Is Social Media a Monopoly?

Is Social Media a Monopoly?

Propaganda Machine

Social media’s business model is not about advertising. It is about changing behavior, and they gladly sell that massively powerful service to everyone including all the bad actors of the world:

  • dictators
  • generals
  • politicians
  • amoral corporations
  • organized crime
  • hackers
  • intelligence community
  • military
  • terrorists, and
  • any person or organization that wants to manipulate people to
    • legitimize a lie
    • win an election
    • incite a mob, or
    • make a buck.

I quit Facebook and recommend you consider it too, not only to escape the propaganda, deep fakes, and potential hacking of your account, but to regain all the time you spend scrolling your wall and put that time to better use.


Two-Party Madness

Two-Party Madness

Big Picture / Human Society / Politics & Government / Approval Voting

How do we insure that our political system elects a president that serves the majority of American citizens, and not just half?

I believe the dysfunction we observe in politics is driven by our two-party construct. It has created a “Hatfields vs McCoys,” us vs them battleground behavior that repeats and repeats and the cycle cannot be broken, oftentimes at the expense of good ideas.

For a politician to survive and move up over time, they must “get along to go along” even when they know something is just not right by their own set of values and principles. At times they sacrifice their values-based instincts to the will of the Party. Politicians routinely flip-flop their positions in plain sight in a shameless attempt to curry favor with the Party and/or President. I suppose we all do this to some extent in our jobs, in our churches, and all social settings to protect our respective positions in our tribes.

Who is and what is the Republican Party?

I believe in and vote for ideas, principles and character, not a party, because our two-party system — fueled by tribalism and fake news — has devolved into a poisoned institution that is like a badly divorced couple who demonize each other at every turn.

The Party campaigns backed by enormous capital have become killing machines that are not past doing anything to scuttle a candidate and the other party’s ship. They mirror the overall problems we have with BIG BUREAUCRACY — governmental and corporate — with too much unchecked wealth and power, and when and where that happens, waste, cronyism, corruption, and fraud fester in the shadows.

We can solve this by doing several things:

  • Abolish lifetime professional politicians with Term Limits.
  • Abolish the electoral college and return to
    • 1 person, 1 vote, and
    • majority rules, may the best person win.
  • Abolish plurality voting and adopt approval voting.

Our current system of plurality voting means we vote for only one candidate: either that Party A’s candidate, or Party B’s candidate. A system of approval voting would provide open access to the political arena for all deserving parties and independent candidates. An approval voting system would allow people to vote for several candidates for an elected position, and the candidate with the highest number of votes is declared the winner. It’s simple, and we all understand it!

Approval voting can become a check-and-balance against the cumulative abuses of the two-party system which is whipsawing our democracy in a destructive, mean-spirited fashion.

That said, the reality is it’s hard to create an ideal governance system that works for everybody when humans are at the controls because humans will always game systems to optimize their selfish personal advantage.

Sometimes we’re just too clever for our own good.




Big Picture / Human Society / Politics & Government / Utopianism / Dystrumpia

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good

Trump trying to

The Bad

abusive, amoral, criminal, demagogic, despotic, destructive, disingenuous, greedy, illogical, impulsive, ineffective, liar, manipulative, nepotistic, opportunistic, rogue, short-sighted, unempathetic, unethical, unhinged, uninformed, untrustworthy, untruthful, unwise

When false statements are posted on social media such as “hydroxychloroquine is a game changer,“ they spread like wildfire — faster than the truth.


Coronavirus Pandemic

Donald Trump has totally mismanaged the response to the Coronavirus Pandemic by

many of these people got infected

  • trying to downplay the Pandemic to a campaign punchline
    • “Turn on television: COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID COVID, COVID. A plane goes down, 500 people dead, they don’t talk about it. COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID.”
  • blocking CDC contact tracing of White House staff infection breakout
  • single-handedly put his entire White House staff at risk by his maniacal anti-mask policy.
  • reducing testing to make the numbers look better before the election
  • claiming
    • “children are virtually immune from COVID-19,” and
    • the coronavirus will “go away soon”
  • suggesting people could injest bleach to kill the virus
  • pushing the restart of America in a dangerous “banzai-style” charge
  • pushing hydroxychloroquine which raises death risk in Covid patients
  • announcing we’re “going to kill ourselves” if the economy doesn’t improve soon
  • repeatedly ignoring the intelligence briefings he was receiving daily
  • firing the experts and experienced U.S. global pandemic response team over two years ago
  • denying the coronavirus threat early on, calling it “a hoax,” and
  • firing the Inspector Generals when accountability reports were showing poor performance for
    • recognition and swift response of the threat, and
    • fair, equitable and swift distribution of emergency funds.

