Alt-Facts (or perhaps Alt-Logic)

Posted February 15, 2017 by Don W Strickland
Categories: The Good Life

Alt-Fact: If this fact was true last time I checked then it is still true.

Alt-Fact: If this fact is true sometimes then it is always true.

Alt-Fact: If my opinion is right then your opinion is wrong.

Alt-Fact: If I win that means I am right.

Alt-Fact: If I defeat my opponent that means I win.

Alt-Fact: If I am certain then there is no need to test my belief.

Alt-Fact: If you can not prove I am wrong then I am right.

Alt-Fact: If I can prevent you from proving I am wrong then I am right.

Alt-Fact: If enough people confirm my position then I am right.

Alt-Fact: If I eliminate my opponent(s) then I am right.

Alt-Fact: If how I do this has been working then I am doing it right.

Alt-Fact: If you do not catch me doing wrong then I did not do wrong.

Alt-Fact: If I stick to my story then I am right.

Alt-Fact: If everyone I trust says I am right then I am right.

Alt-Fact: If I distrust you then you are wrong.

Alt-Fact: If I label you as wrong then you are wrong.

Alt-Fact: If people I trust confirm that you are wrong then you are wrong.

Alt-Fact: If I do not like your truth then you are wrong.

Alt-Fact: If you scare me then I should eliminate you.

Alt-Fact: If a rape can not be proven then it did not happen.

Alt-Fact: If a rapist can not be found then there is no rape.

Alt-Fact: If there is no dead body then there was no death.

Alt-Fact: If Republicans are wrong then Democrats are right.

Alt-Fact: If your canidate is a lier then my canidate is a better choice.

Alt-Fact: If my religion is right then your religion is wrong.

Alt-Fact: If some members of your religion believe _ _ _ _ then all members believe same.


Why have you suffered so? (copied from someone I do not know)

Posted February 10, 2017 by Don W Strickland
Categories: The Good Life

The paragraphs below are lifted from a Facebook page.

Conservative friends–please comment and help me understand what you are needing and wanting right now. And please don’t say “For people to give him a chance.” He’s getting a chance, and progressives are reacting to things we think are important. By the way, I agree that we shouldn’t be reacting to every single thing he does. I’m actually not resisting the confirmation of his Supreme Court nominee. I’m trying to look at each of his actions individually and really ask myself: is it necessary to speak out against this for the good of our country or can I let this one go?

”A new administration-supporting Facebook friend told movie producer Scott Mednick, “We suffered for eight years. Now it’s your turn.”

Scott wrote a thoughtful response asking how, specifically, his friend had suffered under Obama:

“I am surprised you would wish suffering upon me. That of course is your right, I suppose. I do not wish harm on anyone. Your statement seems to continue the ‘US v THEM’ mentality. The election is over. It is important to get past campaigning and campaign rhetoric and get down to what is uniting, not dividing and what is best for ALL Americans.

There will never be a President who does everything to everyone’s liking. There are things President Obama (and President Clinton) did that I do not like and conversely there are things I can point to that the Presidents Bush did that I agree with. So I am not 100% in lock step with the outgoing President but have supported him and the overall job he did.

And, if you recall, during the Presidential Campaign back in 2008 the campaign was halted because of the “historic crisis in our financial system.” Wall Street bailout negotiations intervened in the election process. The very sobering reality was that there likely could be a Depression and the world financial markets could collapse. The United States was losing 800,000 jobs a month and was poised to lose at least 10 million jobs the first year once the new President took office. We were in an economic freefall. So let us recall that ALL of America was suffering terribly at the beginning of Obama’s Presidency.

But I wanted to look back over the last 8 years and ask you a few questions. Since much of the rhetoric before Obama was elected was that he would impose Sharia Law, Take Away Your Guns, Create Death Panels, Destroy the Economy, Impose Socialism and, since you will agree that NONE of this came to pass, I was wondering:

Why have you suffered so?

So let me ask:

Gays and Lesbians can now marry and enjoy the benefits they had been deprived of. Has this caused your suffering?

When Obama took office, the Dow was 6,626. Now it is 19,875. Has this caused your suffering?

