Monday, November 28, 2011

OWS vs. Tea Party Part 2: Cohesion?

I was debating my liberal friend and we found out that we agree.  I'm a conservative so this was a shock.  She claimed that OWS (Occupy Wall Street) wants the money out of politics, banks reformed, and political monetary perks obliterated.  I agree.  But, is that what OWS really wants?

I'm a curious person, so I like to do research sometimes before I start sputtering at the mouth.  A friend of mine posted an article about OWS from the Guardian (yikes!) on fb and I decided to read it.  I went in with much trepidation.

Here's an excerpt from what the writer Naomi Wolf found OWS to be protesting:

The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process.

No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create kale derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.
No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.

I heartily agree with every point as written.  I'm a conservative, nearly Libertarian, Tea Partier who is now convinced there are stronger wills at work in our government and our media.

I've been screaming about a biased media for years now along with many loud Conservative voices.  Those on the Left have poo-pooed it.  But, alas, now the shoe is on the other foot.  The bias is against OWS.  And, I didn't think so until recently.

The media rushed in at first to gush and love up on the OWS protesters.  They were hailed as the Left's very own Tea Party.  But, the tides have recently turned.  The media outlets have been reporting that OWS doesn't have a cohesive message or vision.  News reports now shine light on the rapes, illegal drug use and filthy conditions, not to mention the "tax payer cost" of OWS.  Hmmmm.  I thought they LOVED the OWS crowd.

What happened?

When I read accounts of what OWS supposedly wants I find myself in agreement.  OWS is a Left movement.  Tea Party is a Right movement.  Yet, there is much that unites the two.  

Now, here I'm going to go a little crazy, and you'll just have to go with it.  Seriously, this is going to sound bizarre.

I believe that both the politicians and the media work in tandem to keep the Liberals and Conservatives mad-hot at each other.  They keep us at each other's throats for their personal gain.

Now, what would that be?

For the media, it's money and viewership.  MSNBC and Fox News can garner precious ad dollars by vehemently fighting the other side.  Plus, politicians have wooed the media the way the USC (Univ. So. Cal.) football program woos ESPN.  And, if there is Left bias, it's that the Left has done a better job of media manipulation.  I wouldn't call the media a State run institution, not yet, but the Right is catching up and when they do, then we'll all be in trouble.  What may be a win now for Liberals will soon be a lose for all Americans.

For the politicians, it's distraction.  If they keep the Left and the Right in war with each other then we can't see what they're doing.  What they're really doing.  We can't see the sweet backroom dealings, monies exchanging hands, their profiting from insider information, and all the other ways politicians increase their networths by utilizing public service for personal gain.  They keep us busy bickering over our differences while they've just made another cool million.

Here's the deal.  Yes, I'm prone to conspiracy theories, but I firmly believe that when you travel the money trail it will lead you to a culprit.  The lust of money is the root of all evil.  Follow the money and you will discover truth.

Please don't take my word for it.  Please don't jump to your own pre-recorded conclusions about what you know of the Left or the Right.  Please stop identifying yourself as a Conservative or Liberal for a few precious moments and do research on your own.  Stay balanced, stay neutral and see what you unearth.

You are more than a tag line for a political party.  You are more than a drone in a sea of people fighting for their chosen brand of justice.  You have an amazing mind that can move beyond the hype and the (pardon me) crap you've been spoon fed.  Step out of that box for a little bit and see what you can find.

Invest in yourself, your family and friends, and your country.  Partake of neutral, truth-seeking research.  Read both sides--no matter how painful.  Gather facts.  Look at data.  See what's really going on in this country.  It will probably rock your world.

Here's the link to the Guardian article:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

NBA: National Billionaire Argument

Let me be clear, I'm not a basketball fan.  I feel any game is only worth watching for the final 3 minutes, and then only if it's close.  My ire rises each March as my favorite news radio shows are shelved in favor of the sound of squeaking rubber shoes and bouncing balls on a wooden floor.  

So, I go into the NBA lockout debacle with at the least a disinterested demeanor.

I just finished reading an article stating that Americans are ticked off at the Billionaires squabbling with Millionaires over dinero.  Really?  In this economy, who would've thunk it?  (That's called sarcasm.)

The jobs lost, the paychecks diminished and the businesses affected by this money showdown display just how self-centered these princesses can be.  I'm personally disgusted that a vendor who relies on NBA games to earn his or her living has to now rely on foodstamps to get through the winter.

The players and owners only thought of themselves.  They never once thought about that man or woman who would suffer great financial setbacks due to the lockout.  They never once thought about that person making single digit percentages of what they make.  They never once thought of anyone but themselves and increasing their own bank accounts.

Ego runs our world.  Ego ruins our world.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Seek First To Understand

Thanks, Dr. Covey, that's a good habit.  Seek first to understand.

We need to understand, clearly and correctly, before we start bellowing into our own bullhorns.

I posted this excerpt from my last post on FB:

Sometimes it's easier just to use the old standbys.  We all have them.  An issue arises, say the death penalty, gay marriage, abortion, taxes, social programs, you name it, and we simply play the recorder in our heads.  We are firm on the issue and we speak our written script, dismissing the ideas of others and blockading our own ability to reassess.  

