A cautionary tale of too little water and too much water – a reprise from 2015

The following was written almost eight years ago, but holds even more concern today with fresh water crises in the US west and around the world and our ever heightening sea levels, placing major coastal cities like Miami at risk.

We have two major environmental concerns that are impacting us now and will continue to do so, unless we plan and execute a more dramatic strategy. One gets too little air time, while the other gets talked about, but is under constant attack by hired public relations people who are highlighted in the documentary ‘Merchants of Doubt” and the most recent airing of “Vice” on HBO. First, we have a growing fresh water shortage problem that is predicted to get worse in drought stricken and other areas. Second, we have an increasing intrusion of salt water in low-lying coastal areas that will also get far worse than predicted, likely displacing 300 million people by century’s end.

Fresh water is one of our two most dear resources on the planet, with the other being the air we breathe. Managing a predicted water shortage may be one of the most crucial tasks in front of us, yet we do not give sufficient news coverage to this looming problem. I would encourage you to read one of the best history books I have ever read by Steven Solomon called “Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization.”  The book does more than look backwards as it highlights a major concern going forward and uses the term “water is the new oil.” A link is provided below to an article on the book.

Any investment that requires the substantial use of water needs to factor that use in its Return on Investment calculations. I am against fracking for several reasons, but my greatest fear is the significant use of water that we cannot let trickle back into our water supply. When this issue is scoffed at by industry people, it should be noted that in the past couple of years frackers and farmers have been fighting over water in California, Kansas and Oklahoma. It should be noted in some areas of Texas, which is heavily drought prone, about 20% of an area’s water supply goes to fracking.

I use the fracking case as an example. We must be mindful of coal ash supplies near water sources, which is where they almost always are placed. We must be mindful of developers and how run off can occur from houses built on various lakes. We must be mindful of where we have placed dams and where we may have straightened out rivers, which can be harmful. And, we must re-emphasize conservation of water through the use of waterless water heaters, planting more endemic plants to an area, less water sprinkling, gray water plumbing for toilets, and what Orange County has done with sewage water which is treated and filtered many times over and reused as drinking water (yes, it is drinkable).

The other major concern relates to the impact of climate change on coastal locations, especially those below or at sea level. Climate change has many impacts, one of which is to make drought prone areas worse, but the rising sea levels is getting more attention. And, after watching what is happening in Antarctica and Greenland on the documentary “Vice,” the scientists who measure the impact on melting ice masses say it is too late to save Antarctica from severely melting with what we have done thus far.

The “Merchants of Doubt” who are the hired guns of the fossil fuel industry note that Antarctica is growing in ice mass. Yet, this is clearly refuted by the scientists doing the annual measuring noting the PR folks are purposefully confusing sea ice with land ice. The “sea ice” is thawing and refreezing to the tune of a meter thick, while the “land ice” which is kilometers thick is melting away and that is the major problem. The scientists equate it to ice thawing in a glass and refreezing (sea ice) versus adding more melted ice to the glass (land ice) which is causing the glass to run over. I make this distinction as the “Merchants of Doubt” are very good at what they do and are well paid by the industry to cause this doubt. Just remember the overflowing glass as a metaphor for what is actually happening versus the false message put forth by deniers.

The sad truth is people and some leaders believe this messaging and it is actually harming our planet and its inhabitants by delaying what needs to be done. The country of Bangladesh is being consumed by the encroaching waters in a very noticeable way. Impoverished people who farm and fish are required to move to overcrowded cities. The country of Denmark developed a long-range plan that had to survive different parties in power, so it had the buy-in of everyone. Ecuador is fighting a never-ending battle against the relentless sea. The City of Miami’s county (Dade County) has joined with three adjacent counties to invest $200 million into plans to stave off the encroaching sea water which is coming up through the storm drains in the streets more frequently. Below is a link to an article on the renewed efforts.

The rising sea levels will impact every low-lying area on the planet and is already consuming islands like the Cartaret Islands, whose ambassadors had to go to larger islands to ask if they could move there. It is also making the impact of hurricanes worse and will continue to do so. Climate scientists note hurricanes hitting shore with higher sea levels is like dunking a basketball off a raised court. The damage is more severe. Hurricane Sandy is a precursor to what will happen more often. This is where the cost of repair comes into play which totaled in the hundreds of billions, just with Sandy.

