What can you believe in?

January 2o, 2009  was a monumental day which should be officially memorialized …

2009tombstone

When one considers the last minute deals and the character of the incoming Administration, it appears that the public trust and faith in our government has died.

We have entered the realm of political celebrity, where good intentions and a well-crafted speech serve as a measure of accomplishment – even though little or nothing may have been accomplished.

Where the special interests reign supreme and those who contributed mightily to the campaign are now expecting their rewards.

Where the media is afraid to jeopardize its corporate interests by telling truth to power and is complicit in sycophantically covering up the stone cold truth.

Where the word “crisis” is used to suspend the normal rules and conventions of the government, to allow egregious acts of self-interest and public deception to take place on the national stage; often without a fight or words of dissent.

While observing the pageantry and solemnity surrounding the inauguration, I became even more convinced that Barack Obama was, up until now, an empty slate upon which the voters projected their own wants, needs and desires.

Truly a symbol of hope and change … if one looked only at the rhetoric and ignored the actions of the politicians and their political parties.

It is almost inconceivable that slightly more than half of those who took the time and trouble to vote ignored the environment of corruption and special dealing which surrounded Barack Obama. And, most importantly, ignored the fact that Obama was, at best, a dupe or an opportunist when he associated with those who were corrupt, harbored anti-American sentiments or were judged to be unrepentant domestic terrorists.

That a good portion of Barack Obama’s personal history has remained hidden from public scrutiny and shrouded in mystery. And the portion of what has been revealed surrounded with contradiction and controversy.

That his party, the democrats, by means fair and foul, have managed to corrupt the election process by their suspicious voter registration drives and election practices which, in some cases, count more votes than citizens voting.

That his staunchest supporters rely on the precepts of moral equivalency to justify their actions; to claim that President Bush and his Administration led the way in corrupt, special interest dealings. All under the guise of inoculating themselves from future blame by claiming the roots of any corruption and/or crisis should be attributable to the Bush regime.

So I ask again, “what can you believe in?”

And there is but one answer: YOURSELF!

It is time to take defensive measures …

It is time to take defensive measures and insulate yourself from the physical, emotional and spiritual consequences of a government which has proven to be increasingly out of control.

A government where Orwellian definitions indicating black is white, up is down and good is evil abound. Where lawyers parse sentences to find favorable meaning where there is none. Where profligate spending on special interest projects which never work or are canceled before the acid test of everyday usage abound.

Where people are encouraged to sacrifice for the common good, even though that good benefits only the special interests.

It is time to take matters into your own hands. To manage your own health and physical well being, to isolate yourself from those who are crazy-makers and demanding that you blindly follow their latest schemes, to educate yourself when education is being dumbed down and perverted by social activists, to protect your own employment future when CEOs simply shed employees to improve their bonuses and to manage your finances in an age when the government wants you to spend yourself further into debt claiming it is your patriotic duty to help spend our way to a strong economy.

We can no longer trust those institutions which have failed America. Education which is more about union control and supporting minorities than it is about providing a sound basis for adult maturity. Finance, where those who you trusted to prudently manage your finances, gambled on speculative derivatives to earn outrageous bonuses in the tens, and sometimes, hundreds of millions of dollars.

And unfortunately, this same toxic environment extends to local and state governments. Where personal self-interest pervades party politics and those who do not wish America well are busy enabling our enemies, both foreign and domestic, to take over our cities, states and federal government without a single shot being fired. Using the tools of political correctness, multiculturalism and diversity to further divide and conquer our legal citizens.

There is much that is right with America and there is every chance that this recession will turn the corner soon. But we need to take action now. To position ourselves to benefit from bad times as well as good times. To become strong enough to lend support to our families and our communities.

Beginning YOUR journey …

Today, the day after the inauguration, should be a solemn day. A day in which you begin your journey into the future. Putting aside all of the past angst and confusion over politics and moving forward with your own programs that benefit you. In essence, your inauguration into the world of YOU!

To this end, I am going to dedicate a portion of my time to building a web site that will be dedicated to self-protection and the encouragement of personal achievement.

Join me in becoming personally proactive …

If you should wish to join me on the journey, you can sign up for my free report on job loss related panic at www.aminext.com or by clicking on the site logo below.

subscribe to aminext.com

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you once again for reading my OneCitizenSpeaking blog and encourage you to sign-up for the future benefits yet to come.


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



IS THE AMERICAN DREAM STILL ACHIEVABLE?

This book might make a difference in your life …

Every once in a while a book will come along and make a difference in someone’s life – a book not for everybody, but for those who are at the crossroads of life, in crisis or simply seeking the meaning of what we all experience as everyday life.

Did I learn anything from this book that I didn’t already know – the short answer is NO! My understanding of human nature was fairly well developed when I read this book and I had experienced a pretty full life up to this point. Therefore, the book probably will have more relevance and impact on someone younger than myself.

But what I did receive was a viewpoint, a perspective if you will, on the poor and the disadvantaged which reaffirmed the value of each human being and celebrated their internal spirit; even in the face of personal tragedy, often of their own making. Where the greatest gift is not so much financial freedom as achieving a sense of self and the inner peace that comes from being comfortable in your own skin. The knowledge that you are together enough to face life on its terms and still prosper without the overt assistance of a backstop. A sense of accomplishment at the end of each day.

Yes, those who are expecting to find fault with a book, any book, will be able to claim that the book is an artificial slice of life with the sole purpose of generating a book. These are the naysayers and those who will never get the book’s message as their cynicism, intellect and emotions seem to be in perpetual conflict.

The book’s premise is simple …

Can an ordinary guy with minimal assets; in this case a tarp, sleeping bag, an empty gym bag, the clothes on his back and $25.00 in cash be dropped off in a random location and not only survive the experience, but end the year living in a furnished  apartment (which could be shared  by a roommate), possess a working vehicle, have $2,500 in cash and be in a position to continue growing as a productive member of society?  They can not use the benefit of their education beyond saying that they had a high school diploma; although it would be difficult to disavow the advantages of advanced critical thinking and the cultural aspects of dealing with a wider group of individuals than that usually found in a high school environment. 

Implicit advantages …

The book’s author, Adam Shepard, acknowledges that he might have several implicit advantages relating to having his health, lacking a spouse or family needing support and his innate sense of adventure.

But let us look at a few factors which are not mentioned in the opening pages of the book. Shepard’s youth and optimism, as opposed to someone who has been beaten up by the system and who may have become both cynical and fearful of extending themselves in an all or nothing effort, cannot be underestimated. Although Shepard claims to have crossed cultural, social and economic boundaries, he did not cross any major geographic, racial or ethnic boundaries which may have marked him as an undesirable outsider. Of course, this is another lesson contained in the book; you work with what you are given.

However the most important advantage may be the internalized knowledge that he cannot fail – he still has the backstop of a family, friends and resources which could be tapped should he encounter serious problems. For example, should Shepard encounter a major accident or ill health which would not only be debilitating, but reset his quest back to square one:  losing everything, including his belongings, while he was processed by a healthcare system -- which is difficult enough to navigate when you are fully insured. The worst that can happen is that Shepard would return to his family and re-start his life in another direction.

On the other hand, it took incredible guts to complete this self-assigned task. Shepard’s personal security was far from being assured and one must realize that a single wrong word to the wrong person could have had fatal consequences.

