Visit our Website - www.TheCenterStrikesBack.org

The Center Strikes Back

Larry Bradley's Weekly Ezine #313 When Does Haidt Say Our Politics Will Become More Civil?

1. Is “Jump in the Lake” a Good Thing or Bad? 2. When Does Haidt Say Our Politics Will Become More Civil? 1. Is “Jump in the Lake” a Good Thing or Bad? A four month old Missouri boy has developed a rare form of cancer. Massive interventions have saved the boy’s life for now and enabled him to come home. I became aware of the situation because of an article in my local newspaper. The article was published because the parents are on Medicaid and their share of the bills for the treatments is overwhelming. Accordingly, a fundraising effort was taken on their behalf to help pay those bills that involved “jumping in the lake”. (See the article at the link below). Unfortunately, this kind of article and fund raising effort is not uncommon. To me, this illustrates one of the factors we need to consider when we debate our system of medical care. Is there someone truly “at fault” to be blamed here? Did the child do something avoidable to catch the disease? Obviously, at four months old, he did not. Were the parents irresponsible in having a child who contracted the disease or not to have the assets needed to pay the massive bills? Again, I would say no. Instead, what I would say is<< MORE >>

Larry Bradley's Weekly Ezine #312 Why Did Capitalism Hit the Fan?

1. Is Capitalism Failing Us? 2. Why Did Capitalism Hit the Fan? 1. Is Capitalism Failing Us? The question above will be the topic at a free lecture next Wednesday night. The Holland Lecture series will feature Dr. Richard Wolff, author of Capitalism Hits the Fan. The full title of his talk is “Capitalism in Crisis: How Lopsided Wealth Distribution Threatens Our Democracy”. He will speak at The Holland Center, 13th and Douglas in Omaha. Tickets are free but seats must be reserved at ticketOmaha.com or call 402.345.0606. This is certain to be a provocative presentation. Hope those of you living in the greater Omaha area will attend. Also, a couple of Ezines ago we mentioned Dr. Robert Cialdini and his book, Influence: The Art of Persuasion. Dr. Cialdini will be in Omaha, too, on May 2 for a conference put on by Creighton University’s Heider College of Business. See Creighton.edu/lead for more details. 2. Why Did Capitalism Hit the Fan? I had intended for today to be the final installment of our review of Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind. I wanted to be sure, however, that I was saying what I wanted to say in a way that was clear. Candidly, that is taking more time than I have this week. We’ll come back to it next week. Instead, I want to offer some remarks about Wolff’s book, Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do about It. (FYI, Wolff has a DVD out with the same title.) Unlike “Righteous Mind”, “Hits the Fan”, is << MORE >>

Larry Bradley's Weekly Ezine #311 What Is the One Factor Most Causing Political Misunderstanding?

1. Why Is a Party Primary Election like American Idol? 2. What Is the One Factor Most Causing Political Misunderstanding? 1. Why Is a Party Primary Election like American Idol? Listening to the competing candidates in the Party Primaries this year, I was struck with how the competition is similar to an American Idol like singing competition. Each of the candidates is required to sing the playlist for their party. Some of the titles are: I’ll Lower Taxes I’ll Repeal Obamacare I’ll Cut Spending I’ll Eliminate (name Federal Agency) (I’m sorry if I didn’t list your favorite. I live in a Red State with 15 Republicans vying for three nominations, so I hear a lot more of the Conservative songs and they’re top of mind. I’m sure you have your own favorites you like to hear sung for either side. Reply to the Ezine via our Blog or Facebook page and let us know what yours is.) Each candidate is required to << MORE >>

Larry Bradley's Weekly Ezine #310 How Does Haidt's "Moral Matrix" Explain our Screwed Up Politics?

