the BIZARRO World of Trump in America (& a bit on China & Russia too)

Heads up, this is not short… TL;DR   and is meant to be read in chunks (for those wish to read some throttled and seriously restrained comments on the, alleged, deranged and imbecilic president of America)…

 

Part I  A Strange America

So. What is happening to America and to democracy around the world? What happened to leadership that is democratic (not talking about the democratic party here)?  What happened to civility between individuals of American? What happened to respect and equality?

It should be pretty darn clear there is one clearly obvious nexus point for a great deal of this. All you need to do is look at who is sitting, undeservedly, in the White House… And many of us can guarantee that if the Electoral College had to do it again, they would not vote this person into the White House again (especially when the American people decidedly voted for someone else other than Trump – I believe it was Hillary Clinton, right…).

 

We live in Bizarro land. Yes, that is correct, we live in a world where the opposite of everything is taking place. If you have been choking on your own bile, every morning, ever since the 2016 Presidential election, there is a good reason for it – the ‘MOST’ wrong person is sitting in the White House.

As a result of who is sitting in the White House, here is a short list of what has been making you choke and gag, every day (likely all day):

  • Illegal insider trading taking place on the White House grounds (corruption, right?) – and no concern from the president…
  • We have an American ambassador Pete Hoekstra (Trump’s choice), to the Netherlands disputing his own words (this bullet is about a lack of integrity and honor). Hoekstra had stated in a 2015 conference on terrorism hosted by the right-wing David Horowitz Freedom Center – “The Islamic movement has now gotten to a point where they have put Europe into chaos. Chaos in the Netherlands, there are cars being burnt, there are politicians that are being burnt … and yes there are no-go zones in the Netherlands.” But in a later interview (Dec 2017) with the Dutch current affairs programme Nieuwsuur, Hoekstra stated that content was fake news – even though Nieuwsuur happily rolled the clip from the 2015 interview on air for Hoekstra. And no concern from the president as to this looks for America and its leaders…
  • Firing of Inspector Generals for no valid reason, other than they were doing their jobs to stop/prevent illegalities, fraud and other behind the scenes shenanigans – it seems, allegedly, this president has no regard for law and order and the watchdogs looking to remove current and potential corruption and illegalities…
  • Members of Congress and the Senate who, before this current president was voted in by the Electoral College, called the president to be by various monikers and endlessly mocked the large bodied and clownish person. But ever since this person got into the White House, these same Congressmen and Senators are kowtowing to this president, licking his boots (not literally BUT BLOODY WELL CLOSE) and allowing corruption of the law to take place (such as the emoluments clause where many believe this president is guilty of)
  • This current inhabitant of the White House relentlessly lambasted Obama for going golfing but look at what is taking place. This occupant of 1600 is going golfing at something like 22% of his time in office (he has reportedly been on the grounds of his golf courses or played golf elsewhere 266 times since becoming President, and that’s as of May 24, 2020), at tax payer expense and at his own country clubs (NOTE: there was no legal divestiture for his business investments/control) – remember how he famously stated in 2016 “I’m not going to have time to go play golf.”
  • Installing a new State Department secretary gutting the State Dept of most of the seasoned, experience, knowledgeable and respected bureaucrats – then not filling many of those positions. Do you remember that individual, that new secretary was Rex Tillerson… the oil CEO? Tillerson’s focus was not on diplomacy…
  • The current White House occupant plays down, disregards or ignores calamities that have struck America – remember him throwing toilet paper to people who needed it (in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria) and he believed it to be some sort of game.
  • What about ensconcing his unqualified children into very senior White House roles – what did they bring to the White House – or rather, what have they achieved that is worthy of talking about (no, not getting licenses in China to sell products) – many labeled these moves as nepotism but were unable to gain any traction on the violation of nepotism laws (we will need a future unbiased federal court to rule on this but that will be a long time out)
  • Can we talk about the 2018 elimination of the NSC directorate for global health and security and bio-defense that would have handled the CoViD-19 problem in 2020 with speed and efficiency (it was eliminated, allegedly, because it was an Obama creation)
  • Sheesh, this could continue on for page after page but you get the idea – we really hope so.

 

We, America, have someone who is supposed to be a world leader, sitting in the White House. Yet, instead of being that leader this individual has instead usurped: leadership, decency, democracy, a global role model status for anyone who wants to grow and be respected and become a leader themselves. (Note: the United States is not used in this paper because we are not a united country – we are more divided than ever before.)

We have people who want to flaunt the old 2nd Amendment, the right to bear arms. The 2nd amendment was completely relevant for the militia at the time when the British were prevented from taking over the American colonies in the 1700’s.

Yet today, we have many contemporary individuals today who have gun stashes of upwards of 20, 30 and 50 different weapons (with thousands of rounds) and these folks are not weapons’ collectors. As a former Marine, I actually like weapons as well but I have no need to collect weapons for fear of an invasion. Although, in case our government ever turns dictatorial, that will be will a different arms collection endeavor…

But. Who is going to invade America?

  • Has Russian been building up a secret army just off the coast of our country, but are so well camouflaged that we cannot locate or detect them?
  • Maybe it is the Chinese with their Communistic world view?
  • Or even worse, is it the poor hungry desperate immigrants without legal documentation invading America with their unseen deadly weapons?

We have a military now along with the National Guard, neither of where were present back in the days of yore.

Do not get me wrong, as a former Marine, if this region I live in allowed weapons, I would buy a few as well – just not 20 – 50 of them or go storming some local state capital flaunting the weapons…

 

Part II             Logic, Strategy and Diplomacy

If decent, logical, serious individuals “STILL” have to continue to convince the American public of the wrong doings or ill-conceived ideas and just bad thought processes of the current president and it is not sinking in – something is wrong with a large percentage of Americans.

We have a president who is, allegedly, illiterate, indecent, corrupt, discriminatory (okay – racist) and who’s IQ, also allegedly, is not in a very decent range of intelligence. Besides lacking leadership skills, this individual also severely lacks any real degree of communication and diplomacy skill sets. If he did, America would not be seen in the light it is across the globe.

This individual cannot string together a sentence that makes any sense.  Well, hang on a moment. It may make sense if ‘you’ went to the same high school and college with this person and ‘you’ had the same classes with this person. We have no idea how well this individual did in school at any point.

So, you did not do so great in high school or college or grad school (wait, this person did not go beyond undergrad status) – so what? Grades reflect what one learns up to that point, with or without good teachers or a good educational system. What matters is if you continue to grow and do better after not doing so well at any level. What matters is if you continue to be better in your life.

Forbes magazine put out a story, as well as others, in Feb 28, 2019 where:

  • Michael Cohen testified to Congress that, under directions from Trump, he sent letters to Trump’s high schools, colleges and the College Board (creator of the SAT),threatening them with legal action and jail time if they ever released Trump’s academic records. Cohen provided a record of one such letter sent to the president of Fordham University, which Trump attended for two years before transferring to complete his undergraduate degree at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Trump’s high school has confirmed receiving an identical letter, while the University of Pennsylvania and the College Board declined to comment.

What is wrong is wrong…  That is not hard to see or to fathom.  If someone who is supposed to be a role model states: “Grab ’em by the p_ _ _y. You can do anything.” – that is not someone you are supposed to look up to or follow.  That is, unless you yourself are amongst the callous, gross, indecent minded imbecilic Cretin of the gutters. There is supposed to be something called, respect for others, no matter who they are. Wait a moment – there’s more. There is also:

  • decency,
  • equality,
  • honesty,
  • compassion,
  • empathy,
  • integrity,
  • ethics and
  • non-discrimination and
  • diversity

Where has all of the above disappeared to from this current administration. It is as if the mass majority of individuals the current president selects and installs into a senior office turns out to be a dishonest, greedy, corrupt individual.

  • Who in their right mind, in the top role position of the EPA builds a SCIF (a secure office) in their own office, when there is already an existing one, one floor away? Or has him/her chauffeured around in an armored vehicle when the position does not rate such a vehicle. Scott Pruitt wanted a ‘secure’ ‘sound-proof’ phone booth… That position does not require that kind of security.
  • What about taking private jet rides around the country, at tax payer expense…
  • What about going shopping on a federal jet, at tax payer expense (this was, allegedly, Mnuchin and his wife back in 2017 – recall Louise Linton’s extravagant and glorious exit and pose from the plane with the bags of purchased goods).
  • There is so much more that could go here as well and if you did not live and breathe solely in a filter bubble, then you will know that there is more. But if you isolated yourself to a safe zone of like-minded individuals, none of whom dared to grow and venture forth to look at other possibilities, at other avenues – then it is likely you only know one silo or one tunnel vision cone of information. What you believe may be completely wrong. But due to being in that filter bubble, it is difficult to convince you to expand and do better.

