Monday, March 2, 2015

The New Age Slavers

Ahh, corporate America. When I think of all the cultural de-evolutionary events in America, the one that really makes my blood boil is the one where corporate America demands that you get an education before they will hire you and then big business sets abut the task of exploiting those talents while subjecting you to every corporate cost cutting measure available to them. Every once in awhile, I fantasize about going back to school- not to submit to our current corporate culture but rather, because I like learning new things. Odd, huh?

My sister went to college for that precise reason. She actually enjoyed learning new things.

Last night, while doing a little research, I noted that the all in costs of a four year degree at little Carroll College in Montana were about 200 thousand dollars. I am in awe at those numbers. That's the cost of a 30 year mortgage before you ever prove your worth in the marketplace.

Who would do that? 

You take all of the risk, you pay all of the costs- not to mention the lost 4 years of your life- then you get to submit yourself to your new masters while paying make believe interest to your banker owners.

You want to know what I think? Anybody doing that- is an idiot. That's worse than gambling.

Part of the de-evolution of this country is that somehow- corporate America shifted the burden of the costs of education from themselves and placed it squarely on the backs of young Americans. The boneheaded manufacturing jobs, the ones we could all use in the meantime, were farmed out and into places like the Pacific Rim- where corporations are able to exploit giant work forces for a buck an hr. or less. 

Here's the really crazy part. We have become such a nation of sheep and so heavily indoctrinated into this educational foolishness that we don't even question it. That's the price our society currently expects you to pay. I have actually read several article where corporate America whines that they have all of these great jobs- but unfortunately nobody has the education to fill them. What a pile of shit.

It's all part of the kleptocracy's  indoctrination of our up and coming generations. Get them conditioned with ridiculously priced educations and a sea of debt- and this will create the perfect, compliant, obedient worker. They will do as they are told or risk career ending resume suicide. Convince the worker that you are doing him/her a giant favor. That way, the sheep take on all of the risk.

If you look at it another way, and here's an even better metaphor, it's like ordering a puppy. Not only do you expect the puppy to come to you fully trained- but you expect the puppy and it's owner to do all of the required training for free. It costs you nothing. If the puppy fails to meet your expectations or poops on the rug- you can always get rid of it and get a new one. Puppies, just like workers become disposable. Whatever perceived bonds exist are easily severed.

I'm not speculating here. I've watched this unfold in my lifetime. As a young worker, we were paid a fair wage with benefits. Our companies thrived and so did we. The only thing that has changed over the last 40 years was that our government via taxes and inflation reduced our work product. Corporate America became equally greedy, cutting every benefit, busting unions, and replacing tenured employees with younger, cheaper ones. 

The problem of course- is that the perceived beneficiary of the worker-employer relationship is always the employee rather than the employer. We should be grateful for the crumbs that they offer us.

Horrible business models are supposed to fail. The current situation is failing. The government is extending student debt, reducing interest, and they will find other adjustments to keep exploding debt levels from becoming actual charge offs. How long can they do this? I am in awe that they've done it this long. Every failed program simply gets tossed out and onto the backs of taxpayers. Here's a snip from wiki.

The Economist reported in June 2014 that U.S. student loan debt exceeded $1.2 trillion, with over 7 million debtors in default. Public universities increased their fees by a total of 27% over the five years ending in 2012, or 20% adjusted for inflation. Public university students paid an average of almost $8,400 annually for in-state tuition, with out-of-state students paying more than $19,000. For two decades ending in 2012, college costs rose 1.6% more than inflation each year. Government funding per student fell 27% between 2007 and 2012. Student enrollments rose from 15.2 million in 1999 to 20.4 million in 2011, but fell 2% in 2012.[5][6] Bloomberg reported in July 2014 that: "The biggest growth in the program came in the past decade, as student debt rose an average of 14 percent a year, to $966 billion in 2012 from $364 billion in 2004, according to New York Fed data."[7]

This model is unsustainable. It simply has to fail. We grow closer every day.

