Archive for the ‘6. American Culture’ Category

DEMOCRAT PARTY IS NOT LIBERAL, REPUBLICAN PARTY NOT CONSERVATIVE

INTRODUCTION

Everyone knows that the Democrat Party is the liberal (or Progressive) party and the Republican Party is the conservative party.  But is this true?  I don’t think so.  Here’s why:  the Democrat and Republican parties stake out positions on many issues, most of which are neither liberal nor conservative.  It is much more accurate to characterize their positions as being either Democrat or Republican positions rather than liberal or conservative.

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For example,  is the $20 trillion U.S. National Debt liberal or conservative? Of course, it’s neither!  How about Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?  Once again, a safety net for the elderly and the poor is neither liberal or conservative.  I could continue on but I believe I made my point.  However, I can successfully argue that a strong military is favored by the Republican Party and a weak military is favored by the Democrat Party.  In addition, non-enforcement of our immigration laws is a tenet of the Democrat Party and strict enforcement by the Republican Party.  Once again, these are not liberal or conservative positions but are simply political party political preferences.  Another example, Sanctuary Cities are favored by the Democrat Party but are not by the Republican Party.  Another, man-made climate change is a Democrat idea, wheras the Sun-caused (Solar-Flares, Sun Spots, Weak Solar Cycles 25, 26) climate change is a Republican idea.  Abortion is supported by Democrats, anti-abortion by Republicans.  None of these positions have anything to do with liberalism or conservatism so why muddy the waters?  Call them what there are: positions taken by either the Democrat Party or the Republican Party.

CONCLUSION

I think the language that is thrown around against both liberals and conservatives is sloppy, irresponsible and misleading and it needs to stop because it confuses voters.  Voters need to know what each political party stands for with much more precision and clarity so that they know exactly what policies they are supporting.  Calling voters names is what some people do when they can’t make intelligent, logical, and cogent arguments to support their positions.  I can’t find much to suggest that the Democrat Party is Liberal or Progressive, and that the Republican Party is Conservative so let’s call political party positions Democrat positions or Republican positions and drop the liberal and conservative labels. They are misleading.

 

All Services

PROUD TO BE AMERICAN

On Independence Day 2017 I thought it appropriate to provide some of the reasons why Americans should be proud that they are Americans.  In our public schools, children are thoroughly taught the misdeeds that the U.S. has done since its inception in 1776, but none of its great achievements and acts of kindness and heroism.   Americans have many reasons to be proud, a few of which I cite below.

Our founding fathers were reluctant to secede from England, but after repeated failed attempts at reconciliation, decided to do so.  They explained their reasons for secession in the Declaration of Independence.  Since slavery was legal and prevalent in America under British rule, it inherited slavery and had to keep a limited form of it in order to have the Southern States ratify the Constitution.  Seventy-five years after the Constitution was ratified by the 13 Clonial states, the  U.S. fought a Civil War to rid itself of this evil.  It cost the U.S. 600,000 lives, including that of President Lincoln, who was assasinated shortly after the war was over.  Had President Lincoln lived, reconstruction in the South would have gone much better.  Nevertheless, America survived and prospered though race relations would have been much better.

So why exactly are Americans proud to be Americans?  What is there to be proud of?  To begin, the United States saved Europe from Hitler’s Nazi Germany in World War II.  In addition, it saved about a million Japanese and American lives through its judicious use of the atomic bomb.  After that war, in the Cold War, the U.S. prevented the Soviet Union from instilling communism throughout the world (with all of the poverty and suffering that accompanies it).  These examples are not anomalies, the U.S. has come to the rescue of peoples throughout the world to liberate and assist them.  To be sure, America has made its share of mistakes, but it intentions were usually good.

There are countless examples of the United States helping other countries and peoples throughout its history.  In addition, its medical and technological advances have made life easier for everyone on the planet.  A useful way to look at it is to imagime a world without the United States.  Who would be the superpower that was also a republic whose franchise rested with the people?  The U.S. military has no equal and as such many would-be evildoers are kept at bay, knowing full-well, that if the U.S. got involved, it would destroy them.

Aside from the greatness of America, its people are the most generous in the world, so when disaster strikes anywhere in the world, Americans run to their checkbooks and credit cards and give until it feels good.

From its inception, America has stood for liberty and freedom around the world.  Our Statue of Liberty is recognized all over the world as a symol of liberty.  It was given to the U.S. by France because America stood for freedom and was a role-model for France, as described in Alexis de Tocqueville’s book, Democracy in America.

America is an exceptional country.  Its people should be proud.

OBAMACARE vs. TRUMPCARE

The new proposed American Healthcare Act recently passed the House of Representatives, and now the Senate is working feverishly on it since Obamacare is quickly falling apart and needs something to replace it.  Its failure will hurt many people by eliminating health insurance.  Since the U.S. is stuck with Obamacare for now, let’s take a look at it.

 Obamacare covers full-time employees in companies that employ 50 or more people.  Because Obamacare is very expensive, businesses are very wary of hiring additional full-time employees (FTE) and have consequently reduced their numbers to under 50 FTE’s, as well as converting full-time positions to part-time, so as to keep FTE’s under 50.  Consequently, the number of jobs that the Federal government reports each month is baloney because: (a) most of those new jobs are part-time jobs, and (b) the major reason the unemployment rate has lowered is because, after the unemployed run out of benefits, they are no longer considered looking for work and therefore taken out of the unemployment statistics that are calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Those statistics consequently then depict a lowered (phony) unemployment rate; but they have nothing to do with the creation of jobs.  An accurate portrayal of employment is the “Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate” which was at it’s lowest level since 1978 when President Obama left office in January 2017.

2. Because Obamacare has deductibles as high as $5,000 for individuals and $10-12,000 for families, as well as very high co-pays, most people with Obamacare that are not subsidized by the government, tend to not benefit from it because they can’t meet their deductibles.  In other words, Obamacare for many people is like not having medical insurance…and at some point many will find it cheaper to just pay the IRS a fine every year for not not having expensive medical insurance that ends up each year in not providing any benefits.

3. With Obamacare’s IPAD (Independent Payment Advisory Board) or “Death Panels” as Sarah Palin calls them, expensive state-of-the-art medical treatment is severely restricted under Obamacare, for the elderly.

4. Though sold to the American public as saving the average American family about $2,500/year, it’s turning out to be far more expensive to everyone except those receiving government subsidies.  There are many, many people paying at least double their previous premiums.  Some are paying as much as five times their former premiums.  Moreover, the Federal government has spent billions in rolling out the Federal and State websites and in providing subsidies.  If and when fully implemented, some forecast that Obamacare will bankrupt the country.

Obamacare or The Affordable Care Act is rife with unintended consequences, some of the major ones I cited above. But there are many more (tax on medical equipment, doctor shortage, etc.).  All of the unintended consequences were completely predictable.  I don’t think that any revisions of The Affordable Care Act would be sufficient to fix it.  It was incompetently  and sloppily prepared.  I believe that it must be replaced after (this time) being carefully thought out.  Moreover, it’s failing so rapidly that soon there won’t be health insurance.  The House has prepared its version of healthcare insurance, the Senate is debating theirs.  A House-Senate Conference Committee will then meet to iron out the differences between them. The resulting bill will then need to be voted on by both the House and the Senate and then go to the President for his revision or approval.  Whatever replaces Obamacare will be much cheaper as well as a vast improvement by allowing individuals to actually choose their own plan and doctors.

NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT: PROS & CONS

Each year, the National Defense Authorization Act is controversial.  In 2012, for example, it basically funded our military for the year but also was the first time it contained provisions for apprehending and detaining indefinitely any U.S. citizen suspected of terrorism without charging him/her with any crime or giving a trial.

It might be understandable why President Obama wanted such power, however, this was not in accordance with the U.S. Constitution and could have been a slippery slope, where a well-meaning law, eventually morphs into something sinister.  President Obama added a “Signing Statement” specifying when he might use the authority, but even if you take him at his word, opponents ask “how about future presidents?”  Might they use it?  How about President Trump?  The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, however, was for only one year, so didn’t the provision expire at the end of that year?

What made this interesting was that President Obama stopped the U.S. using water-boarding and other interrogation methods because he said he thought they were unconstitutional, but his abundant use of drones in blowing up foreign combatants was OK with him.  Nearby innocent civilians, referred to as “collateral damage” were also inadvertently killed when an enemy combatant was killed with a drone.

Because President Obama could be so charming and was such a persuasive speaker, it’s hard to believe anything negative about him, so one must look at his actions  and not simply listen to his rhetoric.  A number of civil rights organizations, including the ACLU and Human Rights Watch, had denounced his signing the Bill into law.  To date, it appears that the President had gone even further in using this authority.  One well-known example of this is the imprisoning of the person who created the DVD that allegedly insulted Islam, and the Obama Administration contended led to the rioting that led to U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans being killed at the U.S. embassy in Benghazi.  Of course we now know that the DVD had nothing to do with the rioting.

Strengthening the military was one of the tenets that President Trump ran for President on.  However, building up the military  should not require doing anything unconstitutional.  We will know soon.

 

 

 

UNDERSTANDING DEMOCRAT PROGRESSIVE POLITICS (audio interview w. David Horowitz)

David Horowitz is a prolific author, speaker and political activist. His latest book is the huge bestseller, Big Agenda.  It is a pithy book that explains what President Trump plans to do.  Mr. Horowitz currently is the director of “The Freedom Center” which he created in 1988.  He went to Columbia University as well as the University of California at Berkeley and was the editor of the left’s leading magazine, “Ramparts.”  I believe Mr. Horowitz’ greatest asset is his insight into leftist politics.

In my interview with him, he explains why he changed from being a revered and high-level, leftist socialist from 1956 to 1975 to a conservative in the late 70’s, especially considering that his parents were members of The American Communist Party.  Mr. Horowitz tells his spell-binding and compelling story with names, dates, and places.  He tells what motivates the left and gives his views on leftist positions.

In the interview, Mr. Horowitz explains:

  1. Why and what the left hates.
  2. The anti-war activists’ change in their protests against the Vietnam war once the draft was ended in 1974, why many left leaders of the 70’s (John Kerry) have ”blood on their hands,” and much more.
  3. How and why he knows that the Black Panthers killed his accountant, Betty.

If you want to learn more about left politics, you should enjoy this interview.  Click on the red words below to listen to it.

David Horowitz – Political Left Audio

Interview by Mike Russo

CREATIONISM vs. EVOLUTION vs. INTELLIGENT DESIGN vs. NO GOD

I believe three of the four sides are right: the Bible, Evolution, and Creationism!   For the religious, if God is capable of doing anything, then why could he not simply create the world through natural means…through evolution?  For the secular, how do you know that God is not behind the creation of the universe and all of the life in it, using natural methods such as evolution (“Intelligent Design”)?  I see no contradiction.

I believe that Christians and Orthodox Jews  might say that Moses explains in the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament of the Bible that God created Adam and Eve on the sixth day.  The Bible did not specify the length of  a “day”.  So a day could be 2 billion years and seven of those days could be 14 billion years, which is about the age of the universe.  Moreover, when Moses wrote Genesis, no one back then would have understood anything as complicated as evolution.

For believers in evolution, how can you know that there is no God?   I have a Trilobite fossil that’s from the Ordovician Geologic period which was about 400 million-years-ago.  Moreover, dinosaur bones have been dated, using radioactive “half-lives,” as being about 60-million-years-old.  There’s simply too much fossil evidence that supports some form of evolution.  However, the universe is unimaginably vast and the human body alone so unbelievably complex…could these things evolved without an “intelligent design” by (you name it) God, Allah, a Supreme Being, etc?  I think it is more likely that there is God and that some interpretation of the Biblical story of creation, if you specify that God used natural means, is probably true.  There is no contradiction.  Incidentally, it’s now known that birds evolved from dinosaurs, which I think shows that God has a sense of humor.

Aside from the objective reality of whether God exists or does not exist, the idea of God is positive and uplifting and helps people get through the inevitable crises in their lives.  Moreover, God and religion are the foundation upon which ethics and morals stand.  Even for those that do not believe in God, the foundation of whatever ethics and morals they have, ultimately came from a religious family predecessor.

Anyone interested in exploring religion to discover one that is right for him or her should read M. Scott Peck, M.D.’s books on The Road Less Traveled.

OVERCOMING RACISM and DISCRIMINATION

Doesn’t it make you angry when someone treats you unfairly just because you’re black, brown, white, a woman, a man, homosexual, older, younger, disabled, bald, long-haired, short, fat, poor, wealthy, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. ?  Doesn’t it make you angry?  What would Dr. Martin Luther King say?

In 1790, George Washington said “The government of the United States …gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution, no assistance….”  In fact, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and a few other pieces of civil rights legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, outlaw discrimination based on: 1) race, 2) color, 3) sex, 4) religion, 5) national origin, 6) age, and 7) handicap.  However, there are many other bases for discrimination which are not illegal and are not obvious and therefore are much more difficult to deal with than those which are illegal.  Because I’ve had a lot of experience in this area I thought I’d share my views on how discrimination works and how best to deal with it.

