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(no subject) [Oct. 17th, 2006|10:51 am]
Neo-libertarianism - Civil discussions of neo-libe

C'mon and raise up

When I first got work after college, I was indoctrinated into the fucked up world and lifestyle that is Corporate America. For some of us, Coporate America fits like a glove. You just "get it". It occurs to you how the system works, what it does, and what it can do for you. And you might even be fine with that. 

There are others, however, who might just as well understand the corporate machine and how it operates, and think that it is one of the most fucked up things on the planet. 

Then there is the elusive third category. People who buy into the bullshit that Corporate America sells you. These people are the unfortunate ones because inevitably, they will not stay in this category for very long. See, you might start out in this category like I did back in the day, but soon realize that it is a path to failure or suicide or both. Once you realize this, you begin to navigate towards the either of the first two philosophies.

What is this bullshit that they sell you, you ask? 

Well, here it is, in nice and neat bullet format:

  • You matter as a person
  • We care about you
  • We are here to help
  • We want all of our employees to like working here
  • At [organization name] we like to think of ourselves as a family
  • You can have a nice and long career here.
  • Your manager is there to help you
  • Our review process is to help you improve

 But, why, you may be asking yourself, is this bullshit?  Why shouldn't  we believe it? Let me be clear. I'm not saying you should or shouldn't believe it. What I can tell you is why I don't believe any of this horseshit I am fed on a daily basis.

  • You matter as a person - Anyone who tells me this makes part of me want to laugh in their face, and another part of me secretly wish I had bigger eyes so when I roll them, it's more dramatic. You DO NOT matter as a person. Now before you accuse me of being Tyler Durden, let me tell you why you don't matter. I won't go into the philosophical debate of whether or not any of us actually matter, but assume rather that the company in question is saying that they, as a company "think" you matter. Well, how can a company think? Answer: It can't. It's a thing. It has no brain. So who thinks you matter? Management? Why would they think that? Ask yourself how many people in general think that ANY of us matter EVER. People don't often operate in the metaphysical like that, and certainly at the workplace. So how in the world could it be true that the company thinks you matter? They don't.

  • We care about you - I bet that if you looked it up, you could find poll after poll, scientific study after scientific study that suggest that if employees think their company is looking out for them, that helps with job performance. And companies like to be able to state that they make attempts to care about you. They like to say this because they don't want to have a bad rap as being a shitty place to work. They want to keep a good influx of new recruits. But once again--who is this "we" that's supposed to care about me? The powers that be in a company care about not getting sued. They care about keeping a full roster of employment. And they care about this because it means more money quicker.

  • We are here to help - Sure you are. As long as it helps you. There is no such thing as a "self-less act on the part of the corporation to its employees". What would be the motivation in doing that?

  • We want all of our employees to like working here - We would really like all our employees to be brainwashed into thinking that they like working here so when they tell other people, that's what they tell them.


  • We think of ourselves as a family - Really? With hand picked relatives based on a skill set presented in a resume? We sure have a lot of problem children in this family. Who are the parents? I used to wrestle my brother and give him noogies. Can I do that here?

  • You can have a nice and long career here - provided you don't mind getting paid the exact same wage for 30 years.
  • Your manager is there to help you - Yes, help you tow the line. I hope you don't have any failure to communicate with said manager.
  • Our review process is to help you improve - Oh shit. This one is the killer. I could write for days on this subject alone (and don't you find yourself wishing I would?). Reviews are bullshit. They represent the worst in corporate life.

Here's the concept: We are going to meet with you X amount of times during the year to tell you for five minutes how well you're doing and what you're kicking ass at. Then we will spend the rest of and vast majority of the time telling you how we think you're fucking up. Sometimes we notice you are fucking up but will wait the whole year until the review to tell you so  you can be extra surprised. You have a couple of choices as to how to accept all this. You can take your lumps and move on (recommended) or you can bitch about what we say (which will not get  you anywhere and make us think you're a pussy)

I HATE reviews. I think they are worthless. They are exactly as I describe them. They are defeatist. Why wait the whole year to tell me when I'm fucking up? Why not show me a path to improve? Why tell me how I'm fucking up without showing me how not to fuck up? 

