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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Maturity: We Must Learn to Love What Human Nature Requires

In my preceding blog I refused to wink at the hugely unbalanced manner in which our government honors employers versus employees in the private sector.  Government employees, on the other hand—like for the City of Saint Petersburg (where I worked for 33 years)--are protected by established procedures in the Human Resource Department.  These rules and regulations allow employees to appeal to the HR Department should they believe they have been treated unjustly in serious matters.  Cases are routinely handled there.  But firstly these HR polices provide a cocoon of protection in the manner that criminal and civil law provide protection by restraining unleashed arbitrary impulses but as applied here precipitous behavior on the part of supervisory personnel.  It provides a discerning pause for management to re-evaluate, further analyze, and explore the nature of the problem.  Most importunately it accommodates human nature by protecting against our tendency towards negative reflexive judgment of others (much as governmental branch limitations provide structural dampening effects). 

In many ways the most powerful and arbitrary government in our everyday lives can be the naked force of an employer given free reign to play a revengeful and spiteful god. A total lack of a fair grievance procedure can encourage the good and honest employer to court the darker side. It is imperative that employees in the private sector have a fair and respectful way to gain an objective review of what they take to be major injustices.  This is not so much a pocket book issue as a human rights issue requiring a frank recognition of the Fundamental Attribution Error.       

Please refer to this link for my personal challenges with the Fundamental Attribution Error:

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Sunday, January 27, 2019

I Stand in Defiance

Today is my 75th birthday (b. January 27, 1944).  I stand in defiance of those who would usher in an ugly and cruel America.  We are all dreamers, but where will our diverse dreams lead us?  That is the question.  Public policy must be selective. I want to see America less an ideologue focused on glittering generalities and more on idea aftermath. We must have the integrity to view the collateral damage public policy can chisel upon the human face. We’ve had that courage in the past; let’s not flag in our efforts today.  In my view capitalism will self-destruct unless our creative and loving nation finds a way to honor employees as much as employers. This is far more than a minimum wage issue. The day of self-appointed gods in the private sector is nearing its end.

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Deliverance to--rather than from--Payback Time

(Quotation below from preceding blog:)

I told her [Walmart Employee who had shown great kindness to me] she had taught me a very important lesson tonight.  Often we think of kindness bearing fruit with reciprocal kindness.  The lesson I learned tonight, I told her, is that kindness can elicit from the goodwill spawned in the heart a practical and operative measure of honesty and integrity.  (What if my initial employee encounter had been characterized by insensitivity satiated with manipulation and cruelty;  would I have turned around like honest Abe to ensure an honest charge… or would I have l left the building feeling fully justified in my fortuitous heist [that being an item employee had failed to scan on my checkout]--regretting only that the watchband was not made of solid gold?)

Quite rightly Donald Trump understands that he must ALWAYS be perceived by his supporters as the master of arbitrary power--never even once in his lifetime having the need to ask for forgiveness.  In my preceding blog I pictured what it could look like if I left Walmart feeling greatly aggrieved. This was a situation in which I could take immediate direct personal action to satisfy my sense of hurt and injustice.

I can, however, have a truckload of grievances of a social/economic nature in which my direct action is impossible.  I then can look for a strong man to effectuate revenge (in my view justice) for me.  I decidedly do not want a fair, carefully measured, and morally fussy man for this job.  I want someone fully capable of playing dirty—the more so the better to angrily reflect just how I subjectively feel. 

(We should be aware that envy and jealousy are a form of hurt.  Government workers can be envied by vulnerable private sector workers for the government employees' enjoying (in many cases) greater job stability, steady income flow during market fluctuations, rules and regs resulting in greater protection from arbitrary bosses, and more generous benefits.  Thus, a temporary government shutdown can be taken as a let-them-see-what-I-face infliction of retributive justice.  An emphasis on societal division is necessary to communicate all the better to the strongman's supporters shared targeted enemies.) 

The domineering autocratic strong man to his followers is perceived to be a messiah figure of justice—but perversely sadistic in nature implementing a scorched-earth policy that could undermine the persistence of government itself. This contrasts with democratic servant leaders who seek to inspire a common empathy and unified feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood in which both burdens and benefits are broadly accepted and shared.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A Restorative Moment Following My Recent Genius Encounter (Preceding Blog)

Sometimes the schemes of geniuses can require recovery time and meditative, restorative repasts.  This occurred for me last evening at Walmart.  The roving helpmate Walmart provides in the self-checkout area graciously offered to help this old man with his checkout.  She was genuinely kind and helpful and a great feeling of humility overcame me.

On my way out, however, I noticed she had overlooked a small watchband that had hidden itself in one corner of the cart basket.  With a tremendous feeling of goodwill towards the store due to their thoughtful employee, I immediately turned around and waited for her to have a free moment. I mentioned the unscanned watchband; she thanked me and turned to scan the item and process my credit card.

