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High Earners – Religion and Politics

20201027 High Earner – The Daily Summation
20201027 High Earner – The Daily Summation Podcast

Can you imagine yourself as a wealthy person? Envision you own a large company, or set of them, that produce foodstuffs.

The items your companies create, are largely perishable. If you don’t use them, or sell them, what benefit is there in making them?

You can only eat so much, and even if you gave some of your output, to friends and colleagues, you would still have way more to deal with, than you could ever hope to consume.

What do you do? Do you like the idea of staying rich? If you do, my suggestion would be, sell things.

Can you come up with a better answer? I certainly can’t.

In fact, does it even make sense, to have your factories churning out food, you’re not intending to sell?

Again, do you want to continue to make huge amounts of money? If you answered, “Yes!” allow me to inform you, it would be flatly ridiculous to not find ways, to make a profit off the products your industries were working hard to create.

Without questions, this is the model, for most folks with substantial means.

The idea that a real estate mogul, would cause to be built, potentially thousands of personal residences, without the underpinning concept, that they would end up being sold to make a profit for that tycoon, seems more than a little ridiculous.

The point of this concept, is that for the most part, it’s a pretty strange idea, to assume someone who foots the bill for the coming into existence, of huge amounts of anything, has it in mind to hold onto it, allow it to rot in a warehouse, or just toss it out.

What that means is, where the person considered may have plenty of money, multiple homes, large numbers of cars, a jet, and a yacht, he or she likely hits some sort of saturation point along the way.

Further, if the person wants to keep the various things he or she has acquired, he or she must at least not lose enough of the wealth possessed, to make it impossible to maintain standards achieved.

Does that mean the individual in question doesn’t have obscene amounts of property of various kinds? Of course it doesn’t.

That said, in most cases, if you took all that person had, sold it, and gave away the proceeds, you’d be flatly amazed by a couple of realities.

The first is, for how few people, you’d be able to do any kind of meaningful good.

The second would be, how fleeting the effect of that supposed largess would be.

I don’t think most folks consider a third idea though. If a person made his or her money, producing cars, taking all he or she had, would make it impossible for him or her, to continue to do that.

You could just take the excess, skimmed off of the company, and leave the entity itself standing. If you did though, the amount you would procure for your purposes, would be even smaller.

Now again, imagine you’re the person, from whom the money and other resources were being extracted. Why on earth would you continue to work hard, when what you toiled so fervently for, is taken from you, and redistributed to those who didn’t spend the time and effort to amass it?

Truthfully, to some degree, you should be aware such people face this dilemma daily, in the present moment.

After all, how many times have you heard it said? “The rich need to pay their fair share!”

It’s almost invariably true, people saying such things, are proposing ways in which the wealthy can be separated from their wealth.

This is often done, through one of a couple of mechanisms.

The first is obvious. If we simply increase their tax burden, everything will be fixed! Of course, if spending is not reined in, those monies just go to do things like, service existing debt. Put simply, if you spend irresponsibly, the result will be, that you’ll constantly be trying, to dig yourself out of a hole. How successful is that likely to be?

The second is various kinds of government regulations and laws. One excellent example of this, is wage laws. The most common type of such edicts, is minimum wage laws.

They seem like a grand idea, until it dawns on you, that increasing the minimum amount everyone gets paid, cannot help but cause a corresponding increase in prices—but one of a few potential effects. Why? Because somebody (read here, “business owners”) must pay those increased wages.

Unlike what so many assume, many businesses operate with comparatively slim profit margins, and even if they don’t, it’s not necessarily the owners or CEOs, who pocket the profit.

If the company is publicly owned, a large part of the profits, are distributed to investors.

Some such people may be “Wall Street fat cats.” Most though, are people with IRAs and other types of retirement or similar investment vehicles.

“Wait! I have an IRA!” you might be saying.

How do you think it makes money? Such mechanisms, typically invest in successful businesses, and grow based on their performance. The better the companies in question do, the greater the return on investment. The obvious result, is increased yield for your retirement, or other investment account.

Don’t have a retirement account? Don’t worry, in the course of time, it’s very likely you’ll end up with at least one.

After all, even if Social Security does remain solvent—a highly questionable thing—do you really want to retire on what you’ll end up getting from it? If you think that’d be fine by you, I highly suggest, you talk to someone attempting to survive, on that level of income.

Is it true that people who qualify as high earners, often have more than they’ll ever need? Certainly. That said, most of them, are also producing or causing to be produced, those things off which the average person lives. Take what they have, and the question is, “Why should they continue to create things for others?” Let me know when you come up with a good answer.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good,

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What’s Wrong with a Public Option? – Religion and Politics

20201025 What’s Wrong with a Public Option – The Daily Summation
20201025 What’s Wrong with a Public Option? – The Daily Summation Podcast

Imagine a system of health insurance, or even health care, where there’s never an issue with your need to pay. Sounds exciting right?

This is what people think they’ll get, when folks talk about what’s alternately called “single payer,” and “public option,” health care, or insurance.

Those more in the know, will argue the two aren’t the same thing.

“The first,” they’ll insist, “is a system through which health care is paid, by some single mechanism.” What they’ll fail to say most of the time, is that single payer, is almost invariably conceived to be government.

The reality is, it’s almost impossible for it to be anyone else.

“The second,” they’ll argue, “is where some entity offers insurance or care, with costs managed by the government.”

The two ideas sound different. In reality though, they end up being essentially the same thing. Allow me to explain.

When people talk about single payer systems, they’ll almost invariably insist on two things.

The first, is that the system should be universal—that is to say, everybody should be under it.

The second is, it should be government run.

When these two are combined, it can be assumed the reason for their being mashed together, is that by doing so, the government can essentially set prices for various medical services. If someone wants more for their work, than government decides is appropriate, that’s too bad. What they get, is what some sort of payment schedule allows.