None of it matters. You will get a raise when and if it is convienent for the company to give you one. If they feel like you are good enough to go elsewhere, they might give you a raise. But if they are fairly confident that you are not planning on going anywhere else--then why are earth would they pay you more money for the same job? People ask me all the time why my cube is so spartan. I have very little hanging up in it, and no pictures. (Though I swear I will get one of me and you Cris. That will be the ONLY picture and it is because of my undying love for you) People say "move it, get comfortable." No. I don't want to "move in". I don't want to appear comfortable. I don't want the powers thinking that I am content with my station. Then I will NEVER get a raise. There's simply no reason to give me one. 

And I am fairly certain that managers who have to give reviews were not hired for their ability to do so. Which means they might be good at it, or they might suck at it. My manager has said flat out that he hates the review process with his employees. It's the least favorite thing he does. What sort of review do you imagine you might get from someone who hates reviewing people? An accurate one? I think not. If I were in that position I would give everyone the max raise possible. And how long do you think I would last doing that?

My parents would often give me rewards for how well I did in school. How could they tell? Grades. A,B,C,D, F. How many of you out there got paid one amount for A's, another for B's and so on? It  I always knew exactly how well I was doing in school because I could identify it with a number that fit on a scale. GPA. 

What's the GPA equivalent in the real world--in the corporate world? I don't know that there is one. The reason is that there are very few identifiable goals or measurements of said goals to be had. It's easy to tell if I'm getting my assignments done. It's easy to tell if those that I work with like me or not. But it's not easy to tell how well I'm getting the assignments done, or how many. It's not easy to tell how much people like me and under what circumstances. I'm not being graded on a regular basis so it's impossible to think that I could be graded annually with that minmal level of input. 

I usually just sit through my review, nod, smile, sign what they want me to sign, and take whatever they give me. Which yields the same result as if I had not been reviewed at all or if I had fought for my raise.


And you can't fight city hall. They won't let you. Managers come to work everyday and the last thing they want to do is manage people.  I swear to you it's true. And even worse than managing people is managing people who are bitching about shit they can't fix. All they can do is sell you the same line of bullshit they've been sold and hope you take it. That's it. I've tried complaining about the system before. If I didn't like the system so much, I should have quit. And if I wanted a bigger raise, I should have gone to a place where they would give a higher salary. 

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(no subject) [Oct. 17th, 2006|10:48 am]
Neo-libertarianism - Civil discussions of neo-libe

Ah, my daily does of liberal crap
Travel Trends: How to Avoid Being an ‘Ugly American’

Do you love to share your political views with the locals you meet while traveling? 

Oh boy, do I! Usually, the first thing I do when I see anyone Middle Eastern is ask him if he prefers C4 strapped to his chest as opposed to, say, dynamite.

Do you think that people in other countries should do everything the American way? 

Not unless they are British.

If so, then you might be an “ugly American.”

Hey, that's Gringo to you, buddy. 

Now, an organization called Business for Diplomatic Action, concerned by an apparent rise in what it calls “negative stereotypes about our collective personality,” is hoping to clean up the image of Americans abroad.

Naturally. Because no one really questions the ability of people in other countries to create, develop and maintain these stereotypes. I like the more pratical approach of changing who we are as a people to accomodate others misguided sensibilities. In other words, we're Americans, so we must be wrong. At the very least I enjoy the idea of pretending to be something we are not in the hopes that we won't be hated. I think they call that "co-dependency".

Be humble. In many countries, boasting is considered very rude. … Assume resentment as a default and play down your wealth, power and status.

Finally, this article is making some sense to me. Resentment as a default? Heck, that's my mantra. Unfortunately, I have no wealth, power or status, so I really would have nothing to down play. But I like the optomistic stereotype of this article that as an American, I probably have wealth, power and status. 

Refrain from lecturing. Nobody likes a know-it-all, and nobody likes a whole nation of them.

This one will be tough. Because I don't look at my vacations as vacations, but more "lecture circuits" whereby I can impose my views on anyone who will care to listen. I have photos of my doing this, if you're interested. 

