Friday, January 27, 2017

Is Common Sense Dead in America?

Is Common Sense Dead in America?
By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, January 27, 2017


Someone comes into America ILLEGALLY.  Have they or have they not broken our laws?  THEY HAVE!

Someone commits an ILLEGAL act while in America ILLEGALLY.  Have they or have they not broken even MORE of our laws or not?  THEY HAVE!

Someone who comes into AMERICA ILLEGALLY commits numerous violations of our laws AND is even CONVICTED of violating our laws.  Have they or have they not broken our laws?  THEY HAVE!

Are we a country of laws or do our laws not matter?  WE ARE and THEY MATTER!

If you are NOT familiar with Kate’s Law, then shame on you; you are not paying attention to what matters.  Kate’s Law was named after a murdered American Kate Steinle, murdered by an illegal immigrant who had been deported SIX TIMES because of his criminal behavior while ILLEGALLY here in America.  The law would have REQUIRED that such criminals to be sentenced to severe penalties in America and THEN deported to their native countries and Kate would still be alive.  Sounds like Common Sense in action to me.  You?

Why has this issue become a Republican versus Democrat issue?  When the Republicans tried to pass Kate's Law that would impose strict punishment on criminals who are in our country ILLEGALLY, one person, Senator Harry Reid was able to prevent an up or down vote on the law, one person out of 535 members of Congress.  If you want to know what is wrong in America it is our political system that allows someone as vile as Harry Reid who was caught lying on the floor of Congress.  He lied because he knew he could not be punished as long as what he said was on the floor of Congress.  Said anywhere else he could be charged with defamation of character.  This is the kind of politician voters continually send to Congress and it sucks.  People like Harry Reid are perfect examples of why we need Term Limits for members of Congress.  Power corrupts!

Kate’s law is nothing more than simple common sense and EVERY elected official regardless of party affiliation and the President of the United States should have been a signer to this law but they were not, all because of just one man, Harry Reid and thus the Democratic Party.

To all those Americans like news commentator Geraldo Rivera who said he would not vote for Kate’s Law, I ask this one question.  If Kate Steinle were your daughter, would you be voting FOR or AGAINST Kate’s Law.  If you say AGAINST, I will show you someone who will lie about anything.  How sad is that for a commentary on America?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Could History Be Repeating Itself, Again?

Could History Be Repeating Itself, Again?
By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, January 22, 2017

If you look through history, you find rare instances where people have surfaced to overcome all odds to accomplish things that many may have thought to be impossible tasks.  The most recent in my memory was Ronald Reagan who brought our severely divided country ripped apart by a failing economy left to him by Jimmy Carter.  Before Reagan it was John F. Kennedy who was a complete change in personalities from his predecessor Dwight D. Eisenhower.  More importantly, Kennedy put forth a vision for America that people got behind.  The historical figure I am reminded of today is General George Patton.

Why do I say General Patton?  He was brash, he could be and usually was rude and he more than anyone could see what was happening in the days following the fall of Germany and wanted to take action against the Soviet Union.  It is unsure what would have happened had he not been killed after the war ended either by accident or by intent; we will never know. 

What we do know is that the Generals around him and superior to him including General Eisenhower did not like him and Patton did not give them any reason to like him nor do I think he really cared; he was that confident.  What Patton gave to General Eisenhower and to the free world was a General who got things done and who took on the enemy and WON!   Four simple words define General Patton – HE GOT THINGS DONE!

Before anyone jumps all over me, I am not saying President Trump is another General Patton.  What I am suggesting is that he MAY be another Patton-like figure who for whatever reason, was put in our pathway for a reason.  Just as General Eisenhower knew that Patton would not only win his battles, he also knew that the entire German Army feared Patton more so than any of the Allied Generals/Admirals.

