POPULISM & PANDEMICS

Political Beliefs Can Kill You

I and a group of friends took part in a “Ridin’ with Biden” campaign event last October in Florida. We came across a group of Trump supporters camped out in front of an early voting location and I put my large megaphone out the window of the car and yelled, “He’s going to kill you! He’s going to kill you!” The trumpers were oblivious to the way Trump’s Covid-19 policies were hurting and killing us. I get it, they love him and trust him with their grandmother’s lives. Why? It’s all part of a populism religion they decided to follow.

This sectarian concept has overtaken large portions of our country and our elected representatives. Sectarianism is a political or cultural conflict between two groups often related to their form of government. Prejudice, discrimination or hatred can arise in these conflicts, depending on the political status quo and which group holds more power within the government. One of the worst parts of America’s current populism is a constant war on science. By denigrating experts, big, strong-man populist leader Donald Trump first gets the attention of the downtrodden workers and eventually entices them to seek his advice rather than that of credentialed, knowledgeable experts.

Fareed Zakaria

Fareed Zakaria wrote in the Washington Post in March of 2020, “Trump, for his part, fuels fears by constantly talking about how the disease came from China and how he heroically saved American lives because he ‘closed the borders to China’ in late January, 2020. Thank goodness he doesn’t seem to know that the H1N1 virus was first detected in Mexico. If he did, he might close the border with Mexico, just to be safe.” Donald Trump has never trusted any opinion that is opposed to his own viewpoint.

Zakaria came back to that discussion on his CNN show yesterday morning. His experts were fair to point out that not all populist leaders in the world denied the danger of Covid, but they often tend to rebuke experts, disconnect from science and make decisions based on what they think their followers will swallow, rather than the truth. In the beginning of the pandemic, Indian’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was rather draconian with the lockdown and those polices kept the virus at bay. Then, he made the same mistake Trump did by pushing to reopen the country too soon. This caused a crisis of pain and death that will probably destroy his political career.

Brazil has a leader who was in total denial of the coronavirus and mingled with people at rallies, shook hands and called Covid-19, “just a little flu,” until he got it himself. He then softened his misdirection but continued to blame everyone else for what was happening in his country. The more people listened to him the more people died. He repeatedly fired his national health directors and appointed replacements, believing mismanagement was causing the spread of the virus.

Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro

At this point, Brazil has more than 14.7 million people infected and more than 400,000 have died. Right now, India has more than 350,000 new cases each day and a total of 19.5 million infections with more than 215,000 deaths. We don’t know how many people have died in China or Russia, where dictators make policies. Some say that China, where the virus originated, has only 4,636 deaths. In a country of 1.4 billion that’s a totally unbelievable number.

Some sources say that Russia has 109,000 deaths, which makes more sense than the China statistic. Remember, Russia has a population of 145 million people. We know the case counts of democracies are more accurate. We also know that overzealous populist leaders, irresponsible state governors and state-run media have cooked the books on Covid-19. But as the World Health Organization puts more pressure on nations to cough up current statistics, we learn more about the effect of this virus on the planet.

The democracies of the U.K. and Israel had some rough coronavirus moments, but also amazing accomplishments. The U.K. was on the edge of disaster and Prime Minister Boris Johnson came down with a wicked case of Covid-19. In the U.K. currently, more than 34 million people have had a first vaccine dose and over 14 million have had a second. An average of 415,000 second doses are now being given daily. The National Health Service in the U.K. is very organized and thorough. For example, 98% of the people over age 50 in Scotland have received at least one vaccination already. The lowest percentage in that same category is London, with 87%.

Israel has done a fantastic job with vaccinations. As of May 2, 2021, Israel had fully vaccinated 87.3% of its population. Even with 900,000 people who contracted coronavirus in the country, they had only 6,363 known deaths. That is a particularly good outcome in a country of 9 million. Perhaps their general population has more awareness of science and medicine.

Populism attracts people who often reject things based on status or labels. If an intellectual in medicine is presented as an elitist by a populous leader, their followers tend to adopt the simple lie rather than the complicated realities of math, science and medicine. It’s interesting to note that a person doesn’t have to be less educated to take on a belief counter to well-known and proven facts. Steve Jobs denied conventional medical wisdom and it killed him. The word we should focus on is “wisdom.”

We all want our leaders to apply a sense of experience, knowledge and good judgment to their actions or decisions, but in some cases, they may not have enough knowledge or experience to act effectively. Where they lack knowledge, they must trust and depend on others for facts and guidance. If they don’t have good judgement, they might take advice from people who are totally full of shit. The quality of judgement is evaluated after the fact. Leaders talk of using their “best” judgement, but they cannot say it’s good judgement until their action bears fruit.

India’s Narendra Modi

India’s populist leader Narendra Modi made good choices in the beginning, but since the country was organized around a strict caste system the first wave of Covid-19 hit the lower classes and then slowed. When Modi began believing his own press, he opened the country to political rallies and large religious events, which was not only bad judgement but fatal to thousands.

Bad choices and ignoring science have consequences. This from Reuters, “The incumbent chief minister’s party in India’s West Bengal state has defeated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party in a state election held as the coronavirus pandemic surged to crisis levels. Modi has been criticized for focusing on the elections instead of making the pandemic his top priority.” So, there’s another populist who cares more about power than people. Bye, Bye!

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

Kindle and Paperback Click Here

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.


AMERICA’S DISPOSABLE PEOPLE

Why So Much Killing and Disregard for Life?

How many times do we need to read this, “It is unclear what motivated the shooting, but investigations are ongoing and will continue into most of the day…” One of the by-products of being in a Covid lockdown is not only did we avoid colds and the flu but the mass shootings were put on hold. Now that we are beginning to reopen, guns and shootings seem to be in the news every other day. WHY?

Jim Jordan, Representative of Ohio, once again embarrassed himself and his state by verbally abusing Dr. Anthony Fauci in a hearing on the Hill yesterday. It seems that Jordan’s agenda is to use his taxpayer-funded job to harass, vent and inflame citizens with no productive result.

The fact that Jordan disrespected Congress by not wearing a coat in a formal setting speaks to the character of the man, but isn’t it a moral affront to pit the number of people who have died from Covid-19 against the debate about when we will get all our rights back? Jordan was only trying to get on the news, which he did, but how do you think the families of those who have succumbed to the virus feel about his diatribe? Fauci is trying to save lives and Jim Jordan was yelling at him for no good reason. WHY?

