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Mindconnection eNL, 2008-02-17


In this issue:

  1. Product highlight
  2. Brainpower tip
  3. Time tip
  4. Finance tip
  1. Security tip
  2. Health tip/Fitness tip
  3. Miscellany
  4. Thought for the day

1. Product Highlight

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2. Brainpower tip

If you're going to wait for the government to get its act together before you can be happy, you will have a very long wait. As in, you will never stop waiting. But some people take this fact too far and read far too much into it.

In this eNL, I frequently point out some incompetence or malfeasance conducted by some government or another (typically that mess known as the United States Federal Government). My reason for doing that is to show you some strategies you can use to be happy and successful, despite having this or that particular manifestation of stupidity, arrogance, criminality, or some combination thereof.

It's like the fire department guy coming to your home and pointing out problems and then telling you how you can fix those. (Hey--in many places, those are government employees!). It's hard to solve a problem or prescribe workarounds if you don't identify and describe the problem.

But take care that you don’t simply dwell on the problem. Or apply a generalization like "government is incompetent" to every government employee or every government action. And let's not forget that those brave souls serving in uniform are government employees. To speak ill of government employees in toto is just plain ignorant.

Recently, I spoke with an individual who mentioned several idiotic things done by the federal government. And he was correct, of course. When I mentioned some positives that also occur in the federal government, it was as though he didn't hear me.

Believe it or not, there are many intelligent, hardworking federal employees who can go home at night with the knowledge they made a positive difference in the world. In most agencies where these people work, their efforts are overshadowed by the negative consequences caused by the masses of process-bloating, goal-devoid, system-playing parasites they are forced to work. But that doesn't mean they don't exist. Most agencies are so bad, we'd be better off without them. But that doesn't mean all agencies are bad. You can't generalize like that, if you want to identify actionable issues.

This guy's one-sided negative monologue was starting to get on my nerves. I interrupted his ranting several times, trying to get him to tell me what his point was.

It turned out he had no point.

The entirety of his mental processes were consumed by stoking the negative fires of his negative emotions. He wasn't logically analyzing a problem so he could deal with it. He was wallowing in the problem so he could enjoy griping about it. But this also meant he was disengaging his cerebral cortex and operating on the reptilian part of his brain.

Another way to describe him is this. He was a caricature of the very mindless government employees he was ranting about. The thought struck me at that moment, and I actually laughed out loud.

If you find yourself frustrated by government red tape and stupidity, consider yourself normal and in good company. And also consider that dozens, or perhaps hundreds of government employees feel that same way--as each day they report to "the nuthouse" and try to do something that actually makes a lick of sense and/or is worth the tax dollars spent to pay for it. Some of them occasionally succeed. Some of them regularly succeed. So it's not all bad.

There's nothing wrong with you when you find that yourself frustrated over the sheer waste and senseless that spews forth from government offices each day. But when that frustration puts you into a brain-deadening funk, start listing a few things that government gets right.

Here are a couple from my own experience:

  1. In Kansas, the Dept of Motor Vehicles amazes me. DMVs have long been ridiculed as the ultimate example of inefficiency, stupidity, apathy, and a long list of other negatives. In KS, the DMV is a role model that many private sector businesses could learn from.
  2. Some guys from the KS DOT and the Army Corps of Engineers had coffee together one morning. They had been doing some preliminary work on upcoming projects. They got to talking. They got to talking a lot. Three years later, they completed their projects a year early and $2 million under budget. How? They looked at how they could merge each other's project plans instead of working on top of each other or having to undo each other's work at various stages.

And that's just local. I'm not saying government typicaly gets things right. I am saying government doesn't always screw things up beyond belief. So when I am confronted by yet another expensive, pointless government screwup, I remind myself that competence isn't mutualy exclusive to government. This gets me off the emotional track, and on the logical one. Where my half dozen layers of cerebral cortex can be fully engaged.

This same principle applies if you are frustrated by your job. Dwelling on it will make you stupid at work. So, don't.

3. Time Tip

How to handle one of the all-time biggest time-wasters:

4. Finance tip

Business Week reports that, at 20 large US banks, the cost of complying with US laws and regulations grew 159% from 2001 to 2006. Think about that. This one cost grew an astounding 159% over five years. Wouldn't you love to MAKE 159% on an investment over five years?

Business Week also reports that this far outstripped profit growth. Well, yeah, that's obvious.

Now, stop a moment and try to recall if you've ever seen a tree with money falling off of it. Did you get out your rake? What's that, you don't think money grows on trees? This puts you directly at odds with your CONgress, which pretends it does.

Here's a sobering number. The average big bank spends $83.5 million a year to keep up with Sarbanes-Oxley, the Patriot Act, and other useless laws that have absolutely zero benefit to society. These laws accomplish nothing other than to create sales for the firms that lobbied to have these laws passed to "protect" you. If the airbags in cars were designed per the logic here, they would be placed in the headrest so that they slammed your face into the windshield.

