What’s wrong with the GOP?

elephants-fighting1-570x301Whenever a controversy erupts, why do democrats seem to always circle their wagons and protect each other, whereas republicans will immediately eat their own? Is it part of the loyalty pledge? What causes one party to act out of self-preservation while the other seems bent on self-destruction?

The Democrat Party has long prided itself on its diverse views of culture and social mores. Until the rise of the Regressive Left phenomenon (a topic for another day), the attraction of the Left has been their promise not to judge anyone’s values. All thoughts and ideas are welcome, no matter how strange or bizarre to those on the Right.

Conversely, the Republican Party has prided itself on longstanding cultural traditions, to include religious and family values. The attraction of the Right has been their support of the Constitution and the principles of cultural assimilation, no matter how old fashioned it may appear to those on the Left.

Looking at these two disparate perspectives will give us a starting point for knowing why each party reacts in polar opposite fashion. But, we need to know one more thing before we can proceed. It is important to understand the concept of groupthink. It is a psychological phenomenon where individuals yearn for harmony or conformity within their group, resulting in irrational or dysfunctional decision-making. They try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus without critical evaluation of alternative perspectives, usually by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints and by isolating themselves from outside influences.

Because those on the Left typically accept a much wider range of social behaviors or actions, their reaction tends to be one of  tolerance. If that person is truly a member of their group, without question, the others in that same group will say to the offending member, “You are one of us so we are not going to judge you.” Therefore, their behavior or action is whitewashed through the prism of tolerance, even if it seems to defy logic and reason

On the flip-side, those on the Right, who typically demand self-control and to aspire to a higher moral code, will invariably choose to dissociate from the wrong-doer saying, “You are not one of us and we don’t want others to judge us by your actions.” Therefore, whatever the problem or failing, the fear of being lumped in with an aberration fuels a need among the Right to isolate and deride the individual, rather than forgive or show compassion.

The Left elects to accept the problematic person or situation, employing a sort of secular forgiveness and absolution while the Right chooses to pass down judgment and condemnation, ignoring the very religious tenants that are supposed to be at the core of the party.

I should note that it would be wrong to paint every Democrat or Republican with the same brush. Groupthink exists within the core — the rock solid center. It is made up of those who tend to be very vocal, militant in their stances and opinions and often are in positions of power, whether it be a political position or one within the halls of opinion, talk or social media. The further out one gets from the core, the less likely to be affected by the blinders of groupthink. And not everyone within the core will suffer, it just becomes far more prevalent.

Once the problem person or action has been identified, both parties will strive to regain conformity within their respective groups. The Left attempts to dilute the situation by surrounding, supporting and, in some cases, embracing the action or behavior of one of their own. Hence the notion of always circling the wagons. Conversely, the Right attempts to absolve itself from the nature of the problem by going out of its way to inform everyone that the behaviors or actions of the one individual do not represent the rest of the group.

This explains how someone like Bill Clinton, with a proclivity toward chasing and bedding women and a habit of lying can be dismissed by those on the Left. Those flaws become explainable. It’s the stress of the job. It’s the allure of the office. It’s a natural byproduct of the weight of the office. No one wants to be judged within their group so no one will do it either. The behavior or action is not only tolerated, in time, it also becomes something to admire.

On the other side, someone like Donald Trump, with a proclivity of boorish behavior toward women and a lack of political-correctness, is unacceptable within the ranks of the Right. Such behavior reflects poorly on the group identity and where Bill Clinton gets a pass from his own party, the exact opposite takes place on the Right. The need for sanctimonious piety precludes any acceptance or forgiveness. There can be no consideration given to an alternative viewpoint.

It explains how, in the last several election cycles, whichever candidate comes to the fore in the GOP, will have their flaws documented, amplified, exposed and used as reasons to then reject and dismiss. It also explains how those on the Left are willing to accept any flaw, even lawlessness and thievery, when their chosen representative ascends the mantle of power.

