Go Lean Commentary
The concept is simple: while looking forward is uncertain, looking back is perfect.
As this year 2020 comes to a close, we would like to acknowledge that this year did not unfold the way anyone expected or hoped. Our forecast was wrong. See this excerpt from a previous blog-commentary of June 7, 2019:
Blog # 900 – 2020: Where Vision is Perfected
Do “you” have 20/20 vision?
… Unfortunately, for the 30 member-states of the Caribbean, the answer is an undisputed “No”. We have the greatest address on the planet and yet our societal engines (economics, security and governance) are so dysfunctional that our people are “beating down the doors” to get out. In a recent blog-commentary [(June 4, 2019)] from the movement behind the 2013 book Go Lean…Caribbean, this historic fact was enunciated:
“The Caribbean region has exported more of its people than any other region of the world since the abolition of slavery in 1834. While the largest Caribbean immigrant sources to the U.S. are Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Haiti, U.S. citizen migrants also come from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
The same as vision can be corrected with glasses and lenses, community vision or planning can also be perfected with reboots and turn-around activities. Our current vision is bad, we need correction. We cannot see (nor seem to care about) all of our citizens that are fleeing the homeland and looking for refuge elsewhere. Yes, we need to correct our vision; we need to get back to 20/20.
2020 is not just a reference to vision; it is also the next year on our calendar. This intersection allows us to use the actuality of 2020 to perfect our vision for Caribbean planning. …
The Go Lean movement, introducing the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), is bent on planning or presenting a new Vision for the year 2020. 2020 is a milestone in a lot of ways: new decade, new generation, even a new census (from an American perspective).
The “Perfected Vision” we had hoped for did not materialize. In fact the number 2020 has turned out to be one of the most unsavory numbers; think 13 or 666.
There are other numbers that are en vogue as well, think 330,000 and 5 million. That number 330,000 refers to the number of Americans dead as a result of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. This is the number just for the US! While other countries have had losses, the American death toll best describes the absurdity of the devastation of this horrible year. (America being the last remaining Super Power).
There are people that question that death count. (The long train of denial is part of the story of 2020). The number of people denying the actualities of 2020 could be higher too, as the 45th President Donald Trump, despite obvious egregious speech and actions (policies) garnered even more votes than in 2016: 5 million more.
Imagine the depraved indifference. You just buried a loved one, limited to only 10 people at the graveside ceremony, and people question the validity of the death. This is the effects of a lie; lying tears down, not build up.
The actuality of “Lies and Lying” seems to be the theme of this 2020 year. The year opened with the biggest news headlines being related to the Impeachment Trial of President Donald Trump in the US Senate. Underlying to this case was the lies and deceitful behavior of the POTUS in dealing with the government leaders of the Eastern European country of Ukraine. Mr. Trump wanted the Ukrainian president to announce an investigation into Hunter Biden, the son of the expected Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, in the November 3, 2020 General Election.
That lie set the stage for the whole year; (Joe Biden was the eventual winner of the Decision 2020 and won with more than 7 million votes over Mr. Trump).
Next came the threat of the Wuhan-China birthed Coronavirus. Rather than facing the challenge head-on by containing it – as executed by other presidents with other epidemics, think SARS and Ebola – this was presented by President Trump as a hoax, so everyone lost their vigilance … until it was too late.
More threats and challenges emerged in which truth needed to be the leading weapon, but instead lies and denial was the dominant characteristic. See this theme as developed in this news article/editorial review here:
VIDEO – The biggest Pinocchios of 2020 – https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/politics/the-biggest-pinocchios-of-2020-fact-checker/2020/12/18/93200b2e-24a6-4fbb-be9c-f00a72a72973_video.html
The Fact Checker tackles some of the most Pinocchio worthy claims of 2020. (The Washington Post)
Title: The biggest Pinocchios of 2020
It’s time for our annual roundup of the biggest Pinocchios of the year.
