Friday, September 29, 2017

Down on Taxes, Up on Revenues

Image result for taxes cartoon

Raise the Taxes, lower the taxes.  Every few years we are faced with the same cries from our leaders, they either want to raise our tax burdens or raise the spending on increased revenues because of lower taxes.  Like some Evil YOYO ebbing and flowing up and down, spinning it’s influence over the rest of us as a few at the top wield their control, laughing and complaining as needed to sustain their power over our lives.

The evidence of the benefits of lowering the countries taxes is beyond debate, kind of like the global warming, cooling, climate change, fixed science “debate”, except this science has real, duplicatable and verifiable evidence to support that science.  Since 1918 the tax rates have risen and dropped significantly and in each instance the results have been the same.  When you lower the tax burden the revenues increase for everyone, including the Federal Government.

It sounds counter-intuitive but the economic principles are sound, as the following graph illustrates:

President Kennedy said “that lowering taxes was the surest path to full employment and lower deficits.”  His efforts were politically motivated due to tensions with the business community and within his own party and not entirely altruistic but he was able to secure the tax breaks and the economic windfall was staggering. 

Lowering taxes works to stimulate the economy, raising taxes has the opposite effect.  The science behind these duplicatable results are so profound and clear the question is raised, why do we alter the tax burden so often and for reasons that are not supported by the economic science?  The simple reason is politics, the more complex answer is within the politics of power and control, who wants the power and how to they control? 

When the supposed motivation of the Liberal Left is to provide for the needy and downtrodden, the less fortunate and those who need a step up out of poverty, then you would think that improved economic conditions would be their seminal cry but it’s not.  If it were, than a decrease in the overall tax base would have direct beneficial effects on their claimed constituency, bridging the gap between the rich and poor, while providing greater resources for increases in government funded programs.  We all know that the politics of the left has changed and the poor are no longer the motivation for their services but their desire to maintain control is directly tied to higher taxes, that has not changed.

By lowering taxes both parties get what they want, if what they want is to help us be more independent and financially secure; there is serious doubt on that level of motivation.  The problem with this scenario is in not in what our politicians say but what they do and not do.  A great example is the newest round of Health Care debates.  Conservatives in Congress have promised for eight years to REPEAL and REPLACE Obama Care but now are for some unknown reason are unable to deliver, even with a majority in the House and Senate.  Their words mean nothing but their inability to act is beyond question, their motivation is not within the realm of a statesmen but falls squarely within the negative political arena of self-interest and egotism.  Both political parties have fallen prey to the trappings of power, succumbing to those accessories without regard to the needs of those they represent. 

Taxes, health care, race relations, inner city progress, NFL, and a score of other issues that could be improved through the ongoing commerce of words but instead these issues and the plight of our country have been reduced to the divisive rhetoric of self-interest over the substance and importance of the individual.    Taxes, lower taxes, help the individual directly by improving funding through increases in revenues to not only the federal government but to virtually all areas of funding need.  Less taxes means more opportunities for self-determination and greater outlook on life in general. 

The statistics of Tax decreases are unsalable, but the effects of those decreases on the theology of the Left are devastatingly obvious.  From the position of power, high taxes fit the profile similar to those of  both the drug addict and the despicable supplier.  Both are caught within the web of dependency with the addict dependent on the supplier for his daily fix, the supplier for the income and power he has over those who are his customer base. 

Politics, like the drug trade has focused their attention on how to maintain their power and more importantly how to increase that level of power through whatever means possible, even when their own freedoms will be placed at risk.  The drug of power is absolute and too many of our elected leaders and those appointed are addicted absolutely. 

Lowering taxes has always been a temporary remedy.  Taxes can be altered when any party has control, which incidentally is why we have the statistics to prove that lower taxes helps the country and the individual, if spending is kept under control that is.  What we need is a standard, a set pattern of taxation that does not change, is not altered by each party’s whim or desire, maybe a constitutional amendment?

What we need is a consistent process of responsible and reliable representation, um, yah, good luck on that one.  For now, I guess, lower taxes, even in the short term are better than nothing at all…

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Trump Stance

Related imageTrump is despicable.  Trump is a womanizer and misogynist.  Trump is a racist and bigot.  Trump is a Nazi.  The venerable War strategist Sun Tzu said, “Pretend his inferiority and encourage his arrogance”

With both sides of the political game screaming and ranting over what they claim Trump is, both sides continue to label him in order define him within their terms.  With each new attempt to identify Trump the reality of who Trump is becoming becomes more misleading and ambiguous. 

