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Personal Leadership & The Leaders Who Lack It

wolfbreathThere is nothing worse than a person with power who lacks leadership. Take, for instance, most world leaders today. Most are egomaniacs with a side of masochism. Et voila! Welcome to the modern world of faster, more and who gives a damn.

This is your call to action. Each day we wake up and participate in the false global economy, and dawdle off to our nine-to-five so we can pay our bills, we have a choice. We can silently let the world and all of the unfairness in it go by, or we can choose to act in a way that honours our human instinct ( I do believe it’s an instinct) and follows the golden rule. In other words, we can be selfish wahoos, or individual leaders standing up for what’s right.

There have been times in my life when I’ve come home from school or work, ready to throw in the towel.

I have what I believe to be reasonable standards when it comes to how I treat other people, and how I expect to be treated. I expect to be treated with respect, and like to do the same to the people I encounter on a daily basis.  I do my best not to complain, gripe, gossip or bring negativity to the room when I enter it. After all, isn’t it nice to have a conversation that doesn’t make your gut clench with anxiety or reach for a tissue? Yes, yes it is.

Sometimes, ok, a lot of the time, we are in situations with ‘leaders’ who have about as much couth as a coyote in a henhouse. The ability to lead has very little to do with experience, education or seniority. It has to do with personal philosophy, spiritual cultivation, and knowing oneself. Now expecting those qualities from someone, my darlings, is having high expectations.

As I’ve aged (and yes, leaders with no leadership ability is exactly the type of thing that ages me), and matured, I’ve come to realize that trying to change, explain to, or negotiate with a person in power who lacks leadership is a complete and utter waste of time. It’s like wearing mascara to the steam bath. It just gets messy and ugly in a hurry.

The issue becomes not whether you can change someone else, it becomes how well you are able to know yourself, and control your own reactions. I had two great pieces of advice given to me when I was a teenager chomping at the bit of independence; first of all, you don’t go anywhere if you don’t step forward, secondly, and I quote, “Sweetie, there will always be assholes.”  I grew up in the country, this wasn’t really considered cursing, it was just a matter of fact.

If you too find yourself spending time brooding over someone who consistently and more frequently displays a lack of true leadership, don’t do anything. The reality is, you need to do and say nothing. You need to buck up, carry on, and not let anyone rock the firm foundation of who you are or what you stand for. You do not need to argue, rant, run or cry. When it comes to jobs and relationships, give it a thorough analysis, because wherever you go, an idiot will be there. I’m not saying stay in an abusive situation, but try not to take it personally.

Eventually, you do learn that it really isn’t you, it’s them, and oh my, how they must suffer living in such misery.

By doing nothing, not reacting, or buying the kind of crazy that leadership-lacking-leaders are selling, you create this little zone of discomfort. It’s in that zone, when leaders cannot affect your own control over yourself, that they get a little woozy. You see, they thrive off your discomfort, and when you cut that little supply of nourishing misery off, they starve.  If none of their bullying tactics work,  it may prompt a little self-reflection. Don’t bet on it though. Just bet on yourself, and don’t forget sweetie, “…there will always be assholes.” Don’t let them recruit you.

YOU LEARN

by: Veronica A. Shoffstall

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn…
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth…
And you learn and learn…
With every good-bye you learn.

Do not let a leader who lacks personal leadership spoil your day. As the great Jimmy Buffett once sung, “…breathe in, breathe out, move on…”

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Sunday Survey; Just Kidding

sidewalk cynicPleased with myself at having honoured my need for rest, I stretched out gloriously long on the chesterfield, with book in hand.

Ah yes, this was life at it’s finest; nothing to do, nowhere to go, sun shining and breeze blowing through my open patio door.

But not so.

Before I even had a chance to raise my book to read, I had a man walk across the shared lawn, over my patio stones, and right up to my screen door. I watched as he cupped his hands to his eyes, and peered through.

“Hello,” the moron said. “I’d like to talk to you about your internet service….”

I’d like you to fuck off and stop looking through my window. That’s ok darlings, I only thought it, I didn’t say it out loud.

“No thank-you.” I said.

“Do you have internet service?”

I have an Irish temper, and an iron skillet that I’d like to show you. Again, I kept my thoughts to myself, and didn’t move from my  relaxed looking position on the couch. I’m deceptively nimble for a big chick. I can pounce from prone to standing in 2.5 seconds flat.

Instead, I said, again, “No thank-you.” My reasoning was, I was in such a blissful state of yo that I just didn’t want to get myself worked up.  After another annoying exchange about no soliciting, Mr. Creepy-Bell-Canada-Look-Through-Your-Window-Guy-On-Commission moved along, and I called security.

Don’t try to tell me he wasn’t a Bell representative either you greedy monopoly-creating-shits. He was wearing a Bell shirt, had on the dorky company lanyard and a clipboard in hand. He could just as easily have been Rogers bred. Trust me, this guy wasn’t scouting for future break-ins, he was just trying to feed his kids.