This being said, let’s see where the journey takes Shepard and if he finds that the American system continues to work if one if willing to set aside fear of failure and put forth the requisite effort.

A good read …

The book is an unqualified good read, no heavy lifting required, and you do not have to suspend your belief that it happened exactly as recounted.

Along the way Shepard realizes the true worth of friendships, material goods, the simple pleasures of daily living and achieving some small bit of progress in the overall march to whatever it is that satisfies your inner self.

As a secondary benefit, it exposes the true nature of life in a homeless shelter and provides a new outlook which might just re-prioritize the way you think about everyday charities that are actually doing something useful for society.

And while there are celebrity-driven best sellers, such as the books put forth by people like Bill O’Reilly, which purport to point the way to successful living, I would much rather read a book of this nature and then pass it on to someone who may have a need to this type of real-life motivational tale.

In the beginning I was unsure of what I was about to read – a heroic tale of survival against the odds, a “do as I say” style cookbook for transcending your problems, a book full of certitude and recommendations.

I have no problem recommending this book to my readers and others with no reservations. While it did not change my life, it did provide me with a greater appreciation for what I have achieved and the plight of the almost invisible working poor that we all encounter as we are preoccupied with our own thoughts and business. This book is definitely a step on the road to both greater self-awareness and the awareness of your environment.

Did it answer the question?

In my opinion, the question was answered. Yes, you can achieve the American Dream. However, it is a somewhat of a trick question. It depends on what YOU BELIEVE IS the American dream. Could this book make you into a millionaire? Quite possibly given the mindset of the author and his ability to explain what is important in pursuing your dream. Can it make you into an Olympic or world-class athlete? Probably not, unless you have the physical attributes to support your goal. Which only goes to reinforce the author’s key premise: you need to fully exploit the abilities you have or can learn along the way.

Buy the book – it just might change your life!

-- steve

By the way, the sequel, if it is ever written, promises to be an even more interesting read as Adam Shepard and his brother combine households and efforts to take care of their cancer-stricken mother. Perhaps even providing a more enlightened path for mere mortals to deal with the healthcare system which appears to be  ruled by petty tyrants and people who are experiencing their own bad day.

Scratch Beginnings

Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream

by Adam W. Shepard

List Price: $19.95 Amazon Price: $13.57
This title will be released on October 14, 2008.


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



The OTHER bailout: this one is clearly unconstitutional ...

While the world was preoccupied with legislation purporting to be  the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, the Senate was busy passing another bailout bill – this one as a favor to the Hollywood moguls who are destroying our copyright system with the incessant cries of piracy.

The original copyright and patent laws were designed to encourage artists, writers,  inventors and others to share their works with the public. In exchange for allowing their works to enter the public domain, creators were given a  period of time to exclusively profit from the creations of the labor.

Corrupting the system …

Like the Wall Street Wizards who create nothing substantial, but profit on the labors of others when they create, market and trade securities, the Hollywood power structure became the distributors of the creative works of others. In many cases, hiring the actors, writers and others to produce a “work for hire” which they then copyrighted in their own name. And there is nothing wrong with that.

However, to avoid their works from falling into the public domain, they began plying members of Congress with campaign contributions and other inducements to enact longer and longer exclusive periods of time.

But, for those works that were already in the public domain, the created the fiction that is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which allows any content, including materials in the public domain, to be secured with a electronic wrapper – and then criminalized breaking the electronic wrapper, even though the underlying content was either in the public domain or had already been purchased by the consumer in another form.

Respecting the system …

As a creator of content, I respect the need to protect one’s work for the period prescribed by law. However, I take great issue with those who want to sell the very same content over and over; but in different forms. Imagine buying a digital copy of a work and then being denied permission to use the content on your television and your computer. The key to controlling this type of usage lies in the pricing of the content delivery systems. Including a CD with a bound book for a slightly higher price is an excellent example of a value add that should appeal to consumers. Allowing the purchase of individual tracks of a CD for 99-cents, rather than being forced to purchase an entire album for an artificially set price of $12.95 or more.

Perverting the system …

However, the Hollywood distribution moguls were not content to merely control the content and the wrapper, they actively tried to inhibit the development and marketing of devices and media that would make the copying of digital materials easier for the masses. Note: the hackers have always been able to break encryption schemes and re-format the content into their preferred format. This did not dissuade the use of DRM (Digital Rights Management) Schemes which, in some cases, caused problems with computer and device operations. In a number of cases this resulted in hackers being able to hide malicious files on the host computer as the DRM software made these files invisible to the operating system.

Watermarking digital copies …

How many people really know that each Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files along with PDF files created by Adobe’s software, as well as other software, contains an embedded unique identification number that can be tracked back to an individuals computer? Ditto for audio, video and other files sent by e-mail. Even today, copiers and printers embed coded characters that can identify the exact printer used to print the document. 

Protecting the franchise …

This led to the restriction in marketing digital tape recorders. This led to imposing a royalty on magnetic material to be collected by manufacturers and remitted to a government entity which was to divide and distribute it to the artists and others whose works might be infringed. I say might, as the great number of magnetic media actually were used for such things as computer backups and had nothing to do with pirating audio or video.

Skullduggery on both sides …

Both sides of the digital divide play dirty. We all know what hackers do, but how about the other side which has been known to bribe employees to compromise their employers. Or pay for stolen files that support their case. Or engaging in expensive show trials of people who ultimately were found to be innocent of infringement – but who suffered public humiliation and the loss of a great deal of money defending against baseless claims.

And it is getting worse …

Here we find the Hollywood crowd, mostly in the guise of trade associations such as the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) and the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), doling out the Washington political goodies.

This has resulted in the passage of  Senate Bill S. 3325 which is misleadingly named “Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008.”

Basically, this legislation was crafted to use the Department of Justice as a prosecutor of intellectual property infringement. And to seek monetary damages which would then be remitted to the content owner. Thus turning the DOJ into a combination enforcement and collection agency.

Nowhere is this power granted by the Constitution to the Federal Government as the government is charged with pursuing criminal infringement activities, not civil restitution claims.

The Attorney General agrees that this legislation would be inappropriate …

In a letter to Senators Patrick Leahy, Chairman, and Arlen Specter, Ranking Member, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, the Attorney General takes exception to the basic issues in Senate Bill S. 3225.

The Departments of Justice and Commerce have reviewed S.3325, the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act of 2008 ("EIPRA"), and truly appreciate the bill's intention to enhance the tools available for protecting intellectual property rights.

Nevertheless, we have strong and significant concerns regarding Titles I and IV. We are deeply concerned that the proposed legislation will undermine existing  intellectual property enforcement efforts by diminishing the effective use of limited criminal enforcement resources and creating unnecessary bureaucracy.

It will also improperly micro-manage the internal organization of the Executive Branch.

Accordingly, as outlined below, we strongly oppose S. 3325 as reported out of Committee on September 15, 2008.

We strongly oppose Title I of the bill, which not only authorizes the Attorney General to pursue civil remedies for copyright infringement, but to secure "restitution" damages and remit them to the private owners of infringed copyrights.

First, civil copyright enforcement has always
been the responsibility and prerogative of private copyright holders, and U.S. law already provides them with effective legal tools to protect their rights: they can obtain injunctions, 17 U.S.C. § 502; impound and destroy infringing articles, 17 U.S.C. § 503; recover their actual
damages and costs, 17 U.S.c. § 504(b); obtain statutory damages, which are similar to punitive damages, 17 U.S.C. § 504(c); and obtain their costs and attorney's fees in some circumstances, 17 U.S.C. § 505.

