Monday, December 2, 2013

A Conservative Guide to Sorting Out Wal-Mart Employees on Minimum Wage

By Roger F. Gay

Opening scene: Here we sit, confident that life would be better for the masses if liberty were to be unleashed once again. Economic opportunity would hang in the air like a thick fog to be sucked in, transformed into useful products and shipped out to clamoring consumers. There would be nothing to stop you, or anyone, from pursuing rewards in proportion to effort. A natural balance would be struck in which need and desire were met with personal investment in preparation, cleverness, and work; and we dream of the peace and prosperity it will bring.

Enter the antagonist; a Wal-Mart employee stocking shelves and retrieving shopping carts from the parking lot. He is asking the government to manipulate the market by force, to further disturb the natural balance, to arbitrarily lower the amount of personal investment required from him to meet his needs. Psychological dissonance sets itself to resonate between two opposing world views until our brains begin to boil and swell to the point that our heads are at risk of explosion.

A dark lord: Michael Lind has a new and very disturbing article in Salon, entitled How to beat libertarians on the economy. In it, he remains rather sociopathically distant from the pain and suffering brought on by the current economic depression. He celebrates the collapse of the economy as a call to push the ultimate far-left political agenda. He advocates for marginalization and abandonment of any structural support for small and independent business in favor of big business and abandonment of collective private union bargaining in favor of direct government control. Other competing visions on the left should concede defeat to “the central struggle of our time,” he writes, “which is, or should be, the battle between economic-rights progressivism and libertarian conservatism.”

The crisis: The army of Wal-Mart employees are falling behind on their bills. They have lived through one era of broken promises that hasn't put food on their tables. They want relief now, not another vision of a promised land. You can be sure that unionists, far-left “economics-rights progressives”, and criminal “community organizers” will be making an effort to push things their way. They will use hunger and fear as motivation for this army to engage with them in their continuing war against the legendary but dramatically weakened middle class, which they deceptively label “the rich.”

Queue the political wizard, whose most famous incantation will follow us throughout the ages, forever resolving the issue and restoring logical harmony. “It's the economy, stupid!” The Wal-Mart employee is trying to survive in the same economy we all are. Whether he is surrounded by a thick fog of opportunity or it's just another sunny Obama day with nothing more than hope and change in the air, his basic needs are still there. (The incantation is attributed to campaign strategist James Carville, but made famous by Bill Clinton speaking to opponent George H.W. Bush in a 1992 presidential debate.)

Quest for the secret key: Statistics used in Lind's argument are presented in an opposing discussion at The Economic Collapse Blog. Particularly frightening is the drop in the percentage of self-employed people between 1950 and the present, with the number of self-employed in decline since the beginning of Obama's reign. This vital engine of economic growth and stability has been under attack through various forms and for a variety of reasons from both right and left for decades. We are still very much living in the shadow of the big bang burst of the so-called “tech bubble” that resulted from conscious manipulation to concentrate business activity in large companies and devastate the independent entrepreneurial community. (My article on that is half done. Meanwhile, Bill Gates and the Political Class push on toward world domination.)

The final battle between good and evil: It's the classic war between a “Land of Opportunity” and being “equally poor”; being able to move forward or being forced to spend the rest of your life in a minimum wage job, beaten back at every turn, working endlessly and hopelessly to pay the health insurance bill and all those taxes. What conservatives need to be aware of is that Wal-Mart employees are not our natural enemies. They're just people who are hungry now. And this final battle is obviously a big one. The government is in the hands of the evil dark lords. They currently control the game. We need a bigger army. We should be gathering the Wal-Mart soldiers to fight on the side of good; not as if it's for us (easily manipulated to against “them”) and mere pride in our ideological orientation, but for themselves and their children who will also be working at Wal-Mart minimum wage for their entire lives if this battle is lost.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Poor Losers Ruin Facebook Giraffe Game

It's always the bad apples that spoil whatever the heck you can find good in life. You'd think something as simple, harmless, and fun as a riddle circulating Facebook might get an exemption. But sadly, no.

The giraffe riddle has been a big hit on Facebook. It's a riddle that, if you answer wrong, you replace your current profile picture with a picture of a giraffe for three days. It's a good riddle and a lot of giraffes were showing up on profiles. Oh what fun. Kind-a cool. Interesting at least.

