February 03, 2003 05:17pm
From the Trenches - Economy, Geo-Political/War, Whack-ability
Source: Courtesy of DaveCummings.com
by: Dave Cummings
I'm often asked my thoughts about the American economy, ongoing issues around the world, and what makes an adult video stand out amongst others in the presently glutted marketplace.
Some people, perhaps unwisely, think that my pre-Adult Industry experiences, education, and almost-63 years of life should be worth a worthwhile opinion or two. I'm not in much agreement with them, but I'll take a novice's stab at it. Granted, I have a B.S. In Economics from a Catholic College with a good reputation for their business programs; and a Masters in Public Administration, which I earned nights and weekends attending a University while still carrying out my duties in the Army; as a result of getting lucky in ROTC during college, I earned a commission in the Regular Army, went to Artillery School, graduated from Jump School and served in such places as; Berlin (those patrols behind the Berlin Wall were sometimes interesting!); Ft Bragg; Vietnam, during the Tet Offensive as a Unit Commander in the 4th Infantry Division; the 9-month Adjutant General Advanced Course, focused manly around personnel management; the Defense Nuclear Agency's Field Command in Albuquerque where I served as the Adjutant General; the 9-month U.S. Army Command & General Staff Course at Ft Leavenworth, Kansas; a Major Command headquarters on the east coast where I worked as a Personnel Staff Officer; the Defense Language School where I learned some basic Arabic before taking my (then) wife and two kids with me for a two-year assignment in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia where I was the J-1 Director of Personnel for the senior Department of Defense organization in that part of the world; the Staff & Faculty at West Point; the Army's Communications Command/Information Systems Command at Ft Huachuca, Arizona, where I was the Adjutant General; and the Presidio of San Francisco where I served as the 6th Army's Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel. My wife of 22 years traded me in for some guy with a full head of hair in 1985; I retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1988; worked as an options and futures broker in San Francisco for a couple of years, later moving to San Diego to become the Manager of a 30-person brokerage; later worked as the Director of Market Research for a company specializing in the trading of foreign currencies and precious metals; and, just prior to somehow getting lucky enough to enter the Adult Industry, I got a State of California Real Estate License, working as a Senior Mortgage Loan Officer-I continue to pass license renewal exams, but have little time to actually handle any mortgages presently.
Though I had been retired for over two years, during the pre-Gulf War I was asked to brief Congressional personnel and the Commanding General of the Camp Pendleton Marine Base, and subsequently briefed other key deploying cadre personnel and Marine units, about Middle East matters. Along the way, I somehow was contacted by the San Diego ABC Television affiliate in San Diego who said that they got my name from the Pentagon and needed me to be their "Anti-terrorism expert" for interviews concerning steps to take in case the expected outbreak of the Gulf War caused Iraqi-sponsored terrorism in San Diego and/or America; years later I did the live interview "thing" for the ABC television station when the Oklahoma City Federal Building was bombed. On the morning of the 9-11, the television folks again asked me to come to their studio and assist them-this time, I suggested that my "institutional memory" had waned and I couldn't remember what information was classified versus what was not, and asked them to contact the Intelligence Office at Miramar Marine Air Station to get a more qualified and updated "expert". It was on that day that I more fully realized that age was taking a toll on my ability to assist my Country. At their request, I still helped the Navy with advice about protecting deployed troops in the Arabian Gulf, the culture and mindset in the Middle East, coordinating procedures, religion, interoperability of command/control/communications, and some other matters; but, it seemed to me that my knowledge of current matters was dated beyond valid usefulness. To some, the foregoing might sound like a lot of experience, but I candidly think it is so dated that my opinions are not any more valuable than anyone else's!
So, now that I'm so innately happy and content within the Adult Industry, what do I think about the economy, the geo-political impacts and possible war, and (to make this month's column at least somewhat related to sex) whack-ability? Take it with a grain of salt, but here are my views.
First, barring some type of future 9-11 incident or significant problem with access to foreign crude oil, it's my personal opinion that the American economy is poised for a profound and sustained recovery beginning in late-2003 or early next year. The driving force will be the outlook for improved corporate earnings and the potential for continuing growth.
The effects of extremely low interest rates is starting to help and will continue to fuel corporate borrowing for improved productivity, growth, and new/improved products; lower interest rates also spur mortgage refinancings which often allows homeowners to not only lower their mortgage payments but also to take cash/equity out of their homes and use some of the proceeds to become more active consumers of products and services - consumer spending accounts for a Huge part of our national economy!