 

Part III           The World

What happened to America’s global role of leadership and statesmanship? Again, a certain specific individual is what happened. America has become a laughing stock of and to the world. Our allies are alienated because of this individual. Our leadership on the world stage has eroded horridly to lower levels. It is only through the guts and leadership of certain state governors and mayors and some business leaders and numerous American citizens doing all they can to keep our head and chin up in the world.

As we can see, there are numerous leaders in other countries who want to emulate Trump and the fake news hoopla. And they have been as well as gaining incredible autocratic and dictatorial powers where the citizens of those countries (Philippines, China, Russia, Hungary, Brazil, etc.) are simply screwed and cannot seem to get out of the rut they find themselves in because those leaders have the military to back up any areas that the dictators/autocrats desire.

 

Look at China

There is no freedom of speech, no freedom of choice there. China forcibly removes freedom at every avenue it can, in order to “preserve the safety of people within its borders and preventing threats to a stable society” in their country from other sources.  This is a complete sham and the Chinese citizens are not all aware of it – because of the Chinese leadership’s control of all media and avenues of travel.

You also have to take into consideration that the Chinese leader made himself, ahh, sorry, the Chinese National People’s Congress voted that there be no term limits on the current leader of China. How nice is that – Dictator for Life, sorry – what was meant was, President for life of a country with 1.3+ billion people. This outcome was determined as follows: Two delegates voted against the change and three abstained, out of 2,964 votes. Nice, eh…? Almost a clean sweep.

Remember the Hong Kong citizenry acting to retain its freedom in late 2019 and the Houston Rockets manager Daryl Morey tweeted an image that read “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” (By the by – EVERYONE should stand with Hong Kong as they lose their right to total freedom; loss of a free press, free speech, free movement, facial recognition surveillance {even more than what we have in America} and become a more communistic country – for those that choose to stay in Hong Kong – many will find some way out of that island country over the next several years – an exodus.) Before he deleted due to comments and stress from various avenues of contention. But – NBA Commissioner Adam Silver finally came around and supports Morey’s right to free speech. Of course, in return, China was appalled and had the gall to come back with:

  • The Chinese-run television network said it was “strongly dissatisfied” with Silver’s remarks.
  • “We oppose Silver’s claim to support Morey’s right of free expression. We believe that any speech that challenges national sovereignty and social stability is not within the scope of freedom of speech,” CCTV said in its statement in Chinese, which was translated by CNBC.

In reality, how in the heck can China, a Communistic society (but they really want to be Capitalistic, don’t they…) DARE to say that free expression that challenges ‘anything’ is not within the scope of freedom of speech???!!!!  Not when the Chinese government does not allow its own citizenry to any of it. China controls the media. China controls the countries internet access and continues to tweak their ‘Chinese Firewall’ in order to censor everything that travels over the air or via cables.

  • People are not allowed to talk about leaders in a bad light, as other countries do.
  • Any word that the Chinese government deems to worthy of censorship is blocked from the internet and not allowed on any media. Here is a fairly good article on “68 Things You Cannot Say on China’s Internethttps://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/24/world/asia/china-internet-censorship.html or this other article “In China, you can’t say these wordshttps://share.america.gov/in-china-you-cant-say-these-words/
  • Take the Uighur (or Uyghur) situation in the XinJiang region. The Chinese government deems them to be dangerous and has razed many of the Uighur towns to the ground and put the people who once lived there, into camps (imagine something, kind of like a concentration camp – just not as horrific) but the Chinese calls them re-education camps where the Uighurs are required to shave their beards, removing that identity aspect. All movement is controlled by surveillance cameras (everywhere in Uighur inhabited areas, not just the camps) and identities. Uighurs are not even allowed to have certain tools because they could be construed as weapons. The Chinese have even gone so far as to engrave certain cutting tools with the owner’s identities on the tool AND then are required to take it out and return it like a library book (complete control of those tools) – controlled by the police.
  • People of China face public shaming for spitting in the streets (it can be caught on camera and put up on a large billboard – live video) – but wait, it does not end there. The citizens can be assessed points in the Chinese “Social Point System”, which started in 2014. It is about regulating individual and group behavior for activities such as: bad driving, smoking in non-smoking areas, not paying bills on time, spending too much on video games. Now, if you acquire too many points, you can be: banned from flying or catching a train; banned from luxury options (like 1st class seats); throttling internet speeds; being banned from the best schools (including your children). Think about that kind of restriction in the western world.
  • China wants to own the SCS (South China Seas) instead of sharing, stating that territorial waters belongs to China and not shared amongst, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, and says, basically that
    • there is no ‘freedom of navigation’ in that area to foreign military/navies
    • and going as far as building man-made islands and militarizing them to support the Chinese claim, even though the Hague is on the side of the Philippines as to the waterways is not owned by China

So, for a leader of one country to put their Big Brother restrictions on citizens of another country and expect other nations to kowtow “their own” draconian methods of “lack of freedom of speech” or “lack of freedom of action” – what does that does mean, hmmm…? 

How can the leader of a country with all these restrictions say they have a stable society when the society is controlled by the government and military?

The people:

  • do not have any true freedom
  • cannot congregate
  • cannot vote bad leaders out either (so it seems)

What do you believe, does China have a ‘stable society’ or that free speech threatens another country’s national sovereignty?

            Chinese citizens will never see this paper within the borders of China because of the content of this paper.

 

Russian president – Putin. What can you make of this other president for life? He basically owns Russia and the people are somewhat locked into a state of hopelessness and are unable to do anything. It is somewhat hard to figure out how the people just do not create a national up-rising force Putin out, so we will not see that happen.

But how does a country’s President become a billionaire? It has been reported by several sources, one of which is the CIA that Putin has anywhere from $70 – $200 billion stashed away – yes, BILLION. Reportedly, he is at the $22 Billion mark. How does that happen, legally?

And do not get your hopes up to run against Putin because competition against him appear to have bad josh, bad luck. They die. They get poisoned. They gain criminal charges and if you have criminal charges in Russia, you cannot run for top offices, so they say. And let’s not forget the military and the underworld henchmen who just might, out of their love for Putin (yeah, right) take out the competition and it then becomes complete deniability for Putin and his party.

 

There is just so much more to be said about Putin, Xi, Maduro (Venezuela), János Áder (Hungary), Duterte (Philippines) and even more about Trump.

But where do we go from here? How do we do it? Well, education is one of the first steps – educating everyone and allowing everyone to vote is a second step. Ensuring EQUALITY is flat out the foundation and cornerstone of EVERYTHING from henceforth!  We all have to do better, not just in America but around the globe.

At the same time, we have to prevent other countries from interfering our countries elections. We have to prevent fake news from gaining ground (yes, the real fake news where there is no basis in reality and notalternate facts’ as Kellyanne Conway stated it), while at the same time barring harmful and dangerous conspiracy individuals/groups.

 

All we can do is – TRY.

Be better than others and lift them up in turn. Stop stepping on the backs of others just so you can put your face in the spotlight. Just do the right thing. Most of all, it takes courage – courage to stand up and be counted and help make everyone accountable. Take U, she is a child and look at what she has accomplished and it was not out of wanting to be in the spotlight, it was due to making people aware that the world has to change regarding climate change.

But, individuals like the one in the White House, he has no courage whatsoever. He does not stand up for inequality. He does not stand up with empathy for those going through disastrous changes in their lives. He for sure does not have the courage to stand up and face America’s lack of true justice.

The American president does even have the backbone and courage to stand up and fight, internationally and collaboratively on CoViD-19 instead of finger-pointing. What individual in their right mind cuts out the World Health Organization and throttles the CDC…?

And not least, where is the courage to stand up against Police injustice in America, specifically against Brown, Yellow and Black people of this country…

But he does have an affinity, allegedly, for reneging on promises, greed and alleged corruption (*Ask the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York back back in 1979-1980 about Trump’s promise to give them the Bonwit Teller’s sculpture.)

We have to ensure respect, diversity, non-discrimination and equality are the bedrock of this country – maybe then we will actually be a United States.