But, don’t take my word for it, read for yourself. I am not a scientist, but I can read. 97% of scientists note that man-influenced climate change is a happening and is a major concern. Out of 14,000 peer-reviewed scientific papers on climate change, only three were contrarian. Mercer Investment Consulting surveyed the largest pension scheme sponsors on the planet and these sponsors estimate the cost of climate change impact will be in the tens of trillions of dollars. Marsh, the largest risk management firm in the world, is speaking routinely with clients about managing risk of coastal assets. Georgia State University, one of the most well known risk management and actuarial schools in the US, has a curriculum around planning for climate change. Wall Street is factoring in the cost of climate change risk in their pricing. You also have the conclusions of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, the UN International Panel of Climate Change, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science on man-influenced climate change. And, it goes on.

These two water issues are critical to our future. We are past time on acting and we need to plan and execute accordingly. We do not need well paid BS artists using science out of context to further prevent action from happening. We are at a point where we must question politicians on what we should do about these issues. And, if they say climate change or global warming is hoax, do us all a favor and do not vote for them. If they do not recognize water shortage as the major problem it is has become, do not vote for them. If they say it is a jobs issue more so than an environmental issue, note that the one of the fastest growing industries for jobs is the solar energy industry, which is averaging annual double-digit growth with 174,000 US jobs at year-end. The wind energy industry is growing as well and could also grow at the same clip with even more investment. And, the sun shines and wind blows in every state, some more so than others, so the energy impact and job creation can be spread around.

If anything, please understand the importance of these two issues. Question everything, especially politicians, leaders and so-called news sources. We do not have time to wait on leaders to catch-up. We need to make them catch-up. If they don’t or are not willing, get leaders who will look at real data and listen to unbiased science and help us do something about our problems. Our failure to act has made this even more crucial.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-solomon/water-is-the-new-oil_b_380803.html

http://www.law360.com/articles/613588/miami-dade-officials-accelerate-response-to-sea-level-rise

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May 35 and December 37 – two fictitious dates for real events – a needed reprise

June 4 in China is the anniversary of a horrible event when the Chinese government forcibly put down a protest in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Yet, few know about it in China. Seeing a young man stare down a tank in the square is the most memorable occurrence. But, China has done its best to erase this event from their history arresting some protestors in Hong Kong a few years ago who tried to honor the memory of those who died that day..

I have written before about May 35 which is a real reference to an imaginary date. Per the attached article in the New York Times, it is a reference to what happened in Tiananmen Square in China on June 4, 1989, which has been expunged from Chinese history, including internet search references to that date. So, to make sure the Chinese kids remember this protest which was brutally squashed by the Chinese army, historians established a May 35 web link.*

In America, too many sycophants in the Republican Party are doing their best to erase further discussion of the insurrection incited by the former president on January 6. In their minds, we cannot have people thinking the former president’s lies about election fraud, his invitation of zealous members of his base to Washington, and his winding them up and pointing them at the Capitol building had anything to do with people storming the Capitol.

So, to make sure we don’t forget this heinous day in our country, nor the former president’s role and continuing untruthfulness about election fraud, maybe we should start calling it December 37 like the enterprising Chinese people did to avoid the memory being erased.

People died at these events. Elected officials of all stripes were put in danger. We owe it to them to remember who caused the insurrection that day. We cannot do anything about China’s delete key, but we can remind folks here that January 6 would not have happened if the former president did not have such a fragile ego and could not accept the fact he lost the election. Or, as his niece said in November, her Uncle cannot handle failure, so he will burn it all down to avoid losing the election.