We have no Eisenhower who handpicked Patton.  Instead we have voters who voted for Donald Trump.  We have no German Army or an Adolph Hitler who feared Patton but we have an economy in ruin, we have an education system far worse than most developed countries, we have an Armed Force in deplorable condition and failing morale, and there is ISIS, creating chaos and murder throughout the world.  True, solutions are required to remedy those situations. The most daunting task that I believe President Trump must take on and before any other are the waste, fraud and abuse that our elected officials, political appointees and government employees have perpetrated upon America and who will continue to do so until stopped by someone.  If that someone is not President Trump then just who will it be?

Why do I say this?  I have been employed by the Federal Government.  Sure, it may have changed since I left the service in 1985 but I do not believe for a second that any changes that may have occurred did so for the better.  Let me explain.  Every government agency, office and employee had to protect their/his/her turf.  What does that mean?  You were given annual funds based upon a budget request that each office generated requesting funds for the upcoming Fiscal Year (October 1 of each year).  The budget included not only operating funds but also contingency funding and in a lot of cases, additional funding for additional government employees.  This happens EVERY YEAR!  In my twenty years in government service, I NEVER once saw any command that I was assigned to be reduced in size OR reduced in the amount of money granted for the new Fiscal Year.  On the contrary, the system was rigged.  I was given a budget to work with and whether it was verbally or written, there was no avoiding the fact that my superiors expected me to spend the money I was authorized to spend and oftentimes expected me to spend MORE than I was authorized to spend.  Why?  Because if I were to give any authorized money back, it indicated that my office/command didn’t need that much money for the new Fiscal Year and our new funds would be reduced.  Therefore, instead of being REWARDED for being frugal with the “people’s money” (my and your tax dollars), I would be PENALIZED most likely on my Fitness Reports for not managing my office to the best of my ability.  That would mean that future promotions and assignments could be adversely affected by NOT SPENDING ALL OF THE MONEY I WAS AUTHORIZED TO SPEND.  If by chance I would have spent MORE than authorized, that too worked in my favor because it would be used to increase the budget for the new Fiscal Year.

As for employees, you learned to defend the employees you had assigned and worked the system to add additional employees.  When you hear any politician say they are going to “create jobs” the ONLY jobs a politician can create are GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES.  That means more tax dollars to pay not only these employees but their benefits and retirements long into the future.  Politicians can and should create a country-wide atmosphere that encourages the private sector to create additional jobs and they do that by reducing the regulations that currently are strangling private sector growth.

Can you see the cycle that if not interrupted will eventually lead to a bankrupt government?  Can you understand why I can get so pissed off at our government because they are the ones that keep this culture and atmosphere continuing year to year to year?  I can only assume that it exists at the state and local levels as well EXCEPT FOR ONE THING.  States and cities CANNOT PRINT MONEY: the Federal Government CAN AND DOES and therein lies our biggest problem.  The Federal Government spends (expenses) more than it takes in (revenues/tax income).  PERIOD! 

This is why I am so optimistic about a Trump Presidency, who with a Republican controlled House and Senate may be able to make a very significant difference in America.  Why?  Because in my mind I consider President Trump as a Third Party Candidate, always have.  His inaugural address said as much.  He tore equally into the Democrats as he did the Republicans and advised everyone who actually listened to him that the typical Washington Business will no longer be accepted as “business as usual.”  He spoke TO the people ABOUT the very people sitting directly behind him.  Mr. Trump has been a man of business his entire life.  He has successfully run many businesses all at the same time.  His cabinet nominees indicate to me that he wants his Administration to be run like a business, on time and under budget.  I know of no other president who brought that type of attitude to the presidential office.  What President Trump did not say in his speech on the 20th of January was any reference to a smaller government but by simple inference, if the government becomes more efficient, it becomes smaller because the waste fraud and abuse will be exposed to everyone and especially to those employed deep within the bowels of the government.

