Thursday, December 31, 2015

Mothers Eyes

When you look into the face of our children we see the changes that occur over the years, the growth and potential, the hope and promise.  When we look do we wonder if our parents did the same?  They say that our future lies within those little faces and in some respects I guess that’s true.  How we mold them and care for them, how we prepare them for the uncertainties of life, those are the preparations we can do for them.  At the same time they look back at us and see only hope and love and the unspoken promise of life and safety.

Each of our leaders had a mother, or I think they all did and each of those mothers had at least one incident of hope deep in her heart over the future of that innocent little child;  that hope that they could grow to be happy and healthy.  Success, only as a passing thought, very few mothers want more than health and happiness, for in that moment when a child’s eyes meets his mothers the connection of the spirit is indescribably tender and innocent.  

I wonder too how often our leaders think of their mothers and think of the hardships endured in raising them, nurturing them and cuddling them to keep them warm and safe.  Do they ever entertain the notion of their responsibility to those initial feelings of hope and trust or have they simply forgotten the depths of love that once permeated though their own mother’s optimistic eyes? 

In a few short months I send my a son on a journey that will inevitably help him to become a MAN, not just a male but a responsible, caring individual who shares his skills and serves others while learning to be responsible, learning the value of work to eventually pay his own way and earn a living, raising his own children in hope and love.  I will send him off with tears in my eyes and the remembrance of his tiny face as he looked back at me, his small, grasping fingers holding on to mine as if to say, “don’t let go, I’m too small to do this on my own but as long as I have you to hold onto I’ll be ok”  His eyes staring intently into mine, memorizing my face so that one day if he needs to remember who he is, my face will help to bring him home.  Even on the morning when he turns to leave I will see his eyes look into mine, but now with courage, as if to say, “Now I’m ready, I think, thanks for not letting go, thanks for holding my hand, thank you dad, I love you mom.”

Our leaders have forgotten that connection and not just with their loving mothers but with the constituents who gave birth to their service.  They have forsaken the very notion of service and duty and replaced that sacred trust with greed and corruption, never blinking at the cost of their deceit and the untold waste of their treachery.

I’m sure there are a few politicians who are honest, who truly try toward trust and dignity but that old adage of “with great power comes great responsibility” and its evil cousin, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely", rings ever so true.  By the way the origin of that saying is attributed to John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902) or simply knows as Lord Acton who originally stated:  "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

The assumption of great men being almost always bad has some merit and historically we can see plenty of examples of good men turning evil when confronted with too much power. What did their mothers think? What did there mothers hope for those great men as they floundered spiritually but excelled politically?  What did their fathers think as they saw their sons and daughters wallow in the quagmire of deceit and political pretense, knowing that in their eyes once lived the innocent and loving child, filled with hope and trust and a child love? 

When you listen to the politicians, do they really believe what their saying? Do they believe that we believe in what their saying? They must because they continue to get elected, year after year they spout the same rhetorical slop and we as a people gobble it up, like starved pigs at an empty trough.   We should be ashamed at the depravity of our own selfish desires as we continue to follow those who exhibit such obviously degenerate and decadent attitudes toward those they serve.

The average wealth of a senator is around 12 to 14 million, for a congressman it’s around the 3.4 million mark, making those who serve among the wealthiest in the country as reported by  Politics has become this countries number one source for wealth and those we elect will be swallowed whole into the pit of its depravity or will be almost immediately regurgitated and rejected, sent packing with the stain and brand of failure emblazoned on their foreheads, never able to return.  The honest will be swallowed and brainwashed, the descent dirtied and sullied, tortured until they too fall within lockstep of the horrendous pressures within the evil political midfield. And if you think this is unique to American politics, think again.  Look at the systems of virtually every country and the same hideous and insanely greedy leaders fill the ranks of the politicians.

Their mother’s hope of happiness was forfeit for power and position, the gleam of faith that brightly shined from mother to son is dulled and faded.  Our country is almost lost, almost without hope, but there are those babes in mothers arms still to come, those honest and true who will not fail, will not fall prey, that might come forth and take that stand that will revive our future, restore our greatness while maintaining their own precious integrity. 

