Say Something, Not Just Anything!

| Opinion | April 2, 2020

by Paul Raggio

In moments of great, societal peril, I think of General Eisenhower talking to the 101st Airborne before the Screaming Eagles climbed into their C-47 aircraft with orders to jump into Normandy. Certainly, Ike knew many would not survive the jump, and many more would perish in the ground battle that would follow. But this didn’t stop him from seeing his paratroopers, nor communicating the importance of their mission and how much he cared for them. Historical films show him walking among the troopers the evening before D-Day, talking, laughing, patting them on their shoulders and backs, providing words of encouragement, and on occasion, a hug. He was saying something to them, but not just anything. Words, yes, but so much more. It was his presence and vision that calmed the troops, allowing them to release pent up anxiety, permission to expose their fear, and a chance to revel in a world to come because of their doing. He gave them purpose. This is what leaders communicate in times of crisis.

Lisa and I presented a webinar last week hosted by the SCV Valley Industrial Association, titled “How SCV Business Owners Can Lead, Think, Plan, and Act Through COVID-19.” It was our first of what we anticipate will be many. In that presentation we emphasized the importance of leaders communicating clear, direct, purposeful and inspirational messages to their family, team, customers and any other stakeholders they come in contact with. Leaders, right now, should be delivering informative, positive and inspirational messages that calm and reassure their constituents that we will get through this together, and projecting an enduring vision of growth and prosperity, and most importantly, giving them purpose.

A crisis like COVID-19 is a time when you must show up as a leader and demonstrate your company’s values by what and how you communicate. Organizations that handle crisis communications well are proactive in their messaging and connect regularly with their internal and external audiences. This is not a time to be silent nor let your messages be created by default. Better to err on the side of over-communicating than not. Take time to first examine your intentions and get clear on your “WHY” regarding what you want to say and then add doses of positivity, passion and enthusiasm so it will inspire solutions. On a routine basis communicate these purposeful messages to all your team, including staff, customers, clients, suppliers, stakeholders, networks, strategic alliances and partnerships.

Communication isn’t just words, it’s actions too. Like many other crises in the past, COVID-19 has the potential to bond more of us around common causes. We can look to our faith-based, service and nonprofit organizations and ask what they need, how we can help and encourage and unite our teams and audiences to get engaged and make a difference to those in need. Think in terms of our collective impact and remember we are all in this together, one team, one fight, one mission, to survive COVID-19 physically, mentally and economically.

If you are like us, you’re having to adapt to this virtual environment, learning new words and activities like zoom, go-to, webinars, webcasts, WebEx’s, and the like, all in pursuit of remotely engaging our stakeholders and customers. This is the new normal, and likely a permanent change in the way we do business. Why not consider this an opportunity and new approach to promote your business? So, if your business has vision, mission and purpose statements, now is the time to update and revise them, then message that in your virtual meetings and conference calls and on your emails, social media, direct mailers, and newsletters. If your business hasn’t developed these essential things, take the time and do so now, it will be extremely important when the rebound occurs.

During this time of crisis and uncertainty, be that leader through your virtual presence that says something, but not just anything, to calm your troops, allowing them to release pent up anxiety, permission to expose their fear, and a chance to revel in a world to come because of their doing. Give them vision and purpose. This is what a leader communicates in times of crisis. Now let’s get after it!

Paul Raggio is co-owner, with his sister Lisa, of One True North INC Leadership and Business Coaching Solutions, a service disabled, veteran owned, family operated firm based in Santa Clarita, California, and they are certified business coaches for ActionCOACH, the number one business coaching service in the world. Paul and Lisa mentor and coach business owners and their employees on leadership and management principles in achieving and sustaining their business growth and profitability goals. Email him at paulraggio@actioncoach.com or go to his website at www.paulraggio.actioncoach.com.

Freedom and Free Enterprise: Casualties of Coronavirus War?

| Opinion | April 2, 2020

by Rob Werner

Consequences of the Coronavirus War include lost civil rights, elimination of property rights, and massive government power.

Progressives perpetually glorify people’s rights but in reaction to disasters promote surrender. They have little faith people can solve their own problems

Our Great Depression led to Roosevelt’s progressive administration. Income tax rate advanced to 94 percent (Roosevelt didn’t achieve his desired 100 percent rate for incomes over $25,000.) Inheritance tax went to 77 percent. Progressive’s cure for the depression was suppression of wealth and private spending and replacing it with big daddy government. We achieved government dependency and depression until WWII.

During WWII, progressives dictated what news the press covered. These promoters of liberty favored incarcerating Japanese and German Americans.

The Progressives’ reaction to the Coronavirus War is to push the president to utilize war powers and authoritarian actions and abandon guaranteed rights and free enterprise. There is an excitement among their ranks with a realization that government power is almost absolute and when they take back the Presidency, they will via Executive Orders be able to restructure our economic and political systems.

Democrats debate between Sander’s type of socialism with nationalized industries and the National Socialism with industrial control via government investments and political partnerships.
We’re informed that there’s a shortage of masks and ventilators needed for treatment. The U.S. has a mask reserve for pandemics. During the Obama administration, the swine flu epidemic utilized 100 million from reserves. Obama failed to replace them. New York’s Governor Cuomo demanded that ventilators be provided by the Feds immediately and implied that Trump could solve this by using war powers to take over industries and force their immediate manufacture. What Cuomo doesn’t say is that in 2015 his administration refused purchasing 16,000 recommended as necessary to prepare for a pandemic. Nor does he acknowledge that government management slows industrial production.

A President Bernie Sanders would have nationalized airlines and other businesses, guaranteed public housing and “free” medical care for everyone. Information related to shortages and delays would be suppressed as against public interest.

The Obama – Biden – Clinton faction would bail out business with government controls making them servants to a political – expectantly partisan purpose.

The Republicans face a moral dilemma. They recognize that the economy must be shored up to prevent a depression. But they’re uncomfortable with the abuse of liberties and government power. They know that quick action is required. They recognize no legislation occurs without Pelosi’s approval. No approval comes without including leftist goals.

The resulting legislation helps and hurts our economy. While infusing trillions of dollars into our economy, we get a three hundred fifty million immigrant welfare package and unemployment benefits containing financial incentives to remain unemployed. We have numerous pork barrels like twenty-five million to the Kennedy Center and seventy-five million to public broadcasting.

Democrats want to bail out the postal service, force more businesses to unionize, and make vote harvesting (people depositing hundreds of ballots) national. Pelosi’s still pushing additional funding for Planned Parenthood’s abortions.

We need to remember that government is spending unearned funds, money produced by manipulation rather than productivity. Ultimately the cost will be borne by working Americans.

We’ll get over this virus. But we’ve opened a Pandora’s Box that exposes us to massive government power, planting seeds for greater dependency and government dictation over our business and personal lives. We risk some future president confiscating our property and liberty rationalizing it is for the greater good.

Notes from an Extreme Centrist

| Opinion | April 2, 2020

The Divine Right of Kings, The Geocentric Universe, Libertarianism, Traditional Conservatism
and other dead theories…

The coronavirus crisis has institutionalized what virtually everyone already knew, but many were not ready to acknowledge. The Keynesian/FDR Liberal view for the proper role for government is triumphant. Any possibility of government based on Libertarian principles or Goldwater Conservatism is as dead and gone as the Divine Right of Kings and the geocentric universe. The immediate knee-jerk response of every political leader, from Trump to McConnell to House GOPers to Pelosi and Schumer, even in the face of an exploding national debt once considered unsustainable even by liberals, and DEMANDED BY CAPTAINS of INDUSTRY and AVERAGE AMERICANS is how big, bold and expensive can the government’s response be to the economic challenges created by the pandemic. Unlike 2008, literally no one believes the free market alone, left to its own devices, can possibly respond effectively. Virtually everyone looks to government for solutions, and not just to the public health challenges, but to the economic dislocations as well. Anyone who even suggests that the government should stay out of the way of the free market is viewed much like Flat-Earthers and the geniuses who jailed Galileo.

More than that, where have all those Obama-era deficit hawks gone? Since Trump’s inauguration, they have gone the way of the dinosaurs. The only question remaining is whether they will disingenuously re-emerge if Biden wins in November. What we have learned during Trump’s tenure is that none of the so-called deficit hawks – not the Freedom Coalition, not the GOP, not former Tea Party enthusiasts, not conservative economists – really believed their own horsehockey. They only believed in limited government and fiscal responsibility when it served their own self-interest, re-election chances and the other party was in charge. Once they came to power, even as they trumpeted how great the economy was, it was a hats and horns free-spending party paid for with funny money.

As an Extreme Centrist (formerly self-identified as an unapologetic liberal in the FDR mold), I believe in free market capitalism. But I also believe that government has a vital role as a stabilizing economic force to mitigate the excesses of that free market. I believe in an expansive role for government as a safety net for its citizens TO THE EXTENT IT IS FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE. During national emergencies and recessions, it is appropriate for the government to go in the red. During periods of prosperity, however, the goal must be a balanced budget and paying down the national debt. How? Remember Simpson/Bowles? That’s how!

The last time we switched presidents in the middle of a crisis, the financial meltdown of 2008, McConnell and the congressional GOP went on a retreat just before BHO’s inauguration. They declared that their #1 priority was denying Obama and the Democrats who controlled Congress at that time any victories. They decided that their own political future as a party was more important than the good and welfare of the nation.

If Trump loses and the Senate flips next November, anyone want to bet that the current GOP free spenders during the recent period of economic expansion before the pandemic and no national emergency won’t morph again overnight into deficit hawks? Even if we remain in an economic crisis? ANYONE? I didn’t think so.

The Crisis

| Opinion | April 2, 2020

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to tax) but ‘to bind us in all cases whatsoever’ and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.” The Crisis, by Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776.

