The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Archive for the ‘2012 election’ Category


If there were only one lesson which we could take away from the November, 2012 election it is this.  Unlike most of our movies (which serve “in loco parentis” for many of our young people) or like the fairy tales that were written of old, good does not, at least in the short run, always triumph over evil.

The GOP selected as their candidate a solid, middle of the road sort of fellow in Mitt Romney.  He didn’t have the charisma of a Ronald Regan but he started to come to life as the campaign developed.  And what was not to like about the former governor?

He had a successful track record in both business and in government.  He exhibited strong family values.  He was a person who adhered to his faith.  He was clean, wholesome and didn’t have a lot to hide from public view.  And he factually, (well mostly)  presented to us, an economy which was in the doldrums, a debt that had grown by fifty percent during the incumbent’s term in office and an unemployment rate that was the worst since the Great Depression.

He might as well have been speaking Chinese to his audience – a language which we may all soon need to learn.

One of his major points was that President Obama would go down in history as the person who created the greatest welfare state in this country.  He was correct.  However, he saw this as a reason to ask for our votes rather than to give them to the big “O”.  His thinking couldn’t have been more off the mark.

You see, Romney viewed reliance on a below-poverty level income from the government as something that was evil.  Obama realized that by expanding social (dependence) programs, he was buying votes.  And he bought a lot of them.  And behold, it was very good.

There are a lot of people in this world who are lazy.  I live in a town that was built just for them.  Las Vegas is the Mecca for the indolent.  I see it in those who gamble every time I walk into one of our casinos.

They are sitting at a slot machine or a table game with a glazed stare on their faces, hoping that because they are special, the gods will favor them with abundance.  After all, it is not their fault that they lost their job and soon may lose their house.  They are mere victims of forces they view beyond their control.  They see themselves both as entitled and deserving.  “Come on jackpot.”

I don’t think it will be long before the casinos will have made a deal with the government to redo their in-house ATM machines so that they can accommodate a player’s EBT card as well as American Express and Visa.  That way they can offer a true one stop shopping experience for those players on government subsidies.

Undoubtedly, this will come under the pretense of benefiting these consumers.  They will no longer have to spend the gas money to go to the convenience store to obtain some cash for gambling but will be able to transact all their business in one place.

American politics has a long, if sordid, history of buying the approval of the voters.  FDR and his New Deal was born out of the lessons he learned from his cousin, Teddy with his vision for America, The Square Deal.  Both men, as with the current occupant of the White House enjoyed enormous popularity as they offered programs which were intended to “benefit” your average Joe.

The public couldn’t get to the polls fast enough to vote for and return these demagogues to office.  And so it was once again in 2012.  Another demagogue – another victory for short-sightedness.

But this time, despite the narrow Obama victory as you compare his to his predecessors’ triumphs, the table has been set at the “Come On In Diner Where We’re Happy To Feed You Barely Enough So That You Have The Strength To Vote For Me Again.”  The problem is that there are so many who are eating, there are few left to serve them their meals.  And many of the wait staff are looking for new positions.

Romney’s essential failure as a candidate stemmed from who he was a person.  He was a man with a sense of traditional American values and was so thoroughly committed to them that he assumed they were essential components of belief that most of his countrymen shared.  He couldn’t have been further off the mark.

The genius of those running the Obama campaign was that they realized that there were millions who would listen to rhetoric and ignore substance.  They were the naïve and gullible who lacked the education or the gumption to go out and feed themselves and their families and would be easily swayed to vote for a president who promised them something for nothing.  And they came out or were bused in droves to accomplish their mission.

The campaign was nothing short of brilliant.

But the question remains, what happens when the trough runs dry as it inevitably will?  When you have over-promised and under-delivered, even the most addled of your minions will eventually catch on.

When that next payment on which you depend fails to make its arrival and you see that your overseers are living a life of luxury as you spend your afternoon dumpster diving to find something for dinner, what will be your feelings towards this divine monarchy for which you voted?

The common response from most in this situation will be anger – and they will act on that with violence.  Their “survival mentality” will dominate their deeds and anyone in their path will be in harm’s way.  That might even extend to those who created the programs which got them this far in life.  It’s been known to happen before.