 

*Bonwit Teller and the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Bonwit Teller closed its flagship store in 1979 and sold the property for $15 million to a Long Island real estate developer. Despite his plans to demolish the old Bonwit Teller building, the buyer promised to preserve the Deco grillwork and bas reliefs at the request of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The buyer was none other than Donald Trump. In 1980, Trump demolished Warren & Westmore’s elegant Art Deco emporium to make way for his $100 million Trump Tower. In what became a sadly typical turn of events, Trump cut corners everywhere he could and bullied those who stood in his way. To pour the foundations, Trump enlisted S&A Concrete, a known mob front for Paul Castellano and “Fat Tony” Salerno. He paid 200 illegal Polish immigrants as little as $4 an hour to work 12-hour days, 7 days a week. The so-called “Polish Brigade” worked without benefits, hard hats, and sometimes even homes – during the 1980 transit strike, many were forced to sleep at the construction site. Then there were the lawsuits. He sued the city for a tax abatement on the property. He sued one contractor for “total incompetence” and threatened to sue a labor lawyer for $100 million.

The reasoning:

John Baron, a spokesman for the Trump Organization—who, the New York Daily News discovered, turned out to be Donald Trump himself in disguisetold the Times that “the merit of these stones was not great enough to justify the effort to save them.” He said it would have cost $32,000 to remove the sculptures and cited appraisals by three independent appraisers that found them to be “without artistic merit” and worth less than $9,000. Their removal, he said, would also have delayed demolition work by at least a week and a half. (Trump, as himself, later estimated the cost of preserving the panels at $500,000.)

 

The Voices of Women – Meaningless? And the Erosion of Democracy…

Apologies to the length of this writing (this is TL;DR for some) but Trump, Kavanaugh, McConnell, Flake, Collins, Hatch, Graham, Manchin and injustice is making life, well, Topsy-turvy to be polite…

Well. It appears that the voices of women mean nothing where it is most important – in sexual assaults (and in every day life to be fair). Even if an event happened 30+ years ago, the voice and statements of a woman are still important.

As of today, Saturday – Oct 6, 2018, America has voted onto the Supreme Court an individual with more divisiveness; with a more controversial background than Clarence Thomas had.

I’m a guy and what women say IS important, always!

That is, until it is proven it is not true. But, where it is ambiguous and no concrete evidence can be found, many of us will side with the woman – not just give lip service and say ‘we believe her’ as certain members of Congress have done (so the congressional members can retain their positions of power in their home state/district). What a woman says can make a difference. In many of the sexual assaults it is primarily a crime not witnessed by others and that is why the victim does not come forth and the guy gets away with it. (Sometimes, sometimes, yes indeed – there are women who also commit sexual assaults, it is just not that many.) And Trump – making an outlandish tweet that young men should be scared is ridiculous. No young men should be assaulting women in the first place (that goes for older men as well).

In America, or rather parts of America – certain Americans have decided that a man with a blemished background and temperament can be put into a position of significant influence and power. Certain Americans have placed an individual with what appears to be a highly tainted past onto the highest court, a court which now will be looked at for every decision it makes for the next 30 years with a jaundiced eye.

All because an individual who was put into the White House due to many electoral college members deciding that this person was the best choice for America in 2016. Trump.

If this Supreme Court vote turned your stomach, you had best “get your butt off the couch and go vote” in the NEXT SEVERAL voting turnouts, for the next couple of decades! The mid-terms, primaries, all of them. This will be the only way to restore some semblance of sanity to America.

Because if you do not, we, America, will be doomed and damned!  Are you one of the people looking to return to the ‘Dark Days’ of yesterday when only the males of one race had the power to lord over everyone else of a different color and all women? Do you really want to return to the days of suppression and repression…?

More and more pieces of democracy (not talking about the democratic party here, just democracy) will be chipped away as they are being done today. More “socialist” programs will be lost for years, if not decades until we can return to the path of growth and equality that we were on until Trump was put into the White House. And what I mean by socialist programs are:

  • fire departments (think you don’t need this socialist program when your home catches fire)
  • libraries (not everyone has high speed internet or even computers at home)
  • police departments (what happens when your local police department is gone and you need law enforcement)
  • schools (everyone needs to seriously consider removing Betsy D. from the dept of education…)
  • hospitals
  • social security (what are you going to do when you are older and have no money to rely on)
  • should I go on….?

Socialist programs, today, in 2018, are meant to help everyone, not just the poor and downtrodden – the programs are meant to make the lives of everyone easier,  better and safer.

This is how Hitler grew into power. Think about that – think long and hard – do your ‘own’ thinking. Over several years, Hitler and the people around him whittled away at more and more programs until they gained power – a vise grip on EVERYTHING! (There are some who say this erosion actually started right before Hitler came into the picture – but we all know for fact, Hitler destroyed democracy in Germany.) And what was the result of that, guess! Extermination of massive numbers of the Jewish race, in multiple countries (Poland, Germany, France, Austria and more). The Holocaust was the ultimate disgrace to democracy. Things started out small in Germany and many of the Germanic race were happy and fine that Hitler was looking out for them. Hitler was going to “Make Germany Great Again!But then when it was too late to do anything, such as removing Hitler, Himmler, Goering and others of the SS and the Nazi party – it was far, far too late.

Now, this is not saying Trump is a Nazi but – he is providing a helping hand in the destruction of the American way of life and all of its democracies. Trump has enabled the worse of the worst to come forth (recall the nighttime ‘Tiki Torch’ parade). Trump has unleashed the hounds of hell, to put it mildly, to come out of the wood-works and raise pure hell. Look at:

  • early February 2017 where the House and Senate voted to repeal the so-called “stream protection rule”- Coal companies now have a freer hand in dumping mining pollutants into streams
  • the white nationalist rally incident in Charlottesville, VA where Heather Heyer was killed
  • Chris Collins and his insider trading on the lawn of the White House – how brazen was that?
  • Many of the cabinet members Trump installed and the self-aggrandizement these individuals did while in power – sound-proof phone booth in his office (guess who that was);
  • Expensive furniture, what was it, ~$31,000 for his office – you know who this was, the man qualified to run HUD because he grew up in the projects (I grew up in the projects too)…
  • Zinke of the Interior Department and his sell off of federal lands
  • The black protestor who was sucker-punched by a white man in the stands at a Trump rally in Fayetteville (and trump said he would pay the legal fees for the puncher)
  • we could go on and on with this list…

The point is, if Americans do not come to their senses and stop this extreme political partisanship, we will continue going down the rabbit hole of more:

  • hate crimes – racially & religiously motivated
  • individuals like Michael Gerard Grimm, former congressman & former FBI, who threatened to throw a reporter off the balcony – a reporter who was doing his job (after his prison term for that, Grimm had the audacity to try running again for public office)
  • corruption – how can people follow the law when the law makers and peace keepers are the ones causing this corruption and excess to continue – so they can feel powerful and make money in many cases for doing so
  • erosion of public lands for corporate revenue – oil exploitation, so that oil companies can continue to make large pools of revenue before the clean energy wave really kicks in and fossil fuel use will be a money pit
  • inequalities – women and racial – women and those of different skin colors doing the same job as men of a certain color “SHOULD BE PAID EQUALLY” for doing the same job
  • anti-discrimination against new immigrants to America – and we all know this is how America started
  • to name a few….

What do we need to do people? You all have to use your head and think!!!!

You have to perform research and think and talk about your actions before you do them! You cannot just listen to unqualified individuals who spout hate and conspiracy theories. You must do your own thinking, it is what makes you “you”!

So, what are you thinking? Are you thinking things in the political environment are going in the right direction?

Are you thinking Trump is making America great – when he raises tariffs, the ultimate cost is on you, the American citizen because you will be the one paying more for the products with the tariffs. 

Do you think the tax cut he instituted was wonderful? Well – continue thinking about that when your local services (any or all of them) are cut or eliminated due to your city budget does not have enough revenue – ‘because of that tax cut’.

What about clean air and clean water? Think your kids are going to be able to run around as you did years ago but now the air and water are more polluted (remember, the coal mine dumping above and the Trump administrations’ attempt to relax car emissions letting car makers off the hook…)

Use your brains. Think about the future. You cannot just think about yourself because you do not like gays or dark skinned people. You cannot say “hey, my religion is the foremost important thing in the world” when other people believe in a different religion. Do not make a mistake, as an American and a global citizen – I. DO. NOT. WANT Sharia Law anywhere near America.

Ultimately, what is being stated here is that Americans need to be better.

  • Give women their voices – it is hard enough to come forward publicly as it is
  • Think about unity, amongst all Americans (i.e. why do we still have Sundown towns in parts of America? Why do we still have so many skinhead/white nationalist/white supremacist groups around the country?)

Because America has to come together again and be a “United States” and grow stronger and be better as a country for itself. As well as in the face of rising problems with:

  • Russia’s Putin doing the meddling he is doing globally and
  • China doing what they are doing – attempting to force people / countries to kowtow to them; giving China hemispheric power to do what they wish, such as build man-made islands in the South China Seas and claim more of the region as belonging to them (we could discuss the Uighurs and the police state they are living under as well as the great firewall of China as well as internet and public censorship so the Chinese citizens have no voice and are unable to vote politicians out of power – these are big stories on their own…)

We are losing the luster of being a world leader because we do not have any serious diplomatic power. Who do we have that is a shining star in the world of diplomacy? Our ‘leader’ in the White House is not one who has great powers of diplomacy. He is continually causing America to devolve into a laughing stock of the world every time he utters a sentence or disseminates a tweet.

