Did the Mayor Poison the Political Climate ?

I ran into an acquaintance while shopping today who sought out my opinion about political candidates and was trying to get what he considered an inside tract on the issues and where the candidates stand from someone he considered might have more in depth knowledge than the average citizen. This was an affable young man, college educated, and very concerned about making a difference for the betterment of the city with his vote. He had voted in the primaries and wanted my opinion on his selections. I told him that if he understood the issues and where the candidates stand it was not my place to tell him how to vote but that he should just vote according to his conscience and his due diligence.

He indicated to me that he had voted against Bob Ford but that he was not sure what the candidate he voted for stood for. I asked him then why did you vote against Bob Ford? He told me he had watched a news report where the mayor had indicated that there were council members interfering with the day to day operation of the city and running off our employees. He also said he read in the news where it was intimated that Bob Ford was the culprit along with a group of radical citizen activists. He wanted to know what my take was on all this.

I asked him first, what his biggest pet peeves were in city governance and what he would like to change in city politics. He told me that he would like to see the end of the Allen Green political regime and that he was a big advocate of open and transparent governance and eschewed special interest cronyism. He also said he was not happy about the TIFF subsidization of Buddy Lacoure’s Riverwalk project and that he would like to see a citizens referendum vote on this. Coincidentally representatives of Buddy Lacour were putting pressure on the interim city manager on the read file today to circumvent the process of verification of repayment of obligations from the bond company in order to seal the deal before a new council is seated and open and transparent governance can make the determination whether our taxpayers subsidize this millionaires risk to the tune of $10,000,000.

I told him that if this is truly his position than he just inadvertently voted against the wrong man because if the mayor is to be neutered and if the TIFF subsidization has any chance of going to a citizens vote than he would probably want to vote for Bob Ford and Scott Stiltner who were advocates of open governance and supported by many of the activists that uncovered the malfeasance that the Alan Green regime supports and protects. I also explained to him that the employees that left the city left for different reasons.

Alan Green’s beloved city manager Greg Kisela compelled the purchasing manager to resign or be fired. This city manager historically has run off a number of administrators before that. The public utility administrator officially resigned with allusions that this was due to the overspending of a meter contract, but in reality there was a review from the union wrapping up which was representing blue collar and mid-management employees that alleged that he was creating a hostile work environment which targeted certain employees on a blacklist and imploding the department in the midst of what was considered an administrative whitewashing and a lack of administrative accountability. This has yet to be responded to as promised by city administrators responsible for investigation and the administration of justice according to civil service rules concerning this matter. Namely, the administrative services director Donna Steinebach who has summarily showed disdain and demagogic disregard for civil service rules, justice, and her fiduciary responsibility in matters that are potentially litigious for the city.

I also mentioned that the only person on the council known to visit city hall and circumvent the city manager and go directly to employees and communicate directives is the mayor himself. He has been considered by many to be an active puppet master who inserts himself into day to day operations and has been known to even circumvent the manager. He knew about the Parker/Shelley deal and many things without the city council even being informed. Many people believe that the mayor has been instrumental in making or breaking an employees career and either blacklisting or expediting them commensurate to how much an employee is willing to be one of his puppets.

I also indicated to him that the Fire Chief’s resignation was ambiguous and that the city manager and assistant city manager left for other jobs which they cut extremely good deals for their career moves leaving behind their responsibility and accountability for the present distress all with the mayor’s blessing. The comptroller left under many negative financial disclosures and with the glee of many mid level and supervisory employees who did not like her. In essence none of this was directly related to Bob Ford but it was more of a systemic implosion that was a long time in the making which the mayor blamed on Bob Ford as a political ploy.

‘I asked him then why did he come to the conclusion that all this was attributable to Bob Ford? He said to me because he read and watched it on the news and this is what the mayor had disclosed to the investigative reporter. I asked him if he observed the reporter giving the mayor concurrence on this. He said he did not see that, however there was no one there to dispute or rebut what the mayor in the interview had said, so he simply took this on face value. After our conversation he thanked me and said that he would be voting for Bob Ford and Scott Stiltner in the final election and that he would question his due diligence going forward.

The sad thing about this is that without even making an effort I redirected this young man’s vote with a little objective education that has not been properly provided in this political campaign. I predict that 5% to 10% of the candidates that either voted for Sonya Laney or John Junco voted for the same uninformed reason in the primaries that this young man did. I also believe that with proper message exposure, political debates, and clarification of where the candidates stand the primaries would have been different. I really believe that a support group and think tank needs to get behind Bob Ford and Scott Stiltner and figure out how to educate the uninformed voters before the election and do it fast. If I could have replicated the conversation I had today with this young man on a one to one basis with all the potential voters that are not tied into special interest I know that Bob Ford and Scott Stiltner would definitely be elected. I do not know if I can figure this out alone but all of us that are advocates of open and transparent governance need to figure out how to get this very individual message and information out there to the majority of uninformed and deceived potential voters.


 

 

42 Opinions on “Did the Mayor Poison the Political Climate ?

  1. This post once again indicates the uphill struggle that Bob Ford has ahead of him. It indicates reasons why he lost the primary and how voters (under informed) feel.

    Don Juan – what district does this voter reside in ? Is it Mr Ford’s district one ? If not, it further reveals that he has work to do outside of the district he represents.

    When and where is the debate to be held ? Ford vs. Laney

  2. Interesting to note that the young man originally took the mayors position as the truth and now Don Juan is claiming to have changed the young mans mind with his version of the truth. At the end of the day, it’s all opinions.

    • No, I did not change his mind. I simply asked him a series of questions regarding his position and his understanding therein. My questions led him to ask me a series of questions. I answered his questions as honestly as possible. He assimilated the information, and after analysis of the exchange of ideas and information he reevaluated his understanding of his position and his understanding of the situation. His position did not change only his understanding of his position and the situation which resulted in him making a decision based on his new understanding to change his vote. The young man did not change his position or his beliefs. He simply changed his understanding and his vote. Thus he was freed from the delusion of the propaganda he was subject to and made an independent decision based upon his new understanding. He was persuaded within himself by his own unencumbered intellect and reason. This is the way it should be, and that is why the candidates need to engage in a public debate.

      • To clarify, you said “that without even making an effort I redirected this young man’s vote with a little objective education”. I would say that your “objective education” is really just your opinion.

        • The objective education was not what I told him or what I taught him, but it was the process of inquiry and the dialectic of discussion and information exchange. This augmented his reasoning and independent thinking. His own internal genius was unleashed by the dialectic that he initiated with me and my cooperation with this process of his own self discovery was incidental. I simply witnessed him evolve in his understanding and his application of that understanding.

          If someone like Sonya Laney or yourself understood the importance of this process you would freely engage in information exchange or in her case open political debate. That is if you believe at any level in anything with unencumbered transparency and do not have a hidden agenda. From your attempt at mental sparring with me, you have revealed to me with abundant clarity that you do not understand this process I described, and that you are a victim of your own delusion and blindness. Empty your cup and lengthen your line or you will drown yourself in ignorance and fade away.

          • You’re correct, I do not understand the process you describe. As I’ve said to Hank in prior posts, you all are much deeper thinkers than I am. My agenda is living in a quality city and I feel that sometimes, over thinking things really just complicate things. Lifes really not that complicated.

      • Add me to that list of advocates for Bob Ford. I would also like to see a debate.
        Port Orange is still our beautiful city… with or without chaos and judgment.