There may be leaders that stand against the political machinery, impervious to the ravenous and insatiable desire for wealth and power, who in the end will show the light of reason to the others and in so doing create a restoration of the beauty and simplicity of our constitution.   And so I pray….As we all must pray for those who are to come and for those fighting the fight against the evils within.  Let us make 2016 a new kind of year.  Let us make a year of the bounty of honesty and integrity.  Let set the example for others to follow.  Let us start with our children and when they see us acting honestly and with integrity maybe we can turn things around and in time we can look back to 2016 and know that’s when it all started…to get better.  

Monday, December 28, 2015

Trying Trump.

For all the negatives portrayed about Trump I want to look at the reality of what Donald Trump can offer the country in a constructive and somewhat unbiased manner.  I hear the news about Trump and 90% of it is negative.  Despite those negative reports and opinions he continues to soar in the polls.

Trump has reached a cord of soothing (albeit harsh at times and controversial it is welcoming to millions of Americans) rhetoric with many, albeit mostly white and male, some female but all strong Americans with a strong following among many who work hard, believe in something and consider themselves to be honest and true Americans.

I want to state emphatically that I have not made up my mind.  I am seriously looking at Carson and Cruz, with an outside glance at Carly Fiorina and I want to keep my mind open to whatever comes my way.  It’s way too early to take a side, but I am troubled by the harsh, unfair media that Donald Trump is getting just because he is white and successful.

There is nothing negative about being white or successful but you wouldn’t know it by the media bias that is promoting the negatives of trump in almost every instance.  He is portrayed as bombastic, pompous and ignorant, with a few splashes of racism just to keep it interesting.

Let’s look at the man Donald Trump and then judge for ourselves the value of such a man and let’s look at him as a potential leader who may have the ability to forge new relationships with difficult countries and perhaps marginalize their even more dangerous leaders. First let’s look at what he is able to do and what he’s done:

Failures, he’s had a lot.  From trying to break into selling Trump vodka to selling toys (board games) he’s lost millions.  Then there was Trump University a dismal failure and he was sued over it.   Trump stakes were a meaty failure while trump mortgage had a dismal and was a fiery failure…He has had some spectacular failures.  But failure like all other ventures in life can bring a greater understanding of the realities of life as opposed to those who live only from success to success.  For those few who seldom fail the outlook of reality is skewed by the very successes.  They lack the basic understanding of humanity and humility (yes I said humility, meaning teachable or the ability to change in face of failure).  I therefore postulate that Trumps failures have in fact created a potentially more balanced and effective leader

His successes have shown us that he is very good at what he does, but only within a set and specific model, he is very good at real estate and very good at negotiations with a majority of his successes coming from real estate and his TV show the Apprentice.  But when you look at his successes and failures you start to understand the leader that America needs.  He has an uncanny ability to see the risks of a situation.  His real estate success is who Donald Trump is.  He is not a huckster or pitchman and every time he’s tried to move outside his strength he has failed.  But even those attempts the demonstration of his character shines through; he continually wants to improve and change and develop, never giving up.  

Donald Trump may have failed but in those failures he has still amassed a 10 billion fortune and all that from an initial 1 million investment.  Before you start saying what you would do with a millions dollars, let me remind you that making ten billion from one million is the same as making 1,000,000 from an investment of 100.  When looked at it in these terms Donald Trump is a virtual genius and very skilled at making money. 

Further evidence of his abilities is derived from his failures.  When we look at Abraham Lincoln we are impressed by how often he failed in his elections and applaud his tenacity.  Why do we not do the same with Donald Trump?  I am only making the comparison between the two to show how failures are nothing more than a veiled view of success where tenacity is the binding factor.  Both Lincoln and a score of others have failed miserably prior to success and most have stated the need for failure in order to understand the value of those future successes. 

For me it is those failures that have made the measure of a man that I can associate with.  Why would I want to vote for a person who has no idea what failure is or what loosing is and who has never had to deal with the consequences of actions?  One candidate comes to mind, Jeb Bush.  Sure he was a fairly successful Governor of Florida but what else has he done and honestly his poles show how the people feel about him and his lack of personality and depth.  He is probably a nice guy but what we need is a leader who has experienced life in all its varieties and has consistently risen above the challenges.