Rule of Law, Norms, and Truth

Trump will pay any price, make any deal, bend any law to assure his own survival and success.

John Bolton

  • Muzzling intelligence community’s effort to make Russians accountable for election meddling
  • Trump broke all norms accepting nomination on lawn of Whitehouse
  • Trump pardons Roger Stone as he parades corruption in plan sight
  • Fires Geoffrey Berman of Manhattan US Attorney’s office
  • Abused his power via the Attorney General and Justice Department to tamper with Roger Stone’s verdict
  • Cheated Amazon out of a $10 billion contract
  • Violated War Powers Resolution by assassinating Qassem Soleimani — an act of war against Iran — without consulting with Congress
    • Threatened bombing Iran’s cultural sites in violation of Geneva Convention
  • Violated Federal Protection Laws by exposing the whistleblower
  • Just take the land” to build wall and he’ll pardon staff if jailed
  • 6 WH administrators in jail or indicted
  • Pardoned convicted, undermined military
  • Pathological lying, cover up, obstruction
    • Defended Putin over claims of Russian interference in the 2016 election, ignoring our own intelligence community.Quid pro quo dirt from foreigners
  • Abuse of Office for personal gain:
    • Violating emollients law in plain sight (Trump’s properties)
    • Nepotism
      • Trump, his family, cronies, and secret service
        • stay at his properties worldwide, and
        • rack up massive bills charged back to the people
      • Ivanka in China
      • Jared in Saudi Arabia and Israel

Economic Warfare

Alienation of Allies

  • Suddenly pulled U.S. Troops out of Syria
  • Canada, Europe/NATO, Kurds, Mexico
  • But embraced every enemy and dictator


  • Shadow immigration system detaining children in hotels
  • Demonized and weaponized immigration for political purposes.
  • Separated children from their families
  • Southern wall is a boondoggle diverting $billions from military budget

Clean Air and Water and Land

  • During an entire week of RNC speeches, Trump made no mention (not even once) of the world’s 4 major existential threats:
    • climate change and the destruction of planet earth
    • artificial intelligence and the loss of jobs
    • nuclear weapons and apocalyptic war, and
    • biotechnology and its unintended consequences.
  • Opening up drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  • Covertly dismantling NEPA and environmental impact guidelines
  • Unchecked expansion of extraction and piping

Dictators, Demagogues, Tyrants, Despots

Failed to make accountable

Swamp: to drain or not to drain

  • All the President’s Fixers
  • Refilled swamp with cronies, crooks, family
  • Cronyistic revolving door of corrupt/inept appointees
  • Elitist doofas for Education Secretary

Politicization of

No Progress with

  • Climate change
    • Withdrew Paris Accord
  • Critical infrastructure report card is D-
  • Healthcare
    • Cost of prescription drugs
  • Gun control
  • Racism

The Ugly

awful, awkward, buffoonish, cheater, clumsy, clusterfuck, conceited, crazy, embarrassing, foolish, imbecile, immoral, maniacal, mean, misguided, moronic, narcissistic, misogynistic, outrageous, petty, racist, ridiculous, selfish, shameful, sleazy, snarky, stupid, untrustworthy, untruthful, vulgar, wacky, weird

In Dystrumpia, justice doesn’t apply to rich white men who help the president.

Reality TV every day

Manipulation/Suppression of the Truth 1984-Style

  • Lied
    • about his taxes
    • about the size of his inauguration crowd, and
    • 10,000 other things
  • Tampered/intimidated impeachment witnesses in real time
  • Paid off porn star payoffs: Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow
  • Self-predicted Hurricane Dorian’s path with a Sharpie
  • Erased anti-Trump images in National Archive exhibit

Insulted and/or physically mocked and/or bullied

Gangster-in-Training: You’re Fired!

