Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Uncovering Incompetence: The Focus and Tenacity of Senator Kamala Harris (VIDEO)

Incompetence can take on many forms.  As a youngster, a neighborhood friend came by my house to show me his latest karate moves.  I agreed to be his guinea pig and he proceeded to execute his moves on me.  His techniques left something to be desired and I quickly put him in a crude headlock from which he was unable to escape.  As I let go, he expressed exasperation that I did not give him a "chance" to use his newly found powers.  

That story came to mind as I watched U. S. Attorney Jeff Sessions respond to questions before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, June 13, 2017.  Two hours into his testimony, Senator Kamala Harris’ (D-CA) pressed Sessions about his interactions with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential election campaign, Harris attempted to hurry the exchange along to preserve her limited questioning time. She posed a series of yes or no questions to Sessions. Sessions protested her rapid-fire approach. “I’m not able to be rushed this fast. It makes me nervous,” Sessions said.

Senator Harris also questioned Mr. Sessions' preparation for the hearing as well as his knowledge of Department of Justice policy.  

At Sessions' request, two members of the committee came to Sessions' rescue, reprimanding Sen. Harris for not allow him to answer the questions fully as Sessions was seeking to invoke the legal concept of “executive privilege.”

One of the clues to incompetence is the attempt by others to rescue the incompetent.  Often it is difficult to identify incompetence if it is hidden behind a rescue.  Do not be fooled by the rescue as the rescuer may have another agenda.  Deflection can be very effective.  In this case, it also uncovered a lack of preparation.  Rescues save the incompetent from detection and serves the rescuer's separate agenda.   

In contrast to Mr. Sessions, congratulations to Senator Kamala Harris for her preparation, insight, focus and tenacity.  

Stay tuned.  More about incompetence to come.  

Pyke, A.  (June 13, 2017).  ‘It makes me nervous’: Republicans rescue Sessions by interrupting Kamala Harris, again.    

Friday, November 11, 2016

Success, Failure and Incompetence

No, I do not want Donald Trump to fail.  I suppose it would be easy to conclude that from what I and others have said about our objections, concerns and fears about Trump in the White House.

In a discussion about the election results, I was told that wanting Donald Trump to fail is like being on a plane and hoping that the pilot crashes the plane.

Once again, I do not want Donald Trump to fail.  However, I want you to understand that the pilot has in no uncertain terms told me what he thinks of me, my wife, my daughter, my family, and many of my friends.  He thinks we are not deserving to be on this plane.  He has not acknowledged or admitted the number of plane crashes in which he has been involved.  He has no experience flying the plane.

He has ignored facts, dismissed advice and supervision, failed to prepare before flying the plane and denied the findings of science.  The plane was designed by scientists.  I do not want that kind of pilot flying the plane. He doesn't even have a flight plan that he has shown anyone nor filed with the tower. So, I am predicting that pilot will not be able to fly the plane particularly well or get where we need to go.

His co-pilot has said he really dislikes a few of the other passengers.

Oh, by the way, did you hear that this pilot feels entitled to kiss and grope any of  women on the plane he rates as being very attractive, whether they like it or not.  He will be OK with it if someone else decides to hit me or attack me while I am on the plane.  This pilot will even pay for any legal fees that come out of the lawsuit.  In fact, he has demonstrated that he might decide that, because I am on the plane with a crying child, that I should be thrown off the plane.

I will honestly tell you that I think he will not likely be successful flying this plane.  But, nevertheless, he has seemed to convince many people that he is the best pilot in the land.  Other passengers have told me he is better than the other pilot that was available. She was a nasty pilot, I hear.   She did interview for the job and did well.  Our pilot had 3 very questionable interviews.  He didn't really come across particularly well, I understand.    

So, anyway, he is going to fly the plane, I guess.  This is the only plane available.

OK, but don't ask me not to be afraid of being on this flight.

But no, I do not hope he crashes the plane.  That would be really stupid.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Election 2016: America Speaks Very Loud and Clear

America has spoken.  It is loud and clear.  Unmistakable, even.

You might think that this blogpost will be about the strong message that this 2016 Presidential election sent to women, Blacks, Latinos, the LGBT community, veterans, the physically-challenged, on and on. You might think that this rant would be about Trump supporters were willing to vote for for an impulsive, undisciplined, unpredictable, misinformed, incompetent, unprepared, unqualified, boorish, ignorant, misogynistic, racist, sexist, bigoted, unsuccessful businessman (who insults all comers and admits to sexually assaulting women) for the sake of returning American to greatness. You might also think that this is about Trump supporters who were so angry that they were willing to overlook a man's psychopathic flaws to elect him over an also flawed but well-qualified, experienced woman, Or, you might think that this post is about Trump supporters who were willing to take a chance on a predatory, body-shaming, reality TV star with no government experience who has promised to bring law and order back to the lawless streets of our cities.   Oh, yes, and we all need our guns (big and small) to do that, thank you very much.