I also like the way Trump talks.  I like the way he never backs down and attacks the press and other naysayers, he does not capitulate nor surrender and perhaps like Winston Churchill, Trump has learned to “never, never, never surrender”  isn’t it time we had a strong leader, a leader with a real personality and not a prompted speech to indicate breathing and inflection?  Isn’t it time that we had a man who speaks his mind?

What are we afraid of, insulting Mexico, or saying something not quite right to some other country or despotic leader when we all know what they want and there willingness  to say and do anything to get the billions that we dole out around the world.  I want a leader who will say something, and be rude if need be, be strong and bombastic with an air of superiority, because Damn it,  we are superior, we are great and we are the harbinger of 90% of the worlds charity and good works, the world needs to know how good we are.  Stop apologizing, and stop taking the blame for whom and what we are.  We are great, we are charitable, we are successful and we are good.

The USA needs a spokesman that will not apologize, bow down or kowtow to the despots of the world and we need a leader who actually creates fear in the hearts of those who do not like us.  I hate to say it this way but we need a Putin and as far as I can see the only leader who has Putin like traits just so happens to be Donald Trump.  But as I said in the beginning I will not discount Cruz or Carson, or even Carly Fiorina or even Bush for that matter.  They can do what they will to garner my vote but I’m looking for a leader, not just a puppet to spout the party line or a marginalized politician who thinks more about their pole numbers than they do about my future.
What I really think is Trumps biggest advantage is in the fact that he does not speak through the filter of political correctness.  He doesn’t really care what others think about what he says. In the very real measure of successes and failures Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson and to some extant Ted Cruz have all been successful outside of politics and that at least puts them on my radar.  Political success is meaningless.  We have enough bureaucrats running and meddling around, what we need are statesman, political to some degree but realizing the true strength of this country is not in the government but in the hearts and minds and muscle of those they represent.

The final question is, do we want another whitewashed (no reference to the color white was intended) political hack, a man or woman (not Hillary) that is self assured in their abilities; standing for the right without the help of a focus group or teleprompter.   Do we want a leader or a committee as our President?  I want a leader, we’ve already had the committees and we all know that outcome.  

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Joy to the World

There is an economic indicator that has gone unreported and will have devastating consequences if left unchecked.  How this one marker of our countries recovery has gone unreported is perhaps another indicator of the depth of the damage that families have had to endure over the last 8 years.

Many say the economy has gotten better and that families are more secure than in the past.  Many postulate that the recovery was a success and that the country is on the road to economic recovery once again.  But the reality of any economy has to be measured by the strength of its individual members and in this case the measure for success is simply not there.

60% of all Americans have less than a thousand dollars in saving.  Before you gloss over that staggering number, think about what you have in savings?  How hard were you hit by the continuing recession?  I say continuing because a recession should not just be measured by the technical indicator of two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth as measured by a country's gross domestic product (GDP).  A recession is both a national measure and an individual measure.  But when the individual measure of risk involves a significant number of the population the GDP measure should be discounted, while the national measures of grouped individuals should be promoted.

That’s what we have now and that’s why we are still in a recession.  What does it matter if the country is going strong if the citizens of that country continue to suffer and struggle? 

When 60% of Americans have less than a $1,000 dollars the risk of emergency fallout is critical.  In addition to the above number 21% of those surveyed (5,000) had no saving at all.  What happens when a car breaks down, or a hospital stay occurs, or a broken bone or even a loss of a job?  The risks to life become dire when 60% of all Americans run the risk of total failure from life’s common events.  This is not economic recovery; this is the reality of our economic policies and the absolute disregard for the people of this country.

I must mention that there is a trend afoot that might have some measure of influence over the above numbers and that is the lack of desire toward accumulating saving’s.  Many simply refuse to save and willingly live paycheck to paycheck.  They buy too much, they want too much and they are unhappy with the prospect of driving a used car as opposed to a used car.  They have forsaken frugality and the joys of security for the pleasures of now.