All the numbers start to run together when seeing the daily stats, but we must always remember those numbers represent people. According to a Washington Post analysis of data provided by the Department of Health and Human Services, during the past week thirty-eight states have reported an increase in the number of people hospitalized with Covid-19. But the national statistics don’t capture the intensity of the coronavirus emergency in the hotspots. Michigan reported more than 10,000 new infections on Tuesday alone. On Wednesday, the state reported an average of 46 deaths a day, up from 16 a month earlier. If 46 people were killed in a mass shooting, we would be alarmed and saddened.

Remember how you felt the morning after October 1, 2017 when Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old man from Mesquite, Nevada, opened fire on the crowd attending the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip? He killed 61 people and injured 867 of the attendees. Put the coronavirus statistics in those terms and it begets a raw emotion and perhaps depression. Every day in MICHIGAN, more than 10,000 are hospitalized with Covid and 46 to 60 of them die.

According in CNN, 45 shootings have taken place in the last thirty days in the USA. Here are a few of the more infamous ones. On March 16th, eight people were killed by a gunman at three massage businesses in Atlanta, Georgia. Six of the victims were of Asian descent. On March 22nd in Boulder, Colorado, a shooter at a supermarket killed ten people, including a police officer who was the first to respond to the scene. In Orange, California on March 31st, a gunman killed four people and critically wounded a fifth at a Southern California office building. On April 7th, former NFL player Phillip Adams shot six people, including Robert Lesslie, a prominent doctor, his wife and two of their grandchildren along with two air conditioning technicians. His brain is now being examined for possible degenerative disease that has been shown to cause violent mood swings and other cognitive disorders in some athletes and members of the military. At least in this case, we might get an answer, albeit, too late.

Indianapolis, Indiana

Just last night, a gunman opened fire outside and inside a FedEx Ground facility near the Indianapolis main airport, killing eight people, wounding several others and sending witnesses running before taking his own life. We’ll probably never learn the true motivation of this former FedEx employee, but it’s pretty damn clear we have a huge problem in the United States of America.

While we are watching bad guys with guns shooting good people without guns, we are also seeing police officers around the country shooting people for minor issues and traffic stops. We watch the court cases with witnesses and experts giving their testimony but the victims have no voice there.

I am angered by Jim Jordan’s obvious disregard for life, his disrespect of a medical expert and his disdain for a united effort to beat the virus. He’s so worried about the Frist Amendment he’s forgotten about all of our rights to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” My idea of happiness is not laying in a hospital room on a ventilator. Should Jordan’s shredding of policies and extra care taken to lower the spread of a virus make things worse then he’s complicit, just like Wayne LaPierre of the NRA is complicit in every mass shooting in America. Yes, I get all the Second Amendment stuff but what suggestion or steps has LaPierre made to solve the problem of American mass shootings? Bupkis.

The idea that a good guy with a gun will keep us safe is more than fallacious, it just doesn’t work at all. If we had a competent president when the global pandemic broke out, we would not have sacrificed hundreds of thousands of American lives to keep the economy rolling. It’s not helpful to debate our freedoms when we have kids being shot by cops, a virus taking a thousand lives each day and mass shootings wasting people all over the country. Where does Representative Jim Jordan get off screaming at Dr. Fauci when he has not put forth a single idea to cure Covid-19? He’s much beyond a squeaky wheel, he’s a horrendously loud human fart.

We should not have disposable people. Human life is not sacred when we talk one way about Roe vs. Wade and then other ways about gun control, national health policies and police reform. If you care only about your dogma, then you are most likely disregarding the people you supposedly serve. Elected officials have a supreme responsibility to make sure all Americans are safe — safe to live, safe to work and safe to travel without fear of becoming infected with a virus or being executed by a cop. We must get back to our values with the understanding that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness mean something. If not, then we are just another third-world county but with lots of money.

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

Kindle and Paperback Click Here

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.


EASIER OR JUST BLOWING SMOKE?

New Voter Law Is A Trojan Horse, What’s Inside?

Back in my high school days, education officials made a rule that disallowed wearing jeans to class. There was no reason given for this draconian rule. Had we not been in the suburbs but in a rural area this law wouldn’t have worked. The administrators believed that wearing tight jeans would somehow make us act up and disturb the educational process. Really?

Sometimes we make a law in search of a crime and it takes the outcries of people to reverse it. I remember when the Atlanta Braves opened a new stadium and a woman was stopped because she was carrying a small cooler containing formula for her newborn baby. Less than 48 hours after this story broke the team ownership pulled the rule. Later, they loosened the restriction even more by allowing patrons to bring in food.

Voting has always been a challenge in America. The first mistake was not making the federal election day a holiday so that no one would have to miss work to vote or miss voting to work. Not one of the newly minted voting laws fixes that problem, which is #1 on my list.

Long Voting Lines in Georgia

Then there’s this. Early voting, whether it’s motivated by a pandemic or not, is a good idea. Any rule stating that tabulation of early votes cannot take place before election day, or worse, can’t begin until after the polls have closed, is foolish. How does that help the voting process?

Because we have many states that allow mail-in voting, which is a good thing, we must make sure the United States Postal System works properly in all fifty states and territories. The idea of no-excuse absentee voting is not a rare bird, nor should it be. You can see a list of all the states that support the concept here. And in case you didn’t know, Washington, Utah, Oregon, Hawaii and Colorado use mail-in voting exclusively, so what’s the fuss all about?

Lurking inside these new laws are grievance politics, partisan wounds and leftover racism that isn’t comprehended by many, including those people forging the new laws. The concept of disallowing a person to bring food or water to a voter waiting in line is a masked attempt at voter intimidation. Here’s the language, “No person shall … give any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink, to an elector…within 150 feet of the outer edge of any building within which a polling place is established,” but there’s a trick in that stick. First, “the outer edge of any building” is inappropriate, given a polling location may have voters form a line around the perimeter or the building and “150 feet” might include everyone in the voting line. Also, are states actually prepared to arrest anyone who brings food or water to those of color waiting in line? That would be very intimidating, especially since cops have guns.

What’s really upsetting is the lawmakers know there will be long lines and they are attacking their citizens in the voting lines rather than working to make the lines shorter, the wait times less and the voting process faster. Anyone who views food and water you are giving your granny as temptation for voting a certain way is irrational, cynical and stupid. If anything, one waiting in a ridiculously long line to vote might be tempted to cast their ballot against the foolish people in power.