Disclaimer.  Donald Trump was NOT my first choice for President.  In fact of the 17 men and one woman running on the Republican side, he would have been number 15 or 16.  I just didn’t’ like him.  Clinton and Sanders on the Democratic ticket would have taken America even further towards Socialism and that was unacceptable to me.  Sound familiar?  Remember a great many people did not like General Patton as well.  He was selected because HE GOT THE JOB DONE!  Whether President Trump was put in the Oval Office by the people’s vote or by accident, doesn’t matter he’s there and I am praying that he gets the job done.  He is in the Oval Office and now he is faced with reorganizing the Federal Government into a smooth and efficient running machine.  Only time will tell if history repeats itself likening Trump to Patton, only time will tell.  I pray that this time, time will be on our side and by “our” I mean all 350 Million of us, Democrat, Republican, Independent, men, women and children; ALL OF US!  Failure cannot be an option!

Could history be repeating itself?  I certainly hope so!  Only time will tell!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Are You F#cking Sh#ting Me?

Are You F#cking Sh#ting Me?
By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, January 7, 2017

What was the first thing you thought of when you read the title to this Nugget?  What was the second thing?  And finally what was the third thing?  I wanted to title this Nugget, Civility – a thing of the past.  I was afraid no one would read it.  Even now some may stop reading at this very point in the Nugget.  So what did you just think of?

  1. What F#$king meant, and you actually thought of the word that I was attempting to convey.
  2. What Sh#ting meant, and you actually thought of the word that I was attempting to convey.
  3. What on Earth is this all about?
  4. Maybe a 4th, what was he thinking about when it titled this one? 

What would you have thought if I had used the word “friggin?”  You know what you would have thought.  It is no different than making reference to “the N word.”  What did you just think?  Did not think of what the phrase “The N word” meant?  If so, why not just use it?  Answer, it’s just not the right thing to do is it not?  Yet even saying it is not the right thing to do, have we not just done it by writing it or saying it?  Isn’t that what you did, fell in the missing letters?  Who are we kidding?

Is it just me or have you noticed how often you see people not even bothering to disguise the word Sh#t, instead they actually type out the word on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc.?  It is happening more frequently than ever before along with a lot of other “4 letter words”, and isn’t “4 letter words” doing the same thing?  I just used that phrase and you are probably thinking of the four letter words I referred to.

What is accomplished when you use symbols instead of actual letters when typing out a W##d?  Your mind immediately inserts the correct letters and thinks of the actual word.  So why use symbols instead of the actual W$$d when the result is the same thing?

People think they are being “civil” by using the symbols as compared to typing out the actual word.  But ARE they being civil?  If the result is that you actually THINK of the word intended, why use the symbols, why not just type the word?  Are they afraid someone like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin might block them from future posts? 

I am old enough to remember that when watching television there was a window of time that no suggestive television shows/commercials could be viewed because someone in the government thought it was inappropriate to show such broadcasts while children were still awake and might see them.  Now we see them at all times of the day and night with little to no restrictions.  With each passing year the broadcasts, commercials and movie trailers become more and more suggestive and violent to the point they are no longer suggestive, they just come right out and say what they mean.

This Saturday morning I awoke early by my dog at 4:30 AM and could not go back to sleep.  I checked Facebook to see what was happening after yesterday’s shooting in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  I was shocked at the number of Facebook posts that indicated, at least to me, that a lot of people no longer care about civility. Instead of using symbols to complete f#ck, they spelled out the word in its entirety and apparently did not care who read it or whether they found the word to be offensive.

To all these people I ask these questions.  Would you use such language with your children or the children of your family members or your friends and neighbors?  When has such language become so commonplace and so acceptable that the infamous “everyone” now uses it to convey or enhance something they are saying in print as well as voice communications?  To those people who use such language, how would you feel if YOUR child used such language to their teachers in school?  I have two daughters who teach elementary school and I can assure you that children DO use such language.  Where do you think they get that type of language?  Some might say they get it from their fellow students.  Okay, where do those fellow students get that type of language?  They were not born knowing it; they have been taught it.  Who are their teachers of such language?  ADULTS or people who think they are ADULTS

Could I not have titled this Nugget, Are You Kidding Me?  What is the difference between the two titles.  In a word – CIVILITY; something that has become a thing of the past.

