The Easy Way or The Hard Way

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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)

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Manage The Crisis and Don’t Exploit It

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So I heard an interesting thought on crisis management:

“Never let a good crisis go to waste!”


Isn’t that frequently how politicians and lobbyists use the crisis, rather than deal with it. 


In certain cases, some have even been known to actually create the crisis for their ends!


Whether it’s some politicians calling for strict gun control when there is a mass shooting (perhaps infringing on other reasonable 2nd amendment rights) or it’s right to life advocates demanding an end to funding for planned parenthood when some bad people are caught selling fetal body parts and so on and so on.


Maybe these things are the right thing to do–in which case, a very bad event can end up being an impetus for much needed change and thus, can facilitate in transforming society and from that perspective, be a good thing!


But is the change really and necessarily the right thing to do…or is the crisis de jure just an excuse to get what some people wanted all  along.


– Use (exploit) the crisis.


– Maximize the momentum from the crisis.


– Leverage the emotions from the crisis.


– Promptly turn the tables on the issue.


– Leave all compromise and negotiation aside, and seize the moment.


The lesson here is not to just react, because a sudden and impulsive decision may end up being an overreaction and cause negative unintended consequences down the road.


The pendulum tends to shift and swing widely in both directions–neither extreme is good.


Instead well thought policy, use of common sense, maintaining reasonableness, looking at all sides, and a general middle of the road approach usually yields the best results for the most people.


Crisis management should be just that–managing the crisis; the policy should be fully reasoned both before and after. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Conflict – Resolution or Escalation

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So I thought this was interesting on the cause of conflict. 


There are four main parts:


1) Deprivation – You believe that someone is depriving you of something you need or want. This could be something physical like money, or an object or it could be inanimate such as love or respect. The feeling of deprivation is anchored in a real or perceived feeling or being deprived of access to resources or the imbalance who has those resources. 


2) Name – You identify the person you feel is causing you this deprivation. 


3) Blame – You blame them for their role in causing you harm. 


4) Claim – You justify the accusation by anchoring it in a claim that the other person has violated some social norm such as taking something that doesn’t belong to them or violating an agreement you have with them and so on. 


As the conflict comes to a head, it is clear that people are feeling hurt, that there is a desire to correct the situation, and that you are going to confront the (perceived) culprit and make your case on why what they are doing is wrong and how it should be resolved. 


If you have the wrong person in the cross-hairs, your justification is weak or you’re not telling the whole story (i.e. maybe you played a part or harmed the other person too), or the person just won’t give you a fair hearing and sincerely work with you to resolve it, then the conflict may escalate from here.  


Usually, it’s best to listen, empathize, negotiate, compromise, try to be reasonable, and resolve the situation at the earliest point possible.


If there is a greater conflict or risk to either party involved, then heels may get dug in and all avenues to resolving it can be open including legal and even all out war. 


Conflict is no game, but in some cases it may be unavoidable–and then the ramifications can be earth shattering. 


What to do when you’re in a conflict situation? Think before you act, and then think again. 


Ultimately, peace is one of the greatest of blessings. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Left and Right Unite

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So I saw on Facebook, an image of an old, wise, Native American Indian.


And over the image, it reads:

“The left wing and the right wing belong to the same bird.”


That is pretty darn smart–and one of the best things I heard all week!


To many extremist people out there, they seem to have been forgetting this lately.


Also, the agitators don’t seem to let up–does it matter if it’s conspiracy theories or fake news–if it gets the bird in the net for clip-clip.


In an effort to “resist”–or perhaps utterly destroy the opposition–we have put politics above the National interest. 


Yes, politics matter–issues matter–people matter. 


But can the bird fly with only one wing?


Sure, we need to speak up when we see something wrong or that we don’t agree with.

But we also need to discuss, negotiate, and compromise–for Pete’s sake, work together to make the bird stronger and fly further and faster–rather than kill the bird itself. 


Our competitors and enemies have arrows pointed at and are shooting them at our American Eagle.


Will we give them the advantage as we self-destruct with loathing for one another? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Loyalty To Others Vs. True To Yourself

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So after the aborted Healthcare bill to replace failing Obamacare, President Trump tweeted about the alt-right’s lack of support for the bill: 

“We learned a lot about loyalty [today].”


The Freedom Caucus refused to vote with the rest of the Republicans on the 7-year long awaited repeal and replace of Obamacare. 


Instead, they felt it didn’t go farther enough to rescind everything from Obamacare they hated, and they chose to leave Obamacare as the solution for the foreseeable future, rather than get a replacement bill they felt was also subpar.


Whether this was smart or dumb, time will tell. 


– Smart – If down the road, they get a better replacement to Obamacare then what was being offered now. 


– Dumb – If rather than a better replacement, we end up either stuck with Obamacare indefinitely or get an even worse alternative later. 


