Friday, October 28, 2011

Thinking out loud again

I was listening to NPR today and they had the usual news on. You know riots in the middle east, riots in southern Europe, demonstrations in northern Europe and England and least we forget in the USA.

Of course there were other things on the radio as well. Like, who killed what disposed leader of Libya and their main concern in enacting reforms was allowing polygamy. The stock market knocking one out of the park making fat cats richer. The Congressional Budget office, the IRS and Census Bearu folks all confirming what we already knew from experience that 1% of the US citizen income grew 3X faster than the remaining 99% of the population. This great discrepancy they noted began in 1980 the same time as Ronald Regan became President and the Keynesian economic approach went out the window and the trickle down economy began.

Republican Senator Kirk of Illinois was asked why wasn’t the jobs being created by the rich and the simple fact that the trickle down effect didn’t seem to be working. His response was classic ultra-conseravive republican, “Because his friends tell him that they are afraid of environmental and labor legislation as well as being unsure of taxes that they rather sit on their money.” I am afraid I paraphrase his exact words but this was the sentiment. In short more of the same old rhetoric.

Another item of news that was disturbing was the US strongest trading partner China on their human rights record and trading practice. Which is as corrupt as you can imagine. The human rights issue is simple if you complain about  the government and have no juice then you risk torture and death. Their description of a the abuse of one protester of having his head stuck through a door and attack dogs allowed to threaten and savage their face, in this one case lost of eye, as well as physical torture of having their feet burned with a cigarette lighter. The video of the effects and torture undergone gotten out using China’s version of Tweet with the lawyers posting it at risk to their own life.  The crime these people committed ranged from protest of unfair labor and environmental practices as well as complaints on the government.  
I don’t know if you realize just how much of not just our consumer products we get from China but also much of our processed food. The thing is if they don’t have any respect for their own citizens how can we expect them to provide safe products that we all consume if their value of life is only a matter of profit.
One of the biggest projects ongoing in the US right now is the new bridge being built in San Francisco Ca. from steel provided by China. Why China because it was cheaper to buy form them and ship it then it was to buy from a US company particularly since we have pretty well gutted our manufacturing potential here in the US sending our factories and work to China.  I don’t care how much quality control they said they have in China it is still controlled by China and I have enough experience dealing with foreign made products not to trust it.
Here is a story of personal experience from back the US first open up the FTA’s and Mexico and the building of Maquiladoras plants built just across the US and Mexico borders.

In 1977 I was working for a pre-stress product company making bridge beams and double and single “T”s. The company normally usde US made steel cable to pre-tension the concrete product to create a camber for load bearing. The steel cable was a 9 strand steel wire cable. Spec’ allowed us to stretch to breaking on 2 strands of the nine strands without replacing the 500 to 600 foot length when stretched. When a cable had more than 2 strands break it would usually break totally while being stretched and the hydraulic jack operator and I would end up with a lap full of steel wire. If it had not been for the 1 inch steel plate we hid behind it could of killed us. Fortunaltley this didn’t happen too often until our regional manger got a good buy on Mexican cable. It became a common occurrence for the cable to break and go ripping down the steel form beds. That is when I learned the meaning of pucker factor. I learned real quick just because you have paperwork saying something passed QC doesn’t mean it is worth a plug nickel. The proof is in the final product and so it will be for that bridge in SF,Ca.

Maybe that is just my bias after all I feel that same way for products made in India or other third world products. You get what you pay for and if the person buying it to resell is only thinking of profit well enough said.

Think about that the next time you buy a food container with a sealable lid that doesn’t fit right or when you feed your dog or cat and they die because of glycol used for their food not to mention for sweat taste and caloric value in our food. It isn’t about the quality but cost.

Again I makes you wonder.

Reading, movies, and projects

Finished reading the Simon Morden trilogy and began reading Joe Bagenat last book “Rainbow Pie, a redneck memoir”. Was happy with the ending of Petrovich Freezone. It was interesting how Morden showed the USofA in not a very flattering light.

I have been watching the second series of the Walking Dead very intense. I always try to watch something less intense like a mindless comedy since it is usually just befoe I go to bed and I don’t want to dream about it.

Another show coming out is called Grimm on NBC that might be pretty good.

Began working on the Cherry again and was remined that when you leave your equipment unattended or unsued for a while they need to be tuned back up.  If you just start using them thinking all is right then you will make mistakes take m word for it. Enough said

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Self-improvement or simply disciplie.

In my reteriment I have found that one of the biggest obstacles has been myself.  That has to do with self-discipline or self-improvement.

While I was still working I would see these old guys running around or doing a little sidewalk superintending and they would be wearing old sweats and personal hygene that could be said to socially challenging. Now there is nothing wrong with this after all sweats pants and shirts are comfortabe and I myself lounge around it them in the evening. But, in the cases I am talking about it is more of given up.

