Tag Archives: economy

Wait Watchers

Wait Watchers

Here we sit at the mid-point of the second month of 2012.

There are some of you who have dropped away from the regular workout routines you committed to in January…

Still a few who are still reading the affirmations that were created as the new year began…

While others have resumed their regular routine of worry, work and wonder about how to make this your best year ever…

Today I am here to applaud the quiet minority who have, for likely the first time ever, continued to do the daily little things; read the chapter of the self-help book, exchange the sweet, sugary delight for a piece of fruit, and invest in a new way to think and work…

Which of these scenarios best describes your GPS location today?

Are you waiting for another year to pass?

Are you watching others live the life you secretly wish to experience?

It can be yours…

Get off the couch and begin today to have the health, wealth and freedom that you believe is your destiny.

Stop waiting.

Stop watching.

Live free beginning today.

Peace.

Victim or Victor…

I have long been a fan of the sport of boxing. My Greatest of All Time is obviously Muhammad Ali. One other champion of note is Mike Tyson. In thinking about them, their careers and their impact on the sport and society, it occurred to me that though they both were Heavyweight champions, they had distinctly different responses after their defeats.

Of the five losses in the Ali career, I never recall him blaming the loss on anyone other than himself…never seeking to blame the opponent or undermine their credibility. Yet, with Mike Tyson, his two most compelling losses, to Buster Douglas and Evander Holyfield will be forever remembered as him blaming the referee and then for losing his composure and biting the ear of Holyfield.

These comparisons are so inspiring to me as we face such challenging circumstances in America and around the world. There is certainly plenty of blame to go around as we become more aware of the disparities in the wealth of the top 1% of Americans and the remaining 99%. Yet, do we really benefit from feeling like victims…or do we now face, like Ali, that we must strengthen our resolve to regain control of our communities, city, state and federal governments?

Both Ali and Tyson were convicted of federal offenses…yet the difference in what they did after they “paid their dues to society” are as far apart as the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. One went from villain to folk hero to icon, the other from feared fighter to foolish freakster to reality television clown. One taking responsibility for his actions, the other not.

As many of us rebuild our lives and seek a new sense of direction personally and collectively, it is my belief that we must be like Ali, and take the position that we are going to bounce back and regain our sense of direction and purpose again. This may require going back to school, spending our money with local businesses versus the “big box” conglomerates, and teaching our children that it is possible to wait for that “new” thing that is being marketed as a must-have-today item.

Choosing a Tyson-like response will reap only more of the self-indulgence that brings about certain doom and despair. Since we have had 30 years of this since Ronald Reagan’s voodoo economics, it’s undoubtedly time for a new way to live.

And so in life as in boxing let’s do all we can to insure that at the end of the bout our glove will be raised as the ring announcer says, “And the winner is…”

Peace.

Flip The Script…

Flip The Script…

One has to wonder these days as we Americans prepare for the looming Christmas holiday season, what level of guilt will be heaped upon us by retailers. In looking back at the past ten years, we have gone from being scolded for being a people who had lost our ability to save money, with our ever-expanding credit lines proof of our need to have it now, to being urged to spend money that many people do not have. The good times had rolled…up and over many of us.

Then the rules, and the game changed.

So much so that today, the home I am seeking to keep out of BK…is worth less than when it was appraised in 2000. My credit score is as upside-down as my mortgage…and cash is once again all that matters. Unless, of course, you had the foresight to buy gold at $400 per ounce. Let me check my jewelry drawer for some hidden treasures that I can send in to Cash-For-Gold.

So, with my tongue firmly in cheek, I have come to the conclusion that we are deep in dog poo…because we have been scolded about our need to save money. Yet, GW Bush, after 9/11, told us to go shopping and show the terrorists that our way of living would not be undermined by a few planes slamming into buildings.

Just last week I heard that the path to economic recovery will be traveled when consumers begin spending money again. And unless that happens the chances are good that we will slip into another recession. When did the first recession end? I ask friends, family members and fellow business owners that question, and most agree that the debt storm, and personal budget crisis, has not yet cleared in their lives.

