Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

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SUNDAY MUSINGS

October 12, 2014

THE ‘WALMART” EFFECT

I’m not a farmer nor a seed manufacturer, so the Sybngenta/Viptera Corn GMO and China’s complaint in STRIB today was not a familiar topic of discussion to me. That said, the statement that made the most sense to me came at the end of the article.

It, indeed, looks to me like China’s rejection of Viptera Corn is simply a play to get desperately needed product at a lower cost. Once they did this with cotton prices; so why not try again with corn.
Part of me says US should just say ok; we won’t ship you any because we are not stopping how we produce and price the product. Those who go to extreme measures to get their own way should be ignored – just as a parent ignores a tantrum-throwing child.

Unfortunately, China is much better at propaganda and tantrum throwing than the US is at disciplining the child that is acting out. They know they can manipulate the US sense of fairness and get their way with a “mea culpa” and a lower price….even when the product is A-OK!

(CEK Note: And no, I did not get why this was called the “Walmart” effect – and then never explained)

FROM APPLE PHONES TO CHILDREN’S E-BOOKS

Frequently I find myself drawn into the “hype” of Apple as I teeter on the edge of giving up my android/T Mobile relationship dating back to my first cell phone….and opting for the Apple instead.
Then from the back of my brain comes the memories of those awful days of the 80s when Apple was a client and I spent so much time in Cupertino. Yes, they were right when they said they were going to change the world. They had the vision and the savvy to introduce a product no one else had-that did indeed, “change the world” to what we refer to today as the “digital world”. Yes, they also introduced a new work culture of casual dress and Friday afternoon “celebrations”.

And yes, they openly demonstrated the ”hubris” that goes along with the genius of that new invention-even to the point of telling me that if I dared arrive one more time at their office dressed in business attire (required by Carlson for any of us flying on an airline pass in those days) that they would refuse to meet with me. ( Hence, I carried the casual outfit in my carry-on and changed in the SFO APO before heading to their Headquarters.) Then there was the time they were in Minneapolis; we were dining with Curt Carlson in the Retreat and they decided to share with him that they thought he and Carlson Companies were “out of touch” with the world!

There have been many an invention since Alexander Graham Bell that has reshaped the world as we knew it- some good; some great; some with unforeseen consequences. And Apple ‘s idea that changed the world is no different.

For instance, I saw one of the negative consequences in the STRIB just this morning. A new debate has surfaced of e-books vs real book use for children. I, of course, with real books in every room in my house vote for the real version…and it appears the latest studies concur. Screen time may teach interactivity skills, but apparently it fails to teach reading skills. Hmmm.

So for now, I will continue to hold out…at least against a new Apple I-phone. I don’t need a $650 smartphone; I will keep cheering for the little guys in this battle – this time the One Plus: $299 gets you a phone you own. Even when you add a “carrier” fee – you save a lot of money.

Guess nothing has changed for me. I usually support the little guy to win in the end. I suppose that’s the result of my personal experience working with the big guys all those years in a past life!

THE IRAQ WARS

Does it NEVER end? It is simply unconscionable that almost $20 billion in CASH ($5 billion via electronic transfer; the remaining FLOWN in) during the Bush JR “reign” was never accounted for! Nor did the Bush Administration even attempt to investigate how it disappeared.
And apparently some ($1-2 billion) stolen and moved to Lebanon was not pursued by the Obama Administration either.

THE FERGUSON OCTOBER …

The tragedy in Ferguson is building towards acts of civil disobedience planned for Monday. I can only imagine another cop; another shooting; and what will happen then!
As I read this, it was almost Deja vu….this feels like my own early college days in the 60s fights for civil rights…50 years later it’s still happening…

…WHICH BRINGS ME TO:

Not just the marches/protests, but it leads me once again to another question that keeps rattling around in my brain. Did Obama really turn into the non-performer the Press keeps saying he is…or is the disdain for him rooted in anxiety over change or perhaps the color of his skin?
The White Boomer Male – particularly from the land of Dixie seems totally oblivious to a new world dawning in this century that clearly has new rules. Those rules remain a “foreign language” to many Boomers- not just Traditionalists.

My newest theory is that as long as the Repos can keep the Press complaining about the “in- competencies” of Obama, there is no time to review/evaluate how we got into all the messes they are complaining Obama has not fixed.

A commentator this morning said the voters were “weary” of Obama screw-ups.
I am weary, too- I can hardly stand to listen to national news. I keep thinking anyone who watched “The Roosevelt’s” should be taking pause to rethink issues we have with our current president. The story of two great American leaders – one a Repo; one a Demo- was full of missteps by each of those “great “ Roosevelt men.

We certainly know in our time the presidents from Kennedy on faltered and screwed up – some more than others – the whitewashing of Reagan into a national Republican hero included!

There is not an American alive when asked “could you do better” (than Obama) that could honestly say YES. They could do it differently; with the help of hindsight, they can promise “better” on old issues; but every day they will be forced to experiment on NEW issues that did not even exist yesterday. Unless they can “walk on water”, they most likely will muck-up on occasion – just like any President who has come before.

EBOLA vs ENTEROVIRUS D68

So the first child died of enterovirus D68 this week. It is reported that 691 people in 46 states have contracted this disease.

Will someone explain to me why we spend 50% of all news time on Ebola despite the same answers from experts over and over and over while meanwhile, almost 700 times the number of US children are already fighting enterovirus and now one has died?

Are children “expendable” in our world today or what am I missing? Seems like facts show we are worrying about the wrong illness!

AND FINALLY…”MIRACULOUS EXFOLIATORS”

Microbeads in facial washes and toothpaste cannot be destroyed. Because of their size, water-processing plans cannot filter them out and they eventually end up in the ocean.

They are already in the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River and now, fish and soil are being checked.
Are you kidding me? We are spending how many dollars so American women “maybe” can look younger?

Meanwhile, I cannot tell you how many times I get asked what I use on my face (since apparently, that is one part of me that seems to be aging ok) When I say “water-no soap but occasionally a little rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball” people do not believe me.