The trend not to save may have some influence over the 60% discussed but there is no measure to indicate what percentage of people succumbs to the pressures of selfishness over savings.  The indicator of past economics however does put a clear picture of personal responsibility with the understanding that prior to the past recession the number of those who had significant savings was far higher and those without at least a $1,000 was significantly lower.

Is it the entire governments fault?  Do the people have a role to play in this looming disaster?  From a political view, I am the Political Dad, so speaking politically should not be a surprise, but from that political view the democrats blame big business and the
Republicans blame the Democrats.  Only a handful of candidates are placing blame on the government. 

Trump wants to lower taxes significantly and that will have a serious impact on the government’s ability to collect revenues.  Ted Cruze also wants to lower taxes and even Jeb bush, yes he is still in the race, wants to lower taxes.  But the question arises, is it simply the ability to save that is the question of personal economic health?  Will lower taxes help the individual to save more or will they simply spend more?

The real question is not about money at all in fact the real issue is in understanding the difference between pleasure and joy.  In short and apart from the economics that have affected all of us is that basic understanding that pleasure always comes from something outside of you, while joy is realized from within.

We may get great pleasure from that new car or a new house or new clothes etc…but the fleeting and temporary condition that is pleasure never lasts and must be supplanted with other external stimulus in order to be sustained. 

We get great joy from delving deep into our selves, loving who we are and what we have, being appreciative of the blessings that surround us.  Joy cannot be taken away nor diminished by age or use.  Joy builds like a bank account, growing stronger as we deposit positive thoughts and memories. 

The problem with so many perhaps is that while pleasure costs money and is easy to obtain the long term effects quickly fade away.  Joy requires time and attention; it requires love and devotion, thoughts and thoughtfulness toward others and ourselves.  

 With the current recession raging unchecked in most of our lives and with a government and leaders who fail to understand the significance of their policies we are not powerless to create that significant change that will lift our spirits and our lives out of the selfish pool of despair. 

Don’t get me wrong we cannot pay our bills with an increase of joy but we can learn to live more fully and do so with less expenditure, creating a healthy, positive life style that will allow us to save more and be more balanced economically and spiritually.

Especially now, during this Christmas Season (noticed I did not use the irreverent xmas) when our minds are more in tune with the selfless and more prone to service.  We are a great and resilient people but we should never forget from whence we came.  As I proclaim to all who read I am a child of God and acknowledge his parentage to me.  I am of royal birth and understand my duties to live by the royal creed of “men are that they might have joy” (2Nephi 25, the Book of Mormon)

Merry Christmas to one and all….

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Trouble with Trump

The trouble with Trump is that the mainstream will never get behind his rhetoric and his maverick like manner.  They who profess to know it all will simply take a blind mans view of what he has accomplished and refuse him the chance to do what he knows how to do.  Trump may have to settle for the rest of the voting population if he wants to get elected.

Maybe not a bad tactic but very few candidates ever get to the top without the old guard having a major say in the end result.  Most of the money is with the power brokers and the died in the wool party people who claim to have our best interests at heart but very rarely allow any outsiders to the party, regardless of the party.

Obama was said to be an outsider but it is easy to see how the political protectors latched onto his candidacy and helped to launch his takeover of Hillary’s alleged coronation of 2008.  They could tell by the winds of change that he was the man to follow and even when Romney ran in 2012 the machinery was well oiled to follow the first Black President back to the Whitehouse, Democrats and Republicans together to ensure that their candidate was elected.

We have a different scenario this time around.  There is the play toward the first woman president and some say it is finally Hillary’s turn urn toward an office that should have been hers, leaving many to believe in an another coronation scenario with only the process of a supposed election to complete the process.  But this time there is Trump.  With current numbers running in the high 40’s percentile and a growing following of followers the steamroller that is the Trump campaign may serve too much for even the party bosses to deal with.

Elections are often like the weather with too many variables to judge clearly any future outcomes but in this case the idea of a strong leader with strong opinions and a strong personality is playing very positively with the conservative crowd and the independents.  These two factions can sway an election and could, under the right circumstances prove too much for the power brokers to stop.

