Thursday, January 7, 2021

Two Sides...Same Coin


If you were surprised by the Trumper Riot in Washington D.C. yesterday, then you just haven’t been paying attention.  Same could be said for the riots this summer from “the other side”.   Even if the rioters only represent a small percentage of the population, in a nation of 328 million that can still be a lot of people.  Plus, there are even more people out there who might not join the riot, but are applauding the effort.  Who knows how many extremists are really out there?  But, it’s a big number on both sides of the political divide.  And both sides share common feelings of anger, resentment, distrust and fear.  The feelings are the same but they are based on totally different worldviews. 


The Left sees the past as one of oppression by a mostly white, mostly male, Western European, Christian hierarchy.  They choose to reinterpret history, reject traditional narratives and seek to establish a society based on very specific definitions and desired outcomes with regard to their “holy trinity” of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity.   And don’t forget to save the planet while you’re at it.


The Right sees the past through a different lens.  A past seriously threatened by those on the Left,  along with professional  politicians lurking in The Swamp, the Mainstream Media and Global Elites.  They have embraced the distorted perspective of conservative commentators and right-wing bloggers/conspiracy theorists that once upon a time this country was so much better, at least better for them as they recall.  Their Populist message is a mix of Patriotism and Protectionism.  America used to be great until “others” ruined it.  Freedoms are being taken away and jobs have been lost…and “We The People” are not going to take it anymore.


Both extremes contain threads of truth, but are mostly wrong and certainly misguided.  I still think, or want to believe, that the majority of Americans are somewhere in the Center.  Perhaps center-right or center-left.  But not that far from each other.  Most of us want a functioning government and a healthy economy that offers opportunity to all citizens.  We want to do what is right not only for ourselves but for our fellow citizens.   We must resist being drawn to the extremes.  It’s time to come together and pick up the pieces.  We must not let the loudest voices tell us what to do.  United we stand, divided we fall.

“You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist”- Indira Ghandi

Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Mist and More


Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

-James 4: 13-14

Each year in December, I make predictions about the coming year.  I also go back and grade the predictions I made the previous December as the year comes to an end.  The grade for 2020 has been in for months now and, of course, it’s an F.  Even if I had made new predictions in the Spring, it would still be an F.  2020 has been a year like no other in my lifetime.  Only the World Wars have been worse and the 1918-19 flu pandemic comparable.  Covid-19 changed 2020 and will certainly change the future.


So it is with some trepidation and considerable humility that I make these predictions for 2021.


_1 In Georgia, the Republican candidates win narrow victories.  (And the Democrats will no doubt challenge the results. It’s what we do in America these days.)


_2 January will be the worst month yet for Covid-19.  It’s going to be ugly.


_3 Covid-19 related restrictions will ease up a bit by mid-year, but are not going away in 2021.  If you are expecting “normal” to return sometime in 2021, you will be disappointed.


_4 70% of Americans will have been vaccinated by the end of the year, but there will still be a good deal of uncertainty.  Some will still get sick and some will die.  The fear and the testing will not go away.  Wearing masks and maintaining social distance will be with us at least through the winter of 2021-22.


_5 I’ll make no predictions regarding who will win our major sporting events. It will be another Covid impacted year.  I think it’s unlikely that college basketball will have a normal season.  There will be some sort of reduced and restricted “March Madness”; and there will be a National Champ.  Baseball and football will continue testing players and limiting attendance.  But there will be more fans in the stands and fewer players in quarantine.  Golf will go on with only a select few spectators around greens and tee boxes. I suppose the Olympics will go forward in some fashion, but it will no doubt be muted and disappointing.


_6 GDP will grow and some sectors of the economy will do very well.  Travel, entertainment, restaurants and hotels will do better than they did in 2020, but that’s not saying much.  It may be 2022 before there is much recovery in those sectors.  E-commerce will continue its rapid growth.  Retail survivors will continue to adjust and re-invent themselves.


_7 Public schools will continue to struggle with Covid through the Spring. The education and skills gap continues to widen with underperforming school districts falling further behind.


_8 Crime increases as law enforcement agencies struggle with budget cuts and more scrutiny.  Increasingly police officers will avoid involvement with citizens unless absolutely necessary.