I remember when civility meant that a man while walking on a sidewalk with a female would walk on  the traffic side of the female to protect her.  It meant that a man or youth got up to give a woman or elderly man or woman their seat.  It meant a man opening a door for a woman or elderly man or woman.  It meant NOT using foul language ever but especially in the presence of a child and/or woman.  Civility also meant letting another car merge into traffic.  Civility meant not parking in a handicapped space when you are not handicapped.  Civility meant returning an item that you decided you did not want in your shopping basket to its rightful shelf or refrigerated space instead of leaving on the nearest shelf in the grocery store.

At some point in my lifetime most Americans, certainly not you, (I cannot speak for other countries) have become more of a “what’s in it for me” to “it’s all about me” society and the heck (I could have said Hell) with others?  When was the last time a stranger on the street just said “Hello” or “Hi” to you?  When was the last time YOU said “Hello” or “Hi” to a stranger on the street?  Want to have some fun?  Try it and watch the stranger smile – they almost always do.  How would you react if a stranger said “Hello” or “Hi” to you?  You would smile; you know you would.

Would you use foul language with a stranger?  Doubt it!  In fact I seriously doubt it!  So why do people now think it is permissible to use foul language on social media like Facebook?  Do they personally know everyone on Facebook?  Can they honestly call each person on Facebook a “friend?”  They may be able to call them a social media friend but can they call everyone of them a “real” friend?  Doubt it.  So why do they, certainly not you, think it is permissible to use foul language with a social media friend?  Is it possible that those social media friends may find such language offensive?  If you KNEW that someone found foul language offensive, would you use it when you communicate with them face-to-face?  I doubt it?  Why has Common Sense been forgotten when it comes to Social Media?  In case you have not been paying attention, it HAS BEEN forgotten just as CIVILITY has been forgotten.  Don’t think so?  Scroll through the Facebook posts and judge for yourself.  If you see something that offends you but might be funny, would you repost it?  Some will, some won’t.  Would you?  If not, why not?  Could it be that you know it is simply not the right thing to do?

Over 200 years ago a famous American, President George Washington, maintained a list of things he called The Rules of Civility.  While the language may be a bit unusual, it was common language in Washington’s time.  There are 110 such rules that you can read on the web site   I believe that if Washington were alive today he would have included several more rules regarding the use of cell phones, tablets and computers and even more referring to drivers.  If rules such as Washington’s are NOT taught in the home, and they are not taught in our schools, where will our children learn “the right thing to do?”

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

What do “Words”, a Water Oak,
and Howard Cosell All Have In Common?
By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, January 4, 2017

Wisdom can be found in the most strangest of places.  I have found wisdom on a Chinese fortune cookie, on the front of t-shirts, on the back of t-shirts, and even on Facebook and Twitter posts.  The following story came from a book on Golf or so I thought when I bought it.  Most books on golf are instruction books on how to swing, how to get out of trouble, how to chip or how to putt the ball.  This one was different.  Zen Golf by Dr. Joseph Parent is as the title would suggest, a little bit about Zen and a little bit about golf.  Turned out it was almost entirely about Zen thinking, keeping your mind in the place it needs to be during a golf swing and very little about the game itself.  The book could have been titled Zen Life or Zen Thinking or Zen Business and Sales.  Some other books I have read were written by Wallace Wattles in 1910 and they too had a message for the ages.  Throughout his books, just like Dr. Parent’s books, Wattles suggests that you MUST “think in a certain way” to achieve what you want to achieve.  Wallace and Parent are saying the same thing.