May 35 and December 37. Bad days in China and the US. People in leadership need to be held accountable. People have gone to jail or have been fined for their actions that day in the US. But, we need to hold accountable the so-called leaders who caused this and let it go on, including the former president. Many Republicans have testified under oath and at great risk of the former president and other people’s roles. His defenders have not made their comments under oath. Why is that? To me, we cannot punish the bad actors without punishing those who greased the skids for them.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/24/opinion/global/24iht-june24-ihtmag-hua-28.html?_r=0eal

Tiananmen Square incident | Summary, Details, & Facts | Britannica

Being silent is not enough – a reprise from last January

Last year about this time, I wrote this plea to leaders in the Republican Party. As an independent and former Republican (and Democrat earlier), this message still holds true, although major strides were made last year. In the mid-terms, Democracy held serve as many of the election deniers were defeated at the polls. We saw some significant pieces of legislation occur on a bipartisan basis, which is the way it should be. We also saw the business of the former president found guilty of tax fraud by a jury, which means it was not a witch hunt as any formal criticism is often called.

Finally, we saw the House Select Committee hear sworn testimony from a significant number of Republicans under oath who shared their concerns over the former president’s seditious words and actions leading up to, on and after January 6, 2021. It should be noted those who criticized these Republicans were not under oath when they did so. Again, if this was a witch hunt, why did these Republicans risk a great deal by testifying?

*************

The courageous few Republicans who are among the truth tellers in their party are strong in principle, but seem to be standing alone or in small groupings way too often. For their truth telling, they are knowingly vilified and some even receive death threats by fans of the former president. Yet, they do it anyway.

Most of the elected officials in the party are keenly aware that Congresswoman Liz Cheney’s question of is the Republican party going to be the party of truth or party of Trump a more than fair question. Yet, they have chosen to be silent. In essence, they are saying to themselves “Don’t poke the bear.” They want to avoid being highlighted by the former president and his bullying and untruthful bent, whose followers will join in the fray.

This spineless tactic is not new. Back in the heyday of the Communist witch hunts and Senator Joe McCarthy, the populist candidate had a huge following. The Republican even rivaled the popularity of President Dwight Eisenhower. From Jon Meacham’s book “The Soul of America,” the historian points out Eisenhower detested McCarthy for his baseless claims that he frequently made up on the spot. Yet, Ike would not publicly demean McCarthy for his claims, only to offer mild comments from time to time.

He and the other Republicans tolerated McCarthy. They remained silent. It was not until the most respected TV journalist Edward R. Murrow exposed McCarthy for what he was that his impact began to ebb. But, the impact of McCarthy’s baseless accusations lingered on for years. The famous question asked by a senior Army official of McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” could be asked of the most recent former president, another populist who tends to make baseless claims.

I encourage all of you who agree with the purpose of this post, to consistently let elected Republican and other officials know you appreciate their political courage for pushing back on the incessant and well-documented untruthful actions and words of the former president. And, let your Republican Senators, Congress person, and GOP leaders know you are concerned about this untruthful path the party has taken. The GOP has lost any veritas it had left. I even let them know how much I admire the courage of the truth tellers and it is a shame they are getting death threats.

The accusations of sedition toward the former president tend to focus more on what he failed to do last January 6. In my view as an Independent and former Republican voter, his consistent baseless claims of election fraud, which he has tried to prove and failed miserably in courts, audits and recounts, are what greased the skids for what happened on January 6.

As his niece said, “My uncle will burn it all down to avoid losing the election.” I knew he would act this way, but what makes me more frustrated are the sycophants who publicly cover for his Big Lie and the too silent many in party leadership who are letting him do it. And, what they fail to realize based on previous history and current actions, the former president will throw them under the bus in a New York minute, even placing them in physical danger with targets on their backs if they do not play ball with him.

Dimwitted is not a compliment


In an article in Raw Story by Tom Boggioni, he highlights the take of a conservative publication on the chaos in the Republican side of Congress as they attempt to choose a lead person. The article is called “‘Dimwitted’ Republicans buried by Wall Street Journal over post-midterm chaos” and can be linked to below. Here are few unflattering comments from the piece.

“In a blistering opinion piece from the Wall Street Journal on Saturday morning, the editorial board hammered House Republicans for turning their takeover of the House in the midterms election into a circus as members battle over who will be the new Speaker…

As the WSJ editors point out, there is little difference in the policies espoused by McCarthy and his detractors and the battle is not only a waste of time but evidence that the House Republicans are bound and determined to screw up their success at becoming the House majority.

