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True Americans


Edward Gibbon (27 April 1737 – 16 January 1794) was an English historian and Member of Parliament. His most important work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788. (that’s a long time ago 😉

One quote of his on ancient Athens I really appreciate is the following:

“In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”

I am truly afraid history is repeating itself. I hope I am wrong. The coming election will be a watershed moment in U.S. history.

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If you don’t read Orange County Register columnist Steven Greenhut on a regular basis, you should.  His column from February 25th is a jewel. It’s entitled, Customers Rule. In this opinion piece, Steven’s main point is this: Why in the hell does the American public and media get themselves all worked up into a lather and put all of their focus on the occasional bad practices of the private sector but rarely focuses this same level of outrage on Bad Government. Here’s a great quote from Steven’s piece: “No matter how demonstrably bad the government may be, legislators, and even many regular folks, focus much outrage at the private sector – the only portion of society that works relatively efficiently and humanely.”

I wonder this, too, Steven. It’s a great question.

Yes, there are bad people in the business world and there are bad businesses, too.  Yes, there is no excuse for fraud and abuse and for the bad people who took Enron down. But where’s this same outrage over BAD government? Sure, JetBlue screwed up badly during the recent snow storms and left a bunch of people on airplanes for WAY too many hours. These people were abused for sure.  But JetBlue came right back and offered to make it right with customers and create a customer Bill of Rights. Now consider the abuse we take from the government, day in and day out? Steven asks a great question on this subject,  “When was the last time the government offered to reimburse you for being stuck on one of its highways or in one of its offices?” Can you say “NEVER!”

At least the majority of businesses listen to the customer. We can’t say that about government. But it’s about time the American public started demanding that government start listening to it.

As it stands now, the American public is sliding down the razor blade of life as long as we do not demand better service from our government officials.  There is nothing worse than energizing incompetents and this is what the American public is doing by not complaining more about our incompetent government.  Start complaining and holding government officials to the same standards we profess to hold business executives to.

As Steven states, “Government always seeks to stop, regulate, control, tax and put the kibosh on new ideas and entrepreneurship.” I couldn’t agree more. In business, one has to think to be successful. Not too many government officials know how to think. In our capitalist economy, if you know how to think, the rewards are sensational for those who can make things happen.

It ain’t brain surgery.

Richard


I have finally been convinced of what I consider to be fact and that is … There is very little difference between the two major political parties.  Now before you take issue with this statement let me elaborate just a little.  First, I know the statement is not original.  Untold numbers of pundits and analysts have been saying the same thing for years.  The primary problem, I believe, is not many people really care one way or another.  Those of us who do care were highly invigorated when the Republicans took back the house in 1994.  Since 1994 the Republican led congress has gone out of their way to conceal their so called conservative viewpoints.  Those of us who voted for a Republican controlled congress did so for a reason but those we put into office put their own interest above those they chose to serve.  Now we are stuck with 535 members of American royalty sucking the lifeblood out of American taxpayers.

Let’s not forget the executive branch either.  I voted twice for “W” and given the choice of Gore and Kerry, I would do it again but “W” gives the appearance of a closet liberal.  Look at our policies on education and immigration. No Child Left Behind is nothing more than Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society with another name.  Every attempt to legislate education rather than attack the core problem further complicates everyone’s life.  Our education problems in the United States are more of a cultural issue than a political issue.  Immigration on the other hand is a huge political issue.  Nothing has been done under the current administration to stem the rising tide of Hispanic immigrants into the United States.  This is an old song but one that needs to be sung by all citizens, natural born or otherwise.

Now we are reading about the document signed between the United States and Mexico in June of 2004.  In case you have not heard the document basically gives Mexicans illegal or otherwise access to Social Security once they have accumulated 18 months of documented working time in the Estados Unidos.  If you do not know how this translates you need to get used to it.  The treaty, or document as it were, has not been sent to congress for ratification.  Why not you ask? Well because Congress only has 60 days to ratify this “treaty” or it becomes a non issue.  Due to the current political climate in the USA, there might just be a little consternation if such a deal between the U.S. and Mexico becomes too widely known. The Bush administration for some reason does not want Congress to let this issue die nor do they want the American public to gain much knowledge about the issue. For more information go to this article on the subject (“Critics say Social Security deal would give billlions to Mexicans”) at the Houston Chronicle Newspaper online.  Interesting reading!

