Tuesday, September 22, 2015


I found this the other day, initially gave it a passing glance ... and then that passing glance turned into a good, hard look at something that's been on my mind lately - why are the youth today so darn unhappy so much of the time? I gotta say, I think we're on to something here. Give it a shot...

Here's the link: http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/09/why-generation-y-yuppies-are-unhappy.html

Here's the consolidated version (or at least what I got out of it):

-Generally, HAPPINESS = Reality - Expectations.
"When the reality of someone's life is better than they expected, they're happy; When the reality turns out to be worse than the expectations, they're unhappy."

-With a "smooth positive life experience," the baby boomers have generally raised their offspring with "a sense of optimism and unbounded possibility. ... Baby boomers all around the country and world told their Gen Y kids that they could be whatever they wanted to be, instilling the special protagonist identity deep within their psyches."

-The result of the above: Gen Y kids today (born late 70's - mid 90's) don't just want the American Dream that their parents felt like they mostly achieved and told their kids that they could have, too... no, they want to fulfill their Own Personal Dreams. They want not only economic security and/or prosperity, but they want (ideally) to fulfill their wildest desires as careers and hope that their parents were right, in that they will be prosperous. And special. And stand out. The problem being that not everyone can stand out. "Most people are not special - otherwise "special" wouldn't mean anything."

-"Paul Harvey, a University of New Hampshire professor... has researched this [phenomenon], finding out that Gen Y has "unrealistic expectations and a strong resistance to accepting negative feedback, ... an inflated view of oneself."

-"A great source of frustration for people with a strong sense of entitlement is unmet expectations. They often feel entitled to a level of respect and rewards that aren't in line with their actual ability and effort levels, and so they might not get the level of respect and rewards they are expecting."

-"They've been led to believe, perhaps through overzealous self-esteem building exercises in their youth, that they are somehow special but often lack any real justification for this belief."

-"Social media creates a world for [Gen Y] where ... what everyone else is doing is very out in the open ... most people present an inflated version of their own existence ... the people who chime in the most ... are usually those who are [doing the best] ... while struggling people tend not to broadcast their situation. This leaves [Gen Y] feeling, incorrectly, like everyone else is doing really well."

The article suggests three methods/ideals/focuses by/upon which Gen Y may essentially continue-on with a little less sadness about their own situations:

1. Stay ambitious; just dive in somewhere and let the details work themselves out.

2. Stop thinking that you're special; becoming special can happen with hard work over a period of time.

3. Ignore everyone else; envy is the enemy here, especially given how envious we can become when we see the crafted, censored, sometimes staged realities conveyed as 'identities' on social media.

NOW... I have a few propositions of my own for my fellow members of GEN Y, which is what all of this is leading-to...


That is, if you're feeling unfulfilled, or inadequate, or if you're a baby boomer with a son or daughter or niece or nephew or grandchild who's feeling unfulfilled, inadequate, or really let-down by the fact that the world doesn't necessarily see you/them as being as SPECIAL as you've/they've been led to believe that you/they are:

1. Be humble. Be intentionally humble. Stop thinking that you know best. It's possible that you don't, and it's better to keep an open mind entirely, that way you're not disappointed if you do, indeed, realize there's a better way than your current belief. The fact is, there are many different solutions to varying problems, and if you ask a room full of people what's best, you may get a room full of different answers. Your answer isn't necessarily the best one, even though you are inclined to think that it is. You have been conditioned (in order to build your confidence) to stand proudly behind your solutions, to be confident, to exude confidence, and not to back down. So much so, perhaps, that you're blind to the possibility that other solutions you haven't considered, or more importantly, that don't necessarily make sense to you, might be worth some extra consideration. Many folks in substance abuse recovery "self help" programs find long-term success (living sober and maintaining long-term active recovery from active substance abuse) by accepting and embracing a level of humility, and accepting that, if the program has worked for millions of others who perhaps didn't all entirely understand it, there's a good chance it will work even without a thorough understanding of exactly how it all works. One who keeps an open mind inasmuch as accepting that perhaps one's own understanding isn't necessarily the best one, or one's own way isn't necessarily the only way or the best way, will often find success and happiness through that open-mindedness that is achieved through deliberate humility.

