Category Archives: Resolutions and Intentions

Belonging, Unity, and the Future of the USA

Created May 28, 2021

Belonging (a sense of social acceptance) is one of the 15 Motivations uncovered by the scientific* work I have been doing for the past 30 years or so.

Belonging is the most complex of the 15 Motivations in the sense that it contains more variations within it. It contains 25 Need States, such as Nationalism and Levity, and 220 of the 265 DriverTagsTM, each of which is a highly specific state of mind. It’s possible that Belonging is a hard-wired instinct, at the core of our nature as social animals, perhaps one of the survival characteristics that has caused homo sapiens (and other species) to be able to still be standing.

That’s why it hurts so much to be cast out of your belonging group. Like in the case of Liz Cheney, for example.

Although political parties were not mentioned in the US Constitution, 20 years later they sprung up and were bolted onto the constitutional system called the USA. Whether the political parties have done more good than harm is still a matter of debate. But one thing they have definitely supplied is the opportunity for belonging, something we all need. This would explain why 59% (Gallup) of Americans today belong to one of the two parties.

As the need for a sense of belonging is a constant, it’s possible that getting this mood-enhancing brain “drug” from political parties has become more important in recent decades as the power of the family might have declined, with children caring more about belonging to their peer group than their family, happening at earlier and earlier ages (hypothesis).

Religion for sure has lost a lot of its hold as a means for transmitting a sense of belonging.

Race has possibly become elevated as a means for generating the sense of belonging, as in the case of white supremacists.

Hypothesis: as the sense of belonging has deprecated from its traditional sources, that created an urgency of need which increased the emotional connection of party membership as a self-identifier.

Rhetoric is the art and potentially science of using words so as to cause people to believe them, whether they are true or not. Rhetoric existed before the media, but then the media became a means for applying extremely powerful rhetoric. Hitler used this in the case of cinema and other media. Today’s internet and social media are analogous to the atomic bomb version of rhetoric.

During the Greatest Generation’s watch, it would have been spectacularly unsuccessful to try to use rhetoric to pull the wool over people’s eyes to the extent that is happening today. I see it as having reached a point of mass hysteria.

Today it would probably entrain belief in the minds of at least ten million Americans if QAnon added another story that all fish can fly. Their fish minds have been taken over by devices used by the Democratic party obtained from pedophilic socialist aliens. They won’t let you see them fly, they only do it when you aren’t looking. But some day, there will be skies filled with dangerous fish swooping down on American patriots to wipe them out.

When you look at the strength of the need for a sense of belonging, how the traditional sources of this have been petering out, how political parties have always known that a populist charismatic leader is the thing to have, and then layer in the mind-bending power of the media (wait for artificial reality media to add to this brew), it’s possible to understand better what is going on today around the world not just in America.

It only took four years to push the USA back into its share of world power position (a measure of the perception of all people in the world) to pre-WWII levels.

Now as we attempt to restore ourselves to what we were there are also wild behaviors happening outside the US which we ourselves caused during those four years, not to mention a potentially genocidal mutating pandemic and an “edge city” environmental situation.

It certainly is a good time to pull together and figure things out by focusing objectively with high performing teamwork and enlisting more help from rich people to make the world the heavenly place it can be. We can actually do it.

Not the best time to have to reach 60% majority vote before we can go to the toilet. The filibuster has been rationalized as preventing “the tyranny of the majority” and “preventing action that has not been fully thought out”. The Founders did not lock in the need for a 60% majority in passing bills, so despite being some of the greatest pragmatic geniuses in history, these considerations somehow did not occur to them? More likely they did consider such things and left it to the voting outcome whether razor thin or unanimous to settle legislative issues.

To people whose careers are in government, it’s easy to see why filibuster might appeal to them. It gives power to stop legislation if one is in the minority. Think of how harmful this would be within a corporation. That’s how harmful it is in government, especially under the emergency conditions we are now faced with. Yet because a politician knows that it’s likely that half his or her career life will be spent as the minority, filibuster will be a floor under how bad one can feel. We non-politicians have no such swaddling cloths in our lives, we make our own successes and failures, we have no special entitlements that keep our control of others high when we have not earned that by majority vote of the people or by our individual performance in the eyes of our employers/clients/customers/users.