These tools also provide strong incentives for all copyright holders, including individual copyright holders and small businesses not represented by trade groups or industry organizations, to enforce their rights.

Second, Title I's departure from the settled framework above could result in Department of Justice prosecutors serving as pro bono lawyers for private copyright holders regardless of their resources.

In effect, taxpayer-supported Department lawyers would pursue lawsuits for copyright holders, with monetary recovery going to industry.

Third, the Department of Justice has limited resources to dedicate to particular issues, and civil enforcement actions would occur at the expense of criminal actions, which only the Department of Justice may bring.

In an era of fiscal responsibility, the resources of the
Department of Justice should be used for the public benefit, not on behalf of particular industries that can avail themselves of the existing civil enforcement provisions.

The Departments also strongly oppose Title IV of the EIPRA, which would move into the Executive Office of the President (EOP) from the Commerce Department the "U.S. Intellectual
Property Enforcement Coordinator" (IPEC) position
.

This Presidentially appointed IPEC would have primary responsibility for developing and coordinating Administration policy for IP enforcement across the Executive Branch. While the Administration has been a long time supporter of strong inter-agency coordination -- and is willing to work with the Committee on this topic -- the statutory creation of an EOP coordinator with the duties described in the bill constitutes a legislative intrusion into the internal structure and composition of the President's Administration. This provision is therefore objectionable on constitutional separation of powers grounds.

The Administration has taken strong steps over the past eight years to ensure effective coordination and enforcement of intellectual property rights. The Administration put in place the Strategy for Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP!) Initiative which is currently being implemented by the National Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordination Council (NIPLECC) and
led by the current U.S. Coordinator for Intellectual Property Enforcement. In summary, while we appreciate the need for continued coordination among Departments and agencies, the framework provided in the bill is unlikely to enhance criminal enforcement and, to the contrary, could pose significant and unnecessary challenges.

We look forward to working with the Committee to address these concerns. In the meantime, the Administration reserves judgment on the final bill. It is our hope that changes will be made so that the President's senior advisors can recommend that the President support the measure. The Office of Management and Budget has advised that there is no objection to the transmittal of this letter from the standpoint of the Administration's program

It gets worse …

Other bill provisions provide for seizing computers, especially servers, which are then forensically searched for infringing materials. In many cases, the fact that files have been routinely erased or erased using advanced file erasure programs has been characterized by trade association attorneys as being evidence of infringing activities or the destruction of evidence – although no proof of such activities exist.

In addition, the bill calls for the government to “Assist State and local law enforcement  agencies in enforcing those laws, including by reimbursing State and local entities for expenses incurred in performing enforcement operations, such as overtime payments and storage fees for seized evidence.”

There are a number of other highly objectionable provisions contained in the proposed legislation. Should you care to review the entire bill in context, it can be found at the end of this blog entry in the “Reference Links” section.

What can YOU do?

It is time to end the special relationship between the Hollywood distributors and the government. Especially in areas which diminish the public’s right to legitimately access and use content for which they have already paid; as well as eliminating the interference with the design and use of electronic devices. 

Piracy, at least in the United States, can be easily controlled by using the principle of value pricing. That is, the cost of the authorized version makes the time and cost of duplicating a work unrewarding. Continue to prosecute the infringement of intellectual property in both civil and criminal venues, as appropriate – and do not involve the Department of Justice in enforcing and prosecuting private civil matters. Personally, I like buying record tracks from Amazon.com for 99-cents rather than buying the entire CD or album.

Call your elected officials to demand they stop falling prey to Hollywood-based trade unions and passing unduly restrictive legislation which does nothing for the public interest.

Other than for permitted purposes and “fair use” exemptions, do not distribute  copyrighted material which deprives the creator of their rightful due. 

Contact Senator Leahy and express your displeasure with this legislation. Remember to be respectful as Senator Leahy is a champion of privacy and open government initiatives.

Sen Alexander, Lamar [TN]

Sen Bayh, Evan [IN]

Sen Bond, Christopher S. [MO]

Sen Boxer, Barbara [CA]

Sen Brown, Sherrod [OH]

Sen Cardin, Benjamin L. [MD]

Sen Clinton, Hillary Rodham [NY]

Sen Corker, Bob [TN]

Sen Cornyn, John [TX]

Sen Feinstein, Dianne [CA]

Sen Graham, Lindsey [SC]

Sen Gregg, Judd [NH]

Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [UT]

Sen Hutchison, Kay Bailey [TX]

Sen Levin, Carl [MI]

Sen Schumer, Charles E. [NY]

Sen Smith, Gordon H. [OR]

Sen Specter, Arlen [PA]

Sen Stabenow, Debbie [MI]

Sen Voinovich, George V. [OH]

Sen Whitehouse, Sheldon [RI]

-- steve

Quote of the day: “Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.” -- Jerry Garcia

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Senate Bill S. 3325


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



The African-American Disorder: Failed Leadership

How does a white man of a certain age review a book by a black author commenting about the black experience? One wonders if my own racial identity and life experiences will cause me to overlook the ingrained sense of suffering or misfortune of others merely because I lack a common cultural framework? Or as a friend told me, you may sympathize with the author’s position, but surely you cannot empathize with the conditions he describes. Which made me question the reason that I wanted to mention the book in the first place.

The book is titled “While African Americans Slept” and carries a subtitle “Leadership By Parasites.”

Which piqued my curiosity as I have often harbored ill-will for certain black leaders like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton who seem to mount never-ending and often self-serving media campaigns; loudly proclaiming the perils of being black in a white society and the need of society to redress historic racial wrongs. And then doing absolutely nothing of lasting value to elevate the very people they are seeking to help. All the while pocketing money from unknown sources for honorariums, consulting and expenses and then jetting off to the next media-covered protest. In many cases their advice can be summarized simply by repeating: “do as I say, don’t do as I do.” Or in some cases, by an implicit mantra of “pay me or there will be big trouble.”

As a technologist who deals with a great variety of people who work in a binary world, knowledge, whether obtained by formal schooling or self-teaching, and accomplishment are a given. As with society in general, people are valued for what they produce and what they contribute to the team. There is a minimum of racial animosity as everybody is treated exactly the same: like crap, especially as they fight unrealistic deadlines based on idealistic, impractical expectations and woefully inadequate budgets. People who do not perform under pressure are weeded from the group and from our consciousness as we strive to complete our mission. You are either productive or you are gone!

So with some inherent bias against those who are not motivated to achieve and better their own condition, I will attempt to describe this painfully honest book and why I believe that the book is important to the discussion of race in America.

In the here and now …

I do not understand how anyone can point to historical transgressions against a class or race of people and use that as a basis for personal behavior and action, or should I say inaction, in today’s modern world. In short, I do not understand the concept of victimhood and a person’s sense of entitlement based on indignities encountered by one’s ancestors. Encountering such attitudes makes me want to scream “get on with your own life – you are responsible for you, not society and not the state!” Perhaps that’s just the result of an entrepreneurial streak within my character or the product of two loving parents who encouraged me to find my own way.

