In this issue:
Product Highlight |
Brainpower | Finances | Security | Health/Fitness | Miscellany | Thought for the Day
1. Product Highlight
common relationship poison / career stopper|
Also makes a thoughtful gift for someone close
to you who is struggling with this problem.
When you can't
accurately judge when to pass along information appropriately and
when to keep your mouth shut, you engage in gossip. The reason you
can't accurately judge when to be discreet and when it's OK to
repeat something probably has nothing to do with your intellectual
abilities. It has to do with your emotional issues. Which is why
it's a compulsion you haven't been able to stop so far. This course
will help you stop that compulsion.
Estimated completion time: 15 one-hour sessions.
People suffering from this condition are convinced that they are
successfully managing things when the opposite is actually true. A
gossipy person may appear to be in charge, but actually is not. This
behavior may give you a temporary feeling of security, but it
undermines all of your relationships.
You see, gossiping is an attempt to correct some underlying issue
so you gain acceptance with others. But it's a maladaptive,
self-defeating, self-degrading behavior. The paradox here is more
you engage in compulsive gossiping, the further you drive others
from you. Your attempts to gain acceptance ensure you won't.
One of the hidden costs of gossiping is the person you gossip to
can't help but wonder what you are saying about him or her. Gossip
gives you a feeling of complicity and superiority, because it
provides a "We are better than she is" message. However, it provides
another, stronger message. That message is, "I compare people, judge
them, and say bad things about them behind their backs. You could be
Consequently, relationships suffer when a person engages in
gossip. When gossip becomes a compulsion, the costs increase
dramatically. Your compulsion exerts itself in subtle (and not so
subtle) ways in your relationships. This undermines marriages,
friendships, and careers in a multitude of ways. None of which you
would suffer, if you overcame this compulsion.
Yet, you keep doing it. Why? This course will show you how to
discover the answer. Your compulsion is a response, and if you
understand how to uncover what's driving that response you can cure
The consequences of this compulsive gossip response include:
- People don't like you. If you feel isolated or
disrespected, your compulsive behavior is why.
- People often avoid being around you, because they are afraid
of what you will say about them.
- People don't confide in you, unless they have compulsive
tendencies of their own that cause them to seek out and confide
in gossips. So, you may be self-selecting highly dysfunctional
people as your only friends.
- Others may seem to agree with your point of view (for
example, that Bob is a total jerk), but that's often an
avoidance response. Rather than risk being judged by you, they
just agree. This does not mean they share your views. It means
they refuse to share their views with you.
- People who interact with you feel almost obligated to work
against you. This is because your behavior sends out signals
that tap a primal self-defense mechanism.
Your compulsive behavior undermines your career. It weakens or
destroys your relationships with others. It robs you of the richness
of life that could be yours. Because your compulsive behavior
prevents you from getting what you really want, you feel frustrated.
Your natural response is to apply more compulsive behavior. This
leaves you in a vicious cycle.
This course helps people who are mired in compulsive behavior to
overcome the underlying driver of that behavior. Not only does this
break the vicious cycle, but it eliminates your primary barrier to
getting what you want out of life. And getting what you want in your
relationship, finances, career, and other endeavors.
2. Brainpower tip
When it comes to not looking stupid, looking at word
choices can really help. Follow these two simple rules:|
Rule #1. Watch your word choices. Words have specific
meanings. When people aren't clear in what they say, they aren't clearly
understood. One problem here is we can easily use the wrong word while
speaking. If you do that, stop. Say, "No, that didn't come out right." Then,
rephrase what you said and ask the other person a question about what
you just said to see if your meaning was clear.
Rule #2. Be wary of word choices. Most people "shoot
from the hip" when speaking and some are even more cavalier in an e-mail.
All of us filter information based on what we expect to see--that's just how
the brain works. So, it's very easy to misunderstand a person who isn't
especially particular about word choices. To avoid looking stupid, clarify
the message. You can do this with a question or statement.
Jim says to Mary, "I'd like you to come by at seven
tomorrow and help me with my books." Mary agrees to this.
Mary, who is an early riser, just finished setting up
two new bookcases in her home. She shows up at Jim's at 0700. Jim, who is a
night owl, is still asleep. After some confusion, he gets to the door and
Mary is surprised to see he looks like he just got up. Half an hour later,
Mary finally understands that Jim needs help with his accounting software.
The use of the 12 hour clock was the first mistake,
here. Jim should have said "1900." Then, it would have been clear what time
Mary was expected. Remember, Mary is an early riser. So, starting an
activity at this hour isn't something she would expect and thus her natural
interpretation of "seven" is a morning time. But Mary should also have taken
into acct that people have different schedules. She could have said, "So you
mean 0700, correct?" Or she could have asked, "Do you mean 0700, which is
good for me, or 1900, which is not good for me?"
