How Would You Tell the Story of America’s Decline over 30 years in the Gutter Games of Government?

I’ve always hated Twitter and when I’m done doing what I gotta do — I’m never goin’ back. Until then, I’m sending out a certain set of messages looking for intelligent life (fiercely independent thinkers who want to solve problems — not endlessly talk about them).

Think of my signals as a poor man’s SETI:

I’ve got an idea — and it’s got teeth.

Going by the galaxies filled with rock stars of reasoning across the social media universe — I should have no shortage of people eager to examine my idea and discuss how we could improve on it and proceed.

What I have in mind could turn the tide. I’ve already done all the work — I just need a little help in having it land in the right hands. That doesn’t seem like much to ask, but first you gotta understand the story. Alas, everyone seems more interested in complaining about problems than doing what it takes to solve them.

Unlike efforts out to change policies, laws, institutions, or society as a whole — I just need to expose one Professional Know-It-All with a cult-like following who’s not what he claims to be — and I can demonstrably prove it.

“Demonstrably” — that word used to be mean something. But many things that once meant something, now mean nothing.

Speaking of which . . .


truth verifiable from experience or observation

If you have a history of hypocrisy and lying — you are a hypocrite and a liar. If you don’t like being called those things, don’t do those things. But so typical of the times — nothing has meaning anymore.

Calling criticism “mudslinging” is just somethin’ to say to escape scrutiny.

And the irony is

I’ve received almost nothing but mudslinging for decades — by people who cry foul with counterfeit claims on what they do for real. And let’s face it: You need it to be mudslinging, because if it’s not — your beliefs are gonna fall apart.

With countless people claiming to be so welcoming of evidence and ideas — I shouldn’t have to explain the importance of asking questions, should I?

Shouldn’t we understand the different dimensions of a problem in order to discuss possible solutions?

I shouldn’t have to prove that I apply my principles across-the-board, as people so keen on considering evidence — wouldn’t rely on whataboutism to outright reject my arguments, right?

Even if ya did — once my record of objective scrutiny becomes clear, shoudn’t you reconsider?

Surely a society so chock-full of intelligence knows that there’s a time to isolate and a time to correlate.

That what seems unrelated at first — may in fact be central to the story. And that even if you have the best of intentions, your methods do catastrophic damage to your own interests (not to mention the country and the world as well).

Wouldn’t a country so concerned with the direction we’re going — be willing to reflect on your mistakes so as not to repeat them?

No, you wouldn’t . . .

Like many alternatives, however, it was psychologically impossible. Character is fate, as the Greeks believed. Germans were schooled in winning objectives by force, unschooled in adjustment. They could not bring themselves to forgo aggrandizement even at the risk of defeat.

— Barbara Tuchman

Unschooled in Adjustment

It should be self-evident that the problems that plague America are interrelated. Yet so few recognize that reality — and those that do, seem to think that Tweeting about it daily will magically make a difference.

To be sure, there are people aplenty doing good work within their wheelhouse — but none of ’em seem to examine the efficacy of their efforts.

The solution to this problem is more truth, not less

No, it’s not

Most of America is under the illusion that increasing popularity in your purpose reflects impact.

I’m sure it’s intoxicating to amass a following and feel like you’re making a difference. But I’m gonna weigh your impact partly as a reflection of your community:

How people behave — not what they believe.

If you can’t get that right, I don’t care how big your following gets — you’re taking this nation nowhere. Not in the right direction, anyway.

The idea of communication is that once I’ve made an assertion — I have a responsibility to back it up with argument. And anyone arguing in good faith would have the courtesy to consider it.

By the way, it’s high time we appreciate the difference between assertion and argument — perfectly defined on a blog I stumbled across years ago:

An assertion is just a point of view, an opinion. An argument goes further. An argument is a point of view supported by reasons that demonstrate the view is a good one.

Argument on the merits, that is:

You’re wrong — and here’s why

That’s the discipline — to have a work ethic in the way you think. Without “here’s why,” you’re just whistlin’ Dixie.

Incredibly, someone’s bound to fire back with “well I don’t see your arguments.”

That’s because this is the setup for the story. And as I say in that piece linked to at the end: I wouldn’t mind explaining everything — if you thought about anything.

People really don’t listen.

People are just either not that interested in what you’re saying, or they are too focused on their own agenda. It’s ridiculous to see two people acting like they can’t really hear each other — by choice.