This can be good and it can be bad.  

It can be good because when we've made a decision on a particular issue, we don't waffle based on the latest or loudest argument.  We can stay firm in our most core beliefs. 

However, it can be bad because what if we need to hear a new thought on the subject?  What if we made up our minds on that subject in youth or before we had all the information we have today?  We are continually learning, growing, maturing, regardless of our age.  I keep telling my kids that learning is not just at school and it never ends; it's a lifelong process. 

People thought this was akin to inviting them to get up on their own soapboxes and tell me either publicly or in a private message exactly why they are "against" or "for" gay marriage, death penalty, abortion, etc. you name it.

Let me be blunt: I don't care.  My point was not to give my peeps an outlet for their preconceived ideas.  My point was exactly the OPPOSITE!  It was to make them THINK about the other side of the argument to which they so steadfastly adhere.

And, maybe, with a little THOUGHT and a lot less sputtering, we can all quietly examine our beliefs, core or otherwise.  And maybe that will make our beliefs stronger.  Or maybe that will open a door for us to join the other side that we've demonized for so long.  Or maybe it will only (but importantly) give us an opportunity to think a bit, to examine clearly and carefully our beliefs and why we hold them dear.

I had a friend who was adamantly for a woman's right to choose.  And, I was helping him become a Christian.  And, I didn't fight him over it, but I asked him to think about it because I believe that you cannot be FOR abortion and FOR the death penalty when God was pretty clear about the 6th Commandment: "You shall not murder."

My friend thought about it and came to the realization that it was his mother's core belief, not his own.  She believed in a woman's right to choose for very concrete reasons.  He understood that he was carrying HER belief, not his own, as a flag of honor.  In grasping that concept he was able to disown the belief and research his own views on the subject.  He came up with his OWN belief.  

I won't tell you what it is because it doesn't matter what side he chose, the important part is that he made up his own mind.  He spent time talking to his mentor and others that he respected and looked into what information was available on both sides of the issues.  Then, he came up with his own viewpoint.

And that's not to say that it won't change.  Or it should.  But it might.  And, is that bad if we're continually growing, learning and developing as we should?

The 24/7 news channels and explosive talk shows don't allow for examination of our beliefs, changes in thought, or adapting to new information.  The one who screams loudest wins!  The one who gets the audience on their side wins!  The one who has the most camera time wins!

We need less winners and more philosophers.

And, what we DESPERATELY need more of is quiet.  We can't listen when our mouths are open and a dozen people are trying to shout us down.  We need time to think, closed mouths to hear, and prayerful introspection of our core values to understand why we hold them.

Seek first to understand.  Gather.  Research.  Listen.  THEN, tell me exactly what you believe and why.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Sometimes it's easier just to use the old standbys.  We all have them.  An issue arises, say the death penalty, gay marriage, abortion, taxes, social programs, you name it, and we simply play the recorder in our heads.  We are firm on the issue and we speak our written script, dismissing the ideas of others and blockading our own ability to reassess.

This can be good and it can be bad.

It can be good because when we've made a decision on a particular issue, we don't waffle based on the latest or loudest argument.  We can stay firm in our most core beliefs.  

However, it can be bad because what if we need to hear a new thought on the subject?  What if we made up our minds on that subject in youth or before we had all the information we have today?  We are continually learning, growing, maturing, regardless of our age.  I keep telling my kids that learning is not just at school and it never ends; it's a lifelong process.

So, again this morning I was confronted with an issue of mine I normally dismiss.  I am against missionaries.  I know, I'm a heathen.  But, here's my reasoning.  I believe so much in "teaching a man to fish" that I believe that we should have missionaries teaching natives in-country to proselytize.  Not interlopers moving in and leading the band, but residents spearheading the process.  To me, missionaries should engage in only temporary, end-in-sight duties.

I have this fringe friend who is a missionary in Haiti.  Awesome barely begins to describe her and her family.  They are amazingly cool people with such strength and faith that it makes me melt.  And, they live in Haiti.  And they've adopted Haitian kids.  And they plan to stay there.  Haiti is home.

A few weeks ago they were robbed.  At gun point.  In the middle of the night.  Scary doesn't quite describe the terror they went through. I was like, get out!  Get out!  Get out!  And, they stayed.

Recently it's gotten worse there, and finally they made the agonizing decision to break up the family.  She left with the little ones, and he stayed behind with the kids who lacked travel papers.  They are separated, and to them it will be temporary, until things calm down in Haiti.  And, I'm thinking, yeah, things will never be calm in Haiti...

So, I struggle with thinking that they need to be out of Haiti, that they shouldn't live there, that they are foolish to put their children's lives and their own at risk, and yet simultaneously knowing they are making a concrete difference in God's children's lives.  I struggle with wondering how much of their own ego is tied up in what they do, how much is tied into selfishness of elevated status in church circles, yet I know they live in a hell hole there compared to here, that their lives are sickeningly tough and most of us would fail.

