Stray thoughts from the brain pan

By George Smith

Every single person on this planet, now, then and in the future, had/has/will have  something that irritates the unholy hell out of them.

  • Jesus had his moneychangers;
  • Abraham Lincoln had a string of incompetent generals;
  • John Wilkes Booth had Lincoln;
  • Ike Eisenhower had Gen. George S. Patton;
  • Patton became disgusted over perceived weakness of soldiers;
  • Rosa Parks hated sitting in the back of the bus;
  • The U.S. colonists got piqued over taxation without representation, and;
  • I see red over incompetent, pulpit-pounding, blabber-headed politicians and talking hairdos who will do and say anything to get a headline or a verbal salute on cable news.

That is the poignant lead-in to this topic: People I want to shut the hell up!

Al Sharpton had been a go-to spokesman for the black community for decades. He’s gone from obese to ultra-thin but his constant dropping verbal bullets on most people who just happen to be white is so old, it’s moldy.

He lost his daily show on MSNBC because of his focused racism; he now has a weekend show that is a repeat of his thoughts and verbiage from the days he was dogging law enforcement for the 1980s case of the alleged rape of Tawana Brawley, a woman of color. In that instance, Sharpton created a riotous situation by believing a made-up story by a attention-wanting teenager.

His black vs. white rhetoric has caused more harm over the years than it has helped. The fact he is still considered a spokesman to minorities is astounding and dismaying.

Michael Moore was, at one time, a reasoned voice for liberalism and a constant irritant to Big Business and shoddy government tacticx. Now, he’s just a kook with an ancient resume and celebr9ty platform. His documentary films have won awards, created needed changes in corporations, offered up plausible opportunities for perplexing problems.

Now, he is a mere shadow of his former forceful presence; he mouths about darn near anything because of prior celebrity, just like a toothless politician recalling the heydays in the marbled halls of Washington-the-Deficit.

Mitch McConnell has too much power for a genetic defect who believes that his beliefs should come for more than that of a single citizen. He single-handedly killed a bill to protect the 2020 elections from foreign interference. Why? When asked, he gave an answer that blew up the International BS-o-meter: The federal government should not interfere with states’ rights to protect their own elections.

In other words, “Russia, welcome to the election fray! Let’s party like it is 2016.”

Finally, for Donald Trump, Rudy Guliana and Kellyanne Conway it’s past time to realize that every time their mouths open, their tongues waggle in high gear and words slip past their teeth, negative things happen.

Their combined blather has created more animosity toward the party they pretend to embrace, alienated countries that used to be our closest and most reliable allies and widen the ideological abyss that divides this country. There is no way to justify their actions which are undermining the foundations of democracy; their errant, baffling and incomparable words are helping sworn enemies of this nation.

All of you: Just shut up! Please and thank you.

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Without change, chaos will continue

By George Smith

Partisan.

Party.

Politics.

Those are the elements that are governing this country and until elected officials – like Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn and First District Rep. Louie Gohmert – start working to govern for the entire country instead of an off-balanced off-shoot of so-called conservatives, the cauldron of corruption and chaos the U.S. is immersed tight this minute in will continue.

“With malice toward none, with charity for all…let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind this nation’s wounds.”

Those words, written on a sheet of paper while riding in a steam-powered locomotive by Republican President Abraham Lincoln, were uttered one month before the end of the Civil War.

Today, this nation is in another civil war that, once again, pits father against son, brother against brother; it is tearing families, churches, purveyors of all religions, institutions of learning and neighbors apart. This modern war is an internal struggle among peers, pitting mindsets and single-issue policies and beliefs against one another with no regard for the position of agreeing to disagree or “live and let live.”

The war of today is a tragedy of the upmost importance to the future of the people, the country and of democracy. This war is not about slavery or states rights or populist ideas vs. established traditions; is about the survival of the United States of America, once the most powerful and benevolent on the planet, but no longer.

Followers of and believers in Donald J. Trump fall into four main categories: Citizens who want to end abortion by any means; those who believe the hype that Trump the Businessman knows how to run a country better than a politician; believers that Hillary Clinton and left-wing “fruit-loops” are to be destroyed, and;  haters…those that hate what they cannot understand, what they fear, hate the position they find themselves in the totem pole rankings of life or what they believe is an abomination according to Old Testament scripture.