Unity is more than belonging, it is a highly desirable condition in which people work together toward common goals. That’s what we meant when we called ourselves the United States of America.

Unity has always been a strength of the Republican party, they are able to band together as a voting block (sic) whereas Democrats in the past have always been all over the lot in the diversity of their thinking. But today the Republican penchant for unity is allowing 4251 people who at best represent only about 14% of eligible voters in the US to impede the rest of us – polls showing that more than 60% of Americans like what the present administration is doing – from getting things done at the federal level, but even more dangerously are taking advantage of the powers which the Founders gave the State level.

Unless we the people speak up loudly enough, the future of America is that a number of States representing a minority of the population will drive out non-white people and many important businesses, who will migrate to the States where non-whites are offered equal opportunity and a sense of belonging.

Internally divided, we will still stand, but will not be the country we could be if we had unity restored.

Our degree of perceived vulnerability with a civil cold war will be exaggerated in the eyes of One Man Rulers abroad. They will come after us. It will not be heavenly at all.

That scenario must not be allowed. The only way to stop it is to use all your own social media efforts to put a stop to the self-destructive urges we have collectively been entertaining. Participate in polls, speak your mind, when the referendums come participate in them too.

Do not add to the problem by hating the 34 million of us who disagree, or the One Man Rulers of other countries, or any group or individual. Hate has no constructive outcomes. Hate erodes Reason. We need our ability to think clearly to rise to the top and to drive all of our behaviors. We need our emotions to be courageous enough to rise above fear and hate and to leave our minds open to win/win unity where dissenting voices are respected and included. Everyone must be included or we will never escape the downward spiraling cycle of divisiveness.

My best to all,

Bill

*When I say “scientific” what I mean is observing patterns in data, forming hypotheses from that, and then testing those hypotheses by means of controlled experiments, with the intention of discovering new and useful truths. The data I have used relates to the content that millions of anonymized individuals choose to consume on television and the Internet as measured by set top boxes and log files. This body of knowledge is meant to complement and inform the psychology systems (link to relevant example emanating from centuries of science using other data types.

 

Orchestrating Palestinian Israeli Cease Fire

Created May 20, 2021

Because the US and other countries do not recognize the legitimacy of terrorists, they have been addressing Israel in their requests for cease fire. This makes it look like all the blame is being placed on Israel, when in fact the Palestinians started it.

That is not helping.

The US and its allies should publish a recommendation to both countries.

Israel should apologize for sending forces into the holy shrine of all Peoples of The Book, and promise to never do it again.

Palestine should apologize for over reacting with thousands of rockets, and promise to never do it again.

Soon thereafter, Israel should offer a peace branch to the people of Palestine, agreeing no further Israeli settlements unless invited, and ask for the Israelis already settled in Palestine to be warmly welcomed unless they prefer to come home and be warmly welcomed.

Israel should also offer help in economic and educational/training and in the development of tourism to both countries once there are safe places to visit.

In my humble opinion.

What Is Conservatism?

Created May 14, 2021

The GOP did not start out to be a conservative party, but in our memories it has always been associated with conservatism. What is conservatism? It is conserving the value we have already created, and not risking it unnecessarily by taking steps believed to be progressive which might have hidden flaws.

In principle, it’s a good idea, and so is the idea of making things better. Ideally, if you have to have political parties at all (the US Constitution didn’t think so), lining the two parties up with conservative and progressive philosophies is a very sensible dichotomy. One can imagine them working together to produce an optimally balanced result.

But today, most of the leadership of the Republican party – about 4251 people – have moved away from conservatism. They are in fact much more radical than conservative. Radicalism can happen on the conservative end or the progressive end of the spectrum. The new radical right is even more dangerous to us and to our democracies than neoliberalism. The radical right is virtually a return to monarchy, the same kind of monarchy that was the enemy of the American Revolution: One Man Rule. It is an undoing of democracy as a failed experiment.

The more the world sees us quibbling with each other and paralyzed by filibuster, the more believable is the idea that democracy can never work.

Hitler kept the trains running on time. The cost of that benefit was the lives of 75 million people.