Agree with him or not, like him or not, the past Bush tax cuts are also beginning to ease the financial burden of consumers, thus paving the way for improvement in consumer confidence and subsequent spending; the more consumers spend, the more jobs are created in the manufacturing and services sectors; the more sales tax is generated to help State budget deficits; unemployment improves because jobs are created to manufacture and replace sold wholesale inventories; employment rises and corporate earnings increase, and federal tax receipts bulge to the point of possibly offsetting or exceeding the tax cuts that initiated some of the economic recovery-like him and/or his appointees, or not, I personally think that the proposed Bush plan for further tax cuts is indeed a needed and essential ingredient for economic recovery, creation of new jobs, and continuing/increasing economic growth.
The working people of America are way too overburdened with taxes; the way to lessen the load upon their shoulders is to lighten their individual taxes, so that jobs are created due to increased consumer spending which results in corporate growth and increase health of the State and U.S. Treasury. Though inflation (i.e., more money "chasing" the same goods and services) is presently tame, and should stay under control due to the increased availability of goods and services via American Ingenuity and continuing productivity improvements, I still worry a bit about the potential for the costs of imported energy to slow economic growth-keep in mind that higher crude prices mean the potential for inflation, which the Fed traditionally deals with by raising interest rates; higher interest rates dampens consumption which curtails the all-powerful consumer spending, lowers the need for manufacturing and services and the jobs to provide goods and services, thus raising unemployment, and throws a potential monkey wench into corporate earnings and economic recovery and growth.
So, in my mind, we need to become less dependent upon foreign sources of energy; we need Saudi Arabia, with it's vast unused production capacity, to remain committed to no more than $28 per barrel of crude, and we need to free Iraq so that their crude reserves can be unleashed to help not only the world, but mostly the Iraqi people who need crude oil incomes spent on Iraqi people and services, instead of on yet even more palaces for Saddam!
Let me now relate my thinking about some of our current Geo-Political matters. I hate war! I've fought in Vietnam; I've been the target of incoming enemy rockets and mortars; I've seen American and Allied soldiers wounded/killed - Believe me, it's a haunting site that I hope none of you ever have to see; I've seen the filled body bags; and, I understood and endured the disdain that some American protesters had for us being ordered into Vietnam.
I'm somewhat familiar with Saudi Arabia, and to a lesser extent Iran and Iraq. Though I join the protesters desire not to have war, I frankly am concerned that if we don't rid the world of the Saddam cancer, either through negotiation or force, it will grow and spread, possibly (indeed, probably) killing many more Americans and freedom-loving peoples of the world in the future.
Waiting or ignoring the present threat only makes our offspring and loved ones Much more at risk in the not too distant future. Likewise, the war on terrorism Must continue; America Must preserve freedom for Americans and other freedom-loving peoples on Earth; America Must deal with those individuals and organizations that want to harm our American way of life, our freedoms!
I worry not only about Iraq, but also Iran and North Korea. So, while I fervently and subjectively side with those who want us to avert war with Saddam, my objectivity and experience indicates that we must soon deal with the challenges to our freedom. Yes, we all want freedom of speech (even to protest), but if we lose our overall freedoms to terrorists or others, freedom of speech will automatically also become a victim-remember what happened to the freedom of the people of Kuwait when Saddam invaded, brutalized innocent civilians, and severed freedom of everything?!
I don't want war, but if time is running out and negotiations are not panning out, we have no choice but to protect our freedoms and the generations of our offspring to come!
Ok, back to the Adult Industry.
If you don't think I'm entitled to my personal opinion, or you are against what I've written above, that's your right and Freedom, and I respect and defend your freedom to your opinion! After all, who am I to know enough to even have the above opinions? I'm presently nothing more that a "prop" in sex scenes-a very old, bald, ugly, wrinkled, and overweight prop, at that!
But, if I were recalled to active duty, I would welcome the opportunity to put my uniform back on, and eagerly go and militarily defend Your right to your opinion. Here's another opinion I hold -- though we should recognize the viewing preferences of women and couples concerning plot, story line, foreplay, etc in our adult productions, I believe that it's prudent in today's viewing demographics (given today's numbers of males versus females versus couples who view adult videos) to focus on the largest population of viewers; hence, to provide the most sought-after objective of the males watching adult videos by themselves, we must provide them and their hand(s) with the element of Whackability!
Nice sets, involved story lines and plots, cable-versions, etc might help male viewers, but believable and "whackable" porn is what I sense that most of them prefer. Yes, there are some who want fetishes, rough sex, lots of girl/girl, only anal, creampies, etc, but I believe that the largest segment of this group of male viewers want to see pretty women having sex that they seem to be truly enjoying, the kind of sex that most guys fantasize about themselves having with that woman on the screen! Bottom line - whackability!!!
In closing, even if it's a silent "thank you" in your mind/heart/soul, please be ever mindful of our troops who are either deployed, pending deployment, or supporting the aforementioned-they and their families are freedom's heroes.
They are my heroes, and I hope they are yours; and, I hope that you'll pray for them, and/or wish them well, no matter what your position is on the geo-political events that puts them in harm's way.
God bless America, and All freedom-loving people!