Many of our Founding Fathers, like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, did their share of drinking and many engaged in unseemly activities. War leaders and heroes like Franklin D. Roosevelt, George S. Patton and  John F. Kennedy have had their vices and vulgarities made known. We should always strive for the best, but our history is replete with individuals who will forever be remembered more for their leadership, bravery, intellect and patriotism than any social flaw or defect.

When the election cycle comes to a close, the GOP needs to engage in some significant soul-searching. There needs to be room for more tolerance. There needs to be room for more forgiveness. Fake outrage will not help the party. Sanctimonious tirades only serve the individual feigning disappointment. The Right needs to recognize that every human being is inherently flawed and to hell with worrying about what the other side is going to say. They need to worry more about achieving strategic victories and less about condemning individual foibles. Failure to understand and address these issues will lead to an even more fractured, divided and angry GOP; a pale shadow of it’s former self.

Maybe what is really wrong with the GOP is trying to shoe-horn too many rigid ideologues under the same tent. Who knows? But, if we cannot figure out how to be a little more flexible and a whole lot more focused, we will watch as the Grand Old Party rips itself apart along ideological lines.

And the Democrats will reign for an age.

 

 

 

Believing lies and helping spread them; or, What it means to be liberal

liberalpillarsLiberals love being lied to. They enjoy being manipulated and played like puppets by the mainstream media, race-baiters and the leadership in the Democrat party. Liberals will not look beyond the surface so long as the talking points are coming from sources they admire and, if they happen to come across conflicting information, it is in their prerogative to dismiss such things in order to pledge blind allegiance to their masters and continue to regurgitate the original narrative force-fed to them from on high.

That’s a powerful accusation to level on a segment of the population. But where is the proof? How can I make such a claim? Where is my justification?

I could run through a litany of events that have occurred within the last six years of Democrat reign (having had a super majority in the Senate for the first two years of the inaugural term of President Obama, a simple majority in the Senate the following four and a majority in the House from 2006 until the 2010 midterms), but that may cause such a partisan turning up of the nose that anyone who proudly wears the label, or lives in suspicion they do, of liberal, may not bother to continue reading.

To illustrate my point, I will turn to an item that occurred just a few months ago during the run-up to the 2014 midterms. A group called the New Georgia Project worked with the NAACP to register “voters of color” and other minorities in and around the city of Atlanta. This included Democrat strongholds of Fulton, Dekalb and Clayton counties. They helped collect 80,000 new voter registrations in a state that many hoped would turn blue, thanks to Michelle Nunn (running on her Daddy’s name and reputation) and Jason Carter (running on his granddaddy’s name and, well…his name) running to take a seat in the US Senate and the Georgia Governorship, respectively.

A couple weeks before the elections, the group brought a lawsuit on the Secretary of State’s office and the state of Georgia, decrying that more than half of the registrations were not being processed or were being held up by election officials with a political agenda. “We are concerned, given the speed of the election, that if we don’t resolve this quickly and through legal means, that these will be 40,000-plus disenfranchised voters in the state of Georgia,” said State Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta), who heads the New Georgia Project.

Without waiting for the investigation to conclude (or stopping to look for facts), the willing accomplices of misinformation and propaganda splashed their headlines all over social media and print news, stating that Georgia was refusing to process between 40,000 and 50,000 new voter applications. The Huffington Post, The Daily Kos, ThinkProgress.org, NPR, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The New York Times were some of the biggest hitters and their headlines were shared across the whole of social media.

Look! They cried. See how Republicans are cheating the voters? They refuse to process over 40,000 brand new voters because that’s the only way they know how to win. This is a clear case of voter disenfranchisement.

It didn’t matter if there was any validity to the claims. Most low-information voters don’t bother to look past the headline or the 10 second sound bite. All that mattered was the sources for liberal ideology had used the appropriate key words and phrases. Conclusions were reached and there was never a moment’s pause to question further. And the mindless Leninites went about their merry way, parroting the message over and over like the useful idiots the purveyors of propaganda rely on them to do. “Georgia won’t process over 40,000 new voter applications! Voter disenfranchisement in areas made up predominantly of people of color.”

And so the lie was already halfway around the world before the truth had time to get out of bed.