        • Mr Onlooker I understand your desire to “not over think things”. I think you are at fault for not thinking deeply about what is going on here in Port Orange and thus maybe are in doubt as to some of the worries of others on this blog. We cannot change the dark side of national politics by revealing what is happening here in Port Orange but to understand what is happening here in Port Orange I think we get some insight and clues when looking at similar problems in national politics. If you want to limit your perspective to just what is happening in Port Orange you may not be able to understand the why and wherefores of being a game player in Port Orange. You perhaps then would not find any need to consider how the Chamber of Commerce helps play the game for team players in Port Orange or even Family Days. We in Port Orange have been fortunate to have plenty of land on the west side of the city to build and invest in, and the big players have sure done that. I predict we will see Port Orange politics at its worse in the congested run down sections of the east side of Port Orange. All we have to do right now is already look how money has been used for the Riverwalk Project, in terms of park section locations, prime reality in the park, Lohmann funeral home,TIF ultimatum and a so call “hostile environment”. It is difficult to understand Port Orange in terms of local farms like the Green Family managed. We now have high political tactics at work which have proven effective in national politics.
          Perhaps this might be called over thinking, but don’t fall for the picture that this is just an old little southern town meant to be all about family. Port Orange is available to high paying investors. Go to family days events and see them on display.

  3. Does This Sound Like A Familiar Puppet Master?

    How Propaganda Works
    by Bob Wallace

    “Once you base your whole life striving on a desperate lie, and try to implement that lie, you instrument your own undoing.”

    – Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death.

    It’s not hard to understand how propaganda works. You don’t need a college degree, or to even to read any of those thick textbooks everybody hates. Everything relevant can be explained in one not-particularly-long article. And, I guarantee you, you must understand how propaganda targets you, to immunize yourself against the attempts.

    Propaganda works by appealing to our most base, animalistic instincts. It does not appeal to our better nature, although one of the purposes of it is to convince us it does. It pretends to appeal to our reason, when in fact it appeals to our most primitive emotions. There is good reason for this: perception travels through the emotional brain first, to the rational brain last.

    Specifically, propaganda works by appealing to three things: emotionalism, tribalism and narcissism.

    I just mentioned perception travels first to the emotional brain, then the rational brain. This happens to everyone, including people who con themselves they are the most rational and intelligent of intellectuals.

    As for tribes, we share with every nearly every animal in the world the instinct to form tribes, arranged in a hierachy, with a leader. We are group animals. The fact we look to a leader to take care of us is one of the most firmly established principles in psychology (if you don’t remember anything else, remember that).

    When anyone transgresses the taboos of a tribe, they can, and often are, ostracised or even expelled. An example? Say some people oppose a war. What happens? They are often called cowards and told to leave the country. Who hasn’t heard the insult, “You’re a coward! If you don’t like it here, get out!” People who say such things think they’re being patriotic; in reality they’re acting like animals. Emotional, irrational, herd animals, prone to the fear and flight activated by propaganda. Individuals think; groups do not, and cannot.

    Narcissism is our inborn tendency to see everything as grandiose or devalued, good or bad, with nothing in-between. It’s why nearly every tribe in the world — and nations are just tribes writ large — called itself “the People,” “the Humans,” “the Chosen,” “the Motherland,” “the Fatherland,” or “the greatest nation on earth,” relegating everyone outside the tribe to a devalued non-people, non-human status (aka “collaterial damage”). No wonder it’s so easy to kill the outsiders — they’re just not quite human.

    When you combine those three concepts, you have the basis for all propaganda. If a leader of a tribe tells the people their goodness is under attack by insane, evil people who want to destroy them, they will react just like animals and attack. The Nazi propagandist Herman Goering noticed all you had to do to get people to march off to war is for the leaders to tell them they were under attack, denounce protestors as traitors exposing the tribe to danger, and the people would slander, ostracize and expell the protestors, and then tramp straight off to be slaughtered. He said this technique worked in every country of the world.

    The Bush administration used exactly this technique to start two wars. Essentially they told the public that our goodness was under attack by insane and evil people who wanted to destroy us. See how it works? Tribalism, emotionalism, and narcissism.

    Supporter of the war responded by attacking protestors as traitors — trying to expell them from the tribe — and marching off to war. It’s altogether too simple, and too easy.

    One man everyone should know is Edward L. Bernays, the American disciple and nephew of Sigmund Freud. He was for all practical purposes the founder of modern propaganda techniques.

    Bernays despised most people and regarded them as his inferiors, especially because of intellectual or social claims. (See how it works? I just appealed to your emotions, and convinced you Bernays was attacking you. You fell for it, right?)

    Bernays not only pretty much founded modern propaganda techniques, but was also the father of modern PR. Although, you could say they are same thing, and that there’s really no difference between them.

    In his 1928 book, Propaganda, Bernays wrote, “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country…”

    Remember that quote. Burn it into your memory. Bernays thought people should be ruled by an extremely small elite, who should manipulate them through propaganda. That means you. People who believe in the wonders of government, and that it is their friend, should think twice about it.

    In another book, In Crystallizing Public Opinion, Bernays wrote how governments and advertisers can “regiment the mind like the military regiments the body.” This can be imposed, he said, because of “the natural inherent flexibility of individual human nature,” and suggested the “average citizen is the world’s most efficient censor. His own mind is the greatest barrier between him and the facts. His own ‘logic-proof compartments,’ his own absolutism are the obstacles which prevent him from seeing in terms of experience and thought rather than in terms of group reaction.”

    Bernays also thought “physical loneliness is a real terror to the gregarious animal, and that association with the herd causes a feeling of security. In man this fear of loneliness creates a desire for identification with the herd in matters of opinion.”

    Bernays claimed that “the group mind does not think in the strict sense of the word…In making up its mind, its first impulse is usually to follow the example of a trusted leader. This is one of the most firmly established principles in mass psychology.” What Bernays called the “regimentation of the mind” is accomplished by taking advantage of the human tendency to self-deception [logic-proof compartments], gregariousness [the herd instinct], individualism [exalting their vanity] and the seductive power of a strong leader.

    Bernays also expressed the opinion people “have to take sides…[they] must step out of the audience onto the stage and wrestle as the hero for the victory of good over evil.” This also means appealing to our narcissism, our inborn tendency to see everything as either good or bad, with little or nothing in-between.

    He also noted the need for people to feel as if they belong to something larger than themselves. Again, this also means appealing to our narcissism, such as people claiming they belong to “the greatest nation on earth.”

    When people consider themselves as part of the Humans (by whatever name they call themselves), they exalt themselves. Still again, those outside the tribe are non-people, “collateral damage.”

    “Mental habits create stereotypes just as physical habits create certain definite reflex actionism,” Bernays wrote. “…these stereotypes or clichés are not necessarily truthful pictures of what they are supposed to portray.” Perception is everything, the truth matters little or not at all.

    Now, let’s boil all this down and see what we have:

    Mass Man, the herd, cannot think, and is instead ruled by its feelings. The herd will look to a leader to save it. The best way to accomplish this is for the herd to feel it is under attack. The herd will draw together, expell those who see the truth and protest, and then march off to war.

    The full quote from Hermann Goering? “Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

    Tell the herd they are the Humans, or the People, or best of all, have God on their side. Paint their enemies as insane and evil. Again, this is appealing to people’s narcissism, the tendency to see everything as either good (us) or evil (them). Evoke paranoia and hysteria in them by convincing them the insane evil ones want to conquer and destroy them. What will happen? You can get them to march off to war by the millions, just as Goering noticed. The truth doesn’t matter, only the manipulation of perception.