In “The Significance Principle,” authors Les Carter and Jim Underwood posit that we should listen past where the other person has finished. We should even pause before answering. Let them get their point, their story, their compliment, and even their criticism out. Completely. . . .

The ability to hear is a gift. The willingness to listen is a choice.”

— Mike Greene, ​Why you should first seek to understand — before trying to be understood

In other words

Don’t shake your head. I’m not done yet. Wait till you hear the whole thing so you can . . . understand this now . . .

My Cousin Vinny is maybe the most hilariously educational movie ever — and this scene is at the core of our culture’s communication divide:

In a blurb on yet another book on cognitive dissonance, a science-fiction writer wrote:

David Houle has seen the future

If he had, he’d know his book has no chance of achieving its aims. Conventional methods have repeatedly failed and won’t put a pinprick in today’s trench warfare between armies of unreachables:

Who always have an excuse for everything . . .

Right on cue | Never fails

Cognitive dissonance happens when one’s beliefs are no longer in alignment with reality

— The 2020s: A Decade of Cognitive Dissonance (blurb excerpt)

On what basis would you believe that another book, conference, project, study, report, podcast or organization — would make a dent in the self-delusion driving this nation into the ground.

But integrate those same tools into an unconventional framework for honest debate — and now you’ve got something.

A world-renowned psychologist thought I might be onto something:

Elliot Aronson was chosen by his peers as one of the 100 most eminent psychologists of the twentieth century

— Amazon’s About the Author

He wrote the forward in When Prophecy Fails — which was super helpful in framing my message in my documentary that deals with the psychological gymnastics of human nature. And he was helpful again when he put me onto his friend and fellow renowned psychologist, Dr. Phil Zimbardo — “a very smart guy with incredible energy,” he added.

Since Dr. Zimbardo is 90 years old — that’s saying something. For medical reasons, he’s unable to get involved, but in response to an email on the essence of my idea, he wrote:

Very Interesting and original

Even in his condition, he saw what so few can. They’re busy.

You’re all busy

Why take the time to consider what might work when you can stay busy on what won’t?

I wonder — if you didn’t know that the reflection above has meaning, wouldn’t you want to? They’re boxes of beliefs that reflect how you see yourselves.

Or as I coined it . . .

Where you can promote principles in one breath and abandon them the next. And get away with it with ease — because you’ve got friends:

The individual believer must have social support. It is unlikely that one isolated believer could withstand the kind of disconfirming evidence we have specified. If, however, the believer is a member of a group of convinced persons who can support one another, we would expect the belief to be maintained and the believers to attempt to proselyte or to persuade nonmembers that the belief is correct.

These five conditions specify the circumstances under which increased proselyting would be expected to follow disconfirmation.

As with the reflection

Same goes for the clock.

I love it when people point out something I didn’t see — as it not only opens your eyes in that context, it intrinsically trains your mind to look at other things more closely — and it just becomes second nature.

But even with a lifetime of practice, there’s always someone who can show us something we missed.

I would have never picked up on what’s going on here in The Godfather. I took note of how the other guy’s hands are shaking and Michael’s aren’t, but I didn’t grasp why he paused to look at the lighter like that.

He’s noticing and thinking about why his hands are steady

That’s sharp as a razor! Do we know for a fact that’s what Francis Ford Coppola or Pacino had in mind?

Who cares? It’s interesting!

It astounds me that even sharing something in hopes of a human connection — that maybe having something in common could connect in a way that undeniable evidence doesn’t:

Even that is mocked — and conveniently taken as “weakness” in argument.

So in the face of centrifuge physics:

Belittling my “disjointed” & “juvenile” website with “irrelevant music & movies” is the best ya got? In an industry where fractions of a millimeter matter — highlighting a cell stating “2.8mm*” is probably pretty important.

This chart is misleading in several respects . . . Beams centrifuge never actually worked . . . We can infer . . .

Sounds pretty sloppy to me

Perhaps we should have a conversation to clear up what all this means on issues that have eroded reason beyond recognition?

It seems we have all the time in the world to promote the false — but not a second to spare for the truth. “A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on” — a quote that’s been around in various forms for over 300 years (evidently the original being from 1710):

Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it; so that when Men come to be undeceiv’d, it is too late; the Jest is over, and the Tale has had its Effect.