There is a basic tenet in logic that if you being with a faulty premise you will reach a faulty conclusion.  It may not always be apparent at the moment, but like a bridge that is constructed with structural flaws, inevitably the right set of circumstances will come about that causes it to collapse.  It is no different with the structure of human societies.

So bask in your accomplishments, you who voted for the “Great Society.”  You finally did a job.  Like much in your lives, you did the wrong thing – but you did it well.


A panhandler was walking down the street hoping to collect some money so that he could find a flop for the night – and if he got really lucky have enough to buy a little Ripple to lull himself to sleep.  He approached a very well dressed man in his mid-thirties with his usual line, “Buddy, could you spare an old drunk a little change?”

The man looked at the panhandler and said, “My friend, you’re wasting your time trying to raise money this way.”

The panhandler cocked his head with interest.

“Do you know what the building is that you’re standing in front of?  It’s The Ford Foundation.  Their whole business is giving away hundreds of millions of dollars a year.  And I’ll bet if you even get one person to give you one dollar on any given day, you think that you’ve struck it rich.  My advice to you, sir is to go inside and see if they will give you a donation.”

The panhandler thanked the man for his advice and went into the building where he was greeted by a receptionist.

“May I help you, sir?”

“I’m here to see if you would consider making me a donation.”

“Would that be a private donation or a public donation?”, the receptionist asked.

The panhandler responded, “Uh, I guess that it would be a private donation.”

“And, sir, would this be a large donation or a small donation?”

The panhandler thought for a minute and responded, “Oh, by your standards this would be a very small donation.”

“Well, fine,” the receptionist said.  “Small private donations are handled in Room 205.  Just take the escalator to the second floor and you’ll see the room on your left.”

So the panhandler followed her instructions and arrived at Room 205.  He opened the door and while he was looking around the room he was surprised to see that it was totally devoid of furniture and people.  In his confusion, he let go of the door knob and the door swung shut and locked so that he was standing in the empty room with nowhere to go.

Several minutes went by and two rather burly young men entered the room, hoisted the panhandler off the ground, one holding him under each arm, carried him down the backstairs and threw him out the rear door to the building into the alley.  In the process, the panhandler hit his head against a telephone pole and lost consciousness for a few minutes.

When he recovered, he stood up, shook himself off and returned to the street where he happened to encounter the man who had advised him to go into The Ford Foundation.

“Hey, my friend,” the man said, greeting the panhandler.  “Did you try my advice to get some money from The Ford Foundation?”

“Yes, sir I did.”

“Well, how did it go?”

“Uh, not so good.  But, you know I was really impressed.  Boy, do they have a system.

The simple reason that Obama collected more votes than Romney is this.  The most radical elements of the Democratic party have been working for years to put in place a “system” for recruiting new voters, recruiting candidates who meet their liberal social agenda, targeting specific state offices – particularly the Secretaries of State since they are the ones who control the local election process, and doing a highly effective job of turning out the vote for the elections themselves.

If the consequences weren’t so dire, I would congratulate them.  Instead, I look at a successful playbook which should be emulated by those who still hope to live in an America the Free.

In retrospect, the evolution of this “system” has been on-going for at least a decade.  The fact that Obama won with such a small plurality speaks less to those who, despite the fact that they know three-quarters of what he says are lies and the other quarter are half truths and still voted to him, than it does to those who, because of matters of principle, decided to opt out from the election, thus handing him his victory – and America another nail in the coffin.

If those who are contributors to the GOP and those who have positions of authority within the party are wise, they will begin now to start planning a strategy for 2014 and beyond.  They will begin identifying candidates who understand that the Constitution is our governing document and will honestly uphold it.  They will begin educational grass roots movements to recruit new members to the party.  And, unwittingly, they will have a great deal of help in this from President Obama.

The economic consequences of going off the fiscal cliff might be horrendous – but there is really no need for Obama to compromise on this issue.  If, as some suggest, his agenda is the ultimate destruction of the American ship of state, in retaliation for his view of us as a “colonial power”, then all he has to do is, much the same as he has done, which is to say, nothing.  He then can blame the ensuing disaster on the Republican House.  And since it’s getting a little late to blame everything on President Bush, they would seem a convenient scapegoat.