    To make it as simple as possible, everything that is needed for a successful propaganda campaign can be summed up in those three aforementioned words: emotionalism, tribalism and narcissism.

    We con ourselves we are so advanced. In reality, the human race is stuck in One Million Years BC, except there’s no Raquel Welch in a two-piece fur bikini.

    I forgot — there is one another component to successful propaganda: keep repeating the message over and over.

    • To Mescalito from Hank Springer
      I had to look up Mescalito philosophy on google. I thought it was some kind of drug or drink and had to search many entries for Mescalito. I think I now know where you are coming from but not really where you are or may be now. But they tell me there are many universes in reality and perhaps you are not really one of us earthlings. LOL
      Anyway, much of what you repeat regarding propaganda is true, but I hasten to add, not necessarily evil, as some may assume.
      Let us not forget that a judge warns a jury to decide by objective rationalism alone and not to be prejudiced by their emotions
      That being said (lol) the judge then gives the authority to the prosecutor and defending lawyer to present the best evidence they can which will affect the jurists’ emotions and prejudice. Is that not true? No humanist who subscribes to the philosophy of decision making with compassion in my mind should be allowed on a jury. Fairness and justice should be tempered with compassion? Is not compassion an emotion?
      Any way, there is nothing wrong with anti-city hall or antigovernment groups using propaganda. Rational decisions about what has been going on in Port Orange City Hall are of course going to be influenced by emotions. How can you accept being lied to, without feeling an emotion? I think we who are anti-city hall use the tools of propaganda. I use it often by repeating what I think needs to be repeated, both for a rational decision judgment and an emotional judgment. I am all for propaganda and recognize that some people only think it is wrong when the opposing group uses it.
      It is all in the details, but not the general notion of propaganda. Send me your opposing propaganda and I am not offended by it, but yes, I recognize it as propaganda, all well and good, but I hope I look at the facts and details to support your propaganda. I even accept “spin”. Somehow, conceited and self-assured, I feel I am not veiled or misled by propaganda but could be by the alleged supporting facts. Now, however, one must be very aware when ones emotions are being yanked, and you are asked to become a team player, jump on the band wagon as the band plays to your misguided gaiety, “Happy Days Are Here Again…!”
      So, accept propaganda and look for and into the details. When you receive no propaganda from either your group or the opposing group, go on a red alert. Something is probably terribly wrong.
       Hank springer

      • The Trickster Among Us

        In some tribes the trickster is associated with the coyote who is believed to trick the learner into the lesson. Through the antics of the coyote, especially Wyle E. Coyote we learn what not to do. We see the disastrous outcome and we learn to laugh at our own misfortunes as well as his.

        Unless our name is Kaczyinsky, we are not going to think of blowing up our enemies or in the case of Wyle E. Coyote our possible dinner without seeing Wyle E. with his soot blackened face and that oh, so mystified expression. If nothing else, we learned not to do anything without thinking through all the possible outcomes. How many of us who watched Roadrunner cartoons will now step out on a ledge without thinking, “Hey, maybe this ledge is not safe.?

        A lot of the time the rabbit is also the trickster figure. We see this in cartoons as well with Bugs Bunny and other similar characters. Countless times the rabbit comes out ahead of Elmer Fudd. He eats farmer Fudd’s carrots. He turns hunter Fudd’s gun barrel around on himself.

        Think of the Tortoise and the Hare. The rabbit attempts to trick the turtle by taking a nap and letting the turtle think he’s going to win when he knows he will wake up and out run him easily. What he doesn’t count on is the perseverance of the turtle. From this we learn to stick it out and the little guy can win. We needed the example of the hare making a fool of himself to learn to keep our mind on what we are doing.

        We see the trickster everywhere, not only in Native American folklore but in stories from almost every other group as well. In Ireland it’s leprechauns. In Scotland it’s brownies and elves. To the Mestizo Indian, it’s Mescalito. In Greek mythology, it was Pan. In Hawaii it’s the Menehunes. In medieval Jewish tales he’s called the dybbuk.

        Stefano DiMera, a character on the popular soap Days of Our Lives is a trickster character along with his adopted daughter Kristin. These two are rich and powerful and enjoy manipulating the personal lives of most of the other characters. From these two we learn about power corrupting. We also learn that all the money and power in the world won’t buy us happiness. Without evil characters on a soap, we would have no plot and learn no life lessons.

        We even find the trickster in science fiction tales of the future. Q on Star Trek the Next Generation is the ultimate trickster. Q is described as being a “Mischievous Omniscient Being.” His character fluctuates back and forth between good and evil. Sometimes he’s judge, sometimes protector. Sometimes he’s sadistic tormentor and at other times he’s benevolent despot. In one episode he torments the humans at the beginning and by the end of the show, he has taught them (sometimes just Picard,) an important life lesson. Q satisfies our desire to see an all powerful being who is not totally evil. While being a work of fiction like a dream, he doesn’t pose a threat to us.

        I believe that not only is Nanapush in Love Medicine, a trickster, but Pauline is more so, the only difference being that she doesn’t know it. Don’t we learn life lessons from her evil and her stupidity? Perhaps the Great Spirit is using Pauline to teach us to be kind to each other.

        The trickster is everywhere.

      • In ever increasing numbers, people today, and especially the young adults freshly minted from government schooling and our elite common-sense destroying colleges, view truth as relative. What this means is that there is really no baseline, no standard of measurement, beyond the subjective such as opinion, desire, personal perspective or the force used by the state.

        This is like a policemen who only pulls over attractive women for speeding. Say the speed limit is 35 mph but the woman was going 55 mph. But instead of appealing to the speed limit as an external measure of the infraction, the policemen pulled the woman over for some other reason that was completely arbitrary and had nothing to do with the speed limit. Maybe the policemen has a hard time meeting women and the woman happened to be a fine looking specimen in his eyes.

        His desire to meet women can not be used in any objective sense to measure a speeding infraction by any court. Subjective desires do not provide a measurable standard in this sense. Were the policeman to act in this manner, it would be considered unjust and illogical, not to mention that this policeman may have real mental problems and possibly be a danger to the woman. Once the intention of the policeman become known to the woman, that she is not being stopped for speeding but because the officer has a problem with his loins, what will go through her mind? Fear? Feelings of being threatened? Rape? Yes, these and perhaps many more.

        Concepts like justice and logic and safety, although subjectively perceived, are tied to external reality. And despite Hume’s best efforts to obfuscate the common man’s ability to clearly and accurately connect mental abstractions with the world around them, we all do just that, all the time.

        Truth is never relative in the same way and at the same time. It is always concrete. If I say “I have cheese in my refrigerator”, then I either do or I don’t at the time that statement was made. The only way to tell if I am lying or telling the truth is to open the refrigerator and see if I indeed have cheese in it. If my statement corresponds to reality, it is true. If not, it is false. It may be my opinion that I have cheese in my fridge, and I may be mistaken. But the statement is never-the-less false, although it may not be a lie if there was no intention to deceive. So while morality (whether a thing is a lie or merely incorrect) adds another layer of subjectivity to any incident by including motive and purpose to the accurate determination of truth, it still must have some correspondence to reality, even if that reality is logic or mathematics rather than corporeal.