In one way, Dr. Aikins points out a critical difference between my experience and that of someone growing up in a black environment. That is, I had a built-in support mechanism in place – whether it was my parents, my relatives, our neighbors or our community. I had the innate knowledge that people were rooting for me to succeed where many blacks encounter no support, familial or otherwise,  and others are, at best, indifferent to their efforts. My accomplishments did not come at the expense of others and I did not require any critical commodity which was hotly contested by others seeking the same thing. Again, possibly because I was entrepreneurial at a young age.

Segregation and balkanization by design …

But I do understand that America has been balkanized by its political and social leaders for the sole purpose of creating dependent individual constituencies that can be more easily manipulated into ceding power to so-called community leaders as well as contributing time, effort and money to their cause. By creating entitlements which sap one’s self-esteem and productivity and create a need to keep those political parties and politicians who hand out the goodies in power, lest the money cease to flow. The very same politicians who have seemingly corrupted many black leaders with “walking around money” and appointments to minor positions of community power.

The painful truth …

The book’s author, Dr. Lenton Aikins is a well-credentialed professional with a wealth of subject matter experience. However, in writing this particular book, I fear that his message may be greatly overshadowed by the propensity of those in positions of leadership and power to denigrate the author or disregard the message; especially since it seems to run counter to what I perceive is the accepted wisdom within the greater community. A message that is simultaneously truthful and painful. Especially to the black community which has suffered the indignity of having leaders who are more interested in their personal prestige, power and profits than they are leading others to a more fruitful existence.

A challenge to fellow blacks …

Dr. Aikins dedicates this book to his fellow black men and calls upon them to stand up and act like men when it comes to traditional family and social values. At the same time, he decries a lack of personal responsibility on the part of parents who have essentially allowed their children to run wild; without the significant nurturing or guidance that will prevent them from perpetuating the past and resulting in a life that may not be considered to be well-lived. A life of personal anguish, strife and mounting discontent with an enemy that can only be seen in a mirror.

Multiculturalism and diversity …

Like most people who have never considered the matter, I have often confused the concepts of diversity with that of multiculturalism. However, Dr. Aikins makes an important distinction.

“Diversity does not require everybody to see things the same way; just that everybody looks in the same direction and the same goals.”

Multiculturalism holds that all cultures, all people and all languages are equal and deserve to be given equal treatment in our society.”

An important distinction which I had never considered before reading Aikins’ work. Therefore, reflecting upon these concepts, I can see where the United States is treading a dangerous path. By adopting a position of diversity one can be inclusive of all peoples; whereas the adoption of multiculturalism may lead to the destruction of our current society as we know it. Mostly by treating everyone and everything as beige, by accepting wrong or harmful practices merely because some particular sect may support them. By ignoring that illegal aliens and others still bear allegiance to their homeland or culture while proclaiming false allegiance to ours.

Aikins’ loudest criticism seems reserved for those who dare consider the plight of illegal aliens as being equal to the historical plight of Africans who were forcibly removed from their world and brought here as slaves.  And for those elected leaders who are allocating attention and resources to others while ignoring our legal citizens who should have a prior well-established claim.

The bane of illegal immigration …

Dr. Aikins rails against illegal immigration. But where I note that the overwhelming numbers of illegal aliens are destroying our healthcare, educational, judicial, social, cultural and retirement infrastructure, Aikins points the further devastating effects that the tide of illegal aliens has wreaked on the black community. Especially in the areas of illegally confiscating lower wage positions and the severely crippling the ability of government agencies to offer additional support required for subsistence to its legal citizens.

Aikins believes it is both unfair and unwarranted of the government to take this mass of recently-arrived illegal aliens and raise their wants and needs above those of legal, law-abiding citizens, especially the indigenous blacks who are disproportionately affected. With this I strongly agree. I look at a depressed area such as South Central Los Angeles and wonder why we are pouring billions into foreign aid while our own people fight for jobs and the basic necessities of life. I imagine that the situation is much the same in Detroit and other areas where mainstream industry and commerce has left a decaying morass of shuttered buildings and discarded trash.

There are any number of solid social observations and prescriptions in this book which I wholeheartedly recommend to those who want a rational perspective on racial issues in America. Amazingly, at least to me, Aikins’ make a case for the draft, where young men are exposed to a variety of racial and ethnic situations, an environment in which discipline reigns supreme and rank and privileges are bestowed mostly on merit. (And above all, begins to understand the concept of loyalty to ones’ country. – my words)

I believe Dr. Aikins has made an extremely strong case for his position there has been a massive failure on the part of black leaders to come to the aid of a people in desperate need of appropriate leadership. A position, if sincerely considered, may point they way out of the self-imposed ghetto mentality that impedes black progress today.

The N-word …

However, not all is sweetness and light as I strongly disagree with Dr. Aikins about the use of the dreaded and despised N-word.  He believes that the word should never be spoken; by blacks, whites or any other person as its hateful connotation sends the wrong message both to the user and those that hear the word spoken. Here I disagree. Not that I advocate using the N-word, but that I do not see the point of investing any word or symbol with such power that human nature almost demands that it be used to provoke a reaction in another person. By empowering either words or symbols with devastatingly hateful meaning, I believe that you have granted another person a measure of control over your emotions. Possibly to the extent of causing one to lose focus, all sense of reason and embark on an ultimately self-destructive path as one seeks to further escalate the confrontation.

Assimilation or acculturation?

After reading Aikins’ book, I also find myself reconsidering the path by which one is accepted as an equal member of society. Dr. Aikins apparently believes that assimilation applies more to people who arrived in the United States by voluntary choice.

“The assimilation model has not worked for African Americans. But who can argue that it was ever intended to work for African Americans? It has only worked for groups that came here voluntarily, because they have been and are able to hold on to their language, religion and trust among themselves at the same time they are developing social, educational, economic, and political ties with the majority community.”

Then Dr. Aikins goes on to point out a major difference between these ethnic groups and blacks.

“The immigrant groups see their immigrant communities as positive and identify with them. They do not refer to themselves with negative stereotypes and hateful words coined to refer to them as African Americans do.”

He goes further to note that these immigrants take pride in their group whereas African Americans seem to take pride in escaping from their group.

And with the fervor of an academic sociologist or political scientist, Aikins goes on to describe the process of acculturation which continues to work for immigrant communities but seems to be ineffective in moving blacks toward social acceptance.

The parasites: the failure of black leadership …

While Dr. Aikins’ notes the corrupt nature of many black leaders, it appears that his greatest angst is related to the failure of today’s so-called black leadership to demonstrate true leadership, to set the high moral standards required to elevate black self-esteem, to support broader economic initiatives for devastated black communities and, most of all, to stand up for the black community which is being pervasively overrun and disadvantaged by the onslaught of illegal immigrants.

Why you should buy the book …

I cannot begin to understand the plight of a single black working mother whose life is a series of tradeoffs – none of which are pleasant to contemplate. Or that of a young black man who suffers emotionally at the thought of being stopped by a police officer. Therefore, I do not and can not appreciate all that Dr. Aikins explains. I get the broad strokes, but not the nuance that comes from a common experience. So I can hardly do justice to this book with a short review.

I have read this book three times. And each time I see something new, something that makes me challenge my assumptions … and causes me to rewrite this review. I see any number of places where I disagree with Dr. Aikins’ conclusions, but that is what makes for a healthy discussion within the community and between people seeking solutions to social problems.