Now that he has a second term tucked away and nothing further to run for, there is nothing more for him to do than to advance his ideology – or the one that has been fed to him all his life by others on the extreme left.  That would include the complete takeover by government of the healthcare system, a more radical attempt at wealth redistribution and a significant reduction of the freedoms guaranteed the citizenry in the Constitution.

Perhaps, when, and I say when rather than if, those start being felt by the general population, even those who worked and voted for him, will begin to feel the weight of the government’s heel on their necks.  And we will have a new base for rebuilding a better and stronger opposition party – one which has returned systematically to the roots and principles on which it was founded and under which the nation prospered.


During the twenty-five years I was in the executive search business, I read a lot of resumés.  I’m guessing the number could have been close to one hundred thousand or so.  As a result, I know a little bit about resumés and resumé writing.

Of course, this was back in the days when people committed their thoughts to paper, typed or “word processed” them with only a limited benefit from “spell check” and then folded this vital document, placed it in an envelope, used the USPS to deliver it and then hoped that the recipient would actually care about the contents of their communication.

People generally share the opinion that writing a good resumé will get you a good job.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  But I can assure you that writing a poor resumé will result in your never being called for an interview for that good position.  Allow me to explain.

My normal efforts to recruit for a specific position were to use contacts with whom I had a good relationship and work through a referral network to identify appropriate candidates for a position vacancy.  Sometimes those efforts would come up short and I would run a “Blind Box Ad” in the “Chicago Tribune” to bring in a new field of potential candidates.

During times of economic prosperity, an ad would generally yield about two hundred responses.  During bad economic times, the number of responses might be three to four times that great.  In either case that was a lot of reading.

If I did nothing but read all these responses thoroughly, I would have had no time to address myself to the ongoing management of my business.  So I developed a system for sorting through this correspondence  to minimize my time devoted to reading them.

I thought of it as the “Goldilocks System”.

My essential view of resumés is that they bear a lot of similarity to a striptease.  They should whet the appetite – but not necessarily be all-revealing.  That is the purpose of a personal interview.  So those resumés which were sent to us that were as heavy as the first volume of The Encyclopedia Britannica normally went directly into the circular file without being opened.

On the other hand, there needs to be enough material for the person reading the resumé to make some sort of judgment about the individual’s background  to decide whether to call him in for an interview.  So those resumés which were so light on information that it was impossible to make a reasoned evaluation were also sent into the wastebasket.

This process reduced the number of resumés by at least thirty percent – which still left a daunting number to be reviewed.

Then I applied the “Precision Factor”.  Those resumés in which I found typographical mistakes (sometimes including the misspelling of the name of their current or previous employers) met the same fate as those which failed my first two sorts.

We were dealing with financial personnel and my logic for giving these resumés a failing grade was that if a person were not correctly able to spell the name of the company that wrote his paycheck, what kind of work product would he deliver in dealing with a corporation’s finances?

I was raised in an era in which we were taught grammar and spelling.  Perhaps it is a personal bugaboo but I still believe that accuracy and attention to detail matter.  (This is one reason that my two year stint working for government resulted in my starting my own business.  It drove me crazy watching slip shod, sloppy work pass for a quality product).

At last I was down to the serious business of actually reading and “vetting” the remaining candidates.  I only wanted to interview and submit to our client those candidates who had the capability to discharge the duties of their new position in an effective manner.  I did not want to waste my client’s time by referring people to them who were not appropriate and I had a sense of professional pride in being able to sort the wheat from the chaff.  After all, that’s why my clients had hired me in the first place.

It is within the context of reviewing candidates’ credentials that I began reflecting on the results of the Presidential election of a few days past.  I wondered what sort of an ad I would write were I retained to fill that position and I came up with the following:


Our country is in need of a new leader to replace our CEO.  The individual we select will have shown a proven ability to be a problem solver, work with a diverse group of individuals, arrive at simple, effective solutions to complex issues, and will have demonstrated a successful track record throughout his or her professional career. 

Our culture requires a person who has a firm grasp of economic, social and foreign issues and will be able to reach out to our diverse citizen base in an inclusive manner.  A strict adherence to our fundamental governing document, our Constitution, is required.

For consideration, please submit your resumé to the citizens of the United States of America.

Perhaps before the general election in 2016, we can offer a crash course to our voters on how to read and evaluate a resumé.  It might produce a better result for all of us.