A few random thoughts.
Keep in mind that the actions of our governments – state, local and federal – are a form of enslavement and tyranny. Our activities are severely restricted, the new dole creates dependency and not freedom. We are seeing a new form of corporatism with the coercion of GM and a partial federal ownership of the airlines and possible possibly the cruise ship industries.
The Corona bailout bill includes $25 million in “expenses” for the ruling elite in the House of Representatives. More power opportunities for the big unions and $25 million for the Kennedy Center so that our ruling elite can still be entertained. It gets much worse, no room here to list all of it. I have not heard of any government workers being laid off. Is anyone who is still receiving a paycheck getting the Corona dole? I do not know.
In the movie “The Cinderella Man” they portray the moment when boxer Gentleman Jim Braddock goes back to the dole line to return the money that he had reluctantly taken to feed his children and keep the lights on. Today where entitlements reign supreme, can you imagine anyone or any business demonstrating the character of James J. Braddock?
It remains vital that before we take any action to ask ourselves “What would the person you aspire to be do?” and then do that. If you are addressing your higher self, expect miracles.
It pains me to observe that I see few of our elected officials, especially those who adhere to leftist-progressive agendas, acting based on their higher selves. They seem to be at war with the Constitution and the values of Western Civilization. In the virus relief bill, they added funding to keep Planned Parenthood’s unborn killing facilities operating. Is fetus killing essential for National Security and public safety and not an elective procedure? One half of the bill is designed to advance leftist-progressive agendas and has little to do with getting the American people through a rough stretch.
What has become clear is that the leftist-progressives are racing to transform our country into proto-communist.  They proved willing to sacrifice our future economic well-being to promote their secular religion. Though many Republicans protested, in the end they allowed way too many leftist agenda issues into a bill that was intended to help people, who for the moment are unable to help themselves.
Please, be vigilant and embrace liberty. Help a neighbor in need.

Keep Walking

| Opinion | April 2, 2020

by Dale Paule

Here’s a handy piece of advice I heard recently, which is especially appropriate to the scary situation we now find ourselves in: “If you find yourself walking through hell; keep walking!”

That scary situation terrifying our whole world is called “Coronavirus,” and is as close to hell as we’ve ever come. One moment, America, along with most of the world, was experiencing the formally unheard of promise for a bright, happy future. Then, in the blink of an eye, that bright light was extinguished and replaced by darkness, despair and fear.

It began by China allowing the evil killer-virus to spill rapidly over its borders into countries throughout the world; all within a few weeks. I don’t need to list the economic damage done to the world; you hear it constantly pouring out of your radio and television, day and night since it began. We’ve now seen and felt the effects of the damage, both economically and psychologically, that this viral menace can do, and will continue to do until we resolve to defeat it!

Immediately, thousands of brave and brilliant doctors and technicians began working non-stop, ignoring the danger to themselves, to develop weapons that will end this silent killer’s hunger for life. But until that happens, and until we can finally see the light of victory at the end of a very long and dark tunnel, the psychological damage it’s causing is at least as devastating as its economic effect.

It’s a helpless feeling, not unlike that of a parent pacing back and forth outside of an operating room, waiting for the doctor to come out of surgery with word of their child’s chances of survival following a horrible accident or illness.
So, until this killer is stopped, “keep walking” might be the best way to help quell our fears created by this silent enemy.

It won’t keep the virus from attacking, but it might keep us from lingering, frozen with fear until all hope is lost, and remind us to keep moving toward that light at the end of the tunnel until we’re finally out of it! Fear doesn’t like a moving target; it makes it hard to get its grip on you.

There’s another saying that has helped us make it through a few tough spots.
“Whatever is going to happen, will either be worse than you imagine, or better; but it will never be exactly like you’ve imagined it, so let it happen, then deal with whichever it is!”

And our track record for dealing with tough spots is pretty good!

See you at the end of the tunnel.

Surviving and Thriving in Business with Our Emerging New World

| Opinion | April 2, 2020

The world shifted slightly off its axis during the past couple of months, but that doesn’t mean your business has to suffer. In fact, during times of economic uncertainty many businesses are able to prosper. I’ll share my thoughts and ideas on this so you may take advantage of this time and view it as an opportunity to grow and thrive.

We’ve all been through many disruptions to the economy over the course of our lives. Depending upon your age and length of time as a business owner, you may have been in business during the Recession of 2008 that lasted several years, the 911 events in September of 2001, and the 1980s recession. And you can add to these the energy crisis of 1979 and the oil crisis of 1973. In fact, there have been almost fifty recessions in the United States since the Articles of Confederation were ratified by all thirteen states on March 1, 1781.

Preparation is always the best hedge against adversity, but this is what to do if you feel like you were under-prepared and caught unaware for this global crisis…

Remember that Cask is King

Focus on your cash flow; you want to pay out cash later and receive cash sooner. Do this by:
Reducing and slowing down cash outflows
Increasing and speeding up cash inflows
Preparing your team to be more productive than they’ve ever been

Keeping additional cash on hand makes sense right now, just as it does after natural disasters and other catastrophes.

Reach Out to Your Customers

This is the time to work on keeping your current customers and doubling down on your best customers. Most of us have about fifteen to twenty percent of our customers that account for at least eighty percent of our revenue, so make sure they know you are still in business and care about them. Service must be your #1 priority, if it isn’t already.

Focus on Your Core Competencies

While this step may signify that you will eliminate some products and services in favor of the ones you do best, what I am referring to here is quickly leveling up your knowledge in a way that sets you apart from your competition.

Think about offering something you currently do well and are known for in a way that is not typically done in your industry. This will be perceived as a unique or premium service that has not been available to your customers in the past.
Bring Your Business Online in a Bigger and More Personalized Way
We all wish we had purchased stock in the San Jose based company, Zoom when it went public on the NASDAQ (ZM) in April of 2019. I recommend signing up for a free account and getting all of your employees and independent contractors on a call as soon as possible. Ask everyone to brainstorm ideas as to how this “face to face while staying at home” service could be used for your business. The idea here is to have everyone feel like they will be part of the solution during this crucial time.

Stay active with your social media accounts at LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter (you may also have accounts on Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest) and have at least one person in your company reaching out to customers and prospects every day. A private Facebook group for your best clients could be a way to communicate ideas and needs in an expeditious manner.

Stay Calm and Carry On Like It’s Still 2019

Our economy was in very good shape leading into this global crisis and we can emerge victorious if we stay calm and think through our decisions. Take this time to reflect and renew and stay open to ideas and strategies you may have dismissed during the past year. This could be exactly what your business needed to set you up for exponential growth in the foreseeable future. As Dr. Robert H. Schuller taught us, tough times never last but tough people do. Like the recessions and other crises of centuries past, this too will one day be in our rearview mirror.

Connie Ragen Green lives in Saugus and has been working exclusively on the internet since 2006. The Road Trip: An Entrepreneur’s Journey of Self-Discovery is her latest book and was released by Hunter’s Moon Publishing in January of 2020. All of Connie’s titles are available in paperback at Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, at your local bookstore by request, and also for Kindle. Find out more by visiting http://HugeProfitsTinyList.com and download an audio recording for 2020 at http://NewRulesforOnlineMarketing.com.

Questions? Email Connie at crgreencrgreen@yahoo.com and be sure to put Home Business Question in the subject line. Your question and answer will be included in a future article.

Always Advocating Alan – Your Next Stop, the 2020 Twilight Zone

| Opinion | April 2, 2020

Well, if our community is not in the T-Zone already, it sure feels that way. The idea the United States would be shut down, no less the entire world, with citizens told to stay at home and distance themselves from each other, sounds very much like a plot for a 1960 science-fiction movie. Holy Cow! This is America, land of the free and home of the brave. We solve problems, head on. Well, maybe not this time.

So, I asked myself, is the Coronavirus more aggressive and destructive than anything we have been up against before, or have we become a society of snivelers, afraid of our own shadow. As it turns out, our medical scientists tell us, COVID-19 is an entirely new viral strain, with a longer incubation period than previous viruses we have encountered, enabling the COVID-19 to covertly spread faster than the H1N1 did in 2009. Plus, since N1H1 was similar to viruses we were exposed to in the past, the older population had already built up some immunity, but as there is no such luck with COVID-19, the results may end up much more devastating. Therefore, earth’s population started to fight this new threat; without accurate testing, an accepted cure, a vaccine, or enough medical resources to protect the public.

Adding to the problem are all the political talking heads, along with those conspiracy theories being put forth on social media, and our mass media. It is no wonder a portion of the public panicked and emptied the shelves of certain products in neighborhood stores. Plus, while I am a staunch supporter of the second amendment, the sudden prospect of lines forming outside gun stores, lead me to understand the public is sending a message, about fearing for their family’s safety. So, how did the message get answered by our Los Angeles County Sheriff? He closed gun stores and reinforced the negative feelings of those concerned. I’m ready for a new person at the head of the LACO Sheriff Department, how about you?

Now is the time we should come together and fight a common enemy, not use each day, to try and gain a situational advantage. Think back to January, when it was recognized the majority of those infected were residents of China. In order to combat the spread of the virus, a China travel ban to the US was announced, and airlines started shutting down flights. The ban was immediately reported on cable news as racist, xenophobic (fear of strangers), and just wrong. But later, when it turned out to be the right thing to do, those same reporters criticized the travel bans as not being implemented fast enough. Now, there are ideas being floated about restrictions on travel out of U.S. hot spots, and of course, we are hearing the same individuals expound the same nonsense.

Next, came the we don’t have enough “test kits” controversy. Questions were being asked by the media. Why did the Center for Disease Control (CDC) turn down the offer of kits from the World Health Organization (WHO)? Because, as it turns out, they were never offered. “No discussions occurred between WHO and CDC about WHO providing COVID-19 tests to the United States,” said WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris. Yet, it all got very quiet when China delivered a large shipment of inoperative tests to Italy. Initially the testing problem centered around the one US location which was able to perform tests, along with a limited capacity to confirm or rule-out a positive diagnosis. Then, as of 1 month ago, it was made known over three types of test kits, widely used to diagnose diseases caused by viruses were available, and now a new method called POCT Rapid Detection only takes 5 min to provide a result.