_9 The Retreat to Remote will be in full swing as those who are able to leave crowded urban areas move to small towns and outlying areas.  Affordability, safety and space become more important than the availability of shopping, services, restaurants, arts & entertainment.


_10  Social Justice Warriors will resume their demands and pressure the Democratic administration to respond to their agenda.

The good news is that by this time next year we’ll be in a better place relative to the pandemic than we are today.  The bad news is that we are running out of time and money to fix the real problems in this country, much less around the world.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

The Great Reset...Act 1

Donald Trump lost and Joe Biden is going to be the President of The United States of America.  Trump lost because Biden got more votes.  Biden got more votes because the Democrats did a better job of getting their voters out this time than they did in 2016.  Mail-in ballots made a big difference.  In some states the process might have been highly questionable but was indeed legal according to the state.  And now the highest court in the land has said let it be.


So Biden won.  In some places, Democrats probably cheated a bit more than the Republicans did in order to “save the nation from four more years of Trump”.  Any means to an end, that sort of thing.  But “cheating” or doing whatever you can get away with in order to win an election is as American as apple pie.   It’s been going on forever and will continue to go on in the future.  We can put up all sorts of barriers, but when it comes down to it…a lot of votes are bought and sold in marketplace.  Always have been, always will be.


Besides, what is a “fair” election anyway?  Misinformation and money spent in the right places tend to determine the outcome of most elections.  Occasionally, the candidate who should win takes it for granted and the upset occurs (2016).  Sometimes things are so bad that the party in power has no chance of winning (2008).   But, increasingly big money and big media and big tech pick the winner in the election of a President.   


Make no mistake, big money was tired of Trump.  I’m not talking about the average business or even big business.  I’m talking about the really big money, global money.  And the “Globalists Cartel” was done with Trumpism.  Nationalism and America First doesn’t work well for the Globalists.  And for those who have spent decades learning to navigate “The Swamp” to their advantage, there is no upside in seeing it drained. 


Collectively big money, big media and big tech have a different vision for the future of America and for The World.   Trump and his supporters are seen as the crazy old aunts and uncles who clutch their purses and rattle the change in their pockets while talking about the way things used to be and all that’s wrong these days.  Furthermore, they represent a roadblock to The Great Reset.  For Globalists, The Great Reset means rebooting the world in order to address the existential threat of climate change while also creating more fair and equitable social and economic systems.   Welcome to Postmodernism 2.0.  It is no longer a matter of ideas and beliefs, it’s about action. 


The real question becomes, who’s in charge?  Who will decide what needs to be done to “save the planet” from the pending climate catastrophe?  Who gets to decide what is fair and equitable and how those outcomes are achieved?  Who decides how we pay for The Great Reset?  And The Great Reset will require power and control.  Who decides how much freedom and privacy is allowable?  


Freedom isn’t perfect either.  But history would tell us that it beats the alternative.  Beware The Great Reset.


For the Left, tolerance does not mean tolerance.  It means first, acceptance.  And second, celebration. That is totalitarianism: You not only have to live with what you may differ with, dear citizen, you have to celebrate it or pay a steep price”. – Dennis Prager

Thursday, November 26, 2020

At A Distance


Like the rest of the world, I am so ready for this pandemic to come to an end.  I want people to travel again, to visit family and friends.  I want church to be like it should be with fellowship, hugs and handshakes. I want to see stadiums filled with cheering fans. Let’s get back to living.


But, with that said, I must admit that I don’t miss the things that most people have missed during 2020.  I have always been a loner.  An only child who did not need others for entertainment.  A child who enjoyed playing with other kids but did not need them.  As I grew older, I loved sports and was a good teammate, but always needed my space.  I need long drives by myself with just music and my thoughts.  I need time to read and to sleep, both being the ultimate escapes for me.


As a student, nothing was more draining for me than “group projects”.   Ok, let’s meet, assign the tasks and get on with it.  Everyone do their job and we’ll be fine.  But that’s not how it works is it?  It always takes twice as long as it should and is seldom done well.  The only people who like group projects are little dictators, cheerleaders and slackers who have no issue with letting others do the heavy lifting.  The rest of us, even those who aren’t loners, despise group projects.  