In a word, the editors called un-named GOP House members ‘dimwitted.‘”

At the heart of this chaos is a large group that want to take the party further down the rabbit hole into appeasing an “Alice in Wonderland” base of voters where truths are lies and lies are truth. And, as I have noted before, the former president does an admirable job at playing the role of Queen of Hearts. “Off with his head!” he can be heard shouting to critics.

The others are comprised of a sadly diminishing number of more moderate Republicans and those in between who have long tried to play a game of appeasing both ends, appearing more moderate, while kowtowing to whatever the base has been told to believe by the former president and his lingering sycophants.

Mind you, Democrats are often the group that forms a circular firing squad as they air their debates, but whether one likes Nancy Pelosi or not, the retiring speaker is very good at counting votes and getting things done. The last Republican Speaker who did that was John Boehner, but he got pushed out when he crossed the aisle to many times to add a few Democrats to votes to get something bipartisan passed. The more strident GOP folks did not like that. They would rather beat on their chest and not do anything than dare pass something that some opinion host may say is bipartisan.

As an independent voter, I would love to see a more moderate Republican House speaker. Kevin McCarthy’s actions are far from trustworthy in my view and the party needs to find more veracity. They could start by trying to pass laws that will help people rather than begin a series of “beat-up on appointed enemies’ investigations” to bloody the other side’s chances. But, we are likely to end up with McCarthy which will hinder good governance and reveal a party that only Lewis Carroll could imagine through his looking glass.

Those are the views of a former Republican and Democrat who has been an unaffiliated voter for about fifteen years.

Krispy Kreme OT scandal

We love Krispy Kreme doughnuts in our household. In part, because we grew up with them as they started out in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Also, my wife and I had parts in school group fundraising, selling a dozen fresh Krispy Kreme doughnuts on a Saturday morning. The coach or group leader would drop us off at the end of cul-de-sac and we would sell the whole lot in short order going door to door.

But, Krispy Kreme has tended to have management troubles all along, with the latest news hitting the press below. Per The Charlotte Observer (see below):

“Krispy Kreme will pay nearly $1.2 million to hundreds of workers after the company violated federal overtime laws at several stores, according to federal labor department officials. The Charlotte-based doughnut king and coffee shop agreed to pay back wages and liquidated damages to 516 workers for the overtime violations, the U.S. Department of Labor said in a news release Thursday. Amounts due to each employee listed in court documents range from over $100 to nearly $14,000.

Krispy Kreme failed to include monthly bonuses in some employees’ regular rates of pay, investigators said. ‘By doing so, the employer paid overtime at lower rates than the Fair Labor Standards Act requires,’ the agency said. The Labor Department did not initially identify the stores where the violations occurred. Krispy Kreme is committed to paying its workers fairly and in accordance with applicable laws, the company said in a statement to The Charlotte Observer Thursday afternoon. ‘We do not agree with the department’s findings and the basis for them,’ the company said. ‘However, we have agreed to settle this matter with no admission of wrong-doing in the best interests of our business and our team members.

On Nov. 7, the Labor Department filed a complaint listing the violations and a settlement order in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. As part of the court order, Krispy Kreme agreed to future compliance with the overtime provision. Krispy Kreme must issue payroll checks or checks to the last known addresses for all employees within 45 days from the court filing on Nov. 7, documents show. Overtime and minimum wage violations are common violations found in food service industry investigations, said Principal Deputy Wage and Hour Administrator Jessica Looman in a statement. ‘Employers who fail in their obligation to pay minimum wage and overtime wages as the law requires make it harder for workers and their families to make ends meet,’ Looman said.”

There is a key statement in the last paragraph about common violations in food service industry. This industry employs a workforce that does not tend to ask enough questions and is underrepresented at the table when issues arise. And, with a distributed management model, the food service industry and retail industry are only as good as the veracity of the manager of the stores. Every manager knows how to shave cents off the dollar to make more money, but most know they need to stay on this side of the line of legality. But, not all do or care like they should.