But I need to say, in the final analysis, there is much in this book that makes it necessary and worthwhile reading for black leaders, black citizens – and anyone else concerned with returning America to a productive society. A society where  contributions are valued for their inherent worth rather than judged by the skin color of the contributor. A society which features an equality of opportunities rather than legislatively mandating an equality of outcomes.

-- steve

AikinsBookr

While African Americans Slept: Leadership By Parasites

Author: Dr. Lenton Aikins

ISBN: 978-0-9801594-0-0

LCCN: 2007942418

© 2008

ZIT PUBLISHERS


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



Is Sidney Blumenthal attempting to slag McCain as a closet democrat for the purpose of sowing disharmony in the Republican party?

Old News: McCain is not a traditional conservative and may not be a traditional Republican...

No big secret here. Many, myself included, have regarded Senator John McCain as somewhat of a RINO (Republican In Name Only). A politician acting in a similar manner to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Maybe a little bit more fiscally conservative than both men.

So when the Business and Media Institute reported that Clinton sycophant and apologist Blumenthal claimed McCain flirted with becoming an Independent and voting with the democrat caucus, who was surprised?

"Blumenthal Claims Inside Knowledge that McCain Flirted with Leaving GOP
Clinton campaign adviser points to presumptive GOP nominee's positions on torture, taxes, global warming, tobacco and health care as evidence."

"Could John McCain have been the Independent or Democratic senator from Arizona?"

"According to Sidney Blumenthal, a senior adviser for former President Bill Clinton and current adviser to Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton, at one point McCain was going to leave the Republican Party and caucus with Senate Democrats."

“'And although he [McCain] doesn’t want to talk to reporters about it now, there was a time and I was privy to some of those who were involved, did conduct negotiations through third parties about whether or not he would leave the Republican Party and become an independent more or less aligned in the Senate with the Democrats,” said Blumenthal on April 1. Blumenthal did not say when those negotiations took place."

Publicity stunt while hawking his latest book?

"Blumenthal made the remarks before an audience at a Barnes & Noble bookstore to promote his book, 'The Strange Death of Republican America: Chronicles of a Collapsing Party.'"

The title being perhaps wishful thinking as the democrat party destroys itself with its lack of morals, ethics and core beliefs. Pandering to a far-left whack-job coalition to which they must make ever increasing promises to hold together long enough to spin through an election cycle.

No news here...

"Blumenthal, the former Washington bureau chief for Salon.com, referred to McCain’s positions on various issues as evidence he’s not a traditional conservative Republican politician."

“'Now John McCain has emerged as the candidate of the Republican Party,' Blumenthal said. 'He is somebody who, although he says that he is a 100 percent conservative, is to all of us who have watched him over the years, somebody who has taken a stance at odds with fundamental positions that were the orthodoxy of the Republican Party on issues ranging from torture, to Bush’s tax cuts initially, to global warming, to, and I remember, tobacco – the tobacco settlement, and I remember even on health care.'”

No trust, no confidence...

Sidney Blumenthal is widely known to be the Clinton's fawning lapdog, always present and eager for that pat on the head.

Apparently there is nothing legal, or illegal, that he wouldn't do for the Clintons.

"He became a major figure in the grand jury investigation that ended in the impeachment of President Clinton."

"During the investigations by White House independent counsel Kenneth Starr, Blumenthal was called to the Grand Jury to testify on matters related to what Clinton had told both Blumenthal and his senior staff in regard to Monica Lewinsky."

"It was on this occasion that Blumenthal was accused by the independent counsel of seeking to discredit the office of the counsel by passing stories to the media about Starr and his aides."

Rabid partisan and Bush hater...

"Following the end of the Clinton presidency, Blumenthal subsequently wrote a book titled The Clinton Wars published in 2003. The book includes a small biography of Blumenthal, but focuses on his years with the Clintons and in the White House. Other books by Blumenthal include The Permanent Campaign, The Rise of the Counter-Establishment, Pledging Allegiance: The Last Campaign of the Cold War, and How Bush Rules: Chronicles of a Radical Regime."

Blumenthal's background in left-wing journalism is well-chronicled and his articles in salon.com, openDemocracy.net and London's Guardian paint him as a flaming liberal.

Who can even be sure that he heard what he thought he heard correctly?

According to Wikipedia, "On January 7, 2008, while on a trip to advise Hillary Rodham Clinton on her Presidential campaign Blumenthal was arrested for driving while intoxicated in Nashua, New Hampshire. After being stopped for driving 70 miles-per-hour in a 30 mile-per-hour zone, Blumenthal failed a field sobriety test and refused to take a Breathalyzer test."

Is this the appropriate behavior of a senior adviser who will serve the President of the United States if Hillary Clinton is elected? Or does he appear to be one of the Clinton's "I am above the law and it doesn't apply to me" types that were the hallmark of the Clinton Administration?

Bottom line...

No matter how liberal John McCain appears to be, nobody questions his patriotism, love of country and willingness to put it all on the line to defend America. Something that cannot be said of any of the democratic presidential hopeful... who are fighting to overcome their own scandalous past and sell America down the drain to socialism.

What can YOU do?

Do not trust the words of a rabid, partisan lapdog who will apparently do or say anything to secure his personal hour of glory at the side of a major politician.

Acknowledge the fact that John McCain has never been, and probably never will be, a traditional Republican.

Considering the alternative, just on the issue of defending America from its enemies, both foreign and domestic, John McCain's credentials and long service to the government trump anything that can be claimed by the democrats. Therefore, they need to divide and conquer the Republican party in order to even have a whisper of a chance to win.

So your choices are clear: Hillary, with her history of far-left Marxist behavior and the chaos and corruption in the White House; Obama already tainted by a whiff of the Rezko scandal whose admired "spiritual advisor" for 20 years was a virulent anti-American racist with anti-Semitic tendencies; or John McCain, a man who will stand up for America.

Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for their personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.

-- steve

Quote of the day: "The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none."  - Thomas Carlyle

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Blumenthal Claims Inside Knowledge that McCain Flirted with Leaving GOP

Blumenthal|Wikipedia


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



SIGN OF THE TIMES: THE DECREASING VALUE OF "STUFF"

It is a sad realization that I grew up in deprivation. An era when "hand-me-downs" and "cast-offs" not only had value, they were much appreciated.

The local dump provided endless hours of entertainment. Shooting rats and other "varmints" with my BB-gun and locating various and sundry treasures to be salvaged, cleaned-up and put into functional service. 

A trip through the local salvage bin at General Telephone's local service yard was like being handed the keys to geek heaven. All of my friends had "forbidden" extension phones -- not that we spent any real time calling anybody -- but because they were fun to hook up. I was probably the only person on my block to have a multi-line call commander and speaker phone although we still had only one real telephone line -- but every room in the house had their own impromptu intercom.

Later the telephones gave way to old "teletypes" that we imagined had seen service in foreign newsrooms and big corporations who used Telex services. They were intensely mechanical and smelled wonderfully of lubricating oil when they grew hot from "clanking" out their messages. We used punched paper tape to crank out important "spy" messages to our friends and to records "special" information. One of my friends used his teletype to produce a "neighborhood" newsletter which he sold for a whole nickel. The contents were contained in about two-feet of yellow paper with the consistency of newsprint. Later the newer teletypes were used to fashion computer input terminals or connect to mainframe computers using "time-shared" access.