I don’t have such a problem with the weirdo at my window as I do the capitalistic culture which created the poor guy. Every chooch behind a counter has a pen and a schpeel about a survey. Every time I call customer service for anything, I get an email or another call with a survey.

Enough bureaucratic  red-tape already! This is not consumer protection, it’s a make work project for some asshole in a suit who, I’ll bet my socks, makes way too much money.

Quit wasting my time, precious resources and paying people shitty commission-based, or total-commission salaries, and get the hell off my patio on Saturday afternoon! Stop calling my phone, cluttering my inbox and having your paid-to-the-poverty-line employees cling to my screen door.

If you want honest feedback, we don’t give a shit about your surveys. Just post your overly bureaucratic complaint policy on your website and leave us alone.

Our government is a sell-out and a joke. Our citizens are apathetic, and whiny. Our health care system is a system without care for health, only numbers. Yet, this is one of the best countries in the world to live in. That’s heartbreaking.

When people are desperate enough to risk their dignity for their jobs, it’s time to speak up and stop the madness. Our country is going to hell, one contract-no-benefits and commission paid employee at a time.

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Christmas Rant: Part I

The War in the Vendée was a royalist uprising ...
The War in the Vendée was a royalist uprising that was suppressed by the republican forces in 1796 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, ‘Part I’. There may, indeed, be a ‘Part II’ , depending upon how stupid things get before the new year.

Last year the grand ‘we’,  declined to see the value in the Occupy Wall Street campaign, that was staggeringly avoided by major press agencies.

We let the dreadlocked-live-our-values-over-charged-for-our-mediocre-educations-and-under-employed youth, fight it out in the streets for the middle class. The middle class, who are losing their ever crippling grip on the edge of affluence as they march to the hypnotically convincing drum of ‘The Man’.

‘The Man’, yep, that pretty much almost sums it up. Consider two facts from Joseph E. Stiglitz’s The Price of Inequality;

“The top 1% earned more than 65 percent of the total national income [in the United States], ” and, ” …the ratio of CEO annual compensation to that of the typical worker by 2010 was back to what it had been before the crisis, to 243 to 1“.

While the media reports on Miley’s junior-miss sized twerking patooty, in above-the-fold-full-colour-coverage, they give about half of that coverage to reports about unions being vilified (by the powers that be), as unfairly over-compensating workers.

It doesn’t take a PhD in maths to know that the statistics mentioned above impact the majority of folks in not only North America, but everywhere on the planet.

When we treat silver-spoon born Conrad Black as a real journalist, and Rob Ford as a misunderstood ‘average guy’, we’re wrong. Dead wrong. Rob Ford’s Escalade is worth 3x that of the average vehicle (a simple Honda Civic) owned by those living in the GTA, and his assets multiply to have net value in the millions.

Toronto has a mayor who openly flaunts the rules, degrades homosexuals, women and anyone else who thinks differently than him, and uses the excuse that the press is too rough on him to get away with it all. Actually, his big bully brother does the talking. The day I knew we’d lost all dignity as a nation was the one that showed Mr. Ford and his compadres dancing like  idiots in council chambers just days after having his mayoral power stripped from him.

Only someone with the wealth of Mr. Black has the gumption to whine about being incarcerated for being a liar and a cheat. Call it fraud, bad accounting, whatever…it’s lying and cheating at the cost of everyone else who shares the same planet.

The worst part is, we let it happen. Yes, read this slowly; we allow this to happen. Instead of rioting in the street, we go to work, pay our taxes, and our over-inflated power, cell phone and health care bills.

Let me get back to the subject of unions. We’ve seen unions vilified by the Conservative government and big business, so much so that we’ve bought into this anti-union perspective.

Unions may have been gauche in the booming 80’s, but today we live a different economic and social reality. The reality is that unions are needed now more than they were needed in the past thirty or forty years. For over thirty years, the average annual income of a full-time worker stagnated, while the profits at the top have multiplied at astonishing rates.

Young adults entering the workforce are under-employed at alarming rates. Not to mention everyone one else. The days of full-time jobs with benefits that sustain a comfortable lifestyle are over. Instead, we have the majority of people working at part-time or contract jobs, unable to sustain themselves, or have any measure of security.

Besides being unable to pay their bills, folks in jobs that are not secure suffer from more illness and social problems than ever before. Economic instability feeds fear, and that creates a downward spiraling quagmire of social issues; homelessness, addiction, abuse, crime, and all of the other wonderful side-effects of poverty.

The top 1%’s after tax income reached an average of $1.3 million in the United States in 2010. That of the bottom 20% only reached $17,000. No wonder big-business-journalism and politics doesn’t like unions. Unions distribute the wealth and offer job security.

