Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Wildrose Party – Just the Facts, Ma’am

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. - Mark Twain

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence. - John Adams

I was intrigued to see this little invite issued by the Wildrose Party pass through my inbox yesterday.

Hogs from the trough

I found it intriguing given that since it appears to be a Wildrose Party fundraiser for the constituency of Calgary SE, it would suggest that one of the “hogs to be booted from the trough” would be Calgary SE MLA Rick Fraser, Associate Minister - Public Safety and Associate Minister - Recovery and Reconstruction of High River.

While it is the role of political parties to whip up controversy or “live on the edge”, we as citizens should insist that they stick to the facts and the data.

Unfortunately, we have a basic law of democracy that pervades our political culture:

Governments in power rely on facts, data and results while opposition parties rely on emotion and never the twain shall meet.

Also unfortunately, emotions sway people much more easily and effectively than facts.

If one examines Associate Minister Fraser’s record, whether it be in regards to new schools being built in Calgary SE, his tireless efforts in High River (very few people would have wanted this difficult job) and his contributions in other areas, I would posit that his commitment to results and to the people he serves are as good as or better than any politician we will find.

If you examine his expense disclosure reports, they are extremely modest at best, especially given the portfolios he holds as Associate Minister.

And so I would suggest that if other parties are going to take on any incumbent, especially one with a strong track record and a commitment to service, that they do so with specific, measurable counters to the actions, intentions and results of the incumbent and not imply that “dirt” is present when there likely isn’t any for the individual in question.

I also understand that Associate Minister Fraser was allegedly confronted by senior Wildrose Party officials in regards to allegations of corruption and when he reacted strongly about the perceived personal attack, the Wildrose officials backed off and said “We’re not talking about you.  We are referring to members of the PC Party”.

I don’t know about you, but when someone slags a private citizen as being potentially corrupt, it sounds like the basis for a slander or liable suit to me. Sad smile

And while we’re on the subject of revisionism or accusations

I posted on a Wildrose Party official’s Facebook page, asking if the “hogs from the trough” campaign was legitimate and while he admitted that it was, he also altered part of the content of my message.  I questioned why he did it and he responded that he found it interesting that it was possible and that it was good to know such things.

While I’m not sure that the ability to do this is useful (or should even be allowed) and while his alteration was in gest, it caused me to think about social media and it’s powerful influence in the political sphere.  With this in mind and with the intention of proving a point, I in turn changed a Facebook interaction I had with him (with names blanked out for privacy) from this:


to this:


I’ve transformed him from an innocent commenter on a benign post into a traitorous tool against his own party (which I know he is not but subsequent posters to this post will sure be surprised to see his sudden political reversal). Smile

The Bottom Line

We all know that emotion is a more useful and valuable tool than any amount of facts and data.  The sad reality is that most people are so busy making their way from one day to the next that they don’t have time to listen to, understand or comprehend the overwhelming amount of data thrown at them daily (although curiously enough, many of these same people can cite an amazing amount of info regarding the next iPhone).  I mused about the power of emotion in regards to manipulating people in my post Anger: Setting Yourself Up For Manipulation.

However, if we don’t take the time to actually pay attention to the information being sent our way (or to the words that people are putting into our mouths as in my fun little Facebook experiment), then anything is possible.

And the fact that anything is possible does not imply or guarantee that the result is necessarily a positive one.

Nor does it come with a money back guarantee when we cry foul that we didn’t pay attention the first time nor did we read the fine print.

Remember this when someone comes to your door with emotion-laden rhetoric (regardless of the party affiliation) but with no data:

Propaganda -

Propaganda: What lies behind us and lies before us are small matters compared to what lies right to our faces.

As the great philosopher Elmer Fudd once said:

Be ve-w-w-wy, ve-w-w-wy careful.

Especially when it comes to information, its sources, the medium used to deliver it and the intention behind it.

In service and servanthood,


PS My unwitting accomplice in my Facebook example is a good family man, a strong volunteer in his community and believes strongly in his political ideals.  He is what I believe to be a strong contributor to society.  My example was meant to demonstrate how social media can easily twist a good person into something else.  Be cautious about how you embrace social media. 

It is important to define how you use social media – don’t allow it to use or define you.

It is also important to avoid generalizations, especially when describing individuals.  Efforts to tar everyone with a single brush often do more damage to the person wielding the brush than it does the intended subject.

What Does a Miracle Look Like?

There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle. - Albert Einstein

You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It's just a matter of paying attention to this miracle. - Paulo Coelho

Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don't have any problems, you don't get any seeds. - Norman Vincent Peale

As someone who has been writing a personal journal for over 30 years, I find it interesting to thumb through the pages of my history and smile at the musings of someone who struggled with things that don’t seem large to me now, someone who cherished victories that paled in comparison to future wins and someone who struggled with the things he witnessed during his many years working on various “interesting” projects.  As one grows through Life experience, it can often seem like one is reading about the journey of a different person.

A lot of people are fascinated by what someone with my background would write in my journals and some have gone out of their way to find ways to obtain them just to take a peek.  Occasionally, some have succeeded and have obtained insight into how I think, what I think about and who I associate with.

Some have said “thanks, I will never sleep again” when seeing the details of some of the projects I have worked on, frightened by things I stopped worrying about a long time ago.

And some have even added funny footnotes that I still cherish when I read them (thanks, Darrell M. – it only took you two years of trying). Smile

In the challenging times that we face in the world today, a world filled with unlimited potential and great uncertainty at the same time, thousands of people write to me with the classic “I don’t know why I am telling a stranger this but ….” and then proceed to ask for guidance regarding a great challenge before them.

While I answer the occasional note that really tugs at my heart or where I have some useful context, I cannot answer all of them even though I wish I could honor their trust and transparency with a reply.  However, as I read some similar emails this morning, I feel compelled to share an entry in my journal that I wrote at a particularly difficult time in my Life.

Here it is - unedited, raw, grammatically imperfect and in the words of a cold, heartless, ruthless, analytical Wall St. / government / military strategy advisor. 

What Does A Miracle Look Like?

This roller coaster has felt insane but while it is only in the last few years or so, I see that the seeds necessary to produce it were planted many years before.

It took a while to produce fruit then.

By the same token, seeds necessary to produce a better harvest don’t produce fruit overnight either.

One takes time to produce the critical mass to knock you off the rails.

One takes time to produce the energy required to lift you back upon the rails.

One cannot be ignorant of the first and be impatient with the second.

And in the germinating of the seeds to recovery also comes the lessons required to avoid repeating the mistakes and sins committed or some variant of them.

Meanwhile, the bad side also has momentum and even if one is doing the right things now, it take a while for the bad stuff to coast to a halt or at least slow down long enough for “the good side” to get a grip, to begin to exert influence to change the direction or to produce a better harvest.

And so while I know I am a good person, the fact that it’s taking some time for recovery to take place must never allow me to undermine my sense that I am a good person or to give up.

While difficulty appeared to be instant, unprovoked and out of the blue, it was years in the making.

