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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Trumpery* and Trumpism** are Coming to Alberta's Politics.

Gary Mason has some sobering and significant reflections on the rise of Alberta's own version of the alt-right...a.k.a. bigots, misogynists, and racists.

We are seeing these people being emboldened and potentially normalized - unless they are challenged and refuted and rejects as inimical to the dominant Alberta value set.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in the overwhelming increase of threats against Premier Notley.

It is worth noting that the majority of threats against Alberta Premiers were aimed at progressives, not Ralph Klein, a recognized conservative. This is an indication that the Alt-Right is prepared to be openly threatening.

As the Alberta conservatives, both Ultra and Alt types, plan to "unite" for the only stated purpose of defeating the Notley government, I expect we will see more of this aggressive and threatening behaviors long before we hear anything about social, environment or innovative economic policy positions.

For the rest of us, that means we can't be passive, indifferent, or event worse, tolerant, of any such inappropriate behavior.  That means we must become more politically aware and more informed citizens...and politically active.

More on becoming politically active as a progressive in Alberta in later posts.  In the meantime decide what if important to you, what you want to happen around those issues and what you are going to do to make those results happen.

Now, let's reflect on what Trumpery and Trumpism means.
    
*   TRUMPERY
** TRUMPISM

Monday, February 20, 2017

Middle Age Bulge: The problem with Trump

My friend Russell Thomas blogs as: Middle Age Bulge: The problem with Trump: The first month of the Trump administration has been nothing short of a train wreck, AND WORTH A READ.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Erosion of Trust in Institutions is a Danger to Democracy

The Edleman Trust Barometer for 2017 is very telling and the findings are most disturbing.  Richard Edleman, the President and CEO of Edleman opens the report, speaking of 2016, by saying "It has been a year of unimaginable upheaval."

His context is clear.  He notes incumbent or elected heads in 5 of the top 10 economies have been "deposed or defeated," including the U.S.A, U.K, Brazil, Italy and South Korea.  He goes further to note populists candidates are "leading or growing" in elections pending in France and Germany.

The 2017 version of the Edleman Trust Barometer found that 2/3 of the countries surveyed found under 50% of people a now "distrusters...in mainstream institutions of business, government, media and NGOs...to do what is right." This is put at the feet of "aftershocks from the stunning meltdown of the global economy" with "origins in the Great Recession of 2008."

Now `...only 15% of the general population believe the present systems is working, while 53% do not and 32% are uncertain.` This is fertile ground for populists movement to gain momentum based on fear for personal safety, a better life for one`s family, an erosion of social values, immigration and an accelerating pace of change.

The far left and far right are both rejecting globalization based free trade, fearing innovation as automation is replacing lower-skilled jobs, deregulation, centralization of power and wealth in elites and multinational corporations. More than 75% of the well informed and the general population both ``...agree the system is biased against regular people and favors the rich and powerful.  Even the best educated, best informed and best-paid citizens have lost faith in the system.

The loss of belief in leaders in government or business to affect meaningful change is greater than the erosion of the institutions they head.  Belief in the credibility of peers, folks like me, are equal to academics and technical experts, and far and away more credible than CEOs and government officials.

The mass population is 85% but on 45% of them trust their national institutions of government, business, media and NGOs.  In the mass population, a majority in 20 of the 28 countries surveyed distrust their institutions. The informed population is 15% of the total and 60%of then trust their national institutions.

This is not a sustainable set of circumstances for positive progress.  Incompetence, corruption and divided polarized hyper-partisan government are core beliefs of the majority of citizens. This can only lead to a massive collapse of societies, economies and democratic institutions if not corrected...and quickly!




Wednesday, January 11, 2017

TRUMP'S INTEGRITY QUESTIONED ON CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Walter M. Straub Jr. is the Director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.  He delivered a fascinating dissertation on the situational ethics of President-Inept Donald Trump to the Brookings Institute today.

He noted his office negotiated with Secretary of State Nominee, Rex Tillerson the CEO of Exxon.  Straub says Tillerson is making a "clean break...forfeiting bonus payments worth millions...he's now free of financial conflicts of interest."

The Tillerson ethics agreement is said to "...serve as a sterling model for what we'd (the Office of Government Ethics) like to see with other nominees.  Straub goes on to say "We've has similar success with some of the President-elect's other intended nominees.  Some of them haven't quite gotten there yet,...."

Where Straub goes from there about Mr. Trump's situational ethics is most interesting.  This is the stuff that feeds a need for impeachment.  A President is not the same as a CEO of a private corporation.  Trump's less than half-hearted machinations on his tepid attempt to appear that he is inoculated from conflicts of interest, real and perceived are very disturbing.

I commend that you take the time to read this report by an independent public servant, and one who Trump can't fire or replace for the next two years at least.

Read more 

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Canada Must Provide Collaborative Climate Change Leadership

The world has gotten smaller, more complex, on the whole, wealthier, with citizens having more opportunity to be informed, engaged and collaborative in the Internet Age.  This was enabling of globalization created more interdependency and, in some ways, the weakening of some national sovereignty.

Of course, the countervailing reality is wealth has concentrated at the top 1%, data is growing but information is being falsified, personal and institutional privacy is disappearing. Coping with complexity is beyond the capacity of our outdated institutions and status quo leaders.  Fear, xenophobia, authoritarianism, religious violence and religious governance are on the rise.

Collaboration is becoming more difficult as institutional and personal trust is in rapid decline.  The countervail to this decline is the amazing cooperative spirit extant at the national, institutional, business, institutional and community levels on the climate change challenge.

The extreme hyper-partisan points of view on the left and right are well represented.  They are superficially articulated in extensively covered the conventional media info-tainment approach to what is "news" or "news-worthy."

Moderate, thoughtful, open-minded, inclusive, caring empathetic citizens don't believe in the extremes.  However, these folks don't yet have reliable, authentic thought-leaders to bring forth some practical reality and workable solutions to the economic, environmental, social, and governance options to the challenges we face.

There obviously needs to be some perspective brought to bear by civic and political leaders.  We need leaders to provide a compelling vision that will connect with the big value drivers of change in ways that connects with citizens' concerns in their daily lives.

I believe that set of big and personal connecting value drivers will become around various applied and practical economic and social responses towards the climate change challenges.

Carbon tax policy, technology, and innovation supports, along with carrot incentives and stick disincentive policy options are going to be key.  These instruments will influence personal behaviors in the way we behave and will bring out a positive personal perspective going forward.

As Ian Goldin and Chris Kutarna say in their new book Age of Discovery
Perspective is what enables each of us to transform the sum of our days into an epic journey.  And it`s what imporves our chances of together makng the twenty-first century huimanity`s best.
They make the case for hope and determination for us as a species. For humanity, there is good news and there is bad news.  The good news is there is hope for us because we have been through such amazing changes before.  That was during the Renaissance.  We can learn from that past.

The bad news is we have to be determined to change our ways...because, as they say,  this new golden age will not simply arrive, we have to achieve it.  In that spirit let me refer you to a recent Op-Ed in the Globe and Mail by Thomas Homer-Dixon.  He says when it comes to climate change Canada must not give up the fight.

My takeaway from Homer-Dixon is hope is not a method and determination is not a vision.  But Canadian values are strong and our country is coherent and capable enough to be leading on climate change.

We Canadians, and especdially Albertans, can be the people who are providing perspectives, solutions and practical approaches to dealing with climate change.  We can be the people with the determination, dedication, and ability to anticipate, prevent, detect and correct ignorance and error when it comes to dealing with the consequences of climate change.

What do you think?  Please comment on the blog to aid the conversation.