As an adult in the business world, one does what one must do to succeed.  And that means meetings and committees and other peoples' problems by the bushel.  But, that’s the job.  So one compartmentalizes and forges ahead, hopefully, with at least a few relatively capable and trustworthy people around them. 


And now as an even older adult, I have been working remote for some years.  Constantly on the phone, or emailing, or texting…busy and interacting with a lot of people from all over the country.  I meet more new people daily than I ever did during my years managing transportation companies.  I like the action, the variety and most of all I like talking to people about things that really matter…whom they should hire... or should they go to work for this or that company.  Even more I like the fact that no one is standing at my door.  And if the phone rings, most of the time, I do not have to answer it at that moment.  The same for emails and text messages.  Usually they can wait, if only for a few minutes.  And, when the day is over no one is pressing me to go do something, drink something, eat something or discuss something which is most often pointless and of no consequence.


So, indeed I like my time and my space.  It is not a positive trait for anyone aspiring to high position and a major reason why I “under-achieved” for most of my career.  The ladder is crowded and you cannot climb it alone.  I do not miss the ladder.


When this pandemic is over they say we will have a new normal.  I think it will look a lot like the old normal.  More people will work from home, so there may be a bit less traffic for a while.  Business travel will be slow to rebound as companies have discovered that so much of that expensive travel was unnecessary in the first place.  But everything else will fill up quickly.  Holiday, vacation and weekend travel will explode.  Those restaurants, bars, theaters and assorted other gathering spots that did not go out of business will be packed with happy patrons.  Free at last, free at last.


But, those of us who prefer to walk alone will not be joining you.  So by all means, please celebrate your happiness and your return to the freedom of gathering and rubbing elbows, nibbling from one another’s plates, singing, dancing, drinking or praying to the gods you have chosen.  You can have my seat.  I will be elsewhere, at a distance, thankful and quite happy not to be there.

"He liked to get off by himself, a mile or so from camp, and listen to the country, not the men."

-Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove



Monday, November 9, 2020

The Swamp Fights Back

Memo to Donald Trump, The Trump Team and other Trump Loyalists: 

The Presidential Election is over. I am not a Trump Loyalist, but he did get my vote…again. So I guess I lost as well. But the loss was inevitable. 2016 was a fluke. Only Hillary Clinton could snatch unlikely defeat from the jaws of certain victory. 

And, in the end, it all worked out just fine. Even though Trump failed to drain the swamp, he did reveal it for what it is. Even those who hate Trump have to admit that the deck was stacked. The traps were set and he stepped into every one of them. Yet along the way he put the rest of the world on notice that a large segment of America wasn’t going to take it anymore. Bad trade deals, picking up the tab for the rest of the world’s mistakes and misadventures, bowing to environmental extremists and leaving the doors to our borders unguarded? Not anymore. Judges spinning the constitution to fit their own agendas and legislating from the bench…no longer, at least for now. 

Donald Trump was and is his own worst enemy. Take away the tweets, the nasty comments about his opponents, the lies, the lack of empathy for others…just the whole narcissistic creature that is Donald Trump and you would not have Joe Biden heading to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But then you would not have had Trump either. And without a global pandemic, Trump might still be getting another four years; warts, tweets and all. 

The Swamp may have fought back and turned Trump away. But in the process The Swamp confirmed what many Americans had suspected all along. Career politicians and entrenched government bureaucrats do not like change unless it is on their terms and to their benefit. And that is true for both Democrats and Republicans. The mainstream media finally went all in on their progressive agenda and without pretense showed America that objective journalism is dead. And as if to try and balance the scales, many voices on the right seemed to become even more unhinged and obsessed with apocalyptic visions of the United States becoming another Venezuela. 

The Swamp survives, but now everyone knows it’s there. And it’s full of lies and twisted half-truths. But it resides in the greatest nation on earth, perhaps the greatest that the world has ever known. Any other country would have fallen apart by now. Only the United States could be what it is and still be a great nation. Yes, we have The Swamp. But it’s our Swamp, so we have learned to live with it. Draining it would cost too much and, besides, it would only fill back up.

“It makes sense that a witch lives in a swamp” – Jordan Peterson

Monday, October 26, 2020

Let Them Eat Cake...Or Let Them Score ?

