The failure of the deep state & our path to come together or grow further apart

I read this article (Autopsy of  Dead Coup) by Victor David Hanson a while back.  
 
After the Mueller report came out this weekend I went back and read it again.  A few things stood out when I originally read it and even more so today.  
 
The deep state is by nature cowardly.
 
What James Rutenberg of the New York Times said represented a deep sense of my frustration with many (almost all) of the people that can’t seem to understand why someone can support Trump and not represent all that is wrong in the world.  
 
For those that sincerely want to understand why people support Trump they should watch this.  
 
For an understanding about how James Rutenberg sees the world read this.
 
James Rutenberg in 2016:
 
“If you view a Trump presidency as something that’s potentially dangerous, then your reporting is going to reflect that. You would move closer than you’ve ever been to being oppositional. That’s uncomfortable and uncharted territory for every mainstream, non-opinion journalist I’ve ever known, and by normal standards, untenable. But the question that everyone is grappling with is: Do normal standards apply? And if they don’t, what should take their place?”
 
It’s clear a huge portion of people hate Trump and see him as a threat – maybe even a majority.  But it should also be fair to assume that the other half honestly considers the alternative to Trump just as threatening?  
 
If this country has any hope, honest and reasonable people have to realize that each side is equally threatened at the prospect of their political opponents moving the country further away from their own ideas about where the country should go.  It has been that way since the beginning and it isn’t ever going to change.  
 
What seems different today is how we are dealing with that sense of threat.  
 
We can either 1) ascribe the worst intentions or motives to our opponents or  2) give them the benefit of the doubt that maybe their heart could possibly be in the right place – or a right enough place.    
 
Option 2, is the only real way forward.  And option 2 starts with each of us individually.  It is hard and necessary.  But, it can’t start at the top – it can only start at the individual level.  
 
The alternative is much worse.
 
When problems don’t get solved, things get worse.  They always get worse.  
 
Things either get better or they get worse. They don’t stay the same.  It’s the way things work. That isn’t changeable.  
 
What is changeable is how we choose to view things and what actions we choose to take next.   
 
Doing nothing and choosing not to change is a choice and an action itself.  It will not lead to a good place. 
 
The leaders we have today are a reflection of us.  And they are all taking harder and harder tacks to their sides as opposed to coming together.  The few that try to govern from a point of consensus don’t get any traction.  That isn’t on them.  That is on  the majority in the middle that keeps supporting the extremes – even though they say they don’t. They do.  Elections every where prove that.  
 
The extremes are getting emboldening, the middle is losing power and the majority is being left out of the conversation.  If we want our leaders to change we have to change. 
 
This is not a small thing.  It is the thing.  When the only people left to govern are those on the extremes, nothing will get get done and the only possible next step is Civil War.  The extremes will fight the extremes and the middle will have to pick sides. 
 
And for the people that don’t think they like their choices today, Civil War eliminates all of the moderate choices. 
 
Don’t think Civil War is in the cards?  Ask those people in Rwanda and Sarajevo  if they thought Civil War was in their cards six-months before it was.  Sarajevo was hosting the olympics less than a decade prior to the Bosnian Civil War.  
 
For more on how Civil War is in the cards and irresponsible to deny it, read this article in the New Yorker, where Keith Mines lays out five conditions for civil war.  
  1. entrenched national polarization, with no obvious meeting place for resolution;
  2. increasingly divisive press coverage and information flows;
  3. weakened institutions, notably Congress and the judiciary;
  4. a sellout or abandonment of responsibility by political leadership;
  5. and the legitimization of violence as the “in” way to either conduct discourse or solve disputes. 
Yep.  
 
Looking for some hope?
 
The fact that our President isn’t a traitor or a puppet of Russia is a good thing – right?
 
The Mueller Report gives keeps the country out of Civil War.  If anybody thinks that Trumps folks would have sat still and watched him get removed from office peacefully are delusional.  They already thought the system was rigged against them.  This would have proved their point and justified their actions (in their minds at least).  
 
There is now an opportunity (small as it is) for the country to re group and re decide whether it wants to come together or stay on the divisional course it is on now.  The 2020 Election will allow that to take place in a national debate.  We get to pick what that debate is going to look like.  
 
