Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Brutally Honest Rant - 09/05/07

Brutally Honest Audio Rant: Destined to Fail
Audio Transcripts

[Start Program]

(Computer – Introduction)
(Music intro – “American Idiot Remix” – by Green Day and David Matthews 2)

Good evening and welcome to this week’s Brutally Honest Rant. I’m David Matthews 2, writer of the weekly online column Brutally Honest.

Good ol’ Charlie Brown”, the round-headed central character in the legendary “Peanuts” comic strip, was the ultimate born loser. I say “was” because the comic strip pretty much ended when creator Charles Schultz died. It’s been living on in repeats since 2000. This is the kid who couldn’t seem to get a break, no matter how hard he tried.

But probably the most notable thing about his animated young life was that the biggest of failures that he endured were intentionally caused by other people. He never could kick the football from Lucy Van Pelt because she would intentionally sabotage it every single time. She would orchestrate the other kids to make fun of him. She would belittle him at every opportunity. She would demand she take part in team activities and then sabotage them. In fact, Lucy was always the saboteur of Charlie Brown’s life… which makes you wonder how a kid like that would ever grow up with that kind of abuse and torment on his psyche.

Charlie Brown was destined to fail, no matter how hard he tried, no matter how optimistic he was, no matter how determined he was to finally win, he would fail… because other people would make sure that he failed.

If you think about it, there are plenty of people out there who are just like Charlie Brown. They try hard, they think they can pull off a win, but they simply can’t do it. They can’t because the system is intentionally DRIVING them to fail!

Think for a moment about the gambling casinos. Everyone who goes there has dreams of beating the house and raking in the fortune, but everything about casinos are designed to make sure that you LOSE. That’s how they make their money. The odds are ALWAYS stacked in favor of the house. And it’s all legitimate.

Lending institutions have certainly pulled this off with their subprime mortgages. Millions of people who were sold into the compulsion to buy or to refinance their homes did so through subprime mortgages that essentially were DESIGNED to fail. Interest rates that would go up and up and up beyond the ability to make even the minimum payments, forcing those people to go into bankruptcy and foreclosure. I mean, come on folks, did you REALLY think that Federal Reserve Board would keep key rates at zero-point-five percent forever?

So who do you blame in this? Do you blame the people who were suckered and pressured into getting into these risky loans even though there was a chance they would fail? Or do you blame the lending institutions that convinced Congress to change the rules and allowed these kinds of risky lending practices to take place?

There’s plenty of blame to go around here, folks. I understand the drive by stupid and naïve people to convince you to buy things that you shouldn’t. I hear it as well. Stupid and naïve people tell me that I should sell my car once I pay off the loan and then get another car… as well as get another car loan. Stupid and naïve people tell me that I should buy a house for no reason whatsoever other than to buy a house. Never mind wondering if I could afford to make the mortgage payments and pay for the utility costs, homeowners insurance, and taxes associated with owning a house. Oh no, just BUY a house. Do these people even THINK about these things? Nope. Not in the least! They’re just parroting the sales pitches that they heard from other people.

Well guess what? You HAVE to think about these things! And you have to say NO to them! Just like you have to say NO to those stupid credit card offers that you see on TV. Those stupid American Express commercials and those stupid Chase Visa commercials that tell you that you can do all sorts of really NEAT things with their cards. Yeah they’re great IF you can afford to keep up with the payments on them AFTERWARDS. If you can’t, then you’re screwed!

College students are falling into this trap as well, with credit card companies EAGER to give them credit cards so they can spend to their heart’s content, not realizing the burdens of having those cards and in keeping up with the payments. Never mind that many students simply can’t AFFORD to be in debt like that because they will have HUGE student loans to pay off on top of everything else. Doesn’t matter… give them the cards and let them figure it out later on.

People who take out payday loans are in a similar situation. They take out a loan, promise to pay it off by the next pay period, and not realizing that the finance charges for such a loan are literally HUNDREDS of times more than other methods of borrowing. But people do it because they’re in dire straits and they usually don’t see themselves having any other option.

These folks are all destined to FAIL, and they don’t even realize it. And no matter what they do, the system will make sure that they continue to fail.

And that’s not counting the number of businesses that are set up on the promises of success and money and instead are designed to keep the suckers working diligently for a payoff that will never happen. Day traders and multi-level-marketing people are all sold on this idea that if they work hard enough, if they put in enough effort, that they will make oodles of cash. They have no idea that the only people who are making the money in those games are the ones who sold them the idea in the first place.

They all have one thing in common… they were all sold on a DREAM. But what they are really BUYING is anything BUT a dream.

And how do you deal with that? Government action is a short-term option, but I wouldn’t even dare to call it a solution, because it’s far from one. There needs to be an INDIVIDUAL solution, not a government one. Besides, the government is the institution that ALLOWED these things to happen in the first place! When the time comes to help people out, who do you REALLY think they’re going to support? You? Fat chance!

Sure life is about RISK, but people need to understand that YOU’RE the only party that is really taking the risk here! These lending institutions and businesses are no different than gambling casinos in that the deck is ALWAYS stacked against you and that “the house” ALWAYS wins. And if you can’t afford to lose, then you have an obligation to yourself and your loved ones to walk away BEFORE you put your name on the dotted line.

And, speaking of the government, that brings me to a certain government program that is also destined to FAIL.

I’m talking about the FAILED phony “War on Drugs”. I say “phony” because it’s not a real war in the same regard as, say, the War in Iraq. It’s a phony war. It’s a fraud. It’s a joke foisted up by mealy-mouthed politicians pretending to take the problem seriously.