And I think to myself…”Well, if you don’t wear poison on your face, you don’t need water-, earth- and fish-threatening “stuff” to get it off!” Amen.

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NOT JUST THE 2003 IRAQ WAR…

March 7, 2014

But the Gulf War a decade before!

Rachel Maddow is not my favorite of the MSNBC personalities- but GOOD JOB last nite on IRAQ – why the Gulf War and why little Bush had to follow in the same footsteps as his father, and WHY I FEEL EXONERATED.

For 14 years I’ve been saying IRAQ had NOTHING to do with 9-11 – the second invasion of that country was totally a Cheney/Bush/Condi and others plan LONG before Sept 11.  My position has always been that and caused a good many “heated discussions” among some good friends.

So now my position has been backed up with lots and lots of written documentation, footage, and interviews finally available at least to the Press….and although I am exonerated personally, it makes me sicker than it did as it was happening…because at least then, there always was that little chance that I was wrong. 

Now we all know, the dirty ugly way we started the 21st century with yet another Bush administration was in fact reality.  All those who died, or were wounded, or whose lives were deeply impacted by time spent fighting that unnecessary war did so for oil….led by men whose money came from the Oil Industry.  Makes me sick. 

And of course, one will never know, but perhaps if they had been a bit more FOCUSED on protecting the US , maybe they just would have picked up a signal or two that the emerging phenom of terrorists  that had certainly shown its ugly head in the Clinton Administration was not Democratic bumbling, but something they needed to “key an eye and ear” on.

Of course, I still have that second theory of motivation for it.  BIG Bush went into the Gulf War, accomplished his limited mission (no matter what you think of that mission) and got out…even though Cheney and others were advising otherwise. Then Cheney saw his chance by manipulating LITTLE Bush  in the dawn of the new millennium.  Remember MAMA Bush famous quote re Georgie Jr:  “He’s not my brightest son”.  No kidding.  I’ve always suspected that Cheney manipulated Little Bush by appealing to that “I’ll show him; I can do it better” little boy mentality about his father.

And although I am probably wrong, I can’t stop my mind from wandering to the same question I was asking post 9-11.  Why did we go to war in Afghanistan?  Yes, they were “harboring” the man who planned 9-11.  But was the Bush Administration so full of hubris they really thought they could WIN a war that Russia had fought endlessly there with no good results?  Did they forget we ARMED the very people we were now going to fight against?

Was there ANY attempt to do what Obama finally planned and did- kill Osama bin-Laden?

And do the Bushies and the evil Dick Cheney have ANY regrets for their missteps?  Or, was it just the macho cowboy BS we had to put up for the whole 8 years LITTLE Bush was in office?  He should have started painting earlier, if you ask me.   That has thankfully, kept him out of sight and out of mind. (although I continue to have this nagging thought…does he really see himself as another Eisenhower-a great General who became President and then retired to become an artist?)  YIKES!

And for all the repos who have been against Obama not just because he is a Democrat, nor for the color of his skin, but because he voted NO to going into Iraq?  Yes, those same ones that started the spin already on today’s crisis…Obama is weak; we need to get tough and go in, confront the Russians, and push back. 

Just take one minute and ask yourself.  Is this 1950? 1960? 1970? 1980? 1990? 2000?   We don’t have such a good track record in our wars through those sixty years, do we?    We have ended neither the FIRST one in Korea, nor the LAST one in AFGHANISTAN…so now, I guess, we have to revert to our winning tactics…world wars with more deaths or a long cold war while all the little kids have bomb drills and hide under their desks to survive a nuclear attack.

One more time….Being against war is NOT Unpatriotic despite the Bush propaganda machine; and what is wrong with trying Cooperation and Collaboration and Compromise? It’s not as macho, but just maybe…we could save lives, money and achieve something peacefully.

 

 

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SUNDAY’S REALITIES

March 3, 2014

CRIMEA and the UKRAINE

It’s been a long path to “nowhere” since Florence NIghtingale almost 160 years ago or to the Yalta Conference of 1945. But, although time passes, the Black Sea, the Crimea and the Ukraine remain a flashpoint threatening world peace.

I understand the key elements here revolve around Soviet KGB style-thinking Putin, a key military advantage in the 1940s, and Russia’s fears that their lease on land to house that massive fleet and navy personnel of theirs may be in jeopardy.

But step back and think about that.

Is the US, its allies and the world really ready to be drawn into that conflict over housing a fleet-much more important 75 years ago than it is today? Not so much, I think.

I know for most, the horrors of that war live only in a textbook. But as a student of Dr. Deutsch at UM in the 1960s, I certainly have a different perspective, and even so, no solutions. I just keep thinking how ironic it is that Khrushchev is the one who gave the Ukraine the gift of the Crimea in 1954 and 60 years later, they want it back. So they have only themselves to blame, from my warped way of thinking.

And equally ironic is that in this current disagreement in which Russia fights for a home for its Black Sea fleet, they encounter once again the Tators whom they deported from Russia in 1944…a people whom they have been trying to eliminate since the 18th century. The Tators represent some 10-15% of all those that live in Crimea. Will they deport them one more time, or in good Soviet stead, will they just kill them this time? And then what will the we do?

With all this reeling around in my brain, I took a break from the STRIB and tuned in to “Meet the Press”.

I expect I will be viewed as the one out of step, but that Meet the Press discussion today attempted to paint Obama as the weak, out of touch leader who won’t put war on the table. I was particularly concerned about a phrase repeated over and over (paraphrased as- ) “This conflict between the Russians and Obama.” What?!! Most of them sounded like Putin was justified in invading a foreign country – simply because Obama did not threaten war.

Everything that panel said; every position they took REINFORCED old out-dated 20th century thinking – just like Putin represents old Soviet Union thinking of the 20th century. I felt like I was caught in a time warp and had been whisked away back to my youth. And shame on me; I also thought Obama was the President of the United States; not just a name of some individual stirring up trouble against a foreign country. But apparently I was wrong- at least in terms of our national news position as heard on Meet the Press!