As of this last week we are blessed with a Democrat controlled congress.  I cannot tell you how much better I sleep knowing this bunch of clowns is in charge.  I seriously doubt we will see much difference with the exception of additional taxation.  “W” has almost two years left in office and nothing to lose so I would really appreciate him using his veto powers to try and hold back the tidal wave of entitlements and tax increases we are bound to see.  Minimum wage is just the beginning.  No, I am not against the working man earning a decent wage.  Minimum wage is nothing more than another political football.  The statistics of those earning the minimum wage are very revealing considering that the majority of individuals in this category are young, work part time, are not the sole breadwinner for a family and live above the poverty line.  Why then is such a furor being created about less than 1.5 % of the working population?  The answer is simple; it makes good press and sounds good.  Will raising the minimum wage help those living in poverty?  Probably not, because they will be the first ones laid off and their goods and services will now cost more.  The price of increasing wages is not going to be absorbed by business or by any business owner.  The increase will be absorbed by you and me and any one else who purchases goods and services and this is how it should be.  Can we wipe out poverty?  Can we make someone go to school or strive to be the best they can be?  Can we make laws outlawing ignorance and poverty?  The answers are evident and the answer in all cases is NO.  We can attempt to educate and assist those in need and we can try and instill the desire to succeed in our employees, friends and family but we will never be successful 100% of the time.  Our elected officials would rather make all citizens suffer at the expense of a few.  This is not the prudent way to run a country, business or family.  There comes a time when facts must be faced and the needs of the many may exceed the needs of the few.  Will any politician have the courage to tell the truth and stand behind their belief?  Time will tell, Time will tell!

Terry


Call me names if you want to. Hate me, I don’t care. Here’s another copy of an email that says what I want to say. So … instead of me saying it, I’ll let this author say it. Who is the author? I don’t know (see update in next paragraph). If I knew, I’d give him or her credit. But I like it and here it is for your enjoyment. Just let me say … I’m glad I’m an AMERICAN!

(Update since I first made this blog post: The author is Craig Smith. He first published this article on Nov. 2oth, 2006. You can read Craig’s original article here on the World Net Daily website. Craig R. Smith is an author, commentator and popular media guest because he instantly engages audiences with his common-sense analyses of local, national and global trends. For media interviews iwth Craig please call Holly at 800-950-2428.)

The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll data I found rather hard to believe.  It must be true given the source, right? The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the president.  In essence 2/3s of the citizenry just ain’t happy and want a change.

So being the knuckle dragger I am, I starting thinking, ”What we are so unhappy about?” Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?  Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter?  Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?  Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year. Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state?  Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter?  I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough.  Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all involved.  Whether you are rich or poor they treat your wounds and even, if necessary, send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home.  You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings.  Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes, an officer equipped with a gun and a bulletproof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss.  This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents.  Neighborhoods where 90 percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world?  Maybe that is what has 67 percent of you folks unhappy. The fact is we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen.  No wonder the world loves the U.S., yet has a great disdain for its citizens.  They see us for what we are.  The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don’t have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know.  What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out?  The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating?  Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11?  Is this the president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession?  Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled brats safe from terrorist attacks?  Is he the same Commander-in-Chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me?

Make no mistake about it.  The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom.  There is currently no draft in this country.  They didn’t have to go.  They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ”general” discharge, an ”other than honorable” discharge or, worst case scenario, a ”dishonorable” discharge after a few days in the brig.

So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans?  Say what you want but I blame it on the media.  Their philosophy is “If it bleeds it leads” and they specialize in bad news.  Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts.  How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner?  The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations.  They offer what sells, and when criticized, try to defend their actions by “justifying” them in one way or another.  Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J.  Simpson to write a book and do a TV special about how he didn’t kill his wife, but if he did… It’s Just Insane!

Stop buying the negative venom you are fed everyday by the media.  Shut off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your birdcage.  Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There really is exponentially more good than bad.

WE ARE THE MOST BLESSED PEOPLE ON EARTH; WE SHOULD THANK GOD SEVERAL TIMES PER DAY

By Craig Smith. He first published this article on Nov. 2oth, 2006.

Have a great weekend,

Richard