The Blame Game
You know the saying, "When you point your finger at someone, there are 3 pointing back at you." Why is it that we find it so easy to blame others for the problems we face and then use poor communicative skills to address it? I hope we get a grip on this soon because evidently there is an ammunition shortage in the US! There are several ways to respond to problems and I want to address how I have worked out "the blame game" with customers and contractors over the last several years. And I'll continue addressing our 'BS Pandemic of the Decade' by asking the question, "Who's fault is it?"
Warning: This newsletter is not short. It's not Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, it's for those who still like to read. Thanks!
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who's fault is it?
By Mark Ortiz, NATURAL STONE PROFESSIONAL/NOVICE BLOGGER
This newsletter will be outlined into 2 sections for your entertainment and education.
1. “The Blame Game - Customers and Contractors.”
2. "The Blame Game - Who in causing all this economic mayhem?"
Thank you for taking the time to hear me.
My Home As A Kid
Growing up in a family of 7 kids and the 2 parents seemed pretty crazy to me. I never noticed chips and scratches on the kitchen counters. I do remember it was Formica and the colors matched the carpet in the kitchen. Yes, I said kitchen. I'm not sure if it was the thing or because we lived in Alaska or because it absorbed the milk we spilled. Apparently, we were not the only ones because I found this photo of almost an identical kitchen like ours. So maybe it makes sense but probably not because in a family of 7 kids and each kid having a friend or two at the house, nothing made sense. I can recall sitting on and at the counters, drumming with blunt objects, setting tools and toys on it and mindlessly drawing stick figures with pencils and markers, mixing up orange slushies with fresh snow, making waffles, boiling hot dogs and using the kitchen sink as a hair washing facility. And that was just me. It was a busy kitchen.
I'm sure mom was perturbed, that's what she called it, but I think modern day language is, she was p-o'd. Not only did the counters get beat up but also the furniture, the walls, the coffee table, the davenaut (mom called that a couch but I couldn't locate that interpretation ), the carpet, the car and whatever else reached the kids hands. If there is one thing every parent can agree with is that kids damage our things! Can we blame them? Or is verbally blaming kids too aggressive and a form of bullying these days?
The customer is not so forgiving.
The customer is not mom and therefore not a lot of grace. What happens when there is a dent in the newly installed cabinets, a scratch on the stainless steel sink, a black mark on the white marble, a scratch in the tile, a spot on the new carpet, a missing hair brush? Ok, a missing hair brush is a little weird but there are numerous things that can go wrong and playing the blame game is human art perfected.
(I think this lady is truly missing her hair brush.)
Whenever there is a difference in opinion or outlook we unconsciously come at it with, "I'm right and you're wrong." If this continues, someone is going to get hurt. Another approach is that both are right and another is that both are wrong.
Even though I am as guilty as the rest thinking "I'm right", I fully understand that I am quite possibly wrong and need the willingness to have my mind changed or at the least be willing to compromise my position without compromising my integrity.
I'm going to provide real circumstances, well, 'based on a true story' anyways, of stone problems and present ways we can resolve it and not play the Blame Game. I hope that the principles we apply to simple stone and home problems can also apply to the greater conflict we have in our world today, but I'm not too optimistic when it comes to the world problems.
The Infamous White Marble
White marble is a timeless and epic stone that has been used for centuries and is still one of the most sought after stones today. You should read my newsletter about white marble if this interest you.
Recently I was invited to give my perspective on why the white marble yellowed and has rust stains coming through it. After the owners spent several weeks deciding which stone to use, find the best installer, install the new fixtures, install the glass, get it sealed by a professional and then 6 months later, it yellows!
Mr. and Mrs. Smith are not too happy right now and are asking each other, "Why did this happen and who's fault is it?" After blaming each other why they chose that stone, they decided to come together and form their alliance against the builder. So the builder blames the installer, the installer blames the designer, the designer blames the stone supplier, the stone supplier blames the manufacture, the manufacture blames the quarry, the quarry has no one else to blame, except put up his arms and say, "Whattas de matta, it issa Motha Nature."
The blotchy travertine flooring
Another job we recently inspected was a travertine floor that was beautifully installed, but after grouting, cleaning and sealing, the finish appeared a little blotchy. It was not what the owner expected. So here we go again... The owner blames the builder, the builder blames the installer, yada yada yada. So how do we get through all these problems and blame?
Don't Find Fault, Find A Solution.