So what's the solution? There are several countries which actually offer free college education. This allows people the freedom to change their lives and try something new. When you empower people rather than work to enslave them- the playing field begins to level. People have the freedom to change careers without some giant debt cloud hanging over them. They can pursue new careers despite the fact they may have failed in a prior one. Employers are forced once again into becoming more competitive rather than monopolizing and exploiting the workforce. The government? Well, they'll continue to raise taxes and steal every last dime that they can- there's just not much short of a revolution that any of us can do to change that piece of the new age slavery puzzle.

Here's a list of countries that offer free college tuition. Unbelievably, the taxes the citizens in these countries pay are equal to our current tax structures. I will save that comparison for another day. Let's just say some countries invest in their society while other cultures exploit theirs.

In America, we do have a few colleges that operate tuition free. It's an interesting list but you certainly won't find any Ivy League schools here.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Obamacare Reality is Here

Yesterday, while delivering some heavy duty medical equipment to one of our business accounts, I chatted with a young employee of theirs. He was about 30 years old and I could tell he was fairly intelligent.

Here in Boise, we have a huge supply of medical equipment refurbishers. The margins are enormous. It is nothing for these refurbishers to buy a piece of medical equipment for five thousand bucks, put a little work into it, and re-sell it for eighty thousand dollars to some second tier medical provider who cannot afford to pay half a million for the newest device.

I have another friend who works for a company that quite literally drives a U-Haul truck around a population center in surrounding states- asking dentists if they have old equipment for sale. Old fashioned cold calling. They buy just about everything. Once the truck is full- they drive it back to Boise. They have been doing this for years. That little company employs 25 people all making 10-15 bucks an hr. No benefits of course.

In Boise, that's the standard wage everywhere. The owner gets rich while everyone else scrapes by. This is the new American business model. We call it, "Living someone else's dream."

So that is who I was talking to. A 30 year old man living someone else's dream. He had a wife and two kids. He told me he had just finished his taxes and he was screwed. I asked him why.

He said that he and his two children had no insurance. Obamacare costs are currently 700 a month or 8400 a year. He simply couldn't afford it. So he said, he was trying to come up with the penalty payment of 700. I had the impression the kids were not his deduction. He added, "it makes me sick to know that we pay pennies for this medical equipment and re-sell it for enormous amounts." He said that's how you know that the medical community has so much fucking money- that they think nothing of paying small fortunes for 15 year old pieces of equipment. Just the shipping costs alone usually amount to 2-3 thousand dollars.

On a personal level, one of the things that pisses me off the most about Obamacare is that the original bill writers arbitrarily assigned 11 thousand bucks as the "poverty level." Eleven thousand bucks is not even minimum wage. Nobody can live on 11,000 dollars. Period. If you are making 900 a month- you are in deep shit. However, the bill writers chose this level as the starting point for those who qualify for subsidies. That way- anyone making 44k or 400% of the "poverty level" a year- pays full price for Obamacare. Anyone making less than that gets some sort of subsidy.

Had they used 15k as the poverty level, most Americans would have been subsidized. They did not do that because it didn't pencil out- they needed every penny they could get. All Obamacare was ever meant to do- was to steal money from all of the healthy and productive citizens that lost jobs and benefits in 2008- and force them by law- back into the healthcare insurance system which was bleeding losses. That's it.

This is social engineering. Discrimination based on wages. The lowest earners, or the people least capable of having children and supporting them- get free health care and thus they have children. Higher wage earners, the people more likely to support their children- cannot afford to have children. It's a sort of cultural de-evolution where the least intelligent and least productive are encouraged to reproduce. The intelligent and productive people realize they cannot afford to have kids.

That is the Obamacare reality. It doesn't exactly bode well for the future.

That 30 year old kid is saving 8400 bucks a year in premiums along with a 2000 dollar deductible. That's net money after taxes. It's like a second mortgage except you have nothing to show for it. Strangely, millions of people aren't buying in. I do not care what type of bullshit our government is spewing about sign ups- people aren't going to buy this.

In the meantime, the rest of us are forced to try and find healthcare and pay cash for it. I cannot tell you how poor the level of service has been for me. Doctors and clinics simply don't want you. They don't need the business when they can gouge ridiculous prices that they know third party providers will pay.