My understanding of discrimination began in 1975 when I became a collateral-duty (side-job) Hispanic Employment Program Manager for my small Federal bureau, which took about 20% of my official work time.  For the other 80% of my work-time, I was a Environmental Planner.   With help from our Field Office employees, we were able to increase Hispanic-American employment in my small bureau from one person to 32 Hispanic-Americans so that my 500-employee bureau was 6% Hispanic-American when I left it.  I received awards for my work from the Director of my bureau as well as from the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

When I went to work for another small bureau in the U.S. Department of the Interior as a Program Analyst, I also took a collateral-duty (side) job as my bureau’s Collateral-Duty EEO Counselor, counseling about a dozen Equal Employment Opportunity complaintants, and received my bureau’s first “Outstanding Counselor” award in 1985.

Finally and importantly, at age 25 years, prior to both of those experiences, I had a large brain tumor removed which resulted in 1/2 of my face being paralyzed and numb. Suddenly I looked physically challenged and was easily-identifiable.  This situation gave me the unique experience of being able to compare how I was treated when I looked like most other people versus how I was treated when I looked differently and was easily identifiable as being physically challenged.

HOW EXTENSIVE A PROBLEM IS DISCRIMINATION

In the past, discrimination has led to lynchings because of race, national origin, religion, and other differences;  it has led to the torture and slaughter of six million innocent Jews by the Nazis and the murder of 3000 innocent Americans by Al Qaeda; and to many other atrocities through the ages, including right up to the present with “Flash-mob” attacks and the “Knockout Game.”  Today, however, allegations of racism have become politicized and  therefore many, though unfortunate, are false, like Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin.  A quick and easy way to determine most bogus allegations of racism is to first check if the accuser is a politician or a political adviser or pundit or works in the “race” industry…and if s/he does, then you can assume the allegation is false.  Racism and discrimination does still exist today but it’s a tiny fraction of what it was back in the 1950’s and before.

HOW DISCRIMINATION DEVELOPS

I believe that discrimination evolves because of three phenomena: 1) quick and easy identification of the group being discriminated against; 2) mind set; and 3) selective perception.

Easy identification is the reason why African-Americans, as well as women and most minorities, still are the recipients of some discrimination, though nothing like the situation was even 50-years ago.  The same is true of the fat, bald, unattractive, elderly, and disabled.

“Mind-set” I believe is the second phenomenon that enables discrimination to occur.  It develops when one’s mind, because of stereotyping or some other reason, thinks along certain lines or is “set” to the extent that, even when new contradictory information is brought to light, it is discounted or simply not considered or even not perceived.  Another name for mind-set is “paradigms”.

Once a mind-set exists, selectively perceiving phenomena within the area of the “set” is called “selective perception”.  With discrimination, one would selectively perceive only those phenomena that reinforced the mind-set.

HOW TO HANDLE DISCRIMINATION

What should you do if you experience discrimination?  Getting angry at the injustice is a common reaction.  Some may even think that they now have the right to retaliate.  I can recall a number of massacres motivated by feelings of persecution and self-righteousness in seeking revenge.  However, when the retaliation avenue is pursued,  all parties become victims, especially those exacting the revenge.  To cite just one example, if you discriminate against me, and I become angry and/or vengeful, you would actually now be controlling my behavior by changing my attitude.  Therefore, a much healthier approach is to say to yourself, “People make the most absurd assumptions based on very superficial and erroneous analyses.  They aren’t thinking intelligently.”  Also, “people can think anything they want about me but if they act on their beliefs, then I’ll take appropriate action, from simply shrugging it off to considering the entire range of legal actions and implementing whatever is appropriate for the situation”.

FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE

I have seen firsthand how easy identifiability, mind-set, and selective perception work.  For me they are not simply theories you might read about.  Up to age 25, when I looked like most others, I was treated one way.  After 25, when I looked obviously disabled, I was treated  differently, except from my family and friends.  And even though most people were not even aware of what they were doing, people’s good intentions didn’t help much.

CONCLUSION

Dr. Martin Luther King has told us to “judge people on the content of their character”.  If we do otherwise, we should remember how discrimination works so that we can prevent ourselves from unwittingly engaging in it.  Anyone who looks or is different is at risk of being the victim of discrimination.  The healthiest way to deal with discrimination is to try to understand and forgive those who wrong you.  This will make you a bigger person as well as add years to your lifespan.  To quote Mahatma Gandhi, “Hatred can be overcome only by love”.

VOTER FRAUD IS RAMPANT!

THE PROBLEM: 1.8 million deceased individuals listed as voters;  2) 24 million voter registrations no longer valid or significantly inaccurate (see February 2012 Pew Center Issue Brief);  3) in many U.S. counties there are more registered voters than there are residents (see Judicial Watch’s “A Citizen’s Guide to Ensuring Free and Fair Elections in 2016 and Beyond”); 4) most Democrat politicians push to eliminate all voter identification to vote…guess why;  5) a California  law that allows non-citizens to have driver licenses and then the California Motor Voter law automatically registers them to vote when they receive or renew their driver license; 6) voters in Philadelphia being intimidated by New Black Panther party members who were not prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department (see J. Christian Adams’ book, Injustice);  7) U.S. Senatorial race in 2008 being stolen in Minnesota by Democrat Al Franken through boxes of “found” paper ballots after election day ;  8) the U.S. Presidency being stolen in 1960 by Joseph Kennedy, President Kennedy’s father!  9) men and women in the military routinely being sent ballots so late that it’s impossible for their votes to be counted in time;  10) absentee voting becoming the voter fraud of choice because it doesn’t require voter ID; 11) countless other elections at the Federal, State and local levels being stolen; 10) 2.7 million voters fraudulently registered in two states, 68,000 voters fraudulently registered in 3 states; 12) Pennsylvania currently has no requirements for voter identification  (see February 2012 Pew Center issue brief;  see John Fund’s books:  Who’s Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk; and  Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy);  13) Harvard (CCES) study shows 6.4% illegals voted in presidential elections and 2.2% in off-years.

ANALYSIS: Who’s responsible for this National disgrace and travesty?  The governments at the Federal, State and local levels are the culprits!  It’s not due to incompetence but to dirty/criminal politics and it’s long overdue to be corrected before Americans lose all faith in the integrity of their elections.

Even in the Iraqi elections a decade ago voting was much more honest than the United States.  How can that be?  Iraq had a very simple but effective system which was devised by the U.S. military: when Iraqis voted they had to dip their index finger into a jar of indelible purple ink…and this was solid evidence that they had voted.  In the United States, on the other hand, registration proving that you’re eligible to vote is required first.   What evidence is required to register to vote?  In Colorado, a utility bill with your name on it was sufficient.  Of course this is ridiculous because you  don’t have to be a citizen in order to receive a utility bill…and in addition, if you have more than one home in different counties, you’ll have separate utility bills for each home (you get vote twice if you’re dishonest).

Many politicians say that they don’t want to place an undue burden on its citizens by actually requiring that they show a photo ID, such as a drivers license (which is even required of people of questionable age to buy a pack of cigarettes).  What a crock!  Does anyone really believe that lax registration standards have any purpose other than facilitating fraudulent voting?  It is important in a democracy for people to have faith in the process by which their leaders are elected, so care must be taken that it’s done honestly and that politicians are kept far away from the process.  Voter fraud is not new, but dates back to the beginning of our Republic (see Andrew Gumbel’s book, Steal This Vote)

THE SOLUTION: For now, a photo ID, either in the form of a driver’s license or a State-issued photo ID should be mandatory in every state in order to vote.  Later, perhaps a slight revision and an addition could be made to the on-line E-Verify system created by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in concert with the Social Security Administration that is currently used by employers to ascertain whether someone is in the U.S. legally.  Something like a “Voter Photo Authentication.”  Something must be done to prevent criminal politicians from continuing to corrupt our elections.  It’s government’s fault that it got this way and it’s  government’s responsibility to clean it up.

HOW I KNOW GOD EXISTS

On a Sunday morning I thought it timely to say a few words about the Creator and explain how I know, not simply believe, that there is a God.  This question, plus the question concerning the existence of Heaven and Hell , become increasingly more important as we get older.  Since I’m old enough to be dead and have one foot in the grave, I thought I would pay my respects to the Big Guy/Gal/Spirit.

However, since my Blog  emphasizes ”Independent Thought,’  I decided to make the case for God with no references to any of the World’s Religions or their Holy books.   Here goes…

I have many religious beliefs, some of which may not fit into any one religion, but they are beliefs, not certainty.  But I do know one thing for sure,  that there is a God.  He or she or it may be called by many different names but so what,  it’s trivial,  though I acknowledge that some religions make a big deal of it.

How do I know there’s a God?  The unbelievable vastness and complexity of the universe alone convinces me, but you may need more than that.  I’ll explain how I personally know that God exists.  The following  are my additional reasons, each one of which by itself doesn’t make the case alone so one needs to consider them all taken together:

1. In the late 80’s, 90’s, and until about 2005 I lived on top of a 9000′ mountain in the Colorado Rockies with my wife and cat.  I received a letter in the mail one Saturday requesting a donation of $500 to help the community pave the dirt road I lived on.  I wanted to do my part, especially since my property values would increase a lot if the road were paved,  but I couldn’t afford it.  So I continued opening up my other mail, one of which contained a check for $520 from some investment I had made.  The amount and the timing were perfect but, of course, just a coincidence.

2.  Ten years later, I made a monumental blunder with my checking account, and somehow found my checkbook $1,900 short.  Two days later, in Monday’s mail, there was a check for a little over $1900 from some investment, another perfect amount as well as perfect timing.  Twice bailed out?  Probably just another really lucky coincidence.

3. I took care of stray/homeless and even feral cats…with food, water, and medical care as part of the nationwide “Trap, Neuter, Return” program.  One Saturday a homeless pitch-black and friendly “Bombay” cat, with a little stub of a tail (later I named him “Bobby-Tail” because of his bobbed tail) came by my yard with a bad foot, trying to walk but limping very badly.  I brought him in and took him to my veterinarian, who found a cut on his foot and treated him.  The cost was $91, which I paid but couldn’t really afford right then.  Two days later I received a check in the mail for just over $91 for some refund from something.  The amount and timing was perfect!  A third coincidence?

On these three occasions plus two more the amounts and timing were perfect.  All times the money I needed was not for my personal use and was totally unexpected.  I began getting scared…and after some thought  I became convinced that they weren’t coincidences at all.  However, a really frightening incident that was the “slam-dunk” for me concerning the existence of God happened back in 1968 and 69.  I even wrote a “first-person” article about it for Reader’s Digest but it was not published.  The weird but true tale follows:

4. I’ll skip the preliminaries;  afterall, the “Amazing Kreskin” has said that Quija boards only worked as a result of the unconscious mind that was actually moving the Ouija board pointer that spells out words as it goes from letter to letter and pauses between words.  Easy enough to test…I had the two board users face aside so they couldn’t see the board.   As I asked it questions,  the pointer continued to move and answer them until my girlfriend, Maria, became so frightened by Quija’s answers,  she refused to work the board anymore.  Here’s my exchanges with Quija lumped together:

“Quija, are you a man or a woman?”  “SPIRIT”

“Quija, are you a good spirit or a bad spirit? “GOOD”

“Ouija, where do you get your power from?”  “SATAN”

“Ouija, everyone knows that Satan is evil, therefore how can you be good?  “GOODBYE”

“Ouija, when were you born?”  “I AM”

“Ouija, why do you talk to people?”  “PEOPLE NEED ME”

“Ouija, why do people need you?”  “TO MAKE THEM SUFFER”

“Ouija, I feel very sorry for you, how can I help you?”  “GIVE ME YOUR SOUL AND I WILL GIVE YOU THE ETERNAL POWERS OF EVIL”

I placed a set of Rosary beads onto the Quija board and asked: “Ouija, do you like me?”  “YOU ARE THE ENEMY OF THE SPIRIT WHO CAN CAUSE  SUFFERING BEYOND REALIZATION”

One year later I had a large brain tumor removed and was fighting for my life.  Half of my face became paralyzed and numb as a result of the surgical removal of the tumor and my equilibrium and emotional state became really bad to the extent that my first wife, Maria, in a fit of rage at something stupid I had said/done, pushed me out of our apartment 5 weeks after my brain tumor surgery, and subsequently divorced me.  Since then I’ve had another few dozen surgeries.  I would say that I experienced “suffering beyond realization.”  With only 1/2 of my face working normally, deaf in my left ear, and barely able to walk straight, I no longer fool around with Quija boards. The point of my story on Quija is that,  if  in fact evil really does exist, then it follows that a good spirit (God) also exists.  You be the judge… (but I would not fool around with a Ouija Board since many cases of alleged possession started out with a Ouija Board).

I know in God  from my aforementioned experiences as well as the vastness of the universe.  I do have many more religious beliefs based on the world’s religions’  Holy Books.  However, many of my beliefs I consider details; the main thing is that, for me, there is no question that God does indeed exist.

LESSONS I LEARNED FROM MY FOLKS

Do you remember how to do geometry and trigonometry from high school?  For most people geometry and trig are two of the subjects that they were required to learn in order to graduate, both of which most people will never need or use.  This article is about five important lifelong lessons I learned from my folks that I really needed and used throughout my lifetime and that they don’t teach you in school..