1. The very first thing we need to do is all admit there is an issue even if doesn't seem like one to you. Too often we say things like, "It's the natural characteristic of the stone." or "It's a birth mark." or, "Don't worry you won't notice it after dark." Even in AA you need to first admit you have a problem.
2. The second thing is to determine what the expectation is and was that promised. Often we don't realize that the expectation was never set in the first place, such as, 'I thought the seam would be invisible.', or 'I was told it would all be shiny.'
At this point, maybe we did have an expectation but since it really doesn't bother us and we just wanted to know what it is, a reasonable explanation can be made and we let it go. A new understanding and expectation is set and everyone is satisfied. Everyone gets paid and life on the mouse wheel to nowhere continues.
3. If the concern is still present then we need to attempt to "lightly" clean it or address it without any major changes to the finish or any aggressive attempts by an unskilled individual. All Contractors must inform their team not to attempt anything other than what they are completely skilled at. If the problem is still there after cleaning then we need to go to the next step.
4. Call in a Stone Repair Specialist to inspect. Do not call you gardener, best friend, painter or dog trainer for their opinion! There are experts in every stage of the installation, therefore use them. A skilled stone repair specialist can diagnose the problem, explain the problem and determine the solution. A non-bias third party can understand everyone's viewpoint and explain the facts so every individual can understand the issue from their point of view. This is a skill that requires experience, truth telling, a calm tone and a thick skin. Some parties will resist our conclusion because they may feel threatened, lied to, or the ones at fault.
5. The person who paid for this "stone counseling" or inspection may request in writing their findings and recommendations. It is up to the person who paid to decide what to do with it or whether to share it. They may accept full responsibility, partial responsibility or no responsibility. The stone inspector should also be able to either provide a solution or determine there is no reasonable solution. This is different than just an estimate from a non-licensed contractor, its an honest assessment of the problem and understanding that many people are involved who have a lot at stake.
6. The goal is to resolve the issue and share responsibility to ensure the job is done well. Not all parties have to participate in the cost of the repair but all parties must be involved in the solution.
I have been involved in hundreds of stone finish and installation concerns and conflicts. About 90% of the time there is a solution to the issue. It may not be the one we all want but at least it is a better step in the right direction verses living in 'the blame game'. You have problems - we have solutions, hence our name, Perfect Granite Solutions.
Who's fault for the Covid Disaster?
After months of living through this major pandemic we are experiencing some "issues". Not stone issues but some serious livelihood and financial issues, especially to those who don't have the resources to meet their needs . Now that some more facts are out, we have some very upset individuals who are asking, "Who's fault is this?" I'm wondering if we can apply the concepts for stone issues and come up with some answers or conflict resolution for the frustration brewing. This should be interesting.
Before I say, " I told you so." for the more concerning collateral or inevitable damage to thousands of lives in America and hundred of thousands around the world, lets just ask... "What's the issue?"
The Issue: Our economic stability and livelihoods that have been severely altered due to Covid 19.
The Question: Who is at fault for this?
The parties Involved: The citizens, the state politicians, the senators, the president, the CDC, the Dept. of public health, the media. I'm sure we can involve more but lets start with some of these.
Blame The President?
In our country, the blame usually begins with the top of the power chain, our President. I realize and so should you that the President isn't the most powerful man in this world, even though he may think so. He, like us, is just a mere fallible man inherently good and bad. But we will not go into that here.
What role did the president play in calling the virus real and ordering the shut down of business and public places?
New York Post: June 23, 2020 Timeline article
March 13th 2020:
President Trump declared the coronavirus pandemic to be a national emergency. Trump said the move would free up nearly $50 billion in additional disaster funding and would allow HHS to waive regulations and laws to deliver coronavirus testing quicker.
March 16th 2020:
Trump issued guidelines that called for Americans to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people for the next 15 days and to limit discretionary travel, among other guidelines. Trump said the country may be dealing with a number of restrictions through July or August as a result of the virus. He acknowledged the economy may be heading into a recession.
President Trump's social distancing guidelines expired, leaving the nation with a wide array of changing regulations.
The Trump administration shelved a 17-page report from the CDC with step-by-step advice to local authorities on how and when to reopen, the Associated Press first reported. The CDC was told that the guidance "would never see the light of day," according to the Associated Press.
The CDC to Blame?