But the real treasures were the computer manuals and operating instructions for exotic technology which were obtained from dumpster diving and cast-offs by friendly local technicians.  I learned to program first in absolute machines language, then symbolic assembly languages and then in higher level languages like Fortran (Formula Translation). Programmers in local companies ran our programs after hours and we waited with great anticipation for days and possibly weeks for the output to be returned. The BASIC (Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) was still a few years off.

Books of all kinds were valuable treasures, to be hoarded, read and re-read, to be traded to others for other good and valuable considerations: a roll of wire, an aging radio or  radio tubes of all types -- (especially the good ones like the 12-volt series with exotic numbers like 12BE6, 12BA6,12AV6, 12AX7 and the 6-volt series like the 6GH8 and 6BE6)

Almost everybody I knew had a technical library of some sorts, a very large "junk box" filled with electronic parts and various and sundry treasures and the persistent desire to build something.

But we also had access to a variety of other entertainments. There was an airport next door (Clover Field AKA Santa Monica Airport) where you could trade your manual labor (mostly cleaning up other people's junk or washing and waxing planes) for plane rides in the Cessna 150's that were extremely common and used as flight school trainers. As for parental permission: the operative guideline was "what they didn't know didn't bother them." But, somehow, they knew you were having fun.

One of my neighbors was a Douglas Aircraft employee who invented the "PetriePool" built from riveted aluminum sheets and looked like a giant one-ended Airstream trailer. The pool was used for a number of television programs and it wasn't uncommon to find Lloyd Bridges (of Sea Hunt fame) fiddling around teaching kids how to swim when he had the time. You could easily sneak on to the relatively nearby movie lots of 20th Century Fox and MGM -- aided and abetted by friendly guards whom you assiduously cultivated (bribed) with bottles of soda.

But the real treasures were the hand-me-downs and cast-offs which provided endless hours of enjoyment and could be used as a form of currency when you wanted new things to play with.

Those days are gone...

At work, I am confronted with a small warehouse full of older computers, books and software. At home, all manners of older electronic devices and a collection of near-new books about recently employed technology. And the sad fact is that you can't find anyone interested in taking them off your hands for FREE.

Schools, for the most part, no longer have the budgets or the inclination to operate a "trade shop program" where you were allowed to take drafting, electric shop, wood shop, metal shop, auto shop and printing along with your academic classes.

For some strange reason, school systems almost demand that everybody be processed into an academic program -- no matter what they really want to do when they grow up. I learned more practical math from my shop teachers than I did in my math classes. "Measure many times, cut once" was the operative guideline. You learned to use tools and never were afraid of practical repairs. The point being that  there are little or no schools existing today to which you can donate your "valuable stuff."

Charities, likewise, seem to be similarly affected. Especially those big charities who formerly accepted all manner of used equipment and now are not willing to accept used computers or software. If it is not almost instantly convertible into money, they are no longer interested in your old stuff. The thought of salvaging parts to train workers to re-build older computers is not even a consideration.

Libraries were always willing to accept donations for their collections or to move them up or down the library system chain. Now they want popular novels and current books that can be sold in their "volunteer" book stores to raise cold, hard cash to be used for "unspecified" special projects and "themed" events. It is too much trouble to actually catalog a book (with library catalogs being distributed by third-party vendors) and place it on a shelf. And, of course, most real librarians have given way to a series of chief library clerks and their minions.

The days when the librarian gave you a lecture on the Dewey Decimal system and the use of a card catalog to research your subject has given way to printing out Wikipedia entries and other computerized research materials. The old card-catalogue drawers are now chi-chi antique decorator accent items -- no longer filled with knowledge, but filled with the odds and ends of real life.

School libraries, who were most appreciative of technical and business-related books, no longer will add anything that does not appear in their computerized catalog to their collections. And they also refuse to allow students to pick and choose among the FREE offerings as if it were too much trouble to set out a free book table or box next to the door.

Most libraries have become de facto computer access points and places to do your homework rather than adjuncts to learning.

Even the charities dealing with the poor and downtrodden in foreign lands no longer want older electronic devices and computer equipment or anything that is not in their native language.

So the dumps, no longer accessible to children due to our over-litigious society, continue to be filled with the detritus of daily living or where the material is shredded for their recycled raw material value.

Forget doing good ... it is now a matter of disposing of unneeded technology. Since most computers and other electronic devices are now classified as hazardous waste, you can't even dump them into the garbage can. Off to the politically correct recycling facility. In California, stores collect a $6 recycling fee when they sell the new computer... and it is anybody's guess as to what really happens to that money.

George Carlin on "Stuff" (contains strong language)

What can YOU do?

Think twice before buying the latest whiz-bang device which is desirable more for its status value than its functionality. The device with more features than you will ever use or even require. Decide whether or not the money can be better invested in your future, your family or even given to charity.

Think about reducing your personal clutter by deciding, in advance, to give up something similar in your burgeoning collection of stuff to make room for your new purchase.

Avoid being a packrat as you age. It is almost a universal fact of life that stuff accumulates -- manage your stuff before it manages you.

Enjoy your stuff as you impossibly wish for the return of the "good old days."

-- steve

Quote of the day: 

The easiest way for your children to learn about money is for you not to have any. - Katharine Whitehorn

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



WHAT DONALD TRUMP AND THE OTHER MOGULS DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW... "HALO MARKETING"

I just finished watching the latest version of the Celebrity Apprentice. In this episode Donald Trump is literally forced to fire Gene Simmons of Kiss rather than the disruptive, disingenous, non-celebrity Omarosa.

Apparently Gene did three egregious things: one, he slighted the client, Kodak, by not making a personal appearance and sending two of his minons; two, he provided what he thought that Kodak needed rather than what they claimed that they really wanted; and three, bringing the much-hated Omarosa to the boardroom along with someone Simmons knew should not be fired.

Even as Trump tried to steer Simmons to returning with a candidate that Trump could easily fire, Simmons took the high road and assumed responsibility for his team's loss -- and brought the worst member of the team to be fired.

Is essence, Gene Simmons forced Trump to make a decision: select which employee would have the greatest value to the ongoing enterprise. There is no question in anyone's mind that Gene Simmons is the celebrity and Omarosa is nothing but an amusing diversion. There is no question that Simmons is creative, outgoing and assumes responsibility for his actions; unlike Omarosa who has an excuse for everything.

So what really happened? Did Trump sacrifice good business practice to appear "fair?"  Was there a problem with Gene's personality overriding all participants? Was there an ego clash with "The Donald?" Was there a plan to fire Simmons early on and bring him back for another task. While we do not know what the rest of the season will bring... this episode highlights the vagaries of real business. [To be noted, famed investor Jim Cramer served as a co-advisor (with Ivanka Trump) and was relatively quiet and openly deferrential to Trump -- hardly the guy that eats CEOs for lunch.]

Whatever the reason, who in his right mind would give up Gene Simmons for a nobody? Which brings us to consider today's topic... The "Halo" effect. Giving more credence, power and respect to a particular individual because of some accomplishment.

ONE-IN-A-HUNDRED -MILLION?

By virtue of birthright, marriage, good luck, productive friends or a combination of timing and circumstances or even raw talent, someone has made it to the top of the ladder. Perhaps they are a billionaire, multi-millionaire or just somebody that appears to be well-accomplished in some field of endeavor. They are viewed by the less fortunate as being surrounded with an almost visible aura, a "halo" if you will.