Why do I say it was a lie? In less than 10 minutes, I was able to pull up the findings of an internal investigation that had begun the moment the lawsuit had been filed and the allegations made. Of the “over 40,000 registrations” that the New Georgia Project and the NAACP said were not being processed, a little more than 39,000 were already on the voter roles; 513 were found to be dead; over 1,600 had felony arrest records, which made them ineligible to vote; almost 2,200 had an invalid or out-of-state zip code; and, over 2,100 had no valid birth year listed. And, the cherry on top of this investigation? 9,900 applications were in a pending status because the applications were incomplete and each of those 9,900 had been notified by letter to finish their forms through their county election office.

To summarize:

  • 39,276 are active voters
  • 513 are deceased
  • 1,637 have felony record, so they can’t vote
  • 2,195 had an invalid or out-of-state zip code
  • 2,124 had no valid year of birth
  • 9,900 pending due to incomplete form

Total = 55,645

Within days, a judge, who looked at the same information I’ve just presented to you, threw out the case without batting an eye. All of the other new voter applications were processed through each county’s elections office. There was no disenfranchisement. There was no attempt to prevent newly registered voters from getting to the polls. There was no story.

But, it didn’t matter. The lie had ginned up the emotions of the faithful and the headlines were written and shared and tweeted and liked all around the country. Was there ever a retraction from any of the entities that were quick to post their false and misleading stories? Did anyone make a point of fixing their egregious mistake on social media? Was there any attempt to right the wrong?

No.

The vast majority of liberals who had read the headlines had already made up their minds and regardless of the facts, were set to run with it, content to let their strings be pulled like good marionettes. The wording of those headlines met the liberal narrative: Republicans cheat, Republicans don’t like anyone “of color,” Republicans only want rich, white people in charge. And even after all of the facts were placed in front of them, it didn’t matter. They were content to dismiss anything that ran contrary to the narrative.

It is a willful act of choosing to ignore the truth (or the parts they don’t like) and knowingly repeat the lie for as long as it takes. It is an exercise in wanton ignorance. It is what defines the low-information voter and is what Ministers of Propaganda in every oppressive regime throughout history rely upon to suppress freedom and subjugate the masses.

And, because it is a conscious, willful act, one must conclude that liberals love being lied to. They love to be manipulated by half-truths and outright fabrications. They like to be misled. They yearn to be used, spreading those very same lies themselves. It is an active display of groupthink, where the capacity for self-thought and cognitive discernment by the individual is lost, supplanting the desire to question and discover facts for themselves. It’s how the ruling class can get away with flouting the Constitution. It’s how facts can be ignored, hidden, Photoshopped or edited and it is accepted without hesitation. It’s how mobs form. It’s how looting takes place. It’s how the destruction of lives and property becomes justifiable.

It’s how a lie makes it halfway around the world before the truth even gets out of bed.

This is how something like the Fast and Furious scandal can go under the radar for years. Or the IRS targeting scandal can hide behind the help of the mainstream media. Or how President Obama can ignore the Constitution with his many executive orders and it’s sold to Americans as commonplace. Or how tapping phones and hacking the computers of reporters who are reporting on the activities within the Administration is allowed to take place. Or how a dozen other scandals have been allowed to occur in rampant fashion.

And it’s how something like Ferguson can happen.

 

 

Culture of yes-men do what is expected of them

I had a pleasant conversation recently with a business leader about my time in the Navy and my career since then.  It started off innocently enough.  We’d gone out to eat together along with our wives and then decided to continue the evening at their home.  We settled in and grabbed a drink.  Our wives went into the sunroom and continued their conversation, leaving us to have ours.

At the time, I had no idea I would stumble across a profundity worthy of some additional introspection.  It wasn’t until I started to kick around current events that the connections came together and the proverbial light bulb exploded.

First, let me bring you up-to-speed by summarizing the discussion.