Ever since President Trump burst on the political scene in 2015, we have noted that we faced a challenge in not letting him dominate this list of the biggest falsehoods. The president is a serial exaggerator without parallel in U.S. politics. He not only consistently makes false claims, but also repeats them, in some cases hundreds of times, even though they have been proved wrong.
In 2019, Trump took seven of the 13 spots. He earned six spots in 2018 and 2017, five in 2016 and three in 2015. Even so, we cheated a bit because in some cases Trump’s false claims on a particular subject were so numerous and varied that we created all-around categories.
The explosion of false and misleading statements from Trump during his presidency is well documented in our database. We have struggled to keep up with his torrent of falsehoods during the final weeks of the campaign, when he barnstormed the country making 600 to 700 false or misleading claims a week. The next update will show he crossed the 25,000 mark by mid-October.
So in this remarkable year, we have given up trying to keep Trump to about half of the list. In 2020, Trump will earn seven of 10 spots, with three all-around categories — his false claims about the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. election and the violence that erupted after the death of George Floyd in police custody. President-elect Joe Biden earns two spots, while the last slot goes to a GOP hopeful in a Senate race.
Nevertheless, this may be Trump’s last appearance on this annual list. As of Jan. 21, we will set a high bar for fact-checking his statements. He will be a defeated ex-president, and we tend to focus on claims made by people in power. In other words, we hope to ignore him and concentrate on people who really matter in national policy debates.
In compiling this list, we mostly focused on claims that earned Four Pinocchios during the year. To keep it simple, in some cases, we have shortened or paraphrased the quotes in the headlines. To read the full column, click on the link embedded in the quote. The all-around categories have links within the summaries.
We generally do not list the Pinocchios of the Year in any particular order, but the collection of coronavirus and election claims are especially consequential. The president’s statements affected both the health of U.S. citizens and American democracy and will undoubtedly influence how historians assess his performance as president.
A global pandemic would be a challenge for any U.S. president. But through his constant lies about the crisis, Trump managed to consistently make the situation worse for the United States. He minimized the danger at first, dismissing the novel coronavirus as less serious than the seasonal flu and something that would go away on its own. He touted bogus cures and quick fixes. He oversold achievements, such as falsely claiming that he led the world in a China ban and that U.S. testing for the virus was on track. He blamed others, falsely saying, for instance, that President Barack Obama bungled the swine flu pandemic and left behind an “empty cupboard” of ventilators. He invented a fairy tale about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “dancing” in the streets of Chinatown and attacked Anthony S. Fauci, the renowned director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, with bogus complaints. He also repeatedly lowballed the death count, falsely claiming he saved millions of lives. He often wrongly said 85 percent of mask-wearers catch the virus — insisting it was true even after he was corrected. And this is only scratching the surface of his falsehoods.
Throughout 2020, Trump seeded the ground for challenging the presidential election results with bogus claims of election fraud. More than 200 times, he warned about the alleged dangers of mail-in voting. (His own administration highlighted how his false claims on voting-by-mail were almost identical to the Russian propaganda being spread online to destabilize U.S. politics.) In his campaign rallies, Trump sprinkled his speeches with tall tales about election malfeasance. So when Biden decisively defeated him in the 2020 election, the president and his allies engaged in a scorched-earth effort to challenge the vote count in key swing states. His claims were repeatedly tossed out of court by judges and denied by election officials, but Trump has kept repeating the false claims, even after the electoral college affirmed Biden’s win. Trump still refuses to concede. These lies may have long-term consequences, undermining Americans’ faith that votes will be correctly counted.