No, it isn't about that message, as powerful as it is.  Yes, hate, fear and bullying won last night.  And, yes, white is the new white.   The KKK and David Duke won last night, but this isn't about that either.
This blogpost is about the election message that we sent to the rest of the world. That message is that we are suddenly but truly irrelevant as a nation on the world stage.  

We have elected a self-promoter that has won over a electoral majority domestically, but lost the rest of the world with this "victory."

We just elected a man who has antagonized most of the world and its leaders with his insults, his character and his policies.  Other than Vladimir Putin, who now (and probably for a while) has America just where he wants us, world leaders have no need to deal with the USA and our bullying, insulting President-elect.  They can move on knowing that we have elected a moron who knows nothing about the politics of foreign policy, innovation and trade.   He knows lawsuits, tax loopholes, stiffing contractors, corporate swindles and bankruptcy.

You can't make deals with people with whom you have no relationship.  You can't be credible, wield power, or make deals when you lack ethics, ignore facts, dispute science, or deny climate change.  

Our message is that our middle-class, working-class, uneducated blue-collar Americans want their old jobs back, by any means necessary. What they don't know (and Trump didn't tell them) is that those jobs don't exist anymore and won't come back. Our working class has been passed by.

Globalization and multiculturalism are here to stay.  If you really want jobs, you have to look ahead not behind you.

But we don't want to see that. We don't want to invest in technology and renewable, clean energy.   The rust belt Trumpers want the old jobs back.  You know:  coal, steel, toxic chemicals.  Trump is a winner, he is going to get those jobs back, right?  

However, last night, the USA has turned its back on the rest of the world.  By demonizing and labelling Muslims, denouncing immigrants in general as evil, we have told the world what we think of them. The USA has turned its narcissistic, xenophobic, isolationistic back on its nearest neighbors by warning of the building of a wall.  That will get trade going again, right?  

Trump won.  Congratulations!  But, don't ask for my help right now.  Too soon.  It may take some time to heal a country after you have painfully slapped me, my family, my friends and my business colleagues in the face.  I need a minute.

But, you didn't hurt me as much as you hurt all of America on the world stage.  You may not have thought about that with your vote.  You will soon.   Making American Great Again might be harder than you thought.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Why Donald Trump is Really Running for President: The 6% Solution

Take whatever amount of money you think Donald Trump has in the bank and subtract 6% from that number. You can do the math.  That is the amount of money he thinks he would lose if a Democrat returns to the White House.  He is convinced that if a Democrat wins the election, there will be a tax increase for the extremely wealthy.  How much of a tax increase?  6%.

So, what about the math?  Is that a lot of money?

That is the amount of his money Donald Trump is trying to protect by leading the GOP to victory.   That is also the amount of money other extremely wealthy people think they can save by voting for Trump.

Nevertheless, you might have wondered from time to time:  Why would a liberal-leaning, Democratic shoulder-rubbing businessman from New York suddenly seek the GOP Presidential nomination?  It's just good business.

You see, Donald Trump is a salesman.  Despite what he says and the name of his best-selling book, The Art of the Deal, he is a salesman.  He doesn't do deals.  Deals are a win-win.  Donald sells you on his product and you receive a faulty product.

There are basically 3 types of salesmen.  (Maybe this is what they should have taught at Trump University.  Maybe they did, but I doubt it.)

1.  They know and love their product.  (Nope, not Donald.  Donald loves Donald.)

2.  They know and love their customers. (Nope, again, not Donald.  Remember how stupid he thought people from Iowa were.)

3.  They love the lifestyle that their sales and customers provide them.  (Yup).

Make no mistake, Donald Trump is Type 3.  This type of sales person thinks he can, and often does, sell you anything,  The product is really irrelevant.  He makes money by selling you a product or a service.  It could be a hotel, wine, a book, an education, a TV show.  As you have seen by his other products, they typically aren't very good and many of his customers are not very satisfied, but by the time your realize that, he already has your money.  So, what does he care?

So, what is he selling you now?

