Thinking Magazine #4 01-19-92

News Flash - George Bush Vomits

Isn't it interesting what makes the top story of the day. Several networks cut into programming life to cover the big news. A very dramatic seen where Bush ducks under the table to get rid of his dinner as a flock of secret servicemen swam around him. I'm surprised there wasn't a camera under the table.

So why is it so interesting that George tossed his cookies? Is he the first president that ever threw up? I doubt it. The thing that makes it such a big story is Dan Quayle, mister heart beat away, who would be the one to walk right into the job.

Reality never ceases to amaze me. The president of the United States, the most powerful person on the planet, the man with his finger on The Button, at any moment could be Dan Quayle! A man who's IQ is lower than his body temperate! What is wrong with this picture.

Imagine this! A spaceship orbits our planet. Aliens from an advanced civilization from millions of light years away beam down to Earth to make first contact with humanity. They say, "Take us to your leader!" So we escort them to the White House to meet Dan Quayle? I tell you what. If that happened I would be so totally embarrassed. Wouldn't you? Do you realize how poorly that would reflect on us as a species?

What Bush Accomplished in Japan

George Bush made some accomplishments on his recent trip to Japan. One of which was to point out why the Japanese don't buy American made cars. I didn't know that none of the big 3 made cars with the steering wheel on the left side. I had assumed that they did. I look at that and I have no sympathy for Detroit whatsoever. I for one am rather bored hearing the American car industry wine for protectionism. Bush is for free trade and the elimination of artificial barriers and whether or not he intended to, he really made the American car industry look as stupid as they are.

We've all seen a lot of "Buy American" adds on TV lately and heard a lot about the issue of protecting American jobs. The thing that they are telling us to do, in effect, is to buy an American made product even if the Japanese product is better and cheaper. And this is supposed to be good for America to do this.

But they are wrong. If you buy an inferior product that is made in America you are hurting America instead of helping. You are subsidizing American industry to continue to produce low quality products instead of quality highly competitive products. Our industry need to either shape up or close down. If we subsidize our industries then our industries will continue to weaken while our competitors will be spurred to produce even better products. That's how we got in the shape we're in now.

So What's Happened in America?

To answer this I want to first pose the question, "What is America?". We can point to America on the map and say, "It's right there!". But where is it really doesn't say what it is. "Well, it's a country!". OK, but there are lots of countries. What makes America special?

Americans believe that we are the number one country on the planet. The best country that ever was. We believe that if Christ came back to Earth that he would want to be an American. Why do we believe this? Are we still number one? And how is it that we determine this?

I think that if I were to define the single aspect of what identifies America and Americans as special, it would have to be our culture or dream of what an American is supposed to be. It's our Constitution, our philosophy of Freedom, Justice, Fairness, Generosity, and Honesty. Americans are the good guys. We where the white hat. We defend the poor, the weak, and the helpless. We defend the defenseless. We feed the hungry. We clothe the naked. (Unless you have cable TV)

An American is strong, trustworthy, hard working, honest, friendly, resourceful, intelligent. We are a proud people. A true American would never be unemployed. We're to smart and resourceful for that. We'd find another job. We'd start our own business. Americans are too proud to accept a government handout. We'd never live off welfare when we could work. We would never elect crooked leaders to our government. We would never produce poor quality items in our factories. Americans don't do drugs. We don't steal from our neighbors. We don't file phony insurance claims.

Of course nobody is perfect but I'm trying to make a point here. The point is that there is a gap between the dream and the reality. There always has been, but the gap is widening. I think the gap has widened so far that the dream is being forgotten.

When Bush went to Japan he became a Wimp again. He went over there to whine and beg for America. I would have found that to be humiliating. The reason America is whining is because the spirit of America is fading. We have become fat, lazy whiners. We are no longer willing to do good work. We hate our employers. We want the government to support us. We don't want to think anymore. We have no pride, no sense of honor, and no respect for anything.