I have a different thought as to how this never-ending financial crisis can be put to bed. Congress can mandate that the banks, some of whom were given taxpayer money in the form of a bailout…give every household a grant of ten thousand dollars. Imagine what you might use that money for; a remodel project in your house (Home Depot and a contractor will benefit), new furniture (Sears and Macy’s would be happy), and maybe even purchase new equipment in your business.

One truth that we rarely hear from the economic experts, is that corporate America needs to reinvest in her people…they are cash rich and people poor. There must be a few people who can answer a customer service question about your laptop, in plain English, and who would pay taxes on that income. Is there an India-based company that hires Americans?

Let’s make enough noise this week for Wall Street, Main Street and Bourbon Street to recognize that we are awakening from our slumber and will not be tricked into believing that red is blue and that we are to blame for the woes of the world.

We are Americans.

Peace.

“Do You Feel Lucky?”

Do You Feel Lucky?

I have taken a little time off from my regular writing…needing to spend some time reflecting on my family, business opportunities and other entrepreneurial endeavors. However, the last few weeks have given me a renewed energy, and focus, as I seek to make sense of the senselessness that is pervasive in our society.

Many of us today wonder what must happen in order to get the elected officials to whom we have given power to make laws to benefit us locally, at the state and national levels, to respond to this continuing financial and jobless crisis gripping our nation. Just today I read an article, where the discussion surrounded the plight of those seeking full-time employment, and it stated that the Great Recession ended in 2009…and my first thought was ended for whom. Warren Buffet? Donald Trump? Mary Smith?

As I mulled over this article and a subsequent conversation with a friend, it dawned on me that maybe someone had truly felt lucky, in a bizarre kind of way…like the criminal whom Clint Eastwood, aka Dirty Harry Callahan, asked while looking up at the barrel of a 44 magnum revolver, “Do you feel lucky?” In that infamous movie scene, the criminal is inches away from a shotgun while Dirty Harry is playing a mind game about whether or not he has one more bullet in the gun pointing at him…and the criminal has a choice to make. Tempt fate and hope that the revolver is empty…or guess wrong and get his head blown off.

As we head into the last four months of this year, I am really beginning to feel as though the middle class citizens of America are looking up at that 44-magnum revolver. We are told one week that jobless claims are down, yet in the next article tomorrow we read that jobless numbers do not include those persons who have stopped looking for work…to whom would that apply? Do they just feel lucky? Did they decide that a job was now going to find them instead of them finding it? Did their numbers come up in Lotto?

No. I believe we are still in the Great Recession…and the government and corporate media mind games are the smoke and mirrors that politicians and economists use to keep the masses confused and hopeless. Pay close attention to the next 10 weeks as the 2012 election cycle gains more attention, as well as the approaching holidays…and make note of whom will be the focus of these who seek to tell us we are really better off today than in 2010. Really? Seriously?

And just like the criminal in the movie…saying “I got’s to know”,when the trigger is pulled, and I flinch in anticipation of the worst, I pray that I, too, can just be a little pissed that I was right all along. And, that I was even luckier than I had imagined…Peace.

Dumb Down Democracy…

Dumb Down Democracy…

As I reviewed the media coverage from this past weekend’s Iowa County Fair debate, and subsequent straw poll for the Republicans who aspire to run for the United States Presidency in 2012, I found a few things rather amusing. Or amazing…

First, how in the heck can anyone truly have a serious opinion about a potential presidential candidate from a few sound bites and scripted clichés espoused at a county fair…in Iowa. Now, with respect to the state of Iowa, a place which is less than 3 hours drive from my hometown of Peoria, Illinois, I wonder how a few fair goers can accurately discern the real value of a person whose only thought is to get you to like them.

