Category Archives: About the Author

Resurrecting Respect

I apologize in advance for this self-serving post. I also apologize to my Sophies Soapbox Facebook readers since this will be a partial repeat of a prior Facebook post. I recently had a book published and much of the material was taken from prior posts to this blog. The book is titled Resurrecting Respect.

Our country has fallen from a position of leadership and respect that it had earned after WW II. What made the U.S.A. the example for the rest of the world has eroded. The reasons are complex and not the work of any one political party or faction. The “blame game” runs rampant and as a result, we have not been willing to work toward reclaiming our status. This little book attempts to examine the issues with an apolitical view. While the first part is essentially a “moan” the second part offers many practical solutions.

All of the opinions and solutions in the book support the following principals:

  1. In the USA, our citizens and permanent residents deserve freedom of speech, worship and freedom from want & fear, affordable quality healthcare, and an affordable education.
  2. Over time, many of our past successes have eroded and now require evaluation and change. There are many areas where we were once an (if not “the”) world leader, but are no longer. Changes will be required to make the U.S.A. great again.
  3. Our founding fathers intended to create a system where the common people ruled and not the “Royals.” We have created a new class of Royals, if not in the title, but for certain in practice.
  4. Service to country (and the earth) is more important than individual gain.
  5. Individual freedoms are sacrosanct as long as they do not infringe on the right’s other individuals
  6. Short term benefits should never unduly mortgage future generations.
  7. Government spending should be accountable to the taxpayer, and borrowing obligations should be “transparent” both in terms of current deficits and future “unfunded” liabilities. Both areas should be subject to reasonable limits that congress would not have the ability to override.
  8. Unskilled and semi-skilled workers should receive, at a minimum, the compensation required to provide the entitlements in #1 above.
  9. When the economy (real GDP) is growing the middle class deserves its fair share of this growth. The middle class is paying more than their fair share to fund our government.
  10. Persons and families in need deserve our support. We should give those in need the opportunity to maintain their self-respect. Everyone should have the opportunity to “contribute” to the country commensurate to their abilities. All subsidies should have limited terms except in cases of ongoing and legally documented disability. 
  11.  The role of money in our election process and determining the outcome must be reduced.
  12. Least government is the best government. Citizens in service to the Federal Government will be paid fairly, but not overpaid. By that, I mean their total compensation should be in line with comparable positions in private industry. Where possible, productivity standards should be in place for all government workers.
  13. The time available for election campaigns requires reduction. We need more time governing and less time campaigning.
  14. Capitalism is the preferred economic system as long as it provides for most of the citizens to participate in owning capital. Participation in capitalism should include all classes other than those requiring subsidies.
  15. Taxes come in many forms. For example: When your government chooses to support an inefficient and costly system when cheaper and better alternatives exist, then you are being taxed.
  16. Worldwide free markets are most efficient in the long-term, fostering innovation and productivity
  17. Growth for the sake of growth is not the best measure of economic viability. Productivity ultimately determines effective resource utilization and well-being. This measure becomes even more important for countries when their internal population is declining. Measures like GDP per capita are a better economic measure of success.
  18. Our elected representatives should play by the same rules as the voters that elected them into office regarding benefits and entitlements.
Resurrecting Respect: True Patriotism

I’ve been programmed, how about you?

I’ve been programmed, how about you?

I am reminded of the lyrics from a song by one of my favorite musical groups, Pink Floyd. Another Brick in the Wall (part II) written by Roger Waters:

“We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.
………………………………….Wrong, Do it again!
If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding. How can you
have any pudding if you don’t eat yer meat?”

My programming was gained initially through participation in a military family, parents that grew up in the South, exposure to a maternal grandfather that was a staunch racist, a paternal grandmother that was not and 10 years of Catholic school education complete with required catechism classes. My programming was further enhanced via two years of “public” high school and five years of social (and sometime academic) exposure at University. Programming continued through four years as an Air Force Officer, twenty years in senior management with several firms and finally a decade plus in the accommodation industry both in the US and in New Zealand. More recently my programming has been modified through participation with a variety of community volunteer groups.

In retrospect I question how much wisdom was gained despite the massive amount of information exposure that occurred? In my “formative” years “I liked Ike” and a bit later I wanted to “ask what I could do for my country”. During University I moved a bit further to the left in my thinking. While in the Air Force I reversed course moving back in the “right” direction. As a senior manager, then executive and accommodation entrepreneur I continued to proceed further to the right. During the last decade, via my volunteer participation, my views have moderated and moved back closer to the political center.

What I now realize is that most of my view has been “influenced” by both others and by the responsibility of the various money producing positions that I held. I wonder if I really have any views that are truly my own? I find that doing my own research on a variety of topics has been very satisfying. It has been extremely difficult to set my past programming aside and I find it an ongoing struggle. My key is to ask myself what is the basis of my current view. What is the source of my information? Is it backed up by other sources? Can I say for certain that I am in touch with the facts? How much of my view is based on a belief system? Am I just another brick in the wall?

Thank you

This post’s intent is to thank all of my subscribers for their participation. After three years in virtual obscurity about 10 days a the blog passed 200 subscribers! This achievement is entirely due to current subscribers recommending the blog to others. Thank you very much!