1. What Does Charlie Cook have to Say about the Probable Election Results? 2. How Does Haidt’s “Moral Matrix” Explain our Screwed Up Politics? 1. What Does Charlie Cook have to Say about the Probable Election Results? Finding something even handed and educational to share with you in paragraph one has become even more difficult of late, but we think we’ve done so with Charlie Cook of The Cook Political Report’s “Six Ways Washington Will Stay the Same”. http://cookpolitical.com/story/6957 We also think this OpEd jointly authored by former Secretary of State George P. Schultz and former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn about how to deal with Russia and the situation in the Ukraine is worth your time. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-us-strategy-for-keeping-ukraine-safe-from-russian-agg 2. How Does Haidt’s “Moral Matrix” Explain our Screwed Up Politics? Perhaps the title I should really give today’s Paragraph Two is, “Why Most People Will Never Read Haidt’s Book”. Today I’m continuing to offer more findings from reading Psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Relgion.* First, a disclaimer for you. In Robert Heinlein’s science fiction book Glory Road << MORE >>

Larry Bradley's Weekly Ezine #309 Why Are Liberals "Liberal" and Conservatives "Conservative"?

1. Why Is David Cay Johnston’s New Book Worth Your Time? 2. Why Are Liberals “Liberal” and Conservatives “Conservative”? 1. Why Is David Cay Johnston’s New Book Worth Your Time? Whenever I read books or articles by David Cay Johnston I hear the voice of my Finance teacher for my MBA studies. Like that of my teacher, I hear an authoritative and experienced no-nonsense voice of reason regarding money as it applies to personal, business and governmental finances. His is a voice that separates illusion from reality on those topics. This is why I think David Cay Johnston is worth your time. David has a new book out April 1 (Divided: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality). I wanted to make you aware of that fact because << MORE >>

Larry Bradley's Weekly Ezine #308 What Would Lewis Grizzard Have to Say Today?

1. Why Is Ross Douthat’s Recent Column Important to Voters? 2. What Would Lewis Grizzard Have to Say Today? 1. Why Is Ross Douthat’s Recent Column Important to Voters? I’ve already posted this article on my Facebook page, but I wanted to make sure all my Ezine readers see it, too. Ross Douthat did a recent OpEd about the four factions jostling for position in the Republican Party today entitled, Four Factions, No Favorite. There are two reasons I think this is an important article. The first is this is a straightforward factual piece. It has no hyperbole and no agenda. The second reason for the article’s importance is it’s illustration of the limitations of the political system we use. Why are these four factions jostling for dominance within the Republican Party? Why aren’t they each establishing their own political party with their faction’s unique point of view? Why isn’t each faction thereby taking their philosophy directly to the voters? The answer to each of those questions is << MORE >>

Larry Bradley's Weekly Ezine #307 What Lessons about RCV Does the 2014 Texas Primary Teach Us?

1. What Does STRATFOR Say about the Ukrainian Crisis? 2. What Lessons about RCV Does the 2014 Texas Primary Teach Us? 1. What Does STRATFOR Say about the Ukrainian Crisis? From the time we’re taught the “Chicken Little” story about the sky falling, we learn that hyperventilating and high emotion are unlikely to be productive. Unfortunately, hyperventilation and high emotion are much more watchable on TV, (which sells advertising) so we see that behavior with more frequency. Trying to find the unflappable, the intelligent and the knowledgeable requires more effort to find. Once found, such a source is bookmarked for easy reference. Consequently, when the Ukrainian crisis broke, I immediately wanted to know what STRATFOR had to say about it. Find out for yourself << MORE >>

Larry Bradley's Weekly Ezine #306 Is the Popular Vote Bill a Good Idea?

1. Why Was the Debt Ceiling Raised So Easily This Time? 2. Is the Popular Vote Bill a Good Idea? 1. Why Was the Debt Ceiling Raised So Easily This Time? About two weeks ago the Congress approved the raising of the Debt Ceiling with little struggle. Since 2010 this endeavor has been the subject of much brinksmanship and drama? What changed? I have no special inside information, but I will offer this. In January I received end of year financial statements for the various Funds I have money in. All these statements have summary letters from the heads of the Funds. What was in each and every one of those letters was a statement to this effect. “We did the best we could to make you money this past year. We could have made you more, but one of the things that held us back was the impact of the brinksmanship and drama with which the Debt Ceiling negotiations were done.” Remember now, the people writing those letters are professional money managers. They make money by knowing how to make you money. They were not saying << MORE >>

Larry Bradley's Weekly Ezine #305 Should Voters Have a "None Of The Above" Option?

