Category Archives: Future

Why Are We Slipping Behind?

The Coming Conflict

War isn’t inevitable, conflict is. What do I mean?

I recall a friend telling me, if two people think alike, there’s no need for one of them. This sounds humorous or perhaps cavalier, but at it’s core we can identify a universal truth. Individuals have their own opinions on almost anything, and depending on the persons involved, will argue their point of view until one or both find resolution or at least a willingness to co-exist.

The fundamental issue at hand, is how do we communicate with each other and by what method(s) do we resolve our differences?

Abraham_Lincoln_emancipationHere’s an overview; person 1 thinks that all purchased chicken eggs should be brown. White eggs are deemed inferior by person 1. Person 2 thinks that any egg is a good egg, and therefore will purchase white shelled eggs sometimes, instead of brown ones. Of course this seems a silly example to some, but I’m using it to explain my point, rather than take a current issue, already in play which would tend to steer people toward discussing an issue, rather than the point I’m making.

If person 1 lives with person 2, a potential conflict exists. Several factors come into play, but we can see there are things that can be done to resolve their conflict. Conflicts arise but need not escalate if the individuals involved can come to an agreement. If this were two people living apart, then maybe they would talk about brown eggs vs. white eggs, and no matter the outcome, it’s likely to be settled in a congenial way. After all, why fight over eggs, right? Well, I’ve seen couples fight over lesser things, and they can almost come to blows over such things as, tooth paste caps not being placed back on the tube, the direction of toilet paper unrolling, kitchen cleanup, personal choices in shoes, clothes, hair styles, etc.

Whenever we look at humans, and attempt to describe the cause of their problems, we can spend a lot of time blaming things external to the cause, or focusing on debating the topics of the conflict. What’s really missing is the knowledge on how to resolve conflicts. We can blame the schools, religion, politicians, our spouse, or our peers. Although there’s plenty of blame for any problem to encompass several groups, there’s really one huge elephant in the room.

st_patricks_day_revelersOur society has moved from an agrarian based economy to an industrial, and on to a service based economy. This fundamental change removes people from their individual direct survival (farming), to living near a common populous work center, and having to learn to live and work with people outside of immediate family. This seems like a recipe to help people learn how to resolve their differences and avoid escalation of conflict. In reality, we have become less capable, more emotional, and more willing to escalate, after our differences are made known.

We are beginning to see healthy family relationships are core to problem resolution. Studies show a more likelihood for success of a person, based on two parents actively working to care for and raise their children together. A child learns many things from their care givers. If the biological parents of a child are unable to resolve their personal issues, where does the foundation start for learning conflict resolution? In fact, many people are choosing to not become married, or stay with the other person with whom they made a baby. The child may learn some things from a single loving, well meaning parent, but they don’t learn first hand, how two people resolve their differences.

The child grows into an adult, at least physically, but what do they know about handling emotions? As much as people write about how men and women are equal, they often overlook their fundamental differences. I see many women asserting their right to be who they are and choose what they want for themselves, but what does that suggest for interpersonal relations? Can they set aside their desire to make something of themselves in the world? Can a man choose to be responsible and caring, perhaps even willing to stay at home and raise the children if the mother is the more productive income earner?

Men and women are different but there’s a strong desire for women to be more like men. Men on the other hand, are labeled toxic if their inclinations are ‘traditional’. We can debate what those inclinations are but in the past, those differences weren’t identified as shameful or toxic, and a woman who wanted children, learned what made their world work so they could have a family and perpetuate another generation. She was often the ‘taming’ force for good in a relationship, and the man most often the less emotional.

accomplishment ceremony education graduation

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Once again, we can zero in on what a man or woman’s roles should be, but that misses the nature of how do we train future generations to be responsible for themselves, and not blame others? … And that as I see it, is our biggest failure. We’ve fallen into a trap of irresponsibility for our behavior. We seek to blame others or at least shift our part of the deal to some agency outside of the home. It’s been said, “it takes a village to raise a child”, but if that village doesn’t do any better than the originating family, we’re not going to improve.