For the record, the CDC collects data and others use the data to make decisions. Here's an article from the New York Times that attempts to put some blame on the CDC. I removed several sentences, but you can find the article and read it all to fact check me :)
By Eric Lipton, Abby Goodnough, Michael D. Shear, Megan Twohey, Apoorva Mandavilli, Sheri Fink and Mark Walker
(Published June 3, 2020Updated Aug. 14, 2020 New York Times)
The flawed effort was an early revelation for some health departments, whose confidence in the C.D.C. was shaken as it confronted the most urgent public health emergency in its 74-year history — a pathogen that has penetrated much of the nation, killing more than 100,000 people.
The C.D.C., long considered the world’s premier health agency, made early testing mistakes that contributed to a cascade of problems that persist today as the country tries to reopen. It failed to provide timely counts of infections and deaths, hindered by aging technology and a fractured public health reporting system. And it hesitated in absorbing the lessons of other countries, including the perils of silent carriers spreading the infection.
The agency struggled to calibrate its own imperative to be cautious and the need to move fast as the coronavirus ravaged the country, according to a review of thousands of emails and interviews with more than 100 state and federal officials, public health experts, C.D.C. employees and medical workers. In communicating to the public, its leadership was barely visible, its stream of guidance was often slow and its messages were sometimes confusing, sowing mistrust.
“They let us down,” said Dr. Stephane Otmezguine, an anesthesiologist who treated coronavirus patients in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Richard Whitley, the top health official in Nevada, wrote to the C.D.C. director about a communication “breakdown” between the states and the agency. Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois lashed out at the agency over testing, saying that the government’s response would “go down in history as a profound failure.”
“The C.D.C. is no longer the reliable go-to place,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.
Instead, the C.D.C. made missteps that undermined America’s response.
“Here is an agency that has been waiting its entire existence for this moment,” said Dr. Peter Lurie, a former associate commissioner at the Food and Drug Administration who for years worked closely with the C.D.C. “And then they flub it. It is very sad. That is what they were set up to do.”
“Don’t blame us!” (Mark added)
The agency’s allies say it is just one part of a vast network of state and local health departments, hospitals, government agencies and suppliers that were collectively unprepared for the speed, scope and ferocity of the pandemic. They also point out that lawmakers have long failed to adequately prioritize funding for the kind of crisis the country now faces.
The Media to Blame?
Even though all of us would agree that media is full of (beep). The "psychological standard of America" magazine wrote a small piece on the effects of media regarding this pandemic. Again, I only pulled text that qualified the blame game.
David A Clark, Psychology Today : Media, Fear, and the Coronavirus Outbreak
The relentless barrage of coronavirus news may raise your anxiety level.
Posted Mar 03, 2020
Clearly, one does not have to look far to find threatening information about COVID-19. How we react to this mixed health information depends on our preconceived beliefs about disease and our susceptibility to its spread...
Fear influences how we react to media coverage of health hazards. Fear of disease and contamination is particularly relevant when it comes to epidemics like the coronavirus. The most severe levels of contamination fear are found in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD others. When the fear is this intense, any exposure to public places can be threatening, so the person avoids or washes excessively...
Like most phobias, fear of contamination occurs on a continuum. At the upper end are those with OCD, but at the lower end, we find individuals with little concern about contamination. We can even speculate that the absence of contamination fear might cause reckless exposure to health hazards, thereby elevating the risk of disease exposure for themselves or others.
So a certain amount of healthy respect for disease and contamination is adaptive. But at a certain point, somewhere in the moderate to high range of fear, concern about disease and contamination generates excessive personal distress and interference in daily functioning. It’s for these people that the barrage of threatening media coverage about the coronavirus outbreak may have the most negative impact.
Our information technology society has left most people with a severe case of information overload. The deluge of real-time information coming at us demands that we engage in a continuous process of selective attention and filtering. Health is important to most people so we’re likely to pay attention to information about disease and healthy living.
But media coverage of health issues is biased. The news outlets devote more time to emerging health hazards, like the COVID-19 outbreak, than common health threats. Anxious or fearful individuals tend to pay more attention to threat-related information, which then drives up their anxiety and distress. With the media devoting so much time to the coronavirus outbreak, there’s plenty of opportunity for those with elevated contamination fear to focus on the threatening aspects of the outbreak. This will cause a spike in fear and anxiety about the disease. In response, non-infected individuals with OCD-like contamination fear might restore to extraordinary measures to deal with their fear, like self-quarantine or washing with toxic disinfectants. Once their coronavirus fear is activated, the more reassuring information about the outbreak gets filtered out.