Over time the spirit of America has eroded. The America that our forefather founded two hundred years ago no longer exists. We have allowed the American dream to be stolen from us. We have allowed it to be perverted into the society we have today. And it's our fault and it is only ourselves who are going to correct it.

And by ourselves I mean ourselves. People like you and me. I don't mean "the government" because the government is part of the problem and not part of the solution. We the People are going to have to take back America and recapture the American dream. We must first see ourselves as true Americans and start doing things that true Americans are supposed to do. American are heroes. This will take a heroic effort. In the process of taking back America we will need to earn the title. And we either will succeed, or we will take our place in the history books along with the Roman Empire to be studied by future societies.

"OK Marc, you've made some interesting points here. But what can I do?" I'm glad you asked that question because revolution begins at home. If we are going to recover America we must first become Americans ourselves. How can America be America if it isn't filled with Americans? Each one of us individually must make a personal commitment to live the dream. To think like an American and live the life that Americans are supposed to live.

If we are to become Americans we need to start doing the things that Americans are supposed to do. We need to identify ourselves as smart resourceful people who can take care of ourselves. People who can pull our own weight and then some. We need to do things like:

  1. If you are unemployed. Get a job. There are plenty of jobs out there for people who want to work. If you say "But I can't find a job.", I say BullShit. If you really can't find a job then create you own. If you really decide you want to be an American, you'll figure out how.
  2. If you are living off the government then pull your own weight. Charity is for the needy and the crippled.
  3. Learn how to be a good productive employee. Do quality work. Love your boss. Create the type of work environment that is like the Japanese where you and your employer are on the same team and you are working together so that you both can continue to eat.
  4. There is no US and THEM. We are all US. We all live in the US
  5. Live and understand the concepts of personal integrity. Do unto other as you would have others do unto you. Don't cheat, don't steal, and don't tell too many lies. Be fair, honest, trustworthy.
OK these 5 suggestions should give you the idea. Obviously this is the short list and we could go on and on. So OK, lets say a lot of you do this and you becomes good upstanding American taxpayers. Is this going to cure America? I doubt it. But it is the first step.

"So what's the next step?", you ask. The next step is to spread it. Once you become an American then make sure the people around you behave like Americans to. This is an issue of who's in control. Are they going to bring the standard down, or are you going to bring the standard up? And if you decide that you are going to bring the standard up, then how are you going to become the dominate influence?

The answer is simpler than you think. It all comes down to one magic word. This word is a timeless word that has been passed down through eons of time. It's the word that has started every revolution know to man. The most powerful word in the English language, and what the hell could it possibly be? The magic word is NO!

I can't stress enough how powerful the word No is and learning the art of how to say it. No is the word that created America. That is when we said no to England. If I were to describe the most important freedom we have in America in one sentence, I would say that we in America have the right to say No.

"So what's this big deal about saying No?", you might ask. "That's Nancy Reagan's idea. Just say No.". But I ask you, can you say no under pressure? Can you say no when everyone else wants you to say yes? Can you say no when you are right and everyone else is wrong and it will cost you if you say no?

One of the problems in America especially in government is the idea that, "You have to go along to get along." What I'm telling you is no you don't! If it's bullshit then you need to say, "This is BullShit!" You might want to word it more tactfully and say something like, "I just bought a new pair of boots and I don't want to ruin them." But, America is going down the tubes and America will continue to go down the tubes unless America learns to say no to those who are ripping this country off.

In order to learn to say no effectively you need to assess you ability to assess reality and your ability to face the consequences of saying no. I have observed that when a person is faced with a situation where he knows what is right and wrong, but is not prepared to face the consequences of saying no, that he will lie to himself rather than view himself as a coward. I've been in situations where I'm right on the verge of realizing something and say to myself, "If I realize what I think I'm about to realize it's going to cost me .....". And if I'm not prepared to pay the price, then I probably won't have the realization.