So, if you must work in those industries, do your part by showing up on time and when asked. That gives you better footing. Yet, also pay attention to your paycheck and hours worked. Mistakes do occur, so it is OK to ask questions. And, if you sense your manager is not on the up and up, you can either raise an issue higher up or leave.

Read more at: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/business/article268873147.html#storylink=cpy

A conservative pundit calls it what it is

In an article in Raw Story by Tom Boggioni called “Trump finally committed ‘political suicide’ with his latest ‘stupid’ comments: conservative,” he notes the comments of conservative David Strom about the double-down statements of the former president on terminating the constitution so he can regain power.

“In a column for the highly conservative Hot Air, Republican speechwriter David Strom expressed his disgust at Donald Trump’s call for ‘the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution‘ because he thinks the 2020 election was stolen from him.

As Strom sees it, the former president — whom he believes has previously flirted with destroying his political career — finally committed ‘political suicide’ and will never recover.

Writing, ‘It’s like a social science experiment with 350 million participants. Researchers are asking: just how batsh!t crazy does a person have to be to lose 95% of their fans? For some reason, Trump has decided to participate as the experimental subject,’ Strom added, ‘There are several obvious things about Trump’s statement that are simply politically stupid. Like, really really stupid. Assuming there were no legal or ethical barriers to either calling a new election or suspending the Constitution (stay with me here, I know that is insane!), it is still politically stupid.'”

Dating back to the day after the January 6, 2021 insurrection, I have felt the former president’s political career was over. I still think that. But, I also knew it would take many Republicans and eventually some of his MAGA supporters time to realize that was the case. To be frank, the biggest death knell had less to do with the latest inane, untruthful or mean-spirited comment or action of the former president, but more to do with the failure of his shadow to provide more wins in the mid-terms. His presence actually was unhelpful to more than it helped.

Yet, just prior and since those elections, the former president has gone further off the reservation with his comments and actions, the above reference being one of them. And for him to think having dinner with two well-known antisemitic and conspiracy parroting people is just as crazy as the above reference to bat excrement to define his desires to terminate the constitution. For him to say he did not know these folks were bad news is just a crock, as he should have known if he didn’t. Yet, in my view he is being untruthful as he most often is with his remarks.

I actually like David Strom as I find he has tended to articulate his opinions in a well-thought out manner, even when I do not agree with them. I think this latest reference to the former president is revealing how people are tired of being too polite and should call the actions of the former president what they really are. Per his niece and other sources, the former president does not like being called a “loser,” so I am pretty confident he will not care for his actions being called “stupid” or “bat-sh*t crazy.”

As the blooms continues to fall of the Trump rose, we will witness further melt-downs. The surest sign of the dying blooms is the greater license for elected Republicans to criticize his actions. These frequency of these comments has significantly increased and will likely increase even more.

Troops To Teachers – an old idea with new legs

NBC News ran a piece last night on a program that has been around awhile but is getting more traction with teacher shortages. It is called Troops To Teachers or TTT for short. Here is a brief overview from a Veterans’ website.

“Troops To Teachers was created in 1993 to help service members, military retirees and other veterans gain education and start new careers as kindergarten through 12th grade teachers in public schools, charter schools, and Bureau of Indian Education schools.

The general idea is for those leaving military service to get assistance to accomplish these goals, but in order to get financial aid from the program the applicant must start before retiring or separating from military service….

The Troops To Teachers official site lists a variety of program benefits, but the one most will initially be interested in is the $5,000 stipend or $10,000 bonus (depending on eligibility). We’ll cover more about that below but other TTT benefits include:

  • Transition assistance
  • One-on-one counseling
  • Assistance with state teacher certification and licensing
  • Connections with hiring officials
  • Mentorship

These services are free to the applicant and there may also be state-level Troops To Teachers programs or resources available depending on the state.”

This idea is terrific. With a shortage of teachers, especially STEM teachers, the program is much needed. Per the NBC News piece, the kids in a high school class with a Navy veteran were sharing lessons learned from their teacher veteran about getting stuff done and done on time. Accountability and responsibility are key tenets of the teaching as well. The teacher also spoke of what it means to him to help out with our most important resources – students.