The child grows into a man or a woman. They find their work day world less than all of what they hope. They haven’t an organization that builds them up as a group and helps them find purpose, so they gravitate to what they individually think gives them a purpose. Sometimes though, we need our batteries recharged. We might turn to ‘social media’ and there we find… more conflict. Everything we haven’t learned about dealing with differences of opinion, on ways to find common ground, or even the desire to find common ground, are often absent. Instead we call each other names, bait one another with questions designed to make us look clever and the other person, lesser.

We have another clever outlet for our discord, the news media. They’ve learned to earn market share and increase their revenue by constantly stirring up things that will lock us in to their point of view. Instead of truly being informative they foment discord for money, and the results are obvious. We’re even in disagreement as to where we get our news, and the relative trust we can place on the source.

I could write much more on this topic, but my main thoughts are, it’s not the other person’s fault, its our own, and the reasons for our failure, I believe start within the home. An incomplete family unit fails to provide all that’s needed to go forward in this complicated world. When two people declare they love each other and want to make a baby, what are they really saying? Til death do us part, or quit after the 50th time I told him or her to flush the toilet. How we engage each other, what we choose to say in discussing our preferences or point of view, go back to earliest formative years. If we didn’t gain some healthy conflict resolution by age 12, what happens to our abilities when we no longer have any cushion, coaches, mentors, or methods to deescalate? Instead, we’re left with people demanding conformance, and fanning the flames of those differences to the point of in some cases, coming to blows.

Compromise means different things to different people. Finding ways to get along creates a healthier atmosphere and avoiding the eventual, inevitable conflict. If we fail to work though our differences in the home, how does that impact our world?

USA_armed_forces

We might call on these organizations less often if we learn how to deescalate and get along.

The Best Course is Discourse

Keeping it real

Not being fake or influenced. Being true to yourself and your values, more importantly, being true to internal values that most people acknowledge and respect.

brain waves

Must engage brain!

I was confronted this morning by a family member offline about some things I said online.

The “backroom” conversation was triggered from remarks I made about their post on a social media platform. It had to do with the originator suggesting how difficult to remain a “centrist” in the milieu of ideas coming from polarized speech and media.

Rather than revisit all which was said in those pubic and private conversations, I continue to believe that discourse is necessary, in order to make headway and to understand what other people think. This person didn’t share that opinion, and not only deleted what I said, they blocked me from further comments.

Allow me to kick the can down the block a little further, if you’re a registered user of WordPress, your opinion is invited.

When two ideas about any given topic are presented, and they are opposite, logic dictates the following possibilities.

  • They’re both wrong. This means neither opinion is correct and either they discuss it until they understand the fallacy, or they agree to disagree. Those are the best case scenarios.
  • One is right and the other is wrong. This doesn’t mean one is completely right, and the other is completely wrong, it seldom is that clear. Once again, they discuss it until they understand the fallacy, or they agree to disagree.
  • They switch sides, choosing to think as the other one did before, but realizing they have come to a better understanding and decided their original opinion was wrong.

OK, that last one is highly unlikely. What often occurs now, there’s a desire to shut down, censor, delegitimize the other person or group’s argument. This is accomplished like it just it did with me, or banning people from social media.

Here’s the train wreck that’s coming, and we’ve seen it before throughout history. When there’s no longer a platform for discourse, then tempers flare. The outcome is seldom pretty. I’m not advocating anything “unpretty”, but the observations are all too obvious, repeated on the streets around the world, as well as throughout social media.

We sometimes applaud people who are absolutists. We even elevate them to levels of leadership, but there’s also a toxic side to this, ‘my way or the highway type of group think.’ It seldom advances anything of value.

I’ll illustrate this point through a hot topic, (yes puns are allowed), climate change or global warming. Once those words are said, people take sides, but perhaps if you’re not closed-minded, you might want to watch this opinion segment on a Joe Rogan podcast. It frames the climate change argument and solution with scientific precision. There’s something here for everyone to learn.

I’ll preface the video with this; any topic deemed so sacred that it can’t be questioned, needs further examination. This control from authority or power must be questionable or it wouldn’t need this level of authority to suppress.

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Why Think For Yourself?

I graduated high school in 1971. Like many of my peers, and as I’ve listened to other people around that age, we don’t necessarily have a life plan when we’re that young. It’s not unusual for many to think recklessly, or think they have a long time to live. Hopefully, most had enough time and experience, sensible ideas took over their thoughts.

