Corruptocrats

I heard this new term that I thought was worth sharing:

Corruptocrats


Refers to corrupt politicians. 


Couldn’t believe it’s actually in the dictionary. 


Not all of them are, obviously. 


Could it be a whole “political party” too? lol


If only everyone was pure of heart and intention. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal, and note that no disrespect intended to anyone)

What’s With All The Finger-pointing

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Have you ever seen someone point fingers at the next guy/gal (a classmate, neighbor, co-worker, or even family and friends)?


It’s the blame game, the one-upmanship, the I’m golden and your mud way of doing business–can you really push that knife in any further?


And whatever finger your pointing, frankly it might as well be your middle finger in terms of the message you are sending. 


The old saying is that when you point fingers at others, there are three fingers pointing back at you–try it with your hand now and see what I mean.


Getting the job done–means working collaboratively and cohesively–we all contribute from our unique perspectives and skills sets. 


It’s synergy where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, rather than I think I’ll take all the darn credit–hey, I really do deserve it (in my own mind anyway)! 


Really, it’s not who did what to whom, but who helped whom and giving credit amply all around.


Ultimately, when we work together, we are strong, and when we point fingers at each other, it’s because we are weak, and we are weakening our relationships and the organization. 


The only time to point a finger, for real, is when you are gesturing to the Heaven, where all blessings come and from whom we are all created in His image. 


Otherwise, keep your fingers to yourself unless your fixing something that’s broke. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Lies, Injustice, and the New “(Un)American Way”

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Superman and all the American heroes have been so great because they represented the fight of good over evil.


And…with the principles always of “Truth and Justice.”


We were proud to be Americans because we were a free democracy and we fought for freedom and human rights everywhere. 


Truth and justice in the world meant something; it meant everything to us. 


It was part of our Judeo-Christian faith and who were were as people and as a nation. 


We defeated colonial rule, slavery, Hitler, Communism, and even put a man on the moon while heralding in suffrage and equal rights irrespective of color, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and more. 


The truth was sought out no matter where it was to be found, and justice needed be done to satisfy the courts below and the Heaven above. 


But it seems that a lot has changed, hasn’t it?


Right is no longer right, but rather politics makes right. 


From smear campaigns, secret dossiers, exaggerations and fairy tales to name-calling, hate speech, cyber attacks, and marketing and branding to undo the opposition. 


From secret email servers, foundation pay-to-play, and pizzagate to claims of Russian campaign ties. 


From a Snowden surveillance state to stolen questions from election debates. 


From abstention at hateful, bigoted UN resolutions to deals with terrorist Iranian mullahs.


From honors at the White House for Army deserter Bergdahl to injustices meted out against the opposition party by unscrupulous political appointees. 


From fake news to the abandonment of investigative journalism with now one-sided bias and trash talking journalists and even SNL “comedians.”


From the reversal of dry-foot wet-foot immigration for Cubans (what ever happened to helping refugees in need and danger?) to watching 500,000 dead in Syria from the sidelines of violated red lines. 


From a purge of 36,000 after a Turkey coup to the rise of competing ISIS and Iranian terror caliphates across Asia and the Middle East. 


From nukes on NATO’s borders to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and invasion of Georgia and from China’s buildout in the South China Sea and threatening of its neighbors and freedom of navigation of the seas to North Korea developing and tests ballistic missiles and nukes. 


From shootings of African Americans to “revenge killings” against police officers and the demise of inner-city America with skyrocketing crime and the long misery of poverty and homelessness.


From decrepit U.S. infrastructure, jobs going overseas, a widening trade deficit, and an overwhelming national debt. 


From rose-colored glasses, half-baked statistics, and selling bogus ideas to the “media echo chamber.”


From abandonment of allies and friends to embracing terrorist murders and the inability to say “radical Islamist.”


From campaigning from within the White House on the taxpayer dime to attacking Bernie Sanders for his faith to steer the primary to Hillary. 


From secret meetings on airplanes with the Attorney General while in the middle of an investigation to lies about videos being the cause of an attack on our Benghazi mission and the murder of an American Ambassador. 


From prosecuting some for mishandling government classified information to letting others go who were “grossly negligent” endangering national security.


From divisiveness and “resistance” to creating an inability to get anything done. 


From sit-ins and walk-outs and from disrespectful “peaceful” demonstrations to violent protests, and from loose-mouths to paid operatives to disrupt lawful campaign rallies. 


From “Not my president” to how dare anyone question the legitimacy of our elections. 


From breaking glass ceilings to creating new barriers between peoples and races across the spectrum. 


From broken healthcare to bankrupt social security, and from failing education to trailing life expectancy. 


From a decrepit nuclear triad “deterrent” to a weakening of the global order, including Brexit. 


From terrorism and war to genocide, refugees, and human rights violations. 