We’ll talk about the ramifications of such an idea in a moment.

For now, let’s discuss the idea of a “public option.”

You can’t really call an insurance option public, if government doesn’t manage that option.

Part of doing such management, includes dictating terms of the available “policies.” This results in government controlling payments in much the same way, as a single payer system.

It’s commonly true, that people advancing such concepts, assume there’ll continue to be a private market as well.

The problem? Because the public option will always appear to to undercut private insurers, the private market consistently dies in large measure, when public ones are installed.

You might be asking why that’s a bad thing. Here’s the answer.

There are two reasons public options always seemcheaper.

The first, is that they’re nearly invariably, subsidized with taxpayer money. This will generally make the supposed public option look cheaper than it actually is.

The second, is the government can limit access to care, in ways they would never allow private carriers to.

The result is, they’re able to keep costs down, by making it so people they decide, don’t need procedures or other medical care, don’t get that care.

Though I could go further into this, the time and words needed to do so would be excessive. As such, I’ll leave that be for now. I may talk about it in a subsequent piece.

The point is this, those who know, realize they’ll be required to subsidize the public option, through their taxes. The result is, they either pay higher premiums for insurance and are taxed to help pay for the public option, or ditch their private plan to reduce costs.

Those who don’t know, take the option that’s cheaper, since they assume it means a smaller outlay for them, not realizing they’ll often be taxed to “make up the difference.”

Even if they’re lower wage earners and as a result, don’t see a direct increase in taxes, they’ll almost certainly end up paying for things.

Why? Because those who are taxed will want more income to offset the expense. The result of this is higher prices, which the persons with lesser compensation, will have to pay along with everybody else.

Simplifying, the increase in taxes will cause an increase in wages, that’ll trigger an increase in costs. In a word, inflation.

Again, getting into detail on why this is true, is the subject for about a chapter, of a pretty substantial book, even though it’s pretty simple math that makes it true.

Here’s the important point. Both single payer, and a public option will almost certainly put government firmly in control of healthcare pricing and availability.

Wealthier folks may be able to avoid this, by paying their way privately, if private care is still allowed.

When it’s not, they’ll do what Canadians and others typically do, when they end up on waiting lists in their home country—they’ll find other countries, that will allow them to receive care, on their own terms, and pay to make their way to them.

Here’s the thing. Once government is firmly ensconced in the position of controlling costs as well as the quality, and quantity of care, since they’re not the ones receiving that care, they’ll start doing things that will either make them look better, or enrich them in some fashion.

The result will be reductions in quality, reductions in what they’re willing to pay for procedures, and rationing of care.

Even if this doesn’t happen immediately, you can be pretty well assured it will come.

In all I’ve said so far, I haven’t yet even mentioned the devastation that’ll be wrought on the medical community. When doctors and other medical professionals who’ve spent huge portions of their lives, and sums of money, becoming qualified to do what they do, realize they cannot continue to practice medicine without taking a vow of poverty, you can be certain, many will stop doing so.

As it is, lots of medical folks already have an exit strategy, so they can ultimately get away from jobs, that suck the life out of those doing them. It’s often a long, laborious slog, that takes a heavy toll on their health and well being, to do what they do.

I’ve given a quick overview of what you can expect, if either a public option, or a single payer system is put in place. Doing more, would take many times more space and hours, than I can easily break loose at present. If you want to see more, you can look into the work of folks like Dr Thomas Sowell. If you take the time to do so, don’t count on their words being comforting, if you think either to be a good idea.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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Conversation’s a Two-Way Street – Religion and Politics

20201024 Conversation’s a Two-Way Street – The Daily Summation
20201024 Conversation’s a Two-Way Street – The Daily Summation Podcast

It wasn’t too very long before I was born, that the transistor, began to become ubiquitous.

The result is, in my youth, there started to be more publicly available things like, transistor radios and walkie talkies.

Though I don’t much remember them as a child, I recently bought a set of the latter, in order to give my son, what experience I had gleaned over the course of time.

I learned again, the lessons from my childhood. If you keep the device keyed, the other person’s transmissions don’t get through to you.

In the course of time, you begin to anticipate the speech of the other party.

In some instances, you find out, that somebody nearby, has receipt and, possibly transmission equipment, using the same frequency, as do your units.

It’s then you find out about cross talk. That’s when the conversations of others, can at least partially be heard on your device.

In the course of time, I demonstrated another interesting possibility to my boy. I showed him feedback.

It’s easy to do on most walkie talkies, all that’s necessary, is to get one unit in close proximity to the other, and key the microphone on it.

In these simple devices, you learn many basic concepts of conversation.

To begin with, you find out that there’s a problem with the idea of just speaking, without waiting for you fellow in discussion, to finish what he or she is saying.

You also learn that the back and forth of verbal communication is exactly that, back and forth.

Then comes the lesson of politeness many seem to never have learned. When in a crowd, people talking, can be easily interrupted by others chiming in, while they’re trying conduct simple dialog.

In the former gear, that would be roughly equivalent to cross talk.

Another interesting lesson, is that of feedback, which funnily, is generally considered a positive thing in most situations.

In the radio world, it’s almost always an annoyance, capable of damaging your equipment.

It’s partly for the reason that various issues exist in spoken communication, that I’ve favored certain other forms. For some time, email has been a favorite.

These days, I’m prone to spend more than a little time, in the creation of pieces of prose, similar to the one you’re now reading.

As great a propensity as I have, towards not dealing with speech though, it’s still a quite necessary and important thing, with which one must labor.

That considered, I wanted to talk about a few issues surrounding such back and forth.

