Sunday, October 14, 2018

Senator Sasse Cites Loneliness Problem, Misses Abandonment, Manipulation

Senator Ben Sasse blamed American angst on "loneliness" in a Face the Nation segment this morning.  I would use a different term, abandonment.

The former McKinsey consultant seems unaware of the failure of extrinsic motivators.

There's a ton of literature now that shows we're the richest people in the history of humanity. And yet we're some of the most dissatisfied people in the history of humanity. How do you make sense of that?
Pursuit of things outside ourselves can only produce a fleeting impact.  Money does not buy happiness.  Surely ex-consultant Sasse is familiar with Maslow's hierarchy of needs and Dr. W. Edwards Deming's teachings on motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic,

Intrinsic motivation refers to motivation that is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself, and exists within the individual rather than relying on any external pressure.
Extrinsic motivation comes from outside of the individual. Common extrinsic motivations are rewards like money and gold stars on the one hand, and coercion and threat of punishment on the other.
America's leaders are responsible for an extreme over-reliance on extrinsic motivators, turning our country into a failure factory.  Education over relies on testing, rating and reward/punishment systems.  The workplace is rife with scarcity systems.  Raises have been nonexistent in years for many workers.  Executives, in collusion with club boards of directors, reap rewards of a feudal king, all on the back of serf-like workers toiling in cubicle farms.

Workers know the consequence for failure to achieve an arbitrary mark or measure, thus they cheat or lie to save their job.  Executives backdated roughly 30% of stock options, supposedly the most pure form of incentive pay.  Executives effectively stole from shareholders to maximize their pay.  Without these extrinsic reward systems distorting behavior there is little incentive to lie, cheat or steal. 

Former GE CEO Jack Welch imposed benchmarking a person's value relative to their co-worker, eliminating the bottom 10% of his employees every year.  Sasse said firings/job eliminations will get worse, much worse.

50 percent of Americans are going to be primarily freelancers in three years.
Translation:  Half of Americans will have been abandoned by their employer, living in the least committed relationship of freelancer.  We'll call you if we need you, pay you as little as possible, and not provide any benefits.  That's abandonment, not loneliness, Mr. Sasse.

Social media turned the intrinsic possibility for real connection into an extrinsic reward system via friend counts and number of likes.   It took a person's personal information and monetized it for business or political purposes.  It became a high tech tool to use people.

Oddly, Host John Dickerson conflated intrinsic/extrinsic motivators with his recent story on Benign Envy.  Envy is one of the seven deadly sins.

Envy is the intense desire to have an item or experience that someone else possesses.
Dickerson's piece tried to paint someone observing another person doing something good as producing envy in the observer.  That envy then motivates the observer to behave similarly to garner the reward.  His story cites "how selfless actions can inspire all of us" and "service often goes hand-in-hand with sacrifice."

An act driven by envy is not selfless, it is about having or possessing.   

Benign Envy -- The desire to be better when we see someone doing something good.  
I would consider this learning or questioning in a manner that fosters intrinsic motivation.  Acting selfless for selfish reasons does not ring true.    

When I watched the Dickerson piece it felt like society was trying to paint lesser human behaviors, like envy and greed, as noble. Weeks later Dickerson and Sasse hit the same chord.

Work is statistically one of the most significant drivers of whether or not people are happy.-- Senator Sasse on Face the Nation 10-14-18
It is easy to deduce work is a significant cause of widespread dissatisfaction cited earlier by the Senator.  Sasse voted for Trump tax cuts late last year.  Those cuts make the "richest people in the history of humanity" even richer.

Sasse did not challenge corporate executives to shore up their relationship with employees with pay/benefit increases or make commitments to maintain jobs.  Corporations, executives and board members took Trump tax cut windfalls and used it to buy back stock, further enriching themselves.  Envy and greed are widespread among leaders in our country.

Senator Ben Sasse delivered his comments as if he were your next door neighbor, your friend two doors down.  Sasse knows Americans are being abandoned by employers and America's political elite.  Together they further victimize the harmed by discounting their situation as mere loneliness.   Leadership greed and envy are killing our workplaces.

Senator Sasse's comments arise from the sick leadership displayed in corporations and the political world, so unbalanced it verges on the unhinged.  It is hard to detect when envy is benign, greed is lauded and freelance is employment.  Some 40% of Americans cannot afford a surprise $400 expense.

Our leaders care not about the people's suffering as no one is home emotionally.  Executives and politicians have reward systems to manipulate on their behalf.

Update 10-16-18:  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell piled on with his call to abandon Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security commitments.  How lonely will these people be after they lose healthcare and retirement?  Tax cuts for the rich got no mention in McConnell's analysis.

Update 10-21-18:  Senator Ben Sasse reframed President Trumps's encouragement of violence as "playful."  Our leaders have abandoned civility and honesty.

Update  10-22-2018:  Companies spend huge amounts on stock buybacks but continue to underfund their pension plans.  This is part of the abandonment employees feel.

Update 10-23-18:  Paul Volker noted the preferential treatment given to the billionaire PEU class.

Update 12-26-18:  NYT ran a piece on McKinsey that raises questions about the consulting firm's motivation in bankruptcy cases.

Update 12-28-18:  McKinsey abandoned a Saudi partner who is yet to be released from the Crown Prince's abusive shakedown.

Update 12-30-18:  McKinsey played a role in an international bribery case.

Update 1-4-19:  Trump political appointees will get huge raises while federal workers continue to work with paychecks.  The blame goes to the bottom while the top rakes it in.  It's enough to make a person very lonely angry.