Let me give you an example. A Jehovah's Witness comes to your door with a stack of Watch Towers in his hand. He want's to convince you things like giving up Christmas is important. That it's a sin to get a blood transfusion. That only 144,000 people are going to heaven. So you're there listing to this babble wondering how any person in their right mind can believe this garbage. So you start arguing with the guy and you quickly realize that no matter how logical you are or how convincing you are that you are not going to change his mind.

You see, the Jehovah's Witness has his personal identity tied to this religious culture. His circle of friends are in it and he is dependent on this for his emotional well being. If he were to become convinced that you are right, then he would have to drop out, lose his friends, and redefine his identity. If this person isn't prepared to do this then they are not going to be convinced. Their mind will block this out and it will stay blocked out until he is ready to tell the Jehovah's Witnesses no.

Not it is easy for us on the outside to look at this. But perhaps there is a Jehovah's Witness inside us where we are taking a position on an issue that is just plain wrong but we aren't prepared to accept the reality of what it would take to say no. If the Witness can fool himself then how are we to know that we are not like him. If we were then we would be fooling ourselves and not know it.

It's like a joke I heard on Saturday Night Live where they were talking about UFOs. They said, "The thing about UFOs is that as soon as you see one, they shoot you with a Ray Gun that makes you forget you saw it. So if you never saw a UFO, it's probably because you are seeing them all the time!"

This joke is not as far fetched as you might think. Not that I believe in UFO with Ray Guns, but can you remember a time in your life where you went along with or got involved in something that you not look back at and realize it was dumb? Where you changed you mind on some basic issue that you believed in because you had an emotional investment in?

If you can't think of anything then I think it is more likely that you are under a lot of illusions as compared to someone who has come up with several examples. Lets look at some situations here and see if we are under such illusions:

  1. If you smoke, why do you smoke? Some people might just say, "I can't quit. I have tried but I am addicted and I just do not yet have to will to succeed." Other might simply say, "I like to smoke. I don't want to quit. My grandfather is 150 years old and has been smoking ever since he fought the Civil War and it hasn't hurt him. Everyone has to die of something you know."
  2. On your job you become aware that another employee is stealing from the company. What do you do? Do you squeal on them? After all, company profits are down and you haven't seen a raise in a long time. On the other hand, you have to go along to get along. Everyone else knows what's going on. Are you prepared to say no? That's what is hurting America.
So, catch my drift here? But todays culture has not taught you how to say no. You've never done it before. You want to do "the right thing" but you don't want to make waves. You're looking at change and putting out the effort to learn a new skill and a difficult skill to learn. And it's going to cost you to learn this and it's not going to be easy. But America is going down and you are a patriot and you want to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. And you are going to make the sacrifice for your country and learn to say no.

In order to say No you have to start thinking No. Take a piece of paper and write the work No about 100 times:

I cheated. I used the copy block command in my editor. But don't do what I do, do what I say. The next step is to verbalize the word No. Look in the Mirror and tell yourself NO! Try not to wake up the rest of the family. You might want to practice with a friend. Go out in the back yard and yell NO at each other for a while. Pose questions to each other where the answer is NO.

You can practice with your kids too. You say, "Pretend I'm a stranger, 'Want a piece of candy little girl?'". The children respond "NO!". "Let's smoke a cigarette, want one?" NO! "Can I play with you dad's gun?" NO! Great family fun and educational. And you're teaching them how to say No.

The next step is to start saying no to little things that you normally say yes to but wish you had said no. Everybody has pushy types around that seem to con you into doing things you really don't want to do. A relative is over at your house and says, "Mind if I smoke?" You say, "Yes I do. I do not allow smoking in my air space." (In this case Yes means "No you can't smoke." so saying yes is really saying no.)

Now you are becoming an American. Americans are courageous and stand up for what they believe in. You regain more control of your life and not only improve yourself but those around you. And you make America stronger so that we can go out and kick some Japanese butt out in the free market.

The next step is to start voting No. There is too much government and you aren't going to get them to cut spending by giving them more money. When the government wants to increase you taxes vote No. On you tax form when they ask you if you want $1 to got to finance the presidential election, just say no.