Oh I know that drugs are a problem in society, but the government adopting a neo-prohibitionist stance is NOT the way to deal with it!

Okay… follow me on this. Let’s start with a really simple message that can be expressed in a way that even little kids can understand.

“Drugs are bad.”

Simple, direct, easy to remember. “Drugs are bad.”

Okay, so you take that message to Little Johnny Precious or Suzie Purebred and you have them repeat it over and over again. “Drugs are bad.” “Drugs are bad.” “Drugs are bad.”

Then they go to school… and they find out that if they don’t sit down and don’t shut up in certain classes that the teacher will send them to the nurse to put them on a pill that will make them behave. And the parents have to pay for this pill that they will have to take every day so that they will behave.

But… drugs are bad.

Then they go home and they turn on the TV and they discover that grown-ups have to take a pill for all sorts of different problems. If they’re not happy, they need to take a pill. If they have problems going to the bathroom, they need to take a pill. If they can’t sleep, they need to take a pill. If they have too much stress, they need to take a pill. If they sneeze too many times, they need to take a pill. If they can’t do some sort of activity that usually produces other children and somehow involves really cheesy music, they need to take a pill.

But… drugs are bad.

They hear about all sorts of problems with this thing called “smoking”, which involves a substance called tobacco, that some parents take on a regular basis that everyone says is bad but the government still rakes in millions in taxes from it and they want to rake in even more from the few people who do take part in this thing.

But… drugs are bad.

Then they visit their older brother, who talks about ingesting this drug called “alcohol” that makes people do really stupid things and really messes up their lives, but it’s a neat thing to take and they ingest too much of it every time. And once upon a time they used to ban it, but then changed their minds because too many people were breaking the law.

But… drugs are bad.

Then they visit their older sister, who tries to hide the little container of pills that she takes so she can also take part in those activities with the really cheesy music… but without producing other children from it. And if by some chance she forgets to take these pills, then she has to take some other pills afterwards so she won’t have children when she’s not ready for them.

But… drugs are bad.

Then grandma and grandpa come over to visit, and they each pull out their bag of medications that they have to take every day. And they will line them all up in a row and mark off when they have to take each of them so they won’t take too much or forget to take them at all.

But… drugs are bad.

And let’s not forget that the sugary carbonated substance that the kids drink and the black liquid that the adults drink to keep themselves awake that are full of something called “caffeine”… which is also a drug.

But… drugs are bad, right? I mean that’s the message that the government wants us to accept, right?

Do you see where this is all going? And I haven’t even gotten to the really TRICKY subjects!

Let’s get brutally honest here… as a government program, the fraudulent “war on drugs” was BORN to fail! It was born to fail because the extremist neo-prohibitionist philosophy behind it – namely to BAN everything and deal with the consequences later – is incompatible with the REALITIES of our society!

The simple fact of the matter is this: we LIVE with drugs in one form or another. We can’t just spout off some extremist zero-sum mentality about how “drugs are bad” and then expect people to buy it when we use all sorts of drugs in our own lives.

Oh sure we CALL them something else! We call them proscriptions, medications, coffee, soft drinks, cigarettes, beer. But it’s still hypocrisy. We crucify athletes who take steroids, but we think nothing of the doctor that gives us a steroid injection to help our body heal after an accident. We’ll all condemn the crack whore who will do anything for her next hit, but we all probably know a parent or a grandparent who puts more chemicals into their body on a daily basis and will spend any amount of money to do it just to live another year. We’ll demand that drug dealers go to prison, but we’ll help put pharmaceutical executives in mansions.

And we expect the next generation to understand that? We have a hard time accepting it ourselves!

We need to seriously rethink this whole approach. People are going to mess up their lives no matter how they do it… either through sheer stupidity or simply as a means to pass the time away and possibly hasten their own demise. Outlawing the MEANS doesn’t make the DESIRE go away. It just gives people more opportunity to find ways to get around the law.

(Computer – some appropriate stuff)
(Fade Music In – “Mythodea” by Vangelis)

There is a significant difference between someone failing and someone being FORCED to fail. When a person fails on their own accord, you can tell them to get up and try again, and the onus is actually on them to do better. But the man – or woman – who intentionally forces that person to fail and then tells them to just get up and try again so they can fail again is nothing short of a sadist. And whether it’s for profit or simply for the sheer pleasure of watching a person fail at your own hands, it’s still despicable, deplorable, and just plain evil.

What do you do when you’re faced with that kind of evil that was displayed in people like the Lucy Van Pelts of the world? At that point is it really the fault of guys like Charlie Brown when they can do nothing BUT fail? I’d have to say no.

But then again, I have more in common with “good ol’ Charlie Brown” than most people would dare admit to.


Brutally Honest is a Get Brutal production; all opinions expressed are those of the commentator, and may or may not be shared by the online provider. This is David Matthews 2 saying good night, and I’ll speak with you soon!

(Fade out)
(Computer – Ending/“End of Recording”)

[End of program]

1 comment:

Jeffrey Dach MD said...

How to Protect Your Family From Bad Drugs.

Twenty percent of drugs approved by the FDA are later withdrawn from the market or carry warnings that they may cause serious adverse effects. To identify bad drugs, ask these three questions:

1) Has the drug has been recalled or given a black box warning?

2) Has the drug been in litigation with numerous lawsuits against the drug company?

3) Has the drug has been banned in other countries?

To read more, see the complete article.

Jeffrey Dach MD