2. Lend credence to the words of Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins: "My philosophy is... it's none of my business what people say of me, and think of me. I am what I am, and I do what I do. I expect nothing, and accept everything. And it makes life so much easier." Sounds extreme, but it's most helpful (at least to me) to just bear in mind and take in strides when the moments of doubt occur.

-Final Thoughts-

A big part of why this article resonated with me, the one that kicked-off this whole message of mine that you're reading, a message to GEN Y about finding happiness, is because of the proposed notion that expectations tend to be too high to be realistically satisfying.

Bottom line, if you ask me:
Keep GOALS high, and real EXPECTATIONS low.
Be open-minded, receptive, and don't pay anyone else too much mind.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

POLITICS: Whether Left or Right, You Aughta Give Carly Fiorina a Listen

Last week I flirted with the notion of Bernie Sanders being a plausible candidate despite my generally-Libertarian mindset.

Mostly, I was flirting with the following:

-America is ALREADY practically a socialist nation - only, it works to favor millionaires. -- And Sanders proposes some actual plans for leveling the playing field.

-Sanders shares the following in common with generally-accepted Libertarian strivings: drug law reform; privacy of who you take to bed, and/or marry; religion and morality aren't prominently in the picture.

Functioning middle class again. An intoxicating prospect. No wonder Sanders appeals to so many in the masses.

I guess I have to admit is that I omitted one very real truth, in my opinion, and it goes like this. In fact, my buddy Paul stated it well: "The 1% has ruled this earth in EVERY political and economic system ever conceived - and will continue to do so under Bernie regardless of your belief in him. It is the system that runs regardless of who sits in the Oval Office."

A pro-Sanders acquaintance pointed out regarding "the 1 percent:" "The 1% is not oversight (over the People) --it's corruption and special treatment from congress dependent on their money. Foxes guarding the chicken-coop."

The truth is... true as that may be, Bernie Sanders isn't going to change that.

Sanders calls a lot to light, and no one's saying his points aren't valid in some regards, and that's why he's got a passionate following - but what followers don't realize, or what they simply don't want YOU to realize, is that while his points may ring true, he won't change these systems. There are too many checks & balance systems in place to prevent the kind of extreme socialist change about which he laments.

Open your eyes, folks. As this man runs the country and campaigns, we see very, very, very little of him in the news. Very, very, very little outside of interactive social media like Facebook and places from which the 'Little Guy' can preach. Why? Because Sanders is out to challenge Big Money. And Big Money runs 'the world.' So Big Money isn't going to give the spotlight to the man looking to take 'em down a notch. (You do know that all of our news comes from the same handful of mega-giant oligarch agencies... right?)

I should be entirely truthful with you, in all fairness, and confess that shortly following that exploratory blog regarding the plausibility of backing Sanders, I had the good ol' American spirit wash over me, and I remembered the following about myself:

-I respect the capitalism that the founding fathers wanted for this country, and I'm not yet entirely convinced that temporarily going socialist leader is the way to go.

-Because raising the minimum wage will only lead to inflation.

-Because I don't like that I had to pay my own way to the tune of $222 monthly for two degrees from now until I'm 70y/o, and some punk kid ten years younger than me will get to come in and get it all for free.

-Because I work so that I can afford health insurance of/when I need it, and I don't feel that I should be legally mandated to pay for others' coverage, and if the day came that I decided I didn't value my own life or financial wellbeing to insure myself, I don't think it's right that I be penalized by Big Brother for not purchasing THEIRS if I don't wish to retain my own.

-Because I want to regulate my own life and enjoy the freedom of being able to choose for myself as much as possible, not be led by a government who seeks to dominate and control my choices.

So I'd like to take a different approach here this week.

I've had some time to take a look at Carly Fiorina.


Point blank: You can either pick a far-left candidate who won't even try to appeal to dissenting Americans, a far-Right candidate who won't attempt to appeal to dissenting Americans, or someone who's looking to bridge the gap. That's Fiorina.

