Tag Archives: government

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.

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.

Missing Them Skipping…

It seems the older I become the more I reminisce about things from my “good old days.” One of the things that I recall is the image of girls skipping along the sidewalks of our neighborhoods and on schoolyards. It is as pure an activity as any that embodies the innocence of childhood playfulness and frivolity. Just as one is unable to smile and be angry simultaneously, I believe it is just as impossible to skip along and be mad at your friends.

When is the last time you saw children skipping along? How did we as a society lose that piece of our childhood innocence? What has replaced it?

As the father of a now eight-year old daughter, I wish for her to have the childhood that I remember where the neighborhood was a place that was safe and fun. Where we could play simple games with our fellow residents, and even those from other blocks, when our biggest concern was to insure we got into the house before the streetlights came on.

Rather than criticize the state of affairs facing our children today, I am seeking to make their time as children better and safer. It will take a number of us, especially the men, to create a “safety zone” for our children. What will you do to give them the same chances to create happy moments in their development as grown-all-too-soon people?

It might take a few dollars to buy a few jump ropes, baseballs and gloves, and a football. They will gravitate to that which makes them laugh and have fun. Outdoors. In the sunlight. With each other. And if you add some Kool-Aid to the equation, your home will be the place to be this summer. It is my belief that your block will be the one that will be fondly remembered by these kids a generation from now.

And the activity of skipping by our daughters will be preserved once more.

Peace.

There Was This Man…

April 22, 2011

There was this Man…

I can’t say I ever had the opportunity to meet Him in person, but I do know that I have felt a kinship with Him for most of my life. He made quite an impact on me, and millions of others, many years ago. In fact, He changed our concept of how we must treat each other…with no concern for pedigree or position in society.

This man had no formal education, yet He was considered a Master teacher. He never wrote a single book, poem or song…yet many quote Him on a daily basis. Now it is strange that this man told the government of the day that His Father sent him to share the good news of a new kingdom on Earth…they were intrigued, intimidated and determined to maintain their authority. Hmmm. Sounds rather familiar to today, yes?

The man even told His friends that He had to leave soon and would see them again after He had been killed. Spooky but spirit-driven. All but one believed. The phrase doubting Thomas must have originated 2000 years ago.

As we consider how to love our neighbors, care for our families and commit to living a life of service, consider that this Man held no office, owned no property or took a wife. Yet He called us family. And told of our inheritance in the Kingdom. What kind of love is this?

And his own turned against Him because he did not overthrow the Roman Empire with an army, militia or mercenaries. He was acquitted by the court of law but condemned by the people’s court. Just because He did not give them what they expected…physical freedom. Yet, the freedom of spirit He spoke of was more than enough; it just took time and faith.

Remember today the man who gave all that He had…for you. Would YOU?

Peace.

Get in Where You Fit in…

Get in Where You Fit in…

The world is witnessing a dramatic change. People halfway around the world, many of whom have been kept in the proverbial dark for all of their lives, are now exerting their power. What is unfolding in Egypt, Bahrain and Libya is as inspiring as it is dramatic.

I am not old enough to have borne witness to the dismantling of the British Empire’s hold over the millions of people living in India…and the power that came through the man known as Mohandas Gandhi. We in America, especially those of us of darker pigmentation, have experienced this new freedom as the civil rights era brought forth a new level of equality to all citizens of the United States back in the 1960’s.

And so it is with that in mind that I wonder when we will follow suit and discard our complacency. Can we push ourselves away from being entertained to the brink of being anesthetized…tranquilized, so that we won’t resist the continual eroding of our personal freedoms and the concern for our fellow man/woman.

If you think the end of our troubles is near…how much did you spend filling up your automobile this weekend? Why is it that the prices are rising, yet supplies are high and demand is still low in comparison to 2007 and 2008? The stock market is rising each week, yet the unemployment numbers are not falling. Do we really believe that the economy is picking up steam? Or is the shift happening to make oil a commodity that will offset the devaluing of the dollar?

Do yourself and your family a favor this week. Turn off American Idol, Glee and whatever Charlie Sheen is in, and pick up a business magazine. Read it from cover to cover. Check out it’s online content. Discuss your findings with family and friends…heck even Tweet something if you must. But, DO NOT just keep doing what you have been doing.

Let the example of those awakened brothers and sisters thousands of miles away, risking their lives for freedom from decades of imperial rule, to be impetus for us to join in solidarity. Do it for your children, grandchildren…me. And do not believe the media crap that would call humanitarian concern a socialistic society. The word spin-doctors are busy crafting their responses even as we consider what will happen next and where.

It is time we shake off the anesthesia and WAKE UP!

This square peg still won’t fit in the round hole.

Peace.

So, You want to be a What?

So, you want to be a what?

I recently read again the story of Mary Kay Ash, founder of MaryKay Cosmetics and Skin Care…how she overcame the glass ceiling in her corporate job by starting her own direct-sales company that brought skin care products for women to women. Her success is an amazing testimony to one persons desire to not be shackled by other people’s lack of vision.

As I continue to talk with business owners around the country, it is still amazing that many of them are trying to build new fences with old wood…meaning that they are still thinking that the traditional ways of marketing their business is going to produce positive growth results in a digital world.

Social media and video marketing is not a fad. It is not brain surgery. Take a look at the success of YouTube and Facebook…dare I say Twitter? Corporate America has gotten on board with their marketing campaigns…why not YOU?

I am looking for the next Mary Kay Ash. It is my burning desire to help women entrepreneurs to promote their products/service via online video. The winds of change are still blowing toward the wealthy and privileged in America…and one way to change that is to create success and wealth in your own life. What is your dream? What is your unfulfilled passion?

Let’s talk about how you can live better. Pass on wealth to the next generation. Teach your family how to sustain their community. The government and corporate America have their own agendas…. let’s build yours.

And if you want a pink Cadillac…so be it!

Peace.

I Pity the Fool…

I Pity The Fool…

Many of you are old enough to remember that famous line espoused by the Mr. T character from the 1980’s television show The A Team. As the summer has now come to an end, and with it a number of really bad movies, one of which was a remake of the A Team, tell me, did the Mr. T character use that same line?

As I consider the ever confusing verbiage which emanates from Washington D.C.,
Alaska, or wherever Sarah Palin might be speaking, and too many of the self-proclaimed economic experts, the echo of Mr. T’s words keep ringing in my head…”I pity the fool.”

Imagine having some so-called experts tell us last week that the recession actually ended sometime in 2009. Tell that to someone whose business will not be opening anymore as of today, because he/she could not secure a new line-of-credit from their bank. Or tell that to the person with an advanced degree who still cannot find a job. Or to those of us still seeking to get our mortgage modified…I pity the fool who actually listens to and believes much of this drivel.

What is going to get us as a nation back on our feet? How can young people seeking to buy their first home feel secure in making that huge investment? What about those of you who have now taken that much-deserved retirement? And are wondering how to live off of less money than you have been accustomed to making. I pity the fool…

We will see the heat get turned up to a boil as the mid-term elections draw nearer. For the past three years I have said to anyone who will listen that I blame our congressional leaders for much of this mess we are in. Two ill-conceived wars and an economic Titanic are just the major disasters they have engineered.

With that being said, I am hopeful that each of us will take an under-the-microscope look at those seeking either reelection or first time office this year. No more blind allegiance or party loyalty. It’s time for holding people accountable. What is their pension plan like? Do they have to worry about affordable health care?

So, please, do me a favor and either join or start a conversation with your family/friends to discuss these issues. As for me, I refuse to be taken for a fool…anymore.