The DIVIDED States of America

Our nation is increasingly polarized with little to no tolerance of others wants, thinking, or actions. 


– First under Obama.


– Then with the election between Hillary and Trump.


– And now over Judge Kavanaugh.


The result has been some of the worst behaviors seen since the Civil War–with not only disrespect, restrictions on freedom of expression, but even threats and actual violence!


This nation is no longer the UNITED States, but much more like the DIVIDED States. 


And that just plays into our enemies hands and could lead us to eventually lose our very democracy to totalitarianism, dictatorship, and tyranny.  


So now may be a good time to review for yourself how many biases are driving your thought processes and behaviors and creating dangerous fundamentalists and extremists all around us instead of thoughtful dialogue, negotiation, and compromise. 


Here are 20 biases that may be affecting you more than you realize:


– Do you overestimate the importance of the information you have or feel good about (Anchoring,  Availability, and Choice-Supportive Biases)?


– Do you seek out and perceive information that simply validates your preconceptions (Information,

Confirmation, and Selective Perception Bias)? 


– Do you overemphasize information that is more recent or recognizable (Recency and Salience Biases)?


– Are you ignoring information that doesn’t “fit your script” (Ostrich Effect/Omission and Conservatism Bias)?


– Are you tied up in the groupthink of your peers (Bandwagon Effect)?


– Do you see patterns in random events or conspiracies that don’t exist (Clustering Illusion)?


– Are you overconfident in your thought process and conclusions (Overconfidence Bias)?


– Do you tend to overvalue the usefulness or success of something, but not recognize its limitations or failures (Pro-Innovation and Survivorship Bias)?


– Do you fail to take risks because you prefer certainty (Zero-Risk Bias)? 


– Does your thinking something will happen actually cause it to happen (Placebo Effect)? 


– Do you use the ends to justify the means (Outcome Bias)?


– Do you judge people by their race, class, gender, religion, sexual preferences, or national origin (Stereotyping)?


– Do you fail to recognize your own biases (Blind-Spot Bias)?


Perhaps if more people would open their minds to information and engage in genuine thinking and critical thinking, rather than a lot of fake news and hype, we would be a far better and stronger nation. 😉


(Source Graphic: Business Insider)

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Falling On The Sword

Fall On Sword.jpeg

Sometimes things happen that we don’t agree with or like. 


We may even get blamed for them when we didn’t do anything wrong. 


At times like these, there comes up inside of us a strong visceral feeling to speak up and out–to right the wrongs!


There are times when we can, but there are also times when it may be better to hold our tongue for another day. 


In the olden times, people that spoke out, often had their tongue cut right out in front of them–no questions asked.


These days, thank G-d, most people may not be that cruel, but still people get punished for speaking truth to power–when the power is tone deaf or possibly even behaving more as brutal dictators than as benevolent leaders. 


The problem for the average Joe is that there is no point in losing your tongue or even your head by acting rashly or imprudently.


Better to wait and plan for the right moment to be effective and stand with integrity for your ideals and what you know in your heart is right. 


Maybe even at times, we have to fall on our swords until we can make a strong and convincing case and change both hearts and minds to betterment. 


The point is not only to do what’s right, but to make things right in the world around us.


Swords too often can come out swinging wildly, unless we carefully sharpen them and practice our lunges and cuts, and work to repair the wrongs in the world as soldiers of righteousness. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Easy Way or The Hard Way

Duelign Pistols.jpeg

So I like this quote by Carl von Clausewitz:

“War is an extension of politics by other means.”


There is diplomacy and then there is war!


– Diplomacy is soft power–talking, persuading, negotiating, and compromise. 


– War is hard power–fighting/combat using kinetic or cyber-based means.


When diplomacy fails, then war is what’s left to compel the enemy to come around to your way of thinking and do your will. 


As they say, there’s the easy way or the hard way–that’s the dual before the duel.


Either way it gets to resolution. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Peace Through Strength

conflict-management

So this is what I’ve learned about conflict management…


Obviously, we are better off without conflict and to simply all get along–that’s the ideal!


Now unfortunately, in real life there may be situations where we may have fundamental differences of opinions and goals, and at times these may seriously clash. 


What’s good for you, may be bad for me (or vice versa)…that’s called a win-lose situation. 


And when we don’t see eye to eye and can’t get along, then either we can try to work it out and that’s where diplomacy comes in or at other times, we may have no choice but to take up arms and go to war.


Our first choice is diplomacy. Here, we sit down to listen and try genuinely to understand each other, and have empathy on others…life is not easy for anyone. 


