Posts Tagged ‘social issues’

I wonder how much money our government makes off our taxes. I also wonder how much money our government makes off of us in things like renewing tabs and what have you. These taxes we pay are supposed to go towards things to better our society. Over the last many years our taxes have gone towards funding a war we cannot win. A war many of us oppose. I am hard pressed to believe that the majority of tax payers would be in favor of knowing their money is going towards the death of our children. There are many examples of lost tax money, but one that stands out to me is our privately owned summer camps for criminals. We pump in billions of dollars keeping this system a float.  

I think back to the famous stance the colonies here in America took on the taxes the parliament put on the colonies. Their motto was no taxation without representation. I wonder if this same stance can be made today. Technically we have elected officials in the house who ultimately choose what to do about taxes. I am a firm believer that our elected officials are not a positive representative to the people; therefore I ask you are we being taxed without proper representation? I am not to knowledgably when it comes to these affairs, but I assume when new taxes are passed they are just passed without the say of the people. It goes through the house and imposed by the representatives’ we have elected. I think the statement taxation without representation stands true today because those in the house have alternative agendas that do not include the betterment of their constituents. If this is the case well then something is truly wrong with this situation. Could the people today stand up and use the same war cry our forefathers did? Can the people ever take our country back from the tyranny of our current government?

I am not saying all taxes are bad. They are a necessity to the betterment of our nation. I just question where these taxes are spent, and are these taxes imposed on the people justified. Are we being properly represented? I write a lot about the injustices I see in this country. I am by no means an educated man, and I am sure if I dedicated my time to learn all the in’s and out’s of our system I would probably find so much more to bitch about. Taxes are just one of those things we have no control over. Taxes are taken regardless of anything, and I feel the money is not being spent in the proper places. I am 100% against the war or any other form of occupation. I am 100% against our revolving door prison system, and its piss poor penalties. I am against these things yet the government will take my money and use it for such things. It just gives me such a feeling of yuk knowing I am so powerless, and I have zero confidence that our elected officials will do the right thing.

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“A drink a day keeps the shrink away.”
Edward Abbey

I am not a big drinker by any means. The very few times I do drink I feel a deep sense of relaxation, and often times I am less shy. I would envision if I had one or two drinks a night, I am sure it would help many of my issues. I would be less stressed, feel good, and have a laugh. The problem with this is you risk the possibility of addiction. I have an addictive personality, and if I were to drink daily it would lead me down a dangerous path. Since I only drink a handful of times a year I get buzzed and relaxed after only two drinks. If I were to continue this pattern, soon I would require three drinks, then four and so it goes. This pattern induces unhealthy self medication, leading to addiction. 

A more appropriate quote would be “a joint a day keeps the shrink away.” I am all for the legalization of marijuana, and I am devastated proposition 19 did not pass.  It is by far safer than alcohol, and would create a stable money source for our government. Life is stressful as it is; people need an escape from reality from time-to-time. Smoking weed can be self medicating, which is not as horrible as alcohol, and the medication drug companies’ produce. This medication eases our maladies, but come with side effects. These side effects can sometimes be worse than the problems they are supposed to cure. In some cases we become physically and mentally addicted to our prescription medication. I look at some of the prescription drugs out there and think to myself marijuana would cure that problem, and is far less destructive to our bodies and mind.

We as a society have become dependent on some sort of unnatural drug to cure this or that. The drug companies would lose billions of dollars a year if people medicated themselves, or if marijuana was used to treat certain issues. This is a huge road block to the cause of legalization. If we all smoked a joint or two a day our society would improve; people would be chill, less tense, and happier. We would have less people in prison; eliminate crime caused by the selling and distribution of weed, and decreasing the money source for illegal operations. The government would make billions of dollars which could then go back into the community. This is a win-win type of situation, the only people who would lose are drug companies, and I believe it was the drug companies that killed proposition 19.

