Looking back to the time the United States decided to invade Iraq we seemed to come together as a nation. France, Germany, and Russia pleaded with us to not do it. We, as a result, stopped eating at French restaurants and started calling French fries American fries. Most of us will now agree that that invasion of Iraq was an expensive mistake.
If we are Red Sox fans we dislike anything Yankees, same with Dodgers and Giants. We either like Fords or we like Chevys. We don’t need facts to make these decisions.
It seems that it is human instinct to become emotionally attached and we don’t need reasons to do so, we will make those up as we go or accept what we hear that is in line with our emotionally based decisions. This causes us to be susceptible to group think.
Group think requires individuals to avoid raising controversial issues or alternative solutions, and there is loss of individual creativity, uniqueness and independent thinking.
Sharon Begley’s Science Journal that appeared over a period of time in the Wall Street Journal, a conservative publication, told us that social psychologists have shown it is the group with which we identify, not individual personality that often determines behavior. We begin to see what the group sees and stop seeing some of the things that we were seeing.
But, pull us out of a group and we will have more nuance, flexibility, and doubt. We are not so sure anymore as individuals outside of our group, whereas in a group we are convinced of what we are saying and doing. The group we join is very important. That group could be friends, it could be our employer, it could be our church, it could be a political party, or it could be the mental prison more and more of us seem to be finding ourselves in. In either case, it doesn’t change with age—young or old, we are influenced by our group.
Psychology experiments show how disturbingly easy it is to manipulate people into committing atrocities. Groups inculcate a sense of belonging and hence obligation to a group.
Has our spouse, friend, relative ever said to us that we seem different, that we have changed, and that there is an aspect of us they don’t like that they didn’t realize was there? Has clinging to a political party caused us to ignore and friends and relatives that cling elsewhere? Are we becoming more assertive or bossier? Are we becoming more tolerant or judgmental? Are we becoming more patient and calm or more restless and rude? Are we becoming conforming or less conforming? Do we see more of the big picture or just our own perspective? Are we becoming more humble or is ego sprouting its wings.
Right now everybody is worried about which Party will be the majority Party. Everything we hear is all about manipulating us and not being honest with us. We can’t change facts but everybody is willing to twist them hoping that group think will override individual thinking. Group think makes us latch onto the silliest thing we hear without questioning it regardless of how shallow it is to begin with. It’s like not buying a car brand because someone said the trunk liner was brown and let that “fact” let you ignore the quality of the engine, transmission, suspension, acceleration, and brakes.
News shows and politicians never clearly define a problem and instead jump in with solutions. That’s not how change happens. Problems have to be identified, clearly identified, sized up, and have consensus that the problem is real and solutions are needed. Then and only then are alternative solutions shared and evaluated, and then finally once agreement is made on the right solution, do we go forward, all of us, together.
Emmanuel Macron ripped apart Trump's climate change denial in front of Congress — and he got a standing ovation for it
Posted by NowThis Politics on Wednesday, April 25, 2018
The growth of the independent voter is derived from dislike of dysfunction in Washington DC tied to our way or no way practices.
Political Parties have become swamps. If we are not elected officials, the best way to drain that swamp is to just get out of it. How? Register and identify as an Independent voter or support the creation of a Moderate party. Elect Independents. Stop voting for far right or far left candidates and instead, vote for moderates in Primaries.
Political Parties are supposed to bring order to the process of policy making. As party members, individual politicians have a ready-made group of allies that will usually cooperate with their efforts to pass and implement legislation. At the national level, this means that a rookie Congressperson is supposed to arrive with a network of allies that would support their efforts and that he/she would support in turn. That best works when the Party is flexible and willing to compromise. Otherwise a newly elected person basically gives up their vote to Party leaders who in one way or another helped candidates get elected (and re-elected) and control committee assignments.
Clinton Rossiter begins his classic book “Parties and Politics in America” with this declaration: “No America without democracy, no democracy without politics, no politics without parties, no parties without compromise and moderation.”