So what does all that have to do with Words, a Water Oak and Howard Cosell?  Thought you would never ask.  It’s January 2017 and even in Louisiana you experience a form of winter where the grass turns brown, leaves turn brown and fall to the ground.  We rarely ever see snow; winter creates a bland type of mental picture.  This year I turned the tables a bit by planting winter rye grass and I have a brilliant green yard all winter long – the only one on my street.  With green grass comes grass cutting and that is what I did today.  Completing this picture for you I want you to think of a massive Water Oak Tree sprawling out in the back yard.  On one hand I had green grass that needed to be cut and I also had a ton of brown oak leaves on the ground that needed to be picked up - first.

As I began to gather up the leaves I could not help but notice more leaves falling not only on my head but also in areas I had already cleared.  That is when it struck me, a thought, not the leaves.  God only knows how long that oak tree has stood in her position or how many families have enjoyed her shade and the pain of cleaning up after her.  She kind of resembles life; she just keeps doing her thing.  The leaves on the other hand have a short life span, months to be exact, then they fall and eventually cleared or they decay.

The leaves of my Water Oak are like words.  They are everywhere and no matter how much diligence you use to clean them up, every one of them, it is an impossible task.  Don’t believe me, try it.  Leaves become sticky and stick to everything telling you that at least this one leaf has no intention of being swept up with the others.  Some fall in out of reach places like a roof only to be later blown back onto an area you have cleared.

So too are spoken words.  As Dr. Parent so aptly describes in this short story, words are like feathers in the wind.

A nineteenth-century folktale tells about a man who went about slandering the town’s wise man.  One day, he went to the wise man’s home and asked for forgiveness.  The wise man, realizing that this man had not internalized the gravity of his transgressions, told him that he would forgive him on one condition: that he go home, take a feather pillow from his house, cut it up, scatter the feathers to the wind and return when done to the wise man’s house.

Though puzzled by this strange request, the man was happy to be let off with so easy a penance.  He quickly cut up the pillow, scattered the feathers and returned to the house.

“Am I now forgiven?” he asked.

“Just one more thing,” the wise man said.  “Go now and gather up all the feathers.”

“But that’s impossible.  The wind has already scattered them.”

“Precisely,” he answered.  “And it is as impossible to repair the damage done by your words as it is to recover the feathersYour words are out there in the marketplace, spreading hate, even as we speak.

Not much difference between the feathers and the oak leaves in my yard is there not?   They can be beautiful and enlightening but they can be ugly and defaming.  In both cases, once spoken they cannot be gathered up like leaves on the ground or the feathers in the wind.  You may be able to retrieve some but certainly not all no matter how hard you try or even if you obtain help to do so; some will still remain in the corners, on the roofs or even in the trees just waiting to fall or in the case of words, to be heard.

In their book Gossip:  Ten Pathways to Eliminate it from your Life and Transform Your Soul, Lori Palatnik and Bob Burg explain how we all have accepted the negativity of words by thinking we can shun them off by ignoring them as if they were never spoken.  But they were spoken and when spoken in our midst and we choose to say nothing we have accepted them at their face value rather than confronting them head on.  Walking away without indicating the reason is better than staying without a word but even just walking away will not give the speaker the knowledge that the words spoken were harmful or hateful and serve no useful purpose.  Like the leaves, they just lie there on the floor waiting for someone to pick them up otherwise they will lay there until they eventually decay.  Still they serve as a constant reminder for as long as they lie there for everyone to remember.  Palatnik and Burg go on to say that you should NEVER, EVER, say anything negative about someone unless it is to their face and others cannot hear them.  This is nothing less than what you would want or expect from others is it not?

To demonstrate just how devastating words can be one need only remember what happened to the famed reporter turned sports announcer Howard Cosell.  He would refer to football running backs that were small in size and very quick as “little monkeys.”  His comment on air about a running back “running like a little monkey” got him fired for making what others perceived to be a racist comment.  People who knew Howard Cosell knew he was not a racist but the damage was done; the leaf and feather were in the air or on the ground and could not be retrieved.