1. Why Is Spring Training Like Primary Elections? 2. Should Voters Have a “None of the Above” Option? 1. Why Is Spring Training Like Primary Elections? Major League Baseball has begun Spring Training in preparation for the beginning of the regular season in April (I think). I say “I think” because I have seen postings on Facebook indicating Spring Training is about to begin. I am not interested in baseball; therefore I am not interested in Spring Training. I can afford to have this level of disinterest because baseball does not affect me personally. Baseball does not affect which laws will require me to alter my behavior. Nor does baseball affect what I can be taxed on, how much I will have to pay in taxes or what the money yielded will be used for. I mean no disrespect to baseball or those who like baseball. I’m simply pointing out why << MORE >>

Larry Bradley's Weekly Ezine #304 Should We Get Rid of Political Parties?

1. Where Will Larry Bradley Be Speaking Next? 2. Should We Get Rid of Political Parties? 1. Where Will Larry Bradley Be Speaking Next? Larry will be presenting Why the Two Party System Isn’t Working Anymore: And What to Do About It on Feb 24. The presentation will be through the University of Missouri at Kansas City’s (UMKC) Communiversity program. The class is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Atterbury Student Success Center, Room 237 on the UMKC campus, 5000 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO. Register by calling 816.235.1407 or go on line at the following link. It’s class 2802A under History and Culture. https://ecommerce.umkc.edu/commu/Search.aspx Can’t make it to KC? The presentation is available << MORE >>

Larry Bradley's Weekly Ezine #303 Is Ranked Choice Voting an Unfair System?

1. What Is a Political Lesson from Super Bowl XLVIII? 2. Is Ranked Choice Voting an Unfair System? 1. What Is a Political Lesson from Super Bowl XLVIII? The aftermath of Super Bowl 48 has led to a lot of discussion about the game’s impact on the legacy of Denver Quarterback Peyton Manning. We think the discussion brings out a similar reality of American politics. The Super Bowl argument is the legacy of Manning has been tainted by his (meaning him personally) poor performance. The difficulty with that argument is the reality that football is a team sport. There is no quarterback anywhere who will perform well when defenders are physically interfering with their ability to throw the ball. The offensive units of football teams require the moving parts to work together. The offensive line must block rushers. The receivers must get open. The quarterback must throw the ball accurately and the receivers must catch the ball. Similarly, no U.S. President can << MORE >>

Larry Bradley's Weekly Ezine #302 Why Can't America Settle It's Political Issues?

1. What Does David Cay Johnston Say about Income Inequality? 2. Why Can’t America Settle It’s Political Issues? 1. What Does David Cay Johnston Say about Income Inequality? I always learn so much from David Cay Johnston. Other people may be good sources for your personal finance. David is the authority you need to listen to for the realities of government and business finance. Check out his interview on The Real News Network. Find out what the political donor class got for a return on its investment in political campaigns. http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=11396 And, by the way, there was an article in my local paper about my Congressman having a “Destination” fund raiser. That’s where the politician sets up some weekend getaway at an exotic location and invites you to attend. So you pay for your food and lodging and access to the politician. Pretty standard, except the politician makes a profit and gets to keep the profit in his or her campaign funds. Clucking your tongue? Outraged? Why? The politician is << MORE >>

Larry Bradley's Weekly Ezine #301 What Is the Best Way to Judge Political Candidates?

1. Adding to Seth’s List of “What Is High School For?” 2. What Is the Best Way to Judge Political Candidates? 1. Adding to Seth’s List of “What Is High School For?” Breaking News!: Before we get into today’s topics, I want to make an announcement. Nebraska LB 742 (which proposes the use of Ranked Choice Voting in Nebraska’s Primary Elections for State Wide Offices when there are more than two candidates on the ballot) is scheduled for public hearing on Friday January 31st. The hearing begins at 130 p.m. in Room 1507 of the State Capitol. There will be three bills heard that day and I don't yet know the order. I’ll be there to testify, as well as other supporters. Wish us luck as we work to better empower voters via a superior election process. Now back to our planned topics. In the process of clearing out old emails I came across this posting of Seth Godin’s. The title is “What Is High School For?” Seth has an excellent list. I would like to add one more item. Without advocating any particular political philosophy or political party, teach students to understand the relationship between the U.S. Constitution and how the American political system functions. Of course, if students understood how the system functioned, then they would probably be more likely to demand change to the system--instead of falling into the “Left vs. Right” debate we have now. Which is probably why we don’t teach it. Here’s a link to Seth’s list. http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/05/whats-high-school-for.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+typepad%2Fsethsmainblog+%28Seth%27s+Blog%29 2. What Is the Best Way to Judge Political Candidates? If colleges and universities strive for accreditation, then the opposite of that for political candidates is de-certification. Political operatives feel the best way to rid themselves of a potential opponent is to show the opponent to somehow not be the person they claim to be. You’re getting two examples of that right now. The first example is << MORE >>