When Sun Tzu made the statement above it was to establish a pretense of behavior that would set aside the reality of the leader in order to disrupt those reputable skills and destroy the opponents’ ability to judge truthfully the tactics or mindset of any future actions. 

In Judo, the smaller opponent often fails to understand the various techniques available to counter the larger and stronger adversary.  When I practiced I was tall but I was thin with very little weight behind my bones to allow me to convert strength as an option.  My Sensei, Mr. Nakamora, (it could have been Nakamori but his accent was so thick that it was impossible to tell) took me aside and said,
Oh sorry, he said in broken English "flexibility is more important than strength".  He was a short and powerful man who often allowed the entire class to try to move him, even one inch off his set position, we never accomplished our goal. But he taught us that strengths must be associated with flexibility and in Judo, maneuverability.

Trump has proven that he is flexible and willing to do what must be done to accomplish his goals.  He establishes a brand or label, just so he can run contrary to that label.  He has done this on many occasions with many different issues creating a pretense of perception that can then be easily manipulated. 

Trump may not be an experienced politician but his political acumen is finely tuned especially in relation to his ability to keep his opponents guessing and wondering.  The Art of War is not just a book of battle field strategy and to be honest, I’ve no way of knowing if Mr. Trump has ever read the book but his understanding of those strategies is a clear measure of his abilities to face and manipulate his opposition.

As a businessman, groomed in the cutthroat world of New York Real Estate, Trump by every measure excelled, despite a fatherly gift of a million or two.  It should be mentioned that his success was attached to his  father who had the connections and the clout to bank role his sons first big venture, the building of Grand Hyatt in 1978, this was  Donald Trumps entrance into high stakes real estate and that could not have been done without his father’s oversight, experience and financial resources. 

He is currently worth 3.3 billion, so regardless of how he got his start he has done very well.  But this is not just about his wealth or the accumulation of wealth, this is about the United States of American and the direction we should take as opposed to where it was being led.  This is also not about who but why. 

Trump seems to have hit a cord of acceptance with a large section of this country, presumably to forestall the advances that many see as detrimental to this nations core principles, our constitution, and the moves to underscore our Founders influences and ideas ensconced with their final product.     

Higher taxes, more regulation, less opportunity, more red tape and much more government telling them what they could and could not do.  Both Republican and Democrat have done little but kowtow to the special interests, the innumerable minorities that demanded freedoms and privileges without the subsequent rules being enforced.  

Sanctuary cities, gifts, and opportunities, not available to those who were born here or naturalized.  It sounds humane and it some respects it is but there is no attached justice, no understanding of the injustices imposed on others when justice is not balanced with mercy.  The people understood this and were tired of the imbalance.    They were not merciless or lacked compassion but they were wearied and exhausted of being used by their government and abused by the politics of empathy without the requisite justice. 

Trump won because of this inner discontent, a disgruntlement he recognized and exploited.  His message is clear and whether we believe in what he says depends in part on the outcome.   We may not know if Trump is patriotic or simply acting out some business goal until the end of the process.  The question we must ask is, are willing to go along or do we step back?  Is it better to protect what we had or move toward the unknown? 

Trump will continue maneuvering and swaying, disguising and feigning left or right just so he can strike the position he wants others to follow.  He has learned his management style at the feet of his father, good or bad, he learned how to develop and sell his brand and that brand right now is America, not the new unknown America but the constitutional, capitalistic America, that by all accounts has proven to be the best form of government this world has ever known.

For now, I accept his motivations and process and understand even if Trump is working for himself those skills he brings, those principles he utilizes will most likely have a positive effect on the economy,  and business overall and of course on me…ooh, yah and you too.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Politics vs Religion

Image result for religious intolerance cartoonWhat do you say when you have nothing good to say?  I mean, what can you say when the politics of the nation continues to devolve and fracture into fortified encampments and regardless of what you say the division continues.  Preaching to the choir is great, but when you have a desire to make a difference but nothing you say makes a difference, you start to wonder about your message.

Over 41 years ago I decided to spend two years serving a mission for my church, those who are LDS know what I’m talking about.  For those who are not Latter-Day Saints let me put this into perspective.  I was 19 years old, I was one of the best high jumpers in the country and I had gone to two semesters at the local JC (junior college) and was asked to serve my time, not a prison sentence,  in the beautiful country of England that included Wales and Cornwall.  That decision, the decision to serve was not really that hard.  I did have to give up on any chance of being an Olympian but at the time I did what I thought I should do and I do not regret it.  I do however wonder occasionally how far I could have gone or I think about the money I could have made or the fame… but overall,  I made the right decision.