I am not able to see into the future which is why this is an opinion piece. I believe that anything in excess is a bad thing, whether it be alcohol or marijuana.  I have a friend who does nothing but smoke dope from the moment he wakes up to the moment he falls asleep. Although he is a high functioning user I am still able to see the negative outcome his use has had on his life. It is my opinion that the good outweighs the bad in the legalization debate.  I feel the legalization of marijuana would cure some of our society’s maladies.

In the end it is important for people to sit back relax, and enjoy the moment, but don’t forget to pass it along.

Edward Paul Abbey: (January 29, 1927 – March 14, 1989) was an author and essayist noted for his love and protection of our environment. He spoke out against big government and some accused him of being an anarchist. His novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, which has been cited as an inspiration by radical environmental groups, and was a how-to-guide for non-violent ecotage. He was born in Pennsylvania, but felt compelled to head west. In his travels he felt a connection with the land and fought hard to preserve its beauty. I find many of his quotes inspirational.

“The quest for riches darkens the sense of right and wrong.”
Antiphanes

I believe the greatest evil to come from man is greed. It destroys everything and everyone it touches. When we thirst for money, power, and respect we will bend what we consider to be right or wrong in order to justify the actions we have to do to achieve these ends. I think greed changes a man just as greed has completely destroyed our country. If broken down to the basics it can be said that greed has become more destructive than war. If we think about it war would not be possible if there was not greed behind it. I think everything dirty and wrong with man is rooted in greed. This very thing was responsible for the downfall of every great empire, and we have paved a road of gold leading to our downfall.

I know this to be true in my own experience. Prior to taking a job as a collector at Universal Acceptance Corp, I was a laid back Zen type of person. I had semi-strong morals and ethics. I was against greed, and against corporate America. I took the job as a collector and to be honest I had no expectations on what would become of me at this next stop. I had zero aspirations to achieve a higher status than a collector. I was in school during this time so I looked at this job as a pit stop. I figured I would work there for a year or two; then when I finished my degree I would be out. I didn’t end up moving on because my degree was in philosophy so it’s not like this opened a ton of new doors for me. I really do not know what I was thinking about there.

I had about nine years of management under my belt prior to taking this job. The person who interviewed me told me there was possibility of advancement, but I really wasn’t feeling it. After all these years I was sort of burned out from management. I wanted a job I could just go to then leave work at work; you know nothing really serious. I was not looking forward to doing collections because it was; well collections. This required a cold hearted person with a certain tact which I lacked. I am a very timid and shy, so I was not looking forward to having to be assertive. To my surprise I was very good at what I did. I managed to put some humanity into my position which worked better than the hard collect. I thoroughly enjoyed the bonuses, and when I saw how fast this company was expanding I set my eyes onto a management role. I worked my ass off until I was finally promoted. I started as a soft collector but over time turned to a pure dick collector because I understood my advancement depended upon it.

I stepped on friends and became cutthroat when it came time for the company to choose those who were to enter into the management training program. I remember there were six of us and only two spots. I was eventually promoted.  Now that I was managing my own team I learned about this company’s concept of the bottom line, and the things needed of me to achieve this. I of course excelled at my position and embraced this company’s philosophy and culture. The longer I worked for this company and the more I learned about how they did things the more I realized how evil this company was. They were predators feeding off those in dire straights. I went along with this and kept bending and changing my morals and ethics all in the name of advancement and bigger paychecks. Because of the years of bending and twisting my core values at work, I began to bend and twist my core values as a human being.

I did this all in the name of greed. I wanted more money so I could buy more stuff to fill my life with accomplishments and possessions. I can tell you by experience wealth and status is not that important. I contributed to the destruction of countless amounts of people, and I did this so my paycheck would be larger. We all contribute to this culture of greed. We bathe in it, and become intoxicated with filling our ego. This is not the way to live. This is not the way to treat your fellow man. We need to replace greed with charity and compassion. This is the only way we can right this ship off the path of destruction. Sadly in our current economic structure this will never be possible.

My father came down to the cities a few weekends ago for a visit. I always enjoy when he comes down because we have some great theological and political discussions. He is one of the most intensely religious people I know. Our belief systems and political opinions are complete polar opposites. We will get into some heated arguments involving these subject.