Remember how fast we reacted in June of 2009. H1N1 had infected approximately 21,500 Americans and caused 87 deaths. “St. Louis University launched clinical trials on an H1N1 vaccine in late July 2009, and it received federal approval within months”. But this time around, medical professionals were much quicker on the trigger, and a COVID-19 vaccine entered its first Clinical Trial in February of this year, with 45 volunteers receiving different doses. Fortunately, “Participants are not at risk of being infected with the bug, because the shots do not contain the virus itself”. In early March 2020 it was also reported, eight institutes in China were also working on different approaches of inoculations in an effort to combat COVID-19 and indicated they could result in a vaccine ready for emergency situations and clinical trials by April. I wonder why our Medical experts are reluctant to move away from “business as usual” and want to spend one year to 18 months to approve a vaccine. Could it be they fear a lawyer-based backlash? Why don’t they have a greater sense of urgency? I’m sure they understand, more people are getting sick every day.

But along with test kits and a vaccine, we need a cure. We know antibiotics are not effective in treating viral infections and the race to find a solution is well on the way. For example, certain medical websites have reported, Remdesivir is an experimental antiviral drug originally developed to target Ebola. Researchers have found it is effective at fighting the coronavirus. The treatment is not yet approved, but two clinical trials have been initiated in China and one trial was recently approved by the FDA in the United States. Lopinavir and ritonavir are used to treat HIV. “In South Korea, a 54-year-old man was given a combination of these two drugs and had significant reduction in his levels of the coronavirus. A clinical trial to study AAPN01 is set to begin soon in China, also looking into the potential to fight the coronavirus. While Favilavir is a drug which China has approved to treat COVID-19 symptoms. The drug was initially developed to treat inflammation in the nose and throat and has been shown to be effective in treating COVID-19 symptoms during an initial clinical trial.

Chloroquine is a drug used to fight malaria and autoimmune diseases. It’s been in use for more than 70 years and is considered safe. Researchers have discovered it is effective against SARS-CoV-2 virus. Also, clinical trials are currently looking at the use of chloroquine as an option for combating the coronavirus. But now, some governors have become medical geniuses and signed Executive Orders preventing physicians in their states from prescribing Chloroquine. Isn’t that beyond a governor’s authority to play FDA? I believe in situations of last resort; patients should be allowed to opt for experimental treatment. What could it hurt?

Lastly there is the issue of not enough Medical Safety equipment, and I ask whose fault is that? Aren’t we being told to follow our medical expert’s advice? Well if they are the experts, why didn’t they maintain access to a greater quantity of equipment, instead of trying to push the blame off on someone else?

So, if you think you are experiencing what it is like to be in a science-fiction movie now, just wait until you hear what happens when some automotive assembly plants try to retool to produce respirators. If it was me, I would have asked aerospace manufacturers currently producing aircraft avionics to take up the cause, because they are skilled in circuit board and electro-mechanical manufacturing, instead of installing pistons and bolting on wheels.

But then again, it is understandable, as we currently experience, living in the “2020 Twilight Zone”.

Resurrection Realities #3

| Opinion | April 2, 2020

Resurrection Realities #3

A 2020 Lenten series from 1 Corinthians 15

by Gary Curtis

We are continuing a four-part series about the Biblical belief in the immortality of the soul and the body–in a glorified, resurrected form. It is this unique doctrine of the resurrection that Christians reaffirm every Easter.

As I suggested last time, you might like to use a modern translation or paraphrase to review these basic premises Paul presents and which we will consider in these final two studies. Today we will study:

The Assurance of the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20-28)

Having confronted questions causing doubt about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and that of believers when He comes to receive living and deceased saints at a future gathering (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), Paul now confidently presents positive assurances concerning this future resurrection.

He began by flatly proclaiming in verse 20 that, “…now Christ is risen from the dead”! This fact and spiritual assurance are presented in the original Greek in the present tense which stressed the continuing action from a past event. Our present faith is confirmed from this supernatural past action, which has a continuing effect.

Verse 20 continues by stating that Christ “has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” The firstfruits are the initial ripened grains of the spring harvest. It is evidence the entire harvest is on the way. Leviticus 23:4-14 speaks of the firstfruits in connection with the Passover festival where the coming harvest was consecrated. 

The New Testament teaches that Jesus actually died on the Passover and His resurrection occurred the following Sunday morning, the day following the Sabbath after the Passover (Lev.32:10ff.). This day corresponds to our Resurrection Sunday (John 19:31-20:10) and is a promise of our own future resurrection, “…those who are Christ’s at His coming” (v. 23).

In 15:22-24 Paul compares Christ with Adam, His prototype, in that what one man–Adam–did, now the resurrection from death has also become a certainty because of what one Man–Christ–did. As humans, we all are related to Adam and most will physically die as he did,  but all who are rightly related to Christ spiritually will be made to live again when He appears in the clouds and gathers up the dead and living saints to Himself (1 Thess. 4: 14-17). Only those living saints will be transformed in that instant and will be the only ones who do not die.

When our Resurrected Lord Returns

The Second Coming of Christ is not a timeless philosophical idea to be discussed and debated. Rather, it will be a distinct experience of human life and will complete the resurrection harvest (possibly at Rev. 14:14-16), for which He and His resurrection were the “firstfruits.” Now, everyone who follows Him by faith in His completed spiritual destiny can have the hope of complete acceptance and satisfaction before God as well!

Not all of God’s own will die, but we all will be changed–in a fraction of a second! 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 assures us that at Christ’s second coming we will be raised, in our proper order. The dead who belong to Christ will be the first to rise. Then, believers who are still alive will be caught up with them in the clouds, to meet Christ our Lord in the air. 

The resurrection of Jesus Christ not only confirms our faith; it certifies our forgiveness and guarantees our future! 

We can anticipate, with confident assurance, the future day of His “coming” in a physical return to earth at the second advent (15:23-25). At Christ’s resurrection, death was defeated and at His actual “coming” back to earth to rule, it will be destroyed (cf. Rev. 20:14). Paul explained later in this chapter that death is the last enemy to be conquered in Christ’s total triumph (15:26).

This Easter season celebrates this progressive triumph of our Lord Jesus over death, hell and the grave! The tomb is empty and He is alive! 

The Cream Always Rises to the Top

| Opinion | March 26, 2020

by Paul Raggio

I’ve never worked in the dairy industry, but I’ve heard this axiom all my life; a metaphor for those leaders in critical periods of time who rise to the occasion. We have all seen this happen under many different circumstances: earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, landslides, natural and manmade disasters, and war. Often, to our surprise, those who we never thought could lead rose to the occasion, and those elected, appointed, installed leaders who we were counting on, failed. We’re living through one of those periods of time. COVID-19 can’t be seen, smelled, heard, nor touched but it sure has threatened our way of life, and were starting to see the cream in Santa Clarita Valley rise to the top in our community.

In times of crisis, we thirst for leaders who express a vision, exhibit conviction, get judgment right, and are clear, direct, purposeful, and inspirational communicators. We follow leaders who offer visions beyond today, tomorrow and next month. Visions rooted in hope, faith and charity. Hope, to those in fear, that there will be a better tomorrow after COVID-19. Faith, that together as a family, business, community, and nation we will overcome and be better for the journey we labored on. And charity, an empathetic and big-hearted response to our employees, co-workers, family, neighbors, and countrymen that we’ve got your back, we’re in this together, you won’t go without as long as I have something to give. This is the vision we thirst for!

Leaders exhibiting conviction are often described as having the requisite grit to get us through any level of hardship. Gritty leaders persevere through adversity; they’re in the game to the end; they just flat don’t give up. They commit to goals and inspire their followers to achieve them. They give confidence that no matter the hardship, we will successfully see it through to the end. Their conviction entails working strenuously through challenges, maintaining effort and interest despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress. They approach achievement as a marathon and their advantage is stamina. Leaders of conviction stay the course and exhibit a will to succeed!

Standout leaders in crisis express sound and reasoned judgments. Judgments are woven with personal virtues and values. Leaders know their judgments will produce outcomes, both positive and negative, impacting the achievement of the mission, goals and subordinate objectives. In arriving at judgments, leaders understand the risk of failure. In so doing, they ruthlessly hunt for facts and sniff out opinions, temper, but not ignore their guts, and actively guard against their biases before coming to judgments. They use techniques when they can to assess risk and avoid at all costs on relying solely on their guts. But when the facts can’t be ferreted out, and opinions flourish, the leaders’ guts prevail in assessing risk and arriving at sound and reasoned judgments.

The most difficult aspect of leading is communication, all types of communication; written, spoken, nonverbal, compounded by emotion, gestures, expressions, and exacerbated by ill-chosen words and misguided behaviors. Clear, direct, purposeful, and inspirational communication is a skill few people possess, and fewer leaders practice. Good ideas are lost because they are poorly communicated. Misunderstandings occur because the communicator creates confusion resulting from their lack of directness or clarity in their message. There are lots of regrets expressed by leaders who wish they could retrieve poorly communicated messages because it caused unintended outcomes. There is no level of leadership immune to poor communication. Like any other critical skill, clear, direct, purposeful, and inspirational communication, whether written, spoken, and/or nonverbal, requires considerable effort on each of our parts to get it right.

During this extraordinary time, be the cream that rises and leads, thinks, plans, and acts by expressing a vision, exhibiting conviction, getting judgment right, and clearly, directly, purposefully, and inspirationally communicating with those thirsting for your leadership. Now, let’s get after it!

Paul Raggio is co-owner, with his sister Lisa, of One True North INC Leadership and Business Coaching Solutions, a service disabled, veteran owned, family operated firm based in Santa Clarita, California, and they are certified business coaches for ActionCOACH, the number one business coaching service in the world. Paul and Lisa mentor and coach business owners and their employees on leadership and management principles in achieving and sustaining their business growth and profitability goals. Email him at paulraggio@actioncoach.com or go to his website at www.paulraggio.actioncoach.com.

When The Timing Seems Too Perfect

| Opinion | March 26, 2020

The past four years have been a constant loop of the same basic chain of events: President Trump does something historic to help the American people, the media finds a way to lambast him for it, and the Democrats immediately find a way to take the attention away from his (and all of ours, really) achievements via lawfare (using the legal system to attack or tie-up efforts), their media lapdogs or just plain misdirection.