The five lessons are:

  1. The world’s a cold place without family and friends
  2. Help whoever and whenever you can
  3. Treat everyone fairly
  4. Get a good education
  5. Do the best you can

 

First lesson. I remember my mom telling me, “Michael, the world’s a cold place without family and friends.” My mom came from a very large family…9 brothers and sisters…and she had many friends…her neighbor friends, her work friends, and her poker friends. Why are family and friends so important…they’re the people that know you and care about you…so when you reach low points in your life or just need someone to talk to, they usually give invaluable emotional support…and of course you support them when they need it.  At my mom’s funeral there were about 500 family and friends who came to see her one last time and to pay their respects to her family. It was unbelievable!

Second lesson. “Help whoever and whenever you can.” I knew my father was a good person, helping anyone that needed help, but even I was surprised at his funeral when strangers came up to me and told stories about how my father had helped them. I worked at my father’s grocery store on weekends and during summers when I was a child. The store was located in a very poor neighborhood in Philadelphia and most of our customers were on welfare. The children of the poorest families would come to the store every day for one of my father’s “free sandwiches.” As I got older my father would often send me to Philadelphia’s city hall and to Pennsylvania’s state office building with needy people to speak on their behalf in an effort to get them emergency aid. In addition, my father told me that his mother gave baskets of food to poor families during the depression…so I understand where he learned his compassion and helped whoever and whenever he could.

Third lesson. “Treat everyone fairly.” My folks felt strongly about treating everyone fairly. Both had friends from other races and nationalities. They sent me to a junior high school that was 75% minority to help me learn how to get along with people who were different from me. My dad constantly asked me about my agency’s (US Department of the Interior) dealings with Native Americans and my mom frequently quoted pearls of wisdom and common sense from her African-American girlfriends at work.

Fourth lesson. “Get a good education.” My parents believed in their children getting a good education, although I only wanted to be a forest ranger even that required a college degree. So when the time came, my mom went to work for a meat-packing company making sausage in a cold, refrigerated room in order to pay for my sisters, brother and I to go to college.

Fifth lesson. “Do the best you can.” My first semester at Penn state was a failure. When I came home for spring break my parents tried to comfort me with, “Michael, as long as you did the best you could, you have nothing to be ashamed of.” Well, I wasn’t doing the best I could…playing ping pong until 3 am in the morning the night before my midterm exams, but I heeded my parents words and knuckled down and did the best I could…and consequently got good grades. Eventually I received my bachelor’s degree from Penn state and my master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

In conclusion, my folks taught my brother, sisters and me many lessons, just five of which I just shared with you. But unlike geometry and trig, they are lessons that have been useful throughout my entire life. Now, when I encounter a tough situation, I ask myself, “What would my parents advise?” Their advice has resulted in my making good decisions. So “Mom and Dad, wherever you are, thank you for teaching me the lessons I needed to live a good life.

THE CHRISTMAS CAT: a story based on fact*

Kimmie the cat lived a quiet and peaceful life in her home on top of a 9,000-ft.-high mountain in the Colorado Rockies.  As Christmas drew near, little Kimmie would sit on her favorite window ledge and watch the snow fall and pile higher and higher.  When it snowed continuously for three days in late December, she knew she wouldn’t see brown soil again until May.  Kimmie was happy and content with her lot in life.  Her number one person, Sharon, was very gentle and kind to her, petting her and singing her to sleep every night.  Her number two person, Mike, wasn’t as gentle as Sharon, but he had a good heart, looked after her, and made sure she had food in her bowl the mornings when Sharon was still sleeping.

On occasion, things would get wild and crazy in Kimmie’s home when a foolish mouse would sneak into it seeking food and shelter, and Kim would chase it and play with it.  But most of the time things were quiet.  However, Christmas was just around the corner so Kimmie was very excited.  You see, Kimmie loved Christmas as no other cat did, because it was around Christmas many years ago that her parents adopted her.

“What will Santa bring me this year?” she thought.  Kimmie usually received cat toys and edible treats for Christmas, in addition to a beautifully-decorated spruce tree that she would pounce on top of and slide down. Kimmie liked doing that even more than playing with a mouse.  Except for one thing, Kimmie had seen and done it all in her 15 years of life.  The thing she had not done was to go outside of her home without being in her pet carrier.  She never had the opportunity to play with a squirrel, rabbit or chipmunk.  But this Christmas she planned to change all of that.

The day before Christmas finally arrived and little Kimmie’s heart beated rapidly in anticipation of her journey outside of her home.  Kim had no way of knowing that a winter storm was headed her way.  She kept a careful eye on the doors when Sharon neared them.  She couldn’t miss even one opportunity because one chance is all she might get.  Finally, that fateful moment arrived when Sharon opened the side door that led directly outside.  Kimmie sprinted to the door as fast as she could.  She was so quick that she was just a blur to Sharon.  The next moment she was in the spacious outdoors with everything white with snow, especially the pine, fir and spruce trees.  She looked back at her snow-covered home and heard Sharon calling her: “Kimmie, Kimmie, come back.  It’s too cold for you out there.”  But little Kimmie had made up her mind…she wanted to explore the woods.  Besides, she could always go home later.  It was very cold outside; much colder than she thought it would be.  She found a trail behind her house and walked and walked for what what seemed like forever.  She could see for miles.  There were endless mountains and wilderness and not a person or a home around.  Kimmie’s little paws quickly became frozen; they were not used to walking on snow.  “It is so beautiful outside,” she thought. “But it sure is cold.”  She came across a rabbit and chased it.  The only thing she ever chased in her house were mice!  “A rabbit is much more fun than a mouse,” she thought.  Then a fox wandered by so she hid.  “It’s my lucky day,” she thought.  “That fox might have caught me and I don’t even have claws to defend myself.”

Meanwhile, back at home, Sharon was filled with grief and guilt and could not stop crying.  She blamed herself for Kimmie getting out.  She called Mike at work and he immediately came home so that they both could scout the woods around their house in an attempt to find Kimmie before the winter storm arrived or before a fox or cayote caught her.  They began by putting out dirty bedsheets on a outside clothesline so that Kimmie might catch their scent in the air and thereby find her way home.  Then they went tramping through the woods with Sharon calling, “Kimmie, Kimmie, come here little sweet pea.”  But Kimmie was nowhere to be found.

By this time Kim was feeling the effects of the relentless cold and began shivering and sneezing.  She hadn’t eaten or drunk anything since she left home early that morning.  Kimmie missed the warmth of her home, the abundant food, and her fluffy cat bed.  She was cold, tired, hungry and thirsty and just wanted to go home. Although she searched and sniffed the air, she just couldn’t find her home.  Meanwhile, Mike and Sharon were getting exhausted and were running out of places to look for her.  They could feel the air turning much colder.  Then it began to snow. They knew that it would be dark in a few hours and temperatures would go down to below zero and eventually to minus 30 degrees.

Then a fateful coincidence happened: Bear, a neighbor’s German Shepard, spotted Kimmie at a distance.  He knew who she was and she knew who he was.  Bear had never seen Kimmie outside of her house so he figured that she had run away and was lost.  He ran over to her and said, “Kimmie, you’re not an outside cat; what are you doing out here?”  Kimmie tearfully replied between sneezes that she ran away that morning to see the woods but now was lost.  Bear replied, “I’ll never understand you cats, you don’t make any sense.  Follow me you crazy cat; you’re far from home, but I know where you live and I’ll get you back there.”  Kimmie followed Bear.  She didn’t realize how far from her home she had traveled.  When her house came into sight she lept for joy.  Bear said, “just keep following me, mouse-eater, you’re not home yet!”  The snow was coming down really heavily now and temperatures were already down to zero.

When Kimmie and Bear reached Kim’s house, little Kimmie meowed loudly for Sharon or Mike to let inside. Bear just looked at Kimmie in amazement.  Then he said to her, “This is how you do it, fur ball: woof, woof, woof!”  Sharon heard Bear’s barking and came quickly to the door.  Sharon said, “what do you want Bear?  You know Garrison doesn’t like me to feed you!”  Then Sharon saw little frozen Kimmie as Kim meowed and sneezed on the top of her lungs.  She said, “Oh Kimmie, Bear found you and brought you home to me!”  Sharon then picked up Kimmie and hugged and kissed her, and said to Bear, “what a wonderful friend you are. You saved my Kimmie!  Come inside and warm yourself by the fire.”  But Bear just barked and went back onto the trail.  He had to get home before the winter snowstorm got any worse.

Kimmie was the happiest cat in the whole world and Sharon and Mike the happiest people.  It was Christmas eve night and the Colorado Blue Spruce Christmas tree hadn’t been decorated yet because Kim’s folks had spent all of their time searching for her.  Kimmie snuggled in Sharon’s lap and just purred and purred as Sharon petted her near the fireplace and talked ever so sweetly to her.  She had just eaten a can of Fancy Feast cat food and was nice and warm.  Only the day before she had been wondering what special treats and toys Santa would bring her for Christmas.  As she basked in love, affection, warmth and abundant good food, she thought to herself, “how naive I’e been.  I already have the best Christmas present a cat could ever have.  It’s a cold world out there away from family and friends.  Truly, there’s no place like home.”

___________________________

*The only things in this story that are not true are: 1)Kimmie did not run away or get lost; and 2)animals can’t speak human languages.  All of the names, places, characters and descriptions in the story are real.

PAY OFF THE NATIONAL DEBT BY BECOMING ENERGY INDEPENDENT

Few would disagree that it is a worthy goal for the United States to achieve energy independence, and even better, become a major energy exporter and pay off the national debt with the wealth we created from the proceeds?  Most would agree that achieving this goal with little or no air or water pollution would be a good thing for the U.S. and for the planet.  Wouldn’t it also be great if the U.S. had no national debt?

In 2013, the U.S. spent 388 billion dollars to buy oil from foreign countries, some of which are using our money to fund terrorist activities against us…and money that could otherwise be used to help stimulate the American economy and create jobs for Americans.  At the height of the Arab Oil Embargo in 1973, dependence on foreign oil was about 35%.  In 2013, dependence on foreign oil was 32%.  In other words, our dependence on foreign oil has slightly decreased in 40 years.

So what can and should the United States do, if anything?  I see two sides of this issue: 1) does the U.S. have the oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, wind, solar and hydroelectric power to be self-sufficient and also export oil, gas, and coal; and 2) can we access, use, and sell some these energy sources in an environmentally responsible way?

From my research, it appears that the U.S. has over 100 years worth of natural gas, three times the oil stores of Saudi Arabia,  and 250 years worth of coal which the U.S. is now capable of burning using carbon capturing technology, with significantly reduced carbon-emissions.  Currently the U.S. gets about 18% of its energy from nuclear sources and a small amount from hydroelectric, solar and wind.

While the U.S. is furiously attempting to develop its solar and wind energy capacities, they won’t be significant sources of energy for at least 25 years.  We need to have sufficient energy now to fuel our economy, heat our homes,  as well as make gasoline abundant and affordable to power our cars and trucks (electric-powered cars run on electricity mostly generated by burning coal, the most polluting fossil fuel) .

There is no question that the U.S. is blessed with more energy than any other country.  Given the latest technologies, there’s also no question that we can extract and burn oil, gas and coal in an environmentally-sound manner.  The only hindrance is political.  There are a  number of people who believe that burning any fossil or carbon fuels, even the green fossil fuel…natural gas, is bad for the environment.  They have been effective in preventing oil exploration in ANWAR, in stopping the use of oil shale (although the oil from it can be extracted in-situ), and in preventing the licensing of new nuclear power plants (which are much safer than those old reactors in Japan, or the one in Pennsylvania (Three Mile Island… that had a partial meltdown in 1979). There are even prohibitions against drilling for oil even 1oo miles from our Florida and California coastlines.  Of course, China and Cuba are drilling  for oil 60 miles from our Florida coastline.  And of course the U.S. has loaned Brazil two billion dollars so that it can explore off of its coastline.

Finally, Canada was an economic basket case in 2009 and decided to get serious about drilling for oil because it needed the revenue.   It worked, and Canada is now doing very well.  Perhaps its neighbor to the south (the U.S.) will do the same.  Under Donald Trump’s presidency, America will finally become energy independent and also significantly pay down the National debt.

 

WATCH THE MOVIE, “HILLARY’S AMERICA” TO GET OVER HER DEFEAT

I saw the movie, “Hillary’s America,” on Verizon and thought it was a “must see” film for anyone who voted for Mrs. Clinton or any Democrat, so I thought I’d write a brief preview which Democrat voters might find healing .  The movie, now on DVD, was written, co-directed, and narrated by Dinesh D’Souza.  While it was mostly accurate,  I thought it went too far at times in assigning motives to the Clintons’ behavior.

The movie begins with Dinesh being tried for the crime of giving too much money to a friend running for political office.  He then goes to jail for this and subsequently learns there how criminals scam and defraud, and also that criminals believe the biggest crooks and thieves are politicians.  From there the movie takes the audience on a historical journey starting with the first Democrat President, Andrew Jackson.  President Jackson directed the creation of reservations for Native Americans and the round-up and removal of many of them to Oklahoma (the “Trail of Tears”).  It talks about the creation of the Republican Party, dedicated to freedom for the slaves and liberty for everyone.