Here’s something from today’s New York Times, “Amazon, BlackRock, Google, Warren Buffett and hundreds of other companies and executives signed on to a new statement released on Wednesday opposing ’any discriminatory legislation‘ that would make it harder for people to vote. It was the biggest show of solidarity so far by the business community as companies around the country try to navigate the partisan uproar over Republican efforts to enact new election rules in almost every state. Senior Republicans, including former President Donald J. Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, have called for companies to stay out of politics.” The sad reality is these politicians take money from large companies for campaign expenses, but when those same companies point out a problem the grifters bark at them to back off. If they feel so strongly, why not pass a law that prohibits corporate funding of any candidate, party or Super Pac? Fat chance.

We live in a fast, souped-up world where we demand speed, efficiency and accuracy, not partisan bickering and built-in voter suppression. I am sure Brian Kemp, the Governor of Georgia, believes the new voting law he signed makes things better for his state. Why then are so many people telling him the law is bad?

Here is a major flaw that has nothing to do with food and water, it’s about power and control. One of Georgia’s new provisions is the state’s right to take over county elections offices the legislature believes have “persistent problems.” It wouldn’t be a surprise should they snatch control in Fulton County, which has 800,000 mostly African American voters. The Democrats won big there, and the Republicans believe there was corruption in that county, yet after three vote recounts no fraud was found. These idiots prefer Donald Trump’s lies over their own Secretary of State, Election Board members and, oh yeah, their voters. The law effectively changes the sixty plus year tradition of the Secretary of State being the sole keeper of Election integrity and places that responsibility in the hands of a party loyalist, perhaps appointed to overturn the will of voters. WHY IS THIS NOT A BAD IDEA?

We can debate the requirement of having a picture ID to vote, We do it in Florida and it’s not a problem. Florida lets you register to vote when you get your driver’s license. A voting ID card is not a bad idea. These are frightening times.

Were you to ask representatives in the Georgia State assembly if they were racist, they would honestly say no. But should you ask any of them what would give their party a better chance of winning in the next election, he or she would tell you that fewer votes from Black people would do the trick. So, you see, it’s not racism at all, it’s merely normal southern politics. By the way, they aren’t wrong. The more African American voters the more votes will be cast for Democrats. I guess people of color don’t like the policies of those Republicans who are pushing the trojan horse into the town center. Wouldn’t it smarter to figure out what the voters really want and just give it to them? Why try to take a bottle of water out of their hands? Remember, Coca-Cola makes DASANI and they certainly would be happy to provide the state with enough water for every voter, at a reasonable price or course. After all, they are capitalists.

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

Kindle and Paperback Click Here

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.


THE POPULARITY OF AMERICA

Immigration Challenges and the Far Right

I would love to think that all the concern about immigration by the right-wing media and hardcore Trump fans isn’t based on deep-seated prejudges, but for some reason I have trouble believing that. Oh yeah, the last four years of intense hate and nationalist rhetoric is probably responsible for the lack of credibility in their messaging.

Most conservative politicians go on and on about how broken the US immigration system is and how we need to stop letting people in. One might say that America is not responsible for the terrible conditions in the countries immigrants and refugees are fleeing from, but that’s not exactly right. Many of our failed foreign policies and drug enforcement initiatives have contributed to instable governments in some Central and South American countries. That subject is much too deep and complex for exploration on this page today, but should you read the Stephen Kinzer book titled The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War, you will probably be shocked and embarrassed at the things our country did abroad in the name of democracy.

People all over the world love the United States of America and millions want to live here. Those folks lucky enough to have a landmass they can walk to get here, do so to escape the highly dangerous and unproductive places where they live. Yes, that’s not our fault but we need to understand oppressed people will always desire to come here and stay, and that has nothing to do with Biden’s policy of sheltering unaccompanied minors or the walls Donald Trump failed to build.

America has more than 800,000 people in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, more widely known as DACA. These kids and adults have a kind of landed status, but they are not citizens. They can work and they carry cards declaring their right to be here, but since June 15, 2012 they exist in an uncertain limbo.

According to the Brookings Institute, “As of January 1, 2015, there were 11.96 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. The most recent Pew Research estimate puts the total number of unauthorized immigrants at 10.5 million in 2017. Overall, this represents a minority of the foreign-born population, which in 2017 numbered 44.5 million and of them, 45% are naturalized citizens and 27% of whom are lawful permanent residents.” Once again, I cannot adequately detail how the immigration system works, which includes working visa, green cards and long-term applications for citizenship. Instead, I’ll focus on the strict rules facing those applying for entry and seeking asylum here.

There are two basic requirements for entry into the United States. First, asylum applicants must establish that they fear persecution in their home country. Second, applicants must prove that they would be persecuted in their home country on grounds of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

When those known as “coyotes” working for fees bring young kids to our southern border and dump them over the wall, the kids are in a deep state of panic and many can’t say why they had to leave their home countries. They may have been separated from or told by their parents they must go live in America. Not only is there a language barrier for many of them, but a lack of knowledge about possible legal entanglements.

Our right-wing media features endless discussions about officials in the Biden administration not traveling to the border to see the problem up close. Why is that necessary? They are quite aware of the almost 20,000 minors who are in the custody of the US Government. The reality is the administration has bills to pass, Covid to conquer and other pressing responsibilities. One could say it’s bad optics that they aren’t down there on their knees and hugging the kids, but that will not solve the problem, and it is a problem.

There are times when following legal guidelines that a charge of not being moral or caring enough is raised. On the other hand, changing a policy to make it more, well, moral, can lead to a slamming for not following the letter of the law no matter what happens to the kids. When the bodies of babies and kids who were trying to get to a safer place started to wash up on the shores of the Mediterranean, the whole world criticized those countries that failed to help hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria. We got all sad for a while, but then we just forgot about them. It’s the normal flow of a human flaw.

We can bring those 20,000 kids to safety and unite them with family members who are already here, but wait, are those part of the ten to thirteen million undocumented people who arrived earlier? Are we going to balloon that group even more? 20,000 is not such a big number when compared to the 333 million people who live here now, but we need to realize that this is never going to stop. People will always make their way here to be part of the American Dream. Contrary to all the bullshit blasted out by Trump in the last four years, people in other lands consume our culture in the form of movies, books and TV shows and become convinced this is the happening place. We have an image of being the freest and coolest place on Earth.

There are three groups of immigrants. The first are highly trained or educated people who come to our county to learn or work. The H-1B visa is part of the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(a)(15)(H), that allows US businesses to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. The duration of stay is three years, extendable to six years, after which the visa holder may need to reapply. When these highly skilled workers stay, it makes America better.

