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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 Coping with complexity is beyond the capacity of our outdated institutions and status quo leaders.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.

Monday, January 02, 2017

The Reign of Trumpism

We are all in for some very trying times in the Trump Era...more accurately described as the "Trump Error."

There are the obvious pitfalls of the man's inadequacies, ignorances, arrogances, and ineptitudes as a person, politician and even as a businessman.

Trump's narcissistic personality disorder and megalomania are very well exposed and documented.  The mainstream media is yet to pursue this mental-health aspect of  President-Elect (a.k.a. President- Inept) Trump.

The revolution that is Trumpism is a "truth" and like Schopenhauer said:

 "All truth passes through three stages:"

First, it is ridiculed.  Remember all the pundits and politicos saying Trump was a joke candidate? Watch is real satire from 1988 and reflect on the parallels Pat Paulsen has to Trump and his approach to politics.

Second, it is violently opposed. That is where we are today as Trump has ruminated (look it up Donald) about running for President.  Now he is having anyone with significance as to will participate and perform in his Inauguration. The opposition to Trump is well documented in other more significant terms.

Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.  That is the option before us, not just in the US of A but the rest of modern democracy.  And that is the challenge before us.  Here is a Canadian context of Trumpism from the Editorial realms of the Globe and Mail. 

We can't be sanguine about this infecting the institutions of and in our Canada. We still have the ghost of Harper cum Bush policies lingering in our politics.  We have Trumpism "karaoke" candidates running for the Conservative Party of Canada.  We have a Harper "mini-me" in the form of Jason Kenney also channeling for Trumpism in Albert's politics.

We must resist, oppose and rejuvenate inclusive, caring, progressive values into updating our institutions as a way forward for a truly Canadian political culture in the face and threat of Trumpism coming to our country.