Finding animal prints left upon my snow covered sidewalk overnight always brings a smile to my face. I had a visitor! These tracks were very well preserved and I think made by one of the felines that torment my indoor cat during the summer. I like to picture its journey along my darkened walk, stopping here to investigate some sharp sound or there for the rustle in the grass made by a nervous mouse. The wandering pilgrim traveling the wide world looking for adventure and excitement with the brisk winter wind urging them on. A serious demeanor etched on its furry brow. Will you be back soon and will I know now that I swept the walk clean?
I just finished reading a cute little story about a kitten titled “Space-Time for Springers” by Fritz Lieber that reminded me of a short story I had written. I decided to share it with you.
Heads or Tails
Can’t catch me creature from the East!
How nonchalant you look lying there basking in the sun.
I saw that ear twitch, don’t deny it!
I am way to fast for you and you know it!
See the sleek shine of my dark fur; you’ll never sink your teeth into it!
I lay down the gauntlet!
You have met your match and you know it!
Brian was startled out of his reading when Sammy, his Siamese, leaped off the floor gyrating madly as he tried to catch his tail, the black mask of his face perfectly matching the sleek blackness of his tail. A slow smile spread across Brian’s face for the silly antics of his four legged companion. Within minutes the entire episode was over. The Siamese lay on the floor with slightly unfocused eyes and salved his pride by washing his black mittens. Meanwhile, his tail twitched gently with an inner mirth.
“Oh you foolish cat” thought the tail. “We will play this game again soon. You are just the sucker I need to fulfill my every diabolical need.”
I wonder, if someone calculated all the money the U.S. Government has spent on social programs in total from the first until now, would that total be greater or less than the trillions of dollars the Government has spent bailing out the rich risk takers (banks, insurance companies, corporations, Wall Street)?
I have a sister who runs a retail business and she is always complaining that Equal Opportunity Employment laws are constantly forcing her to hire worthless workers to fill a diversity quota. She gets all fired up when anyone mentions the problems of the black minority and rants about the subject. Many times I have tried to object to her diatribes but usually give up, since I am not a manager that has to deal with hiring. However, I had a thought today. I wonder how many incompetent people she has had to hire due to the fact that they knew or were related to the owner? How many worthless managers has she had to deal with because they are good at manipulating her boss? Look at all the CEO’s who ruin companies only to be hired by some other corporation. How many times have you dealt with an employee, not hired to satisfy EOE laws, that you wondered how they could have been hired? Bones.
Do you remember when Republican’s pushed hard to get the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the use of money as a form of speech protected under the first amendment? In the same way they argued for this non-traditional and non-verbal form of communication that should not have been allowed, I have thought of another form of speech that shares the same properties and should have the same protection under the law (I believe it actually is, but Republicans would love to change it), flag burning. Flag Burning could be covered by the precedence of money as speech.
I don’t know about you but I am getting tired of seeing Keep Christ in Christmas signs in peoples yards. My first reaction is “What are they really fighting for?”, because these are the same people rushing around yelling at each other over the last black Friday item. They are the same people putting themselves in debt to get the best presents for people who really don’t need them and teaching their children that Christmas means material things. Also, that Christmas means putting on a fake happy face for people you can’t stand then bitching about them later.
To me their real goal is to celebrate selfishness and say that is what Christ meant when he created Walmart. I wonder how many of them realize that we commemorate his birth on a pagan holiday instead of his actual birthday, a decision made by the early church? Did Christ teach that we should stick our religious beliefs in everyone’s face and get pissed off when someone else has the temerity to express their religious views or lack thereof? If they are getting this from the Bible, it must be a different one than I have read. Did God and Christ create Christmas so that red suited hucksters could try and sell you everything from razors to candy, big screen TVs to scented candles.
I want to know if Christ is happy that children can probably recognize Santa easier than himself. Does the fact that corporations use sentimental Christmas music to promote profits instead of helping his unfortunate children bother him? Does he fill joy or disgust for the fight for a holiday filled with over indulgence, greed, and lust all wrapped up in a red faced, grey bearded child tantrum restraint? Well, here is my answer:
Keep Christ in Christmas, stop deifying Santa Claus!
My wish for this year is to see this statement on a billboard. Open the uncomfortable discussion parents avoid with their children. No, Christmas is not about getting stuff, it is about the birth of a man who died because we were wicked and greed for things is one of the causes of his death. No, it is not the big bad atheist who has ruined Christmas but instead, it is us with our buying presents and not helping the poor or standing up to the rich that work to keep them that way. Yes, we should stop crying for the lost Christmas feeling that we ourselves forgot and start living by example not proclamation.
I had an interesting discussion with a friend that argued against raising the minimum wage like the workers of McDonald’s want. As I stated in another post, Why I disagree with the Minimum Wage Increase , I don’t believe that raising the minimum wage is the answer to the problem of income disparity in this country. So, in essence, I seem to be agreeing with my friend. However, there are key differences that separate our arguments beyond what I have mentioned in my previous post. One, he does not feel that the wealthy are in any way at fault for the problems our country faces. Two, he feels that, if he were to hit it big through his own efforts, why should he be penalized to support the lazy people.
The first task I wish to address is the need to break down the illusion the One Percenters and their followers foster upon the rest of this nation, one which has brought us to the brink of disaster many times. An illusion so pervasive that whole news networks were created to support these ideals. I am talking about the myth that all rich people deserve their wealth because they earned it. The supporters of this illusion want you to believe that all wealthy people are being persecuted by the government through taxes and regulations meant specifically to redistribute wealth. Underpinning this illusion is the view by these people that they carry the entire load of the businesses they created, that there would be nothing without them. Truth be told, they feel and act like they should be treated as Gods for the blessings they bestow upon us lazy welfares. They benevolently pay us for the little we do to support their grand projects.
