Posts Tagged ‘Society’

I cannot recall a single state in our union, which is not deep in debt. Because of this debt, states are forced to cut vital funding such as education, social services, law enforcement, nursing homes, and many other crucial state and federal programs.  As a country, we are so deep in debt to China, if they demanded to collect what is owed to them; the value of the dollar would crash, resulting in serious issues for America. I can think of two ways to catch up on this debt, while at the same time putting money back into vital funding throughout the government, such as the examples I just gave, as well as rebuilding our infrastructure. If we are able to fund these extra programs we would create millions upon millions of jobs, and cut taxes resulting in stimulating the economy. My solution, to this problem is the legalization of drugs, and opening state run casinos. The positive ripple affect these changes would have on our society would be far reaching.

I did a “My Solution” post last year, about how to fix our prison system. One of my suggestions was the legalization of drugs. The amount of money we spend a year on federal prisoners is over 60 billion dollars. In our federal prison system 53% are convicted on drug charges. Imagine if we were able to cut 53% of the prisoners in federal custody. This would save us 31.8 billion dollars a year. These numbers do not include the individuals incarcerated in state prisons, and the dollar amounts to house them. Many of these “criminals” are incarcerated for marijuana. One example, of a sentencing guideline involving pot, is no less than ten years in prison, and no longer than life, if you were caught with 1,000 marijuana plants. Nothing less than ten years for growing dope?! 

These dollar amounts are shocking, but what they do not show, is the unavoidable revolving doors, of our prison system. There is a high amount of repeat offenders, which come in and out of our prison systems. I am sure there are many theoretical reasons for this, but one such reason, is that felons have a hard time living on the outside, because their options for going straight, are limited due to the felonies they have on their records. They discover the harsh reality that if they want to make a living, their only option inevitably leads them back to a life of crime.

Another advantage, of legalizing drugs, is the systematic elimination of gangs, cartels, and organized crime. I am not saying we would completely stamp out these organizations, but if you take the drugs away, then just like that you have crippled their organizations. The legalization of narcotics would create jobs and bring much needed revenue to our government. The illegal drug trade in America is a trillion dollar a year business. Imagine being able to eliminate a trillion dollars a year of our debt; without raising taxes. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with using drugs, as long as you are a productive member of society. Who am I, or anyone else for that matter, to judge this person?

Some may say, if we were to legalize drugs, then addiction would skyrocket. I disagree with this. It is not as if it is hard to score drugs in our society. The concept of the war on drugs is suspect and laughable. In 1973 Nixon created the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA,) and ever since our government has been fighting a war they will never win. If drugs were legalized, we could eliminate this repressive agency saving us around 30 billion dollars a year. This dollar amount is just the money saved from the elimination of the DEA, this does not include the money spent by local police, FBI, ATF, and CIA to aide in fighting this war. With more and more prisons becoming privatized by corporations the chance that drugs will ever be legalized is slim to none. There is just simply too much money involved in incarcerating nonviolent drug offenders.  

The person, who becomes addicted in an illegal system, is the same person who would be addicted if drugs were legalized. It all comes down to honest and realistic prevention education. If kids are told the real truth about marijuana, then they are more apt to believe what they are taught about other drugs such as meth. Kids are told all these horrible things about pot, and when they finally try it, and see they were lied to, they think they were lied to about other drugs. I hope in my lifetime, at least the legalization of marijuana will become a reality. If you were to compare the downfalls of drinking, to the downfall of smoking pot, you would see they don’t even compare. I have yet to hear about someone smoking themselves to death.

Another way to increase state revenues would be the legalization of casinos, and sports gambling. In the state of Minnesota, we have a few Native American run casinos, and these casinos, rake in an enormous amount of money a day, and an even more shocking amount of money a year. Mystic Lake Casino, for example does not open its books to the public, but it is estimated they pull in around a billion dollars a year in profits. There have been talks in the past, of opening up a state run casino, but once that reservation money lined the pockets of our officials, the idea was quickly scraped. Opening a casino, would create more jobs, assisting in stimulating our economy, and could be used to fund state run programs. There is already legalized gambling on the reservations, and I feel it is time we start cashing in and benefiting. I also mentioned sports betting. Organized crime and offshore online betting websites bring in billions upon billions of dollars a year. People are going to gamble, whether it is legal or not, so why wouldn’t we take advantage of these operations, and make them legal. This, like drugs, is taking money away from the criminals and offshore businesses, and putting that money back into our communities.

It is sad, that the powers that be do not see the long reaching benefits of these ideas. What is it we are so afraid of with the legalization of drugs? Why hold back, on cashing in on gambling, or prostitution for that matter? Crime would decrease, our prison population would decrease, and our deficit would decrease. The best part about this is we would be creating an endless amount of jobs, and we can do these things without having to raise taxes a single cent. All these positive things can happen, and improve this country, unfortunately in doing this; you are taking money away from the ruling class, and putting it into the hands of those who need it most. Just like anything else in this country, the ruling class would never allow such a thing.

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“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.