I have not yet boycotted the NFL. (I have learned to compartmentalize…headhunting will do that to a person.). So yesterday as I watched the Detroit Lions intentionally allow Atlanta to score so they could get the ball with enough time left to come back and win the game, it struck me that this is sort of how I feel about the upcoming election. 

If you have read some of my other posts, you know that I lean right. I have never been a hardcore conservative. But, it is starting to feel that way these days as the Democrats move further and further to the left. So I find myself holding my nose and voting for Republicans whom I find only slightly less awful than their Democrat opponents. 

Which brings me to the upcoming election. The almost certain "Blue Wave" that is coming will turn out to be the best outcome in the long run for Conservatives. No, I have not lost my mind. Hear me now, believe me later. First, consider the consequences of a Trump win.  It’s a long-shot, but it was a long-shot last time. Four more years of Trump will tear this country apart. The Left will move even further to the left and take more of the Middle with them. By the time we get to 2024, Republicans will have lost all credibility and millions more of their voters will be dead and gone, replaced by younger, left-leaning Progressives. Four more years of Trump could end up being replaced by a generation or two of far-left, Democratic Socialists. 

On the other hand, if the Democrats win today, the Republicans have the opportunity, the motivation and the time to hit the reset button. They would have a very real chance of gaining ground in the mid-terms and then winning the White House in 2024. The nation needs to get the Trump taste out of its mouth. But, give it four years of Biden-Harris, Pelosi, Schumer and The Squad; and we might just come to our senses. 

The power brokers, the people who really run this country, not the politicians; have no interest in Democratic Socialism or any such nonsense. But, they are smart enough to see what’s happening with Trump in the White House. They are globalists. They want free-trade and better relationships with the rest of the world. They must also respond in some way to the younger workforce’s obsessions with Social Justice and Climate Change. Virtue signaling is good for business. So they have thrown their money and their influence behind the Democrats. Let them score today while there is still enough time to win tomorrow. 

If the French had responded differently to those starving peasants back in 1789, there might not have been a French revolution or certainly not one so bloody. Marie Antionette’s infamous response of “Let Them Eat Cake” remains an ominous reminder to the rich and powerful that sometimes one has to let the opposition score and taste victory, if only for a moment. 

"Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death; - the last, much the easiest to bestow, O Guillotine!”- Charles Dickens , A Tale of Two Cities

Monday, September 21, 2020

Of The People


We are told that the upcoming election is the most important in our history.  The future of America hangs in the balance.  As if the politicians are the ones determining the country’s direction.  I’m not so sure about that.  What I am sure of is that, FOR THE POLITICIANS, this IS the most important election in their political careers. 

While the upcoming election matters, it may not matter all that much.  Since 1952 the Executive branch has had more Republicans than Democrats.  Congress has been more Democrat than Republican, although in recent years the Republicans have gained ground. (And has it really made much difference?).  Since the 50’s the Supreme Court has become decidedly more conservative.  (And, again has it really made much difference?)

News flash, POLITICIANS ARE NOT GOING TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, or bring hope and change or establish a more civil discourse or solve the racial divide or cool down the planet.  Our government still represents we the people.  You may not feel like they represent you or your political party or just you and your Facebook friends.  But ultimately, we still have a government of the people and by the people.  It just may not be FOR the people.  But whose fault is that?  WE ARE THE PROBLEM...WE ARE THE PEOPLE.

The breakdown did not happen overnight. It took time, a generation or two at least.  It took time for a people to put being rich ahead of being honest.  To make being popular or famous more important than being honorable.  To pursue personal freedom and happiness at the expense of duty and responsibility.  To choose the present over the future.  Appearance over substance.  And, in the end, feelings over truth.   Plant these seeds, or just allow these seeds to be planted, and they will grow.  Provide fertile soil and a bit of fertilizer and they will grow faster and become larger. 

It’s not complicated.  When families start breaking down, when schools no longer educate and churches become just another form of entertainment or civic organization; the hard lessons that must be learned are no longer taught.  We don’t know what we don’t know.  And what we do know is either wrong or incomplete or we simply do not care. 

The next election will be a reflection of who we have become.  And either way, it will not do much to change the course of this nation.  We lost our way long ago.

A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."

--President Dwight D. Eisenhower