It’s a little like gambling Vegas–they decided to roll the dice again, rather than leave the table with their winnings. 


Sure, they could end up a bigger winner or they can lose it all, so we’ll see. 


But there is another important question here:


What obligation did they have to be loyal and vote with their party vs. being loyal to their own conscience?


The Democrats have held the line better in terms of voting as block–and hence they have proved superior in many cases in wielding their share of power. 


In contrast, the Republicans have been more divided and hence, they can’t get the votes they need to pass the legislation desired by the right–because somebodies are always holding out for a better deal. 


But Trump represents “The Art of the Deal,”–and a deal usually means negotiation, compromise, and that nobody gets everything they want.


So while everyone should vote and act their conscience, there is also something to be said for loyalty to the team effort. 


If everyone just holds out for what they want, then really that stoneheadedness will result in virtually nothing getting done. 


We’ve all got to give a little to get a little, as long as it doesn’t violate our moral compass, core values, and faith. 


Loyalty also has to do with showing and acting with respect. 


And being disloyal to the team and leadership has ramifications.


Those who seemed as if they were being true to themselves and their constituents–may end up having really let themselves and the others down, and not just Trump and Ryan. 


Finally, loyalty is a two-way street, and I have a feeling Caesar is not yet done with the great treachery that was perhaps so callously inflicted on him and the greater national cause. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Nation Conquered By Politics

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So Obamacare is failing with rates spiraling up out of control and choices narrowing for people that need good affordable healthcare. 


And the Ryancare replacement plan failed to garner enough votes and has been questioned by the alt-right as not going further enough to change things for the better. 


Blame the parliamentarian, blame each other, blame the Russians. 


Between the two sides of the aisle, there aren’t enough centrists, and the parties won’t work together on a solution to this or anything else apparently–hence the utter catastrophic deadlock and lack of progress in Washington going on for years now!


The democrats passed Obamacare along party lines without a single Republican.


And now Ryancare similarly had not a single Democrat. 


Resistance.  Resistance.  Resistance!


This is how polarized and ineffective our system of governing has become, when the two sides love their position and power more than they love the people of this great nation!


The Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, and Iranians didn’t have to fire a single shot…they just continued to shame our ineffectiveness with bogus deals and aggressive posturing, fed us boatloads  of misinformation (“fake news”) to agitate our already divided country, and then they left us to split asunder under of our democracy’s own weight. 


As the Republicans point fingers and the Democrats gloat–there is a great refrain of La La La Koosh Koosh going on–and the Superpower U.S. is looking not only asleep, but also fat, stupid and sprawled out pathetic with no where to go but up from here. 😉


(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)

The Most Important Word Is AND

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So as divisiveness continues to plague us. the option for acceptance, love, and coexistence is falling out of the favor and by the wayside. 

Division and conflict has been accentuated by the ugliness of the most recent election and representative political divide, economic and gender inequality, inner city violence, racial and religious tensions, worldwide terrorism, and global conflict from Syria to the South China Sea. 

This has even infiltrated the functioning of our government, social institutions, and free media big time, where vetting, negotiation and compromise, critical thinking, and fair, balanced, and investigative journalism have been largely jettisoned. 

There is no place anymore to go hide from bias, bigotry, and hate. 

But as the wise proverb goes things truly are not just black and white, but there are loads of grey everywhere

Many people are not good or evil, left or right, blessed or cursed.

Instead, most people are a mixture of this AND that. 

How much of the complex mix of different elements is what makes up the integrity and life of the individual, group, and organization we are dealing with.

But what’s important is that you really can’t just stereotype people, ideas, or actions as simply good or bad because in reality, they aren’t.  

Each person and position has elements of good and bad in them…nothing and nobody in life is perfect. 

You take the good and the bad in everything from relationships to policy decisions. 

So it is certainly possible and even probable to be conflicted and confused about what we see and hear–and not only because of the bias and prejudice in how it is presented or portrayed, but rather because things are not just simple, one or the other propositions, but rather a combination of things we approve of and disapprove of. 

Our brains can have lots of trouble dealing with this complexity, because we are wired in terms of survival of the fittest, and that often means choosing a action based on split-second categorizing of people and things as friend or foe. 

As the mere shadow of the person or idea is upon us, we are asked to respond–do we run or fight it or do we lovingly embrace it as it overtakes us. 

Choose wrong and you can be badly hurt or even dead. 

But we are forced to make these quick and bold choices without always having the luxury of time, the patience, or wherewithal to stop and recognize that things and people are a combination of things we like and agree with and others that we dislike and vehemently oppose. 

If we could just keep in mind that most things are not just good or bad, right or wrong, but good AND bad, right AND wrong, then we can make more astute and fine-tuned designations of what we think something really is and isn’t and how to handle it, live with it, and faithfully coexist with it. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)