How can I expect healing to be any different?

I press forward – for myself, my family, my friends and my legacy of service to others.

Time, faith, lessons learned (and applied), friendship, love and support do heal all wounds.

In the meantime, I, like the farmer who sows his seeds in the spring, need to tend the garden patiently and diligently until the harvest arrives …. in faith that it always does.

Dedicated to the people who possess the courage to share their innermost feelings, fears, needs and desires with a complete stranger.

Your miracles are coming. 

They may not look like what you think you need or what you asked for but they are coming and they are exactly what you need.

Be ready.

Be strong.


In service and servanthood,

Harry (a miracle participant)

Addendum – Faith and Prayer – April 30, 2014

I was speaking to someone the other day about the Rosary and discovered that while they had been taught the Mysteries of the Rosary, they had not been taught their meaning.

We were discussing the Sorrowful Mysteries which are known to Roman Catholics as:

  • Agony in the Garden
  • Scourging at the Pillar
  • Crowning With Thorns
  • Carrying of the Cross
  • The Crucifixion

But I am surprised to discover how many Roman Catholics have not been taught the subjects to reflect upon for these Mysteries and thus an important element of the Rosary is missed.

The meanings for the Sorrowful Mysteries are:

  • Agony in the Garden – Repentance for sins and mistakes (what have I learned)
  • Scourging at the Pillar – For a spirit of mortification (accepting sacrifices until difficult times pass)
  • Crowing With Thorns – For moral courage
  • Carrying of the Cross – For patience
  • The Crucifixion – For grace during the most difficult of times / final perseverance

I thought this might be an appropriate and useful reminder for Roman Catholics who have written me over the years in regards to prayer during difficult times.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Alison Redford and the Danger of Mutually Assured Destruction

"It was a perfectly beautiful night, as fall nights are in Washington. I walked out of the president's Oval Office, and as I walked out, I thought I might never live to see another Saturday night." - Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, recalling the Cuban Missile Crisis

Those of us old enough to remember the Cold War will recall that what kept us from melting the planet with nuclear weapons was the knowledge that regardless of who fired first, the missiles fired back would assure that neither side would win – the idea of mutually assured destruction.

While we know that there can be no winner in such a conflagration, according to my former father-in-law (Colonel – USAF and Strategic Air Command, now deceased) we came a lot closer to disaster than the general public will ever know.

It took the courage and insanity of Ronal Reagan to break the cycle of madness that the world was engaged in when he called upon Gorbachev to come back to the negotiating table. Whether or not the resulting disarmament (and I use the term very lightly) has actually saved us or postponed the inevitable is another matter.

Meanwhile back in Alberta ….

As I watch the current media buzz over former Premier Redford being spotted in Palm Springs while claiming that she deserves full pay for reasons usually reserved for illness or bereavement, I am reminded of how mutually assured destruction in politics works.

A number of insiders, including MLAs on both side of the Legislature, have privately shared stories that are amazing and disgusting and include not only salacious stories of a personal matter that would make a Penthouse editor blush but which also include tales of inappropriate spending that have not seen the light of day.

And I’m not talking about former Premier Redford.

But no one dares make them public.

One party knows that to come totally clean in admission of their sins opens up Pandora’s box and the resulting firestorm will wipe them out in the next election.

The other party knows that to expose someone’s “dirt” invites the other party to reveal “dirt” about them in return and their hopes of winning the next election are next to zero, either because of the nature of the information exposed or because the party that fired the first shot would be crucified for having taken “the low road”.

And so we are left with political detente.

Meanwhile, the media feeds the public with tidbits and tasty morsels of gossip that in the grand scheme of things mean nothing but which incite citizens to anger and indignation while the complexities of the truth remain unseen.  In addition, those who are not without sins themselves seem to cry out in indignation the most.

As in the Cold War, the public dialog and the private dialog are miles apart.  And as with the Cold War, if the citizens actually knew what was going on, they would be angry and afraid simultaneously. 

However, if they removed their lens of judgement, they would discover that even they might not have been able to do any better.  We all have our weaknesses, our frailties and our price, no matter how pure and perfect we believe ourselves to be.

The Hazards of Public Service

Political detente creates a lot of complexity.  The good politicians (and there are some) are left second-guessing a lot of things, including how their values, morals and character fit into such a system while at the same time, their call to service compels them to continue participating.  They know that if they speak out too loudly, citizens will question why they remain while party members will feel betrayed and in both situations, their position becomes difficult to defend.

The almost-good politicians, the ones who are doing their best but who have a few skeletons in their closet, are upset with the ongoing trials and tribulations of former Premier Redford but commiserate with her at the same time knowing that they are not perfect.  They also know that if they speak out, their own skeletons will be revealed and their sins, once put behind them, will be put front and center for public analysis (aka public hanging).

And then you have the other politicians who know that this is how the game is played and that when the game is played well, there are many rewards available.  For those who play the game poorly and get skewered in public … well … that is the nature of any high risk / high reward game, isn’t it?

Is it any wonder so many good people won’t step into politics?  How many of us would willingly step into such a world?

The Bottom Line

In many situations of detente, one side or the other occasionally thinks they have discovered the perfect offense or defense and that a first strike will assure them of victory.  However, every time they are ready to push the button, they uncover a new piece of knowledge at the last minute and they pause, realizing how close to the brink they actually came to destroying themselves.

Unfortunately, this fear of mutual detente partially paralyzes all parties involved and they spend more time managing the detente or looking for a weakness in the other side than they do taking care of more important things for the people that they represent.

I wonder if one of these days, “the button” will be pushed before cooler heads prevail or might be pushed “by accident” and then we will have a problem that makes our current media morsels pale in comparison.

This is a disconcerting thought that we need to pay more attention to.

Wait …. I am referring to global affairs.

What did you think I was referring to?

In service and servanthood,


PS All of this being said, the PC Party of Alberta must still publicly and substantively address the matter of former Premier Redford, both for the sake of transparency and for the sake of strong strategy (defining its own message rather than having one be defined for them by Ms. Redford, the media or others).  Silence on their part is not healthy as I noted in the blog post PC Party of Alberta–Free Optics Management Advice. While it is possible that she is holding down her seat until Jim Prentice makes his decision, she is holding out for a judge appointment, etc., continued silence wounds the PC Party more than it helps them.

In the meantime, people on social media should remain calm and not appear as the locals do in this famous Monty Python skit.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

PC Party of Alberta–Free Optics Management Advice

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled. - Richard P. Feynman

Back in early March I wrote a blog post entitled The Trojan Horse of the 21st Century where I mused about how one organization could infiltrate another and through the use of this mole, bring down the entire organization.

It was a carefully worded blog post but some clever readers were able to see through it and saw that I was actually referencing the trials and tribulations of former Premier Redford and the PC Party’s inability to gain control over the messaging and optics of a Premier who had lost touch with her caucus and the people of Alberta.

When former Premier Redford requested earlier this week that her pay not be docked while she was absent from the Alberta Legislature, there was much conjecture (and some indignation) about the nature and authenticity of her illness (and possibly her audacity if the request was inappropriate).