We are a country where it is now up to the states to institute clean air and clean water and equality for all. That is, those states with a forward looking mindset for the next 10 – 30 years…

 

 

Trump Fallacy & Mueller’s Tasking = Uncover Alternative Facts, Collusion and Obstruction of Justice

Very sorry in advance. This paper started out as a brief half-pager but the more thinking put into this paper regarding Mueller’s investigation and Trump himself, ummm, errrr, the paper grew a bit… The two areas are too intertwined. This is not a ‘dog whistle’ but a thought paper, one for which it is hoped that those few people who do read even a small part of it will start their own expanded thought process and create a cascading effect within their circles (filter bubbles or not).

 

Well, whaddaya think…?  Here we are, still, at the crossroads of historical significance with the current American president. And no, we are not using the term United States, because we are not united – there is too much divisiveness in America, too much selfishness. Coming together only during disasters and shootings is not nearly enough to say the country is united. We have to think about everyone; from the rust belt, to the mid-west – in addition to the west and east coasts, from the farms to the cities, from the poor to the rich.

We are here with Trump and his merry gang of, ???, others?  Not sure what to make of these folks and really do not want to just parse out any puerile knee-jerk name-calling.

The ‘Trump Fallacy’. Yes, there it is, the Electoral College missed the boat on “believing” they were voting in who the American people wanted as the next American president. As many people who did their own research and thinking know, the Electoral College was wrong, many of the Electoral College members just voted too soon and did not wait for more vote counting. (Or, and these are only guesses here: a) they voted on Trump out of fear of some of the more rabid Trump supporters or b) a really wild guess here, some of the Electoral College voters were paid to vote for Trump {let’s hope this really was not the case}). The American people voted for the other presidential candidate by ~2.9 million more votes. Simply put, more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton than any other losing presidential candidate in American history… {Clinton’s votes = 65,844,954 / Trump’s votes = 62,979,879}

The Trump fallacy is that too many people believed Trump was their salvation. That Trump was going to restore a dying industry (coal) to its former black lung and asthma inducing glory. That Trump was going to make America the single greatest power on Earth. That Trump was going to put a chicken for every pot in America (do your research please, this is a Truman reference) while at the same time; putting in unqualified individuals in the nation’s highest offices, individuals who really had no business being placed in these positions. America was actually growing prior to Trump being selected by the Electoral College. As a result, Trump put in place individuals who wanted to take America backwards or did not know how to move America forward:

Ben Carson – HUD Secretary, installed because, as he stated, he used to live in the projects (so did this writer)

Betsy DeVos – Education Secretary, installed because she ran some Charter schools and since taking office, never visited some of the worse national school districts (ask Michigan if DeVos even contacted them) – DeVos wants to have more charter schools and leave the public schools to die off – that is the image we perceive. The problem, public schools are important and they need funding and improvements (too many teachers are buying their class supplies with their own small amount of money they earn)

Scott Pruitt – EPA, installed because he is a friend of the oil industry…? (what EPA secretary ever attempted to obtain a sound proof phone booth in their office, or bullet resistant office furniture and seats in bigger armored limousine…?) This individual also wants to continue making oil a dominate energy source when green energy (Wind, Solar, Ocean waves, etc.) is continually growing, even energy companies are buying up 10 – 20-year green energy contracts (but not making much noise about it).

Zinke – Interior, a person who claims to be a geologist but did not go the complete route a real geologist takes to gain that title of being a geologist (yes, he did take geology courses as an undergraduate but that is not all it takes)

Let’s just stop here, you get the picture. Right? RIGHT….??

But, as many people are now fully aware, not just across America, but across the planet – Trump never was qualified to sit in house of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Many people have known that since the 1990’s. Many of his base have been finding out the painful way over the past 17 months that the current president is not and never was qualified and is incapable of being qualified. Now, the remainder of his base, for whatever reason(s), they may never recognize that fact – but they may, after America goes through more harm, damage and ridicule over the next 12-24 months…

Just because someone has the loudest voice or biggest bull-horn, it does not mean that person has the right take or the best solution on anything. Listening to someone like that may just take you on a very bad bus ride… People have to learn to keep an open mind with the possibility that someone else’s opinion may be better or even right. People have to be better and learn to adapt to a changing global landscape by keeping an open mind and boosting their own intellect rather than relying on others to spoon fed what may be contrarian information (i.e. egregious or little lies).

What we appear to have in the American psyche now, more than ever, are a lot of individuals who for some reason have subconsciously (or consciously) given up their prerogative to do their own critical thinking. We have more people in America (and other countries for that matter), who seem to prefer to let other, less informed and ill-meaning people do the thinking for them.

Not really clear why so many Americans do not do their own critical thinking, AFTER they do their own research of course. So many Americans seem to relish listening to whisper campaigns, conspiracy minded talkers (many of which appear to not do their own due diligence prior to trotting out their various topics/dialogues) or flat-out liars. And to put an icing on the cake, these narrowly focused individuals spread the untruths on social media, in their own filter bubbles or other venues, therein causing a feeding frenzy using the bad information.

What happened to the thinking process of these people along the way of their life? What is wrong with dissent and conflict in a civil manner? People do not have to physically attack others who do not agree with them but some do. All you have to do is go to some colleges where speakers are attacked, by thrown objects and even physically. This harkens back to those Salem days of witch craft and hysteria arose – all because the person being accused of being a witch had a physical disorder or thought differently. It is as if the control mechanism in the brains of so many people is in a state of permanent shut down and they do not know how to turn it back on… Is America going backwards because free thought is being shut down.

— Hate speech or racial supremacy speech or bullying does not count as being healthy free speech.

The Trump fallacy has lowered the bar for ethical standards and personal integrity. Too many people around the American president are picking up the bad role model habits of this president. For example, early last year, January 2017, we had a woman go on live television and tell the American public about ‘Alternative Facts.’ By now, nearly everyone on the planet should know that alternative facts are just lies. For those that do not believe this, hint: an alternative to truth is a falsehood, or a lie. Many of us do not know of any other alternatives, so if you do know of something concrete to describe or define ‘alternative facts’, please let the rest of us in on that little-known tidbit.

Or worse still, we have public officials in congress and the senate who knowingly and unabashedly spread falsehoods because they believe it is something the president desires. And as a result, we have deepening political partisanship, worse than ever (no, not pointing a finger at just one party).

 

Now, getting to Mueller and his investigation of collusion (Russians), his team is outstandingly quiet on what they have to date. That is the way it is supposed to be. No lawyer or prosecutor in their right mind is going to give up valuable information in advance of the conclusion of their investigation or prior to the convening of a court case.

What many are not thinking of is the possibility that Mueller, in his role of special prosecutor, may have quite a bit of evidence at hand to make a significant blow to those who mistakenly believed that they could do what they want with the political system and the constitution. Think about ‘fixing by your neighborhood fixer’ and flat out ‘bribery’, basically, think about corruption. Mueller may have extraordinary data to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. Mueller ‘may’ also have an abundance of data in regards to ‘obstruction of justice’. The obstruction of data ‘may’ be aimed at those surrounding Trump, now and in the past – all those folks who have spat out and are currently spitting out lies, misleading information or other diversionary tactics, with the single goal of getting Trump out of hot water.

What is happening to ethics and integrity in the world? It seems a person’s word and bond are not as valued today in some certain circles. It seems that various people, highly educated people to boot, seem to have willingly and completely lowered the bar for their personal standard and do not mind the occasional bit of lying in the workplace or political/justice systems or even outrageous acts of corruption that we all see every week in the news in some city.

  

 

Disheartened yet? No, chew on this then. Here is something that some/many people may not talk about or even think of. There are so many Americans out there, in all levels of society and various positions of power who only think about pleasing themselves and those around them and to hell with everyone else.  This is where discrimination kicks in or continues to spread… And no, you do not have to go and do any copious and deep research on this, just look around and listen to the conversations of other people – on the train platform, in bars, at any sports venue, etc.  Especially when the talkers believe no one else is listening to them.

There are a large number of Americans who refuse to listen to other arguments and opinions, just because those arguments come from someone else. It does not matter if the other person making the argument is a highly educated expert in their field, or that other person may not have advanced degrees but is a well-known specialist. Or, it could just be a neighbor down the road. And please, do not let it be a valid argument from someone of color, or a woman, or someone from a different religion – because then, the one who refuses to listen to a different opinion digs in even more and is blinded by their personal discriminatory beliefs instead of considering that other opinion and having a dialogue.