Yet today many of us are willing to set all that aside and go for a leader who can get things done, or at least convince millions of us that things are getting done.

The filibuster stalling during the Obama administration was the beginning of a breakdown that proved the system was not working. Filibuster and gerrymandering were largely the cause of that. Which only went downhill under Trump.

And yet Trump, the TV performer who used social media as mindlessly as millions of us, locked in on the basis of that gross rapport, a core following that today consists of 4251 people with enough power to retake the country plus (my estimate based on Pew and Gallup) 34 million Republicans who want Trump back. 34 million out of 239 million eligible voters. Definitely a minority.

We need philanthropists to sponsor an all-media education campaign to make sure that everyone understands what filibuster is, what gerrymandering is, and the voting rights issues behind today’s State-level rush to “fix” all future elections by making it harder to vote for people who are less likely to vote for the far-right Republicans, who are a minority.

Allowing mechanisms not in the Constitution which have demonstrated they can paralyze a government for an entire administration to continue is unacceptable. But until those “keep me in power” mechanisms are dismantled, they are a very large obstacle to their dismantlement!

Therefore, to let The People Speak For Themselves, those same philanthropists can help grassroots efforts toward referendums, and continuous State by State polling, to compare the wants of the citizens of each State, with the legislation being passed today in that State. These referendums (and polls where the referendums are thwarted at the State level) will demonstrate that a self-serving minority has gamed the system and is our new dictatorial government in the States where voting rights are today being set back after more than a half century of progress.*

This will expose States passing laws opposed by the majority of the people that they are supposed to be representing.

It is the 34 million slavish followers of Trump (and any radical kneejerk no-compromise people on the blue team) that need to be educated and to learn to think for themselves, and not echo the pronouncements of any one man (other than the sayings of great saints) or even the party line (multiple people), but to study the issues and reach their own independent conclusions.

An educational campaign can achieve those effects especially if it is in bite sized pieces and done with the quality that can be achieved by entertainment and advertising creatives and their research support.

Perhaps the federal government and the courts can achieve the restoration of order that is needed, but philanthropists who like to live in the USA, for reasons of enlightened self-interest ought to give money to support an educational campaign across all media to get people to think for themselves and study the facts not just believe what a politician tells them.

Especially focused around voting, filibuster, and gerrymandering, the three areas that radicals on both sides have abused for too long after creating filibuster and gerrymandering in the first place, none of that was what the Founders wrote into the Constitution.

The campaign needs to also explain what referendums are and how they work differently in each State.

A citizenry uninformed in relation to these foregoing subjects is easy prey for unscrupulous actors in high places.

It’s easy to just follow one man, it takes some of your time to study complex subjects, and millions of us are not disposed that way. Hence using the media to teach (in a non-partisan way and) in potent droplets is a logical communications strategy that is not being used enough today.

May the Middle Hold. May the extremes move toward the Center.

Best to all,

Bill

 

*True conservatives, by definition, would want to preserve progress made in the past. Someone who wants to erase past progress is a reactionary, one type of radical.

Preventing Minority Rule

Created May 6th, 2021

*Thank you Mr. President for a balanced and meticulously thought out approach at a time when others are losing their heads. In addition to my donations I’ve attempted to send you helpful ideas. Here are the links to the articles that hopefully someone on the staff can review, assess, and do whatever is decided with.*

Some prognosticators are saying that filibuster and gerrymandering cannot be stopped and the result will be Republicans taking over legislative majority next year and winning the White House in 2024.

(Right up front let me say that I am OK in principle with Republicans or Democrats or even Independents like myself – now 41% per Gallup – winning legislative majority and/or the White House in any year. My concern is the White House being taken by a small band of rogues, as I will explain below.)

I checked the numbers in such articles as best I could and saw their point. Without enough votes to end the filibuster, gerrymandering alone is estimated to be able to gain the Republican party four more seats in Congress in 2022, more than enough to tip the scales the other way in Congress. Plus there is the historical tendency for midterm elections to go against the party of a first term president.

The 60% majority required to get legislation passed caused by filibuster creates an all-or-nothing effect. Either one party dominates but can’t get legislation passed, or the other party dominates but can’t get legislation passed.