Don’t get me wrong, I know there are issues with unions too. Look at the billions of dollars of bailout money that went to Automakers with no conditions to streamline their production or offer more affordable, environmentally friendly products. Despite the obvious lazy-barnacles that infest unions (they also infest non-union environments at the same rate though), I’d rather live with unions to ensure more people with full-time jobs, than with what is happening now.

Canada and the U.S.,  live in a world of performing-party-politicking that leaves us without leaders in a wild-western-hemisphere black-hole of civilization.

If we leave the world up to those with no social conscience, and a taste for greed rather than loving-kindness, there will be many darker days to come, than this, the longest night of the year.

 

 

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Friends With Benefits – I Don’t Think So

The flags of Canada and the United States of A...
The flags of Canada and the United States of America, flying side-by-side outside PGE Park in Portland, Oregon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Canada and the United States have flirted, used, abused, supported and stabbed one another in the back throughout the years.

We have a love/hate relationship. Americans like having neighbours who spell properly, and smile a lot.

Canadians like the sunny south and football. Perhaps we could also throw in the Rose Bowl parade, you know, just to make our American neighbours feel good.

It’s nice being neighbourly with the big guy on the block. Well, it used to be. The other global-guys are hitting their growth spurt, and the big guy isn’t so big any more. In fact, his fat-cat ways are catching  up, and, I hate to mention it, but he’s grown quite an economic disaster of a muffin-top.  A grand example of a sugar-daddy whose looks have slipped, and whose wallet isn’t fat enough.

This week, Diane Francis’s Merger of the Century was reviewed in the Toronto Star.  She argues, apparently pretty convincingly too, that should Canada and the United States jump the broom, both nations would stand to benefit.

To summarize, should this little marriage of two socially opposite neighbours happen, it would create an economy larger than the combined economic sway of China, Japan, France and Germany.

Francis describes our Canadian resources as, ‘mindboggling’. Trillions and trillions of dollars worth actually. I don’t think the average Canadian needs to read her book to understand just how rich we are. We may have to point out that our resources are in great, imminent danger of being destroyed by greedy BIG BUSINESS.  The very same big business that almost bankrupted North America in 2008. Yes, the very same big business that gobbled up the bail-out and learned absolutely nothing about innovation, or the fall-out of greed.

Beyond our  plethora of resources, Francis also sings the praises of our banking system, sophisticated social values, educations system (If ours is good, I shudder to think about the American system), and ‘law-abiding people’.

I would like to point out, that these are also precisely the reasons that intelligent Canadians would never wish to be more economically tangled with the United States than we are already obliged to be by virtue of our proximity.  Should a merger happen, it would leave the social, political and economic landscape of Canada a no-man’s land.

Much like the cover of the book that has our Canadian Maple Leaf gobbled up in the design of the famous stars and stripes, our social identity would be lost to the machine of capitalist greed, minus our so hard-won social system. In short, the big guy needs us now that the folly of his ways has seen the light of day.  The tough guy is looking to someone to clean up his mess.

Go ahead, take Francis’s argument for a ride, but be sure to read the other sides of the argument; Fire and Ice, and Death of the Liberal Class.  After all, you want a clear picture of just how very different our cultures are.

The reading may also inspire you to articulate our distinctly Canadian values in the face of the political shit-show that will surely be our next federal election.

Fracking? Pipelines? Bureaucratic Elitism? GMO farming and antibiotic infused livestock? Yes, we do have some rather overwhelming issues to tend to in our very own maple-syrup rich backyard, but we’d have a heck of a lot more problems if we get distracted by a  big, shiny, diamond engagement ring from the USA.

 

 

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Canadian Journalism is Dead

broken_typewriter copy
broken_typewriter copy (Photo credit: wvs)

Journalism is dead.

The objective ideal has long since gone the way of cigarette holders and the sassy style of gin-joint flappers.

Today, the  cover of our local news featured an advert at both the top and bottom of the front page, with the majority of coverage going to Anne Hathaway’s smarmy giant-toothed grin.

Guess what I’m using to line the bottom of our bird-cage? Heads up Anne….

A minor few inches of the front page were dedicated to yet another report of a crooked Canadian politician, and an “exclusive’ about the risks of casual and contract work on the vulnerable.

I hate to break it to you Toronto Star, but – no kiddin’.

Canadian politicians are as crooked, greedy and unprofessional as any in nations which we assume political superiority. Not only is journalism dead, but so is real, political leadership and vision.

Very few, if any journalists working for major publications will risk their jobs or lives (no exaggeration) to report on who’s buying who. Besides, what good would it do? No one would publish their work anyway.

During the past few months, Toronto news has been overwhelmed with the mayor’s miraculous escape from being kicked from office, despite clear conflict of interest, and misuse of city resources (including pulling our miniscule transit resources to coddle his football hobby).