Who made the laws that we cannot open all businesses and to close down the schools, wear the masks and stay 6 feet apart?
Who has the power to shut down private businesses because of coronavirus?
This approximately 15 minute video is by an attorney who lays out the laws for us.
I want to remind you of what I said before, "I don't believe this virus was worth shutting down businesses causing the negative financial impact of our economy, regardless of the death count." I completely realize this "sounds" cold and heartless to some people, but come on, let's be real here, we generally do not spend even an hour a week counting deaths of any kind, unless you work in a morgue or have a thing for statistics. I know all lives matter and I completely understand human loss of any kind when it's personal! But that's not what we are talking about here. Maurice, one of the more critical respondents to my newsletter ensured me that he (and I'm sure others) DOES think about those around the world and are grieved. Sincerely, your sentiment is accepted.
I've written some comments he made in the video below if you want to skip the video or come back for reference, but please watch the video for context.
Does the governor really have the power to shut down private businesses? Do counties really have the authority to order everyone to stay at home?
California Military and Veterans Code Section 143 is the statute that gives the Governor authority to proclaim Martial Law. This statute reads:
Whenever the Governor is satisfied that rebellion, insurrection, tumult or riot exists in any part of the state … the Governor may, by proclamation, declare … to be in a state of insurrection, and he or she may thereupon order into the service of the state any number and description of the active militia, or unorganized militia, as he or she deems necessary, to serve for a term and under the command of any officer as he or she directs.
As you can see, we are not currently in a state of rebellion, insurrection, tumult or riots and as such, the Governor of the State does not have the power to declare martial law.
There are three main types of emergencies that enable a governor to declare a state of emergency.
1. State of War emergency : The state or US is under an attack or threat by an enemy
2. State of Emergency : An emergency or disaster that effects the entire state of California.
3. Local Emergency : Emergency or disaster that are contained within the limits of a county.
As such, that leads us to a state of emergency.
Under California Government code section 8558, a governor can call a state of emergency when there is an “existence of conditions of disaster or of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property within the state caused by conditions such as air pollution, fire, flood, storm, epidemic, riot, .....conditions causing a state of war emergency ….”
When the governor calls a state of emergency, he may suspend any state statute, rule or regulation. (Cal. Gov. § 8571). Please notice that the governor does not have the authority to suspend the California Constitution. On March 4, 2020, Governor Newsom Declared a State of Emergency.
On March 11, 2020, Governor Newsom’s office published the fact that it was California Department of Public Health’s policy of preventing gatherings of groups larger than 250 people “should be postponed.” This was not an executive order by the governor, instead it was a California Department of Public Health policy. This policy does not cite a single law that gives the California Department of Public Health authority to shut down events of 250 people or require social distancing of more than 6 feet. While these may be good guidelines to follow, they are simply policies, they are not the law.
To emphasize that this was just a policy and not a law, on March 12, 2020, Newsom issues his next executive order (N-25-20). This executive order states that “All residents are to heed any orders and guidance of state and local public health officials, including but not limited to the imposition of social distancing measures, to control the spread of COVID-19.”
Notice the language of this order. “All residents are to heed any orders and guidance …”. If you look up the word heed in the dictionary, you will discover that it means “to give consideration attention to.” It does not say you must obey.
Thus, contrary what you may have been led to believe, Gov. Newsom did not actually issue an executive order requiring Californians to practice social distancing, nor did he actually order gatherings of over 250 people to shut down. All he did was order people to pay attention to what these organizations (California Department of Public Health) were saying. These were merely recommendations.
California law allows counties to declare a health emergency when the local health officer determines that there is a threat of the introduction of any contagious, infectious, or communicable disease. (California Health and Safety Code § 101080). It appears that this power was not given to the California Department of Health Services but instead, this power was left in the hands of local Health Officers. Cal. Health & Safety § 101040 permits local health officers to take any preventive measures that may be necessary to protect and preserve the public health from any state of emergency declared by the governor.
The statutes are very broad in their wording. Cal. Health & Safety § 120175 says that the health officers “shall take measures as may be necessary to prevent the spread of the disease or occurrence of additional cases. Cal. Health & Safety § 120200 indicates that a health officer shall establish and maintain places of quarantine. But this still does not answer the question, can a health officer issue a quarantine of everyone in the county? As one studies California law, it is clear that the law used to be very explicit that a quarantine was only applicable to those who had a contagious disease or those who had come in contact with someone who had a contagious disease.
