Tag Archives: Bob MacDonald

Trump is Right – The System is Rigged!



Trump is on solid ground to suggest that the political system is rigged against him, but he is off-base to suggest that if he loses, it will be because of fraud in the voting process. It is not widespread voting fraud that threatens to corrupt the election, it is the system itself that is rigged against candidates like Trump. In truth, there are few elections – at any level – that are pure and without some modicum of mistakes or fraud. But Trump does harm to his cause by focusing on insignificant voting irregularities rather than the core issue that the system itself is rigged.

By focusing on “voter fraud” and petulantly suggesting he may not accept the outcome of the election, Trump opens the door to vituperative criticism from both the Republican and Democratic establishments who want to divert attention away from the uncomfortable truth that the system itself is rigged.

Those of the establishment power elite echo the same criticism that, “Trump’s comments threaten the very core upon which American democracy is based.” The critics are correct on that point, but the inherent fallacy in their argument is that the American system of government is a “democracy,” because it is not and was never intended to be one.

The writers of the American constitution wanted to create the illusion of a “government of the people, by the people and for the people,” but the truth is they feared true democracy as much as they detested a monarchy. Those who constructed the constitution – the elite of American society at the time – did not believe that the “common man” had the knowledge or temperament to be granted the power to govern themselves. But they did recognize that if they were to govern the country effectively it would require the trust and support of the people. The ingenious solution was to create a republic governed under a “representative democracy” and “sell” the illusion to the people that it was a true democracy.

This political slight-of-hand was accomplished in a number of ways: The people would be allowed to directly elect representatives – though not senators or the president – who would be empowered to govern the people. Even at that, initially only about eight percent of all Americans (mostly white male landowners) were eligible to vote. Senators would be elected by state legislations. The president would be elected by a complicated new contrivance – twice removed from the voters – called the “Electoral College.”  All of these machinations were intended to give the illusion of a democracy, while in reality they were mechanisms rigged to keep the elite establishment in power; and it has worked for 200 years.

Those who defend the system point to how it has changed and adapted over time. They cite “universal suffrage” enabling any American citizen to vote as an example of greater democracy. But even so, it is voting within the same “rigged” system. But there are still vestiges of fear over giving the “common man” the power of the vote. Evidence of this attitude is exhibited in the recent systematic efforts (mostly by Republicans) to inhibit the right to vote. Under the suspicious guise of preventing “voter fraud” (very little of which has been shown) there have been efforts to purge eligible voters from registration rolls and unwarranted use of stringent voter ID requirements. All of these actions suppress democracy by making it more difficult for minorities and the poor to vote.

There is a very thin veneer separating myth from reality when it comes to “power for the people” and for this system to continue to work, the “common man” must continue to buy-in to the belief that they live in a democracy and that their vote gives them power to determine how they are governed. Think about it: There are maybe 3,000 people making up the politically powerful elite in this country who seek to govern, control and determine the future and fate of over 300,000,000 citizens. For this to work, those 300 million must buy the myth that their government is a democracy “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

And this is the rub when it comes to Trump calling the system “rigged.” Even though Trump is focused on perceived fraud within the system rather than the system itself, his criticism is so close to the truth that those who control and benefit from the status quo have a near-panic fear that the illusion of a democracy will be peeled away and it will become impossible for them to effectively govern the country.

It is not my intent to suggest the system is bad. (Although I do believe it has been corrupted by convoluted gerrymandering of Congressional districts that reduces the power of the voter; restrictive voter ID requirements and a lack of term limits for Congress.) The inspired efforts of those who wrote the constitution creating a representative democracy fit the needs of the country at the time and considering the size and dynamics of America today, it is still the best system. But the best way to protect and preserve it – maybe even improve it – is to admit what it is, rather than hiding behind the myth of what it is not.

The problem for the power elite is that today’s “common man” is much more educated and sophisticated than their counterparts in the 18th century. In short, the common man of today can recognize when they are getting the short end of the stick. When the average person can see the elite getting more and they getting less and the effort to bring about real change is thwarted by the system, it becomes more and more difficult for them to buy-in to the myth that they live in a democracy. This explains why the financial and political elite have such a visceral panicked reaction when one of their own suggests the system is rigged. When this happens, the response of those who control the system is to mock, deride, castigate and degrade the evil apostate in a full-frontal assault intended to protect and preserve the myth of democracy. Such is the fate of Trump.