We should decide what we really want, who we want to be and have that discussion.  
 
Want something to be thankful for Trump about?
 
Trump already turned the table over.  A majority of the positions that have been traditionally left and right are all now up for debate (trade, war, prison reform, globalism, immigration….).  Reasonable people can take a step back and ask them themselves what they really think about the key issues.  They are less held by parties than ever before.  New parties and alliances could be formed that more reflect what people really believe and want.  
 
A post Trump presidency (either in 2020 or 2024) is going to be a fundamentally different political structure than a pre Trump presidency.  It will be different.  What isn’t clear is if it will be better.  We get to decide that.  We should act accordingly.  
 
Bonus: A Second thing to be thankful about Trump….
 
He ended the Bush and Clinton dynasties.  That is something we can all come together around.  
 
 
 

Article: 100% Renewable Cities—Is Your Mayor Smarter Than A 5th Grader?

After reading the linked article from Hart Energy, I was left with this question.
 
What’s worse.  
 
A) One who doesn’t believe climate change is real or thinks it is a problem that needs to be solved? 
B) One who believes climate change is real and needs to be solved – but has no idea how to actually solve it?  
C) or, B + pretends like they do know how to solve it.
 
You pick.  
 
If you pick (A), at least (A) isn’t going to waste what some say could be over $100 trillion* (with a t) by the end of the century and improve nothing.  Waste is a crime because that $100 trillion could be put to real use helping real people.  
 
There is a lot in the article everybody should think about (especially if you care about climate change).  
 
The author of the article doesn’t come across as anti renewables but more anti dumb.  He has written what appear to be many thoughtful books on what good approaches to solving climate change could look like.  
 
 
A few gems from the  leaders where I live (gems – who I’m guessing are sincere):  
 
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter pledged their cities to 100 percent renewables by 2030. Major wind system build-outs during the last five years boosted Minnesota to the eighth-leading wind energy state in the US. Renewables now provide about 27% of the state’s electricity. But Minnesota residents are paying for it. Over the last nine years, Minnesota power prices increased 34%, compared to the US average price rise of 7%.
 
I’m thinking they don’t get that when energy costs go up 34% for working people – it is real money.  
 
*I would cite those or better numbers if they weren’t all over the place – which kind of proves my point.  If anybody had a real solution with a real price – all of the supporters would agree and promote that number.  There is no agreement even out there as to what the costs or benefits would be.  If there is agreement out there someone should point it out more clearly.  
 
As a side…  Wanna know what poor people around the world want the UN to spent $100 trillion on?  
 
Watch Cool It by Bjorn Lomborg and see what kids in third world countries think us rich countries should be spending our money on to help them (think – water, schools, medicine). 
 
Better yet.  Watch Lomborg’s TED Talk on global priorities that should be bigger than climate change.
 

Good Enough to Win?

 

 

Read this last week in the “The Hard Things About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

I’ve heard about this book for a while, read a lot of other books by people close to Ben Horowitz, but for some reason never felt moved to read this one. Thinking about it – it was probably because on the surface his story seemed to be an easy one. Got hired at Netscape, Great (Best) friends with Marc Andreessen, CEO at Loudcloud, Sell to HP, Partner at Andreessen-Horowitz. Easy life.

So wrong. And that assumption violated something I know deeply. In life, business, sports, war – whatever… it never does us any good to compare our insides with other people’s outsides. We don’t know their struggles or challenges – we only see what we see. Never enough information.

It reminds me of a greeting card I have been carrying in my bag for almost 20 years. It’s a photo group of people underneath a sign that reads “never touched by the human hand” and the quote by Mark Twain below says… “there was net yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside the dullest exterior there is a dram, a comedy and a tragedy.”

 

I carry that card to remind me that whoever I’m dealing with – we all have our story.

Ben Horowitz’ journey was a lot harder than I thought – and this week, that made the fight a little bit easier in my world.