It then addresses the fact that the Democrat Party strongly favored slavery and that every Klu Klus Klan member was a Democrat.  Moreover, that it sponsored the Jim Crow laws that were designed to subjugate African-Americans and championed Blacks from owning guns so they could not defend themselves from the Klan.  It talks about Democrat President Woodrow Wilson who was a racist and sexist and led to the re-emergence of the Klu Klux Klan.  Then it discusses Margaret Sanger, who started Planned Parenthood as a means to suppress the African-American population.

At some point it jumps to Hillary Clinton and displays her biography and association with Saul Alinsky, who she wrote her term paper on.  It addresses Alinsky, who wrote the infamous book on deceiving voters called,  Rules for Radicals.  It mentions that president Obama taught the deceptive and unethical Alinsky tactics. It depicts the deception of Obamacare and Hillary’s role in silencing Bill’s sexual predations.  Dinesh interviews Carol Swain, Professor at the Vanderbilt University Law School.  Professor Swain (who is an African-American) is an expert in the history of race relations and civil rights and said that after the Civil War the purpose of the Democrat Party was to re-establish white supremacy.  The movie shows how the Clintons worked Hillary’s position as Secretary of State to make a fortune for themselves as well as their front “charity”, the Clinton Foundation.

The movie ends on a beautiful and positive note and should dry up any tears you might have for Secretary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump.

WHY DONALD TRUMP WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT? BACKBONE!

I’m sick of the media explaining that Donald Trump did well because of their many (half-baked) ideas and therefore I felt compelled to write this post, however, I must say that targeting blue-collar workers and rust-belt states was clever.

My credentials for saying what I’m about to say are simply that I’m a conservative, a graduate of U. of Penn’s Wharton School (but with a MGA , not an MBA), and have over 40 years employment with the Federal, a State and a city government.  I believe that Trump supporters support  him for the same reason that I like him:  the man has a stiff spine and is not timid.  When he’s criticized by the Press or political opponents, he doubles-down and fights back even harder.  In addition,  Trump’s focus on illegal immigration, the $19 trillion in National Debt, weakened military, Obamacare, anemic war on terror, tiny growth in the economy, etc. has touched a nerve with the electorate.  He’s truly a “Blue-collar Billionaire.”

Mitt Romney lost the 2012 Presidential election to President Obama because he refused to fight back.  He was more than capable, as evidenced by his outstanding performance in his first debate with President Obama.  When viciously attacked by the Obama campaign, he refused to fight back.  Governor Romney’s poor performance came on the heels of Senator McCain’s poor performance in the 2008 Presidential campaign.  Moreover, it followed President Bush’s unwillingness to fight back when constantly accused by the Left that, “Bush lied, people died.”

I’m not advocating picking stupid fights that can’t be won and simply receiving a black eye, but I also believe in not backing off when Democrats make false allegations.  For example, I believe that Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, are often given bum raps when they don’t push a Bill in Congress that they know won’t pass.  However, there is a time to fight but Republican leadership doesn’t appear to have the stomach for it.  When there are good and rational reasons for not fighting, the Speaker and the Majority leader need to explain this on Fox News and other news outlets that are fair, otherwise don’t blame voters for thinking they are jellyfish-spine Republican Congressional leaders.

Donald Trump is a streetfighter.  “Turning-the-other-cheek” is not for successful politicians.  Trump is improving  his messaging and appointing impressive people to help him develop his policies.  He had a resounding victory over Hillary Clinton, thanks to his strong backbone. If he’s able to implement the policies he advocated in the election, he will go down in history as being one of our greatest presidents.  Congratulations and good luck Mr. President-Elect.

OBAMACARE EQUALS NO HEALTH INSURANCE

Without subsidies, Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unaffordable for most people.  Because it is so bad, many are looking for a President Trump to repeal and replace it with something much better and much less expensive.  When fully implemented in 2017, most Americans will not receive subsidies, which currently total about $60 billion/year.  Incidentally, because employers are not required to provide heath insurance for part-time workers, most new jobs being created  in the U.S. are part-time.  While this makes the unemployment roles look good, it has been a nightmare for most Americans.

I’ve been a supporter of universal healthcare since the year 2000 and, although I did not vote for President Obama in 2008 and 2012, I was hopeful that he would make good-healthcare-for-all a reality.  It did not cross my mind that Obama  would promulgate legislation that would destroy healthcare for many more Americans than it might help.  It also did not occur to me that healthcare premiums would double, triple, or even quadruple…and that deductibles would be as expensive as twelve thousands of dollars/year and co-pays double…and that all of these consequences combined would have the cumulative effect of destroying healthcare for tens of millions Americans.

Let’s give the creators of Obamacare the benefit of the doubt and assume that their hearts were in the right place, and that the passage of the ACA was not simply an attempt of government takeover of 1/6 of the U.S. economy.  The Affordable Care Act  has demonstrated that it is not affordable and is pitiful health insurance…it was poorly and incompetently designed and executed.  It reminds me of  the homily that “an elephant is a mouse designed by committee,” but in the case of the ACA, designed by one political party in Congress.  Okay, so it’s time scrap it and start over.  No problem!  Right?  Wrong!

But wasn’t Obamacare  designed to be like Romneycare, which was passed by Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts?  That’s what the politicians say to justify Obamacare, but that’s “Bull”.  Romneycare only affected about  8% of the Massachsetts population or about 6.5 million people.  Obamacare covers everyone except those exempted by the President, or about 300 million Americans.  Romneycare does not have penalties or mandates that Obamacare does. The very few good aspects of Obamacare, pre-existing conditions and coverage on parents insurance until age 26, can be simply added to new health insurance Federal legislation.

Although Obamacare  is clearly very bad and expensive health insurance, except for those receiving significant subsidies or exemptions,  the U.S. may end up being stuck with it. The reason is totally political.  One sixth of the economy is healthcare, soon to be controlled totally by politicians in 2017  The ACA or “Obamacare” is a politician’s dream come true but the average American’s nightmare.  With thousands of dollars required for deductibles before reimbursement by insurance companies kicks in, Obamacare for most ends up basically being only catastropic health-care insurance, which is important and necessary, but not something one should pay a lot of money for.

The final opportunity for Obamacare to be either repealed and replaced will come with the 2016 Presidential election.  Only if Republicans control the Presidency, the Senate and the House of Representatives will Obamacare be replaced with healthcare that is affordable and truly cares about people.

 

HILLARY CLINTON vs. DONALD TRUMP

The Clinton and the Trump campaigns are close to an end after being hard-fought.  Currently, Clinton is doing better in the media-run polls than Trump, though Trump is doing better than Hillary in the most accurate-in-the-past polls, and his rallies are getting larger than his usual large crowds.  Note that one of the recent WikiLeaks “John Podesto” emails told the media how to rig polls to make it appear that Hillary was trouncing Donald (this was done to achieve a “bandwagon effect”).

Multi-billionaires, like Donald Trump, obviously don’t get to be wealthy by being stupid.  However, Trump is prone to rhetorical excesses. He is the populist anti-establishment candidate, called by his son, Eric, a “blue-collar billionaire”.

Hillary Clinton has an interesting hand because she was President Obama’s Secretary of State, however she has developed into a good debater and speaker.  As the WikiLeaks “Podesto” emails have exposed, as well as many more credible sources, Hillary Clinton will do almost anything, no matter how corrupt or illegal, to win the election and become President of the United States.  Moreover, the FBI has re-opened the investigation of her having classified information on her private computer server.

On policy, Trump has the advantage because Obama’s policies have hurt medical care, foreign policy, the military, the economy, Israel, etc., and Hillary, as Obama’s Secretary of State, is closely allied with Obama’s policies.  On the other hand, if you only watch NBC, ABC, or CBS, you have’nt heard about these negatives about Obama (so Obama’s shortcomings don’t really matter that much).

There are many reasons for electing “your” candidate, but here is the strongest reason for supporting either Clinton or Trump.

o for Clinton: if you like Obama’s presidency, you’ll like Hillary; however, you’ll have to overlook rampant corruption in a Clinton Administration (past performance is the best indicator of future behavior).  Hillary Clinton should be better than Obama was as commander-and-chief of the military.

o for Trump: he would appoint at least 3 conservative Supreme Court justices, his economic plan would double the size of the economy (Gross Domestic Product or GDP) within 10 years after his policies are put  into effect (which is what happened under President Reagan), he would fix illegal immigration, and he would repeal and replace Obamacare.

I’m a political junkie because much of my education and interests were about government and my jobs were with the Federal, a State and a city government, where elected political leaders were in charge.  I know both sides of every issue and therefore know who is fabricating and twisting facts to support their policies.  For the sake of everyone on the planet, I pray we make the right decision in selecting our next president.

 

SIMPLY UNETHICAL OR REALLY CORRUPT DEMOCRAT PARTY?

In the old days, political candidates would tell voters what they stood for and voters would vote for those who they agreed with the most.  With the advent of polling and the use of focus groups, politicians now know in advance what the voters want and most tailor their speeches and “promises” to tell voters what they want to hear.

Politicians usually refer to this as “spin.”  Up to a point, it is spin.  But many politicians simply lie about their real intentions before they are voted into office…and go far beyond “spin.”  This is deceit and unethical but many partisan political people are easily deceived, partly because they want to believe whatever “their” politician and political party is peddling.

How does one find out which politicians are telling the truth and which ones are conning the public?  Start with being skeptical of all politicians.  Look at their record because what they’ve done in the past is the very best predictor of what they’ll do in the future.  Finally,  don’t be fooled by great and inspiring speeches.  We live in a sophisticated and complicated age where not much in politics is what it seems.  

“Okay,” you may say, but “do you have any current examples of “unethical politics?”  I do, but shouldn’t we first define “unethical?”  Let’s just jump in with specific examples and you, the reader, decide whether some behavior is unethical or not.  You should be able to verify every example I cite on the Internet. Let’s go:

The Republican Party or GOP (Grand Old Party) is also known as”The Stupid Party.”  The Democratic Party is also known as “The Treason Party.”  Here’s why…when it comes to political strategy, for whatever reason, the Republican Party is naive, but not stupid.  When it comes to issues related to national defense, terrorism, and the economy, the Democratic Party has demonstrated that it is not only very weak, but its policies actually make things much worse.  But these are superficial labels and characterizations, so let’s go deeper and more substantive so, for the sake of time and brevity, I’ll simply cite just a few examples that I consider unethical:

-1.8 million dead listed as voters; 2.8 million people registered in 2 states; 68,000 people registered in 3 states.  Most were Democrats.

-6.4% illegal aliens voted in 2008.  Most voted Democrat.

-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for  political reasons, not providing for the rescue of U.S. Ambassador Chis Stevens and other Americans in Ben Ghazi on September 11, 2012. 

-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for carelessly handling “Classified” information in her e-mails and consequently putting American lives at risk.

-Secretary Clinton for deleting 33,000 emails from her server after receiving a subpoena to provide all of her emails to a Congressional Committee.

-President Obama, for political reasons, destroying affordable healthcare for millions of Americans by imposing huge deductibles and very high premiums.

-President Obama, for political reasons, not pushing for a “status of forces” agreement with Iraq and consequently not leaving a small contingent of American troops to protect the victory that we won there (and ISIS consequently taking over much of Iraq and Syria).

-Former Attorney General Eric Holder for colluding with the IRS to target conservative groups.

-Former Attorney General Eric Holder for the “Fast and Furious” operation that has led to many innocents being killed by assault rifles it provided to Mexican drug cartels.

-The IRS for targeting conservative groups almost exclusively for political reasons.

-The Democrat Party for orchestrating and funding violent demonstrators at Trump rallies.

-The mainstream media for serving as an arm of the Democrat Party and thereby jeopardizing our democracy (see Bernard Goldberg’s books,  “A Slobbering Love Affair,” “Bias,” and “Arrogance”).

-The Democrat Party for fabricating the phony “war on women.” (read Katie Pavlich’s book, “Assault and Flattery”)

-The Democrat Party for blaming climate change on carbon emissions rather than addressing the real upcoming global cooling which is due to solar flares and sunspots, specifically weak Solar Cycles 24 and 25 (read John Casey’s book, “Cold Sun,” David Archibald’s book, “Twilight of Abundance,” and John Casey’s book, “Dark Winter.”).

-The Democrat Party for its racist history starting hundreds of years ago and up to the present (read Ann Coulter’s book, “Mugged” and its phony “voter suppression” charges as a pretext to be against Voter ID efforts and legislation.

-The Democrat Party for its phony gun debate, thus endangering the lives of millions, especially women  (read John Lott’s book, “More Guns, Less Crime”).

-The Democrat Party for stealing millions of votes (see Andrew Gumbel’s book, “Steal This Vote,” and John Fund’s book, “Who’s Counting, How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk”).

-The Democrat Party for constantly claiming that the rich don’t pay their “fair share” of Federal taxes when the fact is that the top 10% of the wealthiest pay 70% of the Federal taxes.

-The President, Democrat Party, and the “Left”  for trying to suppress free speech (see Kirsten Powers book, “The Silencing”)

-The Democrat Party for turning into a political-unethical organization intent on seizing and retaining power at any cost (see David Horowitz’ book, “The Shadow Party,” and Dick Morris’ book, “Power Grab”).

-The Democrat Party for being pro-slavery, pro Jim Crow laws, pro Klu Klux Klan for over 100 years, finally ending with honest President John F. Kennedy (see Ann Coulter’s book, Mugged).

-etc., etc., etc.