But some of the losers couldn't stop themselves from losing twice, the second time by being poor losers. The first hint of a break from what millions of people were doing, apparently without experiencing great mental anguish, I found at Snopes reported, as it so often does, on a hoax related to the giraffe riddle, finding that there is no virus related to posting an image of a giraffe on your page. But then, at the bottom of their response they, for no apparent reason at all, reported that there were two possible answers to the riddle.

It was a bit suspicious. The snopes article was posted at almost the same time, if not before, as the first hoax postings about potential viruses in giraffe pictures; which is so utterly stupid and unbelievable to begin with that … well, you get the point. It looked like someone wanted to give credibility to something other than the right answer. Just in case you don't know the riddle, here it is. And I won't bother to warn you there's a spoiler here, because the losers have already spoiled it.

It's 3 a.m. The doorbell rings and you awaken. You have unexpected visitors, your parents. They have come to eat breakfast. You have strawberry jam, honey, wine, bread, and cheese. What do you open first?

Obviously it's not strawberry jam, honey, wine, bread or cheese. There's no choosing between them without some long and uninteresting metaphysical analysis that would probably turn out to be wrong, and this is just a riddle. So, you do the smart thing. You back up a little to see what's left. The doorbell rings? Oh, there ya go … “open” the door.

BZZZZT! Wrong answer. You were smart, but this is why so many giraffe pictures were showing up on Facebook. It's not what you open “first.” First, unless you're going to stumble around running into things for a while, using your hands to find the door, you open your eyes. See there. That's what makes it a good riddle. The riddler knew that you were smart enough to move beyond the condiments and drinks and planted the answer further back. Clever.

Snopes contends there are two possible correct answers, making the editor who wrote it a double loser.

But then, I found the same information in an article in the Huffington Post. “Answers:”, it contends are "The door" and "your eyes." “After all, it's 3 a.m. in the riddle.” Suck it up Alexis Kleinman, and just post a damn giraffe as your profile picture. After all, it's only for three days.

Since then, double losers have been posting objections and protests because they got the answer wrong and these other double losers have already fooled them into thinking they might not be, or at least given them an excuse not to make good.

In any case, the bad apples have spoiled the fun again.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Obama Struggles with the Idea that People Might be Real

American presidents, legitimate or not, have perhaps the best personal psychology teams in the world. That Obama entered the White House as a sociopath was apparent. Narcissism trumped reality to an extent generally only seen in third world dictators. Although beyond cure, it's possible that some sense of humanity may be awakening.

The facade of emotionless, staged self-confidence appears as though it may be breaking down a bit. When he attempts a personal connection with his audience and claims to have been “frightened”, there is something in his eyes that suggests he might know what being frightened actually feels like. Don't get me wrong. Sociopaths are manipulators who study and mimic the behavior of others. In order to fit in, they are forced to spend their whole lives learning and practicing the ruse. They're good at it. So it's possible to be fooled, especially just looking at YouTube clips, into thinking that their theatrical behavior is genuine. I'm not suggesting a miracle. I'm not claiming that he's seen the light. But maybe there's a glimmer, even if only appearing momentarily on the periphery.

To be sure, even if at times his behavior hints at understanding emotion, we're not far from the starting point. He still tends to call attention to himself, how he feels, and what his struggles are as a way of connecting. His references to others, like staged examples of ObamaCare winners, are intended to reinforce the fantasy of Barack Obama's success as a ruler. Empathy is impossible for a sociopath, so it makes no difference whether or not the examples are real. It comes as no surprise that vast differences have been discovered between his success stories and the actual experiences of his props. They are irrelevant. All that matters is his own delusion-enhancing experience in the moment.

Any naiveté that may have allowed him to believe (if it existed at all), intellectually, that ObamaCare could be a good thing is most certainly gone now, unless paranoia has him believing that every concrete fact is part of a conspiracy against him (personally) or that actualization of his grand plan in the form his critics predicted is merely another hallucination. Here we are, at the end of a stand-off in which the großer Führer demands its continuation. In the real world, the loss of health care combined with a downward spiraling economy will be devastating to “the masses.” But what does it matter?