So as lies and corruption run rampant and we are aghast with mouths open wide at how far things can fall…we recognize when power itself becomes the end rather than the means, and wielding it becomes more important than any truth and any justice, and that is fundamentally how totally unAmerican things have become, indeed. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Corruption Vs Balance Of Power

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Widely reported now in the media is this notion of a shadow government.


There is a difference between a true shadow government and the way our government is set up with two types of leadership.


– Career civil service are the regular public sector (government) employees. 


– Political appointees are the people installed upon a new President by the winning party, and they are the most powerful leaders and policymakers in the government. 


In  a sense, the “winner takes all” and the political appointees become the heads of all the executive branch agencies–viola, that is power!


The vast majority are people of the utmost integrity and deserving of our respect and gratitude for their leadership and what they do for our country. 


There are about 7,000 Senior Executive Service (SES) positions in the federal government, and about 90% are regular career civil service, and the remaining 10% are non-career political appointees. 


Aside from SES political appointees, there are another 3,000 other presidential and confidential (Schedule C) appointees (for a total of 4,000 presidential appointees running the government).


In a normal situation, this works just fine and civil service and politicals work hand-in-hand to advance the interests of this great nations. 


But when a nation becomes highly divided or an election looms and power is “up for grabs,” then the leadership can diverge over the issues and perhaps some may even resort to extreme measures. 


If you’re a political appointee (and maybe even one confirmed by the Senate), you still sort of by definition represent the interests of one party and their leadership over another–that’s the two party system. 


And if your civil service, while you may have your personal leanings, as a professional, you’re really there to do the best you can overall, that’s your job!


What happens if the run-of-the-mill career civil service leaders have a hypothetical clash with political appointee leaders (such as before an extremely divisive election)?  


Ah, that can be some of the worst of politics and bureaucracy!


On one hand, you could get told (i.e. ordered) to do one thing, but on the other hand, what if partisanship would be getting in the way of function? 


While most of the time, “more is better”–like with the 3 branches of government and a 2 party system that serve as healthy checks and balances–in this unique situation, 2 may be dysfunctional at best. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Politicized Justice

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DC is in partisanship chaos once again, but this time it’s our very justice system at the heart of it. 


There is widely publicized internal fighting at the FBI and Department of Justice over whether and how far to investigate, let alone ever prosecute, emails and foundation issues from a presidential candidate. 


As the FBI can only investigate, they have no jurisdiction over whether prosecutors are willing to then take the case forward. 


Downtown today, there were signs that said:


“I Need Some Good News.com”


This was referencing the new soundtrack of “Good News” by Ocean Park Standoff, but it could easily summarize the standoff between the FBI and Justice Department and the political parties lining up behind them. 

So there is certainly the need for some good news, as a dour mood settles over the capital and the people around the nation watching this play out so awfully, where politics have gotten in between us and our candidates and doing what’s right. 


From the song:


“I need some good news baby ’cause the world’s gone crazy.”


When even our law enforcement authorities can no longer function without impediment, and when there is no core impunity from political infringement and recriminations, we know even our most basic system of justice has gone awry with political dysfunction. 


Yes, it’s crazy and it’s definitely not good news for the progress and righteousness of this great nation. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Polarized = Broken!

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As a country, we need to be very concerned at how ridiculously polarized things have gotten. 


It is one thing for right and left to disagree, but still practicably negotiate, compromise, and forge a united and decided path forward.


And it is quite another for the polarization to become so deep-rooted that it becomes obstructionist to our national security and progress. 


Unfortunately, we are beyond the point where large portions of the governing of this country has become fundamentally go nowhere and do nothing


Whether from immigration control to closing Gitmo, from reducing the national debt to tax reform and robust economic growth, from funding the fight against the Zika virus to developing a meaningful space exploration and colonization program, from controlling the proliferation and dangers of weapons of mass destruction to sensible policies on gun rights/control, we are deep in political gridlock. 


The result is lots of executive orders and regulations, but little significant lasting legislation, abiding decisions, or national momentum in any particular direction. 


Our red lines are erased and our finish lines are grossly undefined–we are becoming a nation aimless, adrift, and without directed and meaningful goals.  


Further, in the process of mental, emotional, and global disengagement, we have alienated our friends and embraced our foes and confused everyone in between. 


Moreover, our inconsistency and weakness has made us less safe and emboldened the resurgence and militarization of deadly adversaries like Russia, China, North Korea, Iran as well as radical Islamist terrorism


As a nation, we cannot be ruled by spectrum divisiveness between Democrats and Republicans, between races, between genders, between socio-economic classes, between religions, and between the public and the police.  


There are two critical things we need to bridge the huge divide that is engulfing us: 


One is strong leadership with the integrity that can be respected and followed by everyone on all sides of every aisle.


