Showing posts with label Politicians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politicians. Show all posts

July 2, 2019

Nike Is A National Disgrace

Nike recalled their sneakers from retailers with the Betsy Ross American Flag.

And they did it right before Independence Day this Thursday.

NIKE is a national disgrace!

Nike, should be standing strong to proudly display the American Flag, but rather they are like the Evil Axis, Iranians, that put it on the heel of their shoe--step on it and spit on it.

This is what we get as a nation when patriotism is turned on it's head, and people that want to bring down this country and destroy it are instead elevated as spokespeople and even fraudulent politicians for it.

Who would've thought after 9/11 that America would self-destruct from enemies within rather than from without. :-(

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 20, 2016

Election Disillusionment

So invariably you hear these days from those that dislike one or the other candidate running for President, that if he/she wins, they are moving out of this country. 

That is apparently how strong people feel in terms of dislike for the candidates--in fact, the most disliked candidates in American history!

Well, I ran into this couple in the Metro.

They were from New Jersey and visiting Washington, D.C. with their daughter. 

They were wearing matching t-shirts that said:
"Election 2016Time To Move To Mars"

Now moving from the USA is not far enough away for people to get from the horrible politics and/or politicians that they can't seem to stand...so next stop is Mars!

As a big time proponents for colonization of other planets, I think this may actually be one of the best things to come out of this election cycle. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 23, 2015

Poli-trick-ians, No Way!

So periodically, I like to take a quick pulse of America.

So I find a way to ask someone(s) what they are seeing and experiencing, and what they think about what's going on in Washington, D.C.

So this time, I asked someone about whether they watched the State Of The Union this week. 

The answer?

No way!

Why not?

They said (as if they heard this little mnemonic from others before), "because, they are all 'POLI-TRICK-IANS!'"

I said, well that's cute, but what do you mean?

This is what they said (paraphrasing):

- They don't speak the truth.

- They just say what they think people want to hear. 

- It's all just fighting between the (political) parties. 


- It's not really about the people. 


- It's not about making a difference, anymore [just about being in and keeping power].


Wow, this was pretty powerful. 

I could sense the anger and frustration. 

Also, the disillusionment. 

Checking in on the ratings, this seemed to jive with CNN (and other news media) saying, "State of the Union was President's Lowest-Rated Yet."

According to Nielsen only 31.7 million people tuned in...that's out of a current U.S. population of 324 million!

On the positive side, the number of tweets was way up to 2.6 million during the hour-long address--how sweet those tweets.

Seriously though, we are here to serve the people...how do we get back their respect?

I suspect that the answer revolves around the following:

- We need to turn from fighting each other to fighting our real enemies like the threat from Islamist Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. 

- We need to break the gridlock and get something done (lot's of things done)!

- We need to stop the political cliches and talk from the heart to the heart. 

- We need to stop thinking about ourselves and focus on the people--all the people (not the middle-class versus the rich, not main street from wall street, not the color or race that you are or aren't)!

- We need to tackle the many big problems we are facing--the national debt, national defense (including cybersecurity), environmental sustainability, raising the level of housing, food, medical care, and education for all, and of course, everything technology and innovation!

We need to go from a perception of poli-trick-ians to genuine representatives and leaders of the people for the people. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 12, 2013

Engaging and Listening

It was unexpected that the day after I blogged about a number of change organizations attracting attention in our society, particularly from our young people, that I saw it for myself on the streets of Washington, D.C.

Yet another change organization--different from the two that I wrote about yesterday--this one called "Be The Change" with three national campaigns currently:

- Service Nation--encourages a year of national service "to tackle pressing social issues."

- Opportunity Nation--advocates for expanded economic mobility for all young people and to "close the opportunity gap in America."

- Got Your 6--seeks to create opportunities for veterans. 

Has "change" just become cliche or are people genuinely looking for something that is missing in today's culture, values, and norms. 

These smiling people certainly seem to be excited about change.

It just makes you wonder--what is it that people are desperately missing in their lives and want en masse to change? How do we help people find that missing link and achieve real enthusiasm for what we are doing and where we are going? 

As leaders, it is our duty to understand and meet the genuine needs of the people...somehow doing this on the street corner by volunteers (as hardworking and noble as it is) seems to missing the larger point of government by the people for the people. 