Weirdness (you gotta be kidding me!)

Words Matter, he’s just no good at them

  • Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”
  • “Actually, in many ways, I up-played it, in terms of action.”
  • “I alone can fix it.”
  • Trump says QAnon conspiracy theorists
    • “like me very much,” and
    • “love our country’
  • I wish her well, frankly,” Trump says of Ghislaine Maxwell
  • Re-tweeted “White Power!” and then deleted it
  • Kung flu
  • “Testing should be slowed down.”
  • Trump threatens protesters with “vicious dogs
  • Trump called Governor Inslee (WA) a “snake
  • Trump called the coronavius “a hoax
  • Chinese virus…”
  • Called generals “dopes” and “babies”
  • He has the speech, vocabulary, and principles of a 6th-grader
  • State of the Union speech: lots of lies
  • Trump calls Adam Schiff “a sick man.”
  • “I don’t have racist bone in my body!” (lie)
  • FBI are “scum”
  • “…Trump is calling for a complete shutdown of muslims…”
  • “President Putin just said it’s not Russia.”
  • “They’re rapists, but some are fine people.”
  • “Shithole countries.”
  • “I prefer heroes who don’t get caught.”
  • “Mexico will pay for the wall.” (lie)
  • “We fell in love,” with Rocketman.
  • “I’m a stable genius.”
  • “Kurds didn’t help us in Normandy.”
  • “Very fine people.”
  • “I’m a very smart guy.” Who says that?
  • “I know more than the generals.”
  • “I command you to leave China!”
  • “He’s weak, low IQ.”
  • “Republicans are scum.”
  • “I hardly know the man.”
  • “Whistleblower is a traitor.”
  • “Impeachment is like a lynching.”
  • “He died like a dog.” (lie)
  • “She’s not my type.” (misogyny)
  • “You can grag them by the pussy.”
  • “Well, he’s two-faced.” (Trudeau)
  • “My father was born in Germany

Is fascism sneaking up on us one tweet at a time?

Is fascism sneaking up on us one tweet at a time?


Reporters have been disclosing that the Trump administration has ordered the suppression and redaction of any mention of climate change in government reports, policies, and procedures. This kind of covert action is representative of the kind of message control classically employed by fascist and totalitarian regimes.

Fascism creeps up on society like a slowly-leaking faucet that eventually overflows the sink: drip, drip, drip…


Dystrumpia might dismiss this as either fake news and/or of no significance, but they might consider the hypothetical 2020 scenario with the election of a new non-Trumpian secular administration that might not want any mention of Christianity, the Bible, Jesus, God, or prayer in government documents; and following Trump’s strategy, have these words secretly and systematically redacted from all government documents and policies. I doubt Dystrumpia would be happy with that!

Reasonable and lawful content should not be secretly and arbitrarily redacted from government documents just to suit an administration’s bias. If a report has been properly researched, vetted, and produced by a government agency, let that report be made public. American citizens have a right to think for themselves and come to their own conclusions and decisions without being deceived and manipulated by insider zealots who say they are called by God. Surely their better angels are not at work here.

Just as likely, the devil made them do it.


Big Questions

Have you noticed that not a single former president has endorsed Donald Trump, or even wants to be seen or associated with him? What does that say about Trump?

Four living former U.S. presidents speak out against systemic racism and injustice, but not Trump.

Has Donald Trump replaced Joe McCarthy as the most dangerous demagogue in American history?


Why have Republican leaders abandoned their principles in support of an immoral and dangerous president?

Big Picture

Big Picture / Human Society / Politics & Government / Fascism

Presidents Vladimir Putin (Russia) and Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Turkey) began their assaults on democratic norms and institutions by demonizing the opposition. Then, with a combination of threats, purges, and appointments of cronies, they clipped the wings of their judiciaries and bureaucracies, enabling their subsequent, more complete power grabs.

Fareed Zakaria

What Does Sport Teach Us About Leadership?

What Does Sport Teach Us About Leadership?

Head Referee Dick Jorgensen (#60) follows San Francisco quarterback Joe Montana (#16) and the rest of the action at Superbowl XXIV in 1990.