It was a very scary moment as it pointed out we have very few open minds or minds that understand the impacts of this giant shift being revealed to us as we move into the 21st century. I felt like I had been transported back in time fifty years to an old COLD WAR era before we learned there could be a better way than wars.

Of course, none of us have the expertise to know what lies ahead, but we sure all seem to be mimicking the mistakes made by the experts as the 20th century was born. Remember those that knew best then and led us into not one, but two world wars? Seems to me, we at least should TRY alternative options that might be available before we point fingers and draw up troop movement plans.

Little did I know a panel on Meet the Press would become not only the prosecutor of the President of the US on trial, but also the judge and jury of our land. Personally, I call what I witnessed just more evidence of the hubris of the Press today.

NUCLEAR WASTE LEAKS

Meanwhile, as we stand on the precipice of yet another war, it seems to me we have an equally important situation for which we cannot blame the Soviet ghosts we see everywhere. No, this one we caused ourselves and although it was not even worthy of mention on Meet the Press, the STRIB gave it space in not just one, but two articles this morning.

“Worry about Leak at Nuclear Dump Grows” at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant – and outdoor unprotected storage site at Los Alamos; and new reports of problems at the Washington State Hanford nuclear reservation where design and integrity of storage tanks are being questioned in “Safety of Waste Tanks Doubted” article.

Those both seem to be strong signals to me that we’d be best served to get 1940s-1960s disagreements resolved soon so we can turn our attention to the mess we have made of our work ever since!

NICOLLET AVENUE

And now back to something I really DO know a little bit about. Although I object to building a “Nicollet Island” in the midst of Nicollet Mall, I applaud the progress towards correcting the K-Mart urban planning mistake made at Lake and Nicollet.

Indeed, my drean would be to eliminate this foolish error made by the white man and reestablish the native people’s connections from the Mississippi River all the way to the Chain of Lakes.

And with that worthy dream, I’ll get back to re-ordering my desk for the new life that awaits me tomorrow.

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NSA HEADLINES AGAIN

December 18, 2013

I think Snowden and the NSA is a good example of generational differences we all struggle with in our world today.

On one side are the Traditionalists and early Boomers who remember not only PARTYLINE phones and 4-digit phone numbers, but telephone operators and neighbors listening to our phone conversations,  McCarthy witch hunts, constant threats of nuclear war, air-raid drills in grade school, and scary confrontations with the Communists/Soviet Union…all elements that represent the 20-25 years of life in the world emerging post-World War II…and the rise of US dominance in that world.

Patriotism and pride in our country trumped what we viewed as inconvenience in communications.  As a country, we all could relate story after story of how that early precursor to the CIA gathered data to aid in the “war effort”…tapping phones  and telegraph systems to gather information that helped us win a world war-eventually stopping enemy attacks against our country from Pearl Harbor forward.

And so, in general, we had an out-dated perspective when we experienced terrorists attacks of the 90s- first off-shore, and eventually with 9-11 on our own soil once again.

Unfortunately, a very different world had emerged in America by 2001, and we were still governed by traditionalists and early boomers who made some significant miscalculations as they combined WWII-era thinking and 21st century technology to “fix” the new emerging problems and attacks.  And as I continue to say over and over, what worked and was applauded in 1950 is a great misfit in today’s world.

For all the good that can be credited to the Greatest Generation and the emerging Boomers – they also pushed hard for the changes and advances in technology that soon outgrew their wildest imagination… without really understanding the consequences.

Not only that, they raised later-generation Boomers, Gen X-ers, and Gen Y offspring with very different perspectives.  “ME FIRST”, “I know better”, “I’m worth more” reigned supreme; the idea that “no pain; no gain” was lost.  Individualism emerged with all its foibles AND advantages.  It led to different thinking and technological advances that have changed the world–one more time…and brought with it both good and bad attitudes in our “American” thinking of “what’s best”.  With that came the birth of the NSA…perhaps one of the last contributions of 20th century thinkers but fueled and criticized by emerging leaders for the future.

However, there are no “tested” rules for this emerging group of leaders…just as there were no rules as we progressed through a colonial life to an agrarian society powered by slaves, to the beginnings of industrialization and eventually, a century of world wars.

Every transition in our history has been painful; so far, every transition has led to a better, stronger America, and every transition has needed leadership…not from the elders but from the visionaries of the young – working WITH the elders to prepare us for the future.

Transitional leaders do not always emerge as heroes; they make mistakes, they change their course based not on “here is how it has always been done” but on “here’s the vision of where we need to go; I am willing to explore the best way to get there as we search for a path through uncharted territory together.”

If we reflect on the past, those early visionaries of change often seem to be lost; but in the end, they teach us not only how to get “there”, but also how to avoid costly detours along the way.

I supported Obama for President (twice) for just that reason…he was grounded in a world I knew and understood, but he represented new thinking that reflected the need for change, for testing new approaches as we forged ahead into unknown territory for which the playbook was yet to be written.

I do not support Snowden as a whistleblower for exactly the same reason – in reverse.  He witnessed something he did not agree with.  He chose not to have a dialogue with anyone on how best to proceed for the good of all, but chose a path of instant “personal recognition” with very high risks – to himself, and to our country.  His actions continue to beg for the spotlight and not for a discussion and solution. He chose a path he knew would bar him forever from the very country he said he was concerned about.  Why?  I can only believe it was for instant gratification, personal fame and recognition-not concern for the country or its citizens.

With roots so firmly planted in the second half of the 20th century, I recognize that without constant monitoring, I am subject to that immediate post-WWII thinking first, and then slowly, listen, learn, and rethink.  That paid off for me as an early “pioneer” of women leadership in the business world.  I disagreed with the attitude of the times; I did not draw attention to myself with rowdy protests; I quietly outsmarted the system, changed attitudes, and helped break ground for the advancement of women in business.