But there’s a subset of the Democrat’s action plan that is even more nefarious, and would be extremely damaging if we had a President who wasn’t so strongly supported and so far ahead of them in strategic planning: the last-minute, perfectly-timed “gotcha.”

Let’s skip the recently uncovered evidence that the Obama administration was using illegal unmasking and surveillance to spy on all conservative candidates of the 2016 presidential race, and instead jump right into the timeline with the Russian collusion hoax itself.

Thanks to help from John McCain (who many with any memory will remember was hit with alarmingly similar Russian collusion claims (hoax) during his own run for the presidency), all of the major legacy (fake news) media outlets had their own copies of the Christopher Steele (now completely disproven, even by the single source he used to write it) dossier long before it was published.

But aside from being unable to verify as much as a single claim in the Steele dossier (because we all know the truth isn’t getting in the way of our media and a narrative), they lacked a hook, a reason to publish the unverified and now proven false allegations it contained.

With perfect timing, as if written in a movie script, James Comey briefed President Trump on the existence of the dossier and voila, the media suddenly had a reason to publish his false claims.

Perhaps more interesting is that none of the media planned on publishing in its entirety, with the legacy media outlets having a plan to “drip” the dossier out in sections to keep the public interested.

Thankfully Buzzfeed, an outlet staffed by gender studies, diversity philosophy and pre-war Russian literature majors with no other marketable skills, decided to publish the dossier in its entirety, allowing Americans with any semblance of discernment to see the hoax for what it was.

Were we really supposed to believe that a well-known germaphobe had allowed Russian prostitutes to pee on him?

The next perfectly-timed hoax we should look into was the Ukraine hoax which, ultimately, led to a sham-impeachment trial.

Did anyone else pay attention to the point that immediately after President Trump’s call with the Ukrainian President, there was a complaint filed with the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG).

Prior to this impeachment hoax, a complaint to the ICIG had to include first-hand knowledge, meaning the person filing the complaint had to have witnessed the action.

But, in a perfect sense of timing (irony noted), just before it was filed those regulations were changed to allow anyone to file a complaint, regardless of whether the action was gained from first-hand knowledge or rumors.

In the end we found the latter to be true as the entire complaint, filed after a perfectly-timed change in regulations, was wholly inaccurate as to the topics of the call.

Another set of perfect timing (for nefarious political operatives) was during the Justice Kavanaugh confirmation debacle.

When it became clear that Justice Kavanaugh was on his way to being confirmed by the Senate, Dianne “ChiFi” Feinstein (who, let’s not forget had a Chinese spy in her employ for 20 years yet has never had to answer questions about it), brought up a set of serious allegations against Justice Kavanaugh.

When the full story was revealed, it became clear that ChiFi had been given these allegations months previously, but had decided to wait until, you guessed it, the timing was perfect to drop a bomb on the process.

Those allegations were enough to derail the entire confirmation, and in yet another sense of perfect timing the Democrats were able to convince the public that the FBI should investigate, despite the allegations having been decades old, beyond their jurisdiction and the statute of limitations.

But, again with perfect (political) timing, women began to come out of the woodwork with decades-old allegations, each becoming crazier and more unbelievable than the last, as soon as the investigation was handed off to the FBI.

The media wants you to forget or completely wash over this fact, but the majority of these women have retracted their statements as lies meant to enact a political end, or have been completely disproven as impossible.

But the timing of when they happened remains the same.

In our latest sense of ironic “perfect timing,” Nancy Pelosi decided on Sunday to follow Rahm Emanuel’s mantra of, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

After shutting most of the US economy down for a virus that hardly affects anyone under 50 years old, there was a bi-partisan bill being crafted to create a stimulus package, asked for by President Trump, to help those American companies and, by proxy, their workers who have been affected by the shutdown.

Chuck Schumer had himself made media appearances praising the bi-partisan work on the deal as it progressed. But, again with perfect (ironic) timing, Nancy Pelosi flew into DC on her broomstick at the last moment, just before the bill was voted on and threw a monkey wrench in the mix.

She ordered every Democrat to vote no, telling the public that, “the House would come up with its own bill.”

When the reality of her bill was brought to light, it shone a light on the absolute and disgustingly low levels she and her Democrats will stoop to in order to win political points.

1,400 pages long and laden with hundreds of millions of dollars of pork spending towards her “social justice” pet programs without a shred of relation to helping American workers affected by this shutdown, it was a low-tide marker for just how low they can go.

But she understands timing, and believed that she had America and her representatives between a rock and a hard place – a place that she’s put us often over the past four years.

She finally capitulated on Tuesday morning, but only after social media had erupted with fury once the specifics of her version of the bill had been made public. She wasted 48 hours of valuable time in a crisis that could have gone to helping small businesses and American workers, instead using that time to push programs that she knew she couldn’t get through the legislative, constitutionally required process.

The MSM, taking their orders from their masters in the DNC, would like you to view each of these instances highlighted above in isolation, without ever looking at the greater picture and understanding that this is their strategy, every time.

Every time one of these instances come up, the Democrats act like children when parents ask how something in the house was broken.

If you have small children, you’re very familiar with the little shrugged shoulders, scrunched face, pointing of fingers and attempting to shirk responsibility and blame another at the same time.

If you don’t understand, by this point, that there is no such thing as perfect timing or coincidence in politics, then perhaps you never will, no matter how much the Democrats and their media lapdogs try to pass each occasion off as nothing more than that.

Because the media has been willing to deflect blame and redirect the attention of the American populace every time the Democrats try to pretend that one of their devious ploys is sheer coincidence and perfect timing, they’ve so far been able to get away with it without having their feet held to the fire on account of their actions.

But make no mistake. Each of the situations outlined above was something carefully planned and executed as a ploy to maintain their stranglehold of power, with no care or second thought as to how many lives or how much of our country they destroy.

Which is exactly why we as Americans can never allow them to a hold or maintain power over anything again.

Robert Patrick Lewis is a Green Beret OIF/OEF combat veteran with 10th SFG(A), author of Love Me When I’m Gone , The Pact and The Pact Book II: Battle Hymn of the Republic. Follow him @RobertPLewis on Twitter or on his RobertPatrickLewisAuthor Facebook page.

Freedom Day 2020

| Opinion | March 26, 2020

There are many things that we must do as we face our current challenges from the virus and the resultant sequestration. This is the time to be your better selves. Before making decisions, wait for a moment and ask yourself this question. “What would the person I aspire to be do right now?” Then simply do that. Expect a miracle. With the cessation of religious services, it is more important than ever to take a moment to pray or meditate, whatever makes you comfortable. If possible, share that experience with others; conference calls are cool. We must not forget that our nation comes from a Judeo/Christian tradition. The free practice of religion is a fundamental right. Exercise it.

Now is the time to prepare for the “Freedom Day” celebration, a day where throughout the land the words of Martin Luther King ring out, “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last!”

Although it will be triggered by the cessation of the Coronavirus, it is not the reason why we should celebrate. In this world of mass international travel and open borders there will likely be another disease spreading its insidious tentacles throughout the planet.

On Freedom Day 2020, the people must rise to celebrate the restoration of our most basic Creator-given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We must celebrate our enumerated rights such as freedom of speech, freedom to assemble and the free practice of religion. As government closes schools, businesses, places of worship and the people are expected to shelter in place, we must keep close to our hearts the foundational freedoms established and protected by our government that government is now taking away.

Unfortunately, history has shown that governments often promise to provide security in trade for your freedom and liberty. Once obtained, the control over our everyday lives that we are experiencing is not easily abandoned. “We the People” must remain vigilant. Where are our legal protections? There have been no court orders or declaration of Martial Law.

In this crisis there are other dangerous issues that our nation have been enduring. All the proposed wealth-redistributions efforts to “help” those who suffer from lost income due to the closing of businesses further add to the people’s dependence on government. I was always taught that you must maintain a three to twelve-month cash reserve for times of emergency. Upon examination of our children’s test scores and general knowledge as compared to 150 years ago, one will find we have been systematically dumbed down. Closing the schools will accelerate that decline, leaving a population that can be more easily influenced. At times like these, the voices for government control of industries and medical services become more pronounced. Often forgotten is that private enterprise and free market competition is the reason that we have the resources and means to deal with this pandemic.

One of the greatest obscenities occurring during this crisis is the politicization of the disaster. As we face the consequences of the spreading virus, we must be wary of calls for more federal control and cash distribution without sunset clauses.

I do believe that the current policies of isolating ourselves to slow the spread of the virus is the right thing to do. However, we dare not be happy about it. “The road to serfdom” is fraught with dangers. I cannot say often enough that we the people must remain vigilant. Be afraid of dependency on government while preparing to celebrate “Freedom Day 2020.” Make it a reaffirmation of The Declaration of Independence.
Be well!

Always Advocating Alan – While I Believed I was well Prepared, I was Totally not Ready for it to Happen

| Opinion | March 26, 2020

It all started to appear possible when my mother asked me to accompany her in 2016 to visit a lawyer in Woodland Hills, with the purpose of updating her living trust. Her husband, my adoptive father, had passed thirteen years prior, and she wanted to be sure all was in order. She also wanted to be fully confident that the trust’s instructions would be carried out, and her three sons would be taken care of. As most of us know, your mother will always be your mother, and no matter how old or successful you may become, your mother will always be looking out for you. So as the eldest son, I was named trustee/executor and I knew I would shoulder the responsibility of making it happen the way she wanted.

In a way, I felt very fortunate. Too many times, I have read about families being torn apart when their parents passed. But, in this case, my two brothers were supportive of me taking on the lead role and they knew all would go as mom had planned. Yet, after our visit to the lawyer, it seemed mom and I had the same conversation over and over. She felt the end was near and wanted to be continually reassured, so after I renewed my commitments to her once again, our conversations always ended with me reminding her to stay healthy, because we were planning her 100th birthday party. Then she would laugh and inform me she would try to figure out who to invite. Plus, there was no reason to expect mom was not going to make the 100-year mark. She was 99 years young this year, living in her own home, and with exception of no longer driving, she was fully capable of taking care of herself.