Don’t be Intimidated by the Attempted Intimidation of Others


from “If You’re Not Making History, You Are History” by Bob MacDonald


Intimidation is a fact of life. It joins death and taxes as one of the few certainties in life. If someone tells you they have never been intimidated by someone or something, they are lying. Like a Stephen King horror story, intimidation comes at us in many forms and faces. As long as intimidation is going to be part of our lives, we might as well learn how to deal with it, resist it, and even use it against the intimidator. The key to doing this is to understand the dynamics of intimidation and the motivation of those who attempt to wield it.

Intimidation comes at us from many quarters, but the typical corporate environment is an out-and-out incubator for intimidation. The use of power, authority, position and status to intimidate workers into compliance is considered to be one of the most effective of management’s bag of coercive tools. Respect for authority, position and status is fine, but using them to intimidate others into submissive acquiescence is quite another thing.

Intimidation in the workplace can be blunt and blatant or it can be subtle and surreptitious. Finding the right approach to neutralizing intimidation may at times seem counterintuitive, but it is important to do so. Knowing how to react to what, in essence, is bullying will go a long way toward determining just who or what will control our lives and careers.

The basis of intimidation is fear. The natural inclination to workplace intimidation is to be cowed and fearful, but that is the wrong reaction because it fails to differentiate between real fear and the feeling of fear created by intimidation. Fear is a natural and primordial reaction that is intended to warn us that the threat of bodily injury is imminent. Intimidation, on the other hand, is a tactic used by a weak bully-manager to create an artificial aura of fear that something bad might happen. When we understand that, we are much better positioned to confront intimidation.

There is another reason why war should be declared on office intimidation. When intimidation is used as a tool of management it is counterproductive and destructive. Intimidation cowers the employee in a way that limits their ability to act independently, resulting in wasted time, talent and creative opportunity. The idea that you can command people to do things because they’re afraid of you makes the use of intimidation a pretty tempting commodity for the weak and insecure manager. However, this approach is the antithesis of effective leadership and detrimental to any hope of achieving success.

Those who suffer from the application of workplace intimidation become overly fearful of offering their ideas or sharing their concern. (Ever had that feeling?) They are wary of taking the initiative and, accordingly, their doubts become self-fulfilling. Even worse, those who succumb to intimidation become little more than frustrated drones, mindlessly carrying out a sort of genetic blueprint drawn by the intimidating figure from on high. It is sad to see how many people suffer through their career intimidated by the bullying of others. It causes them to fear any attempt to do what they dream to do; and instead are forced to play by the rules of others.

When it comes time to face the demons of intimidation – and it will happen – you will be well served by recognizing intimidation for what it is and by exhibiting a confidence that will never allow it to consume you. This may seem to be difficult, but it is the only way to avoid the feeling of being chained to an oar of a slave-galley; otherwise known as the corporate world.

Fighting Intimidation with Intimidation

So the first step to dealing with intimidation in the workplace is to recognize that it is thrust upon us from a sense of insecurity and weakness, rather than confidence and strength. Once we recognize the purpose of intimidation, we are well on our way to thwarting its impact. This understanding gives us the power to rise above the situation and turn it against the intimidator. This is the embodiment of the old saying, “Fight fire with fire!” That is, creating a “back-draft” that turns the intimidation back on the intimidator.

The person who consciously uses intimidation in an effort to gain control is like the schoolyard bully. They will keep pushing so long as they believe they can get away with it. On the other hand, as soon as the intimidator realizes you will not be intimidated, then the whole relationship will change. You may be thinking that challenging the intimidator is easy to say, but that it is Pollyanna thinking and not realistic in the real world. It is true that standing up to the intimidator may, in and of itself, be intimidating and career-threatening, but as long as we hold to this attitude we are, in effect, validating the power of intimidation.

There is a revealing scene in the movie Zero Dark Thirty when Maya (Jessica Chastain), who is a junior member of a team of CIA operatives, charged with finding Osama bin Laden, stands up to her boss. Constantly intimidated by reminders of her low position on the team, lack of experience, the power of the system and a “station chief” more concerned with his resume and fear of failure than accomplishing the objective, Maya finally takes a stand. Using his insecurities and ambitions against him, Maya reflects the intimidation back at her boss, and he backs down. From that time forward Maya is treated with respect and her ideas are taken seriously, ultimately resulting in finally tracking down OBL.

At the very least, understanding intimidation and the motivation for some to use it will enable us to better deal with it. But we can actually do more than that. We can use the understanding of motivation to intimidate the intimidator; exorcising it from our lives and allowing us the freedom to achieve all that we have the potential to achieve.

