thought for the day

Sunlight in the morning forest
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Question of the Day

puppets

Are manipulation and persuasion the same thing?

If not, how are they different?

Is one better than the other?

More ethical, more fair?

If so, how?

Thoughts?

 

Writer Chick

The Empty Chair (a word about suicide)

the empty chairA few days ago a friend of mine took his own life. I’ve been on this planet for quite a while and though I’ve lost friends to death (the bastard) it’s never been to suicide.

My initial reaction was to reject the whole idea. I’d just seen him and talked to him. In fact, the day before he died. How could he possibly be dead? By his own hand?

The thoughts that quickly followed were of our last conversation. Had I said something wrong? Had he left me a clue I didn’t pick up on? Should I have given more signifigance to that last look? He had seemed a little quiet. A little distant. Should I have known what he was planning to do?

As the weekend progressed, we tried to learn more about what happened. But the police wouldn’t release information because none of us were the next of kin. We still know very little.

He wasn’t my best friend but he was a family friend. He sat at my table for every holiday meal for the last nine years.

He gave me advice about my car or latest do it yourself project.

He was thoughtful.

He was kind.

He always offered to help.

He had a good heart.

But though he liked to talk, he rarely spoke about himself in any personal way. He never shared secrets or confided. He was manly in that way – old school I guess you’d call it. Like a lot of men, he didn’t share his feelings.

I would have been happy to listen. But he never asked. I tried to encourage him. But he never said a word. I hope that he had someone who he could talk to. But my guess is that he didn’t.

And now he’s not talking to anyone.

And there’ll be an empty chair at my holiday table this year (and every year after). And I’ll miss him.

And I wish that he’d have talked to me or to someone. I wish that he’d have known that nobody would be happy about his choice. I wish he’d have known that those of us he left behind would have an empty place in their hearts that shouldn’t be empty.

I wish that he’d have known that life is worth living. That it’s a gift. It’s also a bitch. Life. It ain’t for sissies and that’s a fact.

I hope that if there is a next life that he’s happier there. That he finds a friend he can talk to. And that he doesn’t feel so awfully alone anymore.

And if anyone who is reading this is considering suicide, I ask you with all my heart to please reconsider. You matter to someone. They will care that you’re gone. They will be heartbroken that you’re gone. They will have a hole in their heart, where you should be. They will forever ask themselves why?  And they’ll spend the rest of their lives never finding the answer.

Writer Chick

Godspeed, Maggie

margaret thatcher

We lost an amazing woman today in Margaret Thatcher.  AKA the Iron Lady.

Whether you loved her or hated her, she was an historic figure, a pioneer for women in politics and a staunch and loyal friend to America.

I just finished reading this incredible speech, given by Lady Thatcher and thought you might enjoy reading it too.

I for one, will miss her.

Godspeed, Maggie.

Writer Chick

 

Sometimes a tragedy is just a tragedy

When something inexplicable happens the first thing people want to know is, “Why?”

The cynics among us are quick to lay blame and point fingers of accusation—often naming a cause that hasn’t any direct connection to the event or the individuals involved. And by doing so they provide a benefit of doubt to the actual responsible person unjustifiably.

The complacent among us may shrug their shoulders and declare it an act of God or the universe. And attribute it as something completely out of the control of anyone at all.

Still others assign whatever applicable conspiracy theory they like as the source.

Most rational people, however, attempt to asses the facts to learn the truth. To discover the whys and the wherefores.

By now, thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of words have been written about the senseless murders that took place in Tucson last week. And although I’m not sure my words will add anything positive to the situation, I feel compelled to state my feelings, unable to remain silent any longer.

The facts tell us that the man who committed these crimes acted alone. That his disturbing behavior was known about before the crime and that little was done to prevent what now seems inevitable. That the young man frightened and concerned those who knew him. But that no one really seemed to know him nor the demons that drove him to obsession and murder. That whatever events and experiences in his life that lead him to such cold and vicious acts are not to be found on radio broadcasts or newspaper articles. But rather and probably only to himself. And…that sometimes a tragedy is just a tragedy.