Then last Thursday, out of the blue, the hammer fell. It was about 3:45 p.m. and I was at city hall waiting for the special city council meeting to start, when I received a cell phone call from my youngest brother Bruce. He made me aware, he had just got to mom’s and she had apparently fallen, plus he could not tell if she was breathing. I told him to call 911 and I would be right there. On the drive across town to Friendly Valley, I was getting a worried feeling that this was not going to turn out good. But my stomach twisted in knots as I drove up to her house. There I saw a fire truck with an ambulance in front of it. Between the two vehicles was the ambulance’s gurney, and it was empty. As I exited my vehicle and approached the front door, my brother was coming toward me and confirmed my fear was real. Mom had passed on.

I’ve got to admit, I was left dumbfounded. First and foremost was the feeling of grief and emptiness, but with it came the realization, I was not well prepared at all. I did not know what to do next, plus I did not even know what questions to ask. Fortunately, the several sheriff’s deputies who responded to the 911 call explained everything I needed to know at that juncture, and they did so in a very respectful and sensitive manner. So, after retrieving the information relating to mom’s chosen mortuary, I called in and they took care of arranging her transportation to their location. The wait was less than an hour, all while Deputy Hernandez waited patiently for them so he could release the body, a requirement of California State law.

Now the family members who had also arrived were really feeling alone, as they were in a quiet empty house, knowing their mother and grandmother, Jean Ferdman, would never return. I, like most sons, thought my mother was an exceptional woman. Born the youngest of three sisters in Brooklyn, New York to Sadie and Morris Gralitzer in 1921, Jean grew up during the depression and married my biological father Ernest Frank in 1941. He, like many other young men at that time, had joined the army to fight for our country and served as a medic in France during the “Battle of the Bulge.” After his return from service, he unexpectedly passed away from a brain aneurysm. I was five at the time and my middle brother was an infant. We moved in with my grandparents, and to make ends meet mom went to work for a New York art dealer as his personal secretary. Six years later, mom married Benjamin Ferdman, and since his family lived on the west coast, we drove Route 66 in a 1953 Chrysler to take up residence in California. Two years later, Ben adopted both Fred and I as his own. Our family moved to Studio City on Sunshine Terrace, Bruce (my youngest brother) was born, and things looked as if all would go well, until the newspaper strike put Ben out of work. Well, my mom took up the challenge by reentering the work force once again, this time with the L.A. Unified School District, and she subsequently retired as Clerk of the Board. In 2000, they sold their Sunshine Terrace abode and moved to Friendly Valley. Dad passed away in 2003 and mom lived on her own afterwards. Jean is survived by her sons, Alan, Fred and Bruce, her grandchildren Ernie and Scott, and her great grandchildren, Alison, Madison, Briona, Cole, and Carson.

While I know a good deal about my family’s history, I also realize there is a lot I am unaware of, and now that it is too late to learn more, I regret not asking more questions. Please, do not let that happen to you.

For the family, next will come the foreboding task of dealing with end of life issues, starting with burial plans and decisions about what to do with a house full of furniture and appliances. But surprisingly, in some instances the process may bring you smiles and laughter. As an example, if you are old enough to have children who have left home for a life of their own, and have been gone for a fair period of time, they may at some time reveal life secrets from their time at home you are unaware of, and I hope they are the kind of stories which make you smile. In this case, my mother voluntarily ended her driving career over five years ago and subsequently she sold her car. But when I went through some of mom’s effects to find out if there were any credit cards I did not know about, I discovered what I thought indicated she had renewed her driver’s license, and it would be good through 2026. I had to chuckle wondering, what was she thinking? Then I laughed at myself even more, when I realized, it was a senior citizen identification card.

Finally, it appears the mortuary, cemetery and Rabbi Blazer will be very helpful, even though there are new issues related to restrictions caused by the Coronavirus crisis. It seems the Chapel is shut down for services and the actual burial may only be witnessed by 10 people, who will need to view the ceremony from their car. Although it may not seem fair, the family will do whatever we must do. Yet through it all, I took special note, and want to thank all those who left their condolences on my Facebook post about Jean’s passing. You provided the type of comfort which can only be brought on by good friends.

Therefore, I have decided to make up for those new Coronavirus restrictions. The Ferdman family will host a Celebration of Jean Ferdman’s life on March 5, 2021, thereby providing her a 100th Birthday Party as promised. At least I can be fully prepared for that.

Resurrection’s Realities Part 2 – The Necessity of the Resurrection

| Opinion | March 26, 2020

Last time we read verses 12-19 of 1 Corinthians 15 and learned that some in the local Corinthian congregation were either denying the resurrection of Christ or doubting whether they and other Christians would actually be resurrected also (v. 12). Apparently, this was being argued by some, without realizing the implications this had on their own faith and future.

Perhaps some had been infected with doubt by Jewish critics who had long theorized that Jesus did not really die, but that he had merely fainted or swooned on the cross and was naturally revived when placed in the cool tomb. Others said that the disciples had hallucinated or had a vision. Some thought Jesus’ spirit may have returned to encourage His disciples, but not in a resurrected body. The empty tomb was explained away by others as a giant hoax, with the body stolen by the Jews, the Romans, the disciples or maybe Joseph of Arimathea (John 19:38-42).

The best option of all for this supreme event of history is that the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is a fact (John 20:1-18)! He was raised from the dead, historically and bodily, by the supernatural power of God, just as the Apostle Paul relates in 1 Corinthians 15:3-11!

Challenging our Doubts
In faithfully confronting this matter in Corinth, Paul assumed the false premise that there is no resurrection and bluntly pointed out four, negative and hypothetical-“ifs” which they and we must face.

First, if there is no resurrection from the dead, then Jesus, who he called Christ (meaning the Anointed One), did not rise and everything Paul had taught them and everything they believed is “empty,” without value or truthfulness. How could they trust anything else Paul had taught?

Secondly, if there is no resurrection from the dead, then Paul and his fellow ministers are “false witnesses” about God being able to forgive our sins and raise Jesus and us from the dead to eternal life. All we have is the here and now. Personal pleasure might as well be our creed and practice.

Thirdly, if Jesus did not conquer death, hell and the grave, then Jesus’ death did not gain our salvation and “we are all still in our sins” (v.17). We and “those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished” (v.18). If this were true, then sin killed Jesus and it will kill us and all who have believed in vain.

Fourth, and finally, if after living for God and trusting in His promises of eternal life, and there is, in fact, no resurrection from the dead, then any benefits or blessings we have received are for this life only and we are left as miserable souls, deserving of scornful pity (v. 19).

Are you a Doubter?
Before we move on, next time, to study the good news and assurances of the resurrection, we need to conquer any similarities we may have with the negative thinking of some Corinthian saints, producing critical fractures in their faith–and ours.

So, may I ask if you are a doubter? Maybe not a doubter in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but about God’s love or His willingness to forgive you–yet again?

Or what about God’s willingness or ability to heal your body? Or to defend us from the consequences of this Wuhan COVID-19 virus? Or to change your marriage? Or improve your finances and provide your material needs?

Let me confidently remind you that our God is willing and able to meet you with truth and power, to give you victory in your circumstances. Hear these truths for discouraged and doubting exiles, needing hope and help:

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope…you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

Talk with Him, right now, about the issues of life and death with which you may be struggling. He says in verse 12, “ …call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you!” Receive His love, compassion and gracious touch for your point of prayer!

Join with me again next time, when we continue this Resurrection Realities series and review the assurance of the resurrection. Until then, be blessed!

It Was The Worst of Times, It Was The Best of Times

| Opinion | March 26, 2020

by Dale Paule

That was the opening line in Charles Dickens’ novel, “A Tale of Two Cities.”

It was written over a hundred years ago, but the meaning is appropriate today, because, in just a dozen words, it describes one of the most basic elements of humans. It’s that we learn who we truly are when a crisis strikes, and how we react to it which reveals that truth.

Until the recent onset of the Coronavirus, humans have had it pretty good. In fact, we’ve had it so good that we were having to search for something to complain about: something like, how someone else dressed, or something they said suddenly “offended” us. In fact, people began to invent new words and actions, then labeled them, “offensive!” Politicians gained fame and followers promoting this behavior, and before long, living a normal existence, avoiding being accused of being “racist” or “non-inclusive” was becoming impossible. Then, something occurred that pushed all that aside, and grabbed our attention: a horrifying virus, beginning in China, then, uncontrolled, spread around the world at the speed of light. Suddenly it seemed to matter less what you said or did, but whether you’d live long enough to say or do it.

It was at this point, the cloak of superiority – woven from naiveté – came off, exposing its wearer to the cold-hard fact of reality!

It surely must have seemed strange to those who’ve never known anything except receiving much, with little effort. It’s not their fault they saw things that way, of course; they simply had never experienced a life-changing experience. It’s here that an important and primary life lesson begins. It’s a lesson that always appears when we humans get too full of ourselves, and think we’re in charge of our fate. It’s not a religious concept; it’s simply having to face plain, ordinary life in its impartial form.

It’s happened many times in our existence. And so it should, because it presents the opportunity to see clearly what is important, and what is not, and to willingly make the necessary sacrifices required to overcome devastation and hardships of the many kinds imposed on us in the past. World War II is a good example.

Here are just a few things we were forced to sacrifice or use in moderation and learn to pull together so we could come through it together, alive and well.

The older among us will recall “rationing,” and how it soon became the normal way of life. Some of the things that were rationed at the time may seem of little value today, but were treasured by folks back then. Things like, butter, sugar, milk, coffee, lard and shortening, cooking oils, jams and jellies, all were allowed in only very limited quantities to each family, and required a government stamp along with the money to buy them, when, and if available. Other items like, shoes, silk, nylon, and even firewood were also on the list. Then there was the toughest restriction of all; the rationing of gasoline and tires for the family car. Oh yeah, and no new cars were made during those war years!
Imagine if the government suddenly were to begin rationing just a few of the items we use today. I can hear the screams of horror if it took a government stamp to purchase an iPhone, a computer, or a 60-inch television set!