My father is not your typical Christian. He is 100% against Sunday Christians, because he believes they have been deceived by Satan. He is very knowledgeable of the Word, and can repeat scriptures at the drop of the hat. He is a heavy dope smoker and is losing his memory so he can sometimes quote the same scriptures over and over again; which gets very annoying. He watches hours of evangelists on television finding various different ways to find out how they are not preaching what the Word really says. He will write letter after letter trying to show these churches the errors in their ways. He believes the seven letters referred to in Revelations is describing the major denominations out there. When he is not watching television preachers he is watching Fox News, and has some extreme political views as well with various different conspiracy theories, this also causes some heated debates.

On Saturday night he started to go off on his theory for why society has crumbled from within. He believes our downfall has to do when we threw God out of the schools and out of the government. He called us a Godless nation who has turned our backs on the Lord. Warning if we continue to turn our back on God; God will turn his back on us. I listened to his points of view as I always do. I would try to politely interject and give my views. Most of the times I do not bother because he refuses to let me finish a single thought. He is also completely unable to step out side of his belief system and look at things objectively.

It wasn’t until he brought up one of our major downfalls was our acceptance of homosexuality. He went on to say God hates the act, and compared our society to Sodom and Gomorrah. I immediately got filled with agitation, and could no longer hold my opinions back. I asked him why God would create a segment of the population he was predisposed to hate. He told me God does not hate the people he hates the act of homosexuality. I refrained my question asking him why God would create a segment of people who are predisposed to commit acts which he hates. His answer to me was people are not born gay; it is a learned behavior.

I had to scoff at this notion for the silliness it is. I tried to point out the existence of blatantly feminine men and obvious butch females. There is no way these are learned character traits. This has to be something these individuals are born with. We started to really get into it. He gave me the typical Sodom and Gomorrah references and said the famous quote “God made Adam and Eve; not Adam and Steve.”  

This is a great example of why I will never accept the existence of God into my life. The fact people can read a book which teaches them to love their fellow man, yet teaches intolerance over something as trivial as being gay is a complete joke. I do not understand why in this day and age we have had such an issue with gay people getting married. The fact we are still debating the don’t ask don’t tell policy in our military is a joke. I could understand his concern if homosexuals were running around ass raping straight men in the streets. This would cause huge issues and a concern to the public. The facts are these things do not happen in the real world. Gay people are not sexual deviants who are a risk to be free in our society. Our world will not be affected in any way if we allowed gay’s to get married. Gay people deserve the right to go die in unjust wars just as straight men do. These things are facts yet because a book has some references to this as being bad; it cause’s our society to tweak out over the subject. How can my fathers claim that God has been thrown out of the government be true when that very same government is making laws based on what the Bible says?

One final thought. The Bible says one of the reasons for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was homosexuality was running rampant. God decided he hated this place so much he would rain down fire and brimstone. The question I have is why has he refrained himself from destroying us? The fire and brimstone episode was not the only reference to God destroying his children for naughty behavior. Why are we not being destroyed now? This is one of my arguments against the existence of God.

My wife had to have surgery on her mouth to fix two impacted wisdom teeth. Her teeth were not going straight up they were growing sideways pushing at her molars. The dentist told her she had to get this surgery done otherwise she would have severe problems down the line. We have duel dental insurance and at that time health insurance. Between these three the procedure was extremely cheap. The place she had the procedure royally botched the operation and caused a whole new set of problems. She was sent to another dentist, when he saw how badly his colleague screwed up he offered to have all visits with him for free. It was because of this shitty dentistry my wife had to go have a serious surgery because the infection was eating away at her jawbone. After the surgery she had to take hardcore antibiotics through an in-home IV. The whole thing was a complete nightmare, but we did not realize there were other issues to come about. This time it was not her mouth it was the insurance companies screwing up.