It’s possible that any politician can become corrupted and lie through his/her teeth to the electorate.  America needs two major honest political parties.  Democrats need to do whatever needs to be done to return their Party to the honesty of their former Democratic President, John F. Kennedy.  The health of the United States and all of its citizens depend on it.

RIGGED ELECTION: TRUMP IS THE LAST CHANCE EVER FOR A (MOSTLY) CONSERVATIVE PRESIDENT

Some Republican politicians this year are not supporting Donald Trump because of Trump’s rhetorical excesses, because they don’t consider him a true conservative, and because of his “locker room” comments from 2005.   Some Republican politicians  figure that, if Hillary becomes president, they can always regain the Presidency in 2020, but is this realistic?

Today, the “open borders” policy of Hillary Clinton (2/3 of immigrants vote Democrat), and her plan for huge increases in Muslim refugees (90% of which will vote Democrat), as well as a Clinton Supreme Court probably ruling that a photo ID is not required to vote (and the consequent increase in voter fraud from today’s 4 million fraudulent (Democrat) votes, 2016 is the last year that a Republican can become president of the United States.

Consequently, beginning in 2020, it really is a waste of time to even bother holding another presidential election.  We will have Democrat presidents for the foreseeable future.  So all of those Republicans who are not supporting Donald Trump this year and then plan to elect a true (establishment) Republican in 2020, are deluding themselves.  If Trump is elected president this year he will build the wall on our southern border and stop illegal immigration, help ensure that photo ID’s are required to vote, and purge registration roles of deceased voters and people registered in more than one State.

So what’s a voter to do if s/he doesn’t like Hillary or Donald for president?  List your ten most important issues and rate both Hillary and Donald on each of those ten issues.  You might have to listen carefully to discover what each candidate has to say on each of your ten issues.  Then you need to consider what Hillary and Donald have accomplished in their lives.  Finally, you need to think about how honest they are and then tally their total score.  Whatever nominee receives the highest score you vote for.  Try to avoid even considering non-issues like racism, sexism, or climate change since these issues are phony for these candidates.  Do understand, however, that if Donald Trump is not elected in 2016, there will never be another Republican president and that, with Hillary Clinton selecting the next three or four Supreme Court justices and the consequent loss of your individual right to own a firearm, the United States will move far to the left, default on the National debt, and government corruption will become even more rampant than it is today and move closer to becoming a Venezuela-style country.

MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE: PROS & CONS

Who can be against a livable wage and why would they possibly be against it?  That’s what this post is about.   President Obama raised the minimum wage for Federal contractors from $7.25 to $10.10/hour.  It covers future Federal contracts only and therefore won’t affect many workers right now.  The President has urged Congress, however, to pass legislation to cover all minimum wage employees in the U.S.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has recently reported that if the minimum wage were to be increased to $10.10 nationwide, or a 40% increase, about 500,000 to 1,000,000 million minimum wage employees, from the current pool of 16,500,000 minimum wage employees, would lose their jobs because employers could not pay it and remain in business.  Recently, however, the new proposed minimum wage has jumped to $15/hour.  The specific effects of such a raise have not been officially calculated, but it would surely result in millions of “minimum wage employees” losing their jobs because many employers could not afford to pay it and remain in business.

So why do it?  The main argument is that it’s not a “living wage,” that no one can live on and raise a family on that wage.  Sounds like a reasonable justification but, of course, we need to look at other sides of the argument before reaching sound conclusions.  I already cited one of the primary reasons why not to raise the minimum wage too high…the loss of about 1,000,000 minimum wage jobs; however, another significant reason is that it would almost shut down the first step on career ladders for unskilled workers…to the extent that they couldn’t even get that first job, get their foot in the door…because their work would not be worth $15/hour.  In addition, since only 15% of minimum wage employees live in poverty households, raising it would do little to reduce poverty.  Finally, many businesses, like restaurants, are very sensitive to the minimum wage and when that wage is increased substantially, restaurant prices increase substantially, which hurts the business or makes it fail (so the end result may be the elimination of jobs).  Moreover, it’s far more accurate to call “minimum wage” the “starting wage,” because that’s exactly what it is for most people.

It appears that labor union leadership and consequently the Democrat Party is the only beneficiary of dramatic minimum wage increases with everyone else being harmed; therefore, gradual increases in the minimum wage may be able to satisfy genuine concerns of the minimum wage argument.

The best way to raise everyone’s wages the most is to create a booming economy like they have in North Dakota where $15 is the starting wage in fast food restaurants because of the huge competition for employees that North Dakota’s great economy fostered.

 

IS CAPITALISM ETHICAL? DOES SOCIALISM WORK?

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, celebrities and academia advocating Socialism, unemployment and underemployment, the National Debt increased by $9 trillion (to $19 trillion) during Presdident Obama’s 7 & 1/2 years, annual GDP growth under 2% for Obama’s entire reign, …ad infinitum.  Is Capitalism to blame for America’s woes or is it the solution to our Nation’s economic problems?

Let’s take a closer look, first with very brief definitions of Capitalism and Socialism so we’re all clear on what we’re talking about.  From the book, ‘isms and ‘ologies by Arthur Goldwag, Capitalism is the “free exchange of goods in a competitive marketplace.”  In that same book, “Socialism” is defined as the opposite of Capitalism.  Further, “In socialist economies, the means of production are either controlled by or directly owned by the state…”

Capitalism is fueled by a motive to make profits and it does this by providing goods and services that consumers want and at a price that can beat competitors’ prices who also provide similar goods and services.  This forces capitalists to constantly improve quality and undercut competitors’ prices.   Socialism eliminates the profit motive and therefore satisfies some people’s altruistic side and also attempts to redistribute wealth from the “haves” to the “have-nots,”  satisfying some people’s idea of fairness.  Because in Socialism there is no continuous need to improve efficiency and effectiveness, there usually is significant waste and inefficiencies.  Capitalists would argue that they earn their profits, attending college for many years and then working 70-80-hour workweeks… and it’s their taxed profits that enables government to have the money to help others.

Capitalism creates wealth,  which then is taxed and used to help the poor and needy.  Socialism makes equality of outcome most important, consequently leading to everyone being equally poor with no large sums of funds available for government and charities to help those in need.  Socialism takes away the incentive for people to work hard and excel to provide for themselves and their families.  The top 10% of the wealthy pay 70% of all Federal taxes.  The lowest 50% of taxpayers pay no Federal income taxes.

Government is usually the culprit behind much fraud, unemployment and economic downturn and  is responsible for our current economic woes.  Loans to people unable to repay them was the precipitating event that caused the 2007-8 economic downturn.  Quasi-government Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac forced banks, with threats of lawsuits, to make those bad loans.  Therefore, to have the government fully control the economy is insanity.  Government does not understand business, does not understand how jobs are created, does not comprehend how many of its regulations, especially “Obamacare,” are destroying the economy.

The Dodd-Frank Bill, proposed by and named after two of the most significant initiators of the 2008 economic downturn (Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Chris Dodd), is truly absurd.  For all of its harm to small banks and to the economy, it doesn’t even address the cause of the downturn, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

So, let’s answer our two basic questions, “Is Capitalism Ethical”, “Does Socialism Work?”  Capitalism is a huge engine for job creation and wealth to the extent that the Pacific Rim countries have embraced it, as well as China (and they are all becoming wealthy fast)…and there’s nothing unethical about making a reasonable profit for providing goods or services.   Socialism, on the other hand,  can be forced to work, but at the cost of civil liberties, prosperity, unemployment, and political interference in all aspects of your life.

Finally, how about some people becoming billionaires?  Is it ethical for anyone becoming that wealthy?  Huge wealth is certainly a possibility under Capitalism.  However, very wealthy people pay most of the taxes and also give much of their wealth, after providing for their families,  to charities, which use it more wisely than the government ever will. Finally, if you still have a problem with Capitalism, then call it “free enterprise” which means the same thing but is more descriptive and uncontroversial.  And if you’re still unconvinced if socialism works or has ever worked, just check out what’s happening in Venzuela, and if you think Socialism is great, then vote for Hillary Clinton and be prepared for the continued decline of the United Styates.

 

 

CHOOSING A PRESIDENT

On November 8, 2016 we Americans will make a decision that will likely he one of the most important decisions of our lifetime: who to vote for to be the next President of the United States.  Many believe that politics is stupid because of all of the partisan bickering that goes on.  That may or may not be true, but it’s irrelevant…our next President will make decisions that will affect not only us, but our children and grandchildren as well.

The following criteria for selecting a President is non-partisan.  I came up with them after looking at everyone else’s and concluding that those criteria are inadequate.  My qualifications for doing this are: I followed politics for over 50 years, my Masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania is in Government Administration, and I’ve worked for the Federal, State and local governments for 44 years.  My 6  criteria for choosing a President are listed below and are prioritized and listed in the order of their importance, so #1 is the most important and #6 the least important.

1. INTEGRITY: one of the most important qualities but not so common in many politicians.  This is important because the President may ask us to go to war or to make some other sacrifice, so we need to be able to trust him or her and not think that whatever is being done is for political purposes.

2. POSITIONS ON ISSUES:  this criterium might also be called “ideology”  and is really the most important reason why one should select one presidential candidate over another.   The problem with it is that many politicians are adroit at lying, obfuscating issues and at pretending righteous indignation.

3. EXPERIENCE: there is no job exactly like the presidency but there are some jobs that provide relevant experience.  It’s not a coincidence that seventeen of our U.S. Presidents have been Governors of a State.  Being a Governor provides the best experience  for the presidency, however any executive or managerial experience is relevant and useful.  Legislative and legal experience is useful.

4. EDUCATION: A masters degree in either Business or Government Administration is probably the most relevant education a President could have.  A law degree is helpful.

5. OPEN-MINDEDNESS:  In U.S. politics, the politician is either on the left or the right and this ideology  can be constraining at times for finding the best solutions to a problem or dilemma.

6. PUBLIC SPEAKING and CHARISMA: for his “bully pulpit” duties, a President would be well-served by being a master of the spoken word…and if he or she is charismatic as well, so much the better.

You may agree or disagree with my 6 criteria or perhaps you simply may want to add a few more.  Whatever…but it is important to have criteria (or standards) to use, otherwise you’ might do what many people do: vote solely by political party, vote because of something irrelevant like age, gender, physical appearance, ethnicity, race, or emotions.  While most elections don’t matter that much, the upcoming Presidential election will determine if our huge $19 trillion National debt will  place us into the league of the great civilizations that eventually bit the dust by going bankrupt.

 

IF YOU’RE NOT A LIBERAL AT 20…; IF YOU’RE NOT A CONSERVATIVE AT 40…

WW II British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said “if you’re not a Liberal at 20, you have no heart; if you’re not a Conservative at 40, you have no brain.”  What exactly did Churchill mean and is it valid? That’s what this brief post is about.

At 20 years old, people are usually idealistic and usually believe what their mentors (teachers, professors) inculcate into them.  However, the parents of teachers and professors in most of today’s universities and colleges became Liberal in the 1960’s when draft dodgers fled there to avoid the Draft and Vietnam.  Consequently, students today hear only one side of  national issues, and further, are discouraged to even listen to both sides, because the other side is characterized as being racist or sexist or whatever.

At 40 years old, people are usually much more mature, often with a spouse and children, and begin devoting much more time following public issues.  Moreover, they have lived long enough to become much better at recognizing  the lies and deceit engaged in by many politicians.  And because many at age 40 now have children, National issues take on much greater importance with the realization that many Liberal/Progressive policies not only don’t work, but actually do great harm to the people that they supposedly are intended to help.

I’m 50% Conservative and 50% Liberal.  That does not mean 50% Republican and 50% Democrat.  What’s Liberal or Conservative about $19 trillion in National Debt?  What’s Liberal or Conservative about health care that is a confusing, disorganized, and unaffordable the way Obamacare is configured?  What’s Liberal or Conservative about a weak military or a foreign policy that punishes our allies and rewards our enemies?

At 73, I’m in the last part of my life, and I’d love to leave this world knowing that the U.S. will be OK, but I’m not there yet.  Most young people scare me because they can vote but know less than nothing about the issues…less than nothing because much/most of what they think they know is misinformation.

I don’t mean to sound critical, because it’s natural for the young to spend their time pursuing mates, getting an education and starting a career.  However, on November 8, 2016, America will either turn around and become vibrant again, or finish its journey onto the trash heap of history.  Which scenario plays out might depend on the young, which is the group whose future would be the most devastated by another Democrat President controlled by big-government statists.

Another famous British citizen, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, said it best:  “The problem with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of other people’s money.”  The U.S. is very close to running out of being financially able to borrow more of other people’s money.

 

OBSESSED with RACE!

Mike Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in New York, etc., etc.   The first incident due to a policeman protecting himself from being killed; in the second incident, the police being overzealous and inappropriate in its enforcing a minor infraction of the law.  Both incidents had nothing to do with race, but months later the U.S. is still agitated from them, and other incidents,  to the extent that two New York City police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, were ambushed and killed for revenge while sitting in their police car. Why?

Americans are obsessed with race!   Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that his dream was that one day his four little children will live in a nation where they will be judged, not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.  In other words, a “color-blind” society was his dream.  The opposite has and is taking place even though race relations in the U.S. for most people have never been better.   Politicians and their minions call anyone a racist who disagrees with them on anything, whether or not it has anything to do with race.   Moreover, the government encourages discrimination in many, many ways including something so minor as requiring race and ethnic information in order to get medical care (I refuse to provide it calling it “racist” on the form).