Most citizens with common sense can understand the primary conservative  “abortion” argument: It is a ideological concept that goes to the heart and soul of each individual. It is totally valid to feel a kinship with the unborn…any unborn, just as it is valid to believe that politicians (mostly white, old men) should not be  implementing laws that govern what occurs between a woman and her doctor.

Those that believe Trump is “brilliant” businessman have a valid point if only dollars and property accumulated is the lone factor considered.

Hating Hillary, to many, is second-nature to many; she is not overly charismatic, not warm and cuddly (like President Clinton) and holds grudges until the sun revolves around the Earth. Even many people that voted for her twice get it.

The hate-anyone-gay (or hating immigrants, people of color or because of personal religion) is harder for many to understand. We all come from immigrant families (even Native Americas); this country is, like it or not, a cornucopia of the world’s people.

For more than four decades, I have written newspaper editorials and columns declaring that this country needed a businessman as president instead of a born-and-bred politician or military leader. Where my reasoning and writings fell short was that I failed to distinguish what type of businessman should be elected.

What I envisioned in my finite wisdumb (spelled correctly) was that a common-sense businessman who would gather cabinet heads and advisers from both parties, the best of the best who truly believed in the reasons the United States was founded. Party politics be damned! Let’s create a nation of which we can all be prpud.

The last president to do this exact execution of filling the nation’s most important offices and executive positions (the best of the best and even some who hted the very sight of him) was Abraham Lincoln. Doris Kerns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals” is a masterful insight into a man who many career politicians mocked, yet when he died, they all mourned his passing.

There is no more “party of Lincoln”. There is no more Republican Party. The 2019 version is the party of Trump and those that support him – the Cruzes, Cronyns, Gohmerts, etc. – will someday look back on the blind followers of this narcissistic political chameleon and shake their heads in sorrow.

We are witnesses, day by day, story by story, of the end of the Republican Party, the strong political organization that now believes in whatever Trumps dictates in important rather than in what philosophical path the party has traditionally followed.

Mark it down: When Trump leaves office, now that he’s tasted real power (and not just power obtained by the almighty dollar), he will not go quietly into that good night. He will start DJT Network, keep his base supporters glued to this electronic spiel of mistrust and hate 24/7 and the third party he will start (Keep America Great!) will ensure the Republicans will never, ever again win a national election.

If you are a Republican, this is the path on your party is headed.

“…all the people who were with him each covered his head and went up weeping….” 2 Samuel 15:30

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Circumference of Me – Chapter 19

19 — Great bosses don’t give orders

You have arrived. You are a manager with umpteen people. Gender be damned, you are Da Man! Time to gear up, get your team focused on your priorities, to rise to the occasion, kick ass and take names, and whatever one hundred and thirteen other clichés you want to use. It’s time to give orders and watch people scurry to do your bidding.

Whoa! Back up.

First off, Management Emperor, don’t even think about giving orders. Avoid giving orders. Orders are for Third World dictators, not up-and-comers in the business world.

Great managers follow a different principle: “Give suggestions, not orders.”

Here’s the drill: People reporting to you are co-workers, not drones. They are your firm’s most valuable resource. They are not slaves; they are the ticket to your future. Treat them like valuable commodities. Better yet, treat them like relatives you really, really like.

Fine, got it. No orders. But, then what?

A great manager at his or her first departmental or project meeting would tell co-workers the following:

I don’t give orders. I offer suggestions. With those suggestions you have three choices:

  1. Do it, because it’s the right thing to do.
  2. Don’t do it, but give me a better idea and a plan how you can make it work.
  3. Don’t do it.

Nos. 1 and 2 are always acceptable. No 3 never is.

That sets a clear avenue for directions. It offers coworkers opportunities not only to be parts of the team, but to have input into solutions to problems or thorny projects. If you use the “suggestions, not orders” approach, you will empower the people you work with, acknowledge they will have good ideas, and guarantee that you will listen to them. You will lift them up, and at the same time set boundaries of protocol, punctuated by a request for their help.

       Can’t get much better than that.

Which brings up the inevitable question: What happens when an employee

embraces the third choice – just not doing what you suggested?

Make sure your co-workers understand: “If I have to ever give you an order,  that is never good for you or me –  because I don’t enjoy conflict.”

