North Stars

 “The journey of a thousands miles begins with one step.” — Lao Tzu

Although beautiful, this quote is thoroughly incomplete.

True, our journeys do begin with a single step, but then we must begin with another and then another. Day after day after day.

But most importantly, the journey must have a destination. Without one we will not know which direction to walk, or whether we ever arrive.

Clearly this is a problem with personal goals. Losing weight, making more money. Without defining a terminus, we are forever wondering.

But when talking about groups of people, whether in sport, government, a single project or an entire organization, the issues multiply exponentially.

Enter North Stars. Concise, written-down, published destinations:

Win the 40+ Soccer League.
Provide affordable, quality health care to all Americans.

Perform frictionless digital transactions.
Take 50% share from Google.

 

These provide powerful guidance:

  • They focus the energies of all of the actors in the the same direction.
  • They provide clarity when issues arise.
  • They illuminate answers when making tough decisions.
  • They enable the managers to chunk up their respective responsibilities.
  • Those chunks then provide the day-to-day clarity-of-task for each individual journeyman.
    • Is this task moving us forward, in the correct direction?

It certainly takes effort and consensus, but as competing forces reveal themselves these beacons will continually prove their worth.

To get someplace we must first define where it is we are going. So go North and conquer!

Magic Doesn’t Exist

David Blaine cannot do magic.
Chris Angel can not.
Harry Houdini could not.

Sofia the First cannot execute any magic.
Buzz Lightyear cannot.
Elsa cannot.

Barak Obama has zero magical powers.
Hillary Clinton has none.
President Trump has none.

Elon Musk offers no magic.
Warren Buffet employs none.
Bill Gates is without-magic.

Jesus never wielded magic.
Moses did not.
Allah did not.

LeBron James knows no magic.
Tom Brady knows none.
Tiger Woods knew none.

Airplanes contain no magic.
iPhones have none.
The Hadron Collider affords none.

George Washington exploited no magic.
Thomas Jefferson provided none.
Benjamin Franklin worked none.

Physics provides none.
Economics none.
Medicine none.

Leprechauns grant no magic.
Tooth fairies transport none.
Santa delivers none.

Ghosts reveal no magic.
Demons possess none.
Vampires dispatch none.

Insemination contains no magic.
Gestation displays none.
Child birth is not magic.

Harry Potter is magic-less.
Hermione Granger produces none.
Voldemort implements none.

Someone from Game of Thrones cannot do magic.
Another person from Game of Thrones cannot do any.
A mythical creature from Game of Thrones provides none.

Sunsets contain no magic.
Black holes are not magic.
Nature yields none.

The most magical part of this human experience is the knowledge, whether revealed to us yet or not, that everything has an explanation.

Two Guys Walk Into a Police Station

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

On Feb 5, with Brandon Vreeland videotaping, James Baker walked into a Dearborn, MI Police station wearing a ski mask, flak jacket and two visible guns.

They were angry that they were pulled over earlier in the day and wanted to “file a complaint”.

They believed they were being smart and just exercising their second amendment rights, which as far as I can tell, they were.

But the part of this story that gets lost is not the actions of these two “patriots”, but the completely sane [by being insane] reaction of the police.

You could argue the cops were so hyped because of the ski mask, but I’ll bet it had more to do with the loaded weapon of destruction slung across Baker’s chest and the loaded Glock 19 holstered on his hip.

Those two devices took the situation from a 1 or 2, instantly up to an 11.

But since Mo Guns, Mo Safety wouldn’t bringing two more firearms into the mix make the Police station a safer, more secure place to be?

That’s almost as silly as the guns regulations in Michigan.

America, The Meme

American is a just a set of ideas.

230 years ago a group of intelligent, white guys assembled in Philadelphia and debated the definition of “America”.

This led to our initial Constitution; Our core tenants.

But the U.S. Constitution was, and is only a piece of paper. A rectangle of parchment.

And the words written, while most certainly well thought-through are nothing but a jumble of letters and punctuation.

We sometimes act as if three equal branches of government, freedom of speech and freedom of the press are obvious. Truths so unalienable we might just take them for granted.

Throughout history there are very few examples of countries who’s “memes” would ever speak such things. Say nothing of actually protecting them.

Both prescient and malleable, the Constitution has no power of its own.

It is a contract we follow to be earn the title “American”.

If we allow that contract to be broken without paying a political penalty we now have a different meme.

We have a diminished “America”.

Dancing in The Darkness

By definition, leaders have a following.

Whether in our churches, our businesses or in our White House, they have risen to warrant some power.

But, however they’ve acquired said power, leaders must then guide “their flock” in some direction [no direction would itself be a direction].

They can either wield their energies to lift people up, to help. Or they can use them to knock people down and to frighten.

They can lead towards the light, or they can sow the darkness.

What is the point of the latter?

For the ones who have worked their entire lives to get where they are, when they finally arrive, Why would they use their power to injure? To divide? To destroy?

“Darkness is good. Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power.” — Steve Bannon 11/18/2016

“I’ll seek the light. Barak Obama. Luke Skywalker. God. That’s power.” – Eric Gatz 1/30/2017

The 2nd Amendment Must Be Defended

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Amendment II: United States Constitution Ratified December 15, 1791

The 2nd Amendment is obviously a very heated topic.

But there are a bunch of actual facts [vs. alternative ones] we can hopefully agree on that could help provide a framework:

  • The founders [mostly James Madison] were extremely deliberate in writing the Bill of Rights. [A total of 462 words]
  • The 2nd Amendment is wholly about the right to keep [own] and bear [carry] arms [guns].
  • The founders believed arms warranted their own Amendment.
  • The founders chose to make it the 2nd Amendment. [Right behind freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly  and freedom of the press.]
  • The founders were insanely discerning about every. single. word. written into the 2nd Amendment. [27 words]
  • The founders used a precious two of those words on “well”, and “regulated”.
  • The word “regulated” [or any of it’s derivatives] appears no where else in the Bill of Rights.
  • The words “well regulated” are found no where else in any Amendment to the Constitution.
  • The word “Militia” is restrictive. [However broadly interpreted, it most certainly cannot mean “everyone”. “Militia” describes a sub-group of the whole. Otherwise it would prove superfluous.]

The immortal 27-word sentence is bordering on nonsensical, but I do think it’s fair to conclude two general principles:

One, the founders of the United States intended for guns to be legal.

And two, the founders of the United States intended for guns to be regulated. well.

This One’s on U.S.

Since November 8th there has been a flood of ink written about what “went wrong”?

  • The Russians
  • James “Fucking” Comey!
  • Gary “Fucking” Johnson!
  • Main stream media
  • Hillary stunk
  • Her campaign stunk
  • Her party stunk
  • Social Media
  • Fake News
  • Email Servers
  • Wikileaks

Most of these have merit and should definitely be analyzed further.

But none of them were responsible for the election of Donald Trump.

This one’s on U.S.

Every American, whomever you voted for.

At the individual level, it’s hard to believe that people who voted Trump did so because they lacked enough accurate information about him. That they were somehow duped.

This was an unambiguous vote “for” or “against” Donald Trump. The lines were crystal clear.

As a grateful citizen and beneficiary of the greatest country to ever grace planet Earth, I believe I have a duty to make sure it stays that way.

If prior to the election every one of the 73,648,823 voters who voted “against” stood up to their family, friends and colleagues, vociferously extolling “This is not Ok”, the outcome would have been different.

I most certainly did not do enough.

I take responsibility for the election of Donald J. Trump to be the 45th President of the United States of America. 

I take responsibility today. And you can be sure I am taking responsibility throughout the next 4 years.