Thursday, February 20, 2014

An Eye Rolling, Tongue Biting, Facepalm Day

At a client's this morning listening to him commiserate with his neighbor about the money the neighbor's latest DUI is costing him. He refinanced his house 2 years ago for $20,000 for lawyer fees because the ambulance chaser guaranteed him he'd get the charge reduced and keep him out of jail. Two years have passed and he now wants $15,000 more. Seems the state passed tougher laws and made them retroactive which now included the neighbor's incident. Of course, both the lawyer and the state are the problem here. Of course they are.

The neighbor is looking at 5 years in jail because this particular DUI was his 4th or 5th. He was telling my client that his wife will lose everything because she won't be able to keep any of it without his income. He owns his own auto repair business, it runs out of the garage next to his house. This set up was made possible thanks to a very large insurance settlement she got from the death of her first husband. She hasn't a dime of it left.

I kept leaving the room in an attempt not to hear this man whine. My eyes were beginning to hurt from all the rolling they did and my tongue was pretty near to the bleeding point from the biting of it. They are in this mess because they made the choice to be there.

She had a million dollars from that settlement. She spent every damn penny of it on toys, booze and cocaine. He's not even a good auto mechanic since he drinks from the time he opens for business every day. He's the one who chose to drive drunk all the times he got caught. He's the responsible party here, not the state or the lawyer.

After the neighbor left, my client continued to speak about the situation. His thoughts on the subject exactly paralleled those of the neighbor. The problem wasn't that the neighbor made a choice to break a law, it was the problem of the lawyer and the state. His sympathy for the mess the neighbor is in has outweighed his ability to judge who is ultimately responsible.

I found myself asking my client how he would see the situation if the neighbor had injured or killed someone while he was driving drunk, for the 4th or 5th time? His response was: "Oh, well, that's not what happened", and he proceeded to continue to sputter about lawyers only interested in money and the state trying to take away a man's livelihood. I didn't say anything more since I am aware that in another 20 years, if I should live that long, this could be me.

What happens to the brain as we age is a mystery. Some people suffering from dementia have short term memory loss, mood swings and behave in a manner that suggests they need a parent. For others the mind seems to stay sharp but there are these lapses in judgement. There doesn't seem to be any way to predict which form an older person will suffer from. One good thing I've learned over the past few years is once they get to that point, there is absolutely 0 chance of changing their minds.

Monday, February 10, 2014

When Opportunity Has Been Stolen

The 2014 Farm Bill has passed and it only included $8 billion in cuts to the SNAP program instead of the $40 billion that the GOP wanted. I should be happy about that, but I'm not. To me it's just another punishment for our nations poorest people and it's celebrated by our nations richest people along with what remains of the upper class because most of them feel that the problems in our society are caused by those at the lowest end of the income scale. They're the lazy, the moochers, the reason we have to pay so much tax.

The Farm Bill is just another example of the bill of goods being sold to this nation by the very moochers at the top who want to continue their mooching unabated and unrestrained by the truth. People in the middle, who work so hard and find themselves unable to get ahead, are angry at those below them who qualify for assistance when those with higher incomes can't even when they need it.

No matter how many times you tell these people who blame the poor that the problem is the behavior of the corporations protecting their bottom lines, they simply don't agree with that. No matter how many times you tell the finger pointers that wealth is not limitless and if a small percentage of people are hoarding most of the available wealth, there is no opportunity for the rest of us to advance, they won't believe it.

If all the wealth is packed into 1 pie, cut into 8 pieces and expected to feed 8 people, 1 person taking 4 pieces leaves 7 people to divide what's left among themselves. There is no more pie to add to the inadequate share the remaining 7 people received. Which means that 1 of the 8 is on top of the heap and the other 7 have 0 opportunity to advance.

Here, maybe these pictures will help you.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Misinformation Super Highways

Much like Ivory Soap the internet is 99 and 44/100% pure. The question is, pure what? I suppose the answer to that depends on what day of the week it is.  How much anyone has had to drink before sitting down in front of the keyboard. How angry the mood is. And how stupid the person cares to act in order to be heard.

When it comes to the stupid, I'm not referring to those whose opinions on anything differ from mine. I'm referring to those willing to threaten rape, murder or other means of bodily harm when someone disagrees with them. Now that's stupid.

The creation of social media, whether it be blog sites, Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Youtube, etc. has given Joe and Jane Doe a voice. Given what they've got to say and how they say it, I'm not so sure this is a good thing. The fact of the matter is, the internet is opinion based, which makes it a less than reliable education tool. Unless you are inclined to learn how hateful your fellow man is. That is the quickest lesson one can learn given how widespread trolling, spamming, pedophilia, pornography, hacking, catfishing and bullying has become.

I was raised to believe that a polite society doesn't discuss religion or politics in a social setting. Since they seems to be the 2 major topics of discussion 24/7, it's a given that the internet isn't a polite society. I can live with that since I have control over myself, and my account here in Blogger and in Twitter allow me the luxury of deleting what I'm seeing rather than jump in and argue. I don't do that often here in Blogger. In Twitter, I just unfollow people who are hell bent on arguing with everything anyone else says. What bothers me is the outright misinformation spread online.

That misinformation affects most of the major issues we face today. Whether it be politics, religion, healthcare, economics, education, or any other issue, we don't have the facts of the matter since we make it far too easy for opinion to rear it's head. Online, if you try to connect people with factual sources to help them understand the reality, those facts are ignored.

If that information didn't come from our favorite pundits who pose as journalists, it's a lie. For someone who does want the truth, or who wants to listen with an open mind to both sides of the issue, the information they need is too hard to find. Much of what one would find is more misinformation spread by an online blogger saying what they are saying because it gets them traffic.

After 8 years online, I'm not sure I know the truth anymore either. What truth I do know is found in my offline experience. I see prices for essential goods and services advancing beyond what people on fixed incomes can afford to pay. I see far too many working more than one job to begin to make their ends even wave at each other let alone meet. I also see too many entitled people believing they have the right to dictate how those farther down on the food chain must live.

We aren't truly recovering, we're just moving sideways and sooner or later that too will destroy more of our lives. A tool that could be used to advance our knowledge of what's really happening is being used to spread agendas, and not many of those address the real problems in our lives. Problem is, thanks to the internet we don't even understand the scope of our problems let alone how to fix them. We're too busy being fake 24/7 and getting lots of friends. After all, that's what the internet is for, right?