- Clearly we have little compromise and moderation in American politics so that would say we might be better off without Parties, doesn’t it?
Fareed Zakaria stated that a partyless system would lead to political dynasties, celebrity officials, and billionaire politicians.
The Democratic and Republican Parties have moderates and extremists but extremists are growing in numbers.
Extremists typically don’t compromise with moderates, not even within their own party. The political process has become overly competitive and combative. The result is gridlock and public anger with government.
The Founders of the United States warned against Parties because they thought politics was supposed to be rational and collaborative, not competitive.
Not since 1912 has a new Party been created and it didn’t last long. Theodore Roosevelt formed the Progressive Party of 1912. It was nicknamed the Bull Moose Party.
Instead of new Parties being created people have shifted back and forth between parties.
The 1964 Civil Rights Act for instance sent droves of Southern conservative Democrats to the Republican Party. The war in Iraq and immigrant issues is now sending more liberal Republicans to the Democratic Party.
The 2016 Presidential elections results probably were mostly due to overall low grades Congress had with the voters.
A moderate Party can come into existence with a suddenness that surprises and astounds us.
In France this June 2017, President Emmanuel Macron’s fledgling party is set to trounce France’s traditional main parties in a parliamentary election and secure a huge majority. France’s socialist and conservative parties that had alternated in power for decades until Macron’s election in May blew apart the left-right divide.
The Problem of Force taking the place of Power.
We should demand to get spin-free news. Force is used to achieve a means through the use of a hammer. Power is used to achieve a means through logic that serves the best interests of people.
The Problem of Obstructionism:
Obstructionism’s roots lie in the powerful fringe wings of each party but carries over to the rest of a party’s membership due to party affiliated voting. Obstructionism is not leadership. “Obstructionist Leadership” is an oxymoron. Obstructionism is to leadership as sarcasm is to humor. There is a need to promote something tangible. Not allowing the other party to accomplish something is not tangible.
The problem of deceitfulness:
Voters are no longer being told the truth or given the facts. Voters only get spin. Politicians are destroying their profession by falsely discrediting the other party or members of it. Spin has become a game played by too many politicians and it includes defaming, libeling, slandering and intentionally trying to put a false negative label on the opponent or the legislation.
The problem of Group Think:
When voters register with a Party they begin to participate in Party Group Think and now, more than ever, voters have stopped thinking as individuals. Non office holders need to register as independents and vacate allegiances to current Parties if they want to free themselves from Party Group Think.
In the case of voting for president and the US Congress, since the 1970s, party identification on voting behavior has been increasingly significant. By the late 1990s, party identification on voting behavior was at the highest level of any election since the 1950s. People overwhelmingly voted for their party’s nominee in the general election. If voters can’t get themselves to vote for candidates from the other party, then a third party is needed.
This problem is magnified by Party’s platforms being pulled away from their historical center where the majority reside and instead pushed into the fringe wings where the money and energy reside.
The problem of campaign financing:
There is too much private money in campaigns. The campaign season is too long. Campaign reform is needed to retain our democracy.
The Democratic and Republican parties receive so much money from the powerful few that elected officials are overly dependent on that money to get elected and thus are too often puppets to the puppeteers that hold the strings. Who cares about the qualification of the politicians when they vote as a block and as told.
The problem of the fringe party constituents:
The voters that volunteer thousands of hours to help a candidate win an election are part of the fringe. They represent less than 15% of party membership. They are usually very liberal or very conservative. Politicians can’t vote against these people or they will support another candidate.
The problem of false wedge issues:
There are issues that both parties have for decades supported but couldn’t agree on the content to pass legislation. Today those same issues are wedge issues. If one party is for something, the other party is against it. For decades both parties have wanted some form of universal health care and now it is a wedge issue. The Trans-Canada pipe line has its pros and cons but it is a wedge issue with one party talking about the pros and the other party talking about the cons. The list keeps growing.