Certainly, we could do no worse.


As I was heading out this morning to the dog park, one of my neighbor’s who follows my blog stopped to discuss the election results.  His question was, “Now that it’s over, what will you do with your time?”  My answer was, “I’m going to keep on thinking and keep on writing.”

When I was a child, like most children, my parents tried to guide and provide me with the advice that their life lessons had taught them.  Fortunately, they were wise enough not just to say, “Do this,” or “Don’t do that.”  They took the time to explain the reason for their instructions.

But like most children, while I generally obeyed them, there were times that I occasionally would stray, not seeing the wisdom of their words, and would do exactly what my parents had instructed me not to do.  I needed to find out for myself.

Generally speaking, I found that they were correct and that my little adventure had led me into trouble.  It’s amazing how some parents are just so darn smart.  And as I got older, I continued to be astounded at how much smarter they had become since the time I was a child.

Although I try to conduct myself using common sense which was my parents’ guiding principle, I admit that even as an adult I have strayed from that well trodden and proven road.  Fortunately, these lapses are rare – but they do happen.

I suspect that the reason I do this is just to see whether or not gravity still binds us to the earth – or if on that particular day the material laws will no longer apply.  My analysis of these experiences is that what is, is and what is not, still is not.

So why is it that people regularly do things that are neither in their own best interests or in the interest of their fellow men and women?  I can think of several reasons.

1)  We’re ignorant and simply don’t know any better;

2)  We don’t care about the consequences of our actions;

3)  We believe that we’re “special” and the laws of the universe apply to all others but not to us;

4)  We have a perception that what is bad for us is actually good;

5)  We have a death wish.

In reviewing this brief list, there is both good news and bad news.  The bad news for those holding to view five is that they often achieve their goal and wind up killing themselves.  You might consider suicide bombers in that group.  Unfortunately, that often results in the deaths of innocents which is further bad news.  The good news is that once they have achieved their mission, we no longer have to worry about them.

There is good news in our first item.  After all, ignorance, or more correctly, lack of experience is our starting point when we attempt any new venture.  If our goal is to become proficient, we have, in the absence of guidance, merely to try and try again until we attain a level of competency which meets our desires.  Of course, we need to take the time to analyze our failures and to avoid repeating them by trying different routes until we find those which enable us to succeed.

It is the three attitudes in the middle which are the most troubling – at least to society.  They are all outgrowths of the individual who is un-thoughtful or selfish or both.  The example of texting while driving is an excellent example of all three of these.  Is there any hope for the individual who considers her or his behavior to be something totally within his purview and who considers none of the implications on his fellows when he acts?  Fortunately, there is.

That which might enable a person to change, does not in these cases ever come from the person himself but from an external cathartic event that is thrust upon him as a result of his behavior.

Consider the alcoholic.  He might have started as a light social drinker.  Most people don’t consider that threatening or dangerous behavior.  But he notices that having a couple of belts after work make him forget about the cares of the day and how his boss is always on his case.  So he increases his intake of alcohol to the point where he returns home buzzed almost every night.

Now he probably realizes that over time, he is doing his body, particularly his liver damage – but the effects of his drinking will not be felt for a long time.  And he realizes that passing out on the couch night after night leaves him with a sore back in the morning and a bad tasting mouth – but a little bit of mouthwash will fix the second problem and he can look forward to his time at the bar to correct the first.

And so our friend who has developed an alcohol dependency continues on his self-destructive path, until one night after a particularly festive round of drinking, he gets in his car to drive himself home to pass out, when he passes out behind the wheel and nearly kills himself when he hits a lamp post.

Reality has suddenly struck our friend an eye-opening blow.  Or at least we hope that it is one which he will realize is a blessing in disguise – and will take the steps necessary to abandon his old path and choose a new one that is both healthier for himself and for society.  Only time will tell if the individual who has had this experience will learn from it or not.  But for someone entrenched in the mindset of entitlement and selfishness – it is really the only way to hope that they will change.

And so we come to the recent election.

My forecast that Obama would win, that the Senate would remain in the hands of the Democrats and that the House would remain a Republican bastion was correct.  That was the forecast of many others as well – so I claim no special credit for my insight.  I believe that the reason for this was because a slight majority of those who voted are victims of item number four on our list – that we believe what, in the long run is bad for us is actually good – at least in the near term.