And so, Snowden’s approach is unthinkable to me.  Traitor/Spy vs Whistleblower ?  Although I believe his motivation was personally motivated, in the end, I think he will prove to be both.  He has made us focus on NSA and given us an opportunity to discuss what it was meant to be, what it is, and if/how adaptations can be made in the 21st century context going forward.

Yet, Snowden’s individual immediate gratification, “ME FIRST”, “I know better” attitude has hurt the very country that give him the right and freedom to speak out.  I think there was a better way.  Craving spotlight and fame, he chose not to take a preferred route.  For that he will never be a hero to me.

Nevertheless, we as Americans, still have to address the issue.  What is the NSA; what is its mission; what are the wins and what are the risks?  And are they worth it?

And then, for me, is the second question:  Why do we object and protest when the government gathers meta-data and yet most of us seem JUST FINE with the hours stolen from us every day by the corporate world doing exactly the same thing?

 

  • How much time do you spend watching commercials on TV-targeted to you because commercial spying reveal your habits?

  • How much time do you spend scrolling through hundreds of unsolicited e mail commercials you receive every day because commercial spying reveal your habits?

  • How much time is stolen from you deleting, unsubscribing and blocking unwanted commercial intrusions because commercial spying reveal your habits?

  • How much time do you spend on-line trying to get rid of pop-up commercial intrusions as you search for a fact or data you need/want because commercial spying reveal your habits?

  • How much junk snail mail does your postman deliver (and how much do you PAY the government to PAY him) because commercial spying reveal your habits?

  • Why is it okay for the commercial world to intrude, take over your life, brainwash you into believing you have a NEED for something you did not even know existed?  Why is it okay for corporate executives to be paid $millions annually to SPY ON YOU; and pay their workers minimum wage for doing the dirty work?

THEN ask yourself what the big deal is with NSA having your phone number.  Do they bother you with incessant robo-calls all evening?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TUESDAY MORNING CLEANUP

November 12, 2013

I don’t like Christie’s political views but I do like his attitude for the most part so I was a little taken aback to read yesterday he took a position that Obama “lied” about healthcare.  Again, Obama did not lie.  The one year “bridge” insurance policies all are up in arms about were grandfathered out of the Affordable Health Care Act WITH THE CONDITION that issuing insurance companies would NOT ADD new policy holders.  Unfortunately, the corporate insurance world ignored the law and added new customers because, of course, they were not making enough profit as the audience  naturally dwindled…as existing customers became employed, qualified for Medicare,  were picked up on parents coverage because they were under 26, etc.  So, did the drafters of the law not see this coming is a valid point; they trusted the insurance companies to comply with the law.  And once again, the insurance world proved profits trump customers over the law and did what they wanted to do.  It was not a lie; Obama trusted the insurance companies and he and all those that voted to pass the Healthcare Act should not have done so.

Of course, I did not hear the actual statement made by Christie, so perhaps the “lied” was Press hyperbole; or perhaps with winning the second term as Governor, he now must shift gears as we’re “ONLY” two years from the Presidential election.

How sad it is that I am already hoping both Presidential “front-runners” fade to black.  Hillary had her chance; it’s time for new blood,   As for Christie…conservative, I’m not.  J 

We can only hope that our own example here in Minneapolis of taking a firm step into the 21st century by electing a young woman as Mayor supported by  a team with multi-cultural backgrounds to help us along the path to 2040, will become a model going forward nationally. 

Unfortunately, we have one big glitch.  The problems of the Republican Party national meltdown make the predictions for the future a bit hazy …except to know that they are already playing the blame game with their whining and cry of  “HE (that devil known as Obama) made me do it!”   

Oh yes, where were the Benghazi Headlines

And speaking of Republicans-what did they have to say  when they learned the main “witness” in Benghazi to the “mishandling of the situation by the US”  now revealed he was NOT EVEN THERE? 

One would be laughing at their stupidity if it were not so sad as Graham and McCain simply cannot acknowledge they did not have all the “facts” and were duped by a publicity-seeker, so they swore they would not back down!  The Angry Old Men will not give in so perhaps this will turn into a comedy as well, as they “stand their ground” and loudly protect a fame-seeker backed by a portion of the PRESS that did not do a good job of vetting the story!

Enough is Enough

And while I am on my soap box, we have the French and the Israelis posturing over first steps in over forty years to possibly move in right direction on Iran.

 Frankly, I dismiss the French….we continue to treat them like a world power when in my mind, the last time they were was when they supported the Colonies in the Revolutionary War.  Yes, a little exaggeration there, but come on, in the 20th century, they did not exactly cover themselves with glory.  And now they vote NO to a possible break-through in the mid-east that has been a tinderbox for 75 years!  

But the French aside, it is Netanyahu that I find hard to take.  Confession:  I have never liked him; I think he plays the martyr just a bit too much and over and over interjects his opinion as if he reins superior to all other international leaders. I’ve tried to talk myself into giving him a little leeway, but there is a part of me that says…he spent too much time in Massachusetts with Romney and enough is enough!

The WORLD is not ruled by Israel.  They cannot break every rule of peace and then point fingers at others.  They cry “persecution” every time they disagree.  Heretical as it may be, there are times I wish someone would point out that it was Christ, not Netanyahu, that walked on water.  He, like the rest of world leaders is just a human, with a right to his opinion, but certainly does not belong on a pedestal; sitting in judgment of other world leaders.

And then there is Christianity

Lest I get labeled anti-Semitic, I should make the point that although I believe God in general has a place in our government, I do not accept that any particular faith has a place.  Freedom of Religion to me means ALL religions – not just Christians like me, and I get rather irritated at our Right Wing political factions that wish to rule by Catholic Catechism.  They are welcome to their beliefs, but the Catholic Church is NOT synonymous with Christianity, and even within Catholic Church, they demonstrate daily they are merely human like the rest of us.