When the right questions are asked and the logical answers are provided the bombastic and pretentious leaders of both parties may give sway to the inevitability of a Trump Whitehouse.  For example, when one looks at Trump as a leader of a very successful real estate empire and not the screaming and ranting candidate perhaps the perception may change a little toward the positive. 

It is very unlikely that a person of his wealth and position could have been realized without some level of self control and measure of compromise.  It is also unlikely that he could have achieved what he has achieved without the ability to look rationally at the process of negotiations and the skill of reading and understanding the situations of any particular moment.  We need to ask ourselves, would Trump risk a business venture that is worth millions by acting in an inappropriate manner or spouting off some rude comment about some leader of a rival corporation?  Probably not.

When we look at Trump as an astute businessman who has earned the title of success in almost every measure, then why is it so difficult to believe that he would act rationally when confronted by an international issue or difficult counties like North Korea or Iran, or leaders like Putin or the Saudi Royalty?  The opposition would like us to think that Trump is radical and way out in right field with outlandish comments that smack of extremism but in his business life when has he really been extreme?   When has his outlandish mannerism cost him money?  When has his evasive and rude nature ever gotten in the way of his nature as a keen businessman?

I am not the expert on all things Trump but when we look at the history of the man and his success as a businessman perhaps it’s only fair to give him the credit due for his accomplishments and how those same skills may help this country become great again, as he is so fond of saying?

There are risks with any leader that rises to the status of President of the United States.  They have the power that no other man in the world has and it is important to understand the person behind that power.  At the same time it’s only fair to look at the person as that person really is, good and bad and what they can do for this country.

Will Trump be a good president? Will the weather be warmer or colder in a week from now?  Will Hillary be a strong and positive force for good?  Maybe it is a crap shoot that costs billions for those who want to play but in the end does it really matter who is our next president?  I think it does. 

The last president has done wonders for weakening our countries powerful position and our economy.  The next president may be just as bad but really can we really do any worse?  I can’t wait to hear the rational….please at least write something interesting. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Half full

Yesterday my wife comes home and has this look on her face ….It’s at this point that I start to get worried.  My mind starts to reel and the process of fabrication brings to mind every possible scenario of mishap or misstep with each compounding on its self until I am ready to divulge the hidden body of Jimmy Hoffa.

 The questions of what did I do and how much trouble am I in starts to take over with the realization that it doesn’t really matter what I did, the look alone is enough to insinuate and prosecute all the guilt I have done, and will do for years to come, especially if I don’t know what it is I’ve done.  Aren’t I supposed to know what I’ve done, even if I don’t have a clue?  Like most males my mind starts racing for those patterns and excuses that most of us have tucked away deep inside for such an occasion….Even for those positive “I didn’t do anything” moments the fear that we will get caught is a constant fear.

I think she could see the look of impending doom and despair on my face as I struggled to grasp the severity of a situation I had no clue about  (this is a good point to explain that even if we don’t know what we did wrong, or even if we think we did nothing wrong that primeval gene within the male mind lingers in our brains forcing us to think we’re in trouble, even when we’re not)  so she softens her voice and proceeds to tell me that… the window on the driver side of the car won’t roll up….The Neanderthal like processing of my mind keep me staring in disbelief even when the “look” was no longer dangerous to me I had trouble wrapping my mind around the reality of the situation.  And then it hit…. 

Oh my gosh, it was like the world being lifted form Atlas’s shoulders; and for those of you who don’t know who Atlas was, he’s the guy holding up the world, just barely, as he struggles to maintain not only his balance but the balance of the world, trying his best to keep it from wobbling and crumbling to the ground.  I have to point out in this scenario of Greek Mythology that even though Atlas and others were considered Titans and they were God like, even as gods, didn’t he have to be standing on something while holding up the earth? I mean how could he be holding up the earth while not standing on something?

So, from impending doom to a broken window the two do not compare in severity, but how often do we project our own level of distress on minor mishaps of our lives creating apocalyptic feelings of anguish and related self imposed suffering and guilt.  We are, it seems a negative people with a propensity toward the surrealistic and irrational with a tendency toward the most impossible and most improbable; “we’re all going to die” mindset brought on by the lack of milk in the fridge.