Then there are rich kids who come from other countries via airplanes, land here for vacations and never leave. According to Jorge Ramos, 40% of undocumented immigrants come by air and overstay their travel visas. We will need more people to help curb this misuse of the travel privilege.

Members of the third group walk right in, sit right down and ask to stay. This is visual and therefore it gets the most attention, but should you view this as a problem then you must also deal with the reality that it will never go away. We are not going to stop saying our country is the beacon of freedom and the World’s greatest example of capitalistic achievement, so perhaps we need to stop complaining about people wanting to come here.

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

Kindle and Paperback Click Here

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.


IT WAS ONE YEAR AGO

They are going to make him look very bad

Tonight, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, will address the nation on this historic moment in time. On March 11, 2020, we first faced the bleak reality that the novel coronavirus would be unavoidable for months to come, perhaps longer, and that action was needed prevent a thing named COVID-19 from taking our country down.

For nearly two months before that day, health and government officials had been sounding an alarm about the virus as it infected and killed thousands of people around the world. We knew it had moved from China to Italy, and then it struck America with Seattle having the first death.

Ex-President Donald Trump repeatedly downplayed the severity of the threat, telling people, “It will go away, just stay calm.” I could pepper this post with dozens of absurd statements and farfetched opinions the 45th President would go on to disseminate through Twitter, TV and the White House press room, but that isn’t necessary. Tonight, we’ll hear the new President’s speech and I am sure he will outline some of the fallacies and failures of the past year.

I have been writing a daily report on the pandemic and sending it to my friends and family for about 300 days. I started that project because I wanted them to know the extent of the coronavirus, but also to keep me up to date with statistics around the country. It has been a sobering task of love. On March 11, 2020, we had 372 cases of COVID-19 and only 12 deaths, but the experts knew it would get worse, much worse.

The next day, Thursday, March 12, the National Basketball League announced that game play would be suspended “until further notice.” The NBA took that action faced with concerns and uncertainties about the impact of the coronavirus on its games, its business and its extended family of players, coaches and fans. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver grasped the severity of this new pandemic before most. He also instituted what became known as a “bubble” in Orlando to finish the season and playoffs with extraordinarily little infection. The National Hockey League did the same. Smart thinking!

After downplaying the threat of the virus for days, President Trump made an Oval Office announcement on March 13, 2020, saying he would sharply restrict travel from Europe, but he never stopped it. He declared that the US would cut travel from 26 European nations, except the United Kingdom. The month-long restriction didn’t apply to US citizens and their families nor to green card holders. Trump said the US would monitor the situation and hinted that the restrictions might be lifted earlier. Earlier than what? We don’t know. Regardless, hundreds of thousands of people flew into the US without any tests for the virus. It was an honest mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. Over the next six months, the United Kingdom had a fast and dense spread of COVID-19. Just because people spoke English, didn’t make them immune to the virus.

When you watch coronavirus anniversary documentaries and news specials this week, prepare yourself for some extremely critical remarks about how our country handled the pandemic. It’s no secret that most of those assessments will land squarely on Donald Trump’s shoulders.

We can now better understand why Bob Woodward released the audio from his phone call with Trump where he admitted to knowing the seriousness of COVID. Woodward was doing what he could to save America from a reckless, unaware and incompetent leader. It worked. Step back from all the rhetoric, lies and stupid theories to see that Trump lost to Joe Biden by seven million votes because he thoroughly mishandled the pandemic. It wasn’t a fraudulent election, it was deceitful management of public safety that did him in. I’ll use the legal term “negligent” because that it was.

Etched into my brain is one of Donald Trump’s more idiotic statements, “If we keep the death toll under 100,000, we will have done an excellent job.” Excuse me, Mr. Trump, but there is no way that huge number of fatalities can be called “excellent.” I wonder how our loser-leader would characterize the more than 528,000 deaths today. The 2020 election can be seen as Trump asking for a mulligan regarding his handling of the pandemic. America soundly rejected him.

I can’t understand why the Republican Party wants anything to do with Donald Trump. He’s a loser. Reportedly, the former President sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Republican National Committee demanding they, his own party, stop using his image and name in their fundraising efforts. I thought he was going to lead the party. Politico reported that, “The Republican National Committee dismissed a cease-and-desist demand from former President Trump’s attorneys Monday…”  Their attorney went on to say, “The RNC has every right to refer to public figures as it engages in core, First Amendment-protected political speech, and it will continue to do so in pursuit of these common goals.”

Oh boy, someone is using this as a teachable moment about the First Amendment for Donald Trump. It’s so rich and ironic! Trump can’t stop anyone from using his likeness. He relinquished that right when he became the president. There is no way he could prove that the RNC’s use of his picture could cause him any more harm than what he has already inflicted upon himself.

The news networks love sticking it to Trump. After five years of being called the “enemy of the people,” the free press has every right to extract their pound of flesh, wait, make that fifty pounds of fatso-flesh; there’s plenty to go around. Sadly, there’s no compensation for the more than 500,000 families who lost a loved one.

Trump could heal the nation right now by admitting that he lost the election and that it wasn’t rigged. He could sell that fact that there was no widespread fraud, and that Joe Biden is the rightful president. He could urge people to wear a mask until they get the shot and urge his followers to get vaccinated, just like he and his wife secretly did. He won’t do any of that because he doesn’t give a shit about America. Speaking of which, Donald John Trump’s value as a human being is basically that of a dried-up elephant turd. Should I think of something harsher, I’ll share.

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

Kindle and Paperback Click Here

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.


CAN YOU SPOT A LIE?

The Deafening Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change, and it’s damaging America more than anything else right now.

First, we had a bunch of Catholic bishops say that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine wasn’t as holy as the Pfizer or Moderna, then they reversed course. We heard the Mayor of Detroit say he didn’t want the J&J vaccine, because he thought it wasn’t as good as the others, but then he backtracked after being ridiculed by social media and, of course, the free press. In this case, it was the Detroit Free Press, “Mixed messages from Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan earlier this week suggesting the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is inferior to Moderna’s and Pfizer’s, which he called ‘the best vaccines,’ led to clarifications from the White House COVID-19 response team Friday.”

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

I am going to scream if another mayor or governor says something outrageously stupid then tries to justify his or her mistake the next day. I actually did scream when I listened to Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York “man-splain” that he wasn’t aware of what constitutes “sexual harassment” in the workplace. Sorry, folks, but that makes him STUPID. He’s a damn lawyer and has been working in public service and government for years. He knows the law.