Update 1-13-19:  McKinsey is a sponsor of the 2019 World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.  While the average citizen saw little to no economic gains for the last two decades the greed and leverage boys did very well.  Is anyone lonely for a raise?  That would mean someone would have to share....

Update 2-5-19:  NYT reported:  In 2009, McKinsey wrote a report for Purdue Pharma saying that new sales tactics would increase sales of OxyContin by $200 million to $400 million annually and “suggested sales ‘drivers’ based on the ideas that opioids reduce stress and make patients more optimistic and less isolated.”.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Ego Over Institution

The Guardian reported:

U.S. President Donald Trump has celebrated Chinese Premier Xi Jinping’s bid to shepherd China back into an era of one-man dictatorship, suggesting the United States might one day “give that a shot”.
Xi's effort to suspend term limits is not new.  Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez did that very thing.  Egypt's Hosni Mubarek benefited from a constitutional change implemented before he rose to the Presidency.   Chavez died of cancer while Mubarek lives, a free man.  A divided Togo wrestles with re-instituting term limits.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is serving his sixth term as President.  Russia would have to drop term limits for Putin to run again for office.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel formed a coalition government and will serve her fourth term.

I took the liberty of changing a famous quote by reality TV star Donald Trump.
"And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything ... Grab them by the p___residency. You can do anything."
Xi's a star on a Shakespearean stage.  Ego over institution is a global tragedy.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Blue Team Keeps Domestic Spying

The Intercept reported:

Joining the pro-surveillance coalition led by Trump, Paul Ryan-R, Devin Nunes-R, Adam Schiff-D, and Eric Swalwell-D was the House’s liberal icon and senior Democrat, Nancy Pelosi. 
It's a bipartisan effort to not ensure our Fourth Amendment rights.  The Blue Team joined with the Reds to enable the Trump administration to continue spying on Americans, started under President George W. Bush and extended under President Barack H. Obama.

It's America's uniparty. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Constitutional Republic Does Not Reflect People's Wishes

U.S. elected officials and public servants have long ignored the people's wishes.  The latest snub is the people's internet.

“Americans of all political parties overwhelmingly support the values of net neutrality and want to preserve existing net neutrality protections. A strong majority (77 percent) of Americans support keeping the existing net neutrality rules in place. This view crosses party lines, as 73 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of Democrats and 76 percent of Independents want to keep the FCC’s Open Internet rules.”
Congress refused to remove preferred carried interest taxation for over a decade.  This tax break made billionaires richer while America's middle class withered and federal deficits ballooned.

Congress dug in their heels, preserving exorbitant private health insurance and forcing citizens to buy their unaffordable product.  Affordable health insurance is virtually unusable due to high deductibles and precarious family financial situations.

"86 percent of Americans agree that members of Congress pay too much attention to what their major financial contributors want them to do"
The average citizen using the internet is not a major financial contributor.  So their wishes can be willfully discarded until the run up to an election.  That's when candidate language changes, only to be forgotten and ignored once sworn into office.  Both our Red and Blue political teams employ the con.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Voting Is Not Litigation

Meet the Press guests said the American people litigated Trump's self disclosed predatory behavior toward women by making him President of the United States.  Voting between a limited number of candidates for an elected position is not a court of law.

Why?  Because in our strange new world language is distorted as a means to an end.  Host Chuck Todd could have challenged the use of the word litigate.  Instead he shared the Blue Team version of the same distortion relative to Bill Clinton's sexual predatory behavior.

Both the Red and Blue political team are willing to twist language in order to not hold their leaders accountable.  That is not the least bit comforting. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Blue Team Forms Alliance with Red's Neocons

America's Democratic Party joined with war mongering Republican neocons to form the Alliance for Securing Democracy, according to The Intercept.  The Blue Team's Laura Rosenberger and Red Jamie Fly are chief staffers for the group.  The following are board members, some with private equity affiliations:

Red Team
Mike Chertoff - Chertoff Group Growth Equity
Bill Crystal
Mike Rogers - Trident Capital

Blue Team
Michael Morrell
Jake Sullivan
Nicole Wong - Refactor Capital

"Democrats often justify this union as a mere marriage of convenience: a pragmatic, temporary alliance necessitated by the narrow goal of stopping Trump."  Pragmatic, temporary alliances are essentially "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

That practice in Afghanistan got the U.S. Obama bin Laden, al Qaeda and 9-11.  The United States partnered with dangerous allies in Libya and Syria. It remains to be seen how that blows back on innocent civilians at home and abroad.

America's two political parties make war mostly for public consumption.  The Alliance for Securing Democracy is about political insiders pursuit of power and money.  Corporate donors with deep pockets get out-sized influence.  The combination is both intoxicating and dangerous.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Potential FBI Chief Wrote Abysmal Katrina Investigation Report

News reports indicated Frances Townsend to be a potential FBI Director in the wake of James Comey's firing.  Townsend is a private equity underwriter, as are most of President Donald Trump's appointments.  Prior to PEU employment Frances served as White House Homeland Security Advisor under President George W. Bush.  In that role she conducted the investigation into the federal response to Hurricane Katrina.

Her investigation was abysmal.  It omitted the hospital with thirty five patient deaths after Katrina made landfall.  Twenty five of those deaths were on the LifeCare Hospital's unit on the seveth floor of Memorial Medical Center.  The Carlyle Group purchased LifeCare just weeks before Katrina made landfall.

Fran Townsend was part of the White House team that failed Americans in need.  She crafted the White House Lessons Learned report on Hurricane Katrina.  Her poor quality report should disqualify her from serving as FBI Director.  We don't need corporate risk management at the expense of truth and public service.  Brand Trump needs help but that should not happen to the detriment of our country.