        Even in economics (true economics, not Keynesian-ism) the subjective desires of consumers to purchase this or that, no matter how whimsical, needs to be subject to measurement in some way. This measurement cannot be found in Keynes or Samuelson’s mathematical macro economic models for sure. Yet, the free market still provides businesses with all the feedback they need to invest, allocate resources, stock inventory and to measure success. This feedback mechanism is called profit. It is the pricing mechanism that works unless distortions are introduced by non-market forces seeking intervention and control, e. g., Governments, Banks, and their corporate lackies who are currently very busy destroying the economy in the ridiculous and arrogant belief that they can manage something they don’t even understand.

        If truth were really relative as so many people are taught today, how could one tell the difference between truth and propaganda? If truth is relative, it is mere opinion or preference or desire. If truth is mere opinion, all is propaganda. So what makes your opinion better than mine? What makes it better than the fascists who run the government? Why is your opinion better than the Nazis? In fact, can someone who believes that truth is relative really say anything meaningful?

        The truth is, (not just my truth, but yours too), even the most ardent progressive who denies any absolute position on anything, be it moral or not, will quickly call someone a liar, a fraud, a bigot, racist, intolerant, close minded, and any other ad hominem insult he can think with little provocation. But these assertions have no logical meaning without truth being objective and absolute. If truth is relative there is no measuring stick. The very idea of truth becomes an absurdity. You can’t handle the truth because there is no truth to handle.

        If everything is relative, then there is no logic. Logic assumes the laws of the mind. Non-contradiction, one of the basic laws of the mind, states that a thing cannot be both true and false in the same way at the same time. A table is not a Christmas ham nor is a Christmas ham a table. The object we place the Christmas ham on to serve before guests is either a table or it is not. It cannot be both a table and not a table at the same time. While Hume may play word games to illustrate that the symbol in the mind that corresponds to table is not identical with the word “table” which is not identical with the actual object in time and space which is the actual “table”. In the real, functioning world, these distinctions are ignored. People still call each other liars and appeal to external and historical facts to evaluate the truth or falsity of claims made by others even if Hume says you cannot know the thing in itself. So many people may be to stupid to see the obvious contradiction between believing that truth is relative and how they live there lives.

        If everything is relative, moral truth is absurd. There are no lies and no liars. Atheist world views do not provide any substance for moral evaluation yet they expect their moral pronouncements of right and wrong, of truth and lies, to be taken seriously and have meaning.

        Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear . . .There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.” Provine, W.B., Origins Research16(1), p.9, 1994.

        What was startlingly clear to Provine apparently escapes the less philosophically sophisticated Dawkins and Dennett. Indeed, Dawkins and Dennett make ethical pronouncements galore spending much time over generalizing, setting straw men, and reducing argument after argument to reductio ad absurdum in an endless effort to obtain the moral high ground as a point of persuasion. A high ground that should not exist in there world view. But again, God is proved by the impossibility of the opposite.

        So circling back the wagons, we come again to this generation of people, who like Dawkins and Dennett, believe in contradictory absurdities. Truth is relative, so they can no longer distinguish between what is and what is not propaganda. Perfect. This is just what the government and there allies in the media and the central planners at the banks and treasury want. A nation of drones, amused by bread and circuses, so freedom can perish and free men become slaves once again.

  4. Pearls of Colloquial Wisdom From the DIAS

    How to Master Political Spin

    Spin doctors are people that put a particular “spin” on what has been said–often, with little concern for its truth. The real concern is whether or not people believe the spin. Sometimes the spin on a message is more important than the message itself.

    Instructions

    1 Understand what it is that a spin doctor does. Spin is cynically perceived as a form of propaganda: biased, manipulative and deceptive. Sociologists see the rise of spin as a real problem for democracy because it masks transparency and provides the public with distorted information.

    2 Become ambiguous, one of the major techniques of spin. Incorporating unclear phrasing can make your exact meaning hard to pin down, which is useful when answering questions about a subject that you don’t want to address.

    3 Selectively present facts and quotes that support your position. Sometimes a spin doctor can manipulate the words of an adversary and come up with a statement that ends up supporting the spin doctor’s client. A good example of this is Ms. X saying, “I admire Mr. Z, but he has made a terrible error.” The spin becomes, “Ms. X said today that she ‘admires’ Mr. Z.”

    4 Learn to use the non-denial denial, saying something such as “We didn’t know that this company was intending to outsource it’s manufacturing plant to Brazil”–when in fact, you knew that the company was going overseas, just not that it was specifically going to Brazil. In other words, say something made to sound like a denial, without actually being one.

    5 Speak in euphemisms to sound less offensive, disturbing or troubling. A good example of using euphemisms is the war in Iraq. When the President refers to the 30,000 additional troops he asked for, he doesn’t call it an escalation. The word escalation is a loaded word and brings back memories of the Vietnam War. Instead, the government and the media use the word “surge,” which is much more palatable than “escalation.”

    6 Use the right words. The news media will often repeat words from a press conference or press release verbatim, without questioning the aptness of the phrase. This perpetuates both the message and whatever preconceptions might underlie it. Constant use of a phrase or a word legitimizes it.

    7 Play up weaknesses and make them look charming. When President Bush makes fun of his “misquotes” he actually takes the thunder away from his detractors. This is an old spin trick to make someone look more likable and more like “common folk.”

  5. Beware the spin masters and demand a public debate from political candidates. Avoid any political candidate that is unwilling to engage in a public debate like the plague. Any candidate that is unwilling to engage in a political debate is obviously hiding something. They may be hiding their incompetency, their lack of honesty, or their hidden agendas. Open debate dispels propaganda and if conducted properly in an easily accessible forum made widely available to potential voters will help facilitate voters make an informed decision. Advocates of open and transparent governance welcome this type of forum. Special interest groups that are counting on their ability to mislead the citizens are against open and transparent debate between the candidates.

  6. Not long ago at a special council meeting Buddy Lacour and an entourage of contractors, politicians, realtors, and business representatives threw down their full arsenal and propaganda initiative to lock in a cut and dried commitment from the city council to commit taxpayer TIFF money to subsidize a millionaire’s construction project. Lacour and his entourage in my humble opinion showed abject disrespect for the two elected officials that raised critical objections to this subsidization without allowing the citizens of Port Orange to have a say. These two honorable councilmen are Bob Ford and Drew Bastian.

    Irrespective of the apparent ultimatum and threat to back out of his proposed retarded project, sound advice from the city attorney postponed a final commitment until bond obligations were satisfied and a green light was given to proceed with any commitment. All in attendance agreed on this, and city manager Kisela who was procured for his alleged expertise in expediting these development deals was there to oversee the proceedings. Kisela conveniently no longer works for the city.

    With a split council and a three to two ratio in favor of expediting the Lacour subsidization things could be very hairy if Bob Ford was reelected and Scott Stiltner was elected in November. This would reverse the 3 to 2 special interest oriented council ratio from a Buddy Lacour expediting council to a 3 to 2 council in favor of open and transparent governance. The implication of this is that the citizens of Port Orange which are the tax payers that would ultimately foot the bill would be able to vote on this special interest tax commitment in a citizens referendum vote that would reflect the desire of the council’s constituency.