I had a specific message to impart but how that message was formulated and presented was in part up to me.  My missionary companions and I,  they changed, as did our area of service every three to four months on average, we were given the message and asked to learn it and believe it, I had no trouble on either front, I learned it and believed it, and still do, but that was the easy part, now all I had to do was help others to want to learn, understand and believe the same message as I had chosen to believe.

Therein lies the issue.  We currently have two distinct religious groups who are now fighting for supremacy.  We have the religion on the right, the conservative faction and we have the religion on the left, the liberals.  There are sub-factions as well within these two major groups just like we have Christians and Muslims but within those two very large religions we have smaller sects that often are more influential than their namesake.  As an example, Christianity is separated into Catholics and Protestants, with the Protestants being even more finely tuned into their various subgroups, like the Baptist, Methodist or Quaker.   The Catholics are divided into orders like the Jesuits, the Benedictines or the Franciscans, each has an order of specialty or purpose.

Muslims as well have the Shias, and the Sunni’s primarily, but there are actually 73 different denomination within Islam all with a different focus or specialty.

Ok, so we can’t agree on anything, not even which church to attend or which God to worship, how do you expect us to agree on which political philosophy to follow?

Perhaps it’s just a natural desire to want to compartmentalize our lives to such an extent that we force ourselves into subgroups that focus on seemingly inconsequential differences.  These differences could be the form of baptism or which day you decide to worship, or, do you eat pork or not   Do you prefer more government or less, or a government that is ruled by a theocracy.  As a result of these differences, we develop a competitiveness like a baseball or a football, futbol rivalry’s that when left unchecked can easily turn violent and dangerous. 

These same conditions are occurring within the political arena with some factions or beliefs acting like they’re attending their alma mater’s sporting events.  The difference is that they show up but won’t let the other team onto the field.  They block the tunnels and force their way into the other locker room and create an impassible and disruptive environment, only their message is available and only their team is allowed to play but they still claim victory over a game that was never played.

Some say it’s within their rights to act and react to disrupt the rights of others based on some “higher logic” but their rights vs our rights should never be the issue.  From a religious perspective, (have you ever heard of the Mormon Extermination Order?)  beliefs seem to transcend the rights of others, especially when you don’t share those same beliefs.  The reason for the comparison between politics and religion is simply because in both cases the extreme beliefs supersede the rights of those who do not believe and that creates a political environment like we have today.

Let’s be perfectly clear here, this is not about rights, this is not about freedoms, this is about one faction trying to destroy another.  Those who scream and yell do not care about your rights or your freedoms they want to enforce their will on you regardless of what you believe. Sharia law is a good example.  No other law can coexist within the Sharia system of government, that is precisely why it cannot work within the borders of a Constitutional government.

The subgroups of these politically motivated groups are terror like, add a religious flavor and you have a terrorist group.  Which is why the comparison between politics and religion is germane to the discussion.  It doesn’t really matter if your political or religious, what matters is who is allowed to make the rules and force others to comply.  Force seems to be the motivator, in all of these instances.  

They, whoever they are, uses force and terror to exert their power over those who are unwilling or unable to fight back so that they can have their way, regardless of the outcome or consequences, mostly and initially toward an anarchistic style of society which inevitably leads toward a fascist or dictatorial form of government, neither of these can exist within our Constitution.

It is easy to rationalize the subversive actions of some by claiming a higher purpose, a more logical approach or even a more moral or sensitive outlook.  We have what most countries do not possess, we have the Constitution and within its words, our rights have been preserved.  The problem is too often and with too many, that Constitution has been marginalized and forgotten allowing these subgroups to hold the nation hostage over their rights of expression but at the expense of the rights of others, the two cannot exist together.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

World of Pets

Image result for pets  and starving children cartoonThe other day my family and I went to a local animal shelter, my daughter wanted a cat.  There were lots of cats, many dogs and throngs of people huddled near the front desk waiting to hear their name regarding the joyful sound of acceptance at being the newest recipient to adopt. 

My wife and daughter went in search for the perfect pet and left me behind to fill out the paperwork.  As I struggled with the in-depth questions about my stability and readiness to take on this “awesome” responsibility, the loudspeaker gleefully announced a name and proclaimed that they were the newest adopters.  The crowd clapped and the applause started and I looked up dumbfounded by the entire process.

Let’s put these events into context.  As we arrived at the adoptions/ housing facility the building was modern and was a far cry from the rusty cages of animal shelters of my youth.  This was not the Humane Society but a private enterprise that “preserved” the sanctity of the animals within.   The floors were pristine and polished tile or prepared and sculpted surfaces that were clean and shiny. 