Certainly the Mpls/St. Paul Archdiocese is juggling evidence of that!  Finally, when issue after issue brought sexual misdeeds in the clergy to the forefront, MPR did a story on the facts, and Nienstedt now has pledged a PARTIAL LIST of predators and sex offenders will be released.    How caring of him!  Or is that just caring of his position of power?  Or maybe, quietly, he was reprimanded by the Pope.

Why remains to be seen but the fact remains that this “list” will not include offending priests that have left the Diocese, died, those removed from the priesthood, or priests accused of sexual misconduct with adults  signals to me all I need to know.  Nienstedt’s heart may be “heavy for the victims”….but he will continue to protect the institution over the flock as best he can.  Don’t expect a “cleansing of the temple” here.

And on a national level, we learned that Right Wing Republicans are not happy with the new Pope. I found that article in the STRIB very enlightening.  The issue centered around “church doctrine” NOT the teachings of Jesus as found in the Bible – recorded by those who witnesses His life.  That tells me a lot.

Finally, Sports Figures Idolization

Those who know me well know I am not a big football fan-although it holds my attention on occasion much more than baseball. 

First, I find it boring as they do more standing around and regrouping than they play – which is why 60 minutes gets stretched to 2.5 hours on a regular basis. Second, I have to question why we are so enthralled with a sport that pays players incredible amounts of money to put themselves in great physical danger.   And third, my personal experiences with several have shown me those held up as the great heros are OFTEN found lacking.  Oh yes, on occasion, I watch part of a game –partly because it is expected, partly because  of hometown pride-but generally, I am also reading a book at the same time so that I do not get too bored.

Add to that, my experience interacting with these guys at various Super Bowls in my incentive travel life, or the 1992 Super Bowl here, the Taste of NFL, or certainly the NFL Player of the Year Awards evenings  have shown me time after time that many of these guys are NO heroes! 

This latest stir-up about bullying is just one more thing to add to my list that reminds me I AM NOT THE CRAZY ONE.

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THE EVOLUTION OF MEET THE PRESS

October 28, 2013

THE EVOLUTION OF MEET THE PRESS

We got our first television in the late 50s – and MEET THE PRESS became a “Must See” event in our family.  It has always been the weekly resource for well–researched current events that reported without a bias, and gave equal time to multiple sides of an issue- whether that be political or otherwise.

Enter David Gregory.  For a long time, I thought it was just me.  I didn’t particularly care for him, but I felt I was not giving him an unbiased chance simply because I was so vested in his predecessor, Tim Russert .  However, over time, I became more disenchanted…sometimes to the point I would just turn it off.

Sunday might have been a turning point. 

My first clue was when the Governor of Kentucky pushed back on Gregory and flatly told him he was wrong.  Hmmm…Gregory is the Moderator, not the opposing viewpoint, right?  What is wrong with this picture?

Next, we had a single guest – Andrea Mitchell.  She was introduced as NBC’s expert  and together she and Gregory had a public discussion about Obama…filled with ”Is not”, ”will not”, and ”did not”  which culminated  with  a justification that Obama was wrong and weak based on Saudi Arabia and Israel’s  unhappiness with him.

Even at this point, I am thinking:  OK, Cheryl…the whole world seems to think this is a mess Obama created; perhaps you should rethink some of what you understand to be the situation.

And then the conversation transitioned to the latest Snowden leak.

And Meet the Press failed the test.  (see below)  They did not even bring up the most important question.

I shut off the TV because Meet the Press in my mind has crossed the line.  Instead of reporting and discussing news of the day and its possible impacts, its mission has evolved to “GOTCHA”.

It makes me sad that this oldest program on TV, long the friend of America, has fallen into the pit of sensationalism and ratings only.  Although, it does free me up to get to church ON TIME instead of a few minutes late!

 

MY PLEAS TO THE PRESS:  Just the facts AND THAT MEANS ALL the facts:

The latest in the Snowden epic is a release of a document that indicates eves-dropping activities from 80 US embassies and consulates.  It included several countries in Europe we consider our allies, including Germany.  Here are the dates I can find so far:

2002       NSA MAY have included Merkel’s personal phone in the dragnet

2005       The document leaked by Snowden indicates Merkel’s phone number was accessed.  However that document reveals the number being caught in the dragnet, but one cannot determine if the number was actually listened to.   

2009       Obama is inaugurated as President of the United States.   (NOTE:  This is at least four years and possibly seven years after the reported incident occurred.)

2010       NSA reports to Obama they have the numbers/are eves-dropping. I presume the actual date of that is recorded someplace, but I could not find if it was January or December.

20XX      At some point, NSA was told to STOP by Obama. Obviously, someplace there is a record of that.

20XX      Snowden steals document – I am sure by now, investigations could tell us the date it was stolen, but I do not have at hand. Nevertheless, the impression from Press was “IS”  listening in not WAS listening in.

2013       Snowden reveals the leak.

2013       Obama/Merkel phone call;  Obama assures Merkel the  US is not now nor will in the future eves-drop on her conversations.

Now, I am not a reporter; I am not expected to be the one who digs into the facts, but really, am I the  only one in the world that wonders why the dates above in red have not been revealed?  And am I the only one in the world that recognizes this began in 2002 and NOT after Obama became President?

I’m just saying, fill in the blanks and report the story in full.

 That was the reputation of what Meet the Press would do in the past.  That is not the story of Meet the Press today.   This may indeed be a major misstep that can be attributed to President Obama himself or it could be a risk taken that starts a movement toward meaningful conversations and actions; or it may be a twisted fact that sells magazines, newspapers and TV program ratings.    What I most fear it is that some of the continuing propaganda is being seeded by the Tea Party who are so intent on discrediting Obama as a man that they forget some of the spin discredits us as a nation.  And as a citizen, that really irritates me.

 

MY OWN TAKE ON THE MIDDLE EAST TODAY

For as long as I can remember, the Middle East has been an issue…early in my growing-up and adult life, it was trumped by Viet Nam a bit, but it has ALWAYS been a delicate balancing act because we have brought together in a very small place three major religions of the world (READ:  Commitment and Emotion) and a whole lot of oil (READ: Economics and Riches ….and somehow, that all means trouble.