I believe the truth is that whenever anyone perpetrates violence against others, particularly strangers that there is no why. Not in a rational sense. There are no neat, easy to understand motivations for a sociopath. Such individuals have no conscience and so it is easy for them to justify anything. They have no empathy for others and so cannot feel the pain and fear they inflict upon their victims. Ask any law enforcement officer who deals with such individuals and they will tell you that that is the truth. The reason this young man did what he did is, I’m sorry to say, because he wanted to. I truly believe looking for any deeper reason is futile and will yield no secrets or deeper truth.

Imagine how he must be enjoying this speculation and the uproar that he has caused. Imagine how much he is enjoying his fame – because believe me folks, that is what it is about for him. It is not about his bad childhood or books he has read or hanging with the wrong crowd. It is about psychopathic narcissism.
Personally, rather than give this dark soul gratification by accusations amongst ourselves and heated debate I’d rather that we pray for the victims and their families. For the people this should truly be about. The people who were harmed simply for living their lives and wanting to engage in their communities and lives. For the six people whose lives were cut short:

Christina Green
John Roll
Gabriel ‘Gabe’ Zimmerman
Dorwan Stoddard
Dorothy Morris
Phyllis Schneck

And for the thirteen people who were injured – some of whom have a long recovery ahead of them.

Susan Hileman
Mavanell Stoddard
Pamela Simon
Ronald Barber
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
James Tucker
Kenneth Veeder
George Morris
James Fuller
Randy Gardner
Mary Reed
Kenneth Dorushka
Bill Badger

For what it is worth, I’ll be praying for these people. I hope you’ll join me.

Writer Chick
copyright 2011

A possible explanation for why the middle class feels broke this Christmas


Wondering why you can’t afford Christmas gifts even though you make a pretty good income? Check out the following and h.t. to zelda and please please do follow the durden link.

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Why, indeed? Over at Zero Hedge, Tyler Durden has an interesting answer:

Emmerich analyzes disposable income and economic benefits among several key income classes and comes to the stunning (and verifiable) conclusion that “a one-parent family of three making $14,500 a year (minimum wage) has more disposable income than a family making $60,000 a year.” And that excludes benefits from Supplemental Security Income disability checks. America is now a country which punishes those middle-class people who not only try to work hard, but avoid scamming the system.

Maybe President Obama and Mr. Krugman should direct some of their attention to this problem rather than spending so much of their time complaining that the rich don’t get soaked enough.

And while we’re on the topic Rep. Bernie Saunders can shut his big fat mouth going on and on about how the ‘rich’ aren’t paying their fair share. This is so bogus. People who work for a living earn that money – it doesn’t belong to the government or anyone else who just happens to want it. Those who think they have a right to decide who does and does not need the money they earn are the same people who are robbing the Social Security and Medicare funds blind and are desperate for more money to put into that black hole, so they can rob that too. Seriously folks, if this doesn’t open your eyes you just don’t want to know the truth.

oh…and Merry Christmas.

WC

Scarcity, Control and Fear

A basic premise in marketing is to create a demand for your product. One of the tricks of creating a demand is scarcity. The scarcer something is, the more valuable it will seem and presumedly the more people will be willing to pay for it. Think oil, gold and diamonds, for example. Scarcity also creates in some people a desire to have that scarce commodity whether because of wanting to feel different or better by having such a scarce substance or the desire to be seen as special and therefore possess more power than others.

Scarcity has also been used throughout history as a means of control. Consider this, if Germany had not been in such dire straights, such dismal economic conditions, if jobs and food had not been so scarce – would Hitler have risen to power? Or perhaps a more general question – if millions of people hadn’t been convinced that we were running out oil, clean air and polar ice caps, would so many of us be so scared we were going to kill the planet? Or feel we had to come up with alternate solutions (even bad, expensive, unworkable solutions) to deal with that fear of scarcity?