We had 82 straight months of private sector job growth – the longest streak in the history of the United States. Has this caused your suffering?

Especially considering where he the economy was when he took over, an amazing 11.3 million new jobs were created under President Obama (far more than President Bush). Has this caused your suffering?

Obama has taken Unemployment from 10% down to 4.7%. Has this caused your suffering?

Homelessness among US Veterans has dropped by half. Has this caused your suffering?

Obama shut down the US secret overseas prisons. Has this caused your suffering?

President Obama has created a policy for the families of fallen soldiers to have their travel paid for to be there when remains are flown home. Has this caused your suffering?

We landed a rover on Mars. Has this caused your suffering?

He passed the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Has this caused your suffering?

Uninsured adults has decreased to below 10%: 90% of adults are insured – an increase of 20 Million Adults. Has this caused your suffering?

People are now covered for pre-existing conditions. Has this caused your suffering?

Insurance Premiums increased an average of $4,677 from 2002-2008, an increase of 58% under Bush. The growth of these insurance premiums has gone up $4,145 – a slower rate of increase. Has this caused your suffering?

Obama added Billions of dollars to mental health care for our Veterans. Has this caused your suffering?

Consumer confidence has gone from 37.7 to 98.1 during Obama’s tenure. Has this caused your suffering?

He passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Has this caused your suffering?

His bi-annual Nuclear Summit convinced 16 countries to give up and destroy all their loose nuclear material so it could not be stolen. Has this caused your suffering?

He saved the US Auto industry. American cars sold at the beginning of his term were 10.4M and upon his exit 17.5M. Has this caused your suffering?

The deficit as a percentage of the GDP has gone from 9.8% to 3.2%. Has this caused your suffering?

The deficit itself was cut by $800 Billion Dollars. Has this caused your suffering?

Obama preserved the middle class tax cuts. Has this caused your suffering?

Obama banned solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons. Has this caused your suffering?

He signed Credit Card reform so that rates could not be raised without you being notified. Has this caused your suffering?

He outlawed Government contractors from discriminating against LGBT persons. Has this caused your suffering?

He doubled Pell Grants. Has this caused your suffering?

Abortion is down. Has this caused your suffering?

Violent crime is down. Has this caused your suffering?

He overturned the scientific ban on stem cell research. Has this caused your suffering?

He protected Net Neutrality. Has this caused your suffering?

Obamacare has extended the life of the Medicare insurance trust fund (will be solvent until 2030). Has this caused your suffering?

President Obama repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Has this caused your suffering?

He banned torture. Has this caused your suffering?

He negotiated with Syria to give up its chemical weapons and they were destroyed. Has this caused your suffering?

Solar and Wind Power are at an all time high. Has this caused your suffering?

High School Graduation rates hit 83% – an all time high. Has this caused your suffering?

Corporate profits are up by 144%. Has this caused your suffering?

He normalized relations with Cuba. Has this caused your suffering?

Reliance on foreign oil is at a 40 year low. Has this caused your suffering?

US Exports are up 28%. Has this caused your suffering?

He appointed the most diverse cabinet ever. Has this caused your suffering?

He reduced the number of troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Has this caused your suffering?

Yes, he killed Osama Bin Laden and retrieved all the documents in his possession for analysis. Perhaps THIS caused your suffering?

From an objective standpoint it would appear that the last eight years have seen some great progress and we were saved from a financial collapse. Things are not perfect. Things can always be better. We are on much better footing now than we were in 2008.

I look forward to understanding what caused you to suffer so much under Obama these last eight years.”‘

Copy & paste to share.

News sources to support

Posted February 4, 2017 by Don W Strickland
Categories: The Good Life

Twitter at it’s best !

Based on the Tweets listed below by Jan, Beau and Andrew this page will be where I collect a list of Real News sources to support.

New York Times
The Guardian
Associated Press
Reuters News
The Economist

Note 1: PBS is the only ‘TV’ source here. IMO TV is NOT a trustworth news source

DISCLAIMER: People I respect recommend and subscribe to these sources. You are expected to do your own Extreme Vetting and have your own opinions.