    Fast forward to just a couple of days ago. We now have an interim city manager who appears to be honest and has been hired to stabilize the city until a long term permanent manager can be hired after the elections and after we know where the political direction of the city is heading. The following is an email on the interim city manager’s read file from a representative of Buddy Lacour asking for what appears to be an immediate commitment instead of waiting for what was agreed on at the special council meeting and allowing the citizens to have in place their political representatives to make the decision whether to go to referendum vote or not:

    Mr. Harden I represent Buddy LacCour and Josif Atanasoski, the developers of Riverwalk. I am requesting that the Riverwalk tax increment sharing agenda item be put back on the agenda for the next City Commission meeting for a vote seeking approval of the tax increment sharing proposal previously approved by the CRA. The vote would be for the exact same tax increment sharing proposal approved by the CRA, as I understand it the City Commission also needs to approve what the commissioners voted on wearing their “CRA hats”.

    This agenda item was pulled by staff pending a written agreement from bond counsel memorializing what the CRA approved. We are requesting that the agenda item be placed back on the City Commission agenda with or without the draft written agreement from City bond counsel.

    We need to move forward and delays are very costly to my client!

    Thank you.

    Jeffrey P. Brock, Esq.

    Board Certified Attorney

    Smith, Hood, Loucks

    Stout, Bigman, & Brock, P.A.

    444 Seabreeze Blvd. Suite 900

    Daytona Beach, Florida 32118

    (386) 254-6875

    (386) 257-1834 (fax)

    • I doubt that Mr LaCour’s legal eagle will get much support on this blog for his attempted rush job and not wanting it to go to the citizens in a referendum. Nice try.

      • To clarify, this rush job has been 15 plus years in the making. Again, it’s best to work with Buddy and achieve a good project rather than leave all that property vacant and basically none producing towards the tax rolls. If all of you that are against the project end of derailing it, don’t turn around and complain when we keep tapping the general fund to cover these debts. You may win the battle but lose the war. I really don’t think any of you understand the cost to us taxpayers of the do nothing plan.

        • Onlooker:

          Many and most agree that the area should finally be developed. The dividing line is how it should be developed. Again many do not want condominiums !

        • You may be correct Onlooker. I am just pissed off that we have to be fair to the developers at the cost of the tax payer. I would like to cut my loses now and not go down the road with Buddy LaCour. I think there are still to many “what ifs”. First the CRA said no structure over 5 floors high. Than the CRA said OK, 3 condos 17 story high, but in the back, central park area or close to Ridgewood Ave. Then Lacour said, the economy is no good, no condos in the plan. Then Lacour says, the economy is good, %$375,000 condos, 17 stories high, 3 buildings, on the point, prime land on the riverfront, the city can have a park around the condos, on the north side and the south side. I say screw it! Especially when La Cour after all that points a shot gun at my head as a citizen and demands 10 million dollars or my life. Ford protests, and La Cour telsl me, ok, I am tired of Ford producing a hostile envoinement, so Hank Springer I only want 5 million dollars of TIF money or your life, aka as you go it alone with your park ideas. I would not personally deal any longer with a scoundrel such as LaCour and would cut my loses at that point in this fiasco. What’s next? The economy does not improve? No matter which way we go, we have already loss. La Cour has won all the battles and the war. The question is now, how much more financial damage do we want to risk for the citizens? I differ with Ford. Screw the park and let me pay in taxes what the city council and cra has already lost to LaCour and his associates. Believe me, I will not walk into that damn Riverwalk Park. If I do, get a picture of me in that park. LaCour’s Riverwalk Park can go to hell. And if that means US 1 can’t be reclaimed, so be it. How blighted is the area if you really look at it. I have seen blighted areas in my lifetime and believe me when I drive down US 1 in Port Orange I don’t think it is blighted. Who thinks it is so awful? Construction companies and developers? So we have motels and used car lots. You call that blighted? What BS, but we have to be fair to the developers you know. CRAs must have been something thought about by construction companies and developers as a diabolical way get money going their way.

          I have stories from Selden LI as to what kind of laws were passed for realtors, and only for their benefit, and also occupancy rules which benefited the cable company. Can you imagine that? occupancy town ordinances which the cable company took advantage of to add more income to their cable tv services. I kid you not. Where do I join up for the Tea Party?

          hank springer

    • Complicit Politicians and Special Interest Predators are Destroying America

      By Ted Abram

      09/04/2012

      By a faction (interest group), I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.
      – James Madison – Federalist 10

      Complicit Politicians and Special Interest Predators are Destroying America
      Paul Ryan, the Republican Vice-President candidate, has forced a debate concerning America’s outrageous debt. Sovereign debt is primarily the destructive force of most civilizations and imperils America. Ryan, through rigorous study and political savvy, is forcing politicians and voters to discuss this critical issue.

      Elected officials -Democrats and Republicans – are responsible for America’s debt, and We the People must engage in deliberations to force politicians to reduce and restrict government’s reach and spending.

      America has another political corruption that is equally dangerous; complicit politicians and special-Interest predators are destroying America. AARP, government unions, Wall Street banks, energy giants, and thousands of other special-interest groups give enormous sums of money to politicians and receive gigantic favors in the return.

      This mutual corruption – between industries and politicians – restricts innovation and the expansion of products. Additionally, it increases bureaucratic control and the cost of government, which reduces personal freedom. Higher taxes and reduced consumer choices diminish the personal freedom of all Americans.

      ObamaCare is the most vivid example of this corruption. The Obama Administration made deals with all the industries associated with health insurance; doctors, hospitals, governmental unions, pharmaceutical companies and the like. These industries agreed to cut costs or actively support their legislation, which includes millions of dollars in promotional advertizing, in order to ultimately receive preferential status.

      For example, healthy, young Americans will be forced to buy insurance and government unions will provide tens of thousands more government employees to enlist – additional IRS agents, healthcare providers, etc. By legislative and bureaucratic edicts, these industries will have a quasi monopoly of power. Without competition, innovation will be reduced and costs will be increased.

      America’s Founders were aware and feared the universal problem of factions, i.e. special-interest politics. From the beginning, America has witnessed plenty of factional fights. However, it wasn’t until the New Deal when alignments were permanently formed. George Will writes in the Washington Post:

      Under FDR, liberalism became the politics of creating an electoral majority from a mosaic of client groups. Labor unions got special legal standing, farmers got crop supports, business people got tariff protection and other subsidies, the elderly got pensions, and so on and on.

      Of course, Republicans rushed to counter Democrats in cultivating special-interest partners. Today, according to Joel Kotkin of New Geography, Democrats are aligned with financial interests, technology, green energy, education and trial lawyers. Republicans are complicit with large banks, oil, gas and small businesses. Most of these industries are heavily regulated by government.

      Again, laws and bureaucratic favors distort the efficacy of the products consumed by Americans. Two other examples are the American educational system and energy produciton. Our educational system is declining but our government and teacher unions resist innovation, which would improve our system. In addition to education, America has a huge potential for energy production, but government is so concentrated on promoting windmills and solar panels that they’re missing everything else that can be utilitzed.

      Tragically, in the 20th and 21st centuries, government has stopped protecting the natural rights of Americans – the freedom to believe, think, work, exchange and own the fruits of their labors – and has only worried about itself rather than the people it governs. Politicians and bureaucrats have joined in complicit alliances with big banks, big unions, big energy and others. All of this is adversed (sic) to the rights of our citizens or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.

      President Madison believed America’s great diversity – geographic and cultural – would prevent factions from controlling. Unfortunately, special-interest politics is destroying America. Jay Cost of the Weekly Standard asserts that the Tea Party is the only organization actively seeking to end this corruption.