To improve your finances, let your CONgressman know that you want these useless and expensive laws repealed. ASAP. You are tired of paying out your share of your bank's parasitic compliance costs. Now you can see why banks charge all those nuisance fees and don't pay you interest unless it's a pittance. The money that would otherwise be yours is siphoned off to pay for complying with a boatload of insane laws that were passed solely for the purpose of creating a market for compliance firms. These are firms that would serve no purpose without these laws.

In other words, what happened is this. A group of folks came up with an idea for a profitable service that wasn't needed. So, they convinced CONgress to legislate the need. You are the patsy who pays for this service.

When you ask your CONgressman to repeal these laws, you are asking CONgress to remove their lobbyists' hands from your pockets.

5. Security tip

Don't give out your personal information, except on a "need to know" basis. Identity thieves look for bits and pieces. Some "talking points":
  • A stranger doesn't need to know your first and last name, so don't have this on your luggage tag or any other place where someone can easily take note of it. Their next stop is a phone directory, from which they can find even more information (and being unlisted doesn't keep you out of all directories).
  • In the USA, we have a Ponzi scheme known as Social inSecurity. I won't go into what's wrong with this system, here. What's important here is realizing that your SSN is a critical part of your identity. Only government agencies and their agents need to have it. For example, the IRS needs this number because it's your taxpayer ID. By extension, your bank needs it (to issue you a 1099) and your employer needs it (to issue you a 1099 or W-2). But your local grocery store doesn't need it. Nor do most folks who ask for it. If it appears on your personal checks, destroy those checks and order new ones.
  • Sometimes, merchants "require" you to put your SSN or phone number on a credit card slip. Here's something you should know. Their doing that violates their merchant agreement. You can report them, and they may face fines or the loss of their merchant account. Further, your rights in this matter are protected by federal law. Since this merchant is either incompetent or dishonest, take your business elsewhere. Even if that inconveniences you. Then call your credit card company and report the incident. Please note that a merchant can require you to show ID.
  • When traveling, avoid telling anyone what city you are from. The fact you're not there now is good information for a burglar to have.
  • If obtaining medical treatment, consider paying in cash and not giving your SSN. Why? Because if you use an employer-paid plan, your employer will know why you were there. Your SSN, of course, means that visit will be tied to you in a dozen different databases. Why would this matter? Certain medical treatments have stigma attached to them and people draw wrong conclusions and do some very damaging things to you. If you would not be comfortable telling all of your coworkers you just got tested for VD or you are undergoing therapy for an emotional problem, then by all means keep it private. The only way to do that is to pay the bills yourself.
  • Sweepstakes pay out nice prizes, don't they? Have you ever wondered how they can afford to do that? It's called list rental. You fill out an entry form with your name, address, phone number, and some other bits of personal information. They turn around and sell that information to any willing buyer.
  • At one time, it was considered a smart business practice to put your home phone number on your business card. After all, nobody would ever call it. The fact it was there just made you look accessible and that's what counted. Today, people don't respect privacy. If you put a phone number or e-mail address on a business card or in an e-mail signature, it's fair game. At any hour. So keep business numbers and personal numbers separate. Just as employers frown on your taking personal calls while occupying one of their crappy cubicles, you should also frown on taking business calls in your humble but heartwarming home.
  • Be careful when making negative comments in public, in private, over the phone, in e-mail, in the woods, over the hill, or through the dale. And never joke about doing harm to any person. Something said in total innocence (as a joke or whatever) can make you the target of surveillance. Said surveillance includes a "look around" break-in into your home without a warrant. This isn't the worst that can happen to you. You could find yourself held incommunicado for two and a half years as some American citizens have. Forget that "Freedom of Speech" thing. That simply means you have the right to petition your government or object (in a non-threatening way) to something the government does. It does not give you the right to say whatever you want. We live in dangerous times.

6. Health tip/Fitness tips

Make sure you protect yourself from this condition:

7. Miscellany

  1. The King of Hearts is the only king without a moustache. This fact could save your life if you are abducted by some whacko group that tortures and kills people who don't know which king has a moustache. Outside of that, it's just trivia that is probably of no value whatsoever.
  2. We don't run ads in our newsletter. We do get inquiries from advertisers, all the time. To keep this eNL coming, go to and do your shopping from there (as appropriate).

  3. Please forward this eNL to others.

8. Thought for the Day

Since 2001, can anyone really think paranoid behavior is imprudent?


Wishing you the best,

Mark Lamendola


The views expressed in this e-newsletter are generally not shared by criminals, zombies, or brainwashed individuals.

Except where noted, this e-newsletter is entirely the work of Mark Lamendola. Anything presented as fact can be independently verified. Often, sources are given; but where not given, they are readily available to anyone who makes the effort.

Mark provides information from either research or his own areas of established expertise. Sometimes, what appears to be a personal opinion is the only possibility when applying sound logic--reason it out before judging! (That said, some personal opinions do appear on occasion).

The purpose of this publication is to inform and empower its readers (and save you money!).

Personal note from Mark: I value each and every one of you, and I hope that shows in the diligent effort I put into writing this e-newsletter. Thank you for being a faithful reader.

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