Life Equated With Hate

Does anyone get this sign from the Pro-Life rally last week?

Pro-Life is Pro-Hate

But equating Pro-Life with hate doesn’t add up.

It actually seems the opposite that if you want to sanctify and protect life that you are loving people, not hating. 

Sometimes to make a point, people will just say anything. 

It’s related to “gaslighting” where they want to manipulate you into questioning your own beliefs, values, and sanity.

Perhaps, throwing around terms like hate just dilutes the real meaning of it similar to making other false accusations against people. 

We need to argue the issues, and not attack each other. 😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

North Korea — No Deal!

This is sort of what I feel happened with North Korea and the U.S. at the Summit in Vietnam this week. 


We went into this thinking that the enticement of moving from war to prosperity, like with Vietnam, would set the stage for North Korea to see that truly, peace is the answer! 


But when there is no real trust between the people negotiating, then you get a lot of gesturing, but no real determination to make a commitment–like getting rid of those crazy nukes!


For now from North Korea’s perspective, “one in the nukes is worth two in the prosperity”…and they aren’t going to disarm so easily and give away what they consider their ace in the hole.  


High hopes, lots of drama, confusion and blame, and ultimately a big let down.


If North Korea would give up their nukes, and Iran would give up their pursuit of nukes…WOW, WOW, WOW, oh what a world that would be. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Compromise = Winning

So this shutdown has really been an education in political dysfunction, bickering, and childish behavior. 


But when President Trump yesterday went on the air and provided a compromise solution whereby he gets funding for a 200 mile border wall/barrier and the Democrats get money for humanitarian relief at the border, high-tech sensors, and years of protection for 700,000 children that came to this country illegally (DACA) and another 300,000 for immigrants from designated countries that prevent their sage return (TPS)–it seems like everybody would come out a winner!


That’s negotiation.  That’s compromise.  That’s diplomacy.  


When President Trump did this, I thought he really won the day, especially when the Democrats rejected his proposals and offered nothing in return or as an alternative. 


Even if the other side disagrees with the solution, they can and should offer what their version of a compromise/agreement would be and so on between the parties–this way, they can negotiate until both sides get to the magical compromise that everyone can agree to and live with. 


What I learned from this is that regardless of your political leanings, the side that shows flexibility and compromise and the desire to get something done, is the side that wins the argument, period. 


Those that want it all or are simply obstructionist and haters are the big losers in the debate. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What Does A Government Shutdown Feel Like

So its day 18 of the Federal government shutdown. 


The first couple of weeks wasn’t so bad, because it was the holidays and vacation time (“use or lose”), so I think most people didn’t miss work that much. 


Also, people got paid at the end of December, since the pay cycle is on a two week lag.  


For the first part of the shutdown, there is errands to run and things to catch up on–those things that you always wish you had the time for and well now you do. 


But by now, you’ve already done those errands and cleaned your house and car, shinned up your shoes, and even caught up on some reading. 


Then we also have the missed payroll coming at the end of the week. For those families that are on a single income, this is particularly hard, and even where one partner is working, still your income in cut in half. 


You can’t go out shopping like this!


You also can’t go anywhere–like away–because you need to be available to be back at work on a day’s notice–whether or not it looks like that day is ever coming or not!


Another concern for those that care about their work and getting things accomplished, is that work is like a moving train, and when there is momentum, things can get done–even at the “pace of government.”  But when you come to a full stop like this for an extended period of time, then it will definitely take some time to get everyone back on board the train and for it to get moving at a decent clip again.  Let’s face it, you can’t just turn people on and off like a light switch–you’re dealing with human beings with feelings, plans, and bills. 

Maybe the worst part about the shutdown is feeling like a pawn in the big boys and girls game of Washington Politics–even if you feel the border wall is important, which I certainly do, as federal employee, you still don’t want to feel like the sacrificial lamb. 


Why Congress and the President can’t compromise and give the $5 billion for the wall for something in return like immigration reform or even just give half and call it a day is really beyond my comprehension. 


Out of our $4.4 trillion a year federal budget, how does it make any sense to begrudge a couple of billion for a wall to bring order to the chaos at our southern border–can anyway say “caravan?” 


Let’s face it, drug smuggling, human trafficking, dangerous gangs and terrorists, and illegal crossings have no place in a civilized country, especially the United States of America.  


At some point, our politicians seem to have lost their passion for and dedication to what’s actually good for America and instead replaced it with identity politics and a sick insatiable greed for power, plain and simple. 


All sides need to be patriots and not political kingpins, and they need to give a little to get a little for the betterment of our country overall–maybe then we can move forward. 


And by the way, it would be great at some point to let us go back to work and do our jobs. 😉 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Listen, Empathize, Give A Little

A colleague was talking to me about negotiating and working with others:


He said something I liked: 


Listen, empathize, and give a little. 


Yes, we each have our beliefs and positions on things.


But we don’t live in a vacuum.


Other people have their own views, sensitivities, and wants. 


We have to get along so we can work together, and get things done. 


It starts by listening–not just hearing, but really listening to what the other person is saying. 


But that’s not really enough. 


To really understand the other person, we have to try to empathize with what they are feeling–we need to try to walk in their shoes even if just for a moment. 


But that also isn’t enough. 


We can’t have it all our way–we need to give a little to get a little. 


No one can have everything and have a good relationship like that. 


We need to compromise–as long as it’s not on things of integrity, conviction, or G-d. 


Everything else we have to listen, empathize, and give a little.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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)

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)

Manage The Crisis and Don’t Exploit It

Crisis.jpeg

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

Conflict.jpeg

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)