      Hence, it is absolutely imperative for the Tea Party Rebellion to expose these corruptions and seek structural restraints on government. Similar to Paul Ryan, We the People must force America to debate this political subversion. Until this corruption is stopped, America cannot regain greatness.

  7. Well said WOW.

    The rank incompetence and UN-denyable deceit of last 2 years have ensured that this election is about one thing and one thing only. THE CONTINUED DOMINATION OF COUNCIL BY MAYOR GREEN.

    Green’s domination of Council has been sustained for the past 2 years by two lackeys in the form of Dennis Kennedy and Don Burnette. Assuming Scott Stiltner takes Kennedy’s open seat it becomes critical for the Green machine to replace Bob Ford with their new found lackey Sonya Laney no matter what the cost including their instance that the Port Orange Chamber of Commerce become partisan in a way they never have before.

    Make no mistake Laney is in the pocket of both Green and his favorite BUDDY having taken money from both.

  8. Have any of the four candidates supplied answers for the candidate Q&A on the top upper right of the blog home page ? Can we expect answers soon ?

  9. KEEP AN EYE ON THE DIRT AND MAKE SURE IN THE FUTURE IT IS KEPT CLEAN! (FOLLOW THE DIRT)

    Bid rigging occurs when a company soliciting bids for a project promises the contract to a certain vendor outside of the formal bid process. This practice is considered fraud and is therefore illegal in most places. It may also open the individuals involved to civil prosecution.

    In a normal bidding process, a company or organization has a project that requires one or more outside vendors to complete. The company sends out a request for bids to multiple vendor companies. The vendors who are interested in the project return their bids, and the soliciting company chooses the one that it feels is the best value. This decision may be based solely on price, but may also consider other factors, such as the reputation, financial stability, and experience of the chosen vendor. The decision may also take into consideration the time frame in which each vendor can complete the job.

    In bid rigging, this normal process appears to occur. In reality, however, the decision-maker at the soliciting company has already made a promise to a specific vendor that it will be awarded the project, regardless of the actual result of the bidding. In cases wherein the lowest bid is always the one accepted, the party offering the project for bid may tell its preferred party how much it needs to bid in order to win.

    There can be a number of motivations behind bid rigging. In some cases, the party offering the project has a personal relationship with the vendor, or may even have a personal interest in the vendor company, such as part-ownership in the business. In other cases, the individual rigging the process may receive a payment, called a kick-back, from the awarded vendor. This payment may involve large sums of money or may be as simple as tickets to a favorite sporting event.

    Bid rigging is nearly always detrimental to the company offering the project for bid. It often results in a company that has less ability or experience, or that is more expensive, receiving the project over more qualified vendors. It can waste company money and can also damage relationships with vendors that the company might need in the future.

    In most cases, bid rigging is illegal, particularly when it occurs within a governmental setting. It is prohibited by laws such as the Sherman Act in the US and the Competition Act in Canada. Participants may be open to criminal charges, including fraud, conspiracy and collusion. A conviction can carry high fines and extensive jail time. An individual who rigs bids without his company’s knowledge may also be sued for damages by his employer.

  10. I had a similar situation to Don Juan and his friend. I was discussing things with a neighbor. He proceeds to tell me he voted for Laney in the primary. His rationale was that she appeared to have the financial and accounting knowledge to bail the city out of its current plight. He felt the current council and Bob Ford have no clue and thus we had many surprises.
    This neighbor also despises Mayor Green. Thus he tells me he has reevaluated things and feels that a vote FOR Bob Ford is a vote AGAINST Allen Green and he can live with Ford for another four years if Green’s votes are nullified in 3-2 votes. Right or wrong, that is his mentality. He still feels Laney would be an asset, but is not comfortable with her sitting on the same side of the table as Mayor Green.

    When and where is the debate ???

  11. Sounds like Mercury is giving us a heads up on another soon to be announced dirt deal that will be in the best interest of Allen Green Construction xxyyyxxx er I mean the City of Port Orange.

  12. It sounds like either the special interest of Alan or Lance because it sure seems like the puppet master is setting up his special interest legacy. Help me out here, did not Allen Green’s son Lance receive the award of a city wide paving contract not too long ago?. Has not Lance recently received his initiation into City politics by the council voting him into a prestigious city committee?

    Has Lance Green Construction Company have any subcontracting affiliation in the past locally, in Jacksonville, or in any other locality with Buddy Lacour? Does Allen or Lance Green’s construction business interests or affiliations have any other future business interests or endeavors that are connected with Buddy Lacour’s, as related to either Port Orange projects or any projects that might be the recipients of dirt extracted from reuse lake excavations?

    For crying out loud its time for a change. Lets have transparency in city governance. Lets get contractors and mortgage brokers and accountants that are hooked into and facilitated by the Chamber of Commerce off the city council. Lets identify Individuals that are hell bent on preventing a citizens referendum vote, and arbitrarily and capriciously committing millions of dollars of tax payers dollars to subsidize a millionaire contractor’s investment project.

    Look at the potential for spuriously legal kickbacks. Millions of dollars worth of subcontractor’s contracts to a retired politician’s company (which is the gift that keeps on giving} or that of his progeny’s. Million of dollars of mortgage origination fees and other associated fees from condominium sales for any politician hooked into this deal.

    We can only hope that Vice Mayor Don Burnette who is a mortgage broker for American Mortgage Company would never be the recipient of any of the mortgage origination fees associated with the three hundred $400,000 mortgages associated with the Buddy Lacour Riverwalk condominium development.

    Hopefully Bob Ford and Scott Stiltner will be voted in this November because if they are not then we have proverbially turned over the key to the henhouse to the Fox. This fox wants to solidify his southern plantation fantasy by maintaining his 3 to 2 dominance on the council until he can transition Don Burnette into his position and eventually get his progeny on the council. His linchpin is to supplant Bob Ford and replace him by his bought and paid for candidate. If the citizens of Port Orange want to eradicate special interest and take control of their city I humbly suggest that they vote for Bob Ford and Scott Stiltner. Lets eradicate special interest and than honestly and methodically heal our home municipality.

    • Nacho Libre you raise some real issues of skepticism which are hard to deny and avoid unless you are one who is wired into the old boy network and “team players”. Any one who has been following national news and issues can not avoid what is suspicious here in Port Orange. I take the liberty of “I told you so” that I had warned the city council back when Steindoerfer was a city council man that the city council meetings seemed to be too well rehersed before hand and such presentations to the public on POG TV were going to produce suspicion and skepticism. In my e mail to the city council I spelled out the connections that city council people had in their backgrounds and that unless they started to explain some of their decisions on issues, the national mood of skepticism was going to fall on them. Mayor Green and Steindoerf resented my suggestion and said so at the next city council meeting.

      Thank you all on these blogs for proving me correct and all who have helped discover back room connections which only increase our worries. Yes, Ford, Drew and Scott may be allied with our civil service unions, and yes we do have to watch that they don’t give the candy store away any more to those interests. But I do not think it was Ford, Drew and Scott who were on the board when the city council was not watching the expense of contracts and pensions. And I do not think Ford, Drew and Scott were on the board when all the so called “mistakes” amounted to million of dollars which went not to police or fire unions but to other recipients. I will always remember Vice Mayor Martin who said “Craig E. Young was an anachist and we have to be fair to developers” I will always remember Kisella saying “what difference does it make if it cost us 2 times more to cut the grass than a private contractor or 3 times more”. And Mayor Green, ” Noftall is a not a good citizen because he wants to keep taxes down”. Can you believe I am not making this up? My sons can’t believe it so I have to refer them to you tube where video shows that these things were really said.