Be quiet. A loud voice is often perceived as a bragging voice. Casual profanity is almost always considered unacceptable.

What is this deal with loud voices? Do people in Europe or Africa or Spain naturally sensitive to sound? Are they also sensitive to light? How about spicy food? Fine, fine, fine. Everywhere but America is a library. Shhhh. No talking. I got it. But I still will be thinking with my regular use of "casual profanity", dammit. 

Dress for respect. Jeans, T-shirts and sneakers work for many of us much of the time, but there are people in other countries who believe such casualness is a sign of disrespect to them and their beliefs. 

Easily the most sound point this article makes. While we're at it, I suggest the Hasidic Jews of South Florida here get with the program and lose the hats, caps, fedoras, and the payot sidelocks because no one else is wearing that stuff anymore. Same with the Amish. More denim please. While we're at it, lets get rid of guayaberas, kufis, headscarfs, pleated pants, leisure suits, bola ties, Bugle Boys, swatches, afrocentric clothing, skirts, bellbottoms, kimonos, and anything made of velvet. Afterall, we wouldn't want to disrespect anybody. I mean, how many wars have started over the simple faux pas of wearing a pear of the Old Navy loose fitting jeans? When will the madness stop?

In studies conducted in more than 100 countries by DDB Worldwide after 9/11, respondents perceived Americans as loud, arrogant and disrespectful of local cultures.

Because before we were totally respectful of those cultures. And the vast majority of foreigners that I've met love America, never have anything bad to say about it and can't wait to get to the local 7-11 and McDonald's. 

And in a new survey of seven Asian countries, the results of which were published this week in a Japanese newspaper, the image of the U.S. was reported to have declined across the board in the past decade, particularly in countries with large Muslim populations. 

Wait, wait, wait. You mean to tell me that a Japanese newspaper reported something negative about Americans?  I find that surprising.  But considering Japan's long standing and staunch advocacy of America, I have to believe this to be true. If Japan says other countries hate us, I  believe them. 

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(no subject) [Oct. 17th, 2006|10:47 am]
Neo-libertarianism - Civil discussions of neo-libe

So yeah. . .
I'm currently listening to "Culture Warrior" by Bill O'Reilly. Never been much of an O'Reilly fan, the guy has always come on a bit strong for me. I didn't like the fact that even though he had some ideas I agree with, he would go on TV and be interviewed by people that clearly wanted to start shit with him and visa versa. But he's got some solid ideas. He's also a little overboard on a lot of things. Very traditional guy. But at least he admits it. 

I guess I just don't enjoy getting into shitfest slinging shit matches with people over liberal vs conservative, progressive vs traditional, etc. It can quickly becoming just fighting, and just plain stupid. O'Reilly says that he likes honest, vigorous debates, but his "Irish temper" gets the better of him often. And I find that's true. And I think that that naturally generates some interest in him, which is not altogether bad. He knows that people love to hate him, and I think, to a point, he wants that. He views the clash of ideas in the United States as a "culture war" with all the trappings of conflict - weapons, injury, battles, victories, losses. Sounds good, but a bit much. Which is pretty much how I felt about O'Reilly to begin with. But at least he's not saying the same shit everyone else is saying. I find him tremendously compellign.
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(no subject) [Oct. 17th, 2006|10:46 am]
Neo-libertarianism - Civil discussions of neo-libe

This to, shall pass
t's shameful. It's horrible. It's unthinkable. Well, maybe not that last one. 

I was getting my coffee this morning in the break room at work and the TV was on. It was the local morning news talking about how the police in Miami were running a "Danger Drill" at a local school. It wasn't so much for the kids, but more for the cops. Basically it was training for "what to do in the event of a school shooting" and it pretty much looked like a SWAT drug bust. Riot gear, sheilds, clubs, tear gas, the whole nine. 

I was a little shocked. I mean, yes, it makes sense and everything considering the current focus on school violence. But the whole thing had the air of "duck and cover" or "in the event of an air raid, boys and girls, you need to get under your desk".  I mean, it's a school, not a de-militarized zone. 

But imagine trying to tell that to anyone who's been involved in a school shooting. They will tell you that, yes, it was a war zone. One boy, or several, opens fire with semi-automatics and automatics. Peace turns into chaos, and tension turns to turmoil.