My credentials for stating the above: while working for the Federal government for over 40 years,  I volunteered to perform three “collateral-duty” jobs that took up to 20% of my official work time, each for a minimum of five years.  Two of the three involved fighting racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination.  In one of my collateral-duty jobs, I was instrumental in increasing Latino employment by my Federal Bureau from under 1 % to 6% of the workforce (as the Hispanic Employment Program Manager); in the other collateral-duty job, I counseled about a dozen minorities and women in seeking remedies for alleged discrimination (as an EEO Counselor).  Each of these positions required extensive training which I was happy to take and I performed well, to the extent that I received EEO awards from my bureau and the Department of Interior.   These experiences, plus working at my father’s butcher shop (with a 99% African-American clientele) when growing up, working as a counselor at a camp with 50% African-American “campers,” and attending a Junior High School with 50% African-American students, gives me a far better perspective than most white Americans in understanding race relations.

My perspective on race relations today versus throughout the past is that relations have improved significantly in the past 60 years.  But if my perspective is accurate, why is racism such a major concern today? Is it really politics as I stated earlier?  Author of the book, The Big Black Lie, Kevin Jackson, blames the Democratic Party in its attempt to convince voters that Republicans are racists.  In his book, Wrong on Race, Bruce Bartlett enumerates the Democratic Party’s history of racism.  Most recently, author of the book, Mugged, Ann Coulter, gives a very detailed account of racial demogoguery from the seventies to Obama.  My own experience and observations validate what I read and make me hopping mad.  The pain and suffering by all parties has been perpetuated for political gain.  I also agree with Dinesh D’Souza’s book, The End of Racism, that the American obsession with race is fueled by a civil rights establishment that has a vested interest in perpetuating black dependency.

Will this obsession with race ever end?  Only when the deception behind it is fully exposed and widely acknowledged.  Unfortunately, that day may never come.  What would Dr. King say?  Nothing…I believe he would be  in tears!

Let’s go back in time to when African-Americans were freed from slavery and see what Booker T. Washington, born a slave, who established the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama to educate and train African-Americans and was the most prominent African-American in his day (1856-1915), said in his book, “Up from Slavery”:  “…the policy to be pursued with reference to the races was, by every honorable means, to bring together and to encourage the cultivation of friendly relations, instead of doing that which would embitter.”  What is happening today is the opposite of what Mr. Washington advocated and is being done mostly in order to keep 90% of African-Americans voting for the Democratic Party.

 

IS CLIMATE-CHANGE DUE TO SOLAR FLARES OR IS IT MAN-MADE?

Global warming, cooling, or climate change: terms that have been politicized to the extent that one has to question the sources of all data and facts cited to prove or disprove: 1) whether global warming, cooling or climate change even exits, and if it does, 2) is it man-made or caused by something else or a combination of both.  Further, if it does exist and is mostly man-made, 3) how bad is it and, 4) can anything be done to significantly stop it if it’s  bad enough to warrant being stopped.  If we can answer each of these concerns, then we’ll know what to do, if anything.   Here’s my analysis:

1) Whether the earth is warming, cooling or staying the same basically depends on the point in time you select to compare this year’s  earth’s temperature to.  For example, a few hundred years ago the earth went through a “Little Ice Age” (1280-1850 AD) so of course today’s temperatures would be  warmer than then.  You may cite the melting Arctic glaciers as other evidence of global warming.  OK, but you need to consider that glaciers wax and wane over time and when Arctic ice is waning, Anarctic ice is waxing.  In other words, climate constantly changes (there was a “Medieval Warm Period” from 900-1300 AD and it was a few degrees warmer than today’s temperatures).  Over thousands of years the Earth has cooled and gotten warmer and cooled and gotten warmer, etc.  In fact, the Earth has had 5 major Ice Ages over the past 2 billion years,  5 periods of serious global cooling.

2) In the last few hundred years some data suggests that the earth appears to have warmed and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased, so a case can be made for there being a correlation between the two.  Remember, however, correlation doesn’t mean causation.  Scientists do know that there is a significant correlation between Sunspots and weather on earth.  However, how much of the recent warming is due to CO2 and how much is due to Sun spots and Solar Flares is suggested by the fact that although atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased, the earth’s temperature has remained almost the same, which suggests that carbon dioxide has little or no effect on the earth’s temperature.

3) Is any global warming, cooling, or climate change cause for alarm and action?  Thus far, it’s been relatively minor and any slight increase in the earth’s temperature is probably a good thing…more crops, better weather.  Of course, the adverse effects  from the previous huge California drought, specifically the lack-of-water problem in California’s Central Valley was 100% man-made by former President Obama’s policy of manipulating stored water for the Delta Smelt, a small fish on the Endangered Species List, rather than use it for the cropland and farmers that lived there and for the thousands of migrant farm workers that helped harvest their crops.  Insofar as extreme weather activity is concerned, the past half-century has seen fewer major hurricanes and extreme tornado activity in the United States.

4) Can anything be done about global warming , cooling or climate change if  it gets really bad in the future?  Sure, there are various ways to reverse global warming but not global cooling.  My preference is, if there is global warming,  the geoengineering proposals that seem preferable because they affect every country equally and do not harm any country’s economy.  So what should be done now, if anything?  “Watchful waiting” is in order but everyone needs to endeavor to get global warming or climate change out of politics because it should be solely a matter of science.  The Kyoto Protocols were rejected by the U.S. Senate in 1997 by 95 to 0.  And well they should have been, because the tlargest polluters, China and India, were exempted.  Moreover, the U.S. withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord because the Accord did nothing to help the environment but would have cost America $3 billion/year that would be redistributed to other countries.

Recall the “Hockey Stick graph” scandal in which a team led by a professor at the University of Virginia created a graph  that eliminated data depicting the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period  in an effort to support the global warming hypothesis.  Then the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) actually and unbelievably included the misleading graph it in its Third Assessment Report.  Therefore, I believe it prudent to be very skeptical of any data depicting global warming or cooling.

With help from the Sun, the Earth’s climate changes constantly and gets warmer and then cooler.  People contribute some, but for the most part it appears the Sun is to blame.  From my course in meteorology at Penn State University,  I  learned that “yes, climate changes all of the time…that is the very nature of climate…”  However, large sums spent on projects that attempt  doing something about it are not warranted until there is solid evidence and that we can significantly do something about it (unlike the political and do-nothing Paris Climate Accord).  Currently, claims of global warming are: 1) a ruse to give climate-study contracts to friends who will pay back significant sums (“kickbacks”) to politicians, and 2) used as a rallying cry by which the Democrat Party attracts and holds young, idealistic people to vote for them.

Data indicates the world is about to enter into a 25-year period of global cooling due to weak Solar Cycles 24 and 25.  Read Cold Sun and Dark Winter by John L. Casey, and chapter 2 (“A Less Giving Sun”) of the book, Twilight of Abundance by David Archibald if you would like to see the research on this.

Is climate change political BS or fact and can anything be done about it to make a significant difference?  We don’t know yet.  If anyone says “it’s settled science,” you need to know that nothing in science is ever completely settled.  I estimate that about half of scientists disagree with climate-change being mostly man-made.

 

UNDERSTANDING AFRICAN-AMERICAN POLITICS (audio interview w. Kevin Jackson)

I decided to interview Mr. Jackson, author of the book “The Big Black Lie, How I Learned the Truth about the Democractic Party”, (25-minute audio of interview at the bottom of this introduction…click on the red writing below) because he is rare indeed…an unabashed African-American conservative.  Moreover, one won’t hear his views from traditional black leaders or the mainstream media and his views are worth listening to because they have a unique perspective and are interesting.

Mr. Jackson has degrees in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics, was a management consultant for some of the world’s largest companies, ran his own sales organization, and has his own Blog and radio show.  He is a dynamic and elegant speaker who is in high demand for his clarity of thought and expression.

The interview with Mr. Jackson focuses on African-American politics and explores why Mr. Jackson holds the views that he does. He has been on MSNBC, O’Reilly, and Cavuto,  among many others, and has a clear and studied loud message for African-Americans, as well as anyone else interested in the welfare of that community.

In the interview, Mr. Jackson tells us about:

  1. How blacks were sold out by the Democratic party
  2. How to criticize President Obama without being considered a racist
  3. How the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was far more supported by Republican Congressmen than Democratic Congressmen
  4. Why the Democratic Congress failed to revise welfare law even after Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan reported on how its “no man in the house rule” was destroying black families
  5. The origins of the financial meltdown, and much more.

To listen to my interview with Mr. Jackson’s, please click on the Red Link below.

Kevin Jackson-African Americans Audio

Interview by Mike Russo.

MORE GUNS, LESS CRIME?

Are you pro-Second Amendment or anti-Second Amendment or somewhere in-between where you’re for reasonable restrictions on gun ownership?  Where you stand on the gun issue really doesn’t matter much because most of the dialog surrounding this issue is simplistic and/or deceitful.

Why?  Because most of the measures which are being discussed and adopted have been proven to be ineffective.  John Lott, author of the book, More Guns, Less Crime, is the very best authority on what works and what doesn’t, but have you heard his name even mentioned in the gun debates.  His research over more than a decade is explained in his book and should be the foundation of gun laws, not the political posturing that is going on around the country aimed at voters and guaranteed to do nothing except make matters worse.  Most people are not expected to know who knows what they’re talking about and who doesn’t, but the media is expected to know, but it doesn’t.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution allowing an armed citizenry was adopted by the Founding Fathers as a safeguard against tyranny.  They wanted this because most democracies in the past commonly morphed into dictatorships, and with a standing army in the United States, this was a real possibility.  Fear of a dictatorial government is just one reason why today emotions are so high surrounding the issue.  Not many politicians will admit it because it sounds crazy, however, this is the heart of the issue: big-government Democrats wanting as much control of guns as possible and limited-government Republicans wanting the minimun amount of control possible.  The major reason for many gun owners to have guns is the capability guns provide in protecting oneself and one’s family.  Other reasons are hunting and target shooting.

Read John Lott’s, More Guns, Less Crime, and you’ll have the information you need to decide what needs to be done to help control gun violence.

LEARN PUBLIC SPEAKING: JOIN TOASTMASTERS INTERNATIONAL!

The very best way to learn or drastically improve your ability to speak in public is to join and participate in Toastmasters, International.  There are thousands of Toastmasters clubs in the U.S. and Toastmasters clubs in many countries around the world.  I was a member of Toastmasters for 23 years and gave about 300 prepared speeches and 500 extemporaneous speeches during my time there.  I know Toastmasters well.  I also have taken a variety of public speaking courses over my 40-year+ government career and therefore can compare participating in Toastmasters with other ways of becoming proficient at public speaking.

Toastmasters is by far the best way to learn how to speak in public.  However, it does much more than that.  Toastmasters also helps develop listening skills by having its members evaluate speeches.  In addition, it also helps develop thinking skills and leadership skills.

Members progress at their own speed, earning a “Competent Toastmaster” award after giving 10 speeches, and then silver, bronze and gold Toastmasters advanced designations, followed by the Distinguished Toastmaster award.  There are manuals that guide Toastmasters into developing speeches.  There are manuals on storytelling, on persuading, on giving presentations, etc.  There are 15 groups of manuals that instruct members on how to prepare and deliver 75 different types of speeches.  Individual Toastmasters select all of their own speeches.  The very first speech is  an “Icebreaker,” where the new Toastmaster talks about him/herself.

Besides the very valuable career skills you learn at Toastmasters, there is a very gratifying comradery and  that all Toastmasters clubs have.  Toastmasters is a wholesome activity which will help your career.  Clubs meet at hours that are convenient for working people and many companies and the government usually allow their employees to use “company time,” if needed, to attend meetings (because it’s training).

 

DOMINION: animal abuse

The Bible says in Genesis 1:26 that God said, “and let them (mankind) have dominion over (animals)…”  Mahatma Gandhi said, “the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

According to Daniel Goleman’s bestseller, Emotional Intelligence,  animals with a limbic system in their brain, have emotions.  All mammals, which includes most farm animals, have limbic systems and therefore have feelings and fear, are joyful and love.  Animals also have varying degrees of intelligence, but most importantly, they feel pain and suffer.  As such, what right do people have to support their being tormented, suffer and die gruesome deaths?

Former Beattle  from Britain, Paul McCartney, said “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.”  In plainer English, if people could see the horrific slaughter of animals, many would find it difficult to eat anything with a face.  I’m the son of a butcher who went with his father most mornings to a few slaughterhouses to purchase the meat we sold at his butcher shop. While there, I saw animals slaughtered, some humanely, some cruelly.  I therefore have firsthand knowledge of what happens in slaughterhouses.

Red meat (beef, veal, lamb, pork) is bad for your health, except that it is high in quality protein.  Chicken (containing antibiotics) and fish (containing PCBs and mercury) are not good routine food choices either.   So what should one eat for optimal health, nutrition, and ethics?   Joel Fuhrman, M.D., author of The End of Diabetes,  says basically “beans and greens,” and all other vegetables as well.  Meat should be used only for seasoning.