Of course, we need to heed voices of concern from Israel and Saudi Arabia re Iran and Syria…but we also have to acknowledge that bellicose confrontations have not yielded results in the Middle East despite 45 years of trying to out-shout one another.

Of course, there is a possibility that movement in discussions toward eliminating chemical weapons and  nuclear capabilities could all be a ruse…but it could also be an opening to talk to one another and initiate possible change.  Does anyone expect that Israel will be worry-free (or even happy)?  No, but responsible countries cannot ignore the possibility that change could ultimately come and the bellicose confrontations and threats have not achieved much to date except death-so I think it is worth the effort to test it.

So when I read headlines like “Syria files plan to destroy (chemical) weapons” and “Anti-US signs ordered removed in Iran”…I continue to think:  “It’s working; proceed with caution; and see where this takes us.”

Of course, those complaining that Obama is foolish and weak; Obama is not following through; and all the other common Republican talking points that the Press has swallowed up as truth are really MOST INTERESTED in short term results – the Press wants ratings so they can keep their jobs; the politicians want votes  so they can keep their jobs.  And too bad about the viewers and readers that are searching for the truth.

Neither seem to understand  changes predicted for our world are here and now-not something that might happen in the future.   The Digital World has connected us all and that change alone calls for collaboration and compromise.

Unfortunately, all we know is WIN /LOSE, military might and wars.

All I can think of is another headline today that is also pretty thought-provoking – “Iraq crumbles under new attacks.”  To me that raises the question – how much money did our little boys spend playing live war games for ten years and with what result?

Sometimes I think that men will never give up their toys; thus their inbred-looking-backwards stupidity will be the death of us all.

 What I DO know is that in my mind, Meet the Press has moved from a thoughtful trusted resource to Edutainment at best.  I only hope the “evolution” has not stopped there but will survive this hiccup and that soon it will right its ways and continue on.

 


 

 

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EXONERATION?

September 28, 2013

A couple days ago, David Korn had an “Eureka” moment and speculated that perhaps what the “world” viewed  [READ:  The Press] has thought was bungling and weakness – just MAYBE was exactly what the Obama campaign in  2008 said he would do.  Unfortunately, he was not able to immediately implement what he promised as our economic world had collapsed at the end of the Bush administration, and their two wars had also gone a “bit off track”-to put it mildly!  As a result, Obama was forced to spend his first four years in office cleaning up the messes left by the neo-cons before he could move forward with his own agenda.

Remember that campaign?   “Diplomacy before War?”   Remember why you chose him over McCain who also has not changed his stance –” war first, then think about other options”.  Remember those initial moves Obama made to implement his thinking that did indeed lead him to be named as winner of Nobel Peace Prize?  We probably all remember the brouhaha over that.   But how many of us remember the Obama discussions of a “Just War” that accompanied that recognition – along with the reiteration that diplomacy should always come first?

Let’s not forget that as he entered office, it was very evident that his own agenda had to be put on hold as he mopped up after the Bush campaign.  Do we remember how surprised we were when he reached out to –not a friend- but Hillary Clinton to carry the ball for him as Secretary of State …so that diplomacy still remained the focus even if he, himself, was distracted?

Fast Forward to last week.  As it unfolded, the US proceeded with “caution”:  The Syria situation seemed to be moving forward in the right direction and Iran’s Rowhani seemed to be making positive overtures.

And yesterday, history was made TWICE! 

For the first time since 1979, heads of US and Iran had a conversation!  And for the first time, the UN Security Council approved a resolution on chemical weapon use and stockpiles in Syria.

By yesterday at noon, Andrea Mitchell was backing off her negative leading questions and  comments ; by evening, Rachel  Maddow  joined Chris Hayes on MSNBC for a long discussion that furthered David Korn’s statements earlier in the week.

As they looked back at what has happened leading up to Syria and the stance on sanctions in Iran, they recognized that quietly, without a lot of fanfare, Obama was acting exactly like he did as a Senator-and doing exactly what he said he would do during the 2008 Presidential Campaign.  In fact, they had a “eureka” moment.  It all made sense now that Hillary became Secretary of State and covered a million miles  rebuilding diplomatic relations around the world  for the US! And it made sense that John Kerry was selected to “carry on”.

Why, they even speculated that he had NOT put campaign promises aside after all. Instead, recognizing he had his hands full with the Bush economic disaster, he strategically picked Hilary to keep a strong focus on foreign affairs  while he mopped up the messes at home.

Has he been exonerated?  Probably not yet. 

Has the 20th century perspectives of Press, Congressional leaders and the general American people finally figured it out?  Probably not yet.

No, it will take some time to break the habit of applying 20th century norms to a 21st century thinker…but finally, there is a leak in the dam those angry old birds put up to protect themselves, and soon the dam will fail.

But for all those Americans that did not become disillusioned, discouraged and disappointed, but continued to watch patiently understanding the first to forge a new path often stumbles and falls and is “hit in the face by the brush” as they make it easier for others to follow…I say, YEAH TEAM! Indeed, “it’s working” and I , for one, feel it is almost exoneration time – even though I know that will only totally happen when the naysayers are GONE and Obama is viewed from a less emotional historical perspective.

Nevertheless, it’s been a good week….despite the Repo suicidal bent not only on their own destruction, but that of our country!

 

 

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FEDERAL RESERVE and OBAMA: Muck Up or Genius?

September 18, 2013

Tuesday, Lee Shafer’s column declared Obama “mishandled” the appointment of a successor to Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

The Fed is coming up on 100 years old, and nothing quite like this has happened before.  For those who care abut sound economic policymaking and stability of the Federal Reserve, this is nothing short of depressing.”  Or at least – so sayeth Lee Shafer.

I read that this morning; then worried about it all day.