However, as rumors circulate today that she has spent the last week in Palm Springs (a locale that has gotten her into trouble before), rabid reporters and naysayers are quick to come forward to cry foul that once again, she has pulled the wool over the eyes of the citizens.

As the story develops, I am reminded of my conjecture in the previously noted blog post that one or more of the following seem to be present when it comes to managing public optics:

  1. the PC Party and/or Ms. Redford feel that they do not need to manage the message (ego or overconfidence)
  2. the PC Party and/or Ms. Redford do not know how to manage the message (incompetence or inexperience)
  3. the PC Party and/or Ms. Redford discover that the message has some inconvenient or problematic details in it and therefore they avoid it (evasive)
  4. someone in the PC Party and/or Ms. Redford choose to wilfully not manage the message for reasons of ulterior motive (sabotage).

Here’s some free consulting advice for the PC Party.

If former Premier Redford needs to take time off for stress recovery (who wouldn’t be staggered by the public humiliation she has faced regardless of whether warranted or not), have someone face reporters and say something like this:

Former Premier Redford will be taking some time off to recover from a very difficult time for her and her family.  She may be seen at her location in Palm Springs as she seeks to avoid prying eyes and the press during this time of healing.  She asks that the press respect her request for privacy for her and her family.

It’s short, sweet, to the point and kills any sensationalism that may arise from being spotted in Palm Springs, a place she has been known to frequent in the past at the taxpayer’s expense.

It also assures her of privacy if in fact she needs time to heal from the political roller coaster of recent months.

The Bottom Line

Never given anyone an excuse or an opportunity to create sensationalism or create a message on your behalf.  Any story of her being spotted in Palm Springs would be considered no story at best and possibly an unfair or unjust intrusion of privacy if the optics had been proactively, effectively managed.

When it comes to optics management, one needs to decide:

Do I want to control the message as to how I am perceived or do I wait for others to invent a message on my behalf?

After all, modern media abhors an information vacuum and is quite content to do what it takes to find or invent a message on your behalf if you have no interest or ability to promote one of your own.

It is also often true that any message invented on your behalf is likely to be less accurate, more embarrassing and more damaging than had the message been proactively managed since the creation of such a message often brings other hidden, private or embarrassing elements into the light of day.

Until someone owns the message and manages the optics better within the PC Party, I am left to wonder which of the previously mentioned reasons for lack of optics management is the more appropriate one. 

As for those who believe that their current strategy and execution is fine just the way it is, well … better take a quick survey of the political landscape and then ask if the results and the beliefs are in alignment.

The alignment doesn’t look very strong from my perspective.

What do you think?

In service and servanthood,


Addendum – When You Think It Can’t Get Worse – April 26, 2014

Over the course of the last couple of weeks, a number of people, including MLAs (not just PC Party members), Legislature insiders and other people have shared a number of details with me that are disturbing, disruptive, salacious and sad.

While the details of those sharings will never be revealed here, it is a reminder to me that there are a lot of people who worry about the feelings of others, a lot of people who will do whatever it takes to undermine others personally and professionally (not caring who gets hurt in the process) and a lot of people who fear that they will be inadvertently burned should certain details be revealed.

I tweeted the following 24 hours before the current issues broke in the media and I was soundly thumped by some Party faithful who said that they totally disagreed.


Today the same critics of my tweet were silent.

I wonder if they are aware of what the next unmanaged message might produce or where the next difficulty will originate from.

I wonder if they care.

Time will tell.

Hopefully too many people won’t be hurt in the process of learning the answer because when the dirt flies, the innocent are just as liable to be hurt as the guilty.

And that is what is most unfair of all.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Data–The New Four-Letter Word in Politics

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. - Arthur Conan Doyle

People who were driving a school bus blindfolded (and crashed it) should never be given a new bus. - Nassim Nicholas Taleb - Black Swan Principle #3 (from “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable”)

Some years ago, I was walking home from the office very late with a colleague and while we knew the streets of Brooklyn warranted a cab at that hour, we chose to walk to the subway station.  Along the way, we were confronted by a group of young men who, through word and action, made it clear that they were taking our money and then beating us up (or worse).

Since I had just been informed that I was about to be beaten up or killed regardless of whether or not I turned my wallet over to them, I informed the group that they were welcome to take my wallet but in the process, I would kill the first guy that approached me.

They laughed and informed me that given that we were outnumbered, I couldn’t take on all of them to which I replied that I didn’t have to take on all of them – my intention was to kill the first one.

They looked at each other, exchanged a few words, someone yelled “Let’s get the F*^# out of here” and they ran down the street.

We weren’t worth the risk.

As we hastily made our way to the subway, my colleague told me that I had a lot of guts.  I laughed nervously and told him to tell me that again after my knees stopped shaking.  When he asked me why I had taken that approach, I responded by telling him that based on what I saw, certain realities were present, not all of which were known to the other side:

  1. Regardless of what happened, my colleague and I were going to be beaten up (perhaps killed).  This had been expressed by the other group and I believed them.  Turning over our wallets, talking our way out of the situation or running away were not going to produce a positive result for us.  This was apparent to all present.
  2. I had enough martial arts training in my background to defend myself against multiple attackers.  While talking / buying / running my way out of this situation was preferred, it was clear that none of these actions would produce anything of value for my colleague and I.  My training was known only to me.
  3. If I was going to die anyway, I had no qualms killing the person who had so little respect for me that they would potentially take my Life with no respect for me as a fellow human being. My belief was known only to me.

So, I explained as we rode the subway to the World Trade Center, I had evaluated the data and had come to the conclusion that led me to say what I said.

“Would you have killed someone?”, my colleague asked, wide-eyed with curiosity.

“Absolutely”, I replied, “although it would not have been my preferred intention or result since violence is never a viable solution.  However, I assertively placed realities in front of them and allowed them to make their own choices.  They made their choice and we are all the better for it.”

“And besides”, I concluded, “I figured if I looked crazier than they were, they might believe me and leave us alone.  It worked for Reagan.”

We both laughed at this and our chatter returned to a rehash of the day.

Crazier … or more informed of the realities that were present at the moment.

It’s difficult to tell the difference sometimes.

On a less dramatic level, I tweeted this little ditty yesterday in regards to the current political environment in Alberta and Newfoundland.


<<Note: There are grammar errors.  It’s Twitter … stay calm>>

Of the many interactions on different social media platforms and via SMS and email, the single largest group that believed that I was wrong told me I was wrong without asking how I had come to that conclusion.  They never asked for the data, analysis, etc. behind the comment.  They just said “you’re wrong”.

Intriguingly, they are in large part the people who represent the political parties who are trailing in the polls in their respective provinces.

The problem with their approach is this:

While someone can scream passionately and emotionally about how they perceive their world and their realities, the data and results are screaming louder and don’t support their perception.

Or as someone once humorously noted:

A pessimist sees a dark tunnel.
An optimist sees light at the end of the tunnel.
A realist sees a freight train.

