Wednesday, July 3, 2024

PLAN TO VOTE & STOP TEAM TRUMP from Implementing Their "Fascist Playbook!"


John Oliver on the Dangers of a Trump Second Term


When Trump was president, career civil servants (typically experts in many scientific and legal specialties such as weather forecasting, constitutional law, medicine, etc) at the environmental protection agency, Department of Justice and other agencies stopped him and his right wing cabinet members from breaking laws that were meant to protect the environment, civil rights, healthcare and more. Team Trump was so frustrated by this that they resolved to develop a plan to neutralize these experts as soon as they take office. Project 2025 is their detailed strategy to dismantle the administrative entities and the laws that protect our civil rights, the environment, abortion access, the healthcare system and more. Project 2025 is supported by all sorts of special interests such as the Koch brothers, big oil, white supremacists and others. If it's implemented, it could destroy our democracy. 

Forewarned is Forearmed!

Critics are calling it the fascists' playbook!

They say the devil is in the details. So what devilish evils await us in a second Trump presidency? 

The detailed plans of those who hope to capitalize on a Trump victory in November are laid out in black and white for all to see in a document called Project 2025. Input from white supremacists, misogynists, and all manner of right-wing nut-jobs are represented in this detailed strategy document to be implemented following Team Trump's takeover. John Oliver has dug into this document and put together an engaging and enormously informative look at the real dangers that a second Trump term poses for our democracy. 

John's video is fun, yet it's fact-filled. Check it out and then please share it with everyone you know! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

From fear-driven anger to understanding: It takes effort.

Anger... Fear Under Pressure?


“Anger is fear under pressure. Behind every angry upset there is a fear... If you can discover the fear behind the anger and dismantle it in the light of awareness, the anger dissipates..." 
-- from A Daily Dose of Sanity: A Five-Minute Soul Recharge for Every Day of the Year by Alan Cohen 


In my book, Worth Sharing: Essays & Tools to Help Project Managers & Their Teams I shared Cohen's quote above. I then went on to observe that "... when fear gets a glimpse of itself it often begins blustering and posturing to hide its true nature. In an effort to maintain its dignity, fear morphs into quasi-ferocious anger. Like a chihuahua about to be sniffed by a Great Dane, fear barks and growls and desperately bares its teeth to ward off an imagined disaster. Never mind that the Great Dane was simply curious. It’s driven away before any kind of mutual understanding can be reached. And sadly, both end the encounter as ignorant of each other as they began it."

Now, nearly a decade later, I find we are facing yet more candidate-stoked (and media amplified!) anger and divisive rhetoric as we head into the 2024 election season. It's all about getting folks whipped into a fearful frenzy in order to drive them to the voting booths and to keep their eyeballs tuned in so the talking heads can narrate the brawl (... between ads, of course).

Is it meaningful political action?
Or fear-driven anger?

So here's my challenge. I urge us all to try to banish fear of the "other" and his/her positions. And I urge us all to keep these questions in mind as we enter this election season and try to answer them honestly: 

  • If my political "enemy" were my spouse or parent, how would I participate in the discussion with them? Would I be more respectful? ... more patient?  Would I probe with thoughtful questions so I could better understand where they are coming from? 
  • Am I taking the time to present my political views in ways that show that I've thought deeply about my positions? Am I giving personal (not heated, but heartfelt!) examples of how I've come to my political conclusions? 
  • Am I truly open to changing my opinion on something... anything... on which my "opponents" disagree with me? What's it going to take to change my mind?

Remember this: A sharply divided country is not in anyone's best interest, other than the handful of ranters who are stoking the division and profiting from it.  This John Stewart video illustrates: 

If we don't embrace the irrational fears these ranters espouse, then they can't leverage our fear and take away our power by "saving" us from the "other." If we choose to see the "others" as our potential collaborators in a series of compromises that we all (as collaborators) work to achieve, then we strip the "dividers" of their power. Then we, the people, take charge of our republic. 

It's simple. As Yoda said in Star Wars: "Fear is the path to the dark side…fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…hate leads to suffering." 

The bottom line: This election season, pay attention to anyone who wants you to fear. They may be trying to take us all down a dark path, indeed!

Saturday, May 11, 2024

A Frank Zappa Sampler: Meet My Favorite Musical Genius

For me, listening to most jazz/rock/blues music is like riding a fairly smooth roller coaster. You close your eyes and travel along with the musicians: up, down and around. In contrast, listening to Frank Zappa's stuff is like riding on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland: You're frequently surprised by quick turns, sharp and steep drops and gentle climbs to peaks with breathtaking views. It's definitely not laid-back, easy listening... but it can be an exciting, rewarding trip! 

"In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa composed rock, pop, jazz, jazz fusion, orchestral and musique concrète works; he also produced almost all of the 60-plus albums that he released with his band the Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist... His work is characterized by nonconformity, improvisation sound experimentation, musical virtuosity and satire of American culture..."

But what good is it to talk about music? To know Zappa's stuff you have to pop in your earbuds, get comfortable, close your eyes and just enjoy the ride. Here's my curated playlist to get you started. (Watch the videos if you must, but I think it's better to just close your eyes and listen.)

Zappa's music is undeniably brilliant! However, his lyrics sometimes (though not often) express opinions that I do not personally endorse. So I encourage you to do as I do and disregard any offense that might bubble up within you in response to his more challenging lyrical witticisms. For me, the genius of his music always outweighs any minor feelings of being offended by his social satire. (Often, however, the lyrics are funny as hell!! So let yourself enjoy them.)

Individual Works

Step into Zappa's world with his unique take on the Allman Brothers' favorite, Whipping Post.

Then move on to the gentle beauty and intensity of Zappa's own Blessed Relief (Outtake Version).

Next, engage the high intensity jazz/rock composition, The Purple Lagoon, from one of my favorite albums, Zappa In New York 

Finally, travel back in time to hear one of Zappa's earlier, less approachable, but brave and engaging pieces, Inca Roads



The samples above are just the tip of a HUGE Zappa iceberg of music! Below is a list of some albums that, together, demonstrate Zappa's range and sheer genius. Check them out and explore his legacy for yourself. 

Frank Zappa Official YouTube Channel 

Zappa's official YouTube Channel is an incredible compendium of stuff assembled for Zappa super fans. Here you'll find videos with rare concert footage, playlists, music videos and much more. I hope you spend some time there exploring the full power of Zappa's genius. Enjoy!

Go to the Frank Zappa YouTube Channel