If you are in court (and not the defendant) and the bailiff says, "Please rise.", don't rise. Just sit there. The judicial system in this country is corrupt and not rising is a way of saying no to judicial corruption.

Here's another example and it's a true story. I had to send some demo software to someone in New York. I used Federal Express and sent it Priority Mail so that it would be delivered before 10:30 the next morning. The New York airport was fogged in and the delivery was one day late. But, Federal Express still charged me the full price of $30.

I considered this a mistake. It could be argued that I should have gotten the delivery for free since I had specified priority shipment. But I wanted to be fair and found that the normal 2 day delivery rate was $14.95. So I called them up and pointed this out. They said that it was an excusable event and they were going to charge me the full rate.

I acknowledged that it was excusable that it wasn't delivered on time but that it took 2 days to deliver and I should only have to pay for the service that I actually received. They opened up their policy manual and quoted that on page whatever that it says that I have to pay full rate.

So I said, "Maybe you aren't hearing me. I am not calling you to discuss what your policy is, I am calling to inform you that I will not be paying the extra $15.50 on this bill." Having gotten nowhere I sent in a check marked "Paid in Full" for $14.95 with the following letter:

   Angry Customer Department
   Federal Express Corporation
   P.O. Box 1140 Dept. A
   Memphis Tn. 38101-1140

   December 18, 1991

   We got you invoice 4-507-42340 and we refuse to pay the amount shown.
   The package was sent next day priority and arrived one day late.

   It is our position that if we get two day service that we should pay
   for two day service instead of one day service. Enclosed is that
   amount that we would have been charged at the 2 day service rate.

   I can't believe that you have the nerve to charge us for next day
   service on this.

   I am extremely angry about this charge. I can accept the reason why
   is wasn't delivered on time, but I can't accept paying for next day
   delivery when it wasn't delivered on the next day.

   Now we can continue to argue about the amount, but I'll guarantee you
   one thing. I'll spend more than the difference on your 800 number
   arguing with you about it.

   I've decided to move all my overnight business to UPS. The next time
   "it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight", I'll be using
   the "tightest ship in the shipping business" to get it there.


   Marc Perkel

Now here is a good example in the art of saying no. Federal Express has dropped the charge. Was it worth it? I think so because it was helping America stay strong. Suppose some Chinese express company comes to America to compete with Federal Express. Do you think they would have charged me full rate? Not on your life! They want my business! They would have said "No Charge, No Charge" and I would have been impressed.

This is but one example of why we are losing the trade war. Federal Express has a dumb policy and they make their customers angry. You'd think they were the post office or something. So when I see American car companies whining about competition I am not moved. They had built junk for many years and now they have to pay the price. American cars are still inferior and I for one am not going to buy one.

Vicki Writes a Poem

A few years back my wife Vicki wrote a poem after taking our cats to get neutered and me teasing her about cutting the cats balls off.

To Be "Neutered" Or Not to be "Neutered" - that is the question. Our Kittens loved to romp and play among the Daffodils; But now they've grown and love to chase the felines on the hill. Instinct churns and the Tomcat learns of the joy of love's fruition - But the enrapturing bliss of a feline's hiss demands a high tuition!! "To roam, to roam," the young Tom moans, "my home's the streets and alleys." "But to be laid to rest in a trash can's breast is more than I can savvy!" So to all you Toms who have been struck by love in the back of a pickup truck - In all your travels have you unraveled the consequence of your _____! (Rhymes with "luck.") And to all you Toms who loathe the hunger and thirst, have a talk with your vet about becoming the first - Cat, that is, who bought a first class act; Went from "he" to an "it" and then got fat! 'Cause Tom Cats like you, needn't run helter skelter, you need love too -- but won't get it in the shelter! Becoming an "it" can mean good times for you! A warm loving home and warm milk too! By: Vicki Perkel Dedicated to "Snowy" The IT Beast


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