Larry Bradley's Weekly Ezine #300 Should Independents Be Allowed to Vote in Primaries?

1. Thank You for Subscribing 2. Should Independents Be Allowed to Vote in Primaries? 1. Thank You for Subscribing Hard to believe this is Ezine number 300. That’s a big round number. It’s still 12 Ezines short of six years. That will be number 312, which will come around in April. Whatever the number, I want all of you to know I appreciate your continued interest and input. We’ll continue to offer you our evaluation of current events against the perspective of why situations are as they are and what needs to be done structurally and otherwise to enable us to find better solutions in the future. We think you’ll find today’s paragraph two is such an offering. 2. Should Independents Be Allowed to Vote in Primaries? Last week I showed you a link to an article about the Nebraska Bill to use Ranked Choice Voting in Primary Elections. That article also discussed another Bill that proposed allowing Independent or Non-Partisan registered voters to vote in Party Primary elections. Chances are the circumstances we’re about to talk about apply to the state you live in, too. Here’s a link to the article. http://www.omaha.com/article/20140110/NEWS/140119932 The proposal points up the real difficulties voters have with a two party system when one party is dominant where they live. Part of that difficulty resides in the dynamics of a predominately rural state. Another point is how voters fail to appreciate the dynamics of parties and the role they play. Let’s discuss these points. Our first instinct is Independents should not be allowed to vote in a Party Primary unless the party sees some special circumstance to allow them to. Here’s why. Think of political parties as you would << MORE >>

Larry Bradley's Weekly Ezine #299 RCV Bill Introduced in Nebraska

1. RCV Bill Introduced in Nebraska 2. Early Look at My Press Release 1. RCV Bill Introduced in Nebraska I am proud to announce that a bill to use Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) in Nebraska primary elections for statewide offices was introduced in the Nebraska Legislature. The bill was introduced by State Senator John Murante of Gretna, Nebraska. The Senator shares with me the belief our elections should determine the will of the majority, not the plurality. I am grateful to him for formally introducing my proposal. The Bill is LB 742. You can read it for yourself here if you have the time and the patience for legislative jargon. I was especially interested in the fact the Bill calls for RCV to be used in Nebraska’s Presidential Primary elections. http://www.leg.ne.gov/FloorDocs/Current/PDF/Intro/LB742.pdf You can read what the Omaha World-Herald had to say about that and other Bills at the link. http://www.omaha.com/article/20140110/NEWS/140119932 Nebraska is one of many states having a problem with the using of a winner take all ballot and multiple candidates obscuring the will of the majority. I urge you, therefore, to share this with your elected officials and say you want to see this solution implemented where you are. And, if you live in Nebraska, please contact your State Senator and ask them to support LB 742. 2. Early Look at My Press Release This is a press release I am going to be sending out shortly to Nebraska’s most prominent newspapers and radio stations. Alternative Voting Process Proposed Omaha, Neb. – The bedrock of democratic governments is that the majority rules. Elections are what determine the will of the majority of voters. Unfortunately, the processes used to conduct elections can obscure, if not outright thwart, the will of the majority. Accordingly, a Nebraska resident has been making << MORE >>

From "The Art of Non-Conformity"--Some Thoughts on Mortality

I'm in the process of clearing out my in-box for one of my email accounts. I have had this one in there for a long time. Re-reading it reminds me why I saved it. ... << MORE >>