Carly can go after Hillary and be more effective in doing-so than other male counterparts. She is bright, insightful, and shows that despite her personal beliefs, she respects the rights of the State at the State level (as opposed to the federal level in some cases) and is willing to be flexible and tolerant when it comes to same-sex unions, marijuana legalization, and religion. She has fostered good relationships with a lot of world leaders, having worked on multiple campaigns, served in multiple advisory roles, and I think she's got a number of the other candidates beat there.

I think she deserves a bit more spotlight attention.

I first watched her on "Hannity." Not a fan of Hannity's preachin' on religion and morality, so I rarely (ok, never) watch, but then I figured I'd give her a listen, also, being interviewed for Yahoo! by Katie Couric. I remember when Katie went after Ted Cruz. I figured, let's see how this goes down - strong leftist vs. 'centrist' Fiorina.

I was impressed with Fiorina. She stood her ground. Sharp as a tack, and not a single moment outside of being absolutely elegant.

I'll recap, all courtesy of the Katie Couric interview at https://youtu.be/8yhl509cp98.

[Quotes are all of Fiorina.]

-Former CEO of Hewlett Packard. Running due to widening gap between "professional political class" and everyday people. "I think we need someone in the Oval Office who understands how the economy works, how the world works, who's in it, how bureaucracies work, how technology works, what executive decision making is, ... perhaps most importantly, what leadership is."

-2010 Senate run in CA: "Won more Republican votes, more Democratic votes, & more Independent votes than virtually anyone running anywhere in the nation in 2010... that's how big California is. ... I learned... a Republican can reach Democrats & Independents... people actually don't necessarily wanna hear more sound bytes & more vitriol from politicians."

-worked with John McCain and advised Mitt Romney in 2012. "Got to see presidential politics up-close... Politics is personal. People make very personal decisions. They're judging the character, ...authenticity, ...whether someone cares what's going on in their lives... politics is personal."

-Our government "was intended to be a citizen government... 'by, for, & of the people' ... Somehow in the last fifty years, we've gotten used to a professional political class. Why? I think what people actually expect of a leader is someone who knows that leadership, its highest calling, is to unlock potential in others and change the order of things for the better - not just manage the status quo as it's always been."

-"The truth is, I know more world leaders on the stage today than virtually anyone else running ... so I understand the world and who's in it, and how the world works."

-On the economy: "A very lackluster recovery ... Record numbers of people on food stamps ... We've tangled people's lives up in webs of dependency for the first time in US history. We're destroying more businesses than we're creating. We have the lowest labor participation rate since 1976. And a lot of people who are working wish they had better jobs, higher-paying jobs, income inequality is growing ... [these are] structural problems in the economy."

-"I have a completely different experience set than anyone running ... a different perspective ... a different set of skills to problem solving... I'm a different kind of candidate than is out there right now."

-At Hewlett Packard, "I, and the people of HP, & it really was a team effort ... in the middle of the biggest technology recession in 25 years... we doubled the company to almost 90 billion dollars ... we took the growth rate from 2 percent to 9 percent... tripled the rate of innovation ... quadrupled the cash flow... went from lagging behind in every product category to leading in every product category, so yes, we created jobs. ... Sometimes, there are tough decisions that must be made to strengthen the company for the long haul. ... It was a tough time I managed through, but we transformed the company from failing to succeeding."

-"I know that when you're leading, when you're challenging the status quo, you're gonna make some enemies along the way. ... I'll stand on my record at HP. ... I understand what making a tough call in a tough time with high stakes is all about - that's called executive decision making. And I think that's what's needed in the Oval Office."

-"People's mindset needs to change - if [people] look alike, and sound alike, and think alike, it maybe is easier to get to a decision, but it's not as good a decision. People need to understand that ... it's been much too slow."

-"I insisted that there be a diversified and qualified set of candidates for every job. ... They rose on merit."

-"Silicon Valley is not as diverse an environment than it could be... There are so many industries that are still not true meritocracies: Wall Street, the Federal Government... Anytime you don't have a system that focuses solely on merit & contribution, you're going to disadvantage women."

-"A title is just a title. Why are we so impressed with political titles? The truth is, there are many in the political class who haven't accomplished a whole lot despite their titles."