The first of these, is the tendency that I see occasionally, of folks “turning off” other speakers in their mind. It’s more obvious, than many seem to realize when they do so. I consider this an unfortunate turn of events, since it really precludes any further meaningful dialog.

Related to this, is dealing with folks, who have childlike viewpoints.

When you’re talking with children, that not only shouldn’t be a surprising thing, it ought to be a somewhat expected one.

On the other hand, when speaking with adults, my hope is, I won’t find them to be in similar places. Sadly, at times that’s not the case. Interchange with such folks, can be more than a little difficult, to say the least.

Another seemingly tough to overcome concern, is those who seem to believe, when you come to them with facts and logic, speaking as you normally would, that you’re guilty of some sort of abuse or other. It certainly makes one wonder if, in the minds of some, “losing arguments” is in some instances, roughly the same thing, as being abused.

Each of the listed concerns, are things with which I’ve had far too much experience for my liking.

I’m not by any means, a communications expert. That said, it seems to me there are a good many folks, who’re downright primitive, where such skills are concerned.

My consistent desire though, is to continue to improve my ability, such that I can overcome what appear to be, all but insurmountable obstacles, to the robust flow of information.

This is something I think to be one of the more important things, one might seek to achieve.

For most of the previously mentioned, it seems the best solution much of the time, is to walk away for a period, recognizing the potential to engage with others, at some point in the future.

I’m forever hopeful though, that I’ll come up with some means of breaking through, that aren’t so caustic or jarring, as to make people feel intimidated or bullied, by the mechanism used.

To date, for the most part, I’ve yet to find tools that make that possible on a regular basis. That’s not to say that at times, I’m not able to achieve desired ends, just that it’s nothing like consistent.

Now and then, I find that you can get a person to engage, by moving from statements, to questions. An important factor in such an approach, is to actually ask. In other words, the idea of leading people in any but the most basic ways, tends to be a bad one for the most part.

To some degree, since discussion tends to be on a specific topic or set of them, I don’t think it’s entirely possible, to not move banter, in certain directions, but when you ask instead of telling, you allow the person with whom you’re dealing, to respond either in agreement, or explain why they can’t hold with what you’re saying.

In all of this, it’s important to realize, verbal communication is a skill I can honestly say, I haven’t mastered to this point in my life. I hope the older and more experienced I become, I’ll come to be better at it, than I am at present.

If I had to give advice to others though, I would certainly say, they ought to remember, conversation’s a two-way street. You give, and you get, if you’re not interested in both, you’ll probably have discussions that are far less fruitful.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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In Defense of Repugnance – Religion and Politics

20201023 In Defense of Repugnance – The Daily Summation
202010232 In Defense of Repugnance – The Daily Summation Podcast

I’m sure you’ve been witness to various things, you would refer to as repugnant. If you haven’t, I would assume you’re quite young, or exceptionally sheltered.

I’m not sitting here, assuming people you count friends or family, have necessarily been the sources of the things about which I’m speaking. Further, I may even have been the culprit, where the offense is concerned.

Here’s the thing, I’m not certain exactly how far afield the 1st Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, can be reasonably applied. I’ve recently heard folks who insist there’s some doctrine, that extends its reach beyond the national congress. Whatever the case, I support the idea of the rights it protects, being shielded, to the furthest reasonable boundary.

Yes, that includes people who say and even to some degree, do, things I count obnoxious.

To be clear, if a person is doing something otherwise illegal, those rights may be curtailed by that action, or those statements.

So for example, if you’ve sworn yourself to secrecy, by applying for, and receiving, a government security clearance, you should be ready for some level of fallout, should you make known, things you learn, as a result of exposure to classified information. That’s regardless whether or not the intent of your actions is, “whistle blowing.”

In the end though, I can think of few if any, rights I feel it less appropriate to curtail, than the god-given one, to freedom of speech.

Allow me now, to present some reasons for saying so.

To begin with, letting people speak, even when what they say is to the level of abhorrence, ensures that 1st Amendment is not likely to be abridged. If folks can utter things others revile, it’s more than a little unlikely they’ll be censored for things said, that are considered far closer to normal, and

reasonable.

It’s also true that hearing folks express ideas and concepts that appear nigh unto insanity, helps one to recognize when such things are posited. In the process, one should be able to maintain a better sense of balance in ideas, by and large.

Let me bring up another interesting consideration. I’m sure you’ve been apprised of circumstances in which folks were caught unawares, by the startling, possibly even shocking, actions of someone else.

Where there’s no guarantee, it’s possible if that person felt at ease expressing his or her mental state, the situation or occurrence in question, could have been at least better understood, if not avoided entirely.

In general, I think most people know, saying something that sounds outlandish, will at best, garner them disapproving looks, and at worst, cause them to be dealt with, quite harshly.

In short, letting others speak their minds, lets you know who they are.

At this point, things get interesting. How many times, has someone been fearful of expressing themselves, and as a result, held their tongue, only to have the thing they would have said, come back and bite others, who would’ve had a hard time hearing them?

To put it simply, what that person puts out there, may seem bizarre, or even offensive, but you may come to realize, the person is actually correct.

Here’s the thing, even if what another imparts is generally wrong, it still may help you to realize things you’ve missed, or misunderstood. That’s even the case when the one doing so, doesn’t say what you come to realize; when it was unintentionally conveyed.

That person may end up using you as a sounding board of sorts. I’m not to saying they won’t get an echo, just that it may not match what they tried to make known.

It’s entirely possible I could come up with yet more reasons, to allow people to speak their peace even when what they say seems untoward, but the question in my mind would be, “Do you really need them?”

I’ll bring up one more. It’s a truth of life, that people who spend the time to voice things that flow from their thought process, may tend to feel a great deal less valued, when others don’t make the effort, to listen to the result of their doing so.

