Posts Tagged ‘politics’

As I’ve long believed, companies whose workers are unionized thrive; while those who don’t don’t. Case in point: I once worked for Airborne Express. A coworker proudly announced, “We aren’t unionized. Airborne couldn’t survive if we were.” Not being particularly astute to the workers’ rights I didn’t have a response. Sometimes I feel like the “watcher” in the series “Highlander”. The “watcher” character didn’t have an active roll but did offer counsel to the main immortals. I don’t even try to offer unsolicited counsel. I prefer to follow Dale Carnegie’s idea that “you can’t tell anybody anything. You can only seek to inspire…” At least that’s a paraphrase of what he said. But I digress. The point is: there are two other thriving shippers, Fed Ex and United Parcel Service. And, guess what: they both thrive and are union. And where is Airborne Express these days? It was bought out by another multinational and you don’t see their (DHL) delivery trucks around here any more. So, today I see an article in a side-bar on page A8 of today’s Seattle Times, “Strike vs. Amazon” that the workers in Germany (unionized) are striking for more wages. That would seem to indicate that unions are somewhat strong in Germany (I’d have to check that one out) and, guess what is the strongest economy in Europe? You guessed it: Germany. I googled “unions in Germany” and, boy did I get an education… just by reading the citation headings. One could do a study on the subject by following the links. Another article in today’s Seattle Times tells of the newly elected Seattle City Counsel who proudly proclaims she is a socialist! She addressed a union gathering and advanced an idea she has had for quite a while that the government should use eminent domain and take Boeing and sell it to the workers…


Reading a column in the  July 26, 2011 edition of the Kitsap Sun headlines “The New Party of Ronald Reagan” I am filled with a new introspection of an issue of economics that has been formulating in me for years.

I am reflecting on a short conversation I had with a certain bus driver many years ago at the outdoor part of the then Cafe Destino. She made the point that the good or bad that occurs during an administration’s years are the results of policies of the previous administration. If she is right, then logic would seem to dictate that the economic meltdown during George Bush’s administration might be the result of policies of Bill Clinton’s administration. One of the bragging points that Bill often talks about is his balancing the budget. So, did balancing the budget result in the economic woes that came about in the next administration?

We can have some measure of certainty that the current economic woes are brought about by how Dubya mishandled the economy in his administration. I often remember the political cartoon published early in Dubya’s administration showing a relay race. The runner who is finishing his part of the race hands off a sputtering torch named “economy” to the next runner. Of course the finishing runner was Bill Clinton and the new runner was Dubya. Sometimes I think political cartoons are dead on, in terms of accuracy… especially years later after the ensuing turns of events.

I hope I can see the bus driver sometime in the future to exchange reflections.

Ok. So I’ve only been awake for a little over an hour and I’ve had my first cup of coffee. What I am reading in an article posted from MSN News “1 hour ago” (this being 12:15 PM) is Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavlov is proposing that Syria transfer control of their chemical weapons to international control within Russia for destruction. My immediate reaction is OMG! Then I think is this a ploy by Russia and Syria to delay an attack proposed by the Obama administration; this being advanced by the MSN News article’s author.

As I absorb the ramifications of this development I am just overjoyed at the possibility of sparing Obama the embarrassment of being the first U. S. President to be rebuffed by congress in his attempt to get their approval for a limited attack on a sovereign nation for humanitarian or any other reason.

I am anxious to read or hear other analysts make observations. My views are frequently altered by opinions that seem reasonable.

When I was in high school there were two noticeably dog-eared copies of two books in our library that had to be replaced because they got so worn out. There titles were “Street Rod” and “Hot Rod”. They were both riveting stories of young people driving crazily until disaster happened.

One very graphic depiction involved two cars full of young people careen down a back road – center line – with head-lights turned off. I can remember only one detail of the results that was so horrific that it sickened me.

I was affected by gruesome scenes like that. To this day I can remember a skeleton being shown in some crime movie.

But, more tot he point, which is about the analogy of two cars heading towards each other – in the dark – driven by irresponsible teenagers; applied to our national government being taken over by hose who cause massive job reductions by instituting a non-governance policy like the Mutual Assured Destruction of the cold war era. I guess those who embarked on this adventure figured we could work ourselves out of this mess like we did in the years following M. A. D. days. Maybe we will. But like all analogies, this one limps. Or are apparent differences not so true? How were nations’ economies stifled by building up to the nuclear option? David Halberstam garnered a Pulitzer in 1964 for international reporting and wrote “The Best and the Brightest” about the relationship between the best engineers of the era and the military industrial complex. It was said that the M. I. C. sucked the talent and left non-defense industries without their talents. I can guess that had something to do with the economy if that economy had been denied their talents.

I still have faith that Obama will finally prevail over the R’s efforts to sully his presidency, and the radical T-Party extremists, who reportedly welcome sequestration to reduce national spending. Their inability to perceive the consequences of our shrinking economy reveal their governing naivete.