-"Hillary Clinton is a highly intelligent, very hard working woman, who has dedicated her life to public service. And yet, she does not have a track record of trustworthiness, and despite her impressive titles, she hasn't accomplished very much."

-"The democrats, when they talk about the War on Women, ... we have to ... put some facts out there. ...I say, 'Look, do you know what the democratic [policy on abortion] is?' Most people don't, by the way. The official democratic policy is, 'Any abortion, any time, for any reason, at any point in a woman's pregnancy, right up until the last minute, to be paid-for by taxpayers. How do you feel about that? ... How do you feel about the fact that a 13 year old girl needs her mother's permission to go to a tanning salon, but not to get an abortion?' Most women are horrified by that. ... That a tattoo parlor is more rigorously inspected and regulated than an abortion clinic? Women are horrified by that. The truth is, most Americans have come to the point of view that any abortion for any reason after five months is a problem. ... I'm pro-life. So let's find common ground. The common ground, if you look at the polls, is that women believe that abortion is wrong for any reason after five months. What the political class on both sides has done for way too long is argue at the extremes... when the truth is, there is real common ground here. So let's work on common ground. ... So let's pass the Pain-Capable-Unborn-Child-Act."

-"I understand and respect not everyone agrees with me. But I think even where we don't agree on everything, let's come together and solve a problem where there is common ground. And the truth is, there are lots of fetuses older than five months that are still being aborted. ... Let's work on common ground first. Let's get common ground done first."

-"What I hope has nothing to do with what the Supreme Court will decide [on gay marriage]. What I've been very public in saying is that I think government should not bestow benefits unequally. So I've always been a supporter of civil unions, I provided benefits to same sex couples, ... and I also believe as so many do that marriage has a spiritual foundation. ... I hope we will have come to the point in our country where we can accept those two views and tolerate each other - that government shouldn't bestow benefits in a discriminatory fashion, and that people who believe marriage has a religious foundation, those beliefs should be respected. ... I believe we need to respect those who believe ... why can't we respect & tolerate that, while at the same time, saying government cannot bestow benefits unequally?"

-"Not everyone is gonna agree 100% of the time on 100% of the issues. What I think people expect of anyone running is honesty and authenticity about what I believe, and I also think they expect respect for people who disagree with me. It's one of the reasons why, while running in California as a Conservative, I nevertheless won so many Democratic and Independent votes. ... They agreed with me on enough things. They understood how I would approach a problem. ... There is not a single candidate out there for anyone ... with whom they're gonna agree 100% of the time. ... Can we find enough common ground, and does someone understand how someone will lead, and what someone believes?"

-"We don't enforce the gun laws we have. That's why we have record numbers of murders in places ... that have the strictest gun laws in the nation. ... In every one of these terrible shootings, we had a situation with someone who was clearly terribly mentally ill ... let's also state the fact that much of the proposed gun legislation that was pushed through Congress after those shootings... it wouldn't have made any difference at all in those cases. ... I don't support broadening anti-gun legislation in any way until we are prepared to enforce the laws we have on the books. And we're not."

-"The law [of Obamacare] itself is longer than a Harry Potter novel. ... It was written by the drug companies and the health insurance companies, who wanted to make sure they understood their playing field. It's called crony capitalism. ... All we did was take a regulated oligopoly ... and nationalize it. ... We aughta let States manage high-risk pools. There are people who truly need help from the government. It works better at the state level than the Federal level. ... We've never tried a competitive health insurance marketplace. It's always been regulated. Let's try a free market where people actually have to compete for your business."

-"I know more world leaders on the stage today than any candidate running, with the possible exception of Hillary Clinton. I've not had photo ops, I've done business with them. I've chaired the Advisory Board at the CIA. I've advised two Secretaries of Defense, a Secretary of State, a Secretary of NSA, a Secretary of Homeland Security. I've sat as close as you and I are now to Putin. To Netanyahu. To the Chinese leadership. To the King of Jordan. All of these people, I've had substantive conversations with, business, charity, what they hope-for [in] their country."