      If any candidate for city council shows him or her self as a supporter of anyone from the Green Family, my amygdala sends me a message “ALERT! possible danger imminent”.

      I passed the old police station to day with my son and daughter. I pointed out the old police station on a prime corner of Dunlawton and City Center Parkway. I told them that the city says it cannot sell that prime reality because there are too many rooms in it. I told Robert and Linda, when it is sold for the person who I think is lined up to buy it, but is not yet ready, my friends will search the records and see who the buyer is associated with in the hidden connections.

      I am sorry for Burnette. I think he made a mistake throwing his hat into the floating pool of those connected with any Green interest. This city will go to the good old days of Parker, Shelly and Green or to the new transparency for the people of Ford, Bastian and Stiltner. Don Burnette I tell you the old crowd will probably take care of your interests. You took good care of my refinancing for a small unit in Summer Trees, but I am sorry that you showed your support for Green and his supporters. There was much more to worry about then “Peg Leg” or Ted Noftall. If only you had showed the same amount of boldness for the problems that could not be fixed by Green and Kinsella, if only, if only, I wish. I am for you Don, or any one for that matter, who can show that he is more concerned for the public , as you did when you voted for the peoples’ request to help elderly seniors who were in danger of loosing their homes to foreclosure. I commend you for your vote on that resolutions, but your concern of a Ted Noftall among us, puts you on my alert list of “watch”. Others have already written you off as a Green puppet as I assume you are well aware.
      I am happy that we are at the point of finding out who is going to run this city. —- The people through their representatives or “team players” for the Green family?

      No matter who wins, like I told the city council, (6 or 7 years ago), a change is coming and has come to Port Orange. No matter if Ford does not win, or Scott does not win, let me predict once again, there will always be a group of non Team players who will watch you Don, and
      Ford or Sonya. You do realize I hope by now, that you can not any longer blame the city council mistakes on Hukill or Noftall. City Council, ask for a raise, because you are going to have to produce and work harder than you have in the past. It has been a disgrace that a small group of “activists” have had to ask the questions you should have been asking, and seek the information through FOI which you should have been receiving.

      Mayor Green, any time you would like to tell me in private what you had once said some years ago,, that you had words for me that you cannot say in public, please phone me and I will gracefully listen. 386 852 3178. But then again as you said to someone in the back of the audience in a city council meeting, when she cried out “I can’t hear you”, and you replied “I do not want you to hear me”. It delighted me to hear your lackeys laugh at your sense of humor and non connection to the reality of the day and the times.

      Opps I did it again. I just made a mistake. I really want to concentrate what irks me from now on, towards our city council members. If they only make 13,000 dollars a year as council people, I vote for a raise, because I am no longer going to accept from them a $8,000 return in their value to the people who voted them in.

      “We have to be fair to developers” –Vice Mayor Mary Martin, some years ago at a city council meeting.

      — hank springer

      • Why don’t you press relentlessly for your meeting with Mayor Green that he “surprisingly” postponed ?

        • I am tired and sick of Mayor Green. I offered him a chance to explain himself and some circumstances which had caused suspicion and negative judgment of him from some of the citizens and true to form Green seems to be taking the attitude as he quipped at a city council meeting: “I don’t want you to hear me!”.

          The hell with Mayor Green. Let us now focus on our city council members who tolerate a mayor who does not fully represent the tax payers. Green is all business orientated and thus he looks upon tax payers as “investors”. I hope Stiltner and Ford can reach the yet concerned citizens. — hank springer

          • Mary Anderson is the one who told him to speak up in that meeting Hank. Needless did she know at the moment he meant it. Replay!!

      • Mary Martin – now there was an elected official who was totally out of touch and useless. She never did realize this. She aspired for higher political office and fell into oblivion. Could be the same path Burnette is headed.

  13. WE MUST SEE THROUGH THE PUPPET MASTERS!

    THE VIRTUE OF

    POLITICAL APATHY

    by
    Larry Barnhart
    July 1996

    America needs more political apathy — not less! This idea might sound un-American, but before we judge it too harshly, let’s look at it closer. After all, America was founded on the principles of political apathy. Thomas Jefferson, for instance, declared: “That government is best that governs least.”

    That was 200 years ago. Today, virtually everyone agrees that a good citizen is one who is politically aware and politically active. Even those who are not politically involved tend to pay homage to this notion by apologizing and making excuses for their non-involvement. Many self-righteous politicos proclaim that those who don’t vote have no right to complain about how others dispose of their lives and property. There is one question that neither side ever brings up, “Why have so many issues become political in the first place?”

    What is the essence of politics? To start with, let’s refer to Webster’s Dictionary which defines politics as “the science and art of political government.” Now that we know that politics is inextricably linked to government, we need to define government. Probably, the best person for this job is George Washington, the first president of the United States. He went straight to the heart of the matter by declaring, “Government is force. It is not reason. It is not eloquence. And like fire,is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Hence, we have a simple formula: politics = government, government= force; therefore, politics = force. Summed up,politics is the application of force and coercion inhuman relations. When an issue becomes political, force becomes the final argument.

    Is that shocking? Many people are shocked when they realize that force automatically becomes the final argument in matters of politics and law. Ayn Rand summed it up well when she observed, “Under every stack of regulations lies a gun.” In other words, once an issue becomes political, people are no longer free to make their own choices based on their personal preferences and their best wisdom. the decision has already been made for them, and they risk confinement and/or the loss of their property should they resist.

    Once politics is understood in these terms, it becomes truly amazing that political busybodies have succeeded in claiming the moral high ground. Some of these political busybodies presume the right to spend our money on our behalf, and other such busybodies presume the right to run our personal lives for us. In either case, they are convinced that they know best how to dispose of our lives and property. Furthermore, they justify their position by suggesting that if we don’t surpass them in the application of political force, we deserve to have them run our lives. This is tantamount to declaring that those who do not surpass criminals in the application of physical force deserve to be plundered and murdered.

    There are two concepts that can help us resolve the confusion we typically experience when pondering political issues. The first concept revolves around discriminating between voluntary relationships and coercive relationships. The second concept involves learning how to discriminate between offensive and defensive force. Once these concepts are understood,many foggy issues will become clear.

    In life, there are two types of transactions to choose from: voluntary or coercive. Many people wince when I make this statement, and my mentioning this concept is a certain way to not get published in the media, but I have yet to be told of a third option. When people make a voluntary trade, they exchange something perceived to be of lesser value for something perceived to be of greater value. In this type of transaction, both sides are better off than before. On the other hand, when coercion is present, one person enjoys an unearned gain while the other person loses. In coercive relationships, force,fraud and guilt are the tools of the trade.

    This brings us to the issue of offensive verses defensive force. It is becoming increasingly popular to equate defensive force as being just as evil as offensive force. However, the difference between the two is as clear as the difference between life and death. Offensive force is employed by people who seek unearned gains at the expense of others. On the other hand, those who use defensive force are not seeking an unearned gain – they merely want to protect what they have already earned. In short, offensive force is a threat to life, while defensive force simply protects life.