Salesmen of this type understand what you are afraid of and use it to persuade.  He's not telling you what he is afraid of.  He is afraid of losing money and afraid of not making money.  He wants you to believe that he is concerned about you. He is trying to convince you of a need, a fear.  You need this product, to squelch your fear, calm your anxiety.  He convinces you that he is also afraid.

He doesn't really think anyone is going to take your guns away from you.  I would be surprised if Donald packs any heat (his sons might be packing).  He is not really that scared that drug-dealing, raping, criminally-minded Mexicans will run amok.  He really not that concerned about ISIS (mostly because he is confused about what they are).  He doesn't really think other countries are winning.

But he knows you might be or could be convinced to be scared.  If he can convince you that there is something to fear right outside your door, he can sell you his product.  It won't work very well.  He has never governed.  Most of his businesses have tanked (think Trump Towers, Trump University, USFL, etc.).

By becoming President, he can save himself 6%.  By convincing you that criminals, gays, women, immigrants, people of color, and Democrats are running amok and are ready taking things away from you or kill you, you will vote for him.  So, he saves 6%.  Actually, he saves 6% of his father's money. Donald has never been able to make any money off of his father's inheritance (if you account for inflation).  He has, alas, simply broken even.  As far as we can tell, anyway.  Where are those tax returns anyway?

By the way, the reason you saw Donald's wife and children up there on the podium at the RNC in Cleveland is that they are as concerned about the 6% as he is.  And, why shouldn't they be?  A 6% tax hike is a boatload of cash.

But even if he loses (or drops out, or resigns), he wins. Because somebody can always be entertained or sold to.  It's just good business.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Suspended Disbelief: Nightmarish Dytopian Future Closer to Reality Than I Thought

When I was a kid, I didn't really like science fiction much.  I couldn't successfully suspend my disbelief.  The scenarios presented seems too far fetched.  I didn't buy it.

That has all changed.  I now get Star Wars, Mad Max, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, even.  All of them.  Why?  The 2016 presidential election campaign has made a believer out of me.

We've got it all here.  Coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

The misogynistic, evil demagogue who has and bullied his way into  power.  Got 'em.  More than one candidate, actually.

One legitimate religion.  Non-followers, non-believers are identified, vilified, beaten, imprisoned or exiled.  Got that.

Uneasy, polarized coalitions formed to combat common enemies.  Yes, sir.

Mistrust of media, news and communication.  Yup.    

The caste system in place. The haves and have nots.  The threatened upper class.  The easily identified, evil lower classes. We got them, too.

A proliferation of weapons and easy access.  Everyone has a gun.   Shot them before they shoot you.

Vigilantes.  "Good guys" shooting "bad guys."  Remember, if in doubt, the white ones with guns are OK.  

Desert wasteland.  Yup.  Did you see that, globally, last year and this year are the two warmest on record?

Dwindling resources.  Environmental disasters.  Uncontrollable diseases.  Flint, Michigan?  Brazil? Zika?   Check.

Humanoid Robots.  Well, we have the killer military drones and the toy commercial ones, too.

By the way, Samsung is coming out with a new smartphone with a virtual reality viewer attachment! Don't bother to pre-order.  You won't need it.   The show outside your doorstep will be entertaining enough.  Or, stay online.  The Apocalypse is streaming live.    

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Massacre Next Time

With current gun laws in place, should you wish to exercise your Second Amendment right to be a member of a "regulated militia", it is extremely easy for you to purchase a firearm.  With minimal requirements, in many places in the US, you can quickly buy a gun without a background check, weapons training, or concern for your current mental health status.  As the mass shooting continue, fear is motivating more people to consider purchasing a gun.  Right now, you can do that. Hurry up. Of course, you know this is a good thing, you are one of the Good Guys.     

However, current gun laws also do nothing to prevent the following:  

Simultaneously, I write this, there are a least a few disenfranchised young males planning mass violence in your schools, malls, stadiums and other public venues.  They have experienced some form of rejection or perceived failure or embarrassment.  They have built up resentments, often initially experiencing a divorce of their parents and break up of their family along the way.  They have been subjected to bullying or abuse from their peer group.  In response, they have disengaged from the school, community and their family and have begun a slow decline, a process of alienation and isolation.  

This disengagement has turned to depression, rage, and the targeting of others:  the the source of their unhappiness.  This rage and the need to release it has led to a fascination with previous mass shootings and worship of the perpetrators.  They long for the infamy and notoriety that these mass shootings have provided previous shooters.  They see the destruction and mayhem and long for this sense of sick satisfaction.  Their depression includes violent fantasy include a suicidal wish to be taken out by gunfire "with a bang."   They may fantasize a glamourous gunfight finishing in a blaze of glory.   They may even welcome a response by law enforcement or a regulated militia.  They are OK with taking everyone out with them. 