Jan Chapman ‏@mamadelapaz 1:48 PM – 4 Feb 2017
Me too. #supportsanity #celebrateclarity #bethechange

… and …

Beau Willimon ‏@BeauWillimon 2:22 PM – 3 Feb 2017
Press should boycott altogether. Or leave when he speaks. He has zero respect for press. Why give him this platform?
“New Yorker and Vanity Fair Pull Out of Correspondents’ Dinner Partie”

… and …

Andrew Sarver ‏@sarver_andrew 12:51 PM – 4 Feb 2017
@BeauWillimon @nytimes I’m buying a year long subscription to any and every publication that does not attend the WH Correspondent’s Dinner.

… and this from earlier this week …

If they even exist, what are the best non biased news sources out there?

Several responses agreed that bias happens, be a skeptic.
I call your attention specifically to comments (below) by Laura Brown, Dan Moran, Lindsay Marshall and Matt Lutostanski.

Sites mentioned in response (as of 12:30 CT, January 30 2017):

+ New York Times
+ Wall Street Journal
+ KUT (On Point)
+ Reuters
+ Washington Post
+ The Atlantic
+ The Hill
+ Real Clear Politics
+ Slate
+ The Economist
+ Allsides
+ The Guardian
+ Al Jazeera
+ The Daily Signal
+ Vox (left leaning)
+ The National Review (right leaning)
+ Dan Rather on Facebook
+ Ben Swann on Facebook
+ Jake Tapper, Glen Greenwald on Twitter

(no particular order, correct me if I missed some)

Standout comments (imo):

Laura Brown I don’t think they exist. I always start by searching for the opposite of what I lean towards so I’m not just confirming my bias. For instance: I’m prolife and was wondering about the truth of PP, so I searched “planned parenthood does provide necessary prenatal care” (found out about 5-10% of facilities actually do) Read that info, then compare it to what I’ve read in stuff that leans my way, and research the facts of the specific discrepancies I find. I’m sure there’s a better way, but I think it’s almost impossible to write without a slant.

Dan Moran Honestly, I follow about 30 different reporters on twitter and I click around on their articles and tweets.

Wilson Tenney I follow individual news people on twitter. Jake Tapper, Glen Greenwald, etc…

Don Strickland This is a perfect time to learn that Twitter is NOT about what you tweet. It is ALL about who you follow. Think of it as being able to listen in on all the best conversations in the room at the most fun event you’ve ever attended.

Rachel Altsman I’ve seen people on both sides quibble over this infographic, which makes me think it’s probably pretty accurate.

Lindsay Marshall There are no unbiased sources. What you want to do is go for a balance of bias, and seek sources that work hard to uphold the standards of professionalism for journalism. So your big sources will be typical: New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, NPR, BBC. But you have to read them with a fair measure of skepticism (though not cynicism – that will lead you just as far astray as believing everything in print no matter what). I also like The Hill for news relating to Congress – it’s usually the most timely and least partisan.
If you’re looking to balance political opinion writing, Real Clear Politics is kinda one-stop shopping for that. It’s a news aggregate site that just collects and links to all the political commentary being published that day – you can scroll through and see the full spectrum.

Matt Lutostanski I agree with the posters above. If you say “MSM is nothing but lies”, it implies you are not smart enough to read an article and uncover the bias yourself, so you’re willing to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Bias happens, it’s not always some devious conspiracy. That being said, I really like NPR/WaPo/The Atlantic. I regularly read Slate/The Economist, but understand there is a bit of an agenda in what they cover and how they cover it.

Kayleigh Rust NPR is your best bet for non biased. But Vox (left leaning) and The National Review (right leaning) are both great media networks that present facts, not fiction, and report on all issues, not just the ones they want their constituents to hear. I’d also recommend following Dan Rather and Ben Swann on Facebook. Both are very active and well rounded fact reporting journalists.

we are debating the wrong questions

Posted January 28, 2017 by Don W Strickland
Categories: The Good Life

Seriously, we are debating the wrong questions. We can not solve the problems we need to solve if our attention is in the wrong direction.

