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
Blame everyone else for your problems.

3. Never spend money before you have it.
 Charge enough that there is no way to pay and then declare                                                  bankruptcy.

4. Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap.
You deserve it, buy anything you want, see # 3

5. Pride cost us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.
 My discomfort  was caused by others and my discomfort should be                                  everyone’s discomfort.

6. We never repent of having eaten too little.
  Ha Ha Ha

7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
Everything is okay, “Just Do It.” Standards of behavior are for                                         others.

8. How much pain have cost us, the evils which have never happened.
Listen to the media to calm your fears and get a realistic view of                                      the world.

9. Take things always by their smooth handle.
Never compromise even when it makes sense.

10. When angry count ten before you speak; if very angry  100.
Use a calculator or your phone timer because you never learned to                               count to 100.

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Zero Tolerance for Zero Tolerance

Zero Tolerance is the opiate of the insipid and the idiotic, it is a phrase used by too many to hide behind, instead of an effective tool. They are rules not unlike mandatory sentencing in our courts that attempt to remove all thought from every human equation in an attempt to reduce inequity but actually increasing it.

Science tells us that anytime you attempt to reach the extreme, i.e. zero tolerance the closer you come to the extreme the more effort and resources you must expend, at the expense of the mean, to make even minimal gains at the extremes.

Zero tolerance rules and controls almost always take all of the thinking and decision-making processes out of the hands those who are paid and qualified to make those hard sometimes risky decisions. It is often hard to tell from the outside looking in if some of our decision makers are incapable of good decisions afraid of making any decision at all, or in actuality have their hands tied behind their backs by their bosses, federal regulations, lawyers, or insurance companies.

It is a fact that a failure to decide based on careful consideration of all aspects of a situation rather than dogmatic adherence to rules is itself a decision and almost always a bad one.

Most of zero tolerance rules were originally written for safety purposes or to protect some individual or group, but are now pretty much used to cover somebody’s ass from any political, public, or private approbation. Often expressed by the statment,  ” I just followed the rules.”

It truly makes me nervous and a bit nauseous when politicians and administrators feel that they can write an ironclad rule or law that will equitably cover all human situations. That in fact, they can rely on the letter of the law to do their thinking for them with no care for the law’s actual original intent or even what is right, wrong or reasonable.

If we attempt to control every single heavily publicized bad outcome, caused by stupid or evil people, we will necessarily in the process reduce the rights and place a further burden on those who have done nothing wrong.

We have to decide are we going to be a society of honest reflection or a society of black and white inviolable rules. Do we indeed wish to start throwing out the baby with the bathwater, which is what we will do if we continue down this path?

Some current examples of situations that will create zero tolerance rules that will unfairly limit and burden the lives of good people are; The attack on opiates as a valuable drug, foster homes as a benefit to society, and last but not least our public schools.

Zero tolerance rules mean little to those who have no tolerance for rules while placing a burden on those who will attempt to follow them.

At absolute zero everything stops moving. If we continue with our zero-tolerance obsession our society will stop moving as well, stagnating in a freezing pool of fear-induced rules.

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Puzzling

Life is like a jigsaw puzzle. When you first start trying to figure out life as a toddler all of the pieces of the puzzle fit neatly into a hole designed just for them and most pieces have a handle that allows you to get a good grip on the problem. When you are an older child many times your puzzles have difficult nooks and crannies that sometimes look the same but are just not quite right and sometimes it is difficult to solve those puzzles but still when you finally get it put together it makes a picture of a warm fuzzy puppy.
In your teenage years, the puzzles are more difficult to fit together but if you are lucky your parents have put some of the edge pieces together for you and are willing to let you find the others with a little guidance. Edges are important in any puzzle as you always need some boundaries as a starting point to solve any problem.
Eventually, as an adult, you will have to find the edge pieces yourself. Often in a world filled with either gray pieces or a welter of pieces with so many choices and colors that it is sometimes difficult to even find the edges you need, let alone fill in the center. Too often you find that there are some pieces that will just never fit together quite right. Some you will force to fit into places where they really don’t belong. And there will be others that you will never actually find because they fell off of the table and have been eaten by the hounds of life that always seem to linger just below the work surface.
As you become middle aged your puzzles become more and more complex and it sometimes seems that you have mixed the pieces of several different puzzles together and then struggle to sort out the pieces. In some cases never getting all of the pieces back where they belong.
As you continue to work life’s puzzles sometimes with age comes the awareness that patience, persistence, and acceptance of the fact that not all puzzles are completely solvable will comfort you. Along with these insights, you gain the understanding that when you look at the whole puzzle of your life a few missing pieces shouldn’t bother you too much unless you choose to concentrate on what’s missing instead of what you have completed.
Finally, in retirement, you often begin looking for and hopefully finding those long lost large important pieces with strong handles. The ones that are important in your life.

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The Great Melting Pot

America used to be known as the great melting pot of the world. A fiery cauldron where different types of peoples mixed together becoming stronger through the alloying of many different unique parts into a stronger whole. Now instead of a foundry we seem to have become instead a smelter house where our citizenry is being slowly and surely pulled back into its component, self-centered and self-interested parts thus weakening the whole.

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