These men, and I am speaking of men, gave up living when they reteried and the highlight of their day has become "Judge Judy" or "Cops" rerun's. They forgot all that they said they were going to do when they finally got to reteire. They lacked the discipline to follow through and after a few weeks became a lump on the couch that their old lady cleanes the house around.

It is hard sometimes to remember what that the orginal goal was. Like the old engineering maxium "when you are ass deep in aligators it is hard to remember the orginal goal was to drain the swamp." So it is for most of us that when we leave our normal pattern of life we loose our focus, our way.

The thing is that I was heading for that unacceptable position myself. So I have implemented my own self-improvement program. The first step is launch myself back into rehab which for me is 3 times a week an hour at a time in a pool exercising. Right now I am paying for my lack of didication.  Don't get me wrong I know it will not improve my joints they are too far gone. But, it does help with my muscle conditioning and weight control. This is step 1, paying attention to maintianing my health and moblity as best as I can.

Step 2 is mental conditioning.

Here problem solving, reading, writing, are the methods I have choosen to follow. I use my Ipad to play a daily game of chess, do a crosswod puzzle, and keep up with different bloggers.

I keep a ready supply of books on hand and make a point of turning off the TV and read one of them or a article from one of many magazines I subscribe to. The type of books and mags I read vary from SciFi, mystery, to history and drama, and mags from woodworking, popular mechanics, photography to rags like Mother Jones and Mother Earth.

Part of that problem solving involve projects, They range from gardenig plans to woodworking. As any one who works with wood figuring out how to cut, measuring, assembling and finishing helps keep you sharp and practice has positive results. Right now I am stymied on a project I am working on due to a broken tool but hope to rectifiy that soon.

Step 3 has to do with interacting with more than imediate family. While I have never been accused of being a social butterfly, I do believe that it is important that you interact with folks. To that end I am endeavoring to figure out some place like a senior citizen center that I can find a domino or 42 game and an opportunity to share a cup of coffee. Too much time with yourself is not necessary a good thing. The voices in your head tend to start winning too many arguments.

This simple 3 step program is my method of maintaing who I am. When the day come for you to retire you mush choose what will work for you. But whatever it is don't become that couch potato in a pair of unwashed sweats.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

In the middle of the Night.

As readers of my blog might recall I have a bad habit of waking in the middle of the night with my mind engaged and it just want let me fall back asleep. It happen last night for two reasons one was from a blog I follow "Tesla's Laptop" and a book I recently finished  and subsequent short essays of Joe Bageant that I have been following up with.

Warren, the writer of "Tesla's Laptop" commented on his frustration of having to listen to the garbage coming from his co-workers on the Occupy Wall Street movement to President Obama. I also shared in his frustration while working for a local city government as a public works inspector. I sat there and hear things come from men and women who lived from pay check to pay check parroting the Limbaugh's and O'Reilly's and Fox New pundits that had no touch to the reality that was and is our life.

Most of the time I would sit there and keep my mouth shut believing as my Dad would say not need to cast pearls before swine as it would come to no avail. But, the l as 6 months of employment before disability force me into retirement I begin to speak of what I believe. This was received with a combination of mockery and the proverbial patting on the head. But I at least said my piece hoping that at least I put some doubt into their closed, fearful minds. That they might actually start to think for their self.

Did it work I doubt it. But I have a history that I am unapologetic for. You see when ever I find myself confronted without absolute stupidity I have been known ed to "moon" the people who have open their mouths and out came stupidity and should of known better.

That is right turn my back to them pull down my pants and tell them to KMA. Some times it has to be done. In my life time I have done 3 times. Once back in the 80"s, again in late 99 and again in 2009 just before I retried from my last job. All I can say it is the ultimate emphasising your point in the only way some folks can understand.

To those who felt like Warren that they have to keep their mouths shut, I say don't. It will only make you bitter and angrier. Say what is on your mind they don't have to like any more than you have to like what they have to say, but at least you will feel better. Then there is always Mooning when all else fails.

The other reason of awaking to full thought in the middle of the night was reflecting about the recent book I read by Joe Bageant "Dear Hunting With Jesus".  Joe, who died this year (1946 to 2011) was a unapologetic working class liberal who thanks to education provided by the GI bill that lead to a Carree in journalism and writing and his experience working in lower income jobs as well as a labor organizer was able to put into words of how people who should not but did support the uber-rich with their vote, sweat, and blood. He is worth reading  and rereading.  I think his writing would help those who feel that they are the black dot lost in a sea of white. It helps to understand you are not alone.