Here’s a quote from my book How to Hire Great People, “The United States’ Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines workplace sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.” The passage also states that some experts report that 51% of workers said they’ve been hassled by a supervisor while 49% complained about the behavior of non-management co-workers, so this is not solely a boss problem.

By the way, the viewpoint of the alleged harasser is irrelevant, it’s the opinion of the person who is being harassed that matters. Cuomo is a smart man and I believe he is lying when saying he didn’t know what he was doing. His embarrassment now is a good indication he knew then what he was doing. Many men just don’t understand the “unwelcome” part of the definition. People say and do reckless things all the time, but we expect more from a person running a city, a state or a country.

A person’s constant inconsistent thoughts and attitudes, especially when they affect behavioral decisions, can topple the trust we have in them. I saw a major flare up at the grocery store the other day, A woman was confronting people not wearing masks. She spoke to the manager who explained that, yes, wearing a mask was a policy but he doesn’t have any power to enforce it. I stayed out of the argument, but it was interesting that the mask-less shopper turned to bark, “Why, don’t you go back to New York!” The cognitive dissonance was so loud I couldn’t hear myself think.

Okay, the sign above the door says MASKS ARE REQUIRED TO SHOP IN PUBLIX! Apparently, that’s not exactly true. Early on we were told we should wear masks, but the “leader of the free world” told us straight up he would not wear one. There have been several super spreader events at the White House and lots of governmental folks contracted COVID, yet the person who refused to endorse mask wearing did nothing.

We waste so much time talking, complaining, protesting and arguing when we should be putting our heads together and getting things done. People tend to do one of two things when confronted with truth, gracefully accept the new reality and, when appropriate, apologize and move on or push back with a defensive posture and lies. I don’t care that Andrew Cuomo was lonely, I care about him being honest about harassment and counting the deaths in his state. He’s meat. Today, it’s up to five women with stories, OMG, is he Harvey Weinstein?

I’m not saying that one can never change their opinion, especially when given more facts, but when someone uses past statements to cloud a current discussion then we are in trouble. For example, lots of whacko conservatives keep talking about the time the medical professionals told us that wearing a mask was not necessary. We now know they were covering up a broken supply chain line that was preventing medical masks from getting to hospitals. The government and the healthcare system were not ready for a global pandemic. Let’s just admit that, move on and wear a mask.

Texas Hot Spots

Mike Duggan of Detroit, Andrew Cuomo of New York and Greg Abbott of Texas are not stupid people, but they do idiotic things for the wrong reasons. The Texas governor knew he was wrong to open the state 100% and remove the mask mandate as soon as he announced those things. He first blamed Mexican asylum seekers for bringing in a virus but then yelled, “We are open!” while telling his citizens to rip off their masks. Ted Cruz admitted knowing he was making a bad choice even before getting on the plane to Cancun, but not before trying to make us believe he was forced by his daughters to head on down into the warmth of Mexico, jeez.

People are saying that Americans do not get enough information, but it’s not the quantity of things they read, it’s the quality. Social media is not based on factual investigation and reporting. It’s mostly gossip and opinions which actually tend to be anti-social. It’s moronic to think that Facebook is a good source of news, it’s a source of photos of people’s faces and it was a damn dating app at Harvard when invented.

We have become a nation of demonizing. I remember when we sanitized surfaces and Scotchgarded our carpets, now we want to bite off the head of a bat and spit in the face of our political enemy. You know, like that great British intellectual, Ozzy Osbourne. Is your enemy either Mitch McConnell or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Is it Josh Hawley or President Biden? You’ll easily find someone to hate, and you will walk around being angry at them. Why?

Sure, we must open our states and bring the economy back, but if we open too soon we’ll return to high levels of cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Yesterday, I read a newspaper story saying the Texas power plants that went down in this latest storm also failed in 2011. May I ask one question? How many times do you allow something to fail before you fix it?

Being the governor of a state is an awesome responsibility. There is never enough money to do what you want, and if you raise taxes to give your citizens a better life you will get voted out of office. Perhaps a little more logic and a little less cognitive dissonance would help.

I suggest these so-called leaders apply the time-tested ways of getting things done. First, state the problem and make sure it’s a real problem. Then, tell the people what you are going to do to fix it. Point out the roles of each person responsible for solving the issue and then offer regular updates on the progress. We don’t need a “mission accomplished” moment, we need ongoing facts. Here’s what worked and didn’t work and here is what we are going to do to make sure this doesn’t happen again. No lies, no bullshit, just the plain truth.

I am embarrassed by all these Trump-wannabees. As I said in a letter to one of Florida’s representatives, Matt Gaetz, “More than half the people in Florida know you are lying. If you are unaware of this, then you are out of touch with your fellow citizens and should consider a new career.” Of course, I never got a response. He’s too busy trying to be Trump.

I am always amazed when people keep honoring and following losers. When I see a confederate flag, I think, LOSER. When I see someone attack the press for asking a sharp, demanding question, I think LOSER. When I notice that using ad hominem is more important than answering a question, I mouth LOSER, but when Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin speaks, I think IDIOT. Okay, that was rude, but clearly, he’s the least intelligent person ever elected to public office. Hey, the bat doesn’t taste that bad after you get used to it. At least I’m consistent.

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

Kindle and Paperback Click Here

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.


OBSESSIONS & FADS

Sooner or Later, We Move On

After a cop was killed on Capital Hill on January 6, 2021, many people who flew both the Trump flag and the Blue Lives Matter flag put the Donald’s banner away, at least for now. Waving the colors of the election loser was bad for business. They are probably still disappointed and buying into the Big Lie about the election being stolen, but they don’t want to be associated with thugs storming Congress with a plan to kill the Vice President.

Our mainstream media outlets keep talking about Trump not so much because they want to give him oxygen but because it helps their ratings. Meanwhile, the “leaning towers of lies,” like Fox News, One America News Network and Newsmax continue to shovel the former president’s shit like the PTL Club used to sell Jesus. Do they really think that perpetrating the lie that Trump won the election is good for their brands? I guess so.

I’ve seen a lot of fads come and go, like hula-hoops, yoyo’s, Davey Crockett hats and fidget spinners. Social media is also a fad of sorts, one that’s really worn out its welcome, but with the start of each obsession a back-timer begins ticking down, and when it reaches zero, we slowly move away from whatever latest craze had hooked us.

In a sense, we have lived through several whims at once. I can best describe it as the era of “fake grievance.” The gap between the rich and the rest of us has grown, and we must wonder how rich people can ever expect they will become a credible voice of the downtrodden masses. But hey, you can’t possibly judge a flawed messenger when you perceive whatever he’s done as being good for you.