-"I think we have to secure the borders, something that hasn't happened under either Democrats or Republicans... I think we need to fix the legal immigration system... we have sixteen different visa programs... half the people who are here illegally came on illegal visa and we just never bothered to follow-up. For those who came here illegally and stayed here illegally, I think they may earn legal status over time, but not citizenship. I know too many people who worked to earn the privilege of citizenship. I think we are fair-minded people. ... In California, I supported the Dream Act, because I think you cannot punish children who came here through no will of their own... but I also think we have the cart backwards - when we passed the Dream Act before we've even secured the borders... we corrode people's faith in government. Because folks out there say, 'You know what, the Federal Government's first job is to protect the nation and secure the border.'"

-"If we want to treat marijuana as a medicine, then fine - but regulate it like a medicine. When you see all these kids stoned ...I don't think it's helping ... them, or our nation. If it's properly regulated, like a medicine, then [medicinal marijuana is fine], but it's not [properly regulated], it's a recreational drug."

-"Every one of the scientists that tell us that climate change is real and being caused by man-made activity, also tell us that a single nation acting alone can make no difference at all. So when I see a state... destroy lives and livelihoods with environmental regulation that will make no difference at all to climate change, when I see the Obama Administration take that same regulation and apply it nationally ... I wonder, why are we doing this? ... I think the answer to this problem is innovation, not regulation. I think we have to focus on how to make coal cleaner ... it provides half the energy in this nation ... to saw we're gonna outlaw coal is so self-defeating. It destroys communities ... lives ... and it's not helping global warming. There are lots of wonderful, innovative things. The thing I think we never do is tell people the whole truth. Do we tell people the truth about wind technology, that it slaughters [wildlife]? There is no magic answer, no perfect source of energy. Solar is great, but solar takes huge amounts of water. There is no water in areas where solar [on a sizeable scale] works well. The American people can handle tradeoffs... they're pretty smart. So let's tell them the truth about the fine print. I think it is, frankly, ridiculous for the Obama Administration to call ISIS a "strategic distraction," and then go on to say that climate change is the single most pressing national security issue of our time. I do not think climate change is a national security threat that equals Iran getting a bomb, ISIS beheading people... I think we need to keep it in perspective. I think a far more serious issue is Americans ... tangled-up in webs of dependence ... people who aren't getting a good education ... the dangers we face around the world... the fact that our government is a vast, bloated, unaccountable, and corrupt institution."

-"I think we need serious criminal justice reform around drug usage ... technology to hold police departments truly accountable. I would feel so much better if we have cameras and the police knew that they were being recorded. Transparency in any situation adds to accountability. We need to have a serious conversation about criminal justice reform ... Fewer arrests ... [Less] time in jail ... I don't think we're helping anyone when we criminalize drug use. So many of these arrests, these patterns of ... re-arrests ... it goes on around drugs."

-"I started out as a secretary in a nine-person real estate firm, and I've been underestimated my whole life. And it doesn't trouble me that a bunch of polls or a bunch of pundits are underestimating me now. ... I think people are looking for someone who understands how the economy actually works, and doesn't just talk about it ... who understands how the world works and who's in it, instead of just flying around it... who understands bureaucracies and how they work, because we have a giant bloated [one] in Washington... ,who understands technology, and who understands executive decision making. ... So I'm running because I think I can win the job, and I think I can do the job."



Friday, September 4, 2015

LIBERTY & TRENDING TOPICS: "Want that check? Pee in this cup."

"Want that welfare? Pee in this cup."

Seems to make enough sense to me. More than once, I've shared some meme floating about social media that argues the following: if I have to pee in a cup to get my job, welfare recipients should have to pee in a cup to get their welfare check... especially seeing as it's coming out of my pocket.

This arising from concern that, you know, there are bound to be recipients of welfare benefits who squander the money confiscated from the pockets of everyday hardworking red-blooded Americans, for drugs, booze, or whatever else for which they're not supposed to be using our hard-earned dollars that are handed over to them by Big Brother.

For me, it wasn't entirely about cutting tax budgets. One flaming liberal acquaintance of mine once commented, "If you want to cut a budget, let's make politicians volunteers [instead of paid employees]. Another commented, "I think we should drug test all CEO's who are getting all this corporate welfare."