The sad news for those kinds of thinkers is that we are all in this together, Americans cannot continue to have discrimination and keep putting in place, demarcation lines, visible or otherwise (you know, where people of one race moves out of a neighborhood because ‘certain’ kinds of other people move in…). We have to eventually “all” come together and recognize “others”. People of all colors are important. People of both genders and now, adding trans-gender folks to the mix are “all” important. Young and old alike are important to any society. The poor and the middle class are also important to any society, not just chattel to cast aside when the wealthy or the well-off are finished with them for the time being.

Enough people in America, and around the world, have been suppressed for too many centuries (yes, centuries) – we have to boot strap and bring everyone up, to improve standards in America and around the world.

 

So, work on thinking for yourselves and what is important to all of us. We cannot continue to have siloed (discriminatory) societies when we all breathe the same air and travel the same roads – doing so just makes it that much more expensive just to maintain all the various silos of – we need this or they (others) do not need that (this or that). Doing so only brings back (or keep in place) inequities that many of us want to see go away once and for all.

Let’s all think about actually draining the swamp of corrupt individuals who only want to aggrandize themselves and line their own pockets and do something real. Like vote out those who are corrupt and vote in others who want to help everyone, not just people who look like them…

If people out there choose to not think for themselves and continue listening to others who erroneously and intentionally misled them, we are all in trouble. We will continue to see this uptick in Fascist talk and actions; more talk and activity from white supremacists who believe the world (or certain portions of it) belongs only to them; more talk from nationalists/populists who only promote ideals that ‘appear’ to make their followers happy (think about Hitler).

Seriously, work on raising the bar on your personal ethics and integrity. Those two areas alone are something that would bring America back again instead of sliding down the magic rabbit-hole of lies and corruption in all areas and levels of government (and all other areas of life to boot). Seriously, again, stop condoning things that you know are wrong. i.e. there was one individual who stated “”You get a mulligan,” said Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council” in talking about the immoral behavior of Trump. Grabbing women by the “pu_ _ y” is not something one gets a mulligan over… Nor was the situation when Melania Trump had their child and Trump was galivanting around…

Would you rather have a role model with poor moral standards, who knowingly lies (i.e. in 1980 Trump agreed to turn over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art the gilded 20-by-30-foot nickel grillwork of interlocking geometric designs and a pair of 15-foot-tall Art Deco panels “depicting stylized, partly draped female nudes, from the Bonwit Teller building he was tearing down to build Trump Tower – but then reneged on the promise and destroyed the art work), and encourages physical attacks (recall the sports arena incident where a white guy, as he was walking up the steps to leave the stadium, went out of his way to punch a black guy who had stood up to wait his turn to leave) or would you rather follow a sanitation worker (or home care assistant) with a big heart, higher ethical and integrity standards as a role model to live and grow your lives…?

Hint: some of us would rather follow the latter role model and not someone who wants to perpetuate the past where honest public officials are cast out for working on the straight and narrow rather than allowing certain illegalities go unnoticed and unpunished (remember Sally Yates who was ousted from the DoJ and Preet Bharara formerly of the Southern District of New York)…

 

Lastly, please, for many folks out there – try to stop being malleable, weak-minded and easily manipulated individuals. Do not just jump on the very first thing you see or hear, look for corroborating information to make a more informed opinion. Try to think for yourselves and for the future of America, all of the Americans, not just certain groups of people or certain colors…

We need to bring America back from the fringes of becoming a true international laughing stock, for which we are to a small degree, thanks in no small part to what has been happening over the past 17 months.

Trump – It’s About Leadership and Leading

NOTE: Arrrggghhhh….. I just HAD to break away from my impartiality and write about leadership again, for this election cycle.  This post is about leadership, equality, fairness and progress, not to promote one specific individual over another. You must choose who you believe is the better leader for this country, to speak for you nationally and in the halls of other countries around the world. Do your own research, reach out to multiple different sources and do our own thinking. Do not let one news channel (TV, cable, paper, radio station) be your sole point of view or perspective. Broaden your horizon, then discuss and debate with others. Do not get locked into your own filter bubble (see Eli Pariser’s 2011 book on THE FILTER BUBBLE) because being in your own filter bubble will trap you and adversely affect your state of mind, on everything. Folks, please do your own deep, selfless and honest thinking.

Leadership! Yes, leadership. It is not something one can easily gain. Leadership is something one earns and this is basically what is at stake today – who deserves to be the leader of this nation… Successful leadership is one where people will want to emulate you as a successful role model.

First, yes, Hillary Clinton did create her own mess with her email situation. But do remember, other individuals before her at State Dept. also had their own private email servers. For this, if she is not going to be criminally punished as others of us would have (and others in the public eye should have), then she should be financially penalized. Then, we can move on.

Yes, she also may have previously had something going on with the foundation in question. If it is true, let the Justice Dept deal with it. Stop making allegations if they are not true. Then, we can move on.

Yes, Clinton is stiff, civil and formal but those traits actually are something that many people in this country (and around the world) want and prefer – at least she can become relaxed. Many people do not want to be associated with individuals who make it their mission in life to be:

  • rude/crass,
  • overbearing,
  • insincere,
  • name calling…,
  • unapologetic,
  • “politically INCORRECT”,
  • disingenuous (on an hourly basis),
  • divisive,
  • belittling (of various races, genders, religions, etc.)
  • inflammatory

Many people simply do not want to be engaged with individuals with these kinds of attributes ON A DAILY BASIS and NOT AT ALL if we can help it! Especially when these traits above have been a known trade mark of someone over decades…. And many people especially do not want someone with these traits to be the leader of a nation, a nation with the capacity to intentionally start a devastating and horrific war or become a police state. However, it is okay to sometimes be inflammatory, IF it is for a validly good cause and the end result is the success and/or uniting of disparate people/groups. 

Lastly, on Bill Clinton – HE IS NOT THE ONE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT! Drop this aspect.  And let’s move on.

Many people in the United States (many of us wish we actually were a United people instead of all the many islands of uncompromising communities), many people want someone with at least some kind of history of working:

  • in politics
  • with the military,
  • with the intelligence community,
  • with state and local leaders and
  • with leaders of other countries.

Being a leader means:

  • working with people to obtain equality (financially or just in life), no matter the gender, age, race, religion or medical handicap.
  • bringing people together through a spirit of community, not through a spirit of free for all hooliganism at public events (which makes some of us believe we’re living in the U.K. during the height of hooliganism).
  • you have something to say and you have actual plans and methodologies to back up what you say. It does not mean saying you have something but you will not talk about it yet and then never talk about it again….
  • you want to enable others, from the very bottom and into the mid-levels of the economic and educational strata, to become better.  To enable them to in turn become enablers – for themselves and to help others.
  • you are willing to improve the living and working conditions across the entire country for everyone. Conditions such as roads (think infrastructure), pay equality, working environments. It is bad enough that minimum wage is going to take 2 – 4 years in many places to reach the nationally desired goal. The problem with that is, by the time minimum wages get there, inflation and general cost increases will put many of these folks in the same spot they were in 3 – 4 years ago…
  • compromising, even when you are the one getting the short end of the stick, if it means success for all

One has to earn the right to be a leader…

But to be that leader, one must show they are for everyone, not just for certain sections of a country – or for certain groups of people. There is no returning back to 1960, or 1930, where many, many people in this country were/were perceived as second class (or worse) un-equal individuals. From Chinese (from what, the 1800’s to the 1940s), to Women (for all time), to Blacks (since the 1600’s), to Mexicans – no one should be looked down upon as anything less than equal.

We need someone to bring us together, not cause a nation-wide situation of ‘us’ versus ‘them’.

That is leadership!

No Net Neutrality is “Kinda Like Discrimination”

BB

Well, let’s clearly state up front that if we do not have net neutrality in place that it is Kinda Like Discrimination!If there is inequality in how individuals and firms use the ‘Net, there will be discriminatory impacts as a result.

Also, this paper is not focused on entertainment value of the ‘Net but the power of the educational component of using the ‘Net and improving individual lives.

 

Now, let’s also be clear, corporations and companies should make a profit, there is no doubt about that. But when the profits come in the form of gains due to people here and there and companies here and there having to pay for a faster speed to get a leg up on their competitors, well, that could be problematic.

In the first place, aren’t the major (and minor) ISPs, Telco’s and exchanges (LECs/IXC’s), supposed to be improving their communication pipes with their own investments (culled from the profits made off of customers) in order to attract and retain current and future customers?