You may believe that farm animals are just dumb animals.  However, if that were true, how do you explain Priscilla the 3-month old pig, who in 1995 was inducted into the Texas Veterinary Medical Association’s Pet Hall of Fame for saving 11-year-old Anthony Melton from drowning by swimming to him, oinking to grab her harness, and then swimming with Anthony hanging on, to shore.  This story was reported in the book, Animal Miracles, and it is not unusual, it happens frequently.

In addition to slaughtering animals for food, we hunt them for sport, experiment on them causing needless suffering and pain, train them to fight each other for our amusement, do not neuter our pets to the extent that there are an estimated 100,000,000 homeless stray and feral cats alone in the U.S., most of which will eventually starve, freeze or thirst to death.  I had my own  cat shelter for ten years and “trapped, neutered, and returned” (TNR) about 100 feral and stray cats and therefore know of what I speak.

Many animal rights advocates are considered fanatics.  However, Abraham Lincoln, definitely not a fanatic, said “I’m in favor of animal rights as well as human rights.  That is the way of the whole human being.”

Finally, getting back to Mahatma Gandhi, if his assertion is correct that “a nation’s greatness is judged by the way its animals are treated,” is the U.S., or any nation on Earth, great?

 

DEFENDING AGAINST THE KNOCKOUT GAME

There’s a very dangerous so-called “game” being played by young men in America.  It’s maimed hundreds and killed about a dozen people so far.  The object of this vicious “game” is to knock out someone with one punch to the face or head.  Most of the perpetrators are young black males and most of the victims are  white men and women of any age.  Racist?  Of course!

What’s behind this brutal “game”?  Some say that fatherless boys being initiated into a gang.  Others quote the perps as saying they just wanted something to do.  So who and what is to blame?  It’s complicated with lots of blame to go around.  But to even begin solving this problem, we must first understand it.  Let’s begin with the blame:

1.Single mothers can do a good job in raising their girls and boys up until they reach puberty.  After puberty is usually too late for boys but even then a good man in the house is essential to serve  both as a role model and a disciplinarian to boys.

2.Fathers who don’t stick around to be fathers to their children, especially to their boys.

3.Boys without fathers either join a gang or the Boy Scouts.  In poor socioeconomic areas, gangs are prevalent and single-parent homes are epidemic and are the breeding ground for sociopaths.

4.The Welfare System, which provides financial incentives for single-parent families and encourages, through its policy of providing financial assistance to mothers only if there is “no man in the house.”

5.The News Media for not reporting on incidents of the Knockout Game so that people are forewarned and know that they need to be more careful when walking around.

Okay, so what can be done to stop the carnage?  First and foremost is that the Media do its job of reporting all incidents of the “Knockout Game” so that the elderly and women will know what situations to avoid.  I’ve seen reporting of the Knockout Game on Fox News only and therefore I know that most people have not heard about it nor know what it is, and therefore are especially vulnerable.

The second thing that can be done depends on politicians and government officials.  In no government program should a “man in the house” prevent a woman from receiving welfare payments…because a good man in the house is usually needed in order to raise sons to become good men.

The third action that would help thwart the Knockout Game is to do everything possible to keep young men occupied…working, if possible.  Because raising the minimum wage to $10+/hour is estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to cost from 500,000 to 1,000,000 youths to lose their jobs because their employers could no longer afford to pay them, that idea should be shelved for now (or raised only a $1/hour for now).  Minimum wage jobs are entry-level jobs…About half of those minimum-wage employees are making more than that after 6 months on the job.  Many youth will never get that first job if the minimum wage is raised too high.

Since the Media refuses to do its job, clergy need to talk about it in their churches.  This is not ideal, but it would get the word out (forewarn) to many potential victims so they can take appropriate actions (avoid potentially-dangerous situations).

Politicians’ constantly beat the drums alleging racism/sexism  behind everything and agitate Women, Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, etc. for political purposes and mainstream media will therefore probably never report insightfully and analytically. Politicians need to stop the “race-baiting.”

Local police and local judicial systems must fairly and justly put the perps away for a long time.

Potential victims need to keep distance between themselves and individual and small groups of young men.

The barbaric “Knockout Game” may never completely go away but hopefully it will diminish to the point where it won’t hurt many people.

 

TRAP, NEUTER, RETURN” (TNR) PROGRAM FOR FERAL/STRAY CATS (audio interview)

I decided to conduct this conference call on TNR (25-minute audio of interview at the bottom of  written introduction) because it’s the answer to the feral and stray cat population explosion problem.  Ferals and strays starve, thirst,  freeze, are killed by dogs and other cats as well as by cars, and there are very few charitable organizations dealing with the problem.  Moreover, as a bonafide “catman,” who has trapped, neutered, and returned at least 100 cats, this issue is very important to me because I’ve come to know cats as the affectionate (if you feed and water them, scratch their heads, give them a name and talk to them ) creatures that they are.

If you love cats, don’t miss this discussion led by Mike Russo with Alex Mehn and Mark Rheinhardt on the very effective “Trap, Neuter, Return” (TNR) program for feral (afraid of people) cats.  TNR has been questioned recently concerning its effectiveness; however, we in the cat community have first-hand experience and knowledge that it works very well.  I took care of a 30-cat colony for about 10 years during which no kittens were born to any of my cats.

Alex Mehn, at the time of the interview, worked for the “Rocky Mountain Alley Cat Alliance” and its low-cost neutering clinic,”The Feline Fix,” as its TNR coordinator.  Mark Rheinhardt is an attorney on the board of the “Devine Feline” which operates a large van/mobile unit that travels around metropolitan Denver where its volunteers humanely trap feral and stray/homeless cats and have them neutered in the van by a volunteer veterinarian, and later returned to where they were trapped.

The discussion examines all facets of how a TNR program for caring for feral and stray-homeless cats could be implemented through local legislation (and uses Denver as an example of a city that needs TNR legislation and why).

In the TNR discussion, many issues are addressed, such as:

  1. How TNR helps prevent cat “hoarding”
  2. Feline aids and leukemia,
  3. Aggressiveness, zoonotic diseases,
  4. Curtails hunting and killing birds,
  5. The risks to catpeople without TNR, and much more.

To listen to this conference call, please click the red link  below.

Trap, Neuter, Return\” (TNR) program – Audio

 

MUGGED: racial demagoguery

I just read Ann Coulter’s book, Mugged, and learned a lot of new information from this lawyer and best-selling author.  None of the information surprised me but it was insightful reading Ms. Coulter’s relentless array of facts.

Basically, Coulter contends that very few of the racial incidents in the last 45 years have been racist (civil rights battles were mostly won before the seventies thanks to the Republican party); instead, they were racial hoaxes, perpetrated  by demagogues for various reasons and motives.

One of the most important facts that Ann Coulter shows in her book, Mugged,  is that all segregationists were Democrats and that the Democratic Party fought against Civil Rights legislation for 100 years going way back to Abraham Lincoln’s time when Lincoln and his Republican Party ran on an anti-slavery platform.  This is not news to we who know American history but is big news to the millions of Americans that have been deceived by Democratic Party leadership and now believe  the racist propaganda it advertises.

Another very important and horrific fact brought to light by Ms. Coulter is that a major consequence of every racial hoax is the slaughter of whites by young black hoodlums seeking revenge for what they hear and believe to be true about the (phony) racial incidents (Google: “Blackout Game,” “Polar Bear Hunting,” “Flash Mobs”).

Why do I believe the aforementioned to be true?  First, because I trust Ann Coulter in accurately portraying the facts.  Second, because I not only worked for many years assisting minorities in combating discrimination as a Federal collateral-duty EEO Counselor and then as a Federal collateral-duty Hispanic Employment Program Coordinator, but also have closely followed many racial incidents, including Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown in Ferguson.  In addition, because I have personally experienced discrimination for almost fifty years based 0n my physical handicap (left side of my face paralyzed, numb with left eye sutured shut and left ear deaf).  Since I did not have this malady for my first 25 years, I’m able to compare how I was treated by most people before I had a handicap to after I had a handicap.

“Mugged” gives the details of many racial incidents if you want to explore a racial incident, such as the Tawana Brawley rape hoax with Al Sharpton’s involvement.  Some racism still exists, but there are many politicians and race hustlers  exploiting race simply to get your vote.

INCOME INEQUALITY

A hot political issue this political season is income inequality.  The heart of the debate is that it doesn’t seem fair for some people to make millions while others are living close to poverty.  The government already redistributes wealth through a variety of welfare programs, taxes, food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc. but advocates want to see a lot more.  Is this fair?  Is it feasible? Are there unintended consequences for even more income redistribution?  Let’s check it out by first reviewing the scope of the problem:  according to IRS data for 2013, the wealthiest 2.4% of taxpayers pay about 48.9% of all individual taxes; however, they also make over $250,000 adjusted gross income.

The United States’ economy is fueled by free enterprise, also known as capitalism.  Being able to make a better life for yourself and your family motivates people to devote the time, energy and work necessary to become financially successful.  This system, however, does result in some being very rich and some being poorer.  Free enterprise, as practiced in the United States, contains economic safety nets to help ensure that no one is destitute.  Even so, some will still be bad off.  Here’s where charities play a large roll, as well as simple government policies, such as those that require that every hospital to treat people even when they can’t pay.

For average income Americans, the Social Security Administration recently reported that 51% of Americans make less than $30,000/year.  This poor record is the fault of the Federal government in over-regulating businesses, in having an absurdly high (35%) corporate income tax rate that forces U.S. companies to relocate overseas where rates are much lower, and having high individual tax rates (since many small businesses file as individuals).  All of these policies are advocated  by the Democratic Party, who, in the same breath, says they’re for the “little guy” and for the poor.

Free enterprise is not perfect but has moved billions of people out of poverty in India, China and other countries. The Federal government is taking the freedom out of free enterprise in the United States.

UNDERSTANDING OFFICE POLITICS

Conventional management education and training have become increasingly more sophisticated.   One area that remains to be fully explored by the academic and managerial communities, however, is office politics. Though largely neglected as an academic discipline, it is usually an essential component of job success, although competence and industriousness are equally important. As Marilyn Kennedy states in her book, Office Politics, Seizing Power, Wielding Clout, 75% of all firings in the business world are political executions.  In addition to its importance to the employee, office politics also can play a significant role in the success or failure of an organization. It consists of all of the interactions among employees in an organization. The fact that managers are frequently naive in recognizing and handling the political dynamics that exist among the staff impairs their ability to manage successfully.

Office politics is important to study because one must understand it in order to effectively handle the political games and power struggles that can interfere with employees careers and productivity.  In the July 10, 1984, Washington  Post “Federal Diary,” Mike Causey reported that of 800 senior federal personnel officers responding to a Merit Systems Protection Board survey, almost one in every five said that they had been improperly pressured by managers to save or fire employees during the 1981 reduction-in-force.

Good management and supervision include an understanding of office politics and power.  Because the phrase “office politics” has a bad reputation, even its beneficial and ethical aspects are not usually the subject of serious attention. Managers, supervisors and employees may not advance in their careers sufficiently because of their disdain for office politics and its prudent use.  If a manager is unaware of and not in control of the politics in his/her office, s/he will not be able to manage his/her employees and programs well. On the other hand, excessive involvement in office politics can drain the energy, time, motivation and productivity that should otherwise go into the job.  Dr. Andrew Dubrin, in his book, Winning at Office Politics, cites five levels of involvement in office politics, from the most political to the most naive. They are: Machiavellian, Office Politician, Survivalist, Straight Arrow and Innocent Lamb. For those who are interested, Dr. Dubrin’s book contains a 100-question test which will show how political you are.

The Types of Office Politics

I classify office  politics into three categories: clean, dirty and situational.  “Clean” (ethical) office politics comprises those things one can do to advance his or her career and get the job done at no one’s expense and without being unethical or immoral. Examples of clean office politics include loyalty to one’s supervisor and working in one’s own interest. “Dirty” office politics is immoral and/or unethical and is something which is done to the detriment of others. Examples of dirty office politics include backstabbing and stealing credit for another’s work. “Situational” office politics, as its name implies, is ethical or not depending upon the situation in which it is used.  A good example of situational ethical office politics is the “fait accompli” (accomplished fact). This tactic simply involves taking an action even though it will not be welcomed by the boss. Later, after reaping the benefits of the action, the employee pleads innocence if the boss questions him/her on it.  The employee tells the boss that s/he didn’t now that it would meet with disapproval. With some supervisors this tactic is sometimes necessary though not without risk. Another tactic is “going over the supervisor’s head.” If the tactic is used on a straightforward democratic supervisor, it is usually unethical; therefore it is considered situational office politics.  Another situational ethical tactic is “withholding information.” White collar workers are knowledge workers and information is their stock-in-trade. There are times, however, when it is ethical to withhold information, such as when a supervisor will take all of the credit for the information supplied and not give the employee proper credit.

CLEAN OFFICE POLITICS

Supervisors

No matter how high a level manager or supervisor you are, there is always someone you must answer to. Therefore, in your role as a subordinate, the keystone of office politics is your relationship with your boss. If you keep your relationship sincere and unmanipulative, you are using clean office politics. Your aim is to help make your boss look good.   There are many clean tactics which you can use to improve your relations with your boss. The simplest is showing your boss loyalty.  Loyalty is reporting only to the boss and not going behind his/her back to others; following and respecting the boss’ direction without grumbling or second guessing; disagreeing with the boss only in private; making efforts to instill the boss’ ideas, plans and actions in other employees; not disclosing secrets about the boss; and standing up for the boss when s/he is the subject of criticism.