Wrong question examples:

– Who’s crowd was larger ?
– Did HRC get more votes ?
– Is HRC a bigger lier than DJT ?
– Should my state secede ?
– Are people that voted different from me [deragatory word] ?
– Were there millions of illegal votes ?
– Was Obama better (in whatever way) than POTUS DJT ?
– Is POTUS DJT better (in whatever way) than Obama ?

Here’s the thing, arguing about various things said, seen and some imagined, we are building walls rather than roads and bridges. We all see the infrastructure of our country failing, but we need to see that the infrastructure of our lives and relationships is crumbling.

Clearly there are many hard questions to answer, like the one(s) offered by Wynn below. Even valid questions can be polarizing if we let them, but a least it’s an important question.

While we argue about a wall between the USA and Mexico, regardless of how you feel about it, we are actually building an unpenetrable wall between us and people we love.

I literally have friends and family whom I find it harder to discuss life with than two months ago. Yesterday I watched on Facebook as a dear, life long, kind and brilliant friend went back and forth with his family member. My friend pleaded for a return to grace but the wall between them, a wall this election built, was already too great for his ‘opponent’ to see over or around. It made me cry a little.

+ Choose the questions you debate with great care.
+ Do not let the media or other agitators frame the questions.
+ Ask, is this a debate that deserves our focus?
+ Ask, even if I ‘win’ this debate, have I made life better?
+ Avoid debates for ‘principle’. We have real work to do.

Now for the hard part, ask someone with whom you are certain there is no common cause, no common ground; ask them to help you to start dismantling the walls we’ve built in 2016.

Perhaps start by giving them your respect, reminding yourself that people don’t normally seek fear. But do not, do not, approach others with contempt or arrogance or any form of disrespect. Stop all forms to telling others they are wrong.

This struggle we face in the USA today is not actually about religion, origins, genetics, jobs or politics. It is about attitude and respect. Find a way to dismantle your own fear and outrage. That is exactly what I plan to do going forward.

If you are reading this and think that I just ‘do not get it’, I beg you to friend me, pick an important question and let me buy you a sandwich or coffee. I don’t have very many answers, but I hope that two months from now I’ve removed some walls and built some roads and bridges.

Humbly and sincerely,


* As always edit correction tips are welcome. I am blind to my own errors.

unspeakable sadness

Posted January 9, 2017 by Don W Strickland
Categories: Parenting

In the cold dark morning on Jan 8, 2017, my dear strong friend answered his door to face officers deliverying unspeakable sadness. Bless those officers for the grace and kindness with which they performed this delivery.

His youngest daughter, only 21 years old, died that cold morning. MacKenzie Kaye McCulloch was sweet and strong and inspired those around her, just like her dad.

She is the fouth young adult lost by people dear to me in two months, three of them in vehicle accidents.

As a parent of three young adults myself I feel pain beyond words and at the same time know my pain is nothing compared to my friends.

My brain races while my heart aches and my eyes drip.

I know there are better words, but these are the words in me today, as my dear friend Neil and his sweet wife Sally drive hundreds of miles today with MacKenzie’s syblings. They could be expected to wither in grief and anger; but Neil will be strong, kind and full of grace and Sally will call on her superpower of support.

Do not LIKE this post.
Do NOT share it and demand that others do if they agree.
Do NOT correct me.
Do NOT tell me this is the will or plan of God.
Do NOT tell me time will heal.
Do NOT tell me you’ll send prayers or thoughts.

I know all these answer and more, but today they do not help. If these answers help you then hold them, but they do not help me.

Consider these sweet names. Consider their parents who selected these names and joyfully announced them to the world with hope and anticipation.

David, Ricky, MacKenzie, Sean, Elliot, Bobby, Joe, Tommy, Wade, Margaret, Brad, Dennis … and damn my frail memory for the names that escape me now.

– if you want to respond please just add a comment with a heart. <3

– if you know these parents, reach out to them and tell them you miss their child. When possible do that in person.

– if you want to add a name, please add their first name and the year they died.

