Saturday, April 9, 2016

Proud to Stand, American

Walking around the campus of University of Central Florida, it hits me how proud I am to have attended a school of hardasses. I saw a guy just now walking with some sort of preppy backpack, bottle of Perrier in his mesh pouch. Everything here is brand new, and it is very nice. I think it's great, but weak.

I remember where I went to school, and while we weren't distraught, we received nothing on a silver platter. The only safe space we had was our room, and even then, you might be pulled out for no reason for some midday training/discipline. Our hands weren't soft, but hard, from mandatory physical activities. Everybody engaged in competitive sports. You didn't have a sleep in option, but you wanted one.

Our skin wasn't pale from hiding indoors such that you might burn from a five minute walk before jumping back into the air conditioning. We didn't have effeminate men because even gay men were tough. Not the limp wristed types like Bradley Manning who tuck their junk between their legs before showing up to a party. And women were tougher than civilian men at liberal arts schools. Certainly, women had higher physical standards than those at civilian run "military" colleges. Weakness received ridicule, and strength warranted celebration.

Your feet were hard from marching and calloused from blisters due to running, and fighting was a class--everyone took it. The physical standards were tough for both men and women, and if you failed, your peers killed you for it. You got shamed, so you better perform.

After graduation, the Marine Corps was even harder, of course. We didn't worry about hairstyles under Kevlar helmets, and we didn't have tire size earrings hanging from our heads. Sometimes our feet bled, and injuries were common. You worked through your injuries though and swallowed the pain because starting over meant enduring the exact same grueling events a second time with no guarantee that the identical injury would not occur again. Quitting was not an option. You were committed.

Through four years at the Naval Academy and all my time in the Marine Corps, sometimes one only survived by putting each foot in front of the other, literally. I remember one march in the mountains of Bridgeport where our packs were easily over 65 lbs, not including weapons and equipment. It was uphill and seemed to last forever. As I pushed ahead, I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, watched my feet moving, and never gave in. You did what you had to do.

I walk the UCF campus today seeing hundreds of people oblivious to physical sacrifice. Sure, I'm judging. After all, maybe some have legitimately been there and done that. But I doubt it. I see weakness and entitlement.

It isn't just in schools either in that I see people in jobs and businesses alike where they don't appreciate personal responsibility or accountability. I see people of privilege who received what they have through family position and endowment, engaged in deals as a result of relationships built due to a life of civilian ease, networking, and simply because of what their parents did before them. People hold political positions who have accomplished little in life short of shaking hands and kissing asses. Spending time on their knees, they've won friendships resulting in power and influence, and now they return favors by directing business and contracts back to their benefactors.

Cronyism and weakness characterizes the bulk of society today, and apparently, Americans celebrate it. In the past we admired people like Davey Crockett, Lewis and Clark, Daniel Boone, and others who lived independently. Today, we worship athletes who coma in whorehouses, politicians who spend a lifetime in Congress, or "performers" who dance nakedly clothed in front of crowds while singing barely understandable lyrics.

Children today never grow up, consistently fed and coddled by disinterested parents. College campuses like UCF overflow with them, and sacrifice is a forgotten memory taught in history books, if required to take it. Civilians have little appreciation for veterans, and it shows in their elected politicians, the elite. As unfortunate as it is, it is the society that we created, nurtured, and encouraged to take root. We planted it. We watered it. We coddled it. We got what we asked to receive.

I only answer for myself and my family. I sacrificed. I know personal responsibility and accountability. I understand how initiative differentiates between excellence and mediocrity. I know truth, integrity, and what it means to keep your word, never breaking your promises.

I see in practice what we ridicule and discuss among real men of consequence. Our country is off the tracks, and the current, leading ideology is not one to get it back on the rails. Without hard accountability, real willingness to fail, and readily allowing people to suffer the consequences of their own inaction and errors, nothing will save our  union. We must refuse to coddle, lest everything in existence be coddled just the same. What then?

If we do not act, who will? If we do not do it now, when will we? If people refuse to listen, what can be done? If the end of our great country be on the way, let it come quickly such that time may not be wasted in the reconstruction of our dreams. Speaking for myself, I will stand. Who will stand with me?

Friday, August 28, 2015

The coming oligopoly

The National Labor Relations Board just decided to hold franchisors accountable for employee procedures in each of its franchisees' locations. This is big. The idea that a franchisee in Florida may now be impacted by another in California, even if indirectly, is so far outside the bounds of a free and accountable society that it borders on comedy.