Commondreams.org and WhiteHouse.gov allegedly cite a tax breakdown where, for the individual earning $50,000 annually, the amount for SNAP (food stamps) is $36.82 annually, and $6.96 annually for welfare, while the amount paid in tax for national defense is roughly $248 and $4,000 - four thousand bucks - in corporate subsidies.

To which I would reply, "Yes, corporate subsidies are a problem, the corporate welfare is a problem, I've heard it referred-to as upside-down-Socialism (where the rich benefit). yada yada yada ... But it's the principle of the thing."

This is what I meant when I said it's not about seeking a means to bringing down taxes paid; but rather, on principle, a matter of saying, 'Hey, if I have to work for my money and I have to pass drug testing to work, then you should have to pass it to be the individual recipient of my money.' As though it's somehow different when you're talking about taking-on big corporations to whom your tax money is paid-out in subsidies, versus taking-on the image in one's mind of the "usual welfare recipient" - you know, maybe you envision someone of a minority class in your mind, with a baby on their hip, probably an unwed mother, except that she's somehow driving a nicer car than you, Mister hard-working red-blooded all-American man, and maybe she's sitting in front of a 60-inch TV theater system, collecting her welfare 'cuz she's too lazy to go out and get herself a job.

Yes - the principle of the matter.

Well, someone brought to my attention the following: apparently, Arizona agreed with me in some regard, and decided to give the trust pee test idea a shot...

...allegedly spending $60 for testing for each of 87,000 different individuals. So - total spent on drug tests: $5,220,000.

And, as many suspected, they allegedly found one individual who didn't pass the test.

Just one.

The great state saved $560 by cutting that citizen's benefits.

According to http://www.aol.com/article/2015/07/24/welfare-recipient-drug-testing-brings-shocking-results/21212782/ : "The implementation of the process [ultimately] cost Arizona taxpayers millions of dollars."

Accordingly, the following:

"The Arizona Department of Economic Security told the Arizona Sonora News Service earlier this year that over the course of more than five years, "42 people have been asked to take a follow-up drug test and 19 actually took the test, 16 of whom passed. The other 23 were stripped of their benefits for failing to take the drug test. In total, three welfare recipients failed their tests in five years. When the program was initially implemented, state officials promised $1.7 million in savings."

I find that hard to believe, but perhaps within the realm of possibility. The numbers must be skewed somewhere, and to be entirely truthful with all of you, I'm too lazy to take the time and energy to look into the calculations and statistics, nor do I even know what's available, nor am I any sort of professional researcher.


Maine did it too. And so did six other states.

Per http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/maines-welfare-drug-tests_55ce1b56e4b0ab468d9d266f :

"Early results are in for a new welfare drug testing regime in Maine: They caught the guy.
From April through June, the state only attempted to screen 15 out of about 5,700 Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients, according to an Associated Press investigation published Thursday, and just one person tested positive.
"One single cup of dirty urine out of a pool of thousands of recipients might seem surprisingly low, but it's actually typical. Welfare drug testing schemes never catch a significant number of drug users.

"These results from Maine confirm that drug testing is far more effective at acting as a barrier to benefit receipt than at identifying people who are abusing drugs," Elizabeth Lower-Basch, a welfare policy expert with the Washington-based Center for Law and Social Policy, told The Huffington Post.    

"Earlier this year, ThinkProgress reviewed welfare drug testing schemes in the seven states that had them in place at the time, and all but one yielded positive rates of less than 1 percent. Apparently, people on welfare aren't getting high nearly as much as everyone else is: National drug use surveys find that about 8 or 9 percent of the general population says it has used drugs in the past month."


About the principle of the matter... to which I referred earlier...

These statistics and results may not sway drug testing on principle, but they sure do sway my opinion away from implementing testing due to the TAXPAYER COST.

At the end of the day, money talks. Am I right?


PS - I wanna hear from you. Yes, you, the readers. Feel free.

#welfare #drugtesting #druguse #taxpayers #taxdollarsatwork