Bogus violence claims
The killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis by police led to a national reckoning on race. But Trump saw the incident as a way to gain an electoral edge, so he repeatedly hyped claims about “professional anarchists, violent mobs, or, arsonists, looters, criminals, rider rioters, antifa and others.” antifa is a moniker, not a single group with a clear organizational structure or leader, and no cases could be found in which someone who self-identifies as antifa led violent acts at protests across the country. The White House tweeted (and later deleted) a 58-second video that employed out-of-context social clips to lob unproven accusations and create a misleading impression of what has happened during the Floyd protests. Trump himself tweeted an outrageous conspiracy theory about a Buffalo man injured by police. He also falsely claimed that Obama never tried to tackle the problem of police brutality during his presidency. And he repeatedly — and falsely — said that Biden supported efforts to defund police.
“No president has done more for Blacks since Lincoln”
Trump is not a modest man. More than 30 times, he declared he has done more for Black people than any other president — or, he might generously concede, since Abraham Lincoln. Historians scoffed at his claim, saying that Lyndon B. Johnson, who signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, is clearly the recent president who had the most lasting impact on the lives of Black Americans. Many other presidents were also ranked higher than Trump.
“Joe Scarborough got away with murder”
Some dozen times, Trump insinuated that MSNBC anchor Joe Scarborough might have murdered a congressional aide. This was an old claim, debunked by The Washington Post in 2017. But Trump often smears those who challenge him. He has a long-running feud with the “Morning Joe” husband-and-wife team of Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Still, even after four years of Trump, it remains astounding to see the president make a thinly veiled murder accusation devoid of evidence.
“I will always protect people with preexisting conditions”
Trump understands little about health-care policy. But he does understand that the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with preexisting health conditions are highly popular. So in every speech, he includes this line, even though it is directly contradicted by the policies his administration has pursued, including asking the Supreme Court to strike down the entire ACA, thus ending the guarantee for patients with preexisting conditions. Few claims better illustrate the gap between Trump’s words and actions.
“Trump is the most pro-gay president in American history”
Technically Trump did not say this, but he retweeted a video — proclaiming “My great honor!!!” — that was narrated by Richard Grenell, a longtime spinmeister and booster of the president. The video makes the provocative claim that Trump — whose administration is often criticized by LGBTQ rights advocates as anti-gay — is actually the most “pro-gay” president in U.S. history. The core of the video is actually a lengthy attack on Biden as anti-LGBTQ. The video is a stew of misleading timelines, out-of-context quotes and claims easily debunked — which was typical of Trump campaign material.
“I was arrested trying to see Nelson Mandela”
In one of the strangest tall tales, Biden three times asserted that he had the “great honor” of being arrested with the U.N. ambassador on the streets of Soweto trying to get to see Nelson Mandela “on Robbens Island.” Never mind that Soweto, a township near Johannesburg, is nearly 900 miles from Robben — not Robbens — Island, which is off the coast of Cape Town. No one knew what Biden was talking about, including Andrew Young, the former ambassador. Eventually Biden explained he was separated from Black colleagues at the airport. That’s not an arrest.
“Trump has a plan to deplete Social Security”
There cannot be an election without Democrats making bogus claims about an alleged GOP attack on Social Security. The Biden campaign followed this technique when it asserted that Trump had a “plan” to eliminate the payroll tax that funds Social Security. Trump certainly made confusing comments before he reiterated that any diversion for a payroll tax holiday would come out of general funds. But that did not stop Democrats from ginning up a letter from the chief actuary of Social Security to estimate the impact of a plan that did not exist — which the Biden campaign weaponized into attack ads and the candidate repeated on the campaign trail.
“I created a foundation 10 years ago that helped inner-city kids”
Bryant “Corky” Messner, a first-time candidate who unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), during his campaign touted an organization, the Messner Foundation, which he said selects low-income students every year to receive college scholarships. But tax records examined by The Fact Checker showed that in the first 10 years of the foundation’s existence, only one student received a scholarship from Messner’s foundation — and even more money was given to an elite private school that Messner’s sons were attending at the time. Yet for years Messner and the foundation have suggested that many students had been the recipients of funds.