Clear. Concise. Understandable.

The birth and growth of a great manager is not a one-event occurrence. Learning the ability to communicate will always open one of the main pathways to success.

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Circumference of Me – Chapter 18

18 — Hiccups are no big deal

It’s important for managers to learn which mistakes are important and which are mere hiccups.

A hiccup is here and gone. It is not permanent. A single hiccup does no lasting damage and few people will remember it.

A business hiccup is (for example):

  • An e-mail sent without its intended attachment.
  • A typographical error in a report.
  • The wrong date on a document.
  • Missing a minor deadline.

There are major chasms between hiccups and certified disasters. It is a frightful

part of human nature that some people cannot differentiate between the two extremes. A temporarily misplaced report arouses the same reactions in some people as does an account lost to a competitor that shouldn’t have been lost.

For active, multi-tasking managers, hiccups are like mosquitoes in swampy areas. They are going to pop up no matter what you do. Business hiccups, while aggravating, don’t make or break careers. Those who do the hiccupping or evaluate their effect on the business may think so, however.

Swallow the hiccup by acknowledging it as a mistake, apologize if necessary, and get on to more important issues.

There will be bumps in your career path. A bump is a bump. Don’t make it bigger than it is and don’t allow it to ruin the journey.

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Circumference of Me – Chapter 17

17 — Navel-gazing is hazardous to health

While viewing your career future, there are four ways to focus your attention: Behind you, down, straight ahead, and up.

Except to reflect on mistakes and go over a laundry list of items learned from your experiences, there’s absolutely no reason to dwell on the past. Dredging up frivolously ridiculous events that look even more so in hindsight, personal decision-making foibles, and avoidable corporate faux pas just wastes time and valuable mental resources.

Your time would be more wisely spent replaying what you learned and how your lessons have improved your intellectual landscape.

Looking straight ahead – maintaining the status quo – normally would not advance one’s individual worth. It would instead signal professional acceptance of stagnation and eventually, degradation of position.

It’s perfectly acceptable to keep one’s eyes looking skyward toward loftier goals, larger and more important projects, and a title suitable to one’s abilities and aspirations. But fixing your gaze in that direction has its hazards. If you don’t pay attention to where you are headed, you can easily be tripped by unseen obstacles.

Looking down – navel-gazing, as it were – with excessive contemplation and unnecessary reflection on circumstances and events over which one has no control, or which don’t really help your role in the company, is simply a waste of time.

If you are going to indulge in navel-gazing, do it on your own time.

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Circumference of Me – Chapter 16

16 — Mix business & monkey business

It was the first day of work at a new job with a new company for a public affairs manager for a Fortune 500 company. He was excited, enthused, and ready to tackle the corporate world.

One of the first people he met in the hallway on his way to his new office was the vice president of operations.

“Good morning,” the newcomer greeted the executive.

The higher-ranking manager regarded him sternly. “Come into my office.”

Once inside, the vice president ordered the young man to close the door, crossing behind his desk to sit without inviting the new manager to take a seat.

He said: “This is the way it works. You say ‘Good morning,’ and most people feel an obligation to say ‘Good morning,’ and pretty soon we’ve all said ‘Good morning’ and we’ve wasted ‘X’ number of man-minutes of the company’s time.

“To be honest, that’s just the beginning of it. After ‘Good morning’ you feel obligated to ask about their weekend or their families or what they watched on TV last night.

“Wasted time. So let’s skip all that, shall we? I really don’t care about whether or not you have a good morning. I just want you to go to work and stay at it. Understood?”

You can’t blame the new employee for wondering whether he had made a bad career change.

It’s never acceptable to treat work as an adult playground. But there is no sin in having fun at work.

Decades later, this same once-young manager (now in his sixties and nearing retirement) is still in the corporate world, and has made it a personal goal to find something to laugh at every single day. He tries to entertain his co-workers at appropriate times, performing what he calls his “happy dance,” a convoluted mixture of the “Tigger” dance and an old soft-shoe, ball-and-chain routine.

It’s funny, but it’s also fun to watch him because he gets so much pleasure out of doing it.

It’s okay to have fun at work, within reason, and within the boundaries of corporate policy. If work is no fun at all, then why do it?

Find something at work that will make you laugh every day. Having appropriate fun at work is as close to corporate heaven as you can get.

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