And now they apparently are trying to market their secrets: through books, tapes, television programs and other media they are holding out the promise that they will share with you their secrets of success.

Well here are the secrets that remain open secrets...

Secret One:  The benefits of starting rich and connected...

When you have the resources to ignore the challenges of daily living (rent, food, transportation, job, etc.) you have time to concentrate on making or increasing your fortune. You are not forced into performing mind-numbing tasks for an a-hole boss who delights in giving you last minute, pressure-packed assignments with short deadlines with no guidance as to how the task must be accomplished or what the final deliverables must look like. Then takes off for his recreational or social activities with a clear mind. And, often, no matter how hard you work, they will either criticize the project to assume ownership and then take credit for your hard work. Such is the way of the world.

Monkey see -- monkey do: Some people are blessed to have accomplished parents or siblings which allows the individual to osmotically absorb the valuable lessons of life which will stand them in good stead in future years. In many cases, the children will follow their parents into the same business, thus bypassing all of the credentialing and qualifications which are needed by others clawing their way up the ladder.

With money comes well-connected friends. Friends who may travel  in similar social or business circles. Friends and others who can bring you great deals not available to lesser mortals, often on a "first look" basis. Being allowed to participate on the "ground floor" with seed capital that maximizes your return on founder's stock.

Secret two: success may be accidental -- never to be repeated...

Many people, though the sheer luck of being in the right place at the right time find themselves riding the golden chariot to public acclaim. Truth be known, these people rarely exhibit special skills and may actually be ineligible for hire by the enterprises that they have created. One famous billionaire can't seem to duplicate their previous massive success -- even with large sums of money and the best paid professionals. Sometimes it comes down to having a great idea and being in the right place at the right time.

Secret three:  Professional publicity where the triumphs are trumpeted and the mistakes are often buried...

Unless one's accomplishments are truly newsworthy, nobody really cares. How many of these "special people" have their own publicists that spend a considerable amount of time, effort and money to cultivate their principal's image or promote their principal's interests? More than you might imagine. Most media outlets are sold on the story by these professionals.

Secret four: almost all of the self-help or success books present the generic basics needed for performing well in almost any field

These books offer life and business generalities which are true for anyone. It is like saying that in order to rise in a corporation you must fit in and be pleasant to your superiors, peers and subordinates. To accomplish great things you need to know the difference between effectiveness and efficiency.(Effectiveness is knowing what task to perform and efficiency is knowing how to perform that task well.

Nowhere in these books are you going to find the secrets to negotiating with politicians looking to swap their support of your project for mutual support of their candidacy. How to deal with recalcitrant bureaucrats and  officials. How to favorably negotiate with unions whose representatives seem less than savory. Or how to finesse those vendors and subcontractors into cutting you a real deal to enlarge your profits.

These books do not mention lying, cheating and stealing. Although it seems that behind every great fortune is a masterstroke of luck or a grand theft of some kind. One need only look at the products that were developed on an employer's nickel and then exploited after the employee left the company.

Secret five: it's all about motivation...

Since these programs will all refer to the basics, what are they good for?  Motivation. Ideas. Whatever. The sad truth is that most people are information junkies who collect "research" materials and "hot to" books -- but, in the final analysis, fail to take action.

Bottom line... there are no real secrets that anyone would be willing to share with you

No matter your present circumstances, it is all up to you to put your plan together. Not everyone possesses the skills of an entrepreneur and damn few people rise to the executive ranks of large corporations to gain fame and fortune. Especially in today's economic environment.

So when that billionaire, outstanding businessman, celebrity and others offer you the key to success if only you purchase their products... take a pass. You can do your own research free at any library or by using the Internet. And if you want to listen to the tapes of some expensive seminar, try e-Bay where the disenchanted often sell their expensive course at pennies on the dollar.  And if you really require motivation, perhaps you are not ready for life's little lessons.

The bottom line is that nobody that really has a valuable secret would be willing to share it with you -- for any amount of money. Common sense tells you that a person with stock-picking software would simply continue to use it surreptitiously making their fortunes ever larger.

Making YOU value their offering ...

The old encyclopedia salesman's trick of imputing great value to their wares is as useful today as it was in the days of yore. The salesman who confront any and all who challenged the price or the worth of his wares with a single statement. "If you got only ONE idea from this material and went on to make a fortune, would you hesitate to buy it now for pennies?" For those afraid of the unknown and those who truly are information junkies -- this is an almost irresistible pitch: very few of us want to be left behind, not knowing what others know or possibly, just possibly, using our new purchase to strike it rich.

What can YOU do?

Decide to take action. To improve your life. To obtain new skills. As you proceed down the path of learning and accomplishment, ideas will seem to spontaneously leap into your mind. Ask yourself each day, "How can I improve that?" How can I make this better? Make it a habit to observe the practices and wants and needs of others. It will pay off somehow, somewhere. If only to save you from paying the cost of that mogul's magic media. Save your money. Reduce your living expenses. Prepare for a breakthrough -- but live well while waiting. Life is a continuous process to be enjoyed rather than a race to an inauspicious finish in your old age.

-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



ALAN GREENSPAN IN PERSPECTIVE: SELLING THE PAST, PROMISING THE FUTURE

There is no doubt that Alan Greenspan was a seminal figure in the financial history of the United States. Love him or hate him, this was the man at the controls of Fed policy.

Now, in his second life as a financial consultant and book author, expect the Greenspan style to switch from an ambiguous and incomprehensible financial-babblespeak to short, crisp sound bites and conversation starters as he pushes his book towards a Number 1 best seller.

The Age of Turbulence

The Age of Turbulence

Adventures in a New World
Alan Greenspan

Book: Hardcover | 6.14 x 9.25in | 544 pages | ISBN 9781594201318 | 17 Sep 2007 | The Penguin Press | Adult | $35.00

Blaming Greenspan for the current  mortgage debacle...

Mr. Greenspan won plaudits for achieving low inflation and unemployment with just two mild recessions during his tenure at the Fed. But more recently his record has taken some knocks. Some critics fault him for not doing more to restrain the stock bubble of the 1990s, and for responding to its eventual bursting with such low interest rates that housing prices subsequently soared.

This can be summed up simply: "a hero one day, a goat on another day." Greenspan's decisions may have led to unintended consequences that were amplified by subsequent events, but he was no more to blame for the current economic situation than any other individual who took advantage of the low interest rates to expand their customer's credit lines. Greenspan was not in charge of "fraud control" or "evildoing."

Wishing he would shut up...

Many people find that Greenspan's political opinions and projection of the country's financial future disturbing to their sensibilities. However, like all citizens, Greenspan is now free from government restrictions or self-imposed censorship and can speak about what is on his mind, regardless of the political consequences.

BUSH ADMINISTRATION:

Mr. Greenspan, who calls himself a "lifelong libertarian Republican," writes that he advised the White House to veto some bills to curb "out-of-control" spending while the Republicans controlled Congress. He says President Bush's failure to do so "was a major mistake." Republicans in Congress, he writes, "swapped principle for power. They ended up with neither. They deserved to lose."