Our political leadership has built a house of sand for us.  And it is, by and large, a very attractive house when viewed from a distance.  Until we examine it and discover that the waves have begun to erode the foundation ever so slowly and that this house is beginning to list to one side.  It will not take too many more assaults by the ocean tides to cause it to start crumbling.

And when that day comes, as it inevitably will, the house will collapse, trapping those inside who put their faith in its strength to protect them.  Then those who have survived will pull themselves from the rubble and will begin to rebuild.  But this time, having learned a lesson, they will do so using stronger materials and employing better workmen.

And that is the message of hope and change.


I was raised in a loving environment.  That was the luck of the draw and my good fortune.  Growing up in a small family unit where we all looked after one another, and mostly my parents and grandmother looked after me, it is just natural for me to extend that compassion, as best I can, to others whom I meet.  I cannot imagine what it would have been like being raised in a house where animosity and acrimony reigned, rather than the loving home in which I was nurtured.

As I write this on the morning of Election Day and reflect about my upbringing, I think that is the essential and underlying difference between the candidates of the two major parties one of whom we will elect to the presidency today.  It is reflected in their campaigns and more importantly in who they are as people.

On the one hand I see a man who was raised in a caring environment in much the same  way that I was.  Obviously, I can relate to that and to him.  It does not surprise me that in rearing his own family he has offered them the love and nurturing that he himself received.

On the other hand, I see a man whose parents were divorced when he was at an early age and who was shuttled off to surrogate parents for his rearing.  I imagine that took a toll on his sense of self-worth and facilitated a need to overbuild his ego to compensate for this neglect.

On the one hand I see a man who realizes that the only way we can move forward as a community and a country is by doing what he believes is right, not just for those members of some specific interest groups, but for all of us.

On the other hand I see a man who has spent four years trying to separate us with his rhetoric of divisiveness, pitting one segment of the population against another.

On the one hand, I see a man who has enough love for his fellow man’s intelligence to believe that the individual should determine her own destiny.

On the other hand, I see a man who hates his fellow man’s lack of intelligence and believes that only the “state” is wise enough to determine what is best for each of us.

On the one hand, I see a man who believes that a vote for him is a proclamation that we can set this country America, in which we are all privileged to be citizens, back on the right course to prosperity for all.

On the other hand, I see a man who says voters should express their anger and “vote for revenge.”

Perhaps the poet, Virgil was right.  “Omnia vincit amor.”  “Love conquers all.”  But it doesn’t always accomplish its mission in a heartbeat or the blink of an eye.

We know from history that hate often extends its evil hands upon us with brutality, and tries its best to squeeze the love out of us with threats and with violence.  It takes a brave soul to hold on to principle when it is in the grip of terror.

We saw the ugly manifestation of hatred in Hitler’s Nazi Germany.  We saw how Hitler polarized the German people, dividing them and pointing to the Jews as the reason for their economic troubles.  And when he had sung the dirge loudly and often enough, we saw the trains begin to fill up with the “enemies of the state” as he began shipping them off to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Belzec and Treblinka to meet their deaths.

And those who were not affected were silent – and perhaps grateful that it was someone else’s fate and not theirs which the state had determined.  And in that silence, men and women of conscience writhed in agony, knowing that not acting or speaking out was cowardly and an act of tacit hatred.

There are too many such examples of hatred in our brief history on this planet.  But we have also seen that such leaders and countries which ensconce them do not last for long, because anything built on a foundation of hatred is doomed from its very inception.

It is fortunate that we have examples as well of those who have selflessly given themselves to a good and just cause and whose motivations were guided by love.

We need look no further than to those who founded America and wrote a Constitution which, to the best of their ability and the circumstances of the times, was inclusive and which deemed the individual to be the building block on which the entire structure depended.

They wrote us an inscription which extolled personal responsibility and which offered us the right to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”  And what could be more loving than to acknowledge each of our entitlement to those three?

As I reflect on the rhetoric of the campaign and listen to the pundits describe “what the issues are that will determine the outcome” I have heard that, “It’s the economy or that it’s social issues.”  But to me this election is about whether we want to embrace either love or hate as our guiding light in going forward.

