Lions without Courage

From the Wizard of Oz… Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in apricot? What have they got that I ain’t got?  Dorothy and the Scarecrow respond, “courage!’

A news report tells of Baylor Health Systems who is going to start testing volunteers and new hires for nicotine and not hire anyone who uses it even to the extent of nicotine patches or gum.  While Baylor of course, can hire whom they choose, few who read this article saw beyond the inherent health benefits or how they hate smoking.   They did not see that anyone was being discriminated against for participating in a legal activity.  People have been indoctrinated to dislike smokers to the extent of thinking them stupid or addicted.

Most people are not aware that they have been indoctrinated. Indoctrination starts young, in school when a child is taught that the government is always good, to believe on faith what they read or hear from reporters, science is never wrong and of course, that Superman can really fly.  If you take any two or more races of young children together, they play well with each other.  When the child gets older, they may not due to being indoctrinated by the adults around them that the races are different or that one should hate another race…bigotry starts at home.

Advertisements by both business and political people repeatedly send out the message they want someone to believe…buy a certain soap, pill or believe in strictly divided political lines…and of course, one party or the other only has YOUR concerns that they will address.

Scientists do research funded by whatever corporation or government entity that is funding them…and 95% of the time find the exact results the funder is wanting.  Then that corporation or government entity touts the findings from the rooftops repeatedly, and the people, who are not aware of indoctrination techniques, believes the findings as gospel.  It must be true if they keep repeating it, right?

climate change study offer  This link talks about two things, first scientists being offered big money to deny climate change and secondly the global warming ideal.  Anyone who can think and do a little research knows that scientists are often led to the money trail.  Furthermore, anyone who has done a little studying that global warming for the most part is just what it is, the earth being at the end of an ice age and is warming up naturally.  Yet, due to indoctrination, millions of people bought into the global warming fiasco resulting in hundreds of regulations and in making the EPA what it is today…a monster.

Indoctrination has led to bigotry, discrimination and outright hate in some people; of course, racism is the most commonly thought of source of bigotry, but think about the Baylor story, smokers are disliked and discriminated against because while any thinking person knows it is most likely unhealthy, it is still a legal activity.  This is due to slanted studies and there are studies that are slanted the other way…of course funded by the tobacco industry.  People have been taught that everyone no matter what, should be in a certain size range.  Studies say so after all, funded by the pharmaceutical and insurance companies and of course, the billion dollar a year diet industry.

Why are there so many people who are indoctrinated to certain issues and so called facts?  The founding fathers had it right when they said ‘united we stand, divided we fall’.  While they were talking about the revolution, it holds true today.  If the government can keep people indoctrinated to the point that they only look out for their own interests and not their fellow citizens, they create divisions that keep people apart…it is another form of control of the population and creates hostility on one hand, and apathy on the other.

It takes courage to take a hard look at one’s self to identify areas where you may be indoctrinated in.  It takes courage to think outside of the box to end personal indoctrination.  It takes courage to think about another’s rights outside of your own interests and preferences.  It takes courage to shed the artificial bigotry and selfishness created by indoctrination.  There is no Wizard of Oz to give you a medal of courage to assist you in this, just yourself and the willingness to do the right thing for others.




Looking Behind the Curtain to See the Wizard of Oz: The Brainwashing of American Truckers and Others

At carnivals, in seconds smooth talking agents convince someone that they can win that huge, expensive prize for $1.00 by pulling a string.  It is not that the mark is stupid; it is that the agent is a master at brainwashing even if it is only long enough to get the mark’s money.  Promises of great advantage or disadvantage are the hallmark of brainwashing.

In the trucking industry, about 35-40 years ago, the systematic destruction of the trucker’s image started.  People went in droves to see movies like Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and stayed home to watch B.J. and the Bear (1978-1981).  Both the movie and the T.V. show depicted truckers as outlaws who drank, drove crazily and fought the law.  This culminated during those years in ABC doing a 20/20 story called Killer Truck Drivers.  The reporters went out and interviewed truckers who were laid over for the weekend and partying, needless to say, it was an ugly report.

During the late 1970’s and 80’s continuing to today, study after study has blackened the truck driver’s image.  Driving while fatigued, wanting to hurt other drivers of cars, taking drugs, drinking while driving, excessive body mass, being a driver with disabilities, being unhealthy and being serial killers are attributed to truck drivers.  Of course, the American truck driver is very unsafe too.  Media reports rarely point out that it was a pickup truck that caused an accident, they use the generic ‘truck’ instead, misleading people into thinking it was a semi involved. 

The agencies who regulate trucking, and some associations, too are to blame for the destruction of trucker’s images and brainwashing the public.  The people at the agency who have little or no actual trucking experience and no understanding of the job, sit in their offices and listen to people who have been taught to be afraid of truckers then make unreasonable rules and regulations.  Or in the case of some associations, the association back rules and regulations which favor them to increase their bottom line.