The train engineer sees 3 idiots standing on the tracks.

In such situations, whether in business, politics or Life, it’s ok to have dreams and beliefs as long as your results are in line with those dreams and beliefs.

Because when your dream carries your mind, heart and soul in one direction and the results are clearly taking you physically in another direction, pretending reality is not reality makes you look pretty silly.

Or worse.

The Bottom Line

It is important to trust your heart, your instinct, your faith, your talents, your strengths and the same in your colleagues when facing difficult situations.

However, it is also important to listen to data and reality, especially if someone appears to know something you don’t.

Failure to do so could prove to be fatal.

Many politicians and their minions believe that we can’t handle the truth (that it’s too complicated for mere mortals to understand) or that truth in reality makes everything too complicated for everyone.  I would posit that it is these beliefs that are making our world more complicated.

I think that when you examine the motivations and qualifications of many politicians, it becomes clear that in many (not all) situations, we are better equipped to understand the truth than they are.

I think that the people who navigated themselves into a problem (the bus driver as described by Taleb) need to prove with more than emotion that they are worthy and capable of being entrusted with a position of responsibility moving forward.

I think that a winning result is often used to rationalize an approach as being effective (whether this is accurate or not is another thing) whereas rationalizing an approach as being effective when it has produced a losing result is problematic at best.

And finally, I think we have more to gain or lose than politicians do when we (and they) choose to understand or ignore reality.

What do you think?

In service and servanthood,


Despair.Com - Obstacles

Addendum – Being a Stickler For Data

As I just noted to a colleague:

When it comes to data, I'm an ass*#&$ ... and I make no apologies about it because actions in absence of data are screwing this planet up.

Which reminds me of posts I made a short while ago – Confessions of a Gentle Arsehole and The World As Seen By The Objective Observer. Smile

Follow your passion.  Be grounded in reality.  Create new realities when you have to but know when it is not possible or when the timing is not right.

Create a great day for yourself and others.  Help others.  Allow yourself to be helped by others.  Make a difference.

The world awaits your gifts and talents – what are you waiting for?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Newfoundland PC MHAs Welcome Premier-Elect Dwight Ball

The wealth of the country, its capital, its credit, must be saved from the predatory poor as well as the predatory rich, but above all from the predatory politician. - James J. Hill

The worst thing for a politician is to try and cling to power by every possible means, and focus only on that. - Vladimir Putin

With the announcement today that Bill Barry has withdrawn his candidacy from the PC Party Leadership race in Newfoundland and Labrador, the PC Party has just handed the next election to Liberal Leader Dwight Ball.

Bill Barry, devoted family man, world traveler (having been to over 40 countries), well-informed businessman and passionate Newfoundlander, has just discovered that when you bring a message of necessary change to Newfoundland and Labrador, you are considered the enemy and certain people will do whatever it takes to prevent said change.

God forbid that anyone disturb the trough that MHAs (and the people who support them) feel blessed to feed from.  The idea that someone would have the audacity to suggest that serving the people with courage and transparency was the real reason for public service was too much for the descendants of the merchant-mentality to deal with and so they rose up against anyone daring to suggest such change.

They remind me of this scene from History of the World – Part 1.

History of the World

Intelligent, courageous, unselfish leadership is needed.

As I noted in posts such as Newfoundland–Should We Just Shoot It And Put It Out Of Its Misery? and Newfoundland–A Leadership Crisis, Not An Energy One, I mused about how the leadership of the Newfoundland and Labrador Government had seemed out of touch with both the people and the financial realities it faces.

A change is needed within the Government and the PC Party of the Province.  It needs leadership that recognizes the value of the people, the need to serve the people and the importance of making difficult decisions to benefit the people in the long run (not just until the next election).  This is essential in order to return the Province to a place where it can harvest its unlimited but unrealized potential.

When Bill Barry noted that a Government under his leadership would be that change, the MHAs quickly rose up against him and threw their support behind Frank Coleman, someone who promised to not rock the boat as noted in this article by The Telegram.

Coleman quote in The Telegram

I don’t know about you but when I am taking over an organization that is trailing in the polls, indicating that I will “stay the course” doesn’t sound like much of an effective strategy to me.

It is clear that the MHAs feared change.and in throwing their support behind a candidate who promises to continue the current Government’s mandate and approach, they identified what was important to them:

  1. Their political party
  2. Their job

Somehow the people of the Province never seemed to enter the equation.  Public service in the Province seems to be like a red light at an intersection in New York City – both are merely suggestions.

And while playing it safe seems somehow reassuring that all will be well in the future, the move in fact condemns the Party to a loss in the next election with many of the MHAs going down with the Party’s futures.

The Bottom Line

Newfoundland and Labrador needs a cranial defibrillator in the form of a leader who knows that difficult decisions are needed in order to create success and a leader who has the courage to make those decisions.

Instead, the PC Party of Newfoundland and Labrador likely placed the defibrillator on their own head and electrocuted themselves.

Frank Coleman will win the PC Party Leadership process uncontested although if I were a PC MHA I wouldn’t get too excited about this given past experience with acclaimed leaders.

In fact, when Mr. Coleman is ready to move into the official residence of the Premier, they might as well just give him a camper trailer in the backyard.  He won’t be Premier long enough to move in and get settled.

There’s an old joke about a doctor who tells a patient that he has good news and bad news.  The patient asks for the bad news first and he is told that he has three months to live.  He explodes in anger and asks “If that’s the bad news, what’s the good news?”  The doctor replies, “Did you see that gorgeous receptionist out front?  I’m having an affair with her.”

And so it is with the MHAs of the PC Party in Newfoundland and Labrador.  In their desire to protect themselves and those who support them, they have potentially condemned the people they claim to serve by denying the people access to a leader who could have led them out of the conundrum they find themselves in.  There is good news and bad news contained within such actions.  The good news is that the MHAs will move on to lucrative contracts, pensions and the like no matter what happens in the next election.

The bad news?

Well … I guess that’s up to the people to discover, isn’t it?

In service and servanthood,


PS I was going to title this blog post “Newfoundland MHAs Flick the Bird at the People” but then I thought “now that wouldn’t be very fair, would it?”.  But then again, fairness is a two-way street when self-serving greed overrules the desire to selflessly serve the people.

On a side note, I interacted with some of Mr. Coleman’s people (including family members) on Twitter regarding his candidacy and they insisted he was not running even though I told them that his actions said otherwise.  After he announced his candidacy, they deleted their tweets indicating that he was not running.  Sounds like same-old, same-old in Newfoundland politics.  Truth and honesty in politics are as easy to find there as a living member of the Beothuk people.

Addendum – A Leader Without A Vision – April 19, 2014

What kind of leader will Frank Coleman make?  In The Telegram on Friday, James McLeod noted this:

But when he spoke to The Telegram Friday, the premier-in-waiting was still counting on somebody else to tell him what to do.

“I’m going to wait for some direction from the (PC party) executive. I don’t want to kind of get in anybody’s face on Day 1,” Coleman said. “I don’t want that to sound like I’m not willing. I’m certainly willing to do what is required of me at this point, but I’m not trying to elbow anybody aside earlier than what the party wants.”