Secondly, and even more disturbing, is the media coverage that was afforded to Sarah Palin, yes, that Sarah Palin. The woman who quit her job as Governor of Alaska, in order to sell her book and make a boatload of money. As I saw Palin signing autographs for people over the weekend in Iowa, it struck me…that many Americans would rather have a person whose intellect is questionable, by her own political party, instead of a brilliant, well educated man of color. And the man of color in the GOP who also spoke over the weekend, had fewer than 10 people surrounding him as he sought to mingle with the fair attendees. Sarah Palin had a hundred people within arms reach of her.

So, the media will play quite an important role in helping to shape, by it’s choice of what to give air time to, and what to allow to just evaporate…and they’re hoping that you won’t be paying attention.

We just went through weeks of Congress’ dare gaming regarding a debt ceiling debate, only to have them go on vacation and leave this country in a worse mess than before. Could you do that at your place of employment? That is presuming that you still have a job…

So, in closing, I ask that each of us truly become better informed now, a year before the election of 2012. Talk with your friends and family…so that we can think rationally and discuss sensibly, the real issues that will impact our lives. How corporate tax breaks are padding the cash coffers for most corporations. How the ability of the wealthy to elude fair taxes is a Congress-led shell game of major proportions. And that more of us will continue to slide farther from the American dream into the new American nightmare.

Just remember that I told you so when the swelling numbers of disenfranchised U.S. citizens decide that the time for talking is over…and the revolution will be more than televised. It will be live and in living color. Make sure you realize that the reset button you are so used to hitting on your favorite video game will not be enough. How dumb can that be?
Peace.

We Can Work It Out

“We Can Work It Out”

As the hours count down to a possible technical default on it’s debt by the United States government, and the continued posturing and paralysis exhibited by both parties in Congress becomes more polarized, a song by the musical genius Stevie Wonder came to my mind, We Can Work It Out.

As a parent of two adult children, both of whom too often think they know more about how my life should be lived than I do, and that some errors made in navigating this experience we know as life are unforgivable, I also say, “”Try to see things my way…”

So, today I ask you to consider taking the approach that there might be a better way to resolve our personal and political differences. That “new” path will be found when all parties truly listen to the other side in a genuine effort to understand the truth of the other person’s perspective.

I am prayerful that we all can daily find ways to put aside our own biases, hard-line positions and prejudices in an effort to become free to make peace…nothing else really matters.

We Can Work It Out.

Peace.

In God We Trust

In God We Trust…

On one of my walls is a plaque that I have had for over 30 years. It has seen me through a few moves and a few wives…and continues to inspire me to be more today than I was the day prior.

Before I share it with you I want to make clear that the topic of this post came out of my thoughts surrounding the current debt crisis facing our nation. And the fact that the politicians are invoking as much fear and gloom as they can muster short of causing a panic and mass hysteria on Wall Street. Yet, they make no mention of the statement that is on each and every paper currency printed by the United States treasury.

“In God We Trust.”

The Republicans want us to trust that their perspective of cutting government waste, but not increasing taxes is the righteous way to solvency. They even invoke the memory of Ronald Reagan, hoping that your memory will be so bad to not remember that Mr. Reagan raised taxes on more than one occasion during his presidency.

And the Democrats believe that most of the entitlement programs are sacred cows, and not to be touched…while polishing off their calculators in anticipation of new revenues from increased tax on the wealthy. That is such a slippery slope to climb, in good times and certainly in the midst of a still-comatose economy.

And so my plaque, which has been by my side through all of my tribulations and triumphs the past three decades, has so profound an answer to our dilemma. The piece you are about to read is the full version from which my plaque has excerpts…maybe I can forward this to President Obama and the fools on the hill to read…Peace.

Please click here for the quote.

Staying Stuck on Stupid…

Staying stuck on stupid…

We are living in a truly amazing time. On one hand we have electronic products that even the Jetson’s would envy; smart phones, iPad and iPod, and Goof Off. The last item is a substance that you apply to something that has a backing of glue, and is stuck to a wall, cabinet or other surface. The Kryptonite to Duct tape.

As unbelievable as those items are, what is more unsettling to me is that we are on the brink of the biggest internal “gunfight at high noon” since the civil rights struggles of the early ‘60’s. Can you remember George Wallace, then the Governor of Alabama, blocking the doorway to the University that sought to admit a Black student? Before it was all over, President Kennedy needed to send National Guard troops to protect citizens.