So what happened to all those folks back then who did without all those things for those four long war years?

It brought us together, because we shouldered the sacrifice together, not alone.

We came out of it feeling pretty damned proud, and understanding that those everyday things, from the absolute “necessities” to the “toys” we allowed ourselves, weren’t the measure of our self-worth; it was our self-reliance and willingness to help others while we helped ourselves that made all the difference in how we saw and lived our lives.

And the proof was right there, every time you looked in the mirror. Don’t look now, but it’s test time again!

Hunkered Down in the SCV

| Opinion | March 26, 2020

by Harry Parmenter
A beautiful day here in the SCV. Took a nice, long bike ride, and there were more people out strolling then I’ve ever seen in my ‘hood, as I walk year-round day and night and rarely see other pedestrians. Today about half the people returned my greeting as I pedaled by on the other side of the road, social D-ing; others ignored me. The FEAR.

The Sand Canyon Country Club golf course had dozens of cars in the parking lot; folks still enjoying sunshine, fresh air and the satisfying thwack of club sending ball into orbit. Golf is an essential activity, per California lockdown regulations. The batting cage didn’t make the cut.

It’s a strange thing, this hunkering down business, especially with no clue of duration or outcome. What will be worse, the virus toll or the psychological one? Ours is not to wonder why, just deflect the rising cabin fever and avoid the rising CoV fever.

An unexpected sideshow here has been the Canyon Country Curse of the Septic Tank, which affects many homes in this tract, including ours. Heavy rain, deep intrusive roots underground wreaking havoc and $550 a pop to pump when the plumbing backs up, which can be more than once in periods of heavy rain. Thank God it’s only the two of us left here, not the six children from two prior marriages we united under this roof for years.

It’s hard to watch or read the news, which is usually bad in the best of times, but now, forget it. What’s accurate, what isn’t, who do you believe, who do you trust? Market crash, a tidal wave of pink slips, school’s out for summer in March. I had naively hoped when it became clear we were facing a national crisis that the country would pull together and unite as united states should. Foolish me; the impeachment fiasco pivoted to ex-Clinton and Warren campaign honchos forming a group to pro-actively attack every move the administration makes handling this unprecedented pandemic. Deposing the President in November clearly trumps working as one to defeat CoV19.

WWII Americans dropped everything and went to work in factories and military complexes coast to coast manufacturing munitions, ammo and ordnance to fuel the war effort that helped save the world from madmen. If today’s domestic populace faced that threat we’d lose and “me” before “we” would win.
Outside my window a crow and squirrel forage separately for food. Moments later a cat scurries furtively across the front lawn, no doubt on a similar mission. Animal instinct to survive. We must follow our own to weather this panic. Be cool. Be careful. Help others when you can. Stay connected to family and friends; moral support spreads just like a virus, but with positive mental health benefits.

This too shall pass and then we’ll have to rebuild our economy, battle a potential depression and regroup emotionally from the collective fallout. Everything will change, just like it did when this began. Hunker down in the bunker and remember, to quote Cervantes, “Where there is music there can be no evil,” so turn it UP! It’s a prescription that’s easy to fill and makes you forget the FEAR, if only for a while. Roll on…

Notes From an Extreme Centrist – Trump is his own worst enemy! Spoiler Alert: This is a pro-Trump story (sort of)

| Opinion | March 26, 2020

Watching Trump’s daily press briefings with his team is often painful. Typically, the president begins with a rah-rah speechlet, describing all the great things he is accomplishing because of his incredible leadership to fight the virus and its spread. This, followed by Dr. Fauci and/or other experts cleaning up Trump’s mistakes, lies and disinformation about testing availability; shortages of PPEs by the medical community, respirators, ventilators, possible treatments, vaccine development, and so on.

When the questions from the press begin, much too often Trump interprets a perfectly legitimate non-confrontational question as an attack on his leadership and pounces on the reporter, the organization the beleaguered reporter represents, and the media in general. Numerous times, when asked whether he accepts any responsibility for ANYTHING, Trump inevitably says “no,” denies the problem exists, and then blames previous administrations anyway. Then, Dr. Fauci takes the lectern, acknowledges the problem, accepts responsibility for solving it, explains what is being done and expresses sincere empathy for those suffering through the problem. Dr. Fauci is universally viewed as trustworthy, responsible, reassuring and competent – everything one wants and expects from a leader during a crisis. Compare that with how Trump is perceived by everyone except his most ardent supporters. As a New Yorker, I have never been a fan of Andrew Cuomo. But during this crisis, much like Fauci, he also has demonstrated the qualities of an excellent leader during crisis.

But here’s the thing: Donald Trump just can’t help himself. I feel sorry for him. After the 3-4 week period during which he knew the crisis was coming, but failed to either acknowledge it or respond to how serious it would be, from the time he closed our borders to China until March 13 when his tone and strategy finally matched the seriousness of the crisis, he trivialized the crisis at least publicly. He assumed he could personally jaw-bone it away and calm the tumbling financial markets by the power of his persuasion alone. Was this simply a craven tactic to boost his re-election chances? Does he really believe in his own powers of persuasion so much? Does he really believe his own horse hockey – a problem he may share with my 16-year-old grandson? All the above?

The bottom line is that none of the tactics that work for reality TV or in “the art of the deal” work for a leader responsible for managing a real crisis. Lies and/or ignorance are quickly revealed. Trust, the most important and fragile asset a leader in crisis needs, is irretrievably lost. What the nation needs most from our leaders during a real crisis is honesty and empathy, but for whatever reason, Donald J. Trump is truly lousy at both. What has worked for him for 73-plus years simply doesn’t work for a president managing a national crisis.

To his and his administration’s credit, after a terribly slow start, they are finally doing about the best we can reasonably expect. The stuff the government is finally doing should have been implemented 3-4 weeks ago, but now it is finally getting done. This crisis is unprecedented. Other administrations have made similar mistakes in previous crises. Missteps, reacting too late, unintentionally sharing false information… These are all characteristics of all crises! That is the very nature of a crisis! Americans are very forgiving. Americans want to trust the president during times like these. I know I do! But Trump won’t earn that trust with false optimism, disinformation exaggerating what is really happening on the ground, rejecting responsibility and accountability, airing his own personal aggrievances and demonizing the media or Democrats or previous administrations. He needs to learn from Fauci’s and Cuomo’s examples. Unfortunately for Trump and America, at least so far, Trump is proving that old cliché. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks!

Coronavirus Will Change How We Live

| Opinion | March 26, 2020

by Rob Werner

Many changes for individuals, families, businesses and government agencies from sheltering in place and actions to fight the virus will become permanent. Some are improvements and lifestyle changes; others compel sluggish people and institutions to utilize technology.

Kids were home alone (without friends) but this wasn’t new. The first gaming generation are adults. Kids play games from home with people around the world. Some complain the most exercise they get is with their fingers – texting. The more athletic have video exercises and dancing – performances that generate plenty of action. Expect these interactive programs to expand to include portrayal of friends.

Many older folks aren’t that different. At social functions they’re immersed in electronic devices. We had a dinner appointment. Rather than cancelling it, we had dinner together in our separate homes talking and viewing each other on Facetime. Facetime is or will be accessible on big screen smart TVs.

Many will use meal deliveries from favorite restaurants. We’ll be comfortable with virtual tours of museums and tourist destinations. We’ll take advantage of online services – ordering groceries for pickup or delivery. Banking will be done primarily online. Branches will close due to efficiency. The need for our subsidized postal service will disappear as we receive bills via email and pay online.

Churches and organizations will congregate online via virtual reality programs that give a view of the presenters and those present with their faces portrayed in the screen’s hall as if they were physically present. Attendees will be able to communicate with each other and make contributions.

More college classes will be taught online. Students will submit online questions. Physical classrooms will be shared, eliminating the need for building bonds. Online professors will teach more classes and less teachers will be needed. With pressure savings will be passed to students and tuition reduced.

For grade schools we’ll realized that home school providers, charter and choice schools were best prepared. Public schools were compelled to catchup. School choice will be advocated as the preferred primary system and when in place, school bonds will disappear.

Businesses will discover that more services can be provided from employees’ homes. Office space requirements and overhead will be reduced.

It will be recognized that government institutions often closed because they could provide a salary without providing real service. Maybe this was a union thing. But even before the virus, institutions had the means to function without ceasing performance. Courts already had court appearances via phone calls and electronic filings. Many parties will agree to have trials via video conferences. With a bit of ingenuity government services provided via the DMV, Planning Department and others will primarily be performed online.

Medical appointments will often occur without a virtual doctor visit and tests will be ordered without wasted visits.

We’ll have some new inventions such as hair coloring and barbering programs provided by something that looks like the old helmet hairdryer- or long grey stringy hair will be the fashion trend.

The U.N.’s World Health Organization (WHO) will be recognized as a political sham that damaged the fight against the virus and demands will be made to abandon or reform the U.N.

Despite the virus’s damage, Americans, being an enterprising people, welcomed innovation and made the best of their circumstances.

A Principled Stance on Free Speech in an Age of Cancel Culture

| Opinion | March 26, 2020

by Eric Goldin

Despite all the advancements modern Western society has achieved in the fields of science, medicine, mathematics and technology, we’re in many ways still very immature. We’ve never been able to rid ourselves of the medieval mentality of silencing people who disagree with us on important issues. Our tempers go ballistic, and we get very riled up when we hear something we don’t like. We forego civilized dialogue and avoid tough conversations by any means necessary. To put it simply, we sadly choose the barbarism of muzzling others.

There will always be detrimental ideas that need to be challenged, but a good society can’t function unless people are allowed to distinguish for themselves the difference between intelligence and stupidity. Bad ideas will never cease to exist, but great ideas won’t shine in a world without free speech. Awe-inspiring discoveries can never happen if people aren’t permitted to think outside the box. We shouldn’t deny people their right to say something – even if their whole worldview is complete lunacy. We should be willing to hear them out and have thoughtful discussions with them.