I know the feeling, all too well

The image below is especially fitting for the times — since it’s a myth popularized by Washington Irving and others.

According to The Flat Earth Myth: The real myth is the idea that anyone ever believed in a flat earth:

Essentially no one during the Middle Ages believed the world was flat. Of the many myths about the Middle Ages this one is perhaps the most widespread, and yet at the same time the most roundly and authoritatively debunked.

In fact, the evidence is so overwhelming that refuting this myth is like refuting the idea that the moon is made of cheese.

Same on WMD — and then some!

“Bias” gets all the press

When prejudice is paramount to the problem. If it were just bias, convincing you with overwhelming and irrefutable evidence might still be difficult — but you’d be willing to be convinced.

Prejudice doesn’t roll that way. In fact, it doesn’t roll anywhere — as you don’t budge one bit, and take pride in it, no less.

As a friend comically put it:

It’s not “Pride and Bias”

I point you to a 7-part, 2 hours and 40 minutes doc — that distills a story that demanded a massive amount of effort, thought, research, and writing: And you tap a Tweet with a talking point or two — thinking you can inform me.

For two decades, I’ve been practically spit on for following principles those same people promote on a daily basis.

How many lay-people have ya ever came across who wrote and produced a documentary? In nearly 20 years of challenging people on these issues and others, I’ve never met a single one. What road have you taken to lose sight of such things deserving of at least a little respect?

A modicum of courtesy perhaps? Doing your homework used to count for something. How about we just start with that?

Respect is not my concern

But if you showed some — it might be just enough to crack open a conduit to this quaint thing called conversation.

How can you expect anyone to admit when they’re wrong if you won’t? And every time you allow emotion to run roughshod over reason, you further calcify habits at the other end of the spectrum from these:

Rather than assert that all opinions are equal, students in seminar learn to judge opinions on the basis of the reasons given for those opinions.

Nobody ever had to explain that to me. I’m sure you all feel the same:

And yet here we are

One picture is worth a thousand words

Which image below would you choose if you wanted to understand a fairly complex coding concept? For me, it’s whatever it takes to get me where I wanna go.

I wish I were smart enough to read the JavaScript language spec and pick it up all on my own. Then again, I love the demands of difficulty and overcoming obstacles.

But I can’t do it alone

I need the help of amazing minds from my multitude of sources that increasingly grows the more I learn and advance my skills.

When I returned to this topic awhile back, I almost got it in the first video. In the face of such phenomenal work (or any sincere effort, for that matter): It would be unthinkable for me to blame the source because I gotta work a little harder.

I was equally impressed by the 2nd video. He furthered my grasp on my question — and enhanced my overall understanding to boot. And the icing on the cake: He taught with this magical tool I’d never seen before.

This — is pure gold

3rd and 4th tries

Found that amazing graphic and a guy who ranks with the best I’ve ever seen in any discipline.

My gap paved the way to pay dirt — but only because I kept digging. Now I’m tapped into the internals, and I’ve got new tools to advance my knowledge on that front and many more.

The answer was there all along — I just needed to train my mind to see it.

Works the same way here

Einstein borrowed from the one below:

The worth of man lies not in the truth which he possesses, or believes that he possesses, but in the honest endeavor which he puts forth to secure that truth; for not by the possession of, but by the search after, truth, are his powers enlarged, wherein, alone, consists his ever-increasing perfection. Possession fosters content, indolence, and pride.

— Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Are you telling me . . .

That I can grasp this — but you can’t grasp that?

I don’t know how people find the path of least resistance so satisfying — as I love the demands of difficulty and discernment. To not step up my game in the midst of opportunity or challenge — would be tantamount to treason upon my very existence.

This nation has no such notion

America wallows in a fantasyland of circular certitude — where denying the obvious has become a duty to defend your tribe.

And it shows

[W]e must accept responsibility for a problem before we can solve it . . .

— M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

In a nation that incessantly blames and complains (seemingly for sport) — no one’s taking responsibility for anything. The ever-rising ocean of partisan pettiness is gluttony under the guise of concern.

What would you call untold millions marching to a Twitter-rage parade on WMD — dishing on the deaths of Rumsfeld and Powell (and whatever anniversary marks the moment):

But too lazy to take the time to look at what we can do about it.

Of course, that would require holding their own accountable as well:

So there’s that

Happy 20th Anniversary!