The 800-pound gorilla that is beating its chest and preparing to devour us is the stand off between Republicans and Democrats, and their selfish posturing surrounding the raising of the national debt ceiling. Funny how millionaires in government are now deciding to allow a possible government default…with the President seeking to play the role of Harry Truman with the proverbial “buck stopping here.”

I wonder and ask you to also consider what it will take for Americans on “Main Street” to realize that for 10 plus years the United States has borrowed much more money than it has received. Any businessperson knows that it is a quick road to ruin, when you pay out more than you bring in. And here we are, looking the landlord in the face and seem to be willing to say; “I am not going to pay you today.”

We, the people, hold the largest ticket to this dance, as we hold Treasury bonds, and can force the Government to pay up…now. We need to instruct Congress, who are our employees, that to default on our agreement with our people, is a sure path to destruction. And to them being voted out in the next election. Maybe it will take the Gray Panthers, AARP, and other politically savvy organizations to turn up their collective heat on the elected leaders, who believe that painting our President into a corner in public is patriotic. It is anything but…

Use your voice on Face Book, Twitter, and other means to let people know that we will not allow this great country to be embarrassed by a handful of political zealots.

We can demonstrate that we are not stupid…but are empowered to use the democratic process to protect our most vulnerable citizens. Please excuse me while I go fetch my bottle of Goof Off and prepare to release some frustration on our Congress…

Peace.

EveryBody is a STAR

June 11, 2011

Everybody IS A Star…

I was perusing through the song list on some YouTube channels today and came across this song by Sly & The Family Stone. It caused me to take pause and think about those who are trying to be “stars” these days.

I mean we know of all the reality shows, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, The Voice…ad nauseum. The Star that the Family Stone was alluding to is the person who will shine their God-given light/talent for the world to see and become a better place.

One of the lines from the song goes, “Everybody wants to shine, who’ll come out on a cloudy day? You don’t need darkness, to do what you think is right…”

Simple, yet so profound.

I am ever prayerful in these challenging economic times, where it seems that those who have much desperately want to keep it, and those with little are trying to maintain their faith and dignity. How much more darkness is required for those with obscene wealth to do what is right in order to put our society back on track…it used to be the American way.

Today is the 10th year anniversary of the Geo. W. Bush tax cuts, which effectively gave the top 1% of Americans even more money, supposedly to create jobs. I ask you and, if I could them, is the sky dark enough for you now to come out and shine?

So, I salute Sly Stone and his provocative lyrics. And ask that you consider how you might be a star to someone whose light is blocked by clouds of despair…Peace.

A Mother’s Day Message

A Mother’s Day message…

As we in the United States get more information regarding the operation that killed Osama bi Laden in Pakistan on Sunday of this week, my mind and thoughts drift to my mother. She has been deceased for almost 15 years…but a day does not go by without my giving her thanks for the loving sacrifice given to my siblings and me.

Not just the normal motherly love and support did she give, it is that she believed one day there were going to be more people of my pigmentation, and that our acceptance would be easier. She would have been so happy to see Barack Obama winning the presidency of our country, and this week even more proud of the class and dignity shown in announcing the killing of Osama bin laden.

The approaching Mother’s Day is always a bittersweet time for those of us whose mother’s are but a memory and a picture that we fondly look upon. I take a moment today to salute her and her resolve in facing the members of her own family and others who thought her crazy to love a Black man and have his baby boy, me, in 1955. That was not such a popular decision in the Midwest at that time.

It is my prayer that we Americans will stand with our President and support him and his wisdom in bringing our once proud country back from the brink of disaster. I believe that the God I serve knew what was needed to resuscitate this country. Maybe now the bankers and Congress will work together to rebuild for the good of the citizens of the United States and bring our troops home.

Mom, you would be smiling and bragging today. I will press forward for you; in all of my conversations live and digitally.

PEACE….for real