We need more politicians engaging and more people feeling they are being listened to. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 11, 2013

The Status Quo, No!

Two more articles, this time in Fast Company (Sept 2013) are pointing to the unhappiness of people and the desire to change things.

The first "You Sign, Companies Listen," about Change.org, "the world's petition platform" that now has 40 million users launching as many as 1,000 petitions a day.  Now the site is allowing organizations to respond to petitions publicly and also has a "Decision Maker page," which shows organizations all the petitions against them. 

Change.org focuses on "personal issues with achievable solutions," especially personal stories of injustice. The site is about a carrot and stick approach. Organizations can choose to listen and respond positively to their constituents legitimate issues or "there is a stick" if they don't engage with the hundreds of thousands and millions of petitioners. 

A second article, "Not Kidding Around," about DoSomething.org, which "spearheads national campaigns" for young people interested in social change. Their values are optimism for a sense of hope, rebellion meaning the rules are broken and needs to be rewritten, and empathy to feel others pain so we can change things for the better. 

There is a notion here that the youngsters "have no faith that Washington politicians can solve this problem." These kids feel that "the world is in the shitter" and they want to help create social change. 

It is interesting to me that despite our immense wealth and technological advances or maybe in some cases because of it--creating a materialistic, self-based society--that people are disillusioned and looking to restore meaning, purpose, and social justice.

Things have got to mean more than just getting the latest gadget, blurbing about what you had for lunch on twitter, or accumulating material things (homes, cars, vacations, clothes, shoes, bags, and more). 

People can't live on materialism alone, but are seeking a deeper connection with G-d and the universe--to make peace with our creator and with each other and create a better world where we are elevated for helping others, rather than just taking for ourselves. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 29, 2012

Divided We Fall

Checks and balances in government is a great thing. 

Our founding fathers were brillant in building it into the constitution to place limitations and constraints on unbridled power.

Yes, we the people...of the people, for the people, by the people.

But recent fighting in government has shown that it is lately more about--of the politicians, for the politicians, by the politicians.

Unfortunately, everyone seems to be fighting everyone--not only across the party aisle, but between state and the federal government, and between branches of the Federal government, itself.

How does this work (or should I say maybe not working up to its ideal)--let's take an example:


Yesterday, the healthcare law passed by Congress more or less along party lines, and signed by the President, was upheld by the Supreme Court in a suit brought by 26 states, and is being promised or threatened (depending which side of the aisle you are coming from) to be repealed by the next administration

Ah, there you have it--everyone seemingly going against everyone else and fighting what is considered progress to one side, but is harmful from the other's point of view.

Let's try another one--also just from yesterday:

Attorney General Eric Holder is held in contempt of Congress in the majority Republican, House of Representatives, with Nancy Pelosi, members of the Black Caucus, and other democrats walking out of the vote.  And this is to release papers on "Operation Fast and Furious" in the Justice Department (the Executive Branch) that resulted in the death of a border agent, Brian Terry of another Federal Department, Homeland Security, 11 miles from the Mexican border. But the papers were held under Presidential Executive Privilege from being released to a Congressional oversight committee. Now this turns to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia to pursue or drop, but he is a Presidential Appointee that reports up to Attorney Holder, and could end up the courts to decide.

I can hardly catch my breath now, but a third one this week on immigration:

The Arizona law, with controversial provision SB 1070 that permits law enforcement to check immigration status, when there is reasonable suspicion, of people arrested or detained was ruled on by the Supreme Court, and this provision was upheld. But other provisions were struck down, such as it being a State crime to be an illegal immigrant or to hire one. One presidential candidate, Mitt Romney has called the law a "model for the nation," while the current administration has felt otherwise.

Some would say this is the way it is supposed to work--this is the way we get issues worked through, grievances addressed and ensure fairness, equity, and that the right thing is being done.

But others may look at this and call it partisanship, ineffective, a waste or time and resources, one step forward and two steps back, a circuitous path to nowhere, a witch hunt or as Representative Alan Grayson said a "circus," at times.

With huge threats facing our nation on virtually all fronts--from unemployment and the stagnant economy, to our national deficit, falling global competitiveness, ongoing threats of NCBR and cyber terrorism, not to mention natural disasters, chronic illnesses, human rights, poverty, pollution, and food and water shortages--we certainly have a lot to deal with.