Then, if an election causes the party positions to switch, the winning party erases all of what the former command party did.

This endless vacillation without permanent decisive action does not paint a rosy future for America, and therefore is also not a harbinger of freedom, justice, and equality taking over in the world any time soon.

The latest 53-country poll finds that most of the people in the world (81%) want Democracy, yet also are most afraid of Democracy going away because of America. Their main issue is inequality in wealth. This is the tragic legacy that un-American actors have already given us.

Standing by helplessly watch a relatively small cabal of hypocrites slash and gore world democracy even further is not something I can live with, without doing my all to combat that scenario. Other wiser Republicans or Democrats very welcome. Not the coup d’etat gang.

I tried out a scenario in my mind of a constitutional amendment (and learned that Dave Dodson wrote about it two years ago, long before I thought of it). But those have to be ratified by three quarters of State legislatures. 61% of State legislatures are controlled by the same Trump Republicans who are busily instituting voter restrictions. How would we expect to get more than 59% of that group (that would be 75% of all States) to ratify amendments to end filibuster and gerrymandering?

The only way out that I can see is referendums (I prefer “referenda” but the sources all use “referendums”). All 50 States have laws enabling these, however in only 26 States is it permissible for voters to initiate the referendum, in the other 24 the State legislature has to initiate. Parsing the latter group, out of the 24 we can conceive that 9 of these States’ legislatures could be reasonably expected to initiate a referendum as they are blue States except for Minnesota which is split. If that all went down exactly as expected, 15 States and the federal government would be controlled by a few thousand very specific Republicans who do not represent the average Republican (see stats below), while 35 States (more with DC and any other American lands achieving Statehood) would be doing their best to make State laws supporting voting rights, preventing gerrymandering, and preserving a degree of majority rule.

In the 15 States the picture might not look much like majority rule. Let’s do a simulation. We’ll use some real statistics to do it. To keep it simple, as a rule of thumb, let’s consider loyalty to Trump to be the main indicator of people who may know that they are a minority yet are quite content to rule the country as if they were the majority.

Let’s also consider loyalty to Trump over loyalty to the USA as an indicator of willingness to distrust everyone other than Trump (like the courts who threw out the cases against the 2020 election).

Why do these few thousand party controlling Republicans favor Trump so much? Because they know they are not the majority party without him, and see him as the only chance they personally have to stay on top.

Now where we started this column was with the facts as regards filibuster and gerrymandering. The people who would be propelled into power by these tools in 2022 – just as we are hopefully in all other ways getting back to normal lives vis a vis the pandemic – are much more pro-Trump than are average Americans or even average Republicans.

  • A 2021 Pew poll shows that 68% of Americans do not want Trump to remain a major political figure
  • The same poll shows that, even among Republicans, almost half (43%) do not want Trump to remain a major political figure
  • Based on their impeachment voting, only 14% of Republican Senators and 5% of Republican Congresspeople do not want Trump to remain a major political figure

The glaring revelation is that the Republicans who will wind up controlling all of our lives – if the 2022 election goes as the experts expect – do not represent all of us, they don’t even represent all Republicans!

Based on 237 million people eligible to vote in the US 2020 elections, there are 59,750,000 Republicans in America but only 4251 Republican party controlling members. 3979 Republicans in State legislatures, 27 Republican Governors, 43 Republican Senators who voted against impeaching Trump, and 202 Republican Congresspeople who did the same.

Yet if these 4251 people do engineer the takeover via filibuster and gerrymandering, there will be minority rule in America.

We will be being ruled by 4251 Trump loyalists and probably in 2024 by Trump himself.

This number, strangely, is not far from the number of controlling party members in another country – China – where the National People’s Congress consists of about 2924 people (a 2017 statistic).

What can we do about it?

Constitutional amendment will not work under the circumstances, although down the road it would be a good idea in order to make such “tricks’ unconstitutional and illegal and order the courts to take responsibility for making judgments in such cases. The tricks would include not only filibuster and gerrymandering but also voting restrictions of any kind.

In the immediate future, though, the strongest course of action to preserve majority rule in America would be to mount a major grassroots movement to create referendums in as many States as possible. And Pew, Gallup, Dynata, and other respected objective pollsters can use polling in the States without referendums to estimate what the referendum results would have been.