When my wife received the first bill she noticed the insurance company did not cover everything they were supposed to. When she called the insurance company she had to jump through all these hoops, talk to many different representatives, and really press the issue until she found out the insurance company miscoded many of the services to the tune of over one thousand dollars. The representative she spoke to said she would make notes in her account and said she would fix it. We also received bills from the dentist’s office after he said all services would be covered. My wife continued to fight this as well. We had to go to some out of network providers specifically for the in home IV antibiotics. We received a referral and before my wife accepted she contacted the insurance company to ensure it would be covered and they gave the okay. Sure enough it was coded as no approval out of network.

She has been dealing with this for months. Every time she calls she has to jump through the same hoops as the time before; only to hear “oh yea we miscoded. We will fix right away.” My wife has been in pain for over two years and she still has nerve damage in her mouth. On top of this she still has to deal with the insurance company which has now sent us to a heavy duty collection company. This has gotten so frustrating for her it will bring her to tears. I wish I had better knowledge of how this all works so I can call and help.

I wonder how many people have to deal with “miscoding?” I wonder how many people just pay their bill unaware they are getting screwed. In the film “Sicko” by Michael Moore it addresses how insurance company employees are trained to miscode varies procedures which would normally be covered. It is no secret insurance companies are crooked. They try to find anyway to get out of covering our healthcare needs. This is no secret yet nothing really gets done to hold these bastards accountable for their crimes against the people. We all pay high premiums month in and month out. For many of us we also have such high deductibles to pay before coverage even sets in.

During the healthcare debate there were a lot of lies, rhetoric and fear mongering going on to try and turn the people against Obama. Some of these same people were the ones who voted for him because of his healthcare reform. I remember seeing rallies were people were freaking out and shouting at people for this reform. I remember people spitting on a sick man holding a sign saying he was dying and has no coverage. I am sure these protesters were either well to do and had cheap coverage, or they were ignorant and had no idea what Obama was actually trying to do. Either way the healthcare bill as it stands sounds like it will do very little to stop insurance companies from bending us over and giving us the high hard one. I am amazed with how crooked people know they are and how much these insurance companies are screwing us; we have yet to rally together and demand change. This is further proof how we are indoctrinated into a frame of mind allowing us to be taken advantage of and just accept it and go about our days. I think we not only owe it to ourselves, but also our children the chance to live in a just and fair society. Don’t you?

Sunday March 21st 2010, was the third meeting of the founding board members of the foundation. The meeting went very well, but still many things need to be figured out. The main thing we accomplished was fine tuning the Pepsi Refresh Grant. We need to add pictures and video, which is our final hurdle.

This grant is our seed money, and is very important in jump starting the foundation. We need to make sure we are putting a good product out there, and market the best we can, with the resources we have. This grant is our source of life.

I received an e-mail from one of the founding board members Rebekah Elling, and she was able to get some of our local ABC news anchors on board, to assist us with the video. This is fantastic news, what amazed me the most is how quickly they responded. I feel this is a positive, because it shows our cause is a good one.

I am attempting to secure our local sports teams in Minnesota; to see if they would be willing to endorse us, or allow us to do a video of team members endorsing our cause. The waiting list to have your application reviewed is six-eight weeks, which means it will not be ready in time for our April submission. I feel if we are able to secure some more public interviews i.e. newspapers, or radio stations we could increase our exposure. Since we are starting out in Minnesota with plans to grow to other states; I would imagine most votes would come from our state.

There are other issues which need to be addressed. I think if each member came up with their own agenda then we could combine into one for our next meeting we should be able to address all issues. I am truly grateful for the founding members of the board. I have stated before my gratitude, but I can never say it enough the group of people we have assembled is a rock star group of people.

As we grow we need to recruit an attorney and media specialist to join our board. Rebekah’s father is interested in joining the board; I think he would be a fantastic addition to the board. His skills in the art of building websites is invaluable.

If you have any questions regarding the foundation; you can reach me at thephilosophyofme@yahoo.com

The United States has the highest prison population in the world, with approximately 2,424,279 serving prison sentences, and another 5.1 million adults under community supervision. In 2008 one prisoner cost $68.00 dollars a day. This adds up to $164,850,972 dollars a day, and $60,170,604,780 dollars a year. These numbers are staggering, and we have to realize that we as tax payers are the ones paying this bill. I have two solutions to rectify this situation; legalize drugs, and crime prevention via harsher penalties.