Another confession is required here.  I’m no expert on the Federal Reserve; I’m no expert on the history of the Federal Reserve.  I am merely a person who raises a red flag WHENEVER I hear “this is how we’ve always done it.”  And I raise that red flag because over a long career in the business world, I generally suspect that is simply a mark of someone who does not like change – no matter whether it is a little change for the better, or a BIG change that could shake up their safe little world.

So I won’t try to advance a financial argument here; I will just say “what if” Shafer’s assessment that President Obama simply mishandled this appointment is what is wrong?

I normally give Obama the benefit of doubt…simply because he represents a new generation who think differently than I do but is much more in tune with the world of today then most of us.  He can be a risk taker which is also appealing to me. And he makes mistakes.  But as far as I know, in over 225 years, we’ve yet to find that President that hasn’t made mistakes – at least in the eye of the opposing party.  And with the constant Press focus on “gotcha” to create a headline, it is sometimes hard to figure out if some of this is manufactured hype for ratings…or real.

All that aside, IMAGINE if you will, he wanted Yellen (key word here is consensus builder) but feared he’d be in trouble because appointing a woman has never been done “in almost 100 years”.

Or, IMAGINE he really wanted to appoint Donald Kohn and needed to float the relatively unknown name first to get a reading on whether it would be acceptable?

Who knows?  I’m just sayin…Not ever done before is not all bad.  Especially when we live in a world that has not ever been seen before.

 

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MEET THE PRESS REACTIONS to “Unprecedented Actions” about Syria:

September 15, 2013

I have watched this unfold from a different perspective than most…I watched with a brain full of ideas and thoughts I’ve gathered in the last ten years as I noticed a new way of thinking emerge in 2004-6.  I have experimented with that way of thinking  in my business with unbelievable good results, even though it was a “messy” way of doing things. And so, I don’t think of myself as that borderline traditionalist/boomer – I think of myself as an older person who sees a bright future ahead and tested that in the business world.  That continues to impact my business; it swayed how I voted in the last two elections, and has allowed me to watch Obama as the first president experimenting with a philosophy that will rule the 21st century.  And it keeps me re-evaluating over and over and still thinking our BEST option going forward is with Obama and other 21st century thinkers leading us carefully through the mine fields.

Indeed, it may cloud my thinking on Syria  so I am not feeling the same gloom and doom as I watch Obama maneuver through this latest crisis in Syria.  No, we are not the world fixers; and Syria is definitely not a clean right vs. wrong situation…so I was okay with cautiously remaining on the sidelines as the civil war progressed.  And I was okay with the use of chemical weapons creating a new crisis because it did cross a “RED LINE” – which was set almost 100 years ago-despite the spin politically to make it an “Obama Red Line”.  I have been okay with the behind the scenes negotiating attempts one last time; even as Obama went from saying “I am undecided” to “yes, we have to demonstrate consequences” and then went off to G20 for one last attempt to get the Russians to help control their stepchild.  As that all played out last week, I did not see that as weak; I saw it the continuation of testing consensus and collaboration as a governing style.  I was proud and hopeful.  Of course there are risks; of course there is Putin playing games; of course this will not bring ever-lasting peace to the Middle East.  Excuse me, but the middle east was at war throughout most of the history captured in the Christian Bible.  Do we really think we go from an ever-lasting mess to ever-lasting peace all in one week?

The only thing good I can say for sure about my thinking as I sat down this morning to watch Meet the Press is that I admit I am conflicted, and do not see this as BLACK or WHITE, and I still had hope to learn more as I listened to experts discuss their views.

9:00AM brought me into my miniature den to learn more.  I listened to the pros and cons (mostly negative comments) and I continued to come to the same conclusion I have reached in the past.

Judgment and advice are all wrapped in a myth – that myth that the US can continue with 20th century thinking and actions; it is as if we can reset, do it again and get it right.  We could have been discussing any number of world “crises” that have come before.  Each commentator (with the exception of 1-2) had a position- staked out over 50 years and that was the RIGHT way – no matter what.  A telling comment slipped out at one point – “the last victory we had in the Mideast was under Jimmy Carter.”

NO one challenged that, so if that’s the case, perhaps we need to RETHINK  what our expectations should BE about the mideast. It has been the cause of most skirmishes and political discussions my entire adult life.  If we have not figured it out in 50 years and “put them on the correct” path, perhaps it’s time we pause and ask why are we doing this.  Are there other options?

We don’t because we know the answer- we do it for OIL; that gets tangled in RELIGION; and then we wrap it all up in PRIDE…Pride that tells us that only the Americans know the right way to do anything… and we have been charged somehow with bringing democracy to the world – so all peoples can share the good life of the Americans…even if that Good LIfe is mostly concentrated in the top 1% of our citizens, and some think at least 47% cannot be helped. 

Really, folks?  One of these days, I would like to see Meet the Press take a little risk.  Instead of asking the  old men and women who are so tightly trying to hold on to influence and power, perhaps we should have a panel of 21st century commentators – perhaps we should acknowledge the US is not all aging “angry old birds” .  Those young commentators? They are not all Obama fans; they are not all wanting to go off to war; but they THINK DIFFERENTLY.  And that is the important thing.  Give the world a chance to hear how Americans coming INTO leadership positions think and why.  This old bird thinks we would be a better country for doing so.

 

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OBAMA AND SYRIA

September 11, 2013

I woke up this morning thinking…why am I still conflicted on Syria; why can’t I seem to be as strongly  “YES”  or “NO”  as everyone around me?  I made my coffee, unfolded the paper, and read the headline ”Obama Backs Diplomacy; Keeps Strikes as Option”  and decided….I need to sort this out in my own mind – everyone else I know has.

Who is the man named Barak Obama?