Today I am reading an account of the death of Dr. Rita-Montalcini, when I pondered the question: isn’t it interesting how nobody seems to doubt the validity of any Nobel prizes… unless it involves a noted political figure? I’ve seen the Nobel Peace Prize denigrated by many people when it was awarded to such luminaries as Al Gore (and the 2,000 scientists who gave credence to man made global warming). But, one is a surprise. President Obama couldn’t fathom why he was picked for the Peace Prize shortly after becoming the 44th President. The Nobel Prize committee gave eloquent defense for their pick… which probably convinced no one who are steadfast in their hatred for Obama.

Most Peace Prizes have been non-controversial. I can remember many over the years that merely raised awareness for their contributions to society. It is only lately, as the radical fringes raised their ugly heads, that recipients have become controversial.

There are two flaming issues in today’s politics that draw my interest only inasmuch as the interest I have in them is lukewarm. One is women’s rights; the other is rights and responsibilities.

I maintain that abortion is wrong and the argument that women only want the right to do with their bodies what they want; they don’t want men telling them what it the right thing to do when they become pregnant. As I asked my daughter, when she brought up that argument (it was an academic argument for her as she chose to have both babies when she had unplanned pregnancies), “what makes women think that being inside their wombs is their body?” A follow up question would be, “isn’t that developing fetus a separate and distinct being? I agree with the ancient philosopher that they are important in society to guide politicians in their quest to do the right thing. Philosophers bring thoughtful arguments to a dialog that can influence debaters to take actions that benefit mankind.

The other issue is rights and responsibilities. When I get a plea to join with the President in his efforts to reinforce the safety net by telling him what $2000 in a year means to me (my budget). Well, I used a calculator to find out what that amount translates to in a weekly budget. The answer is $38.46. Guess what: my income is on the verge of being increased by about that much because my distributor is employing me to help out. How did that happen? I think it is a combination of two factors: I have been volunteering my services to keep the ball rolling when it comes time for us to pick up our papers from the plant. The other factor is her shrinking number of employees due to her basic ignorance of the methods you can find in Dale Carnegie’s wonderful book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. (I think the title is misleading and I would rename it “How to Become a Better Person”) In other words she has come to need me.

Now, I don’t want to come off as some kind of arrogant “if I can do it, why can’t you?” I do realize there are all kinds of impediments to success. I’ve experienced a lot of them and “there, but for the grace of God…” isn’t an entirely religious phrase. It is a very real assessment of the differences between successful and unsuccessful people. The two observations are merely ways my attitudes are molded.

If you were to consult Wikipedia or another reputable encyclopedia you would find that the metaphor ship of state has a long and rich history of use. Here is one that isn’t mentioned: our ship of state has two critical elements, a screw (that’s the accepted word for what landlubbers call a propeller – which is the propulsion for an aircraft) and a rudder. Progressives with a liberal orientation would be to the screw; and conservatives would be like the rudder. When we learn to recognize the legitimate contribution and accept thought and action from both camps, we will see real improvement in the function of our much maligned congress.

Taking the metaphor further, of course we think of a ship without a rudder being doomed to an erratic course destined to either wander aimlessly on the high seas, or collide with something and sink, but consider the ship without movement (way) and you realize it can’t be steered. So, progressives (liberals) taking over would probably run us aground; but conservatives who would stifle progress would doom us to an equally tragic  end.

Why Young People are Disapointed…

Posted: September 4, 2012 in Politics

… with Obama

I am frequently reminded of the polls that reveal that a lot of young people who were enthusiastic about Barack Obama’s performance in the office of the President. These people remind me of a person who reads the first chapter of a book then skip all but the last and read it. They are disappointed by the turn of events because they haven’t made themselves knowledgeable about the reasons the last chapter is the way it is.

Major Issues Remain Fuzzy

Posted: June 5, 2012 in Politics

Editor, The Kitsap Sun,
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
Regarding the analysis piece on page 5A of today’s print edition of the Kitsap Sun, I have some thoughts. First, I responded to an announcement – at lunch in a major insurance company – by a young man that he was an analyst, by asking, “What are the first 4 letters of the word analyst?” I would respond to the article in a more reasoned, less personal way.

First, the use of the word “fuzzy” to describe Jay’s plans is interesting considering a former candidate for President used the term to describe his opponent’s math. The term’s use here is much different, however. It is just as inappropriate to accuse Jay of “Fuzzy” policy statements. Jay’s strongest attribute in the political arena is his listening skills. I first met him at a political event in Seattle where he asked my opinion about an issue. I was honored, of course. I responded and he replied that he would take it into advisement. Politicians who get too specific on issues break two important rules for candidates, firstly giving his/her opponents grist for second-guessing; and secondly, taking too much baggage into office if he/she still wins. It is Mr. Inslee’s very listening strength that makes him the superior candidate for governor. He also reveals his penchant for engaging both parties for solutions.

Vote for this man for governor of the State of Washington. He will make you proud.

Anyone who demeans politicians with shallow comments meant to amuse, but not necessarily to inform us, should consider what it would be like to have a job like theirs. Can you imagine a job that requires you to take in the cacophony of voices offering you opinion and suggestions? Then, to have to take on the defensive and offensive stands to keep your job; all the while doing the careful balancing act of maintaining your ideals, but realizing the value of pragmatism, is a daunting task.
I would offer some advice to the naysayers: first, before you cast aspersions, dive in and get a taste of what it is like. If you can’t do that at least consider what it would be like to hold their job.