The problem of Independents not having the power of an entrenched Party:
Independents need unification and while “unified-independent” is an oxymoron, there needs to be a platform that attracts a voting block in order for moderates to advance from the Primaries and compete in National elections. That platform needs to attract moderates from both parties and include a provision to exclude puppeteers.
The Moderate Independent Party (MIP) would need money but maybe individuals that run for office under the MIP flag would not be allowed to receive more than $20,000 from any one source or receive money from a PAC but until election reforms are instituted, the MIP could.
Sorting Out the Three Parties
The Libertarian Party is not included here because it has had time to succeed and I consider it a failed Party.
- Demographically has the oldest set of white Americans as members.
- Philosophical roots are tied to the aristocracies.
- Marked by elitism and respect for authority.
- Include a disbelief in natural equality and a general disinterest in public participation in politics.
- Believes in trickle-down economics.
- Want to reduce entitlement spending, i.e. Social Security, Medicare, Universal Health.
- Supports private school voucher systems.
- Tend to be skeptical of both community investment and attempts at social engineering.
- Members often have strong emotional ties to single issues such as Right-to-Life and Right-to-Guns.
- Highest percent of members are located in rural areas.
- Are less supportive of a path to citizenship.
- Support deporting undocumented immigrants.
- Desire to weaken laws pertaining to the environment and banking.
- Support corporations.
- Demographically has the youngest set of Americans and broadest ethnicity as members.
- Philosophical roots are tied to immigrants of middle and upper middle class.
- Marked by advancing the good of the community before the good of the individual.
- Desire cultural diversity and commerce.
- Supports entitlement spending, i.e. Social Security, Medicare, Universal Health.
- Tend to support strong communal institutions.
- Supports public education.
- Are more likely to proselytize American culture to the rest of the world.
- Value a large tax base and government funded infrastructure.
- Supports strong minimum wages and higher education.
- Members often have strong emotional ties to single issues such as Pro-Choice and LGBT.
- Has mixed voting records on gun control.
- Highest percent of members are from large metro areas.
- Support strong laws to protect environment and restrict riskier banking practices.
Moderate Independent Party
- Demographically would have the most middle age set of Americans as members and although much smaller than the Democratic and Republican Party, would be the swing vote that decides elections and passes legislation.
- Philosophical roots are tied to Quakers, German farmers, Hispanic settlers, and frontiersmen.
- Generally is dominated by the middle class.
- Ethnicity and ideology is not a priority.
- Political opinion is moderate to apathetic.
- Believe Government should benefit ordinary people.
- Marked by live-and-let-live mentality.
- Includes a group that fully support a strong government financed infrastructure that creates jobs and supports commerce but do not want Federal government to intrude in their lives or the lives of people in other nations.
- Includes a large segment that is generally pacifists.
- Includes a large segment that believes in community advancement but not social engineering.
- Composed of a large segment that are known for being independent, self-sufficient, adaptable, and work-oriented.
- Generally believe in diplomacy backed by strength.
- It’s a party that, while it does not include activists or emotionally charged single issue adherents, can draw moderates from the other two Parties.
- It’s a Party that wants Cabinet Appointees to be moderates.
- It is a Party that fully accepts these words from The Declaration of Independence: “We foremost hold truths to be self evident, that this nation was conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
- It is a Party that is the bridge from New York, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area that that gives us our strength in finance, media, entertainment, and technology to Texas, Michigan, and the Plains that gives our strength in energy, world-class engineering, and a cornucopia of everything from oil and gas to foodstuffs.
- It recognizes our country’s great advantage– the complementary nature of its economy while recognizing the burden large cities have from the migration trends of rural populations to urban populations.
While Americans have moved from state to state, job to job, young to old; there has been a political battle for control of the direction America takes. The direction is dependent on how we incorporate into our voting these words from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:
That government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth and shall have a new birth of freedom.
Does America move in the direction where we believe that all people are born free and equal before the law, that we all possess at least certain minimal rights that have to be mutually respected, and that we are capable of self-governance?
Or, does America move in the direction where we believe we are born into bondage, that our liberties are granted as a privilege, that most of us are not capable of self-governance, and that only a very few of us should enjoy the full blessings of liberty.