 

If lower income people around the world do not have a fair and equitable manner of accessing the ‘Net, in comparison to the more wealthier middle/upper income earners – these lower income folks cannot play ball at the same level. The less fortunate will either have to make trips to the local library or suffer from a much slower ‘Net.

Who wants to suffer in watching an hour-glass or spinning wheel on the PCs’ monitor? Who wants to wait for a connection that might well die and disconnect and reconnect and start all over again for what was originally wanted.

If you have a student in your home and they are watching an educational video, the value of that learning time plummets when the learner/viewer cannot have a solid, good and fast connection. The learning is drastically disrupted due to the vagaries of having to deal with the many network errors (sync errors, drops, slowness, etc.). And many, many of us have put up those kinds of problems in the early days of BBSs’ and the early years of the ‘Net. NONE of us enjoyed that at all.

 

We, the global citizens of the world, have put up far too many forms of discrimination in our time on earth. And whether you count time on earth in BC/AD or BCE/CE, it does not matter, we have seen discrimination in its many forms for centuries and many of which are still here today (sadly and pathetically so).

Do we need yet another form of discrimination? Should major ISPs, telcos, LECs and IXCs have the power to dictate pricing on the ‘Nets of the world, the U.S. at any rate and make those who cannot afford it, scrimp, beg and borrow money to pay for equal access to the ‘Net?

 

As it stands, there are many jurisdictions in the U.S. where any new company AND even the local municipality are banned from competing with the major broadband. This ban is due to those major telcos and their lobbyists spending gobs of money and getting laws enacted to end up in the favor of the telco/broadband carrier.

It also does not hurt these major providers – ISPs & Telcos – have congressional representation (i.e. Blackburn – see the references below) aiding them in blocking municipalities from competing, it is all well and good for the major providers but not so good for the rest of the country.

 

How can this be fair? Sure, again, all companies should make a profit. But when companies lobby to get other companies/municipalities banned from competing that just paints an unflattering picture for those major providers as bad corporate citizens.

Why wouldn’t these major providers allow competition? Is it to retain monopoly and duopoly control on a vital service? Profit, well, yeah….

When municipalities are blocked from building their own fast networks in their own cities/towns that flat out kills the spirit of competition. These municipalities have the interests of their constituents at heart and want to do better for them and by them.

 

But as long as the courts and some certain members of congress continue to allow major providers to have their way in controlling the communication pipes of the country and stifling competition, we will continue to see discrimination. Only, this form of discrimination comes in the form of access to a better (reliability and speed) network that may or not be as available to all as it really should.

 

Already, we, the U.S., are at #27* in the world, behind Estonia, as far as ‘Net speeds go AND paying a significantly more for OUR slow speeds. Either way, the U.S. is not looking so hot…

* The speeds, however, vary depending on who you go to and when you check them out:

— Akamai has the U.S. at #11 at 10.5 Mbps in 2014

— One writer, Sept. 4, 2014, wrote that the U.S. is listed at #30 with download speeds of ~20Mbps, http://www.dailydot.com/politics/us-broadband-speed-cost-infographic/

— Ookla has the U.S. listed with download speeds of 33.3 Mbps right now, Mar 1, 2015, http://www.netindex.com/download/2,1/United-States/

 

References

Municipal Broadband Roadblocks, Jul 18, 2014, http://broadbandnow.com/report/municipal-broadband-roadblocks/

FCC overturns state laws that protect ISPs from local competition, Feb 26, 2015 , http://arstechnica.com/business/2015/02/fcc-overturns-state-laws-that-protect-isps-from-local-competition/

 

Definitions

‘NET    Internet (what this writer has been using for years)

BBS     Bulletin Board System / Service (of the 80s & early 90s)

FCC     Federal Communication Commission

ISP      Internet Service Provider

IXC      IntereXhange Carrier commonly called a long-distance telephone company

LEC     Local Exchange Carrier

Mbps   Mega-bits per second

MBps   Mega-bytes per second (8 bits/byte)

TELCO Telephone Company

 

 

Diplomacy & Communication

Diplomacy

Note, this writing is not on national and international diplomacy but rather on the ‘use’ of diplomacy in any setting, any engagement – from business settings to team building (work or sports), even to relationship settings (man and woman, boy and girl, man and man or woman and woman). This is a small attempt in discussing how the use in any of those settings (an incomplete set listed) can and should be successful.

Make no mistake; diplomacy is not a Sunday drive. Diplomacy takes a massive effort on the part of everyone involved. Diplomacy is not a one-way street nor can it be construed only as my way or nothing at all.

We need good people, not the richest people, or the most attractive people, or those who might have gone to the best schools (ala the “ole boy network”). We need good people who can be level headed and look at all sides of a problem or issue at hand.

Money and looks should not play any part whatsoever in diplomacy, just the earnest and honest use of working or being with someone (yes, I am looking through rose colored glasses but there you have it).

We need good people who are:

  • Intelligent – not necessarily a Brainiac but is aware of what he or she knows and does not know,
  • Measured,
  • Studied,
  • Able to display Commonsense and
  • Collaborative – a word I use a great deal because it should be a requisite for everyone at all times,

We do “not” need nor want people who are:

  • Combative,
  • Constantly seeking the limelight,
  • Full of One-upmanship and
  • In your face

Being diplomatic in dealings with others does not always necessitate going through a formal school teaching diplomacy. Do you believe that everyone who has ever been successfully diplomatic in dealing with others always received formal training through some sanctioned institution…? I am not discussing how to have a proper place setting or who should stand where or who should enter / leave a room first. I am simply discussing how people should be interacting with each other to successful outcomes.

You do not need formal diplomatic training for that role…

Being diplomatic in life and work can stem from being aware of a situation, being able to communicate – to talk to others at a decent and respectable level (not condescending or patronizing) and experience in different walks of life. Note, the aforementioned is not a complete list.

Sometimes, those coming from humble beginnings are enough of a jump start to their being a successful diplomatic person life and work.

 

Communication

Communication skills are a prized aspect of anyone and something every person walking the planet should work on – daily and hourly. These skills will open the door to multiple successful engagements and will never let you down.

Successful communicators attempt to:

  • Talk to people at their levels,
  • See themselves, looking through the other persons’ shoes, to see the other’s perspective,
  • See, not just look, but to really see what is going on, right in front of them

Collaboration and Coalition

Having a good to great person in a position of diplomacy should boil down to who can honestly, intelligently, critically and judiciously work with one or more parties to an issue and talk it out, collaborating and compromising on a quality outcome for everyone. The outcome should not end up being a goal insidiously beneficial to one party. The outcome(s) should never favor one group more than the majority. The majority plays a significant role in society.

However, yes, the majority should normally win but there are a fair number of situations where a minority needs to have their voice heard and their rights looked after. Examples of those situations are Gay rights, Minority rights, the poor and workplace gender discrimination.

These few examples, to this day, still require their minority voices raised above those of the majority who:

  • Only see through tunnel vision,
  • Are myopic and/or
  • Narrow minded

and often times believe their way is the only and best way (i.e. religion).

You want more illustrations? Take racial / gender inequality or choices of sexual preferences:

  • Slavery,
  • Suffragettes,
  • People like Harvey Milk (former San Francisco mayor) and / or
  • Chinese who were also used as slave labor in the past.

These groupings have been pushed to the back or swept under the rug for decades or centuries. Just because the majority, of the past (and today), may not want men and women of those groups to enjoy full equality and full happiness – it is wrong to deny them the simple pleasures of life that those in the majority enjoy and quite likely take for granted…

If you look back at any era of history, the oppressors were always the ones in power, dictating life’s outcomes – that is a fact. The SOLE reason to oppress or suppress people is the will to remain in power with the adjunct reason of gaining ever more power (and money).

Oppressors and Suppressors have sought to control:

  • The thoughts of the people for centuries (i.e. the Church and slave owners)
  • What people could access for knowledge (i.e. again, the Church and slave owners)
  • Who could meet who and where and when (i.e. during the days of slavery)
  • Who had the right to vote and work and to marry (i.e. Women and Blacks and Asians) 

We need more people who are consciously willing to speak for all in collaborative settings. But, in talking about being collaborative and building coalitions to work within, I am not talking about Machiavellian machinations. We do not need someone to work in that manner behind our backs in secretive sessions.

So, be aware, even if the majority does prefer some viewpoint, they may not necessarily gain that viewpoint.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a topic that I have brought up multiple times in other writings. Critical thinking is a significantly necessary side of anyone, not just the leaders in any group, but of everyone in many situations. We desperately need more people in all walks of life, not just government (where they are sorely, sorely needed) but in military, business, education and health care.