In the mean time- anyone owing a penalty better pay it. Because if you don't pay the penalty you can damn sure bet that a few years from now you'll be receiving correspondence from the IRS. They'll be asking for a lot more than the original penalty and they'll get it.

And to think we fought a revolutionary war over 3% in taxes. I'll take King George III any day- over this clown.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Being Realistic When It Comes to Gold Ownership

At this point in the 2nd greatest bull market in the history of the United States, if you had no information other than the US stock market and it's ridiculous valuations, you'd think we were embarking on the greatest century of industrialization that the world has ever seen.

Of course this is not true. The devil they say, is always in the details.

If you are going to manipulate markets, then you are going to have to acquire the means to manipulate any or all markets when you need to. You can only do that when you own everything on the monopoly board including the money supply. The world's central banks, and their elite owners, currently own everything on your monopoly board. You are some game token, rolling dice, hoping to avoid these predators- but sooner or later they will get you. That's how the game of monopoly always ends. The people with all of the money figure out a way to take all of yours. It's the greatest poker game of all time.

The price of gold has tumbled from the 1900 dollar per ounce price level in 2011 all the way down to the current price of 1190.

You'd think in that type of environment- that demand for gold had dropped sharply or that there is an over supply of gold. Or both. Or maybe that the world's banks had quit counterfeiting their fiat currencies and were actually paying down the principal on all of the debt they had acquired. Well not only is all of that untrue, the reverse is true. Gold demand has never been greater, the supply of gold (a finite resource) is dwindling and industrialized countries are not paying down the principal on their debt burdens- they are actually adding more debt. For anyone with even a rudimentary idea of the economic laws of supply and demand- this is simply not possible. Yet, here we are.

There is no doubt that most- if not all- markets are under the direct ownership of the mega banks and the central banks.They don't even want depositors money. They don't need it- they have a rich supply of their own zero interest rate supplied money.

So I got tired of reading all of those gold blogs about a year ago. They regurgitate the same information over and over again. Every once in awhile some "expert" will call for 2100 dollar gold like Eric Sprott's Dec 2014 call. He's just selling you his book. So I scan headlines, look for some new angle, and I make my own "what is gold currently worth?" line.

What is gold currently worth absent all of the market manipulations and disguised data? My line is about 2300 bucks. If things continue in a status quo sort of way through the end of this year, then gold should be worth about 2500 bucks. Would I sell gold at that price?

Probably not. I didn't sell at 1900. That was the last time I think it may have been fairly priced- that was 2011. How will you know when it is fairly priced again?

Gold will become fairly priced at that precise moment when the buyers of gold wished they had bought more of it. Gold will be fairly priced when people who have none can't get their hands on any. Gold will be fairly priced when the suppliers quit selling.

When will that happen? Honestly, I hope it never happens. Because if gold ever gets fairly priced in a world awash in a sea of debt and worthless currency- a lot of things will have to change- and that won't mean things have gotten better.

I view gold as the ultimate insurance policy. I am not holding gold hoping to trade it for twice as much fiat ass wipe this year- double what banks were offering for it last year. I am holding it as protection against currency collapse. I am holding it because when they issue the next latest and greatest currency, I will have something to barter with. That's how you preserve wealth. You can't preserve wealth in any game that is created and run by bankers. They're going to find a way to beat you every time and we know one other thing. Bankers have destroyed every fiat currency ever created. The destruction of worldwide currencies is occurring right in front of your eyes. I don't need a navigation device to show me where this is headed.

Can government confiscate our gold? Well they can try. They can try to tax it out of existence. But I doubt they will get a lot of support from the people who own it. They'll be getting their support from the people trying to steal it from us.

You ever wonder why there is no "gold mine" on a monopoly board?

Gresham's law is accepted because people with two types of currency will always trade the weaker currency away- holding the more valued currency for themselves.