While teaching an adult education course in “clean” office politics and power in Washington, DC over a six-year period, I’ve found that loyalty to the supervisor is the most difficult for people to understand, let alone accept and use. Students frequently volunteered opinions, such as “my boss is a fool, I know much more than s/he,” and “I don’t know how that idiot ever got his/her job.” Perhaps much of what I hear about supervisors and managers is true; maybe many of them are incompetent in managing work and people. Whether it is true or not is irrelevant here. The boss has legitimate power; s/he writes  your performance appraisals, has the responsibility for your work, and can either praise or discredit you to his or her superiors. If you and your boss don’t like, or at least respect each other, and there’s nothing on the horizon which may change the situation, you should consider changing jobs. Incidentally, showing loyalty to the organization you work for also makes good political sense, although personal and organizational loyalty may not be compatible at times.

Peers

The respect and cooperation of your peers is another essential component of clean office politics and obtaining power ethically.  A few tactics should help you achieve this sometimes very elusive goal: help peers when they need it; be trustworthy and friendly; back them up; don’t complain about all the work you have to do; and avoid pretentions. Incidentally, most dirty office politics occurs among peers, so the above is especially important if you want to minimize the risk of fostering their envy, and the malice, slander and sabotage that it can foster. Envious people try to downgrade the person and/or the person’s accomplishments of which they are jealous.

Subordinates

Finally, relations with subordinates have a role in office politics. Giving recognition for the good work of a subordinate is an outlet for genuine appreciation. Treating subordinates with respect because they are people first and employees second is both humanistic and, coincidentally, part of being a good manager. Finally, a supervisor should not take advantage of subordinates with his/her power.

The aforementioned clean tactics are referred to as political or interactional skills and are most important in judiciously using office politics and power ethically. Other clean tactics fall under the aegis of “visiposure.” This is a combination of visibility (seeing those above you) and exposure (being seen by those above you).       The following are some examples of ethical tactics you and/or your staff could engage in:

  • Staff promoting themselves by talking with you about their progress and keeping you informed of what they’re doing.
  • Staff originating and initiating new ideas, putting them in writing and giving them to you.
  • Staff getting to know the people in the organization by attending office parties, using the cafeteria at work and remembering names.
  • Staff developing a professional attitude by avoiding excessive emotionalism, dressing for success, not engaging in negative gossip about people and not being a clock watcher.
  • Staff speaking up at meetings because that is where they are sometimes seen by people who do not usually see them.
  • Staff asking questions because this is necessary to obtain the information they need to continually improve their job performance, as well as showing their concern for the job.
  • Staff doing things outside the confines of the job. This allows them to meet people throughout the organization.
  • Staff talking about their progress so you know that they have definite goals and want to get ahead.
  • Staff developing a support system through involvement in professional organizations. This provides them with a support system separate from the job and can be important if they run into serious political difficulty on the job.
  • Staff developing a specialty so they can stand out from the crowd and get the recognition they need to advance their careers.

DIRTY OFFICE POLITICS

Up to this point we have dealt only with clean office politics. Let’s look at the dirty side so that you can more effectively protect yourself and your staff from it.

Paranoia vs. Naivete

To consider dirty office politics rationally, one must endeavor to be completely objective about oneself.  Some people are absolutely convinced that someone is out to get them. Because people, on occasion, are really out to discredit someone else for various reasons, one needs to make a clear distinction between objective reality and paranoid thinking.  Paranoid thinking exists when the amount of fear, anxiety and concern is not justified by real danger. To illustrate, it might be considered paranoid to be excessively fearful of crime in a predominantly crime-free community, whereas, to be concerned about being mugged while walking along some sections of the formerly infamous Fourteenth Street corridor in Washington, D.C., at one o’clock in the morning is prudent, not paranoid, and should result in appropriate action. To combat paranoid thinking, if you believe someone is out to get you, ask yourself “how do I know this to be true-;” “what am I observing that leads me to that opinion;” and “is this sufficient to warrant my belief that someone is out to get me?” It often takes considerable thought to sort out all the relevant information and form a rational opinion as to whether or not you’re someone’s target.

On the other hand, though not bad in terms of mental health, naivete in office politics can be hazardous to your career. If you think that everyone’s out to help you, give yourself a naive-zero on the accuracy of perceptions scale below. Likewise, if you see a coworker’s power and influence rising as yours is descending and you do not get at least a little suspicious, score yourself once again near the naive-zero on the scale.  Another indicator that you may be an actual or potential victim of dirty office politics is when former enemies in the office suddenly become friends; they may have found a common enemy — you.  The graph below illustrates the distinction between being paranoid and being naive. It is intentionally simplistic to illustrate the point.

Accuracy of Perceptions Scale

0____________100____________0

N                                   R                                  P

A                                   E                                  A

I                                    A                                  R

V                                   L                                   A

E                                   I                                   N

T                                   T                                  O

E                                   Y                                  I

 

 

Slander differs from gossip in that gossip is not as malicious, persistent and purposeful as is slander. One defense against slander and backstabbing is not to allow the slander to damage your self-image. Another defense is to launch a small counterattack. by innocently asking associates on occasion why the slanderer is so unhappy. By knowing that someone is slandering you, you can more effectively combat it. The following are options you have to-combat slander: confrontation; exposure; retaliation; rewarding the guilty party to make him or her feel guilty, suspicious or confused; and eliminating the cause. Often people readily accept stories on the grapevine without verification. Most of the time these stories contain partial truths, misunderstandings, distortions or outright misstatement of fact. Clever slanderers, however, base their dirty work on real incidents; they simply define or explain the incidents in an intentionally distorted manner so as to make someone look stupid or incompetent. They also get to the manager first with their distorted version of an incident so as to “poison the wells” for any other versions that may follow. Since supervisors and managers must rely, in large part, on information from subordinates, they therefore have to be especially wary of the derogatory comments they hear about employees. Since the “reputation” method is commonly used by managers to informally assess staff, even if a diligent manager follows up on rumors and makes first-hand observations of an employee, selective perception may bias the observation, since s/he is starting out with preconceived ideas that were furnished when one subordinate gave the “lowdown” on another. To counter the tendency towards selective perception, a manager must suspend judgement until s/he has sufficient data to form a defensible opinion. Personally, I prefer confronting an employee and thereby allowing him or her opportunity to explain.

A devious tactic, less onerous than backstabbing and stealing credit, is using flattery (not genuine praise) to manipulate people into doing what you want them to do. Constantly raising questions concerning a peer’s judgement and providing misinformation (with some truth thrown in for plausibility) is another tactic practiced by clever unethical office politicians.

SITUATIONAL OFFICE POLITICS

Of the three types of office politics, “situational” is the most difficult to use wisely. This is because most people have an image of themselves as being good, honest, righteous, ad infinitum, and they therefore rationalize many of their actions as being warranted by the situation or someone else’s actions. Many atrocities have been explained and “justified” by situations. The most recent examples are acts of terrorisrn which killed or injured innocent people.

In addition to the fait accompli mentioned earlier in this article, “avoiding losers” is a situational tactic. If you lunch and socialize with other managers, supervisors or staff with bad reputations, it is likely that your reputation may be tarnished. If the person with a bad reputation is a friend, avoiding that individual solely because of his or her reputation is a situational tactic that only you can judge as ethical or not. Another situational tactic is the “red herring” which is useful for managers because of the desirability of handling tricky personnel problems without needlessly humiliating people. For example, a manager may not want to tell, for some legitimate reason, an employee the full story of why s/he is -being fired, but use a “red herring,” or explanation that diverts attention from the blunt truth.

Discouraging Unethical Office Politics

At this point you may asking yourself if there’s anything that can be done to dissuade employees from engaging in dirty office politics. It should be clear to managers that staff  are going to get involved to some extent in office politics and will not make the ethical distinctions enumerated here. There are, however, a few tactics that managers can use to improve the chances for ethical behavior and a more decent office environment to thrive:

  • Keep your staff busy. Employees engaged in meaningful work and achieving worthwhile goals don’t have as much time and energy for office politics, clean or dirty.
  • Keep your staff well informed. Communication is an important part of the manager’s job and lack of it will foster conjecture, which is usually much worse than reality.
  • Give your employees, to the extent practicable, separate responsibilities, to minimize jealousy and cut-throat competition. Sometimes overlapping responsibilities are necessary, and even desirable, but if an organization can be structured without it, there will be more peace and harmony.
  • Be non-judgemental in dealing with your staff. If you want them to listen to you, and take your advice when you really need them to, they must trust you. That means not only respecting their confidences, but also empathetically listening to their complaints and problems.
  • Trust your staff. Expect them to do the right thing and help them to do it. This should help curtail devious behavior. The German philosopher Goethe said “Treat people as if they are what they ought to be, and you will help them to become what they are capable of being.”
  • When interviewing job applicants for a vacancy in your office, look for compatibility with your other staff. An applicant’s resume should tell you most of what you need to know about his or her knowledges, skills and abilities to do the job. The interview should help you tell how friendly, cooperative, and loyal the applicant is.
  • Build team spirit to encourage mutual support and understanding. Meetings can be a useful tool in accomplishing this, but the attitude of the manager is essential.
  • Give your employees an opportunity to read about office politics. Often, people engage in unethical behavior because they cannot distinguish between what’s ethical and what’s not. This article has been written to remove that ambiguity.

POWER

Power and office politics go hand-in-hand. The more power one has, the more effective his or her office politics can be. Power is defined here as the ability to marshal the resources to get the job done. There are basically six sources of power: legitimate, reward, coercive, referent, expertise and charismatic. Legitimate power is the official power you have as a manager in an organization; you have reward power if you can promote; you have coercive power if you can fire. Associate with or have a good rapport with one or more of the leaders with power in your organization and you have referent power. If you’re an expert at your job, you have expertise power. President Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King are good examples of people who had charismatic power.

A manager automatically has legitimate, reward and coercive power. If you’re a good manager, you probably have some charismatic power. How does one obtain more power? You can develop referent power by becoming friendly with other managers. Many people who have very little legitimate power have enormous referent power. Secretaries are good examples of this phenomenon. Become excellent at your job and you’ll gain expertise power. Develop your verbal and non-verbal skills, dress for success, and develop desirable leadership skills through education, training, reading and experience, and you’ll be on your way to developing charismatic power.

CONCLUSION

Office politics is a fact of organizational life. This article has discussed clean, dirty and situationally ethical forms of it. The most useful political tactic, however, is one called “honest and straightforward.” It is not only the easiest to use, it does not cause ‘the anxiety that many of the other tactics do. Work would be far more pleasant if all interactions were of this type, however an awareness of the other types is essential.

If you are like most managers, supervisors and employees, you not only deplore office politics, you are absolutely convinced that you do not engage in any form of it, be it conscious, unconscious, clean, dirty or situationally-ethical. I hope that this article has accomplished three purposes: made you more aware of office politics and therefore better able to handle it; demonstrated that some forms of office politics can be ethical; and adequately described dirty office politics so that there is more certainty as to what is ethical and what is not. An awareness of all types of office politics can be useful to you in maintaining a pleasant office environment and in succeeding in an ever-more competitive world.

Mike Russo

WAR ON WOMEN

Beginning with Betty Friedan’s, The Feminine Mystique, I’ve been following the feminist movement and now follow women’s issues.

Most recently I read Katie Pavlich’s book, Assault and Flattery, and now have a better understanding of how the Left has kept women down behind the scenes, while claiming that it is the champion of women.

Beginning as far back as 1920, Democratic President Woodrow Wilson and the Democratic Party opposed women getting the right to vote.  Today the Democratic Party constantly fights against Second Amendment rights which women (and men) need to defend themselves. President Bill Clinton was an accused rapist (by Juanita Broderick) and the accuser was very credible.  Of course this was just one of many allegations made by women against him.  Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy was a big philanderer and was responsible for the death of Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquiddick.  Then there’s Democratic President Kennedy who had numerous affairs while President.

You might reply, “you’re referring to their personal lives, not their policies.”  Okay, let’s look at Democratic Party policies.  For women receiving welfare, there’s a provision requiring that a man can’t reside in the house of the (female) welfare recipient, otherwise the woman would be removed from the welfare rolls.  This provision has led to 77% of African-American households with children and about 30% of white households being led by only one parent.  This is very important because most of societal  pathologies stem from boys being raised without fathers.

You hear Hillary Clinton often discussing women’s issues so doesn’t this show how much she cares?  Frequently, you hear her say that women’make 77 cents for every dollar men make.  I first heard this statistic way back in the seventies so naturally I questioned whether it could still be that amount 50 years later.  I read years ago that it was the disruption in service that most women encounter because of child-rearing.  In addition, I heard that the gap has significantly narrowed and that black women actually made more than white women with the same education and experience.

Finally, the abortion issue.  Most Republicans are only against abortions during the third trimester of pregnancy since the fetus is actually an unborn baby by then.  They also are against partial-birth abortion because it is a gruesome procedure.  Check out how Planned Parenthood traffics in baby parts while receiving $500 million/year from the Federal government.

 

 

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