The Malboro Man back with a vengeance

June.4. 2019

Back in the day, the Marlboro Man was everywhere, on the big and silver screens.

He was the definition of the great macho man, the original hunk, the outdoorsman, the rugged cowboy—sitting by a stream or riding his horse.

All the while peddling to us his drug of choice, the cigarette.

Absent from view, of course, in all these great commercials—the emphysema machines, the black lungs, the wheezing.

If you watch TV these days, it would seem that the new drug peddlers of our time have learned a lesson or two from the Marlboro Man.

These days, if you have a new (and expensive) drug to peddle, you must always present that same idyllic existence.

In countless TV ads, beautiful people living the dream life, strolling on a sunlit beach, playing ball with their kids. having a BBQ in the backyard, casting a line into the big blue ocean.

All the while, peddling that drug of choice.

Absent from this idyllic existence, of course, the nefarious side effects, the equivalent emphysema machines, the equivalent black lungs…

It’s all part of the great American pharmaceutical life cycle.

First, the big rollout with much fanfare, many ads, (and many incentives for physicians to push the drug onto unsuspecting patients).

Second, the bumper crop of profits.

Third, stocks of the drug company go through the roof.

Fourth, negative side effects from the drug begin to manifest themselves among the populace.

Fifth, the independent studies.

Sixth, predatory lawyers get into the act.

Seventh, the TV ads with many 800 numbers to call if you think you are a victim (and you don’t have to pay unless you get a payout!)

Eighth, the drug company files for bankruptcy (while laughing all the way to the bank.)

Ninth, everyone lives happily ever after, except the poor victim who’s strapped to his emphysema machine (or equivalent).

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The means to an end

May.21. 2019

In life, there’re many hard decisions to make, and one of the hardest is the choice between the means or the end.

Which one do you choose?

The means or the end?

For example, suppose you hold a principle close to your heart, suppose it is about killing the unborn.

And then along comes someone who knows you hold that principle close to your heart.

He knows you would give a lot to help the unborn.

And so he promises you he will deliver this end to you, provided you allow him unbridled access to power.

He, of course, has absolutely no scruples or morals, and the plight of the unborn is the last thing on his mind–his only principle in life being to fill his coffers with the green stuff.

Would you still give him access to that unlimited power?

There’s an old story about the guy who decided that the end is more important than the means and sold his soul to the devil for delivering the desired end to him.

Well, we all know how that story worked out.

Something perhaps current Republican politicians should take note of.


The problem

May.16. 2019

The problem with many of our preconceptions is that they’re based on the wrong premises, which means most of the time, they’re wrong.

For example, we tend to think and assume that other people think and operate like us.

That’s the basis for that old golden rule—do unto others.

But others are not us; they may not appreciate what we appreciate.

So in your good intentions, you might try to help someone, and in the end, you only make yourself look patronizing and overbearing to that person.

Assuming that everyone would think and act like us was my mistake too, when I voted for the current occupant of the White House.

I thought that he would consider things like leaving a good legacy behind, and that being so wealthy, he would not be in the business of using the office to further enrich himself.

And boy, was I wrong on both counts!

The old Christian ideal of offering the other cheek too is based on the premise that the other person would be moved.

Again, wrong assumption, especially when it comes to people who come from a totally different cultural environment, and operate on completely different principles!

Instead of being moved, they would see it as a sign of extreme gullibility and exploit you even further.

So does that mean we throw out all our good intentions and preconceptions?

No, it just means that we take the blinders off our eyes and understand that things are usually a bit more complex than we think, and that we live in a jungle where harmless and beautiful creatures coexist with scorpions and vipers.

Which brings us to another problem.

How do you know which is which?


Rationalization 2

May.15. 2019

Rationalization is a great tool and enabler. It gives you permission to do whatever your heart desires.

Years ago, it was common practice for many mothers in China to drown their female babies when they were born.

Girls were not as desirable as boys because 1, they couldn’t work in the fields when they grew up, and 2, when they got married, they left the family and took on their husband’s names, so a total waste of time—raising them to lose them to another family.

But how do you justify killing an innocent baby?

Easy, find a rationale.

And they found the perfect rationale in the placenta and the umbilical cord.

They postulated that as long as the cord is still attached to the baby, the baby is not considered a human being so they could be disposed of.

Fast forward to our super enlightened times.

These days, the pretext for killing innocent babies is not based on the relative worth of babies based on their gender.

But rather, on the byproduct of entertainment, or rather sex as entertainment.

The problem with sex as entertainment is that you get innocent babies being conceived as byproducts.

So what to do with these inconvenient byproducts?

You find a rationale to dispose of them.

So science stepped in to offer the perfect rationale—as long as they’re in the mothers’ wombs, they’re not considered human beings and could be disposed of.

You got to love these rationales!


A good day

May.6. 2019

As they say, only in America.

Two co-conspirators in crime. Today, one sits in the highest office of the land, while the other one sits in jail.