Not knowing what I wanted to do long term, I saw a need to make a commitment and start out with a set of steps that could enhance my future. I wasn’t terribly patriotic, however I saw the divide which had been brewing for some time. That divide was primarily over the Vietnam war, but it also included civil rights, and a host of other grievances people had. I saw many of my contemporaries believe their government had wronged them and some would protest, while others refused to stand at high school football games when the flag was presented and a pledge of allegiance might be recited.

Standard boot camp picture in dress blues

MCRD San Diego 1971

I was already forming an opinion about the world around me, and knew I had limits to my sphere of influence. I knew I could make choices about my own life, which reflected how I thought. I knew actions were far more important than rhetoric, and in the summer, I enlisted in the Marine Corps.

I didn’t really know what to expect. I entered without support from my mother. She thought I would be killed in Vietnam. Her brother, my uncle had a son that became a Marine about 10 years before me, and my uncle said I wouldn’t make it. With those ringing endorsements, coupled with a high school friend who said he was going in with me and backed out, I had my concerns. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my own abilities.

Me - recruit side profile

As a new scared recruit

What followed were 13 weeks of learning more about myself, than I knew before going in. I found out I could do a lot more physically and mentally than previously imagined. I owe some of that to a Staff Sergeant and lead Drill Instructor. He kicked, punched and choked me into becoming a Marine. I know that sounds terribly harsh to those who never had the experience, but there’s more to it than just that description. Physical challenges, and the choice knowing you can drop out if you can’t “hack it”, were actually motivational.

Over the next four years, I was awarded honors by being first in my class. I gained promotions and given greater responsibility. I look back and recall how fortunate I was from this experience.

comm-elec-school-marines-b

Training was ongoing throughout my time. The Marine in the lower right didn’t have much longer in the Corps at that weight.

That winter of 1972, I returned home to Minnesota. I ran smack into that divide of opinions over the military, with or without the uniform on. I even had a car full of young men pour out to attack me while waiting in my car at a traffic light.

Caravan of Fools – John Prine
Love and devotion
LP-record-imageDeep as any ocean
Don’t play by anybody’s rules
With your carousel of horses
And your own foreseen forces
You’re running with the caravan of fools

baseball_dirty_1This blind anger by people who didn’t know me personally, oozed its way around me and others who were in the military. A real eye opener was when I volunteered for color guard duty and was 1 of 3 Marines in a brief pre-game flag presentation. We marched 3 abreast around the inside perimeter of Anaheim stadium. The center Marine, a sergeant carried the colors, I and one other Marine flanked him, carrying ceremonial M-14 rifles on our shoulders.

While passing the “fans”, threw things they had in their hands. We were paid very little salary each month. All I could think of, when some of the food or drink cups hit my uniform, I have to pay to clean this after these bums are finished. It made me more angry than humiliated.

There was a little comeuppance that day. The final score:
Milwaukee Brewers 4 California Angels 2

anti-military-protestors-pentagon-67

These foolish people were simply following the prevailing mood, and what they saw others do, in the news. It caused them to become pawns in a routine game of public manipulation through peers and the Television news.

This mindless hatred lasted for several years after I was separated from active duty. People swore at me, assigned behavior and activities to me which I never performed. Perhaps, as the saying goes, time wounds all heels, and I moved forward from one opportunity to the next. The mood of the country changed, primarily led by TV news and the attitudes from peers.

An all volunteer military went a long way towards this change in attitude. People started to recognize there were a lot of young people performing duties and responsibilities which many of them either couldn’t or wouldn’t do.  Some of our national leaders were former protestors. Even their opinion changed when it suited them.

Every American ought to find a way to serve, somehow. It doesn’t have to be in the military. I like the idea that everybody ought to give back something.” – John Kerry

He said that, among the lessons from Vietnam, was that “Americans must always treat returning veterans with dignity and respect regardless of whether a war was popular or unpopular.”

mike_marines_cap_aThat anti-military attitude has changed about 180°.  If I’m wearing a baseball style cap with the Marine Corps logo on it, or people see my license plates with veteran status, I usually hear something quite positive. I don’t live in California, perhaps the prevailing mood there is different.

There’s another populist idea promulgated on Americans that those who have been disadvantaged in some manner of our society, need a wealthy spokesperson to aid their cause. I’m not impressed.

