Sunday, February 1, 2009

Citizens, lend me your ears. Part two.

This wouldn't post in it's entirety, so I had to break it up. I'm not complaining really, you get what you pay for.

Part two

I would never wish the hardships of economic destruction and hopelessness on anyone, but if it is to come; if this calamity isn’t what I think it is, a staged event, then I look to the future and what good can be achieved from the remnants, from the ashes. What I would wish for is to see a sense of purpose and a sense of individual empowerment return to the Citizens of Western Cultures. Hopefully a yes we can mindset would provide replacements for apathy and despair. New options for lost hopes, and mending broken souls instead of drugs, alcohol, stuff, hate and indiscriminate violence. Ending the days of those who would set human against human, countrymen against countrymen for their own mad ends.

A final thought on this for now. I don’t want readers to think that I believe all Civil Servants are the same. Some political representatives as well. Certainly, not all are
bad, nor should they be categorized as such. Some are very decent and conscientious. My gripe is with the many who aren’t, and their influence on others who eventually follow their example. I believe that if we the People stood up and helped the good People to overcome the status quo, many would stand up and be pleased to help with restructuring.

It all has to begin with a Revolution. Hopefully, a quiet, bloodless political Revolution. A Ghandi Revolution.

After I wrote my latest Sermon, I came across an article that is in keeping with many of my thoughts, experiences and things I have written over the past year and half. I believe it to have been written by someone younger and less experienced than myself, but a better writer than I. Someone who might well make a wonderful Comrade. I will post it next. So many things to say, so little time. So few who will ever hear.


  1. St. Paul's words in the New Testament -- "As a man soweth, that shall he also reap" -- flow with this true story (some of you may have heard it before, but it's nice to re-read it again).

    Shows how The Power Of One can assist others, regardless of their own circumstances.
    The Sack Lunches

    I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. 'I'm glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will get a short nap,' I thought.

    Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a conversation.

    'Where are you headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to me.

    'Petawawa. We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Afghanistan.'

    After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time.

    As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch. 'No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll wait till we get to base.' His friend agreed.

    I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch. I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill.

    'Take a lunch to all those soldiers.' She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me.

    'My son was a soldier in Iraq; It's almost like you are doing it for him.'

    Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated. She stopped at my seat and asked, 'Which do you like best -- beef or chicken?'

    'Chicken,' I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class.

    'This is your thanks.'

    After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room. A man stopped me. 'I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.' He handed me twenty-five dollars.

    Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked. I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane.

    When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand, and said, 'I want to shake your hand.'

    Quickly unfastening my seatbelt I stood and took the Captain's hand. With a booming voice he said, 'I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.

    Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

    When we landed I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars!

    Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars. 'It will take you some time to reach the base. It will be about time for a sandwich. God Bless You.'

    Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers. As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals.

    It seemed so little . . .

    A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'Canada for an amount of up to and including my life.'

    That is Honour, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.

    May God give you the strength and courage to pass this along to everyone on your email buddy list.

    "It all has to begin with a Revolution. Hopefully, a quiet, bloodless political Revolution. A Ghandi Revolution."

    True. The quiet, bloodless revolution will not start for several years, when the average Cdn. has lost just about everything, so he / she won't care if their physical lives are lost for The Cause.

    One question that remains, however is: Will the next leaders still hold tight to their love of power, or will they know what the power of love can accomplish?

    The former is why we're all in this mess at present. There is always light at the end of the tunnel, however.
    Speaking of California being broke, the State govt. is now contemplating issuing it's own currency, as has Vermont. --

    Look for banks worldwide to be closed -- including Canada, I guess -- because govts. can't pay their bills anymore. --

    It is proven by now that when a country's currency collapses, then anarchy becomes the natural order of the day. --

    The same also holds true for Russia, China just about all of the Eastern bloc allies (behind The Iron Curtain. --

  2. Comrade:

    While I agree with some of your sermon I want to take you apart a bit on the rest as well as expand on it. Having worked for many private industries as well as owning two small businesses over my life I have taken a job with the city as my current source of income. It is a common and easy thing to attack government workers or unions as the cause of our problems but the fact is that if it wasn't for unions we would all be like workers in China today and they are rioting with the government unsure if they can even keep control of the country. Everyone sees government workers, auto workers and trades people as having abnormally high wages when compared to theirs. I just read a piece on Yahoo news describing why we all feel that way. The average worker in Canada is ahead a whole 35 dollars a year than we were 25 years ago!!! In fact if you look at union contractts over that time they have barely kept up to inflation. On the other hand if minimum wage did the same it would be at $15 an hour or more which is only a few dollars below union wages. If we want to start a revoltion this is a good place to start but we also need to look at fair trade as I pointed out last week. It is mind boggling that our conservative government is the only one outside of China that wants to keep free trade as it is while the rest of the world has riots in the streets and road blockages to prevent cheap goods from taking away their last jobs. It is completely unfair to attack any group for maintaining the status quo just because our governments encourage modern slavery in the form of poor immegrants as well as government sanctioned slave wages for them as a way of keeping most of their own people from having a reasonable life.

    When I took my present job I wondered why my wages were about 20% higher than the private sector. After a week of meeting the expectations of the job it was clear that I was being fairly compensated for a much higher level of responsibility not only to my boss but to the public as well because I was indeed their slave I mean servant. When someone asks me now how much I make I respond "minimum wage plus compensation for dealing with all the bullshit" which describes every bottom level government employee like myself. 90% of government workers I have dealt with in my lifetime have provided a high level of service compared to the private sector and either taken care of my needs or explained the all too famliar red tape and multiple layers of management that were in my way to resolving the problem. In most private businesses today you are lucky to find staff and when you do find someone that can answer your question. It is easy to generalize and there are bad public servants and many usually small businesses that go out of their way to take care of you.

    Once you go beyond the front line workers you can smell the rot miles away! In my experience less tan ten percent of businesses in this country are run by people with a love for what they are doing and only make money because customers feel that love and come back time and again. This extends down into the whole staff who usally remain for many years and become like an extended family. EVERY corporation and government as well as the majority of other businesses are run by accountants and poor management that couldn't get a job in a real business otherwise. The bigger the company the more layers of these clowns they add most of whom seem to be only concerned with pushing papers around their desk than dealing with any customers. To make matters worse most of these fools get at least double the money than the average Canadian in non management jobs. Comrade you are right when you say that replacing them wholesale would not fix the problem but you missed the fact that less than one in a thousand people make good leaders and hence good managers who realizes that ovepaying for a good worker will result in more profit than a room full of accountants trying to cheat the system. The first step in the revolution is to eliminate any job with the word assistant or junior in its title. If someone is so useless that they can't do their job without an assistant then they should be replaced. The government and corporations would cut costs at least ten per cent by doing this.

    Seriously , in an article I read today along with the one I refered to earlier, they described that along with the failed free trade experiment one of the biggest problems we face in getting the economy moving again is our outdated tax system which has been perverted so badly over the years. 25 years ago business and income taxes paid in roughly equal amounts to the government. With last weeks budget that ratio will be roughly less than twenty percent business and capital gains and the rest on individuals in various forms during the coming lean years. Add to this the push for lower wages and loss of pretty much all of our manufacturing and you have to wonder how quickly the whole thing collapses.

    There are only three realistic ways to get the economy moving again by increasing wages, turning protectionist to start new manufacturing or starting a tax revolution to reverse the ratio to its old level as well as replacing most of our taxes with hidden sales taxes like in Europe where we can tax things like electronics that we don't make here at 50% while taxing furnature made in this country (if we still do that) at 25%. If the tax is hidden then consumers will start concentrating on quality for price again instead of strictly price. As one of the articles pointed out that 25 years ago men bought suits from tailers and women dresses from dress makers and all our companies competed on quality compared with today where we are forced to buy poor quality crap because price and profit drive every facit of our lives.

    Gotta run to work now but when you do your nxt budget piece I will add more.

  3. Morning Wayup,

    We might not be reading from the same page, but it appears the book is at least by the same author.

    Regarding Unions, as I said I'm not anti Union but am cognizant that some evolve to a point where they are out of touch with economic realities and reverse the servant and masters role. I believe this to be the case with public service unions in this country. Besides being self-serving, they are also largely responsible for the bloated size of the civil service.

    I know you haven't read everything I have written and I was trying to keep from running on in my sermon. Actually I have defended the autoworkers, and by virtue of that the CAW as I do not believe that line workers/union affiliate jobs in that industry receive exceptionally high pay levels overall. I have read in a number of places that the average plant worker earns $26 per hr. and argued that if one lives in Oakville, or Oshawa and has to pay for housing in those areas or bear the cost of long commutes from bedroom communities, $26 per hr. is not a great deal of money. That is a far cry from the Civil Service though.