Sounds like the kind of leader I would want for a political party or a Province.


There’s not an iota of strategy, vision, passion or energy in his message.

Who wants that in a leader?

Or ….. maybe the rumor is true that the selection of the PC Party leadership was fixed and that he’s merely a puppet for someone else.  If that’s the case, someone needs to slip their hand in a little deeper so that he has more things to say in order to incite excitement in the people.

Ahhhhh the stuff of conspiracy. Smile

Addendum 2 – A Leader Without A Vision – Part 2 – April 21, 2014

I guess I’m not the only person concerned about the new PC Leader’s vision … or lack thereof as explained in this article Frank Coleman coronation turning into ‘train wreck’, prof says care of CBC.

I wonder if he has already written his resignation speech – the one that will be delivered after the PCs lose the next general election.

Funny thing about that is that I am a Conservative by nature.

But I’m also a realist by practice.

Friday, April 11, 2014

F**K the Poor

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Mahatma Gandhi

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth. - Muhammad Ali

Watching some people in Alberta this week use words and actions of hatred to promote “equal rights and respect” got me to thinking about which emotion resonates most when promoting a “just cause”.

And with that in mind, I invite you to watch a video that demonstrates a very interesting social experiment.

Warning: The language is VERY strong.

An interesting social experiment

With that shocking video, I hope I have encouraged you to pause and reflect.

Good – that was my intention.

Now what are you doing to do as a result?

In service and servanthood,


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bullying and the REAL Crisis In Alberta (and elsewhere)

I can prove anything by statistics except the truth. - George Canning

Statistics are used much like a drunk uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination. - Vin Scully

In a very brief interaction with a CBC personality this morning, where he indicated that low turnout in a by-election in Newfoundland spoke poorly of the Government’s chances in the next general election, I suggested that it was impossible to infer a trend from a single data point / event.

After I said this, I thought back to my post yesterday, The Problem with the LGBTQ Agenda, and I gave some thought to the data being shared by pro-LGBTQ folks seeking to make legislative changes to protect against homophobic bullying.

Here is what I came up with:

  1. 3.5% of students self-identify as LGBTQ. (Source: Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services’ presentation to the Alberta School Boards Association Conference – November 22, 2011.  Presenter: Dr. Kristopher Wells – University of Alberta)
  2. 1 in 5 of those same students report being harassed or assaulted (Source: Same as previous point)
  3. 64% of students in general report being bullied at school (Source: Stop a Bully campaign, citing a University of British Columbia survey)
  4. 47% of parents report having a child who is the victim of bullying (Source: Stats Canada)
  5. There are approximately 717,000 student-aged (high school or younger) children in Alberta (Source: Stats Canada)

Moving from there, we could roughly (unscientifically and without regard to localized variations) interpret that:

  1. Approximately 25,000 students in Alberta self identify as LGBTQ
  2. Approximately 692,000 students in Alberta do not self identify as LGBTQ
  3. Of the 25,000 students who self identify as LGBTQ, 1 in 5 report being harassed or assaulted – approximately 5,000 students
  4. Of the remaining students, reports on being harassed or assaulted range from approximately 325,000 to 422,000 cases (depending on statistics applied).

And with this information, pro-LGBTQ supporters in Alberta are suggesting that bullying is a phenomenon that is mostly targeted against them and therefore legislation must be drafted to prevent the phenomenon that is more unique to them than anyone.  Meanwhile, the statistics suggest that the problem is far larger (statistically and literally) in the non-LGBTQ community.

Even Alberta Liberal Leader Raj Sherman was swayed by a misunderstanding of statistics, making the hateful accusation in Question Period yesterday that for the Alberta Government to not pass pro-LGBTQ legislation was proof of the Government’s “homophobic legacy”.

Tough words … and unfair, unnecessary and misinformed.

The LGBTQ community are correct in their assertion that there is a crisis in Alberta (and I would posit, around the civilized world).

Here is where I see the crisis.  For starters, either too many people:

  1. Do not know how to read statistical data and accidentally misinterpret it
  2. Intentionally misrepresent it for the sake of their own personal or professional agendas and actually bully people with it under the guise of ending bullying
  3. React to the statistics presented to them without bothering to verify the data, including legislators who should know better before passing legislation (it didn’t pass in this case) without understanding the downstream effects of it.
  4. Are not aware of how easily their emotions are evoked by inaccurate data (accidentally or wilfully).

And because we have a crisis in statistics gathering, interpretation, manipulation, presentation and understanding, the real crisis, bullying in general (which, by the way, extends well into our adult lives) is lost in an argument over who feels most affronted.

The truth is that bullying and intimidation are an insult to humanity and ways must be found to honor all people and not just specific groups.

Meanwhile, I have a new motion for the Alberta Legislature to contemplate, based on this information:

Statistics show that of those who contract the habit of eating, very few survive. - George Bernard Shaw

Apparently, and I’ve just come to this shocking discovery, statistics also show that 100% of people who breathe will eventually die.

How can we have not seen the obvious crisis from these statistics?  Until the Alberta Legislature addresses these more heinous, obvious issues in our society, I’m going on a hunger strike (while holding my breath).

I’m being silly for a reason.  If I need to explain the reason, then we have another crisis developing that I won’t get into here.

In the meantime, in a quick survey conducted in the coffee shop I wrote this in, 100% of people questioned agreed with everything I said in this post.

It’s a statistic and so it must be right.


The Bottom Line

I think we need to honor the issues that affect all humans, recognizing all people as divine and deserving of every right, equally and without differentiation.  The longer we wait to figure out who is the most affected in any given scenario, the longer everyone is affected – potentially to their detriment and to the detriment of society.

I also think that this blog post will anger some people who prefer emotion over data or who find some data to be inconvenient unless cherry picked to suit their needs.  While data that is appropriately identified, selected and referenced rarely lies or misrepresents, the same cannot be assumed for those who would use this data.

What do you think?

In service and servanthood,



Those who lead, whether in business, politics or for causes in general, need to be careful how their intentions to reduce bullying are perceived.  Oftentimes those who claim to be against bullying use bullying, demeaning words, taunting and other intimidation tactics themselves in order to manifest their own personal or professional intentions.  Such could be said about the insults hurled at the Education Minister for not giving certain people what they demanded in regards to Motion 503 or for Liberal Leader Raj Sherman in labelling people who expressed a counter opinion to Motion 503 (which is permitted) as being automatically homophobic.

To those people, I ask:

  1. In such situations, do you believe that people will follow what you say (promoting anti-bullying) or emulate what you do (using bully tactics to achieve your objectives)?
  2. In such situations, do you believe your actions solve the problem or merely shift the problem somewhere else, especially when one rationalizes that such actions are “ok for a just cause”?

Are you sure?

How would others answer these questions on your behalf?