From the website link (see below), the veteran must apply withing three years of leaving the service. To me, even if the veteran learns teaching is not for them, it puts them on a path to figure out better what they want to do. But, for those who stick it out, the lessons they can give could be dramatic. This is a very cool idea in my view.

https://veteran.com/troops-to-teachers/

https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/troops-to-teachers-military-members-bringing-life-lessons-to-students-153108037750

Civil discourse and truth are needed – letter sent to the editor

I sent this letter into the editor of my newspaper yesterday. I hope they publish it. Please feel free to adapt and use.

It continues to trouble me that too many Americans are following the lead of extremists and committing violence when they don’t agree with something. It also troubles me that we are letting sources of disinformation and propaganda like QAnon, InfoWars, select politicians, et al inflame our opinions. Please ignore these folks as they are doing our nation a disservice.

As an independent who leans progressive on some issues and conservative on others, I can assure you neither party has all the good ideas and both have some bad ones. We must have civil discourse and bipartisan agreement to move important solutions forward. And, we need to use facts and speak truthfully or the solutions will miss the mark.

Politicians owe us the truth. If they cannot shoot straight with us, they need to resign or not run for office even if they happened to have served before. Full stop.

Failing to shoot straight with network viewers

In an article in Business Insider by John Dorman called “Ex-Fox News editor Chris Stirewalt says network viewers would’ve been more prepared for a Trump loss in 2020 if they’d been given ‘a more accurate’ view of the race: book,” the title of the piece tells the reader what happens when pseudo news networks do not shoot straight with its viewers. The same can happen on the more progressive sources, which is ample reason why we should focus on getting our news from more reputable sources.

Here is the gist of the article, with a link available below. Let’s start with summation at the beginning:

  • “Chris Stirewalt in his forthcoming book wrote of coverage lapses he noticed during his time at Fox News.
  • In the book, “Broken News,” Stirewalt was critical of how the 2020 election was covered by the network.
  • Stirewalt was part of Fox’s decision desk, which in 2020 called Arizona for Biden before other major news outlets.

Former Fox News political editor Chris Stirewalt in his forthcoming book said viewers would have been more prepared for former President Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 presidential election had they been given a ‘more accurate’ assessment of the race through the network’s coverage.

In the book, ‘Broken News: Why the Media Rage Machine Divides America and How to Fight Back,’ Stirewalt — who was fired from Fox in January 2021 — said that over his 11 years at the network, he increasingly saw coverage that didn’t fully capture what viewers needed to hear.

Stirewalt said that such coverage became commonplace during Trump’s White House tenure, and pointed to the ‘rage’ that he encountered after the Fox News decision desk called the pivotal state of Arizona for now-President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

‘Amid the geyser of anger in the wake of the Arizona call, Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota, called for my firing and accused me of a cover-up,’ Stirewalt wrote.

He continued: ‘Covering up what, exactly? We didn’t have any ballots to count and we didn’t have any electoral votes to award. Had viewers been given a more accurate understanding of the race over time, Trump’s loss would have been seen as a likely outcome. Instead of understanding his narrow win in 2016 as the shocking upset that it was, viewers were told to assume that polls don’t apply (unless they were good for Trump) and that forecasters like me were going to be wrong again.'”

One of the misconceptions that is played upon by news networks is polls are not accurate citing what happened in 2016. Of course, polls are only a prediction, so we must start from that premise. Yet, what too many fail to do is look only at the median likelihood and not the range of what could happen. Using the 2016 election as an example, Hillary Clinton led Donald Trump in the polls ten days before with a full standard deviation of outcomes showing she was likely to win.

After the infamous James Comey announcement about possible emails on Clinton’s aide computer at home which was also used by the aide’s husband who resigned his seat for sexual misconduct, the polls’ lead shrank so that the median expectation was still in Clinton’s favor, but a Trump win was now easily within one standard deviation meaning it could happen. All it took was to get a solid number of Clinton voters to stay home or vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party.