    Now we are ready to consider the role of government in society. Thomas Paine, in his book, Common Sense, said”People often make the mistake of confusing government with society, not realizing that society is the product of our wants while government is the result of our vices.” Thomas Jefferson followed up this line of thought when he observed, “If men were angels, there would be no need for government.” According to these two architects of our great nation, government’s only role in society is to have a monopoly on the use of defensive force. Beyond this limit, government becomes an agent of offensive force. (War is politics carried to its logical extreme.) In other words, government should only protect people from each other, not from themselves, nor should it confiscate from one person for the benefit of another.

    William Summer, an American Sociologist, once stated,”All history is only one long story to this effect: Men have struggled for power over their fellow men in order that they might win the joys of earth at the expense of others, and might shift the burdens of life from their own shoulders onto the shoulders of others.” As you might have guessed, government has been the tool of choice for accomplishing that goal. Even in America,where government was supposed to be “bound by the chains of the constitution,” government has broken those surly bonds, and is now no longer limited to the use of defensive force. Groups of people are now joining together to wage “special interest warfare” over who is going to run everyone elses’ lives, and all of our personal and economic freedoms are up for a vote.Supposedly, the majority will determine what is the best way for everyone to go. In reality, a small,self-righteous, mettlesome group of people have muscled their way into political power, and are now exercising the “tyranny of the majority.”

    In spite of all the obstacles erected by democratic demagogues, America is still a great nation. Contrary to popular rhetoric, America owes its greatness to those who are too busy, doing the work that makes life possible, to be concerned with political issues. In other words,America owes its greatness to politically apathetic people. Unfortunately, political apathy also has its risks. Edmund Burke is credited with saying, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

    Of course, the next question that arises is “How do we fight evil without becoming evil?” Changing from political apathy to political activism certainly is not the answer. However, there is another approach. Maybe we should change ourselves from being passively apathetic to being actively apathetic? Why do we need active apathy? Because politicians can squander wealth faster than honest citizens can create it!

    Ultimately, the battle for freedom is a philosophical battle. Its only political agenda is to reduce the need for politics to an absolute minimum. (The application of defensive force against those who initiate the use of force.) The good news is, the enemy is not a monster — it is a worm. The bad news is, the worm’s name is envy.If we want others to stop running our personal and economic lives, we must resist the temptation to run the lives of others. Once we have accomplished that, we will then be ready to withdraw our sanction from those who would employ the force of government in the pursuit of their personal and ideological goals. Active political apathy requires that we see through the con game, and then laugh the organized thugs down from the helm of the ship of state.

    If active political apathy is for you, please feel free to make copies of this article to distribute it to others.

  14. WE NEED OUR CITY OFFICIALS AND ADMINISTRATORS TO REFLECT ON THIS MESSAGE IF THEY ARE GOING TO SUCCESSFULLY EMBRACE AND NAVIGATE A NEW PARADIGM OR ALLOW THE CITY TO TAIL SPIN INTO AN EVEN GREATER IMPLOSION THAT MIGHT PLUNGE US INTO AN ABYSS.

    Why Government Managers Need to Develop Critical Thinking Skills
    By Asila Safi and Darrell Norman Burrell

    Why Are Critical Thinking Skills Important?

    Evolving Leadership challenges like succession planning in government, international cultural genocide, and international terrorism have made decision making for all government professionals complex. Today’s government manager has to be more thorough, strategic, adaptive, and multiple scenario driven then their predecessors. Even with an experienced manager there is likelihood to mishandle a crisis or leadership decision when the unexpected occurs.

    In this context, critical thinking involves learning to apply experience-based and team based problem solving methods to situations. Critical thinking is also about learning to overcome and become self aware of biases, false assumptions, myths, and faulty paradigms that can hamper effective decision making (Bazerman 2005).

    What Is Critical Thinking?

    In critical thinking managers create multiple solutions to problems by constantly questioning and challenging their strengths, and through an examination thinking and decision making preferences and practices. Thinking is fueled by questions. Questions define variables, state factors, outline tasks, clarify issues, and express problems. Complex questioning drives thought beyond what is superficial. Asking questions forces everyone involved to express and challenge preconceived notions and assumptions. Asking questions forces public managers to look at their sources of information and consider the validity and quality. This kind of in depth questioning and analysis helps assure that the solution will actually solve the problem, not just be the best of mediocre options. Engaging in this process also creates a mechanism of reassessment where if the solution does meet a determined level of satisfaction, the decision makers re-open the process and further research, brainstorm, until the most effective outcome of decision is established (McAuliffe 2005).

    Critical thinking is a process of intense reflection which results in the adaptive interpretation and analysis of the evidential, conceptual, or contextual considerations with important decisions. The successful application of these core skills requires that one take into reasoned consideration of the evidence, contexts, theories, and criteria in which problems are solved. The process is more then just making decisions. It is also about the ability to consistently develop better alternatives and make better group decisions even in contentious environments, and sell or defend decisions successfully within any organizational hierarchy (McAuliffe 2005).

    Effective critical thinkers engage in comprehensive, flexible thinking, thus enhancing manager’s ability to generate good alternatives, design something new, and successfully implement innovative ideas. To be successful, public managers must avoid reasoning fallacies in order to critically examine the best ways to solve perplexing policy problems. When done effectively, critical thinking skills can allow managers to:

    · Develop paths to reasoned judgment when variables in a situation are changing and evolving;

    · Learn to encourage and ensure consideration of many breakthrough or “outside- the-box” ideas;

    · Acquire techniques to speed up group decision-making, while still developing multiple solutions.

    Critical Thinking Can Be Learned

    The American Management Association, http://www.amanet.org/, offers a course in Critical Thinking skills. The course teaches managers how to:
    •Become familiar with different styles of thinking and identify your personal critical thinking preferences;
    •Learn how to use critical thinking to challenge assumptions and expand perceptions about situations.

    Management Concepts, http://www.mgmtconcepts.com/, offers a course in Critical Thinking for Professionals. This course is designed to teach managers how to:
    •Identify their style and patterns of thinking;
    •Adapt their thinking to navigate through unexpected events.

    These courses can provide training for government professionals on how to critical thinking skills in leadership decision making. These actions require that managers:

    1. Overcome the first notion that there is only one ‘right solution’ to the organizational quandaries.

    2. Eliminate mental blocks in the forms of biases, myths, and false assumptions.

    3. Stop and think before acting and making quick decisions without the benefit data and variable evaluation.

    4. Focus on the organization’s goals and values before taking a major decision by asking if the ideal outcome is in alignment with the mission and values.

    5. Write down all the positive and negative factors for and against taking a particular course of action.

    6. Get opinions and feedback from others.

    7. Make decisions with an understanding the variables and circumstances have the ability to change.

    8. Do not make decisions by only looking backwards.

    In summary, critical thinking skills can be learned with practice and guidance by changing the actions involved in decision making so that they become part of permanent behavior.

    Works Cited

    Bazerman, Max (2005), Judgment in Managerial Decision Making. Wiley and Sons: Hoboken, NJ.

    Marshall, R., Tucker, M., Thinking for a Living: Education and the Wealth of Nations. New York: Basic Books. 1992.

    McAuliffe, Thomas P. (2005), The 90% Solution: A Consistent Approach to Optimal Business Decisions. Authorhouse: Los Angles, CA.

    Spitzer, Q., Evans R. (1997), HEADS YOU WIN: How the Best Companies Think. Simon & Schuster: New York, NY.

  15. Mayor Allen Green is getting worse and worse. He is becoming a parody of himself. This video reminds me of his antics at the DIAS.

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