Behind the washed glass of each room, the animals played or slept or woefully waited for their chance to be discovered and adopted.  There was an air of anthropomorphism as each potential pet was elevated to almost human like standards, culminating with a contract of responsibility called an adoption.

What struck me as odd however was not in the process but in the facility and with the opulence measured out in abundance toward the creatures within and the comparative reality that in many parts of the world these same animals are a necessary food item.  The luxury of even the idea of a pet is often a temporary condition placed on an animal only until his time to feed the family oversteps his familial connection.  One day you're playing with the dog and the next it’s your breakfast, lunch, and dinner if there is enough to go around.

We did adopt a small, little cat and no we do not plan to change its status just because I get hungry for a snack.  But when you look at what we spend on our pets in relation to how many of our worlds children live and survive without even the benefit of dog or cat food, we may then be able to put into context the waste of our efforts to save these wonderful creatures but forsake the human children around the world.

I tried to imagine the joy those children would feel if they were somehow transported into what we call an animal shelter, or even many of our own inner-city youth being offered the accommodations that we provide these lost, forgotten and abandoned animals.  And then I thought, is this what society has become?  Is this a measure of our humanity when we build and construct apartment like facilities to house the innocent creature but fail to raise our own kind to at least that same level?

After these thoughts, I told the proctor to forgo our announcement of adoption and to not create the party like declarations.  “you don’t want me to announce your union with your new addition?” she asked incredulously.  

“No!” I answered.  “This is a private affair”, I added with a sincere tone in my voice to belay the feelings of disgust I was having over the entire process. 

I need to clarify a few things here.  I am not against taking in pets and in fact, I think we, as a nation, should be more responsible in how we manage our pets and forgotten animals.  What I am against is the displacement of our priorities and the implementation of the word adopt as if in the word alone we would open our eyes and recognize those responsibilities when in fact we have only marginalized the importance of the word “adopt” and moved it away from its true meaning in relation to our human family and our connection with each other.

It is estimated that we spend more than 60 billion a year on our pets.  I’m not sure of the breakdown of those numbers but 60 billion is a lot of money, especially when there is an estimated 1.65 million in the United States who live on less than $2.00 per day.  There are approximately 50 million in the US that are considered poor, I do not fully understand what being poor means in our dynamic and service filled economy but that is the reported number.

 However, you want to justify what you spend on your pet those numbers are disturbing.  I can’t even imagine the numbers of poor and desperate from a worldwide perspective, numbers that when understood would alter our perception of hope and shatter our reality of what being a human is all about, but they are real, mostly ignored, so we can continue to live our lives without the burden and associated responsibility.   
Pets are great, there are numerous benefits of pet ownership and the learning opportunities associated but when we spend billions upon billions and support industries in opulence all the while forsaking the needs of our own children, then “Houston, we have a problem.”

I wonder, how many would offer their pet for life-saving food to a desperate child in need?
Just a question to think about and while I’m asking, what’s more important, your pet or the life of a real, breathing human being?

Tough questions?  Perhaps, but do we have the political will to do what's right?  Do we have the heart to sacrifice what we have become to alter our perception in order to balance the needs of not only this country but of the world?  Our cat is still very small and not worth much from a dietary standpoint but would I offer my daughters pet?  Let's hope we can find a better way.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Good vs Evil Politics

Image result for politics as usual cartoonDon’t you just love Politics?  I love it, I love to talk about it, write about and pontificate about it but what I don’t love about politics is when everyone gets political.  Politics was never supposed to get this fractured and divisive.

Politics is the process by which we govern and the manner in which conflicts are debated and resolved.  The optimal word here is resolved, with governing being the secondary principal that forms the process of politics.  We have come to understand the word politics to be purely a hostile emotion with one side waging war with the other side over minor and inconsequential issues, issues that should never have been allowed, if politics had been performed as it should have been.

The whole issue of DACA and its associated problems should have never gotten to this point.  It was illegal and it was wrong to begin with.  DACA is the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals that in essence allowed parents from another country to send their children to live in the United States and leap frog over the immigration requirements, to a faster paced process of citizenship.  

Let’s start with the most obvious issues of DACA.  It allows parents to send their children.  Send them where, to live with whom, for how long and until what happens?  Obviously this was a socialistic process of party building since most of the children (if they are indeed children, a “child” has to be at least 31 years old back in 2012.  Do the math that is not a child, unless you reconfigure the term child like they did for insurance purposes under Obama Care) will become immediate wards of the State and learn the in’s and out’s of first hand dependency and staunch socialist.  