His essays are avaialbe for reading at the web site coldtype. link below

Take the time also to read his two books "Deer Hunting With Jesus" and  "Rainbow Pie, a redneck memoir". I think it will help when you are back into the corner trying to defend your liberal position.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Backed into a corner

Steve Jobs was cited to have said, and I paraphrase,  that people don’t know what they want until they are told.  I guess that is why there are so many people around telling us what we need to do.

It doesn’t help that we are held responsible for the collapse of our economy. But the cause is old Joseph Heller “Catch 22”. This is where the anti-hero of the story is told by the base doctor that yes to go to war is insane but by the very fact that you recognize that it as insanity means you are sane enough to go to war. In short you can’t win for losing.

Catch 22 is what is going on now with the middle or rather working class. We are told we are the problem we overreached our needs. We bought houses and cars we could not afford or even need. We maxed out our credit line buying the latest clothes going out to eat in the latest restaurant and buying the latest gadget we are told we must have to be considered worthy.

But then we are told that the middle class must be put back into this mindless spending mode if we are too revive the economy. Isn’t this what got us there into this economic depression as it is?  

Then we are told that we are to do this making significantly less than what got us into this pickle to begin with. Oh, you are to be happy and grateful about that as well. Talk about feeling trapped.

I think that it is time we reevaluate our core values. To ask ourselves what we need for a life well lived and not just a life lived. To established a set of core values not based on ownership of property but on possession of ourselves.

Realization that when our identity is based our possessions, on our purchasing power that then you devalue the individual.  That in turns leads to the destruction of his humanity.

When you destroy the humanity of the individual then he becomes soulless. Because he has no soul he sees no problem in destruction of the very thing that sustains him his environment.

I use to tell my kids that never to back a person into a corner without giving him an out. That not to do so will cause that person to act in a way that might not be to either of your benefit.  Well the middle or working class has been backed into that corner and our so called leaders are not providing us with a responsible way out. So, the questions begs to be ask what will our response be?

The feeling we are experiencing of waiting for the other shoe to fall to the floor is that response of the working class being painted into that corner with no way out. Perhaps the fall of that shoe has begun with the protest on Wall Street. It will be interesting to see how far it falls and what fallout  before that shoe lands.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Just a Word to the Republicans and Democrats

I think that it would help us all to remember that our founding fathers had no faith in the common rabble, Us. We need to remember it is “For the republic for which it stands”. Not democracy for which it stands.

A republic is government ruled by a leader elected by a few to make decisions in their behalf nominally meant the elite. A democracy is a government of direct vote. One man one vote led by leaders elected to act.

We need to remember that the Senate was established to keep the common rabble in check in the House. We need to remember that the founding fathers did not have faith in the common sweaty stinking man to act with intelligence and grace. In fact in review of early history you can’t really blame them.

But they didn’t understand that the individuals could in fact become as corrupt as those in the senate. Be bought and paid for by those elite who believe that we were fodder for their gain. But they did come to understand it real quick.

Someone recently spoke of our elected officials that to get to positions of power, particularly, say the President, they make so many deals that it can’t help but corrupt their original agenda of doing good. Sounds familiar.

See the basic problem lies in the fact that bulk of the wealth lays in the hands of 1% of our fellow citizens of that roughly 20 Trillion dollars 7 individuals are reported to own 1.7 Trillion dollars alone. This kind of wealth translates into power and as we know power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Our House and particularly our Senate don’t have a chance of standing up to the 1percenter’s, to this kind of power. Man is to base and weak to toss aside this kind of temptation that is waved like a carrot dangled in front of them knowing that the stick awaits them.

So you know that I am not just throwing out ideals without facts here are a couple of links that take you to those facts

Yeah, I know I used an article from Michael Moore but that does not alter the facts.

Now for the word to the two major political parties.

To the Republicans your manipulation of the working class will one day end and when it does all I can say is you forgot the lessons taught by French Revolution and the Italian Revolution led by Garibaldi. You can only beat down the people before they rise up in revolt. When they do there will be a power shift so unimaginable that there is no way 1% can stop it without what is happening in the Arab worlds happening here.

To the democrats you are going to have to quit being just talking heads, quite your whining when the Republicans ridicule you. Fight. Don’t just talk the talk but walk the walk.  You are going to have to get out of you Ivory towers and get down on the street and explain in way that the common man can understand. You are going have to sweat it out just like we do.  

Then when you have earned our trust then we might shift our vote from the neo-cons to those who understand and helped us to understand that entitlements are not getting something for free but what we are entitled to,  what we have a right to.

If you fail to shift. If you fail to get cut the corruption from you bloated body then the common man will do it for you. It want be pretty. It will be chaotic and anarchy will reign.

Remember, many of the leaders of the French Revolution found their heads in the guillotine in the chaos that followed. To end the chaos it took a charismatic dictator, Napoleon to end it.

You need to read Robert Reichs blog he makes compelling arguments that need more attention then it is getting.