Donald Trump began by stoking hate and prejudge and then rode that to the top of the Republican heap. His regressive policies were never successful. If someone were to take the stage at a political event to proclaim, “We must do everything we can to make it harder to vote in this country,” most Americans would say that jerk is a jackass! However, those folks who believe in Don above Democracy don’t have the capacity to see that voter suppression is a form of racism. Even if they could understand that it wouldn’t make a difference. They don’t care about racism.

From the year 1619 to, like yesterday, racism was a craze; but the ticking timer has stopped, and the fad is fading. People do things that are far more subtle than locking their car door when they see a person of color approaching. Keeping Black people from voting wouldn’t be such a big problem for conservatives if people of color would just vote the way the Republicans want. Has the GOP never considered it’s their product that people don’t like? Even before I knew Ted Cruz was a Republican, I didn’t trust him. He came across as a fake grievance person.

There are folks spreading the lie that living in this evil country brings torment to their lives. Reality is not that exciting, so they follow some turd named QAnon and support  “his” fanatical stories to protest against the dark forces trying to topple their cult leader-handler. Trump doesn’t believe any of that shit. Hell, he can’t think much beyond a double-cheeseburger and dessert.

The 45th President spoke at the big CPAC coming out party, but his words and the rest of the gala were less than newsworthy. After a while, the same material is, well, the same. It’s all so boring and anyone with half a brain would ask the fallen leader, “If you are so damn smart and powerful, why aren’t you the president anymore? How did you let your election get stolen?” Oh, he can blame the Supreme Court, you know, the one that he claimed would “do the right thing” for his all-powerful self. He can also rag on Liz Cheney and other Republicans who had the balls to vote against him, but that all comes back to this question, “Then, you aren’t really a stable genius, are you?” The loser president publishes his enemies list, but who cares about who he hates?

Even this blog must find new ways to promote good government and change out the bad policies and politics that got us here. We cannot wait four years to change things; we’ve got to be active every year, every month, every day. Today we know that that the heir to the crown in Saudi Arabia ordered the murder of a journalist, yet we all sit numb. Why?

Mitch McConnell will look back on his part in history and probably ponder what would have happened had he convinced his caucus to convict Trump and disqualify him from ever again holding office. The poison will go away only by cutting into the snake bite and sucking out the venom. Mitch’s testicles couldn’t follow his heart. He’s just another political crack-house whore who won’t stop doing the heroin until he dies of an overdose. There you go, another fad of a person erased.

Trump told us that Obama is the founder of ISIS, a mean and unfair quip, but that’s just who he is. I say that Donald John Trump is the founder of CANCEL CULTURE. Yes, I know it was around before him, but he’s been the grand promoter of denigrating and dismissing others. He’s the person who verbally attacks others and they then pay the price instead of him. This must change. It’s time we hold Trump accountable for ruining people’s lives. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the wacko from Georgia, will pay the price. She needs to be canceled from the US Congress. Who is better for America, Representative Greene or Liz Cheney? Even this liberal can tell you, it’s Cheney.

Like all fads, Trump will slowly fade. Oh, he’ll continue to be in the news, for this lawsuit or that accusation of rape, for tax evasion or breaking laws to make more money, but in the end, his stickers, flags and signs will be in garages gathering dust and this stupid era of America will end. The Southern Poverty Law Center is currently tracking 838 hate groups in America, and they have published a map to help you find them. Thank you, Donald Trump, for leaving us this legacy. Your lack of attention gave them permission; your inciting rhetoric made them murderers. What a guy.

It’s a huge problem when grown white men need to buy guns and spread fear because they’re intimidated by people of color. America can never be united while some of its citizens misinterpret this amendment, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” I sure would like to see that “well-regulated” part kick in right about now. Let’s start by getting to know the member names of each militia. That’s totally legal.

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

Kindle and Paperback Click Here

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.


GOD VS GAY

Why Are We Stilling Debating?

I remember Jamie Farr’s character in M*A*S*H* and why he seemed out of place on a battlefield. Farr played Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger, an Arab American orderly from Toledo, Ohio, who was desperate to get out of the army. Klinger hit upon the idea of dressing in women’s clothes to demonstrate that he was mentally unfit, a sure ticket back to the US, or so he thought. It’s a great example of the old “catch-22.” If you are able to pull off pretending to be a woman then you aren’t truly insane.

In some of my books I complained about how that bug-eyed lunatic from Minnesota, Michele Bachmann, has made things worse. Her husband, Marcus, owned a clinic that pushed a “pray away the gay” therapy. Of course, if you believe God created everything and everyone, then the logical conclusion is God created gay and transgender oriented people.

Just because something might be “normal” in terms of pure numbers doesn’t mean that everyone in the US will adjust and let live accordingly. A recent Gallup poll showed as many as 16% of recently surveyed younger people considered themselves LGBTQ. You can’t pray away gay.

Over time, I have thought about a diabolical confrontation I would love to instigate. Let’s say that medical science finds a way to determine whether a given fetus was going to be born gay, I’d like to ask Mike Pence if he would let the mother terminate that birth. If he said no, then one could surmise he believes being gay is a normal and natural process of life. If he said yes, then he would be trampling his argument that every life matters. But let’s not confuse the discussion.

Being gay is something that’s been happening for more than 300,000 years. Scientists reckon that the first Homo sapiens, anatomically modern humans, arose alongside our other hominid relatives more than 300 millennium ago. We now know that during a human’s development in the womb, the timing of the release of chemicals and proteins plays a significant factor. After early life, some people will not only identify as the opposite gender but will have an emotional connection with that sex and all that entails. Many evangelicals put too much faith in the “intelligent creator” and hold onto the believe that nurturing can conquer nature.

The House of Representatives moved the Equality Act last week, a bill that if passed into law will ban discrimination against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity and will substantially expand the areas to which those discrimination protections apply. Hardcore conservatives and goofballs want to keep talking about boys using girls’ restrooms. I am highly offended by any notion of a separate bathroom for transgender people. I remember the “White” and “Colored” signs on the restrooms when I first moved to the south. Such things enforce an unnecessary class distinction. I raised three daughters and lesbians were in the girls’ restrooms, they just didn’t wear a little sign on their sleeves.

The real fun will surely begin when the Equality Act gets to the Senate. The partisans will roll out the “In God We Trust” sign and claim that being gay is a sin. Okay, then what? How does that deal with people’s feelings? How does that help our children understand that being gay is a natural occurrence and that the LGBTQ community is not a “THEM?”