I thought it might be interesting to review the topics that have been posted over the past three plus years and which are still available on the site:

  1. Our broken system for electing representation and alternatives
  2. Our health care system and alternatives
  3. Gov’t funding for health education, why it is not working
  4. Overweight & obesity & a solution
  5. Not all Calories are created equal & the low/no fat myth.
  6. A case for Term limits and why they will likely never be implemented
  7. The Electoral College is it still relevant?
  8. The two-party system, the gangs of DC, and how they work together, but not for the common good
  9. The national debt, personal debt & scary unfunded federal obligations.
  10. Solutions to balancing the Federal Budget
  11. Distribution of taxes paid, who pays?
  12. You owe back taxes, why pay?
  13. The founders of our Democratic Republic, some interesting facts
  14. Let’s bash the President!
  15. The Cult of Government Bureaucracy
  16. Our insane federal tax code
  17.   Interest rate on the debt. It is low and is that good?
  18. Unemployment: Official vs. Reality
  19. Our elected representatives play by different rules, why?
  20. Our wasteful and unfair election process (revisiting topic #1)
  21. Life skills and the need to incorporate them early into the educational curriculum
  22. Incarcerations, prisons, the tax payer rip-off & a low cost alternative A
  23. All-natural foods are healthy and great, but can lower income folks afford them? Healthy alternatives.
  24. High frequency traders, bank and broker facilitators and how they rip off the small investor
  25. A relationship among lower incomes, cigarette smoking, the lotto & fast food
  26. Belief Systems: The good, the not so good & the ugly
  27. We are so smart, aren’t we?  (our changing knowledge base)
  28. The price of petrol is very low in the US, the good news and the not so good news
  29. Guns, guns and more guns!
  30. News or Agenda – CNN, Fox, Aljazeera
  31. Reality shows – from Wrestling to Springer to ….
  32. History of man, what do we really know?
  33. Auto Insurance the way I figure it could be free!
  34. The metric system and currency
  35. Civilization, did it commence 6,000 years ago?
  36. Nikola Tesla – the unappreciated prophet.
  37. Sophie’s Believe it or not!
  38. Just for fun – Aliens among us
  39. Just for fun – The Universe
  40. Accountability & Reputation
  41. Do I really have to pay for this?
  42. Just for fun, my favorite apps
  43. Test your perspective, just for fun
  44. America, the world’s cop
  45. High speed cop car chases, are they worth it?
  46. Prescription Drugs – why do we subsidize the rest of the world? 
  47. Overused and abused expressions that make little or no sense:
  48. Currency, does ours make sense?
  49. Distribution of Taxes, revisited
  50. The Outrageous cost of Advanced Education
  51. Amending our system: Issues & Solutions
  52. Just for fun: Area 51 (site S-4)
  53. The Important Issues & polarization (opinion)
  54. Ancient Ancestors & Current Aliens (just for fun)
  55. Searching for Balance
  56. Polarization & Control
  57. Should taxpayers be concerned by our National Debt?
  58. Our Neighborhood in Space (just for fun)
  59. NPC (Not Politically Correct)
  60. Alien Contact (Just for Fun)
  61. Violence in America  
  62. Violence and Incarceration
  63. Health Care revisited
  64. US Patriots Initiative
  65. Path to a Balanced Budget
  66. Follow on to Articles 1 -3, 4 & 7 of the US Patriots Initiatives – The Elect
  67. Tax & Spend vs. Reducing Taxes
  68. Judge Roy Moore
  69. New Tax Bill & the Debt Disaster
  70. Divide & Conquer
  71. Belief systems revisited
  72. Education Revisited    
  73.  The Illusion of Substance (Just for Fun)
  74. 74. The Wall
  75. 75. Politics as Usual
  76. 76. The 2nd Amendment (2)
  77. 77. China: Communism or Capitalism
  78. 78. Ban Guns, surely you Jest
  79. 79. Our National Debt – Update                                                                                                             
  80. The real top 5 unexplained (just for fun)   
  81. We’re number 1   
  82. The Wall  
  83.  Go forth and Populate the Earth   
  84.  Roundabouts  
  85. Polarization & control – revisited 
  86. Upstream vs. Downstream – Illegal immigration
  87. Upstream vs. Downstream – Healthcare 
  88. My Misinformation
  89. Polarization and solutions
  90. Two Americans in Europe
  91. Observations while traveling in Europe
  92. Americanize
  93. The Price of Medication
  94. You get what you pay for
  95. Kit Kat (a travel story)
  96. The Big Bang & common sense
  97. Your immune system
  98. A replacement for #3 in my top 5 unexplained
  99. More on Political Polarization
  100. Keynes vs. Friedman
  101. Name Nonsense – Just for fun                                                                                               
  102. Great Teachers – Life Lessons 
  103. Healthcare Costs & the Budget Deficit
  104. Renewable Ener
  105. The Obesity Epidemic Revisit
  106. When a tax cut is not?
  107. When is a tax increase not?
  108. Hidden taxes
  109. Life Expectancy vs HALE
  110. Moussa Castle
  111. Military Spending
  112. The Electoral College