That proverbial cup may indeed be half full but in our pessimistic and enthusiastically negative demeanor we see only that which is not there, instead we focus our eyes on what has passed, what has lapsed and what might happen, letting our minds wander while the reality of opportunity slips through our vision and our failing grasp.  

Politically we are a broken and downhearted people that look toward others to solve our issues.  We place hope and faith in many who are more messed up that we and pray that they will solve our futures, fix our present and in some cases erase our past. 

Politics invariably brings out the worst in most while those left standing are shells of what used to be.  The infighting and the overall battles may equal the war to come but the battle weary fighters have little left over when the smoke and muck clear from the battlefield that is politics.

Trump has in some ways, and so has Carson, been able to stand aloof from the rest.  Their letting others stand shoulder to shoulder, away from the blows and shots that leave lasting scars, while trump and Carson maintain a clear path to a hopeful victory.   We need that hope again, a hope that Reagan portrayed.

Over a few short decades we have transformed a positive outlook into the worst of everything.  We have the worst economy since the first caveman traded furs with a neighboring tribe.  We have the hottest weather, the ice is melting faster than ever, the ozone layer is thinning like never before, our rain forests will be gone in a week and bovine flatulence will kill us all if we don’t stop drinking milk.  The gloom and doom of our everyday lives have become a habit of convenience; it’s easier to sell darkness and confusion rather than clarity and light.  Bad news sells, it always has.  Who really cares about the good stuff anyway?

The half empty glass may truly be half empty and yet at the same time it is half full telling anyone who will listen that you still have half of whatever it was that you were drinking and you now have the unique opportunity to fill the rest of the glass with whatever you like.  Please be careful what you mix with what you’ve got however, because some chemical compositions can be very volatile, as can some ideas when mixed with other ideas.

Thinking of the world in negative terms has become an industry of unparalleled success and not just in the form of dollars and cents, or pounds and pennies or whatever currency you’re currently using but the idea that selling negativity over glorified enthusiasm and hope not only makes lots and lots of money it has transformed out psyche and changed our moral outlook, replacing it with the all too familiar “eat, drink and be Merry for tomorrow we die” mantra.  At some level I can understand the relationship between getting what you can out of life, especially if you believe there is only a limited space of life in order to obtain those pleasures.  But on the other side of that sullied coin is the hope of things to come, the faith that all will be taken care of and that like the lilies in the field, we need not worry about the tragedies of life.  Ours is but a speck of time, do not waste it on frivolity and favors.  We have an eternity to seek and learn of ourselves but must pass through this small test first in order to prove that we can handle the reality that is life.

If we truly believe that life now is all we have then I do understand those who want to “get what they can” but from a logical perspective perhaps we should be thinking a bit differently.  Even if this life is all there is, is pleasure all that life has to offer?  Is selfishness the only way to temporal happiness?  And is gorging on life the only way to ensure that you at least had your part of the pie?

There is so much more.  The love we have for our children is never paralleled by the pleasures of a night on the town.  The feelings of joy from a loving wife or from a mother’s touch, a fathers approval can never be matched by those insignificant and fleeting, temporal pleasures.  Even if this is all we have and death brings nothing but that final darkness our time here can have meaning and purpose and can have a significant effect on those who we touch and caress, those we love and favor and for those who witness our kindness and service.

If your cup is half full or half empty, perhaps the way to rethink the gloom and doom is to look toward what we actually have, a glass that has something in it, something that is drinkable and sustainable, refreshing and satisfying.  If we look at our country and what we have rather then what we have not then life seems brighter, more clear and positive.  We truly do have a great country, especially when it’s compared to some of the others in this world.

Democrat, Republican, Liberal or conservative, the Green Party or the Socialists, we all have the same opportunity to look at what we have and make the final determination of what is important and what is not. 
Trump, Sanders, Carson or Clinton, there is a difference in their outlook and perspective and this election really does matter but what matters most is what we have now and what we do with that understanding.

That is after all what life is all about, is it not?