They begin to express their anger and rage through blogging or Facebook posting.  They join chat groups or forums that fuel their hatred.  They become empowered by this connection to others' rage.   

These feelings and obsessions take over and lead to careful and meticulous planning for violence. People are targeted, locations are explored, ways and means are considered.  Easy access to guns allows the young male to stockpile an arsenal weapons, often with the emotional and financial support of others (including family members). This type of compulsion for hoarding fuels their sense of power and control.  So, they plan their attack.  They look for the opportunity, they have the means and the motivation.  They are preparing to execute their plan.  

So, yes, give me a gun.  I'm a Good Guy.  He is the Bad Guy.  Let's stop him.  Time to round up the militia, the Good Guys. Teachers, get your gun.  It's in the top drawer of your desk.  Students, it's in your backpack.  Pimply customer service rep at your local mall.  Strap up.  Access, availability, motivation, means, opportunity for all.           

Time to get ready for the next gunfight.  It will come.  Ready, aim, fire.  It's your right as an American.  Don't take our rights (I mean, my right) to have a gun.  That's the ticket.     

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Next Game-Changing U.S. Legislation Is About Massacre Prevention, Not Gun Control

So, how many massacres has it been now?

The worm has turned.  We are numb, but we are tired of the shooting and the dying.  We don't seem to be able to get together on gun control.  However, we can almost all get behind legislation that effectively addresses the prevention of mass shootings and massacres.
Legislation Supporter #1

You are scared, terrified, in fact.  You don't know what to say to your children.  You are tired of "Breaking News" bulletins.  You have a family; loved ones that you want to protect from the next mass shooting at the school, the mall, the church or the workplace.  You don't want your family to be a statistic.  

Legislation Supporter #2

You have a loved one who has exhibited disturbing violent, suicidal, hate-related obsessions, anger -filled rants and/or substance abuse.   You are worried about him/her, your family and potential victims. You just don't know what to do.  
Legislation Supporter #3

You are a freedom-fighting, Second Amendment-spouting, fun- and gun range loving, militia member, "varmint" hunter who wants to keep his/her gun.  You believe that you can shoot them before they shoot you.  You want to keep your gun.  You want to protect and defend.

You can have your gun if you register properly. You just need to prove that you are trained to use the gun, are not stockpiling and you have a clear, clean mental health record regarding anger, violence, suicidal intent and substance abuse.    But, you believe in your heart of hearts that you have the right to your gun.    You are scared, but you want your gun, too.  You get to keep your toy.  It's just going to be harder to buy than a lollipop.   And, you won't be able to by a lot of them.

Well, there you go, that includes most of us.  

OK, so who wouldn't be behind massacre-preventing legislation?

Legislation Objector #1

You are a marginalized, abused, bullied, socially isolated individual who has had a long series of rejections and resentments. You have had a spotty history of failure in school, socially, and/or the workplace.  You have begun to feel that other individuals and groups are to blame.  You have begun to express your displeasure on the Internet.  You have become more isolated, depressed and angry. You are concocting a mass shooting and have identified a target group or a location.  You have identified with and are enamored with the perpetrators of past mass shootings and wish to be remembered in a similar fashion. You may even be stockpiling weapons.

You don't want this legislation.  You have the motive, but with this legislation you now no longer have the means or the opportunity.  

Legislation Objector #2

You are a politician with a history of huge donations from the NRA.  Enough said.

Legislation Objector #3

You are a member of the NRA.   Ditto.  

See, so I think that you know where you stand on this type of preventive legislation.

Without massacre prevention measures, the killings will continue. However, the mass murders can not be prevented seeing it as a one-issue problem. So, what must this massacre prevention legislation involve?

We must enact legislation that addresses mass shootings and their core causes:  accessibility, stockpiling, lack of security and lack of identification,  Most of the most recently proposed legislation has included these significant components:

1.  Tough registration process (including background checks).
2.  Stronger regulations on quick access:  guns bought at gun shows and the Internet.
3.  Mental illness evaluation:  specifically targeting violent or suicidal behavior and substance abuse.
4.  Required weapons training.
5.  Restriction on the number of guns bought, acquired, or in possession of.
6.  Immediate reporting of loss of possession of gun.

This is not a gun law, this is not gun control, this is massacre prevention.  Any objections?