Gold is real money. It is wealth preservation. You know gold has great value when every banker in the world is trying to get their hands on it while telling everyone else it is worthless. Gawd what I wouldn't give to know how much gold Ben Bernanke owns.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down

A couple of years ago, while attending my best friend's funeral, the local mortician stopped me as I entered the gym where the service would be held. Of all the things he might have said to me- he chose to ask, "are you still pontificating your opinions on those blogs you write?"

I can't really describe how inappropriate that remark was. Not only did it come from the funeral director of our local mortuary during a funeral service, but it was decidedly malicious. Who says things like that to people attending a funeral? 

A person who desperately wants to say something malicious and who is only going to get one opportunity to say it- that's who. It was never really meant as a question.

An online definition of pontificate says:  to speak or express your opinion about something in a way that shows that you think you are always right.

In America, we have a cultural illness wherein the vast majority of people practice contempt prior to investigation. They pretend to genuinely mull something over when in fact- they have immediately rejected the premise you or someone else offered almost immediately. 

That's ok. These are the kinds of people who still own Enron stock and 8 track tapes. They might actually think the Democratic Party still represents the working class. These are the people who never let the facts get in the way of their opinions no matter how much the supporting facts have changed. Nobody gets through to them and in the end I think they just lead quiet lives of desperation.

Malicious people tend to take everything personally. They are already pre-disposed to anger because they have an ego that decided an issue long ago. Often they practice cognitive dissonance. In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.

So I think that's what happens. People get pissed off when you have the audacity to offer your opinions particularly on some matter that they vehemently (insert ego here) disagree on.  

I've started my share of shit storms. In fact, I was the first person that I knew of who publicly started to question President Obama's credentials, his citizenship, and where he got his money to attend Columbia and Harvard. I did that back in 2007 when I was still the Police Chief. The backlash was so intense that I had to stop. The problem with shit storms is that there are no discernable facts which you can cull or extract and then proceed to stick up your opponent's ass. Obama to this day has not disclosed his school transcripts, his Indonesian passport, or his foreign aid scholarships. You cannot possibly win an argument where one side has the means to completely erase the facts. One day, when nobody cares any longer, we will know the truth. Until then, I simply sidestep the issue. 

This is what I have learned about public writing.

Check your facts. Write as authentically as you can. There are a lot of angry people out here. They take everything personally and they launch personal (and almost always anonymous) attacks.    

Write anyway. 

People have value. They have insight, information, and experience which is useful. I love authentic writing. I love it when somebody says something I had been thinking but could not find a way to verbalize. It happened last week in this paragraph:

The answer is rooted in what Megan McArdle calls the "Mandarinization of America." It's an elite cultural attitude implying that those who go to the best schools and know the right people deserve to be the rulers of the nation. Those who go to Harvard and Yale have the best credentials and deserve the best jobs. Such an attitude infects America's Political Class. It's reflected in the fact that all nine Supreme Court Justices attended Harvard or Yale. So did our last four presidents. Here's the source article:

Whatever you do, please remember it's not the critic who counts. They don't learn, they don't ever offer anything useful. They are cowardly and timid souls who every once in awhile, muster up just enough courage to say something malicious and anonymous. Don't give them any space in your head- I made that mistake at a funeral a few years back.

Nobody remembers who they were anyway.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Legally Armed and in Full Public View

A few months ago, I was eating at a very busy restaurant here in Boise when I watched an older gentleman get up to leave with his family. He had a Glock handgun holstered on his right side.  He was probably too old to be a police officer of some sort and I saw no accompanying badge or identification.

I was a little shocked at his candor and willingness to draw attention to himself. I think maybe, he was making a statement.

I instantly scrolled my law enforcement memory banks but I could think of no law in Idaho that would prevent someone from carrying an unconcealed handgun. In fact, were someone to walk around with a rifle or a shotgun- I am not sure that any law would prevent that either. There is a law about carrying an uncased firearm in the field- that is the law which requires Idaho citizens to purchase a hunting license. In the strictest sense of the Second Amendment, Idaho's law infringes on the citizens right to bear arms.

As my dinner companions were yakking away, I contemplated the possibilities.