On top of that, when you do take that moment to hear others out, you’re presented with a unique opportunity, to discuss with them, what they’ve released for consideration.

In doing so, particularly if one can manage civility in the process, there are a some potential outcomes, that can be pretty great.

The first of these, is that you can help the other, to come to a better understanding, of the thing discussed.

The obvious second, is when you become more aware, or enlightened, as a result.

Finally—and this has happened for me, more times than I can recall—it’s not entirely unheard of, for both parties, to receive, or conceive, some sort of revelation as a result of the encounter.

Here’s the thing, if nothing else, you may help that person feel like others care enough to listen to him or her. That alone, makes it potentially, a very worthwhile thing to do, much of the time.

I’m not suggesting that you need to agree with what’s been spoken, just that you listen, and better yet, work to try to understand.

Being the father of a Moderately Autistic son, I can’t begin to make plain, how important it is for my child, that I work to comprehend, and often even echo back, sometimes very simple recognition, of the things he utters.

Though it may be less of a consideration for people who don’t have issues with communication, if a person’s putting things out there, that are untoward and potentially unsettling, do you suppose they might fall in the camp of those who do?

For the causes stated, I would argue that letting people hold forth when you’re able—even when what they choose to express, seems to be of no value, or is even seemingly problematic—is potentially a much more valuable thing, than you might recognize without diving a little deeper, than most are prone to. If you manage nothing else, you may just help a person in despair, to feel a little better, and it’s possible, you might accomplish a great deal more.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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Talk is Cheap – Religion and Politics

20201021 Talk is Cheap – The Daily Summation
20201021 Talk is Cheap – The Daily Summation Podcast

More than thirty-five years. That’s roughly how long ago a kid, not much time out of high school, with no clear vision for his life, joined the United States Air Force.

I’m not going to lie to you. I had no intention to protect you, or America when I did what I did.

I truly just, had no better life plan at that point in my short jaunt on the planet.

As time went on in that pursuit, I began to understand what the military was ostensibly for. For a time, I not only supported the ideas and concepts behind those forces, but I came to view myself as a person working to protect freedom.

I grew older, and I like to think, smarter. In the course of time, I came to believe something for which I to this day, have zero proof. I came to accept that there was a God, that He was responsible for my being, and that in the form of the Son, He came to Earth, and died on the cross, for my sake.

Funnily, I credit the Book of Mormon for helping me to see that. I won’t get heavily into detail, but I saw some of what was written there, was truth. Other parts, I came to recognize, were not. If you ask me how I knew, I would have to tell you, even now, I have no real answer. I can just tell you, I came to believe it was the case.

I bring up the beliefs I came to hold, because it was on that basis, I concluded I needed to exit the Air Force.

I sat in a room, in a small building on Osan Air Base in the Republic of Korea, where I was undergoing Leadership Training, and did my best to attend the folks responsible for instructing me.

The first man got up and said basically, “Your mission in the Air Force, is to break things and kill people. Thank you.” Then he sat down, waiting for the next instructor.

I concluded he wasn’t entirely correct, as a member of the Air Force, you’re tasked with one four possible missions:

  1. To break things and kill people
  2. To threaten to break things and kill people
  3. To support people breaking things and killing people
  4. To support people threatening to break things and kill people

I recognize these are seen as necessary, and important activities in state-craft. Nonetheless, knowing they were the things with which one may be tasked, I resolved to depart the body, burdened with such charges as quickly as I was able. I simply couldn’t reconcile them, to what I held to be the basis for my existence.

The result was, before too very much longer, I left the service, not in the nicest of ways, but not in a terrible one either.

I’m not going to say I made no comments as I went along in the process, but I will say, considering the title of this article, talk is indeed cheap.

The result is simple, I came to recognize what I believed, and chose a course that would help me to come closer, to those things I held true.

To this day, I have friends who made the same pledge I did, and at least stayed for a time. Some retired from the military.

I hold no grudge against any of them for having kept their word, and done what they felt was their duty—even if they too, counted themselves Christian.

The point of all of this though, is that each of us resolved to take a certain course. For some, the path changed over time, but in each case, we decided on our direction, and acted in accordance with what we chose.

Put simply, it’s easy to talk. Where the rubber meets the proverbial road though, is in action.

From the time I pledged myself to military service, until the day I left (not when I decided to do so, when I actually did do it), I acted in good faith, regarding my choices.

Even now, there are things I learned in my time in the Air Force, I’m obliged not to divulge.

This is one of the key realities of life, what you say, is fine and good, but it doesn’t matter one whit, if it doesn’t match your actions.

Don’t get me wrong, you can get truth from someone who doesn’t live it. I honestly believe even hypocritical people, can speak reality.

I’m not suggesting you ignore the words of others, because they don’t practice what they preach.

That said, the fact that they don’t behave in accordance with their words, should make you question whether the individual considered, is one you choose to support or count worthy of your time and effort.

This is a definite consideration in politics. There’re a lot of folks who—looking at their records will make plain—do not act in line with what they say.

What it’s important for you to realize is, no matter how good those people sound, the thing that’s really significant is what they do.

I might reverse this for you as well. Even if a person seems to spout garbage, if his or her actions are good, what he or she says, is of little consequence compared to them.

In case you’re wondering, there’s an underlying Biblical principle here. It can be found in Matthew 21:

28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.

29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.

30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.

31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

My simple message to you? Talk is cheap. That works for those around you. It works for politicians, too. If you ignore this reality, I can pretty much promise you’ll find yourself wondering what went wrong at some point.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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Don’t Think, Just Do – Religion and Politics

20201020 Don’t Think, Just Do – The Daily Summation
20201020 Don’t Think, Just Do – The Daily Summation Podcast

I needn’t tell you there’s a well known company in the United States, that’s had a slogan much like the title of this piece for some time.