“A man should always consider how much he has more than he wants.”
Joseph Addison

How many of us are consumed with our wants? We live in a society fixated on the belief we can never have enough. No matter how hard we try we always judge our lives based on what we do not have as opposed to what we do have. If we were to just stop for a moment; be present in the moment and reflect upon what is right in front of our faces, we would see we are much more fortunate then we think we are. 

I have fallen to the evils of living strictly with consistently focusing on the things I didn’t have. I never had the right job, status, or pay I deserved. I never had a nice enough car. My house was not big enough. I never had the latest electronics, or enough clothes. The things I did have were never nice enough from what I really wanted. Living in this consistent desire to own more things infested my shen; preventing my chi from flowing properly through my body causing negative energy to rule supreme. This egocentric greed transformed me into a corporate scum bag. This transformation caused me to disconnect with my family, almost ruining my marriage, and my life. 

I was a big wig at an auto collection company. I made more money there than I made at my last two jobs combined. I scratched and clawed my way to the top not paying any attention to those I had to step on to get there. With every promotion I was never content; I always had my eye on the next promotion and never being content with my status. All day long I made my bonuses off of destroying people’s lives. One of my responsibilities was making the decision to repo peoples cars. When we would succeed the customer would call in crying begging for my mercy. I had no empathy; I was void of sympathy. I balked at the thought of assisting these people. I reveled in my perceived victory and told these customers “you should have paid your bill.”  I did not care that without their cars they would lose their jobs, and affect their family. I just cared about my bonus.

After awhile I was unable to keep my work attitude at work. It seeped into my personal life and I began having the same f u attitude at home. I was so stressed out from the hours and the toll it was having on my sub-conscience. I started to shut down and become just a big of dick at home as I was at work. Eventually it was so hard to bare I started using drugs to find relief so I could get through the day. My doctor prescribed me Ativan and Klonipin to ease my nerves. I started taking the prescribed dose, but over time I needed more and more. I then started taking pain killers everyday and everything snowballed out of control. I was finally unable to keep everything up in the air and hit the lowest bottom of my life.

I quit my job and stayed home for the summer to reconnect with my kids with my kids. I needed to have focused and dedicated time for not only them but my wife as well. When the summer was over I started to look for work. I took the first job I was offered at the nursing home where I currently work as a staffing coordinator. I took an enormous pay cut and moved to the very bottom of the totem pole with no chance of advancement, but something was telling me this was the right move. I had a hard time at first accepting where I was. I was bummed about the pay, and devastated by my lack of status and title. If you would have told me two years ago I thought this series of events was one of the best things to happen to me I would have laughed in your face.

As time passed I stopped putting such a high value on money. I no longer desired possessions, and for the first time I was grateful for the things I did have. There are four concepts the Tao has taught me so far.

  1. Stop desiring and just allow
  2. The Tao will provide me with everything I need at this moment
  3. Let go of my ego
  4. Live in the moment

I have yet to master these on a day to day basis, but for the most part it has become a way of life. The funny thing is all the possessions I always dreamed about have just come to me. I am living my dream of becoming a writer, and I founded the Bucket List Foundation. I achieved these things with action by no action. I think if we were all to take a step back and look at what we do have and find satisfaction with this our society may just become a better place.

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?

“The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”
Karl Marx

I was doing some reading on various government structures and came across oligarchy, and I was shocked on how closely America resembles this type of governmental structure. As I did some more reading I came across a form of government called corporatocracy which actually defined our structure better. Many Americans think they live within a Liberal Democracy which favors the freedom of the citizens of the state. Every 2-4 years we have the freedom to elect new officials whose purpose it is to serve their constituents. These elected officials do not serve us they serve the corporations lining their pockets more than the people. I would like everyone to sit back and ponder this. Do you feel you live in such a nation?

An oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small segment of society distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, or military control. These states are often controlled by politically powerful families whose children are heavily conditioned and mentored to be heirs of the power of the oligarchy. In this country we do not have royalty, but we do have great wealth that controls most of this country. I am sure the children of these wealthy people are groomed to take over when they pass. I wonder if the ruling rich can be considered royalty. Who ever controls the country controls the military. The military fights for our safety and well being, but at the same time guarantees there is no possible way the people can revolt.

Oligarchies have been tyrannical throughout history, being completely reliant on public servitude to exist. The corporations controlling this country would not have the means to operate without the people. In the movie “Capitalism a Love Story” by Michael Moore he shows a letter from I believe US Bank sent out to their “Elite” customers stating the only thing standing in their way of a complete “plutocracy” is the American people’s right to vote. A Plutocracy is rule by the wealthy or power provided by wealth. The combination of both plutocracy and oligarchy is called plutarchy.

Robert Michels believed that any political system eventually evolves into an oligarchy. He called this the “iron law of oligarchy.” According to this school of thought, modern democracies should be considered as oligarchies. In these systems, actual differences between viable political rivals are small, the oligarchic elite impose strict limits on what constitutes an acceptable and respectable political position, and politicians’ careers depend heavily on unelected economic and media elites. Thus the popular phrase: there is only one political party, the incumbent party.