And the moral of the story …

Trust me, I know intimidation sucks and it is often difficult to confront. It creates an artificial feeling of fear that inhibits its victims from performing to their potential. But intimidation is a cold fact of life – especially in the workplace – that can only be conquered when confronted. The way to neutralize the impact of intimidation is to understand it and recognize why it is being used. When we identify intimidation as a desperate tactic of a weak and insecure manager, it loses its fearsome influence and can, in fact, be used against the intimidator to nullify it.

When we conjure up the vision of the business intimidator as nothing more than a schoolyard bully and comprehend that the only way to stop them is to stand up to them, we will have discovered the only antidote to intimidation.

Have You Decided Who You Will Vote For? The Choices Are Deplorable!


from “If You’re Not Making History, You Are History” by Bob MacDonald


For the first time in history, more people will vote against a candidate for president, than will vote for a candidate. It’s not even a decision to vote for the “lesser of two evils.” There is a large group of the electorate who, while they see Trump as unqualified, so dislike and distrust Clinton they will express that feeling by voting for Trump. Likewise, there is a block of voters who, while they are turned off by Clinton, are so fearful of Trump’s antics, they will vote for Clinton. This year’s election is a little like the condemned man being given the choice between execution by hanging or firing squad.

There are those who will argue that there is another option – maybe the best one – and that is to vote for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee. But that is not much of an option either. Johnson is more like the reincarnation of Alfred E. Newman of Mad Magazine. You may not be old enough to remember the, “What me worry?” mantra of Alfred E. Newman, but Johnson blithely wanders through the campaign demonstrating a total lack of awareness of the world around him and sees no reason to worry about it.

As bad as they are, let’s explore the options we have …

Hillary Clinton may be the luckiest person to ever run for president. If Clinton were pitted against anyone other than Donald Trump, she would have little hope of winning. As it is, despite all her real deficiencies, it is highly likely that she will be the next president.

Among Hillary’s many problems is that she is the embodiment of the status quo, at a time when people want change. A vote for Clinton signals satisfaction with the way things are and a willingness to accept the same in the future. Nothing underscores this more than her cozy relationship with and support of the moneyed elite in the country. Want evidence of this? Just ask yourself: When was the last time you saw the Republican big money, the banks and Wall Street line up to support the Democratic presidential nominee? They would not do so if they were not confident that Clinton would support the status quo.

But there is are even more compelling reasons to vote against Clinton, even if you don’t like Trump. Clinton lacks the ethical principles of effective leadership and has exhibited the propensity to say what she has to say and do what she has to do to further her career. Clinton is the type of politician who is for something till she is against it. Over and over Clinton has demonstrated the willingness to change her views in order to tack into the winds of political expediency. The best example of this attitude was the way she has responded to the long string of sexual indiscretions by her husband. Rather than maintain her own self-respect, it is apparent she reached an “arrangement” with her husband that allowed her to remain on the public stage. It was one thing to “reconcile” with her husband, but to attack the women he was involved with was intended simply to protect her political ambitions.

The long string of controversies and scandals that follow in the wake of the Clintons are evidence that they have always operated in the dark gray area of ethics. Maybe their actions have not been illegal, but they have certainly been smelly and sleazy. When you put all this together it is easy to see why so few voters are inspired, motivated or happy to vote for Clinton; except to vote against Trump.

As for Trump, aside from Clinton, he is the luckiest person ever to receive the nomination for president. If he were running against any other Democratic nominee, he would have little hope of winning. All too often, people will say, “I am not all that comfortable with Trump, but I just hate Hillary.” Trump is the living caricature of the bombastic, boorish, egomaniacal, ethically challenged business entrepreneur. He has an overactive libido for doing the deal – no matter what it is. No rational, thinking person can, with a straight face, claim that Trump is qualified to be president of the United States; at least by the definition used up till now. The only qualification favoring Trump is that he is viewed as a “change agent” at a time when people are hungry for change.

Trump has intuitively struck the cord of change that has been magnified by the fact he is running against an anti-change candidate. This would normally be a winning strategy for a candidate, but while Trump has talked of change, he has failed to identify the specifics of change and how it will be accomplished; both of which are essential, if a change agent is to be successful bringing about change.

The final decision as to whom to vote for comes down to two options: Are you willing to vote for someone you don’t like or trust, but you know their election will continue the safe sameness of the past? Are you willing to vote for someone you don’t like, but you know their election will bring about change; even if you don’t know what that change might be? The truth is there are no good choices as to how to vote.

But there is a strong clue to the outcome: While people clamor for change – especially when things don’t seem to be going well for them – in the end they accept the status quo – even if it is not in their best interests – rather than face change that is unknown.