In their case, I think it’s sort of reasonable for them to do so.

In know for some, you may consider that I’ve done this subject to death.

The sad reality though, is that people seem uninterested in really considering what I’m saying.

There’s zero doubt that all of us must act on various things going on in our lives.

The problem is, I’ve noticed a tendency as I’ve gotten older. The direction being, that of people doing without considering, what it is they’re causing in the performance of their actions.

More and more, I have to be excessively defensive as a driver, for example, knowing it’s very likely people will jump in front of me, and jam on their brakes in order to turn.

I know that may seem like a small thing, but when you note an uptick in the accidents you see on a daily basis—some of them moderately serious—you begin to put two and two together.

It’s just doesn’t take dazzling brilliance, to arrive at four.

Then when you hear about instances, where people are being attacked and potentially killed, often in things like gun violence, as a result of road rage, you see the situation is getting particularly ugly.

I know, there are people like me out there, who insist on things like, going the speed limit or below, when we’re out on our travels. I understand, you’re upset by the fact we’re doing so.

I get it, the cops aren’t generally going to ticket you for speeding. Then again, another cause of the copious accidents, may well be a result of people rushing around like madmen.

On top of this, is the fact that you don’t really get from place to place significantly faster, for being in breach of speed limit laws.

On a slightly different subject, which is related to the idea behind this piece, I was at a local park with my child, who, as I’ve said before, is Moderately Autistic. I take him out to various places, in order to work to improve his ability to deal with the world, on a social level.

He goes to school, and there, deals with other kids who’re mostly his age or very close thereto. He’s pretty strictly supervised, and spends most of his time, among other special needs students.

Like it or not, when a child spends his or her day in such circumstances, there starts to be a tendency towards the establishment of a certain amount of normalization. The children become somewhat entrenched in expectations, making it so conflict is often abated.

In one way, that’s a good thing. In another, it’s not so nice.

Learning to deal with conflict, is an important part of life.

It’s for this reason, I take my son to the places like that park. I want him to learn how to deal with a world that doesn’t look exactly how he wants it to. I desire for him, to come to understand the failure in the title of this work, “Don’t Think, Just Do!

You see, regardless the age or relative toughness, of the people with whom my son deals, he has a (bad) tendency towards lashing out when things don’t go as he’d like them to. He doesn’t think, emotion takes over, and he does.

He’s beginning to learn to curb such behaviors, but it’s a good deal of work, for both him, and for me as well.

The result is, though he’s never hurt anyone in more than a very mild way, both children and guardians, become quite alarmed, and upset by his behavior.

He doesn’t understand this, but his tendency to act without consideration, comes back on me, not so much on him.

This is often a result of the attitude that says, “Just go ahead, don’t worry about the fallout.” At times, it might affect the person acting. In many circumstance though, those affected, are in fact, others.

Bad enough that you jump out onto the roadway, going half as fast as flowing traffic. It’s that much worse, when a mother is trying to drive her children to school, and ends up being distracted by their actions, when you do so. Missing the fact that you’ve done as you have, now she—moving as she had been prior, to your doing so—piles into the back of your vehicle.

What happens if that individual, let’s say she’s a single mother, is killed in that accident? Her children survive, only to become wards of some (potentially less than caring) family member, or worse yet, of the state.

Now let’s add another wrinkle. What results when one or more of those children, is or are harmed by that accident, in a way they never totally get over?

Part of the reason it pays to use your brain before you act, is that you can come to recognize the possibility of things of that sort happening, and work to ensure how you behave, reduces their possibility.

I’m not trying to say it’s critical to analyze every situation in which you find yourself. I’m just saying failing to make a habit of taking the time to think things out, may have disastrous consequences.

The worst part? By the time many folks have already caused some catastrophic event to occur, it’s too late to realize that they could’ve prevented it entirely, by using their brain. That’s something some of them, never live down.

I get that people are in a rush much of the time these days. I understand that you have things to do and people to see.

You may think you can go through life, doing without thinking as a default response; and maybe just maybe, you’ll succeed in not meeting with terrible results, for yourself and others. Then again, maybe not. Are you willing to take that chance?

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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Strongman – Religion and Politics

20201019 Strongman – The Daily Summation
20201019 Strongman – The Daily Summation Podcast

I can remember a time in my younger childhood, when it seemed like I was always ill, one way or another.

The truth is, those memories are somewhat my mind playing tricks on me. In reality, where I spent a small amount of time in my early years, battling one kind of ailment or other, I was never seriously ill, nor was I probably sicker than most children my age.

Thing is though, as I started to get older, it truly began to truly feel like I had actually been excessively plagued, by various bugs in those days.

The reason for that is fairly simple. As I got past those years, I was rarely ever sufficiently under the weather, to keep me from doing much of anything I wanted, whenever I wanted to do it.

In current times, I guess people could argue that I was, and am what lots of folks like to refer to, as a strongman.

You should know, I pretty much never look at myself in those terms.

I’ll tell you that, particularly as a younger man, it seemed like most everybody I knew, was a weakling.

It took me years to come to understand, the truth was the opposite of my impression. Rather than those around me being weak, it turns out I was apparently exceptionally strong.

More accurately, I spent very little time in illness, and I apparently had, and have, a pretty high pain tolerance.

What I’m saying here, is not at all intended to brag. Where I may have made choices that helped me to be who I am today, I’m pretty convinced those things I did, only marginally affected my life. The fact is, I just happen to be built differently from a lot of folks.

I don’t go around holding forth about my strength. Frankly, I don’t know I’ll even be this way tomorrow.

The thing is though, were I not as understated as I generally am, people would likely tend to look at me a little bit in wonder. Because tend to keep a low profile, most folks never even notice.