Decisions like this lead to the inevitable corporitization of America where big business is the only business allowed to operate. Consider how few choices you have when you examine how many brands are now owned by fewer and fewer companies. As horizontal mergers continue under the argument for "economies of scale", America will be hemmed into an oligopolistic society rather nicely, where big business pays for favors and politicians deliver. Well done America.

"Business groups countered that the decision was meant as a favor to labor groups, who have targeted retailers such as Walmart and franchise restaurants such as McDonald’s for unionization. Unions have run into obstacles because under the franchise model they have to organize on a store-by-store basis. The new standard could make it easier for unions to get a seat at the table by unionizing at the corporate parent level, according to David French, a vice president at the National Retail Federation."

Friday, August 21, 2015

Circular logic and government programs

Of the many reasons I like Rand Paul, one is his pragmatic approach to budgeting. In business, you budget from the bottom up: what do I absolutely have to do to stay open. Everything else is discretionary. Find the fraud, waste, and abuse. Like Rand says, "Not one more penny to countries who burn our flag."

If businesses budgeted and spent like the government, they wouldn't stay open, much less thrive. Too often people justify the existence of a program simply because they don't know what they'd do without it, but that's just because they've never been forced to justify it. Circular logic.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Have you read the Constitution?

Have you read the Constitution? Rand Paul has. Conventional wisdom and constitutional scholars want you to believe that you have to be a lawyer to understand it. They don't want you to read it. They want to be the one to tell you what it means. They want you to trust them. And when you do, they've got you.

The elites want you to confine yourself within a box, to bind your mind with chains, and to conscript yourself, by your own choice, to the advancement of their ideals--not your own.

They want to put you in a cage, restricted by the bars of their big words and advanced degrees. They feed you just enough freedom, in tiny bites, to keep your appetite under control. What you don't realize is that by now you're only hungry when they turn on the light, your conditioned response to their machinations. Like a dam operator releasing water as the pressure builds, they maintain the barrier between you and true understanding.

They don't want you to read the Constitution. Your self awareness is their critical vulnerability and the biggest threat to their straining clutch upon power.

The truth is that the Constitution is easy to understand, simple to read, in common English. So, have you read the Constitution? Rand Paul has. He wants us to read it and understand, but the opportunity is short.  Free your mind; nurture your critical ability to keep yourself informed. The time to act is now.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Rand against the machine

This much I've come to realize, that those on the left  must think the same thing about us that we think about them, that they say the same things about our news sources that we say about theirs, that this is a war of ideology and not gerrymandered statistics, and that the leader of this country will be decided by the 40% or less of the electorate who sit in the "middle" and change their minds everyday. The people on the "right" like me will never vote for chains, and the people on the left are just stupid.

Rand is the only candidate with depth on either side, and if we knew the reason that he didn't show up at the Koch brothers', it probly is because he doesn't want the money. Better to lose and be right, than to win and be a slave to the money.

This contest will come down to Trump vs Paul because Paul will beat all the others on issues. To beat Trump, he's going to have to demonstrate passion because Trump is dialed in on the oppressed America that is sick of us looking like pansies.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Seattle CEO learns the hard way about minimum wage

I remember when this guy went public with his plan to pay everyone in his company a minimum of $70k, and I knew of no way to pull it off. I applaud him for his heart and for the courage to try it. Private enterprise enables you to use your capital in any way you choose, but apparently he didn't include his partner, and brother, in the decision making.

As a small business owner, I know that personnel costs are the greatest expense. You can't increase your expenses exponentially without totally changing your structure. You either have to dramatically lower costs elsewhere to pay for it, or you have to substantially increase your gross profits through higher sales or lower variable costs.

The bottom line is that personnel costs hold dramatic influence over the sustainability of a company. You can't wake up one day deciding you're going to be a philanthropist and triple the incomes of your lowest paid employees without negative consequences.

Apparently, if you do, you can be a short term hero, three months in this instance, but are destined to be a long term goat living in your garage, lol. Lesson learned.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Paying taxes is not charitable work

How compassionate is it really to pay your taxes and never lift a finger to help someone in need. Just shrug your shoulders, it's the government's job. You've got the same number of people in poverty now that you had before welfare, but you have more people skilled at manipulating numbers.

Bottom line: My church and civic organizations are faster and more efficient than government programs.

Using scripture to back tax plans is wonky. Jesus said to get out there and help people. That means donate money to a soup kitchen and better yet, go and serve at one.

Donating someone else's money to the people you consider in need isn't going to get anyone to heaven, so if paying your taxes clears your conscious, then keep voting. Just remember that the devil knows more scripture than the average self proclaiming Christian.