Addendum – When Data Becomes Inconvenient - April 10, 2014

The very people who were using stats yesterday to promote their intention and whose stats I cited in this post informed me today that the use of statistics is invalid when it comes to correcting social injustice.

It is curious that when the same data in a different context suddenly looks weak that people who previously cited the data rabidly suddenly insist that the same data is irrelevant.

Speaking of data, Greg Clark of the Alberta Party went as far as to suggest this:

Alberta Party

Suggesting that defeating the motion could damage a province’s prosperity (without citing the evidence) is unsubstantiated fear mongering.

Data that is convenient as a hammer to drive one’s agenda can often become an inconvenient weapon to weaken one’s own case.

For this reason, data should always be chosen wisely.

Related Posts:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Problem With the LGBTQ Agenda

Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman - not the attitude of the prospect. - W. Clement Stone

I like to think of sales as the ability to gracefully persuade, not manipulate, a person or persons into a win-win situation. - Bo Bennett

In Alberta this week, Motion 503 was defeated in the Alberta Legislature.  The motion, with an eye towards allegedly protecting LGBTQ children, reads as follows:

Be it resolved that the Legislative Assembly urge the Government to introduce legislation, like Manitoba’s and Ontario’s, requiring all school boards to develop policies to support students who want to lead and establish gay-straight alliance activities and organizations, using any name that is consistent with the promotion of a positive school environment that is inclusive, welcoming, and respectful for all students regardless of sexuality, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

As is typical with such emotionally-laden subjects, the ignorant, the unintelligent and the misinformed quickly piled onto social media with many being unable to calmly, intelligently or respectfully discuss why the motion should pass or fail.

In fact, people on both sides of the debate were happy to bash each other incessantly, both wasting their own time as well as the time of the people whose feeds were overrun by their ignorant diatribe and yet, neither side seemed able to make a good case for or against the motion.

The most curious theme of the Motion 503 supporters was along the lines of it being necessary to provide a safer environment for LGBTQ children in schools.  Being a data guy and someone who is strongly committed to the future of our children, when I hear that a safer environment is necessary, this implies that a threat exists and so I innocently tweeted the following:


It was a fair question (yeah, I know that I misspelled LGBTQ as LBGTQ by accident – people who are easily offended can stand down now). 

I honestly wanted to know what the pending or imminent threat was or is.

In the aftermath of a respectful question from someone trying to understand what the imminent threat was or is, I received social media communication along the lines of everyone knows what the issues are, everyone knows what the threats are, we all have seen the proof, blah blah blah. 

But in EVERY situation (bar none) when I asked for “the proof”, whether it be in the form of a file, a report, a link, ANYTHING, the conversation quickly turned into taunts and insults – using emotion to deflect the conversation away from the lack of data or at least data that they were citing as “proof”.

I even had a professor at the University of Alberta tweet this after I repeatedly asked for the proof he claimed to have in-hand:



He couldn’t (or wouldn’t) actually produce the proof he kept citing.  Even when I went to his U of A website bio page, many of the links he cited for research were in fact dead links.

I wish I had him for a prof for all the papers I have written over the years (and still write).  In the references section, I could simplify my Life by having one line:

Google all the references yourself.

Some data was offered …..

In fairness, one person offered a presentation that boldly stated “1 in 5 (21%) of LGBTQ students report being harassed or assaulted.”

Since context matters, I asked a few people:

  1. How does the alleged study define being “harassed or assaulted”?
  2. Did the alleged study point out how many non-LGBTQ students felt that they had been harassed or assaulted (for comparison purposes)?

Context matters.  I know some people who feel harassed every time someone gives them “a dirty look”.

My questions produced accusations that I was trying to confuse people or trying to bury the issue in complexity and then those people commenced to crap all over me as well.

And to me, therein lies the entire problem with the LGBTQ conversation.

As a person of influence, as a person who believes and champions the fair treatment of all people and as someone who needs data when “proof” is cited, I often ask for additional information.

I don’t ask with an intent to refute someone or to tell them that they are wrong.

I ask with the intent to understand.

When I understand something and it is sold to me in a very convincing way, as someone with a very large, influential network, I can be a very powerful ally who will then promote this same message to others.

And yet oftentimes, people without data or who are relying purely on emotion get nervous when someone asks for the proof that they cite (which they often don’t have) and they quickly jump to the conclusion that this person must be trying to discredit them.

In doing so, they go out of their way to create an antagonist (and a powerful one) when they might have had a powerful ally in their corner instead.

The Bottom Line

The message from a person trying to sell an idea to others must resonate with the target audience and it must be consistent.

When people, under the guise of demanding respect for others, don’t know how to offer respect when trying to sell their message, it’s no wonder that their “sales pitch” runs into complications or resistance.

My message to parts of the LGBTQ community is this.

The message you promote must be:

  1. Data-filled (as much as is realistic).  Don’t tell people to go search for the data.  If you have proof, offer it.  Don’t cherry pick data that is useful for your purposes or intentionally use data out of context since this will cause you to be discredited once you are discovered.  You are trying to convince them – make it easy for them to be convinced.
  2. Emotion-less (as much as is realistic).  Don’t chase people away with excessive emotion.  Over zealous people, whether in politics, religion or any other cause, can frighten people away or encourage them to resist.
  3. Varied by target audience.  There is no “one message fits all humans” model
  4. Open to scrutiny.  You ask questions of others.  Expect and embrace the same in return.
  5. One that resonates.  To influence the mind, you must touch the heart and not stab it.  Stabbing it has a tendency to create more enemies than friends.
  6. Respectful and understanding of the feelings and opinions of others.   You don’t want to be stepped on, intimidated or insulted – neither does your target audience.

I say “parts” of the community because within my significant network of gay friends and colleagues, the vast majority get embarrassed or angry when they see how their lifestyle is being portrayed by others who claim to be representing the entire LGBTQ community.

And doing it very poorly, at least according to my friends and colleagues.

When the elements of a cohesive message are brought together, the vast majority of people won’t need to be convinced – they will easily convince themselves.

And for those who are not convinced, the last time I checked, we still live in a democracy where differences of opinion are not only allowed but welcomed and encouraged.

Well … unless I’m not entitled to that opinion either.

Respect and the welcoming of diversity are not things that can be legislated.

They are also not limited to being learned and protected in the schoolyard.

But until we learn to stem the tide of disrespect that is taught in the home, in the media and entertainment industry and in other places as well (and, in fact, modeled by some of our business, religious and political leaders), we will always have problems typical of a society lacking in respect and civility.

To our detriment.

As for me, I am not anti-gay at all.  However, to the LGBTQ community, I ask that you stop trying to make me otherwise.  I resist disrespect no matter what the reason it is shoved down my throat, even if the cause is a fair and just one.

There will always be people out there who resist your message, whether it be through intolerance, ignorance or because they have a right to a different opinion.  In such cases, remember the rule of the 4 SWs and move on.

Some will, some won’t, so what, someone’s waiting

In service and servanthood,


Addendum – Making the Data Fit the Problem - April 9, 2014

Some of the people I dialogued with yesterday were suggesting that the primary problem (by far) of bullying these days are as a result of homophobic people assaulting LBGTQ individuals.  Again, they had no data to back this up but spouted it as the ever-constructive, dialog-encouraging, “only idiots don’t know this” type message.