People outside of the industry have eaten up this sensationalistic nonsense and have become brainwashed to the realities.  Sadly, many people who have entered the industry in the last 20 years or so too have listened to and read the stories, bought into the sensationalism and have become brainwashed.  Both truckers and non-truckers support more and more regulations concerning the trucking industry because they will not be affected, they think, so they back the regulation to get those ‘bad truckers’ off of the road.

The latest shot across the bow of truck drivers was the NTSB’s suggestion that cell phone use in any fashion while driving be banned.  While at this time, this is just a suggestion, the second one since 2006, with the current trend to punish all truckers for the actions of a very small minority, and the director of the DOT Ray LaHood supporting the ban of distracted driving for truckers, the FMCSA will most likely act upon it.  Even though the study done at the bequest of the DOT by Virginia Tech shows that cell phone use is not the risk it is made out to be, many people including truckers are all for supporting the ban.

The same scenario played out during the flack over body mass index.  People have been brainwashed by decades of diet industry propaganda into thinking that heavy people are lazy, unhealthy and should be thin like models shown in newspapers and other media.  Playing on this brainwashing, and funding from the diet industry and the medical manufacturing sector, people supported forced dieting, sleep studies and even not allowing truckers to drive without using a machine that may or may not be necessary…and then there are the companies who chose to use BMI as a reason not to hire someone.

The types of brainwashing cited above are not as innocuous as the opening paragraph where a mark is only taken for his/her money at a carnival.  The latter examples are insidious and border on bigotry by artificially dividing people for obscure or governmental reasons and causing hate for others only to further restrict another person.  These tactics are a form of control and used to dominate a population eventually; Hitler used brainwashing to great effect, as do others such as communist countries.

Are you brainwashed?  Everyone is to some extent; one buys a certain soap because of an advertisement or asks a doctor for some specific medicine because of being told it will cure what ails them.  Are you brainwashed to the extent of believing exactly what you read or hear and using what you supposedly have learned to take away rights for others who have done nothing illegal?  If so, remember Pastor Niemoller and what he had to say after WWII…

“THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

At some point, something will come up that WILL affect you directly; you had better hope that someone stands up for you who is not brainwashed against you and who believes in the rights of others.









No Cell Phones, Less Working Hours, More Regulations: Oh My!

No Cell Phones, Less Working Hours, More Regulations: Oh My!

The September 13th announcement of the NTSB’s latest recommendation that cell phone use of any kind by commercial drivers be banned was the latest in a long list of regulations, recommended regulations and proposed regulations that have become overwhelmingly burdensome to truckers.  This in a governmental atmosphere of backing off on regulations to spur the economy, a quote from President Obama highlights this: “At the same time, I have continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover,” he said. 

What about the trucking industry? 

Just this summer, against the wishes of the majority of people in the country, the government decided to go ahead and open the Mexican border to Mexican trucks that will have the potential of putting thousands of American truckers out of work.

New Hours of Service regulations propose to cut trucker’s work hours to 10 in a 24-hour period and extend the 34-hour restart to potentially 57 hours off including the midnight thru midnight section.  This will not only cut a driver’s wages, but increase the need for more drivers, more trucks and add to the congestion already caused by the old new hours of service.  In many truckers’ opinions, this will lead to bringing in more foreign drivers who will not only work cheaper, but who may not be as safe as American drivers due to the so-called driver shortage.

Almost all truckers agree that the ban on texting while driving for truckers was a good move, but most do not agree with the need for more ‘nanny laws’ and all agree that the fine for texting while driving, up to $2700.00 for a first offence and the possibility of losing one’s license, are too stringent.

More states, cities and counties are instituting anti-idling laws while some companies have decided, because of the economy, not to add apu units on their trucks.  If a driver cannot sleep safely and comfortably, the driver risks accumulative fatigue, this while the FMCSA and lobbying groups are citing driver fatigue as a major contributing factor to accidents against statistical evidence to the contrary.

Drivers now are ticketed for mechanical failures that may occur after the pre-trip or where the driver is told by their employers to bring the truck to the nearest shop or terminal for repair.  Furthermore, if a law enforcement officer feels that only a warning ticket needs be issued for minor infractions, it will still show up on a driver’s and their company’s safety scores to the detriment of both.

Now the proposed ban on cell phone usage rears its head.  In 2009, Ray LaHood head of the Federal DOT, conducted the first ‘safety summit’ where it was cited that the most problems were with young drivers 24 and under who texted while driving.  In the report of this summit, it stated that the NTSB had recommended a full ban on cell phone usage three years before.