For example, the United States has lots of oil. However, we’re not allowed to drill for it. Our government has essentially ensured that we cannot tap our own resources. How? By creating other scarcities, from animal and plant species to clean air to clean water and other reasons why we dare not tap resources that might create other scarcities.

The tactics used are many and varied – however the most effective among them is fear. Fear that the planet will be killed or destroyed. Fear that we’ll all be wearing gas masks. Fear that we will die because we have no clean water to drink. Fear that if we don’t get our unemployment checks we will starve. Fear that if taxes aren’t raised the national debt will just continue to rise and never be paid off and our children will become slaves. Fear that if we don’t allow the government to grope us at airports we will be blown up by domestic extremists. Fear that if ordinary citizens are permitted to own guns that crime will rise. And the list goes on.

When people are scared they are ever so easy to control. Don’t believe me, think about this – ever been in a situation that scared you? Your adrenaline is pumping, you are confused, you don’t know what to do. And then suddenly some cool-headed person steps in and takes charge, directs other people’s actions, makes things happen and gets the situation under control. Think car accident. Think house fire. Or even family emergency. We’ve all been there, something devastating and terrible happens and we lose it. We can’t think, in some cases maybe we can’t even move. And thank God somebody came along who had a cool head and could think in a crisis. Had they not, God only knows what might have happened – how much worse things might have turned out. And so maybe the next time something terrible happens we look to that person, rather than ourselves to get things under control. We give power over to that person, rather than address the situation ourselves. Soon, whenever that type of situation rears its ugly head, we wait for that special talented person to take care of it for us, perhaps even giving up our own control or ownership of a situation. And before we know it, we think what we are told to think, do as we are told and simply have no choice but to go along.

If you think about it the concept of scarcity is actually pretty ridiculous. Just do a cursory study of planet Earth and all her natural resources – not the least of which is the human race. Without the human race we would not have any kind of machinery, power, agriculture, technology, art, music, literature, etc. Though human beings have gotten a horrible rap of late for their greedieness and consumption, few have acknowledged what human beings have brought to the planet. In fact, if not for human beings you would not be reading this post. There would be no Internet, no computers, no cell phones, facebook, twitter, text messaging nor commerce – heck there wouldn’t even be green technology. I submit that mankind has more than contributed to life on this planet and will continue to do so, as long as it exists. And it is man’s ability to think, consider, and create that has enabled us to evolve and live better, more interesting and productive lives. There is no scarcity of ideas or solutions – yet we seem to be convinced that there are.

Today we are told there is a scarcity of jobs. Well, I suppose that is true in a way – however not quite. If you haven’t been living in a cave you may have read articles discussing the fact that businesses throughout the United States have lots of funds that they are sitting on and not using. They are not hiring and they are not expanding their businesses. The resources are there, but they are not using them. Why? Because the business world is expecting scarcity. They are expecting that their profits will dwindle because of new taxes and government regulations. They are expecting they will not be able to compete and do business without further and additional restrictions, that they will have less control over their businesses, the decisions they can make and fewer options. So, the scarcity vicious cycle is creating even more scarcity than has been created. And this scarcity perpetuates more scarcity – because people believe there are no jobs, that no one has any money and even if there is money that no one will spend it and so they look to the government to make up that scarcity rather than put on their thinking caps and resolve their own situations.

I believe that as long as anyone believes in scarcity, they will continue to be controlled and manipulated. I also believe there is no scarcity of anything, anywhere on this planet. If an animal or plant species dies out, other and new species come along and take their place. When sources of oil or other resources dry out, others are found or resources that can replace their function are discovered and created. If we all just believed in abundance for all of us, perhaps we’d discover that indeed abundance exists everywhere we look.

copyright 2010

A Day of Independence

There is an interesting story about this painting you might enjoy.

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. (emphasis mine)

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

The above is the reason for this holiday – so while you’re enjoying your hotdogs and parades and fireworks, maybe give it a read.

WC