This may not change the outcome of the next couple of major election cycles but it can change the way citizens get involved in preserving American democracy, and democracy in the world. And maybe it could even make the elections fairer, despite chicanery. It would definitely bring it to our own attention that the will of the American population is no longer correlating well with the laws being made. And in time, that, in itself, would lead to eventual redress. The loopholes wormed into the US system that were not mentioned in the Constitution will eventually be shut.

I believe the Founders created a system for the Ages and only our own tampering (parties created in 1796, gerrymandering created in 1812, filibuster created in 1841) – typically for the good of only a few thousand politicians – is the source of all this mess we find ourselves in today.

Overcoming Negativity and Sticking with your Resolutions

Originally posted January 12, 2016

Are you finding it difficult to stick with the intentions or resolutions you made just over a week ago? Have you perhaps already once or twice considered breaking your resolve or have maybe even given up on it already?

The Very Thing We Need Most When the Negativity Alarm Goes Off

Our motivations are the original rock that starts an avalanche. Motivations turn into goals. When events or people (especially when the person is our self) are perceived to interfere with reaching our goals, our emotions can easily cascade and flare into negativity.

How we approach even a momentary lack of resolve makes a difference. If we fall into a state of negative emotion our capabilities are reduced. Brainpower is being distracted away from taking clear and effective action. Indulging or wallowing in negativity for more than an instant is totally ineffective.

The very thing we need most when the negativity alarm goes off, perhaps when we are telling ourselves we’ll never be able to stick with our resolutions and achieve our goals, is to turn off the alarm and use all our brainpower constructively in service of our goals.

Believing that we have no control over negative emotions is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we refuse to give up control of our own habituated thought processes and choose instead to disarm the very thoughts working against us, eventually we will win and gain control of our emotions. Once we have that control back, we can get clear again on our motivations. The motivations-goals-emotions-ideas-actions system will then come into alignment to support us.

When we falter, it’s a good use of time and brain power to reconsider what our motivation was in making the resolution or setting the intention or goal. Peeling back another layer, why do we have this motivation? What are the goals that serve these motivations? What will help us to reach those goals? What impeded us in the moment when we slipped? Once we have a better understanding, what do these insights imply in terms of action decisions?

In the absence of protracted negativity — using it just as a useful alarm warning system — we are best able to get back on track, with the resolve to continue to strive toward the goals that we set.

Begin again today and take at least one step each day
toward carrying out your resolutions.

Best to all,
Bill

Follow my regular media blog, In Terms of ROI at Media Village. Here is the link to my latest post.

Originally posted 2016-01-12 06:24:52. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Some Thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions

Make your resolutions this year define and focus on your real priorities

Volume 5, Issue 45

As we approach a New Year, many of us are considering making New Year’s resolutions. Are you wondering if you’ll stick with your resolutions this time around, and thinking about how you can strengthen your resolve?

Here are some thoughts on resolutions from my guide on 7 Life Tools for creating lasting happinessThe Navigator :

Consider that because our mind acts just like a computer, when we make a resolution our mind makes a prediction of how we will act in the future. Based on past experience our mind’s prediction will tend to be that we are not going to follow through on that resolution. The mind predicts, generally, that we are going to continue to behave exactly the way we have in the past. The mind will remember that we make resolutions from time to time, but they are mere sayings, not actual intentions or actions.

This is because there is no feeling of change inside when a resolution is made; so our mind feels that the resolution has not changed anything, and therefore it will not change anything.

To start making real changes it will help to prove otherwise by acting immediately on your resolutions.

Start with a baby step. Don’t resolve to make huge changes instantly, for this is rarely possible. Take it in the slowest possible stages, one baby step at a time!

We are grateful to each of you for the opportunity to share ideas and tools to help optimize your journey through this life. In the upcoming weeks we’ll be providing more tools to help you actualize your resolutions.

We wish you all the very best in the coming year(s), starting with a safe New Year’s Eve.

My best to all for 2019,
Bill

Follow my regular media blog, In Terms of ROI at Media Village. Here is the link to my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-12-29 14:02:07. Republished by Blog Post Promoter