When I initially joined the Navy, it was a combination of a sense of patriotism, family tradition and financial necessity.  My father had been in the Army his entire adult life, mostly as a reservist.  It had always provided additional income and became a failsafe when his career evaporated in Detroit back in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

My military involvement began during Operation: Desert Shield in the fall of 1990.  As that situation escalated over the course of several months, it was changed to Operation: Desert Storm.  I had just completed my first semester in college and was floundering for money to continue.  I spoke with a recruiter and they went over the Reserve G.I. Bill program, which would help offset the cost of getting my degree.  I’d have to commit to two years of active duty service and six years as a reservist.

So, I went and spent the summer of 1991 in boot camp in Orlando, Florida and went immediately to my Class “A” school in my specialty — Cryptology.  I was, as the joke goes, becoming a member of military intelligence.  I graduated with a perfect 4.0 and was assigned to a unit in Atlanta.

Shortly afterwards, I began to have doubts about staying in the military.  My sub-specialty was as a computer operator.  With each passing month, I kept wondering why I was trained to handle so many manual and redundant tasks when a computer program could do it faster and more efficiently.  I mentioned this to my supervisor, then my Chief and eventually to my C.O. They all agreed, but they all said we had to stick to procedures.  Each explained that the “higher ups” wanted it done a certain way and it wasn’t their job to change things.  Their job was to ensure everyone below them knew their place — knew what was expected of them — and could perform without thinking.

Now, in combat, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind about that model.  Questioning authority or trying to do something unproven with life or death on the line is illogical and foolhardy.  Each member of a team, squad, platoon, division, etc. has to know how to work as one oiled machine.

However, the concept of performing “without thinking” didn’t seem to make sense when it came to leveraging innovation and technology.  I wasn’t questioning the need for information or why it needed to be kept secure, I was asking why we couldn’t make it better and faster?  That’s when I realized, I wasn’t right for a career in the military.  A few years later, I was offered the option of an early out with an Honorable Discharge.  I took it.

Fast-forward to my civilian career, where my rise in responsibility had less to do with my years and more to do with my creativity.  Innovative ideas and finding better methods to achieve ends was rewarded when I worked for IBM.  I was lucky enough to have been hired by a company with such a corporate culture, thanks to then, CEO, Louis V. Gerstner.  Two of his maxims that he brought to IBM have stuck with me this very day:

  1. Don’t get being busy mixed up with being productive; and,
  2. Work smarter, not harder.

I loved that ideology.  I still follow those principles today in all I do or attempt.  Louis Gerstner took a culture of “doing what we have always done, because we have always been doing it that way,” and said, “No more!”  He wanted everyone, not just senior management, to be innovative again.  He wanted to remove the shackles of stagnation.  He implemented open door policies that went straight to his office.  And, in his tenure, he took a multi-billion dollar corporation that was on the brink of being broken apart and sold off in pieces, to one of the greatest IT powerhouses in the world.  He transformed the culture in IBM through his leadership.  In just a few years, the management team began to reflect this new methodology and it trickled all the way down to the lowest rung of the corporate ladder.

Now, let’s catch up to my friend and I sitting in his kitchen, slowly nursing our drinks while ruminating over our employment histories.  It was at this point I made a general comment that I could never imagine myself as a “yes man.”  I remonstrated over my frustration at how some businesses are filled with employees who only know how to tow-the-line without thinking.  I bemoaned the concept of self-preservation being more important to today’s future business leaders than risk-taking.

It was at this point that my friend looked me in the eye and said, “Let me explain something.  People know where they get their paychecks.  They know that someone else is paying their bills.  And, if they wanted to keep their place, they had to learn how to stay in line.  They know what is expected of them.”

I thought that over for a moment.  I could see logic in that statement, but it felt too simplistic.  I responded that I wasn’t extolling the notion of rebellion or being disagreeable for the sake of creating an impediment.  I offered that there is a difference, to me, between bringing new ideas forward that could benefit the entire organization versus pretending to know what the CEO wants without even talking to him (or her).

The response: I know what my boss likes and doesn’t like; what he expects and what he doesn’t want to see.  It’s my job to make sure it stays that way.  He trusts me to do that for him and I will.

And, with that, we both agreed that there were merits to both views and moved onto discussions of sports, firearms and a host of other topics.  But, in the back of my mind, I could sense something more profound at the periphery of my mind’s eye.  Something that related to our government.  But, it stayed just below the surface, out of my view.