The concern is that if we cannot work and move forward together with common resolve--as partners rather than competitors--to create genuine solutions rather than to bicker about who's right, wrong, and to blame--then divided, we will fall.

We have a choice--unite and put the national and global commons above our own self-interests or yield to an uncertain and most frightening future.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Daniele Bora)

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June 24, 2012

It's The Right Thing To Do

In election season, there is a lot of confusing messaging and as citizens, we are left trying to figure out where to go with our country's leadership next. 

The rhetoric is heating up as each side tries to outdo the other on why they are right and the other side is wrong on the issues and who will be better at leading us into the future. 

- But where is the negotiation, balance, compromise, and win-win for all the people? 

Then of course, there is the blame game that seems to go on too, with politicians saying things aren't getting done because of partisanship or this administration or that's mistakes--this is the finger-pointing. 

- What ever happened to the buck stops here? 

Related, we have others that won't even admit what they've said or where they stand on the issues--first, they may just try to deny it and say they never said it, and perhaps later, they admit they said it, but they didn't mean it quite that way--like, it's a sound bit taken out of context. 

- Is this conviction or just playing to the audience? 

Finally, what are candidates even trying to sell us when they are electioneering--slogans, potshots, sleight-of-hands, political publicists or genuine direction for how to make this country great.

- Is it a person, a party, or a platform that we are even voting for and how does race, ethnicity, sex, religion and so forth factor in to the votes? 

Some commentators, like Peggy Noonan, have rightfully said (Wall Street Journal, 18-19 June 2012) that candidates must find a theme that people can sensibly grasp unto--something that gives a "sense of meaning" for their run.

Ultimately, we need to know who the candidates are as human beings--what is in their soul--what do they really think--and most important, what will they actually do, if they have the power. 

A few weeks ago the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial called "Four Words that Moved The World: 'Tear Down This Wall'"--those where the words uttered by then President Ronald Reagan on June 12, 1987 in a speech in front of the Berlin Wall. 

Reagan told his deputy chief of staff that even though some would be mad at him for saying it, "it's the right thing to do." 

Those six words are even more powerful than the four in his speech, because, especially as a leader, doing--not just saying--the right thing, is everything!

The hard part, as voters, is figuring out who will do what the right thing when they are called on. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Randy Robertson)

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May 18, 2012

Meeting Busters, Come On Play Nice

The Wall Street Journal (16 May 2011) had a interesting portrayal this week of the various types of people that tend to spoil meetings. 

From low to high on nuisance level, these were as follows:

1) Jokesters--"cracks jokes, appropriate or not." 

2) Ramblers--goes on and on and often off topic.

3) Dominators--dictates to others with their opinions.

4) Naysayers--derails progress with negativity.

5) Plotters--passive-aggressive undermines decisions.

From my experience, I would add a few others (in no particular order):

6) Politicians--focuses on coming away looking good instead of on resolving issues. 

7) Positioners--vies for a bigger piece of the pie, whatever flavor it is. 

8) Honorees--comes to take all the credit, and politely thank everyone for their support. 

9) Bystanders--shows up, but can't or won't contribute anything of value.

10) Bewildered--unsure even why they are here, but were told to just show up. 

11) Malcontents--they are unhappy and they show it, so who cares anymore. 

12) Socializers--shares personal tidbits and whispers about where they want to go lunch or for happy hour afterwards. 

For all the meeting attendees out there, life is not a box of cherries, but you don't have to make it the pits! ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Voka - Kamer van Koophandel Limburg)

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March 30, 2012

Democracy Built On More Than Hoya

There is a funny joke that is timely for election season, and it goes something like this...

"It was election time and the politician decided to go out to the local reservation and try to get the Native American vote. 

They were all assembled in the Council Hall to hear the speech. 

The politician had worked up to his finale, and the crowd was getting more and more excited.   

'I promise better education opportunities for Native Americans!' The crowd went wild, shouting 'Hoya! Hoya!'.   

The  politician was a bit puzzled by the native word, but was encouraged by their enthusiasm. 'I promise gambling reforms to allow a Casino on the Reservation!'  'Hoya! Hoya!' cried the crowd, stomping their feet.   

'I promise more social reforms and job opportunities for Native Americans!' The crowd reached a frenzied pitch shouting 'Hoya!  Hoya!  Hoya!'   

After the speech, the Politician was touring the Reservation, and saw a tremendous herd of cattle. Since he was raised on a ranch, and knew a bit about cattle, he asked the Chief if he could get closer to take a look at the cattle. 

'Sure,' the Chief said, 'but be careful not to step in the hoya.'"  :-)

So when candidates get on their soapboxes and promises are being made on the left and on the right, you can only but wonder what is a promise that is sincere and will be kept and what is a promise that is for garnering votes and will be ignored. 

When the mic is unknowingly on and you hear something you weren't meant to hear, it is hard not to wonder about true intentions. 

The New York Times calls these "moments of political candor," while the Wall Street Journal (30 March 2012) calls it "moment[s] of political contempt."  

The Journal asks why we would not be told the truth about intentions with the implication that it is something that the candidates do not want us to know or that we would not approve of. 

Who are these candidates really? Does anyone really know when words are but bargaining chips for winning elections, rather than true commitments of the heart. 

It is scary, when the truth is obscured by empty words that change with the audience, and then votes end up based on false promises, vagaries, and disappointments.

When it comes to elections--Is the truth out there? Does it exist? 

People deserve candor, sincerity, and to know where candidates really stand on the issues, so they can vote for what and whom they really believe in.

Democracy is built on more than rolling hills and valleys filled with hoya--the truth is it's foundation. 

(Source Joke: here and Source Photo: here)


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March 24, 2012

What Are People Hungry For?

In the Hunger Games, the storyline is of the common people being punished for rebelling against "The Capital" generations ago, by having to put up male and female "Tributes" (kids age 12-18) from each of 12 districts to fight it out to the death, while the rich and powerful in The Capital watch, laugh, and enjoy the equivalent of the gladiators in the Coliseum. 

The Games offer a restricted hope to the people--as hope is seen as "the only thing stronger than fear." In this movie, the hope for winning the games is supposed to displace the fear of the central authorities over their subjects as well as any real hope of change, equality, and justice for the masses. 

What the kids and adult fans of this movie seem to be lining up and cheering wildly for with this box-office smash hit is the main character Katniss Everdeen who defies the corrupt politicians and affluent capitalists by fighting not for her life in The Hunger Games as much as for the dignity of the common people in the districts.

From the beginning, Katniss become the first ever to volunteer for the games to take the place of her less adept, younger sister, Primrose, who is selected from District 12; Katniss put her life on the line to save her sister's life.

And all along during the movie, Katniss refuses to be a pawn in the game and simply kill or be killed, but she rises above the fight and acts all the time with humanity, caring for other tributes and generally refusing to hurt others, unless her life is threatened and she literally has no choice. 

For example, she cares for a younger girl from District 11 who eventually is speared to death by another tribute hunting them. 
Also, she cares for her companion from District 12, Peeta, who is injured, and she risks her life to get medicine to save his. 

At climax, Katniss is ready to commit suicide, rather than continue playing to the evil dictates of the authorities. 

Katniss comes from the poverty and ordinariness of the district people. However, her fighting spirit, humanity, and ability to outwit not only the other tributes, but the evil leaders--who play the tributes (and districts) off each other for their own power, permanence, and punishment of the lower class--makes her a hero among the masses who are at the ready to revolt at her simple salute to the people. 

What I thought was going to be a kids movie that would put me to sleep, turned out to be an uplifting experience watching an old, familiar theme of Rocky the fighter win against all the odds, but in this case with the added twist of defying a corrupt government and elitist culture.

I think this movie is appealing to people at exactly a time now where the 99% are simmering and fed up with the shenanigans of the 1% and elements of both the Occupy movement and Tea Party are looking for principles of freedom, justice, and dignity to be restored.

The Hunger Games is not just about the dystopian future society that doesn't exist today, but rather about a historical perspective of people who are craving for the proverbial "dirty politicians" and "greedy capitalists" to put aside their games, agendas, excuses, and pots of power and gold for a more utopian society where all people are created equal and treated fairly with hope anchored in reality. 

(Source Photo: Adapted from here)


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