Here Greenspan is absolutely correct. There is no doubt that President Bush's Administration was composed of "Rockefeller Republicans" rather than what the nation thought it was getting, conservative "Reagan Republicans." The President himself is more of a northeastern "gentleman" politician than he is a "straight-talking cowboy." Even today, his fights occur behind closed doors and he appears to be afraid to take on the liberal left in an all-out confrontation --possibly on the grounds that such an attack does not appear to be "Presidential." In any event, what you see is not what you got. And it is not only the President, the Republicans in Congress and the Democrats in Congress seemed to be involved in an orgy of "special interest" spending that has severely impacted our economy.

Continue reading "ALAN GREENSPAN IN PERSPECTIVE: SELLING THE PAST, PROMISING THE FUTURE" »


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



VICENTE FOX BASHES BUSH: Is this a publicity stunt to promote his book?

Today, it seems to be our "focus on books" day. Both coincidently from the same publisher, Penguin Books. And both on powerful leaders: Vicente Fox, ex-President of Mexico, and Alan Greenspan, ex-Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Of course, Greenspan is the more significant and powerful of the two.

Revolution of Hope

Revolution of Hope

The Life, Faith, and Dreams of a Mexican President
Vicente Fox & Rob Allyn 

Book: Hardcover | 5.98 x 9.01in | 400 pages | ISBN 9780670018390 | 04 Oct 2007 | Viking Adult | Adult | $27.95

Dissing President Bush...

It seems that Mexico's former President Vicente Fox, who was widely touted by the Bush Administration as being friendly to the United States and interested in solving our common problems relating to economics, energy, drugs, border-crossing aliens, has personally dissed President Bush in his forthcoming book.

We owe a debt of gratitude to U.S. News & World Report for the following tidbits ...

"Fox raps his border pal as stubborn and 'the cockiest guy I have ever met in my life.'"

"While he expresses a kinship with W, he breaks with the prez on the war and slams the GOP's immigration platform. "

He blames Bush's stubbornness on Iraq for bad international relations, calls his Spanish 'grade-school level,' and admits he didn't think Bush would ever become president. 'I can't honestly say that I had ever seen George W. Bush getting to the White House,' he pens.

From the advance publicity blurb supplied by the publisher...

"When Vicente Fox swept into office in 2000, he broke the dictatorial one-party rule that had strangled Mexico for over seventy years."

Apparently true, but Mexico still remains controlled by its wealthiest families who seem to invest in Mexican politicians as they do in profitable corporations. What is not being controlled by the oligarchs is being divided by the government and the evildoers. The middle class is almost non-existent.

A native son of Mexico, grandson of immigrants from the United States and Spain, Fox worked his way from ranch hand and truck driver to the youngest CEO in the history of Coca-Cola. His political rise from precinct worker to world leader was equally swift.

You think he would have a better record on governmental cooperation with the United States.

As president, Vicente Fox steered Mexico’s fragile young democracy through turbulent times, ushering in six years of economic stability and reform in health care, education, and housing, with increased freedom of the press.

I wonder if he takes into account the American contribution to Mexico's economy: NAFTA, the drug market, the repatriation of money back to worker's families still in Mexico and the reduction of poverty by exporting it to the United States. 

Continue reading "VICENTE FOX BASHES BUSH: Is this a publicity stunt to promote his book?" »


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



A personal reply to TN WALTZ: YOUR BASIC FACTS ON GLOBAL WARMING ARE NOT FACTS and I still think Al Gore is a hypocritical bozo.

In response to my previous blog entry, "Loony Liberal Leftist Global Warming Fanatics: Cow Farts & Moose Burps Endanger the Planet," TN Waltz wrote:

"Here are basic facts about global warming:

- atmospheric CO2 level (at 380 ppmv) is 35% higher than it has been over the 650K (and longer) year period preceding the 20th century when it varied between 180 and 300 ppmv.

- earth has warmed about 0.7(C) = 1.25(F) since 1976. This is Modern global warming.

- the oceans are showing signs of being saturated with the CO2 they can naturally absorb."

First, these are not facts -- they are observational findings which are subject to errors in methodology as well as any internal systemic errors.

As an observation, the atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in various parts of the country are interesting -- but no conclusion can be drawn from these readings other than the CO2 level fluctuates in nature.

While there are problems with historic global terrestrial temperature measurements, you very rarely find anyone willing to discuss the current satellite temperature data which differs from those of ground based measurements and may be more accurate and global than similar terrestrial findings.

To claim this phenomenon is modern global warming is a stretch. Modern is defined as what? Yes, there is some evidence of an upward trend in temperature measurements, but who among you can state, with some degree of certainty, that this is not a naturally occurring long-term cycle with periodic regression to some unknown mean value.   

As for the saturation of oceans with CO2, one must realize that there is a relationship ,which is more or less constant, between the atmospheric CO2 and the CO2 dissolved in the oceans. Due to vapor pressures, this is somewhat of a self-correcting feedback loop which varies according to local conditions.

Waltz goes on to say...

"- if it weren't for the greenhouse effect, the earth would be about 30(C) (54(F)) colder.

And, CO2 is the driver of the effect, whereas water vapor is an amplifying follower for our climate (on Venus, CO2 is pretty much the sole driver of the GHG effect). Therefore GHG effect  is very much real.

We're making it go beyond it's natural cycles seen over that last one million years, and hence we're placing the earth "off design", and from some of the fallout we're witnessing (Arctic sea ice melting out rapidly, to name a recent one), potential putting the system human being need to survive, in peril."

There is no dispute that greenhouse gases help trap heat and many observations and experiments have been used to define the phenomenon. The value for the temperature of the earth without an atmosphere is easy to calculate. Simply add the temperature coefficient derived from solar output less the amount of heat re-radiated into space from all non-black surfaces. The number, if you care, is -17 degrees Celsius or about +1.4 degree Fahrenheit.  For those so inclined, look at the work of Physicist John Tyndall in 1872.

However, depending on what studies you are following, the greatest GHG effect is linked to water vapor. The role of CO2 as a driver is highly disputed and from some studies, CO2 production seems to lag the rise in temperature by about 600 years. Again, nobody is disputing the GHG effect -- what is being disputed is the CO2 contribution. The relative GHG contributions of water vapor to those of CO2 is approximately ten-to-one, making CO2 a minor greenhouse gas. Consider the following statement carefully: if an increment in CO2 warms the earth by some measure, then the vapor pressure of water over the oceans also increases slightly. This is the variable that is so hard to quantify and which gives computerized climate simulation models their forecast variability. Which is why cloud formation, the visible manifestation of water vapor, is so vexing to climatologists... and mathematical computer models. 

The thought that we are pushing nature's cycles is ludicrous. First, nobody really knows or understands the parameters of these cycles. Second, the notion that man is placing the earth "off design" as if there were some grand scheme of things is not exactly a scientific finding. It should be filed under "philosophy" or even "wishful thinking." The local phenomenon that deals with arctic ice cycles cannot be used to provide a causal link to anything other than time, temperature, cloud cover and, possibly, barometric pressure. The thought that man could stop the arctic ice from melting is about as insane as thinking man can prevent the earth's tectonic plates from shifting.

Perhaps if all the loonies on the left jumped at a certain point, a change could be observed. Would that justify legislation to make sure that the loonies traveled to the right spot at the right time under the threat of criminal penalties and that taxation be increased to pay for the travel of those who are economically unable to afford a trip to that mythical right spot at the right time?

Continue reading "A personal reply to TN WALTZ: YOUR BASIC FACTS ON GLOBAL WARMING ARE NOT FACTS and I still think Al Gore is a hypocritical bozo." »


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS