Change is good for our government too.


As I was reading an article on Yahoo and then began reading the comments associated with the article I came upon a few excellent words of wisdom.  I felt as though one in specific was important enough to pass along and save for future sharing as well.  Here is what I read:

REAL CHANGE will ONLY happen if WE make it happen!!

Politicians, ALL politicians will not serve the common people of this nation until they ARE common people of this nation. Politicians are RICH to begin with or else they cannot run as an “effective” candidate. They do not relate to common people and speak only in euphemistic idealism and platitudes of populist idealism. None of which they have any intentions of following through with. Bush did it. Clinton did it, Obama is definitely doing it. There will be NO CHANGE with him, or anyone under the current “system” of government we now endure!

The truth is simple: REAL CHANGE will ONLY happen if WE make it happen!!

Time for us to get control of the incredibly dysfunctional form our government has devolved into and hit the “reset button.” This will require an effort equal to what happened in Egypt and Tunisia, and trying to happen in Libya. Until we have common people in the legislature and running the government, you are just going to change the faces but NEVER SOLVE THE PROBLEMS. You may think these are unrealizable goals, but then, how realistic was it when the Colonial Army took on the British in the war for independence? We won that one, too, in case you’ve forgotten….

Here’s were we begin “budget reform”….

Congressional Reform Act of 2012

1. Term Limits.
8 years only, one of the possible options below..
A. Two 4-year Senate terms
B. 4 Two-year House terms
C. One 8-year Senate term and Two 4-Year House terms
D. One 8 year term for Supreme Court Justices
If term limits are requisite for the President, Vice-President, and State Governors, then they most certainly are equally imperative based on the same principles for ALL of our legislators and even the judicial high seats.

2. No Tenure / No Pension.
A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make these contracts with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

9. Make all lobbyists and special interest groups illegal. They have no basis or rights for their existence except the greed of the oligarchs they represent. This is the heart of our dysfunctional government system. This is “legal bribery” in America and the Supreme Court has sanctioned it.

10. All campaign contributions, corporate or private, cannot exceed $250 max. No candidate can use their OWN money to campaign with. This violates the constitutional principles of equal opportunities for ALL people in the nation. If candidates qualify for federal campaign monies, then that is what they can use. Otherwise, they hit the trail like everyone else for the last 200 years.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

This was written by a poster named Triad (I want to make sure to give credit where it is due).  I believe that our government, for all it is run as a corporation, needs some serious restructuring, process improvement, ethics and cultural training, leadership development, and constant 360 feedback processes.  Triad’s posting speaks to that eloquently, and I think as the American people we need to take the responsibility back for running our own government if we want to see real improvement.

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Lessons Abound for Businesses in the Wake of Civil Unrest


With the number of major world events happening over the last 6 months, I have to believe that people are starting to take notice and ask why. In many cases perhaps there is no reason to ask why, such as the overturn of the Tunisian government, or the similar situation in Egypt. Even as we speak the unrest in Libya is building to a crescendo, with people around the globe starting to feel the impact at the gas pump and in the stock market. Not to mention there are plenty of people, myself included, that are waiting to see the outcome, and what it means for not only the Middle East and African countries, but for all peoples and countries around the world. Business should take lessons from these situations as well, not only of the impact to them, but for what it means in the country of “YourBusinessToday”.

We often look at situations in foreign countries and think that it could never happen to us, and what we certainly don’t think about are the similarities between a country and a business. Any time you have a population of people being governed by a body who has greater and greater power and control in the eyes of those people, you really walk a fine line. It is the responsibility of those in power to take a step back, listen to their people, and ensure that not only do they understand them but are working on their behalf to make things better for them. Without people to lead, and people who want to follow you, you have no authority and can and will lose much. Whether that much is a company or a country is based on your situation, but the result is generally still the same.

In tribes such as the Trobriander and others around the world they have this concept correct. There are even companies such as Gore that get it right. You have to keep groups small, allow the people to have a voice, base authority on merit, and truly have your people’s best interest at heart because your people are you and you are your people. When you create a hierarchical system, giving greater and greater authority while separating the leaders and people from each other, you often end up playing a huge game of telephone to understand what is really going on with the people. Authority and respect needs to be earned by leaders, and voluntarily given by followers. When you try to force it, or demand it, you degrade the entire structure of trust and communication. We see this when we look at world leaders who are killing their citizens to maintain control, or taking money out of their pockets in one form or another to fill their own, or even in the case of working over their people’s heads and behind their backs on “diplomatic policies” that are really about making the leaders power and money greater (sometimes at the expense of the people they serve).

Unfortunately we fail to notice, or do anything about, the actions of business leaders that are equally egregious. We as human beings tend to view it as a greater tragedy when bad things happen to a people of a country, but accept it more when it comes from a business. While business leaders may not be mowing down their employees (and who knows, perhaps some do!) there are certainly cases where they are making deals for their own benefit, and lining their own pockets because “they earned it”. I’m sure that many of the world leaders out there being overturned and ousted believed the same thing at one time or another.

The time may not have come yet, but I believe that if current events are any indication, the time will come when people around the world will begin to become infected with the pandemic virus of “we won’t take it any more”. As this day draws near businesses better take heed and make changes, because as the global economy changes, the global environment changes, and one only knows how many governments change there will certainly be the possibility of a target being painted on the front and back of every business leader. Again, we’re not there yet, but that day may not be too far in the future.

When and where does choice end?


As with any new year there are new laws going in to effect around the globe.  Today I managed to stumble across an article on CBC News that was posted through Twitter by @SocialPsych called, aptly enough, “Spain’s tough anti-smoking law takes effect.” As someone who smoked for many years, but thankfully quit about 7 years ago, I am always intrigued to see the social trends in smoking, and even more so I am interested to see how governments, especially outside of the United States, handle it.  When I was in the US Navy and had the chance to travel the world, I found that the acceptance of smoking was quite common.  Anyone and everyone, and for that matter just about anywhere, was smoking.  Of course, so was I so it was very convenient.  Now, as a non-smoker and a father of a small child, I am more aware of smoking and of course have my own dislikes revolving around it.  Like most non-smokers, I hate walking in to a building and having to walk through a cloud of smoke as the smokers congregate outside of the door to “burn one” for a minute.  I also dislike going to restaurants where smoking is still allowed; there’s just nothing enjoyable about eating my food while breathing in smoke.  Even being in a line somewhere with a person or two smoking around me can really cause me some irritation, especially when I have my wife and son with me.  But with all of that being said, I think I have a hard time agreeing with the government trying to control things in a manner such as Spain.

While I think we all agree that smoking is unhealthy, and lays an undue burden on those that are non-smokers, I’m not sure that the government, any government, stepping in and banning it makes much sense.  If it is found to be such a nuisance and health hazard, shouldn’t it just be made illegal?  If not, then I think there should be slightly better choices made for how to deal with smokers and associated problems.  As one commenter said on the aforementioned article explains, it might be a better idea to impose certain penalties for being a smoker instead of trying to outright ban it.  A reasonable penalty could include something such as higher insurance rates, even when on a group policy; this should be considerably higher, and there should definitely be testing yearly to verify.  What about restaurants, parks, and other public facilities?  I think it should be the choice of those that own the business as to whether or not they allow smoking, and as human beings with an independent brain we should be able to make our own choice as to whether or not we are comfortable in that environment.  This is of course with one caveat: places that allow smoking should be required to post visibly and publicly that they allow smoking.  This would be either on the outside of the facility, or on the sign.  This would save those of us who don’t want to patron a place like that from even having to park and get out to determine if they allow smoking or not.  If their business suffers because of allowing smoking, then they would need to make the conscious decision whether or not to continue to allow smoking in the facility.

Obviously I don’t believe that smoking is a good decision, but nonetheless a decision it still is.  While governments have the responsibility to make sure that the financial burden falls on the correct parties, and that people follow laws, I’m just not sure that I can personally support the idea of taking away a decision from someone on something that is considered legal.  As I said before, if it is truly considered to be as dangerous as we all know it is, outlaw it completely and put it in the same category as any other drug.  Otherwise discourage it, educate on it, place warnings on packages, and penalize for it as a poor health decision, but don’t try to control it if it is still a choice.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell…both sides of the coin?


The topic of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) is, needless to say, quite an emotionally charged and strongly opinionated one and has been since its inception.  As it is in the process of being repealed there are multiple articles on news channels, Twitter, and across the Blogosphere.  As someone who served, who is heterosexual (metro-sexual if you ask anyone that knows me, but that’s a whole other story), and who was close friends with plenty of other service members who were homosexual I tend to have my own perspective.

I believe that everyone has the right to believe what they choose, and to live in whatever fashion that they choose.  This includes sexual preference.  One of the things that the United States military defends is that very right, so it would seem nonsensical to expect that people that this right is there to support would not want to defend that right for themselves and others.  It should also be understood that sexual preference does not make you weak, and does not make you any less of a patriot.  Unfortunately, this is in many cases the same type of thought process that abounded when it came to females serving their country.  As we know, history repeats itself.  The biggest question is whether or not we learn from the past and continue to grow, develop, and move forward?

So what is the other side of the coin?  As I think back to my time in the military, I can take a look at the perspective of some of the hesitation, and potentially some of the thought process from an objective viewpoint.  There will always be those people, male and female, who will attempt to use their race, sex, age, religion, etc., et al. to benefit themselves, while asking for equality.  I experienced this as I saw females that voluntarily joined the US Navy and would demand equality while refusing to do the same work simply because they were female (yes, it really does happen), or who truly could not do the job because of physical limitations.  Of course, this was not the case across the board but was certainly evident in a minority of the population on the ship.  I have to believe that this is a potential setback for the thinking about DADT as well.

Another thing that could potentially cause some hesitation for acceptance could be due to the living situation.  I can’t necessarily speak for the Army, Marine Corps, or Air Force but in the Navy you live together in extremely close quarters and for many the thought of having someone of the same sex look at you in a sexual manner could be uncomfortable.  Most people consider their living space an area for decompressing, where they should be able to be (as much as possible) comfortable, especially in a place where you have very little comfortable, personal space.  This isn’t to imply that homosexual members of the service don’t look at heterosexual members now, but for many ignorance is perhaps bliss.  Unfortunately it would seem that there are those that have the misconception that because someone is homosexual they can’t control themselves, their attraction, and sexual urges and therefore will attack someone they find attractive like a wild cat on an injured baby gazelle.  As most of us know, this is no more true than the fact that the average heterosexual male can’t control his sexual attraction in the same manner.

From a purely logical stand point, the only thing that should ultimately change with the repeal of DADT is the open knowledge of sexual preference of those who are comfortable enough to share that information.  In my own experience, those that were comfortable in their sexuality would generally share that with those that they were close with, even with DADT in effect.  For those that are in the proverbial closet, I don’t believe that DADT being removed will necessarily change anything.  This act may make some heterosexual service members uncomfortable if perhaps they are uncomfortable confronting what was already unsaid but known, but if that is the case I’m not sure that DADT is the real issue.