A study done for the FMCSA by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute that addressed the prevalence of driver distraction in CMV safety-critical events (defined as ‘crashes, near-crashes, crash-relevant conflicts and unintentional lane deviations’), shows that talking or listening on a hand-held cell phone in real world driving conditions does NOT create ANY increased risk of such safety-critical events for CMV drivers.  (Olson, Hanowski, Hickman & Bocanegra, Driver Distraction in Commercial Vehicle Operations, Doc. No. FMCSA-RRR-09-042 (VITI Distraction Study) see Fed. Reg. at 80020-80021 & Table 1.)  (This information from OOIDA’s February, 2011 response to the FMCSA proposed rule against texting.)  In OOIDA’s response, it also stated that the FMCSA did not take into consideration hands-free cell phones.

LaHood has cited several areas of distracted driving that needs to be addressed beyond texting and has set up a government website detailing this and focusing on the victims of distracted driving.  One must wonder that if the FMCSA takes the NTSB recommendation seriously what will be next that truckers are not allowed to do.

As has been seen in recommendation after recommendation for more stringent regulations, the FMCSA, the NTSB and the Federal DOT has taken study after study and twisted the information to fit their own agenda; that of over-regulating the trucking industry.  Working with the emotionally driven ‘victim’s’ groups such as PATT, CRASH, Concerned Citizens, et al, the governmental agencies that regulate the trucking industry are responding to the emotional, not the sensible, in their bid to put trucking behind other forms of commercial transportation.

Fat and Lazy? Yeah, Right!

Starting back in the mid 1800’s, dieting, as we now know it started.  From Diet  “Historians trace the origins of a modern conception of dieting to two 19th century figures: Rev. Sylvester Graham (1795-1851), a New Jersey preacher, and William Banting (1797 – 1878), a London undertaker.

You may never have heard of Rev. Graham, but chances are that you’ll be familiar with his dieting invention: the Graham cracker. Perhaps the first diet food, the Graham cracker was made from flour that was unsifted and didn’t have additives (refined white bread was becoming popular with the middle-classes during the 19th century, who could afford to buy it). Graham saw white bread as nutritionally poor, and he and his followers, the Grahamites, eschewed it – again, we can see the roots of modern diet advice back in the 19th century.  Graham believed in a strict vegetarian and teetotal diet, and saw diet primarily as a means to control sexual urges.

William Banting, by contrast, was interested in diet for the same reason as most dieters today are: he wanted to lose weight. In 1863, he wrote a pamphlet, Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public. His diet plan, based on advice given to him by a doctor, featured:

Four meals a day, consisting of protein, greens, fruits, and dry wine.

Avoiding starch and sugars.

Milk, butter and meat were all permitted.”


Since then the diet industry has grown into a multi-billion dollar business.  Reports abound about the so-called USA’s obesity epidemic, one can follow the money trail.  From News Medical .com:  “ Xavier Pi-Sunyer, who has also received significant funding from the makers of anti-obesity drugs and is currently promoting anti-obesity drug Acomplia made by Sanofi, chaired a key National Institutes of Health obesity panel, which in 1998 instantly cast 30 million Americans into the “overweight” category by changing the government’s definition. That group includes presently “overweight” stars like Will Smith, Pierce Brosnan, Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, and even (former)President Bush.”

It has become common for obese people to be stereotyped as lazy, lacking will, unhealthy and other slurs to their character.  In reality, there are many causes for obesity from genetic/heredity to other medical conditions such as stress and depression. 

From “There does appear to be at least an association between heredity and obesity. In a well-known study regarding this issue, adults who were adopted as children were found to have body weights closer to those of their biological parents than their adoptive parents, suggesting that their genetic makeup had more influence on their body weight (and the incidence of obesity) compared to the environment in their adoptive family’s home.

A person’s risk of developing morbid obesity is often heavily influenced by psychological factors. Boredom, depression, anxiety, stress, trauma (whether as an adult or child), and feelings of low self-esteem are examples of psychological factors that could result in an individual’s overeating and under-exercising. Although the psychological aspect of morbid obesity can be difficult to overcome, it is not impossible. Merely identifying the psychological problems can help an individual greatly in his or her understanding of the basis of overeating.

Illnesses can also lead to morbid obesity. Some of these include hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, depression, and other neurological problems. The use of steroids and certain antidepressants can also lead to weight gain.”

Another aspect of the current trend to think of people as obese is the examples found in the media.  From “It’s not surprising that women want to be slender and beautiful, because as a society “we know more about women who look good than we know about women who do good,” says Audrey Brashich, a former teen model and author of All Made Up: A Girl’s Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty…As a culture, we are on a first-name basis with women like Paris Hilton or Nicole Richie,” she says. “The most celebrated, recognizable women today are famous primarily for being thin and pretty, while women who are actually changing the world remain comparatively invisible. Most of us have a harder time naming women of other accomplishments.” The idolizing of models, stars and other celebrities is not going to change “until pop culture changes the women it celebrates and focuses on.”