It might matter to Barry Soetoro, a.k.a. Barack Hussein Obama II. This may seem an odd analysis, but if I were a sociopath, I would be searching for my lost humanity, of the point of blockage in order to knock it out. (At least it seems logical to me. The mind is an amazing thing.) We can ask, if it is possible, at what point could the mass misery that he causes will Barry be able to feel pain? A bit optimistic perhaps from a psychological perspective. Maybe he's simply finds suffering curious and expects higher intensity and a larger sample may give him a better look. Is it real? And if it is, what is it like to be truly human? Perhaps it just provides more opportunity to study the behavior of others who actually feel, in an habitual effort to appear normal.

Lack of empathy is far more serious than just not being a good guy in one's heart. We all naturally understand others, our fellow human beings, by understanding ourselves. Feelings of love and pain and embarrassment and everything else are real to us because we experience them. We have a deeper sense of others, even that they are real, because they behave in ways that are familiar to us. To be unable to make this connection can take a man to a psychologically “scary” place (even if it's great logical, possibly life-threatening uncertainty rather than normal emotion) in which others, people, entities which should be like you are not. (And now you have a hint why the left is so driven to force you to be like them.) To cause pain is to ask about its reality. Do they continue to scream? Or do they, or some great bored cosmic jester, eventually get tired and admit that “life” as we know it is nothing but a crule hoax?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Famed Self-Made Author, Speaker, and Voice Actor Al Gore to Sell Weather Blessings in International Government Sponsored Private Sector Entrepreneurial Research Charity

By Roger F. Gay

It's just another small business with a great idea, blossoming with aspiration before its first product hits the market; A red, white, and blue demonstration of how the little guy with a dream constantly renews America and makes it great and strong. But just a little different. The anticipation of the masses has been palpable, waiting to find out what the undisputed king of America's AlTrueistic™ spirit and real-world Doctor (Who) will come up with next. It's a moment that feels like a tipping point in history.

What has been unveiled for this exclusive article is the culmination of many years work in which Al Gore himself has slaved over Bunsen burners and smelly chemical filled flasks dressed only in a drab white lab coat and socks, as well as hitchhiking around Europe on weather balloons, delving into cosmic questions and the great secrets of the Planet Earth™.

Gore, Inc. may begin selling “Weather Blessings”™ on the open market. According to a friend of a daughter of a janitor who works near one of the towns where Al Gore has a carbon-spewing mansion, a “Blessing” consists of a properly stamped certificate from an authorized distributor promising the bearer one “nice day.” “Nice days” may vary in character depending on local conditions and no specific warranty is stated or implied. Gore, Inc. is not liable for any damage resulting from the purchase, possession or use of a certificate or what will happen to target customers if they don't buy.

The initial $50,000 price tag seems out of reach for most ordinary consumers, but high market entry prices are often necessary to recoup large investments in research and development as well as business start up costs. Sales are often successful when cutting edge firms are first to market with important innovations. Long term plans call for lower prices so that everyone will be able to afford nice days and possible distribution to third-world countries organized by United Nations NGOs.

Although the “research” and “charity” classifications may seem to suggest special tax considerations and potential government grants, it is rumored by one source that Al Gore has personally assured a large group of would-be investors that his newest socially responsible scheme will be entirely privately funded in the foreseeable future. One source thought that most of the wealthy widows and orphanage fund-raisers didn't even notice the additional mumbling in the hallway as Mr. Gore added, “at least until that cheap prick Obama is out of office … little bastard and his measly $half billion. What's that? I was Vice President for God's sake.”

A spokesman for Gore, Inc. is said to have said that this venture is indeed a watershed and assured anyone he could get to listen that this time, at least for the foreseeable future, the operation will run entirely without theft of public funds or government force. “The marketing all comes down to Al Gore's charisma and his ability to portray new social values in interesting ways.” “And think of the children,” he added, obviously becoming a bit emotional. “Now that they're all scared shitless that like the Earth is going to suddenly turn into a burning Hell, what are you doing to reassure them? Are you part of the problem? Huh! Huh! Are you! Come on, open your wallets right now. Give me your money! And say thank you for the awareness campaign.”

So emotional the plea, said the source, that the spokesman's nose was noticeably red, and it probably had nothing to do with the needle marks running up and down his arms. “These guys really believe in their cause, still working like that even with apparently serious health problems.”