None of us can make that choice independently if we too tightly identify with a Party because members of a Party typically succumb to group think and we won’t make that choice independently if we are a single issue voter.
I wanted to give a shout out to this Face the Nation interview with Daniel Pink.
The first and most important responsibility of any corporation is to be economically viable. Sometimes unions and employees have to cooperate and agree to wage and benefit reductions and sometimes there is a need to increase the pay of managers who are the difference between failure and success. Sometimes workers will have to increase productivity without receiving a pay increase. All this is especially true when all are included in profit sharing and the alternative is closing a factory or shifting employment to low-wage sites abroad.
That works for large big ticket companies like General Motors or Caterpillar but not for manufacturers of small lower cost products. Labor intensive, repetitive, low skill jobs will continue to move off shore and won’t come back. In their place should be large scale infrastructure jobs. The exception should be those repetitive jobs that could be performed in American prisons.
America got the cart before the horse when repetitive jobs were either sent off-shore or mechanized. It blew a hole in the middle class before investments were made in infrastructure. America’s infrastructure was crumbling as fast as wages were dropping or disappearing and wealth was shifting to fewer and fewer.
In America’s earlier years, the wealthiest like Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford and others introduced the principal of charity. Hundreds of millions of dollars were donated without the benefit of a tax write-off to help the needy. At that time there was no Social Security system, no Medicare for the elderly, no unemployment pay for the jobless. There was no help for battered women and children or the physically handicapped.
Those charities couldn’t keep up with the needs of Americans and in the 1920’s there was a shift from individual philanthropy to corporate philanthropy. Business leaders established pension plans, employee stock ownership and life insurance programs, limitations of working hours, and higher wages. They built houses, churches, schools, and libraries.
There was a depression and a World War.
Then, during the following 30 years, the largest middle class in the history of the world was created. CEOs during that time earned about 20 times what the typical worker made and both the economy and worker wages doubled. That 1:1 ratio of income growth to growth of the overall economy was why we had a great middle class.
The next 30 years was different. The economy doubled again but the incomes of the typical American worker did not increase. CEO compensation did though. During the last 30 years CEO pay has gone from 20 times to 200 times that of their typical worker.
The richest 1% used to have incomes that represented about 10% of a corporation’s compensation costs and now it is 20%.
The rising income inequality has resulted in less money being collected for Social Security. That’s because the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) collects taxes on wages that are less than $118,500 (the max). People that are out of work or have jobs that pay less than those they used to have, pay less into Social Security. Those whose incomes rose stop paying into FICA after their wages on wages over the max.
Get rid of the max and install a FICA tax on all income whether reported on a W2 or Form 1099 and Social Security is solvent and eliminates the need to increase the retirement age or reduce monthly payments, or squeeze Cost of Living increases. That is not part of any tax plan being considered in Congress. Why?
America’s tax laws are complicated. Corporate tax rates are high but because of loopholes, the amount of tax they pay is reasonable. Lowering the rates and eliminating the loopholes makes sense and take away a myth that corporations in America are taxed higher than elsewhere. America’s GNP doesn’t seem to have a direct correlation to the tax rate.
The wealthiest today, unlike Rockefeller and Carnegie, are less interested in philanthropy and more interested in maximizing wealth. Huge donations have been given to politicians and in return, they want tax laws that benefit them.
It’s not only FICA that people with large incomes are not fully contributing to; they also pay a lower tax rate on income that is reported on 1099 forms than what most of America to pay on incomes reported on W2s. Interest income, dividends, bonuses, etc are reported on 1099s. Why in a fair world would anybody accept that elites should pay a lower tax rate than the majority of Americans? It takes a closed and gullible mind to think that that benefits anybody but someone that doesn’t need that kind of subsidy.
What America needs is for Congress to pass a huge infrastructure bill that is designed to replace all the jobs that have moved off-shore or become mechanized?