Justice–American style.


The party of the opposite of what they say

March.31. 2019

So I hear our esteemed president saying that his party will be known as “the party of health care.”

(If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that anything that comes out of his mouth is just hot air, quite indistinguishable from the hot air that comes out from his other orifice.)

“The party of health care,” and the first thing they will do is take away health care from 20 million citizens.

But this is really a clever ploy—say the opposite of what you really plan to do.

It’s worked before so why not this time?

For instance, there’s a religion that claims to be one of peace and how did they spread that message of peace?

Through invading other people’s lands.

I believe someone said that if you tell a lie enough times, people will actually believe it’s the truth.

And I say, if you want to do something dastardly to people, tell them the opposite of what you plan to do.

For example, if you want to invade a country, tell them you’re a religion of peace.

If you want to take health care away from people, tell them you’re the party of health care.

It’s worked before, why not this time.


The difference

March.29. 2019

This is the difference.

I heard 20,000 gathered in NZ today to honor the victims of the massacre. 20,000 good decent people.

I don’t recall hearing of 20,000 people gathering in Mecca after the twin towers fell, not 2,000, no, not even 2 people.

Instead, they were dancing in the streets in celebration.

Tell me which religion is the true one of peace.


The current debacle

March.15. 2019

The current debacle with the college admissions scandal and the Manafort saga has a strange intersection.

It underlines one fact.

There’re two kinds of rich people—those who get their riches through cheating and bribing and those earn it through hard work and talent.

And talent is what separates these two.

If you’re lacking in talent, get someone to sit your SAT for you, or bribe some greedy official, or do some lobbying for some foreign despot.

As a boy growing up in Asia (specifically Borneo), I had long been aware that rich people are more filthy than crazy.

They got their ill-begotten wealth mainly through cheating and bribing local officials, and in the case of Borneo, cutting down centuries-old virgin jungle by bribing the head of the government to get the concessions.

There’s no thought, no consideration for anything else.

Their only consideration is to line their pockets with that filthy money.

The college admissions and Manafort intersection underlines another important fact—and that’s rich people will do whatever it takes to get what they want.

This is positive thinking on steroids.

To them, nothing is impossible. Everything is doable.

So if you want to get that ostrich jacket, find a wealthy foreign patron, if you want your son to go to a good college, bribe the coach or pay someone to sit his SAT.

This modus op is what separates rich people from poor people.

Poor people tend to be negative. They’re always thinking about obstacles, that’s why they don’t get anywhere.

Rich people on the other hand, don’t take no for an answer. They will do whatever it takes to get what they want.

This is a good positive trait, until it gets entangled with legalities.

And that’s the problem.

When you’re fired up with this positive energy, and it gets you all the riches of the world, at some point, you start to think that you’re invincible and that you will get away with it all the time.

But, to paraphrase that famous saying by Abe.

‘You can cheat all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you can’t cheat all the people all the time.’

It is true; some people do get away with it.

However, a useful lesson—if your money is more filthy than crazy (or smart), don’t run for president.

Because you might win, and then the nation’s eyes will be on your ill-begotten wealth and soon you’ll be blessed with a special counsel to examine every one of your past business transactions.

 


What goes around

March.15. 2019

Sad the mayhem that’s happening in the world today.

Innocent victims everywhere while the merchants of hate (from all quarters) continue to do their dastardly deeds.

In all this, one thing reigns supreme—the immutable laws of the universe.

Specifically, the law of return, or karma, or what goes around comes around.


God is love

February.10. 2019

Watching Christian TV, it seems like there is one phrase that is always popping up—God is love.

It’s almost like a mantra, a cliché, so easy to let roll off your tongue. (And of course hoping the jingle jangle of cash follows soon after.)

But it started me thinking.

What exactly is this love?

Love, as we know it, is mostly a human concept, a human emotion.

Surely the force, the energy that created the galaxies, quasars, black holes, supernovas, etc. surely this entity or being is beyond human emotions.

As the great Lao Tzu said, Heaven (God) is unhuman; It treats man like disposable straw dogs.

However, if we remove all the human corruptions of the term, we can see that, at its core, love is nothing but positive energy.

Positive energy that uplifts and creates.

Looking at the skies at night, it’s easy to see how the universe is overflowing with positive energy.

Just imagine the endless creation that is taking place all the time.

But you say; how about the black holes, the spent remnants of exploded stars, how about all the dead planets out there etc etc?

Isn’t there plenty of destruction in the universe?

Yes, superficially, but here’s the critical difference.

When the universe destructs, it’s actually an act of creation. From the destruction usually emerges another creation. Think of it as one stage of creation giving way to another.

As opposed to when men (with evil in their hearts) destruct, their destruction is pure annihilation, nothing good emerges.

So yes, it’s easy to see how the concept works.

God (the universe, the force that creates everything) is truly love.

You don’t have to look far. You feel that love in every breath you take.