Again, what kind of country comes up with a program that separates families (this is not the first time), when the cost of that separation is only for political expediency?  The answer, a country more concerned with political maneuvering rather than the political resolutions.  I know some of you think we’re doing the “right” thing by offering sanctuary for helpless children....But The Daily Caller can’t be fooled. It reports: “While DACA recipients were illegally brought to the United States by their parents when they were children, the minimum age to apply for the program is 15 years old. In fact, the majority of the applicants were over the age of 20 based on 2014 data from the U.S. government. Some have estimated that the average age of Dreamers is 25 or 26 years old – hardly children.”  LA

So now we have a problem.  The very program that was supposed to help children doesn’t even include children, Politics?  Yes, politics, but what kind of politics, that is what we’re actually talking about.  Whether it’s immigration or abortion or Trump, the term politics never attempts to resolve issues, it only inflames them, adds excellorant to the burning embers and low flames to ignite the issues into a blazing five alarm inferno.  

Politics is supposed to help us resolve our differences and assist in establishing a governing body that actually works for the people not encourage the current level of discord, nor promote the hatred that seems to be everywhere.  Where is the politics of the honest?  Where is the politics of negotiations or compromise?  Where is the politics of governess and order?

There is it seems, like everything else, a wide divide between what we need and what we are willing to endure.  A good example would be our Founding Fathers and their resolve toward establishing our Constitution and the formation of our unique style of government.  They were not a unified voice but their voices became like a choir of different tones and styles.  At first the screeching sounds of hot debate filled the halls with often raucous and an atonal cacophony of disagreement but eventually each learned to listen to the other, their voices blending and balancing the tones of the other.  

Compromise does not mean defeat, there are many avenues that lead to workable and acceptable solutions.  Only when the voices of all can be heard and the screaming and disruptive voices are quieted can politics ever have a chance.  

Think of your life and the times we negotiate throughout each day.  Do we turn right instead of left because of this or that with no significant variation in our day?  Do we negotiate with our fellow workers on who will do what and when and then renegotiate when things go wrong?  Negotiations is a standard practice for life in general, so why are we unable to negotiate now?

Blindness, insecurity, selfishness and greed.  Those that lead us, and those  that follow have all fallen prey to the corrosive culture that has taken hold of our Nation.  Our politicians are more interested in themselves, their power, their next election to see clearly the issues of the day.  

The public is centered on singular issues of such importance that they are blinded by the flash of those issues and cannot see through the smoke of that flash, moving from one explosive issue to another, living their lives in the haze they themselves have created.  

We need a soothing wind to soften the sting to our eyes.  We need to be able to breath without speaking the harshness of accusation toward another and we need to sit down and look into the eyes of anothers life and see ourselves as a reflection of them looking at us.

This is about politics, the right kind of politics and the need to expunge from our lives the self induced blindness, the insecurity of selfishness and rid our lives of the greed that has poisoned not only our lives but this country.  We are a great people, we have great values and we are the only ones who can effect the changes needed that will allow the right kind of politics to work.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The inevitability of certainty

Image result for gender  cartoonExplain this to me, Please...All children (98%) of all children are born with either Male parts or female parts and more specifically with either XY or XX chromosomes, and yes I know there are exception, but stick with me here.  Their genetic markers are intact as Male or Female, even when their parts are ambiguous, so what's the issue in accepting what you are?

I drive a Toyota.  I could change the color, add new paint, change the smell of the car, add  new tires or any of a thousand addition in an attempt to alter car into something other than the Toyota but I will never be able change it into a Mercedes.  I can even add the Mercedes insignia to let people know that I'm not satisfied with my Toyota.  

I could, at great expense, change all the parts of the Toyota with those from a Mercedes and then create a Mercedes but that process in life is impossible to do.  You cannot change your molecular sex, you cannot deny who you really are despite how many paint jobs you have, or symbols you put on your hood or like so many attempt to do, make others accept who you think you are by forcing them to call you a Mercedes, when you are structurally and foundationally a Toyota.  

Act anyway you want, live anyway you want but you will never be what you think you want, we are all what we were born to be...Live with it… and understand your potential to accomplish whatever you desire exists despite your issues with identity.  Oh and by the way, if you really can’t change what you are, stop demanding that I accept you for what you think you are but can never be, instead rely upon me to treat you with civility and the respect that all should receive regardless of your current mental state of deniability.  

Harsh?  Maybe, but so is the pathetic attempts by so many as they try  to alter their being by the simple process of voicing a choice over the reality of what they are...It reminds me of some altruistic god who simply speaks and those changes miraculously occur.  So unless your that god, you may want to rethink your delusion and come back down to the reality of life.