Senators Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin have lied about their residences. Bowing to the almighty dollar rather than the great good of the nation. Way to go.

As soon as Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne took office, the opposition started acting up like middle school children during a forced indoor recess.

We have become a nation of apathetic Stepford Citizens at every political level.  Democracy in Canada is a joke.

The “Canadian Dream” of living in a progressive, socially responsible society has turned into a nightmare of big business buying out our media, government, and stretching the gap between the working class and the wealthy thinner than an immigrant’s pay cheque.

Keep in mind, this criticism comes from a hopeless patriot, and idealist. I believe our country has great potential, and it’s heartbreaking to see it stripped away.

Are you prepared to be duped into thinking the issues of today are Anne Hathaway’s nipples and Danica Patrick’s crappy driving?

Yes?

Well, maybe that’s for the best. After all, ignorance is rumoured to be bliss.

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Seditious Wishes

Candles spell out the traditional English birt...
Image via Wikipedia

Did you know that the “luxury market” is set to boom this year? Bain and Company makes this prediction in the face of the looming global economic crisis. Did you know that Noam Chomsky has predicted this economic crisis by way of middle/working class brainwashing (by “them” – the combined political/capitalist elite)and apathy for decades?

Why, all of this thinking could make a girl dizzy! So, while my Vietnamese aesthetician exfoliated and massaged my feet today, I came up with my “If I were a Rich Girl Birthday Gift Wish List”. 

1)I will open the door to you holding a bottle of Clive Christian‘s Imperial Majesty Perfume: Price $215,000, and a bouquet of  orchids crafted of peridot, diamonds and rubies. Of course they will be token gifts for me so that you may cross my very glamorous domestic threshold.

2) Le Creuset‘s Metal Cork Catcher. That way we can start the occasion off with some bubbly minus the worry of injuring anyone, or more importantly anything.

3)Of course I would like a nice bottle of bubbly to practice using the Cork Catcher. Let’s see. Hmm? How about a nice bottle of the Shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck.  Better get on that. It’s rare, and you only have a month left before my big day. If for some reason you’re not man enough to get your hands on a bottle of that, I’ll take some Pernod-Ricard Perrier-Jouet. Actually, better get two.

4)A nice little Michael Kors leather-bodice dress to wear for the special occasion. I’ll need to get it altered for a little extra va-va-va-boob, so don’t leave it too late.


5)Pearls are a no-no for a man to give for a woman as they represent tears. Since I’ve had some experience with this, I will resist putting a beautiful strand of pearls on this list. Instead, how about a little something from Cartier. I think the Two-For-Trinity necklace would go nicely with the dress. Oh yah, and the earrings too.

6)For our little ride to the airport there’s a 1951 Rolls out there you could arrange. If you can’t manage the ’51, the ’49 will do.

7)After your people book a private luxury flight to Charles De-Gaulle, be sure you have made reservations at L’Ambroisie. You get the best tables if you call 01-42-78-51-45. Mmmm…can’t wait to blow out the candle on  the tarte fine sablée au cacao! Oh you’re so good to me. This is where I will open your real birthday gift to me..ooooh! I can’t wait for the surprise! I hope it’s shiny!

8)After dinner let’s slum it a bit and hit Au Lapin Agile after dinner eh? I know, it’s not Michelin starred darling, but let’s have a laugh and buy the house a round. Please, pretty please. I promise we can make for the jet straight away after the last act.

9) I suppose I need a “you” to direct this birthday list too. How about  one of the world’s eligible billionaires? I have a lot of respect for Oprah, but being heterosexual and all,  I’ll take Eike Batista. The latin ones are always pretty frisky and we’re born only 5 days apart – we can celebrate together! After a couple glasses of bubbly they all look the same anyway…blah, blah, blah.

10)A simple Langford cedar canoe. You see, indulgence can only ever come to a catastrophic end, whether it’s gluttony or greed. Kinda like the global economy. I figure with the canoe – I’ll have a place to reflect upon my 37th year as our civilization crumbles around me.

All of this  Noam-Chomsky-subversive-truth-telling-while-waiting-for-civilized-North-American-life-as-we-know-it-to- blow-out-our-liberal-class-sputtering-candle is enough to make a girl think twice about filling up her gas tank, or heaven forbid hope for a little over-the-top-materialistic-romance. Sheesh! Somebody pass me that bottle opener and whatever cheap hooch we’ve got on hand.

Since I likely won’t be getting any of the things on my greedy-guts-glam list, I’ll settle for a little public education. Go out and get yourself  some Chomsky in honour of this gal’s big day. Perhaps start light with Chris Hedges and his Death of the Liberal Class.  

After you’ve finished reading come on over, have a beer with me on the patio and chat. After all, enlightened conversation is a priceless gift. It’s all about the Om baby.