One must be able to take in as many variables as they can about the situation at hand; what happened, who were the people involved, what were the various reasoning’s for their individual actions, where did it occur, was money involved, was politics or religion driving factors, was it racially motivated, was it greed or jealousy, etc., etc., etc.

One has to be able to logically, objectively and critically think through a situation and no two situations are alike.

Problem Solving

This is another topic that I believe anyone and everyone should have or strive to obtain. Gaining the capability or capacity to do a good job at problem solving should be the top of everyone’s list of things to do.

Another prized aspect of problem solving (as well as in critical thinking) is the ability to extrapolate out into the future multiple realistic scenarios of what might and could occur, rather than dreamy possibilities.

Cognitive Diversity

This is another area that more people need to develop better skills in, cognitive diversity.

Having more and varied life and work experiences to draw from will aid in your being successful in your daily dealings with anyone and everyone.

Having a varied educational background will help you in being a better person. Look at Colin Powell, Hillary Clinton or Madeleine Albright; these individuals all had varied backgrounds to draw from and did not have formal diplomatic training before they entered their jobs of being diplomats. Of course, they did obtain formal training after taking over their role of Secretary of State, you know – who stands where, who leaves the room first, who to talk to the most or the least, etc., etc.

Successful individuals in any area using diplomacy (not just international diplomacy) are those who are able to communicate clearly and succinctly, without the babble and mumble jumbo of being duplicitous.

These same individuals also should have the capacity to deal with the internal demon of cognitive dissonance. If individuals, or you, should encounter a situation, which causes discomfort or tension due to conflicting beliefs on the issue at hand – we all hope that the winning belief is the right one for all concerned.

Dignity & Respect

Everyone everywhere deserves dignity and respect in life and please note I am certainly not including criminals (war or just breaking the law) here. A diplomatic person, in their travels, should strive to honour even the poor and uneducated with dignity, just as they do with the very educated and the wealthy and powerful.

As to respect, everyone deserves to be respected – until they no longer prove that they do not deserve that respect. It should not matter how old, young, senior or junior the other person is.

It should not matter if the other person is male, female, poor, rich or what race they are nor should it matter if they are straight or gay – everyone deserves respect.

And if the other person loses your respect, you ‘still’ need to successfully do your job – see it through to fruition and then move on.

Honesty

Do I really need to embellish on this topic…?

 

Conclusion:

We need to have in place, in more organizations, in more government agencies and in the military, individuals who are willing to lead the way and do so in a fashion that all people can understand and follow – with open eyes and mindset.

We need to have in place individuals who can be or become successful change agents, who are willing to be in the midst of getting something done for what is right, not just because there is a vocal minority or a majority who is not more educated on the issue at hand.

Individuals who are successful diplomats and communicators, in any endeavor, should be ones with heart and honor in order to aid anyone and everyone, anywhere.

 

Our Society… Our People… Our Country… Our World… Are We Doomed or are we treading on thin, dirty ice…?

Even though I am an eternal optimist, I am nevertheless heartbroken and wearily saddened of so many things unjust and wrong in our society, here in the “United” States and around the world. Also, this piece is for those who want to read a somewhat serious discourse on various topics.

The few things (of ever so many) that I write about here are nothing new. Many thousands and tens of thousands of others have written and are writing about some or all of the same things. I only want to add my voice and hope that maybe just one person will read this and hear, clearly, what I say. Maybe that one person will be an even better carrier to spread the message, the message of equality and fairness and respect to and of others.

It is not just up to leaders to provide guidance and direction but it is also the individuals in our society who can lend their voices to reflect winning words of: forward thinking, encouragement, equality, respect, collaborations and moving in the right direction. With all the many, many voices out there – some of which have very little meaningful things to say, while there actually are others out there who ‘do’ have good, strong and constructive things to say but are drowned out by the mean, snidely sarcastic and ill-meaning people all around the country.

It is up to someone who is magnetic, energetic and has enough of an audience to concentrate all the good messages into a good platform.  

Are we becoming a stagnant group of people, heading in the direction of the Romans, towards a failing society? No, not in the way of being decadent but rather in the way of just, well, dissolving into a meaningless group – wait, no, into meaningless ‘bunches’ of groups of people scrabbling over things that really should not cause the conflict, ignorance and suffering we are going through as a nation.  

Yes, I will say it, I am a bleeding heart and at times I do wear it on my sleeve. At the same time, I am an eternal optimist and have been for many years. As well, I am a pessimistic pragmatist at times and because of that it causes a conundrum for some people are going to say “You can’t be all of those at the same time!” But therein lies some of the ignorance of some people – you actually can be those, it just takes some judicial balancing at various points in time.  

Look around; you don’t need me to give you specific examples of where we are failing many in this country or where things are just flat out wrong. You just need to open your eyes in your neighborhood, your workplace, your gym. You can see these things in your daily lives – if you would only remove your blinders and open your eyes and your mind.

Look at folks in wheel chairs or those who need to use crutches – those devices do not diminish their mental abilities. Some of these folks also have brilliant minds but so many firms will not hire them. This makes me angry to no end that so many handicapped (or disabled) individuals are simply blocked out of being hired. 

I am saddened that so many women are being treated as less than equal:

  • In earning less than their male counterparts in doing the same job
  • Not being as readily considered for leadership as their male counterparts who have the same experience
  • Because they have breasts and nothing dangling between their legs
  • Not being allowed to drive and/or obtain a job and/or education because they are women
  • AND being raped, around the world, while large numbers of men do not place much emphasis on this as being morally, physically and legally wrong (in some parts of the world, men believe the women deserved it…) – women are NOT chattel nor cattle
  • Or the coordinated moves against abortion, where many men are attempting to make decisions for pregnant women that is arduous enough as it is and for sure will drive many women to their deaths as they attempt self-abortions or those infamous ‘back alley’ abortions of years past.

Basically it is about the lack of respect that so many women should be receiving… 

I am saddened that people of different races are being treated as less than equal, solely because of the color of their skin.

This is a topic I could really go to town on because racism is still alive and well. It may not be as noticeable (overt) as it once was, it is just more covert today. But here is a tidbit on racism for some of you; many people do know they actually are racist because it is likely at their subconscious level just below their conscious awareness of how they interact with and treat others of different races. I’m not only talking about blacks and whites but all races.

Many people, not just in this country but around the globe, believe that ‘some’ races are inferior and should never have a voice in anything and are only worthwhile as cheap labor.

When a people (pick one from the past couple of centuries) are suppressed, kept ignorant (uneducated in school, politics and society) and not paid (adequately) for what they do – for what they are worth, then we should never be surprised that people of those ‘other’ races do not do as well as others who have been privileged to gain a) better educations, b) better jobs along with c) much better pay.

Massive discrimination is one result… Simmering resentment is another result…

Skin color is only skin deep. Just because your skin color and the skin color of your closest peers are the same – it does not make you and your peers the better person(s).

As well, good looks or less than good looks are only skin deep. Just because you look better than someone else, it does not make you the better person we would necessarily want to stand side by side with in moments of stress and hard times. We all sweat and bleed the same.

Repression and/or suppression of others, just to retain your place in life or your power is not the way it should be. That is wrong in all aspects.

I am saddened that people of various religious faiths treat those of different religions as somehow being inferior to them OR treating people of no religion as being flat out wrong in their view of a godless life. And yes, there are many of those kinds of persons in the different religious faiths – you know that. And yes, I do recognize that there are many in the various faiths who ‘do’ look at others as equals, so don’t get me wrong, I am not chastising all religious individuals.

Buddhists, Muslims, Catholics, Baptists, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness’, etc… MANY in each of these groups believe their god to be the ‘one’ true god. And the more extremely religious groups/individuals wholeheartedly believe that if you disrespect or ridicule or profane or disbelieve their god (you pick the religion here) – then you deserve to be ostracized (or killed) for failing to follow their faith.

Then too, many individuals of these same extremely strong religious treat women as secondhand, as chattel, fit only to work in the kitchen and in the bedroom, all the while remaining subservient to the men, even to boys. Some (many?) religions do not allow women any positions of equality or authority within their particular band of religion – because their bible, in so many words, states it as being wrong (I don’t get that)…

Discrimination… Stupidity… Ignorance… Education…

Backward thinking

Look, here’s another sample of backward thinking, gays and gay marriage. Are people just ill-informed or undereducated and are not aware that homosexuality and bisexuality has been going on for thousands and tens of thousands of years around the world – in Africa, in Asia and in Europe, long before the U.S. became a country.