Seize the day to be jacked up on fuel to fire off your fury and excuses in a nation that never learns — but loves to light it up in lip service to virtues.

Ever-so bold behind force fields of fallacy that butcher those “beliefs.“

If you want to start solving problems instead of forever talking about them, we need to take a hard look at how we got here. My doc was designed as a tool for honest debate. Now? It’s intended for a larger framework to clear the clutter that’s crippled this country.

You’re all operating under umbrellas of interests that don’t account for complexities outside of them. 

And this — is where my Clear the Clutter framework comes in:

Mark my words

You don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell at penetrating the poisonous atmosphere of America with this vanilla approach below:

But imagine if that button . . .

Opened up to this

Work is a journey on which you welcome challenge . . .

Work does not instantly respond — work digs to discover and inquires to clarify. Work is difficult and demands discernment. Work wonders, pauses, listens, absorbs, and reflects.

Work does not rest on who’s right and who’s wrong: Work wants to know if there’s something more to see, something to learn, something that sharpens the mind. Work never stops building on the foundation of your own work and what you learn from the work of others.

Work works its way through material that is not easy.

Work recognizes complexity and the demands of in-depth explanation. Work will go on a trip to ideas that take time and effort to understand. Work knows that you can’t see your way to a solution without understanding the different dimensions of a problem.

Work does not defend before you consider

Work does not race to conclusions — work arrives at them through careful consideration. Work is willing is rethink what you think you know. Work takes integrity, courtesy, curiosity, courage, and decency.

Work comes with the willingness to be wrong.

Work is not self-satisfied. Work does not sling snippets of certitude — work crafts argument on the merits. Work is an exchange where each party takes information into account. Work does not issue childish insults — work demands that you act your age.

You’ll find that work is far more fruitful and fulfilling than ease.

Work rises & falls

As this is the prism through which we work: How we weigh what we see and measure our response. We’ll fall short from time to time — but those willing to work will keep each other in check.

Work doesn’t pick the root that works for you — work looks at interconnected causes across the board.

Work respects your intelligence by using it — and shows respect to others as we work our way to mutual respect. Work won’t be pretty and might even get ugly — but work will do what it takes to work it out.

And if you wanna start solving problems — work is what it’s gonna take.

How do we make people realize they’ve been lied to? You have to knock down one small pillar that’s easier to reach.

The people who Tweeted those lines I combined from a conversation I came across — had no idea that they perfectly captured the principle of my Clear the Clutter plan. And I’ve got the perfect pillar — on the biggest and most costly lie in modern history, no less:

You’re all trying to plow through problems when you should have been going around them.

Ray Liotta put it best in Copland:

You don’t drive down Broadway to get to Broadway. You move diagonal . . . you jag

We’ve seen the results of your endlessly recycled ways.

Just for kicks . . .

Couldn’t we try somethin’ new for a change? And it’s about time we ditch the desire for the so damn easy.

Repeatedly rehashing issues is not the mark of problem solving.

It’s the mark of a market

There is no market for what I do

But there wasn’t one for PCs at one time either.

We could revolutionize the world too — just by using the tools we were given from the get-go:

That’s that lump that’s three feet above your ass!

Of all the great principles that foster fruitful communication — this one is paramount:

You Improvise, You Overcome, You Adapt

I adapt to you and you adapt to me

And somewhere in the middle or on the way to it — maybe we come to a meeting of the minds.

There’s no finer example of that than these classic scenes from the all-time “everyman” master. Tom Hanks’ character is coming from a different place — and his attitude from the start was:

I don’t have ballplayers, I’ve got girls!

But little by little, he came around — and once he saw them as ballplayers, he treated them as such. And that’s what that first scene above is all about.

In the second scene, as much as he’d like to treat them the same as any player, he adapts to find some way of communicating his concerns without being too harsh.

You’re still missing the cutoff man. Now that’s . . . . that’s something I’d like you to work on . . . before next season.

And whad’ya know — she responds in kind!

She recognizes that he’s trying really hard to get something important through to her, and that he’s adjusting his approach from last time — and she appreciates that.

Now that’s something I’d like you to work on . . .


There are powerful forces that make damn sure you don’t:

How Would You Tell the Story of America’s Decline over 30 years in the Gutter Games of Government?

Give it a go

And I’ll be happy to show you the courtesy that so few have shown me — in 20 years of telling undeniable truth that takes both parties to task:

And being practically spit on for it.

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