If we were to legalize drugs we would save money on prison sentences, and the government would generate income off the sales. A study in 1998 concluded the total number of people imprisoned for drug offenses was larger than the combined population of Wyoming and Alaska. The FBI reported 83% of drug arrests are for possession, and 53% of the federal prison population is drug related offenders. If drugs were legalized we would see a tremendous decline in the prison population.

The legalization of drugs would put the drug dealers out of business, resulting in less violent crime over drug turf. The drug trade in America generates almost a trillion dollars a year on the black market. The government would handle the majority of the sales, but individuals could apply for a license to distribute as well. The money saved from prison sentences combined with the income generated from sales and taxes would dramatically boost our economy, and allow us to put more money into the communities.

The argument against the legalization of drugs would be the increase in addiction. My solution to this argument would be to put more money into drug awareness and education. When I was younger I watched “Basketball Diaries” and “Requiem for a Dream,” these two movies scared me away from any hardcore drugs. Regardless if drugs are legal or illegal there will always be abuse. If we look at this debate in a utilitarian point of view the good outweighs the bad, therefore it is the right thing to do.

The prison sentencing in America is not a deterrent to not commit crimes. I believe by changing this aspect crimes against individuals would decrease. Here is what I purpose; establish a stricter capital punishment law, with the sentencing being carried out on national television. The punishment would fit the crime, an eye for an eye approach.

If you are convicted of murder, you would be tortured everyday for the next thirty days. This torture would last 20 hours a day, on the thirty-first day you would be shot in the head. If you are convicted of rape, you suffer the same torture lasting sixty days on the sixty first day you would be castrated. If you are convicted of child molestation, you would suffer the same sixty day torture and castrated on the sixty first. The crime of kidnapping would be the same as a murder conviction. If you are convicted of crimes such as Ponzi schemes, embezzling, or robbery your sentence would consist of fifteen days of torture; on the sixteenth day your hands would be cut off. Finally if you are convicted of domestic abuse; you would be tortured for forty days, on the forty first day your spine would be broken; ensuring you would spend the rest of your life paralyzed from the neck down.

I assure you if these sentences were carried out, crime would drastically decrease. The money saved on prision sentences could be put back into the community. We as a nation could payoff all of our debt in no time. We could improve our schools, public assistance, health reform, increase retirement benefits, and increase money used for loans, as well as research and development. The possibilities are endless; these two simple steps would improve our society in so many ways.

This is a philosophical question I find intriguing. Would such a law improve our society? Would this law improve the quality of life for our future children? What guidelines should we apply to said law? I am certain there are many pros and cons to such an idea. The main con I see from implementing such a law is it goes against our civil liberties. I am sure it would cause social unrest, and would not be met with acceptance. If we look deeper into this question, we may find that society will improve over time.

If we look at our welfare system, there are a large number of people who are not able to support themselves let alone children, yet these people continue to procreate. In most of these cases we are dealing with addiction, and ignorance, while the children are forced to grow up in unhealthy environments. This unhealthy environment creates violence and the continuation and acceptance of poverty.

 This puts undue strain on our welfare system, often time’s families who need the help of welfare are denied such benefits because they make too much money, but the reality is they make too little to survive. Minnesota Care is a great example of this conundrum. This pattern of having children and being unable to support them is a pattern of poverty, which is passed on to the next generation. It is acceptable to have children young and become reliable on the system to survive; with no reliance an self preservation. If we were to end this cycle, would it be bad for our society? Would it be bad for the children who are forced to grow up in that environment?

I am certain we can agree, it is not in the best interest for poor, single, drug addicted people to have children. Then wouldn’t it make sense for people to prove they can support themselves, and be drug free to have children? Changing this simple trend, would end the culture where having more children equal a bigger paycheck from the government. In my opinion this is the easiest for me to accept, there are other issues not so cut and dry.