Obama is anti-war in general; as a senator, he voted NO to the Iraq War…one of the few at the time that, like me, was not drawn into the neo-con nonsense.  I had watched 7.5 months of the Bush campaign and preparations to go to war against Iraq that started the day he was inaugurated; and I was leery.  I believed then, and I still believe, that the Neo-Cons manipulated Little George into a position of war to show up his father and finish a job that George Sr. did not finish.  And then 9-11 happened; masterminded by a man NOT from Afghanistan; but by a man that  took refuge there; so despite the fact history had just shown us the difficulty of winning a war in Afghanistan-based on the Russians then recent long attempt- we went to war without Congressional approval…..a war that is 12 years old and still continues.    So yes, Obama voting no to war was a good signal to me.

Obama was concerned about the Syrian civil war but clearly drew the line on entering a war and putting Americans at risk.  The US offered aid when it could be assured that aid would not end up in Al Qaida hands.

 Of course, that put Republicans against him; united in the belief that he is weak in foreign policy…because it does not follow the bluster of the second half of the 20th century; but then, SO FAR, it has not yielded wars that drag on and on and on…think Viet Nam; Afghanistan; and Iraq.

Most Americans were relieved we were not jumping in; many of us were still troubled that through the longest war since Viet Nam, the Bush Administration had given NO THOUGHT to what war in the 21st century would be like….NO THOUGHT to the kinds of injuries that would be incurred; NO THOUGHT to increasing veteran services to accommodate returning wounded soldiers – both physically and mentally.

All that was left to Obama; along with the slow process of ending the Iraqi War, working through a plan to extract us SOMETIME soon from Afghanistan; and trying to play “catch-up” with getting help for all the GIs that followed the Bush command to go to war. And let’s not forget to add to the list that in 2006, the Bush Administration started stockpiling cause and money to extend our wars in the Middle East to include Syria as well…Had McCain won the Presidential election in 2008, I have no doubt we’d be in the thick of that war as well – with similar disastrous results.  Fortunately Obama won.

Seriously, folks, do you really think what he inherited made him a war-monger?  Come on; get real!

Take a deep breath and think of the timeline.  The most recent chemical bombings happened on August 21 and were well-documented.

For some amount of time the battle of what to do raged inside the White House.  How many times did we hear Obama say “I’m still undecided”; and how many times did you hear the Press criticize him for that?  How many times did you hear your favorite commentator say:

“He’s ready to bomb; can’t he just wait for the UN inspectors to get out?”

or

“What is he waiting for?  The battle ships are in place.  If he doesn’t do it this weekend, we will lose the advantage of surprise?

Really folks, do you REALLY think anyone interested in the world wasn’t listening in on your constant evaluations?  Even in pre-WWII days, the world knew a debate was happening in the US so you can be sure, the world was tuned in to the blathering Press this time around.  But maybe the blathering  gave good coverage for the President to work through the possible action steps.

Nevertheless, through all that, I was hesitant and confused.

  •        I voted for Obama twice because he thought differently than our 20th century leaders.
  •         He was a man that believed leadership was reaching consensus through discussion-not unilateral decisions based on “power”.
  •          He filled his Cabinet and advisory positions with a mixture of folks- both Republican and Democrats that were experts on the task     at hand.
  •          I voted for him as the best representative of an emerging USA of the future.  For me that meant:

 

    1.    No ingrained philosophies of the good old boys; he was an independent thinker
    2.    A strong belief in consensus building through collaboration-something I know from experience on a smaller scale yields GREAT results, but is very “messy along the way
    3.    A first step in US leadership that reflects the USA of 2040 – multiculturalism
    4.    He was not an “angry old bird” from my generation trying to protect a myth that those of us who came into adulthood by 1970 “KNOW BEST”

So in spite of doubts, I reminded myself to watch the signals- he was doing exactly what I should expect.  He was preparing for retaliation, but he was struggling- as war goes against everything he believes in, and he was sharing that with the American people.  Over and over, he said he was undecided.

This brings us to the weekend before the G20.  The Press had already decided war was beginning that weekend as he had to do it before he left for Europe.  What?  Would any responsible President start a war on Sunday and leave for Europe the following week?   Well, obviously had the Press been in charge, we would have been foolish enough to do so.

Remember Andrea Mitchell bitching about the cost of repositioning the warships if they were not going to be used, and What was he doing playing golf on Friday with a war starting the next day or so?!!!

So that weekend, I went back to the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize and the discussion of “Just Wars”.  I read again the yeahs and nays and was reminded once again why I voted for Obama twice.

He is not a man of the world in which I was born, grew up, and formed my beliefs.  He’s a man suited to leading us in small steps to a better world of the 21st century.

I will not always agree; I do not have the same perspective.

But I believe his hesitancy was real; his actions were based on assessment of divided views within his advisory groups; and that it was well worth the delay that weekend to give diplomacy one more chance to work as he put a hold on action and tried one last time to work out an equitable plan with Putin at the G20, while Kerry continued discussions with his own Russian counterpart.

Personally, I think they fooled the Press…one more time…and now we have a reprieve-short as that may be.

Of course the naysayers and the Press will continue to shout WRONG – the wires were burning with Andrea Mitchell’s attempt just this noon.  She even did a whole segment on Nancy Reagan running the government as she questioned why Obama mentioned Michelle.

 No Andrea, I think most of country heard him say:  This is really hard and I know most people do not want war – I do not want war; Michelle does not want war.  THAT is totally different than the spin you are putting on things because of your own personal opinion…and forever more, I will think less of you for your presumption that as a reporter you know more than the President of the United States.

But as I look at what’s unfolded and how…I’d say one more time, his country underestimated a man of the 21st century.   As we continue to judge him against old standards that obviously did not quite make our world a better place for all.  Today’s 12th anniversary of 9-11 is certainly a testament to that as are the resulting wars that still continue with or without us in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the incredible debt piled up for starting  and paying for those wars on a credit card.

Obama is the first to try to blaze this new trail into a whole new world where no precedents have been set and for which there is no tested playbook.  Will he be right all the time?  Probably not, but will he have done a better job than all the Angry Old Birds including McCain and Andrea Mitchell?

I think so; so I’m sticking with him.