Monday, February 18, 2013

Project Seeks to Solve Every Imaginable Problem

I am putting out a proposal today for a 10-year fully government funded project seeking to find a solution or solutions to every imaginable problem. The project will not merely focus on problems that we can imagine today but reach far beyond that to problems that we have not yet imagined and those we are not likely to imagine for at least decades without such a project.

We can imagine one day coming to grips with every conceivable problem. As the journey of 1,000 miles starts with the first step, the journey toward a perfect world starts with this project.

One day, we won't fear wars or meteor showers, weather or democracy, politicians or blood-sucking aliens. No one will mind if someone puts Christmas decorations on the Court House lawn if it makes them happy. One day we will live in a world where everyone will be able to see whatever movies they wish and listen to whatever music they like in an affordable way, and for some as yet unknown reason everyone in the entertainment business will be happy about it.

Aside from those problems that haven't been expressed yet, because no one has yet been funded to think of them, the project will deal with the familiar. We imagine a world free of hunger and thirst, where everyone has a choice of red meat or vegetarian, red wine or white. Days will not be filled with labor unless that's what you want. "Conflict" will be a game.

The product of the project will be a plan for the future. The implementation phase will of course be much more expensive than the planning stage. But then, a perfect world is worth any price.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hooray for selfishness!

For "Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff, Atlantic Unbound

By Roger F. Gay, April 1999

The question struck at the heart of life, the universe, and everything. It struck me that the answer to the question would provide an understanding of the nature of humanity and its relationship to the cosmos. The thought of holding the key to such fundamental knowledge began to swell within me until I was obsessed and finally compelled to act. Thus, the great journey to enlightenment began.

It took some time to talk my way onto what was said to be a cruise ship as a maintenance hand. The journey to the shore of Japan wasn't so difficult, even with the difficulty I had communicating with what I believed to have been a mostly Tasmanian crew. But I was impatient. It was rather simple to find passage to the mainland but travel by oxcart into the mountain region of Tibet was a bit arduous.

Finally reaching a small village in the foothills I anxiously jogged from building to building in search of someone who understood English. Through a door under a sign that I was assured said "Rent-a-Monk" in Tibetan I found my man. He was more insightful than I expected. I had only mumbled a few quick words through my heavy panting breath when he looked at me and said, "So, you're looking for an interpreter."

Still out of breath, I barely nodded and huffed something that almost sounded like "yes" before he added, "You want to ask the master about the key to the universe."

Stunned, I could huff and puff no longer. My jaw dropped as I sensed the awesome spiritual power of the place well before I had reached my destination, the heart of wisdom and insight, the great master. Again, I nodded and uttered something hardly audible.

"I will take you," came the answer. "One hundred dollars please, American." An offering possibly. I bowed slightly and stuttered something about my sincerity, the honor, and respect. He smiled as he accepted the offering as though he understood all without the need for words. I had passed the first test.

Luckily, there were two donkey-looking creatures, one for each of us. The trip into the mountains wasn't so hard. On the way, the holy monk explained that the uninitiated imagine the great master being at the very top of the mountain. He's not. The view is a spiritual one, an inner view, not part of a common scenic tour in a state park. Oh, how little we Americans really understand.

Not being on top of the mountain blocks the physical view in the same way our emotions block the truth from being understood. That is why the great one is not on top of the mountain. He knows he must overcome it. That is wisdom.

It was surprising how short the trip was. We had only been traveling about twenty-five minutes when I could see a shack ahead of us. The monk nodded at me and grinned. "Soon your question will be answered," he said. The anticipation tore at my brain such that I hardly noticed the meager coverings on the back of the donkey-looking thing tearing at my rear.

The second test of my spiritual enlightenment was built into the surroundings. The hobble was tortured by years of apparent neglect. The chickens and other animals roamed freely, leaving their droppings in and outside the building and they had pecked at one another leaving each with a rather unhealthy and unkept appearance. Should I offer to rebuild the place in payment for what I was about to receive?

I felt that finding inner peace and ultimate knowledge required ignoring the surroundings and decided not to mention them, wondering at the same time if I was merely bending to the western convention that it might seem rude. I had so much to learn. Although I had no real experience with meditation, I did my best to lift my spirit from the plane of the physical surroundings. I was rewarded several times over. My anticipation exploded in a sudden vision. "There", I shouted. "He has materialized from the spirit world."