I think I like concealed weapons because at the very least- what people don't know won't cause them to act like idiot alarmists. Years ago, I actually received a complaint from the head nurse at a small area hospital because our employee was carrying a gun. I let her run her mouth for a bit complaining about how offensive she thought it was. When she eventually gasped for some air, I explained to her that police officers- including that detective- were required to carry guns. In fact I said, if an employee of the police department objected to carrying a gun we might very well find him a job in the water and sewer department instead.

People hate calling the police department and having their idiotic impulses addressed with the bedside demeanor I always reserved for idiotic impulses. Come to think of it, that is the same demeanor and tone that I employed with various city and government employees as well. Small wonder I made it as long as I did.

Today I was reading how an armed man- thwarted a robbery at a Sonic Drive Inn- a company that forbids patrons from protecting themselves. Thankfully, he ignored their wishes.

I am reminded of the Oct. 1991, Luby's cafeteria shooting where 43 people were shot including the now deceased parents of one gal who had left her handgun in the car courtesy of Texas laws which infringed upon the rights of people like her to carry guns.

In response to the incident,[21] the Texas Legislature in 1995 passed a shall-issue gun law, which requires that all qualifying applicants be issued a Concealed Handgun License (the state's required permit to carry concealed weapons), removing the personal discretion of the issuing authority to deny such licenses. To qualify for a license, one must be free-and-clear of crimes, attend a minimum 10-hour class taught by a state-certified instructor, pass a 50-question test, show proficiency in a 50-round shooting test, and pass two background tests, one shallow and one deep. The license costs $140 for a four year license; in addition applicants must pay $10 for fingerprinting as well as instructor costs which vary.

The law had been campaigned for by Suzanna Hupp, who was present at the time of the shooting where both of her parents were shot and killed. She later expressed regret about deciding to leave her gun in her car lest she risk possibly running afoul of the state's concealed weapons laws; during the shootings, she reached for her weapon but then remembered that it was "a hundred feet away in my car."[22] She testified across the country in support of concealed handgun laws, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996.[23] The law was signed by then-Governor George W. Bush.[24]

People will obey rules and laws up to such point- that the law flies in direct conflict with common sense. At that point, rules and laws become useless, people will simply refuse to obey them. I believe we've arrived at that point in time.

In 2008, I found myself in a similar situation. I had a man stalking me who had already killed two people and he should have still been in prison rather than stalking me. In response to this man who had taken a dislike for me and was quite deranged, I began to carry one of my twin .40 cal Berettas irrespective of whatever the law was in Louisiana or New Orleans at the time. In fact, I didn't care enough to read the law. The truth was and still is that I would rather give myself a fighting chance for survival rather than risk some petty arrest for a right which is allegedly guaranteed to me by the Constitution of the United States and the Second Amendment. That and I'll be damned if some sick bastard with a bad reputation is going to influence how I live.

I feel the same way about arming college kids. I'll be damned if I would have wanted my kids being slaughtered while begging for their lives. Of course, they would have been trained and instructed well. Guns and booze never mix.

Law abiding citizens should never have their rights stripped away or punished because of the misdeeds of criminals. In a perfect world, a business like Sonic might understand the difference. As it currently stands, I will never patronize Sonic again- and if that changes- I might be wearing a gun with all due respect to Sonic's policies undoubtedly determined by some staff attorney.

I am entitled to carry a concealed weapon by law. However, I have actually been contemplating the idea of wearing a handgun in public, in full view. Not because I am some macho guy. Not because I enjoy drawing attention to myself. I have actually been considering it because I want others to recognize that we have this right. I want to set an example. I want to say, "this is OUR right." I also want to let the bad guys know that people like me are out here. I am not ashamed to have been a law enforcer and good citizen and I'm not afraid to stand up and be counted if I'm around when the shit hits the fan. But I also know this isn't for everyone.

Oppressive governments and regimes always try to strip citizens of their rights. The right to free speech, to bear arms, freedom from unlawful search and seizure, trial by jury, and the right to due process of law. What were our forefathers thinking? Historically these were the rights that were always under attack by ruling bodies and Kings. They knew that. If you are somehow skeptical of history, the facts are out there. FDR's executive order seizing gold without warrant or due process (1933) the untried and imprisoned American Japanese citizens numbering in the hundreds of thousands (1942) anyone submitting to a TSA search and having harmless items seized and unreturned, or anyone paying an Obamacare penalty circa 2015.