In my blog post Mitt Romney, Bullies and Red Herrings (written 2 years ago), I described my own personal childhood experiences with bullying where bullies (many of them gay) dry humped me into humiliation whenever they could get the chance (sorry – there is no gentle way of describing this).

I pointed out that in that blog post that these boys had been victims of sexual and physical abuse at home for years – at the hands of broken parents who themselves were victims of abuse in their own childhood.

The sexual orientation of my bullies had nothing to do with why they were abused or why they had become abusers.

However, some people in public and private dialog suggested that the abuse my abusers had experienced was irrelevant and that their abuse of others was “merely them exercising their right to stand up to the abuse they absorbed as LBGTQ students”.

This is the type of opinion that prevents constructive, solution-seeking dialog from occurring.  Not knowing who these kids were, the people offering their opinion did not know that the kids who bullied me were in fact some of the most popular kids in the school.  The abuse they absorbed at home was some of the most insidious abuse that children have ever had to face and which children continue to face today.  The terrible pain they absorbed was expressed in their intimidation of others.

The opinion of some of the people I interacted with yesterday also suggests that revenge is a justifiable reason for bullying, even if the target of the revenge was not the original antagonist.

I would posit that if we embrace such a model of justifiable revenge, constantly attacking those who have affronted us while constantly defending against those whom we have affronted, we will spend the rest of our days fighting each other in an every-tightening death spiral of tit-for-tat.

Intolerance, anger and confrontation are never the solution for intolerance, anger and confrontation.

Well, that is unless some feel the need to be angry or feel affronted for the heck of it or for a different reason.

In such situations, maybe it is not justice and equality some are fighting for.  For those people, the cry for justice makes for a convenient banner to hide behind or to lob grenades from for reasons unrelated to the cause that they allegedly champion.

For some politicians and business leaders, it becomes a useful leverage point, a means of promoting their own agendas on the backs of others whom they may or may not even care about as long as they get what they need.

And so the dialog gets murkier – and the people who want and deserve basic rights and freedoms get lost in the noise of a dialog that is more complex than it should be.

A final thought. 

The afore mentioned professor at the U of A is now supporting a resolution to have the Minister of Education removed from his portfolio for not supporting Motion 503:


The philosophy of “do it my way or else face dire consequences” is not conducive to promoting a cause or encouraging dialog and in fact, may make some people view “the cause” as a source of intimidation or bullying and not as a just cause.  The motion followed the parliamentary process and was defeated – this is the way it works in our society.

People who act as this professor is acting are often quick to cite bullying when they perceive it as coming in their direction but less so when they are the antagonist.

Maybe for some, their projection becomes their perception and thus their reality  – that their need to bully heightens their sensitivity about receiving it.


Whatever the reason, “my way or the highway” rarely works.

“Educated” people should know better – but then again, education does not automatically cure people of intolerance or ignorance.

The Ignorant Shall Relinquish the Earth

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all. - John F. Kennedy

The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds. - John F. Kennedy

The #1206 “fiction” series continues ….

She squinted in the glare of the hot, bright studio lights, wondering why she had agreed to this interview.  Her agitation was growing as she realized that the interviewer had deftly debated her into an indefensible corner.

“So”, the interviewer pressed, “Allow me to summarize your key points.  One. That your party will win the next election because everyone simply knows you are better.  Two.  The other party can’t win because everyone knows they are led by an idiot.  Three. No change of strategy or approach is needed to win the next election because of the first two points.  Have I summarized your ideas fairly and accurately?”

She paused for a moment, realizing that she had said these points exactly as he expressed them and on live television at that and so to deny them didn’t exactly help her cause.  “What more truth and facts do you need?”, she snapped at the interviewer.

As she continued to speak, two men watched with interest from the control room.

The first of the two men glanced at his companion and noted “She has no idea what the difference is between emotion and facts.  I would think that suggests that the dumbing down of the people is almost complete.  What do you think?”

His companion smiled as he watched the interview winding down.  He chuckled and then replied, “I didn’t think you could pull this off but I have to admit it has gone far better than I thought it would. Look at the debates in progress.  The nations of the world are split on the realities and ramifications of global warming.  Nations talk peace while refusing to acknowledge that there are approximately 125 wars and local insurgencies happening at any given moment on their planet, in large part fuelled by the UN Security Council.  Legislatures and courts churn over the rights of minorities who make up a very small percentage of the population but who vehemently demand more rights than others under the auspices that they feel threatened and oppressed.”

He continued, “Meanwhile, the Earth’s ability to support an ever-growing population may have already passed the point of no return.  Governments have moved into the role of public relations instead of governing as their ability to manage ever-increasingly complex issues has long since disappeared. The list goes on and on.  The people are divided over issues where emotion, especially fear and anger, rule every dialog while solutions continue to elude them.”

He paused before continuing, “And finally, people continue to waste more time on mind numbing social media activities while their input into important items around the world continues to decline.  The ignorant and the uninformed use social media to shout down others who dare to engage in idea exchange and the questioning of unsolved issues in the world.  And because enough people couldn’t be dumbed down or intimidated fast enough for our intentions, legislation allowing more of them to legally partake in recreational drug usage has gotten us back on schedule.  A populace that thinks less or feels intimidated to ask questions, questions less.  Well done – you must be very proud!”

“I am very proud”, the first man said, “The last steps of preparation are almost complete!  There are, however, some pockets of resistance that remain that must be neutralized in order to ensure victory.”

“And how is our plan coming along to accomplish this?”, his companion asked.

Before the first man could answer, he was suddenly distracted by the chime of his cell phone.  Unclipping it from his belt, he studied the screen for a few moments before looking up and smiling.  He held his phone out to his companion to allow him to examine the screen contents.

As his companion read the screen before him, he suddenly smiled.  “The intelligence services on this planet are indeed useful”, he said.

“They are indeed”, replied the first man.  “A united Earth is not useful to us.  However, one divided by anger and paranoia – now that’s a different story!  Our plans continue unabated.”

He returned his gaze to the monitor, observing the interview as it wrapped up.

“A world ruled by fear, the inability to evaluate situations based on data and the inability to exchange ideas peacefully”, he said quietly.  “Their projection of their own inner insecurities defines their perception of their world. Their perception reveals their needs and intentions.  Their needs and intentions reveal their weaknesses.  Their weaknesses become our strengths.  They believe they are so defined by their past that they waste their present and leave their future open to be defined by someone else.”

He paused for a moment.

“By the way”, he continued, “Don’t forget that our presentation to the President is still on for 9 am tomorrow morning.”

His companion nodded, lost in his own thoughts.

Both men became silent as they stared at the control room monitors.

To be continued.

© 2014 – Harry Tucker – All Rights Reserved


All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Series Origin:

This series, a departure from my usual musings,  is inspired as a result of conversations with former senior advisors to multiple Presidents of the United States, senior officers in the US Military and other interesting folks.