I recently heard somebody talking about a world leader, and referring to him in those terms. What I think more than a little probable is that, where he’s come to recognize he’s haler and hardier than those around him, he doesn’t look at himself in that way, either.

There are certainly those, known for acting in ways that would earn them the label, and some of them likely sell themselves as such. Others just go quietly about their business, making use of an unfair advantage, as it were, the which for whatever reason, they possess.

Were I asked, that’s what I would say was probably the case for the fellow in question.

It isn’t until someone points it out, others really even consider what that one says.

As for the person himself, as I say, the likelihood is, he doesn’t think about his robustness as a rule.

I can tell you with a surety, I don’t run around pondering my tendency towards being able to get up day after day, and take care of whatever business is on my plate, for the period in question.

I don’t worry that I’m going to get insufficient sleep tonight, knowing I’ll likely be able to power through. Yet and still, I make it my business to try to do things to ensure I’m well rested; and I work to take care of myself, as best I’m able.

Sometimes, circumstances don’t permit me to do what I’d like to. In those periods, I do what I’ve always done, I tough it out, knowing that tomorrow will be another day. That chances are, I’ll be able to make it through, and work myself into a better position in the near future.

As is true for about everyone else, I go through times when I think things are hopeless—though as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand, that most of them, are completely illusory.

I’ve had times when I just wanted to throw in the towel, that I admit freely.

Through all of that though—even when I’ve wanted to give up—I’ve continued to fight with what was in me; to work for better days.

In this, I’m certain I’m far from alone.

By that, I mean to say, those seen as strongmen, are about as likely to have the same sort of experiences, and frankly, the more successful they appear, the more such situations they’ve probably encountered.

I’ll say it again, there are those who bring their strongman out, and parade him about. Where I don’t really agree with that way of doing things, I can imagine there are many, who would would look at such acts in wonder. I can equally believe there’re others, who might be inclined to view that person as a sideshow act.

I’m not advocating a, “Look at me! See how strong I am!” perspective on life for such people.

For the most part though, the person I heard accused of acting as a strongman, just doesn’t seem to do that.

I make it my business, to not name names most of the time in what I write, but I want to break that rule today, as I sometimes do.

The person in question is the sitting president, Mr Donald Trump. He was accused of so acting, when he caught, and relatively quickly recovered, from COVID-19.

You’ll forgive me, but I’m going to take pains to note, he said nothing about his apparent imperviousness, until he was asked. Then when he did speak about it, he was quite understated in what he said.

For those looking on, they may notice he’s potentially still being mildly affected by his prior illness; though day-to-day, the effect seems to be waning, as one might expect.

You might know people who seem to be able to carry exceedingly heavy burdens, both literally and figuratively. It’s possible you’re aware of individuals, who seem never to be ill. Most are likely self-effacing, more so as they get older.

In one sense, such people are blessed. In another, they carry the greater burden, knowing they can continue to act, when others are laid low. I know some propagandize on the basis of their strength, but many just continue on their way.

My message in this piece? Just because a person can be said to be a strongman, don’t assume evil on their part.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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The Tyranny of the Majority – Religion and Politics

20201013 The Tyranny of the Majority – The Daily Summation on YouTube
20201013 The Tyranny of the Majority – The Daily Summation Podcast Content

Imagine you have four siblings. They all get together, and decide you should be their servant. Does that sound like a great idea to you?

This is a simple example of what’s meant by the expression, “the tyranny of the majority.”

It’s for this purpose, that the United States of America was wisely begun as a representative republic with democratically elected members of the House of Representatives.

You might ask, why I only talk about that group in those terms.

The judiciary is obvious. As a rule, the members of that branch, are appointed.

People in the executive, are typically either appointed or hired. Some are elected, but not the vast majority.

The presidency has a popular vote component, but the person who ends up in the position is placed there, by the electoral college.

Here’s the interesting part, the initial intent of the U.S. Senate, was that they would be representatives to the states, appointed by each legislature, to their positions.

Since that time, a substantial breakdown has occurred. That would be 17th Amendment to the Constitution.

That modifcation caused senators to be elected, via a popular vote.

While the entirety of the purpose of that body wasn’t lost by the change, an important part of it was.

Senators were intended to represent, as has already been said, the states from which they came, not the people thereof.

Even so, elections of the persons in question, are itentionally not the same as democracy.

Though the way senators were selected changed, once they, as well as those in the House, got into the business to which they were called, they were not expected to request referenda, each time a matter needed to be decided by the legislature.

The folks in question were posited as they were, in order to act as a body, that would stand in the place of the populace at large.

Futher, since our country was purposely not constituted as a democracy, but by intent, as a republic, it was meant to be incumbent on those in positions of authority, as well as the governed, to be beholden to the law of the land, as a primary consideration. For legislators, this was to be true, both in how they behaved as citizens, and when they wrote new laws.

Put simply, the beauty of the American system of government was not just that your four siblings, were not at liberty to take a vote, enforcing on you a permanent state of servitude, but that part of the reason, is that they were under laws which made such actions on their part, subject to inspection.

If your brothers and sisters were found to be in breach of some statute or other, that took precedence over their desires.

So when the concept of the abolition of slavery came to be enacted—and though there are those among us, who would argue that the Constitution itself, had such provisions in it from the outset, there are amendments to that document that make it crystal clear it’s not to be tolerated, even if we decide that’s not the case—it should have been plain, your relatives hadn’t a legal leg to stand on when they decided as they did.

This is the wonder of the system of government, given us by those having crafted those precious documents.

It’s a sad reality that, there were those here in America—granted, they existed more or less around the world—who thought slavery to be a reasonable thing. Though that’s the case, such people did and do exist.