Wealthy people in America act like they are the center of society and that everything revolves around them, almost the same as early man believed the Earth was the center of the universe. The reality is that they are just part of a vast whole. I do believe they deserve more for their part in creating businesses; however, at this time, I feel they are way overvaluing their contributions to the system. They are also conveniently forgetting the costs of their mistakes, forcing them down onto the rest of our society.
I Created That
My friend plays in a rock band and the example he gave was him making it big with a song he wrote. He felt that he should not be penalized for becoming wealthy from the song he created. Where I see the problem in this statement is that he is assuming that the song alone is how he achieved the wealth, an illusion shared by the One Percenters. Yes, without his song, there would not be a reason for starting a business, but the song alone did not create the wealth.
Would he be able to obtain wealth just by singing his song? Not likely. How would my friend reach a large enough audience to obtain his wealth without radio stations to play his music, record companies to make and distribute his cd’s, or instrument makers to make the guitar he plays. What about the financial infrastructure that allows for the easy transfer of funds from his fans to him? For that matter, what about the physical infrastructure of roads and bridges, which allow his fans to go to work to earn money to pay for his music, as well as, allowing the workers making his cd’s to get to their jobs?
Add to this the need for a safe working environment provided by the U.S. military on a national level. On the local level are the police and fire departments. Also, do not forget the legal system, which my friend may use to sue someone who steals his music. However, even if he does not use the legal system himself, the stable market place created by this legal system allows all the companies he interacts with to seek justice for wrongs done to them. I will admit that all of these systems have flaws and problems, but without them the market would be far worse. Most of these aspects of our economy do not gain their support from direct payments for services rendered, as would be the case in the business world, but instead are paid through taxation of the communities and nation that they serve.
If you think products are expensive now, guess how much more they would cost if you had to factor in all these cost taken on by the government. All the costs for bailing out Wall Street, raising and funding an army, and running a judicial system are all necessary for our economy to work and, by default, for my friend to make his fortune. Yet, he considers them to be a penalty. I wonder if he would find it as easy to make his fortune in Iran, Iraq, or North Korea.
Basically, all the One Percenters assume that they don’t have to pay to maintain the system that provides them the ability to become wealthy. They want to pretend that they built it all and should only have to be concerned with the cost and profit margins directly related to their product. Corporations make far more use of the economic infrastructure our government provides, yet they complain when they are asked to pay their share of maintaining it. As many pundits like to point out, Freedom is not Free and neither is making money. You have to pay to play and it is time that the people who gain the most from our economic system start paying their fair share, including the cleanup cost the government is constantly forced to take on when companies pollute an area then move on, having drained the profit away.
If you work hard you will be rewarded
Now let us look at the myth that all wealthy people worked hard for their money and are morally upstanding. My second task is to remind my readers that the One Percenters are all human and; thus, no better or worse than the rest of us.
This one is ridiculously easy to take care of with one stone, Bernie Madoff. Before he got caught, everyone thought he was a genius at making money. What he was actually good at was getting people to give him money to support his lifestyle at their own cost. American economic history is paved with rubes that fell for some get rich quick scheme or smooth talking entrepreneur. For all the success stories, there are tales of fraud, manipulation, and greed. CEOs like Kenneth Lay manipulate the market to achieve their fortunes instead of coming up with better business models, putting customers in danger by restricting their energy sources for profit. Wealthy 1% like the Koch brothers use their vast inherited fortunes to manipulate our political process to ensure and enhance their wealth with no regard to the costs of the country as a whole. Finally, the Bank CEOs from Mellon on, who created and maintain the Federal Reserve, which is at the heart of all our economic woes through policy and duplicity. If you haven’t watched the video in my post “America the Ponzi Scheme”, you should.
I’ll tell you a truth I have come to live by, 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. I learned this in my business classes. The subject was the workforce that I would someday be in charge of that almost all business majors mistakenly ascribe only to the hourly workers and not management. For me, this saying has become my mantra for any level of human endeavors. 80% of the actual work associated with the 1%s wealth was done by only 20% of them. The rest are just milking of the 20%. The same goes for managers in the work place, 20% actually do 80% of the work, while the others usually make more work for everyone involved. Can you honestly tell me there are no managers in your company that got their job because of who they know instead of the competence they should have, no one that is all talk without much actual work. The places I work are full of them. Yet, many of them are paid well for making more work.
In addition, many of the regulations 1%s cries foul over are there either because of something illegal one of them did or because they themselves worked to have it made. Many regulations come into play when corporations have done something wrong to their customer through negligence or intent, usually in the name of protecting profit. Sometimes; however, corporations work to get regulations placed to hamper the entry of competition into the market. Yes, regulations slow down business, but they also save lives. Would you like to still have asbestos insulation being put into your house? The wealthy 1% would have you believe all regulations are bad when what they really mean is any regulation that harms their ability to make profit is bad. They don’t care about you, just your money. In other words, they are human, full of greed, lust, and sloth.
To conclude this post, I want to say that there are good people out there who are wealthy, but it is important to remember that the wealthy are human too. They can’t fight it. People need to look at them in this light and stop believing all the rhetoric spewed out daily by the right wing think tanks. Start looking at their actions and not their words; stop being dazzled by their lifestyles and look deeper into how they achieved them. Some of your money probably found its way into their pile without you knowing it. How else can 50% of the wealth be held by 1% of the population? Bones.