That's why I really want to carry a gun. Just to let the bastards know that I still can.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

If Human Failure Is So Common, Why Don't We Ever Seem to Learn Anything From It?

I've spent this past week re-reading the nearly 2000 blogs I have posted over the past 6 years on Frankenstein Government. I was overwhelmed at times, primarily because I hadn't really realized just how much of myself and my personal life I had exposed to the world. I did that I think in a bid to be honest and to try and convey a sense that I am a fallible human being. Very often when we get things right- people expect that. However, when we get things wrong we sometimes pay too high a price, and the lesson stays with us. The judgers always heap a little extra shame and guilt on us. That additional sting seems to help cement our memories of a failure and sometimes we bury it as deep as we can.

You'd think that something as common as human failure would have taught our culture a great deal by now. However, as I examined everything that I read- including some of the material I had written-it became abundantly clear to me that we either don't understand human failure, deny it's existence, or claim failure's birthplace lies in the deeds of others.

For many years I used  a famous Isabel Paterson's quote from the "God of the Machine" as my subtitle. I used it because I believe that the vast majority of what is wrong in the world was captured within that quote.

“Most of the harm in the world is done by good people, and not by accident, lapse, or omission. It is the result of their deliberate actions, long persevered in, which they hold to be motivated by high ideals toward virtuous ends.”

Just a few years ago, I set about the duty of applying that quote to everything that I believed was wrong in the world. Only on rare occasions could I find exceptions to that. Deliberate and un-remorseful criminal conduct certainly comes to mind. There are other exceptions for sure, but even Hitler as mentally ill as he most certainly was, thought he was doing mankind a favor by trying to "purify" races. In some sick and perverse way, Hitler's story is the story I want to tell. It is the story of human failure. It is a lesson we must all learn.

People fail. Time and time again, they fail to meet our expectations. That's what they do.

Our parents fail, our children fail, our friends fail, our spouses fail, our managers fail, our government and leadership fails, and yet somehow all of this failure still seems to disturb and disappoint us. It disappoints us because each of us carries these undisclosed expectations that we think others should possess and adhere to. That type of thinking in itself, is a wonderful example of failure.

Sometimes failure is unavoidable. Once in awhile, an entire stream of failures comes our way and there is simply nothing we can do about it, try as we might.

A few years ago, I used to work out at a small gym near my home. The gym was located in a strip mall which was "under engineered" meaning that the parking lot was too narrow and too long. Diagonal parking spots on both sides of the narrow lot often meant narrowly missing other cars as you backed out of your parking space. Shortly after buying my new car in the fall of 2012, I parked right in front of the gym's main doors. Before leaving one evening, I noted that there were two large, 3/4 ton trucks parked on both sides of my Elantra. As I tried to back out, I was doing so with my vision and view completely obstructed on both sides. I was struck by another motorist who was driving on the left or wrong side of the lot- directly behind the parked cars. Had he been driving on the opposing side- like everyone else does- we would never have swapped paint.

Now bear in mind that I have investigated thousands of accidents in my life- at least half of which were on private property. There are no state laws governing the flow of traffic in a parking lots yet people backing out of parking spaces are almost universally at fault in the eyes of insurance adjusters.This I know to be true and in fact- I actually placed my own wife at fault in a nearly identical accident 20 years earlier and I ate the 500 dollar deductible. With a 1000 dollar deductible looming- I thought it best to call the police this time around.