I told her she had taught me a very important lesson tonight.  Often we think of kindness bearing fruit with reciprocal kindness.  The lesson I learned tonight, I told her, is that kindness can elicit from the goodwill spawned in the heart a practical and operative measure of honesty and integrity.  (What if my initial employee encounter had been characterized by insensitivity satiated with manipulation and cruelty;  would I have turned around like honest Abe to ensure an honest charge… or would I have l left the building feeling fully justified in my fortuitous heist--regretting only that the watchband was not made of solid gold?)

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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Trumpism on the Home Front

Before I share with you the experience I am having with my landlord, let me give you a little analogy.

Let's say you have two good friends—a married couple.  One day they notice a sound coming from under your car hood and suggest they know someone in the garage business that may be able to fix it.  On return from the garage they hand you a three page contract offer to replace the engine for $20,000.  Shocked, you ask what did they find was making the noise.  Your friends respond: “Oh, he didn’t lift the hood to check any engine facts.  But he did recognize without question you have an engine noise under the hood.  Replacing the engine will take care of everything.”  Then your friends add, “We regard your friendship so much we are going to keep your car and keys in our possession until you decide to make the engine replacement."

Staff at Westminister Suncoast where I live entered my apartment to inspect and express disgust at my clutter.  They noticed in front of an air supply vent on the living room ceiling an area of black mold—I think most people with any experience of living in Florida would recognize it.  This was the only vent with it.  Despite the fact the landlord changes the filter beneath the return air (monthly I think is the planned schedule), they alleged a recent obstruction near the vent caused the mold. Rather than advising getting a bucket and brush and cleaning it, they immediately called Restoration Companies specializing in mold removal whose bids include figures around $20,000 for their specialized service.  In addition, with such services all your possessions are to be contained and eventually meticulously cleaned or utterly destroyed.  As a staff member wrote to me—it would probably be less expensive to throw all your household possessions away than try to keep them.  During this bidding process the landlord locked me out of my home.

Now here is the Trumpism kicker to all this…the people offering $20,000 bids to clean up are prevented by Florida law from assessing if mold found is dangerous or benign (for obvious conflict-of-interest reasons)..  In other words, I was being given staccato draconian ultimatums (I was being demanded by my landlord to replace my engine without once their looking at the engine to find true condition—with the hood raised—or in the case of mold, to assess mold genus.)

During this time I asked for a second opinion.  I contacted someone they suggested for an objective assessment.  He came to campus and a whole troop us went with him to my apartment.  While in my apartment, the bidder soon donned a mask that could have been part of a costume for the world’s most tragic opera on the far-side of the moon.  He asked about my duct-work.  The operations chief  in charge said it had all been recently replaced.  I  corrected him that only the plenum was replaced when new a/c air handler was installed.  (Was this an innocent error or intentional Terumpism?)  We then all went to the formal conference room for a lengthy, somber dog and pony show.  Remember—all this without knowing more than what a 3-year old child could access---“Yep, that’s mold on my bread.”.

Thinking the world must finally be going crazy, for $575 I engaged a licensed accessor..  (Gee, I must be a Trump-like genius to want to raise the hood and find out a fact or two—never let a dearth of facts get in the way of money grubbing and towering success.) The accessor  came and obtained three air samples—outside, living room, bedroom.  He also took a swath sample from patch by air vent.  He sent them to a micro-bio lab with a specialty in mold identification. Results: neither mold found (the penicillin mold nor mold near vent) was dangerous.

So at long last we find that we do not need hazardous contamination specialized cleaning services—at the most some hoarding clutter organizing or storing off-site and a deep cleaning.  The price for these services are geometrically less expensive than hazardous contamination cleaning.

In my view,  I am owed an apology from Westminster for putting me through hell on earth thinking I must destroy all my possessions and further pay $20,000 or more for hazardous cleaning when, in fact, at no time were their dire threats based on scientific fact nor, apparently, did they make any attempt to get the facts..  The operative Trumpism—If we say it’s true, it’s true...march to our drummer or be damned!.

I think you will find the following documents interesting but not unfamiliar in today’s corporate-pack world where there is a surfeit of glowing compassionate resounding objectives surrounding a heart indifferent and sometimes even rejoicing in the infliction of personal pain.

note:  FECAL MATTER !!!! --  of three finches...

Yep my friends...deep cleaning of life savings......  Remember:  $23,000 for cleaning ONE BEDROOM apartment.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

When We Are Seldom Slow on the Uptake


We have heard much of late regarding the importance of institutional roles in the pursuit of justice.  Unbiased  judgments at the very least imply a certain insulation from financial pressures that would induce less than objective decisions.  If my organization can clearly be in a position to reward you financially for a decision pleasing to me, then objectivity is compromised from the outset.  Lets say I employ a contractor to build me a home.  He in turn may well be dealing with many subcontractors who have worked for him in many large, profitable projects and plan to do so in the future.  Obviously the leverage I have as a one-time-only new-home customer--who will soon in many ways be ancient history--cannot compare with the cohesion of a strong mutually beneficial contractor--subcontrator relationship. For example, say I desired a certain kitchen lighting that the contractor did not want to install, he can with many anticipated projects in view for the lighting subcontractor easily apply pressure upon the lighting subcontractor to agree to nix such lighting.

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