I struggle with at once holding two thoughts in my head: they are fools and they are saints.  

I do have to state clearly and emphatically that I do NOT struggle with praying for them, loving on them, giving them my good thoughts and highest hopes for safety and success.  I do all that willingly and with an open heart because I can rise above my issues to love on people.  We are all God's children. 

I struggle with my own conceptions, whether correct or false, regarding missionaries and their divine calling.  It comes to light with every crisis this family goes through.  I wrestle with my own thoughts on the subject.  And, please don't tell me to read a book about a missionary's account, because my problem with missionaries is not the people themselves.  Or the people whose lives they touch.  Or the wonderful work they do.  Or the sharing of Christ.  It's not the good they do, trust me, I can see the good works.

I struggle with trusting the ability of foreigners to make radical changes in countries where locals cannot or will not.  I struggle with the process and definition.  I struggle with thinking that missionaries are delusional in believing they can create a utopia in hell.  I struggle with the parental directive to ensure the safety of one's own children.  I struggle with Kum-ba-yah sung around a campfire and missionaries in Jehova Witness' skirts taking care of the "little black babies."  I struggle with a lot of my own prejudice against rigid church standards and freakish adherence to literal Biblical verse.

I struggle with loving people and not understanding what they do, and thinking they could be doing harm but since everyone supports them, then how can they be doing harm, and if any action saves just one person is it worth it, even if you lose everything else?


I struggle.  And, I pray.  And, I try to rethink my "solid" beliefs.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Movement vs. Tea Party Events

The Mainstream Media is simply going Lady GaGa over Occupy Wall Street (OWS).  FINALLY, they have their own Tea Party-ish movement to blather on about and gush overtly over!  Talk about hormone-crazed teenagers running amok with few facts and misplaced bubbling excitement--oh, I'm talking about the press here, not OWS.

The title of this post is a conundrum, you can't really categorize OWS as an organized movement like the Tea Party.  

Really, the Tea Party is a group of people coming together with a united goal of smaller government intervention.  It's many people with a central idea using organized public events to make a point.  

While, OWS is an organization, specifically an offshoot of ACORN, gathering a group of people to do their bidding.  In other words, it's a few people with some central themes corralling the useful masses to their own end.  

Tea Partiers have events, OWS'ers sleep on the street.

I can see where the Mainstream Media are so confused.  They don't understand that Tea Party Events END.  They have start and finish times.  They have a central theme.  They have organized speakers with stages and microphones.  The audience leaves no trash.

OWS goes on and on.  It has no end.  There is no central theme, no focus.  The only organization are buses provided (by an ACORN offshoot) to take them to another site when necessary.  There is no stage, only the loudest bullhorn of the moment.  The OWS'ers wallow in their own trash.

Yes, that is very confusing to the press that would prefer the two be equal, just different sides of the issue.  

The Tea Party and OWS are not equal.  They cannot be correlated.  One is a political movement, and the other a media circus.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Herman Cain Sexual Harassment Scandal

If you were an adult in the business world 20+ years ago, then you remember the insanity of "Sexual Harassment."  It was crazy.  If you were a man you remember the fear.  If you were a woman, you remember prickling at every whisper, picture and joke.

I remember what it was like all those years ago in the heady days of sexual harassment allegations against every deep pocket in America.  

We trained staff, we held seminars, we assumed guilt before innocence, and so many top heads, eager to get their names out of the newspaper or off the water cooler radar paid off their "victims" replete with non-disclosure contracts rather than fight their innocence.  All a man had to do was sneeze and a woman desiring a little more spending money could sue and earn her way to a better car, a nicer home or a new wardrobe.  

Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate that the girly calendars and off-color humor were eradicated from the workplace.  However, I also personally know of numerous bogus cases that did damage and resulted in ill-gotten gains.

Herman Cain's "scandal" isn't so much a scandal as it is a time capsule.  How can we continually judge people in the past based on current knowledge?  

Herman Cain may be guilty or may not be guilty of something.  It doesn't matter.  The debate was settled decades ago to everyone's satisfaction, and unless THERE IS A CLEAR PATTERN of bad behavior since, then we need to put this issue to bed.  Um, but not in THAT know.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Scam

So, you're mad at the bank that loaned you the money to overspend on education loans to get a worthless degree?


Let's remember who's at fault.  There are two bodies at which to be mad, but neither is a Big Bank or Financial Institution.

#1 YOU!  You signed the documents.  You initiated the loan.  You assumed the debt.  You are to blame.

#2 UNIVERSITIES!  They came up with worthless degrees that do not correspond with actual workplace jobs.  If your degree comprises the studying of social issues then your chances for working at a competitive wage are not only diminished but may be non-existent.  Companies want real degrees with real purpose.  They want laser beam focus of curriculum related to job duties.  Universities hand out pieces of graduation paper but do not give direction for acquiring post-degree employment.

Let's put the blame where it firmly belongs, with the people doing the most damage: Students taking on enormous debt without thought to how they will pay it off, and Universities designing curriculum with little regard to the actual needs of employers.