    I also have a very good understanding of why we have Unions and have defended their existence even in places like the Small Dead Animal place, where such a defense is tantamount to declaring oneself an agent of the anti Christ who has come to take all the beer out of Saskatchewan. lol

    Still, it is my position that Public Service Unions are at least 50% responsible for these workers being overpaid, over benefited in comparison, overly bloated in numbers and definitely less productive as there is no measure of efficiency applied.

    Moving on, it is really interesting that you refer to the article regarding wages not growing etc., as that is the article I was referring to. I thought it was very good, but needed some touch ups from an experienced mind. More on that shortly, as I will post it soon.

    One of the more significant points made in that article is the comparison of wages to corporate profit increases during the given time frame. That speaks to what I have been preaching about regarding Corporations, their efficiency and influences overall. They are often inefficient and they use political might to bash competitors, and eventually drive them out or buy them out.

    That is why I went on a couple of elongated lectures about grocery and energy costs and the monopoly factor. Many educated and intelligent people simply don't know how extreme the strangle hold is, or how far reaching the effects.

    I referenced the thoughts on fair trade recently after you wrote on this, and indicated that this is what the 5% have in mind, but not exactly the way you and most North Americans would like it to be. Their interest is not to move the wages of the Chinese up toward our levels, rather to move our wages down toward theirs. Good for profits says the Ferengi.

    About loving ones work. I remember reading about a study years ago, which concluded that approx. 5% of people actually get up in the morning and look forward to going to work because they love their work. Still, loving one's work shouldn't be the ultimate determining factor. Pride in one's work, and one's ability to perform it should be. People should also remember that they owe something to the person or company that employs them, and not just the other way around. If you have been an employer you will know what I am talking about. Here is the way I see it. If a person takes a job and agrees to work for the wage/salary offered, then they have an obligation to fulfill. No one is forcing them to take a $10 /hr. job when they think they are worth $20 and that is no excuse to do a half assed job, or to be a constant negative influence with co-workers just because one feels they are not receiving what they are worth. I've had lots of employees who thought they were worth more, when in fact they weren't.

    I used to run a bonus system, and I attempted to address this issue in that way. Twice a year, vacation time and at Christmas I would pay a bonus to those who were deserving. It was on a sliding scale depending on performance. One might get 8%, another 5% and some would get nothing. Sometimes those people would quit. Oh well. A lot less aggravation than having to let them go if you catch my drift.

    As far as raising wages to get the economy back on track, I am thinking that isn't the realistic way to go about it given the global economic realities we are working with. The Corporations aren't going to raise wages in China, India, Bangladesh etc., so we are going to have to tac differently, and that is why I say cut costs, and start with government. They cost us too damn much and the taxes as you and others point out come from the middle class who would spend it if they could. Instead it goes for extraordinary expenses and expense accounts, pork barrelling and to cover the humongous cost of government.

    We have to get lean and mean, and I'm not talking about at the expense of the poor and those in need. They have to be a priority for us to protect. We have to protect our middle class too, and the working poor and not lose sight of the fact that if a person works really hard to achieve a high income level, and continues working hard and applying their gifts, that they should not be unduly burdened by the tax system. If we lose sight of this, we will lose a lot of them one way and another.

    Just looking over what you wrote and I note the one in a thousand re: managers. I don't know about that, but I will say that in my time I estimated out of every 10 employees I got one really good one. 4 or 5 that were ok, and then there was the rest. Those were the ones who contributed to the grey hairs I now have.

    I ran a couple of businesses in one Province and the ratio was far worse than that.

    All of that being said, I agree that we can't just point to one area and say, there...if we fix that everything will be ok. There are issues to be addressed in many areas, including we the people. Back to my original point, it all has to start somewhere. A real leader has to stand up and show people a model to follow. I don’t see that Leader in the current offerings, and I don’t think one will emerge from the traditional parties. Duceppe is a pretty smart and wily fella, but the very nature of his parties’ existence will keep him from ever being a National force. Too bad. So such is why I say a political Revolution must come first. Real people, with real concern must emerge from the entanglement, and represent the People rather than political ambition and the perks that go with it.

    Something else I was thinking about and meant to include in my speech from the Throne, was a display of sincerity. If a Prime Minister were to tell the Nation he was going to tackle Government costs and programs, and announced a 20% target then said I am going to reduce my own salary and expenses by 20%, I think people would gain some measure of confidence.

    To this idea most would say, Ha! Some likely. Maybe so, but just imagine. I’m not saying that a decent Prime Minister isn’t worth the current compensation level; I’m saying it would set an example.