As far as an obese person being thought lazy, this is patently a false assumption.  For example, look at the adult Amish women who work from dawn to dusk doing manual, physical chores.  Almost all of them are considered medically obese yet work hard. 

In relation to trucking, it is seen in the above that there are many job related factors such as boredom, stress, anxiety and low self-esteem that can enter into a driver not meeting the artificial insurance height weight charts.  Add in long hours, little support from friends and/or peers, constant worry about regulations that might unfairly affect them; a driver might tend to overeat or have a metabolism that promotes his/her body into turning even healthy food into fat.

In no way can any successful driver be thought of as lazy.  The average miles per year for a solo driver are over 125,000 miles a year and if a driver does not produce, they do not last long as a driver.   By stereotyping a driver, or anyone else for that matter, who may be overweight, as lazy, unhealthy or not having will power does not do anything but buy into the prevalent and sometimes erroneous media, governmental and diet industry propaganda.  It is not helping the actual obese person; it is hurting them by adding to their stress levels and perhaps low self-esteem.



What is Professionalism?

Blogs, posts and conversations abound these days with comments such as “I was not treated professionally, he/she did not act professionally, that article was not written professionally and I am a professional.”  What are these comments referring to, when asked, the commenter usually cannot define what they mean by using the words professional, professionally or professional. 

Houghton Mifflin defines professional as: ADJECTIVE:  Of, relating to, engaged in, or suitable for a profession: lawyers, doctors, and other professional people. Conforming to the standards of a profession: professional behavior. Engaging in a given activity as a source of livelihood or as a career: a professional writer.  Performed by persons receiving pay: professional football. Having or showing great skill; expert: a professional repair job.

NOUN:  A person following a profession, especially a learned profession.  One who earns a living in a given or implied occupation: hired a professional to decorate the house. A skilled practitioner; an expert.

ADVERB: Professionalism

Different areas of occupation have different standards of professionalism.  Teachers have different standards of professionalism than do lawyers; doctors have different standards than plumbers; secretaries have different standards than CEO’s, etc.  In trucking the standard of professionalism is fairly static especially for drivers, a driver is safe in his/her driving skills, picks up and delivers on time, takes care of the equipment, communicates adequately with his/her shippers/receivers/dispatchers/brokers and is civil within the scope of their job, when possible, with those they come in contact with.  Many expect much more out of drivers though; ambiguity enters in when different professions cross paths.

A person who comes into trucking from another field such as nursing has a different idea of what professionalism is than a truck driver.  They perhaps are used to being called Ms, Mrs., or Mr. when spoken to by others.  When they interact with other drivers, brokers or dispatchers and are not called any longer by the honorific title, they can feel like they are not being treated ‘professionally’. 

A person who has a high level of education or a high intelligence, who can write and speak well and who may have been a teacher or executive decides to enter trucking.  In trucking, drivers come from many different levels of education, intelligence, and past work in different levels of other professions.  When they cross paths in any fashion, the new person might feel that drivers who do not speak or write as well as they do are less intelligent or are not writing or speaking ‘professionally’ and discount what the other driver has to say. 

Even regional differences can enter in to one’s perception of ‘professionalism’.  A worker in a hospital in North Carolina relates the following example.  “Down here in the south, it has always been that we comfort patients when interacting with them by presenting a friendly attitude.  We might call them hon or sugar, or in the case of an elderly person, Miss Mary for instance. To a southerner, this language usage is courteous and civil.  The  hospital was bought by a huge corporation, it was not long before we were told that the way we were speaking to our patients was ‘unprofessional’ and we were to only call them by surname and use the honorific Mrs., Mr., or Ms.; even the children.”

This idea of regional professionalism shows up in trucking also.  It is common in certain areas of the country for men to use supposed endearments when speaking to women.  In parts of Michigan, the men might call a woman ‘sweetheart’ or ‘sweety’, in the New England states ‘dear’ is used, in southern states a plethora of names might be used by both genders; ‘honey’, ‘sweetheart’, ‘baby’, ‘darlin’ to name a few.  While in most cases nothing bad is meant in those words being used, people who are not used to being called those names, or who are untraveled, when they interact with people from those areas, think that this word usage denotes ‘unprofessionalism’ if not worse.

In reality, being professional comes down to civility and in doing one’s job well; civility because in being civil, one does not use vulgar language or hateful words to get one’s point across or to interact with others.  When one is civil, one portrays a ‘professional’ aspect to what they do whether it is work related, political or in friendship, they do nothing that will offend others.  In doing one’s job well or to the best of one’s ability a person can take pride in what they do whether it is writing a letter or article, doing the job, or interacting with others; by definition, they are professionals.

The next time that anyone uses the words professional, professionalism or professionally, that person really needs to think about what they are referring to and make sure that they are not applying professional standards above and beyond to the current situation.  One person’s professional standards may not be what another’s are.