Some people suggest using "AM" or "PM" to clarify. But
these look remarkably similar when hurriedly scrawled on a sheet of paper
with a ballpoint that doesn't always put out the ink. I personally don't use
paper for these kinds of things; I use my Outlook calendar. But I still
refrain from AM and PM designations because they carry their own set of
problems (including the fact that the other party might use paper). You
cannot confuse 0700 with 1900, which is why the 24 hour clock is the
official clock in many industries and venues.
The other point of confusion was the use of the word
"books." Jim should have specified exactly what kind of help he was looking
for. "I just can't get the accounting software set up so it makes sense to
And Mary should have asked a probing question or two.
"What kind of issues are you thinking you need help with?" Or she could have
related her mindset. "I just set up two new book cases. Is that the kind of
help you are asking for?
3. Finance tip
Americans are expatriating in record numbers. This is
causing a brain drain that has been documented in such works as
Flight Capital. Even our
dimwitted CONgress acknowledges it's a problem. Their solution, as you
might expect, does nothing to solve the problem (as with other problems
they "solve," they have made it even worse).|
What is the number one
reason Americans are fleeing this country in record numbers? Dealing
with the IRS. Not taxes per se, but the "parallel universe" mentality
that pervades that organization. Not all of its employees are inflicted,
but enough are that the whole system is unacceptable to any nation that
wants to be considered civilized.
Even if you've done nothing wrong, some petty bureaucrat in the
employ of the IRS can wipe you out financially and go to bed feeling
good about it.
Before I explain how to prevent your complete financial ruin even if
you've done nothing wrong, let's look at an example of someone who did
something wrong. That would be Wesley Snipes. He should have paid his
federal income taxes. But he isn't the only idiot, here. Look at
how the IRS mishandled this. Just "do the math" and you'll agree that
sanity didn't enter into this particular picture.
I don't know Mr. Snipes' earnings, but I do know that Tobey Maguire
made $17 million for Spiderman 2 (and even more for 3) and Kirsten Dunst
made something like $13 million on that one film. It's probably safe to
say Snipes is capable of hauling down $10 million per year. What's the
federal income tax on that? Using 20% as a figure, we can say he would
pay $2 million a year in federal income tax.
But instead of making Mr. Snipes earn that money and pay his taxes,
the federal government has said, "No, Mr. Snipes. We don't really need
your money. We'll forego the $2 million a year and instead pay $65,000 a
year to keep you in prison." The message of this behavior is that the
income tax isn't needed to fund the government. If the collection agency
turns down $2 million a year, it must not be very important to capture
Someone sane would have said, "Let's offer Mr. Snipes a deal. He can
keep making movies and paying those huge taxes for the next few years
with some personal freedoms restricted due to violating the law. This
way, the govt gets paid, Mr. Snipes makes money, and millions of fans
get to enjoy great action hero movies."
What happened, instead? They chose abject stupidity as their guiding
Making matters worse, his peak earning years will probably be behind
him once he's out of prison. The IRS claims Snipes was a flight risk.
But he voluntarily turned himself in, and his source of income is here
in the USA. He's pretty much the poster child for "not a flight risk."
The point of telling you this is so you understand that if you run
into any kind of problems with your federal income tax, you will not be
dealing with rational people to settle those problems. If you doubt
that, do the math again.
Most IRS victims are not tax cheats. They are just caught up in the
machinery, like cotton in a gin. It could happen to you. What if it
does? Then you must know how to deal with the IRS, so that your finances
aren't completely wiped out. Here are some tips:
Dealing with the IRS:
- Don't panic. Whatever the IRS sent you is probably wrong. A GAO
report some years ago revealed that 94% of IRS notices are erroneous
(thank God the IRS doesn't run our airlines). If you receive a
notice, forward it to a qualified tax attorney immediately,
for a proper response. That response will be along the lines of
asking the IRS to substantiate whatever claim it's making. It is
possible that the IRS notice is actually correct (miracles do
happen). But make them prove it. Note: If you know you erred,
don't play "prove it" games.
- Never ignore the IRS. Always respond, even if just to let them
know you received their notice and are reviewing it. Never reply
immediately (prepare a proper reply), but don't dally either.
- Review your records to ensure they are organized and current.
You may have to provide 6 months of detailed financial records, with
only a few days to do so. Have those ready.
- Don't go it alone. The IRS counts on people to sling nooses
around their own necks. No IRS problem, however trivial, should be
handled by the victim (or, in IRS parlance, the "customer"--what a
dark sense of humor they have). It may seem an attorney is an
unnecessary expense, but millions of devastated people can, in
hindsight, tell you otherwise.