It took a Boise police officer over 20 minutes to arrive. By that time, both of the "obstructed view" truck owners had departed. I had sufficiently pissed off everyone, including the gym employees and others, who were trying to navigate through the lot because I wouldn't allow the vehicles to be moved. When the cop arrived, he refused to do anything and told me that the Boise Police do not investigate private property accidents. (Or anything else short of an occasional robbery or murder it seems) He didn't even bother snapping a photo. I did. When the adjusters got the accident- they immediately determined that I was at fault. Try as hard as I might by explaining that I do not possess x-ray vision nor do I expect people to be driving down the wrong side of the parking lot- I couldn't win. In fact, the only satisfaction that I ever received in my multiple calls with these guys was when I asked them once on a conference call whether or not all accidents without exception- involving a backing motorist-were always the fault of the backing motorist. Had they ever found an exception, I queried. There was a brief lull or silence as they mulled over the possibility that maybe there were exceptions however, their decision had already been made and thus they switched subjects and dug in.The net effect of all of this clamoring on deaf ears was that I paid for the 800 dollars worth of damage to my own car out of my own pocket- and since that time I have been surcharged about 180 bucks a year on my insurance premiums. So far my losses are nearing 1400 bucks.

So what went wrong? The lot had been poorly engineered and was too small to begin with. The other driver was on the wrong side of the lot driving directly behind parked cars and never mentioned why he hadn't seen my car backing up. I should not have parked where I did because I knew better. The Boise Police did nothing to document what happened because they are so woefully busy. (Up until I retired as Chief in my little corner of the world, I had made it mandatory that officers investigate all accidents- public or private) The insurance adjusters had made up their mind before I ever spoke to them. So a lot of people and various failures had to occur- before I could be held accountable in what amounts to really- a fairly petty event with a high price tag.

It took me nearly a year to get ok with this. Every time I drove by that little gym (it is now closed) I would be reminded of that evening. To be perfectly honest- I am still a little pissed about the way every one involved handled their roles and responsibilities. Had this been properly investigated, I am confident that I could take this to a small clams court and most likely win. It would have been nice to see a rational, non involved judge, take a look at this.

Throughout my life, I was never really prepared for failure. Who gives failure any thought? For so many years, failure was something that happened and I never really gave it any more thought than I didn't like it, or I was frustrated or angry about it. I don't think anybody in our culture is explaining this concept or teaching our children that people fail and that you are going to feel somewhat hostile when people fail to meet your needs or expectations. I often think that understanding human failure, had it been delivered effectively to me in my formative years, might have saved me a lot of useless anger and energy. Indeed as I ready myself to pay a 500 dollar penalty for not buying a health insurance policy that I cannot afford- I know that the penalty will be used to pay for someone else's insurance- just not mine. There is an insane amount of irony there- but I have already learned to accept it. I didn't create the world, I don't run the world, and I certainly don't pick the winners and losers.

The lesson here is that life and all of it's failures are going to visit you. If you can prepare and accept that simple concept- the concept that sometimes the best we can do as a society- is not very good at all then your expectations can be realistically and beneficially lowered. If you can grasp the idea that none of this is personal- that our culture is doing the best that it can and that it was not designed to victimize you one day in a skinny parking lot somewhere- then you may find yourself emotionally and spiritually light years ahead of your peers.

However, if you continue to criticize every mistake our culture makes then the opposite will be true. You will find yourself angry, resentful, and frustrated as the world consistently fails to meet your expectations, real or imagined.

Currently we have an entire society focused on being victims and building resentments. We can't even play a game where a coach's decision is not some hotly debated issue where people clamor to attach guilt or shame or punishment to a decision that doesn't turn out well. Everyone it seems- is more than willing to point out every one else's failures while declaring their own failures justified or keeping them under wraps.

Think about this. How many times have you read a blog, a thread, or comment wherein the writer declares how stupid everyone else is and in so doing by omission or default- then claims the intellectual high ground for themselves? That's the "everyone else is the problem, present company excluded" boilerplate.

Accepting failure as a consequence of being human seems trite. Yet virtually everywhere I go people are whining about the consequences of our multiple failures as a society- failures which are going to continue to mount and which will probably pick up in speed and intensity. That's one of the reasons I wanted to switch gears on this blog. There is no value or solution in pointing out the obvious or by trying to out yell opponents locked in some ridiculous debate over who is responsible for our current failures- the same type of failures pointed out by Isabelle Paterson in 1943. (Remember the plight of Japanese Americans the year before?)