And it was on the basis they did, those who began to build the country, crafted the basest concepts of American law.

You can argue that man has somehow evolved since that time. I can counter that there are still among us liars, cheats, thieves, murderers, rapists, and those guilty of so many more untoward, even heinous, acts.

It’s a sufficient appeal to their better nature, to ask them to elect representation, that will work in the best interests of all their fellows.

It takes no special brilliance to see, they cannot always be expected to act in humility, sacrifice and other ways, that will be for the public good.

How many times have even those chosen to represent a portion of humanity, been found guilty of any number of horrible wrongs? This says little to nothing, about those having helped to place them in the positions they held.

The aforementioned, are among the reasons the Founders so carefully, wrought that which you see today.

They had already seen the potential abuses that might come into play, in countries new and old, around the globe; such things were not at all unknown to them.

As if they hadn’t enough cause, consider that a large part of the reason they were forming a new country to begin with, was that the commonwealth of which they were at the time a component, chose to exact from them taxes, while not concerning themselves with ensuring their voices were heard.

One might argue in that instance, the colonists were already plagued by the tyranny of the majority.

Realizing the system put in place, should be as immune as possible to such machinations, was pretty certainly a part of what drove them to make the decisions they did, about how things would work.

These days, there are those who’re arguing we ought to be a democracy—in fact, there are among us, people who think it reasonable to assert we already are, or worse yet, always were ensconced in that form of rule.

Let me assure you, that was never the intent of those having worked diligently, to construct this union.

So when people try to argue for things like the abolisment of the electoral college; when they try to coerce certain policies, laws or activities on the basis that the “majority has spoken,” whether they understand it or not, they’re working in direct contradiction, to those who set things up.

In case you don’t think that’s a problem, I invite you to peruse the history books, to see what they have to tell us about democracy.

If you think the idea of the tyranny of the majority isn’t a “real thing,” please know, it is. If you think it’s not potentially a direct result of democracy, and that most other systems even allow it to exist, understand, you’re in error. It’s on this basis, our country was not founded, and is not today intended to be, a democracy.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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The Presumption of Innocence – Religion and Politics

One of the basic tenets found throughout U. S. law, is that of the presumption of innocence.

Many folks are pretty much aware what the idea being stated here is, but I want to clarify what it means before moving on.

It’s really pretty simple. In the American legal system even—and maybe especially—those who appear to very likely be guilty of a crime of some sort, are expected to initially be seen, as not having committed the act in question.

The folks investigating what’s occurred, must work to determine whether or not some wrong has transpired.

If they’re able to come up with sufficient information and artifacts to show it’s likely a given law or set of them was or were broken, and that the individual suspected of breaking them, was strongly linked to them, it’s then possible to proceed to charging and presumably prosecuting a case against that one, in a court of law.

At each step along the way, the conclusion, is that the defendant is innocent until a sufficient amount of proof is provided, to meet some standard at that step.

In order to arrest and detain, officers must be able to provide a charge, and be reasonably confident, they have the perpetrator of that crime, in their possession.

At the charging phase, evidence is reviewed. Doing so must cause the district attorney or other complaining authority, to believe they’ll be able to put on a case by which the person apprehended, can be shown to be guilty of violating the crime or crimes, of which he or she, has been accused.

When the trial occurs, those tasked with deciding guilt or innocence, must be persuaded the standard for conviction has been met. That standard is different for different crimes. In the highest case, it must be decided beyond a reasonable doubt, the infraction occurred, and the one being tried is the guilty party.

Assuming that body brings back a guilty verdict, it’s typically up to a judge, to make decisions surrounding sentencing. A part of this process, is reviewing the circumstances under which the wrong was done, and considering the prior record of the convicted individual, among other things.

The important take-away is, all the way through this process, standards must be met. The accused cannot be taken into custody, charged, tried, convicted, sentenced, or punished, lest two things have happened.

The first of these, is that the former step, has reached a conclusion the case against the accused, should continue.

The next is, at the current level, the standard has been met, to count it reasonable for the case to proceed.

Of course, this discussion revolves around the legal process. At no other place than criminal or civil court, is it inherently assumed this should be the way to do things.

That said, you can be assured, most folks looking at this methodology, will agree that it’s a pretty satisfactory way respond—and most wouldn’t restrict its use to courtrooms and the like.

They may not tend to be as firmly in support of strong adherence to standards. They may be willing to assume guilt in circumstances that would even be laughed out of court in many instances at the end of similar processes.

Even so, most would likely argue, they would prefer to have others use the listed prescription, or some modified form of it, when accusing them or others of wrongdoing.

In these days of instant access to a great deal of information though, it’s not at all uncommon, for people to forget an exceptionally important part of this equation.

That component can be summed up in just two words, “due process.”

Where it’s far from simple to even delineate due process in the courts—to the degree, folks must go through a great deal of training to understand how it works—not too surprisingly, it’s even harder to do so, in many other circumstances.

This is because in a large number of them, where people have outlined how things are to proceed, they often haven’t really set detailed courses for those attempting to apply the basic ideas, to be implemented.

Put simply, it’s often left up to the ones doing things, to fill in the blanks.

Even so, much of the time, there’s sufficient structure to muddle through, and generally not have things go too badly awry.

In the often mentioned court of public opinion though, most folks haven’t begun to consider, how to come to a reasonable conclusion, about the guilt innocence of the one being “tried.”

Worse yet, one person may be calm and collected, applying solid standards, while another may respond almost totally out of emotion with little concern for evidence of any kind.

As if things weren’t already bad enough, now imagine there are those, who’ll tend to presume guilt rather than innocence there, as well.

It’s because of things like this, that folks who understand the reasons for the presumption of innocence, as well as the need for due process, very much dislike the sort of proceeding, that tries to make judgments in the public square.