While this musing is just “fiction” and a departure from my musings on technology, strategy, politics and society, as a strategy guy, I do everything for a reason and with a measurable outcome in mind. :-)

This “fictional” musing is a continuation of the #1206 series noted here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Alberta and Newfoundland Politicians and the Embarrassment of Premature Congratulation

It is easier to keep half a dozen lovers guessing than to keep one lover after he has stopped guessing. - Helen Rowland

Warning: The following post deals with mature political matter and may not be suitable for all readers.  If political arousal lasts longer than 4 hours, please seek immediate assistance as this may indicate a rare but potentially dangerous sanity-threatening condition. Please consult your doctor before engaging in any political activity to ensure that your skin is thick enough and your mind is alert enough.

As the PC Parties of Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador continue to exhibit their weakness in the area of public optics management, I am intrigued by the growing confidence of the Opposition Parties as they salivate over their inevitable victories (as they perceive it) in their respective upcoming provincial elections.

Dwight Ball, Leader of the Official Opposition in Newfoundland and Labrador, tweeted this today:

Dwight Ball tweet

What is fascinating about this tweet is that:

  1. Dwight Ball is the Leader of the Official Opposition with an election a couple of years away.
  2. Cathy Bennett is currently campaigning but is currently not and has never been a member of the Newfoundland Legislature.

The old adage “counting your chickens …..” comes to mind.

What makes the tweet even more fascinating was this tweet by the Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal Caucus.


I would think that after being in the Official Opposition for over 10 years that the Liberals would already have a policy platform and in fact, would be sick of looking at it for so long.  It’s difficult to say since they have not offered any platform of value for the public to examine.

On a similar note, Wildrose Party supporters in Alberta are rubbing their hands with glee while still not offering really concrete, measurable solutions to the problems at hand in Alberta.  They have offered lots of fuzzy stuff but nothing measurable despite what some trolls and zealots insist to the contrary.

What both Opposition Parties need to understand is that while the people may have become disenfranchised with their current governments, becoming the new partner of choice is not a given.

The people will still need to be wooed.  They need to feel that they are the most important person in the Opposition Party’s Life.

They need to be caressed, with promises of a great future whispered softly in their ear.

They need to see daily reminders of how a future together will produce years of bliss for everyone.

They need to be shown the love in demonstrable, measurable ways that show the people that this relationship is meant to last and is not just a marriage of convenience.

And most importantly of all, it is critical that the Official Opposition not get too hot and bothered nor too wrapped up in their own excitement.  They need to pace themselves and focus on being the ever attentive partner focused on the needs of the other.

Otherwise the impulse to rush to a climactic conclusion may result in the embarrassment of a premature congratulation.

And in the course of the afterglow (for one side, anyway), the question “Was I good for you?” might remain unanswered as the people reflect on the current disappointment and wonder “Maybe the other side wasn’t so bad after all”.

They say that love is fickle and fleeting.

The same can be said about public support regarding political parties.

I think neither should be taken for granted.

And come election time, you want the people screaming your name in ecstasy and not someone else’s.  You also don’t want to hear the dreaded question “Are you done yet?”.

What do you think?

In service and servanthood,


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mind Manipulation–My Latest Book Collaboration

There are no secrets that time does not reveal. - Jean Racine

The real secrets are not the ones I tell. - Mason Cooley

<< Readers please note: This post was originally posted as an April Fool’s joke. I am no longer taking pre-orders. Smile>>

Many of the readers of my blog have sent me emails over the years asking about my career on Wall St. and in particular, many are curious about a group of strategy people I worked with who were known as the “Master Manipulators of Wall St.”.

One of the things we specialized in was in the area of working with CxOs and the process of directing them to make decisions that we needed them to make for our benefit while convincing them that they had brilliantly made the decisions for their own benefit.

While many of the techniques and models used by my colleagues have been of a proprietary nature for years, a good friend of mine, Robert Sputin, has convinced me to share the most powerful techniques in a new book that is soon to be released.

Many of the techniques that we wrote about are evident in my blog posts and social media interactions anyway (making them not a secret to those who are very perceptive) and so I was delighted to collaborate with Robert to finally reveal the secrets that many of us have used for personal and professional success.

The book shares powerful techniques in such areas as:

  • Deceptive information sharing – sharing information that appears accurate but which is not
  • Convincing people who are actually right that they are wrong in order to end debates that may be inconvenient or problematic
  • Using data to misinform people – getting them to change their mind or to knowingly spread false information that causes them to be discredited later
  • Goading people into arguments under the guise of “having a dialog”, thus setting them up for potential embarrassment later
  • Creating an aura of mystique in order to convince people that a secret that you have makes you important or invaluable to them
  • Mind maps and other techniques to make you appear smarter and more sophisticated
  • Advanced, subtle techniques in belittling and demeaning people to discourage expression of opinion
  • Predictive analytics and the use of math models to distract people from the truth.

Writing this book wasn’t easy.

Our initial pass at the book was a little too dry and sterile for my taste but I think we have finally hit upon a winning formula by embracing the “For Dummies” model, making the theories more easily adaptable by practically anybody.

Mind Manipulation For Dummies

The publication date will be announced in the coming weeks.  I can confirm that I will be signing copies of the book on July 4th and 5th in Newfoundland and on September 6th in Alberta.  For additional information or to reserve a copy, please click here.

I am very excited about this book release and believe that it contains many useful tips to help you achieve personal and professional success in your Life.  The techniques have been a blessing in my Life and I believe that they should be shared with others to help them gain the upper hand in their personal, professional and online relationships.

I think that people deserve the best tools and techniques available as this levels the playing field and gives everyone equal opportunity for success.

This may sound ruthless but the truth is that Life is all about winning.  There is no prize for second place, for “best efforts” that fall short or for all of that phony, weak-minded, feel-good stuff about the journey meaning more than the destination or the result.

The Bottom Line

First place is all that matters!

Why criticize the 1% when you can use these time-honored, proven techniques to actually be a part of the 1% while simultaneously learning how to ignore those who are jealous of your success?

Despair.Com - Pretension

I think you deserve this.

What do you think?

In service and servanthood,


Addendum – Book Publication Cancelled

After many heated discussions with the NSA, SEC, CIA, FBI, KGB, UN and other groups, I have been asked to pull this book from print production for fear that it reveals too many secrets.

Yeah …. right.

I was just having a little April Fool’s Day fun.  Anyone who knows me knows that I would never promote material that would enable them to take advantage of others unfairly

On an interesting side note, I presold approximately 6100 copies of the book in less than 24 hours.  Since 5000 copies sold makes for a best seller, I actually have a best seller that never existed and never will exist. Smile

As for the dates I mentioned, they are the scheduled dates for the PC Party leadership selection meetings for those provinces. Smile

However, for those who sent me nastygrams pointing out the evil that people with Wall St. experience represent, I am having a sale on tinfoil hats.

Dedicated to the tinfoilers

One size fits all. Smile