Sport plays an important part in the lives of many business leaders. Nothing can make the juices flow like sinking a 30-foot birdie putt to win the match or setting a personal record in the local 10K run. Risking, winning and losing, playing, pushing personal limits – all are tonics for the chief executive, but they require “getting in the game.”

For Dick Jorgensen, Red Cashion, and Tom Dooley, getting in the game was a way of life. During their days as NFL Referees, they were chief executives of successful corporations, but on the weekends they exchanged their business suits for “zebra suits” to become NFL referees. Whether on the field or off, these CEOs shared an uncommon passion to perform their best.

Dick Jorgensen: Banking on the Blitz
Dick Jorgensen had the distinction of having been the head referee for 1990’s Super Bowl XXIV. It was the pinnacle of a 22-year career as an NFL referee when one considers that the officials on Super Bowl Sunday are voted the best at their position by the NFL.

When he was not watching Joe Montana fade back for the bomb, Jorgensen was president of Marine Bank in Champaign, IL, a banking affiliate of the Marine Corporation with over $1 billion in assets. The bank always supported Dick’s other life as an NFL referee, as banks generally support the active community involvement of all employees.

At 56 (in 1990) and coming off recent back surgery, Dick moved a little slower than he did as captain of the University of Wisconsin’s basketball team. He was concerned about his upcoming annual NFL physical and stress test, but he was determined to pass. He daily stretched, swam, and lifted weights – whatever it took to ensure he would get another shot at a Super Bowl. Having participated in Super Bowls VIII, XV, and XXIV, he didn’t want to pass up another opportunity to be part of “the immensity of the game.”

The rewards of a Super Bowl experience, however, aren’t without cost. The pressures of balancing a banking career and an active family life while on the road for the NFL were substantial, especially for the family left behind each weekend. “But once the kickoff comes and I get into the flow of the game,” asserted Jorgensen, “all the pressure is off. It’s exhausting, but mentally refreshing.”

Tom Dooley: Constructing a Game Plan
Tom Dooley, former CEO of R.T. Dooley Construction, says his 14 years of working out problems on an NFL football field helped him work out problems in business. “On the football field,” he observed, “you have a set of rules and a solution.” Dooley was proud of the fact that in all his years as CEO, he never had to retain an attorney to solve a legal problem!

“Nothing is black and white in business,” continued Dooley. “Everything is a compromise. On the football field, it is black and white. I can flush out every thought in the world when I’m on that field.” And like Dick Jorgensen, Tom Dooley got that same physical exhaustion but mental freshness after each game.

To make it possible for Tom to work weekends for the NFL and keep his business under control, he surrounded himself with “people smarter than I am.” And what was good for the boss was good for the troops. Business shut down every day at 11:30 am so employees could get in a vigorous noon workout at the local YMCA (the company paid every employee’s membership fee).

Dooley believed strongly in being “the best you can be.” After a lifetime of setting goals and achieving them, he still had one in his sights – to work a Super Bowl as head referee. He had a taste of Super Bowl action as a linesman at Super Bowl XV, Eagles vs Raiders, in 1981. But characteristic of every NFL referee, Dooley wanted a shot at the No. 1 position.

Red Cashion: A Variable Life
On April 21, 1990, Texas Independence Day, Red Cashion had the honor of being keynote speaker at Texas A&M’s “annual muster,” following in the footsteps of the mayor of San Antonio, the governor of Texas, and Ike Eisenhower. For a Texan, especially one that lived and worked in College Station (Aggie country), this was as big an honor as being referee at Super Bowl XX, Bears vs. Patriots, in 1986.

Speaking before students, athletes, and business people went with the territory for this NFL referee who was also chairman of ANCO insurance which he co-founded in 1966. The challenges and lessons of business and sport were inseparable for Cashion, helping him develop what he called “presence.”

Red enjoyed “being in the center of the action.” It took him 20 years of refereeing in junior high through college ranks before being accepted into the NFL where he officiated from 1972 – 1996 (25 years).

Obviously, the pressure of officiating wasn’t a problem for Cashion, having been at it for so long. He enjoyed keeping himself in shape through competitive handball. “Frankly,” he says, “I enjoy the annual NFL physical and stress test.”

The greater challenge for Cashion was making the right decision under pressure. Being an NFL referee helped him develop confidence in himself and his decisions, a quality employees respected.

