Looking through a murky crystal ball

By Mike Crouse

On a recent morning, as with most mornings, made some coffee and turned on the morning news, mostly from habit... a not so good habit, and I’m not talking about the coffee. Home the past 27 years has been Washington state, what some cynics would refer to as “The People’s Republic,” of Washington, given that is true with many states (especially on the left (or west) coast, the way the metropolitan area votes lays out the policy mis-direction for all of us.

On the most recent election Seattle decided (for the rest of us) to legalize gay marriage and legalize marijuana, yippee! What a person does with their own time really is their business (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness), especially in their own private residence. While the apparent majority of Washington city dwellers embraced the election results, the rest of us get on with life in a lackluster economy shaking our heads and adjusting. But when it comes to the lovely people in the media, NOTHING can go without comment and interpretation by their anointed brilliance, and thus as the weekend approached that gay marriage was legal in the People’s Republic of Washington, it was given the same bloated verbose coverage as the Japanese Tsunami of last year, never mind that same gender marriage’s importance to most is very incidental.

The lesson here is often repeated: in the very leftist mind set it is not enough to win an issue, victory is only complete when you rub it in everyone’s face and do a little victory dance, over and over ad nauseam.

We wonder if similar coverage will be given to the inevitable, and messy string of predictably ugly and expensive divorces in a few years? Nah, more likely we’d see a new “reality TV” show on the subject.

Legalizing marijuana in this, and likely additional states in the near future, while widely celebrated has far more questions than answers, in that it is still illegal by federal law, and remains at odds with most (if not all) workplaces, and subject to DUI (driving under the influence) laws. Granted, what you do on your own time is your business, but if you’re under the influence of something, which by its very nature “clouds” your judgment, especially where it has the potential of endangering my personal safety, and that of my fellow workers, that’s an entirely different matter that I’m opposed to.

Many times when talking to “drug” fans we’ve noted “...the world is a complicated place, and getting more complex with time. Why would you think that putting a fog over your ability to perceive and judge real time reality would make things better?” 

It brings to mind the phrase sometimes heard about patrons of the opposite sex in bars at 2:30 in the morning as they made the last call for drinks and the crowd started to thin out. “They all look better (including the person uttering the phrase) at 2:30!” Inevitably that lead to the phrase of “coyote ugly,” in at least some of those cases, the following morning. For those of you not familiar with the phrase, “coyote ugly” applies to whomever those with poor judgment may find themselves partnered with the following morning with your arm beneath their head, and it’s being better to gnaw off your arm rather than risk waking them by moving it from beneath their head so you can escape unnoticed.
Unforeseen consequences increase when you’re not thinking beyond the immediate goal, and impeding one’s thinking increases the odds of unforeseen consequences dramatically.

We’ve had many “coyote ugly” moments of public policy the past several years, many intruding into our private lives, our public freedom, our private property rights, and perhaps most disastrously in the growth of government largesse and lack on fiscal constraint. Unfortunately, there is nothing humorous about this in light of its long-term effect on the future of our freedom.

It’s a spending problem

For all the divisive rhetoric, class, race and economic warfare encouraged by our recently re-elected president, in HIS effort to shift attention to a “rich vs. poor” showdown, the harsh reality is congressional spending the past two decades. As occurs in many young marriages, the money issues the lead to divorce are not so much rooted in lack of income as they are in lack of discipline in spending. Today’s congress, and today’s administration has all the spending constraints of teenage newlyweds... which is to say none. Regardless of how much they earn, their spending will constantly expand beyond income.

The issue is philosophical, ideological, and has nothing to do with priorities. My five year old granddaughter has more control.
More income will not stem the flow of red ink. It will only spur more spending until we run out of other people’s money. “Tax the rich” may carry well, but the current issue is the same as the old issue: too much spending, no prioritizing, and far too much federal government. If you want more government, do it locally where accountability is close at hand.

Workforce

Perhaps one of the best philosophies we’ve heard on the future of logging came from a contractor we’d recently spoken with about their success in hiring, training, and maintaining a younger work force. To paraphrase what was said, “... we’re not just hiring someone for the job, we’re hiring them for a career.” While at first you may find that simplistic, the difference was in meaning and commitment: We’ll bring you into the company as part of the company. They take it a step further with health insurance, and 401(k) retirement plans. “We want to be able to give our young people coming in a profession,” and with the healthy mix of ages on the crew, it’s clear they’ve been successful at that.

A positive choice

A few years ago we heard some of the best advice on keeping your perspective and mood positive from a speaker during the Associated Oregon Loggers annual meeting, who suggested we stop listening to the televised national news, not to hide from reality, but to reduce the stress and repetition sensationalized as has been the fashion for the past decade plus.