Is it wise for dumb people to breed? Is it ok for the mentally ill to risk passing on their illness? What about people who are racist, should they be allowed to give birth to a new generation of hate? Is teen pregnancy damaging to the parent and the child? What would happen if an unregistered person got pregnant? These questions make implementing such a law impossible, because who would say where the line should be drawn.

Being a parent is the most crucial job that anyone can have. Failing as a parent has severe consequences to the child and our society. I think there are people in America who do not qualify for such a large responsibility. I feel regulations in this area are needed, but would be impossible to carry out.

There are many vital life skills not being taught in our public schools, such as balancing your finances, managing your credit score, resume writing, and interviewing skills among others. In my many years of management I have found many people are shitty at the latter. I have seen laughable resumes, and countless others bomb interviews. I can tell within the first five minutes whether someone would make a viable candidate for the job. I have ended numerous ones right after the first question. In my experience not all the blame should be placed on our schools. Parents, upbringing, and just plain ignorance are all factors as well. Here are a few of my observations over the years.

  1. Give your children normal names, and please stop being cute by misspelling the name. It not only makes you as the parent look like a complete douche; it also hinders your children in the long run. In the book “Freakonomics” Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt but this to the test by conducting a study where they sent out identical applications, one with a traditional name spelled correctly, and the other with a “unique” or African American name. The hiring managers chose the traditional name at an extremely high percentage.
  2. This is not “American Idol” never argue with the person responsible for hiring you. I had a girl come in today as a walk-in interview. I saw she did not have the type of nursing home experience we were looking for. She also could not manage to stay at one employer for more than 4 months. I tried to break it to her easy by explaining she lacked the type of experience we are looking for. Instead of accepting this at face value, she started to argue with me. Finally after 15 minutes I had to be brutally honest with her, and proceeded to point out all of her short comings. This was not clear enough for her, and she continued to argue. I finally told her I would need to give it a lot of thought… two hours later she called me to ask if I had time to think about it.
  3. Check the ghetto at the door. The one thing that will get me every time is when someone comes to an interview all ghetto fabulous. What you do and who you are outside of work is none of my concern; what is my concern is how you will be at work. Last time I checked we are still speaking English NOT Ebonics. There is a huge difference between the office and the street, if you are too ignorant to tell the difference… It probably explains why you are currently unemployed.
  4. If you can’t understand/speak fluent English don’t apply for a job that requires those skills. The interview will be cut real short if I have to work really hard at rewording a question because you don’t understand me. Then when you do speak I cannot understand a single word coming out of your mouth. I have no problem with people coming to this country for better opportunities, but know your limitations, and continue to improve on that skill.
  5. Being late or too early. If an interviewee is late or shows up early they are immediately disqualified from being hired. I am probably more annoyed with someone showing up early because it shows a complete lack of respect for the interviewer. There is a reason the interview was set up for this specific time; it this is a form of narcissism in that they feel someone should drop what they are doing to accommodate them.
  6. Coming to the interview stoned. I used to party a lot back in the day so I can spot and smell a fucked up person a mile away. What someone does outside of work is their choice and I am in no place to judge them. What gets me is when you take it to work with you. If you are capable of showing up to an interview stoned, then you will most likely show up to work stoned.
  7. Dressing slutty. I do not like when females come to an interview with a short skirt or low cut shirts showing off cleavage. There are woman out there who attempt to use their looks to gain employment. This tactic is used most when they find out they are interviewing with a man. This is very distracting and diverts my attention to the task at hand. This shows the interviewee lacks the self-esteem to get hired based on their own merits.
  8. Please do not harass me. I think it is appropriate to follow-up with a call thanking me for interviewing them. I hate it when they call multiple times enquiring about the status of their application. I am not a smart man, but I do know if I interview with a company and they do not call me back chances are I didn’t get the job. There have been a few situations where a person called me so many times I had to tell them to stop calling.

Every manager is different on their pet peeves, but I would be willing to guess many of these bother them. I recommend my readers to not fall into any of these traps. I can guarantee if you are interviewing with me and fall into any of these categories I can guarantee you will not be hired.