Turn Around CEO’s Advice… Winners focus, losers spray

Jim Norrod, Executive Chairman of Liquid Pistol and former CEO of BigBelly Solar, addressed the Smaller Business Association of New England at the group’s monthly meeting on January 15, 2013. He presents a 3 part strategy which he has used to perform turnarounds resulting in liquidity events totaling over $1 billion to investors.

It takes a cooperative Board, a committed management team, and the correct plan. Jim’s theme in these difficult assignments: Winners focus, losers spray.

 

Jim Norrod, The Road to Liquidity from SBANE.org on Vimeo.

 

This presentation, like all of SBANE’s Massachusetts Breakfast Series presentations, was recorded and edited by Davideo Company, of Framingham, MA.

Opportunity Looks A lot Like Hard Work

Don’t know how cool my kids are going to think Ashton Kutcher is after I keep reminding them what he said about hard work.  But this is a great message.

Who knew?

 

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Seth Godin is my Zig Ziglar

For me, over the last 5 years… Seth Godin has been my Zig Ziglar. He hasn’t taught me how to sell, but how to over come the fear and or resistance of what it takes to be or try to be great.

From this interview…

No for now

  • The people you are calling on….
    • do not owe you a meeting,
    • they do not owe you an answer,
    • they do not owe you one minute of their time.
  • Crafting a perfect pitch letter to get their attention? Not a lot of faith in that approach
  • Rejection from people that care about you isn’t a bad thing
    • It is a message
    • not a message message of giving up,
    • but a message that you just told them a story that didn’t resonate (I like that word) with them that today.
  • They are saying…
    • do not bother me tomorrow with the same story,
    • you will not be able to badger me into doing business with you
    • but what you could do is
      • tell me a different story
      • about a different problem
      • on a different day….
      • because if you treated me ethically the first time, why wouldn’t I want to listen to you a second time.
  • AND… don’t try and get best customer first. Get them last!! start with the ones that are more likely to listen to the story carefully.
  • Because in the end, the best customers just want to know that all the other people have already said yes.

zig ziglar…

…do not become a wandering generality… instead figure out how to be a meaningful specific.

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a pep talk, or a path that leads to awesome…

a pep talk from kid president, a 9-year-old who was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (or “Brittle Bone Syndrome”), but isn’t letting it keep him from being awesome…..

….stop being boring – boring is easy…..

….it’s time to do something……

…..the road less traveled – HURTS – not cool robert frost!!!!

…..i want to be on the path that leads to awesome…..

…….we have work to do – we can cry about it, or we can dance about it……..

……we were made to be awesome…..

….so get to it.

need some encouragement?  start by encouraging others.

watch kid president’s story on youtube

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sushi, comedy, baseball…. and practice.

Great read by Jeff Weiner on what practice, patience, making sushi,  Jerry Seinfeld and New York Yankee’s Ichiro Suzuki all have to do with each other.

Jeff Weiner article… From Seinfeld to Sushi: How to Master Your Doman

New York Times article on Jerry Seinfeld… Jerry Seinfeld Intends to Die Standing Up.

From the Wiener read…  Jiro Ono, the 86-year old master sushi chef and subject of the highly acclaimed documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi has been preparing sushi for over 70 years; Seinfeld has been a stand-up comic for over 35 years. Both are widely considered to be among the best in the world at what they do, and yet listening to them, one comes away with the impression they will never be satisfied. They are constantly practicing, honing their work, and seeking to improve.

As Jiro describes it: “All I want to do is make better sushi. I do the same thing over and over, improving bit by bit. There is always a yearning to achieve more. I’ll continue to climb to reach the top but no one knows where the top is.”

From the Seinfeld read…..

“Seinfeld will nurse a single joke for years, amending, abridging and reworking it incrementally, to get the thing just so. “It’s similar to calligraphy or samurai,” he says. “I want to make cricket cages. You know those Japanese cricket cages? Tiny, with the doors? That’s it for me: solitude and precision, refining a tiny thing for the sake of it.”

and on Ichiro Suzuki, the lean Yankees outfielder… “This is the guy I relate to more than any athlete,” Seinfeld said. “His precision, incredible precision. Look at his body type — he’s made the most of what he has. He’s the hardest guy to get out. He’s fast. And he’s old.”

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