The monk peered at me and said that it was a man who had just walked out from behind the shack. I sensed somehow that I understood his message. He was telling me that I must understand everything in my own conventional way. There was no hope that I could move through so many spiritual levels all at once. I bowed slightly toward the great master, feeling overwhelmed, fearing that looking directly at him might fill me so quickly with brilliant energy that it would burn my soul. Out of the corner of one blurry eye I was confronted by the third test.

He didn't look at all like a Far Eastern version of Moses after years of wandering. His mode of dress seemed quite conventional compared to what I had seen in the nearby village. He didn't even have a beard. It looked as if he'd shaven that very day. The stainless steel knife with a fake pearl handle strapped to his belt was obviously store-bought. Why does the physical expression of spiritualism need a knife anyway, I wondered?

I bowed again to regain my sense of perspective. It didn't matter. I recalled the counseling given just moments ago by the monk. Not too fast, I realized. This was only a physical projection for my benefit. I began breathing deeply with my eyes closed, pulling myself deeper into that transitional state of meditation that I had suddenly become aware of. It didn't matter. All that matters is the question.

With that realization, I knew that I had passed the third test. No one had to tell me. The thought that if it was truly a vision for me in particular that he might be in a business suit or robes or something crossed my mind only dimly. That didn't matter either. I could overcome it. I was truly ready for the answer.

The monk jostled my shoulder and I awoke into what seemed rather like a consciousness state. I had barely been aware of the verbal exchange that had taken place while I had been preparing myself; probably a ritual greeting that I would not understand without full initiation.

"What is your question?" asked the monk.

The time had come and I was ready. I even expected the opportunity to state my question as a matter of spiritual cleansing. Obviously, he already knew the answer. He must therefore have already known the question.

The monk translated as I spoke. "Someone in the Atlantic Unbound forum asked for an alternative for the word selfishness," I began, "without the negative conn…"

It was just as I expected. The great master was chuckling and the monk along with him. I knew there was no reason to continue stating the question. I felt cleansed. I even somehow knew that in this primitive part of the world, far from any connection to the Internet, there would be no need to explain what Atlantic Unbound is.

The great one raised an arm and responded with what my western cultural references could only interpret as enthusiasm. Like any great wisdom, his commentary was short. I don't recall breathing as I waited for life as I had known it to cease. I felt the dizziness of a man perched on a great precipice of his own miraculous rebirth.

The monk looked at me. The calm in his face reassured me. His words began to pour over me.

"He said that you should mind your own business."

I almost fell off the donkey-looking creature but fell into that partial state of meditation instead. It was becoming much easier now and felt quite natural. In the presence of the great master I had learned quickly. I faced the exchange of one hundred dollars, American, not as a test, but as a ritual; not as an inquiring visitor, but as an initiate. The money no longer matters. I have the answer.

I tried to contemplate the full breadth of the answer as we rode back to the village but understood that twenty-five minutes would not even be enough time to realize the number of dimensions it involved. The negative connotation had been removed; not by simply declaring independence from humanity as if it doesn't exist (as with alternatives that begin with "self-") but by fully confronting the rest of humanity and rejecting the urge to get involved in those things that don't matter to you - in a good way. Thus, the individual is FREE to deal with their own needs.

I had a new clarity of thought. Less than an hour earlier I was worried about the state of a man's shack and whether he'd shaved this morning. It didn't matter. It was none of my business. With this new found knowledge, nothing seemed too great a challenge. World peace. An end to world hunger. I had been reborn.

What do the Serbs want in Kosovo, I wondered? There's plenty of room for them in Serbia. And the Chinese bothering about Taiwan? No reason. I easily imagined the return of traditional state sovereignty in the United States, a world at peace, the troubles of humanity erased.

I'm downloading my final contribution to the Atlantic Unbound forum from a marvelous pay phone with Internet access. The answer has changed me so completely that I know that I cannot return to my previous life. I've decided to live in the foothills of Tibet continuing the process of enlightenment. Should you ever come in search of me, remember to bring one hundred and fifty dollars, American. :)