Shorts for December 17, 2015: Trump's legal ineptitude, and eight ways the world is getting better
Trump’s lawyer is as clueless as the candidate
Donald Trump suspected that a SuperPAC backing Jeb Bush was about to run ads critical of the Republican Presidential front-runner. Trump had his lawyer, Alan Garten, send the SuperPAC a cease-and-desist letter before the ads ran. As Above the Law’s Staci Zaretsky reports in a December 11, 2015, article, there were only a few small problems with the letter.
The biggest problem was that the letter was sent to the wrong SuperPAC. Jeb Bush’s SuperPAC is named Right to Rise USA, while the warning was issued to one named Right to Rise PAC, Inc. This group supports conservative candidates generally, one of whom is Jeb Bush. Charles Spies, the lawyer for Right to Rise PAC, responded with a letter to Garten that is a classic in the genre, according to Zaretsky.
In his letter, Spies recommends that Garten take a break from his bankruptcy filings on behalf of Trump to review the Supreme Court’s decision in New York Times v. Sullivan, which states the rules for defamation and prior restraint of free speech. Spies also notes that just as his client is taking a crash course in the basics of foreign affairs, Garten could benefit from a quick review of election laws (the letter included a complaint Spies filed against Trump with the Federal Elections Commission calling for an investigation of Trump’s expenditures).
Should Trump actually win the 2016 Presidential election – gulp! – Spies asks whether Garten will be the person writing the cease-and-desist letters to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Eight ways the world is changing for the better
These days, it’s difficult to get more than halfway through your daily newspaper (or online newsfeed) without coming to the conclusion that the wheels have officially come off and the world is careening toward the precipice at breakneck speed. Then somebody comes along and reminds you that maybe things aren’t all that bad, and in fact there are some fundamentally good changes underway.
That’s how I felt as I read Gustavo Tanaka’s October 6, 2015, essay on Medium entitled “There is something extraordinary happening in the world.” Tanaka states that he recently freed himself from the “standard-procedure society” and discovered that tremendous changes are going on that most of us are not yet fully cognizant of. He lists eight reasons for this belief. (Note: This is not your typical “listicle.”)
The change that resonated the most with me is that “No one can stand the employment model any longer.” People hate their corporate jobs. The work lacks purpose, leaving employees feeling empty and leading an increasing number of people to become entrepreneurs. The nature of entrepreneurship is changing as well, according to Tanaka. Rather than focusing on fundraising (which perpetuates the blind chase for profits that afflicts so much corporate work), the goal is to collaborate with other entrepreneurs to create something useful and meaningful for consumers and producers alike.
Tanaka claims that the full impact of the Internet as a great leveler of power is just now taking hold with people. Slowly, Big Media’s control of the news is collapsing. (A future Weekly will look at why the mainstream media is ignoring the 2016 Presidential candidate who is by far the most popular contender on the Internet, Bernie Sanders.)
Also dying a slow death is the media’s non-stop message to consume, consume, consume. So-called lowsumerism is taking hold, according to Tanaka. People are increasingly willing to purchase used products and to share and barter. Overspending and crass consumerism have become déclassé. We’re more concerned than ever about the quality and healthiness of the food we eat, and we’re purchasing more food and other products from local producers.
The last two changes Tanaka cites are the ones with the most potential impact for society. We’re rethinking the way we teach our children as we realize the 19th and 20th century approaches to education do a disservice to students, parents, and communities. And last but not least, spirituality is becoming the center of people’s lives. As Tanaka puts it, “we’ve come to the edge of reason and rationality.” Meditation and other mindfulness exercises are taking hold in schools, workplaces, and healthcare settings.
I believe that people worldwide thinking peace helped bring us back from the precipice of nuclear war in the 1980s. We can do the same peace-thinking today to turn the tide away from the hate that threatens to destroy us, and toward the love that promises to redeem us.
That’s my message to you this holiday season: Think peace, please! Today and every day.