That’s why you’ll see so many—generally myself included—refusing to leap headlong, into the idea that a person accused of wrongs of some sort or other, should actually be held to account without further investigation.

It’s also why many feel (wrongly) justice is being denied in cases in which feelings rather than facts, are primary drivers.

A good number of persons, fail to understand they’re guilty of a thing that used regularly to be termed, “railroading.”

Those who refuse to support the idea of acting without due process, and the presumption of innocence, may not all be motivated by seeing justice served, but a good many of them are.

And since the one having judged and found another wanting, is so sure of what he or she believes, that person begins to count those not enthused by the idea of rushing to that judgment as enemies, not just of themselves, but of righteousness.

Because this is true, the rift between the two, becomes the much wider.

I’m sure by this point, you’ve come to realize, I’m writing what I am in this little essay, as a plea to those desirous of seeing others held accountable for wrongs, before due process has been observed. I hope you’ll understand my refusal to act, when guilt hasn’t been established. The presumption of innocence is not a cornerstone of American law for no cause. Let’s hope, one day when you stand accused—though we pray it never happens—those same ideas and ideals will be applied, that you appear to wish to deny to others in the present moment. The result if they’re not, is one I hope you never see.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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Equal Treatment – Religion and Politics

All one has to do to see how one person or group has treated another individual or set of folks, is—where it’s possible—to look back in time.

This is, of course, as true for any other entity.

Being able to do that, makes it feasible to compare the way one is treated, to another.

Obviously, there are cases where it’s not quite impossible to obtain information that would help you to understand how the two were dealt with.

In other situations, it’s not all that hard a thing to do.

Being fair, even in those circumstances where it appears that two people or groups thereof have been handled differently, there’s always a possibility there are facts pertinent to the variance, that can’t be easily or readily seen.

That said though, there definitely seem to be times when it’s been the intent of one individual or group, to treat members of another, differently than they would a third with no apparent excuse for so doing.

It’s been seen as how government behaves, and frankly, in how the tech industry in ownership or at least in charge of, various media outlets, are concerned.

Like it or not, there’s a significant body of data indicating the U. S. Internal Revenue Service—generally referred to as the IRS—took aim at conservative groups while our last president was in office.

There were a variety of outcomes, probably one of the more serious being to “deny through inaction,” the claim of various entities being not-for-profit in nature.

As I’ve indicated, one can also make such claims, surrounding the treatment of conservatives, by the news and social media.

Any time a well known person supporting a somewhat right-leaning position says much of anything, both the news folks and social media people, are quick to pile on.

Considering I’m a strong advocate of open discussion of just about everything—particularly in the political realm—you would think I would have no issue with this. The problem? Well actually, there’s more than one.

To begin with, when such a thing occurs, the chances are as good as not, the conservative person in question runs the risk of at least a temporary ban. If they’re seen to be a “repeat offender,” the chances such a thing will become permanent, are the much greater.

This is a real issue, considering the folks upon whose platforms the statements or assertions are made, are supposed to be neutral, and not content providers.

In fact, they’re literally protected by law, based on that idea.

The dodge, is the claim that the person has somehow failed to maintain community standards.

This is true even though folks of a more left-leaning viewpoint are regularly given a pass. Sometimes, the news or social media folks will continue to support their claims, even when they’ve been largely shown to be entirely false.

The other issue that immediately comes to mind, is that there’s often no reasonable mechanism for redress.

To begin with, most of the time, the folks having the hammer dropped on them, have very little even private means to appeal the decision other than taking the entity dispossessing them to court—a lengthy and expensive proposition, to say the least.

On top of that, the folks who run the outlets, will say things that can often be easily disproven, if the person being disparaged, has the ability to speak on that outlet. Of course, as a rule, they don’t.

The obvious outcome, is that the platforms in question, end up being the last word, even though the person taking particular positions, could easily make their viewpoint clearly and readily seen to be valid, by folks looking on.

Since they don’t have that ability, they’ll always come off looking like the bad guy.

I’m aware of situations in which a conservative quotes verbatim, the statement or comment of someone, only to be informed, what they’ve done has been “fact-checked” and found to be in error, with no other explanation.

I want to be the first to say that I have no desire to get government involved in such things past a certain point. I’d like for them to have as little input in such a process, as possible.

This is why I support alternative platforms. This presents its own unique challenges though.

One of these is the idea, that other existing platforms, are able to limit the ability of those with whom they disagree on an ideological basis, to compete.

For example, if you create an application for the two most popular phone operating systems—I doubt anybody would have a hard time naming either—in order to disseminate that application, it needs to be allowed on the app, store for that platform.

Here’s where things get interesting. If the company that owns a given operating system has a slant in one direction or another from a political perspective, they can find ways to disallow that app to be included there.

As a former member of the U. S. Air Force, I learned a valuable lesson early in my military life. If someone wishes to find things that will cause you to be in hot water, they almost invariably can do so without even having to resort to imagination.

As a basic trainee, I was “recycled” out of my first training flight, because I got on the wrong side of a flight leader (another trainee). This in turn, made it so my information got passed up to a training instructor.

When he was unable to argue that my actions towards the flight leader were incorrect, he just scheduled an inspection of my locker, which was nigh unto perfect. Nonetheless, he found one thing wrong. In that environment, that was sufficient for him to push me back.

The point is, there are times when folks do things in ways that make it so they intentionally act with a bias, based on their beliefs. This is now happening on a large scale, where conservatives are concerned. How do we fix that? I don’t have an answer. Nonetheless, something(s) must be done. You can agree or not. That’s my two cents. You’re allowed to disagree with me on just about anything, but knocking my legs out from under me because you do, is more than a little unreasonable.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.