And then you watch the news reports. The Today show, 20/20, etc. And everyone is asking "why?" and "how?"

Well, I think I can tell you why, and maybe how. 


Well, high school sucks. 

When I moved to North Carolina, and enrolled in the high school up there, I was just finishing up 9th grade. So, the guidance counselor (I could write a whole other article on guidance counselors) basically tells me that I have to "pick a track" of education. That I have to know what I want to do, career-wise, so we can select an appropriate class-load. Right. I'm 15. I'm still dealing with the newly enlarged penis and rampant hormones. Haven't given a whole lot of thought to the "rest of my life". College sounds allright, and sure, I'll get a job when I'm out. But beyond that, I don't know. 

And why should I know? Many adults realize late in life that they don't like their station in life and feel they could have been more successful if they had studied more, gotten better grades, a better degree, and so on. Well, maybe, maybe not. Our journey through life takes twist and turns that we could never predict. And the education system is a finite entitiy that offers few modes of pursuit of a career. Maybe some people don't fit easily into that. Maybe others do. Maybe it's not the education that is the issue, but the drive, the ambition, or the expectations. 

I, for example, don't want to be filthy stinking rich. I've met rich people, and that's not for me. This seems anathema to the American dream, but I don't think it's unreasonable. 

So, you've got the pressure to have a career path in school earlier and earlier these days. Florida is currently trying to pass legislation that would make you have to basically "declare a major" in high school, which I think is ridiculous. High school is for math, science, english, and history. Fine, there are computer classes, typewriting, shop, home ec, etc. And I took a few of those classes. But seriously, that's not "declaring a major". High school students have enough to worry about without having to do that. 

And then there's the touchy subject for me. Being a dork. Or a nerd. Or a Jesus freak. See, in high school, I was all three. I liked Star Trek and science fiction, I was adament about my studies and grades, and I was a very conservative Catholic. 

What chance in hell did I have of being cool? None. Zip. Zilch. Zero. To this day, I am still very much a dork. But it doesn't seem to matter as much in the adult world. Adults have other things to worry about like their families, bills, careers, insurance, cavities, taxes, etc. So go ahead, enjoy your episode of "The Dead Zone". No one, I wager, will say anything to you. 

Now to be fair, I have become cooler than I was. And I don't put up with as much shit as I used to, but that's the difference that 15 years can make. In high school, you're sort of locked into whatever mode or label you're assigned. And it's like that for four long years. It can be very frustrating if you're not on the right side of cool. Very frustrating. You can't win. Nothing you do can change your status. And you can't escape the environment. You have to go. Parents are no help, they can't relate anymore. Teachers, same thing. So who can you tell? How can you fix it? Make it stop?

Now I know that you might be thinking, but none of this is really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. Well, as an adult, you might be better prepared to think on and discuss "grand schemes". But as a kid, no way. When I was a kid, high school seemed like forever. And it was all there was. I couldn't see beyond it. I knew there was a beyond, but it wasn't easy to realize. Throw in a health dose of hormones and bingo, you've got highly emotional people. 

Now to be fair, I know that I'm only really discussing this from the "outcast" point of view. It took me a long time to realize that the cool kids really didn't have a pass on pain and hardache in high school. Maybe so me of them did, but the vast majority of high schoolers are dealing with a lot of shit, custom fit to their lives. Maybe it's the home life. Maybe it's the pressure to continue to be cool. But high school is the time for the loss of innocense and it is painful for everyone. 

Now with all this pain and hardache, do you think it's wise for teenagers to be anywhere NEAR weapons of ANY kind? I don't. They often use the weapons on themselves, and nowadays, seem to be turning them on others. 

So some kids are outcasts and don't know how to fight back, so they become armed and dangerous. Makes sense to me. If I had a gun in high school and oblivious parents, I can't honestly say that nothing would have ever happened. I might have done something. 

And you've got the cool kids. The pressure to succeed, fit the mold, tow the line, etc. Maybe they would like it better if they could just blow some shit up. 