The need for an estate tax is greater now than ever before. The gap between the wealthiest 2% and everybody else has widened. The upper middle class is shrinking and the lower middle class is growing.
Get the tax issue right and we could balance the budget and have a sustainable Social Security and Medicare for all.
Alcohol is slippery–it helps you slide out of the past and put you into the present while stopping you from getting traction to move into the future.
Alcohol steals moisture and hydration, it takes fluid from the brain and bones, and dries the skin and liver.
EEGs of alcoholics have revealed an inability to produce the alpha waves generally associated with feelings of relaxation and comfort. However, theta and alpha waves increase following the use of alcohol. This can be expected considering the drowsiness and relaxation are common effects of alcohol. Therefore, alcoholics may be self-medicating.
Neurofeedback (NFB), also called neurotherapy, neurobiofeedback or neurofeedback biofeedback is a therapy technique that presents the user with real time feedback on brainwave activity, as measured by electrodes on the scalp, typically in the form of a video display, sound or vibration.
The aim is to enable conscious control of brainwave activity. If brain activity changes in the direction desired by the therapist, a positive “reward” feedback is given to the individual, and if it regresses, either a negative feedback or no feedback is given (depending on the protocol). Rewards can be as simple as a change in pitch of a tone or as complex as a certain type of movement of a character in a video game.
Harvey Mackay: “Occasionally I compile a list of my favorite morals from the past couple of years. Be my guest to share them!” Considered them shared. Thanks.
- Whatever you’re selling, you’re selling yourself first.
- Don’t presume what you assume is correct.
- If you live by a great value system, your life will have great value.
- Accountability is the ability to accept responsibility.
- You are only as happy as you decide to be.
- To be a standout, you must stand for only your best.
- Some of the best lessons we ever learned, we learned from our mistakes and failures.
- A sense of humor is almost as important as our other five senses.
- Be respectful or be regretful.
- Don’t let excess stress get in the way of extreme success.
- Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success.
- Even if you can’t achieve perfection, you should never stop trying.
- Unhappiness always seeks to get. Happiness always seeks to give.
- If you want to have the time of your life, make the most of your minutes.
- Great brainstorms should produce plenty of en-lightning!
- If you are persistent, you will get it. If you are consistent, you will keep it.
- Clean up your act, or be prepared to clean out your desk.
- Your job is always to make someone else’s job easier.
- You can’t buy confidence, but you can sell it!
- Parents teach lessons even when they think no one is watching.
- You are only one question away from success, if it’s the right question.
- Negotiation is not just about winning, it’s about win-win.
- A little hiccup won’t end your career, but be careful not to let it choke you.
- Confidence is keeping your chin up. Overconfidence is sticking your neck out.
- Optimists are people who make the best of it when they get the worst of it.
- Persuasion is an art. The tongue can paint what the eye can’t see.
- Talk is cheap, but misunderstandings can be costly.
- Let curiosity turn “I don’t know” into “I want to find out.”
- The biggest mistake you can make is pretending that you didn’t make one.
- When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at often change.
- When you talk to yourself, make sure you listen carefully.
- Don’t let your fears get in your head – get ahead of them.
- Take control of your attitude before it takes control of you.
- Don’t worry about what you could do if you lived your life over; get busy with what’s left.
- A little spark can lead to a blazing success.
- You don’t have to uproot the whole tree to turn over a new leaf.
- Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.
- Optimal customer service is not optional.
- Don’t let your mood turn into your doom.
- The hardest sale you’ll ever make is to yourself. But once you’re convinced you can do it, you can.
- When life tests your mettle, nothing succeeds like an iron will.
- Solving employee turnover is easier when they own a piece of the pie.
- Selling isn’t rocket science – it’s people science.
- Humor is more than funny business.
- The friendships you cultivate will help you grow.
- It’s just as easy to look for the good things in life as the bad.
- Make your stumbling blocks your stepping stones.
- Admitting your own weaknesses is a sign of strength.
- Hope is what allows us to remember yesterday’s disappointments and still look forward to tomorrow.