When he returned each Monday following an NFL game, football was the topic of the day. Employees always greet him with questions about the game. Although Cashion admitted that “after a while, you forget which city you were in,” he will never forget being head referee in Super Bowls XX (1986, Bears vs. Patriots) and XXX (1996, Cowboys vs. Steelers).

Note from Scott Pickard: “I wrote this feature article under assignment to Chief Executive magazine and it was subsequently published in September, 1990. Sadly, Dick Jorgensen passed away in October, 1990. He was a well-known personality and highly-respected leader in Champaign, IL.”


Further reading

Good Books


Poverty & Income Inequality

Poverty & Income Inequality

Big Questions

What happens when you give basic income to the poor?

Should the mega-wealthy commit to reducing the destructive effects of economic inequality?

Should the Federal Minimum Wage be increased to $15/hour?

Is eviction an epidemic in the U.S.?

Why are so many Americans afraid/against socialism?

What is the lesser of evils?

  • Socialism‘s potential to narrow our staggering worldwide economic inequality?
  • Capitalism‘s potential to create jobs and lift people out of poverty? or,
  • A Hybrid’s potential to balance and blend the best features of both economic systems?


Big Picture

Big Picture / Human Society / Social Organization & Change / Poverty

Income inequality

One Percent

Supreme Court


Games, Gaming, Play

Games, Gaming, Play

Men do not quit playing because they grow old;
they grow old because they quit playing.


Big Questions

What happened to free play?

On Being Outside

Your best experts are anybody over 50 because we literally grew up being outside and have now lived through a transition period and observed the differences between our generation and today’s.

There is nothing that replenishes and repairs the soul like being outside and connected with weather, nature’s green, earth’s blue sky, the sun’s warm glow, fresh air, randomness, and serendipity. Outside for us old-schoolers was a giant playground, stage, and fablab for creating things and making up play and games as you go. We could hardly wait to run out the front door of school and be with our friends and be FREE! It was always sad to have to go back inside.

Unfortunately, the awareness of this special gift is slipping away with each internet minute.


Tennis anyone? > roof top tennis with Federer

When it comes to Virtual Reality’s impact on kids, how long is too long? How young is too young?

  • Are kids now officially citizens of a dual world, real and virtual?
  • In time, which one will they like better?
  • How will it change things for the better and/or the worse?
  • How will it change how kids relate to pre-Internet elders?
  • Overall, will this be a “better” world?

Protect the children from the unintended consequences.

Can a handicapped person break free of their chains of disability in a virtual world?

Is gaming addiction to Fortnite at epidemic proportions?

Big Picture

Big Picture / Human Society / Social Groups / Games & Gaming

Games and Play


Virtual Reality


Good Books


Artificial Intelligence & Robotics

Artificial Intelligence & Robotics

Where will all the workers go?

I think of robotics as the application of artificial intelligence (software) to the creation of a physical robot that solves a problem and/or completes a task(s) in the most efficient way possible. But for the survivability of our species as we rush to create robots of every conceivable kind and flood the zone with venture capital, we had better put as much thought and investment into what robots can’t and will never do so we can figure out the new jobs of the future for the millions of workers displaced by ai/robotics.


Big Questions

What are the long-term social implications of AI?

Is it feasible to develop a robot tax to fund the social costs of dealing with AI-driven unemployment?

Can AI and robotics safely transform the medical industry?

Big Picture

Big Picture / Technology / Information Processing / AI & Robotics

Artificial Intelligence

  • Books: We are not scanning all those books to be read by people. We are scanning them to be read by artificial intelligence. — Google engineer
    • Analytics of Life
    • Artificial Intelligence
    • Human Compatible
    • Rebooting AI: Building Artificial Intelligence We Can Trust
    • Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future
    • The AI Economy
    • The Fourth Age
    • The Future of the Professions
    • The Future of Work: Robots, AI, and Automation
    • The Second Machine Age
    • The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology
  • Ethics


Good Books


Truth and Trust

Truth and Trust

In an untruthful, deep-fake world, you have to trust your own



values, and

common sense.


Big Questions

Is “Truth” now whatever is first in a google search results listing?

Is “Truth” now whatever is first in a google search results listing?

Big Picture

Big Picture / Knowledge Creation / Philosophy / Truth & Trust

Good Books