By accepting the premise that most people are trying to do the right thing but will ultimately fail- we give ourselves an opportunity to practice acceptance and tolerance without throwing ropes over limbs, building a mountain of angry resentments, or chugging a six pack of beer every night. People fail. They've been doing it since the Garden of Eden. It's probably high time we started passing this lesson along, perhaps building a little tolerance and forgiveness along the way rather than adding to the non stop bitching that seems to be so prevalent everywhere.


Monday, February 9, 2015

With the Blurred Speed of an Oncoming Glacier

I've been working on this blog. Transitioning it into something original. Well, that's the goal anyway. As I examine the synonyms- the word "segue" comes to mind. So let me rant just a bit about stupid words and stupid contraptions before I get to the heart of the matter.

Several years ago, the word "segue" came into vogue. I vaguely remember someone on television using it once and overnight it seems- I began to hear people in my personal life using it all the time. It became a fad. Then someone started making some personal platform called a "Segway" where fat cops no longer needed to walk. Like we just couldn't live with out this device-

People actually buy this thing. I still use my legs instead.

The Mayor used the word "segue" every time I heard her speak. People started using it because she used it. It was contagious. People are like that. If they hear some new word that they like such as "tarmac" they begin using it like they had known the word forever- rather than just admitting they had just seen it on the nightly news for the first time. For everything we know I suppose, there was a time when we didn't know it.

Ok, I feel a little better.

A few weeks ago, the great Seahawk receiver Steve Largent, was the guest speaker at our annual business meeting. Largent was very gracious and a class act. I didn't know that he had done a couple of terms in Congress for Oklahoma- but I had the idea that he might have run for office because he believes in public service. He faced an absolute onslaught of questions.

During the Q and A, I asked Steve Largent what was the greatest day of his life. He might have mentioned college, draft day, the NFL, or giant contracts, his best game, maybe the Hall of Fame. Instead, Steve Largent said the very best day of his life was January 4th, 1975. The day he married his wife.

I suppose if there was one bright spot in 25 years of law enforcement- the job taught me to listen to people, comprehend what they were saying, and then write with a high degree of accuracy- what they had to say in the form of a report. On the flight home from Seattle- I contrasted last year's speaker, Adam Carolla, with Steve Largent and I compared the message both of them had delivered. The difference was striking.

Striking not because one was better than the other- but because emotionally these two men are in completely different time zones. We are all taking a journey here and we have things to learn and overcome. Some folks get it, some folks will get it, and some folks will never get it. That is the really remarkable thing.

Had my life been cut short at 47- I would have landed in the "didn't get it" camp.

I managed people. I had hundreds, perhaps thousands of hours of management training. I took great pride on my knowledge of all facets of human resource law. I detested oppressive, controlling management. Yet in some bizarre twist of fate, I think I became what I detested most. Life has a way of finding people who need to be chewed up and tossed out and I was one of them. I had out stayed my welcome and as I look back on that life- I feel fortunate that I got as much time as I did. I probably deserved far less.

I have to tell you this. I work with people now who think the very same way that I once did. They believe they are vastly superior and intelligent and I enjoy just listening to them. I find it to be very entertaining actually and in some karmic sort of way- I am forced to watch it. They remind me of me!

Great adversity can be the Miracle-Gro of emotional evolution. It certainly was for me. As I look back- it was the very best thing that ever happened to me. The very best day of my life came on Oct. 9, 2007.

I think the great lesson I learned- the one I want to talk about here- is that for everything you know- there was a time when you didn't know it. That's it. That is all there ever was. It's an ongoing process.

For 6 years, I've been here writing about what is wrong with the world. I have a list of 75 blogs I read almost daily. Every author, without exception, talks about what is wrong with the world and mostly they are correct. They are trying to inform others. There is nothing wrong with that. I just don't want to do that anymore. I think the blogging world has it covered.

I'm looking for a little sanity. That's what I want this blog to become. A place of refuge where you might read something funny, useful, or insightful. Honest stuff. The things we get right. I don't know exactly what this will look like just yet- but I'm pretty sure what it's not going to look like. So please stay tuned- I've got a couple of crazy ideas and I am just nutty enough to try a couple of them.