Thursday, March 31, 2011

Let's Talk

Sounds simple. You speak, others listen, and visa versa. But talk/listen is mainly noise. To achieve communications - the understanding of others - requires an understanding of the process. Communications starts with thoughts. These thoughts are developed based on our experiences. The thoughts must then be converted into words. The words must then be spoken. The person spoken to must then hear the words, and based on their experiences, convert them into thoughts.

There is much room for error in the process. Errors can be reduced by the following: identify your assumptions about the speaker and suspend judgement, listen and focus on learning, respect differences, ask open-ended questions, express disagreement in terms of ideas, not personality or motives. If you or the speaker are tense, pause and identify the reason for the tension.

Let’s talk – with those we know, and with those we don’t. Let’s work to achieve understanding. We may not agree. If we disagree there is always a way to resolve a conflict peacefully. It may take time. It may take negotiations. It will take skill. It will take intelligence. But there is ALWAYS a way.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

National Debt

It should be no surprise that our nation has a serious financial crisis. Never before has this country gone to war without raising taxes to pay for it. The cost, in monetary terms alone, is currently over $3 trillion. It is being funded by debt. Yet, Congress only sees "cuts" as the way to pay for the war debt. As everyone knows, you can't cut your way to financial solvency. You also have to increase revenue. The top 25 hedge fund managers each made over $1 billion last year. Yet they paid little, if any, income tax. During the Eisenhower years these people would have paid 90%. Even at that rate, they'd still have $100 million left. Most of us could make it on that.

It's a myth that the richest create jobs. The richest typically send their money overseas for investments, or to hide it. Yet, the richest apparently control our government because they've convinced the politicians that they can't survive on $100 million.

If our politicians were truly for WE THE PEOPLE, they would listen to the 98% of us who aren't the richest. They'd not only roll back the Bush tax cuts for the richest, they'd roll back the Reagan tax cuts as well. They'd close tax loop holes, stop subsidizing corporations and stop giving tax incentives for moving jobs off shore. They'd look at the nation's income statement before going to war.

A country run on debt will soon be bankrupt, and like war, the people at the bottom will suffer the most.