As the old knight said in, “Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail” when the Nazi collaborator entered the Grail Chamber with all the possible vessels which might be the real Cup of Christ, “Choose wisely.”

He didn’t.  It is with love that I say, I hope we make a better choice than he.


Once upon a time in the old West there was a prospector who had discovered a very substantial gold mine.  It was about a half mile from the base of a steep mountain on the top of which he had built a little home for his wife and himself.

Day after day the prospector worked his claim.  And each night he filled his donkey’s two saddle bags with the ore that he had mined and sent the animal up the mountain ahead of him while he covered up the mine’s entrance so that no one would discover it.

One day he had found a particularly rich vein of gold and so the donkey’s saddle bags were fuller and heavier than usual.  And when the donkey began his trek, he began to resent the fact that for all the labor he had to provide, all he received was his food and an occasional pat on the head.

“I am the most unfortunate of creatures,” he brayed as he began to head for the base of the mountain.

“My owner does not really care for me but merely uses me without ever giving me a day’s rest.  Why was I born into such an unhappy lot?”

As it happened on his journey to the mountain, he encountered a bull who was wandering about, looking for stray cows with whom he might be amorous.  After a particularly heavy meal, the bull was relieving himself when the donkey came upon him.  He had deposited quite a few “patties” directly in front of the entrance up the slope in which the donkey would have to step so that he might begin his upward trek.  The donkey, already in a bad mood from his heavy burden, thought this was the final insult – and so he yelled at the bull.

“Why, sir did you have to drop your leavings there?  They are directly in the way of my access to the mountain which I must climb to return home.  That is most rude and uncivilized of you, if I say so myself.”

Now the bull was a very amiable chap and so he took no umbrage at the donkey’s remarks, noticing how his back was buckling under the heavy load he bore.  In fact he felt sorry for this poor creature, and being the sort who liked to help out where he could, he shared a secret with the donkey.  He was a magical bull – or more correctly – his “patties” had a magical quality to them.

So the bull turned to the donkey and said, “My good fellow, you are in great good luck.  I see the burden that you bear and I can help you so that you do not have to endure the hard trek up the mountain.  My “patties” allow any creature that steps in them to defy gravity and to be able to float to any destination of their choosing without expending any effort at all.”

Well, the donkey who was not very long on intelligence welcomed this announcement with a great deal of gusto.  He thought to himself, “Just imagine not having to trek the two miles up the steep mountain.  That sounds good to me.”  And since he had to go through the “patty patch” anyway, he thought he would jump into it with all four hooves – which he did.

“Now that I have your magical residue on my feet,” he asked the bull, “what do I do?”

The bull said, “Just think about going home and you will go there.”

So the donkey thought about going home and no sooner had the thought entered his mind, he began floating off the ground, rising higher and higher.  He was elated that at least this day, his journey would be an easy one and he brayed his thanks to the bull who was getting smaller by the second.

Well all this braying caught the attention of several Paiutes who were out hoping to bag an elk with their carbines.  You can imagine their surprise at seeing a flying donkey and were quite sure that this was a sign that the Great Spirit was angry with them.  So in fear, they took aim at the donkey and shot him.

With the pain from his wounds overwhelming him, the donkey took his mind off his destination and addressed himself to thinking about his torment, which caused him to fall even more rapidly than he had risen until he encountered the ground with a thud and was killed.

Moral:  If you rise to the top on B*ll Sh*t you’re going to get shot down.  (Or so one can hope).


In the Presidential election of 2008, our black citizens who voted cast approximately 95% of their ballots for Barack Obama.  He won.  They lost.

A report prepared by Sentier Research, which “The New York Times” cites in its Sunday, November 4th edition details how black American wage earners saw the greatest percentage reduction of any ethnic group in the Obama Recession – a startling 11.1% of their income disappeared – more than twice that of any other group measured in the study.  I have provided a link to the story for you to review:

Sentier Research is a company founded in 1997, based in Annapolis, MD.  It has an extensive clientele which include various U. S. government agencies and it also conducts statistical research for a substantial number of foreign countries.

Estimates are that our black citizens will once again cast approximately the same percentage of their votes to re-elect the President.

“Give the people what they want.  And let them vote for what they deserve.”

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