Let’s look at this for a minute. I think we can all agree that the health officers have sufficient information that there is a communicable disease. However, where we disagree is that the Health Officers are ordering a county wide shelter in place law where the law only allows “adequate isolation of each case, and appropriate quarantine of the contacts.” This is where the local health official appears to have overstepped their authority. The counties are not looking at this on a case by case bases. Instead, they are issuing broad orders that affect both the healthy and the sick. They are not ordering a quarantine of those who have been in contact with someone who has the virus.
Cal. Health & Safety § 120225 also has some instructive language. This statute says that “A person subject to quarantine …”. The quarantine laws where designed to quarantine an individual or a location, not an entire community or organization.
If you feel like the state of emergency called by the governor or these shelter in place laws have adversely effected your business and/or violated your constitutional rights, I would encourage you to seek competent legal counsel to examine your individual case.
I understand there are several hours of research we can do here. But if there is one obvious occurrence that most of us can agree too, is that we have been told and believed it was the law to obey, that we had to restrict our lives, which has caused collateral damage to thousands of people and business, which is still to be seen for many months or years. Even though I want to blame the Governor, I'm thinking there is someone else who has more to blame. Let me quote Nancy Pelosi ......
Are we to blame?
I listen to words and try to determine what is exactly being said. Like when I heard from house speaker Pelosi when she got caught getting her hair done in a salon. Now I really don't care if she goes to a salon, I think all salons should have stayed open. By the way, if you ladies are looking for a quality hair stylist, My wife Kerri recommends the talented Maria Patino "Hair Stylist Extraordinaire" in Newport Beach / Costa Mesa area. Her info is at the bottom of this newsletter. Always trying to help small businesses!
Los Angeles Times
Did you recognize the scapegoat from our leader? YOU! She is not putting blame on the salon but instead taking the blame herself for falling for the setup. In the same way, she and the "intellectual" leaders of our time are not taking blame for the false narrative but instead putting the responsibility on US for FALLING FOR THE SET UP (LIE). I have to agree with her there. If we resisted the narrative from the beginning and demanded more evidence before shutting down our economy and our livelihoods or wanted to see the written 'law' first, then we may not be in this debacle.
Thank you who have stayed with me until now. I know it's not easy to listen to opinions after 2 minutes due to our new shortened means of gathering information via social media and cable news. I promise to make the next newsletter very short. But here's my conclusion to this matter.
'We the People' responded to information that wasn't fully accurate or better said, 'wasn't fully conclusive'. We the people acted in fear and concern. We "believed" the information to be TRUE ENOUGH to surrender our livelihoods, our businesses, our social gatherings to the so called experts and leaders of our country. And 'we the people' continue to do it, not because the data proves otherwise but for a greater pandemic in human history... HUMAN CONFORMITY.
We need to stop. Think about the evidence. Ask ourselves like Pelosi did, "Was I was set-up?" Because if we were duped, then what now? How will you change the way to behave, change the way you speak, change the way you do business?
Will you conform? Even if you conclude the narrative is all true, how will you gain the control back in your life? Will you choose to live like an American, for America...Free?
Mark, you didn't apply the Blame Game solution.
As I was thinking about my solution to blaming others I realize that larger issues such as economic and world crises will not include others going to the table, well not us anyways. So lets assume the stone issues again. If all parties walked away, not taking responsibility, and it's only you left with the problem, what do you do now?
You learn and never let yourself get duped again.
Sometimes we just need to take the sucker punch, get away, re-evaluate and heal. I spoke to a customer last week who wanted to ask me an endless amount of questions and watch over me as I worked on the issue in his home. It was quite smothering but I'm a trained professional and I knew what his problem was. So when he asked me if it was ok to watch and "learn" I said to him, "No I don't mind, but I think I know why you want to know about everything I'm doing. It's because you are tired of the B.S. and you don't want to be misled (duped) again." He replied, "Yes, you are correct." We got along pretty good from there and he actually let us do the work without smothering us.
Get the facts, make a decision and fight the good fight for freedom! As always, be safe, be faithful, be loving and have a plan!
And please, if you are susceptible to any illness, protect yourself and seek proper medical help when available.
May the Lord bless your ways and keep you comforted and courageous.
Let’s help America get back to work and really save lives!
Support your local small businesses!
Maria Patino - Master Hair Stylist Newport Beach / Costa Mesa
Full Service Private Salon - Color, Hair Cuts, Extensions...
Save her number!
Keep the fight and don't be afraid to "Call B.S."
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