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Show Me What You’ve Got

Hedge-fund billionaire Tom Steyer breaks the fat-cat stereotype.  He lobbies not for laws that will make the already-rich greatly richer.  He doesn’t purchase politicos who will sit up, beg, and roll over for any legislation that places corporate profits over people’s welfare.  As the largest single donor in the 2016 election, Mr. Steyer put $86 million of his personal monies in support of progressive and pro-environment legislators.  His NextGen Climate organization has invested over $170 million advocating for policies that will fight disastrous climate change and develop renewable energy.

In an article in April 2017’s Wired Magazine, the interviewer asked how Steyer was faring after his apparent defeat with an anti-environment Congress and administration elected, and the EPA and Clean Power Plan being rapidly gutted.  I absolutely loved his response, and I recommend it to you all:

“…my parents raised me to pull my socks up when times get tough.  So I  really never had the luxury of feeling bad, because right after the election  I felt we needed to figure this thing out…”

Tom Steyer is saying not “Oh, Damn.” but “What’s next?”  In high school and college I was a fairly good wrestler.  When I threw a moved it usually worked, and if it failed, I’d try the same move again – and again, each time with more grit.  Because I was strong, this brutish approach earned me a nice line of victories.  But let me tell you about those opponents who beat me.  These guys came at me with the Steyer approach.  They would throw one move, and when it failed to materialize, they would throw another entirely different one.  Then, before I had time to react, they’d switch to another – and another.  These champs didn’t sit and ponder their move’s failure.  They swiftly assessed that it wasn’t working, and they kept pulling new tricks and efforts out of their arsenal.  Sooner or later, against this approach, I found myself all wrapped up.

The odds are excellent that whatever your current venture, it is not working as well for you as you’d like.  And you really have not got the luxury of feeling bad about it.  So what new trick have you got that will make it work?  What’s the next move you’re working on?  And the next?

Wishing You Every Success,

– Bart Jackson

Jury Privilege

“People have fought and died for the right to be judged by a jury of their peers.”  The instruction video had announced it to the 300-some folks sitting in that basement room of the Middlesex County courthouse.  Now the Judge Vincent Leblon had just said it again to us of the 40-person jury pool in his courtroom.  And for petit juror 0689, these words struck home.

I was fully aware that today, most American citizens would be battling almost as ferociously to avoid sitting on a jury as our forefathers had to win us this vital freedom.  Previously, upon learning of my notice to report, all my friends had audibly sympathized with my being called up and proffered their best tips for wrangling an excuse from serving.

Yet here I sat, in the eight-person jury box, having dodged several sidebar questionings each of which could have won me an excuse.  The dental surgery could be postponed.  I could re-schedule the two radio shows, and pass on my friend’s funeral.  The judge had convinced me – serving on this jury was important.  Then, during the final round of questions one of the lawyers deemed me not to his liking and I was dismissed.  There would be no trial for this citizen.  My life could get back to normal.    No exciting interruptions, all my best-laid plans could take place.  Life could resume its predictability.  Although a bit relieved, I walked out of Middlesex County Courthouse with a sigh.

Wishing You Every Success,

– Bart Jackson

Some Spring In Your Step

Goldfinches and flocks of grimacing, t-shirted cyclists return to The Garden State.  Daffodils grace lawns and tables.  Green, smiles, and more sunshine joyously invade our routine.  ‘Tis Spring time and Easter Celebrations rise bumptiously before us.

On April 16 (The Sunday that in 2017 follows the first full moon after the March 21 Equinox), Christians will dress up their bodies and spirits and celebrate the rising of Jesus Christ, and His conquering Death to bring life and love to all humankind.  Songs of joy will fill churches and get carried out into the street in folks’ hearts.  Wow!  Even if you are unfamiliar with any Christian theology, something just tells you that you really would like a piece of that.  Rebirth – New Hope – Inspire (breathe in) some glorious and brand new lease on life.

Over the past four decades, business has gotten increasingly global and increasing competitive.  Workers and executives alike seek any advantage to make themselves a little sharper, more able, and more on the ball.  The paunchy old business person is being hip-checked aside by the young, gleaming-eyed guy who spends hours in the gym and hires a personal nutritionist.  And for the past decade another personal advantage has dawned and gained a slow, grudging acceptance in the workplaces of the world:  Spirituality.  It is an appropriately sanitized term for the belief that some greater force dwelling outside and within us is present.   Business pundits now nod, “Yeah, there really is something to this power of personal faith.”

As it has for a score of centuries, the particulars of the Easter story and its rituals of celebration will come under the ceaseless scrutiny and debate.  But for those many folks who may currently be orbiting the fringes of the spiritual sphere, wondering if there lies any benefit, allow me to proffer one brief consideration.  Man may be, as Protagoras claimed, the measure of all things.  But he is not the answer to all things.

Any honest person readily realizes that she or he just doesn’t possess the power, all the time, to handle all the hardballs thrown at them by the whimsical hands of Fate.  Certainly would be a comfort to feel that it’s not just me fighting my way alone out there.  No, no.  You’re not admitting defeat; it’s just that now you would welcome some backup reserves – some additional power to face this day’s doings.  Perhaps there lies within some divinely planted seed that, with a little help, may be brought to fruition.  And perhaps, you could really use  a little assistance with the cultivation of what’s been within and without all along.  And perhaps calling on such assistance might help you rise to a bit of rebirth.  You know, like you see in the faces of those folks celebrating Easter.  Just a thought.

Wishing you every success,

– Bart Jackson

Let’s Kick Some Ass

The art and glory of war may be found writ large in books – and endlessly echoed by non-combatants.  But the truth about war lies wounded in the surgeon’s tent:  “Doctor, will I see again?”  “Doctor, will I walk again?”  Generals may glitter, but soldiers only bleed.

We need not belabor that war is a tool for profit, launched by shadowy creatures seldom seen.  We all know that war’s true causes are deliberately, and usually effectively, blurred by its makers.  Yet this does not mean we have to deceive our very own selves as to what we are getting into.  We need not veneer hate with the label of patriotism; deem murder as glory; or most dangerously, envision the slaughter of armed and explosive combat as some sort of fist fight that displays our personal courage.

Within the past 2 years, 470,000 Syrian civilians and soldiers have died in war.  And the reason for my nation’s exterminating more stands unclear to me.  Does anyone hold an explanation?