Source: Posted December 18, 2020; retrieved December 20, 2020 from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/12/18/biggest-pinocchios-2020/
It has been a year filled with darkness; the only remedy is light, or enlightening knowledge. Even the Bible says:
You will know the truth and the truth will set you free. The Bible – John 8:32 New Living Translation
So truth is connected to freedom and freedom to truth. The President of the United States is considered the Leader of the Free World, but that title has been dubious for 2020, as so much of what has gone wrong this year has Mr. Trump’s fingerprints on it. Consider these, the major 2020 events of the year:
- Natural Disaster rages on – We must abate Climate Change – Thanks for nothing Mr. Trump
- Coronavirus – Facts and Fictions – Exposing hate and denials
- Solar Energy reconciliation – Finally, but long past the right time to implement Green Energy solutions
- Chef Jose Andres – bailing out America, too, by feeding the hungry
- European Role Model, not so admirable – we must Grow Up ourselves and Be Better
- Labor Realities in a Pandemic: Essential or Sacrificial – Not everyone suffers the same
- Hamilton comes to Streaming; Streaming takes over the world
- Remembering 100 Years of Voting for American Women – Lessons for us in the Caribbean
- Naomi Osaka – Shining Example of Light
- Banking on the Bank – The Inter-American Development Bank
- Election Reality – Hasta La Vista Mr. Trump
In addition, the movement behind the Go Lean book always publishes a Teaching Series every month. The subject matters of those series have propelled the “Caribbean” discussion forward in terms of how to reform and transform our society. Consider these topics for the applicable months of 2020:
|January||Forging Change – How? An Art & a Science – 4-part series|
|February||Brain Drain Actuality – The Good, Bad & the Ugly – 5-part series|
|March||Big Hairy Audacious Goal – Yes, we can – 7-part series|
|April||Keep the Change – Some Pandemic changes are good for transforming the world – 5-part series|
|May||Good Leadership – Essential for Progress – Here is how – 6-part series|
|June||Rise from the Ashes – COVID-19 is the last to devastate us; time to rebuild – 7-part series|
|July||Black Image and Black Lives Matter – This means the Caribbean too – 6-part series|
|August||Pandemic Playbook – Fail to plan; plan to fail – 7-part series|
|September||Toxic Environments – A compelling reason for the Exile “Push” – 7-part series|
|October||Decision 2020 – Impact of the Caribbean Diaspora – 5-part series|
|November||Decision 2020 – After the Vote Analysis – 5-part series|
|December||Long Train of Abuses – a 6-part series|
We lost a lot during 2020 – see the “Review” in the Appendix VIDEO below. For the Caribbean, we lost people to death and to the Diaspora. So we have no choice; we must reform and transform. This is still the goal, this is the Way Forward.
If this premise is true, then the needed changes for Caribbean survival should be forthcoming, as 2020 has been all crises all the time.
Let’s get busy …
… the end of the pandemic is in sight – with the release of vaccines – the emergency will subside, but we must not ignore the urgent-emergent need to protect our Caribbean future.
Yes, we can …
When is the time to act? Now! It is always now! Now is the time to reboot and turn-around the societal engines of economics, security and governance. People are listening now. They are ready, willing and able to Be the Change that our society needs. They are ready, willing and able to make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play. 🙂
About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:
- Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
- Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
- Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.
The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.
Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!
Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):
xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.
xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.
xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.
Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.
Appendix VIDEO – “CBS This Morning” looks back on a historic year with a roundup of all the news that mattered in 2020 – https://youtu.be/0etgUEHz6zM
CBS This Morning
Posted December 21, 2020 – 2020 will be a year we’ll always remember, and one that has forever changed our country. The coronavirus claimed the lives of more than 300,000 Americans, businesses closed, and tens of millions of people filed for unemployment. We also elected a new president, and witnessed the growing demand to end racial injustice. “CBS This Morning” looks back at the pivotal moments and people that shaped this year.
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