To Neil & Sally
To Duwain & Barbara
To Paul & Lois
To Jerry & Mary Jane
and your families and friends,

Deep love to you and your house today, tonight and in the coming days. May unexpected grace provide you with rest each night and help you rise strong to face each morning. <3



Kids: clay to mold or surprises to discover?

Posted December 30, 2016 by Don W Strickland
Categories: Parenting, The Good Life

I have three kids and they are far more different than they are alike. Yes you can recognize bits of mom, bits of dad (me) and bits of each other. But if you only see those similar bits … well that’s just absurd right?

A friend recently said, “I’m trying to raise a Spartan”. I’ve heard that sentence both spoken and implied with many nouns at the end; doctor, lawyer, republican, democrat, person of * faith, genius, star, quarterback, goalie, graceful man, strong woman, writer, musician, artist, good American, free spirit, smarter than me, just like her mom, my successor, etc etc etc.

It’s clear that most parents think we are molding our children to become kids and then adults with certain ideals and ideas and characteristics.

Pause and think about that idea. Are your kids raw material to be molded by you? Does it make sense? Maybe Not?

IMPORTANT: This post is not about God or Country or any of the other ‘outside’ or ‘village’ influences. Whatever you think about those factors is true or not true independent of what I’m trying to say here about how parents frame their task of ‘raising their children’. Said another way, for the sake of this post, it actually does not matter what you feel about God or Country or other influences.

ALSO IMPORTANT: Feel free to dismiss this advice, particularly if it upsets you. I have NO credentials or authority other than I and my wife have three young adult children with whom we are mostly happy (sorry kids). This might have been super lucky so I’m not claiming to know it all.

My point is, if you are a parent (or step parent or any other variation of parent) I recommend you consider your children to be mysteries, surprise packages, amazing little unique people taking form before your eyes … rather than lumps of clay to be formed.

Stick with me here, I am NOT saying, just let them do what they will while you watch.

I am saying, spend at least as much energy discovering their unique characteristics as you do trying to define them. EVERY mother of twins will tell you stories about her twins’ differences. Discover and celebrate these unique characteristics!

You are in a race, from the first time you hold them, to 1) discover their unique characteristics 2) learn how to be the best possible parent for that unique child and 3) decide what you should encourage (lots), change (very little) and teach (mostly).

VERY IMPORTANT: You do not get to decide their unique characteristics. You must work with who and what they are.

EXAMPLE: One of my kids, as soon as they started playing with other kids demonstrated skills and desire to organize and direct. Sometimes this looked ugly as a characteristic in a child (manipulative, controling). But our challenge was to teach grace and respect rather than discouraging the built-in characteristic.

EXAMPLE: Two of my kids are musicians. However the details were different from the beginning and today I see those same differences years later. They are both excellent musicians but very different and I would absolutely not ask either of them to be more like the other. Although we exposed them to our love of music very early, neither I nor my wife molded them as musicians.

Those are just two examples of many characteristics simply discovered and encouraged. I am so thankful they are each so much more than we could ‘make them’. Frankly it’s more like we allow and assist our kids to discover and develop.

Your time to be their parent is much shorter than you think and every minute you spend trying to change something that is a characteristics is time lost that could have been spent encouraging or teaching.

What I am saying here, is like a parental serenity prayer

Grant us the serenity to accept the characteristics we discover,
Courage to develop the characteristics we can,
Patience to teach and encourage continuously,
Grace to respectfully correct or adjust only when needed,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Very little needs to be changed, far less than you think.

Mostly they need your help discovering their own characteristics and learning how to use them with love and respect for you and others.

I am pretty sure, the more we mold them like clay, the more we will make them like us. Is that REALLY what we want?

Listen more, talk less (this I say with authority)
Control less, follow more
Direct less, lead more
Expect more, demand less
Listen, Listen, Listen

Does this make sense? I sincerely hope so.
Sorry I didn’t know this sooner kids.


Parent with Jo Ann of Abigail, Conner and Benjamin

Fake Adobe Flash update notice

Posted August 18, 2016 by Don W Strickland
Categories: The Good Life

If you see this Adobe Flash update notice … JUST CLOSE the window. DO NOT CLICK those buttons.

I’ll explain more after I’ve had time to investigate.