There was once a time when expressing a religious or societal view that went against the grain would cost a person severely and get them a violent draconian punishment. Thankfully things are not quite that bad anymore. Nobody has to worry about being sent to the guillotine or getting burned at the stake, and we’ve improved tremendously by treating people with much more humanity and dignity, but the residue of that mindset remains with us. Throughout history, many gifted individuals got destroyed because they discovered ingenious things disproving a mainstream societal view – or were simply willing to talk about taboo subjects.

In modern times there are still so many hot button political, social, religious, and even sports topics that are so heated and make people white-hot with rage that it’s dangerous to navigate through without getting scorched with pure wrath. People are walking on eggshells because they’re so petrified of stepping out of line. Numerous prominent figures have been denied a platform to express themselves just because their opinions are “controversial.” Many folks have had their careers and reputations ruined because they said something somebody else couldn’t handle without immaturely screaming and hollering like a baby.
This cancel culture phenomenon is something that is not mutually exclusive to one side of the political aisle. Many people on each end of the spectrum have accused each other of instigating these egregious acts, but the truth is both sides are guilty of participating in it. Sadly, we live in an era where the same person who has had their free speech rights violated will then mock, laugh at, or even actively participate in the shutting down of somebody else.

One of the most profound things that any political commentator ever said was when Kyle Kulinski (host of “Secular Talk”) explained that the sign a person is principled on the issue of free speech is when they are willing to stand up for the rights of their opponents. The thing I admire the most about Kulinski is how he stays principled and will gladly rush to the defense of those who have opposite views from his own. There are always going to be many people we vehemently disagree with, but that doesn’t mean we should act like fascists and embrace the kind of behavior that limits the freedom of others simply because we have conflicting views.

Kulinski hates right-wing pundit Milo Yiannopoulos and feels his rhetoric is terrible, but in February 2017, when Milo’s event at Berkeley got called off because of a violent riot protesting his appearance, Kyle sided with Milo and spoke up for his right of free speech. Kulinski also defended Fox News host Laura Ingraham when there were cries to get her taken off the air. Kyle despises Ingraham and thinks she is a complete imbecile who gets almost everything wrong, but he didn’t believe she should be removed from her position and barred from expressing herself. He was willing to chastise the people (many of whom were fellow progressive liberals) that were trying to get her fired.

I’m not a fan of Abby Martin (host of “Empire Files”), and I believe her criticisms of Israel are invalid, but it was despicable when she was recently denied from speaking at Georgia Southern University because she supports the Boycott From, Divestment From, and Sanctions Against Israel (BDS). I completely disagree with her on this issue, and in my opinion, BDS is the wrong response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but she shouldn’t have gotten banned from speaking because of these views.
The price of giving foolish ideas a platform is well worth it for the reward of protecting free speech and building a society where the most brilliant minds don’t get stifled.

Hope is Not a Method

| Opinion | March 19, 2020

“Hope is not a method!” General Gordon Sullivan, former Chief of Staff of the Army, coined this phrase in his 1996 best-selling book titled the same. The Army, as well as all the services in the nineties, was going through a transformation. Not only the way it fought, but more importantly, how its leaders thought in an environment that was volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA). VUCA was a concept taught at and originating from my old alma mater, the U.S. Army War College. The study and prosecution of warfare was radically changing from the nation-state, set-piece, force-on-force, battle lines established by opposing forces characterized by the World Wars, to the asymmetric, boundaryless, three dimensional, criminal, lethal exploits committed by bad actors with zealot followings epitomized in the Middle East.

There was a lot of wishful thinking post Vietnam, military leadership hoping our current doctrine was adaptable to the future fight. Sullivan’s point was hope, wanting something to happen and be true, is not a method…it doesn’t replace the hard work of strategizing, focusing, planning, visioning, team building, and educating…all methods that lead your organization to greatness! Our military thought-leaders had to address VUCA and change old-school doctrine to a much more encompassing, agile, responsive, decision-making process that addressed and dominated the VUCA environment. In other words, our warfighters had to adapt, improvise, and overcome in a radically different setting!

Business leaders and owners are confronted with the same environment: a marketplace that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, exacerbated by the velocity and volume of information (V2). If a business leader doesn’t have the will, capacity and capability to adapt to and improvise in this relatively new VUCA x V2 setting, chances of long-term business survival are slim. As Sullivan says, how you dominate in the marketplace is by investing in the hard work of strategizing, focusing, planning, visioning, team building, and most importantly educating!

A new threat came upon our shores less than a month ago and it has the potential to negatively impact many SCV businesses. A threat likely not planned for and asymmetric in its attack. It meets all the conditions of VUCA x V2 and once the viral wave passes, many businesses will have suffered significant loss, if not mortality, because they panicked and hoped instead of planned and acted: hoped the Coronavirus would go away; hoped the Coronavirus would not be contracted in their workplace; hoped that the Coronavirus would not impact the different sectors that either bought services or products from them, or the customers who consume them; hoped the government would bail them out.

There is a much better and rationale way to address the Coronavirus and that’s to lead, think, plan, and act! The business world has changed…once again. Time to rethink the entirety of your business…from lenders, investors, suppliers, employees, customers, and stakeholders. Time to plan on how your business will adapt and improvise to dominate in this transformed business environment. And, it’s time to lead and act, not delay, not procrastinate, not hesitate, but lead and act regaining control and certainty. First and foremost, communicate with your employees, customers and various stakeholders. Be positive and accepting of the facts as we know them today. Recognize the business environment has changed and you can’t hope the change away. You’ve got to adapt and improvise the way you do business, internally and externally. Don’t stop marketing and selling, but do reassure your customers that you’re open for business now and will be in the future, because you have a rock-solid plan to get through this. Finally, don’t panic, but do plan and use common sense and most of all, compassion.

In an effort to serve our business community, we will be hosting a series of free webinars titled “Your 12-Step Business First Aid Kit for Coronavirus.” Keep an eye on social media to register.

Gone Viral

| Opinion | March 19, 2020

Last week, Gazette Publisher Doug Sutton printed my satirical piece, which argued that the Democrats were the true misogynist, anti-Native American party that only supported old rich white guys after they forced out Elizabeth Warren from the race for their presidential nomination. Elizabeth Warren being the ultimate victim. I further pointed out that the Republicans of Santa Clarita were in fact the true inclusive party — as observed by two Republican women and one Hispanic man winning their races for the general election.

In response, one ardent Democrat responded that I was misrepresenting the facts (hmmm … the facts) and that Republicans were in fact guilty of these social justice sins.

Hopefully those who read the article and the response understand that neither party should be viewed in terms popular with the leftist-progressives. Especially in times such as these, when we need to come together to fight the current challenge we are facing from the dangers of the Coronavirus. Using this pending disaster for political leverage is an obscenity and decidedly un-American.

Let’s examine the president’s approach in dealing with the virus as compared with the leftist-progressives thinking and reactions.

The president:
Identified the source of the virus as coming from China. He was accused of being a racist.

Called for limiting entry into the United States, especially from countries containing the infection. Many Democrats still wanted open borders and called him a racist.

Sought advice from our best and brightest scientist doctors, researchers, federal, state and local political leaders and our leaders of industry in medical equipment manufacturing, drug manufacturing, retail distribution and finance. Leftists said he should seek the advice of scientists only and that he only listened to talk show hosts and did not believe in science. Did I forget to say racist?

He declared a national state of emergency and freed up billions of dollars to aid to all businesses and people who are being adversely affected. Democrats proclaimed that all aid should be targeted based on (you guessed it) protected and entitled groups. As always, whatever we spend, it is not enough.

The administration has been profoundly transparent with frequent updates. When mistakes in information have been made, it is quickly corrected. The Left is deaf to corrections and they frequently say that all the president does is lie …the racist.

In many cases has acted to limit travel before consulting with our foreign friends. The United States had consistently been ahead of the curve. He has been constantly in contact with them whenever possible. The left says that he must work together with our foreign friends (we are) and that he has waited too long to act. (If we waited to consult with all, nothing would have been done and we would be much further behind.) Proving once again he is a racist.
If there were failures, they came from the slow response from long-established bureaucrats who lack the responsiveness of the private sector.

America is blessed at this time to have a businessman in our top leadership, rather than a politician. In WWII it was our industries’ ability to quickly shift to a war-based economy that were able to innovate and build the weapons of war coupled with the heroism of “Our Greatest Generation” that won the war, and not superior tactics or the political socialist policies of FDR.

Notice the president has already brought together the people who can invent, manufacture and distribute what we will need to defeat the virus. He continues despite the slings and arrows from the Left. Who really cares more about the American people?
Stay safe.

Notes From an Extreme Centrist – Trump’s Katrina?

| Opinion | March 19, 2020

According to Psychology Today, “while most sociopaths may not be literal outlaws, however, they can share certain traits with them. This includes a lack of remorse, a propensity for untruthfulness, and a tendency toward behavior that benefits the sociopath at the expense of others. Ultimately, the defining characteristic of the sociopath is a profound lack of conscience—a flaw in the moral compass that typically steers people away from breaking common rules and toward treating others decently. This internal moral disconnect, however, is often masked by a charming demeanor.” Does this remind you of anyone?

Even the most devoted sycophantic cultish Trump supporters, if they have any rationality remaining in their political consciousness, must acknowledge that at least until this past weekend, the time of this writing, President Trump’s response to the coronavirus crisis has been erratic, ineffective and even dishonest. While talking “happy talk” and contradicting the warnings of his own experts, he has attacked the media and the Democrats, imposed travel restrictions on one-fourth of the world’s population, criticized other nations’ response effort, refused to meet with Speaker Pelosi and attacked his hand-picked Federal Reserve chairman. His responses are driven more by how he calculates their impact on his re-election and the vagaries of the stock market than on the actual health and economic impact on most Americans. Trump’s approach reflects his us-against-them mindset, tendency to assign blame, narcissistic propensity for making everything about himself, egocentric claims that only he can solve everything and his combative view of geopolitics.