The Village People

If God believes being gay is bad for the business of populating the world, why did she make people homosexual? First, she made our hominid relatives and waited for more than 100,000 years for some freaky gene mistake to create a different kind of hominid. We got to be homo erectus, then we flipped to being homo sapiens and the other guys died out. Why wouldn’t some in the progression evolve into homo sexual? We aren’t the only species on earth exhibiting same-gender attractions. Worms are both genders in one. I guess they need only one bathroom.

Before we revert to Old Testament laws which prescribed stoning people to death for adultery, homosexuality or a mystical belief that the Earth is flat, shouldn’t we first agree that we aren’t good Christians, Jews or Muslims if we torture and kill other human beings? Instead of murder we have the option of divorce, although watching Dateline, 20/20 or 48 Hours on TV might make you think we still do play that revenge thing.

A president of the United States calls a global pandemic the “China Flu,” then Asian people get attacked on our streets. Is that making America Great? When people try to sell homosexuality, gender dysphoria and transgender as dangerous perversions, they stoke primal fears within some people which then bubbles up as hate and violence against the class they have determined is inferior.

I never felt a compulsion to wear my mother’s dresses when I watched Jamie Farr – Corporal Klinger – on M*A*S*H*, but I was always immersed in the quick wit and fun of that show. My sexual orientation was determined long before I took my first breath, as is true for any gay boy or girl. I am always amazed about how embarrassed some parents become when they realize or learn one of their kids is gay. Yes, we want our offspring to be happy, but making them carbon copies of ourselves isn’t the way. They are their own individuals, and we should always respect their truth. And I am impressed when a parent finally comes to grip with the reality their child’s orientation doesn’t stop them from loving and helping their kids. Some people do change.

Then, there is that selfish comment, “Oh well, I always wanted a grandchild, but with Loretta’s thing I guess that’s off the table.” No, it’s not. Gay people have babies and create homes and families. Just let them show you.

We need a law on the books because the legal system needs to understand that when a crime is more than a crime, when it’s a “hate crime,” special attention is needed. We must avoid the kind of thinking that allowed the German and Russian governments to intimidate “certain kinds” of people. Why is it against the law to be gay in Russia? They are so smart with regard to science but so dumb and regressive with social justice. You can say the same about China, North Korea and some of the Middle East countries. The United States must lead the way out of all this.

Any elected official who stands and speaks in a way that paints a boogieman picture of the LGBTQ community or any of its members should be removed from office. None of us are forced to engage in that “lifestyle” or “orientation,” but we all must certainly respect the rights of everyone. It’s “We the People…” and that means ALL THE PEOPLE.

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

Kindle and Paperback Click Here

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.

 

 


WHOPPERS & WAGES

Plethora of Myths Hurt Middle-Class

Do you ever wonder why America has a federally mandate minimum wage? Well, it was designed to fix a problem. At the end of the nineteenth century, the US Congress was pressured to get rid of what was referred to as “sweat labor,” which included large numbers of women and even children who were paid “nonliving wages.” This was also a time when progressive reformers, women’s organizations, religious figures, academics and politicians pushed for a minimum wage law. The very first was enacted in 1938, but it exempted large parts of the workforce primarily because of gross manipulation by powerful owners and corporations.

You might be surprised to learn the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act set the minimum wage at $0.25 per hour, which is equivalent to $4.54 in 2019 wages. The law was challenged and the case went to the Supreme Court. In the 1941 decision of United States v. Darby Lumber Co., the Supreme Court ruled that Congress had the power under the Commerce Clause to regulate employment conditions. Of course, a fair wage is a working condition.

We now have another battle on our hands and today we’ll look at both sides. The primary argument for raising the minimum wage is the improvement to the overall standard of living it would bring to minimum wage workers. Their income levels would become more appropriate with respect to the present cost of living. It’s been ten years since the minimum wage was last increased.

Jack Kelly wrote in Forbes magazine, “A recent study by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), entitled ‘The Effects on Employment and Family Income of Increasing the Federal Minimum Wage,’ was conducted to determine how increasing the federal minimum wage to $7.25 to $10, $12 or $15 per hour by 2025 would affect employment and family income.” Kelly argued that we shouldn’t do this by stating, “Earnings would increase for many, which would lift some families out of poverty. However, other low-wage workers would become jobless, their family income would drop, and it could place them below the poverty threshold.”

National Public Radio pointed out that the CBO report claimed, “Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 would increase wages for at least 17 million people, but also put 1.4 million Americans out of work.” Okay, that is serious, particularly because COVID has already caused job losses for millions of folks.

I’m quite sure the ridiculous position that it’s better to keep people in poverty does not sit very well with those people who live under minimum standards. People in Congress who make between $179-200,000 a year have no idea how hard it is to live on $7 an hour. When whiny Lindsey Graham says the minimum wage has nothing to do with a global pandemic, he’s ignoring the bigger picture. How can Republicans say they want people to get off safety net programs yet do everything they can to keep them there? It’s just another lie that makes those living below the poverty line believe the government cannot be trusted.

The Burger King Whopper contains 660 calories – 40 grams of fat, 49 grams of carbs and 28 grams of protein. The whopper that Republicans are dishing out to keep the poor in poverty is 40 (Lindsey) Grahams of bullshit, 49 grams of donor dope and 0 grams of common sense and logic. If you pay people more money, they pay more taxes. If you pay people more money, they spend more which creates more jobs. A higher water level raises all the boats.

Most in Congress don’t care about American citizens. Sorry, but that is the only explanation I can fathom. I wrote a letter to West Virginia’s Joe Manchin (D) asking him why he’s against the increase in the minimum wage. I stated, “For someone who’s always saying he’s for the working families, how could you possibly be against a better wage?” I didn’t get a response.

We all know how hard it is to walk into a boss’ office and ask for a raise; they usually refuse. Good executives are expected to keep costs down and profits high. Workers will always want more money, but without a substantial wage increase the rising cost of living equates to less earnings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the dollar had an average inflation rate of 1.52% per year between 2011 and today, producing a cumulative price increase of 16.29%. This means that today’s average prices are 1.16 times higher than they were in 2011, and all hourly workers have suffered pay cuts since then.

I worked in business for more than sixty years and can tell you that layoffs and worker reductions always follow an economic turndown. Many businesses have shuttered, and our economic recovery will be a colossal challenge. If a business is forced to pay workers more money it may have to hire fewer people, but the employees remaining will work harder to set a course toward healing. I receive a Social Security check each month and yearly increases mirror, sort of, the cost-of-living increases. Those 1.3% annual hikes don’t put very much more in my pocket, but I appreciate them.