Until today.

Our Federal government is in the midst of several scandals.  With each passing day and week, items from Benghazi, the IRS, and wire taps of the AP by the Justice Department continue to reveal a focused effort to wage a silent war against any groups or citizens who strongly oppose the policies of the current administration.  And, at each step, many of the mainstream media, senior White House officials and leadership within the Democrat party continue to insulate the President from these findings.  Even the President himself feigns knowledge over the actions of those under the purview of the Executive Branch and many believe him.  After all, there are no direct memos or emails.  No one has gone on record saying the orders were coming from the Commander in Chief.  And, if I were to bet the family fortune (what little there is), I would suspect there never will be.

This is where the leftists in the country begin to laugh and extoll how amazing and worthy our leader is for weathering a storm that has nothing to do with him.  This is when they mock those seeking answers, saying they are only out to create political harm for their party’s own expedience.

And that’s when it hit me.  The President doesn’t have to order anyone to do anything.

Louis Gerstner never sent me an email saying, “I need you to figure out a better way to reconcile the invoicing process we have with all of the vendors we use for contractor labor.”  When I took stock over how the team reconciled billing, I realized the flaws and knew there was a way to leverage technology to make the process faster and more accurate.  I made a pitch to my management team and they gave me the freedom to work with a development team.  Within six months, we launched an application and, by the end of the year, we recovered $1.05 million dollars in revenue that had been lost in the cracks.  By the end of year two, we had recovered $2.1 million dollars in errant billing.

The culture in IBM had changed to allow freedom of thought, which empowered me to find solutions.  I wasn’t a yes-man.  I was an individual.  My managers had been empowered to listen to ideas from everyone…not just those who thought similarly.  They were not yes-men, either.  The CEO had removed the concept of micromanaging human resources.  IBM no longer suffered from groupthink.  The cultural tone of freedom of thought and expression, though carried out throughout the organization, was set by the CEO.  It was the expectation he set for everyone below.

Why would it be any different for any chief executive in any organization?  How difficult is it, then, to believe that President Obama never had to put specifics in writing, if the culture in the Executive branch had been established to empower those around him to act as they believe they are supposed to act?  When the President (any President) is able to place leaders around him who have the same core beliefs as he subscribes to, and are not allowed to deviate, can it not be said he has surrounded himself with the ultimate team of yes-men?  They all know what is expected of them.  They know what he wants to hear and what he does not want to see.  They know where they get their paychecks and they know that if they want to stay where they are, they have to tow-the-line.  It all revolves around the expectations of the CEO and, therefore, so does the accountability.

President Harry S. Truman understood this concept so well that he placed the now famous quote right on the his desk:  “The buck stops here.”  Ultimately, when you have surrounded yourself with automatons shaped in your own political image, you have to accept the responsibility of the actions of those around you.  That is leadership.  That is what we have always expected from every CEO.

When the BP oil platform exploded, did Congress bring the manager of the local BP into their hallowed halls?  No!  They brought in the CEO — a man who likely never once stepped foot on that rig.  But, that isn’t the point.  He is the head of the company and thus answerable for the actions of that company.

It’s time Americans understood that the same applies to the very governance enacted by the Founding Fathers in our Constitution.  Our President is the CEO of our country.  Take the labels off of the players and stick to the facts.  An administration using the IRS to go after an opposing group, should be intolerable, regardless of party.  An administration illegally tapping the phonelines and emails of members of the press does not suddenly become legal by choosing one party over another.  Conspiring to mislead the American people over the facts and timeline of an attack on a U.S. embassy is unacceptable regardless of (R), (D), (I) or (L).

Ultimately, it’s time for us to realize that the issues of this administration are not the fault of one person.  However, it is the fault of the mindset that has been allowed to settle into the Executive branch and the only way to change it is to change the culture.  As long as the yes-men are allowed to remain where they are, and the current culture is protected and insulated by the press and the leadership, then we should not be surprised when a continued misuse of power is demonstrated over and over and over again.

It’s what we have come to expect.

