There are times when I'd like to share something with you but my Voice in the Garden site does not seem the appropriate place, thus, this blog.

There are experiences, thoughts, views... and for anyone lurking/waiting to pounce (as has occurred on several occasions), please do not attempt to turn what I post into a political statement. This is NOT a political site, but IS about occurrences, reality, and personal opinion concerning what I see in the world around me and my family. There are many excellent writers whose works "speak" to me, and I shall include some of them. At times it may be
something I think you would enjoy or simply whatever ails you (me).
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

No One Owes You Anything

A Gift for My Daughter

by Harry Browne

December 25, 1966

(This article was originally published as a syndicated newspaper column, dedicated to my 9-year-old daughter.)

It’s Christmas and I have the usual problem of deciding what to give you. I know you might enjoy many things books, games, clothes.

But I’m very selfish. I want to give you something that will stay with you for more than a few months or years. I want to give you a gift that might remind you of me every Christmas.

If I could give you just one thing, I’d want it to be a simple truth that took me many years to learn. If you learn it now, it may enrich your life in hundreds of ways. And it may prevent you from facing many problems that have hurt people who have never learned it.

The truth is simply this:

No one owes you anything.

Significance

How could such a simple statement be important? It may not seem so, but understanding it can bless your entire life.

No one owes you anything.

It means that no one else is living for you, my child. Because no one is you. Each person is living for himself; his own happiness is all he can ever personally feel.

When you realize that no one owes you happiness or anything else, you’ll be freed from expecting what isn’t likely to be.

It means no one has to love you. If someone loves you, it’s because there’s something special about you that gives him happiness. Find out what that something special is and try to make it stronger in you, so that you’ll be loved even more.

When people do things for you, it’s because they want to because you, in some way, give them something meaningful that makes them want to please you, not because anyone owes you anything.

No one has to like you. If your friends want to be with you, it’s not out of duty. Find out what makes others happy so they’ll want to be near you.

No one has to respect you. Some people may even be unkind to you. But once you realize that people don’t have to be good to you, and may not be good to you, you’ll learn to avoid those who would harm you. For you don’t owe them anything either.

Living your Life

No one owes you anything.

You owe it to yourself to be the best person possible. Because if you are, others will want to be with you, want to provide you with the things you want in exchange for what you’re giving to them.

Some people will choose not to be with you for reasons that have nothing to do with you. When that happens, look elsewhere for the relationships you want. Don’t make someone else’s problem your problem.

Once you learn that you must earn the love and respect of others, you’ll never expect the impossible and you won’t be disappointed. Others don’t have to share their property with you, nor their feelings or thoughts.

If they do, it’s because you’ve earned these things. And you have every reason to be proud of the love you receive, your friends’ respect, the property you’ve earned. But don’t ever take them for granted. If you do, you could lose them. They’re not yours by right; you must always earn them.

My Experience

A great burden was lifted from my shoulders the day I realized that no one owes me anything. For so long as I’d thought there were things I was entitled to, I’d been wearing myself out physically and emotionally trying to collect them.

No one owes me moral conduct, respect, friendship, love, courtesy, or intelligence. And once I recognized that, all my relationships became far more satisfying. I’ve focused on being with people who want to do the things I want them to do.

That understanding has served me well with friends, business associates, lovers, sales prospects, and strangers. It constantly reminds me that I can get what I want only if I can enter the other person’s world. I must try to understand how he thinks, what he believes to be important, what he wants. Only then can I appeal to someone in ways that will bring me what I want.

And only then can I tell whether I really want to be involved with someone. And I can save the important relationships for those with whom I have the most in common.

It’s not easy to sum up in a few words what has taken me years to learn. But maybe if you re-read this gift each Christmas, the meaning will become a little clearer every year.

I hope so, for I want more than anything else for you to understand this simple truth that can set you free: no one owes you anything.

Bipartisan Crisis And A General Failure of Ethics and Stewardship

Since we attempt to keep abreast of what is going on around us, early morning will generally find us perusing headlines from various newspapers around the world; additionally I like to review that which is being opined by some of my favourite writers. Although one may not always agree with something said (written), understanding the reasoning is an important part of any discussion. I found this of interest and thought some of you might also.