The disregard of working families by the Congress is why most of us don’t respect them. Someone should publish a list of all the people in Washington who vote against wage increases so we can VOTE THE BASTARDS OUT.

But ironically, one person in the great vast and powerful government of America can keep you from getting a raise for a while, and that is the parliamentarian. Yes, the person sitting to the right of the Speaker of the House of Representatives is the traffic cop of congressional action.  The Parliamentarian is a nonpartisan official appointed by the Speaker and has the job of rendering objective assistance on legislative and parliamentary procedure in the House. She ruled, you cannot add a vote on minimum wage to the Recovery Act. The Parliamentarian’s current salary is $171,315 per year. I believe that’s above the minimum wage.

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

Kindle and Paperback Click Here

 

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.


CONSPIRACY AGAINST AMERICA

Prosecute the Perpetrators

I recently read that the Justice Department and FBI are investigating whether high-profile, right-wing figures — including Roger Stone and Alex Jones — may have played a role in the Capitol breach on January 6. According to people familiar with the investigation, it’s part of a broader look into the mindset of those who committed violence and their paths to radicalization.

I have been a harsh critic of both Jones and Stone over the years and I genuinely believe they are terrible human beings on many levels. The First Amendment is a wonderful concept, but the misuse of its rights in ways that hurts people cannot be condoned or supported.

Donald Trump endorsed and encouraged both men, but that is not the reason I dislike them. Roger Stone helped elect Richard Nixon decades ago, and over the years many people have suffered his violent threats and intimidation. Stone repeatedly acknowledged that he had established a back-channel with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to obtain information about Hillary Clinton as well as advance knowledge about the release of emails stolen from Democratic National Committee computers.

In 2019, Stone was indicted and convicted on seven criminal charges in the Mueller investigation: one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements and one count of witness tampering. He was convicted but later pardoned by President Trump, which didn’t deter him from his alleged involvement in the January 6th Insurrection at the Capital. He’s an evil human being.

There is an ongoing investigation into potential ties between key figures in the riot and those who promoted Trump’s lie that the election was stolen from him. Sadly, that does not mean those who may have recruited or influenced rioters will face criminal charges, particularly given US case law surrounding incitement and free speech. The truth is, we have no real federal domestic terrorist law on the books.

According to news reports, officials said they are principally seeking to understand what the rioters were intending and who may have influenced their beliefs. Investigators also want to determine whether anyone who influenced the rioters bears enough responsibility to justify criminal charges, such as conspiracy or aiding the effort.

Alex Jones used his radio and internet platforms to spread many lies, hate and conspiracy theories which angered and motivated far-right lunatics. Jones, you may remember, is the guy who said that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting were false flag operations of gun control advocates. He has stated many times that “no one died” in Sandy Hook and that Stoneman Douglas survivor David Hogg was a crisis actor.

Jones was sued by the parents of slain Sandy Hook children. He eventually admitted under oath in a deposition that the deaths were real, but claimed he has a “form of psychosis” that made him believe “everything was staged.” The lawsuits are continuing and so is his website that feeds the flames of the far-right, alt-right, white supremacists and militia groups. Just being taken off Twitter, doesn’t keep one off the internet. From the WACO incident with the Branch Davidians through Obama-Hillary hating and onto supporting Trump’s extreme rhetoric, Alex Jones has poisoned many minds in America.

One could argue that there is a difference between a deep partisan, who spreads lies about his political opponents, and an anarchist, who holds a belief that society should have no government, laws, police or other such representations of authority. Anarchism is perfectly legal, and while most US anarchists advocate change through non-violent, non-criminal means, they do have a history of doing bad things. The man who assassinated President McKinley was an anarchist. The men and woman who stormed the Capitol last month causing the death of five people are anarchists.

How we handle this attack on our democracy is important. A conviction of Donald John Trump in his second impeachment trial would have been a good start, but politics and law are not always on the same beam. Let me tell you a short story that might shed some light on how we handle dissent in America.

This is all true. The year was 1970, and I was the midnight to 4:00 AM disc jockey on a progressive rock radio station in my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At 2:00 AM, I heard a noise, looked up and saw the studio was filled with about ten student protesters. They told me that earlier in the evening they had been demonstrating in front of the woman who ran a local military draft board. They were arrested and brought into magistrate court. A group of the protesters was brought before a judge, when suddenly police officers with night sticks entered the courtroom. The lights were turned off and the kids were beaten by the cops. I convinced them to come back during the day when there would be more listeners. They were given time on a talk show the next day during the “afternoon drive” time period.

As I watched the attack on the Capitol, I kept wondering where the cops were, where the guards were or even the army! And I kept saying out loud, “What is taking them so long?” The Proud Boys, Oath keepers and Three Percenters were not protesting a war, a policy or even an injustice. They were attacking our government and democracy itself. Most in that group were ANTI-GOVERNMENT and Pro-Trump loyalists, not peaceful protestors gathered to seek redress for their grievances. Their only complaint seemed to be an illogical belief that Donald Trump lost because the election was rigged.

President Joe Biden had 81,283,098 votes cast for him, which was 51.3 percent of the total vote. He became the first US presidential candidate to have won more than 80 million votes. Trump won 74,222,958 votes, which was 46.8 percent of the total vote. We keep hearing about disenfranchising the 74 million people who voted for Trump, but wait a minute, what about the 81.2 million people who voted for the other guy? Are you saying it’s okay to disregard their choice?

THUGS FIGHT POLICE

The Capitol Hill thugs and malcontents need to be brought to justice so that the American public can know more about their movement and its beliefs. Parents need to learn the telltale signs of their offspring developing violent, anti-American viewpoints. Of course, we all need to know if we have this “element” in our neighborhoods. I take this seriously because many of those arrested live in the state where I reside, Florida.

When we protested in the 1960s, we clearly stated that we were against an undeclared, illegal, immoral war. We thought America would be a better place if we forgot about wars and worked toward a more peaceful world instead. When today’s far-right radicals see the world through only one man’s lies and support his ludicrously lame behavior, they are not being loyal to America, they have sworn their allegiance to Trump.

It’s obvious to me that had the rioters at the Capitol not been waving Trump flags or, God forbid, were people of color, there would have been an order to fire, you know, just like Kent and Jackson State Universities back in the day. I’m sad that five people lost their lives but it could have been worse, and it will be worse should it ever happen again. All of the influencers, inciters and rioters must be brought to justice.

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Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

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