Facts get in the way of the mainstream media agenda

Generally, I would not choose to respond to a horrific event so quickly after it happened. There is still too much to learn and we need to let the investigators in Aurora, Colorado have the time they need to paint the full picture of the story of Jim Holmes.

What I did want to respond to was yet another example in an exceedingly long line of news reporters (and I use that term with the greatest amount of trepidation) who will not let facts stand in the way of an agenda. When something as sensational as a mass shooting breaks on the newswire, the hammerheads come cruising.

I choose that analogy because these reporters are not sharks swimming alone. Hammerheads swim in large schools and when they sense blood in the water, they go into a frenzy. They will blindly thrash and bite at anything that moves, regardless of whether or not what they are biting is, in fact, food.

Case in point: The smoke from the theater had barely cleared when Brian Ross from ABC Morning News speculated, along with George Stephanolpoulos, that the suspect, Jim Holmes, was affiliated with the Colorado Tea Party. During this morning’s coverage, Ross and Stephanolpoulos had this exchange:

Stephanolpoulos: I’m going to go to Brian Ross. You’ve been investigating the background of Jim Holmes here. You found something that might be significant.

Ross: There’s a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year. Now, we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes. But it’s Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.

Stephanolpoulos: Okay, we’ll keep looking at that. Brian Ross, thanks very much.

Now, those on the left will say he did use the words, “…we don’t know…,” as if this somehow should absolve the reporter of such a grievous error in journalistic practice. He wasn’t speculating on what kind of weapon was used or if the suspect picked his targets randomly or not — suggestions that don’t make wild leaps in logic from the facts at hand. In this case, the reporter intentionally made a direct connection to the Tea Party, a grassroots organization that touts itself as freedom-loving Constitutionalists. It is well-known the Tea Party reveres the Bill of Rights, of which the 2nd Amendment is always a target for the liberal left.

Without a shred of vetted information, Brian Ross chose to make the connection for the news-watching audience that Jim Holmes might be a member of the Tea Party. He couldn’t help himself because the agenda has already been established: Tea Party members love guns and are crazy because they disagree with the current administration, making them all dangerous. Brian Ross can’t stop himself from seeing such a connection because he believes in the narrative. Facts are superfluous to what he knows must be true.

Unfortunately for Ross, he was forced to retract his statement and apologize on behalf of the network when it was discovered the “Jim Holmes” mentioned on the Tea Party site was a middle-aged male, more than twice as old as the suspect police had in custody. Apology or not, this is emblematic of what former CBS newsman, Bernard Goldberg, revealed in his book, “Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News.” Goldberg says, in his book, that often the bias isn’t intentional, but results from everyone in the newsroom living in the same thought bubble. This is akin to what psychologists call, groupthink. It happens when a group of people of like-minded views become so inculcated in their worldview that there is no room for facts that run contrary.

Now, if you are writing an opinion piece, fine, let your bias take over. But, when you put on the news hat, you are expected to report the news, not interpret it. Like Joe Friday, “Just the facts, ma’am.”

One additional thought on this shooting and the subsequent reporting from the mainstream media. Not that long ago, Major Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, decided to go on a shooting spree in Ft. Hood, Texas, yelling, “Allahu Akbar!” killing 13 and wounding 30. Not only was there a delay from the media in calling that incident a terroristic act (by the way, the regime made a point of calling it an incident of workplace violence), but also, they made sure to tell the public at large that the Hasan shooting was an isolated incident, focused solely on one disturbed individual.

Why am I bringing this up?

In the Hasan case, the media did all it could to keep his islamic background and his shout of ‘Allahu Akbar’ out of the news, while reassuring folks that it was one individual, acting alone and in a vacuum. They couldn’t even call it domestic terrorism.

Yet, in the Aurora shooting, key figures in the news media, only hours after occurring, had no problem linking Jim Holmes to the Tea Party movement, painting the entire group with the same brush as a mass-murderer.

Until the reporters in the mainstream media learn to stop filtering events through the prism of a political agenda, they will continue to lack credibility. As far as I’m concerned, for most, it’s already too late.