Larry Bradley's Weekly Ezine #298 Beware Your Influences

1. Politics and Beer 2. Beware Your Influences 1. Politics and Beer “Beer manufacturers don’t sell more beer by claiming the other guy’s beer causes bad breath and beer guts. That only runs down their beer, too.” How true. This inexact quote is from an exchange between Mark Shields and David Brooks on a recent (meaning I forget the exact day) PBS News Hour program. The relation between that and politics is this. Beer manufacturers get you to buy more beer by offering the belief their brand of beer will make you more attractive, more socially glib and popular, and let you have more fun. Manufacturers do not get you to buy more beer by warning you of bad breath, beer guts and the potential of saying things you will regret later. Were that their approach, fewer and fewer would buy their product. The comparison being made is politically you are being sold by some the equivalent of bad breath, beer gut and future regret. What you are not being offered is << MORE >>

Larry Bradley's Weekly Ezine #297 The High Centered Rescue Plan for 2014

1. The Same Debate, Over and Over 2. The High Centered Rescue Plan for 2014 1. The Same Debate, Over and Over I recently found a compelling example of how we Americans continue to have the same debate over and over without resolution. And because we never settle the debate, we are unable to make progress. I have been attempting to make my own progress on a personal project by going through boxes of old papers. In the process I came across a 20 year old OpEd written by Missouri’s former state Treasurer, Wendell Bailey. (I voted for Bailey when he ran for the Republican nomination for Governor in 1992.) What is remarkable about the OpEd is it could have been written in 2013 about the 2012 election. Bailey was a lifelong Republican based on his belief that the Republican Party, “. . . is the party that calls upon each of us to “do for ourselves the things others should not do for us.” The OpEd was published in the Kansas City Star on Jan 1, 1993 in the aftermath of Bill Clinton’s election as President. Attempts to find the article on line were unsuccessful. Accordingly, here are some excerpts. “In the arrogance of past success we assumed that we (Republicans) were the chosen and that others were wrong and that we had an obligation to lead them on the path to righteousness. We not only assumed we had the only answer, we also assumed that everyone who was not our friend was our enemy. “In the early years of Republican success, pundits the world over expressed amazement that a Ronald Reagan could put together a coalition of such diverse and unlikely elements. Reagan Democrats became a clearly identified group and we welcomed them. Young people came to the party and we welcomed them. Women and minorities came and were welcomed. “In this election year << MORE >>

Larry Bradley's Weekly Ezine #296 The Christmas Apple by Minnie Osterbolt

1. Gift Ideas for the Politically Opinionated 2. The Christmas Apple by Minnie Osterholt 1. Gift Ideas for the Politically Opinionated If you’re looking for a gift idea for someone who’s very outspoken and politically opinionated, then we have some suggestions. We cannot resist, of course, suggesting our own offerings. Our book, Neither Liberal Nor Conservative Be, was written to offer an alternative way to think about politics. Everything else you read, see and hear about politics is focused on left vs. right, liberal vs. conservative and Democrats vs. Republicans. Our book is based on timeless principles gleaned from the teachings of the success gurus like Zig Ziglar, Stephen F. Covey, Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn and Tony Robbins. The book shows you a different approach to establishing your own unique political philosophy and then gives you some examples of how to apply that philosophy to the continuing issues of our day. Speaking of continuing issues, one of the reasons we Americans continue to argue over the same issues is our political system is ill suited to enable us to arrive at, implement and enforce long term solutions. In recognition of that fact, we created the DVD program Why the Two Party System Isn’t Working Anymore (And What to Do About It). The program (as the title implies) demonstrates what the flaws in our current system are and the relatively simple fixes needed to make things work again (the fixes do not include term limits, Constitutional amendments or draconian interpretations of the Constitution). We can’t promise that exposure to our products will produce a total conversion in the person(s) you give it to, but we do think they’ll find it stimulating. So at least that would make it as good as a fifth of whiskey. J You can order the book through our web site or through Amazon. We also have an E-book version. The DVD is only available through our web site (the .org one). If you’ve been reading the Ezine, then we have been reviewing several books that might also fill the bill. Among those titles are << MORE >>

Larry Bradley's Weekly Ezine #295 The Debate We Should Be Having

1. Notes on Ranked Choice Voting from FairVote

2. The Debate We Should Be Having

 


1. Notes on Ranked Choice Voting ...

<< MORE >>