Two is focused commitment to our underlying values of democracy, freedom, human rights, entrepreneurship and innovation.  


When we have leadership that unites rather than divides, and we maintain our good and fundamental identity then once again, we will be able to go forward together towards peace and prosperity for not only ourselves, but ultimately the progress and good of the world. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Russia’s Iron Fist

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Russia is enormously resurgent (as is China), and they are modernizing their military, while we are “busy” and distracted with ridiculous dysfunctional political infighting here in the U.S.


– Between Republicans and Democrats. 

– Between Trump and Hillary.

– Between running mouths and utter corruption.

– Between what our values are and aren’t.

– Between racism and cop killings.

– Between sequestrations, filibusters, and government shutdowns.

– Between fighting terrorism and not even being able to say it’s name and origin.

– Between support for NATO and our allies and abandoning them.

– Between invading Iraq and Afghanistan and then hasty and wasty retreats.

– Between capturing terrorists and locking them away in Gitmo and then throwing them back out on the streets to plot and attack again.

– Between calls for a strong military, policing the world, and keeping the peace and that being replaced by leadership from behind, disengagement, appeasement, and weakness.

– Between a healthy, vibrant economy and a shallow recession, failing Obamacare, slowing innovation, and ballooning national debt and welfare state.


In the meantime, the Russians, if no one has noticed is moving critically forward in the world. 


– Ukraine’s Crimea has been gone since 2014, separatists are fighting in the east, and tens of thousands of troops are massing on the border. 


– Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia was  occupied by Russia in the war in 2008


– Chechnya was taken by Russia in 1999 and Grozny, the capital, was completely leveled. 


– Bases around Damascus and in Iran have been built up and are in active use in the civil war in Syria going on today, and Aleppo, the largest city in Syria is becoming apocalyptic. 


– The Baltics are under threat by encroaching Russian forces. 


– U.S. military ships and planes and being regularly “buzzed” and Russia is flying mock nuclear bombing runs on the U.S.A. and Europe. 


– Russia is proposing a counter-alliance to NATO by them, China, India, and arch enemy, Iran


So while the U.S. spends more on military than the next 8 nations combined, with the U.S. at $610 billion to Russia’s much more modest $85 billion, nevertheless, we are falling over our own feet, while Russia is clearly on a determined march.


We can’t afford to play politics and suck our thumbs here at home, while Russia is determined and strategic in their moves geopolitically advancing their interests.


We are playing a losing hand and wasting valuable blood and treasure unless we get our democratic house in much needed order, focus, and resolve. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Difference Between Art and Politics

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There is a difference between art and politics. 

Art is just brilliant and beautiful. 

But politics can be insane and ugly.

(Well maybe some art actually can be that way too.)

Read today how Congressional Bills are being held up for something as fundamental as funding to fight the Zika virus that causes severe infant brain defects and life-altering disabilities. Moreover, if Congress did pass it as-is, the President has threatened to veto it!

Another no-brainer bill still not passed before Summer recess is the common sense one that would tighten access on gun sales to suspected terrorists and call for expanded background checks, including for private sales and at gun shows. 

As amazing for the soul as art is, politics gone wrong can be damaging to the very people they are supposed to be protecting for national security and health and well-being.  

This is a system that is either broken or have people leading it that are horribly flawed, but either way the nation’s people are being hurt, when they should be properly taken care of and governed. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Versioning Gone Wild

Version Out Of Control

So software versioning is supposed to be a way to manage change control. 


However, many vendors have gone out of control with versioning. 


1) Incompatibility–It isn’t backward compatible, so if you try to work with an older version file/data, you may be sh*t of out of luck getting it to work. 


2) Alphabet-Numerical Soup–We have so many versions of the same/similar thing, we can make your head spin with buyer envy. 


3) Functionally Indistinct–Version changes are so minute or insignificant that there is virtually no difference to the end-user, but you’ll love it anyway. 


4) Long And Meaningless–Some versions just seem to go on and on into the weeds…like version 2.10.3.97–ah, let’s compare that to the new version of the week of 2.10.3.98, and don’t forget the 2.10.4 will be a completely different platform, so you better remember to order the right one. 


5) Upgrade Pathless–You want to be on the current version, well your version is so legacy and ancient, there’s no (easy) upgrade path–you have to install 26 patches, hot fixes, and 9 new versions and then you’ll be on the right one!


6) Maintaining Multiple Versions–You’ll need to maintain multiple versions of the same product, because your data on the older version can’t be migrated to the new one. Can anyone say multiple maintenance fees?


7) Out Of Support–Your older version that you spent a lot of money on is no longer current  and is now out of support–so scr*w you unless you pay us again for the next money maker version. 


If you want to kill your brand and possibly your customers’ sanity, keep on going mindless version crazy. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)