Being gay is nothing new and nothing to be afraid of. If you’re not gay, then you’re not gay but don’t try to force those people who are gay that they are wrong in believing in that lifestyle and for feeling that way. Your hatred ‘and’ fear is of your own making and of your own possible feelings of inadequacies and insecurity or whatever other label you might wish to give to that.

I am willing to bet that you likely know a neighbor / co-worker close to you whom you believe to be straight, is actually gay. And on top of that, I am also willing to bet that you believe that that person is a “great” person to boot…

Why do so, so many people in this country (and around the world), here and now in the 21st century continue to live in the past or want to go backwards to days of unjustness, such as:

  • Witch burning
  • Exorcisms (because someone is epileptic)
  • Crucifixion
  • Separation of the races (because it is heresy for them to mix)

to name but a few…

Why aren’t more people stepping up and becoming forward thinking individuals? Is it because our education system is failing us? Is it because our political system is allowing religion to creep in where it should not and actual science be damned?

Are more people content to remain isolated in their own small self-filtered world, head ‘constantly’ down, peering into their smart phone or tablet with their earpieces inserted instead of looking up and around at those nearby?

The old ways of life are gone.

Our society and jobs

Because of the economy and confused state of employment, we need to pull together – in a much better fashion than the current state of bickering in political circles… Thanks to outsourcing and offshoring, which really started ramping up in the late 80s, it kind of took the wind out of our American sails. And so, because of that, the availability of lower cost labor in other parts of the world, we saw our jobs and old American way of life taper off, or disappear.

But today, as labor costs around the world continue to increase, as well as transportation costs, some jobs have come back to the U.S. but not nearly enough. Many have written on this topic(i.e. www.economist.com/news/special-report/21569574-offshoring-has-brought-huge-economic-benefits-heavy-political-price-story-so The story so far – Offshoring has brought huge economic benefits, but at a heavy political price Jan 19th 2013)

On top of that, automation, sophisticated computing and now robotics are taking away additional jobs, forcing more people to acquire to obtain more than high school education. And advanced education is no longer inexpensive.

I include this segment on the economy and society because this planet is becoming ever smaller every year due to some better living standards and access to traveling anywhere at any time. We need to be better. We need to treat each other better. We need to act better. 

Forward thinking

When are ‘more’ American’s, and others around the globe, going to wake up and start judging others by the character and content of that person’s heart rather than going by anyone’s superficial outward appearance (skin color, handicap, speech)???

YOU have to look at the whole individual and value the individual in that light. YOU cannot simply judge others by their outward appearance and/or by the way they talk. You have to take into consideration the totality of that person to judge that person and of course that means you will need to get to know that person to discover that, rather than making uneducated or baseless flip / snap judgments of others. Malcolm Gladwell talks about some of this in his 2007 book “Blink,” a book in which I recommend others read. You do not need to read the whole book to gain better insights, but I would recommend that you do. But be sure to read the part discussing “unconscious prejudices.”

You should strive, in your moments of snap thinking (or “slice thinking” ala – M. Gladwell), to do a better job when thinking of others and what you think about them. Go beyond superficiality – look beneath the surface, look at the sum of the person, not at the individual component of a person’s life.

Go deeper!

Earlier I mentioned that there are some great folks in wheel chairs or on crutches, here I expand on it. There are many phenomenal people who come from multiple diverse backgrounds, whether it is with a silver spoon or from the depths of poverty. There are many strong and amazing people today who can make a difference, regardless of their gender or race or upbringing, look at past people (and a few of the present) of influence:

Women – Rosa Parks, Ida B. Wells, Harriet Tubman, Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, Golda Mier of Israel, Joan of Arc and the young Pakistani – Malala Yousafzai

Men – Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King Jr., Mandela, Gandhi, Galileo, Booker T. Washington, Ralph Nader and Lincoln

These women and men refused to give up, they stood their ground and of course this is an incomplete list… I only hope if confronted with a difficult situation, you and I can be like them and stand our ground. And no, I do not mean like the stupidly written Florida ‘Stand Your Ground’ nonsense.  

Then too, there are the older senior citizens and the youngest amongst us – don’t just cast them off and push them to the side just because ‘you’ think they are too old or too young to offer any fulfilling and informative thoughts and/or solutions to problems and issues of the day. They have valuable input too, sometimes they do not but don’t just discount them right off the bat. Listen to them, process their info and THEN make a “conscious” decision on whether to use or not use their information.

Remember, you do not know everything. Only those who think they know everything believe that, while those around them may disagree…

Our society, the infrastructure to the air we breathe…

As it stands, some people in our country (and around the world) want to have clean air, clean water, access to better living conditions, access to better medical care and access to vastly improved transportation. But we have so many in authority (or not) who seem not to care as much. Some of these people believe that it should only be their way that should be the norm (vouchers for medical care and education is a joke, even to me).

Some of these people in authority (or not) believe that the poor or unemployed should not have as much help financially as they are (or were) receiving and hence – their support should be cut.

Some of these people in authority (or not) believe that there should be more voting restrictions (and even more rigid gerrymandering – pick your group here, I’m not singling out any one group) in order to knock out any votes that could strip them of their position.

We should be conducting free and fair elections in every city, in every state – not reducing the days of voting, or the locations of voting, or even the requirement to show birth certificates or passports to prove citizenship (which of late is popping up in some states) because the threat of voter fraud is so worrisome.

Our society and humanity and fairness

So, why does it take disasters to bring us together, albeit for a brief time? That is probably the most disheartening of all in that it takes something of such an extraordinary measure for us to come together…

You know, when Rodney King stated “Why can’t we all just get along?” – many people derided that statement then and still do to this day. But, that is a very valid statement!  

What is happening to us? For many years, I have continued on in my life trying to improve myself and becoming a worthy role model for others to emulate. As we know, you cannot make anyone follow you and what you do. You can only show them the way and hope they pick up on the good that you are doing, whether it is in the work you do, the way you handle yourself in your social life or in the way you treat others.

The way you treat others shows a great deal about what kind of person you are – and many of you know it. Do you treat a poor, undereducated person as less than your equal and become patronizing or condescending to them?

How do you actually know that person is not your equal, do you really know that person? That person may have a masters’ degree, or even a doctorate from where they came from but due to bad luck, or the U.S. not recognizing that person’s advanced degree – you ‘might’ feel that person is not of “good” caliber or breeding. Is it because:

  • Of the way the ‘other’ talks?
  • That person has an accent that you are not used to?
  • That person just never had ample opportunities to learn better diction or oratorical skills?
  • Even better, is it because that ‘other’ is not as good looking as some are fortunate to have been in life?

These are all superficial things, what about the person inside – that is what counts. Does that ‘other’ have great integrity, ethics, kindness and/or generosity that YOU do not have and are jealous of having a lack of?  

There are far too many people among us who do not really care about others around them. All they seem to concern themselves with is the lining of pockets, primarily their own. And yes, some of these individuals make noise as if they ‘really do’ care about others but covertly, they just want to keep on lining their pockets, in any manner or fashion – even if it turns out to be illegal and the rest of us can just fuggidaboutit…

Note: You can watch a piece on the CBS Sunday Morning with Nancy Giles talking about TIPS where she is talking to the cab driver on that topic. The cabbie told her of a recent fare of two guys in the back with one on his cell phone as they are leaving the airport. The guy on the phone ends his call, tells his passenger buddy “I just made $6 million.” But after arriving at the passengers’ destination, the cabbie only receives a $1 tip… [www.cbsnews.com/videos/tipping-points-when-and-when-not-to-pay-extra/ Tipping points: When and when not to pay extra (Sunday Mar 23, 2014)]

We have too many people in power and leadership positions who want to retain power, by any method possible with complete disdain and disregard for those with a less fuller and rich life. And this is inclusive of people in public firms, private corporations and in government.  

People, we/you, need to get out more and talk to others. You need to talk to others WHO ARE NOT LIKE you so you can see and understand the differences amongst all of us and what makes this country what it is today. Maybe then, we can start making progress of building up all of us and making America the leading country of the planet again and not be the schizophrenic, indecisive, squabbling country that we seemed to have become.

There are many people who have something to say but do not say it because of so many others who instead of offering serious debate, discussion and/or constructive responses, they want to shoot the other person down with snide, sarcastic, rude, insensitive, offensive and threatening language.  

Are we doomed to become a stagnant and dying society, of Americans, of humans? Or are we going to continue growing, once we lift up everyone in getting everyone the chance to get an education and access to better health care? People can no longer seek out enclaves where they can live and be with others who look like and act like them, free of any real diversity.

Diversity is what is going to make our country, our world grow. Not religious growth. Not racial exclusion. Not gender bias. Diversity, collaboration and treating each other with respect and fairness are the answers to a bright and growing future.

Otherwise, we are doomed…