I was not surprised by the Trump win in 2016 nor was I surprised by his loss in 2020. I was disappointed in the former and quite relieved in the latter. I was also not surprised by Trump making a stink about the election results as he had been preparing to do so for at least six months hiring so many attorneys and belittling the mail-in process, while hobbling the mail governance. I wrote a post about this in September 2020 and Senator Bernie Sanders told talk show viewers with eerie accuracy what Trump would do on election night a month before it happened. What has consistently surprised me is sycophants who do not have the spine to tell the former president repeatedly and loudly he lost so get over it.

Our country was divided before the 2016 election, but is now more so because of the last seven years of Donald Trump as a candidate, president and former president. His greatest skill is marketing getting people to fear the other and think he is the solution. So, he took advantage of this divide and pitted folks against each other, which he does as a manager as well. This is why this strategy works in marketing, but is a horrible management approach. This was the conclusion of business analysts who covered the Trump organization well before 2016 – great marketer, poor manager.

News networks must remember that first word and give us the truth. And, when they offer opinion, I would prefer it to be broadcast in a banner below the talking head – the above is the opinion of the speaker and it should not be considered as news. This should occur whether the network is Fox News, MSNBC or Sinclair Broadcasting who requires its many local TV news stations to air the same opinion at the end of each show. And, if you get your news from a QAnon, InfoWars, or social media, stop. These are not news sources. The first two are propaganda and the latter is opinion

What I have shared with Congresspeople, Senators, and pseudo news people dozens of times is you owe us the truth. Readers and watchers believe what you say, so you need to be the best steward of that trust as possible. When I see these folks lie on purpose, it is very frustrating as they know they are lying and choose to do so anyway. That is Machiavellian. It matters not if the liar is a Democrat, Republican, Independent, Libertarian or Green Party candidate. What is even worse is when they know you know they are lying. That is just inane.

A few this and that’s – August 11, 2022 edition

In no particular order, a few random musings about elected current or past leadership in the news. Elected may be correct in some cases, but strong-arm tactics were involved with a couple.

Vladimir Putin invades another country and now blames the US as the major reason for the Ukraine war. Does he really expect people to believe his BS? Putin is one of the few leaders in the world that is more untruthful than Donald Trump. Your best course of action is to start out not believing what he says and add back the occasional truth that slips out.

Back in the US, Trump pleads the 5th in court refusing to answer questions. This may be in large part due to he can’t remember where the truth stops and the lies begin. An attorney once deposed the former president and got him to recant 30 lies during one deposition. As I read in a couple of credible books about Trump, his attorneys do not ever want him to testify for this reason. They also know it would look bad if he got up and left. The best course of action in dealing with Trump’s comments is the same as noted for Putin.

Apparently, Boris Johnson is coasting into his departure. Given the mess he has made during his tenure, Brits should not complain about his doing nothing. We Americans did benefit that Trump did not work that hard, otherwise he would have made an even bigger mess than he did. Trump tended to spend most of his time tweeting to alter any bad press he received or change the topic. As for Johnson, some of his unforced errors were definite head-scratchers.

Nancy Pelosi may be a lightning rod for Republicans, especially now that Hillary Clinton is not in politics. Her trip to Taiwan was equal parts courageous and foolhardy. But, even many Republicans supported it. However, it may have been an unforced error of a trip, even though other members of Congress have recently gone. Let’s hope all the chest beating by China will subside.

Viktor Orbán of Hungary came to America to speak to CPAC. It takes one extremist to recognize other extremists. If these CPAC attendees lived under Orbán’s tutelage, they just may not appreciate the lack of freedoms, especially if they look or worship differently or work for the press. What bemuses me is our freedoms for all is a key strength of America, so arguing to take away freedoms for some groups is a horribly slippery slope. Why? Your freedoms might be next.

What is interesting about these five people is I am not a huge fan of any of them, even Pelosi, although she is not as low on the totem pole as the others. I have felt she has tended to grandstand too much on occasion. Yet, she deserves credit for knowing how to do her job and get stuff done, which is more than could be said for the other two-Anglo-Saxon leaders noted above.