Jesse of Jesse's Café Américain writes:

Obama's Failure to Reform: A Bipartisan Crisis And A General Failure of Ethics and Stewardship

I hope everyone has the opportunity to see "Inside Job" in the months ahead.

The issue is not settled. As someone who watches the markets closely every day, often tick by tick, and speaks to market participants around the world, I see an accident waiting to happen in the US financial system. And it is surprising, almost shocking, that it receives so little attention while there is so much focus on the relatively trivial.

We have just witnessed one of the greatest financial frauds in modern history. Where are the indictments? Where is the reform?

It concerns me greatly because it is such a important economy. Such a failure would have unsettling collateral damage on the rest of the world not only because of its size, but through the transmission mechanism of the dollar reserve currency which is pervasive in trade and in most central bank holdings.

Like its cronies on Wall Street, the government in Washington thinks it is Too Big To Fail. It may very well be. But propping it up is probably too great of a task for the rest of the world to bear indefinitely. And so we may have an uneasy year or two ahead.

INET's Interview with Charles Ferguson, the director of "Inside Job",
Sony's documentary which exposes the truth behind the economic crisis of 2008.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rhetoric Rides Again

Thomas Sowell writes:

"Let's face it, politics is largely the art of deception, and political rhetoric is largely the art of misstating issues. A classic example is the current debate over whether to give money to the unemployed by extending how long unemployment benefits will be provided, or instead to give "tax cuts to the rich."

First of all, nobody's taxes -- whether rich or poor -- is going to be cut in this lame duck session of Congress. The only real issue is whether our current tax rates will go up in January, whether for everybody or nobody or somewhere in between.

The most we can hope for is that tax rates will not go up. So the next time you hear some politician or media talking head say "tax cuts for the rich," that will just tell you whether they are serious about facts or just addicted to talking points.

Not only are the so-called "tax cuts" not really tax cuts, most of the people called "rich" are not really rich. Rich means having a lot of wealth. But income taxes don't touch wealth. No wonder some billionaires are saying it's OK to raise income taxes. They would still be billionaires if taxes took 100 percent of their current income.

What those who are arguing against "tax cuts for the rich" are promoting is raising the tax rates on families making $250,000 a year and up. A husband and wife making $125,000 a year each are not rich. If they have a kid going to one of the many colleges charging $30,000 a year (in after-tax money) for tuition alone, they are not likely to feel anywhere close to being rich.

Many people earning an annual income of $125,000 a year do so only after years of earning a lot less than that before eventually working their way up to that level. For politicians to step in at that point and confiscate what they have invested years of working to achieve is a little much.

It also takes a lot of brass to talk about taxing "millionaires and billionaires" when most of the people whose taxes the liberals want to raise are neither. Why is so much deception necessary, if your case is good?

Those who own their own small businesses have usually reached their peak earnings many years after having started their business, and often operating with very low income, or even operating at a loss, when their businesses first got started.

Again, having politicians step in with an extra tax at that point, when later incomes compensate earlier sacrifices, is sheer brass -- especially when real millionaires and billionaires have their wealth safely stowed in tax shelters.

Another fashionable political and media deception is making a parallel between giving money to the unemployed versus giving money to "the rich."

When you refrain from raising someone's taxes, you are not "giving" them anything. Even if you were actually cutting their tax rate -- which is out of the question today -- you would still not be "giving" them anything, but only allowing them to keep more of what they have earned.

Is the government doing any of us a big favor by not taking even more of what we have worked for? Is it not an insult to our intelligence to say that the government is "giving" us something by not taxing it away?

With unemployment compensation, however, you are in fact giving someone something. "Extending unemployment benefits" always sounds good politically -- especially if you do not ask the basic question: "For how long should they be extended?" A year? Two years? No limit?

Studies have shown what common sense should have told us without studies: The longer the unemployment benefits are available, the longer people stay unemployed.


If I were fired tomorrow, should I be able to live off the government until such time as I find another job that is exactly the same, making the same or higher pay? What if I am offered another job that uses some of the same skills but doesn't pay quite as much? Should I be allowed to keep on living off the government?


With the government making it more expensive for employers to hire workers, and at the same time subsidizing unemployed workers longer and longer, you can have as much unemployment as you are willing to pay for, for as long as you are willing to pay for it."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Madness Of A Lost Society

There is no commentary for the following video. I think it speaks for itself.