Corporate oligarchy (Corporatocracy) is a form of power, governmental or operational, where such power effectively rests with a small, elite group of inside individuals, sometimes from a small group of educational institutions, or influential economic entities or devices, such as banks, commercial entities that act in complicity with, or at the whim of the oligarchy, often with little or no regard for constitutionally protected prerogative.

One of Satan’s greatest deception was tricking the people he does not exist. I wonder if the greatest deception our government has done is tricking us into believing we are truly free.

Have we as humans de-evolved? Have we lost intelligence over the years? I think corporations assume we have. This last weekend I noticed a few messages which were placed on certain products. I giggled to myself, because the messages were so ridiculous I wondered why the company felt the need to place them on their product.

The first product I noticed was a case of water. On the package in large letters it stated “Purified water.” Okay nothing wrong with this, it was the message underneath that caused me to giggle; the message stated “For Drinking.” I thought to my self. “What else would people mistake this for?” The water came in twenty ounce bottles, so it was clear; this product was meant for quenching my thirst. I also had a hunch this water was for the purpose of drinking, since I purchased it for said purpose.

I wonder if there are people out there that have bought this product with the intention of bathing, and complained to the company the water was not hot enough. Could there have been people who attempted to water their lawn, who also complained there was not enough liquid to cover their entire lawn. This is the first time I ever noticed such a message. The case of water I have in my office does not have this message so I just don’t get it.

Product two; is a bag of charcoal. We were barbecuing over the weekend and I noticed a message on the bag, which was informative. The message stated “Burning charcoal inside can kill you. It gives off carbon monoxide which has no odor.” I had no idea burning charcoal contained carbon monoxide. I would never burn it inside, nor would I stand over the grill and inhale the smoke. Irregardless the information was helpful, this was not the message which made me think, under this message was another one. “NEVER burn charcoal inside homes, vehicles or tents.”

I think this message is unnecessary. I thought the first part of the message was clear, even if I had the notion to grill inside, I now know it could kill me. The company assumes we may not have gotten the message in the beginning. They had to capitalize never, and advise us to again not to burn inside our homes, but just incase we might try to grill elsewhere they added our cars of tents. Really! Why would anyone grill inside after they read it could kill them? Regardless of this message, what dumbass would grill in their car, or tent? Why would anyone grill in their car when they have a place with more room…called outside? Furthermore; considering charcoal causes fire, and tents are…well flamable. Armed with this logic, what kind of genius would voluntarily grill inside their tent?

Product 3; I was in the restroom and there was a hand towel dispenser. This dispenser had just enough paper towel for someone to grab and pull. There was no handle to crank, or sensor. The situation seems simple; one should grab the towel and pull, but oh no we are far to stupid for that. On the dispenser it shows a picture of hands grabbing the towel, with a message “Grab paper towel with hands and pull.” I appreciate the company who manufactured this for such informative information, you know just incase I had a hard time figuring it out.

Is our society losing intelligence? The english language is already crumbling, not because Americans are not required to learn the language, but because of spell check and texting. Case in point I received a text from a friend last night, he replaced what with wut! Is it really to hard to add one fucking word? I would imagine company’s need to put such messages on products to avoid being sued, like when you buy coffee and the message  on the cup says “Caution: Contents Hot!” Oh yes they felt they needed to add an exclamation point, so they could really get the message. I now know for sure my coffee is hot, without the exclamation point; I may have just disregarded their message as not really that important.

I am certain our society’s intelligence has decreased. We raise our children on Nickelodeon, and send them to underfunded public schools; teaching far too inferior material compared to other nations. We need to realize; the youth of today will someday lead us. It is a shame a once great country has fallen so far.

On Saturday March 6th the founding board members of The Bucket List Foundation met at my house. It is so exciting to be apart of something that can improve so many peoples lives. I had an idea posted in on this blog, and soon after the foundation has become a reality, it truly is amazing. In my mind I thought this would take two months to get going, I was wrong. This could take a good year before we are up and running. If we get that grant, it would happen sooner.

We were supposed to submit our application to Pepsi in March, so we can obtain our grant. We were not ready, so we are going to shoot for April. We are trying to recruit some local celebrity or sports figure to do a small video for us. We are going to use the video for our application, and post it on You Tube. The board members were given access to the grant application, and we are all going to answer the question, then on our next meeting we will combine ideas.

Bekah came up with a great mission statement, which sums up our foundation very well. I really think we assembled a passionate dedicated group. Due to the amount of legal work involved we need to recruit an attorney to join the board. I also think we may need to add a sales professional, so we can attempt to sign corporate sponsors.

After the meeting Heide, my wife and I were brainstorming, and we thought of starting our own group home. This would be no normal group home we would do it Bucket List style. The residents would have 1-1 dedicated attention, rooms designed and arranged to their liking, and of course they would have a chance to fulfil their bucket lists. I am not sure how all of that would work out, we will discuss at our next meeting.

If you want to know more about the foundation you can reach me at thephilosophyofme@yahoo.com

Sorry if this post is choppy, I just had a root canal, and I am still a little fuzzy from the gas.