Still we need to mesh what others want with what we need for our own wellbeing and progress, and that’s where negotiation, compromise, and de-escalation come into play. 


Best case scenario, we come up with a win-win situation, where we can both walk away from the table with a respectable enough amount of what we each want and our egos still intact, so that that we can all go our merry ways and pursue our lives and live within our values and amidst security.  


However, in some cases, some may be so unreasonable, intractable, and their actions so aggressive, egregious, and dangerous as to threaten, harm, and violate the lives of others, that it’s intolerable for it to continue any longer.


What’s left when we can’t put up and shut up, and when talk is exhausted, is to fight for what we believe in, for who we are, and for our right to live and prosper. 


Once, twice, three times and you’re out of time and luck–we are seriously headed for a clash of persons and/or civilizations. 


Peace is better won without firing a shot, but when it’s time to pull out the guns, they better be damn big and deadly ones. 


That is called peace through strength…where we have the guts and means to back up our position with force, if necessary. 


None of this bullshit of bringing a knife to a gunfight; instead, when we have no choice but to fight, we fight to win and everything is on the table. 


Peace is the preference, but if war is the only answer, then the other side may have unleashed hell, and that is what they will get from peace through strength delivered! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Best Diplomacy Shirt

respect-fear-jpeg

I took this photo in the Metro, so I apologize for the poor lighting. 


But never-the-less, to me, this wins for best diplomacy shirt. 

“Respect All

Fear None”

In dealing with others at home and abroad, we must respect everyone. 


And this is not just paying lip service to others while really giving a tacit nod to derision and divisiveness.


Rather we need to have genuine respect for all people, cultures, religions, freedom and human rights. 


At the same time, we must fear no one. 


We need to carry a big stick, as my grandfather used to say.


That along with plenty of carrots (but used strategically and not wastefully) to positively influence the good in others. 


The point is that disengagement, appeasement, and weakness benefits no one. 


Rather, it encourages violence, destruction, and refugees, and global disorder. 


It’s time to stop fearing and running, and to make a firm stand for good and meaningful things that we really believe in.


We are not the police of the world, but we are smart, and good, and powerful, and will project and use that power wisely to ensure that good prevails over evil, always. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

7 Mind-F*cking Arguments

Because I Said So

So my daughter took a training class in critical thinking at work. 


And she brought home an excellent handout from the instructor, Haywood Spangler, about how people try to get you to their point of view, but without any real solid reasoning behind it.


My mother-in-law calls this concept in blunt terms, mind-f*cking!


Here are some examples:


1) Genetic Fallacy – Rejecting an idea based on where or who it comes from, rather than the merits of the idea itself.  I call this one, you’re an idiot, so your ideas are idiotic. 


2) Circular Reasoning – Restating the conclusion, rather than proving it. I call this hammering or going no where fast. 


3) Red Herring – Diverting from the real issue as a distraction. I call this the shell game. 


4) Ad Hoc Reasoning – Coming up with a reason to simply reject your every objection. I call this just say it isn’t so. 


5) False Dichotomy – Oversimplifying a complex situation and making it into only black and white. I call this my way or the highway.


6) Slippery Slope – Supposing that if one thing happens then something else terrible must necessarily follow. I call this following the false causality. 


7) Band Wagon – Everyone is doing it, so you need to also.  I call this classic groupthink or be careful not to stand in front of a moving train. 


Basically, when someone is not taking with you, but at you and trying to make you just do what they want, period, then watch out, you are probably being gloriously mind-f*cked. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A New Diplomacy In Town

Aircraft Carriers 3

A wonderful colleague sent me this really impressive photo.

This was one of my favorite of 3 aircraft carrier strike groups taken together (Abraham Lincoln, Kitty Hawk, and Ronald Reagan)–the 1st and the 3rd of which are Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarriers. 

According to the slides, there were literally 4 four nuclear submarines standing guard in the waters beneath, as well as a B-2 stealth bomber flying overhead.  

What I really liked the most though wasn’t even the photos, but rather the motto for the carriers of:

“Over 90,000 tons of diplomacy…wherever… whenever…”

Diplomacy can be listening, negotiating, and compromise, but it can also be through the projection of the ultimate national and human strength. 

With a staggering rise in global terrorism, militaristic adventurism, and the proliferation of dangerous weapons of mass destruction, perhaps it’s time to harden up on some of the soft power, and demonstrate as well the very credible hard power and resolve we have for protecting American lives, freedom, and human rights. 😉

(Source Photo: here)