Marines_color_guard_sacrifice_meme

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Why so Much Conformity in the News Media?

There’s not much choice when it comes to your daily news diet. Most International and national news is aggregated through Associated Press (AP) and Reuters.
Cutbacks at rival United Press International in 1993 left the AP as the United States’ primary news service, although UPI still produces and distributes stories and photos daily. Other less often used English-language news services, such as the BBC, Reuters and the English-language service of Agence France-Presse, are based outside the United States.
[CLICK ON THE LINKS TO FIND OUT MORE]

Associated Press is a Not-for-profit Cooperative.[1] Steven R. Swartz is the Chairman. Gary Pruitt is the President and CEO. He was the CEO, president, and chairman of the board of the McClatchy Company. The AP has counted the vote in U.S. elections since 1848, including national, state and local races down to the legislative level in all 50 states, along with key ballot measures. AP collects and verifies returns in every county, parish, city and town across the U.S., and declares winners in over 5,000 contests.
Corporate Headquarters
200 Liberty Street
New York City, New York

Steven R. Swartz became president and chief executive officer of Hearst, one of the nation’s largest diversified media, information and services companies, on June 1, 2013.

Hearst’s major interests include ownership in cable television networks such as A&E, HISTORY, Lifetime and ESPN; global ratings agency Fitch Group; Hearst Health, a group of medical information and services businesses; 31 television stations such as WCVB in Boston and KCRA in Sacramento, Calif.; newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle and Albany Times Union, more than 300 magazines around the world including Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s BAZAAR and Car & Driver; digital services businesses such as iCrossing and KUBRA; and investments in emerging digital and video companies such as Verizon Hearst Media Partners, Complex, BuzzFeed and VICE.

In 1994, London-based Associated Press Television (APTV) was founded to provide agency news material to television broadcasters. In 1998, AP purchased Worldwide Television News (WTN) from the ABC News division of The Walt Disney Company, Nine Network Australia and ITN London.

In April 2013, AP stated that it had dropped the term “illegal immigrant” from its stylebook. AP follows ABC, NBC, and CNN in not using the term. Jose Antonio Vargas commended The Associated Press for its decision.

Washington, D.C. bureau reporter Christopher Newton, an AP reporter since 1994, was fired by AP in September 2002 after he was accused of fabricating sources since 2000, including at least 40 people and organizations. Prior to his firing, Newton had been focused on writing about federal law-enforcement while based at the Justice Department. Some of the nonexistent agencies quoted in his stories included “Education Alliance”, the “Institute for Crime and Punishment in Chicago”, “Voice for the Disabled”, and “People for Civil Rights”.

Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest international multimedia news provider, reaching billions of people every day.  Michael Friedenberg has been President of Reuters News and Media Operations at Thomson Reuters Corporation since December 3, 2018. Previously, he served as global CEO of IDG Communications, a media, data and services firm, leading the company across 147 countries.
Corporate Headquarters
333 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario M5H 2R2 Canada

A Few Billionaires Own America’s News Media Companies

In May, 2012 Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Company announced the purchase of 63 newspapers, including 23 dailies, from the debt-ridden Media General Company. The transaction was a course reversal for Buffett, who earlier had said he wouldn’t buy newspapers, and created a major new player in the industry. It also left Media General-whose history with newspapers dates back to the mid-1800’s-with only one remaining daily, the Tampa Tribune, which many predict it will still try to sell.

Prominent journalists like ABC’s Christiane Amanpour and former Washington Post editor and now Vice President Len Downie serve on boards of operations that receive funding from George Soros. This despite the Society of Professional Journalists’ ethical code stating: ”avoid all conflicts real or perceived.”

6 Corporations own almost all of the TV and Cable Outlets. There used to be almost 90.
{ This is an update to the graphic linked in this post. }
Verizon owns AOL & Huffington Post
Comcast purchased NBC from GE.

illusion_of_choice
Have you ever committed a “HATcrime?” It’s the new crime of wearing a hat that “triggers” deranged people.

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[1] One primary difference between a cooperative corporation and a tax-exempt nonprofit corporation is how money flows back into the organization. A tax-exempt nonprofit organization cannot distribute profits to members or investors, while a cooperative corporation generally distributes profits based on members’ participation.