- Don't supply information to the IRS just because some IRS
bureaucrat says you must. Most IRS employees are totally unfamiliar
with the Tax Code. They use the IRS Manual, instead, and are sloppy
even with that. Through your attorney, ask the IRS caseworker to
show you where the authority for asking for such information comes
from. The IRS is statutorily barred from asking you for information
it already has (such as your tax return). There are some good
reasons for this law--don't give up this right. Send everything
through your attorney, and don't talk with the IRS directly.
- Always be business-like when interacting with your attorney.
Ditto with the IRS--they have 99% of the power; don't tempt them to
bludgeon you with it.
- If an IRS person calls you, explain that you will deal with them
only through your attorney. Don't explain why. If they persist,
repeat this. If that doesn't stop the insistence on talking to you
directly, say, "I have Power of Attorney. The laws forbids you to
talk directly with me. Let me speak to your supervisor."
- If you need to rant about the IRS, do so to your houseplant or
dog. Your tax attorney doesn't need to hear it, and you certainly
don't want to get flagged at the IRS as a malcontent. Keep
communication limited to the business at hand, so you can solve your
problem and move on. Sure, you may find some sympathetic person at
the IRS who will listen and understand. But for every one of those
decent folks, there are 5 who are just looking for an excuse to
bring the hammer down on you.
- Don't seek help from legislators. Many people think they have
the right to petition CONgress. Wrong. Only lobbyists have this
right. If you complain to your misrepresentarive or your senator,
expect IRS to turn up the heat on you while nothing gets done to
actually help you. The First Amendment does not apply in tax
Why you need a tax attorney ahead of time and what to do about that
- Unfortunately, IRS people see themselves as "the good guys." The
very fact you came on their radar means they already consider you a
lawbreaker. However, the reality is the opposite (unless you did
like Mr. Snipes). We can all agree that people who steal 4300
computers from their own offices are criminals. The GAO reported the
IRS did this in one year alone, so recognize the kind of people you
are dealing with (in the aggregate).
- Every criminal looks for easy marks. If you deal with IRS
without an attorney, that says something about you. And what it says
makes you an easy mark. If you have a tax attorney, you
automatically become a "hardened target." The deterrent value alone
of a reputable tax attorney justifies the money paid to that
- The single best investment you will ever make in your life is
the investment you make in a tax attorney. It's best to do that
before you have problems, and consult your tax attorney on
transactions ahead of time to reduce the chances that you will. If
you have never met with a tax attorney, make a note to do that some
time within the next 3 weeks. Interview attorneys as if you were
interviewing a prospective employee (that's essentially what you are
- Select your tax attorney carefully. Don't be wooed by
credentials such as "I used to work for the IRS." Interview the
attorney and listen carefully for messages between the lines. If you
did nothing wrong and the attorney seems to blame you for "tax
cheating," that attorney will not represent you fairly. You want an
attorney who is truly on your side, not just one who will take your
money for filing papers.
- Beware attorneys who claim they have an inside track, can
"settle for pennies on the dollar," or do anything else that hints
of getting you special treatment. You want an honest attorney who
will keep the IRS from playing their usual dirty tricks. You do not
want a shyster, and you do not want someone who thinks you are
trying to get away with something.
- If the attorney suggests an Offer In Compromise, consider that a
huge red flag. It is very unlikely an OIC will work for you. The
rules have changed many times since the OIC was first devised and as
of about 2006 it became pretty much worse than useless.
- The game of dealing with the IRS is tricky and very hard to win.
If you find yourself considering the idea these people might
actually be reasonable, go back to the Snipes case and do the math.
Would you turn down $2 million a year and pay $65,000 a year to
- If you need a tax attorney, contact us for a recommendation. We
aren't listing any tax attorneys here because we have made
derogatory statements about the behavior of IRS employees (in
general, though some are actually not bad people) and we don't want
to give the appearance that specific law firms have in any way
supported those comments. Please note that those comments merely
reflect the findings of the federal government's own General
Accountability Office, which gives the IRS a big red F on its report
In writing this, I'm not trying to make the IRS look bad. They have
done such a remarkable job of that themselves, they certainly don't need
my help. I'll sum up by saying don't cheat on your taxes, and if you do
have a tax problem don't assume you can use facts and logic to sort it
4. Security tip
This video features a guy who talks passionately about
how to keep everything we've worked for from going down the toilet:
It's my opinion he's emphasizing the wrong problems,
but he does make some good points that directly bear on your overall
security. His solution, featured at the end, applies to other issues.
5. Health tip/Fitness tips
- The average American drinks 400 glasses of milk in a year.
The average member of CONgress becomes a millionaire by milking the
average taxpayer for a few years.
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7. Thought for the Day
Your opinion isn't the only one that counts. In the
larger scheme of things, it doesn't count at all. In daily life, the
respect you show for other people's opinions counts far more than
whether they think your opinion is right.|
Wishing you the best,
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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