I think that the media and the public realize the pain and agony of high school, but I think most adults forget the hopelessness of it. What allows adults to cope with suffering is that they realize that it can't go on forever. I don't think high school kids are in the same place. High school is such a small, confined, and unwavering atmosphere that it is easy to feel trapped. And you have very little experience to let you know that this to, shall pass. 

Where's the counseling for this? Is there any? Does it work? It also doesn't help that schools have label ready distinctions like the king and queen of homecoming, or the prom. Or AP classes vs honor classes vs college prep vs standard classes. Easy to categorize someone in those ready made categories. 

Inevitably, I have to wonder where the hell these kids are getting the guns. I'm fairly certain that however they are doing it, it's not kosher. Kids can't own guns, right? So who are the owners of the guns these kids have? And automatics? Are you shitting me?

I have a final point to make. (all the people say "finally") It's not all bad. These cases, while they keep popping up, are rare. That's why they make news. Stuff makes news that is rare or different. It's news. For the record,  there are 2 homicides per year for every 10,000 schools in the US. That's 20 a year for 100,000 schools. Not great, but not an epidemic. 
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(no subject) [Oct. 17th, 2006|10:45 am]
Neo-libertarianism - Civil discussions of neo-libe


N. Korea threatens war if U.S. pressure persists

Pyongyang says nuke test a success; Japan imposes further sanctions

"We rearry sick of being poor. We bomb you. We no have cable terevision. We never got to see how that Pearrr Harbor thing turned out." the North’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

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(no subject) [Oct. 17th, 2006|10:43 am]
Neo-libertarianism - Civil discussions of neo-libe


Time to talk to Al Qaeda?

There seems to be this sentiment that Al Qaeda is like a country we are at war with. These are the same guys who fly plans and drive cars into stuff, right? Some think we need to negotiate with them - the terrorists. Let me say that again "negotiate" with "the terrorists". 

Here's how I think that might go: 

Condoleeza Rice:  Thank you gentlemen for showing up: Mr. Bin Laden, good to see you, as well as you Mr. Moussaoui, and of course Mr. Moussoui, we apologize for having three armed guards surrounding you, but your "convict" status is still in effect and we have to honor that, okay. 

Translator: Madam Secretary, it appears that both men do not want to discuss anything further with you, as you are black and a woman. They say that unless you are here to be raped, you should leave. 

Rice: Well, tell them that part of the negotiation process is that both sides have to give something up. This allows both parties to win.

Translator: Their response is "Death to Americans"

Rice: And how would they feel if we removed all of our military from the Palestine areas?

Translator: They feel at this point, the only way to redeem yourself is to leave Palestine, but just prior, you should nuke the Israelies. 

Rice: Nuke them? As in wipe them out? 

Translator: Yes, apparently this would go a long way to gaining Al Qaeda's confidence that American can be negotiated with.

Rice: You mean all that we get in return is an option to negotiate? 

Translator: Rome wasn't built in a day, Madam Secretary. 

Rice: We can't just nuke Palestine. There are holy shrines there. Places the Muslims revere as well!

Translator: They say those are details and not their issue. Also they say Death to Americans again. 

Rice: What's it going to take for them to stop all terrorist activties?

Translator: They say that if each citizen of the U.S. converts to Muslim, that would make them feel less likely to schedule any future attacks. 


And the deal goes on from there. At the end of the day, Rice agrees that if we all become Muslim, disarm our military, and blow up California, Osama Bin Laden says there will be no future attacks on US soil provided we send 10% of our GNP to Al Qaeda training camps. Rice is hailed in the press by the ACLU and the DNC saying "see, all it took was a little talking"

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Holy crap! [Oct. 17th, 2006|10:39 am]
Neo-libertarianism - Civil discussions of neo-libe


From the "You've got to be shitting me" category:


Yes, this is real. Yes I did some tooling around and found out more about it. Apparently it's a real thing and people really do this and they apparently save a lot of people. But I couldn't find any still photos of any of these events.

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American, congrats on all the copulating. [Oct. 17th, 2006|10:36 am]
Neo-libertarianism - Civil discussions of neo-libe


U.S. population hits 300 million mark

Expanding numbers good for economy, commerce secretary says

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