For me, the defining moment, his ““Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job” moment, came when he publicly admitted that the Grand Princess would not be admitted into the USA because he didn’t want to double his national numbers of Americans testing positive. In other words, he cared more about his numbers than actual fellow Americans. Was it a slip of the tongue? Probably, but it was also a window into how this president actually thinks. When his disastrous Oval Office message, reportedly written by Miller and Kushner, failed to calm the markets and resulted in the worst day on Wall Street since 1987, he was forced into a “do-over” speech from the Rose Garden and ultimately capitulate to Pelosi, abandoning his until-after-the-election payroll tax give-away, which was exactly the wrong response, for an economic package targeted to help those Americans most vulnerable to the crisis.

Will any of this affect the election? Will it be ancient history by November? Will all those folks who say they hate Trump’s tweets but love their 401Ks blame Trump if the market doesn’t bounce back by then? Is it fair to blame Trump for the economic consequences of the coronavirus and his erratic performance as president during the early days of the crisis?

My father, may he rest in peace, used to say, “If you take credit for the rain, don’t be surprised if you are blamed for the drought.” Fred Trump should have shared that insight with little Donny.

We May Be Shut Down, But Not Shut Out There is Still a Win in the Wake of Covid-19

| Opinion, Sports | March 19, 2020

Having a day to reflect upon the current state of our country and the world, many thoughts have passed through my head as we witness the lockdown of swimming due to the rampant run of the Coronavirus. I began to think about my childhood, when I was a competing swimmer. The work put in to earn those Championship cuts– and how such a crisis would have impacted me. I believe I would have experienced a massive let-down while at the same time convinced myself I was ready to take on the world. I would not have been able to comprehend the complexity or the dynamics of the situation, nor taken the time to grasp its reality. I would just always be thinking… “Why is this stopping me now?!”

Today, I look back on swimming and uniquely enough what I recall most is the training. The day in, day out grind of it all and what it truly meant. The days of pain from putting in the work. The agony of the defeats at practice that left me broken and alone. The times I felt like “This is too much, I can’t go on” but pushed through it to come out the other side. The tears or laughter next to my teammates as we built lasting relationships through the sport. The practices filled with relay starts, talks of pacing or the days of endless turns.

I deeply remember the moments where my coach and I just spoke. Poolside with my feet dangling in the water, goggles wrapped around my head, leaving a temporary red impression across my forehead. Why are you afraid to race, Chris? What’s holding you back? What’s your reason why? I couldn’t answer those questions. I could only search for them. I knew I had to seek them, as it was my journey– not my coach’s.

There were times our conversations drifted to the personal. Topics like home, friends, break-ups, school grades, weight, acne issues and self-esteem. Subject matters that would actually make me cry. Real life discussions that might be impossible to raise at home because often times they involved mom or dad.

Finally, I remember confrontational talks with my coach. Asking him why he rides on me so much. Why he is constantly at me during practice? Why isn’t he making me faster? I felt like at times I was not one of his “favorites” or he just “didn’t like me” because of the way he treated me. What I didn’t know, was that his actions were a direct result of me and my behaviors at practice. A lesson I learned much later in life.

Upon graduation from high school I found out more, but not directly from my coach. Rather from a letter he wrote to my new coach. An insightful, inspiring letter from the coach I was convinced did not have my back. It wasn’t until I became a grown man that I realized the impact that coach had on my life. I have since thanked him for his dedication– and apologized for not living up to his beliefs in me.

“All of this is what I remember most about competitive swimming. I don’t really recall all the Championship Meets and certainly not any life lessons I might have learned along the way. What truly shaped my life moving forward was the daily training.”

Though we are shutdown from our Championship Meets, we are not shutout of the training that took place, where all of these “invisible and un-measurable” learning experiences occurred on our pool decks. Each and every athlete grew in their own way towards a better version of themselves. New and stronger relationships were built. Athletes faced new discoveries about themselves during the grind. They learned the agony of defeat and the power of picking themselves up. They have built more trust with their coach. Lastly, day in and day out they put the work in, which soon will pay dividends down the road.

All is not lost, in fact far from it. This growth will carry over to the next Championship Meet. Their quench for success will be even greater. The drive to bounce back will be stronger. When they get that chance to race again, they will have fun! I predict we see some amazing swims emerge from this. In the wake of Covid-19, there will be a WIN!

To all our swim communities, it’s important to stay positive at this time, stay bonded as a team and continue to support your local club. When this all turns– and it will– athletes will need their club, their teammates and a sense of routine and purpose more than ever.

Chris Dahowski, ASCA 4, is currently the head coach at Paseo Aquatics.

See Ya in the Funny Papers

| Opinion | March 19, 2020

by Dale Paule

It suddenly dawned on me why I’ve been having trouble making sense out of the Democrats’ strategy and actions to derail Trump. Turns out it was because I’ve been getting my information from the wrong section of the newspaper. When I switched from reading the front page to the comics section: bingo! It all began to make perfect sense.

If you’re only getting your information from the newspaper or mainstream media, try turning to the comic section of the newspaper, or switching channels to one of those kids cartoon programs, and you’ll see what I mean.

Politicians, like school children, continually claim to have been “offended” by some action or comment, then tearfully exempt themselves from like behavior, using the “Johnny hit me first” excuse, followed by the “I’m shocked, simply shocked” look as they search for the closest television camera to demonstrate their most “offended” pose.

Newspapers and television could open up a whole new group of readers and viewers by changing their approach to presenting political news. For instance, wouldn’t it be fun to see cartoon depictions of political events on the front page of the newspaper instead of those attention grabbing, and more-often misleading headlines for a change? And how about mainstream media running “Road Runner vs. Wiley Coyote” cartoons showing the Dems setting traps to destroy Trump, then, as usual, ending up backfiring on them: “KaBooom!—Beep, Beep!” There’s enough real examples of that floating around to make it into a mini-series!

There was a time when people got all their information from only one source: the newspaper. Then along came radio, and you didn’t have to bother stopping to buy a newspaper on the way home to learn what was happening. Now all you had to do was sit back in your easy chair and listen, while some soothing voice told you all you needed to know. It wasn’t long until the internet and the iPhone made it even easier; you just hit a couple of buttons, and the world’s never-ending and startling events are explained to you instantly. But now, by a well-groomed face to match the soothing, and reassuring voice.

But news is like ice cream; too much of it can give you a bellyache, or in the case of news, a headache and a bellyache!

Because of intense competition for more readers and viewers, newspapers and television networks push the “truth envelope” to create ever bigger, and scarier versions of events to grab the viewers attention to justify that frightening “Alert–Breaking News” as it flashes across your television screen; or, “We interrupt this program to bring you, etc,” jumps out of your radio and gets your blood pumping.

There comes a point when the human brain is so overwhelmed by being constantly bombarded with too much information, too fast, that it becomes impossible to tell the difference between an urgent, life threatening situation, or a merely routine matter.

We’re close to surrendering our ability to think, and decide issues for ourselves, and if that ever happens, television and newspapers, with their eye-catching, misleading headlines will have replaced that ability with whatever the headline and commentary wants it to be.

No one knows when, or if this trend will ever end, but it probably all began with “primitive man,” depicting important events on cave walls. It gives “modern man” a rare glimpse into life, as that “Primitive Man” who told it in crude drawings saw it.

It would interesting though, to know whether it was also the way others saw it!

The President Declares War on Coronavirus

| Opinion | March 19, 2020

by Rob Werner

In WWII we lost 291,000 soldiers.  Half the population infected, with one percent casualties will end  1,650,000 lives.  We are at war!  The financial devastation will be worse than WWII bombings, exceeding one trillion dollars. An anonymous person identified as a Chinese Communist Party dissident revealed that he has seen documentation showing the Party knew of the disease 45 days prior to previous reports. This is not proof as he is anonymous to save his life. Given such advance notice, the virus could have been halted in China.  We must not forgive China.

The President’s engaged in a balancing act of preparing for and preventing the spread of the disease, while promoting and preserving the economy.  Entertainment, social gatherings, schools, government agencies and even the local pub are now in shut down mode.

Yet, Illegal border crossings are still a problem.  Thirty thousand illegals are caught monthly: including over three hundred Chinese this year. Homeland Security believes porous border may spread Coronavirus.

Trump’s banning transportation from infected countries got opposition but did delay disease transmission.  Maybe there’s a game plan – delay the spread of the disease.  It’s reported the virus doesn’t do well in warm climates and may recede or disappear by summer.  Also, delay will give us more time to prepare for the battles.

Trump has suspended many regulations to speed production and delivery of care, material and equipment needed to fight this war.  He has enlisted the help of government departments and mended fences with the Governor’s of New York and California to provide a united front in battling the disease.

The President first proposed legislation to fight the disease.  Congress delayed it, adding billions to restore welfare benefits.  Understanding urgency, the President signed the bill.

The President knows that if we don’t shore up the economy, we will suffer a long-term economic disaster. Politics is nasty.  Opponents’ mantra is “destroy the economy – defeat Trump.”  An elected Democrat even advocated intentionally spreading the disease among Republicans.  However, there is bi-partisan cooperation in this war.

If industries engaged in travel, entertainment and recreation go bankrupt, the devastating effect will percolate throughout the economy.  Remember the 2008 housing crash led to the great recession.

Should we trust Trump?   Can we pass his legislative agenda without adding new welfare and permanent government programs?

Trump doesn’t want to wait for the disaster and then offer welfare.  He wants to shore up businesses and employees now.

You may not like Trump, but recognize he knows how to manage business. He’s not in government for the money – he donates his salary.  He understands the marketplace.  He will fire people who don’t get the job done.  He’s efficient, even his White House budget is twenty million dollars less than Obama’s.

Remember when Trump took office and didn’t like the bill for a new Airforce One.  He convinced the company to provide two jets for the price.  He revised taxes achieving billions in new investments.  He improved our trade deals and got NATO nations to pay military expenses.  We prosper while other nations are in recession.

Trump believes with the right immediate action; economic problems can be short term.  These proposals are not conservative, they are a businessman’s pragmatic approach to avoid making a temporary problem a permanent disaster.

Our choice is a temporary shoring up of the economy now or innumerable new welfare programs later.  Let Trump do his job!



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